Friday, April 29, 2011

Follow (my book blog) Friday [10]

This Week's Question: Keeping with the dystopian and apocalypse theme that seems to be running rampant on, I have one very hard question for you: If you were stocking your bomb shelter, what books would you HAVE to include if you only had space for ten?

My Answer:
That really is a hard question!

1. The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
I love this series, and it's absolutely re-readable! Also, it only counts as one book because I have a 7-in-1 omnibus.
2. Eragon by Christopher Paolini
One of my top favorite books ever!
3. Yes Man by Danny Wallace
This book is awesome! It would keep me laughing during the dark days of the apocalypse.
4-5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
My two favorites in the series.
6. The Giver by Lois Lowry
A very powerful and thought-provoking book, also a top favorite of mine. Plus, my copy has sentimental value so I wouldn't want to leave it behind!
7. Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Another awesome re-readable book.
8-10. The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
No explanation needed, I think!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday [8]

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:
City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare (release date May 2012)
In City of Lost Souls, the Shadowhunters struggle to piece together their shattered world after a betrayal by one of their own leaves them reeling.
I recently finished City of Fallen Angels, and the ending was a big cliffhanger! So I really can't wait for City of Lost Souls. I MUST know what's going to happen!

By the way, since the placeholder cover is you think the real cover will be purple? I think it would be very pretty if it will be.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Review: City of Fallen Angels

Title: City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments, #4)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Release Date: April 5, 2011
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Cover Designer: Russell Gordon
Age Audience: YA
Genre: Paranormal
Summary: A mysterious someone is killing the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle and displaying their bodies around New York City in a manner designed to provoke hostility between Downworlders and Shadowhunters, leaving tensions running high in the city and disrupting Clary’s plan to lead as normal a life as she can—training to be a Shadowhunter, and pursuing her relationship with Jace. Meanwhile, internecine warfare among vampires is tearing the Downworld community apart, and only Simon—the Daylighter who everyone wants on their side—can decide the outcome; too bad he wants nothing to do with Downworld politics. Love, blood, betrayal and revenge: the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels.

My Review:

City of Fallen Angels
is one of those books that are difficult to write a spoiler-free review of. But I’ll do my best.

So I’ll admit it: when City of Fallen Angels was announced, I was a little wary since the story was wrapped up so nicely in City of Glass. It’s not that I didn’t want more books, but quantity is not quality. However, once I started reading I wanted to slap myself for doubting.

Since the story was set a few weeks after City of Glass, there are a few recaps here and there, but it isn’t overdone. Actually, the recaps helped because it’s been months since I read City of Glass. Part of the book is told from Simon’s POV, so you get to see more of his character, as well as Isabelle’s and Maia’s. Clary has started training to become a Shadowhunter, but just because she and Jace can be together now, doesn’t mean it’s all happily-ever-after for them…and I’ll leave it at that since this review is spoiler-free.

Oh, and major kudos to Cassie Clare for the new villain. I almost expected something unoriginal like Valentine coming back, but the new villain was someone I really was not expecting (hint: they were mentioned in one of the three previous books).

Though, there was one thing that made me wonder. When Clary and Jace went to the Silent City, one of the Silent Brothers said that when a Shadowhunter is born, they are cast with protections from demon influence. But Clary wasn’t born in the Shadowhunter world, so is she protected…or not? I hope we’ll find out in the later books.

I know I’m one in a million here, but the ending upset me! I mean, I’m not especially attached to Jace, but that was such a cliffhanger! And we need to wait until May 2012 for City of Lost Souls…..ahhh!

But overall, City of Fallen Angels was satisfying and it's a must-read if you enjoyed the previous three books.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Book Blogger Hop [6]

Book Blogger Hop

This Week's Question: If you find a book you love, do you hunt down other books by the same author?

My Answer:
Yes. Yes I do. A few of the authors I always come back to are Carolyn Meyer, Maria V. Synder and Cassandra Clare.

Follow (my book blog) Friday [9]

This Week's Question: What's on your playlist right now?

My Answer:
Other than the three permanent residents (Taylor Swift, The Beatles & Owl City), my playlist currently consists of:

Misato Aki (and some other random J-pop)
A Very Potter Musical soundtrack

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Review: Across the Universe

Title: Across the Universe (Across the Universe, #1)
Author: Beth Revis
Release Date: January 11, 2011
Publisher: Razorbill
Cover Designer: N/A
Age Audience: YA
Genre: Sci-fi
Summary: Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon. Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone—one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship—tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next. Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

My Review:

First of all, thank you to Brooke from Brooke's Box of Books for pointing out that there are ship blueprints on the other side of the book jacket! I never would have discovered them otherwise.

Anyways, the two things that drew me to this book were the Beatles reference in the title (I am a sucker for Beatles references) and the sub-genre (space opera isn't that popular nowadays). It took me awhile to get around to reading this, but it was definitely worth reading!

Across the Universe was a bit slow to start, but after about 75 pages in I couldn’t stop reading. Something about Revis’ descriptions of the ship make you feel…claustrophobic. I know that word is over-used in describing this book, but it’s honestly the best word that describes the feeling you get while reading.

While I didn’t feel especially attached to any of the characters, they weren’t boring or uninteresting either. I liked the switching POV, because we got to see the Godspeed through the eyes of both someone familiar with it, and a newcomer. However, the romance in this book was barely romance. What Elder felt for Amy was more like obsession than love. He was only interested in her because she was different. I have no idea what Amy saw in Elder.

My biggest issue with this book was the “Season” (to those of you who haven’t read the book, it’s when the people of the Godspeed have sex for days to produce the ship’s next generation). Revis really didn’t spare any details. I am strongly against censorship in YA, but…..does a YA book really need graphic descriptions of 30-year-olds doing it in the fields?

I figured out who the killer was halfway through the book. And the climax, while it was very well-done, was predictable too. Anyone with knowledge of basic math could have figured it out near the beginning of the book. The ending wasn’t exactly a cliffhanger, but there were questions left unanswered.

Despite my criticisms, Across the Universe was a really good book. Who knows? Maybe when the dystopia craze* blows over, YA space opera will rise to popularity!

*Not that I mind the dystopia craze. Sci-fi is sci-fi.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday [7]

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:
Crossed by Ally Condie (release date November 1, 2011)
In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky—taken by the Society to his certain death—only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia’s quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander—who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia’s heart—change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.
Despite my criticisms of Matched, I really really liked it and I want to know what's going to happen to Cassia next. Since Crossed is a sequel, I hope we'll get an explanation of how the Society came to be.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Review: White Cat

Title: White Cat (Curse Workers, #1)
Author: Holly Black
Release Date: May 4, 2010
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Cover Designer: Russell Gordon
Age Audience: YA
Genre: Paranormal
Cassel comes from a family of curse workers—people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they're all mobsters, or con artists. Except for Cassel. He hasn't got the magic touch, so he's an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail—he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago. But Cassel's carefully built up façade of normalcy starts crumbling when he starts sleepwalking, propelled by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He's noticing other disturbing things, too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him, caught up in a mysterious plot. As Cassel begins to suspect he's part of a huge con game, he also wonders what really happened to Lila. Could she still be alive? To find that out, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.

My Review:

White Cat is the first YA book by Holly Black that I’ve read (a while ago I read one of her children’s books, The Field Guide). And I must say, I was very impressed! I liked that the story was told from a guy’s POV; you don’t see that much in the paranormal genre.

There wasn’t a single person in White Cat who I didn’t like (not even the villains). Holly Black creates such intriguing characters! Cassel was a great protagonist, though I can’t put my finger on exactly why he was so awesome. Another character I didn’t stop thinking about was Maura, Cassel’s sister-in-law. She was eerily interesting and creepy. Since Maura was more of a side character here in White Cat, I hope to see more of her in the sequel.

The concept of Curse Working was pleasantly new and fresh. Combine the crime-family aspect, and what you got was absolutely enthralling. What was especially unique was that the general public knew about the Curse Workers; they weren’t hiding their true identity like in, for example, Harry Potter.

Another thing I liked about this book was that there was more action and mystery than romance. I’m not saying that there wasn’t romance; it just wasn’t very integral to the plot. Some people might have a problem with that, but I didn’t mind at all.

Overall, White Cat was an unpredictable and captivating read, perfect for fans of supernatural fiction or crime fiction. I can hardly wait to get my hands on Red Glove!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Book Blogger Hop [5]

Book Blogger Hop

This Week's Question: Pick a character from a book you are currently reading or have just finished and tell us about him/her.

My Answer:

Right now I am reading Across the Universe by Beth Revis, so I'll tell you about Amy.

Amy is 17. She has red hair, green eyes and pale skin which makes her stand out amongst the mono-ethnicity of the Godspeed. Amy was a frozen passenger until someone pulled her plug 50 years early. She loves running, and used to be on a cross-country team. She left her boyfriend Jason on Earth 250 years ago, so even though she misses him she tries not to think of him because his great-great-grandchildren could be her age now.

Follow (my book blog) Friday [8]

This Week's Question: Do you have anyone that you can discuss books with IRL?

My Answer:
Yes! I have 3 friends that I talk to about books the most. One has a very similar taste in books as me, the other likes paranormal romance the best, and the last one likes chick-lit and fairy tales or basically anything with a prince (you know who you are, all of you).

Thursday, April 14, 2011

In My Mailbox [6]

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by The Story Siren, where we share books that we've received.

I just got back from the TLA in Austin, it was really fun! Now I know what those people meant when they said "Watch out for school librarians!"......anyways, I got a TON of books. As in, not enough books to fit in one picture. So I'll post them in a list instead. Most of the books are ARCs but some are finished copies. Two are even in hardcover!

The Anti-Prom by Abby McDonald
Falling for Hamlet by Michelle Ray
A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley
Withering Tights by Louise Rennison
Shadowspell by Jenna Black
City of Ice by Laurence Yep
Discord’s Apple by Carrie Vaughn
Pick-Up Game: A Full Day of Full Court edited by Marc Aronson and Charles R. Smith Jr.
Wishful Thinking by Alexandra Bullen
The Death Catchers by Jennifer Anne Kogler
The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson
Crossing Lines by Paul Volponi
Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers
The Dead by Charlie Higson
The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell
Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs
Everything Beautiful Began After by Simon Von Booy
Dry Souls by Denise Getson
Circle Nine by Anne Heltzel
If I Grow Up by Todd Strasser
The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton
Red Glove by Holly Black
Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting
All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin
Island’s End by Padma Venkatraman
Variant by Robison Wells
I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl by Kelle Groom
Brother/Sister by Sean Olin
Between the Sea and Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore
I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan
The Great Wide Sea by M. H. Herlong
Haunted by Joy Preble
Dark Mirror by M. J. Putney
Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin
Peter and Max by Bill Willingham
The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Review: The Mermaid's Mirror

Title: The Mermaid's Mirror
Author: L. K. Madigan
Release Date: September 7, 2010
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Cover Designer:
Carol Chu
Age Audience: YA
Genre: Paranormal
Summary: Lena has lived her whole life near the beach—walking for miles up and down the shore and breathing the salty air, swimming in the cold water, and watching the surfers rule the waves. The problem is, she’s spent her whole life just watching. As her sixteenth birthday approaches, Lena vows she will learn to surf. But her father—a former surfer himself—refuses to allow her to take lessons. After his near drowning years ago, he can’t bear to let Lena take up the risky sport. Yet something keeps drawing Lena to the ancient, powerful magic. And one morning Lena catches sight of this magic: a beautiful woman—with a silvery tail. Now nothing can stop Lena from seeking the mermaid, not even the dangerous waves at Magic Crescent Cove. And soon...what she sees in the mermaid’s mirror will change her life forever.

My Review:
The Mermaid's Mirror (which I don't think is a good title, because the story actually had little to do with the mirror) is the first mermaid book I’ve read in a long time, the last one I read was a children's book called The Tail of Emily Windsnap. While I admit that "The Little Mermaid" is one of my favorite fairy tales/Disney movies, I’m not really into mermaids when it comes to literature.
You see, mermaid stories are always predictable. The main character always lives by the sea and needs to have always been “mysteriously drawn” toward it. And for some reason their parents are overprotective when it comes to the water. And then they discover that one of their real parents is a mer-person and spends time with them underwater before they choose whether to live on land or sea.

Anyways, I really enjoyed the first half of this book. It could have passed for realistic fiction. While the detail surrounding Lena’s town and school was chalky, the lush descriptions of the beach made up for it. You could tell that the author actually spent time at the beach rather than just looking at pictures online.
Kai and Lena’s relationship, with Lena unsure of how she really feels about Kai, was pleasantly realistic. However, I didn’t like Lena at all. She was very self-centered. Especially when she goes to the movies with her friends and then tricks them so she can sneak off to go surfing. Lena had so little regard for others!

The second half of the book, in which Lena (this is sort of a spoiler, but this happens in all mermaid stories, so you knew it was coming) goes underwater with her mermaid mother, feels completely different from the first half. In the Afterward, Madigan mentions that The Mermaid’s Mirror was originally going to be a middle grade/children’s book. I think that most of the second half stayed true to the original children’s manuscript. Madigan’s underwater world was underdeveloped and too simple; the mer-people and their way of life were full of clichés. I have some issues with the relationship Lena has with a mer-man, but I don't want to give away too many spoilers. Also, I think that because Lena was half-mermaid, she should have had more magic. For example, she could have had legs when on land and a tail when in the water or something like that.

The ending was good in my opinion. It was conclusive, but the plot wasn't wholly resolved so there's still room for a sequel.

Waiting on Wednesday [6]

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:
Cleopatra Confesses by Carolyn Meyer (release date June 7, 2011)
It is the first century B.C. Cleopatra, the third of the pharaoh's six children, is the one that her father has chosen to be the next queen of Egypt. But when King Ptolemy is forced into exile, Cleopatra is left alone to fend for herself in a palace rife with intrigue and murder. Smart, courageous, ambitious and sensuously beautiful, she possesses the charm to cause two of history's most famous leaders to fall in love with her. But as her cruel sisters plot to steal the throne, Cleopatra realizes there is only one person on whom she can rely--herself.
Carolyn Meyer is my favorite historical fiction author, so I'm very much looking forward to another novel from her!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Teaser Tuesday [7]

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play! Just do the following:

-Grab your current read
-Open to a random page
-Share two "teaser" sentences from that page
-Be careful not to include spoilers! You don't want to ruin the book for others!
-Share the title and author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

So here's my teaser:
"There are no rainclouds, no dark sky punctuated by lightning. Here on Godspeed, when it rains, water just falls from the sprinkler system attached to the ceiling."

Monday, April 11, 2011

Review: Imaginary Enemy

Title: Imaginary Enemy
Author: Julie Gonzalez
Release Date: March 11, 2008
Publisher: Laurel-Leaf Books
Cover Designer: Vikki Sheatsley (dinosaur designed by Julie Gonzalez)
Age Audience: YA
Genre: Contemporary
Summary: Jane White has been writing to Bubba, her "imaginary enemy", since second grade, blaming him every time something in her life goes wrong. And now that she’s a teenager, Jane exudes an I-don’t-care attitude. But Jane does care. She cares about fitting in at school; she cares that Sharp deMichael and his brothers next door think of her as normal and start excluding her from their offbeat plans; and she definitely cares the day she receives a letter from Bubba. How can an imaginary enemy write back? Just as the time comes for Jane to face her lifelong foe, she must also decide whether or not to assume responsibility for her actions.

My Review:

Imaginary Enemy was the kind of light story perfect for after you've read something dark and heavy. Although many elements of the story were pretty generic, the concept of an imaginary enemy was unique and interesting.

The main character, Jane, was smart-alecky and a bit of a troublemaker, but despite her flaws (or maybe because of them), she was such a lovable character. I loved how she was an admitting slacker and took being called "normal" as an insult (reminded me of quite a few people I know). The book starts when Jane is in second grade and ends when she's in eleventh grade, so you get to see her grow up and the problems she write to Bubba about mature.

This was one of the most predictable books I have ever read, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. From the beginning of the book, you can predict that she will stop writing to her imaginary enemy, and you know who the person who writes back will turn out to be.

Overall, this was a fun and simple reading experience that you'll probably race through in two hours.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Follow (my book blog) Friday [7]

This Week's Question: Do you judge books by their covers?

My Answer:
Sometimes I do. I mean, who hasn't picked up a book just because it looked good? But just because we do judge books by their covers doesn't mean we should.

Because sometimes a beautiful cover can be hiding a horrible book, like with these:

And yet an unappealing cover can often be hiding a really good book, like with these:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

In My Mailbox [5]

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by The Story Siren, where we share books that we've received.

This week, I actually bought books for a change!

An Abundance of Katherines I got at Garden Ridge for $1.99. The rest I got at my library's bookstore for $2 total. You see, they recently added a sci-fi and fantasy shelf there, and I was going to "just look" but ended up buying four books.

The Eye of the World and The Great Hunt are actually pretty beat-up copies (the covers are nearly falling off), but a friend of mine is almost forcing me to read the Wheel of Time series, so I bought them. Besides, I can find better copies in another used bookstore on another day...

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is another one that a (different) friend is forcing me to read. This copy is kind of beat-up too, but not so bad.

Ender's Game (which is actually in like-new condition) is one that I've heard good things about, and I like sci-fi, so it should be good.

I'm probably never gonna get around to reading An Abundance of Katherines, but it was only $2...brand new...I couldn't pass it up!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Review: The Hollow Kingdom

I read this in April 2010, but today (after skimming through the book a bit) I have decided to review it nearly a year after reading.

Title: The Hollow Kingdom (The Hollow Kingdom, #1)
Author: Clare B. Dunkle
Release Date: January 1, 2003
Publisher: Henry Holt
Cover Designer: Laurent Linn
Age Audience: YA
Genre: Fantasy
Summary: For thousands of years, young women have been vanishing from Hallow Hill, never to be seen again. Now Kate and Emily have moved there with no idea of the land's dreadful heritage—until Marak decides to tell them himself. Marak is a powerful magician who claims to be the goblin king, and he has very specific plans for the two new girls who have trespassed into his kingdom...

My Review:

I had huge expectations for this book. It sounds awesome, doesn’t it? Sadly, I was disappointed.

First of all, the writing was very good. It made you think that this book was written in the 19th century rather than 2003. The characters were all very well-drawn, I especially liked Snake Charm and his dry sense of humor. This book really could have been amazing.

So here’s what disappointed me the most: I expected this book to be about how Emily and Kate have a grand adventure while searching for a way to get Kate out of marrying Marak or something like that. But Kate just gives in. I was like, “What?” when she agreed to marry Marak.
Also, if Marak really loved Kate like he said he did, I think he would have given her a choice instead of having a “romance” based on Stockholm Syndrome. Their relationship was generally disturbing, and Marak’s excuses for kidnap and rape were just pathetic.

The world that Dunkle created was interesting, but overall dry and a little dull. And the pace of this book was uneven and irregular. Dunkle spent so much time building up the story that by the time action comes in, it feels rushed and unsatisfying.

If you want good YA fantasy, read Poison Study, Eragon or Graceling, all of which were better than the waste of time known as The Hollow Kingdom.

Waiting on Wednesday [5]

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:
Circle of Fire by Michelle Zink (release date August 1, 2011)
With time dwindling but her will to end the Prophecy stronger than ever, Lia sets out on a journey to find the remaining keys, locate the missing pages of the Prophecy, and convince her sister Alice to help--or risk her life trying. Lia has her beloved Dimitri by her side, but Alice has James, the man who once loved her sister--and maybe still does. James doesn't know the truth about either sister, or the prophecy that divides them. And Alice intends to keep it that way.

There are some secrets sisters aren't meant to share. Because when they do, it destroys them.
I really really liked Prophecy of the Sisters and Guardian of the Gate, so I'm really looking forward to Circle of Fire! I'm just sad that I have to wait till August (no ARCs were released).

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Teaser Tuesday [6]

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play! Just do the following:

-Grab your current read
-Open to a random page
-Share two "teaser" sentences from that page
-Be careful not to include spoilers! You don't want to ruin the book for others!
-Share the title and author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

So here's my teaser:
"The staircase turns upon itself, to make a gallery about the hall; at every turning there are passages. In the shadows of these, pale and half-hidden—like expectant grubs, in the cells of a hive—there stand servants, come to see me make my progress through the house."

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Review: If I Stay

Title: If I Stay (If I Stay, #1)
Author: Gayle Forman
Release Date: April 9, 2009
Publisher: Dutton
Cover Designer: Monica Benalcazar
Age Audience: YA
Genre: Contemporary  
Summary: In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck. A sophisticated and heart-achingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make—and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

My Review:

This may sound unusual, but what drew me to this book was not the cover, but the title. If I Stay. It just sounded so…songlike. I guess you could say that I judged this book by its title. However, I was unsure when I found out it was realistic fiction. I usually steer clear of contemporary/realistic fiction because it tends to be too melodramatic and sappy for my liking. I don’t think I would have even gotten around to reading this if Gayle Forman wasn’t going to be at the TLA this year.

I read this book in three hours. But those three hours were unforgettable.

It’s difficult to tell what the book is about from reading the summary, so I’ll tell you that If I Stay was about Mia, the protagonist, deciding whether she should keep on living after a tragic car accident, or join her family in death. But this book wasn’t only about death. It was also about life, family and love, as you can see from Mia’s flashbacks throughout the novel.

Surprisingly (at least to me), this book wasn’t melodramatic at all. The characters and their situations were realistic and truthful. This book was touching as well. I mean, it wasn’t Between Mom and Jo-touching, but one of my eyes slightly leaked at the end.

I also loved the musical aspect. I’m not a huge fan of music-themed books, but I can’t imagine If I Stay without the music. It flourished and upheld the story, which made this short book even more engrossing.

Needless to say, I’m very much looking forward to Where She Went.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Review: The Amaranth Enchantment

Title: The Amaranth Enchantment
Author: Julie Berry
Release Date: March 3, 2009
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Cover Designer: John Candell
Age Audience: YA
Genre: Fairy tales
Summary: When Lucinda Chapdelaine was a small child, her parents left for the royal ball and never returned. Ever since, Lucinda has been stuck in perpetual servitude at her evil aunt’s jewelry store. Then a mysterious visitor and an even more bizarre piece of jewelry both enter the shop on the very same day, setting in motion a string of twists and turns that will forever alter Lucinda’s path. In this magical story filled with delightful surprises, Lucinda will dance at the royal ball, fall under the Amaranth Witch’s spell, avenge her parents’ death, and maybe — just maybe — capture the heart of a prince.

My Review:

This was a great book. While it is a retelling of Cinderella, Berry put in such a unique twist that it took me awhile to figure that out. The setting and time era was a little confusing, but I succeeded in not letting it bother me.

All the characters were loveable; you can’t help but like Lucinda, Beryl, Peter and even Gregor. Oh, and Dog. Mustn’t forget Dog the goat.
Lucinda especially was easy to relate to, although I found her to be naïve at times. I mean, how can letting a strange thief stay at your house ever seem like a good idea?

I was a little disappointed with the ending. I wish we could have found out what became of Beryl’s stone, and what Lucinda was going to do next. A sequel wouldn’t hurt. I also wish that Berry could have let us explore Beryl’s world some more. But otherwise, this was a fun, predictable read that I’d recommend to any fellow fairy tale lovers.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Book Blogger Hop [4]

Book Blogger Hop

This Week's Question: Since today is April Fool's Day in the USA, what is the best prank you have ever played on someone OR that someone has played on you?

My Answer:
The best one I can currently think of (that I played on someone) was actually pretty lame. I downloaded an image of the "Blue Screen of Death", opened it in PowerPoint, clicked "Start Presentation" and left it like that on my brother's computer. He was only fooled for about 5 minutes, but those 5 minutes were pretty funny.

Follow (my book blog) Friday [6]

This Week's Question: What is the book that you really don't want to admit to loving??

My Answer:
It's a series, not one book. And it's the Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot. It's so cute and cheesy! But I don't read books like that AT ALL, so I'm not eager to admit I like the Princess Diaries.

Do you iClue?