Monday, August 31, 2009

Zombie Challenge

Because I'm crazy...I'm going to accept this challenge

(the craziness comes in with it being almost the 1st and me being likely without internet by Friday... and needing at least one more post than the one I have scheduled...)

Anywho, here is the post for the challenge: link
Never mind about the contest link if you saw this before

The Tear Collector~Patrick Jones review

The Tear Collector
Walker Books for Young Readers
272 Pages
September 1, 2009

Think all the teen vampire novels are the same? Then you definitely need to check out The Tear Collector, in this new tale, Patrick Jones really does find a new approach to the 'vampire' novel.

Cassandra (Cass) Gray and her family and not human, they don't burn in the sunlight or cringe away in horror when presented with garlic but they do need something extra to survive: human tears. And tears of joy or happiness won't do either, they have to be tears or you can just imagine what sort of life Cass lives, all the pain she is surrounded by.

But while the rest of her family is fine with this life, Cass has grown tired of it. Aching to be human and be done with her family 'duty' Cass has become discontent with the way things are.

The Tear Collector--which I find a hard book to summarize and still keep with my 'no spoilers' rule--is really a great twist on the recent explosion of 'teen vampire romance' books. The story is Cass's and her struggle keeping her identity secret from her friends and school (and dealing with high school drama like every other teenager) while still serving her family and deciphering how she feels about them and what they all are.

I really liked that there was Cass's family and her friends in fairly equal measure and not a 90/10 proportion because it was really need to explain who Cass was and why she had to deal with everything she did. Her family and friends were, though, where one of my few problems with one of the book came in. There were a few times where it felt like the storyline was at a sort of plateau to tell about both family members and different friends without really progressing to a peak/climax. Those parts weren't long or often, however.

I also really enjoyed that all aspects of Cassandra's life seemed to have been factored into the 'needing tears.' One hundred percent of her life (from the weather to her chapped lips and on) had something to do with her and her family's need for the moisture. It really added a lot to my enjoyment of the story that it wasn't, "Oh, Cass finds people when they're crying then her life is more or less normal."

It mirrored a traditional vampire story well in that there was still death that the characters had to deal with (in a high school setting no less). In this there weren't vampire killings, obviously, but I found it a nice symmetry to still have death be a part of the story and affect the characters.

One last bit, there was a character that added more drama to the story--and news reports interspersed with the story introduce that early on and that added another touch of drama and intrigue to the tale.

Overall, it was a great story that I'm very glad I added to my Waiting on Wednesday a) because it got me the book (Thank you, Patrick Jones!) and b) because I was right and I did very much want to read it!


There will be an interview with Patrick posted tomorrow (the book's release date) that I hope you'll check out as it's this blog's first interview :D

Thank you again to Patrick Jones for sending me a copy of the book!

Thursday, August 27, 2009


I know I've been slacking a little bit on posts (and reviews) lately....I have a really great friend who's really sick and have just been having trouble getting my head around writing reviews/mailbox posts/etc.

But I have been reading a lot and there will be reviews coming and hopefully an interview or two...including a review of The Tear Collector (out Sept 1) and my review of Rampant that should have been up a few days ago. And a post or few about The Miami Book Fair.

Thank you everyone for still following my blog through my little slump-I promise I'll be back.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday

Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr

Samara Taylor used to believe in miracles. She used to believe in a lot of things. As a pastor's kid, it's hard not to buy in to the idea of the perfect family, a loving God, and amazing grace. But lately, Sam has a lot of reason to doubt. Her mother lands in rehab after a DUI and her father seems more interested in his congregation than his family. When a young girl in her small town is kidnapped, the local tragedy overlaps with Sam's personal one, and the already-worn thread of faith holding her together begins to unravel. In her third novel, acclaimed author Sara Zarr examines the coexistence of affliction and hope, and what happens when everything you thought you believed---about God, about your family, about yourself---is transformed

My wanting this book: While I still don't know why it always seems that the father is the minister and not the mother, this book really caught my attention. It seems like a really nice medium between the books that have the 'religion can do no wrong' idea and the ones that have the complete opposite approach where everyone and everything with religion is just wrong, wrong, wrong. I would really like to see how this story is told and how the family-and Sam--progress though the novel. (And not only because I grew up around pastors ;))

This one's out October 01, 2009.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday

The Everafter by Amy Huntley

A haunting and hopeful debut teen novel in the vein of The Lovely Bones about a girl who revisits random moments in her life through the objects she's lost—and learns surprising things about her life and death.

I haven't been able to find out a lot about this book but between the cover and that short summary, it seems like it could be an....almost poetic (I'm not saying ethereal again because my brain's almsot spitting that out on default me thinks) book that might end up being a lot heavier than I think but either way seems like something I would really, really enjoy reading.

And don't we all think about things we've lost over time-be they people or objects-and how things might be different if they were still around or how they affected us/what they meant to us?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Everlost ~ Neal Shusterman review

Simon Pulse
November 6, 2007
384 Pages

Nick and Allie are, separately, on their way somewhere with their families when there's an accident. Suddenly they find themselves falling through a tunnel towards a bright light. Only they trip over each other and never quite make it to that light.

Instead, they end up in Everlost. Everlost, the desaturated world that's not living but not quite finished/all the way to dead either is a place of all new rules, people and ideas. If you don't do things right you could disappear into nothingness....or you could get caught up by the Everlost monster, the McGill--or something even worse as Allie and Nick find out later.

When they first land in Everlost they're in a forest with Lief a boy who died years and years ago. The only reason they can stay in the forest and touch everything is because the forest is dead as well and has past into Everlost, too--as certain very loved things do. But Allie wants to go home-even if it's against the rules-and soon they set out on an adventure like they've never experienced before.

Like a lot of my reviews' summaries I'm leaving out a good bit of the book (but only because I think that you don't need to know stuff that doesn't even hint at happening until 1/5 of the way in...and beyond. But if you're not as picky as me about spoliers: Amazon summary).

I read Everlost because I enjoyed Unwind so much and wanted to see what else Neal Shusterman had to offer. This book isn't as thought provoking as Unwind but that's most likely a given due to the subject matter of the two books. There is more to it than most sci-fi-ish books because it deals with kids (only kids/young teens enter Everlost) and death and what happens with different ones and how they deal with it.

In regards to the characters, I thought there were a lot of similarities between Nick, Allie and Lief and Connor, Risa, and Lev (even, kind of, look at the names?). It wasn't that they were carbon copies of each other, I just saw something in them that reminded me of the characters from Unwind. It was most true with Lief & Lev, probably.

I really liked the different elements of history that were pulled into the book and which items crossed into Everlost. That and that Everlost was as well developed as it was--both the world and the book. It wasn't just a not-exactly-purgatory with muted colors for children and tweens; it was truly well thought out and a world of its own that existed within the actual world and yet outside of it at the same time.

I think there's going to be a sequel to this book and I think that's great because I think there's a lot more to explore with both the characters and the subject-though I do think this book was resolved nicely, too.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday

Devil’s Kiss by Sarwat Chadda

As the youngest and only female member of the Knights Templar, Bilquis SanGreal grew up knowing she wasn't normal. Instead of hanging out at the mall or going on dates, she spends her time training as a soldier in her order's ancient battle against the Unholy.

Billi's cloistered life is blasted apart when her childhood friend, Kay, returns from Jerusalem, gorgeous and with a dangerous chip on his shoulder. He's ready to reclaim his place in Billi's life, but she's met someone new: amber-eyed Michael, who seems to understand her like no one else, effortlessly claiming a stake in her heart.

But the Templars are called to duty before Billi can enjoy the pleasant new twist to her life. One of the order's ancient enemies has resurfaced, searching for a treasure that the Templars have protected for hundreds of years -- a cursed mirror powerful enough to kill all of London's firstborn. To save her city from catastrophe, Billi will have to put her heart aside and make sacrifices greater than any of the Templars could have imagined.

Why do I want this book? It might be my love of history (I took more history classes than anything else in HS) but this book sounds like something I could really, really love...and I love London, too. Not to mention the idea o a girl being the first female in Knights Templar is something that, if done well (and I'm guessing it is since this was published in the UK before the US) could be something to think about and more than just a fluff book for sure.

I hope that if I don't get this book some other way that my library, by some way of divine intervention or something, decides to buy it!

(September 1, 2009)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Impossible ~ Nancy Werlin review

August 11, 2009
384 Pages

Okay, I read the hardcover, but since the paperback comes out today, I figured I'd just schedule this to post today and feature the paperback's details-besides, isn't that cover gorgeous?
Inspired by the ballad "Scarborough Fair," Impossible is the story of Lucy who has lived her whole life raised by foster parents and knowing that the crazy woman pushing a shopping cart (sometimes) around town is her mother.

It's not until she's seventeen, though, that she connects her mother with the letter six-year-old Lucy found hidden away in her room. The letter that will tell her more than she possibly ever wanted to know about the women in her family, her own fate, what really happened to her mother, and what she must do to change her destiny. (I'm being vague again but I didn't want to paste in the Amazon summary because I thought it told a lot of the story right off the bat...maybe I'm just being picky.)

While this wasn't this amazing character driven story (Zach was Lucy's best friend and the main male character but I didn't really feel the chemistry there; they didn't not work together, but if a new male character had been introduced my heart wouldn't have broken for them), it was very good. The plot relied a good bit on folklore and mythology and that was done extremely well and the way each piece built on the previous ones and everything eventually added up all worked very well for me. It all made for a great mystery.

So, while it might be true that if you took the mystery out and wrote a general fiction or teen romance with the same characters it wouldn't work, that doesn't matter because this wasn't general fic or romance. I did, though, find myself consistently wondering just what a certain element of the 'mystery' was going to mean, how something was going to play out or just how they were going to solve some problem. It was a very creative book and very well researched and I truly enjoyed it-I'm going to have to look for more of Nancy Werlin's books.

coming soon

9/10 (for the lack of 'chemistry' between the two main characters)
*now that I'm thinking about it, if you liked The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane you might like this book--and vice-versa, too.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday

The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove by Lauren Kate

A steamy Southern beauty makes one fatal mistake.

Natalie Hargrove would kill to be her high school’s Palmetto Princess. But her boyfriend Mike King doesn’t share her dream and risks losing the honor of Palmetto Prince to Natalie’s nemesis, Justin Balmer. So she convinces Mike to help play a prank on Justin. . . one that goes terribly wrong. They tie him to the front of the church after a party, when they arrive the next morning, Justin is dead.

From blackmail to buried desire, dark secrets to darker deeds, Natalie unravels. She never should’ve messed with fate. Fate is the one thing more twisted than Natalie Hargrove.

"Cruel Intentions" meets "Macbeth" in this seductive, riveting tale of conscience and consequence.

This book sounds like it’s one of those that, if done well and given enough depth, it could be plain amazing. And that “Cruel Intentions” and “Macbeth” bit got my attention (even if I don’t have the best of luck so far with the ‘meets’ comparisons)…I’ve seen “Cruel Intentions” too many times and I was the weird one who actually loved “Macbeth” when we read it in school.

(November 12, 2009.)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Art Geeks & Prom Queens ~ Alyson Noel review

Art Geeks & Prom Queens

St Martin's Griffin
August 11, 2005
240 Pages

This review might contain some spoilers (at least by my standards)...

Forced to move from New York (not City) with her Juicy sweatsuit loving mother to the real OC, baby, Rio (after the Duran Duran song) is miserable. (She's more at home in her worn out Cape Cod sweatshirt and jeans than the designer duds her mother, the former model, (and seemingly her entire new school) favors.)

Just when she's sure she's going to be a complete social outcast, Jas and Mason, two 'geeks' (except not exactly) in AP Art class befriend her. They even invite her to Jas' for lunch.

But what would a Gossip Girl-esque book be without a bi***y Queen Bee and her entourage and then some drama?

(and here sort of becomes a little review-y...)

Art-y Rio falls in with Jas and Mason and the 'art geeks' and their druginess (they smoke pot during that first lunch at Jas' and lots of other times) and one of their main pastimes seems to be sitting around talking about how stupid/dumb/ugly/stupid/idiotic the cheerleaders, jocks, popular kids are and engaging in verbal sparring with them.

But then when given the opportunity, of course, Rio becomes Kristi's (Queen Bee) best friend and that group says all the horrible stuff to Mason and Jas-with no argument from Rio.

I really didn't like this book. The 'popular' kids were calling the art kids on the drugs they were using and told Rio how they were just druggies.....but that was kind of true. Okay, so yes they did do the art and I'm all for anyone in art (don't ever doubt that) but when a character's constantly high but he's the good guy just because you make him arty.. Well, it doesn't make his 'enemies' wrong if they call him a druggie and he is basically constantly high.

So I didn't like the two character that I was supposed to like and be rooting for but I didn't like Kristi and her group either. Kristi was, basically every thing anyone's ever accused Kate Moss of-true or not-minus the model bit.

A bunch of coked out or stoned secondary characters, a wishy washy main character who couldn't stand up for herself at all, this book did not work for me. (And oh how I'm worried for Evermore now....) The writing itself (grammar, sentence structure, word choice-that sort of thing) was perfectly fine I think, I just didn't like what it all added up to tell.

coming soon

(Did anyone not like this and like her other books?)
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