Saturday, February 26, 2011

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

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

In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.

I was not sure about what to expect from Perfect Chemistry.  The front cover made me think it was a romance novel, and in a way it is.  But, it goes much deeper than that.  It's not a light read, but it's definitely a good one and it will have you wanting to stay up late to finish it.  This is the first novel I've read by Simone Elkeles but I've got the next one on order.  This is number one in a series of at least three.

Brittany Ellis is the definition of perfection-on the outside.  Perfect hair, makeup, clothes, life.  Or so everyone thinks.  But on the inside she's one eggshell away from breaking down.  There are so many things that could go wrong if anyone found out her secrets at home that she teeters on the edge constantly.  Her perfect boyfriend is pressuring her for sex, but she suspects he did something over the summer and that's why she doesn't feel the connection to him anymore.  Her parents are emotionally distant, her father treating the house more like a "hotel than a home" as she says and her mother constantly blaming her if things aren't perfect.  I liked Brittany.  She had a facade she put on at school, but never trusted anyone.  Home was far from perfect.  Her mother was always on the edge of breaking down and avoided home like the plague.  Her father was a workaholic and Brittany avoided a social life so she could rush home and take care of her mentally challenged sister.  That was her big secret that the rest of the world didn't know.  She had to be perfect because her sister wasn't.  She tried so hard to make up for it that she was like a ticking time bomb.  So, on the first day of school when she almost runs over the supposed leader of a gang she doesn't freak out, she stands up to him.

Alex is just trying to do the best for his family.  He got "jumped" into the gang so his family would be protected after he saw his father shot to death in front of him at the age of six.  His life is so different from Brittany's he thinks.  He works in a garage and collects money for the actual leader of the gang.  He tries to keep his younger brothers out of the gangs so they don't have to go through what he goes through.  He, too, puts on a facade.  He wears the tough guy one so that no one sees how smart he is and that he dreams of a better life, one he thinks he can never have.  I liked Alex, even as he pushed Brittany away and his feelings aside.  All he knew and had been taught was that he didn't deserve girls like Brittany.  But deep down, he was the gang type.  He had honor and potential, there just wasn't a way out.  Not one where he could live.

Then Ms. Peterson pairs Brittany and Alex together in Chemistry for their senior project and everything changes.  This is a realistic look at the lives of two high school kids with real problems and how they find common ground despite their differences.  There were drugs and guns and a hysterical scene in a bathroom at a wedding.  I don't know much about gangs.  I know they're everywhere, but if the portrayal of what Alex had to endure is true, then I'm scared.  No wonder they continue to grow instead of break apart.

I was satisfied with the ending and even more pleased with the first few chapters of the next book in the series Rules of Attraction.  I enjoyed the plot line, which was never slow at all.  In fact, it moved so quickly, I couldn't believe it was over.  The chapters alternate between Brittany and Alex's point of view something I really like because we see the same thing from both characters and see how differently they see it.  There is also such a difference in culture which I hope Simone Elkeles did her homework on.  If you've never had a friend of dated someone from a different culture, it can be very difficult.  I think she shows that really well in the novel.  There is sex, drinking, drugs all the high school stuff so parents should think about that if they are buying.  Kids, just be forewarned.  And of course some language.  A mature 14 and up I'd say.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Haven by Kristi Cook

HavenOne month into her junior year, sixteen-year-old Violet McKenna transfers to the Winterhaven School in New York’s Hudson Valley, inexplicably drawn to the boarding school with high hopes. Leaving Atlanta behind, she’s looking forward to a fresh start--a new school, and new classmates who will not know her deepest, darkest secret, the one she’s tried to hide all her life: strange, foreboding visions of the future.

But Winterhaven has secrets of its own, secrets that run far deeper than Violet’s. Everyone there--every student, every teacher--has psychic abilities, 'gifts and talents,' they like to call them. Once the initial shock of discovery wears off, Violet realizes that the school is a safe haven for people like her. Soon, Violet has a new circle of friends, a new life, and maybe even a boyfriend--Aidan Gray, perhaps the smartest, hottest guy at Winterhaven.

Only there’s more to Aidan than meets the eye--much, much more. And once she learns the horrible truth, there’s no turning back from her destiny. Their destiny. Together, Violet and Aidan must face a common enemy--if only they can do so without destroying each other first.(From Good Reads)

I almost didn't read this book because of the cover.  The cover gods did not smile on Kristi Cook's debut novel.  But, thankfully, she didn't need it.  Bit's and pieces of this novel reminded me of different parts of other books, but it was unique in it's own way.  I could see where people could see where it reminded them of Twilight, but only slightly.  Or maybe Fallen.  Sort of.  It reminded me most of the Eternal Ones.  But even so, there was a spin on that, something I've never heard of and it would seem an obstacle that would be very hard to overcome.    Violet (a popular name this year) is feeling like a freak because of her visions of things that will happen in the future.  Usually bad things.  No one believes her.  But at Winterhaven, she finds she isn't a rarity.  And she begins to have friends for the first time.  And a boyfriend.  Who blows hot and cold.  And who she starts to have visions about.  And her visions are never wrong. And he tells her something terrible and she avoids him. Then one terrible night, while wandering the streets of Manhattan when she's supposed to be visiting her step mother, she finds herself in the middle of the one vision that has been haunting her since she's met Aidan.  And after that, she has to believe what he's told her, what she's seen.  There is no denying it.

Hope that's enough to whet your appetite.  I can't tell anymore of the story without giving anything away.  I will say that Violet has some friends with interesting abilities and I was glad the author explained them more fully because I didn't know what they were.  Anyone well versed on astral projection?  No, me either.  But the author is good about explaining everything we don't understand.  With some interesting new folklore on a being we know a lot about.  And we get some science lessons.  Yeah, I just kind of let some of the harder stuff float by.  But some of it was really interesting.  And where this story is leading, well, there are a couple of threads, are all incredibly interesting and like nothing I've ever read before.  So, while it might tickle your mind with some memories of other books, it really is fresh and unique and the writing is easy and flows from one chapter to the next. The book is written from Violet's point of view and there is something called "The Aidan Effect" that is really funny to read in action.  It's almost four hundred pages long, but it goes by fast.  There is a little lag time in certain points, but it picks right back up again.  You really won't notice too much. 

I can't recall bad words.  There was some lusting, but no actual descriptions of sex.  A memory of some kind, but I don't know if it could be called sex.  Lots of kissing.  I'd say 13 and up would be fine to read this. 

Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting

Desires of the Dead (Body Finder)The missing dead call to Violet. They want to be found.
Violet can sense the echoes of those who've been murdered—and the matching imprint that clings to their killers. Only those closest to her know what she is capable of, but when she discovers the body of a young boy she also draws the attention of the FBI, threatening her entire way of life.

As Violet works to keep her morbid ability a secret, she unwittingly becomes the object of a dangerous obsession. Normally she'd turn to her best friend, Jay, except now that they are officially a couple, the rules of their relationship seem to have changed. And with Jay spending more and more time with his new friend Mike, Violet is left with too much time on her hands as she wonders where things went wrong. But when she fills the void by digging into Mike's tragic family history, she stumbles upon a dark truth that could put everyone in danger.

I am having a hard time writing a review for this novel.  It was every bit as good as The Bodyfinder.  All the same characters were there, but the focus was more on the kids this time than the parents.  Chelsea had more "face time" so we got to learn more about her.  Jay and Violet's relationship continued with some major hiccups.  I'd say Jay showed some character growth, showing some more vulnerability where it comes to Violet, and maturity at not forcing things out of her before she's ready to talk.  But I felt like Violet took two steps back.  She was childish, not telling Jay when she got threats, when she felt the echos calling to her.  When she had suspicions.  She lied by omission quite a bit saying she was protecting her family.  And all the time she was putting herself in danger.  I didn't like who she was in this novel.  Instead of being strong, she was stupid and childish, very immature.  I hope she grows up in the next book.

The plot line moved at a fast pace again, barely letting you catch your breath.  Just when I thought it was going one way, it went another and then a curve ball was thrown in and I thought "Hmm, maybe."  I turned out to be wrong, but who knows in a later book.  The suspense was there, the terror, the mystery all there.
The romance was there, too.  It was so good I read late in the night and picked it up first thing the next day.  I love Kimberly Derting's style.  It's sharp and lean.  Not too much description, just enough to let you get a mental image.  The dialogue is great, especially Chelsea.  She's snarky and  funny.  I really loved this book.
I guess my only disappointment was Violet's increasing stupidity as the novel went on.  Everything else was great. I do like where the story line seems to be headed, I just hope the dreaded triangle isn't going to come into play.  Please.

This is a book for older teens as sex is an issue in  this book.  Along with death.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Kevin's Point of View by Del Shannon

"Hi! I'm Kevin Tobin and well, this is my Point of View.  See, the lady that runs this blog- she's been really busy lately with some personal stuff, you know, grown up things, so she asked me to tell you about my book, my Point of View.  Sooo,  here I am!  This book is about a time in my life- a very eventful time in my life- when everything was going wrong- including me.  But I learned that sometimes, wrong is the only way to make it right-ya know what I mean?

Anyway, one way my life was wrong was that my dad was killed in a bicycle accident-the only thing left was a mangled tangle of metal that didn't even look like a bike.  And the way I dealt was to retreat into my imagination.  I pretended to be someone else like Captain Disaster fighting the evil Floogs. One day  I was in my F117A Stealth Fighter at the time about to knock out a missile site when I was called back to Red Team Base by the Pentagon (my mother) for a package pick up.  Turned out to be mine.  I raced to my room opened it up and found this weird remote control and started playing around with it, me being a curious boy of 12 and then Holy Fruitloops (I didn't say that) it blew a hole...."

Uh thanks Kevin!  Thank you so much for starting without me.  I appreciate what you've done, but I'll take it from here.  We don't want to give the story away.  We want people to want to get the novel and read if for themselves.  "But I was only going to tell them about the Influxitron and Scratch and Tony and ..."  Really, Goodbye Kevin!  Back in the book or I'm calling Del.  He may not give you a part in the sequel.  "Okay, bye."

So, to take over my blog again, though Kevin was doing a good job and you can see he has a very active imagination and he uses it to get him out of many sticky situations.  The package he got by mistake was supposed to be sent to the villain in this novel, Devin.  The rest of the novel is full of Kevin's clever use of his imagination in escaping Devin and his armed men.  Kevin is flanked by his best friend, Tony and later on by his sister, Betsy and the pizza delivery guy/boyfriend, Scratch and a surprising helping hand.  Devin again, is flanked by armed professionals and a helicopter.  But Kevin's imagination, friends, loving family and the Rocky Mountains prove to be a challenge for Devin.

This novel is fast paced with plenty of action, but enough dialogue to allow you to get to know the characters.  Each of them fulfill a role in the world of Kevin including the evil Devin.  Here is Del Shannon's explanation of each character's place in the novel  "Kevin finds courage in the depths of his despair over the loss of his father. Tony is almost like the voice of Kevin's fear, constantly seeing the real dangers around him, even in the middle of Kevin's fantasies. Kevin's mother is a minor character now who will grow in other books (if they're written), but she represents unfailing, familial love. Kevin's father, also rarely seen now but who will become more important as the story progresses, is a magnetic north that their family steers by - even in death. Scratch represents the release of anxiety and carefree fun that we all are seeking in our lives. Betsy is both a sibling and a peer who may complain bitterly, but never leaves your side. She's a counterweight to the huge mass that is sometimes Kevin. Right now Devin is just the face of something sinister and evil, but we all know that there is something deeper and hidden from our sight and we should keep a cautious eye in it's direction. This evil will obviously grow and become something we don't expect.  It's just wrapped around a - I hope - fun and entertaining story."

I truly loved this novel!  But I couldn't just say that and you would believe me.  So here are some things I find unique to this novel.  It's written and appeals to MG boys.  It has helicopters and guns and dangerous situations and a really cool gadget that boys love and some girls love, too.  It hooks you right from the start.  Two pages in and you're moving along.  Kevin never breaks.  Remember being a kid and thinking nothing would ever happen to you?  You'd live forever?  Well something has happened already to Kevin, his dad was killed.  But he goes on using the skills he has to cope with it.  At first glance you think he's ADHD, but you get a good look into his reasoning for his escape into his imagination.  The author has one line that my son actually was reading to me and opened up a conversation between us that was so deep and sensitive, for both of us.  For those of you who still read with your kids, you'll find that one sentence and when you do, I hope it helps you open up.  Kevin always looks out for his family and friends.  Kevin and his friends could be your own kids, there isn't anything extraordinary about him, and yet there is.  He puts on a brave face about his dad's death.  But they had plans.  Plans he'll never get to do now and at twelve, he has to swallow a lot of dreams he'll never get to have.  Devin is a scary man making no idle threats.  He plans to kill Kevin and tells him, but Kevin never gives up.  He's always looking for a way out.  I cheered for him and his compatriots the whole way through and at the end I was astounded.  Some things were revealed that I couldn't believe. 

The novel is written in third person point of view, mainly from Kevin's perspective.  Though the novel  is almost four hundred pages long,(a little longer than this review) it does not read like that at all.  Each chapter has a title page and a blank page before it.  It is a self published novel, beautifully bound and not one spelling error or grammatical error that I could find.  These usually glare out at me so if there were any they weren't obvious.  There is no objectionable language, behavior or content.  This novel is appropriate for anyone that can read and understand the content.  I think boys who have a hard time finding reading material that they like will especially like this one. As I mentioned before, it's action packed, fast paced and easy to read.  You can read as much or as little as you want into it.  So far, it's my favorite book this year.  And I named Kevin as one of my favorite male characters.  He's not a kid you'd coddle, more like you'd want to hang out with.

Heather in Sandwich

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French KissAnna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets √Čtienne St. Claire: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.

As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss Anna—and readers—have long awaited?

Okay first of all, what is so bad about spending your senior year in Paris away from your parents?  That would have been the perfect place for me my senior year!  I may still be there writing to you  right now if I'd had that opportunity.  But, I guess it did kind of suck leaving her best friend behind and the guy she thought she had a chance with, Toph, (can't stand that name! Sorry Topher Grace) and her job that she loves.

Anyway the story is great if a little tiring, almost with St. Clair/Etienne (always loved that name) then not with him.  That happened a little longer than necessary for me.  But it certainly drove the story.  I love that the story was told from Anna's point of view so we can hear her thoughts, her typical insecurities and her oh, I had no idea moments, which she has a lot of.  What I wonder is, are there that many beautiful girls wandering around the world that really don't know they are beautiful?  If I was beautiful, I mean, men turn around and look at me beautiful, I think I could look in the mirror and know that I am that beautiful.  But in several novels, including this one,  there are girls that beautiful that don't seem to know it.  It's not a flaw in Anna, I'm just wondering if beautiful girls don't really know they are beautiful.  I think Anna's insecurities are her charm and her downfall, in that she keeps missing her chance with St. Clair.  Then her obsession becomes her downfall when she forgets everyone but him.

As for St. Clair, I don't think he makes himself too clear about what he wants.  He's got a girlfriend, but he's been flirting like crazy with Anna almost since the night she arrived.  And then there is Thanksgiving and the calls over Christmas.  But, his intentions are never clear.  He's such a guy.  He doesn't put himself out there in case he might get hurt.  But he's always there for Anna, appearing out of nowhere sometimes.

I think the characters of Anna and St. Clair could be stereotypical, but the author gives them flaws that make them vulnerable and less perfect.  It makes them more believable and relateable and therefore, the story realistic.  It's anything but a typical teenage romance novel, but that is what it is, a romance novel and it had me from the moment Anna and St. Clair met.  I was hoping for a sequel but the ending is complete.  I just loved those two characters so much.

I didn't feel the friendship between Meredith and Anna, but Anna herself admits to neglecting that relationship.  I felt her relationship with Rashmi was more believable because Rashmi gets angry with her, talks to her about Josh and her family and opens up in general.  We never even hear what she and Meredith talk about and then there's the huge pink elephant in the room where they are concerned.  Her friendship with Josh is kind of an extension of that with St. Clair and Rashmi.  Sometimes he's a welcome relief, sometimes he's interfering.  But he's definitely not someone she can confide in.  Her real confidante is St. Clair and that friendship does feel real whether the two are in love or not.

I like teenage romance books.  They are so happy, for the most part.  No worrying about paying the bills and getting the kids to school.  It's just about romance.  For that, I love this book.  For reminding me about teenage romance.  I've got a teenager and I want to remember why teenage crushes and first loves were so special.  This book helped me remember all that does he/ doesn't he and all the ups and downs that first romance brings.  It was so much fun looking back at that time, but I wouldn't live it over in a million years.  Only with today's wisdom would I be a teenager again.  Maybe.

And, although I don't think the author actually went to Paris, I think I read that, she sure made me feel like I was there with her descriptions of the different quarters and the shops and restaurants and the monuments.  I haven't been to Paris (my parents didn't send me to boarding school for my senior year of high school) but if I ever go I'll let you know if she was accurate.  The descriptions of the American Tourists in Paris with their Euro Disney shirts on -Really? You go to Paris to see Euro Disney?  Go to Florida or California.  And the others with their American Flag shirts on was priceless.  I could see it like I was walking along a street in Paris and I guarantee if the men didn't have white sneakers on they had Jesus sandals on with dark socks pulled as high as they would go.  Anna had the same preconceived notions about Parisians hating Americans that my husband has and why I won't be making the trip over any time soon.  But it was funny to read those same things he had said and to see St. Clair dismiss them until they saw the tourists.  You just can't dismiss that no matter what!!

I think this novel is appropriate for 13 and up.  There is some drinking, but it's legal in Paris.  It's excessive but only once or twice it's not a running theme in the novel.  And the hangovers are described quite accurately so maybe it would be good to hear how awful excessive drinking feels the next day!

I have to say I found myself smiling a lot as I read this novel.  Even when I reread passages so I could write my review.  I think it's one I will definitely keep.  We all need books that bring a smile to our face even if we only read a page or two.  I think the longer this book sits with me, the more in love with it I will be.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver Audio Version Narrated by Sarah Drew

Before I FallSamantha Kingston has it all—looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12th should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it’s her last. The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. In fact, she re-lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she had ever imagined.

I listened to the Audio version of this book using Overdrive Media borrowed from my local library.  It was twelve hours and twenty five minutes long.  Again, Sarah Drew was a great narrator and did an admirable job of experiencing the same day over and over again.  Her voice seemed to fit the character and situation perfectly and her change in voice for different characters was great.

The story practically begins with the death of the main character.  She's reminiscing about the past  through the whole story and trying to figure out why she's living out a ground hog day life existence.  Through the seven days she lives, she watches a different friend die, kisses a teacher, dumps her boyfriend, fights with her best friend and finds out how she and her best friends actions have tormented one girl throughout junior high and then high school.  If there is a God, then there is some amazing character growth that takes place in Sam's "life" in those seven days.  She goes from shallow to what happened to angry to immature to acceptance and in the end a kind of redemption.  I don't think this needs a full review.  I'm probably the last person to read/listen to it.  But I will say again, no tissues were needed.  I was dry eyed and very removed from the character.  No, I am not heartless.  I am extremely sensitive and cry at dog commercials.  So how did I not cry at this?  I just cannot connect to the characters when I'm listening.  Only when I'm reading.  Then I can conjure their faces.  See their actions.  I really tried to visualize, closing my eyes and seeing Juliet and I saw her, but I couldn't feel anything for her.  So once again, I draw the same conclusion, I miss something in listening to the novel rather than reading it.  To be honest, I probably would have avoided this one anyway.

For parents, not suitable for the youngsters.  There is drinking and sex and bad language and of course, death.

Heather in Sandwich

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Talk to Me Tuesday Meme

Talk to Me Tuesday is a brand new weekly meme where we will discuss anything (and everything) literary-related in an open forum of honesty. Questions for the next week will be posted one week prior to the post on the Features page. If you'd like to participate in this weekly feature, simply create your post, link back to me, and add your post to the wonderful Mr. Linky below. Have fun, and have at it!

                 This week's question: Who are your all-time favourite male and female characters?
  • Wow, how much time do you have?  I absolutely love Evie from Paranormalcy.  She's funny and strong and a really kick butt heroine.  She does her job, a little naively, but then it's all she's ever known.  And it's kind of like trusting your mom. But she's a great  character! 
  •  I also love Aura from Shade.  She is strong and determined and when she is required to do something incredibly embarrassing, she faces it with her head held high.  Then she is later determined to save Logan no matter what he wants or how hard it is. 
  • There is also Bianca from from The DUFF.  She's tough, she's funny, she's vulnerable and loyal. 
  •  And Lena from the Mermaid's Mirror who has to make a huge decision between living in one world or another, find forgiveness, decide between family and love. 
  • And Tegan from Tyger,Tyger because she keeps her family together despite a very determined social worker, she is strong, goes on a dangerous trip to rescue her father.  She saves them several times on the trip  to Mag Mel.
  • And last, but not least is the girl from the bittersweet story of Sing Me To Sleep, Beth.  She puts up with her transformation, her not too kind classmates, her best friend's changed attitude towards her.  And the weird behavior of the boy she loves.  When she finds out what is wrong with him, what's happening, she finds an inner strength and unselfishness to help him through it.  What happens is so hard to bear and yet she's there to the end.

Is that too many?  Well, I've probably left some of the female characters out that I admire and love, but that's all I remember.  And now, for the men. 
  • Hmm, well there is Jay from The Body Finder.  He's just so good.  Cute, sexy and oh so protective.  He is the best boyfriend/best friend ever!! 
  • Cassel from White Cat just because he puts up with his family and finds a way to con a con. 
  •  Finn from Tyger, Tyger because he fights Goblins and helps Tegan rescue her father, but he works beside her, not in front of her, he's her equal. 
  •  And I love Kevin from Kevin's Point of View.  Kevin is only 12, but he's a hero.  He shows a maturity that most boys don't have until much later in life.  He is surprising in his strength.
  • Seth from the Wicked Lovely series for his tenacity, his loyalty to Ash and all his friends in the various courts, his willingness to fight War, and how steadfast he is by Ash's side even when Keenan is there.
I know I'm leaving a lot of the guys out and as soon as I read everyone's answers I'll want to change mine, but that's who comes to mind off the top of my head. (Actually, I had to look a few of the girl's up.  For some reason I cannot remember names very well.)  There were a few people in Born At Midnight that I liked a lot but my ARC hasn't been returned yet so I don't have it to refer to.  And, I think I've probably said enough.

  • ParanormalcyShadeThe DUFF: (Designated Ugly Fat Friend)The Mermaid's MirrorTyger Tyger: A Goblin Wars Book
  • Sing Me to SleepThe Body FinderWhite Cat (Curse Workers)Tyger Tyger: A Goblin Wars BookKevin's Point of View
  • Heather in Sandwich

Friday, February 11, 2011

Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin Various Narrators

ExtraordinaryPhoebe finds herself drawn to Mallory, the strange and secretive new kid in school, and the two girls become as close as sisters . . . until Mallory's magnetic older brother, Ryland, shows up during their junior year. Ryland has an immediate, exciting hold on Phoebe, but a dangerous hold, for she begins to question her feelings about her best friend and, worse, about herself. Soon she'll discover the shocking truth about Ryland and Mallory: that these two are visitors from the faerie realm who have come to collect on an age-old debt. Generations ago, the faerie queen promised Phoebe's ancestor five extraordinary sons in exchange for the sacrifice of one ordinary female heir. But in hundreds of years there hasn't been a single ordinary girl in the family, and now the faeries are dying. Could Phoebe be the first ordinary one? Could she save the faeries, or is she special enough to save herself?(From Goodreads)

This was an audio book that I borrowed from the library.  It had numerous narrators all of whom did a great job except for Ryland.  He had one voice in Faerie and another outside of Faerie.  I don't know if the one outside of Faerie was supposed to sound sexy or what but it just made me think of a man who smoked too much and didn't bathe very often.  The rest of the voices were perfect for their parts.  This ran 9 hours 22minutes and 26 seconds.  But it didn't seem that long. 

The beginning of the audio starts with Phoebe and her friends staring at the new girl and going on about her clothes.  She seems to be wearing a tattered old yellow fairy costume that's lost it's glow and she's standing in the sunlight so that you can see right through it and she's not wearing underwear.  Phoebe is mortified for her and begins to take Mallory under her wing.  She's a Rothschild after all.  They have money and a need to help.  When she gets Mallory home and finds her mother to be slightly mentally ill, she takes her under her wing too and knows her mother will know what to do.  Home health aides are called in, medicine is given and Mrs. Toliver is made better.  Mallory has clothes and she even has a room in the Rothschild house that she calls her own.

Four years, life goes on like this and the girls are the best of friends.  Then, Phoebe learns that Mallory has a brother and he is coming home.  She is astounded and upset that Mallory has never spoken of him, but she forgives her.  She's always forgiving people.  And when she starts a relationship with Ryland and he asks her to keep it secret from Mallory she does.

My problem with this story is, for the most part, it's just a story.  There is absolutely no character growth on the part of Phoebe until the very last few pages of the book or the last 10 minutes of the story.  She is abused emotionally by Ryland and Mallory and she takes it.  She is practically raped by Ryland and then lets him tell her there is obviously something wrong with her when she is repulsed by him again and again.  When she finally gets the guts to do something about it, it's too late.  She's already lost herself in their lies and allowed them to belittle her.  Her mother lies in a coma in a hospital bed because of the faeries and she doesn't know if her mother will live or die.  Her father is lost without her mother and she is lost without either of them.  I guess most of the story was the undermining of Phoebe's self confidence.  How Mallory and Ryland went about knocking it down.  They did a really good job at it.  And in the end, she's right where the faeries want her.  Ready to sacrifice herself for them.  Ready to die so that they may live and her mother, too. 

There were so many times in the book she could have guessed what Mallory and Ryland were.  Ryland, besides being despicable, would tell her she "didn't really need those cookies did she?" an underhanded way of saying she was fat.  And then Phoebe would make excuses saying well, "I am fat.  I do need to lose weight."  Ladies, when you start making excuses like that RUN as fast as you can in the other direction.  He's bad with a capital B.  But, her self confidence had already been undermined enough that she didn't believe in herself anymore.

In all, it was entertaining.  I wondered about the ending and how Werlin would make it all work out or if she'd just let Phoebe die.  I won't tell you how it ends.  The story moves along quickly.  You can see the little house on Nantucket, Benjamin, her friend on Nantucket that she goes birding with.  The descriptions are terrific, not wordy, but very specific.  But, when my character grows up in the last few pages of the book, it isn't enough for me.  I understand it was central to the story line, but it wasn't enough.

There are a few references to sex, but that's about it.  I'd say 13 and up would be just fine with this book.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Talk to Me Tuesday Meme

Talk to Me Tuesday Meme

Talk to Me Tuesday is a brand new weekly meme where we will discuss anything (and everything) literary-related in an open forum of honesty. Questions for the next week will be posted one week prior to the post on the Features page. If you'd like to participate in this weekly feature, simply create your post, link back to me, and add your post to the wonderful Mr. Linky at I Swim For Oceans. Have fun, and have at it!

                      This week's question: What makes a great novel, in your opinion?

I think Melissa answered it all.  But let's see if I can break it down from some of my favorite novels.

  1. Characters-  Have to have well defined characters.  Need to know their motivation behind what they are doing even if you aren't privy to their thoughts.  Wicked Lovely series  You get to know why each character is motivated to do what he or she does Seth-love for Ash, Keenan- I'd like to say selfishness but its for his court etc.  You get the picture
  2. Dialogue-  There must be some talking going on between characters.  They must communicate, not just action all the time.  Sometimes lack of action is communication, but things must be said.
  3. Plot- People can't just run around killing each other or entering rooms for no reason without a formal plot apparent at least to the reader.  There has to be a reason for what is happening in the book.
  4. Action-  People can't just stand around and talk all the time.  Their has to be some action.  Forward movement of the book is brought about by this action.
  5. Character growth- forgot to mention that above.  I like to see my characters grow and discover things about themselves, hidden strengths, depths, intelligences, feelings, weaknesses something about themselves as the novel moves forward.
  6. Taking the Wicked Lovely Series as a whole, I would say that I saw all of that throughout the series.  I am just too jumbled in thought right now to give each book a thorough analysis.

Heather in Sandwich

New Books and Thank You's

And because I'm announcing what came in my mailbox, I'm paying homage to The Story Siren who first started the In My Mailbox  at some point in time that I do not know.

This week it seemed like the mail box liked me.  The side walk didn't, but mail box did.  Thankfully, my lovely oldest child always bring the mail in from the road so that I don't have to traverse the steps and do a face plant on the ice like I did Friday afternoon.  But you know your kids love you when your ten your old brings the phone out to call 911 because your mother is laying on the ice (no gloves) and can't figure out how to get up without falling again. And your other son and his friend are hauling me off the ice dragging me towards the snow all the time saying, "Oh my God , your cheek is bleeding, mom" and "Mrs. Rosdol, are you okay?"  I had to be brave when I felt like crying.  At least my favorite pink and black glasses didn't break.  So I got up with two strong fourteen year olds, got inside without anymore incidents, crawled into my pajamas and got in bed.  My cheek did not need attention and 911 was not called. 

Then I looked over all the books that I had been blessed with this week.  So I will start by thanking Amanda Ashby and the Penguin Group for the totally bad a** looking Fairy Bad Day  Amanda's new book coming out in June!  Isn't that a totally awesome cover!!  Now, Amanda is currently living in New Zealand but is on her way back to Australia where they have been devastated by floods.  So anyone that reads my blog and is an Aussie and is able to help visit her website.  She is collecting books for the libraries that were ravaged by the floods.  Actually the Romance Writers of Australia are collecting them but if you get in touch with her, she can tell you where to send them.  You can find her at Amanda Ashby.

I also received a great new book (I've already read the first chapter on line) by a new author, Gabriel Madison, called Dayling.  The premise is that vampires are called Daylings and can go out in the daylight until they are 18, after that they have to become night creatures, immortal and crave human blood.  Meet Haven- a Dayling who will cross over into the world of the Nightlings in 3 weeks.  Most Daylings live like humans until they turn 18, but Haven is anti-social and its safe to say she hasn't enjoyed the world as a Dayling.
Then an old Dayling friend appears in Tallahassee (boo hiss arch football rivals) and says an ancient sect of Nightling hunters is in town hunting them to extinction.  There sounds like some romance is involved as well as this mystery/suspense and the writing was good that I read.  So thank you to Gabriel Madison for sending his novel and Shellie at Layers of Thought who I won the book from in a contest! This novel also has a great cover.  Gabriel Madison is a Good Reads author so I'll be following him there to see what else he writes.  I'll be reviewing this as soon as possible.


Also, I don't know how long it will last, but I got City of Bones, City of Ashes and City of Glass in a boxed set for 14.99 from Amazon.  So, if you are like me and haven't started that series, time to get started!  For the price of one book you can have all three.  I really doubt I'll review them as everyone else has, but I will read them so I can catch up and be waiting for the next in the series!!!  It's already gone up in price to $17.33
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones; City of Ashes; City of Glass

So reviews will become soon for Dayling and I think I'll wait until closer to publishing date for Fairy Bad Day, but that doesn't mean I won't read it before then.  And don't forget the Follower's Love Blog Hop!
Prizes will be announced then.  (Mainly because I haven't decided what they will be.)  And it is international so you know there will be a gift card in there somewhere.  But there will be more than one prize.  And as always, it will be simple.  I even took the word verification thingy off for you !  In case you want to leave a comment.

I also purchased or swapped for the following:
The original hardback of
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
in preparation for Where
She Went being released soon.
She Smells the Dead by L J Stevens 

Impossible by Nancy Werlin- there is some dissension among my commenters as to whether this is good or not.  I thought it looked good so we'll just have to see.  I however do not have this beautiful blue cover, I instead got the paperback edition and it has her in a beautiful red dress, but she certainly doesn't look pregnant.

And then Nobody's Princess from Paperback Swap.  I have a lot of credits and the books I want are what everyone else wants so  I'm trying to use the credits for book I probably wouldn't buy normally.  This one is about Cleopatra.  And I have one about Cleopatra's daughter so those should make interesting reads.  I had planned to be an archaeologist at one point in college.  Didn't work out.  Turns out its very hot and sweaty in most of the places that archaeologist have to dig or buggy and muggy, like Florida where I came from, so I decided on English as a major.  A lot less bugs, unless you live in Florida.  Then we've got those six inch long Palmetto bugs that are like flying roaches.  Totally disgusting.  They should not allow dorm rooms next to the garbage chute.  That is all I'm going to say.  And it's amazing how many roaches can fit in a roach motel!
Well now that I've gotten totally of track, I'll say good night.  And hope you don't live next to the garbage chute no matter how cool the room is!

Heather in Sandwich


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