Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Timepiece by Myra McEntire

Hourglass (Hourglass, #1)Good Morning on this extra slice of February! This is a Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Breaking the Spine, devoted to my newest fling: magical/supernatural southern small towns. By that I mean, My McEntire's Hourglass series.

I read Hourglass in a single gulp yesterday. Starting with Sarah Addison Allen's The Girl Who Chased the Moon and followed by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl's Beautiful Creatures I am into these southern towns dripping with charm/Spanish moss/crazy paranormal show-downs.

Emerson Cole fights to feel in control of her life as swooning Southern Belles, jazz trios, and hippies appear as visions whenever and wherever. Is she crazy? When her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from the mysterious Hourglass organization, Emerson reluctantly agrees to what she think is another quack cure. But Michael Weaver, the hunky, mysterious college sophomore knows she isn’t crazy, but what is that crazy electric (literally, lights burst) connection between the two? (well at least he is not 16- SUCCESS).  As Emerson discovers the mystery of her visions, Hourglass, and a murder, there is no time to quit- you just must know what’s going to happen. The sequel Timepiece comes out this spring, and I know the ARC is around out there, but I am looking forward to the official this Waitin' on Wednesday! 
Timepiece (Hourglass, #2)

There are lots of plot elements that are waiting to be developed: are the villains really villains? What the what is causing Emerson's visions to worsen? How does Lily fit into all of this? Does Kaleb have any other tattoos?(oooook that one might not be a crucial plot issue). 

Get involved with Timespiece ( the covers! I die!) and leave your WoW.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Review: Unbroken by Laura Hillebrand

From the moment I cracked open (okay, downloaded) the first page of this novel, I was totally obsessed. Like take-the-escalator-instead-of-the-stairs-so-I-can-get-in-two-more-paragraphs type of obsessed. 

Beside the fact that I was Stress Reading (as in, the state of stress in which one frantically reads through a book in order to not have your loan end mid-chapter on your library e-book), I was a little scared about the length of the book as it was displayed on my Kindle. Basically, for those who don't know, the Kindle gives you little dots that indicate the length of the book you're currently reading. This book had almost as many dots as the width of the screen - gasp! - so I knew I had to put the pedal to the metal to crank this puppy out.

Well, like I said, this book was fabulous (well, it was actually very, very graphic in its depictions of the absolute horror of POW camps in Japan during the Second World War) and I was so excited - and frankly, a little perplexed - when I realized I was 75% of the way through and the story seemed to be winding down. WHAT was going to happen? Did the Japanese come to the US and steal Louis Zamperini back? Was he going to win that elusive Olympic medal?! OMG OMG!?!!

Op...nope, well lookie there, there are about a hundred pages of footnotes. Boo. Why was this disappointing? I didn't want the story to end! It was so good - wah, I'm still sad I'm not reading it anymore.

So, how to rate this? Well, I don't know that I can really use our typical YA scale so perhaps a little "free balling" here to liven things up:
  • Historical Accuracy: Um, check out aforementioned novel-within-a-novel of footnotes. 10!
  • Level of Harry Potterness: Bang on writing - 25!
  • Awesomeness: 9
  • Amazing Epicness: 9
  • First Member of the Official Goosie Mama Book Club (Oprah who?)? YUP!
On to the next!

Top Ten Tuesday: An Interpretation

Good Morning! Grad Student here! This is a (brief) nod of the cap to the Broke and the Bookish's weekly "Top Ten Tuesday" feature. This week's theme is Top Ten Book's I Would Give a Theme Song To. This is hard for my brain to figure out, apparently. I listen to music all day long, and read fiction all night (seriously, I am tired right now) but I cannot for the life of me match these two things up.

LUCKILY/IN LIEU OF there are some seriously fabulous authors out there who do.

1. I have wanted to share this playlist made by Erin Morgenstern who wrote the surreal and wonderful The Night Circus. If you haven't gotten involved with this book, so do ASAP. Morgenstern did an interview over at Largehearted Boy, a music blog, that goes into great detail about each song she would add to a playlist for her book (click the link to see it all)  including Cosmic Love by Florence and the Machine (who Crazy Camper loves) and Fleet Foxes.  My favorite, though, is "Prelude" and "Rooftop," Bernard Herrmann (from the Vertigo film score) its perfect for this book! 

2. You know I think Maggie Stiefvater can do no wrong, and her playlist for Shiver is amazing. I love Set Fire to the Third Bar by Snow Patrol for this book.

Hope you have the time to check out these two author lists more, its neat insight into the writing process (and some great music). Can't wait to see what other people are actually talented enough to come up with!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Cruisin' Through a Series: The Iron Fey by Julie Kagawa

Oh, wait, is it possible? Another "ae" faery Cruisin' Through a Series post. I can't tell whether or not this is something to be proud of.  Since I am trying to keep my boyfriend from seeing the laptop screen as I type, its probably not.

But on to the review of Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series. There are 4 of these books--Iron King, Iron Daughter, Iron Queen, Iron Knight. So through this series the main character Meghan finds out that she is the half-daughter of Oberon, the Faery king of the Summer Court, and that her best friend Robbie is in fact Robin Goodfellow, aka Puck (from a Midsummer's Night's Dream). She enters into the faery world to save her little brother, who had been kidnapped by a new faery in town, the Iron King (faery's lives in this telling are created by humans believing in them, and the iron fey are the new faeries of technology, which I thought was kind of cool. There is lots of iron, computer cords, etc in the iron realm). Through the next 3 books there are shenanigans of a war against the iron king, intrigue between the Winter Court  and the Summer Court, and trying to get the new and old faerie to cooperate since the fey are deathly allergic to iron. I have to say I kinda loved the characters in this. Puck is sarcastic and hilarious, Grimalkin the cat explains everything by "I am a cat" which is very funny, even if it doesn't translate to blogdom. I don't hate Meghan, which is pretty good considering the instalove with Prince Ash--SIGH.

Now, for the recap of why I kept coming back. Here is the scene. Crazy Camper calls me on her way home from work  and is all, oh hey I read book one and now book three has arrived at the lib, can you just summarize book two for me? AND I actually got to explain:

"so en-route to stopping a war between the Winter and Summer courts, Ash got wounded and needed to heal, and so he needed to  find some glamour, aka human emotions, to sorta feed off of and regain super faery strength. Puck, Meghan, and Ash happened to be in Meghan's home town where the school nurse was some sort of faery and the nurse pointed out that the Winter Ball was happening that night--perfect place to find emotions!  So the faeries make Meghan some fab dress from moss and dew and whatnot, and Ash wears and white tux and Puck a black one and off they go to the dance and make eyes at each other."

I mean, the end. that's amazing. and absurd.
(PS PUCK IS GREAT these covers, kinda painful to be seen with)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Review: Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.  At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion...Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.(Good Reads)

I could do this review in four words: YOU MUST READ THIS. The Irish myth, wonderful island-folk characters, the relationship between Puck and Sean, and even the horses are sublime. (And for the record I was NOT one of those teenage girls who loved horses. No horse calendars in my past). These water horses, capaill uisc, are scary as all get out, sheep-eating/rider-maiming creatures that appear in the waves each fall and even when captured for the races are drawn to the sea to drown their riders. GULP.  Stiefvater's prose is really beautiful; she is leagues beyond most YA writers out there. I liked the Wolves of Mercy Falls series and so I picked this up, and it was better. Her main characters are kind and funny. The story switches between Puck and Sean's perspective, and its that much sweeter as they fall for each other.

Absurdity: Can I give this a negative 11? There is nothing absurd about this. It is unusual and brilliant.

Originality: 10. This was all new and I am ready to move to this place. Thisby, in my mind, is an Irish, less-lonely version of the Island of the Blue Dolphins. You will want to go there.

Level of Paranormal Romance: the para-part? low. The Romance? 7: I mean, get a load of this: “That's a poor match, Sean Kendrick," says a voice at my elbow....and she follows my gaze to Puck. "Neither of you are a housewife." I don't look away from Puck. "I think you assume too much, Dory Maud."  "You leave nothing to assumption," Dory Maud says. "You swallow her with your eyes. I'm surprised there's any of her left for the rest of us to see.”  ..................................SIGH.

Level of Harry Potter-ness: Thisby is magical, but it is accepted and real and earthy (and deadly), so it would be a 5 for magic but a 10 since Stiefvater hits it out of the park with her writing. You want to re-read lines out-loud, its that good. Also, she is a uber-talented person. Check out the video for the book, animated and scored by Stiefvater herself. Sheesh, must be tough to be good at everything.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday: Endure by Carrie Jones

Hello, Waiting on Wednesday people! Thanks to Breaking the Spine for hosting this meme-- I love seeing what everyone else wants to read, even if it is making my "to read" list a LOT longer.  This week I (somewhat sheepishly) offer you Endure, the final book in the Need series by Carrie Jones.
Need (Need, #1)

"Zara is at the center of an impending apocalypse. True, she’s successfully rescued Nick from Valhalla, but it simply isn’t enough. Evil pixies are ravaging Bedford, and they need much more than one great warrior; they need an army. Zara isn’t sure what her role is anymore. She’s not just fighting for her friends; she’s also a pixie queen. And to align her team of pixies with the humans she loves will be one of her greatest battles yet. Especially since she can’t even reconcile her growing feelings for her pixie king?" (Good Reads)

Alright, so this is how it is. Book 1 Need I read over Christmas, chosen purely by the cover (sparkly lipstick? why not?) and it was pretty good. The supporting characters are great, with crazy best friend Issy to the shapeshifters to sassy grandma shapeshifters. WHAT, NANA IS A TIGER!?!? great news. The whole setting of Maine in the winter was also atmospheric and Zara's weird obsession with phobias is kinda cool. But the evil-blue-skinned-pixies...MEH. Nonetheless, once I started, I read the next two with mixed feelings. I mean seriously, teenage boys do NOT lean over in art class and say "It will be hard to be just your friend.” I am fairly certain about this. I might be against the second and third books because Zora's boyfriend called her "babe" and it just didn't translate to the written page. I cringe! 

Endure (Need, #4)
ANYWHO I have now committed the hours to books 1-3 in which Zara fights pixies with her hunky wolf boyfriend, loses said boyfriend to warrior afterlife, becomes a pixie herself, and goes and gets him back. So how will the pixie war turn out that book three leaves these people facing? I am going to find out! (when May rolls around, that is).  What's your Waiting on Wednesday?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Review: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Today's review is about an awesomely funny/scary book, Maureen Johnson's The Name of the Star

"The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it’s the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago. Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn’t notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target?" (author's website)

The Name of the Star (Shades of London, #1)In my mind, this cover has nothing to do with the book, but hey, I will take this book in any package. And let me just say this was laugh-out-loud funny AND sweaty scary all at once (doesn't that happen to everyone sometimes? and I was alone in a hotel room at the time, even creepier). I loved Rory. I would be her friend. She totally saw the ridiculous in the fact that every time her buddy Jerome told her Ripper facts, they ended up making out. I mean, weird, right? but still, hilariously weird and she knows it. Plus her take on the Ripper was great: “Keep calm and carry on.  Also, stay in and hide because the Ripper is coming.  and her take on European languages: "Some other facts I picked up: Welsh is an actual, currently used language and our next door neighbors Angela and Gaenor spoke it. It sounds like Wizard.”  Rory! I want to go to British boarding school with you! 

Originality: 6. While this is not the first revisiting of Jack the Ripper creepiness, the southern-girl-in-London and paranormal elements def get extra points for originality.

Absurdity: 4. It is somehow easier for me to buy ghost stories over fairies/banshees/vampire slayers. Unclear why, since I am the biggest wimp when it comes to scary ghost stories AND DO NOT believe in ghosts. My high school boyfriend gave my nightmares for a week just TELLING me about The Ring. Sheesh. 

Level of Paranormal Romance: 2. The ghosts are NOT the love interests, but it gets 2 points for aforementioned aphrodisiac of paranormalness. 

Level of Harry-Potter-ness: Sort-of magical powers/seeing the dead and funny writing makes this a high 6. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Review: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

Grad Student commented today about my choice of novels thus far in the blog - basically you are guaranteed that I'm going to review slash like books with angels or non-fiction. Well, what do you know, Graddie, look at what I'm reviewing now: BAM! Fiction that has been Turned into "Meh" Movies! Yes, this is officially my third favorite genre (oh hayyy, The Help).

AnyohheyisthatSandraBullock??, I've been wanting to read this book ever since they filmed it about 8 months ago 3 blocks down from where I'm living on the UWS (yep, I'm a sucker for celebrity sightings). Well, I thought the book was good - not amazingly, mind-bendingly awesome, but still a nice, solid read. It was interesting to have it on the e-reader, too, since a lot of the story is pictures or changes in text - it definitely was cool, but I don't think it had the same impact as it would have had I read it in the flesh ... er, paperback.

So, if you want to read a book about an eight year old who is by far smarter than I am, dive in! But, honestly, that's not saying much because I find these type of things hilarious:

Friday, February 17, 2012

adventures in reading in public

This is hilarious. I saw this at the bookstore the other day, and while this applies super-well to those who ride public transit, I always check out what people are reading. Like the time I saw a hipster boy on the L train in clear plastic glasses and cropped pants reading James Joyce-- SIGH, so OBVIOUS. We know, you live in Brooklyn, its hip, your beer is cheaper, etc. etc. etc. Which leads to one of my favorite Hipster Puppies post ever (see below).

What books would you rather have hidden on your nook, and which do you want to share with the world? I know for a fact that when Crazy Camper was reading Game of Thrones on the D.C. Metro people LOVED to ask her about it.

penny fears kindles because “then how are people going to know what you’re reading?”[via kaitlyn k]
penny fears kindles because “then how are people going to know what you’re reading?"

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cruisin' Through a Series: Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston

In lieu of a book recap, today my post is another“cruising through a series” nod. This feature speaks to a series that has been consumed in one gulp (but while avoiding any mental images of a boa constrictor). Today a special shout to an only-somewhat-satisfying series,The Wondrous Strange Trilogy by Lesley Livingston: Wondrous Strange, Darklight,and Tempestuous.

Here is the deal, in brief: 17-year-old actress Kelley Winslow has moved to NYC to act on Broadway in a Shakespearean company and in the process finds out that faeries (oh no, warning, “ae” spelling ahead )are real and the gate between the faerie Otherworld and everyday 21stcentury is...Central Park! The Janus guards, including Sonny Flannery, the love interest here, are having problems with bad guys slipping through the gate and there is lots of faerie-court intrigue for the three books. People sprout magical powers,wings, and almost everyone is related to everyone else or has been in love with them (Spoiler--even the young couple-the person who raised Kelley as her “aunt” is really Sonny’s mom from 19th century Ireland…I find this creepyish). These books are fine but having just read the perfectness that is the Theatre Illuminati series by Lisa Mantchev, the Shakespeare references fell flat for me. AND DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED on instalove here. I mean, a boy who stalks you is NOT A POTENTIAL LOVE INTEREST. Period. That’s how Law and Order SUV episodes start.

But a window into the ridiculousness that kept me coming back. Darklight opens with a 1903 murder of a man who is in fact the Green Man, an ancient Irish Faerie who built the gates between the two worlds…who in this telling is Andrew Haswell Green, an early city planner and one of the leading figures behind Central Park. GASP! Get out of here! GASP! This is a rough summary of my reaction.

Now you may or may not know that in November I dragged fellow Whiskey Sourer Goosie Mama to a public lecture on Andy Green IN Central Park BECAUSE I HAVE BEEN RESEARCHING HIM FOR MY DISSERTATION. I almost fell out of my chair when I saw this creative license. I wanted to share, but that would mean admitting to myadvisor what I had been reading. We can all use our imaginations about that awkwardness. Luckily, Goosie Mama could share in the utter shock/horror/bellylaugh/eye roll of this retelling of Central Park.

The moral of this “Cruising Through a Series:” if one day you find yourself in real need, maybe you will read this. But be warned. And apparently stay out of Central Park (I don’t have time to get into the evil leprechauns who look like druggies, but seriously….)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday- Sookie Stackhouse Book 12 Deadlocked

This Waiting On Wednesday, hosted by Breaking the Spine, is dedicated to books we (today represented by Sweet Tea, Crazy Camper, and Grad Student) just can't wait for.

O Sookie, Sookie, Sookie.... We can't wait for your new book! On May 17th, Book 12, Deadlocked arrives.

"With Felipe de Castro, the Vampire King of Louisiana (and Arkansas and Nevada), in town, it’s the worst possible time for a body to show up in Eric Northman’s front yard—especially the body of a woman whose blood he just drank. Now, it’s up to Sookie and Bill, the official Area Five investigator, to solve the murder. Sookie thinks that, at least this time, the dead girl’s fate has nothing to do with her. But she is wrong. She has an enemy, one far more devious than she would ever suspect, who’s out to make Sookie’s world come crashing down."

Check out this supercut video of everyone saying Sookie's name...enough said.

(New York Magazine-Vulture)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Review: The Frenzy by Francesca Lia Block

Take your normal book about teenage werewolf coming out, pair it with a gay best friend coming out, a curse, an interracial love, and a new pack of werewolves in town, and you have the setting for The Frenzy.

This one was short and sweet, and I must admit, the larger themes of young adult-ness were an interesting twist to a story we already know and love, that of coming to terms with the fact that you are actually a werewolf.

Originality - 6. Our Main Character here, Liv, doesnt know what is happening, except her teeth seem to be getting sharper, fine red fuzz covers her body all the time ( even though her Stepford mom keeps waxing it off) and she has serious rage/kill issues. A nice twist on the everyday moon howling or werewolf books.

Absurdity - 3. Pretty low, all things considered. The more mainstream teenage issues that we face are compounded by the blossoming wolf half but that doesnt overpower them. So even though she is turing into a werewolf, its just not that absurd ( NOTE- this may mean that I am losing my mind when I find this premise totally acceptable).

Level of Paranormal Romance - 2 - Again pretty low. The only paranormal thing ( beyond the previously mentioned red body fuzz) is that Liv's BF knows she is a wolf and is totally ok with it. Again, just going with the flow here.

Level of Harry Potter-ness - 1 - Lowest. This book just appears NORMAL in the world of young adult scifi/fantasy. Not that it is a bad thing, I found it quite refreshing and enjoyable.

Overall, I think that the audience for this one was for those dipping their toes in the scifi pool, just to see what it was like. And I think that this audience would be happily surprised. And the ending, there has GOT to be a sequel. Nothing says followup like watching your heroine ride off on the motorcycle of her racial diverse boyfriend with a silver hand replacing the one her mother shot off her wolf body...

Top Ten Tuesdays: Books That Broke Your Heart (a little)

A Valentine's Day Whiskey Sour to all!
Today, in honor of St. Valentine, the patron saint of YA true love stories the world over (possibly not true, don't right that in a paper for school/ mention it in front of your boss) we here at YA fiction and Whiskey Sours are participating in The Broke and the Bookish's weekly meme/group blog event Top Ten Tuesday. Each week offers a different theme.

The claim is that this is an anti-Valentines theme, but love is a bit about heartbreak, non? (imagine a french person saying that, it acquires a certain gravitas).

So books that induced whiskey drinking, errrrrr, broke some hearts over here:
1. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

2. The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
As Sweet Tea points out, these are two classic weepers

3. The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara (Grad Student)
Alright, so this is fiction about the battle of Gettysburg. But it is literally my favorite book of all time. If it doesn't make you cry I am concerned for the status of your soul.

4. So Silver Bright by Lisa Mantchev (Grad Student)
This one caught my by surprise, usually love triangles are underwhelming, but oh boy, what a revisiting of Shakespeare's the Tempest.

5. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (Grad Student et all)
GAAALLLLLEEEEEEEEEEE, PRRRRRIIIIMMMMMMMMM, NOOOOOOOOOOOO. Sweet Tea, Crazy Camper, and I literally all had to stalk each other via telephone to talk this one out.

6. Bridges of Madison County (Crazy Camper) by Robert James Waller
Nothing like lost love remembered to stir those heartstrings.

7. Tuck Everlasting (Crazy Camper) by Natalie Babbitt
Living forever is not as easy as it seems.

8. The Rowan (Crazy Camper) by Anne McCaffery
When anyone dies, I cry. Every time. Set in outer space in a telepatheic society, this is a book for the ages. I mistakenly lent this to a boyfriend in college as a joke, but he never gave it back. Maybe I should look into it again...

The moral of the story here is we don't read a lot of sad books. Not our style. So we are offering a condensed version of this list. Its really an ode to sneaky sad books that creep up on you. (Minus the Sparks, cause that's the goal of all those books). We do watch sad movies. In fact we tend to spring them on each other when people feel low. Ask Crazy Camper about the time a good mutual friend showed her Legends of the Fall after a breakup. That's what I am talking about. Cue the tears!

In case you are thinking of sending any Valentine sentiments of your own, Gentle Reader, I leave you to consider this as the ideal Valentine:
Funny Movies Ecard: If you don't go to the Hunger Games premiere with me I am done with you.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Review: Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton

So here's the synopsis on this book from

First there are nightmares. Then come the memories. Now she must hunt.

Ellie can’t shake the terrifying dreams about monstrous creatures that are hunting her, killing her. Then she meets Will and feels on the verge of remembering something just beyond her grasp. His attention is intense and romantic, and Ellie feels like her soul has known him for centuries. When they meet on a dark street at midnight, Will awakens Ellie’s power, and she knows that she can fight the creatures that stalk her in the grim darkness. Will holds the key to Ellie’s memories, whole lifetimes of them, and she can no longer pretend anything was just a dream.

Her role is to hunt and kill the reapers that prey on human souls. In order to survive, she must also hunt for the secrets of her past lives, the dangerous and ancient battle of the angels and the Fallen, and truths that may be too frightening to remember.

Angelfire is achingly romantic, terrifying, and filled with blistering action.

I don't know, this book was little odd (almost as odd as that cover?!), but I don't know if I felt that way because I read Fallen first.  It seems there is a distinct formula to these books, eh? Actually, there were so many cross-references to Fallen (fallen angels, forbidden love, reincarnation, the Grigori, etc.) that I think I learned more about Lauren Kate's series in this book, than within the pages of Fallen itself.

Anyways, I still ended up getting sucked into the story (despite some really terrible dialogue - the term "biffles" was used, I rest my case!). Within the first 10 pages, a high school teacher is mysteriously murdered and a hunky, equally mysteriously "college boy" is spotted following Ellie around. My ratings as follows:
  1. Originality - It's hard to claim this book is totally unoriginal, but I'd give it about a 2 and that's probably generous. (I feel bad though, because it's a chicken and egg scenario - who was first to the angsty-love-triangle-fallen-angel-multiple-lives genre?!)
  2. Absurdity - 5, although I should probably rate it higher due to the single scene depicting Ellie and her best friend, Kate, shopping for party dresses. Badgely Mischka is casually mentioned and a Valentino bag is purchased on the fly ... I. Just. Can't.
  3. Level of Paranormal Romance - 7 - Gosh, the sexual tension between little ol' Ellie and her hunka hunka reaper love, Will, is soooooo angstttttty. At one point the heavy petting (and by that I literally mean heavy hands petting - er patting - Ellie's hair) is extra cringe-inducing, but hey they're supposed to have been in love for 600 years, so I can't ding them for letting the romance fade!
  4. Level of Harry Potter-ness - 2 - the writing was WONKY, but I still read it because ultimately I get invested in the romantic lives of 17 year olds (anyone who's seen my DVR can attest to that fact ... 16&Pregnant and Teen Mom is all ovvver the place!)
On to the next!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I just requested Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Thanks Orca Books for making me feel ok about it. ( And thanks Sara Henni for letting me know!)

Review: The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen

Gentle Reader- this book is divine. It is sweet and light and silly. It had me making little cooing noises on the couch (which my roommate, who is fab, put up with with quite good nature). I read it in a single evening of happy book bliss.

Sarah Addison Allen's The Girl Who Chased the Moon is about a northern girl  Emily who moves to tiny, magical Mullaby, North Carolina, after her mother's death. Mysteries about love and forgiveness delightfully intersect in Mullaby. She lives next door to Julia who has a pink streak in her hair and can bake feelings into cakes; befriends the once-cad (perhaps reformed?) and handsome Sawyer who pronounces things like 'very' as 'vera' (SWOON); meets a boy who enjoys a good linen suit/bow-tie combo and has a big secret; and lives with her Grandpa Vance, who is literally a giant, in an old home where special signs appear via the washing machine and the wallpaper in certain rooms shifts to match your mood. And of course, there are the Mullaby lights, moving ghost-like through the woods at night. But there are mysteries to unravel about why Emily's mother never mentioned Mullaby or her family there, and why Emily has received such a cold reception in her new home.  

NOW I know this might sound like smarmy Oprah book club book, but it is cute without being overly precious-- think Big Fish more than a girly-lady-who-loves-cats-the-color-pink-and-scrap-booking syndrome. I want Sweet Tea to read this so much (being a cute southern lady herself) that I seriously contemplated sending her a copy in the mail. But I am a poor grad student. So I just thought about it. That counts halfway, I think, as giving a present.

Originality: HELLO its at least a 6. See above.

Absurdity: 2. This exists in a lovely plain of magical-southern charm-ness, and coincidences feel happy and meant-to-be, not forced. 

Level of Paranormal Romance: 6. there are multiple stories about love flowing through this, and since this is not just for YA ( think insta-love and serious eye contact/feather petting) there is some well-deserved action. WOOT WOOT.

Level of Harry Potter-ness: 6. The magic is there and oh-so-charming, but it feels comfortable and worn in and a bit sleepy, like this little southern town. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

HELLO "Waiting on" Wednesday Friends!

It's Grad Student here, kinda MIA since I am away on a research trip, trying to read as much as I possibly can about matters of 1920s and 1930s history (and not the glamorous flapper part, sadly.) But here is another combo book review.

So first let me give a shout out to the great/creepiness that is Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake. Cas moves from town to town tracking down murderous ghosts with his kitchen-witch mom and her cat. Cas can kill ghosts cause he inherited his fathers athame (note, the entire time I did not know what this was. its a kind of knife, but I wasn't inspired enough to google it, but the internet now tells me its a ceremonial /magic dagger). Following a lead, Cas heads to Canada (GASP THINGS ARE ALREADY GETTING WEIRD) to track down a ghost known as Anna Dressed in Blood (her dress is white, but when she gets angry/goes to kill you, it starts to saturate and drip blood. Yikes!). Since her murder over 50 years ago, she has killed every person to step inside her house. That is until Cas gets dumped there by the local high school's resident jerks. Cas lives to tell the tale, and discover that Anna is like no ghost he has ever met. Why? How will Cas kill her? And is Cas's past catching up with him?

Originality: 9-- the ghost stuff is cool and creepy and this book is a great change of pace because the narrator is a boy who is charming and sarcastic, knows what he is doing, and has ZERO complexes about his looks/abilities (so not a whispy thin girl who is pretty and clueless but magical -rejoice, gentle reader). I like Cas AND Anna, even though I am never not scared of her. I think that's a big feat.
Absurdity: 2. I bought this hook, line, and sinker (but I am still not going on any haunted house tours, Goosie Mama)
Level of Paranormal Romance: 5. The relationships are slow to grow (like the real world) but as the tagline of Blake's blog says, "Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story." So use your imagination.
Level of Harry-Potterness: solid 5. ghosts, mind-reading, and magic knives, oh my, but grounded in reality.

Moral of the story...READ THIS BOOK PEOPLE!...Which leads us to....
Waiting on Wednesday, brilliantly hosted by Breaking the Spine is dedicated here this week to Kendare Blake's Girl of Nightmares. We are left wanting more, and with lots of unanswered underworld questions with Anna, and I can't wait to find out more. But seriously, I hope that my roommates are home this time when I am reading it. Because I am a wimp and once you read the first of these, you are going to wonder what the creaking in the attic (or in my case on the 7th floor) is!

(ok, so the cover of Girl of Nightmares is not as awesome as Anna Dressed in Blood, but word is might change, but check out the greatness of Anna and her lovely hairline!)

Saturday, February 4, 2012


Oh my gosh!!!

Reading like a Fiend!!

So before we started this YA-dedicated blog, I went on a bit of binge via trying to read my way through NPR's Top Books of 2011 (yes, Grad Student, I'm going to be picking up Anna Dressed in Blood stat!). That being said, aside from the Fallen Series (okay, okay, that wasn't on the Best of 2011 list, but let's be honest it should've been), there wasn't a whole lot of YA fiction on my eHolds list. Now, these NPR picks are all coming up for check-out at the same time and none are quick reads ... so I'm a little stressed about my lack of posts!

So, just to give a little bit of a disclaimer: I promise, I'm not ignoring the blog, just trying to get through the following books concurrently: The Night Circus (amazing!), Unbroken by Laura Hillebrand (oh, hey, non-fiction!) and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Kleenex, yes please).

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Review: Veronica Roth's Divergent

Hello, dystopian YA people! Today's review is a combination review of Veronica Roth's Divergent and wishful lusting after it's sequel Insurgent, due out May 1, 2012.  A Double Whammy! I know, its rather impressive.

Divergent: Just in case you have been under a rock/are still discovering Hungers Games, in this book, set in a future dilapidated Chicago, society is divided into five factors each dedicated to certain virtues: Candor (honesty supposedly, but really about lacking a mental filter), Abnegation (selflessness), Dauntless (double dare lifestyle), Amity (boring peaceful) and Erudite (smarty pants). Right before the day all 16-year-old pick their faction Beatrice discovers she is Divergent a very dangerous label she must keep secret, but that she knows very little about. In a "radical" OR IN THE WORLD OF YA SUPER BLATANT choice she decides to leave boring Abnegation and her family behind for the punk-rock world of Dauntless. Think tattoos, piercings, and jumping off trains/buildings. During the highly competitive initiation lots of people, including Tris, get the living daylights kicked out of them, and Tris slowly discovers that not everything is as hunky dory as it seems in their supposedly utopian faction society and she is at the center of it... dun dun dun.

  1. Originality - after the first chapter, I was just whelmed by the society, but the more time spent in the Dauntless world of underground caves and punches, things got increasingly interesting. I give it a solid 6 (because this is not the first time I have been around the- having to leave one parents behind to find yourself/discover corruption/potentially start a revolution- block)

  2. Absurdity -not that bad!I give it a 3. I mean, living in New York makes me suspicious of Chicago to begin with. Not surprised it could go downhill this fast (sorry Chicago)

  3. Level of Paranormal Romance - everyone is human...SIGH. But a love interest named Four spices things up, and I was into his mysterious self. I give this a 6, cause the build-up was great! moon eyes, elbow touches, stopping people from killing you, the normal romance stuff....

  4. Level of Harry Potter-ness -the writing was pretty good (and all the jumping off high buildings was crazy, if not magical) 5.
I don't know if this review does this book justice BECAUSE I couldn't put it down. Its biggest sell is that it draws you in and you must must must know what is going to happen next. Which leads up to....

Waiting on Wednesdays: Veronica Roth's Insurgent

Insurgent (Divergent, #2)A welcoming Whiskey Sour to Breaking the Spine's weekly feature "Waiting on" Wed where one divulges one's deepest hopes and dreams of upcoming releases...

I can't wait for Veronica Roth's Insurgent. It looks like the ante will be upped, and I can't wait to see those cute kids cuddle/share feelings between jumping on and off trains and threatening the bad guys! 

There is lots to learn about what it means to be Divergent, and I have high hopes for this sucker. If you want to read more, see the summary at Good Reads the epicenter of book summaries! (I am sorry in advance for stealing hours of your day on this site.)