Friday, January 31, 2014

Movie Review: Beastly

Beastly
Movie Released: March 4, 2011
Director: Daniel Barnz
Screenplay: Daniel Barnz
Length: 86 minutes
Based on the Book: Beastly
Author: Alex Flinn
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: October 2, 2007
Click here for my review.

Movie Review: As many of us know all too well, movie adaptations don’t always work out.  So when I discovered there was a movie adaptation of Beastly by Alex Flinn, I was excited and hesitant. When I looked at the cast I was even a little optimistic, with Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfur as the leads and Mary-Kate Olsen, LisaGay Hamilton, and Neil Patrick Harris playing important supporting roles. 

Despite a great book and a great cast the movie was only okay.  Coming in at only 86 minutes the director/screenwriter sacrificed the time spent developing the emotional and intellectual relationship between Kyle and Lindy.  Instead, he chooses to focus on the few scenes where the Beast impresses Lindy with his wealth and ability to give her what she wants.  What I liked most about Beastly the book was the attention paid to how the Beast changes himself and most of that is lost in the movie adaptation.  Instead, the focus is on how both Lindy and Kyle fall for one another for largely superficial reasons.  Even though I didn’t love the movie the first time I watched it, I have watched it two times since. This probably says more about my movie watching habits than the movie itself.

Posted By: Sheri

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Book Review: Scorched by Mari Mancusi

Scorched (Scorched #1)
Author:  Mari Mancusi
Publisher:  Sourcebooks Fire, 352 pages
Publication Date:  September 3, 2013

From Goodreads:
Trinity
Don’t leave me here... It starts with a whisper. At first Trinity thinks she’s going crazy. It wouldn’t be a big surprise—her grandpa firmly believes there’s a genuine dragon egg in their dusty little West Texas town. But this voice is real, and it’s begging for her protection. Even if no one else can hear it...

Connor
He’s come from a future scorched by dragonfire. His mission: Find the girl. Destroy the egg. Save the world.

Caleb
He’s everything his twin brother Connor hates: cocky, undisciplined, and obsessed with saving dragons. 

Trinity has no idea which brother to believe. All she has to go by is the voice in her head—a dragon that won’t be tamed.


Review:
Time travel AND dragons...what's not to love?  Connor and Caleb are twin brothers who travel 200 years in the past to stop the dragon apocalypse.  But they're not working together, in fact, they're enemies, because they have completely different ideas about how to save the future of the world.  Trinity lives with her grandfather, who runs the saddest museum in West Texas (Foxx's Fantastical Fossils) and who spends their property tax money on a dragon egg.  It's Christmas Eve, Trinity is in tears thinking about how they're going to be homeless, and then suddenly there are men dressed in black who are breaking into the museum.  Then there's Connor, who she finds dressed in a strange jumpsuit with a Star Trek type gun, trying to steal the egg.  He basically says, come with me if you want to live, and off they go.  So there's definitely a Terminator vibe going on.

Trin had to admit, for a guy from the future, he was pretty hot. If only she could snap a quick pic and text it to Caitlin.  Of course, explaining how she met him might prove a bit difficult.

She shook  her head.  Get your mind out of the gutter, girl, she scolded herself.  After all, he was here on a mission to save the world--not hook up with the locals.

That said, the guy from Terminator did manage to find the time...

Then she meets Caleb, hears his side of the future, and she's not sure who to trust, who to believe.

A fast-paced, action-packed book filled with secrets, betrayals, dragons named Emmy and Fred, and just a bit of romance (definitely a love triangle in the making, but I didn't mind for some reason).  Highly entertaining.


Posted by:  Pam

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: February Picks



Waiting on Wednesday features upcoming releases and is hosted by Breaking the Spine. This is our monthly post, where we pick books that are coming out in the next month that we just cannot wait for. That we're absolutely dying to read. 

We're So Excited!
The Lunar Chronicles is such a fantastic series and we cannot wait for:

Cress by Marissa Meyer

From Goodreads:
In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. 

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice. 

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.


Pam's Additional Choices:
There are so many great books coming out in February that I'm excited for!
Ignite Me by Tehereh Mafi.  I have a bad feeling this isn't going to turn out well for Adam, but I'm still so excited for this one!
Split Second by Kasie West.  Addie and Trevor!
Alienated by Melissa Landers.  Alien exchange student?  A blogger MC?  So excited!

Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen.  Can't get enough of Scarlet and Rob!
White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout.  A new series by JLA.  Need I say more?
Landry Park by Bethany Hagen.  Downton Abbey meets The Selection.  I'm all over this one.


Three by Kristen Simmons.  One of my favorite dystopian series coming to an end, can't wait to see how it all turns out!
Rise of the Arcane Fire by Kristin Bailey.  Steampunkery fun!


Sheri's Additional Choice:
Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg


What books are you waiting for?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Ten Reasons To Attend a Book Festival


Pam and I took a little road trip on Saturday to attend YAK Fest 2014 which is organized by the Keller ISD secondary librarians.  It was a blast!

So rather than tell you ten places we don’t want to go or ten people we don’t want to be, we’re giving you
Ten Reasons to Go To a Local Book Festival!
10. There might be some great food trucks selling all sorts of treats.
9. You can support the local bookstore selling copies of the books.
8. You can try to find and meet up with other bloggers. I suggested that Pam and I make YA Escape From Reality T-shirts but she quickly vetoed my idea.  
7.  You can try to figure out why some writers still have full-time jobs in addition to writing (is it a money thing?)
6.  You can meet your favorite authors!
5. You can listen carefully to authors who may accidentally reveal twists and turns in forthcoming books, like Mari Mancusi.
4. You can hear authors answer questions such as, “Which of your characters would you take to prom?” Can you guess who Andrew Smith chose?
3. You can hear your favorite authors describe their writing process and how agents, editors, and book sellers influence the process.  For instance, did you know Kody Keplinger had to change one of her titles five times?
2. You can learn about books written by fabulous authors you may never have heard of.  In my case, Christa DeSir, who writes intentionally to start conversations and change the way young persons see themselves and the world around them.
1. It’s a great reason to spend time with a friend who also loves books.



Posted by:  Sheri

Monday, January 27, 2014

Book Review: Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg

Better Off Friends
Author:  Elizabeth Eulberg
Publisher:  Point, 288 pages
Expected Publication Date: February 25, 2014
*Received ARC from publisher via NetGalley

From Goodreads:
For Macallan and Levi, it was friends at first sight. Everyone says guys and girls can’t be just friends, but these two are. They hang out after school, share tons of inside jokes, their families are super close, and Levi even starts dating one of Macallan’s friends. They are platonic and happy that way.

Eventually they realize they’re best friends — which wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t keep getting in each other’s way. Guys won’t ask Macallan out because they think she’s with Levi, and Levi spends too much time joking around with Macallan, and maybe not enough time with his date. They can’t help but wonder . . . are they more than friends or are they better off without making it even more complicated?

From romantic comedy superstar Elizabeth Eulberg comes a fresh, fun examination of a question for the ages: Can guys and girls ever really be just friends? Or are they always one fight away from not speaking again — and one kiss away from true love?


Review:
Thoroughly enjoyed this When Harry Met Sally type YA novel about Macallan and Levi, who meet in seventh grade when Levi moves from California to Wisconsin.  They bond over a shared love for a British television show and the novel, told in alternating points of view, chronicles five years of their relationship.  It's actually unusual to have a YA novel take place over a five year time period.  By doing that, I felt like I really got to know Macallan and Levi and it was such a pleasure to watch their relationship grow and deepen over time.  I loved how much they truly cared about each other and the fact that they knew each other so well (the complete opposite of insta-love).  Too well, from the perspective of their significant others (at different points in time).  They have such a connection and when they talk, they basically leave everyone else out (unintentionally).  They become part of each other's family and even through their ups and downs, they always know the other one will be there.  I loved their bantering, and I really enjoyed the beginning of each chapter when Macallan and Levi would be talking back and forth from the present as they reminisced about their relationship (although I was confused sometimes about who was talking since it was just dialogue, no he saids or she saids).  That gave me hope that, even when things were not looking so great for them, things would work out.  Their timing was always off when it came to their relationship progressing to the next level and it made me crazy sometimes how they knew each other so well but were also so blind.  Sweet and fun romantic contemporary, I definitely recommend.


Posted by:  Pam

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Book Review: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

The Name of the Star (Shades of London #1)
Author:  Maureen Johnson
Publisher:  Putnam Juvenile, 372 pages
Publication Date:  September 29, 2011

From Goodreads:
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? 


Review:  
Boarding school in London, a serial killer that only Rory can see...this book is filled with tension, action, and humor. I really enjoyed Rory's voice and her dry sense of humor.  I liked the secondary characters as well, especially Jazza and Boo.  I want to know more about Stephen, I think there's a lot of potential with his character.  The beginning of the book is more about Rory figuring out how things work at her new school, but the suspense slowly builds as Rippermania hits London and people become both excited and scared about the murders throughout the city.  The second half really picks up with the action and I found myself both fascinated and horrified by what was happening.  My only complaint is the motive of the killer, which makes no sense to me.  I can't say more without spoiling it, though, so I'll leave it at that.  The book wraps up things quite well, and then there's a final twist that's not a cliffhanger, but makes me excited about reading the next book.  Suspense with a supernatural twist, I really liked it.



Posted by:  Pam

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (29)

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!  It is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Pam's Weekly Haul
From the Library:
Scorched by Mari Mancusi
The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson


Bought:
Cracked by Eliza Crewe
Sheri's Bounty
Beautiful Redemption: I bought the 4th book in the Caster Chronicles!  I love listening to these during my daily commute.

What books did you add to your shelves this week?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Spoiler Discussion: The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

This post is for anyone who has already read The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider and wants to discuss it.  SPOILER ALERT:  DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK.
Ok, I just have to rant (er, discuss) the last quarter of the book.  Basically, what Cassidy does to Ezra.  Now I would rather have a happily ever after ending, but in this case, I didn't mind that they didn't end up together.  I actually understood that, especially the circumstances, plus the fact that it's not that realistic to end up with your high school love.  But it was the WAY Cassidy treated Ezra that made me absolutely hate her.  She finds out that it was her brother who crashed into Ezra (leading to her brother's death) and what does she do?  Takes the coward's way out and just doesn't contact him at all.  It's the night of the dance and she just disappears.  So Ezra finds her and then what she says to him, that he's basically a loser and she's been using him and it was all really a joke and that, in fact, she has a boyfriend.  What?  Why did she have to be so cruel?  Ezra has done absolutely nothing but be a fantastic guy to her.  He doesn't deserve to be treated that way.  And yes, she was trying to push him away, but that doesn't excuse it.  And then she continues to act mad at him, like he did something wrong.  And he's just reeling, not understanding, and then he goes to her house to make her a snowman (why he feels like he should apologize is beyond me, it's not like he knew her brother was dead).  And again, she acts like a complete bitch to him.  And basically it's her fault his dog dies.  Why did the dog have to die?  I kept wondering what was up with the coyotes, it was obviously going to play some sort of part in the story, but killing the dog...I just hated that.  So I lost whatever sympathy I had for Cassidy with the way she treated Ezra.  And then when they're in the waiting room at the vet, he's still being such a great guy, and the only thing she does that's the least bit good is tell him that she wasn't the reason he changed.  It was all him and would have happened even if he had never met her.  Other than that, she was the worst and I ended up hating her character, hating how she treated Ezra, and hated how all of that happened.  Again, it wasn't the breaking up that made me hate her, it was the way it happened that just made me livid. Ok, I vented.


What did you think?

Posted by:  Pam

Book Review: The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

The Beginning of Everything
Author:  Robyn Schneider
Publisher:  Katherine Tegen, 335 pages
Publication Date:  August 27, 2013

From Goodreads:
Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes? 


Review:
I both loved and hated this book.  Here's what I loved:  Ezra's character and the changes he undergoes throughout the novel.  I loved that he had so much depth and that he was really just a good guy.  He has to figure out who he is and who he wants to be and he realizes that he doesn't want to be just like everyone else and that he may be interested in things he never even thought about.  I loved the scene where he and Cassidy go and sit in on a college class and they mistakenly walk into an organic chemistry and he ends up absolutely loving it.  And his voice: fresh, funny, realistic, witty...there were definitely some laugh out loud moments for me.  To be honest, I don't usually enjoy a book written from a guy's POV as much but this one...so good.  I really connected with his character.

I also loved Toby.  What an incredible friend!  When you find out his story in the first chapter, it will break your heart (so traumatizing and horrific) and then when he reappears and is such a fun and smart guy. What he does for Ezra on that first day...everyone needs a true friend like that.  And the scene at the end of the book with him...perfect.

What I hated:  Ok, there was the way a certain character treated another character and how those events unfolded that I absolutely hated.  I can't be more specific without spoiling things, but if you've read the book or you don't mind reading spoilers, read my Spoiler Discussion here.

In sum, read the book.  Brilliant...not to be missed.


Posted by:  Pam

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Book Review: Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder

Taste of Darkness (Healer #3)
Author:  Maria V. Snyder
Publisher:  Harlequin MIRA, 400 pages
Publication Date:  December 31, 2013
*Received ARC from publisher via NetGalley

From Goodreads:
Avry knows hardship and trouble. She fought the plague and survived. She took on King Tohon and defeated him. But now her heart-mate, Kerrick, is missing, and Avry fears he's gone forever.

But there's a more immediate threat. The Skeleton King plots to claim the Fifteen Realms for his own. With armies in disarray and the dead not staying down, Avry's healing powers are needed now more than ever.Torn between love and loyalty, Avry must choose her path carefully. For the future of her world depends on her decision.


Review:
A stunning and satisfying conclusion to the Healer series, I absolutely loved this book (and the entire series).  Avry is such a wonderful heroine, she is strong, caring, and just doesn't quit.  The fact that she takes on the pain of whoever she heals never ceases to amaze me.  And Kerrick, I just love him!  He's also strong (and swoony) and he who truly appreciates Avry for who she is.  They both have jobs to do and they are so good together that I was happy to see more of them together in this book.  

The stakes are at an all time high, with not only a new villain to deal with, The Skeleton King (and The Skeleton King is truly a revolting character, by the way), but also Tohon's army.  Prince Ryne is the ultimate strategist, and while I appreciated his smarts, he definitely puts the end game ahead of individuals. I guess that's what you have to do as a leader, but it didn't make me like him, that's for sure.  What he does to Avry, time and time again...I would have punched him if I were her.  She definitely stands up for herself, but still.  (By the way, I appreciated the fact that Maria Snyder never created a love triangle, which would have been so easy to do. Thank you!)  I loved the fact that the gang is back together again (for the most part), which was missing from Scent of Magic.  

Vivid and memorable characters, intricate world-building, gorgeous writing, wonderful romance, this book has it all.  Avry and Kerrick continue to have challenges they must face, although there are quite a few tender moments between them.  There were twists and turns along the way, and a lot of political maneuvering. An immensely enjoyable read, I definitely recommend this series.  Fantasy at its finest...loved it!


Posted by:  Pam

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Things on Our Reading Wishlist

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.

If we could get authors to write about anything, it would be more of the following:

Sheri's Hopes:  

1. Shapeshifters and Native American Culture: I would love to see more YA books set in the American Southwest that either address contemporary Native American culture or use Native American stories as starting points similar to authors like Tony Hillerman, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Louise Erdrich. 
2. Werewolves: I just can't get enough of them particularly the ones like Lupin (Harry Potter) and Luke (Mortal Instruments)
3. Friends fighting the good fight: books that don't focus on romantic conflicts but instead groups working together to overcome a common enemy but with some romantic tension thrown in every now and again
4. Jane Austen Spin-Offs: I simply can't get enough of these particularly when authors set the stories in fabulous locations
5. Study Abroad and Fall in Love: I enjoyed Anna and the French Kiss so much I would love to read more along those lines.

Pam's List:

1.  Time Travel.  I love time travel books so I would love to read more.

2.  Less love triangles (or less pointless love triangles).  This plot device has gotten old.  There are very few well done love triangles so unless it has a point (other than just to create problems for the couple) no more love triangles.

3.  Fantasy.  I've been reading more fantasy books and absolutely loving them.  Some of my recent favorites are Falling Kingdoms, The Burning Sky, and any book by Maria V. Snyder.  

4.  HEA.  I admit it, I don't care if it's realistic or not, I want my characters to have a HEA.  No more main characters dying (I won't mention the most recent example of that one) and no more romances that do not end well.  

5.  More snark, more banter.  I love books where the MC is a bit snarky and there's fun bantering between the characters.  The perfect examples of this are Unspoken and Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan.  Hilarious dialogue with so much snark and bantering.  Give me more.

What's on your reading wishlist?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Book Review: Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder

Scent of Magic (Healer #2)
Author:  Maria V. Snyder
Publisher:  Harlequin MIRA, 414 pages
Publication Date:  December 18, 2012

From Goodreads:
As the last Healer in the Fifteen Realms, Avry of Kazan is in a unique position: in the minds of her friends and foes alike, she no longer exists. Despite her need to prevent the megalomanical King Tohon from winning control of the Realms, Avry is also determined to find her sister and repair their estrangement. And she must do it alone, as Kerrick, her partner and sole confident, returns to Alga to summon his country into battle.

Though she should be in hiding, Avry will do whatever she can to support Tohon’s opponents. Including infiltrating a holy army, evading magic sniffers, teaching forest skills to soldiers and figuring out how to stop Tohon’s most horrible creations yet; an army of the walking dead—human and animal alike and nearly impossible to defeat.

War is coming and Avry is alone. Unless she figures out how to do the impossible ... again.


Review (spoilers for Touch of Power):
A great sequel to Touch of Power, but I didn't love it as much.  The main reason is because Kerrick and Avry are apart the entire book.  Why why why does that happen so much in the second book?  They finally get together and realize they love each other, and then Avry is like, hey everyone thinks I'm dead so we should take advantage of that and I'll go do my own thing and spy and you go do your thing and we'll see each other someday.  What??  I just didn't like that.  I want to see the couple work together and fight together.  There's so much adversity that I didn't feel like they had to be apart.  There's war, Ryne's dead army, evil Jael, political backstabbing.  And the rest of the gang is not in it as much either.  Instead, we have new characters and while I did enjoy getting to know some of them, I still wanted the old ones back.  

On the plus side, there's plenty of action and adventure, magic, and you learn even more about the world and other groups.  Avry is still a fantastic character, she's so selfless and strong.  And she's not a whiner, that's for sure.  She just keeps taking all of the horrible things that happen and rolls with the punches.  And we do get alternating chapters showing what's happening to Kerrick (Avry's chapters are in first person and Kerrick's are in third).  That was actually both good and bad.  Good because it's Kerrick, but bad because every single chapter ends in a cliffhanger and you have to wait to read the alternating chapter before you find out what happens.  Which makes it virtually impossible to put the book down.  Maria V. Snyder is becoming one of my favorite writers and I'm so glad that the last book is out because that ending...gah!  Kill. Me. Now.



Posted by:  Pam

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Book Review: Bright Before Sunrise by Tiffany Schmidt

Bright Before Sunrise
Author:  Tiffany Schmidt
Publisher:  Walkers Children, 288 pages
Expected Publication Date:  February 18, 2014
*Received ARC from publisher via NetGalley

From Goodreads:
When Jonah is forced to move from Hamilton to Cross Pointe for the second half of his senior year, "miserable" doesn't even begin to cover it. He feels like the doggy-bag from his mother's first marriage and everything else about her new life—with a new husband, new home and a new baby—is an upgrade. The people at Cross Pointe High School are pretentious and privileged—and worst of all is Brighton Waterford, the embodiment of all things superficial and popular. Jonah’s girlfriend, Carly, is his last tie to what feels real... until she breaks up with him. 

For Brighton, every day is a gauntlet of demands and expectations. Since her father died, she’s relied on one coping method: smile big and pretend to be fine. It may have kept her family together, but she has no clue how to handle how she's really feeling. Today is the anniversary of his death and cracks are beginning to show. The last thing she needs is the new kid telling her how much he dislikes her for no reason she can understand. She's determined to change his mind, and when they're stuck together for the night, she finally gets her chance. 

Jonah hates her at 3p.m., but how will he feel at 3 a.m.? 

One night can change how you see the world. One night can change how you see yourself.


Review:
What a fun, cute read...I loved it.  The book is told from both Brighton's and Jonah's POV and it really works.  They start off not really liking each other at all, but through the course of one night, slowly get to know each other and themselves.  At first, Brighton only talks to Jonah because she's determined to have all of the students participate in volunteering somewhere (she's the president of Key Club).  Jonah doesn't want to be at his new high school and so he doesn't want to have anything to do with anyone.  He's actually quite rude to Brighton but she doesn't give up.  Then circumstances throw them together and even though they're very different people (he's bitter and cynical while she's always smiling and trying to make the world a better place), they begin to like and feel an attraction to each other.  It felt natural, the dialogue was realistic, and I enjoyed the romantic tension between them.  I also liked the fact that the characters weren't stereotypes, they were more layered and complex.  This book just felt real.  Surprising and sweet, it made me smile.  Definitely recommend.



Posted by:  Pam

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (28)

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!  It is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Pam's Weekly Haul
From the Library:
Angel Fire by L.A. Weatherly
Angel Fever by L.A. Weatherly
Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau
Send Me a Sign by Tiffany Schmidt
The Living by Matt de la Pena
Just One Day by Gayle Forman



From NetGalley:
Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg
Scintillate by Tracy Clark



What books did you add to your shelves this week?

Friday, January 17, 2014

Discussion Question: Do You Review a Book You DNF?

Do you review a book that you don't finish?  I don't.  I just don't think it's fair to review a book unless I've read the entire thing.  The main reason for this is because sometimes I'm just not in the mood to read a particular book and so that's the reason I don't finish it.  In fact, one time I started The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver and I read maybe 50 pages of it and I just couldn't get into it.  So I put it away for about a year and when I started reading it again, I absolutely loved it.  Now obviously even if I finish the book my mood influences whether I like the book or not and ultimately my review of it, but I usually just don't finish the book if it's not working for whatever reason, so most of the time I like the books I read and I usually write positive reviews.  

Playing devil's advocate, explaining why you didn't finish a book can be useful to people are considering reading it.  

So what do you think?  Do you review a book that you don't finish?  How many pages do you feel like you have to read before you'll write a review?  (I know some people who read a chapter or two to see if they want to read the book since they have so many to choose from and they don't write reviews if that's the case).  Do you find reviews written by someone who has not finished the book to be useful?


Posted by:  Pam

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Book Review: Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly

Angel Burn (Angel #1)
Author:  L.A. Weatherly
Publisher:  Candlewick, 449 pages
Publication Date:  May 24, 2011

From Goodreads:
Willow knows she's different from other girls, and not just because she loves tinkering with cars. Willow has a gift. She can look into the future and know people's dreams and hopes, their sorrows and regrets, just by touching them. she has no idea where this power comes from. But the assassin, Alex, does. Gorgeous, mysterious Alex knows more about Willow than Willow herself does. He knows that her powers link to dark and dangerous forces and that he's one of the few humans left who can fight them. When Alex finds himself falling in love with his sworn enemy, he discovers that nothing is as it seems, least of all good and evil.

Review:
What a unique take on angels, I don't think I've read a book where angels are portrayed in this way.  Loved the world-building and the explanations for what and why the angels have done what they've done (sorry that's a big vague, but I don't want to spoil anything).  I also enjoyed watching Willow and Alex get to know each other.  In fact, most of the novel is about them on the run alone together, which is unusual.  Yay, road trip!  They are both strong characters.  Alex has been alone for a long time and never really had a childhood, instead being trained as an assassin. Willow hasn't had it easy either, growing up with her Mom being the way she is (again, sorry for being vague) and the fact that her gift of seeing into the future means the kids at her school think she's weird.  Even though Willow is Alex's sworn enemy, he slowly finds out that things are not as black and white as he has always believed.  People are chasing them, Willow's been targeted, and they're the only ones who can save the world.  So, no pressure.  The entire trilogy is out and I'm definitely looking forward to reading the next two books.



Posted by:  Pam