Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Any book with epic in the title is automatically epic. That's pretty obvious. Now it's just a question of how epic. Well, two words: MAJOR EPICALNESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I know that's not a word, but hey, it sounds good!) 4 out of 5 stars.

Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
4 out of 5 stars
Published in 2010
Summary from Goodreads: Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew—just in time for Amy's senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she's always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy's mother's old friend. Amy hasn’t seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she's surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she’s coming to terms with her father’s death and how to put her own life back together after the accident. Told in traditional narrative as well as scraps from the road—diner napkins, motel receipts, postcards—this is the story of one girl's journey to find herself.

Amy and Roger's Epic Detour is a book about moving on, finding yourself and facing your fears. It's a book that shows how hard death is. It's a book that doesn't bother to make bad things seem good. It's real and true and full of heart.

Unfortunately, it was slightly cheesy. But don't worry, Morgan Matson fixes it up and gets rid of the cheese really quickly! Plus, the cheese in this book seems to help the story overall. So even people who normally shy away from anything slightly cheesy should not shy away!

While the plot was predictable, I still enjoyed it. I love all books about traveling, discovering good food and listening to music. This book was kind of slow in terms of romance, but at least it wasn't forced. It was your average plot with not-so-average characters.

Roger was a pretty awesome guy. Nice, loyal, friendly, he's a very good person. He means well and is very caring. I liked him a lot and that's pretty impressive condering the fact that I mostly like bad boys.

Amy was a girl who lost someone and ended up losing herself as well. As a character she had her flaws, but she learned from them. She really developed throughout the book and found herself and her self-esteem.

I loved all the extras not in most books- the playlists, the reciepts and the photos. They were so cute and full of great taste! Love, love, love!

Overall: I can't get over how epic this book is! It's so cute and deep and sunny (yes!). There are lots of awesome moments that make me want to smile and burst! SO READ THIS BOOK NOW AND TAKE A DETOUR!!!!!!!!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

It took me three tries before I started actually LOVING Anna and the French Kiss. I'm serious! The first few tries had left me not very interested. I did not like this book! But on the third try... I was HOOKED! I LOVED IT! 4.5 out of 5 stars!

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
4.5 out of 5 stars
Published! Yay!
Summary from Goodreads: Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.

As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near - misses end with the French kiss Anna - and readers - have long awaited?

If you're thinking that this book seems cheesy, let me tell you, you are incredibly WRONG. While some events in this book don't exactly seem realistic, it is not cheesy. If anything, it's quite the opposite of cheesy.... which is non-cheesy? Anyways, if you're looking for a fantastic French romance novel with zero cheese, you have to pick up Anna and the French Kiss!

SOAP, the boarding school, is amazing! I want to have the grapes that explode flavor into your mouth! I want to have my own 70 square foot room! I want to make a wish at Point Zéro Des Routes De France! I want to go to the Eiffel Tower! I want to go to Paris and meet a ton of people and have fun at the theaters! I want to go to SOAP! Any feelings I had for Paris have been multiplied by at least infinity! Stephanie Perkins is great with describing a place, picking a perfect setting, writing about it and making you want to go there!

But the guy was even better! Etienne St. Clair is basically perfect! He's brilliant, gorgeous, cocky, British, smart and incredibly fun and British! And Anna should know. She literally ran into him, which started hooking me! Etienne is amazing! I need more of him! I flipped through the pages for him and his awesome dialogue! Besides, everyone should love good-looking British guys! Which girl can resist a British accent?

I love Anna's relationship with St. Clair. Even before she realized she loved him, she had this really cute relationship with St. Clair. They went everywhere together and had these really sweet and sometimes sad conversations! They were inseperable! I loved reading about when they were TOGETHER. It was so cute! Anna and Etienne are my favorite book couple ever!

I seriously loved how much Stephanie Perkins made us wait... because it led to the absolute best ending ever! It totally blew my mind and rocked my socks off! I loved it! It was explosive, satisfying and perfect! It had me smiling a really goofy smile for the whole day. I was just thinking, wow, I loved this ending and I need more of Etienne! So was the torture worth it?

Yes, it absolutely was!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Overall: Whoever hasn't read this book yet should totally just GET IT SOMEHOW. As you can tell, everyone, including me, loves this book! It is so epic! I am dying to get Lola and the Boy Next Door, the sequel! Luckily it's out, so I don't have to wait at all!

Anna + Etienne FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder

Put simply, Inside Out is a story about a girl. If you go in depth, it's the story of a girl who changes her society and challenges the status quo. If you ask any reader, it's a story that inspires the reader to go out and change the world. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder
3.5 out of 5 stars
Published 3.24.10
Summary from Goodreads:
Keep Your Head Down.
Don't Get Noticed.
Or Else.

I'm Trella. I'm a scrub. A nobody. One of thousands who work the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I've got one friend, do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? The only neck at risk is my own…until I accidentally start a rebellion and become the go-to girl to lead a revolution.

Trella was the most hard to understand character in the story. Even as the protagonist, I found her to be unreachable, unrelatable, haughty and a little mean. It was a little unsettling that Trella herself knew she was, but I suppose it turns out to be okay in the end. You see, she ends up developing into a more caring, thoughtful person while keeping a bit of her snark. Not too bad for a main character.

Inside Out had a unique plot, if anything. It's not common to read a book involving the questioning of social classes in a dystopian setting with an old man being a prophet. Yes, an old man. Maria Snyder wove in an old man, an execution, rebellion and cruelty into a novel that challenges the status quo. There was plenty of action and suspense, but I felt as if I didn't understand enough of the shafts and pipes to fully enjoy it.

I really liked the guy in the story, Riley. He was smart, thoughtful, interesting and not boring. I hate it when a male character who is meant to be swoon-inducing is boring. Luckily, Riley was not! He seemed real, not just like a some guy from a book. Plus, he had an awesome taste in stuffed animals! (Baa.... I like sheep too...)

This wasn't just Trella's story, though. It was the story of Trella's friends too, new and old. I loved how every supporting character was unique and well-developed. They all had their individual personality, just like in real life. Every individual was individual.

All in all, Outside In was a nice read with a lot of heart. It was pretty relatable (for the most part) for a dystopian novel. The characters were all mostly pretty well thought out. Definitely worth the read!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster

I had a review totally written out for Daddy Long Legs, but I guess I'm just going to ditch it for no apparent reason. Instead, I'm just going to go with my imagination! (Once you read the book, you'll get why I wrote that....)
3.5 out of 5 stars

Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster
Published in 1912
3.5 out of 5 stars
Summary from Goodreads: Jerusha Abbott has grown up in the John Grier Home for orphans. As the oldest, she is in charge of the younger children. An anonymous benefactor on the Board, "Mr. Smith," decides to send her to college, as long as she writes to him faithfully detailing her education. Originally published in 1912, Jean Webster's coming-of-age tale continues to be relevant to young women today. Actress Kate Forges shares these months and years, from freshman to senior in college. Through a series of letters Jerusha writes to "Daddy-Long-Legs," a relationship filled with affection and respect develops...

This book is short. I'm not kidding! Daddy Long Legs is only 192 pages, but it is a 192 pages filled with humor, joy and skilled writing. It's a really skinny book that packs a huge punch. Plus, it's free on the Kindle and the internet as well. So nothing can stop you from getting this book now!

“Dear Daddy-Long-Legs,

You never answered my question and it was very important.

― Jean Webster, Daddy Long Legs

If that's not funny, then nothing is funny. I love the humor and imagination in Daddy Long Legs; it's inspiring! Jerusha (Judy) is an awesome character who is really thoughtful, smart and imaginative. She reminds me of Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables because they are both great characters. Plus, they both love to use their imagination, and that's the one thing that matters more than anything.

I loved how it was written in letter format. Usually books are not written in this style, so I was pleasantly surprised by Jean Webster's decision. It really suited the plot of the story and the era as well. It was fun looking at the dates and thinking, wow, a month has gone by! Besides, letters are automatically great to read! Who wouldn't want to read a ton of letters?

The only thing I didn't like was how I could guess who the anonymous benefactor was the moment I met him or her. I honestly figured it out who it was from the beginning, and it was annoying that I knew from the start. Most people probably wouldn't, but if you read carefully, the answer is obvious. Still, I enjoyed reading through Daddy Long Legs for the most part.

Considering that Daddy Long Legs is a classic, I'm actually quite pleased at how great of a book it turned out to be. While it's certainly not my favorite classic, it's definitely a classic worth reading. Besides, who can resist a free book?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Killer Pizza by Greg Taylor

Killer Pizza is one of those books that you either like or don't like. I read it simply because it seemed outrageous, wacky and totally not normal, but I still wasn't very happy with it. 3 out of 5 stars.

Killer Pizza by Greg Taylor
3 out of 5 stars
Summary from Goodreads: Pizza you’ll die for!

Toby McGill dreams of becoming a world-famous chef, but up until now, his only experience has been watching the Food Network. When Toby lands a summer job at Killer Pizza, where pies like The Monstrosity and The Frankensausage are on the menu, things seem perfect. His coworkers, Annabel and Strobe, are cool, and Toby loves being part of a team. But none of them are prepared for what’s really going on at Killer Pizza: It’s a front for a monster-hunting organization!

Learning to cook pizzas is one thing, but killing hideously terrifying monsters? That’s a whole other story. Still, if Toby quits Killer Pizza, will monsters take over his town?

Killer Pizza starts off with Toby, your average shy, half-geeky boy. He's desperate for something to do over the summer, so he gets a job at Killer Pizza. Not only is he happy with getting a job, but he's also happy with the fact that he gets to cook! Cooking is his vice. I thought Toby could have been slightly more developed, but overall he was an okay character.
As for his sidekicks, Strobe and Annabel, I thought they were both better developed than Toby. While I didn't really have any major thoughts about Toby, I definitely thought about Strobe and Annabel. I love their relationship with each other! It's really interesting and fun to read about! Plus, they both are great side characters who are tough, unique and thought out!

There was plenty of action, I'll give the author that. I read about crossbows, knives and plenty of other weapons. I read about fight scenes where the characters almost die, but I still think Killer Pizza could have a better plot.While there is a lot of action, the plot in general has some weaknesses. If you took away the fighting scenes, the remainder would be bland, artificial and slightly cheesy. I admire the guttata parts, but like I said, it was a little cheesy. Still, I definitely think it was a great try for a debut.

Greg Taylor wrote Killer Pizza in third person, which was a really daring thing to do. While it was great that he could also narrate in the perspectives of some of the other characters, I felt as if it was a bad choice overall. I felt less connected to Toby and his feelings. It was as if I was just watching the scenes, instead of feeling like I was a part of it.

I thought the whole cooking thing was a little odd, but I definitely enjoyed it. It was pretty fun reading about Toby try to create his own recipes.... especially Dragon Breath. I love the description of that pizza! Sweet, spicy, saucy.... I need to eat it now! Luckily, my version of the book has a recipe in the back!
Now I'm feeling really, really hungry....

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Girl of Nightmares

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine that features upcoming releases that we are waiting for.

This week's pre-publication "need-to-read-now" selection is:

Girl of Nightmares
By Kendare Blake
Publishing 8.07.12

Summary from Goodreads:

In this follow-up to Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas begins seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he’s asleep, and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong. These aren’t just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.

Cas doesn’t know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn’t deserve whatever is happening to her now. Anna saved Cas more than once, and it’s time for him to return the favor.

I loved Anna Dressed in Blood. Actually, I'm not exactly sure if love is a strong enough word for it. Anna Dressed in Blood is the only book I obsess over to everyone. My friends, my family and everyone else that knows me has heard "Anna Dressed in Blood" said way too many times.

Luckily for them, I'm not saying "Anna Dressed in Blood" anymore. I'm saying "Girl of Nightmares."

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: Killer Pizza

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB over at ShouldBeReading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Killer Pizza by Greg Taylor
My Teasers:
"Evil cannot see good, but good can always see evil." ~pg.77

Monday, January 23, 2012

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

I'm astonished. Shatter Me has rendered me speechless. It has broken the boundaries of what I thought a book could do to the reader. It has driven me crazy for more of Tahereh Mafi's writing. 5 HUNDRED MILLION STARS!

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Published 11.15.11
Summary from Goodreads: Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting as The Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.

Juliette is a heroine. There's no better way to say it. She's the perfect example of a character worth talking about. She can be feisty, brave and stubborn. But most of the time she's nice. She's always thinking about others and trying to help out. She takes their insults with grace, even though she's hurting inside. In the beginning, Juliette feels like she's a monster. She hates herself. Though throughout the story, she develops. She starts respecting herself.

I think Adam redefines the meaning of broken bad boy. Not only does he meet my expectations, he surpasses them! He is so loyal and caring. I was literally swooning throughout Shatter Me. He really loves Juliette and his brother. Plus he's broken. Adam has gone through so much throughout his life. It's not even funny how many deaths he's witnessed and how many bad memories he's had. Adam Kent is so on my crush list....

I really can't stop thinking about the villain, Warner. I am so horrified at his behavior and him in general. He's the type of guy everyone wants to know more about simply because he's the bad guy. He's a really sick, messed up, smart, shrewd type of guy. I am so flabbergasted (yes!) at how much he thinks he love Juliette. It is so sad....

This plot is more character-driven than action-driven, but it makes the book even better. I was so caught up in the story that I stayed up very late reading it. It has the perfect pace and layout. I would have never guessed that it was a debut! What a perfect plot!

Juliette has perfect prose. It's half poetic, half not and altogether a beautiful style of writing. It emotional, lush and totally addicting. It's definitely mind blowing and astounding. I'm half ready to reread it.

So in conclusion, Tahereh Mafi owns writing. There's no better way to state it.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Vampire Knight by Matsuri Hino

Vampire Knight was suggested to me by Goodreads about two months ago. I didn't check it out until a few days ago, and that was a terrible choice! I really liked it! 4 out of 5 stars.

Vampire Knight by Matsuri Hino
4 out of 5 stars
Summary from Goodreads: Cross Academy is attended by two groups of students: the Day Class and the Night Class. At twilight, when the students of the Day Class return to their dorm, they cross paths with the Night Class on their way to school. Yuki Cross and Zero Kiryu are the Guardians of the school, protecting the Day Class from the Academy's dark secret: the Night Class is full of vampires!
Yuki Cross has no memory of her past prior to the moment she was saved from a vampire attack ten years ago. She was adopted by the headmaster of Cross Academy, and now works alongside Zero to guard the Academy's secret. Yuki believes that vampires and humans can coexist peacefully, but her partner has different ideas...

Every manga artist has their own style, and I just want to say that Matsuri Hino has a slightly more childlike style. Her characters, especially Yuki, all have these huge eyes that are larger than normal manga characters. Of course, that's not necessarily a bad thing; it's just her style. Her style makes her art very distinctive, so I can basically tell she's the artist when I see a good-looking vampire with huge eyes.

Speaking of vampires, I really like this vampire named Kaname Kuran! He's so caring, kind and good-looking! He's also incredibly loyal. Plus he's a vampire! Who can resist a vampire? I am so Team Kaname!
As for the other guy in the love triangle, his name is Zero. A lot of people like him for his looks and jaded past. He's a broken boy with a terrible secret- a secret he's been keeping for the past four years...
But I'm still Team Kaname!

Yuki was an awesome character who was surprisingly feisty, strong and brave. She was so cute too! I loved reading about her, and throughout the story I was definitely cheering her on! Yuki is a great heroine; she's definitely worth reading about.

What surprised me in a good way was the lack of cheesiness. I hate cheesiness, as you can tell, and most manga stories have at least some cheesiness. For some reason though, Vampire Knight is not like other manga. Instead, it's addicting, brilliant and simply not cheesy.

I want to suck your blood. That's basically what one of the vampires says to Yuki. Now, with vampires that phrase is unavoidable. It's bound to be said. I just couldn't believe the whole story behind it all! The politics of the school and the setup of the plot are both remarkable. Both are cunning, thoughtful and not as easily laid out as you might think. The plot is actually more character-driven than action-driven, but that's okay because I like to know a lot about the characters.

I know that vampires are supposedly disgusting and boring nowadays, but I think Vampire Knight portrayed them really well. It's definitely a refreshing read that will change your perspective of vampires! Totally worth reading!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

I seen mixed reviews for Revolution. If you look on Goodreads, the most popular reviews are written by the people who didn't really like it. That's why I took so long to just pick up this book. And let me just say that I'm really glad I did. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
4.5 out of 5 stars
Published 10.12.10
Summary from Goodreads: BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape.

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.

Jennifer Donnelly, author of the award-winning novel A Northern Light, artfully weaves two girls’ stories into one unforgettable account of life, loss, and enduring love. Revolution spans centuries and vividly depicts the eternal struggles of the human heart.

This book is powerful, at the least. It tackles death, the French Revolution, sadness, despair and the story of Louis XVII. It shows how life will go on and how music truly does help. Andi is powerful, even if she doesn't know it. Even though she does seem kind of emo in the beginning, she still is powerful. With music, with words, with herself. Her emotions and her struggles to control them are evident. I felt like crying for her and her life.
The whole portion about the French Revolution is life changing as well. All the writing about it was hard to read because it was so brutal and harsh, especially Louis' story. I couldn't believe the tragical ending he had, but in the end it powers you.

Revolution is simply unique. First of all, not a lot of writers would choose a protagonist like Andi, who is jaded, mean, edgy and bold. She's not exactly a likable character. Secondly, the French Revolution in general is not a very popular topic to write a fiction novel about. But Jennifer Donnelly even chose a specific character to write about, Louis. That's even more rare. And lastly, the whole portion about the diary of Alexandrine and the transcending of time and paper is mind blowing. I've never read another book like this in my life. You simply can't find other books like it.

“Life’s all about the revolution, isn’t it? The one inside, I mean. You can’t change history. You can’t change the world. All you can ever change is yourself.”
There are so many good quotes from Revolution. I could seriously make a book out of them. The phrases are thoughtful, heartfelt, serious, beautiful and truthful. They're full of everything that makes a book good and none of the cheesy stuff. It's real.

Overall: All that I need to say is that Revolution is real. It's tragic, sad and believable. And that's kind of how life is.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta

When I finished The Piper's Son, the first thing I thought was, whoa. The second thing I thought was, I want to write like Melina Marchetta. And the third? Well, I thought, that's definitely 5 out of 5 stars.

The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta
5 out of 5 stars!
Published 3.08.11
Summary from Goodreads: The award-winning author of Finnikin of the Rock and Jellicoe Road pens a raw, compelling novel about a family’s hard-won healing on the other side of trauma.

Award-winning author Melina Marchetta reopens the story of the group of friends from her acclaimed novel Saving Francesca - but five years have passed, and now it’s Thomas Mackee who needs saving. After his favorite uncle was blown to bits on his way to work in a foreign city, Tom watched his family implode. He quit school and turned his back on his music and everyone that mattered, including the girl he can’t forget. Shooting for oblivion, he’s hit rock bottom, forced to live with his single, pregnant aunt, work at the Union pub with his former friends, and reckon with his grieving, alcoholic father. Tom’s in no shape to mend what’s broken. But what if no one else is either? An unflinching look at family, forgiveness, and the fierce inner workings of love and friendship, The Piper’s Son redefines what it means to go home again.

Throughout The Piper's Son, I just wanted to rip through the book and just finish it. But with Melina Marchetta, that's not possible. You have to savor every word and phrase that she writes. You have to read and reread some parts to truly grasp it. But that's the best type of writing. Writing that makes you cry, laugh and feel is what Melina Marchetta does best. And I love it.

Tom's story made me cry. I cried reading this story of a broken boy being put back together again, piece by piece, shard by shard. I cried when he finally became Tom again. I cried because be became stronger, braver, happier and better.
The Piper's Son is also about Tom's aunt, Georgie. In the beginning she's a single, pregnant woman who's mad at the world, or rather, her family. Yet throughout the novel, she develops. She eventually understands her family and herself, maybe even forgiving them.
Melina's not afraid to write about messed up, lifeless, real characters. She's not afraid to show readers the true situations and deep despairs of life. She creates characters you can relate to.
In The Piper's Son, Melina Marchetta brings back characters from Saving Francesca, like Justine, Siobhan, Will and Tara. She also adds new characters, like Ned and Mohsin the Ignorer. They're all great characters though, new and old.

Unlike Saving Francesca, The Piper's Son is a third-person novel. It alternates between the views of Georgie and Tom. But it's just as effective as a first-person version would be, probably even more.

Overall: Love is not a strong enough word to describe this book. You need phrases like blows you away, sweeps you off your feet and powerful. The Piper's Son is not merely a book; it's a masterpiece.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Music and other Videos I Still Like

I miss the old Disney and the old famous singers and the old movies. Remember Raven, Lizzie McGuire and Phil of the Future? Remember the Jonas Brothers and Jesse McCartney? Remember the Parent Trap? Remember?
Well even if you don't, here's a bunch of videos to jog your memory. :)

Beautiful Soul

Potential Breakup Song

That's So Raven- Test of Friendship pt. 1

Phil of the Future- Future Tutor pt. 1

The Parent Trap pt. 1


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Shooting Stars

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine that features upcoming releases we're dying to get. (Literally...)

This week's pre-publication "need-to-read-now" selection of the week is:

Shooting Stars
Written by Allison Rushby
Publishing 2.28.12
Summary from Goodreads: Meet Josephine Foster, or Zo Jo as she’s called in the biz. The best pint-sized photographer of them all, Jo doesn’t mind doing what it takes to get that perfect shot, until she’s sent on an undercover assignment to shoot Ned Hartnett—teen superstar and the only celebrity who’s ever been kind to her—at an exclusive rehabilitation retreat in Boston. The money will be enough to pay for Jo’s dream: real photography classes, and maybe even quitting her paparazzi gig for good. Everyone wants to know what Ned’s in for. But Jo certainly doesn’t know what she’s in for: falling in love with Ned was never supposed to be part of her assignment.

Cute. That's the first word that pops into my mind. While this isn't exactly the most unique plot, I have to say that I still like it anyways. I am a huge sucker for the whole superstar-and-an-almost-nobody-fall-in-love stories even though they're really, really common. Although I didn't expect it to have a photographer whose tiny size can get her the most coveted shots.

Ned. That's the second word that pops into my mind. I can't wait to find out if he's the super charming bad boy or the amazing loyal awesome guy or both! I'm kind of hoping for the both...
Most of my opinion on the superstar romance books depends on the guy. Of course, that's the thought process of everyone else as well...

NED! NED! NED! NED! NED! NED! NED! NED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dark Life by Kat Falls

One of my friends suggested Dark Life to me as a joke. She knew I'm not exactly for "ocean adventures," especially one about catching outlaws. So we were both astonished when I loved Dark Life! 5 out of 5 stars.

Dark Life by Kat Falls
5 out of 5 stars!
Published 5.01.2010
Summary from Goodreads: A thrilling futuristic adventure set deep undersea, Dark Life follows the settlers of the world's first subsea settlement as they defend their homesteads against a brazen band of outlaws.

Set in an apocalyptic future where rising oceans have swallowed up entire regions and people live packed like sardines on the dry land left, DARK LIFE is the harrowing tale of underwater pioneers who have carved out a life for themselves in the harsh deep-sea environment, farming the seafloor in exchange for the land deed.

The story follows Ty, who has lived his whole life on his family's homestead and has dreams of claiming his own stake when he turns eighteen. But when outlaws' attacks on government supply ships and settlements...

I thought the plot would be predictable, but I was way wrong. The outlaws were nothing like the demented cowboys I depicted them to be. They were unpredictable, puzzling, and totally unexpected. Plus the leader, Shade, has another identity....
Not only are the outlaws a part of the twists and tuns, but you also have Dark Gifts, suspicious people, the Government, and family to consider.
Dark Life was also full of action. I was never bored! You see, the plot was fast-paced and filled with fighting scenes and hilarious dialogue. Furthermore, the scenes were actually realistic and plausible!

Ty and Gemma are both really great characters. Ty's the type of guy that everyone likes and looks up to, but now he's beginning to lose his perfection....
I love how loyal, smart and loving he is. He's the perfect guy for anyone, especially Gemma! As for Gemma, saying she's a great character is a huge understatement. She's tough, fearless and surprisingly caring. She's a total heroine! Also, all the characters in Dark Life were well-developed, unique, and interesting. In fact, they were inspiring!

Kat Falls has this awesome writing style that is both captivating and magical. She has this amazing ability to write about living in the ocean and make it seem normal. Every sentence is perfectly thought out without making the reader think she's put months of effort into it. Her voice is effortless, flawless and comforting.

Plus, I love the underwater technology they have, such as Liquigen and mantaboards. Ty's home is also really unique; it looks like a giant jellyfish! The technology has made me want to move into the book and live underwater....
In. My. Dreams.

Overall, I totally love Dark Life! And even if you don't initially like the idea, Dark Life will totally grow on you and rock your socks off!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

3 More Days!

In three days, I will have a book. The book is Hallowed. It might not be out yet, but the trailer totally is! And it is mindblowing!

Plus, I love the feathers!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

I'm not really a zombie girl. I'm sorry to all zombie fans, but I don't really like reading about them. So I'm not exactly sure why I started reading this zombie novel, but I'm really glad I decided to. Maybe I even enjoy zombies now... 4 out of 5 stars.

Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel
4 out of 5 stars
Published 10.18.11
Summary from Goodreads: Love can never die.

Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie?

The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the manners, mores, and fashions of an antique era. A teenager in high society, Nora Dearly is far more interested in military history and her country’s political unrest than in tea parties and debutante balls. But after her beloved parents die, Nora is left at the mercy of her domineering aunt, a social-climbing spendthrift who has squandered the family fortune and now plans to marry her niece off for money. For Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses.

But fate is just getting started with Nora. Catapulted from her world of drawing-room civility, she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting “The Laz,” a fatal virus that raises the dead—and hell along with them. Hardly ideal circumstances. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and dead. But as is the case with the rest of his special undead unit, luck and modern science have enabled Bram to hold on to his mind, his manners, and his body parts. And when his bond of trust with Nora turns to tenderness, there’s no turning back. Eventually, they know, the disease will win, separating the star-crossed lovers forever. But until then, beating or not, their hearts will have what they desire.

In Dearly, Departed, romance meets walking-dead thriller, spawning a madly imaginative novel of rip-roaring adventure, spine-tingling suspense, and macabre comedy that forever redefines the concept of undying love.

Bram and Nora are such an amazing couple! I love how well their personalities fit together! They are so cute together! Seriously, they are perfect for each other! Swoon, swoon, swoon! I'm smiling just by thinking of them together!
Nora is a spunky, bold, smart heroine. She's not your average polite Victorian girl. She's better, and of course that's a good thing. She's secretly addicted to watching battle scenes and bloody stuff like that. She's worthy of being called a heroine. Not only can she use a gun, but she's also fierce, protective and brave.
Bram's a zombie, as you already know. But what you don't know is that he's charming, loyal and respectful guy any parent would want for their child. While he's not perfect, he makes up for that by being a well-meaning, responsible zombie. Plus, he really loves Nora, so I'm totally okay with him!

This book is all action, and that's what I love about it! The plot is fast-paced with a ton of fighting and blood. The villian is not clear in the beginning, and let me just tell you that I was not expecting that particular character to be the villian. Then there's the whole spreading of the zombie sickness to be considered. It's not your average zombie book. Lia Habel put a whole lot of thinking into the plot to guarantee a non-boring book. Of course, zombies were never boring in the first place...

I love how it's set in the future. That means there's a ton of new technology to get used to, like holograms instead of video. There basically is no internet, unless you count the Aethernet (I think I spelled that correctly...), and that's for abnormal people. I love how they live underground; that's extremely cool! Plus, the people act as if they were in the Victorian era, going to the extremes such as riding high-tech carriages. They all wear dresses too. It was really fun imagining Nora's society!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Blog Award?

Wow... I am more than amazed. I just recieved an award for blogging my heart out! Of course, I am more than thankful to Cassandra, from Monkeycstars, for awarding me the Tell Me About Yourself Award!


And yes, of course you should visit her blog! Cassandra is obsessed with everything cool, and of course that makes her even cooler!

Now, I have to tell you seven things about me:

  1. I'm obsessed with angels. I even have a collection of angel figurines just for the fun of it!
  2. I can do the splits all the way down. Right, middle, left...
  3. I like rainy days! They're great for writing poetry...
  4. I have the weirdest dreams ever! (Seriously.... one time I ate a golden battery.)
  5. I am secretly addicted to manga and frozen fruit.
  6. I'm an angel in disquise. That's why you can't see my halo...
  7. I was constantly drawing eyes last year to satisfy my urge for drawing them.
And I award the Tell Me About Yourself Award to Sara-Sadiya from Random and Booky!

    ...Spread the Love!

    Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    Waiting on Wednesday: The Catastrophic History of You and Me

    Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, that features upcoming releases we eager with anticipation for.

    This week's pre-published book is:

    The Catastrophic History of You and Me
    Jess Rothenberg
    Publishing 2.21.12

    Summary from Goodreads: "Inventive, gorgeous, funny and yes . . . heartbreaking. You will absolutely love this book." — Lauren Oliver, New York Times bestselling author of Before I Fall and Delirium.

    Dying of a broken heart is just the beginning.... Welcome to forever.

    BRIE'S LIFE ENDS AT SIXTEEN: Her boyfriend tells her he doesn't love her, and the news breaks her heart—literally.

    But now that she's D&G (dead and gone), Brie is about to discover that love is way more complicated than she ever imagined. Back in Half Moon Bay, her family has begun to unravel. Her best friend has been keeping a secret about Jacob, the boy she loved and lost—and the truth behind his shattering betrayal. And then there's Patrick, Brie's mysterious new guide and resident Lost Soul . . . who just might hold the key to her forever after.

    With Patrick's help, Brie will have to pass through the five stages of grief before she's ready to move on. But how do you begin again, when your heart is still in pieces?

    Mysterious, intriguing, cool and with the possiblity of a bad guy? I'm so in.

    I love books of beginning again and moving on, especially when there's a guy involved. (Patrick...) While I'm not sure how exactly he will be, I'm still really excited!
    Plus, I love the new concepts Jess Rothenberg has created. While Brie probably isn't a ghost, she's "dead and gone," which, quite frankly, seems really intriguing. I'm so glad there are authors like Jess!

    Tuesday, January 10, 2012

    Teaser Tuesday: Dearly Departed

    Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading!
    To participate all you have to do is:
    Grab your current read
    Open to a random page
    Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
    BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure what you share doesn't give too much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
    Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

    Dearly Departed by Lia Habel

    "Look- I eat tofu, okay?" -Kindle pg. 90

    "He walked with a quick, snappy gait, which was unusual for a zombie. If he was a zombie." -Kindle pg. 106

    "I am an idiot." -Kindle pg. 102

    So far Dearly, Departed has a lot of short teasers that I love! Not only that, but our heroine, Nora, is a definite heroine! She's strong, stubborn, smart and sassy. Not only that, but our zombie prince is pretty interesting as well. I can't wait to finish this book to figure out what happens!

    Monday, January 9, 2012

    Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber

    People say not to judge a book by its cover. But is it okay to pick up a bit simply because the cover might be more than gorgeous? You see, it was kind of love at first sight for me and Darker Still. Just because of a more than interesting cover... 3.5 out of 5 stars.

    Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber
    Published 11.08.11
    3.5 out of 5 stars
    Summary from Goodreads: The Picture of Dorian Gray meets Pride and Prejudice, with a dash of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

    New York City, 1882. Seventeen-year-old Natalie Stewart's latest obsession is a painting of the handsome British Lord Denbury. Something in his striking blue eyes calls to her. As his incredibly life-like gaze seems to follow her, Natalie gets the uneasy feeling that details of the painting keep changing...

    Jonathan Denbury's soul is trapped in the gilded painting by dark magic while his possessed body commits unspeakable crimes in the city slums. He must lure Natalie into the painting, for only together can they reverse the curse and free his damaged soul.

    Natalie Stewart is by far the most unique protagonist ever. Of course, that's not necessarily a bad thing. She's just different. You see, Natalie's mute. While it makes some people weaker, it made Natalie stronger. She's brave, intelligent, smart and genuinely likeable. And considering the era, it's quite rare to find a girl like her. (See, unique is totally a good thing!)

    And with unique protagonists come unique plots. It isn't everyday that you read a book involving a man trapped in a painting by a demon. Not to mention that the man desperately needs saving by a girl who can enter the painting. Add Egyptian hieroglyphs and a French poem to get a wicked puzzle and an outstanding plot! This plot is as unique as its protagonist!

    However, I thought that Denbury was just okay. Sure he has amazing looks and a bit of charm, but I also thought that he was kind of plain. He doesn't have a unique personality, not in the way that he stands out. He's just your average almost perfect love interest that everyone loves. Not that I don't like Denbury, of course. I just need to get to know him better.

    I love the fact that the book is literally Natalie's diary. This way it gives the author an way to not seem flowery like most books set in this period seem. Yet there's still an old-fashioned feel, which I totally admire. There's a few modern words slipped in, but in the diary it seems totally right. Writing like that takes skill.

    The setting is pretty awesome! I love the time frame and the location of this novel. It's always fun to imagine the dresses and the carriages of the late 1800's. Not only that, but it's in New York! That means the beginning of a certain museum all artsy people know, which is all the better! I love reading about the start of it all; it's fresh, new and totally absorbing.

    You can definitely read Darker Still as a stand-alone, which is really nice. So if you don't like it, you can just read this book by itself, and it'll already have a nice ending. The ending's relatively concluding and happy, so it's totally fine by itself!

    And Denbury, I still think you're just okay...

    Friday, January 6, 2012

    Schooled by Gordan Korman

    I fell in love with Gordan Korman's books ever since I started reading them. He has outrageous plots, a unique sense of humor and this ability to make everything seem fun. Needless to say, Schooled did not disappoint me. 4 out of 5 stars.

    Schooled by Gordan Korman
    4 out of 5 stars
    Published 2.29.2000
    Summary from Goodreads: Homeschooled by his hippie grandmother, Capricorn (Cap) Anderson has never watched television, tasted a pizza, or even heard of a wedgie. But when his grandmother lands in the hospital, Cap is forced to move in with a guidance counselor and attend the local middle school. While Cap knows a lot about tie-dyeing and Zen Buddhism, no education could prepare him for the politics of public school.

    I love all the characters in Schooled! They basically all narrate a bit of the story, so you really know what they are thinking! From the well-meaning Cap, to the smart, calculating Hugh Winkleman, they all get a part. There's the insecure Sophie and the popular Zach Powers. And there's also Rain, Cap's grandmother. While she doesn't narrate, she plays a huge part in all of this.
    Man, I love these characters!

    This book is outrageous, in a good way. While it's not common for a boy to have never eaten pizza or be homeschooled, Gordan Korman makes you feel like it's perfectly normal. His plots are so crazy that they actually seem average. I love it! I love how Cap's driving skills come in handy and how his so-called weirdness actually changes people. Outrageous plots and unusual events are all part of Schooled, but that's exactly why I love it!

    Even though there's a lot of funny parts in Schooled, I still love the fact that the author actually adds some serious parts too. There are parts about life, happiness and the world we live in. And the serious parts aren't overwhelming either. There's just the perfect balance of humor and actual serious stuff. (Not including Zen Buddhism...)

    Gordan Korman has an amazing sense of humor. Even the first few pages had me laughing like a lunatic. Not only are the premises hilarious, but the way the story is written is humorous as well. Everything about Schooled makes me want to laugh, but of course that's a great thing! Schooled has got to be the most hilarious book published in 2000!

    Even though Schooled was published twelve years ago, the book is still good. It's hard to believe that after twelve years people still love it. And that, my friends, shows you how great Schooled is and why you should read it.

    Thursday, January 5, 2012

    Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

    This is one of the books no one tells you about. This is one of those jewels hidden in the rough. This is a book about a struggle, a struggle to understand, a struggle for freedom, a struggle of everything. 5 out of 5 stars.

    Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
    5 out of 5 stars
    Published 10.21.08
    Summary from Goodreads:
    If an entire nation could seek its freedom, why not a girl?

    As the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight...for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate become the property of a malicious New York City couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel meets Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages her to spy on her owners, who know details of British plans for invasion. She is reluctant at first, but when the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel realizes her loyalty is available to the bidder who can provide her with freedom.

    From acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson comes this compelling, impeccably researched novel that shows the lengths we can go to cast off our chains, both physical and spiritual.

    How do I begin a review of a book that is, put simply, a masterpiece? Simple, by saying this review does not do it justice. Laurie Halse Anderson's novel is a novel that moves people. It's a novel that tells a heartbreakingly sad story. It's a novel that truly speaks. (Figuratively...)

    Isabel is possibly the best character in the history of characters. She truly loves her younger sister, Ruth, to the point where she takes Ruth's blame. She's smart, which I absolutely admire. I love it when a main character is witty. She's brave and courageous, which is best of all. While she isn't perfect, she is the most realistic and real character yet.

    Laurie Halse Anderson captured the scene perfectly. I could imagine New York perfectly, complete with the wigs on people and all. I could imagine the tension and conflict between Loyalists and the Rebels with ease. But most of all, I could see it through Isabel's eyes. To describe scenes this well is a skill only Laurie Halse Anderson has.

    Chains is heartbreaking, I'll admit that. In fact, it's more than heartbreaking; it's tragic. But unfortunately, it's realistic. I love how the author wasn't afraid to make Chains sad. Throughout the whole entire book, I was just about ready to cry. In fact, I actually did.

    But most of all, I loved the ending. Instead of writing an unrealistic happy ending, the author wrote an ending that offered hope. She wrote an ending full of chance and choice (if that makes sense...)
    She made wrote it perfectly.

    Wednesday, January 4, 2012

    Waiting on Wednesday

    Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. It features not-yet-published books we have on our to-read lists.

    And this week's fantastic pick is...

    Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
    Releasing 1.31.12
    Summary from Goodreads:
    Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

    Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

    Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

    Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life.

    Reincarnation. What a delicate word. What an interesting image it brings. What an awesome subject to write about! I love the whole idea of writing a book about it! Unique, interesting, slightly gory... in other words the perfect book for me!

    Then there's the romance. I'm the girl who likes loves romance. So that's why I absolutely can not wait for January 31st to come! And it's a deep romance, not a petty fling! This. Book. Is. Real. This book has almost made me feel the need to tear my hair off just by waiting. Almost.

    But on January 31st, I just might.

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012

    Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon

    This title is epic. It reminds me of a sparkly silver bird that glitters in the sun. However, the book is unfortunately not about that. In fact, a phoenix isn't exactly the main focus of the book. It focuses on a girl. Her name is Ai Ling. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

    Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon
    3.5 out of 5 stars
    Published 4.28.09
    Summary from Goodreads: No one wanted Ai Ling. And deep down she is relieved—despite the dishonor she has brought upon her family—to be unbetrothed and free, not some stranger's subservient bride banished to the inner quarters.

    But now, something is after her. Something terrifying—a force she cannot comprehend. And as pieces of the puzzle start to fit together, Ai Ling begins to understand that her journey to the Palace of Fragrant Dreams isn't only a quest to find her beloved father but a venture with stakes larger than she could have imagined.

    Bravery, intelligence, the will to fight and fight hard . . . she will need all of these things. Just as she will need the new and mysterious power growing within her. She will also need help.

    It is Chen Yong who finds her partly submerged and barely breathing at the edge of a deep lake. There is something of unspeakable evil trying to drag her under. On a quest of his own, Chen Yong offers that help . . . and perhaps more.

    Let me begin by saying this book this book is based on ancient Chinese beliefs. Its roots are from Chinese traditions. This is a book of Chinese culture and legend. Yet Silver Phoenix is so much more. Cindy Pon is very accurate with all the details.

    Then there's all the action! There's not one boring part in this story! Sooner or later comes a part filled with fighting, death and honor. This plot is fast, set at a searing pace. Every moment (well almost) is suspenseful and tense. This is what I call a good plot.

    Ai Ling is truly a great character. She isn't perfect, which is what I love. Sometimes shy and selfish, yet other times brave, compassionate and loving. You can tell she loves her father deeply and will do anything to save him. Yet she can also hate to the death.

    The villian in this story is not clear in the beginning. In fact, you don't really find out who he is until the middle. He has a history of being evil and vicious. But of course you don't know that until you read the book...
    I thought he was a unique villian worth reading about.

    And I also loved all the talk about food! Ai Ling loves her food, so that gave Cindy Pon the perfect excuse to describe food. It literally had my mouth watering for just a bite of it. Such awesome descriptions, such delectable (probably) food!
    Even so, reading > food. For now...

    Monday, January 2, 2012

    Rebel Angels by Libba Bray

    I'm just going to admit straight off that the Gemma Doyle trilogy is not bad at all. No matter how many scathing reviews are out there, you must ignore them. No matter how reluctant you are, you have to at least attempt reading this trilogy. 4 out of 5 stars.

    Rebel Angels by Libba Bray
    4 out of 5 stars
    Out and out of this world
    Summary from Goodreads: Ah, Christmas! Gemma Doyle is looking forward to a holiday from Spence Academy, spending time with her friends in the city, attending ritzy balls, and on a somber note, tending to her ailing father. As she prepares to ring in the New Year, 1896, a handsome young man, Lord Denby, has set his sights on Gemma, or so it seems. Yet amidst the distractions of London, Gemma’s visions intensify–visions of three girls dressed in white, to whom something horrific has happened, something only the realms can explain. . . .
    The lure is strong, and before long, Gemma, Felicity, and Ann are turning flowers into butterflies in the enchanted world of the realms that Gemma alone can bring them to. To the girls’ great joy, their beloved Pippa is there as well, eager to complete their circle of friendship.
    But all is not well in the realms–or out. The mysterious Kartik has reappeared, telling Gemma she must find the Temple and bind the magic, else great disaster will befall her. Gemma’s willing to do his intrusive bidding, despite the dangers it brings, for it means she will meet up with her mother’s greatest friend–and now her foe, Circe. Until Circe is destroyed, Gemma cannot live out her destiny. But finding Circe proves a most perilous task.

    This is the second book in the Gemma Doyle series, and I have to say it's a lot better than the first. Gemma herself has developed a lot since A Great and Terrible Beauty. She's no longer in the petty situations she was once in. She doesn't think the realms are safe anymore. She knows the risks. I like the new Gemma. Sure she still is very sharp-tongued and headstrong, but she knows to be afraid as well.

    The rich, elegant writing of Libba Bray has not changed though. She still has the ability to describe everything to be described without boring the reader, leaving a very easy image to visualize. I love the fact that the flowers in her writing are not annoying! It's the first case of that so far! Let Libba's style sweep you away!

    In the first book, the whole Order thing gets kind of confusing. However, in Rebel Angels, Libba delves deeper into it, clearing up most of the issues. She does a pretty good job with that and with the rest of the plot. One thing to say: you find out who Circe is. And to be honest, I was not expecting her. It literally blew my socks off! So many twists, turns and surprises. Such a great plot.

    Then there's the whole social aspect of it all. You have to remember that Gemma is fairly well off. So she absolutely must be aware of all the cliques and gossip going on. I thought Libba did quite a good job with it. It seemed quite believable, to tell you the truth. The scandals, the events, the suspense of it all! Waiting to eat you up...
    Okay, so maybe I'm overdoing it...

    Sunday, January 1, 2012

    Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

    I've been wanting to read Saving Francesca for a long time. It's been on my to-read list for at least 3 months now. So I wonder why I didn't pick it up earlier when it's such a unique, refreshing read. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

    Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
    4.5 out of 5 stars
    Out and out
    Summary from Goodreads: Francesca is stuck at St. Sebastians, a boys' school that's pretends it's coed by giving the girls their own bathroom. Her only female companions are an ultra-feminist, a rumored slut, and an an impossibly dorky accordion player. The boys are no better, from Thomas who specializes in musical burping to Will, the perpetually frowning, smug moron that Francesca can't seem to stop thinking about.

    Then there's Francesca's mother, who always thinks she knows what's best for Francesca—until she is suddenly stricken with acute depression, leaving Francesca lost, along, and without an inkling who she really is. Simultaneously humorous, poignant, and impossible to put down, this is the story of a girl who must summon the strength to save her family, her social life and—hardest of all—herself.

    I love the uniqueness of Saving Francesca. There's a feminist, a so-called slut and a piano accordion player. There's an alphabet burper, a nonstop talker and Will. They are not normal. You will not find them anywhere else. And that's the magic of it. Just like life has its interesting bits, school has interesting people. These characters are all so vibrant and cool. They grow on you. I now love them all.

    Some people might call them weird, but I think they're more than weird. They're amazing. The beauty of it all is that they make you smile. It makes you happy.

    Saving Francesca isn't just your fluffy chick-lit book. It's not just your book about a girl and a boy. It's about more. There's a girl (Francesca) whose life has been taken over by her mother. But when her mother falls into depression, she (Francesca) is lost. She has to get on with life, or rather find herself one. She has to find herself, or at least create an identity. She has to live. It's a deep book about identity.

    Melina Marchetta has this way to get the reader to relate with Francesca. Okay, so maybe she's unsure of who she is or who she wants to be, but that's not the point. The point is that the reader finds themself understanding her situation. The reader finds him or herself being moved by her situation. Such is the writing of Melina Marchetta. It's powerful, invigorating stuff that can't be ignored. It's stuff that changes perspectives, views and looks. It's unforgettable.
    But somehow, she manages to slip in humor and lighter stuff too. I wonder how she does it.

    Saving Francesca made me smile, and it will make you smile too.

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