Monday, February 28, 2011
Three sisters share a magical, unshakable bond in this witty high-concept novel from the critically acclaimed author of Audrey, Wait! Around the time of their parents’ divorce, sisters April, May, and June recover special powers from childhood—powers that come in handy navigating the hell that is high school. Powers that help them cope with the hardest year of their lives. But could they have a greater purpose?
April, the oldest and a bit of a worrier, can see the future. Middle-child May can literally disappear. And baby June reads minds—everyone’s but her own. When April gets a vision of disaster, the girls come together to save the day and reconcile their strained family. They realize that no matter what happens, powers or no powers, they’ll always have each other.
Because there’s one thing stronger than magic: sisterhood.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Obtained: Borrowed from a friend.
Age Appropriate? YES.
I love this book. I love the cover--so simple, so bold, like the play itself, and so satisfying to carry around and watch people do double-takes when they see that giant, shameless taboo word that graces the cover: VAGINA. Because that's ultimately what the book is about: Shamelessness. Empowerment. Acceptance. Self-discovery. Beauty.Womanhood. Humanity.
In these pages, Eve Ensler looks at vaginas as no one has before, in a way that exposes the joys of us all as well as the horrors too many women face while keeping up a witty, true dialogue that will make you laugh and cry and gasp and moan. There is so much power here, in the voices of all these women, and that power manifests itself in a worldwide movement--V-Day, a celebration of women, vaginas, and the Monologues that benefits women's organizations all over the world. Now, that is something--this is a book that is not only earth-shaking in its own right, but has turned into a physical force in our world. Wow.
I mean it when I say everyone should read this book. I read it. I'm going to make all of the women in my life read it. I will ask my boyfriend read it. And I'm going to ask you to read it, if you haven't already, or see it performed, or be in it. You will not come back from that experience unaffected.
Oh, and also, VAGINA!
Become involved in V-Day in your community!
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
The Shifter is an immortal creature bound by an ancient spell to protect the kings of Samorna. When the realm is peaceful, she retreats to the Mistwood. But when she is needed she always comes.
Isabel remembers nothing. Nothing before the prince rode into her forest to take her back to the castle. Nothing about who she is supposed to be, or the powers she is supposed to have.
Prince Rokan needs Isabel to be his Shifter. He needs her ability to shift to animal form, to wind, to mist. He needs her lethal speed and superhuman strength. And he needs her loyalty—because without it, she may be his greatest threat.
Isabel knows that her prince is lying to her, but she can't help wanting to protect him from the dangers and intrigues of the court . . . until a deadly truth shatters the bond between them.
Now Isabel faces a choice that threatens her loyalty, her heart . . . and everything she thought she knew.
Character Development: 6/10
Overall Enjoyment: 7/10
Total Score: 49/ 70
Age Appropriate: PG
Cussing: None, I don't think.
Alcohol, Drugs, etc.: Brief mentions of wine
Sexual Content: Ambiguously mentioned in conversation.
Disturbing Images/ Violence: Murder, death, magic, blood and gore, etc.
At first, I really didn't think I would like this book. The voice for a majority of the story was so... animal-like. It kind of reminded me of those dogs with the voice boxes from the movie Up. Half the time I expected Isabel to turn her head, perk up her ears, and excitedly yelp "Squirrel!". Of course, it was understandable that the voice was somewhat animal-like, Isabel being a Shifter and all. But it just made it difficult for me to connect and relate to her.
It got better though, and soon I was too immersed in the plot to put the book down. There were some glorious plot twists that were completely unexpected. But Isabel's reaction to the surprising discoveries was somewhat distant and vague. Again, difficult for me to get into her character.
The castle intrigue, tricks, and deception was always interesting. The folklore aspect of the story was unique, and the whole concept of the Shifter was pretty different. Overall, this book was very original and kind of fresh because of it. However, it somehow didn't stick out to me. It isn't a book I was crazy about. I would still recommend you give it a try, though. You might really enjoy it!
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Friday, February 18, 2011
As the daughter of the best-selling Queen of Romance, life for sixteen-year-old Alice Amorous has been pretty good. But ever since her mother was secretly hospitalized for mental illness, Alice has been forced to maintain a brave front, answering fan letters, forging her mother's signature, telling the publisher that all is well. Now time is running out. The next book is overdue and the Queen can't write it. Alice needs a story for her mother--and she needs one now.
That's when she meets Errol, a strange boy who claims to be Cupid. He insists that Alice must write about the greatest love story in history, his tragic relationship with Psyche. Only Alice doesn't believe in Cupid, and she really wants to focus on her own love life and her new boyfriend, Tony. But when she begins to hear Errol's voice in her head, and sees things she can't explain, Alice must face the truth--that she's either inherited her mother's madness, or that Errol really is the god of love.
Character Development: 6/10
Overall Enjoyment: 7/10
Total Score: 53/70
Obtained? Free ARC provided by publisher (Walker Press)
Age Appropriate? PG
Cursing: Some mild.
Alcohol, Drugs, etc: Eh, not really. Maybe a few veiled references.
Sexual Content: None, though it does not hide from sex.
Disturbing Images/Violence: Severe mental illness/depression/bipolar disorder, child abandonment
This is definitely my least favorite Suzanne Selfors book. Usually, Selfors manages to take a weird, slightly cheesy chick-lit-mixed-with-a-touch-of-magic storyline that under most circumstances would be hard to read and make it witty, funny, and bright. Mad Love, while certainly cute at some points and by the end poignant and sweet, actually did end up being slightly hard to get into.
My biggest problem was the heroine, Alice. Most of her narration is laced with alternating bouts of self-pity and self-congratulation mixed into the disjointed plot. The book didn't flow very well, with ideas being mentioned and forgotten, details being overlooked, and characters fading in and out of importance. The Cupid element (though the story of Cupid and Psyche is a cool one integrated very well throughout the book) threw me off a bit and was at times quite stomach-turning (such as every time someone got shot with Cupid's invisible arrows of drooly, panting, possessing "love"), which, while the effect is intended, I felt like it was a bit drawn out and overdone.
But once you get past a certain point, the book definitely picks up. Alice becomes more human and reasonable, the other characters solidify and develop, and things start to come together. By the end, the reader has developed genuine sympathy for them that makes the final scenes touching and tender.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
"The Gardener offers a quick paced, thrill ride of emotion. With an amazing protagonist, whom you can't not care about and a subject that leaves you thinking..." -Book Crazy
"compelling" and "extremely shocking" -Loony-Reads
"The overall premise may intrigue you, but I fear that the amount of actual science fiction / futuristic elements may disappoint." -Kate (on Goodreads)
Monday, February 14, 2011
Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.
Age Appropriate? PG13
All the characters have very distinct and differing speech patterns, adding so much to the reader's understanding of their personalities. Which is a quality that I just love a lot.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Life has been nothing but unfair to Grace Parkes and her sister. Penniless, the two orphans manage to stay alive--but only barely, like so many on the streets of Victorian London. And Grace must bear a greater heartbreak, having become pregnant from terrible circumstances and then given birth to a stillborn baby. But the infant's death sets Grace on a new path, bringing her into contact with people who hold both riches and power. A great fraud has been perpetrated on Grace and her sister, and they are the secret recipients of a most unusual legacy--if only they can find the means to claim it.
Character Development: 10/10
Overall Enjoyment: 8/10
Total Score: 61/70
Obtained: Free ARC provided by publisher.
Age Appropriate? PG-13
Cursing: Limited and mild.
Alcohol, Drugs, etc: Some drinking/drunkenness, some vague references to drug use.
Sexual Content: Blatant references to rape, prostitution
Disturbing Images/Violence: Rape, poverty, child labor and abuse
A lovely adventure into real-life Victorian London. Grace and Lily were both strong, beautiful characters with a great story full of interesting characters. There was never a dull moment, but the book wasn't overly-consuming. The setting was impeccably crafted, even the squalor and poverty of the London slums. Fascinating and enthralling.
I loved the refreshing take on Victorian London--no magic, little politics, yet still intriguing. I've never read much about the Victorian funeral trade, but it provided a grim background to this grim tale. Hooper does not romanticize the era, but she treats it with the respect of a historian. Well done!
My only complaint about this book is the rather abrupt ending. I do not think there will be a sequel (though I could be wrong) but it seemed to me that, though all the problems were resolved and all the mysteries revealed, we never see Grace's reaction to any of it. We never learn what she decides to do, what her life becomes. And while, yes, the resolution was complete, I cared about her and her sister enough to crave seeing their happiness after so many pages of trial and suffering. As the book was rather short for the breadth of the story it told, I think Hooper could have continued just a bit further.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Three angels- Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, the youngest and most human- are sent by Heaven to bring good to a world falling under the influence of darkness. They must work hard to conceal their luminous glow, superhuman powers, and, most dangerous of all, their wings, all the while avoiding all human attachments.
Then Bethany meets Xavier Woods, and neither of them is able to resist the attraction between them. Gabriel and Ivy do everything in their power to intervene, but the bond between Xavier and Bethany seems too strong.
The angel’s mission is urgent, and dark forces are threatening. Will love ruin Bethany or save her?
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Princess and heir to the throne of Thorvaldor, Nalia has led a privileged life at court. But everything changes when she learns, just after her sixteenth birthday, that she is a false princess, a stand-in for the real Nalia, who has been hidden away for her protection. Cast out with little more than the clothes on her back, the girl now called Sinda must leave behind the city, her best friend, Kiernan, and the only life she’s ever known.
Sent to live with her only surviving relative, a cold, scornful woman with little patience for her newfound niece, Sinda proves inept at even the simplest tasks. Then she discovers that magic runs through her veins – long-suppressed, dangerous magic that she must learn to control – and she realizes that she will never learn to be just a simple village girl.
Sinda returns to the city to seek answers. Instead, she rediscovers the boy who refused to forsake her, and uncovers a secret that could change the course of Thorvaldor’s history, forever.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Fans of romance don't need to look any further than the fauxmance brewing between teen idols Charlie Tracker and Fielding Withers--known on their hit TV show as Jenna and Jonah, next-door neighbors flush with the excitement of first love. But it's their off-screen relationship that has helped cement their fame, as passionate fans follow their every PDA. The only problem? Their off-screen romance is one big publicity stunt and Charlie and Fielding can't stand to be in the same room. But even when cameras stop rolling, the show must o on, and on, and on...
Until the pesky paparazzi blow their cover, and Charlie and Fielding must disappear to weather the media storm. It's not until their far away from the Hollywood circuit that they realize there's more to each of them than shiny hair and a winning smile.
Character Development: 7/10
Overall Enjoyment: 7/10
Total Score: 45/70
Obtained: Free ARC provided by publisher.
Age Appropriate? PG-13
Cursing: Some, but nothing too explicit.
Drugs, Alcohol, etc: References to illegal drug smoking and drunkenness.
Sexual Content: Some lewd humor and references, but no actual scenes.
Disturbing Images/Violence: None.
The first thing I must say about this book is that it was not nearly as stupid as I thought it would be. Based on the cover and the synopsis, I expected a gag-worthy read with no real substance. But...I was surprised. While not an earth-shakingly profound story, Jenna and Jonah's was intelligent and honest, without all that sappy stuff many "romance" books provide.
Honestly, if you're looking for romance, I would not suggest this book. It is about Charlie and Fielding's developing relationship, it's true, but there was not an excess of sexy scenes or too much romantic tension. For me, this was an enormous plus. Somehow, this book managed to be not cheesy, with the storyline progressing in perfect harmony with their relationship. Though sometimes the two characters seemed a bit out of sync (a product, I think, of the dual authorship of the novel), they were both fairly likable, mostly normal, and human. And the product was a very, very sweet story.
Now, if you're worried about the whole "Hollywood" aspect of the story, don't. Franklin and Halpin certainly don't paint the world of teen stars and television in an overdramaticized or romantic light. And while I know very little about that industry, it seemed to me to be more realistic than many interpretations. Still, it was a bit difficult for me at first to empathize with two people who were rich, famous, beautiful, and eventually, in love, but after a while it became clear that this life has its own kind of trials and tribulations.Though predictable in some sense and very nonthreatening, Jenna and Jonah's played out nicely, and it was certainly not a waste of time. Will I read it again? Probably not, but the book definitely has its place, and is a very worthy contribution to its genre.