Author: Tabitha Suzuma
Publication Date: 6/28/11
Publisher: Simon PulseBlurb (GR):
Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives—and the way they understand each other so completely—has also also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending.Review:
I was talking to Lyndsey
about how it feels to have a brother and the best example I could come up with is this: It feels like that force when you try to put two similar magnetic poles together, but right at that moment when it starts to push away. The love I have for my brother is so strong but he repulses me at the same time. I mean, he’s great as an adult but he is the same kid who once filled his Skeletor action figure with urine and sprayed all 3 of his sisters with it. He is the same brother who once fed 4-year old Flann a concoction of mostly Tabasco sauce while we were being babysat. (My mother made him drink it when she came home, FYI) He is the same brother who used to put his stuffed Hulk Hogan resting above his doorframe so if we tried to come in, it’d fall on us. And he is the same kid that said, “Polly want a cracker?” like a parrot all the way from Texas to Seattle on a road trip. (according to my mother) How anyone could ever be attracted to their sibling is beyond me. I do understand that it happens, usually in highly stressful family situations, but I just couldn’t get over my repulsion while I was reading Forbidden
. I wonder what the correlation is between people who enjoyed this book and whether or not they have brothers. Oh, I guess I was assuming that everyone who would read this review would already know what this book is about. If you don’t, SURPRISE! It’s about incest. (well, really it is about being in a terrible family situation)
This is written in first-person present, which really isn’t my favorite style, but I couldn’t get over the following:
“Summer gives way to autumn. The air turns sharper, the days grow shorter, gray clouds and persistent drizzle alternating with cold blue skies and bracing winds. Willa loses her third tooth, Tiffin attempts to cut his own hair when a supply teacher mistakes him for a girl…” What
is this? Most of the book reads like personal journal entries from Lochan and Maya’s present alternating perspectives but every once in a while there would be sections of text that were reflections on long periods of time. Overall, I thought the dual perspectives were successful but who writes their present thoughts like this?Dear diary,
Winter approaches faster than usual this year. Crisp, frigid air creeps into town with snowstorms right behind it. I made chicken casserole for dinner tonight. I cooked the chicken too long so it was a bit dry.
A bit jarring, eh? That’s an extreme example of what I am talking about but you get the point.
I want to make a comment on the names in this book but can someone named Flannery actually do that with a straight face? I’m not even going to tell you my other family members’ names—let’s just say it would be the pot calling the kettle black on this one. (though we DO all have Irish names so at least there’s a theme!) Willa, Tiffin, Kit, Maya, and Lochan? It reminded me of that quote from Baby Mama when the one mother reminds her kids that they have a playdate later with Wingspan and Banjo.
I found the whole story a bit predictable but was it entertaining? Definitely. And the sex scenes were really well-done, even though it makes me feel really creepy and dirty to say so. I have absolutely no idea what makes people love or hate this—my Goodreads friends are all over the spectrum and not in a predictable way. If you can stomach reading about an incestuous relationship, give it a go. It is worth the read but it was just a 2.5-3 for me.
Thanks for sending me a copy, Arlene:)
Author: Connie Willis
Publication Date: 6/25/07
Publisher: Subterranean PressBlurb (GR):
Theodora Baumgarten has just been selected as an IASA space cadet, and therein lies the problem. She didn't apply for the ultra-coveted posting, and doesn't relish spending years aboard the ship to which she's been assigned. But the plucky young heroine, in true Heinlein fashion, has no plans to go along with the program. Aided by her hacker best friend Kimkim, in a screwball comedy that has become Connie Wills' hallmark, Theodora will stop at nothing to uncover the conspiracy that has her shanghaied.Review:
I won't tell you what D.A. stands for, as it would ruin the story. I will tell you that this story has gotten me all excited to read more of Connie Willis
' books. In my mind, I always thought that she wrote inaccessible sci-fi (fine, go ahead and laugh at me), and maybe she does—I’ll find out soon enough. But this story was an absolute funfest to read. And it only takes about 20-30 minutes if you’re interested in that type of incentive…which I sometime am. (Anything to up my count. Damn you, Goodreads Challenge!)
Theodora attends a traditional high school at a time in the future when most kids are taught in online classes from home but her parents sent her to regular school to increase her chances of getting into The Academy. Students spend years trying to get perfect grades, taking classes on obscure space-related topics and learning random skills, all in the hope that they will get selected to go into space. Despite nearly every
student dying for the opportunity, Theodora has never had the desire to go so imagine her surprise when a school assembly is called and a representative is there to congratulate her on her acceptance. She never applied, so what the heck is going on?
It’s a bit cliché and reads like a less genius-ridden, war-minded Battle School and Theodora spends most of her time being a downer, complaining, and sneaking around, but I enjoyed where it ended up going at the conclusion. I only wish the story continued so I could see her develop even further.
This short story came to me as a recommendation from my query for 'YA in space' on Goodreads. Since you can't close a query, I will probably continue to get recs on it until I am 50 but you know what? That sounds great to me! I'll never tire of space stories. Kaethe recced this one to me, and a huge thanks go out to her for it. Even if it is does end up being whatever the female equivalent of blue balls is…in that it ends when I wanted it to go on for much, much longer. If you like this, you might also like Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund,
the Ender's Game
series and Shadow
series by Orson Scott Card, Across the Universe
by Beth Revis, the new Starfleet Academy
series, and the Galahad
series by Dom Testa.
This week's triviadventure has a pretty badass prize, if I do say so meself. (Don't worry, I don't actually say "meself" but I did just say that like Eliza Doolittle's dad in My Fair Lady) Alternatively, you could imagine me saying it in Dick Van Dyke's horrific British accent from Mary Poppins. It's a jolly holiday
. Anyway, I have been MIA for a week and will be MIA for another week so this trivia quiz will last TWO whole weeks. (or 1,209,600 seconds if you are some sort of robot who counts things in seconds...which I'm not considering it took me about 2 minutes to do that math) The prize will be an ARC of Marie Lu's upcoming debut, Legend
Here's the blurb from Goodreads:
What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.
Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.
Whoa. Exciting, right? I read it a week or two ago but my exam studying has prevented me from writing a review. And it is going to continue preventing me for another week. But you want it. I can see you salivating from here. Wipe off your keyboard, for crying out loud! Just to give you an idea of how I felt about Legend, I'll give you a few bullet points:
- Totally riveted throughout. I enjoyed that the dystopian future society felt possible, whereas other not-to-be-named YA dystopian novels are a bit far-fetched.
- Both the heroine and hero have interesting quirks and weaknesses that made the novel more enjoyable. I'm happy that no one was so badass that they were above making mistakes or emotional decisions. People have flaws.
- A few people mentioned not enjoying the actual book design. Whaaa? I was like a little kid in a candy store. (Actually, every time I think of it, I hear Ralphie's little brother from A Christmas Story going, "Oh wow! Look at that! Wooow!" The outer cover of the ARC (so I'm assuming the finished edition will be similar, though hardcover) is metallic silver and gold. To differentiate the shift in narration between June and Day, both the font and color of the text is different and one half of it is a mesmerizing gold color.
- The book has an initial print run of 350,000 (!) and the movie rights are already picked up with two writers attached to the adaptation.
So, in an effort to keep this from being the longest blog entry ever, I'll get to the giveaway requirements. If you thought you were going to just get a regular giveaway, DREAM ON. I'm still going to make you do trivia. And to keep it topical, I've made the questions about other dystopian books and movies. Batter Up:1) This Aldous Huxley novel, written in 1931, features a futuristic London, a world that is limited to 2 billion people, and characters named Bernard Marx and Lenina Crowne.2) This dystopia was featured as both a cartoon on MTV and a live action movie starring Charlize Theron. (it has also been a video game and a comic book)3) This 2009 movie by Neill Blomkamp was set in South Africa and concentrated on what relations between aliens and humans could be like. (Yikes!)4) Is there a District 13? If you're into YA dystopian novels, you'll know it from that comment alone. This book (and soon to be movie) tells the tale of Katniss Everdeen, Peeta Mellark, and others bucking the system.5) Ethan Hawke wants to be sent into space in this film. His society, however, only allows the most healthy specimens to partake in the program so he concocts a plan to fool those who would prevent him from doing so. It was nominated in 1997 for the Academy Award for Best Art Direction.We'll just do 5 questions this time. You must be a follower to enter. Additional entries will be given for other awesome stuff like liking my blog on Facebook, following me on Twitter, or tweeting about the giveaway. The triviadventure will close for entries
on August 2nd at 9pm PST. I'll notify the winner by email within 24 hours. One entry per address/person and it is open internationally
. You must get all 5 questions correct for your entries to count! In addition to the opportunities for +1 entry that are listed in the entry form, you can get up to 5 additional entries by commenting on this post. (1 entry per comment) Good luck!Here's a sample tweet to copy and paste for those who are as lazy as me:
Win an ARC of Marie Lu's Legend @TheReadventurer .com by answering some dystopian trivia! Enter at: http://t.co/EvBGw6TCONTEST CLOSED, The winner was the amazing Janina! Congrats, ladyface!
Diz kittn iz disapointd n u!
Turns out last week's trivia really threw some of you off your A game. (including one of my siblings, who I would disown if we didn't share so much genetic data) As such, I'll provide the answers for everyone. (a trend I suppose I should keep up;))1. The Hunger Games
is currently being filmed in North Carolina.2. They need a bigger boat in JAWS.3. The Witches is terrifying. 4. Creepy twins always make me think of The Shining.5. Nicole Kidman and a plot about dust are part of The Golden Compass (or Northern Lights for the non-USers)6. The maids dishin' all the dirt are in The Help.7. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
, which many of you got wrong despite seeing the bazillions of ads on Goodreads
all the time, features laotong friends. 8. Dudette's head spins all the way around in The Exorcist
.9. Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess are starring in the upcoming One Day
.10. Shutter Island is freaking creepy as all get out.The winner, though, da-da-da-DA! (I actually just did a trumpet noise) is the amazing Maja
! Congrats, my dear. She hasn't picked her book yet but I'll update when she does:)I'm taking a break on the trivia until next week. I know the 10-20 people that usually do it will be so disappointed! Anyway, next week's is gonna kick major ass.
That said, here are some websites to help you while away the 10 minutes it would take you to look up the answers to my trivia questions. (+ endless hours after that) None of them are really book-related but they are ALL entertainment-related. www.theoatmeal.comhttp://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/ www.dontevenreply.comhttp://graphjam.memebase.com/ http://www.passiveaggressivenotes.com/ http://www.lamebook.com/ http://maddox.xmission.com/ www.xkcd.com http://awkwardfamilyphotos.com/ www.dorkly.com http://dearblankpleaseblank.com/hilariou... http://crazythingsparentstext.com/
Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Publication Date: 9/27/11
Publisher: Little Brown
Blurb (GR): Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.
When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?
A girl grows up in the world, knowing not where she came from of who she actually is. Her memories amount to those she’s gathered whilst being raised by a group of monsters, one of whom served as a father figure to her. Now an art student in Prague, Karou runs errands for Brimstone, her father figure, and travels the world through portals to retrieve teeth from hunters and their ilk who collect them in every way imaginable. (for real) Karou doesn’t know what the teeth are actually used for though she does know there is a magical air to Brimstone and the shop he runs. Since childhood, she’s been helping herself to tiny stones that amount to wishes and sometimes, if she was lucky, he’d give her larger ones to use for weightier wishes—all the while warning her to never be flippant with her intentions. There is a cost to everything. Lately, Brimstone has been gone from the shop and looking rundown. Everything falls apart in her world in a quick turn and the pieces add up to a centuries-long war, in which she and a few that she knows play pivotal roles.
This is it, folks, one of those rare instances when reality meets expectations. This is 420 pages of generally well-paced fantasy. I say generally because the action is back-loaded, which makes sense since this is the first book in a scheduled series and the setup is complete. (imagine that!) I was telling my sister about the writing and I truly don’t know another author that writes like Laini Taylor. She writes atmospheric, poetic prose that hits home and feels current. She makes me believe in, and I’m holding my barf in while I say it, WHIMSY in everyday life. She makes me want to go to all the places she describes and creates such vivid characters and settings that I can imagine it all so perfectly. And how easy is it to imagine creatures that are a mishmash of 4 or 5 different animals? Usually not so easy but in Taylor’s world, it is effortless.
Something else I found so intriguing about this book was the fact that it is so unclear who the good guys and bad guys are—everyone is existing in some kind of confusion. What are they fighting for? Is either side’s goal better than the other? The second half of the book jumps all over the place temporally-speaking but I didn’t find it hard to keep up with where we were or who we were following. It was almost as if a question was brought up in the present and then the story would jump back years earlier to explain what it meant. I was equally intrigued by the current and past stories and both the action going on in our world as well as the chimaera/seraphim world.
If you’re thinking that this blurb does nothing for you, throw that thought out of your mind. I hate angel books, especially the fallen angel cliché. I hate reading about instantaneous love. There is nothing cliché about Laini Taylor’s story—even if these elements appear in it. I loved everything about it, even the love story between Karou and Akiva. It isn’t distressingly rare that I find the torment that characters carry around with them to be believable but I believed it here.
The ending is certainly a cliffhanger but it felt like a natural stopping point in the overall arc. I can’t wait to read more of the story but I am not outraged that it ended where it did.
Thank you so much to my wonderful friend who let me borrow this prized possession of hers!
Where She Went
Author: Gayle Forman
Publication Date: 4/25/11
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
It's been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.
Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future - and each other.
Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay
, Where She Went
explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.Review:
My heart gushed rivers of love when I reviewed If I Stay
. I listened to the audiobook and just adored it because it felt like Gayle Forman
tapped into my heartbeat and the rhythm beat right through to the end. I put off reading Where She Went
because I wasn’t ready for another heartache. As it turns out, this is a rare instance where the sequel (or companion) has an entirely different tone than its predecessor. Rightly so, as Where She Went
is told from Adam Wilde’s point of view, whereas If I Stay
was primarily about Mia, his ex-girlfriend. In regards to spoilers, it is near impossible to have anything to say about this book without spoilering things about the first, but I think WSW can stand on its own even if you do
know the setup. That said, I’m not going to use spoiler html on anything related to If I Stay
. Since Mia decided to come out of her comatose state, she’s been studying at Juilliard. Adam’s band, Shooting Star, shot to the top of the charts and he is recognized everywhere he goes. The band’s two albums are filled with songs Adam wrote, and it should come as no surprise who served as the inspiration for all the lyrics. While he is dating a famous actress and has achieved so much musical success, Adam is disillusioned with life and the way Mia left things when she cut him off cold. Before he embarks on a world tour, he goes to one of Mia’s cello performances and gets the chance to speak with her afterward. Cue the life and relationship analysis…
Several reviewers have mentioned that this book wasn’t as enjoyable as it could’ve been because Adam seems overly angst-ridden for nearly the entire thing. Sure, I can see that. The whole thing just felt over-the-top, I agree, but I just loved the two of them together so I wanted
to think their relationship could define Adam’s whole being, his anger, his disillusionment. I wanted
to believe that he was missing his perfect complement. It was so interesting to me because the first book felt like an exercise in grief at the time I listened to it. I see now that, just like in life, the time right after a death is surreal. It doesn’t hit home for everyone at the same time. That
book is about losing someone. (or many someones) This book is about the actual recognition of loss and the crisis that follows, whether it be from the end of a life or the end of a meaningful relationship. As someone who has seen what a terrible breakup can do to a person, it didn’t feel like Adam’s actions were beyond the realm of possibility. True, he was sometimes a prick. True, it didn’t seem like he tried to move on. I was just rooting for him to get his own life back together.
Where She Went reads like a novella. I watched as the percentage completed on my Kindle just flew by. For me, there were a few negative points—the lyrics at the beginning of each chapter (not because they were awful, only because it is cliché) and Mia, for starters. She came off as self-involved and I didn’t enjoy how aloof she seemed. I felt like I was holding my breath through a tunnel until the two of them actually start talking about something real
. After that point, it was a much more comfortable read, despite the plot remaining heavy.
I was both happy and disappointed at the conclusion of Where She Went. I have to spoiler it and, for that, I apologize. **SPOILERS**I don’t think I’m encouraged by Adam and Mia getting back together right away. Mia has had 3 years to build up a life for herself. She said herself that Juilliard was more than she ever thought it could be. She thought of Adam but he didn’t define her. Adam, on the other hand, spent the last three years missing her, writing songs about her, and taking antidepressants and anti-anxiety pills to compensate for the void. He never had that time after the breakup to actually figure out who he is. They get back together—great, except I am still unsure how much he understands about himself. He seemed so willing to just give everything up for her…and I kind of believe he would do just that if she asked him. That’s depressing.**END SPOILERS**
Many people loved Adam in If I Stay
and if you were one of them, I’m fairly confident you’ll enjoy this one as well. Forman does a good job of creating a realistic male voice and painting raw emotions on the page. And to the rest of you, if you can handle the angst and the foreverlove foreverandalways, give it a try. Hey, at least there’s not a love triangle.
to last week's winner, Missie @ The Unread Reader
who got all the mystery books right and won a box of 10 books!
This week's Triviadventure will be about books made into movies. I've been thinking, and I'm going to start doing a series of "Book vs. Movie" postings. Of course, I'll have to rewatch and reread before doing so. Anyway, you should answer all the questions and specify which book you'd like as your prize if you end up winning. It is open INTERNATIONALLY anywhere The Book Depository
ships. (Thaaat's you, Elle!!) Good luck!1. This upcoming movie is based on a book that is arguably the biggest phenomenon since Harry Potter and Twilight. The book is the first in a trilogy and is currently being filmed in North Carolina.2. This movie contains a theme song that makes everyone want to get the hell out of the ocean. Written by Peter Benchley in 1975, the movie contains the famous line, "We're gonna need a bigger boat."3. Oh man, this movie is so scary for a kid. Starring Anjelica Huston and based on a book by Roald Dahl, this story is about a young boy who is turned into a mouse by some, shall we say, evil women.4. Jack Nicholson is totally insane in this movie. Based on a book by Stephen King, this movie features creepy identical twins and REDRUM...5. What is dust, anyway? This book was made into a movie with Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. The sequels have yet to be filmed (if they ever will be) but they are entitled The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass.6. This upcoming movie is based on a bestseller from last year. The book tells the story of a Southern woman who writes and exposé on maids in a Mississippi town.7. The subject of this book/movie is women's writing (Nüshu) in China over the years. It tells the story of a very special friendship (laotong) between two women. The book was written by Lisa See. 8. This girl's head goes completely around. Written by William Peter Blatty, this movie contains the famous line, "The power of Christ compels you!"9. A lifelong friendship and romance is the subject of this 2009 book by David Nicholls. The characters are named Emma and Dexter and will be played by Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess.10. Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo starred in the adaptation of this book by Dennis Lehane. The story follows cops onto an island off the coast of Massachusetts that houses a sanitarium where someone has gone missing. You should give the title and author of each of the books and then pick which one you'd like if you win. The contest will be open until Tuesday, July 12th at 9pm (PST). The winner will be picked by a randomizer from all completely correct entries and I will notify the winner by email. Good luck! Oh, and one more thing, if you follow me on twitter (@thereadventurer), it will be +1 entry, if you are a follower of this blog, it is +1, and if you tweet about it, it is +1.
Finding Cassie Crazy by Jaclyn Moriarty
Finding Cassie Crazy has been recommended to me by several
Invidivuals. I’m kicking myself for
Not reading it sooner because I found it hilarious. I’ve been
Delaying writing a review for it, though, because
I can’t figure out what was so special about it beyond its humor.
Nothing is so spectacular about the plot (pen pals from private and public school), but each of the
Girls and, well, most of the guy characters were
Charismatic and/or charming. The
Author of this series, of which Finding Cassie Crazy is second, is a former lawyer and it
Shows in her jokes. I laughed out loud when Emily’s brother
Served her papers to summon her to dinner.
I could connect with each pair of pen friends (Aussie word for pen pals), though I got
Excited every time I read about Lydia and Seb, as they seemed to
Care about each other and their friends the most. (and I liked their “dating”)
Released in the US under the title of “The Year of Secret Assignments,” for reasons
Absolutely unknown to me (what the heck is wrong with the title “Finding Cassie Crazy”?),
Zis book is lots of fun. (You have to say this line with an accent. I bet you were wondering how I’d work a ‘z’ in here.)
You should read this.
Don't you miss doing acrostics in school? It was always hard to think of 'y' adjectives for my name. Don't worry, I got to include fun, fiesty, fabulous, and the other 'f' adjectives that not too many people get:) Acrostics remind me of that part in Ferris Bueller's Day Off
when he gives advice about how to fake sick. "The key to faking out the parents is the clammy hands. It's a good non-specific symptom; I'm a big believer in it. A lot of people will tell you that a good phony fever is a dead lock, but, uh... you get a nervous mother, you could wind up in a doctor's office. That's worse than school. You fake a stomach cramp, and when you're bent over, moaning and wailing, you lick your palms. It's a little childish and stupid, but then, so is high school." Acrostics are a little childish and stupid but I'll be damned if they're not pretty fun to create.
I bet you thought I was going to put a video from Ferris Bueller, right? WRONG! This is my blog and I felt like putting a completely unrelated one from Goonies. I'm feeling pretty good about my choice.
At the top of this post, I included several of the covers for this book. I have to admit, I'm a bit mystified at the fruit cover. It looks like several other books in the series also have fruit covers--maybe they are related to a plotline in a different book? The strawberry isn't relevant to Finding Cassie Crazy at all. I think my favorite cover is the one with the three girls on it. Perfection.
Anyway, this book is a fun read for those who enjoy epistolary YA and don't take things too seriously.
Finding Cassie Crazy (aka The Year of Secret Assignments)
Author: Jaclyn Moriarty
Publication Date: My version is 2004, original publication in 2003
Publisher: Loads, but the version I read (the cover on the far right) is Young Picador