Sunday, June 26, 2011

IMM (7)

In My Mailbox is a post where, basically, book bloggers get to make other bookish people drool over their newly acquired awesome stuff. And this awesome little meme is hosted by Kristi, over at her epic blog, The Story Siren.

 This week, I got:
Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
Hereafter by Tara Hudson

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Bumped by Meghan McCafferty

 I don't have any pictures, but thanks to Brielle, who let me borrow both!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Review: Hereafter

Hereafter by Tara Hudson

 Book Rating: 5/5 Stars
 Cover Rating: 5/5 Stars
  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen (June 7, 2011)
 Cover Review: I LOVE this cover! Blue and green are my favorite colors, and the lettering is really pretty. The only thing that I would change is that her hair looks kind of fake.

  Can there truly be love after death?
Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.
Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.

 INTRO & SETTING:  This book was one of the best I've read in 2011. And for a debut author, it was completely amazing. I've always loved ghost stories, and I'm a total hopeless romantic, so when you meshed the two, well, I'm in heaven. The setting really revolves around a place called High Bridge, the place where Amelia died, along with countless other people. It's pretty much an evil, nasty hole of evil and nastiness. There's also the Netherworld, which is sort of a flip side of our own, only it's gray, cold, eerily beautiful, and baddies watch you from the trees. Yeah. Creeeepppy. But... also perfect. It brings in just the right amount of dread and eeriness.

 CHARACTERS: The characters were wonderful. Amelia, the MC, is perfect for the story. She's sort of sweet, but sad and angry at the same time. But, hey, you would be too if you had drowned and had no memory of your past life. Joshua is my dream boy. He's cute, he's funny, smart, and he reads a ton, not to mention his back yard is practically Wonderland, thanks to his Mom being a landscaper. The romance in this book was exceptional: heartbreakingly sweet and totally flawless. That's pretty hard to find in books. Another thing I loved about this book? The enemies weren't someone you could easily take down, and Amelia's got some on either side of her world. Eli, another ghost like Amelia, is desprate to have her for himself, and Ruth, A Seer (and also Joshua's Grandmother... dun dun dun...), is trying to exorcise Amelia to the Netherworld, or wherever it is Amelia belongs.

 PLOT: Like I said, I love ghost stories and the mystery behind them. There was certainly mystery in this book, what with Amelia not even knowing who she is, let alone why she is dead and who is in charge, or even if anybody is in charge. Then she saves Joshua, and things start to fall in place. Slowly she figures out who she is, and what she left behind when she died. The climax occurs when she finally finds out how she died and tries to stop her fate from becoming another girls, and in turn meets Eli's bosses. And people who boss Eli around? Well, they can't be very nice, now can they? Anyways, I cannot wait for more, and I highly recommend this book, especially on a stormy afternoon.

  FIRST SENTENCE:  "It was the same as always, but different from the first time."

  LAST SENTENCE: "I would always choose the hereafter, when it was a hereafter spent with him."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

WOW (7)

This week, I'm waiting on (droooling after, starving for, nearly dying because I can't have it yet... whatever you prefer) THE IRON KNIGHT by Julie Kagawa. (Hey.. look... I went all Iron Horse! People who haven't read these books are now confused.) Anyways, after reading all the previous books, I'm dying to get my hands on this. And, honestly, anyone else who read the ending of TIQ? They are dying for it also.

 There isn't a synopsis for it yet, which depresses me greatly, but the publication is set for October 25th, which is now marked on my calender with a huge smiley face and balloon. Anyways, if you haven't read the Iron Fey books, you're SO missing out. And.... TEAM PUCK.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Review: Abandon

Abandon by Meg Cabot

 Book Rating: 3/5 Stars
 Cover Rating: 5/5 Stars

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Point; 1 edition (April 26, 2011)

 Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.
But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.
Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.
But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.

INTRO & SETTING: This book was good, but it didn’t really pop to me. I love Greek mythology, but I feel like this book was a bit too.. Fluffy. don’t get me wrong, the prologue was stunning, as were some of the chapters, but it really just didn’t do it for me. The setting, Isla Huesos, was perfect for the book and is really on of the things that made the book what it is. Also, the flowers sound really awesome. (Excuse my inner gardener.)

CHARACTERS: Hmmm. There isn’t a whole lot to elaborate on. Pierce is likeable, but all she ever thinks about is I died, I died, I died. I get that it’s an important fact, but I would have liked to know more about her than just that. She really falls flat. John Hayden, who is a Death Deity, fit the part well, though. But the two’s compatibility as lovers? *makes long, loud, obnoxious farting noise* The other characters were underdeveloped. You got what they were supposed to be like, but you never actually saw that in them. It made me frustrated.

PLOT: This plot started off slow, and stayed that way. First of all: It’s mainly Pierce telling you about her poor, sad, cruddy life. Waahhh. There are also a bunch of flash backs, and you find yourself having to flip back a page or two because you get so confused. And the romance made me want to pull my hair out! Pierce is mean to him and talks about how scary and moody he is. Absolutely no spark at all. And then, all of the sudden, in the last few pages, “Don’t stop kissing me! I looovveee you!” *headdesk* NOOOO. It doesn’t work that way. That, my friends, is insta-love, which is just wrong and bad and bleh.

 “Anything can happen in the blink of an eye.”

 “And maybe that- not him- was what I’d always feared most of all.”

Sunday, June 5, 2011

YA Saves: My Point Of View

 So, a lot of you have heard about and read the infuriating WSJ article called "Darkness Too Visible", and if you haven't you can read it here. Book Bloggers and Authors have joined arms to prove how wrong this article is- the hashtag #YAsaves was trending last night and this morning.


WSJ: Amy Freeman, a 46-year-old mother of three, stood recently in the young-adult section of her local Barnes & Noble, in Bethesda, Md., feeling thwarted and disheartened.
She had popped into the bookstore to pick up a welcome-home gift for her 13-year-old, who had been away. Hundreds of lurid and dramatic covers stood on the racks before her, and there was, she felt, "nothing, not a thing, that I could imagine giving my daughter. It was all vampires and suicide and self-mutilation, this dark, dark stuff." She left the store empty-handed.

 I'm fourteen- one year older than the girl the Mom was buying for. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I've probably read most of those books the mom looked at. I'm not a dark person.  I don't cut. I don't want to be a vampire, and I'm a christian. And the "lurid, dramatic" covers? Would you rather it be a blank, white cover with only the authors name and title?

WSJ: How dark is contemporary fiction for teens? Darker than when you were a child, my dear: So dark that kidnapping and pederasty and incest and brutal beatings are now just part of the run of things in novels directed, broadly speaking, at children from the ages of 12 to 18.
 If books show us the world, teen fiction can be like a hall of fun-house mirrors, constantly reflecting back hideously distorted portrayals of what life is. There are of course exceptions, but a careless young reader—or one who seeks out depravity—will find himself surrounded by images not of joy or beauty but of damage, brutality and losses of the most horrendous kinds.

 So the world is a place without these things? I hate to burst your bubble- but every day,  a child is kidnapped, people are beaten and bullied, and innocent girls and guys are picked up off the street and raped. It is the run of things- YA books are no darker than the world around us. And to say there is no joy or beauty in YA? HA! YA can be far more beautiful than this world- and it lets you know the beauty of not being alone.

WSJ: In Jackie Morse Kessler's gruesome but inventive 2011 take on a girl's struggle with self-injury, "Rage," teenage Missy's secret cutting turns nightmarish after she is the victim of a sadistic sexual prank. "She had sliced her arms to ribbons, but the badness remained, staining her insides like cancer. She had gouged her belly until it was a mess of meat and blood, but she still couldn't breathe." Missy survives, but only after a stint as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
 The argument in favor of such novels is that they validate the teen experience, giving voice to tortured adolescents who would otherwise be voiceless. If a teen has been abused, the logic follows, reading about another teen in the same straits will be comforting. If a girl cuts her flesh with a razor to relieve surging feelings of self-loathing, she will find succor in reading about another girl who cuts, mops up the blood with towels and eventually learns to manage her emotional turbulence without a knife.

 This is where the article got personal. My older sister, Allie, was a cutter when she was sixteen. You can still see the scars that mar her wrists, shoulders, and legs. It was a YA book that stopped her. Allie doesn't read- it gives her terrible headaches and she's never really interested. But one of her friends was reading this book, Allie read the back, and asked to borrow it. My mom also found out about Allie's cutting when she found this book- I guess you can call it a Mom's intuition. I found out about it because I walked in on Allie with a razor over her wrist and blood on a towel in her lap. Anyways, to say it "normalizes" it? Wrong.

WSJ: In the book business, none of this is controversial, and, to be fair, Ms. Myracle's work is not unusually profane. Foul language is widely regarded among librarians, reviewers and booksellers as perfectly OK, provided that it emerges organically from the characters and the setting rather than being tacked on for sensation. In Ms. Myracle's case, with her depiction of redneck bigots with meth-addled sensibilities, the language is probably apt.

 I'm gonna bet that the lady who wrote this article has used her fair share of "foul language" in her "Adult" life. And of course it is considered okay to swear in books- how many times have you been approached by a druggie redneck and they say, "Hello, nice day today. Oh, dear me, I seem to stubbed my toe!" No. They would look at you, stub their toe, and probably use their favorite curse word. Reading and writing- in some genres- is supposed to relate to the real world. Helloooo!

WSJ: So it may be that the book industry's ever-more-appalling offerings for adolescent readers spring from a desperate desire to keep books relevant for the young. Still, everyone does not share the same objectives. The book business exists to sell books; parents exist to rear children, and oughtn't be daunted by cries of censorship. No family is obliged to acquiesce when publishers use the vehicle of fundamental free-expression principles to try to bulldoze coarseness or misery into their children's lives.

It hasn't bulldozed misery into my life, only happiness. Through YA, I have made friends, found a light in this "darkness", and  matured one hell of a lot. Like the article says, not everyone shares the same objectives. The writer is obviously stuck in her ways, refusing to see that us teens actually have working brains and won't automatically do something because we read the words in a book. I find it hard to believe that this woman was ever a teen- and if she was, she either blocked it out or lived in a white padded cell, sheltered from all badness. That's not all I have to say, but I'm going to stop here.




Saturday, June 4, 2011

IMM (6)

In My Mailbox is a post where, basically, book bloggers get to make other bookish people drool over their newly acquired awesome stuff. And this awesome little meme is hosted by Kristi, over at her epicsuace blog, The Story Siren.

 This week, I got:

Abandon by Meg Cabot
Heist Society by Ally Carter
Tempted P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast
The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong
Captivate by Carrie Jones
Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison

The Mediator by Meg Cabot
Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder
My Soul To Take by Rachel Vincent

Between The Land and The Sea (Marina's Tales Book 1) by Derrolyn Anderson
The Moon And The Tide (Marina's tales Book 2) by Derrolyn Anderson

 I hope you all got lots of books! I know I'm always ecstatic when I get new lovlies. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Author Interview: Derrolyn Anderson

 So, Guys, I’m super excited to introduce you to Derrolyn Anderson,  author of Between The Land and The Sea, it’s sequel The Moon and The Tide, and book three, (which isn’t out yet, but I cannot wait for) The Fate of The Muse.
Hello readers! I’m a first time author working on the third installment of “Marina’s Tales”, a four to five part YA series. I’m an artist, a mom, an animal lover and a small business entrepreneur. Writing this series has been one of the hardest and most rewarding things I’ve ever done!
R: What inspired you to write Between The Land and The Sea?
I was a real bookworm as a kid, but I’d gotten away from reading novels when I started picking up my daughter’s books. The Harry Potter and Twilight series started me to wondering if I could write a YA book. What a humbling learning experience it’s been! I’ve definitely caught the writing bug now, and I plan on keeping at it as long as I can manage to stay inspired.

R: What is Between The Land And The Sea about?
I started writing with the intention of making a stand-alone romantic supernatural suspense story (that’s a mouthful!) about first love, but it started to take on a life of it’s own once I got to know the characters. The second book gets a little darker, with more of an over-arching conspiracy unfolding.

R: Who is your favorite character to write, and why?
I’m having a blast writing Shayla’s dialogue right now, but I do love Cruz too... and Evie.

R: Who was the most challenging character to write?
Probably Cruz, because I don’t know if he’s really coming across the way I see him.

R: What made you want to write about mermaids?
When I decided to set my story in Aptos, (my former home) it just seemed like the perfect way to tie the old cement ship into the story. I took many spooky, foggy walks out onto it, and tried to write it just the way I remember it. It’s funny, because I started writing it in the spring of 2010, and now it seems like mermaids are suddenly popping up everywhere in books and movies! I think their time has come.

R: What is your favorite book?
That would be impossible for me to say, like picking my favorite cat! They all bring something different to the table, and I suppose it’s what you’re in the mood for at any given time.

R: What other hobbies do you have, other than writing?
I love painting, sculpting, beading and making art in general. I could easily spend all day, every day messing around in my garden. It’s funny though, since I started writing these books everything else started to get sadly neglected. Last fall, tomatos and peppers went tragically unpicked, and more than one art-show deadline came and went! You don’t want to see my laundry room.

R: If you had a superpower what would it be? Also, what is your favorite mythical creature?
Could I fly and breathe underwater? Mind reading or immortality would be nice too... or really insane martial art skills. I’ll have to get back to you on that one!
As far as mythical creatures, I gotta go with the mermaids right now! I’ve always loved Pegasus and Jackalopes though.

R: Five things about yourself?
1. I’m the mother of three teenage daughters, two of whom are twins. The three of them are the smartest and most beautiful girls in the world.
2. I’m a chili-head. The spicier the better.
3. I type with one finger. Really pathetic.
4. I’m a cat and a dog person. I simply don’t understand how you could be either/or.
5. I like to jog listening to loud rock music. How can you not run with the Ramones and the Clash blasting in your ears?
R: Anything else I forgot to ask?
I don’t think so!

R: Thanks for visiting! 

Yay! I'm so glad I got to have Derrolyn visit. And if you haven't read her book, you should! My review is posted below, you can check it out if you want to know more, and below are the links to amazon and goodreads.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Review: Between The Land and The Sea

Between The Land and The Sea by Derrolyn Anderson

 Book Rating: 5/5 Stars
 Cover Rating 4/5 Stars

  • Publisher: Self- Published
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 460 KB
 Something extraordinary is lurking in the deep ocean waters off the coast of Aptos, California. In just a few weeks after moving to the small beach town, sixteen year old Marina has nearly drowned twice, enchanted the hottest guy in high school, and discovered a supernatural creature. If she can only manage to survive her increasingly dangerous encounters with unpredictable mermaids, she might just be able to unlock the mystery of her past to learn how to appease the mysterious forces that seem to want something from her...and maybe even find true love along the way.

 INTRO & SETTING: I received this book for review, and let me tell you, I'm soooo glad I accepted it. I read this book while headed up to visit some family, and it was a 14 hour drive. I couldn't set my kindle down. This book grabbed my attention from the prologue, and it doesn't let go. Since this book only comes in e-book form, I'm not totally sure how long it was, but it was just the right length for me. Longer than most, but it didn't drag. And the setting- Aptos, California- was absolutely perfect. It sets the perfect mood for the story, not to mention it's beautiful, and I have a weakness for beaches. 

 CHARACTERS: Wow. I'm really not sure where to get started. Marina, the MC, thinks a lot like I do. And after reading this book and being halfway into the sequel, I feel like I know her really well. She's smart and has a feisty side even she didn't know she had. Marina's dad, who travels the globe helping third-world countries with his studies, is protective and loving, but her mom, who died when Marina was born, is a touchy subject for him. Aunt Evie, who isn't really Marina's aunt, but prefers to be called that, is a rich model who shared a floor Marina and her father when they lived in a high-end San Fransisco apartment.  Marina's real aunt, Abby, is sweet and a vegan who has a slight problem with cooking, but that just makes her more endearing. Cruz, Abby's son and Marina's only cousin, just rocks. He's got an aversion to tofu, thanks to Abby, and makes kick-ass designs that leave me drooling. Megan, a close friend of Cruz's and Marina's, is level headed with, as Marina put it, "wicked sense of humor." And, finally, *swoon* Ethan. He's gorgeous, but that's not all to him. He's protective (just the right amount) and sweet at the same time, and works too much. He likes to plan  ahead, and spends a lot of time gardening and landscaping, not to mention working at the local farmers market. All the characters are extremely well developed. They become real to you. I feel like I've lived in Aptos and met all these people. 

 PLOT: I love the beach, and I have always adored books about mermaids. And like the characters, the plot is extremely well developed. Marina has to accept things she's never even thought about, deal with terrible, sleep-walking nightmares, and make a huge, nearly impossible choice. Not to mention she's head-over-heels in love. The plot keeps your attention, and although I wish the climax was a bit more dramatic, it still left you satisfied and on your toes. 

 RANT SPACE: I just simply loved this book. It's detailed and real. If you love para-romance, and if you have a mermaid or ocean obsession, like me, you should totally check this book out. Actually, check it out even if you don't because I promise you'll enjoy it. I have tremendous respect for the author- this book is amazing.

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