Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Frenzy ~ Francesca Lia Block review

If you saw my review of ghostgirl: Lovesick by Tonya Hurley, you know I'm posting a few reviews of some books today in celebration of Halloween. Not necessarily scary books, but books that are definitely suitable for Halloween reading (especially if you're home tonight handing out candy!)--or if you're somewhere not celebrating Halloween and just want a good paranormal/supernatural read!!

The Frenzy
HarperTeen
September 28, 2010
272 pages
Buy @ Amazon

Remarkably unlike both her parents--both physically and in her actions, Liv struggles to fit in. Both her parents (and her grandfather when he was younger) are hunters, going out and returning with the smell of blood on them and meat for the family to eat, but Liv's a vegetarian who volunteers at the animal shelter, barely able to stand her weekly dose of those animals' pain.

Her red hair sets her apart from her family, the fact that it covers all of her body, almost like fur, sets her apart from everyone else, too. With a best friend everyone, including her parents, think is her boyfriend, but is really just hiding his homosexuality, and a real boyfriend she hides from her parents because of his ethnicity, and strange murders in the woods her police chief dad can't solve, Liv doesn't need anything else to trouble her.

But she has it. Liv knows she has to avoid getting upset, getting angry. When she does, strange, dangerous things happen. As long as she keeps taking her pills and stays calm, maybe Liv can try to pass for a normal girl in her crazy, small town.

Maybe, but likely not.

The Frenzy is easily on par with (Annette Kurtis Clause's) Blood and Chocolate. It's not long enough after that book came out for this to be a 'this generation's' that book but maybe if you figure based on generations of babysitting or something, then it is ;)

While it's not a werewolf book to turn to if you want a lot of blood and gore or sex, it is one that's beautifully introspective and uses the small town setting as well as Liv's strained relationship with her family to tell quite a bit of the story. As with the other books by Francesca Lia Block that I've read, there aren't a ton of characters but the ones that are there are very integral parts of the story and deeply connected with what's happening.

The Frenzy was a story that was beautifully told. It was a rather different take on werewolf lore than I've read before but I really loved the way the werewolf/beast struggle was juxtaposed with Liv's struggles as a teenager and dealing with being different (granted they overlapped a lot).

It's true that I find Francesca Lia Block's books hard to summarize without giving away too much of the story away, I think this is because of the way they unfold and progress--it makes for great reading but tricky reviewing. I loved reading it, however, and hope you'll give it a try, too.

10/10





thank you to the publisher for this book.

The Contemps Contest (& Challenge)

I have one more review coming, but don't forget, about the Contemps and their Challenge! The details on the challenge are on this page (you have to sign up by the 15th--not the 1st like I thought for some reason). And a link to their site is always available through their banner/badge on my sidebar, too :)

To show you how super fun they are, here's a little costume guessing contest they have going on H E R E and here are the costumes (you have to guess the authors in them!)

The Contemps Authors on Halloween

Ghostgirl ~ Lovesick by Tonya Hurley review

If you're going to be stuck at home tonight handing out candy and the doorbell will be ringing a little too much for you to get into one of the may scary movies playing on TV, here's a book you should run to the bookstore (or the library) to pick up for some fun Halloween reading (just be careful if you have an gummi bears!). . .


ghostgirl: Lovesick
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
July 12, 2010
320 pages
Buy @ Amazon

Synopsis: One (maybe?) last time in this third ghostgirl book, Charlotte and her friends are all back--both the living and the dead. After dying, meeting up in Dead Ed, and helping out by answering the calls, they have one more task. Sent back to Charlotte's old high school, the same one where she was all but invisible and met her death by choking on a gummi bear.

This time, though, Charlotte's there on a mission: each of the dead teens is assigned a living counterpart that they're supposed to help through one major problem--and all in time for problem, too.

Charlotte faces the trouble of keeping her (dead) boyfriend, reconnecting with Scarlet now that they're on the same plane of existence, and remembering just how she is--and all she's learned about herself before she becomes invisible again.


Review: The theme song for this could easily be David Bowie's "Changes." All of the characters are going through a lot of changes in their lives, through most of the novel. It kept things fresh, this being the third book in the series, to have new things happening to them and them at different crossroads (and they are teenagers so having everything smooth wouldn't make much sense, would it?).

I did appreciate, too, that the changes and turbulence they (Scarlet, Charlotte, Damien, Petula, etc) experienced weren't coming from nowhere (except when they were supposed to!). The events of this third book built on events of the earlier two books and also tied things together nicely. The same humor, wit, and charm was present in ghostgirl: Lovesick that made me fall in love with the first two books.

This was a very enjoyable ending (I think) to this series and I'm so glad that I read this series. The characters are enjoyable, the story is endearing and funny and altogether it's absolutely unlike anything you'll ever read. (I'm still keeping my fingers crossed for some sort of a Tonya Hurley/Tim Burton movie!)

Rating: 9/10

ghostgirl Series:
ghostgirl (my review)
ghostgirl: Homecoming (my review)
ghostgirl: Lovesick


huge-a-rific thank you to the author (and her sister!) for the review copy of this book--I hope you can forgive me for waiting to post it on Halloween!!!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Anxiously Awaited Authors (New Meme)

There are lots of memes and also random posts for telling about specific upcoming books we (ie I) might want to read, but I thought it would be fun to post about some authors I would like to see another book(s) from . . . This time (this may or may not be a one time thing) I have two authors whose publishing future I really have no clue about and one who I am sure is working on a new book--I just really want to know what it is and when it's coming!






Anxiously Awaited Authors (AAA)
Authors I Would Love to See More From: Part I



Marjetta Geerling published Fancy White Trash in 2008 and I loved that book to pieces so, so much. I emailled her about it even to tell her how much I loved it. I fell in love with the characters, the relationships, all of it. I'm kind of brokenhearted that there isn't more of her writing for me to read. (Or even a paperback that could have a cover of them in the tree eating Cheetos and drinking soda-it makes sense if you read the book, unless my memory's gone kablooey.)

I was hoping even for more of the FWT characters . . . or new ones, whatever, but then there wasn't anything at all and now I just have to be sad over what could have been but hasn't. So, publishing people, you should definitely publish another of Ms Geerling's books. And everyone in the world: you should buy it so that more will be published after that!

Here's Marjetta Geerling's website, Fancy White Trash on Amazon, and my review of it.


Sue Haasler actually has three books out, but I've only been able to get my hands on one of them, Time After Time, but it's absolutely one of my favorite books!

The main character Cass lives in an old English manor that's been turned int a museum (she's the administrator). She has a boyfriend who's not exactly doing it for her, developers who want to take the manor out from under her--and then she gets an invitation to her high school reunion. And remembers her boyfriend Gideon Harker, the last guy who really did do it for her (the '80s hottie in the leather trench coat and eyeliner).

There's the fun of her going back to see everyone . . . and wondering if Gideon's going to be boring and not so hot now after fifteen years. The chapters are named after 1980s pop songs and it's not heavy or very serious at all, but I don't care one bit because I love it and it's fun and cute and sweet. I really need to go look on Book Depository for her other two books!

Besides Time After Time, she also published Two's Company and True Colors.



My third AAA is an author that is actually going to have a book coming out soon-ish, I believe, but I really, really wish I knew what it was or what to cover looked like or when it was going to be out . . . so, she's on my AAA list: Cheryl Renee Herbsman. Ms Herbsman published her debut novel Breathing in April of 2009 (the paperback came out in June of this year).

My review of this fantabulosity filled book should be up soon, but for now just know that if you haven't read it yet, you really, really should--it will bring back those now dwindling or gone days of summer and have you sure you're sitting in the sand somewhere listening to the waves, dreaming of your future--for the few seconds before someone calls you back to your crazy life.

Breathing introduced a true storytelling talent and I reallly hope I don't have to wait too much long to read more from Cheryl Renee Herbsman.


(Bonus Anxiously Awaited Author who can't really be included because of my personal guidelines [meaning I have an actual release date, cover, and synopsis for her next book] but one I so want to include anyhow: Dia Reeves! [& Slice of Cherry].)


What about you?
Is there any author (or more than one) whose book you just love but then they all but disappeared never to publish again? Tell me about them! Or maybe there's an author whose book you heard about six months ago but it's not coming out until 2012--tell me about that, too . . . interpret that 'Anxiously Awaited Authors' (which may not be quite grammatically correct, but oh well) title however you want--and link it here:









Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday

You don't even know how happy I was when gained knowledge of this book's existence (there was lots and lots of yay and some 'gimme' and some other things that make me sound too dorky to tell you about).


Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore

Amy Goodnight's family is far from normal. She comes from a line of witches, but tries her best to stay far outside the family business. Her summer gig? Ranch-sitting for her aunt with her wacky but beautiful sister. Only the Goodnight Ranch is even less normal than it normally is. Bodies are being discovered, a ghost is on the prowl, and everywhere she turns, the hot neighbor cowboy is in her face. (via Goodreads)
I've just been waiting for a cover to make this my Waiting On Wednesday book--and now that I found one, here it is!!!

I loved, loved The Splendor Falls (my review)--it's one of those books with characters and a plot that I still think about a lot (like when I do any sort of ballet stretches ;)) and I've been rather impatiently awaiting a new book from Ms. Clement-Moore.

Texas Gothic is a different book than The Splendor Falls, obviously, but I love that it, too, is set in the South and involves both family (and their relationships) and the supernatural! And hot cowboys are never bad, are they? Plus, I really want to read another book with ghosts in it--there aren't enough of those lately, I don't think.


Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore isn't out until July 12, 2011 (from Delacorte Books for Young Readers) and I'm practically counting the days (it's 257 if you're curious).

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Contest Winners!!

Time (or past time--sorry! Computer virus=bad.) for some contest winners :0




The winner of Banished by Sophie Littlefield is Julie Smeltzer. I'll be emailing you shortly, Sophie will mail you your book once I get your address!


And the winner of Cate of the Lost Colony, a contest sponsored by Bloomsbury is Angelique of Vampires and Tofu!! (I'm emailling you, too!)

In My Mailbox (Monday) on Tuesday

Sorry for the lack of posts over the past almost week, my computer had a virus and I had to get that sorted before I used it too much.

Here's my Mailbox post and the contest winner post is coming up in just a bit . . .

from Whatcha Reading Now? contest win:



My Invisible Boyfriend by Susie Day








for review:







The Bride of Casa Dracula and Haunted Honeymoon by Marta Acosta


and The Haunted by Jessica Verday + perfumer's kit! (all via the authors)



(and I'm 99.9% sure that all but maybe one part of all of this had nothing to do with my birthday, but i don't care, I'm pretending ;P)

(if the spacing's weird-I'm sorry)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday

I decided to have three books today because tomorrow is my birthday and I didn't feel like narrowing it down to just one book :)
(There is one book that makes my brain say 'gimme gimme gimme but that one doesn't have a cover yet!)

The first book is Sarah Ockler's second book Fixing Delilah. I loved her first book Twenty Boy Summer so much (my review) that I really can't wait to read this book! The synopsis via Goodreads:
Things in Delilah Hannaford's life have a tendency to fall apart.

She used to be a good student, but she can't seem to keep it together anymore. Her "boyfriend" isn't much of a boyfriend. And her mother refuses to discuss the fight that divided their family eight years ago. Falling apart, it seems, is a Hannaford tradition.

Over a summer of new friendships, unexpected romance, and moments that test the complex bonds between mothers and daughters, Delilah must face her family's painful past. Can even her most shattered relationships be pieced together again?

Rich with emotion, Sarah Ockler delivers a powerful story of family, love, and self-discovery.

Fixing Delilah seems like it's going to be similar to Twenty Boy Summer in that it's going to a fun summer book, but one that involves a lot of depth and emotion and really involves you with the characters--I think if you like Sarah Dessen books you'll really enjoy Sarah Ockler's books!

Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler is out December 1 from Walker Books for Young Readers



My second WOW pick for today is Crusade by Linda Press Wulf. The synopsis for this one (again via Goodreads) sounds really fantastic and I love books that involve religion (when done well) and the Latin and teen parenting make it sound even more intriguing:


Robert: Left on the steps of a church as a baby, Robert was often hungry but never stole food like the other orphans in town. Introverted and extraordinarily intelligent, he knew all the Latin prayers and hymns by heart by the time he was five years old. Georgette: Her own mother died in childbirth, leaving Georgette with a father who, seventeen at the time, had neither experience nor aptitude as a nurturing parent, and a brother known in town as Le Fuer - The Spitfire - for his terrible temper. Perhaps to replace something missing from their own lives, both Robert and Georgette are drawn to the news of a crusader, twelve or thirteen, no older than themselves, travelling down through France with thousands of followers - all, unbelievably, children too. Of those thousands, this is the incredible story of two. This is a story of hardship, loss and love.
Crusade's out January 3 from Bloomsbury.


And the last one of my Day-Before-My-Birthday-Waiting-On-Wednesday Books is: The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal. It sounds a bit like a reverse Princess for Hire (my review) and I just love princess-y stories (A Little Princess movie, Princess Protection Program, Princess for Hire, Cinderella, etc). To me, at least, this story reminds me of another one of my favorite 'princess' stories (A Little Princess) so I really just cannot wait to read it and enjoy it:
Princess and heir to the throne of Thorvaldor, Nalia knows her role in life. But everything changes when she learns, just after her sixteenth birthday, that she is a false princess–a stand-in for the real Nalia, who has been hidden away for her protection. Cast out with little more than the clothes on her back, the girl now called Sinda must leave behind the city, her best friend, Kiernan, and the only life she’s ever known.

While struggling with her new peasant life, Sinda discovers that magic runs through her veins–long-suppressed, dangerous magic that she must learn to control. Returning to the city to seek answers, she instead uncovers a secret that could change the course of Thorvaldor’s history forever.

(Synopsis from Goodreads again). The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal out January 25 from EgmontUSA


Hopefully you'll forgive me for selecting three books for today!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Dead Is Just a Rumor ~ Marlene Perez rumor

Dead Is Just a Rumor (Dead is #4)
Graphia
August 23, 2010
216 pages
Buy @ Amazon

(Pretty spoilery for the previous books in the series)

Synopsis: After defeating the doppelgangers in Marlene Perez's last Dead is book, Daisy finally has her father back in her life after a six year disappearance. With her two older sisters still living at home, her boyfriends werewolf-ness out in the open and her job at the diner, life should be great for Daisy.

Her father still sees Daisy as the twelve year old girl she was when he left, not the eighteen year old she is now,s o he's more than a little bit over protective. And the cooking lessons that she wins with a prestigious chef--and expects to improve her days--turn out to be more trouble than she expected. Top that all with it Daisy's senior year, being roped into planning the school dance that coincides with the town's anniversary (and Halloween), and a kooky guidance counselor.


Review: Dead is Just a Rumor was another fun book in this series. It does bring in a lot from past books, but not so much that you'd be completely lost without reading the first three books (most everything is recapped at some point). Like the previous books, Rumor would work well for middle grade readers as well as young adult readers.

(*spoilers here again*)Where this book is different from the earlier books is there are more new characters in this one that are central to the storyline (including Daisy's father). I didn't love the father's inclusion in the book, but it was a nice resolution to the plot of earlier books and I'd like to see where it goes in the next book. (*and end here*)

I like that each Dead Is book has its own mystery that is solved within the book, characters that carry over from book to book and storylines that develop over the series--it works so that you can read each book individually but rewards those who read the whole series, too.

Series: (in order)
Dead Is the New Black (my review here)
Dead Is So Last Year
Dead Is a State of Mind
Dead Is Just a Rumor
Dead Is Not an Option (May 2, 2011)


Rating: 7/10


(read via NetGalley)

Winner & Contest Links

Sorry this took me a few days to announce. . .



The winner of a copy of Ivy Devlin's Low Red Moon, sent out & thanks to Bloomsbury, is:


jecca


Congratulations! I've sent you an email :)


And if you were wondering about Ivy's question, what the word is that's always mentioned in reviews but never in the books, I have the answer for you . . . read for it: werewolf! Can you believe that? Wolves are talked about in the book, but the word 'werewolf' is never actually used.

So, Dawn M, you don't win anything, but you were the only one other than me (who's read the book so you did a better job if you haven't!) to guess the correct word! Congratulations to you, too!!


Thank you to everyone who entered and don't forget I have the contest for a copy of Sophie Littlefield's Banished that ends tomorrow night & the other Bloomsbury sponsored contest, for Lisa Klein's Cate of the Lost Colony that ends October 23!

In My Mailbox Monday

this week's books:





This Gorgeous Game by Donna Freitas
& from LT's Early Reviewers: Matched by Ally Condie (ARC) --I really like that Penguin's making some bigger ARC/finished copy books, plus this has an amazing, (literally) shiny cover


Can't wait to read these. And my birthday's later this week so I'm hoping (finger's crossed!) that I might get some books then to tell about in next week's IMMM :D


(contest winner post in a few minutes)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Hunger ~ Jackie Morse Kessler

Hunger
Graphia
October 18, 2010
180 pages
Buy @ Amazon

Synopsis: A depressed, anorexic teenage girl from suburban America has just been made Famine, one of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Traveling the world on her black horse, carrying out her duties, Lisabeth Lewis is able to leave behind her troubles at home. She's able to escape from her absentee, perfectionist mother, the friends and boyfriend she has to hide her eating (or lack thereof) habits from, and her father.

But is this troubled girl really cut out to be one of the Horsemen and to deal with the other Horsemen?


Review: Hunger was actually quite a bit different than I expected it to be. It read a lot like a short story partially because it was short, but I think also because of the content I think I also expected there to be more action and adventure than there was.

What Hunger really is, though, is a story about a girl with an eating disorder that uses the Four Horsemen and that girl, Lisabeth, being Famine as the means of telling her story. Once I got used to it being that kind off story and not one with more action, I really enjoyed it (it just took a little adjustment).

There have been quite a few books lately about characters with eating disorders, but this one was very different from all of them and I really enjoyed it. It wasn't quite what I would call paranormal/supernatural fiction nor was it quite contemporary, it really skirted the line between the two. The characters were all very enjoyable and used well to tell the story and I'm really looking forward to the rest of the series.


Series:
Hunger
Rage (April 18, 2011)

Rating: 8/10


(read via NetGalley)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Flawless (PLL) ~ Sara Shepard review & episode comparison

Flawless (Pretty Little Liars #2)
HarperTeen
February 19, 2008
352 pages
Buy @ Amazon

Comparison of the second PLL show episode to the book at the end (don't read if you haven't read the book yet. More useful if want to know what's included in each episode--or don't mind spoilers!

Summary: Flawless picks up right where Pretty Little Liars left off: the afternoon of Ali's funeral service. Not close for the last several years, Emily, Aria, Spencer, and Hanna are thrown together after they realise they're all receiving messages from the mysterious "A."

What none of them can find out is how 'A' knows what she or he does. A knows secrets about all of the girls that only Ali knew except Allison's gone now. So how does A know so much?

Flawless looks into each of the four girls' back stories. We learn that Spencer feels inferior to her sister, something only reinforced by their parents' actions. Things get even worse after Spencer takes things too far with Melissa's boyfriend Wren.

Hanna, continuing not to make the best decisions, is feeling like the insecure and overweight Hanna of middle school and not the popular, skinny girl who ruled the high school.

Emily's trying to decipher her feeling for the new girl Maya--and what they mean. She's still facing trouble from her ex-boyfriend and exploring other possibilities, too, though. Other possibilities that include dating a boy . . . a date that leads to more trouble that leads to consequences no one could have expected.

Aria not only has try to get over her feelings for Ezra, the new teacher, but she also has to deal with the guilt of secretly knowing the real reason why her father was so ready for the family to move to Iceland. And, of course, there's the possibility of a new boy for her, as well.

So, you think each girl has enough to deal with, right? Well, apparently “A” doesn’t think so. “A” not only continues to send texts and e-mails, no, he/she has upped the ante and begins leaving notes on their car windshields, in their textbooks and at school. “A” is carrying out his/her threats and forces the girls to do the unspeakable to protect their secrets.


Review: Honestly, I can’t believe how much I like this series! It’s very quick reading and the more I learn about each girl and their secret, the more I want to know “A’s” identity. I’ve narrowed it down to two people, so we’ll see if I’m right. “A” definitely turned up the heat and it was a lot of fun to read.

Pretty Little Liars' Flawless is one of those guilty pleasures books, but ones that's well written with well developed characters--and tons of twists and turns and drama!

9/10


Pretty Little Liars Episode 2 Comparison *spoilers for the book*:
Both the second episode and the second book could be subtitled "The Jenna Thing." In the show, Jenna returns to the girls' school, which doesn't happen in the books. Also at the school, Aria tries to get out of Ezra's class (it doesn't work) which is different than the books, too.

In the PLL show, it's worth noting that Wren is very, very white whereas he's half Asian in the book series. It doesn't change much, except for being interesting that they chose to do that. The actions between Spencer and Wren lead to the break up of Melissa and Wren in both the book and the show, but on the show Spencer isn't shunned like in the book. In the show their (S/W) relationship is more PG.

In the show, the girls are still friends (Hanna's disappearance was only a year ago not three) and Hanna and Sean are still together as well. There's no stress between them about sex--or having it. Emily and Ben are still together on the show as well. Toby's not on the show at all

Kate and her mother aren't a part of the show yet.

The show and the books are really starting to split from each other after the first episode followed the book pretty closely.
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