Monday, October 17, 2011

Another Hiatus

I feel really guilty about taking another long break because of the month-long one I took just a few months ago, but here's why:

That's right. NaNoWriMo! I'm participating for the first time this year. I'm a little scared but also very excited. Yes, it's not until November, but I want to get in as much outlining and planning as I can before November 1.

I might drop back in a few times for the Inheritance Reading Challenge, but no reviews or Cover vs. Cover posts until after NaNoWriMo.

Vale te, readers!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Cover vs. Cover [14]

Cover vs. Cover is a weekly feature, hosted here, where I compare different covers of the same book. For more information, visit the Weekly Features page.

This week's competing covers are:

           The US Cover                                    The UK Cover

US. The UK cover isn't bad on its own, but to me it pales in comparison. I like the faded background with vintage vines and flowers because it really gives the feeling of an old-timey fantasy. I also like the sword and the eye on the blade. But one thing I like about the UK cover is the snow in the background, because it represents a journey that takes place in Graceling.

**On an unrelated note, I'm glad I picked Graceling for this week because I haven't read it in over a year and it's nice to think about it again.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Review: Speak

Title: Speak
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Release Date: October 22, 1999
Publisher: Puffin
Cover Designer:
 Michael Morgenstern
Age Audience: YA
Genre: Contemporary
Tagline: The tough, tender, and darkly funny story of a teenage outcast.
Summary: Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so her old friends won't talk to her, and people she doesn't know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that's not safe. Because there's something she's trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth.

My Review:
I certainly have mixed feelings.
Based on what I’ve been hearing ever since I started reading YA, I’d come to expect something amazing and true and relatable from Speak.
However, this was not the case for me.

One of the things I liked was the writing. It was very simplistic, yet beautiful in an ordinary and everyday sort of way. Because there weren’t definite chapters in the book, it was almost like reading Melinda’s thoughts and feelings in their purest form.

I think that high school was portrayed stereotypically and unrealistically. Yes, it’s not a blast, but it isn’t exactly the worst thing that’s ever going to happen to you. I don’t find it believable that Merryweather High changed their mascot several times in one year. My school has had the same mascot for 30 years, and it will probably keep it for another 30 years.
Maybe this only applies to my school, but I don’t think “cliques” exist. There are divisions of sorts (the athletes, the people in band, the theatre kids, etc.), but not so strong that you don’t associate with people outside your group. Also, not every cheerleader is a ditzy blonde princess. I know that this book was published in 1999, but really?

Thanks to the lovely people on Goodreads who don’t put spoiler warnings in their reviews, I knew the reason for Melinda’s silence long before I read this book. I’ve never had something like that happen to me, so maybe I’m being insensitive, but I think that Melinda really should have told someone. It would have saved her so much pain and loneliness. This is another reason this book would be better for people other than me, because what happened to Melinda is not something I can relate to.

Overall, I don’t have any strong feelings of like or dislike. Speak is a good book, it really is. It just wasn’t for me.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Review: The Fallen

Title: The Fallen
Series: The Fallen, #1
Author: Thomas E. Sniegoski
Release Date: March 5, 2003
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Cover Designer:
Age Audience: YA
Genre: Paranormal
Tagline: Aaron Corbet isn't a bad kid—he's just a little different.
On the eve of his eighteenth birthday, Aaron dreams of a darkly violent landscape. He can hear the sounds of weapons clanging, the screams of the stricken, and another sound he cannot quite decipher. But gazing upward at the sky, he suddenly understands. It is the sound of great wings, angels' wings, beating the air unmercifully as hundreds of armored warriors descend on the battlefield.
Orphaned since birth, Aaron is suddenly discovering newfound—and sometimes supernatural—talents. But it's not until he is approached by two men that he learns the truth about his destiny, and his role as a liaison between angels, mortals, and Powers both good and evil, some of whom are hell-bent on his destruction....

My Review:
I wanted to like this book. I wanted to believe that Unearthly is not the only good YA angel book out there.
However, I was disappointed once again. I received the first two books in this series, The Fallen and Leviathan, in one volume. I had to make myself finish The Fallen.

The writing was very stiff and stand-offish. I could not connect with Aaron at all. When we’re given back-story about the angels, I almost felt like I was reading the Bible because of the way it was written.
I know this book came long before most of today’s popular YA angel books, but the angel lore hardly had anything original to offer. Aside from a prophecy and a group of evil angels called the Powers, it was almost verbatim to the angels of the Bible. Now, there’s nothing wrong with books based on Biblical legends, but I prefer those legends to be dark and twisted (a la Prophecy of the Sisters).

As for the romance? It was completely unnecessary and did not contribute anything to the plot. The Brazilian girl whose name I can’t even remember was such a flat character. I felt like the author thought he just had to have romance because of the silly train of thought that “all YA books need romance”. Hence, romance that was nothing more than filler content.

For lack of anything else positive to say, I enjoyed reading the few battle scenes in this book. But overall, I don’t regret donating my copy to the library. Reading time has become precious to me, and I’m not going to spend it continuing this series simply to see if it gets better.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Cover vs. Cover [13]

Cover vs. Cover is a weekly feature, hosted here, where I compare different covers of the same book. For more information, visit the Weekly Features page.

This week's competing covers are:

           The US Cover                                    The UK Cover

US. The UK cover shows one of the binoculars that Liz uses to see people back on Earth, but she stops using them early on so I don't think it's accurate to have it represent the entire book. I also really like the blurry background on the US cover.