29 February 2012

waiting on wednesday: seven

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
Title: Life Is But a Dream
Author: Brian James
Release Date: 27 March 2012
Summary (courtesy of goodreads.com):
Sabrina, an artist, is diagnosed with schizophrenia, and her parents check her into the Wellness Center. There she meets Alec, who is convinced that it's the world that's crazy, not them. But when Alex starts to convince Sabrina that her treatment will wipe out everything that makes her creative, she worries she'll lose hold of her dreams and herself.
I love books about dystopian societies, and the paranormal, and cute contemporary romances.  But every once in a while, it's good to read something a little more deep, a little more haunting, a little closer to home.  I'm familiar with mental illness, having lived through one, but schizophrenia is something that is still terrifying and incomprehensible to me, and reading about it from a fictional perspective makes it much easier to wrap my head around.  I Never Promised You A Rose Garden is another novel about a teen suffering from schizophrenia.  Although published in the 1960's, the setting and mind frame of the main character resonate no less than something more current would.  If this kind of story interests you, I highly recommend it.

27 February 2012

Review: Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Title: Amy & Roger's Epic Detour
Author: Morgan Matson
Publication Date: 4 May 2010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Source: Library
Summary (courtesy of goodreads.com):
Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew--just in time for Amy's senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she's always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy's mother's old friend. Amy hasn't seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she's surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she's coming to terms with her father's death and how to put her own life back together after the accident. Told in traditional narrative as well as scraps from the road--diner napkins, motel receipts, postcards--this is the story of one girl's journey to find herself.

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour was about 97% enjoyable for me.  The other 3% well, we'll get to that.

The premise behind the book is simple: boy. girl. road trip.  But Morgan Matson took the story so far beyond where I thought it would go, in a great, great, great, GREAT way.  Amy is a fantastic character, and her growth throughout the novel is evident and expertly developed.  She truly goes on a "journey" from point A to point B, not just physically, but emotionally and mentally.  I find that many young adult books tend to gloss over a character's development.  Authors tell us that yes, in fact, Cynic A is now compassionate and open to anything, but there's not always a lot in the middle that truly expresses the depth of change.  Amy experienced plenty of these moments, and I often found myself crying along with her as she tried to deal with her feelings and resentments.

The road trip was also a fun element to the book as well.  The "journal" that Amy & Roger kept added another dimension to the novel, and it was fun to get to know the places on the route that they took.  If I had to say one thing about it, though, it would be that there seems to be this idea that we don't have Sonic Drive-In's and Chick-fil-A's in California?  I mean, I've never been to a Chick-fil-A, but I know they exist and wouldn't be completely flabbergasted by one's appearance on the horizon.  I could relate to the moment at Sonic, though, when Amy asks Roger, "How do you do this?"  I said the same thing the first time I went to one.  But that one was, in fact, in California.

If I have one real complaint about this book (the bulk of that 3%), it is Roger himself.  I know you can't have Amy & Roger's Epic Detour without Roger, but he grated on my nerves.  He's lovesick and it's annoying.  He's kind of a stalker, and it's annoying.  He's a huge whiner, and it. is. a. nnoy. ing.  I know his ex-girlfriend was supposed to be the villain here, but I honestly started to feel sorry for her.  I've had an ex who called and texted and e-mailed incessantly after we broke up, and it is just not cool or attractive or flattering in any way.  It's actually kind of awkward and scary and it makes you not want to leave the house because, who knows, crazy-person-who-can't-take-a-hint might be sitting out there waiting for you.  I understand that he had unfinished business with his (ex)girlfriend, but, and this is only my opinion, he was not written in a way that made me want to feel sympathetic.  The notes on Roger that I took as I read go from bad to worse:
  1. Roger seems like kind of a whiner. (pg. 98)
  2. Roger is getting really annoying. (pg. 146)
  3. I hate Roger. (pg. 215)

Luckily for Roger, the rest of the book was so great that his presence really doesn't affect by opinion of it that much.  And maybe I'm being too hard on him, but it is really hard to sympathize with a character who reminds me so much of someone that I don't like.


26 February 2012

in my mailbox: two

I am out of control. Someone needs to take my ATM card away from me, pronto. Stupid IRS and their tax refunds.

From the Library
 Wisdom's Kiss by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Ditched: A Love Story by Robin Mellom
Writing Great Books for Young Adults by Regina Brooks

Marked by P.C. and Kristin Cast
Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

The Sword Thief by Peter Lerangis
Beyond the Grave by Jude Watson
The Black Circle by Patrick Carman
In Too Deep by Jude Watson

The Berenstain Bears books are for the Little Monsters I nanny for.  These books were like a third parent to me growing up, but when I asked them about them, they had NO IDEA what I was talking about.  I decided to start them off with a few of the lessons I think they need most...

24 February 2012

friday finds: one

Friday Finds, hosted by Should Be Reading, features releases that I have discovered and added to my wishlist over the past week.
Butter by Erin Jade Lange
The Little Woods by McCormick Templeman 

Cordially Uninvited by Jennifer Roy
Fractured Light by Rachel McClellan
The Haunting of Tabitha Grey by Vanessa Curtis 
Losing Clementine by Ashley Ream
Fingerprints of You by Kristen-Paige Madonia
The Game of Triumphs by Laura Powell

Poor wishlist.  It probably thought it was already daunting enough.

22 February 2012

waiting on wednesday: six

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
Title: Illuminate (Gilded Wings #1)
Author: Aimee Agresti
Release Date: 6 March 2012
Summary (courtesy of goodreads.com):
Haven Terra is a brainy, shy high school outcast. But everything begins to change when she turns sixteen. Along with her best friend Dante and their quiet and brilliant classmate Lance, she is awarded a prestigious internship in the big city— Chicago—and is sent to live and work at a swanky and stylish hotel under the watchful eyes of a group of gorgeous and shockingly young-looking strangers: powerful and alluring hotel owner Aurelia Brown; her second-in-command, the dashing Lucian Grove; and their stunning but aloof staff of glamazons called The Outfit.

As Haven begins falling for Lucian, she discovers that these beautiful people are not quite what they seem. With the help of a mysterious book, she uncovers a network of secret passageways from the hotel’s jazz-age past that leads her to the heart of the evil agenda of Aurelia and company: they’re in the business of buying souls. Will they succeed in wooing Haven to join them in their recruitment efforts, or will she be able to thwart this devilish set’s plans to take the souls of her classmates on prom night at the hotel?

Illuminate is an exciting saga of a teen’s first taste of independence, her experience in the lap of luxury, and her discovery she may possess strength greater than she ever knew.
 There are three sets of words in the second paragraph of the above description that have me eager to read this book:
  1. mysterious book
  2. secret passageways
  3. evil agenda
Yes, please.

21 February 2012

2012 tbr pile challenge

Since I have bought a bazillion books over the last few years that are still sitting around taking up room on my overstuffed bookshelf (that I keep adding to, by the way), I have decided to join the 2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge.  I'm hoping it will be good motivation to get to some of those poor, abandoned books that are just sitting there, waiting for someone to love them.  Here are the details of the challenge:
Welcome to 2012 TBR PILE Reading Challenge!!!

We all have those books. We buy them, win them, they're gifted to us.. Then we put them up on a bookshelf and there they stay, collecting dust, waiting for the time when we'll finally decide to pick them up.
Join us on a quest to dust off your TBR Pile and read all the books you've been telling yourself you'll read next time you'll get a chance.. This is your chance! And we've got PRIZES!!! :D

Challenge guidelines:
  1. This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2012 - Dec 31, 2012.
  2. As we would like to see quality reviews linked up to our monthly wrap-ups, only bloggers can enter. Sorry about that!
  3. Any genre, length or format of book counts, as long as it is a book that's been sitting on your shelf for some time now. Only books released in 2011 and earlier! NO ARCs and 2012 fresh-off-the-press releases allowed!
  4. You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap-up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.
  5. When you sign up in the linky, put the direct link to your post about joining the 2012 TBR PILE Reading Challenge (You need to include the info + host list + challenge button. You can also grab the button code and add it to your sidebar!)
  6. You can move up levels, but no moving down.
  7. Sign-ups will be open until Dec 15, 2012, so feel free to join at any time throughout the year.
  8. At the end of each month one of the hosts will post a wrap-up. Every wrap-up will have it's unique theme, a mini-challenge, a giveaway and place for you to link up your reviews from this month. For each review you link up, you will get one entry in a drawing of one book of choice from The Book Depository. It's open to INTERNATIONALS. For participating in the mini-challenge you will get +1 entry.
  9. If you miss a wrap-up post + giveaway, you can link up your reviews next month. Do not, however, try to link up one review twice - we will be checking ;)
  10. December is a wrap-up for the whole year. All the book reviews you linked up January-November + the ones you'll link up in December will be entered into a HUGE giveaway - 12 books, 12 winners, INTERNATIONAL. 
  11. You don't have to follow all the hosts to join the challenge, but you do have to follow all of us to be entered in giveaways!

1-10 - A Firm Handshake
11-20 - A Friendly Hug
21-30 - A Sweet Kiss
31-40 - Love At First Sight
41-50 - Married With Children


You get to read all the books you've been hoping to read for a loooong time now, enjoy the unique themes and mini challenges and WIN some fantastic new BOOKS! :D Can it get any better? Sign up now!
You can keep track of my progress, and see the books I plan to read for the challenge, here.  If you would like to sign up for the TBR Pile Challenge, just click here!

20 February 2012

Mini Revews: Mercy, My Soul To Take, Twisted

Mini Reviews are my thoughts on books I've recently read, in three sentences or less.

Cover of Mercy by Rebecca Lim Mercy by Rebecca Lim

I was really intrigued by this book, but ultimately felt let down by the choppy writing and the totally obvious "mystery" that is its core plot point.  I still want to read the next book in the series though, so it must not have been that bad.


Cover of My Soul To Take by Rachel Vincent My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

So I kind of lurved this book, mostly.  Except WHY ARE TEENAGERS ALWAYS FALLING IN LOVE IN LIKE, TWELVE MINUTES?!  Seriously, go on a date or do something other than have a nervous breakdown first, yeah?


Cover of Twisted by Sara Shepard Twisted by Sara Shepard

It's no secret that these books aren't exactly a literary goldmine.  They're horrible, but I can't stop reading them.  I know some people are upset that the series was picked back up after its supposed "ending" a couple of years ago, but I'm more than willing to keep reading these little pieces of purgatory.

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