Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Waiting On Wednesday (68)

Idea taken from Breaking The Spine

Not That Kind Of Girl by Siobhan Vivian.

Natalie Sterling wants to be in control. She wants her friends to be loyal. She wants her classmates to elect her student council president. She wants to find the right guy, not the usual jerk her school has to offer. She wants a good reputation, because she believes that will lead to good things.

But life is messy, and it's very hard to be in control of it. Not when there are freshman girls running around in a pack, trying to get senior guys to sleep with them. Not when your friends have secrets they're no longer comfortable sharing. Not when the boy you once dismissed ends up being the boy you want to sleep with yourself - but only in secret, with nobody ever finding out.

Slut or saint? Winner or loser? Natalie is getting tired of these forced choices - and is now going to find a way to live life in the sometimes messy, sometimes wonderful in-between.

Sounds typical yet still interesting because it's totally relatable in some ways. Plus I've heard that Siobhan Vivian is a really great writer but haven't had any chance to get to know her and her writing, so I hope I could read this for the start.

What kind of girl is Natalie? Find out on Sept 1st 2010

Sunday, 25 July 2010

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Pub. Date: April 9th 2009
Age Range: 12 and up
Pages: 199
Format: hardcover
Source Of Copy: from author - Gayle Forman

In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...

A beautiful, touching musing of death and life that will leave you wanting for more, from both this story and the next ones by Gayle Forman.

If you turn away from this book because the plot seems so familiar, don't. Because it's written in a brand new way that brings out the best in this situation. Told in a half depressed, half vague voice of a girl who is floating between the ultimate choice of her life, I guarantee that If I Stay will capture your heart and provoke your thoughts in the most gentle way ever.

The book reminds me a bit of The Lovely Bones where the main character is in different world seeing how her love ones deal with the cruel happenings and it's interesting to read. Gayle Forman does a really great job, especially merging the present with random parts from the past. Usually that kind of writing will appear messy or confusing to me, but in this book it just flows naturally. Actually, it does liven up the whole story.

Instead of analyzing the characters, I want to say something about the message delivered in If I Stay. It shows the love for music, both passionate and peaceful kinds; it shows the meaning of family, friendship, love and how little things work in life; yet it doesn't feel preachy or whatnot. It seems real and very convincing. The story is so nice I feel like it can last forever. Unfortunately, it's only 199 page long. Well, at least the ending is touching.

A great read indeed. Suitable for a cold day.

Rating: 4.5/5

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Waiting On Wednesday (67)

Idea taken from Breaking The Spine

Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

Murder. Love. Jealousy. And the ultimate sacrifice. Now, with Rose on trial for her life and Lissa first in line for the Royal Throne, nothing will ever be the same between them.

I haven't read Spirit Bound yet but I want to get to this book already. I bet it's not just me but tons of readers who are dying to get their hands on copies of this book. I'm a bit sad because it'll be the last installment of this awesome series. Hopefully the ending will be epic just like the series itself.

Will the last sacrifice be worth it? Find out on December 7th 2010.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg

Publisher: Penguin Aus
Pub. Date: May 3rd 2010
Age Range: 12 and up
Pages: 300
Format: paperback
Source Of Copy: from the publisher - Penguin Aus

Love is all you need . . . or is it?

Penny is sick of boys and sick of dating, so she vows: No more. She's had one too many bad dates, and has been hurt by one too many bad boys.

It's a personal choice . . . and soon everybody wants to know about it. It seems that Penny's not the only girl who's tired of the way girls change themselves (most of the time for the worse) in order to get their guys . . . or the way their guys don't really care.

Girls are soon thronging to The Lonely Hearts Club, and Penny finds herself near legendary for her non-dating ways – which is too bad, since the leader of The Lonely Hearts Club has found a certain boy she can't help but like . . .

A lovable debut about love, heartbreak and girl power that you will love, and love even more if you happen to be one of the Beatles fans.

I enjoy this book more than I expect. The title and even the synopsis indicate a story about heartbroken girls who have sworn off boys, making me think of a sad, depressed and very vengeful atmosphere. The Lonely Hearts Club, surprisingly, is nothing like that. It's fun and exciting and different. You think the club is one of the those that are against guys? Think again. It's actually more meaningful. It's about putting friendship and yourself first to find real happiness. I find that really sweet.

The good thing about the book is that every member joins the club with very similar but different reasons, at the same time their choice to take the membership feels really natural. That makes the readers sort of excited, and once or twice I really wish a club like that existed in real life so that all the girls could get together and have fun.

The characters in The Lonely Hearts Club are very adorable. Penny Lane isn't exactly a special girl but she isn't a typical one either. She feels like someone you can befriend with easily. Diane & Tracy, too, play important parts in the story, thus their characters aren't flat or forgettable. Although Penny's falling in love with a boy is very predictable, I won't tell you who he is to save the fun later. All I can say is he's super sweet and you'll like him for sure.

This is a lovely read I don't think readers should miss. Give it a chance!

Rating: 4/5

Friday, 16 July 2010

She's So Money by Cherry Cheva

Publisher: Harper Teen
Pub.Date: February 1st 2008
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 304
Format: paperback
Source Of Copy: from the author - Cherry Cheva

Question: What do you get when you take . . . 1 overachieving girl + 1 insanely cute guy + 1 massive fine + 1 scheme involving a little dishonesty and a whole lot of cash? I've always been the good girl—working seriously long hours at my family's restaurant and getting straight As. And Camden King was always just that hot, popular guy I'd pass in the halls, whose ego was probably much bigger than his brain. I didn't think there'd ever be a reason for us to actually, like, interact. Then again, I never thought I'd mess up so badly that my family might lose our entire restaurant if I didn't come up with a ton of money, and fast. So that's where Camden comes in—he and his evil/genius plan to do kids' homework for cash. I know cheating's wrong, but it's better than being dead, right? Which is what I'd be if my parents knew about what happened. I never expected things to spin so far out of control. Or that I'd be such a sucker for Camden's lopsided grin. Or that falling apart could be the best thing that ever happened to me. Answer: The time of my life.

Even before I read She's So Money, I knew I was going to enjoy the book because it sounded like a super fun one. What I didn't know was that I could enjoy it THIS much. It is such a fantastic read.

The first thing I love about this book is that the protagonist is an Asian. It's been a while since I read a story narrated by an Asian girl, and probably the first time a Thai girl. Although not much, I somewhat get to learn about Thai, especially their famous dishes, and it's very exciting.

What readers will find most enjoyable about She's So Money is the fact that it's compelling from the very first page. Maya's little trouble is stirred up very soon and then it gets bigger and bigger, bringing us more thrill than we can ask for, making us impatiently wait for how things will turn out because everything seems really serious. The plot is very well put together so you won't have even just one minute of boredom.

Cherry Cheva's voice is also very considerable. It's fun and witty. If you love stories like My Big Nose & Other Natural Disasters or Audrey, Wait! you gotta love this book.

I seriously love Maya. She's hilarious, smart but not too serious. Even when she's stuck on some very sticky situations she always finds something to cheer her up or work it out. And Camden is seriously cute I don't know where to begin.

My only complaint? The ending seems a little bit easy for Maya. For what she's done I think she needs some punishment. Well, I still enjoy the book no matter what.

Bottom line: A super fun and unique story you all should pick up.

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Waiting On Wednesday (66)

Idea taken from Breaking The Spine

You Are Not Here by Samantha Schutz.

Annaleah and Brian had something special -- Annaleah is sure of it. When they were together, they didn't need anyone else. It didn't matter that it was secret. All that mattered was what they shared.

And then, out of nowhere, Brian is killed in an accident. And while everyone else has their role in the grieving process, Annaleah finds herself living on the outside of it, unacknowledged and lonely. How can you recover from a loss no one will let you have?

I saw this novel a few months ago with just a name and a very reminiscing cover and fell in love with it. Now with a synopsis, You Are Not Here seems even more worth waiting for. Even though it's not stated, I have a feeling there's gonna be some ghosts. Anyway, this book for sure is going to be emotional so I hope I'll like it a lot.

Fall into the special world of Annaleah and Brian on Oct 1st 2010.

Monday, 12 July 2010

In My Mailbox (59)

Idea taken from The Story Siren

Grace by Elizabeth Scott.
A fable of a terrifying near future by critically acclaimed author Elizabeth Scott. Grace was raised to be an Angel, a herald of death by suicide bomb. But she refuses to die for the cause, and now Grace is on the run, daring to dream of freedom. In search of a border she may never reach, she travels among malevolent soldiers on a decrepit train crawling through the desert. Accompanied by the mysterious Kerr, Grace struggles to be invisible, but the fear of discovery looms large as she recalls the history and events that delivered her uncertain fate. Told in spare, powerful prose, this tale of a dystopian near future will haunt readers long after they've reached the final page.

Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti.

Lani and Erin are bonded for life. One thing that connects them is their fascination of fate. Lani wonders how much of our lives has already been decided and how much we can actually influence. Since the Unknown can unexpectedly change our lives forever, how much can we really control?

From the minute Lani meets Jason, she can't deny the intense connection they share. It feels like she's known him forever. She's not sure if he feels it, too. But it doesn't matter. Because Jason is Erin's boyfriend. Lani is determined to ignore her feelings for Jason, no matter how powerful they are, rather than risk hurting her best friend.

How long can Lani keep running from the boy who might be her destiny?

Two more books from Penguin, both look and sound awesome. I trust Elizabeth Scott and Susane Colasanti to blow me away so I have very high hope for these too. Hopefully I won't be disappointed

Thanks Sara and Kristina from Penguin for these books, once again.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

THE BOOK REVIEW CLUB JUL 2010: Ten Cents A Dance by Christine Fletcher

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Pub.Date: April 1st 2008
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 356
Format: hardcover
Source Of Copy: from the author - Christine Fletcher

With her mother ill, it-s up to fifteen-year-old Ruby Jacinski to support her family. But in the 1940s, the only opportunities open to a Polish-American girl from Chicago-s poor Yards is a job in one of the meat packing plants. Through a chance meeting with a local tough, Ruby lands a job as a taxi dancer and soon becomes an expert in the art of -fishing-: working her patrons for meals, cash, clothes, even jewelry. Drawn ever deeper into the world of dance halls, jazz, and the mob, Ruby gradually realizes that the only one who can save her is herself. A mesmerizing look into a little known world and era.

A compelling book with a story set back in 1941, a debut read that makes the readers fall in love with the author immediately.

What I love the most about Ten Cents A Dance is that instead of choosing to portray a story in modern days, the author goes back to the past to seek an interesting background for her characters. And in my opinion, she does a great job. The atmosphere feels exactly like how it should be. How people live, how they treat each other, difficulties they have to face, everything feels movielike and relatable. Random details are added throughout the story are also a highlight. They make the book very realistic and unpredictable.

Ten Cents A Dance has a great plot. It feels free yet makes perfect sense. It tells the story of a teen girl who has matured early because of her hard life but also full of love, passion and hope. The twists are excellent especially near the end.

Ruby is definitely not your typical female lead. She isn't the meek type, but she isn't the strong dynamic style ever. She's smart but she can also be fooled. She stands up against the evils but she can lose herself carelessly in love with a bad guy. She carries the role of a money maker in her family, yet sometimes she's so childish. Her character is so interesting I don't even know where to start. And Paulie, it's really hard to judge him. I'm not going to say anything else to save you the fun.

To sum up, it's a book I hope everyone will pick up because it's worth reading. And loving.

Rating: 4.5/5

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

In My Mailbox (58)

Idea taken from The Story Siren

A Match Made In Highschool by Kristin Walker.

When the principal announces that every senior must participate in a mandatory year-long Marriage Education program, Fiona Sheehan believes that her life can’t get any worse. Then she marries her “husband”: Jerky jock Todd, whose cheerleader girlfriend, Amanda, has had it in for Fiona since day one of second grade. Even worse? Amanda is paired with Fiona’s long-term crush, Gabe. At least Fiona is doing better than her best friend, Marcie, who is paired up with the very quiet, very mysterious Johnny Mercer. Pranks, fights, misunderstandings, and reconciliations ensue in an almost Shakespearean comedy of errors about mistaken first impressions, convoluted coupling, and hidden crushes.

Paisley Hanover Kisses & Tells by Cameron Turtle.

The election results are in—and totally UnExpected. Now the UnPops are picketing, the Pops are preening, and Paisley’s sophomore year is a bust—again. But when best frienemy Jen’s reputation takes a beating by viral text, Paisley’s pity party is over. She rolls out a new undercover plan to save Jen’s rep, and in the process, follows her heart into a crazy complicated love triangle. Then as if things weren’t confusing enough, Paisley’s archrival—super cute, super nice, super popular Candy Esposito—steals Paisley’s UnPop popularity! First Paisley gets mad; then she gets smart. Can she use Candy’s newfound UnPopularity to save Jen’s reputation—and pull off the biggest coup since Miss UnPleasant turned the Pleasant Hill High social hierarchy on its big fat head? Hello double-crossers, good-bye double standards! Paisley Hanover is back—pucker up!

Eversince I knew of A Match Made In Highschool last year I've been trying to get my hands on a copy but unsuccessful. Thankfully now I can finally read and review it. And Paisley book 1 was so witty and fun it's hard not to request for the second installments.

Thanks to Sara & Kristina from Penguin for sending me these books : )

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Publisher: Randomhouse UK
Pub.Date: May 27th 2010
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 418
Format: paperback
Source Of Copy: from the publisher - Randomhouse UK

Sixteen-year-old Maya and seventeen-year-old Lochan have never had the chance to be 'normal' teenagers. Having pulled together for years to take care of their younger siblings while their wayward, drunken mother leaves them to fend alone, they have become much more than brother and sister. And now, they have fallen in love. But this is a love that can never be allowed, a love that will have devastating consequences ...How can something so wrong feel so right?

If I had to describe this book in one word, it would be tragic. Exploring a very sensitive and difficult topic, the writer sure did a great job of delivering the message.

Rather than letting one of the sibling tell us their story, Tabitha Suzuna chooses to depict the whole thing in two points of view, giving us different ways to learn of the characters. I think she has a really strong base for the story. The family background is the reason how it all starts, making the subject less controversial and more understandable. Also, to back up the love story, she cautiously expresses the two characters' emotions and feelings, especially those to each other.

Unlike all the books in delicate issues that I've read before, this book is not heavy or anything. It's just sad. Tragic. The love between Locha and Maya comes naturally. These teenagers have to carry the burden of keeping the family for too long, having only each other to count on they start to become the father and mother of the house. And as things get harder, their love grows stronger. I'm not so sure how I feel about their love but I do feel really really sorry for them for having gone through such circumstances.

The story has quite a few physically involved scenes which I think are presented to make the book more realistic, I just wish that some would be cut off because they are not suitable for teens of younger age in my opinion.

It ends in a half unexpected, half expected way, the kind that makes the story more bearable and also brings it to the ultimate climax. It's very tragic yet very peaceful at the same time.

Bottom line: a very different book, pick up if you think you can handle the topic.

Rating: 4/5