March 30, 2011

Review: Stay by Deb Caletti

Special thanks to Simon & Schuster's galley grab for providing me with a copy of this book. Stay is available on April 5th 2011.

Summary: Clara’s relationship with Christian is intense from the start, and like nothing she’s ever experienced before. But what starts as devotion quickly becomes obsession, and it’s almost too late before Clara realizes how far gone Christian is—and what he’s willing to do to make her stay.

Now Clara has left the city—and Christian—behind. No one back home has any idea where she is, but she still struggles to shake off her fear. She knows Christian won’t let her go that easily, and that no matter how far she runs, it may not be far enough....

Review: Stay is one of those rare books. You know the ones - you’re not expecting anything amazing, but they sneak up on you and all you want to do once you’re finished is open it back up and read it all over again. I haven’t read a book this powerful in a long time and although this was the first Deb Caletti book I’ve read, it certainly won’t be the last.
Clara’s voice was a refreshing one to read, and I loved the tone the author gave to her narration - it wasn’t quite chatty, but not totally formal either; very unique. I also loved the footnotes that randomly popped up throughout the story, they added some humour to a story that definitely had its dark points.
I also really loved Clara and her Dad’s relationship. It seemed so real and it was a pleasant surprise to read about a parental figure that was actually part of his daughter’s life. All too often in YA contemporary, parents get pushed to the background of the story, so it so it was lovely to see him included and actually be an imperative part in the story.
Deb did a phenomenal job of portraying the abuse Clara suffered at the hands of her ‘soul mate’, Christian. Possession is a hard one to get right, because it’s not an obvious type of abuse, it doesn’t leave marks that you can see. I’ve read a few books dealing with the possession/jealously type of abuse, but in comparison to Stay they fade to the background. It was also interesting to see Clara’s blossoming relationship with Finn, to compare it to her and Christian. It was a necessary addition and honestly, Finn is just too dreamy for me to do justice to.
Stay is a book that makes me want to read more contemporary novels. It was an insanely powerful book - I finished it almost a week ago, and I’m still constantly thinking about it. I can already tell this is going to be on my favorites of 2011 list, and honestly it’s going on my ‘favorites of all-time’ shelf too. Read this as soon as you can.
Rating: 5 out of 5

Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for a giveaway of this book in the near future. I just reached 50 followers, so consider it my thank you!

March 15, 2011

Review: Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

PhotobucketSynopsis (from Goodreads): For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her...until Patch comes along. 
With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment, but after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is far more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel. 
For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.
Review: I had been going back and forth for the last few months over whether to read Hush, Hush - and by doing so, invest in a new series. Honestly though, I can’t go past a fallen angel story and this one just sounded too good to resist. 
Hush, Hush starts typically enough, with Nora meeting a mysterious new boy in her biology class and being inexplicably both drawn to him and wary of him. Although this sounds familiar, it’s how the rest of the book plays out that makes this novel so different to the plethora of YA fantasy already out there. 
Let’s start with Nora, our wonderful protagonist. Nora’s so great - she’s very strong minded and believable, and isn’t afraid to tell Patch to pull his head in, so to speak. With so many female characters being spineless bimbos in the YA fantasy genre, it was refreshing to see the author inject some spunk into Nora. Although she didn’t always show the most common sense, her actions were always believable and relatable.
And now, what about Patch? He was such an enigmatic, dangerously seductive leading man that I couldn’t decide whether or not I should trust him or not. I also couldn’t make up my mind whether to love him or hate him, but by the end of the book I was firmly in the love camp. I often caught myself smirking at his smart-ass comments and grew to enjoy his bizarre actions towards Nora. Plus, with chemistry as sizzling as they have, how can anyone not love them?
I’m so glad I finally caved and gave this book a shot because it definitely raised the bar for any future fallen angel books that I’ll read. I loved Patch and Nora and was kept interested by the underlying mystery. I’ve just ordered a copy of Crescendo and I’ve got high hopes that it will be every bit as great as Hush, Hush, if not better.
Rating: 4 out of 5

March 13, 2011

In My Mailbox (3)

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi at The Story Siren and inspired by Alea at Pop Culture Junkie.

Nightshade: I saw this on the bottom shelf of the YA section in my local bookstore and was shocked - my book stores never stock books like this! So, needless to say, I bought it immediately.
If I Stay: I found If I Stay and Burnt Snow lurking in the bargain table of another book shop, and I've heard nothing but good things about Gayle Foreman's books so I'm very excited to start reading this!
Burnt Snow: This has an intriguing summary that I'm not too sure about yet. I think it could be a good read though, so I'm definitely going to read it soon.
The Body Finder: I saw this one advertised on Amazon for $1.99 on Kindle, so I couldn't pass up that awesome deal! I was a bit on the fence about whether or not this would be my thing, so I'll guess I'll find out soon enough.

And that's it from me! What arrived in your mailbox this week? (Btw - sorry for the formatting, I couldn't for the life of me get the pictures to stay in line!)

March 9, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday (4) Scorpia Rising

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
Title: Scorpia Rising
Author: Anthony Horowitz
Release Date: March 22nd 2011
Publisher: Philomel
SynopsisScorpia has dogged Alex Rider for most of his life. They killed his parents, they did their best to con Alex into turning traitor, and they just keep coming back with more power. Now the world's most dangerous terrorist organization is playing with fire in the world's most combustible land: the Middle East. No one knows Scorpia like Alex. And no one knows how best to get to Alex like Scorpia. Until now.

The chases have never been more intense, the fights more treacherous, or the risks so perilous to mankind. And this time, Alex won't get away.

Why I'm waiting on it: I've loved the Alex Rider series since I was a kid, so to see that the last one is finally coming out made me ecstatic. Although I've fallen a little behind with the series I'll have to set aside a few weekends and read them all before I get this one.

What are you waiting on?

March 7, 2011

Mix It Up Monday (2)

Mix It Up Monday is a meme I've started here, where on the first Monday of each month I will post a review of a book that:
a) I wouldn't normally read, or
b) Wouldn't normally be reviewed on a YA blog.
Let me know if you're interested in participating. :)
Note: This review is written by my younger sister. Thank you!

: John and Jenny were just beginning their life together. They were young and in love, with a perfect little house and not a care in the world. Then they brought home Marley, a wriggly yellow furball of a puppy. Life would never be the same.
Marley quickly grew into a barreling, ninety-seven-pound streamroller of a Labrador retriever. He crashed through screen doors, gouged through drywall, and stole women's undergarments. Obedience school did no good -- Marley was expelled.
And yet his heart was pure. Just as Marley joyfully refused any limits on his behavior, his love and loyalty were boundless, too. A dog like no other, Marley remained steadfast, a model of devotion, even when his family was at its wit's end. Unconditional love, they would learn, comes in many forms.
Review: It doesn’t matter if you consider yourself a ‘dog person’ or not, as Marley and Me will teach you some of the most important lessons life has to offer. There is a laugh a minute when reading this hilarious book and with the the help of ‘the world’s worst dog’ the Grogan family’s story will have you wiping away tears of laughter - and of sadness.
If you aren’t really a dog person, you probably haven’t even thought about reading this book. However, there is more to the book than just a dog and it will help you appreciate the small things in life a whole lot more. The way the author writes his memories is very descriptive and heartfelt, with just the right mix of humour, which is a great combination to read.
Even though Marley and Me is a comical book, there are definitely some tear-jerking moments throughout the book. It is written with full honesty and the right amount of emotions is put into the words, with the author managing not to lose too much in translation. I really loved that although Marley destroyed everything he could get his teeth on, he was still treated as one of the family, right from the very beginning of their journey together. 
Overall Marley and Me is an excellent book that all sorts of people can enjoy. By the end we are all reminded that life should be lived to the full and that swallowed jewelry and chewed drywall are a very small price to pay for a life long friend.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

March 6, 2011

In My Mailbox (2)

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi at The Story Siren and inspired by Alea at Pop Culture Junkie.



Delirium: I reviewed the ARC of this a while ago and loved it, so I'm stoked to finally own a copy of the real thing! 
Meridian: I got this one for $2 at a second hand book store. I probably would have passed it up at full price, but the synopsis was intriguing enough for me to give it a go at that price.
The Otherworldlies: Same deal as Meridian, but this plot interested me more. I'm excited to start reading it!

What arrived in your Mailbox this week?

March 4, 2011

The Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder

Note: The Lipstick Laws is released on April 4th 2011. Big thanks to NetGalley for this ARC!

: At Penford High School, Britney Taylor is the queen bee. She dates whomever she likes, rules over her inner circle of friends like Genghis Khan, and can ruin anyone's life with a snap of perfectly manicured fingers. Just ask the unfortunate few who have crossed her.   For April Bowers, Britney is also the answer to her prayers. April is so unpopular, kids don't even know she exists. But one lunch spent at Britney's table, and April is basking in the glow of popularity. But Britney's friendship comes with a high price tag. How much is April willing to pay?

Review: While reading The Lipstick Laws I couldn’t help thinking it would have been the perfect book for me at age 14. However, being almost 18 now, there was a little bit of a lack of a connection between the characters and I that prevented me from loving this book as much as I thought I would.
The characters in The Lipstick Laws were a big part of what saved the novel for me. The plot itself is quite cliched, but add in these wonderful characters and the result is quite surprising. April was a great protagonist, frequently coming out with witty observations - I laughed out loud numerous times, something I don’t normally do. The supporting characters were great too, all realistic and flawed - although sometimes the flaws were a little too obviously told, instead of subtly shown to the reader. Even Britney had some redeeming qualities and even though she was horrible, it was easy to understand why and feel empathy for her.
One thing that I noticed was that the story line seemed to be very derivative of Mean Girls but just toned down for a younger audience. Maybe it was because I had just watched the film before I read the book, but I found more than one similarity - the revenge aspect being a biggie. It wasn’t a huge deal, because there were enough differences to make it its own story, but for me it was just that wee bit too similar.
Overall though, The Lipstick Laws was a quick, enjoyable book. Although it wasn’t quite the right fit for me, I know there will be countless other readers who will enjoy it. I would recommend it most for 13-15 year olds.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Author Info:

March 1, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (3) Hush, Hush

PhotobucketTeaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
My teaser: "Five days a week isn't enough of me? Had to give me a evening too?"
- Patch to Nora, in Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick.

What are your teasers this week?