Sunday, May 31, 2009

Swoon by Nina Malkin

Synopsis:

Torn from her native New York City and dumped in the land of cookie-cutter preps, Candice is resigned to accept her posh, dull fate. Nothing ever happens in Swoon, Connecticut...until Dice's perfect, privileged cousin Penelope nearly dies in a fall from an old tree and her spirit intertwines with that of a ghost. His name? Sinclair Youngblood Powers. His mission? Revenge. And while Pen is oblivious to the possession, Dice is all too aware of Sin. She's intensely drawn to him--but not at all crazy about the havoc he's wreaking.

Determined to exorcise the demon, Dice accidentally sets Sin loose, gives him flesh, makes him formidable. Now she must destroy an even more potent--and irresistible--adversary before the whole town succumbs to Sin's will. Only trouble is, she's in love with him.

Rating:

Character Development: 8/10
Originality: 10/10
Overall Enjoyment: 8/10
Ending: 10/10
Voice: 10/10
Setting: 9/10
Recommendation: 8/10
Total: 63/70

Grade: A+

Age Appropriate?

Cussing: Frequent in both narration and dialogue.
Drugs, Alcohol, etc: Many characters (including protagonist) frequently peruse both.
Sexual Content: Much promiscuity, and sometimes quite offensive. I will not go into extreme detail, but be warned.
Disturbing Images/Violence: Some rape.

Review:

I am very adamant about the ratings of this book. Namely, the originality, ending, and voice. W-O-W. I have never read an author with such witty and hilarious, yet dark and serious writing as Malkin. Dice's narration and commentary was both entertaining and informative. The plot structure was creative and resourceful. Everything about this book was very poetic.

Swoon was a completely unique book. Though the synopsis sounds rather generic for YA, not so! It was so...odd. So intelligent and new, with just a touch of surreality. I loved that Dice liked Swoon, enjoyed being there, because haven't we had enough of the 'misplaced-hero-stuck-in-hick-town' syndrome? No. This was much more elegant than that.

Despite its great aspects, Swoon is not for the faint of heart. I would even go so far as to call it 'for mature audiences only'. Overlooking the lewd and the all-too-detailed, however, it was a truly beautiful novel. At times I was slightly confused, but mostly I could write it off as a crazy dream thing, or else it was explained to me.

This book is a stand-alone novel, I am certain, and I haven't read a stand-alone novel in so long, it seems, that this is a wonderful thing. The ending was conclusive and perfect and not altogether happy, but satisfying. I was glad to reach it, and thankful for every single one of the 421 pages of Swoon.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Kissed by an Angel Trilogy by Elizabeth Chandler

Kissed by an Angel, The Power of Love, and Soulmates by Elizabeth Chandler

Synopsis:

When her boyfriend, Tristan, died, Ivy thought she'd lost everything, even her faith in angels. But now she's discovered that he's her guardian angel--his presence so strong that she can feel the touch of his hand, the beat of his heart. Ivy needs Tristan now more than ever because he knows she's in terrible danger. Only Ivy's guardian angel can save her, now that his killer is after her.

But if Tristan rescues Ivy, his mission on earth will be finished, and he must leave her behind forever. Will saving ivy mean losing her just when he's finally reached her again?

(The layout we use for reviewing is posted on the sidebar to the right.)

Ratings:
Character Development: 10/10
Originality: 8/10
Overall Enjoyment: 9/10
Ending: 10/10
Voice: 10/10
Setting: 10/10
Recommendation: 9/10
Total Score: 66/70
Grade: A+

Age Appropriate?
Cussing: Not much at all.
Drugs, Alcohol, etc: Teen drinking and drunkenness, teen drug use and drug dealing, intentional drugging of an innocent, brief scene of relationship abuse.
Sexual content: No scenes.
Disturbing Images/Violence: Bloody murders, attempted suicide, psychopathy (I think...?)

Review:
The first thing I want to say regarding this book is this: the synopsis is woefully inaccurate. I could hardly expect otherwise of such a short two paragraphs attempting to sum up an entire trilogy of action-packed plot line. Kissed by an Angel was beautiful indeed, but the main focus was on darker, uglier things. Essentially it was a mystery, written in Elizabeth Chandler's fluid, fast-paced writing and ending with a sort of surprising (yet satisfying) finale.

I am relieved that I wasn't asked to wait between the books. Never before have I come to the end of a book only to turn a single page and reach the sequel. It was kind of AWESOME! I hardly noticed the transitions, because Chandler kept the recapping and repetition and summarizing to a minimum and the story flowed effortlessly along.

The characterization in this novel was surprising. I believed it all. The relationships developed at a reasonable yet quick speed and the author revealed just enough about each character to keep you satisfied yet leave you wondering. Without saying anything outright, she embedded in the reader a deep trust (or distrust) of certain characters while our protagonists, Tristan and Ivy, may have felt differently. It was all very masterfully done.

Throughout it all, there were many messages, chiefly centering on love, death, and betrayal. Chandler's new perspective on angels brings a whole other dimension to the story and definitely adds intrigue and emotion. The durability of Tristan and Ivy's love, even through death, is apparent as the characters come to know that the ultimate test of their love is letting each other go.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

AWARDS

We have recently received some awards, and want to give thanks where it is needed.


From Liyana, we were given a mass stack of awards, which she also gave out to 99 other people. Though I felt that this took away from the meaning of an award, I still want to say thanks! Click here to check that out.


From Senfaye (A Maze of Books), we were given the Enchanted Blog Award. This award was much more meaningful since she only chose five people to send it on to. Thank you Senfaye!


The only requirement for this award is that you share it with whomever you like, sharing the love is always a good thing. The blog has to show only one characteristic, caring. So, start sharing this enchanted award with five other bloggers. Let your bloggers know they have received this enchanted award. (Remember, fairies are fickle wee things, don't incur their displeasure by ignoring their gift.)


I am going to choose to pass this award on to two blogs I think really deserve it:

Bookluver Carol and Hey, Teenager of the Year.

I hope you haven't already gotten this award! I just wanted to let you know that your blogs are enchanting, phenomenal, and absolutely amazing. Thanks for being so great for all the bloggers and readers out here!

-Elise-

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wings by Apprilynne Pike

Book One in the Laurel Series

Click here for our interview with Aprilynne Pike!

Synopsis:

Laurel was mesmerized, staring at the pale things with wide eyes. They were terrifyingly beautiful—too beautiful for words.

Laurel turned to the mirror again, her eyes on the hovering petals that floated beside her head. They looked almost like wings.

In this extraordinary tale of magic and intrigue, romance and danger, everything you thought you knew about faeries will be changed forever.

Ratings:

Character Development: 6/10
Originality: 9/10
Overall Enjoyment: 7/10
Ending: 9/10
Voice: 6/10
Setting: 10/10
Recommendation: 7/10
Total: 54/70

Grade: A


Age Appropriate?

Cussing: Not too bad.
Drugs, Alcohol, etc: None.
Sexual Content: Occasionally part of conversation
Disturbing Images: None.

Review:

Wings was worth reading, I'll give it that. I enjoyed it and had a good time reading it. I think the second one will be awesome. But the truth is, the book just started picking up the pace closer to the end than I would have liked. The first half is rushed and the hastiness is confusing and not so intimate. The narrative pace bothered me a lot, but Pike's writing and creativity--especially in times of stillness, when Laurel wasn't on the move--was unnervingly beautiful.

I liked most of her characters, especially David and Chelsea and Tamani. I did not like Laurel. She came off as kind of slow or oblivious at times. Her differences are emphasized over and over in the narration, and eventually it becomes tedious and we're just waiting for Laurel to realize that obviously she's something other than human.

Which brings us to faeries. Pike's vision of this supernatural world is completely unique, as far as I know. She creates a nearly logical explanation for them, weaving in evolution and fact and knowledge of plants to form a whole other species. Though I wouldn't call it possible, at least her view was somewhat realistic, and I enjoyed learning about this. I only wish that there had been more information given to us regarding that world, instead of having so many gaping holes in what we know.

All in all, I thought Wings was a good debut novel, but I'm fairly sure, based on the latter half of the book, that the second installment in the Laurel series can only be better.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Synopsis:

A fresh, urban twist on the classic tale of star-crossed lovers.

When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more. In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.

Rating:

Character Development: 10/10
Originality: 6/10
Overall Enjoyment: 8/10
Ending: 10/10
Voice: 9/10
Setting: 9/10
Recommendation: 9/10
Total Score: 61/70

Grade: A+

Age Appropriate?

Cussing: Very frequently, in both narration and speech.
Drugs, Alcohol, etc: Yes. One main character uses drugs at one point and smokes on a regular basis. Both of them have their respective drinking scenes.
Sexual Content: Yes. Completely. There are many, many, many conversations, many flashbacks, one real scene, lots of thoughts and narration. For a mature audience.
Disturbing Images/Violence: Beatings, murder.

Aimed at ages 16+.

Review:

At first, I was ashamed that I liked this book so much. Then I was ashamed that I was ashamed because for a lot of people, this is reality. Gangs, guns, drugs, slums. Constant fear. Screwed-up home lives. Masking the truth. All things that are out there, prominent, in the world.

This book is about a society divided between north and south, rich and poor. It is proof that people from very different backgrounds can shed their facades and layers to find that underneath, they are all too similar. It is about attraction and falling in love, with all the worst kinds of complications. It is about teenagers asked to take on responsibilities they shouldn't have to face, and about setting aside prejudice for love. Elkeles portrays the struggle of two polar-opposite teens, Alex Fuentes and Brittany Ellis, with harsh emotions and simple truths, in a town where outward appearances are everything and secrets are bigger than words.

The setting of Perfect Chemistry was amazingly adequate. Though the idea may seem simple, Elkeles explores the layers involved in a town everyone knows is split in two and no one cares to change. Things for Alex and Brittany are never just black and white, but every hue in between. Elkeles leads us to discover this through the eyes of confused, not entirely innocent teenagers.

I found the writing and plot line enchanting. It was a thoroughly grounded story, a mix of Grease, Romeo and Juliet, and Elkeles' brilliance. All teenagers should read this book and explore truths about first impressions, first love, first loss, and first everything else. Throughout Perfect Chemistry, it's easy to see a bit of screwed-up Fairfield in every town, a bit of screwed-up Alex or Brittany in every one, and a bit of the good sides of both of these everywhere in this story that annihilates all stereotypes and exceeds all expectations.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

In My Mailbox (6)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren. On it, we will post the books we have gotten this week from the library, the bookstore, the mail, a friend that leant it to us, and any other ways that we manage to get a book from. Hopefully it will introduce you to some books that might interest you. We love hearing what you think!
IN ELISE'S MAILBOX:

And Then Everything Unraveled by Jennifer Sturman
From: The mail, ARC

Delia Truesdale has no idea her life's about to change forever. She's too busy enjoying the California summer. Her internet tycoon mother, T.K. Truesdale, is out of town, and that means Delia can spend all her time at the beach, surfing. That is, until everything unravels.

Her mother suddenly goes missing, and everyone thinks she's dead - excpet Delia, who knows T.K.'s way too organized to simply disappear. But Delia's still sent to New York to live with her two aunts - a downtown bohemian and an uptown ice queen.

And in case that's not bad enough, she also has to deal with a snooty new school and trying not to fall for the wrong guy. Oh, and finding her mother.

As she delves deeper into the tangle of conspiracies and lies surrounding T.K.'s disappearance, Delia begins to suspect that the wrong guy may be the right guy...and that some secrets - especially the dangerous ones - were never meant to be unraveled.

War of the Witches by Maite Carranza
From: The library (Not so sure if I'm going to read this one. Should I?)

Outsider Anaíd leads a solitary life in a small village in the Pyrenees with her mother Selene. She does not suspect there is anything particularly strange about her family, aside from her mother’s personal eccentricities . . . until one day Selene disappears without a trace and Anaíd is confronted with a shocking truth, her mother is a witch, prophesied to be the chosen one to end an ancient war between two feuding clans.


Blue Bloods by Melissa De La Cruz
From: The library

Within New York City’s most elite families, there lurks a secret society of celebrated Americans whose ancestors sailed on the Mayflower. They are the powerful and the wealthy—and in fact, they are not human. They are the Blue Bloods, an ancient group of vampires.

Schuyler Van Alen has never fit in at Duchesne, her prestigious New York City private school. She prefers baggy, vintage clothes instead of the Prada and pearls worn by her classmates, and she lives with her reclusive grandmother in a dilapidated mansion. Schuyler is a loner—and happy that way.
But when she turns fifteen, Schuyler’s life changes dramatically. She has a mosaic of blue veins on her arms, and craves raw meat. The death of a popular girl from Duchesne is surrounded by a mystery that haunts her. And strangest off all, Jack Force, the most popular boy in school, is showing a sudden interest in her.
Schuyler wants to find out the secrets the Blue Bloods are keeping. But is she herself in danger?

Lily Dale: Awakening by Wendy Corsi Staub
From: The library

Calla thought that her boyfriend breaking up with her in a text message was the worst thing that could ever happen to her. But just two weeks later, her mother died in a freak accident, and life as she knew it was completely over. With her father heading to California for a new job, they decide that Calla should spend a few weeks with the grandmother she barely knows while he gets them set up.

To Calla’s shock, her mother’s hometown of Lily Dale is a town full of psychics—including her grandmother. Suddenly, the fact that her mother never talked about her past takes on more mysterious overtones. The longer she stays in town, the stranger things become, as Calla starts to experience unusual and unsettling events that lead her to wonder whether she has inherited her grandmother’s unique gift. Is it this gift that is making her suspect that her mother’s death was more than an accident, or is it just an overactive imagination? Staying in Lily Dale is the only way to uncover the truth. But will Calla be able to deal with what she learns about her mother's past and her own future?

IN SHAKESPEARE'S MUSE'S MAILBOX:

Impossible by Nancy Werlin

From: A friend. (I have already read and reviewed this. Click here to see the review.)

Lucy Scarborough is seventeen when she discovers that the women of her family have been cursed through the generations, forced to attempt three seemingly impossible tasks or to fall into madness upon their child's birth. How can Lucy succeed when all of her ancestors have tried and failed? But Lucy is the first girl who won't be alone as she tackles the list. She has her fiercely protective foster parents beside her. And she has Zach, whose strength amazes her more each day. Do they have enough love and resolve to overcome an age-old evil?
Inspired by the ballad "Scarborough Faire", this spellbinding novel combines suspense, fantasy, and romance for an intensely page-turning and masterfully original tale.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Impossible by Nancy Werlin

Synopsis:

Lucy Scarborough is seventeen when she discovers that the women of her family have been cursed through the generations, forced to attempt three seemingly impossible tasks or to fall into madness upon their child's birth. How can Lucy succeed when all of her ancestors have tried and failed? But Lucy is the first girl who won't be alone as she tackles the list. She has her fiercely protective foster parents beside her. And she has Zach, whose strength amazes her more each day. Do they have enough love and resolve to overcome an age-old evil?

Inspired by the ballad "Scarborough Faire", this spellbinding novel combines suspense, fantasy, and romance for an intensely page-turning and masterfully original tale.

Rating:

Character Development: 10/10
Originality: 10/10
Overall Enjoyment: 9/10
Ending: 10/10
Voice: 10/10
Setting: 8/10
Recommendation: 9/10
Total Score: 66/70

Grade: A+

Age Appropriate?
Cussing: Some.
Drugs, Alcohol, etc: No.
Sexual Content: Rape of the main character during which the reader is quite present; some scenes, nothing too explicit.
Disturbing Images/Violence: Insanity; teen pregnancy.

Aimed at at 16+.

Review:


Impossible was a strange, terrible unique book--and all the better for it. So many aspects of it were unconventional and surprising. The plot was developed in such a way that, while complication after complication occurred, I never disbelieved the characters or the story. Werlin took a different standpoint on magic, as well. Although this brand of magic was important throughout, I hesitate to call Impossible a fairy tale or fantasy. Throughout the novel, it is an evil, "Other" thing and is not even the focus of the story. This never changes, all the way through the end. Magic affects, but is not the point of, these events. Impossible proves, with all its reality and discord, that magic can be less clever than it first appears, and the mundane and technology have their own kind of power.

I was amazed at Werlin's characterization of Lucy (protagonist). Her actions and reactions were totally believable, but also engaging and fascinating. Characters such as Zach, Soledad, and Miranda also had fantastically detailed and suitable histories that only added to the overall experience of reading this book. Written in third-person omniscient, we come to know all of the characters from within their own minds, and this makes the setting much more intimate. The reader is never in doubt or left guessing. Somehow, this added to the realism of the story as we realized the flaws involved in all parties--even the bad guys.

Werlin's writing is eloquent, true, and human. It shows a thoughtful respect for women and an appreciation of their strength in this coming-of-age novel. Impossible was a beautiful, thoughtful, dark, and weighty story that the reader can come away from feeling at once more cynical and more optimistic than when they began, but most of all knowing that where there is love, it is possible to heal.

Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr

Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr, the Third Tale of Faerie

Synopsis:

Seth never expected he would want to settle down with anyone--but that was before Aislinn. She is everything he'd ever dreamed of, and he wants to be with her forever. Forever takes on a new meaning, though, when your girlfriend is an immortal faery queen.

Aislinn never expected to rule the very creatures who'd always terrified her--but that was before Keenan. He stole her mortality to make her a monarch, and now she faces challenges and entices beyond anything she'd ever imagined.

Ratings:

Character Development: 9/10
Originality: 10/10
Overall Enjoyment: 8/10
Ending: 8/10
Voice: 8/10
Setting: 8/10
Recommendation: 8/10
Total Score: 59

Grade: A

Age Appropriate?

Cussing: Some. Not offensive.
Drugs, Alcohol, etc: Some drinking. Not much.
Sexual Content: Several scenes, though nothing "R" rated. Lust is a theme throughout.
Disturbing Images: Nothing.

Aimed at ages 15+.

Review:

This series is truly fantastic. The writing is well-done and heartfelt, and I feel for the characters in their tangled situations. In this third Tale of Faerie, Melissa Marr focuses on emotions of her main characters: Aislinn and Seth, and Keenan and Donia. Each is caught between politics, love, eternity, and inevitability. Aislinn loves Seth; Seth loves Aislinn. Seth will die; Aislinn will not. Aislinn is inexplicably drawn to her king, her other half, Keenan; Keenan won't stop wooing her for the benefit of their court. Donia loves Keenan; Keenan loves Donia; Winter and Summer can't love each other and survive. And all the while we witness these four important members of the faery courts fight and speak through matters of politics, for the benefit of their respective courts.

Marr's third book highlights the complications of being immortal and the price for eternity, no matter your situation. It is more symbolic than its sequels, where War and Reason and Darkness become tangible characters and things are not what they seem. We delve into the High Court this time and discover its secrets in all its strangeness. We watch as the characters we had loved in the past change into things we aren't yet sure we can love yet.

Though I felt this was an excellent addition to the Tales of Faerie, it felt odd reading it. I felt like I was hurrying to finish it, to get it done, to bypass the pages upon pages and chapters upon chapters of the same emotions, the same doubts, the same hesitations. Often the same words. The ending was abrupt; it left a wide cliffhanger hanging open, so obvious and so important. There are more matters of state and less romance or the establishing of relationships, and thus it was more boring at parts. I'm not sure if it was the timing or the setting of when I was reading it, but I didn't get quite as into Fragile Eternity as I did with the prequels. But still--Melissa Marr fans, definitely give this one a try!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr

Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr, the Second Tale of Faerie

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Leslie knows nothing of faeries or their shadowy power struggles. When she is attracted to an eerily beautiful tattoo, all she knows is that she has to have it, convinced that it is a tangible symbol of changes she desperately craves for her own life.

The tattoo does bring changes--not the kind that Leslie dreamed of, but sinister, compelling changes that bind Leslie to Irial, a dark and dangerous faery king fighting for the soul of his court. Slowly, Leslie is drawn deeper and deeper into the faery world, unable to resist its allures, and helpless to withstand its perils...

Ratings:

Character Development: 6/10
Originality: 10/10
Overall Enjoyment: 8/10
Ending: 10/10
Voice: 9/10
Setting: 8/10
Recommendation: 7/10
Total Score: 58/70

Grade: A

Age Appropriate?

Cussing: Some. Not very frequent or offensive.
Drugs, Alcohol, etc: Frequent drug usage (by secondary characters mostly), drinking, and smoking are all very prevalent throughout.
Sexual Content: Yes, many scenes. Rape.
Disturbing Images/Violence: Mentions and memories of rape, can be uncomfortable.

Aimed at 15+.

Review:

Unlike its prequel, Ink Exchange is very dark and dirty. Leslie lives in horrible conditions, and is surrounded by drugs and that sort of thing every day. Prior to the beginning of the novel, she had been raped, and we hear about this a lot. Though these things added depth to the story and were of utmost importance, I liked the overall feeling of Wicked Lovely better.

One of the main reasons I felt this didn't live up to the standards of Wicked Lovely probably had something to do with my distaste for Irial. The Dark Faery King becomes prominent in this one, and Marr tells the story through his perspective quite frequently. I disliked his nature and his voice, to the point where I didn't care about his emotions or reactions, regardless of whether they were right or not. Leslie didn't help much, either--some of the choices she made made me think of her as unwise or stupid, not something you want to think about your hero.

But aside from all of this, the writing was just as fantastically done as in book one. I read the whole thing through without stopping once, and was happy I'd done so--the ending is perfect for the story. Melissa Marr has a gift for this, it seems. Although I am anxious for the next book, I am satisfied for the mean time and not tearing my hair out over cliffhangers.

Ink Exchange was surprising to me: Aislinn and Keenan and Seth all take smaller roles this time around, shifting the focus from the Summer Court to the Dark Court. Characters we never thought to care about come forward and steal our hearts or make us snarl. People like Niall, Irial, Rabbit the tattooist and his sisters, Ani and Tish. Suddenly, their story seems so much more important.

If you enjoyed Wicked Lovely, I insist that you continue on with the series. Though Ink Exchange was not Melissa Marr's best work, I am sure Fragile Eternity, the next Tale of Faerie, will blow us all away.

Wicked Lovely by Malissa Marr

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr, the First Tale of Faerie

Synopsis:

Rule #3: Don't stare at invisible faeries.

Rule #2: Don't speak to invisible faeries.

Rule #1: Don't ever attract their attention.

Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in the mortal world. When the rules that have kept Aislinn safe from them stop working, everything is suddenly on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; her life; everything.

Faery intrigue, mortal love, and the clash of ancient rules and modern expectations swirl together in Melissa Marr's stunningly twenty-first century faery tale.

Ratings:

Character Development: 7/10
Originality: 9/10
Overall Enjoyment: 9/10
Ending: 10/10
Voice: 8/10
Setting: 10/10
Recommendation: 9/10
Total Score: 62/70

Grade: A+

Age Appropriate?

Cussing: Some.
Drugs, Alcohol, etc: Drugs are there but not used by the main characters. Some alcohol usage.
Disturbing Images/Violence: Nothing too disturbing, or I would remember it.

Aimed at 15+.

Review:

An excellent start to a promising series! Marr creates characters to love and be proud of, in a setting that is both terrifying and frustratingly unknown. Throughout the book, I wanted to know so much more about the world of faeries, so much that Aislinn, our protagonist, doesn't know. I suppose we'll learn much more in the books to come, but I was disappointed by the lack of exploration.

However, Aislinn more than made up for my disappointment. How many books have you read that begin with an overwhelming hatred of faeries? How many books have you read where the heroine sits on the edge of all things dirty (drugs, drinking, smoking, etc), yet doesn't spare them a thought? And, goodness, how many books have you read where the all-too-beautiful supernatural guy is not the man of her dreams?

Nope. I said it! In this book, the girl goes for the facially-pierced, black-haired best friend instead of the glowing Summer King, despite her otherworldly lust toward him. It was surprisingly...refreshing. Unique. It drew me in to the rest of the story, because I didn't trust or like Keenan from the beginning, but I've always liked the other guy, Seth.

That's one thing, though, that was lacking in the characterization area: trust. I was constantly in mistrust of Keenan and all the other faeries, because at first Aislinn was. That never left me, even when I knew it should have. I sometimes didn't trust Seth to be Seth, because sometimes he wasn't. And at some points, I was even confused with Aislinn's actions.

This was remedied somewhat by the switching perspectives, or at least it was meant to. Marr divided the story between any and all the characters who struck her fancy, it seemed, but it worked. At times, there would be a brief moment of confusion as she switched from one setting to another or one conversation to another. But it was always resolved, and overall I liked the effect.

The ending was perfect. It seemed to resolve much, and I was satisfied. Obviously, another book or two is necessary, but I'm not left disparaged because of cliffhangers. Overall, I think this book is definitely worth reading. It's a good take on the supernatural in the modern world, without frills or fluff, and very frank. The tone can be dark or moody or joyous or optimistic--but regardless of tone, it is all very well done.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

CONTEST: Win Victoria Hanley's fantastical book!


HEALER'S KEEP, a companion to Victoria Hanley's books, The Seer and the Sword and The Light of the Oracle!
(*Can be a stand-alone book!*)

This book (along with the rest of Victoria Hanley's books) is simply superb, and totally worth the read!

SYNOPSIS:

Something is threatening the legendary Healer's Keep, where students gifted in the healing arts are trained. Yet even the Ellowens, the most powerful of all the gifted, are unaware that the forces of the Shadow King have begun to move. Three powerful new students arrive at the Keep as it begins to crumble under the dark foce. One is more evil than he first appears and secretly aids the Shadow King. The world's only hopelies with the other two students--Dorjan and Sara--who combine their raw and unpolished gifts to fight the growing evil in a fantastical journey across kingdoms, oceans, and dreams.

Will they learn enough in time to keep the darkness at bay? Or will the Shadow King turn their gifts against them and once again walk the world?

To win a copy, you must simply comment on this post!
There will be two winners. This contest will close on June 1st! Hurry! :-)

Wake by Lisa McMann

Synopsis:
For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people's dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie's seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime.

She can't tell anybody about what she does -- they'd never believe her, or worse, they'd think she's a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn't want and can't control.

Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else's twisted psyche. She is a participant....

(The reviewing format is posted on the right sidebar.)

Rating:
Character Developement: 9/10
Originality: 9/10
Overall Enjoyment: 2/10
Ending: 3/10
Voice: 9/10
Setting: 4/10
Recommendation: 0/10
Total Score: 36/ 70
Grade: C

Age Appropriate?
Cussing: Way too much.
Drugs, Alcohol, etc: Way too much.
Sexual Content: Happens in other people's dreams.
Disturbing Images/ Violence: Child abuse, and nightmares that are quite frightening, really.

Review:
I thought this book would be great. It's a very interesting and intriguing idea, being pulled into dreams that are not your own, but the book was just bad— in my opinion at least.

The atmosphere that the drugs, foul language, and dark setting created is somewhat unsettling and not enjoyable to read. The over excessive amount of cussing degraded the characters. The characters were well developed, yeah, I'll give it that, but I didn't like any of them. Not even Janie, the protagonist of the story. She kept running off. She hardly ever just stayed, explained, or let things be explained to her. Janie’s relationship with Caleb was sometimes sweet, but other times just weird or utterly annoying.

The only enjoyable thing about this was the writing. Lisa McMann has a unique writing style that is a bit addicting (despite how much the story disgusts me). It is a fast paced book and the short-choppy sentences flow easily and almost rhythmically together. The writing style would be beautiful minus the constant flow of foul language. In all, I know that lots of people like this book. Truthfully: I don’t.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Maggie Stiefvater Contest

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

Looks awesome, right? You can pre-order SHIVER from Amazon by clicking here.
If you want a chance to win this book and some other stuff from Maggie Stiefvater click here. But you HAVE to comment and say that Elise from http://www.readingrocks4me.blogspot.com/ sent you! In order for it to count, you must post the picture, the synopsis, and a link to the pre-order page on your blog. Thanks everyone!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

In My Mailbox (5)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren. On it, we will post the books we have gotten this week from the library, the bookstore, the mail, a friend that leant it to us, and any other ways that we manage to get a book from. This week Shakespeare's Muse is not in town and doesn't have internet access, so you will just be seeing what books I got.

IN ELISE'S MAILBOX:
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
From: The mail, ARC- I'm not sure if this is actually YA, but I agreed to read it because it looks really good. The Salem Witch Trials always interest me.
Harvard graduate student Connie Goodwin needs to spend her summer doing research for her doctoral dissertation. But when her mother asks her to handle the sale of Connie's grandmother's abandoned home near Salem, she can't refuse. As she is drawn deeper into the mysteries of the family house, Connie discovers an ancient key secreted within a seventeenth-century Bible. The key contains a yellowing fragment of parchment with a name written upon it: Deliverance Dane. This discovery launches Connie on a quest to find out who this woman was, and to unearth a rare colonial artifact of singular power: a physick book, its pages a secret repository for lost knowledge of herbs and other, stranger things.
As the pieces of Deliverance's harrowing story begin to fall into place, Connie is haunted by visions of the long-ago witch trials, and begins to fear that she is more tied to Salem's dark past then she could have ever imagined.

Snap by Carol Snow

From: The mail, ARC

Madison Sabatini thought she knew who she was. Then, in a flash, everything changed.
Now Madison finds herself stuck in a strange, sleepy beach town, and she throws herself into her one passion: photography. But when bizarre figures start appearing in her photos—people who are later reported dead—Madison begins to question everything about who she is...and who she wishes she could be.
Both chilling and relatable, this is the story of a normal girl who finds her life spinning strangely out of control. Carol Snow once again deftly blends teen-angst realism with paranormal suspense.


Wake by Lisa Mcmann

From: An awesome bookstore three stories tall and very exciting!

For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people's dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie's seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime.

She can't tell anybody about what she does -- they'd never believe her, or worse, they'd think she's a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn't want and can't control.

Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else's twisted psyche. She is a participant....

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

From: The same awsome bookstore!

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered a reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace, and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia. And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly's Dust, and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison. As Yelena tries to escape her dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and she develops magical powers she can't control. Her life’s at stake again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear!

Moonlight by Rachel Hawthorne

Synopsis:
Kayla has always felt a kinship with nature. Adopted as a child, Kayla has no idea that she’s inherited the gene that will turn her into a wolf. She can’t understand why she’s so drawn to distant, aloof Lucas...

As the leader of the Dark Guardians, a pack of werewolves that gather in the national forest, Lucas must watch Kayla until she discovers her destiny as his perfect other half. Just when Kayla finally begins to understand her fate, a new danger emerges...one that threatens their very existence.

(The reviewing format is on sidebar to the right.)

Rating:
Character Developement: 10/10
Originality: 6/10
Overall Enjoyment: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Voice: 9/10
Setting: 10/10
Recommendation: 10/10
Total Score: 65/ 70
Grade: A+

Age Appropriate?
Cussing: Some
Drugs, Alcohol, etc: One short beer drinking scene
Sexual Content: Suggestive in conversation.
Disturbing Images/ Violence: Slight animal abuse (even though he wasn't really an animal), wolves fighting, things like that. It's not bad at all though.

Aimed at age 13 and up.

Review:
Rachel Hawthorne weaves an incredible romantic tale, compiled with an imaginative plot, fantastic characters, and even a bit of mystery. This book is hard to put down. Though it is only 263 pages, the story is far from simple. It is a somewhat unique interpretation of werewolves. There are many like qualities with other werewolf books, but it is probably because they are all based off the old legends and stories.

The setting was wonderfully vivid, taking place in a national forest. The writing is so descriptive that it makes you feel like you are there. Like you are swimming through the river, you are attempting to walk quietly between the shadows of the trees; you hear the pounding of the waterfall and see the trees, valleys, and the werewolf village.

The characters were another fantastic aspect of the story. The use of secrets always makes a character seem so much more three dimensional, and Hawthorne definitely achieved three dimensional characters. The relationship between the characters was understandable and real, and Kayla’s inner-monologue was always interesting and fun to listen to.

I can’t wait to read the second installment to the Dark Guardian Trilogy! The only other of Hawthorne’s novels I have read was TO CATCH A PIRATE, which she wrote under the name Jade Parker. She has an unbelievable talent of creating different voices for the characters that narrate her stories. I am excited to find out what voice FULL MOON will have.

See the Dark Guardian Trailer at her website or by clicking here.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Interview with Sally Gardner

Sally Gardner is the amazing author of
I, Coriander
The Red Necklace
And the soon to come sequel to The Red Necklace, The Silver Blade
If you have not already read these books, you DEFINITELY should!
Here is the lovely interview:
Your childhood was abnormal because of your dyslexia, yet today you can claim it as a gift. What advice would you give to young adults who have similar setbacks toward their literary aspirations?
Never stop telling yourself stories, even if you can't write them down. Keep making them up. I always carry a notebook with me. I've long given up worrying about my spelling and just write things so that I alone can read them. For goodness sake, it doesn't matter. There are hundreds of people - thousands - millions that can spell and write fluently, but do they have the ideas? The idea is the gift. I have a head bursting with them. All my life, I've told myself stories. It was, and still is, my way of surviving.
Spelling and grammer are technical problems which computers have gone a long way towards helping to solve.

Both of your novels -- I, Coriander and The Red Necklace -- are historical fantasies. Why do you choose to write YA Fiction of this genre?
I'm always fascinated by the margins of history, what falls into the cracks of time to be lost in the bigger politicall picture. History has so many untold stories to tell there is hardly any need to make things up, it is all there, waiting to be looked at and used again.
Also, I feel history has a moat around it, and like a fairy tale we can look at the unbearable, safe in the knowledge that it all happened to "old style fools".

If you could meet one person from throughout history, who would it be?
An impossible question to answer. I think, though, if there was an invitation, I'd go for Charles II.

You also write and illustrate young children's books. Which did you begin doing first, YA or children's, and which is your favorite?
Never believing I could be a writer, I started with picture books. I was never happy with my drawings and always had a better image in my head. Then I started to write and thought the pictures in my writing seemed to be more what I was after, and that I could do what I wanted to do - create my own worlds.

Who are your favorite YA authors?
Meg Rosoff, Eva Ibbotson, Neil Gaiman, Malorie Blackman, Siobhan Dowd, Eoin Colfer and David Almond. A book that I take my hat off to is Tender Morsels by Margo lanagan.

How has being an author impacted your life?
Well, I think it has definitely changed people's perception of me for the better. That might be my paranoia. It has given me confidence to realize that at long last I have found what I truly love doing. I have to write a lot more letters, which I am not good at and I've had to learn about talking to an audience, which I now quite enjoy. But the greatest impact is that the writer and the dyslexic part of me have become very happily reconciled to each other.

What was it like when your first book was published? How did you feel seeing it on the shelves?
It was unbelievable, it's still unbelievable. I'm certain I'm going to wake up at any moment.

You have done a lot of theater work in your life. How has this impacted your writing?
Enormously. It made me understand the power of good narrative and how to hold your audience, never letting it go until the very end.

Is either of your protagonists (Coriander or Yann) like you in any way? If not, what inspired these particular characters?
All work, in some way, must have elements of one self to be true, to have passion. But I'm a collage artist - I take bits from here and there, nothing is wasted.

To find out more about Sally Gardner and her books, you can visit her site by clicking here.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sacred Scars by Kathleen Duey

Sacred Scars by Kathleen Duey (Book 2 in The Resurrection of Magic Trilogy)

IN STORES AUGUST 4th, 2009!


Synopsis:
In the second volume of the Resurrection of Magic trilogy, Somiss, exiled and desperate, hoards the magic he is recovering from ancient documents while Sadima and Franklin struggle to contain his egomaniacle ambitions. They secretly record the magic, hoping to share it with humankind, in order to end the historic cycles of bloody, civilization-destroying wars between kings and wizards.

Two hundred years later, Hahp and Gerrard, students at Somiss's brutal academy, endure the painful ordeals used to "teach" magic. Their tenuous pact, forged for survival, falters as they plot to destroy Somiss, the school...and to set magic free.

Rating:
Character Development: 10/10
Originality: 9/10
Overall Enjoyment: 10/10
Ending: 7/10 (It was the second book in the series, and while I respect that the ending can't reveal all--Gah! Cliffhangers!)
Voice: 10/10
Setting: 9/10
Recommendation: 10/10
Total Score: 65/70

Grade: A+

Age Appropriate?
Cussing: Frequent, but it adds character to the novel. Could be offensive.
Drugs, Alcohol, etc: None.
Sexual Content: Some. Mentioned throughout, but no real scenes. Some narration regarding the human anatomy. Implied same-sex child abuse.
Disturbing Images/Violence: Yes, very much. Graphic murder, implied rape, implied child abuse, some graphic imagery regarding castration, mentions prostitution.
(Unless you have a real problem with some of these things, don't let it deter you from reading Sacred Scars--each of these is very brief and very blunt and not the least bit shameful.)

Aimed at ages 14+.

Review:
Sacred Scars was the kind of book that feels almost too real as you’re reading it—addictive and three-dimensional. The writing was simply superb, perfectly blatant and unforgiving when it came to delicate issues. Like Skin Hunger (the prequel), we follow two stories throughout the novel, alternating chapters. One, the story of Sadima, the strong hearted girl caught up in cruelty and magic and torn between her love of a man and her hatred of his master, Somiss. The second is set two hundred years later, the story of Hahp, an unfortunate student in the so-called “school” for prospective magicians that is in fact a disturbing kind of slaughterhouse for these boys, run by the very same Somiss that Sadima hated centuries before. The stories are beautifully intertwined, but hopelessly so. As you become engrossed in the events of Sadima’s life, you also see the parallels that exist in the future, where it all ends up, and it is disheartening to say the least. But at the same time, you know that there is still so much left to discover in these artful pages. So you read on.

The themes of this book are heavy and emotional. Pain, instinct, survival, fear—these things are prevalent throughout. The feelings, thoughts, and experiences are raw and open to the reader, especially Hahp’s as he fights his way through the breathtakingly vivid and horrific school. Sadima’s experiences are similarly absorbing, yet both of these characters have remarkably different voices that are equal in quality. Duey manages to convey their confusion, fear, and anguish without puzzling or losing the reader amidst a torrent of repeated emotions.

Overall, Sacred Scars was just as good—if not, better—than Skin Hunger. I strongly urge you to read this series if you like books that explore and express a huge spectrum of emotion, from darkest hate and pain to the best kind of love and freedom, all the while demonstrating a deep knowledge of humanity, and, of course—magic!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner

Synopsis:
The war between humanity and Faerie devastated both sides. Or so fifteen-year-old Liza has been told. Nothing has been seen or heard from Faerie since, and Liza's world bears the scars of its encounter with magic. Corn resists being harvested; dandelions have thorns. Trees move with sinister intention, and the town Liza calls home is surrounded by a forest that threatens to harm all those who wander into it. Still Liza feels safe. Her father is strong and has protected their town by laying down strict rules. Among them: Any trace of magic must be destroyed, no matter where it is found.

Then Liza's sister is born with faerie-pale hair, clear as glass, and Liza's father leaves the baby on a hillside to die. When her mother disappears into the forest and Liza herself discovers she has the faerie ability to see --into the past, into the future--she has no choice but to flee. Liza's quest will take her into Faerie and back again, and what she finds along the way may be the key to healing both worlds.

Rating:
Character Development: 8/10
Originality: 10/10
Overall Enjoyment: 7/10
Ending: 9/10
Voice: 7/10
Setting: 10/10
Recommendation: 7/10
Total Score: 58/ 70
Grade: A

Age Appropriate?
Cussing: None
Drugs, Alcohol, etc.: None
Sexual Content: None
Disturbing Images/ Violence: Abuse, and some creepy and gory images (I don't think it will give you nightmares or anything. It just slightly different ideas that are kind of creepy. Shadows reaching to be 'called', and things like that)

Review:
Janni Lee Simner’s writing is simplistic, yet almost lyrical. Though the story takes place in a setting much different than the world we know today, Simner’s writing creates vivid images that are easy to comprehend, so the reader will not be confused on what is happening or where the characters are. The setting is an interesting concept itself, the story taking place on Earth, yet in a future that was forced to fall into the ways of the past because of the War.

I think the story lacked the epic quality that I expected. There was a little too much traveling, and once the characters reached the destined place, they quickly moved on to another. Even as I say this, it wasn’t the annoying traveling that some books have. Simner kept it interesting, and kept the pace of the story going even as the characters were on the road.

The vision sequences of the story often didn’t make sense to me as reading it, so that got a bit annoying. But things were cleared up later into the book. I just sometimes get peeved when reading something that I don’t fully understand. But like I said, it was all cleared up to my contentment.

Overall, this was an artful, interesting, and entertaining piece of literature. It is just not the blown-away, rereading out of amazement type.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

In My Mailbox (4)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren. On it, we will post the books we have gotten this week from the library, the bookstore, the mail, a friend that leant it to us, and any other ways that we manage to get a book from.
IN ELISE'S MAILBOX:Cross my Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter
From: paperbackswap
Cammie Morgan may have a genius IQ and attend the best school in the country, but as she starts the spring semester of her sophomore year there are a lot of things she doesn't know. Like will her ex-boyfriend even remember she exists? And how much trouble did she really get in last semester? And, most of all, exactly why is her mother acting so strangely?
All Cammie wants is a nice, normal semester, but she's about to learn her greatest lesson yet—that when you go to a school for spies, nothing is ever as it seems.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
Finally got this! From: Recycled Book Store

The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a Wizarding classic, first came to Muggle readers’ attention in the book known as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Now, thanks to Hermione Granger’s new translation from the ancient runes, we present this stunning edition with an introduction, notes, and illustrations by J. K. Rowling, and extensive commentary by Albus Dumbledore.

Moonlight by Rachel Hawthorne

From: Barnes and Noble

Kayla has always felt a kinship with nature. Adopted as a child, Kayla has no idea that she’s inherited the gene that will turn her into a wolf. She can’t understand why she’s so drawn to distant, aloof Lucas...

As the leader of the Dark Guardians, a pack of werewolves that gather in the national forest, Lucas must watch Kayla until she discovers her destiny as his perfect other half. Just when Kayla finally begins to understand her fate, a new danger emerges...one that threatens their very existence.


IN SHAKESPEARE'S MUSE'S MAILBOX:



Lavinia by Ursula K. LeGuin
From: Library


In The Aeneid, Vergil's hero fights to claim the king's daughter, Lavinia, with whom he is destined to found an empire. Lavinia herself never speaks a word in the poem. Now Ursula K. LeGuin gives her a voice in a novel that takes us to the half-wild world of ancient Italy, when Rome was a muddy village near seven hills.

Lavinia grows up knowing nothing but peace and freedom, until suitors come. Her mother demands that she marry handsome, ambitious Turnus. But omens and prophecies spoken by the sacred springs say she must marry a foreigner--that she will be the cause of a bitter way--and that her husband will not live long. When a fleet of Trojan ships sails up the Tiber, Lavinia decides to take her destiny into her own hadns. And so she tells us what Vergil did not: the story of her life, and the love f her life. "Lavinia" is a book of passion and war and the cost of war, generous and austerely beautiful, from a writer working at the height o her powers.




Drawing Lessonsby Tracy Mack
From: Library

Aurora is an artist, like her father. Through years of drawing lessons, he has taught her about light and color, perspective and form. The great thing about art, Rory thinks, is you can bring back something you've lost and keep it forever. But when her father leaves the family, it's Rory who is lost.

In this exquisite first novel, a young girl must find her own way of creating, her own way of connecting, her own way of being.
Drawing Lessons will open your eyes and pierce your heart.



Montmorency by Eleanor Updale
From: Library

When a petty thief falls through a glass roof in his attempt to escape from the police, what should have been the death of him marks the beginning of a whole new life. After his broken body is reconstructed by an ambitious young doctor, he is released from prison, and--with the help of Victorian London's sewer system--he becomes the most elusive burglar in the city. He adopts a dual existence as a respectable, wealthy gentleman names Montmorency, and his degenerate servant Scarper. But Montmorency must always be on guard. The smallest mistake could ruin both his lives.




Daughter of the Forest, book one of The Sevenwaters Trilogy by Juliet Marillier
From: Library

Lord Colum of Sevenwaters is blessed with six sons: Liam, a natural leader; Diarmid, with his passions for adventure; twins Cormack and Conor, each with a different calling; rebellious Finbar, grown old before his time by his gift of the Sight; and the young, compassionate Padriac.

But it is Sorcha, the seventh child and only daughter, too young to have known her mother, who alone is destined to defend her family and protect her land from the Britons and the clan known as Northwooods. For her father has been bewitched, nad her brothers bound by a spell that only Sorcha can lift.

To reclaim the lives of her brothers, Sorcha leaves the only safe place she has ever known, and embarks on a journey filled with pain, loss, and terror.

When she is kidnapped by enemy forces and taken to a foreign land, it seems that there will be no way for her to bereak the spell that condemns all that she loves. But magic known no boundaries, and Sorcha will have to choose between a life she has always known and a love that only comes once.




The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
From: Library

All children mythologize their birth... So begins the prologue of reclusive author Vida Winter's collection of stories, which are as famous for the mystery of the missing thirteenth tale as they are for the delight and enchantment of the twelve that do exist.

The enigmatic Winter has spent six decades creating various outlandish life histories for herself--all of them inventions that have brought her fame and fortune but have kept her violent and tragic past a secret. Now old and ailing, she at last wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life. She summons a biographer Margaret Lea, a young woman for whom the secret of her own birth, hidden by those who loved her most, remains an ever-present pain. Struck by a curious parallel between Miss Winter's story and her own, Margaret takes on the commision.

As Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good, Margaret is mesmerized. It is a tale of gothic strangeness featuring the Angelfield family, including the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess, a topiary garden and a devastating fire.

Margaret succumbs to the power of Vida's storytelling but remains suspicious of the author's sincerity. She demands the truth from Vida, and together they confront the ghosts that have haunted them while becoming, finally, transformed by the truth themselves.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Switch by Carol Snow

Synopsis:
Not much happens in Claire's sleepy beach town, but that's okay. All she wants is to hang out with her best friend, make the high school swim team, and convince Nate, the guy of her dreams, to stop calling her "Dude." And, oh—she'd really, really like to stay in her own skin.

Ever since Claire hit her teens, electrical storms have been making her switch bodies. Usually she's back to her old self in no time. But when something goes terribly wrong, she finds herself stuck as another girl. And not just any girl, but the icy beauty who has caught Nate's eye.

Suddenly Claire goes from being Miss Average to Miss Gorgeous—the model-thin blonde that every girl wants to look like and every guy wants to date. Will she ever figure out how to get back to her old life? More importantly, will she want to?
Rating:
Character Development: 8/10
Originality: 10/1o
Overall Enjoyment: 8/10
Ending: 7/10
Voice: 8/10
Setting: 7/10
Recommendation: 8/10
Total Score: 56
Grade: A

Age Appropriate?
Cussing: Some
Sexual Content: Suggestive in conversation
Disturbing Images/ Violence: None
Aimed at ages 13 and up

Review:
I asked my friend for a book that has a fantastic beginning that would immediately pull me into the story, and SWITCH was what she placed in my hand. I was not disappointed. After the first paragraph I was transported to Claire's sunny and stormy beach town, and I was perfectly happy to be there.

SWITCH was a completely original idea and Carol Snow pulled off the believability aspect of it wonderfully. The narration Claire's character is very easy to relate too. She has a bit of every girl's personality in her. She is a likable protagonist, despite the fact that her inner monologue sometimes seems whiny.

The overall theme of the book, to appreciate yourself for who you are, was excellently delivered throughout the novel. Carol Snow's writing creates the characters and situations in a way that the reader will completely empathize for them.

The ending was somewhat unsatisfactory for me. Claire resolved things to my contentment with some characters, but I think that others needed to know more of the truth. It might have changed the outcome. I find myself hoping that there will be a sequel to this story, because there is so much more I want to learn about the characters and their endings.

To read a sneak peek of SWITCH and preview part of its rockin' beginning, click here.

Proximade Award

Thank you Steph from Hey, Teenager for giving us this wonderful award!



This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY-nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! I'm going to pass this award on to some people I think fit this description perfectly.

Ashley from Books Obsession

Jill from Reading is Bliss

Jessica from Chick Lit Teens

Thanks for being awesome, guys! You really deserve this award.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Juliet Marillier CONTEST WINNERS!

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest for Wildwood Dancing and Cybele's Secret!

THE WINNERS ARE...

Emily Studor
and
Niki Casady!
Congratulations! I will be emailing you soon for your mailing address.