Wednesday, April 27, 2011

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

This Lullaby
Good Reads Sumary


When it comes to relationships, Remy doesn't mess around. After all, she's learned all there is to know from her mother, who's currently working on husband number five. But there's something about Dexter that seems to defy all of Remy's rules. He certainly doesn't seem like Mr. Right. For some reason, however, Remy just can't seem to shake him. Could it be that Remy's starting to understand what those love songs are all about?

My Thoughts

After Just Listen, let’s just say that I wasn’t all that impressed with Sarah Dessen. And to be honest? I just couldn’t see why she was so popular.. so with great reluctance (a month after reading Just Listen in fact,) I went ahead and read This Lullaby. Well, this review is me eating my words: Sarah Dessen deserves all the praise she has gotten/gets.

I loved it! (Yes, this is even despite my having come across what one reviewer calls the “the Sarah Dessen Syndrome,” of a female protagonist who is most likely troubled (either because of her family, friends or emotions,) who meets a boy (preferably crush/swoon worthy) the latter most likely helping her get over her issues.

Remy cannot wait to get away from home and be independent; her mother and her mother’s relationships have drilled into her what she doesn’t want to become. Thank gosh, she’s got a brother and friends who are more or less just as cynical as she is, and consequently, very accepting of her quirks. Quirks? From being an anything goes party girl to an almost sort of anal retentive perfectionist who requires everything in place and everything pegged. Then came Dexter; he is everything she normally wouldn’t go for- sloppy, clumsy, and without plans. Yet, they just click. Until her quirks get in the way, she just over thought everything!


One would think that it was Dexter that got me to change my mind, but nope.. it was all Remy. Her hard-ass-ness was not all there was to her. Dexter really got her and I loved that! She really was a softy, even if she tended to overreact and sometimes overanalyze things. And yeah, Dexter did in fact play a role in my becoming a Dessen fan.


I do hope her other stories live up to how good This Lullaby is.


4/5

Monday, April 18, 2011

Between Here and Forever by Elizabeth Scott

Between Here and Forever

Good reads Summary

Abby accepted that she can’t measure up to her beautiful, magnetic sister Tess a long time ago, and knows exactly what she is: Second best. Invisible.

Until the accident.

Now Tess is in a coma, and Abby’s life is on hold. It may have been hard living with Tess, but it's nothing compared to living without her.

She's got a plan to bring Tess back though, involving the gorgeous and mysterious Eli, but then Abby learns something about Tess, something that was always there, but that she’d never seen.

Abby is about to find out that truth isn't always what you think it is, and that life holds more than she ever thought it could...


My Thoughts

ABBY is yet another MC that I want to shake some sense into. Are all Elizabeth Scott’s leads this insecure? Abby truly believes and thus behaves as if she deserves no happiness! Abby behaves exactly as the girl in Perfect You does, only her life is a tad bit more complicated. See, she’s grown up in with a sister who she thinks perfect, whom she thinks everyone thinks perfect. She truly believes she doesn’t and will never measure up. This belief shapes her interactions with others turning her into one resigned to being the not so pretty, not so smart little sister. She was simply dismissive of herself! My biggest problem is that she really is quite sensitive about somethings but incredibly dense about other things:




But with Tess in a coma, Abby makes some discoveries (that, honestly, were pretty obvious to me) about this older sister who isn’t so perfect after all BUT even with all these revelations, and this is the depressing thing, Abby still needs someone to tell her that she deserves to be happy. Again: for such a sensitive person, Abby could be really dense sometimes.

All said, there were some pretty interesting things going on in neck of the woods: A love interest, gifted with looks, and like Abby, with problems of his own (an Obsessive compulsive disorder being one of them.) A cool grandfather type guardian angel who is just always around. Then Claire, who helps brings about some of her revelations. None of them are perfect though.. and I enjoyed that.

*Review copy provided by the publisher through Simon & Schuster galley grab program.
3/5

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Stolen: A Letter to My Captor by Lucy Christopher

Stolen: A letter to my captor
 Good Reads Summary

Sixteen year old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. This wild and desolate landscape becomes almost a character in the book, so vividly is it described. Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her. Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back? The story takes the form of a letter, written by Gemma to Ty, reflecting on those strange and disturbing months in the outback. Months when the lines between love and obsession, and love and dependency, blur until they don't exist - almost.

My Thoughts

Somewhere in the beginning she gets stolen: I’m angry and a tad disappointed that it all went down so easily. The word that comes to mind: Smooth. It couldn’t have happened so quickly! But it did… and that is just plain scary.

Then, somewhere in the middle a camel enters the picture. This might be strange but that bit just had me tearing up a bit more (when they caught it, I mean.) It sounds silly, and I suppose it is. But it definitely had me sniff-sniffing a lot. Mostly, the thought that it would end up in precisely the same place she was crossed my mind... and there she was helping him! THEN there were all those opportunities let pass! I couldn’t stop from feeling frustrated. If I had been in her place, I’d have tipped him out the car, I’d have rammed the needle in… I’d have followed through. And yet, I can/could understand a little of why she didn’t… she needed him!

Close to the end with two choices before her, I was relieved that she chose what she did. Between making him out to be absolute monster or not at all: I’m relieved that she decided to do what she did~ to tell her truth.

I’ve been reading a lot of books that push a lot of my boundaries on how I ought to feel. Stolen definitely made me ask questions but it made me feel a lot of things as well. Mostly it’s made me aware that I love this type of story:

-One where the characters are flawed, definitely damaged (While Ty may or may not have started out as damaged, she definitely ended up that way.)

-One where the writing is in your face, leaving you a bit raw...but a bit hopeful in the end as well.

4.5/5

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Freefall by Mindi Scott

Freefall

Good Reads Summary

How do you come back from the point of no return?

Seth McCoy was the last person to see his best friend, Isaac, alive, and the first to find him dead. It was just another night, just another party, just another time when Isaac drank too much and passed out on the lawn. Only this time, Isaac didn't wake up.

Convinced that his own actions led to his friend's death, Seth is torn between turning his life around . . . or losing himself completely.

Then he meets Rosetta: so beautiful and so different from everything and everyone he's ever known. But Rosetta has secrets of her own, and Seth soon realizes he isn't the only one who needs saving . . .


My Thoughts

It starts with Seth dealing with his best friend’s death, yet Freefall wasn't as dark a read as I was expected. In fact, I found it quite realistic with all the humor, romance, getting drunk and high, friends, and fears thrown in; surprisingly it worked. There was balance in it all. In no way is this a compelling or a mind POV changing read, it’s a simple story of how two kids with tragedy in their lives slowly pick themselves up with the help (or not) of those around them, (slowly being the key word.)

Seth, the guitarist (I do love me my musicians,) is dealing with his best friend’s death. He is a jerk, and acting like an ass… but slowly though changing. We initially meet him in one of his lows, then we watch as he turns himself around... partly because of Rosetta (I loved that she was so quirky – golf playing straight talking and a bit unaware of herself.)

The best thing in Freefall I loved about it was how they got to know each other first. I loved watching their relationship develop! Awkward at first then more comfortable, it progressed naturally, so their relationship felt real to me.

An added bonus is the secondary characters whom you will either want to punch, laugh at, or pity. I felt all those things for Kendall. She isn't the most admirable girl in the story given her attempt at making a boy (who doesn't come across as so "good" to begin with) jealous by parading Seth before him, but she comes through in the end by owning up to what she did/said. Then, Daniel~ I don't know, but his being so self-involved while annoying did make me laugh.

3.5

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Gorgon in the Gully by Melina Marchetta

The Gorgon in 
the Gully

Good Reads Summary  

Beyond the basketball courts and classrooms of St Raph's is a gully where everything disappears forever. Danny Griggs has heard stories about a creature that lives down there. So why does he volunteer to face the Gorgon when he's been petrified of everything all his life?

A gentle story about overcoming fear and looking at things from all angles, from best-selling author Melina Marchetta

 
My Thoughts

Exactly what has Melina Marchetta’s books reduced me to endure? The greatest time suck otherwise known as philpost. Almost a month ago, some awesome people decided to put The Gorgon in the Gully on tour.  Being the Melina Marchetta fan that I am, I did not hesitate to sign up:  First up, Carmel Fauth sourcing it out (awesome lady…*woot*) Then Catie (another awesome lady for taking charge.)  Then ME!!!! Yay! But one week, two weeks, three weeks later with the book nowhere in sight, I was starting to feel guilty for joining: I had unwittingly frustrated the hopes of fellow Marchetta fans by the hold up. What’s worse, I was getting impatient (understatement of the year!) Now, imagine my DELIGHT when this was delivered:

Photobucket
(YAY!)

The Gorgon in the Gully was a sweet read. It felt good reading about Jonah again. And I suppose this sentiment has been said time and time again, but I must needs repeat it: Melina Marchetta can do no wrong! The story is simple. I couldn’t help but smile. So simple in fact that it can be described in just a couple of words: friends and growing up. And being afraid. Danny Griggs has tons of things he’s afraid of. What’s heartwarming about it is what he does they all do about those things.


 Photobucket

(Me + Anything by Marchetta = One Happy Isa)

4/5

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hereafter by Tara Hudson

Hereafter (Hereafter, #1)
Good Reads Summary

Can there truly be love after death?

Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.

Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.

Thrilling and evocative, with moments of pure pleasure, Hereafter is a sensation you won't want to miss.

My Thoughts

I can’t believe I finished this. Hereafter was a Test Of Endurance ( I almost failed btw, especially since I zonked out ~ not once, but twice even before getting to the middle!) To leave it at that would be unfair so here’s a blow by blow of how I ended up 10:30 in the morning wondering what the hell it was that I had just read.

She's dead, he almost dies and as a result is able to see her. By some stroke of fate, they click. Later again, they find out that he is "special" too being in fact destined to banish/exorcise her kind. Then, another guy enters the picture… one who insists that it is they who are fated. First, to their “clicking.” Why wasn’t he reacting normally? I must say his rational piecing of things together seemed a bit… unlikely a response. Eh, I bit anyway: He’s all very “You’re a ghost? So what?” Oh, did I forget to mention that she's an amnesiac-ghost. And when things might be OK for them (although the logistics of a them was one I could barely imagine…) Wait! There’s an answer for that~ they can touch. Why? How? Her seeing him die, and him seeing her seeing him die triggered sensory perception in her otherwise dead existence. Hah! Howconvenient. But OK, I bit anyway. Anyway the OTHER guy shows up. A guy who conveniently knows everything because… wait for it… he’s beenwatching her. I don’t care if she was a ghost! If I had been in her position, I’d have done exactly as she did: Freak the heck out. So, Yay! A rational reaction for once with girl protag running screaming from the likely stalker boy/ghost Eli! *Me very happy about this believable turn of events.*

My biggest problem with HEREAFTER is the pace… it is just soo slow. I think I would have liked more, had it not been so freaking slow. I mean the concept of a ghost in love does sound interesting, right?

2/5

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson


The Adoration of Jenna Fox
Good Reads Summary
 
Who is Jenna Fox? Seventeen-year-old Jenna has been told that is her name. She has just awoken from a coma, they tell her, and she is still recovering from a terrible accident in which she was involved a year ago. But what happened before that? Jenna doesn't remember her life. Or does she? And are the memories really hers?

This fascinating novel represents a stunning new direction for acclaimed author Mary Pearson. Set in a near future America, it takes readers on an unforgettable journey through questions of bio-medical ethics and the nature of humanity. Mary Pearson's vividly drawn characters and masterful writing soar to a new level of sophistication.

My Thoughts

I am so glad I took my time with this. It reminded me of what I felt after reading a certain part of Unwind where a character was getting unwound (and for the life of me I cannot recall his name!) Except here, the feeling that I got from that moment is stretched to cover what I felt throughout the book. And that is probably the biggest and best surprise from Jenna’s story.

It is surprisingly sad (despite it being a story about cloning.) Sad, because her parents could not let go. It is indeed the Adoration of Jenna Fox. And a little more sad because Lily couldn’t accept her. And the feeling was made bigger because she was what who she was. Each time something with Lily would happen, I’d feel more sad for her, for both of them actually… and there were a lot of those moments! I really do love it when a book makes me feel a certain emotion so strongly up to the end and not just at certain points.

It wasn't all like that of course. There's the bit where she's trying to relearn everything from facial expressions and appropriate responses. And that her/their life getting a bit more complicated with her  piecing things together: her past, her friends, and the reason behind their current location. Then throw in some mystery from the friendly artist neighbor and requisite teen angst/romance/friendship from Ethan and Ally. The only part I went "Huh?" was when Dane woul enter the picture... why was he the way he was?

I cannot wait to see what happens next. Want. Sequel. Now!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

Elsewhere
Good Reads Summary 

Is it possible to grow up while getting younger?
Welcome to Elsewhere. It is warm, with a breeze, and the beaches are marvelous. It’s quiet and peaceful. You can’t get sick or any older. Curious to see new paintings by Picasso? Swing by one of Elsewhere’s museums. Need to talk to someone about your problems? Stop by Marilyn Monroe’s psychiatric practice. Elsewhere is where fifteen-year-old Liz Hall ends up, after she has died. It is a place so like Earth, yet completely different. Here Liz will age backward from the day of her death until she becomes a baby again and returns to Earth. But Liz wants to turn sixteen, not fourteen again. She wants to get her driver’s license. She wants to graduate from high school and go to college. And now that she’s dead, Liz is being forced to live a life she doesn’t want with a grandmother she has only just met. And it is not going well. How can Liz let go of the only life she has ever known and embrace a new one? Is it possible that a life lived in reverse is no different from a life lived forward? This moving, often funny book about grief, death, and loss will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned.


My Thoughts

Upon reading the blurb, the first things that sprang to mind were Everlost AND the Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Thankfully, reading ELSEWHERE was not the same experience I had when I saw that movie(to this day I do not think I have gone past its thirty-minute mark. I probably have no taste, but you have to admit that Brad Pitt as young/old was a little creepy.) 


On to ELSEWHERE, I resolved to avoid making comparisons and simply enjoy the read. Am glad I did that! First, I love Elsewhere, it’s earth in reverse, but is still a “real” one: Liz got hurt,  Liz laughed and Liz fell in love. The last bit was probably the best thing in it. The story is set up in away that you know a love at first sight scenario is unlikely. So what’s in it? A “love developing” instead. 

Then the whole growing in reverse concept. We first meet a sixteen year old Liz. She is precisely that… a teen: everything is so big, everything is so tragic. Her feeling that way  while understandable didn’t stop me from wanting to tap some sense into her. Then she started “growing up.”  Once she got used to how things would be, she blossomed.  She got a job, made some friends as well as a boyfriend. The last thing was not an easy feat. (Owen’s being conflicted over them made their story more honest ~ not everything should come easily.)

I enjoyed Liz’s story. With her death, she felt cheated at not having experienced anything really. Most her problems stem from feeling this way. Once she accepted things though things did get better. And the story really is a simple one. Simple since it's about family and realtionships and figuring out who you are. Simple even with the concept of Elsewhere as the place people (and animals)  go after dying to grow young and later be reborn.


Elsewehere made me smile :)

3.5/5

The Ship Breaker (The Ship breaker #1) by Paolo Bacigalupi

Ship Breaker (Ship Breaker, #1)

Good Reads Summary
Set initially in a future shanty town in America's Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being dissembled for parts by a rag tag group of workers, we meet Nailer, a teenage boy working the light crew, searching for copper wiring to make quota and live another day. The harsh realities of this life, from his abusive father, to his hand to mouth existence, echo th...moreSet initially in a future shanty town in America's Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being dissembled for parts by a rag tag group of workers, we meet Nailer, a teenage boy working the light crew, searching for copper wiring to make quota and live another day. The harsh realities of this life, from his abusive father, to his hand to mouth existence, echo the worst poverty in the present day third world. When an accident leads Nailer to discover an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, and the lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl, Nailer finds himself at a crossroads. Should he strip the ship and live a life of relative wealth, or rescue the girl, Nita, at great risk to himself and hope she'll lead him to a better life. This is a novel that illuminates a world where oil has been replaced by necessity, and where the gap between the haves and have-nots is now an abyss. Yet amidst the shadows of degradation, hope lies ahead.

My Thoughts

Nailer, Pima, Nita and Tool's world isn’t that hard to imagine. It's one where after we had used everything up. So, the first star is on account of it’s being realistic. Their world was/is scary, hard to live in and all about surviving.

Then the characters. Nailer is a “boy” boy, not one who is in love or anything like that. He is just a pramatic boy trying to live to the next day. That’s another star; SHIP BREAKER is a boy book - for everyone especially, considering what a female protagonist saturated-world YA is right now. Not to say that there were no girls in this one because there definitely were. What’s better is they weren’t weak! They’re strong, doing their darndest to survive as well (for that, another star btw.)

It reminded me why I love A Knife of Never Letting Go. Both books require some time before I got settled in (They required my calling on my inner "patient reader please!") Once I was used to everything, the pace just picked up and held. From then, I felt the urgency and necessity of everything that Nailer, Pima, Nita and the crew had to do.

Added bonus: Tool!

3.5/5

Thursday, April 7, 2011

City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments#4) by Cassandra Clare


City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments, #4)

Good Reads Summary

City of Fallen Angels is the fourth book in the bestselling series The Mortal Instruments.

“City of Fallen Angels takes place two months after the events of City of Glass. In it, a mysterious someone’s killing the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle and displaying their bodies around New York City in a manner designed to provoke hostility between Downworlders and Shadowhunters, leaving tensions running high in the city and disrupting Clary’s plan to lead as normal a life as she can — training to be a Shadowhunter, and pursuing her relationship with Jace. As Jace and Clary delve into the issue of the murdered Shadowhunters, they discover a mystery that has deeply personal consequences for them — consequences that may strengthen their relationship, or rip it apart forever. Meanwhile, internecine warfare among vampires is tearing the Downworld community apart, and only Simon — the Daylighter who everyone wants on their side — can decide the outcome; too bad he wants nothing to do with Downworld politics. Love, blood, betrayal and revenge: the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels.”


My Thoughts

I knew there was a reason I liked Simon in the first three books (being one of those always rooting for the underdog/geek/bff guy in the triangle,) but seriously, where has drool-worthy Jace gone? His treatment of Clary was, uhm… off-putting, to say the least. (I think there’s been a Patch possession!) His emotions were just all over the place (everything makes sense later… but still!)

This is compounded by my expectation that the very rough road to their HEA was past them. Only to find out that all was not well in Jace-Clary land! Should I be happy with this? By “this” I mean that their life wasn’t simple, wasn’t all roses? Yes? No? After everything they’d been through in the CoB, CoA and CoG, I thought/hoped/expected that there HEA would be a solid one. From falling in love, then trying to fall out of love because of that pseudo-incestuous wrench thrown in, then finally his dying then being ‘resurrected…’ I thought they deserved a happy ending! So, should I be happy that I get to read about their lives after book 3? Should I be happy that Ms. Claire didn’t make things simple for them? Objectively, I should say YES. After all, we I always ask for an after the fact in the lives of dear, dear characters, right? I just thought that things would be a little easier for them!

The worst thing is Jace has been reduced to whiney-I-can’t-live-without-you-but I-might-hurt-you emo boy, then reverts to He-man-‘mine’ mode, and then goes back again, several times in the book! What’s gotten into you man? His ‘demeanor’- such a tame word- is eventually explained… but this fact does not stop me from being pissed off at him!

It’s a good thing there were a lot of good things to make me feel better. For starters there’s SIMON! Yes, he played a bigger role in this one! (I wish I had had the chance to re-read because I had a hard time remembering what the last thing was that happened to him… all I remembered was I liked him more than I did everyone else.) I loved that he was the music dork bff then. So, I ask yet again, should I be happy that he is now sorta- kinda hot given his being a vampire? Uhm, why not? My biggest problem was that his change had turned him into an ass-hat! *shakes head in a disappointment* Mia succinctly puts him in place when she explains that what he’d been doing was the normal consequence of changing from normal to not and dork to otherwise. I probably should be more disappointed in him, but I’m not because he is just the best thing in CoFA!

There were some other really good surprises from Mia, Isabelle, Clary’s mom and Jordan’s lives, and not so good ones from Alec and Magnus. First, Isabelle finally melts! Next, we get a little more of Mia’s history, The best-est, though, is Jocelyn – her HEA was working out. Sadly, this was not the case for Magnus and Alecs! Why? Someone was acting like an insecure twit!

Finally, why the 3.5 and not a 5- despite having waited to get CoFA for forever?
One, a lot of them were just so insecure in some way!
Two, those sneak-peaks have me feeling slightly dissatisfied now. It feels like all the good parts were doled out in those pre-release snippets! I was expecting so much more given how good they were!
Three, there’s a lot of same old, same old in this one.
Last, what’s up with that damned cliffy!

But wait! Why not a 1? What gives with the 3.5? That’s really simple: SIMON!

3.5/5

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Warm Bodies
Good Reads Summary

Story centers on an existentially tormented zombie who begins an unlikely friendship with the girlfriend of one of his victims and starts a chain reaction that will transform him and his fellow zombies.

My Thoughts

R and Julie’s story is probably the strangest, creepiest, yet sweetest and most hopeful thing I’ve come across in ages. You see, WARM BODIES is a zombie romance, literally. Instead of the expected survivors falling for each other given the end of days shtick, we have an actual zombie love story. The concept had me questioning would I buy it? Or better yet, would Julie? Even if the background was not as clearly explained as I want it to be, MAN, would I like to pick the brain of the person behind this story!

His zombie world reminded me of Tom Imura in R&R. Tom 'quiets' the undead for those left behind. Marion kicks the concept of suffering creatures up a couple of notches. Here zombies, dead though they may be, retain a semblance of their past lives. I repeat: a semblance. Take any normal human thing and reduce it to its most basic. Zombies love, zombies crave and hunger… and as R establishes, zombies think.. (a lot.)

But that isn’t even the most interesting bit! Let me back up, the zombies offered up in this one can be summed up thus, "You are what you eat." Well, sort of. When they consume, they see catch flickers of their victims’ memories and experiences. With that concept in place, we meet R the MC-zombie who surprisingly waxes on and on about his/their existence, being. Driven by some inexplicable anger, he leads his fellow undead on a hunt where he meets then eats Perry. The surprise is Perry’s memories are sharper and clearer to R than anything he had previously, uh… consumed. It is Perry’s memories, that compel him to protect Julie, the deceased’s girlfriend. It gets weirder, I promise.

The confusing in a cool way parts involved R re-living/ remembering Perry. So all at once, we see one of them spiral into apathy, and the other (R) regain bits and pieces of his humanity. This was probably the most interesting thing for me. My problem was R’s waxing poetic/philosophical about the situation, purple prose. But seeing Perry lose hope through R’s eyes was a rather unique experience. I could definitely feel R’s confusion about what he saw, but Perry’s dissatisfaction/apathy came across loud and clear too.

So here are three things I’m paraphrasing form WARM BODIES to describe it and how it made me feel: I felt confused. I felt afraid. YET I anticipated; I wanted to know what was in store for them.

The Gist: the biggest CON: Apparently the musings of a zombie tend toward purple. Fortunately, I encountered PRO’s a-plenty to have me continue.

3.5/5

Monday, April 4, 2011

Die For Me by Amy Plum

Die for Me (Revenants, #1)
Good Reads Summary

My life had always been blissfully, wonderfully normal. But it only took one moment to change everything.

Suddenly, my sister, Georgia, and I were orphans. We put our lives into storage and moved to Paris to live with my grandparents. And I knew my shattered heart, my shattered life, would never feel normal again. Then I met Vincent.

Mysterious, sexy, and unnervingly charming, Vincent Delacroix appeared out of nowhere and swept me off my feet. Just like that, I was in danger of losing my heart all over again. But I was ready to let it happen.

Of course, nothing is ever that easy. Because Vincent is no normal human. He has a terrifying destiny, one that puts his life at risk every day. He also has enemies . . . immortal, murderous enemies who are determined to destroy him and all of his kind.

While I'm fighting to piece together the remnants of my life, can I risk putting my heart—as well as my life and my family's—in jeopardy for a chance at love?


My Thoughts

Aaw, yeah! I liked DIE FOR ME! I truly hope I haven’t turned into one of those readers who hype up every last book they read, all very squee-y and happy… and for what? A guy who is “special?” A girl who falls head over heals over said guy? A guy has a “special” family and/or special set of friends? A couple that’s so ‘effin hot? I really hope I haven’t turned into one of those!

So DIE FOR ME has all those things mentioned above, yet I am once again surprised… because I liked Amy Plum world of revenants. So yeah, I don’t think refreshing and new are the words to describe DFM BUT it sure was enjoyable. The characters, the plot, the romance have all been done again and again and again in other books, but the way these elements have been put together here… was unexpected *grin.*

The four things that stood out for me were (a) the type of preternatural before us, (b) Kate’s reaction to meeting him, (c) Kate’s awareness. She didn’t fancy herself unattractive… she’s actually very aware of what she is and has to offer, and finally, (d) back to letter (b).

I don’t think I have ever read of revenants before, and even if I had I still think Plum did one heck of a job in describing them, explaining their origin and what-not. I’ve read about the fey. Weres or shifters? Yes and yes.. Vampires? Oh, heck yeah… so I think this might really be the first time I’ve ever come across revenants. The only down side for me on this bit was the baddies. I thought they were unnecessary. I found myself hooked once I knew what Vincent and his kindred were. I thought the Numa were needless additions to an already novel idea because the very idea of them had me wanting to know more.

OK, normally, the YA heroine falls head over heels with the guy upon laying eyes on him. When Kate realizes she’s being watched, I felt a moment of déjà Vu. Would they be another Edward-Bella? Thank the gods, they weren't! What’s most impressive is how she reacts. Because instead of being ruled by hormones, she weighs things, considers things. A good move on her part? I sure thought so. My problem is soon after ***spoiler***this considering-of -options done by her, her world shrinks to fit only her bedroom where in she wallows and becomes depressed… all because she chose a certain course of action.***spoiler***

Then there's Georgia and Kate. Yes, Georgia was the pretty, out going popular one, but this did not automatically make Kate the dowdy wall flower type (normally expected of the other sister.) So, Kate was definitely no Marcia!. In fact I found her “normal-ness” different. The only thing remotely remarkable about her was that she was fluent in French and even that wasn’t as remarkable as one would think, especially considering their ancestry/parentage. She is just so normal. She sounds normal; she looks normal and she reacts normally too. See a mugging? Feel frightened. Get almost crushed by a wall? Cry. discover what they were? Freak out!

Of course, there were things that just had me gnashing my teeth (see the points on Numa and Kate’s world after her first decision) but the biggest thing for me was blink speed rate at which their relationship progressed. Yes, she considered things before jumping in AND since DFM is YA PNR, I’m assuming no one will be surprised that she eventually caves. My problem is she goes from questioning to being totally in love. The fear she expressed at first discovering what they were, was just a token expression. Once her decision was made, things pretty much happened really quickly; she went from being on the fence about being together to practically saying I couldn’t bear to lose you!

4/5

*ARC provided by the publisher through NET GALLEY.
** DIE FOR ME officially comes out May 10, 2011

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott

The Unwritten Rule
Good Reads Summary

He's looking at me like—well, like he wants to look at me. Like he likes what he sees, and he's smiling and his eyes are so blue, even in the faint flow of the porch light they shine, and I nod dumbly, blindly, and then grope for the door handle, telling myself to look away and yet not able to do it.

"Sara," he says, softly, almost hesitantly, and my heart slam-bangs, beating hard, and this is what it's like to want someone you can't have. To want someone you shouldn't even be looking at.

"Sara," he says, softly, almost hesitantly, and my heart slam-bangs, beating hard, and this is what it's like to want someone you can't have. To want someone you shouldn't even be looking at.


My Thoughts

After reading and loving PERFECT YOU, I had to give Elizabeth Scott’s other books a try. That book had some messed up characters and managed to bring out some strong “I want to knock some seems into them” kind of feelings from me. Then there was STEALING HEAVEN. In it Greg was particularly impressive. It was his constant presence and non-hero ways that turned me into a Scott fan. So, you can probably imagine my dismay when I could not connect with any of the characters from UNWRITTEN RULE.

There was nothing in them that I liked,

“I’ve known Brianna forever, she picked me to be her friend and I’ve always been there for her.”

Sarah and Brianna have been best friends for quite a long time. From what Sarah recalls, it seems they never were of equal standing. That quote above almost says it all… Brianna did the picking. This was my main problem with them. How could one stand being friends with such a person for so long? Well, apparently Sarah could. And Sarah did. She was simply too kind; she had no backbone even her mother pointed it out. Her recollection of a best friend of past.. foreshadowed what her relationship with Brianna would be like.

Brianna was positively hateful. I ought to pity her given her issues. But Ms. Scott was very convincing in how she fleshed Brianna’s character out. Brianna is the kind of girl I love to hate… so hate her I do. I couldn’t even feel sorry for her. This is not to say that I “sided” with Sarah. I don’t (didn’t.)

Ryan isn’t such a prize either. Was it cowardly for him to stretch things out for so long? I thought so. In UNWRITTEN RULE, he was there all the time but did not act until much later. He took the cowardly route by waiting things out. A. waiting for Brianna to get tired of him. B. waiting to know if Sarah reciprocated. His inaction made me dislike him immensely.

As to the the story? Five points really: Sarah loves her best friend Brianna. Brianna loves her boyfriend Ryan. Sarah also fancies said boyfriend. Said boy secretly returns Sarah's feelings. Sarah feels guilty for (a) liking him and (b) resenting Brianna for the way the latter treats her and him. Wash. Rinse. Repeat cycle.

And yet I gave it three stars. If I found the MC’s abhorrent and found the story repetitive why the three stars? Those are on account of two things: The ending and Sarah’s parents. One clear great thing about UNWRITTEN RULE is that the author didn’t tie everything neatly up in a ribbon. There’s no happy ending or at least… there is no complete happy ending. And yet.. I find myself questioning myself on this point too, Should I be happy with a message that says it’s OK to cheat as long as you love each other? Then her parents. Her mother especially kept my hopes for the book up. She called it like she saw it. Her father too was a relief to read. Her mom and dad in the book had me looking forward to something.

While UNWRITTEN RULE is not my favorite of Scott’s, my love for PERFECT YOU and STEALING HEAVEN still drive me to give her other books a try.

3/5

Friday, April 1, 2011

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Forbidden  
Good Reads Summary

Sixteen-year-old Maya and seventeen-year-old Lochan have never had the chance to be 'normal' teenagers. Having pulled together for years to take care of their younger siblings while their wayward, drunken mother leaves them to fend alone, they have become much more than brother and sister. And now, they have fallen in love. But this is a love that can never be allowed, a love that will have devastating consequences ...

How can something so wrong feel so right?


My Thoughts

I knew what Forbidden was about even before I started it and this was what kept me from reading it. And with that ending I felt like my heart was breaking into pieces for them. In fact, midway, I was hoping they wouldn’t go down the path that I knew they were headed… hoping for a different ending. Why? Because despite what they were doing, they were kids. Kids with a massive responsibility on their shoulders and kids who coped through a totally unacceptable way. I HOPED, I WANTED a different ending for them.

It wasn’t an easy book to read. It isn’t supposed to be. There is no HEA and there shouldn’t be one. But to call it an “issue book” seems so insufficient to describe it. The depth and variety of feeling this one reached in me took me by surprise.

Yes, the subject is taboo.
Their experience, painful,
and I thought I knew what I was getting into before had.
I was wrong because now all I can say is I am…

CONFLICTED. I felt terrified for a number of things. First, that they would act on their feelings, and later that they would be discovered. Then there was the frustration at their acting on their feelings. Which led me to hope that they would be discovered or at least almost discovered just get some sense knocked into them to stop. And when they did, stop, I mean, there was elation BUT heartbreak as well because they couldn’t have what they wanted. So, yes, I definitely felt very conflicted all throughout. For letting me feel all those things, this book -shocking, unnerving and taboo as its subject is- may very well be one of my favorites this year. By its end, I found myself wondering why I had never read it before.

5 stars