Tuesday, June 30, 2009

ghostgirl: Homecoming ~ Tonya Hurley review

Little Brown
296 Pages
July 1, 2009

(Don't read until the **** unless you've already read ghostgirl or unless you don't mind spoilers.)

Charlotte and her Dead Ed crew have graduated and are on to the next phase of their life...or death, rather. Only, it's not quite the pearly white gates they encounter as everyone would expect. Instead they end up as interns in a phone bank of sorts. (You'll figure out just why by reading the book!)

And while Charlotte's off trying to make her way through the afterlife, Scarlet's trying to deal with a long distance relationship and another year with her sister and the Wendys. Will she survive? Will she and Damen?

And who's going to end up in the hospital? (If you like more spoilers than me...the back of the book lets you know.)


This book was so much better than the first ghostgirl. While I really liked that one, I loved this one. It didn't have the trouble getting started that the original did and pulled me in right from the very first page and kept me there until the very last word.

The setting(s) were great--both original and very creative and I loved the way that Charlotte's story and Scarlet's were brought together so well even though they were on different planes. Nothing was taken away from either the characters or the plot to work things together.

The characters also had more depth this time--from Petula to Damen to Charlotte to Pam, etc--and it made the story much more enjoyable. There were morals on popularity, relationships and family in the story, more in fact that I expected from the story but not so much that it ever got preachy and they always blended seamlessly with the tale being told.

With ghostgirl: Homecoming I felt like Tonya Hurley really got into the swing of being an author and it was truly like a novel, not just ghostgirl.com's novelization*. (If that makes sense.)

I loved this second glimpse into Charlotte and Scarlet's life and friendship and, though, I love where their stories were left, I do hope there's more of their tales to be told.

ghostgirl:Homecoming is released tomorrow and it's just as snazzy looking as ghostgirl so go out and buy yourself a copy!


*Though part of me's also hoping there's a ghostgirl movie someday.

Thank you, again, to Lisa at Little Brown for sending me ghostgirl & ghostgirl:Homecoming!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Video Veneris

Since I posted my review of Absolutey Maybe by Lisa Yee last week, here is a readergirlz interview video with her:

Lisa Yee reads a great excerpt from the book (that explains Maybe's name), summarizes the book exceptionally well...and even lets us in on what the title of the book had been going to be!

and a note about my little Video Veneris (Video Friday)'s: I forgot to post this note last week, but Marta Acosta on her Vampire Wire blog posts videos (Gratuitious Video of the Day) that usually have something to do with Buffy or Supernatural or, well, other vampires...when I was coming up with things for this blog to go with each day, I came up with videos for Friday-no idea if her blog influences it, but I felt the need to give note here :)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

ghostgirl ~ Tonya Hurley review

Little, Brown Young Readers
August 1, 2008
336 Pages

If Edward Scissorhands and Kim (Winona Ryder's character in that movie) had a baby it would be ghostgirl.

From her incessant need to be accepted and liked, to fit in, to her ever present inability to not quite do so, Charlotte really is a perfect blend of Johnny Depp's lovable but so odd character and Winona Ryder's originally rather snooty, teenage girl character.

Of course, a book about a girl who starts starts the first day of school determined to become one of the popular It-Girls (having remade herself over the summary), only to end up choking to death on a gummy bear and coming back as a ghost can't be completely realistic. But as soon as you remember that ghostgirl started as a character on ghostgirl.com and picture the story as something along the lines of Coraline or the Corpse Bride (or another Tim Burton movie) and not something to be taken completely seriously, it's amazing fun.

The characters are all great--even if popular Petula made me think of the song "Downtown" the whole time...--and I thought the mix of the crazy, ditzy cheerleaders and jocks with Petula's sister and the Charlotte and the other others worked really well and provided a great balance and counter.

The little subplots were a nice addition to the story, too--and one that wasn't expected. I had thought the whole story was just going to be about Charlotte and how she learned to deal with what had happened to her (or whatever the point of the book turned out to be) but there turned out to be more storylines involving secondary characters than I expected. (And they were woven together well.)

There were times when I wondered about Charlotte and why she wasn't caring about certain things (like her family) but most of that was explained later on in the story. In general, the first few chapters were the weakest part of the book and did make me wonder just how much I was going to enjoy it but once I got further into it I really had loved it.

So, besides the beginning not being as strong as maybe it could have been and a point or two not being explained as well as it might should have been, there wasn't much I found at fault with the story.

I received the sequel Ghostgirl: Homecoming along with this in the mail from the publisher and I have already started it so there should be a review of that very soon as well.

Thank you to Lisa at Little Brown for the books! :D

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday

Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble

Sixteen year old Anne thinks her life is pretty ordinary – until she smacks into handsome, mysterious, and okay, annoying Ethan on her way to chemistry class. Now Anne has powers she doesn’t understand, a history altering mission she may not want, and a growing attraction to this blue-eyed stranger. And Ethan- who at eighteen made some choices he’s starting to regret – realizes that Anne is the girl for whom he’s been searching – for a very, very long time. Stir in doomed Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia – who is definitely not quite as dead as the history books say – and Baba Yaga, the legendary witch from Russian folklore, and you’ve got DREAMING ANASTASIA, a contemporary YA fantasy that alternates between the voices of Anne, Ethan, and Anastasia as Anne and Ethan join forces to battle the bad guys and save Anastasia. Only problem is – no one’s quite sure who’s really bad and who’s good. And everyone has some secrets.

I not only adore this cover but the summary! I love Russian history/folklore and have a few books on Anastasia Czar Nicholas' family so I know some of the historical side of things and would love to read a fiction book with some of that in it. (Duchess Below Stairs was one and I loved it so I really am interested in this story as well--especially as it's so different but contains some of the same historical elements).

I want this book!!

(September 1, 2009)

*Summary from Joy Preble's website

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Frenemies ~ Alexa Young review

Harper Teen
May 13, 2008
256 Pages

Avalon Greene and Halley Brandon have been the best of besties for as long as anyone can remember-they even share a puppy, Pucci. But after a summer spent apart-Halley at art camp and Avalon at home their houses being next door to each other is about the closest thing about the two.

Halley comes back, ready to start eighth grade with a brand new look but her same best friend only said best friend does not approve of the new artsy look. Avalon, long known as the go-to for Fashion do's and don't's can't fathom where Halley-her former partner in the Glamour-esque blackbaring of their classmates-has gotten her new fashion sense. Or lack of it.

Arguments soon ensue and blow far beyond who's wearing what shoes to the first day of school and a list divorce settlement type list is being drawn up to divide the school, their friends and their lives.

Can the two (and their friendship) survive this?

Frenemies was a fun middle grade novel about girls and friendship and how to deal when your friends start to change as they grow up (which definitely happens in junior high/beginning of high school....and beyond). The crazy lavishness of Halley and Avalon's life--from their designer clothing to the ahi tuna served in their cafeteria only made it that much more enjoyable.

I couldn't necessarily see thirteen-year-olds living a life that those two did exactly (close maybe, not quite) but it was fun for fiction. And sometimes they did seem a little older but overall they were cute characters and I enjoyed the book and it's point.

The second book Faketastic was released January 6, 2009 and has 256 pages, too (I have a thing with books that are 256 pages me thinks).


Monday, June 22, 2009

My First Contest

In celebration of YA Book Carnival, I'm having my first contest! *nervous*
It's not a new, new book but it's one I really love:

Fancy White Trash by Marjetta Geerling
(Link to my review: here)

Finding love is simple with the One True Love Plan.

“If only life were as easy as your sisters.” Abby’s heard that one before. And it’s true —Shelby and Kait aren’t exactly prim and proper. Abby is determined not to follow in their footsteps, so she has created the One True Love Plan. The most important part of the plan is Rule #1: Find Someone New. This means finding a guy who hasn’t already dated Shelby or Kait. But when Abby starts falling for the possible father of Kait’s baby, she has to figure out if some rules are meant to be broken. (-Amazon.com)

Contest is for one hardcover copy of the book. (It's a bargain book copy but all that means is that there's a little black marker mark on the pages at the bottom.)

Open to the US only (hopefully future contests can be international but not this one).

How to enter: one entry for commenting on this post (include your email)

Extra entries:
+1 following
+2 for already following
+2 for posting this contest on your blog/sidebar/etc (leave a link?)
+1 super sekrit

Contest ends July 3

Since contests are fun: If any authors or publishers want to have a contest on my blog, email me: book.splotATgmailDOTcom :)

and I have contests for a signed book or two coming up at some point.

Friday, June 19, 2009

New Feature

My blog has a new feature--well new to you--I've been working on it for a while and just didn't actually put it on the blog until just now.... :\

Each book I review is going to have a mini-soundtrack (or that's the plan anyway!). It should be about three songs and the songs will either have to do with the plot or characters, be songs mentioned in the book, or songs that the book somehow related with for me. I'll post them at the end of the reviews.

(Deadly Little Secret and I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone will have full soundtracks because those two I made 10+ track soundtracks for for contests.)

Almost all of the books reviewed have songs decided on already and now that a graphic is made (and the transparency is working out), I'm going to be posting them onto the posts over the next few days...if a book doesn't have songs when I post the review...well I'll do my best not to do that but I'll let you know that and also let you know when the songs are added.

Maybe at some point I can do a little contest for a mix CD of some of the songs based of people choosing books or something (even if I don't have quite *all* of the songs I'm choosing).

I'm also working on figuring something out if I can do something for the YA Book Blog Carnival so I will let you know about that, I suppose tomorrow :D

Video Veneris

I was coming up with something to post on Fridays and since Veneris is 'Friday' in Latin, I came up with Fridays as my day to try to post videos...

This was posted elsewhere I'm sure, but seeing as how I live near the area discussed and have read the Maureen Johnson book mentioned (reviewed here) and actually had a Borders employee ask me last week if I watched MJ's videos on Youtube...

I could be wrong, for sure, but I think more of the issue here with Bermudez Triangle is the homoexuality in the book. I was talking about this with my brother and I could make a list of at least ten or fifteen books easily that have more sex or drugs in them than Bermudez so the news talking about the issue being drugs and sex is just crazy. Gossip Girl I can almost get that (not the taking it out of YA but not liking the amount of sex, etc).

Our libraries here already don't have a lot of YA books (at least compared to the other places I've lived) so I definitely hope they don't start taking things out of the YA section or giving second thought to what they buy for the YA section.

Let me know what you think?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Absolutely Maybe ~ Lisa Yee review

Absolutely Maybe
Arthur A Levine Books
February 1, 2009
288 Pages

Maybelline Mary Katherine Mary Ann Chestnut is named for not only two Miss America's but also for her mother's favorite brand of mascara. With a name like that Maybe (as she prefers to be called) is either going to be a student at her mother's charm school for beauty queens or....well, a goth girl wearing oversized men's black t-shirts every day. Maybe chooses the latter.

With a crazy parade of step-fathers that have left her mother with more last name than Maybe has first and middle names and a charm school below their apartment, Maybe's life is far from normal. Far from what she wants.

After one fateful events sense her and her two best friends Hollywood and 'Ted' on a road trip, she's sure she's about to change everything. But whether it's all for the worse or the better...and how remains to be seen.

(As almost always the Amazon summary has a lot more info but I think it's a lot more spoilery info so I'm not providing it here (: )

The short chapters and easy flow of the writing make this a quick and fun read, perfect for a summer afternoon or for reading while reading a slower moving book. It's an enjoyable book with interesting characters that are fun and all most definitely very unique and original.

Each character takes their own journey in the story-some more focused on than others-and I liked that there weren't characters just along for the ride; and that there stories all wove themselves together in the end.

A lack of repercussions for some of the more...eventful things both emotionally and physically(?) were ultimately what brought the story down for me. Maybe's disconnect with her mother and what drove her to California and several other things that should have, didn't seem to affect her as much as it seemed like they maybe should have. It wasn't that the events were ignored completely, just that it seemed they were dealt with minimally in order for other things to happen.

I liked the story, though, and thought it was a fun, quick read for an afternoon (or maybe more) especially during the summer given it's road trip and California involvement.

coming soon


Friday, June 12, 2009

My Library

Does anyone else's library have books that say they're available but if you try to find them they end up being 'not for loan'? My library's been doing that lately with teen books (only my branch, though...but they seem to be the not polite one.)

And I normally love libraries, they're just not nice at this particular one and they have strange, strange practices.

*still writing reviews*

movie recommendation...

Something not book related while I write up some book reviews:

Last Sunday, Lifetime premiered a movie (sidenote? premiering a movie at 2pm on a Sunday with little publicity seems kind of odd) starring Blake Lively and Max Minghella. I thought Elvis and Anabelle was going to be just another crazy Lifetime movie but apparently it's a movie movie that premiered at South by Southwest and then didn't get distributed because financial issues or something...

It's a really good movie. Anabelle is the beauty queen with overbearing parents (especially her mother played by Mary Steenburgen) who dies, yep she dies pretty soon into the movie. And Elvis is the mortician sons (Joe Montegna is his hunchback father who hasn't been quite right since his wife's death). After Elvis' kiss reawakens Anabelle the movie really gets going, her mother's determined to cash in on their fame the event brings but Anabelle finds herself changed. And drawn back to the farm house/funeral home. (It's a weird movie to summarize. Check out the site for more.)

I really, really hope they release this on DVD or show it on TV again so I can record it or buy it because I'd love to see it again.

I'm surprised with the rather big name stars in it and Gossip Girl being so big now that they haven't released it on DVD yet, actually (I liked Blake in this more than I've liked her in SoTP 1 or 2 or Accepted or the GG that I've seen).

(photo from Blake Lively Web)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane ~ Katherine Howe

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane
June 9, 2009
384 Pages

The Physick Book of Delieverance Dane begins with main character Connie Goodwin stessing over the oral exam that will determine whether she will be allowed to continue on as a student for her doctorate. Connie is a historian and the book is about witchcraft and witches (and Connie) so it's not much of a surpirse that this is the first time the subject is broached. But it is done well and doesn't stick out, either, it blends in with the questioning.

With chapters alternating between the late seventeenth/early eighteenth centuries and the summer of 1991, The Physick Book, tells both Deliverance Dane and Connie's story--that of the Salem witches and a modern day historian trying to uncover one of their untold tales.

It's obvious-or at least apparent-that the author herself is a PhD candidate (in American and New England studies), though. Most of the time that is good: the descriptions of the people and times of the 'ancient' chapters were great and all the little details and knowledge of academia and what Connie would encounter in her research did a pot to make the book more enjoyable and realistic. There were a few times, however, that it seemed like there was a little too much...school thrown in? I'm not really sure how to explain it.

The story is kept from being dull by, well, the story. As Connie is on her quest, she's also cleaning up her grandmother's abandoned house for her hippie-ish mother and interacting with some fun secondary characters; it's not just 'research. 1692. research. 1692. repeat'. The tale moves along as well as, or better, than most other books that are not at all informational or historical in the slightest.

The two things I would say detracted from me really, really loving the novel were the author's need to write out accents/dialects (When people had Bostonian accents, they were spelled out- heah instead of here-for entire sentences. The same was true for some of the 16/1700s characters.) While I do think that would be fun for the audio book-which is also available today-most of the time it was just distracting in the print book. Kate Chopin wrote the same way in a few of her stories and it might be that I just have a problem reading things spelled phonetically, but for ways different that I pronounce them. (Some of the writing done from the 16/1700s was spelled...differently and that I was okay with, mostly.)

The only other reason I'm taking any 'points' down is because I wasn't terribly connected to the characters. I know a lot of it was a plot book, but there were still a lot of characters that if part of the story had been they'd jumped off a bridge, I wouldn't have been terribly sad (except for the lack of it making sense). That's not to say there were any of them I didn't like, I just didn't particularly care about them either.

Still, 8/10 because it really is a very enjoyable book and you learn a lot about the Salem witch trials in a very entertaining way :)

Recommended to: fans of Charmed or if you liked Season of the Witch by Natasha Mostert (the subject is actually very different-despite the title-but the writing or something seems complimentary.)
Thank you to Pamela at Voice for this book.
(and this is maybe the coolest looking arc I've received or seen--there's a flap continued over from the back of the book that folds to the front and covers the pages so that the side of the book looks like the pages of an old, worn book-ie matches the cover. It's tricky for me to explain but fun.)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Countdown Widgets

I realised I never posted the countdown widgets I made for Stephanie Kuehnert's Ballads of Suburbia...the ones that one me an arc :D So if you want to use them, here they are... (there's also another one on her site and some banners)

and I made this one, too for Demon Princess by Michelle Rowen

Hopefully it's okay, since I haven't asked/told the author....ooops
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...