Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Let It Snow

Title: Let It Snow
Author(s):
John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle

Summary: A Christmas Eve snowstorm transforms one small town into a glittering, romantic holiday haven.

I really, really loved this book - I'm a total Autumn/Winter girl, I love storms and snow and reading a book set in Winter when it's an annoyingly hot summer put me back in that happy Winter mood and made me excited for that time of year to roll around again.

I love that all three stories were woven together, three seperate stories but set in the same place and the same characters pop up in each one - minor characters in one, may be main characters in another and it was awesome.

Anyway, onto the actual stories:

John Green's story A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle was really good... John Green is one of my top five favourite authors of all time and this story had all the charm of his other stories - really likeable characters and just the right balance of cute moments, funny stuff and nerdy-ness. Pretty much everyone has gone through or will go through what The Duke does in the story (The Duke is a girl, with a fun nickname) and I can't really explain that properly, but if you read it, you'll know exactly what I mean.

Jubilee Express by Maureen Johnson... hmm, what to say about this one? I'll start off by saying that Maureen is awesome, really, I think she's absolutely hilarious, a complete legend. BUT! After reading one of her books a while ago, I was kind of put off reading anything else she writes because of it, but this story was amazing, it was actually my favourite of the three in the book and it totally restored my faith in her as an author instead of just a person and I fully intend to give her books another shot. That should explain how good it was. Just goes to show you shouldn't write off an author after having only read one of their books.

The Patron Saint of Pigs by Lauren Myracle was probably my least favourite story of the three, but it was still brilliant (it's a good sign that even my least favourite of the stories is still really awesome), they all were - none of them were bad... Lauren Myracle, like MJ and JG, is one of those authors that are really funny but it doesn't come across as trying too hard to be funny and the humour is at all the right places and she manages to mix seriousness and humour together really well so neither feels out of place. The main character really annoyed me half of the time, but at the same time I totally got where she was coming from - I just didn't like how she chose to handle it, but she does redeem herself and I couldn't hate her.

Basically, all three stories were awesome, it was a really good book - it's one of those ones that will put you in the mood for Christmas/Winter. :]

Later.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Death Angel by Linda Howard

First thing - I've changed the layout, obviously. Like it? Hate it? I'm pretty hopeless as far as blogger layouts go.

Second thing - Two people said they'd like to join the blog, so I've sent you both invites. Just post reviews whenever you want to, just whenever you read a book and want to talk about it. Also, if anyone else would still like to join or has any suggestions for how to make the blog better, just go to the previous post and leave a comment. :]

Now, onto the review:

Title: Death Angel
Author: Linda Howard
Summary:
A striking beauty with a taste for diamonds and dangerous men, Drea Rousseau was once content to be arm candy for Rafael Salinas, a notorious crime lord. Then, when he loans her to a cold-blooded assassin as payment, Drea makes a fateful decision and a desperate move to escape, stealing a mountain of cash from the malicious killer.

Though Drea runs, Salinas knows she can’t hide - and dispatches the same assassin in hot pursuit. Left for dead, Drea miraculously returns to the realm of the living a changed woman. Both humbled and thrilled with this unexpected second chance, she embraces her new life.

But in order to feel safe and sound, and stop nervously looking over her shoulder, she will need to take down the man who marked her for death, even if it means joining forces with the most dangerous - but most enticing - man she’s ever known.

Please note that this is an adult book, and not YA like most of the books we review on here tend to be so it does have some M rated themes in it.

This is just going to be a quick review... I stumbled across this book when I was browsing on Amazon, read the first chapter of it and wanted to read more, it was really good.

It's not one of those amazing books that I'll always remember having read, but it was a good story, entertaining and fast paced - I liked the two main characters, Simon and Andie/Drea and the best parts of the book were the bits that focussed on the two of them together.

One thing about the book that I wasn't expecting, was a plot twist that occurs half way through - I really didn't like it at first, it seemed a bit out of place... it was unexpected in a bad way, it felt like I was reading a story that was quite realistic and then it suddenly threw reality out of the window, maybe it's just because I'm Agnostic so my views on the thing that happens are a bit... unsure, even if it is fiction. But after a few chapters to get used to it, it was good again.

An event in Dreas past has completely shaped who she is - she's a surviver, she's strong but in a lot of ways it's changed her for the worse and she's made a lot of bad choices, but meeting Simon sets off a chain of events that force her to change, to fix her life and as for Simon, loving her changes him for the better too.

And okay, I admit it, as a fictional character, Simon is really hot - thanks to the whole assasin thing he has the whole bad boy thing going on but despite all of that, he isn't actually a bad guy.

Anyway, it was a good book, not amazing or anything but if you're bored and want something quick to read and the genre is the kind of thing that you're into then give it a try.

Later.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Boys R Us by Lisi Harrison.



Title: Boys R Us
Author: Lisi Harrison
Summary:
PC is out. MAC is in.

Massie Block: After disbanding the Pretty Committee, Massie takes charge like Vise, forming OCD's hawtest clique yet: Massie And Crew. Even though money can't buy love, it can buy best friends... or at least model-actresses who will act like your besties until you get real ones. Lights, Camera, MACtion!

Alicia Rivera: Hearts her new role as alpha of the Soul-M8's, BOCD's first ever girl-boy clique. But when the boys head back to the newly renovated Briarwood Academy, will the remaining Soul-M8's become 4Squares?

Dylan Marvil: Is happy times ten to finally have a crush who's crushing back, especially since they luh-v all the same things: marshmallows, lip-kissing, and chugging Red Bull. Buuuuuuuuuuuuurp!

Kristen Gregory: Scored three goals on the soccer field last week- and Massie's crush.... which earned her an ejection from her ex-BFF's heart. Can Massie forgive and forget, or is Kristen out of the game forever?

Claire Lyons: Has declared herself neutral in the battle of the cliques. But dividing her time between Massie, the Soul-M8s, and Cam has left her stretched thinner than extra-small Spanx. Can she get her friends to reunite, or will she be forced to pick a side once and for all?

I know. Another review.

Well I just finished this book and it was amazing, as usual. It was a little bit more serious than the other novels, there was more drama, heartbreak, and hurting and I liked it a lot.

The novel has all the cleverness of all the other novels as the girls are pushed to their very limit in the Clique Wars. Which is better? PC or MAC? Soul-M8tes or Massie and Crew?

I don't want to spoil anything, but if you've read the other books you know the couples, and that Claire and Cam have a disgustingly sweet relationship. Well, in this book, Cam gets sort of distant, and Claire is forced to take charge and try to get everyone back together again.

It also amuses me that Alicia automatically thinks she can be alpha. And how all her plans fall through. But everyone's plans fall through, until the end. Let me just say this book made me like Claire a whole lot more.

All I can say is Lisi did a fantastic job. I think this might be the last book, since the next one is the Clique Prequel. (Becuase Prequels are so in right now, right?) I think she tied mostly everything up nicely, and I can't wait for the next book, and her new series, The Alphas.

Now I'll be starting the Pretty Little Liars. :D

-Mari.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green.



Title: An Abundance of Katherines
Author: John Green
Summary:
Colin Singleton is a child prodigy who has just graduated from high school and has subsequently been dumped by his girlfriend - Katherine #19. His penchant for dating girls who only go by the name of Katherine and his experiences over the years, make for a touching, funny, romantic and intelligent story about growing up. With his dearest friend, Hassan - a friend who dreads the thought of going to college and is content to watch Judge Judy than study - they decide to take a summer road trip which eventually takes them to the town of Gutshot, Tennessee. New friends are made, relationships are built and maybe, just maybe, Colin can finally discover the elusive Theorem that should solve the riddle of being Dumped and being the Dumpee.

(I know. I'm just poppin' out reviews right left and center these days. :P)

I choose this for my second summer reading book, and I was not disappointed.

The book is amazing. The characters are relatable and just awesome, and John writes it as well as usual.

Its also full of funny jokes and things like that, it made me laugh a lot.

It's got quite a bit of math in it, which can get sort of confusing, but I still love it.

My favourite parts have to be the parts with either Hassan or Lindsey. They're both so hilarious.

All I can say is that you should all read it.

(sorry for the lame review. I'm a bit sick and all that.)

-Mari.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury.



Title: Something Wicked This Way Comes
Author: Ray Bradbury
Number in my challenge: 43.
Summary:
In a small anywhere town in any state in America, two young boys- quiet Will Halloway and somewhat rebellious Jim Nightshade-enjoy the ever-shortening days of autumn. When the boys hear about a strange traveling carnival from a lightning rod salesman, they decide to see what it is all about-but Will is fearful, as most carnivals end their tours after Labor Day. When the ominous Mr. Dark, the Illustrated Man, rides into town on a dark midnight, setting up his massive carnival in a matter of seconds, the boys are both thrilled and terrified. It seems to be just another carnival at first, but it is not before long that the forces of darkness themselves are manifesting from the haunting melodies of the carousel-which can change your age depending on which way you ride it-and the glaring Mirror Maze. With his collection of freaks and oddities, such as the Fat Man, Mr. Electro, and the blind Dust Witch, Dark intends to take control of the town and seize more innocent souls to damn. It will take all the wit and hope of the two boys to save their families and friends, with aid from an unlikely ally-Will's father, the town librarian, who understands more than anyone else that "something wicked this way comes."

'Bout time I finished this, eh?

It took me a while. -_-

The book has four main parts separating it and chapters within the parts.

It's an interesting tale, to say the least. The writing is fantastic, the descriptions really put an amazing image in my mind.

It dragged a bit, but that's because it's written sort of...differently than the modern things I read.

The characters are amazing, too. My favourite would have to be Will's father, the janitor for the library, Charles Halloway. (I may be getting the name wrong?)

And the main villain, Mr. Dark is just deviously entertaining. The book has a lot of things that can't be explained happening in it, mostly when the "freaks" of the carnival use their special talents.

It may be long and a bit hard to get through, but the result is totally worth it.

I definitely recommend.

Next I'll be reading An Abundance of Katherines for my second summer book, since it turns out I can't do The Bell Jar. I'll read Bell Jar after I finish these damn summer assignments.

And I also have Wicked which I plan to read. 500+ pages. :D And the Pretty Little Liars series, which I'll review all the so-far released books in one review.

-Mari.

(P.S. Does anyone know where I could get my hands on a copy of A String of Pearls (the story that Sweeney Todd is based on)? I can't find it anywhere!

Saturday, 11 July 2009

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen.



Title: The Luxe.
Author: Anna Godbersen.
Number in the series: One.
Number in my 50 Book Challenge: Forty-two.
Summary: "A big, sumptuous tale of catty girls, dark secrets and windswept romance unfurls in this compulsively readable novel of late-19th-century New York City socialites. Godbersen weaves a tenuous web of deceit, backstabbing and pretense that follows four teens: Elizabeth Holland, a prim and proper lady of old-money society, is betrothed to one man, though furtively loves another; Henry Schoonmaker, a debauched playboy who must marry Elizabeth or be disinherited; Diana Holland, Elizabeth’s younger sister who is in love with her fiancĂ©; and Penelope Hayes, a member of the nouveau riche who will stop at nothing to win Henry’s affections. As Elizabeth and Henry’s wedding approaches, the spectacle unfolds in a wondrously grandiose scene, making for a fun, though not entirely unexpected dĂ©nouement."


Okay, I went for this book because I'd been told it's amazing, and it captured my interest. I've been told again and again that it's Gossip Girl in a different era, and it is.

The writing style is very well done, fitted to the time it's set in. That may be the reason it dragged for me, and the reason I may have embarrassingly skipped a few dozen pages.

The twists are entertaining, the characters are devilishly amazing, but it feels like there's much too much filler. It takes a paragraph to say what could be summarized in a sentence. Maybe that's just me: I didn't like it half way through because it was dragging. Generally, when my attention isnt swept up, it's very hard for me to continue reading.

Due to the fact that two other books have been released for this series (Rumors and Envy) I fear I'll be muddling through more of this. The plot itself is nice, it just...drags, as I've said. But since I read the first, I must read them all. Though I am not looking at all forward to Rumors, which I've pushed back to read already.

By the way, I went book shopping.
Expect reviews a plenty soonly for:
Boys R Us.
Something Wicked This Way Comes.
The Bell Jar.

And I'll be doing a special series-review of the Pretty Little Liars series. =]

Until next review,
Mari.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

The Blue Girl by Charles de Lint


Wow, it has been a long time since I've posted anything, so I thought I might as well post this book I've read recently that I love. I know it looks weird, but it's actually very good.

Title: The Blue Girl
Author: Charles de Lint
Summary (
Stolen from Amazon, of course): Imogene Yeck, former gang member and current fairy butt-kicker, is the cool "blue girl" at the center of Charles de Lint's latest urban fantasy novel. Seventeen-year-old Imogene jumps at the chance to lose her bad girl reputation when her family moves to a new town. She purposely lays low at Redding High, only making friends with Maxine, a shy, studious girl who is Imogene's opposite in every way. Despite a few run-ins with the ruling football jock and his cheerleader girlfriend, Imogene keeps her temper in check and even lends some of her bravado to Maxine, who begins to come out of her straight-A shell. Things are going well for the new friends--until the day Imogene meets Adrian, the ghost of a boy who died in the school's parking lot. Adrian and Imogene's unusual connection attracts the unwelcome attention of Redding High's resident Little People, or fairies. Affronted by streetwise Imogene's lack of belief in them, the fairies set into motion a malevolent prank that will not only turn Imogene completely blue from head to toe, but pit her, Adrian and Maxine against some of the most frightening beings of the Otherworld--the soul-sucking Anamithims.

Who doesn't love a book with fairies? Especially fairies that aren't all nice and charming and cute? These fairies have a witty sense of humor which I love, although thinking it's funny when people jump off of a roof (or in Adrian's case, fall) is pretty warped.

Imogene is just a rebellious girl who is very misunderstood and it judged from the moment someone lays their eyes on her. She's funny, witty, and can be very protective. I love that she doesn't want to fit in - ever.

Maxine is the good girl. The one who gets the good grades, who pasts tests... and the one who's mom still dresses her in dresses and skirts. She has really no control over her life, and she has to hide certain things (like books, CDs, etc) from her mom. I don't know what I would do if I had to hide stuff from my mom - or if she still dressed me in very girly outfits.

Highlight the following space to read spoilers.

Adrian is in love with Imogene from the moment he sees her. When they first talk, he tells her about the fairies, and she doesn't believe him. His fairy friends send her dreams to help her 'see'. But, everything goes to hell, basically, after that. Imogene thinks Adrian is up to it, and gets mad at him. Adrian had nothing to do with it; his fairy friends did.

There's one part I laugh at a lot. It's where Adrian (when he was alive) meets Tommery, and all his other fairy friends, then they tell him they can teach him to fly. So, they carry him to the school roof, and once up there the ask him if he's ready to try it on his own. He says yes, then they let him go, which leads him to his death. After he wakes up, some of the fairies are laughing at him, which I think is sort of funny.

Yeah, I really love this book, and I'm sure you guys probably will too.

Later.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

I Love You, Beth Cooper by Larry Doyle

Okay, sorry I've been kind of M.I.A. as far as book reviews go recently, I've just not been in the mood to read and stupidly started reading about five books at once, which totally slows me down - but anyway, I'll try and review more often now.

Title: I Love You, Beth Cooper
Author: Larry Doyle
Summary: After concluding he has nothing to lose, geekazoid valedictorian Denis Cooverman declares, during his graduation speech, his love for Beth Cooper, the way hot chief cheerleader. He is amazed to discover Beth is not completely repulsed by his feelings for her, although her army boyfriend, Kevin, is enraged. Beth, implausibly, later shows up at Denis's graduation party with two interchangeable sidekicks, Cammy and Treece. The party comprises exactly two guests, Denis (aka "The Coove") and his possibly gay best friend, Rich. Once Denis and Rich recover from the shock of being in the presence of pretty girls, they attempt to party, but the awkward celebration is cut short when Kevin arrives with his bruiser friends. Denis and Co. make their first of what will be several escapes, the circumstances of each providing Denis with evidence that Beth isn't the flawless goddess he'd imagined her to be.

This book is quite possibly one of the funniest books I've read this year, it had me giggling like an idiot in the early hours of the morning while reading it and I love the way it's written, there's pretty much something funny on every page thanks to the way Larry Doyle writes it.

Beyond that though, if you ignore all the funny parts, there is kind of a deeper meaning - the characters, although they're hilarious and maybe seem shallow at times, they're actually not, they're realistic. Dennis proclaims his love for Beth at the start and then throughout the story, he has to realise that he didn't really know her, she's not quite the perfect goddess he had imagined - in a lot of ways, she's better because she's more real than his version of her.

I'm not explaining what I mean very well, I guess I'm just out of touch with the whole reviewing thing (or maybe I'm always this bad at it?) but I loved the book and it's one of the few books told from a guys perspective that I've really read and it's funny because when I was reading it, I was just thinking "is THIS the way guys really think?"... it's just awesome.

I'll put an end to this trainwreck of a review and instead show you this:

The book has been made into a movie and judging from the trailer, they actually stayed really, really close to the book - the funny parts in the trailer are all pretty much in the book word for word. I think the only thing that changed is that Beth is a brunette in the book, but that doesn't matter.

I pictured Michael Cera as Dennis while reading though, Dennis is meant to look younger than he is... the guy they've cast in the movie kind of looks like a bizarre 40 year old/child combo. (I just looked it up, he's 28)

Later.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Hey guys. Well, finally gotten around to reading the book I won in the competition - Jellicoe Road. Again, thank you so much Lanna.

OK: Jellicoe Road

Taylor Markham was left on the 7 Eleven by her mother when she was eleven years old. She was then picked up by someone named Hannah, and brought to Jellicoe School, where she's spent (almost) every moment up until now. At seventeen, Taylor's live has been a bit of a rollercoaster: she's tried to run away in order to find her mother and managed to bring Jonah Griggs along for the ride, has witnessed a suicide, and has always looked on while the war raged between Jellicoe, the Townies and the Cadets. Hannah and her unfinished house by the river are the only things that remain constant, including Hannah's scattered never-ending novel about five friends who seem strangely real and connected to Taylor.

Then everything changes. Taylor is elected as the house leader and on top of that the leader of Jellicoe school, much to everyone's surprise (including hers!) and is expected to negotiate with the Townies and Cadets in order to keep the peace that the secret society of students have been trying to keep since as long as she can remember. And it really doesn't help that Jonah Griggs is the leader of the Cadets!

I'll stop summing up the story now, shall I?

Had me hooked from the beginning. The story did not gradually build up, nor start slowly. Bang! and it began, my eyes were glued to the page. There were plenty of twists and turns, and while I figured the riddle out long before Taylor did, coming along for the ride while she caught up was no bore. I cried, I laughed, and I was altogether infatuated. It's sitting on my bedside table right now - and I'll probably revisit it sooner rather than later!

Thanks again, Lanna. I probably wouldn't have thought to buy it and then you just handed it to me in an amazon box! Thank you so much- it really is as fantastic as you said.
So yes, guys, read it. I suppose this was a poor review but I tend to say more than I'd like in them! :) xx

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