Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Fox Inheritance (ARC)


Title: The Fox Inheritance


Author: Mary E. Pearson


Publisher: Henry Holt


Pages: 304


Read Time: 4 Days


Tag Words: Sequel, The Adoration of Jenna Fox, dystopian, sci-fi


My Summary:


Locke and Kara should be dead, many times over, but copies of their former selves have persisted over 260 years.

Now they have bodies, and their minds are no longer caged inside contraband technology.

However, the world is different, and everyone they knew, and loved, is gone...everyone, except Jenna Fox.


My Review:


I'm going to begin my review of this book the same way most every other sane blogger has. The Adoration of Jenna Fox is one of my favorite novels, ever. It was trendy before there was a trend, it's hauntingly beautiful and Jenna has never left me, not from page one, probably not ever. You would think I would love book two then, yes? No. I could cry because I don't, but no, this book is not only not as good as it's predecessor, it's just not very good, at all.

I've been trying to figure out for the longest time what went wrong here, and I think it all boils down to a lack of commitment on Pearson's part. In 'Adoration' Pearson did a, dare I say it, perfect, (Oh, I did!) job of finding a thesis and sticking to it, developing an amazing story and a beautiful heroine along the way. However, I cannot honestly tell you what 'Inheritance' was all about. It was in there somewhere, what Locke was saying just got scrambled inside the hasty development of a dystopian society that didn't even matter in Jenna, Kara and Locke's world.

This book shouldn't have happened in my opinion; it messes with my mind, this reimaging of what was the most perfect last chapter of a book to ever happen to me as a reader. I still tear up when internally reciting, "...I wonder at the weight of a sparrow." There was such an ethereal beauty to 'Adoration' that did not cross into 'Inheritance.' Pearson was so busy taking her world to new heights, creating cold people, including Bots, and a grid system for trains that move almost as fast as the speed of light, that the tone and weight of the back story begun in 'Adoration' just got lost along the way.

If you disagree, good, you got something out of this book I could not find, and wish I had.

Now as for me, I'm off to read 'Adoration' again, and scrub this sequel from my mind once and for all.
  
Notes on the Names:


Locke, even in book one I thought Locke had the coolest, most unusual name. I can really see a little Locke blending in seamlessly on the playground with all the baby Cash's, Nash's, Pierce's, and all the babies with occupational names.


Thoughts on the Cover:


Anyone else notice that the Bio-Gel is different on this cover? Loved that. Also, having read the book, the fact that Locke's eye is the central focus makes me want to congratulate this team of designers, they read this book, considered it, and created something that perfectly reflects Locke's part of this story.


Parental Book Review *spoilers*


Sexual Content: 


Kara and Locke are very close, and share kisses along the way. Locke does lament about his being a virgin, (260 years, longer than Edward Cullen, even!) so they haven't slept together.

Language: 


A- 7
H- 3
B- 1
Screw- 1
D*ck- 2


Violence:


A fist fight engaged in for self defense.


Other Notables:


Eventual suicide/homicide by jumping from a cliff.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

All These Things I've Done (ARC)


Gabrielle's bookshelf: currently-reading

Go Ask AliceWuthering HeightsEclipseWicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the WestRedeeming LoveTwo-way Street

More of Gabrielle's books »

All These Things I’ve Done

Author: Gabrielle Zevin

Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux

Pages: 368

Read Time: 1 Day

Tag Words: Dystopian, mafia, chocolate, caffeine, restrictions, post-apocalyptic New York City, love story, Catholicism, BIR11

My Summary:

In 2083 chocolate is contraband, and yet Anya Balanchine, the daughter of a famous mob boss, can have some anytime she wants and share it with someone she loves, like her dying grandmother is always encouraging her to do.

When she finds herself falling in love with the new District Attorney’s son she finds herself back in church, praying furtively, “God forgive me this, and all these things I’ve done.”

My Review:

Possibly my favorite novel of the year, though it was not without it’s faults, All These Things I’ve Done is a fresh dystopian rife with intriguing family dynamics and an interesting heroine in Anya Balanchine.

I guess I should mention the pieces of this puzzle that I feel could have garnered more attention on Zevin’s part, but I really hate to as I feel the pro’s outweigh the con’s in this novel.

I wish that Zevin had made Anya’s family a little more dangerous, I wish I hadn’t been underwhelmed by the possibility of “who done it,” when it came to deciding what was happening behind closed doors. I wish I hadn’t been so bored by the grand revelation of the bad egg.

This is not a thriller. It’s a love story. I’m saying that and I remind myself of how I felt reading Lauren Oliver’s Delirium. Basically I let feeling negative about one aspect of the book cloud how wonderfully I felt about this other half that was bloody amazing. I don’t want to do that for Things I’ve Done, so, onto what I loved!

Anya. Plain and simple, I loved Anya. She’s one of my favorite heroines of the year and looking around at my bookshelf I think she’s one of my favorite heroines ever. Life has shaped her and she’s so honest about how and why and when. She also realized she can’t just change that, though she prays she can. She may live in a dystopian world, but she’s just like you and me and were she a real flesh and blood person, I would be her best friend. As it is I will have to settle for the flesh and blood Zevin created in this first book of the Birthright series. As long as book two is released soon, that will be good enough for me!

Notes on the Names:

These names really give you a picture of the character, in my opinion.

Anya, Natalya, called Natty, Leo, Galina, Imogen, Scarlett, Goodwin, called Win and Leonyd.

Thoughts on the Cover:

It’s simple, it relates to the story, and there is no model on the cover with a slightly stunned expression that makes her look even more beautiful than the pages of a magazine, I’m happy.

Parental Book Review *spoilers*

Sexual Content:

Anya promised God she would not have sex until they were married (read the book to discover why this was important to her!) and Win more than respects this, he even tells Anya she couldn’t get him to have sex with her if she tried. However, before this they do almost go all the way in a fit of passion.

Language:

D- 5
H- 7
A- 2
Whore- 1
Slut- 4
Retard- 2
Screw- 2

Violence:

Jacks shoots Anya’s boyfriend thinking it’s Leo. Anya fires back.

Leo shoots the head of the family “off camera” and gets into a fist fight with his cousin, also “off camera.”

Other Notables:

Anya is sentenced to live in a reform school for a while, because of a poisoning she didn’t commit. While there she is mistreated, kept sleeping in a tiny cell with minimal food and water while an open wound festers.

Flawless (ARC)

Flawless

Author: Lara Chapman

Publisher:Bloomsbury

Pages: 272

Read Time: 1 Days

Tag Words: retelling, friendship, betrayal, trust, dating, high school, coming of age, accepting yourself, 2011 debut author

My Summary:

Sarah is just about perfect in all aspects, but one, her nose is huge, a beak, really.

The one person who has always been able to love her despite her major flaw is her best friend Kristen.

When Rock, the new hottie of the school begins dating her best friend Sarah can’t help but feel her honker is what is coming between her and the boy of her dreams.

In this modern retelling of the classic Cyrano de Bergerac Sarah has a gorgeous best friend, a shared crush and a big problem...

My Review:

Recently Mandy Hubbard wrote an amazing post on what publishers are currently looking for. She remarked, “Retellings are still hot, but it’s best if its not something like a straight-up contemporary version of an oft-used tale...”
I feel like this is what Flawless became, even if the story of Cyrano and Roxana is not continuously regurgitated. It still came off as too modern, too one-dimensional because Flawless came down to two things, a girl wanting her best friends boyfriend, and a girl struggling with what she, and everyone around her, sees when she looks in the mirror.

Been there, read that, right? It may be because I basically read as my job, AKA all the bloody time, or it may be a general consensus, but after I read the same contemp theme for the ump-teenth time I tend not to get excited when I find myself inside the same exact storyline yet again. I can’t make myself be excited unless there is an added hook that grabs me from page one. I was hoping that the story being a retelling would add that extra punch, but I didn’t feel it grab me, or hold me.

I don’t have any suggestions for what Chapman could have done differently, and I think she did adapt it to a modern teen life situation, but I just wasn’t interested in the end.

If you love contemp coming of age books, then you will love this, but if the Cyrano spin is what first hooked you into wanting to read Flawless I would suggest you skip this one.

Notes on the Names:

Sarah Burke-- Cyrano de Bergerac

Rock--- Roxane

Baron Christian de Neuvillette- Kristen

What do you think? I think she did well!

Thoughts on the Cover:

I love this cover and the gorgeous make-up! Some people think it’s boring, but I think it is the perfect fit for the book; the editing is very, very well done, bravo!

Parental Book Review *spoilers*

Sexual Content:

Moderate.

Sexual innuendo.

Language:

Moderate.

A- 5
D- 10
B- 1
S- 1
H- 13

Violence:

None.

Other Notables:

None.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (ARC)

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Author: Michelle Hodkin

Publisher: Simon & Shuster

Pages: The ARC is 446 pages, but the finished copy is getting a major re-write, so, who knows?

Read Time: Two Days

Tag Words: What did I just read?, Boys in Books Do it Better, 2011 Debut Author, Authors who are my best friend, Did I mention a Crush-worthy guy?

My Summary:

There’s a boy with a panty-dropping smile, what else do you need to know?

My Review:

When I met Michelle at BEA this past May she signed my ARC, "Would you kiss him back?"

My answer:

Oh. *head bang* My. *head bang* Gosh. *passes out from all the headbangs* *Noah comes and carries me to bed* He’s so thoughtful that way. *smelts* *Kisses him until he's blue in the face!*

Now where was I? I don’t even know where I was, all I know is that I’ve been dreaming about a boy like Noah Shaw my whole life, and then there he was in all his infuriating, sexy, British glory. GAH!!!!!

The story is great, better than great, I just have one problem with it. The hype.

I “called” this book, if you will, back before there was a cover, nearly a year ago when it first popped, rather inconspicuously up on Goodreads. I just read the synopsis, sat back in my chair and said, "Whoa." After Michelle freaked that I had added her book to my Debut-Reads list last December I e-mailed her and told her not to have a cow, but her book was going to be huge. I don’t mean to inflate my own hubris, but I have killer instincts, my instincts come with a body count rivaled only by Mara Dyer. Seriously.

So because of all the hype, and because I’ve been a part of creating it, praising the book before I even read it, and listening to all the gossip about what might really be going on between the covers, and all of that, I sort of ruined reading the ARC for myself. I “knew” what might happen before it did, due in part to spoilery gossip, and because of educated guessing. I was right. My instincts strike again! However, Michelle has just turned the tables on us.

The most highly anticipated book of the year is getting a re-write before the final copy hits the shelves. I get to read the book again, without knowing if all that I know is really real, finally!

Thanks, Michelle, I have such and awesome best friend. ; )

Notes on the Names:

I’ll leave you with this.

Mara Dyer is a pseudonym.

Thoughts on the Cover:

My first thought, was, of course, how gorgeous it is, how well the font is formatted, and how unique the entire design is!

After reading the book, I can’t help but wonder who this boy is with Mara, and if he’s saving her, or drowning her.

Then my mind explodes.


Both the song, and the video are perfect for this book!


Parental Book Review *spoilers*

A la Reading Teen, Thanks Andye!


Profanity:

Very Heavy

18 A**
14 God
8 Bastard
19 Hell
6 Damn
6 A**hole
1 Incomplete pu-
2 Prick
1 Incomplete whatthef-
1 Di**head
7 Sh**
4 Di**
4 Bullsh**
14 Fu**
3 Bit**
3 Jesus
2 Christ

Sexual Content:

Very Heavy

Mention that a girl used to be "the abstinence poster girl" but after she dated Shaw, "you could write a comic book about the many adventures of her vagina."
Jamie says Shaw has a "panty-dropping smile."
Jamie tells Mara that Shaw will screw her literally and figuratively
Sexual innuendo/double entendras
A girl says that Noah is an awesome lay.
Jamie says Noah treats girls like condoms. Used once then discarded
Jamie mentioned getting caught with his hand up a girl's skirt and that she wears thongs.
Memory of boy forcing himself on Mara, hitting her, hands up her shirt, unbuttoned her jeans. He was stopped.
Noah and Mara kiss passionately in Noah's bed.
Noah slept in Mara's bed with her. Nothing happened
Mara is afraid she'll kill Noah if she kisses him, but decides they could sleep together without kissing. She starts to unbutton his shirt, but he stops her.

Violence:

Heavy

Mara's friends are killed when a building collapsed on them
Mara has a vision of a horrible man murdered. Details: skull caved in, gaping, pulpy hole, flies in his mouth, blood pooling.
Noah punched a guy for insulting Mara
Mara frequently sees the ghosts of her dead friends.
Mara's teacher choked on her own tongue: descriptions - eye bulging, staggering around, turning blue.
Some description of a girl who was killed then torn apart by an alligator.
Mara decides she'll try to kill someone (with her mind) on purpose because he's a threat.
A woman shoots a man, mention of blood.

Other Notables:

Mara and her friends use a Ouija board
Noah smokes

Monday, September 26, 2011

Aurelia

Aurelia

Author: Anne Osterlund

Publisher: Speak Books

Pages: 246

Read Time: 4 Days

Tag Words: Princess, fantasy, kingdoms, murder plots, investigations, horses

My Summary:

Someone is out to kill the crown princess of Tyralt. Can her former classmate discover who before it is too late?

My Review:

I cannot decide if this book is a case of "too much," or, "not enough." Either the writing style of tell-don't-show overshadowed the action and the chain of events that led to a logical conclusion, or Osterlund left too many details unattended for too long.

I don't know; what I do know it this, there was too much book and too little plot and character development. I read more about horses than I did about the character’s emotions, or reactions to anything of great importance!

Robert and Aurelia were a most infuriating couple. Aurelia is not likable, she’s headstrong, and a tad snobbish in my opinion, so I don’t understand what Robert sees in her, but frankly neither does he. The book just finally reached that place where either they were going to have to kiss, or the ‘romance’ would be completely void in the book. Robert was bland, boring, and one dimensional. Aurelia was defined by a single characteristic, which never developed much further than the author telling the reader that she is, in fact, too stubborn to be a Crown Princess.

The details of the murder were both contrived and transparent at the same time. The puzzle pieces, as they were, didn’t quite fit together, so Osterland took a pair of scissors to the rounded ends and in the end mashed them together. Not a wise solution to a big problem.

It is frustrating to me that this book turned out to be so poorly written, it had been on my bookshelf for a long while, and on my wishlist longer still. I am going to attempt reading Osterlund’s two other books, hopefully they will be far more satisfying.

Notes on the Names:

All the boys received monikers that can best be described as ‘classic,’ though ‘tired’ is another word for them, while the girls got odd made-up sounding names, besides Aurelia.

Another disappointment! I thought Aurelia’s sister might be Beatrix, Evangeline, or Marigold, for instance, but instead she was Melony. An odd mashup of Melanie and Melody. Oh, my heart.

Thoughts on the Cover:

The absolute best part of the book, besides Aurelia’s name. A masked ball does take place in the book, and the model is perfect for Osterlund's description of Aurelia, I just wish the book had delivered.

Parental Book Review *spoilers*

Sexual Content:

Mild

One chaste kiss.

Language:

None.

Violence:

Mild.

Attempted murders, all plans foiled before Aurelia was even aware of them. Very non-violent.

Death of a jockey from a horse trampling him.

Robert kills Chris with a sword to the heart. The ‘battle’ is not violent. It is a series of fencing terms before Robert’s sword pierces Chris’s heart.

Other Notables:

I consider this book Squeaky Clean!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

IMM 42: Refined Edition

In which I go all Shakespearean...


Thank you to the following:

Lenore Appelhans, Presenting Lenore

HarperTeen

Kieryn Nicolas

Susan Goldsmith



Saturday, September 24, 2011

Contest Craze: Lovers and Covers

Time to play catch-up!

Mini-challenge one is 'Who should be a couple?'

I wanted to give Jenna from Wither by Lauren Destefano someone lovely for her own, so here we go.

Jenna & Archer, from Fire by Kristin Cashore

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But, like all good couples who deserve each other and are tragically separated, these characters are regrettably in two different books. Besides, they have another important distancing thing in common, which I'll keep mum on for those who haven't been wise enough to pick up these gorgeous novels!

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Mini-Challenge Two:

Re-design a cover contest!

Here is my entry, which is a cover for Hannah Moskowitz's Invincible Summer.


Contest craze and the "couple" mini-challenge hosted by Cindy @ Princess Bookie

Cover re-design mini-challenge hosted by Ashley Suzanne


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Iron Knight Book Trailer Sneak Peak!


Gabrielle's bookshelf: currently-reading

Go Ask AliceWuthering HeightsEclipseWicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the WestRedeeming LoveTwo-way Street

More of Gabrielle's books »

I know that you will all throw an icicle at me if I don't just bloody skip the intro, and get right to the action!

video

WOW, WOW, WOW! 


Now I hope you all clicked the enlarge button on the bottom right of the movie screen for optimal iciness. If you didn't, it's a good excuse to watch it again, and again, and again!

Thank you to Harlequin Teen for inviting me to be a part of such an epic start to the final chapter of a favorite series! Everyone follow that okay? Good.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Contest Craze: You're Timeless To Me

The Question: 

What time period would you return to, and why?

My Answer: 

I would live in King Henry the VIII's day because I want to know what really happened between him and his wives, especially Queen Anne!

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When I returned home I would first kiss the closest in-door water system available, sink, shower, ice dispenser, whichever, and then I would sit down and write the true story of the most infamous love/hate relationship known in history.

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Contest Craze hosted by Cindy @ Princess Bookie

Timeless mini-challenge hosted by Black Fingernailed Reviews

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Contest Craze: Chapter 13


Gabrielle's bookshelf: currently-reading

Go Ask AliceWuthering HeightsEclipseWicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the WestRedeeming LoveTwo-way Street

More of Gabrielle's books »
Okay, so it's time to get spooky!

First of all I would just like to say that the idea of spoiling a book for myself reduces me to a puddle of pure fear, so I technically broke the rules, but I chose a book I am always in a continuous state of reading, and re-reading. It is my very favorite novel and if you are any kind of stalker reader of mine, you'll know which book that is:


The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

And wouldn't you know it Chapter 13 is particularly spooky, it's the chapter where Joe and Lennie are in the woods where, "The dry trunks of the old growth redwoods creak and squeak eerily over our heads."

The phrase I chose as the best interpretation of the 'scariness' of the moment is...

*cue organ music*


Lions. And Tigers. And Bears.

I'm not sure I can choose between them, they are all quite ferocious! 


Contest craze is still being hosted by Cindy, Princess Bookie.

This Mini-Challenge is being hosted by The Non-Reluctant Reader.



Daily Dose (24) I may be a Bird

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Contest Craze: One True Pairing

Julie Kagawa got it right.

I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. 

Ash + Meghan = True Love.

Some things are just meant to be, and this pairing of summer and winter was as inevitable and tempestuous as the changing seasons. 

I don't consider their current relationship status to be "broken up," but more in the "it's complicated," stage of the relationship therefor, they are my favorite couple, and don't they look lovely together?

Ben Barnes as Prince Ash
Emilie De Ravin as Meghan

 Contest Craze hosted by Cindy, Princess Bookie.

Mini-Challenge hosted by Jennifer, My Cute Bookshelf.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

IMM 41: "Someone's Gonna Die!"


Gabrielle's bookshelf: currently-reading

Go Ask AliceWuthering HeightsEclipseWicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the WestRedeeming LoveTwo-way Street

More of Gabrielle's books »
In which the hype makes me hyper...


Thank you to:

Flux Books

HarperTeen

Lisa Bergen

Kiki Hamilton

Kristi, The Story Siren

Contest Craze: Lucky 7


Gabrielle's bookshelf: currently-reading

Go Ask AliceWuthering HeightsEclipseWicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the WestRedeeming LoveTwo-way Street

More of Gabrielle's books »
The gist: Take the book you are currently reading and find the seventh word on the seventh page.

Then google the word to find an image that interests you.

Alright, I'll admit, I was going to skip this one, but I checked what my word could be and I was done for.

Book:

Mercy Lily by Lisa Albert


Word:

Plop.

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Happy Sunday, everyone!


Contest Craze hosted by the fabulous Cindy at Princess Bookie.

Lucky 7 hosted by The Elliott Review

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Contest Craze: The Five


Gabrielle's bookshelf: currently-reading

Go Ask AliceWuthering HeightsEclipseWicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the WestRedeeming LoveTwo-way Street

More of Gabrielle's books »
I was just remarking tweeting to Cindy over at Princess Bookie that it seems Contest Craze only just ended. Turns out it's been six months, oh, how time flies!

Speaking of time flying, it won't be long now until 2012, in fact I just received my first 2012 ARCs this week! 

Whoa.

So, I figure, why not let you guys in on my most anticipated 2012 releases as of right now? 

First of all, I am very fickle, my moods will change the book I want in my hands for every present moment. However, this first choice is for sure number one on my want list, and that is:


Fever by Lauren Destefano

Next we have a book I am shocked by my interest in. It's a freaking ZOMBIE book and I am dying (yeah, some pun intended) to eat it's brains read it.



This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

And now for the book I can sense will be a soul feeder:


Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

After I finish the Gemma Doyle series by Libba Bray I am going to need something to fill the spaces of after, here is what I've chosen:


A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink

This next book is a modern Arthurian take on Tristan and Isolde with... wait for it... blood thirsty MERMAIDS! OH. MY. GOSH. It's like my wildest, most twisted, literary fantasy come true.


The Vicious Deep by Zoraida Cordova