Sunday, 29 August 2010

Mini reviews: Ash by Malinda Lo & It Started With A Dare by Lindsay Faith Rech

Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Pub.Date: March 4th 2010
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 291
Format: paperback
Source Of Copy: from the publisher

In the wake of her father’s death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, re-reading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted.

The day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King’s Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt with Kaisa. Though their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, it reawakens Ash’s capacity for love—and her desire to live. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love.

If you love fairy tales or retold stories of those then this is a must read. Honestly I've read a lot of modern fairy tales, including a version of Cinderella, but nothing has come close. The success of this book lies in the fact that Malinda Lo has naturally created an atmosphere that could only be found in fairy tales, yet it's darker, edgier and more vague with magic and all the likes. I don't know how to put it into words but it's like you're reading the original version of Cinderella at the same time a whole different interesting story. The characters are very well built too. Nobody is naturally evil, they're either mean or have different views on life. Things make perfect sense and I also adore the love between Ash and Kaisa. It's just simply serene and beautiful.

I have to say that this book doesn't leave me in awe but it's so well written there's nothing to complain about.

Rating: 4/5

Publisher: Graphia
Pub.Date: September 13th 2010
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 312
Format: ARC
Source Of Copy: from the publisher
Self-proclaimed nobody CG Silverman sees her move to an upscale new school as her chance to be somebody different. Her devil-may-care attitude attracts the in-clique, and before CG realizes it, a routine game of truth or dare launches her to iconic status. While this rebel image helps secure CG’s newfound popularity, it also propels her through a maze of unprecedented chaos, with each new lie and every dare opening doors that, in most cases, were better off left shut. CG is on a collision course with disaster. Will she be able to keep up the façade? Or will the whole world find out she’s a fraud.

A typical story with a twist. It's straightforward, it's daring, it's fun and therefore it makes a nice quick read. Each chapter brings on something new and makes the story more complicated than ever. The characters are rather realistic so you can totally relate - some are stranger, some are awful and some are super cool as well. I enjoy it a lot so if you read the synopsis and think this book is fun, go for it.

Rating: 3.5/5

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Waiting On Wednesday (71)

Idea taken from Breaking The Spine

Throat by R.A Nelson.

Seventeen-year-old Emma feels cursed by her epilepsy—until the lost night. She's shocked to wake up in the hospital one morning, weak from blood loss. When her memories begin to return, she pieces together that it was a man—a monster—who attacked her: a vampire named Wirtz. And it was her very condition that saved her: a grand mal seizure interrupted Wirtz and left Emma with all the amazing powers of a vampire—heightened senses, rapid speed—but no need to drink blood. Is Emma now a half-vampire girl? One thing soon becomes clear: the vampire Wirtz is fierce and merciless, feared even by his own kind, and won't leave a job undone.

A vampire story set in outer space. What else could be more intriguing than this? The plot sounds totally awesome and I was left in awe by R.A Nelson's writing in Teach Me so I'm sure (and hope) that Throat will be a hit in 2011. I practically can not wait any more minute to get my hands on it.

How can Emma survive her life as a half vampire who is hunted? Follow her journey on January 25th 2011.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Sunday Special (36) US cover vs Vietnamese cover

As promise, a continuation of last week's post ^^

Something Borrowed by Emily Griffin.

Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr.

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr.

The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlun & Nicola Kraus.

Enjoy looking and commenting. More to come in the next few weeks!

Friday, 20 August 2010

The Fortunes Of Indigo Skye by Deb Caletti

Publisher: Simon & Schuster USA
Pub.Date: March 25th 2008
Age Range: 12 and up
Pages: March 25th 2008
Format: paperback
Source Of Copy: from publisher - Simon & Schuster USA

Eighteen-year-old Indigo Skye feels like she has it all - a waitress job she loves, an adorable refrigerator-delivery-guy boyfriend, and a home life that's slightly crazed but rich in love. Until a mysterious man at the restaurant leaves her a 2.5 million-dollar tip, and her life as she knew it is transformed.

At first its amazing: a hot new car, enormous flat-screen TV, and presents for everyone she cares about. She laughs off the warnings that money changes people, that they come to rely on what they have instead of who they are. Because it won't happen...not to her. Or will it? What do you do when you can buy anything your heart desires -- but what your heart desires can't be bought?

A slow paced book about a rare topic that you might want to pick up on your free time. Not an mind-blowing one but one of the best Deb Caletti books I've read so far.

The thing that makes me like The Fortunes Of Indigo Skye more than other books by this author is that even though it's still slow, there's something very exciting about it. Less monologue and character analysis, more conversations and actions. The female lead is stronger too. Instead of blending into the background like in Wild Rose or Honey Baby Sweetheart, she's now the real center of the story.

The Fortunes Of Indigo Skye has a pretty good storyline and it comes off naturally. Everything makes perfect sense and believable. Deb Caletti's stories are usually very realistic, because even with a happening like getting a 2.5 million dollar tip, the author manages to portray it in a calm and collected way. You don't feel the excitement or the climax of the book. Things goes on and on and on until the end and that's why it's relatable. On the other hand, the book may appear boring to a large number of readers.

Indigo is an okay character to me. As stated above, I like her better than any female protagonists in Deb Caletti books that I've read. She's witty, funny and her personality is strong, making her very memorable. I like how she changes and her confusion when dealing with the sudden fortunes she's received. Also, as always, Deb Caletti has included a crowd of random characters around the lead. I was annoyed by this in previous books, but this time, surprisingly, they're very likable.

On the large, if you want to read Deb Caletti books, I suggest starting with this one.

Rating: 3.5/5

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Waiting On Wednesday (70)

Idea taken by Breaking The Spine

Bad Taste In Boys by Carrie Harris.

Super-smartie Kate Grable gets to play doctor, helping out her high school football team. Not only will the experience look good on her college apps, she gets to be thisclose to her quarterback crush, Aaron. Then something disturbing happens. Kate finds out that the coach has given the team steroids. Except . . . the vials she finds don’t exactly contain steroids. Whatever’s in them is turning hot gridiron hunks into mindless, flesh-eating . . . zombies.

Unless she finds an antidote, no one is safe. Not Aaron, not Kate’s brother, not her best friend . . . not even Kate . . .

It’s scary. It’s twisted. It’s sick. It’s high school.

I'm not usually into thrilling/a little scary books like this but Bad Taste In Boys sounds unique. The plot is just so irresistible to me because it's so movelike. I really don't know what to expect of it and I guess that's a good thing. Oh and isn't the cover gorgeous?

How bad is the taste? We'll have to wait until July 11th 2011 to know : (

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Sunday Special (35) It's Been A While

It's indeed been a while since I last posted something for this feature. I hope you guys haven't forgotten it yet. Last night I was browsing a Viet online bookstores and found out that over the past months lots and lots of American YA (also chick lit and romance) novels have come and been loved by tons of teens here. They've been given new looks too. So today I decide to share a few covers that I've managed to get decent pictures of.

Diary Of Anne Frank.

Wings by Aprilynne Pike.

Gossip Girl: All I Want Is Everything by Cecily von Ziegesar.

Vampire Diaries: The Awakening by L.J Smith

The Choice by Nicolas Sparks.

Interesting hey? I don't really like the covers but it kinda excites me to see these books all over the shelves at the bookstores. There are some more but I'll save them for next week. Let me know what you think about these comparisons.

Friday, 13 August 2010

As You WIsh by Jackson Pearce

Publisher: Harper Teen
Pub.Date: September 1st 2009
Age Range: 12 and up
Pages: 304
Format: hardcover
Source Of Copy: contest prize

Ever since Viola's boyfriend broke up with her, she has spent her days silently wishing—to have someone love her again and, more importantly, to belong again—until one day she inadvertently summons a young genie out of his world and into her own. He will remain until she makes three wishes.

Jinn is anxious to return home, but Viola is terrified of wishing, afraid she will not wish for the right thing, the thing that will make her truly happy. As the two spend time together, the lines between master and servant begin to blur, and soon Jinn can't deny that he's falling for Viola. But it's only after Viola makes her first wish that she realizes she's in love with Jinn as well . . . and that if she wishes twice more, he will disappear from her life—and her world—forever.

A sweet, lovely and thrilling debut book that will warm your heart, a story with the "be careful with what you wish for" theme that you can hardly refuse to read.

I enjoyed this book. It's fun, it's lighthearted but not shallow. If you're in a bad mood and want to cheer yourself up you definitely should pick it up.

I've not read many stories about jinns or genies but I think As You Wish has a very fresh setup. Everything feels sudden yet it makes sense: how Viola summons Jinn, how she makes her wishes and how they grow attached to each other. It's written in both main characters' points of view and I find that pretty easy and interesting to follow the story.

There are so many things I love about the story but what I want to mention the most is world of jinns. How the author builds it is amazing, especially with random details like flower deliveries. I especially love how she explains why jinns and human live in separate worlds through a myth and how Jinn realize how boring his world is after meeting Viola.

I don't think Viola is a very impressive character but she still has qualities that make her shine through the story. She's sweet, she's considerate and she's funny at times. My favorite parts about her are her thoughts about wishes. It shows clearly to the readers that although we always wants our wishes to be granted, nothing will work for us if we don't accomplish the things ourselves. And sometimes it feels like you always know what you want, but when a jinn comes with three wishes for you, maybe you don't want anything at all.

My on complaint on this story is that Viola and Jinn fall in love too fast. It'd be nicer for them to get to know each other more or just be best friends at the end because somehow their love is still a little forced to me even though they're super duper cute together.

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Waiting On Wednesday (69)

Idea taken from Breaking The Spine

The Lost Saint by Bree Despain.

A family destroyed. A love threatened. An enemy returns.

Grace Divine made the ultimate sacrifice to cure Daniel Kalbi. She was infected with the werewolf curse while trying to save him, and lost her beloved brother in the process. When Grace receives a haunting phone call from Jude, she knows what she must do. She must become a Hound of Heaven.

Desperate to find Jude, Grace befriends Talbot—a newcomer to town who promises her that he can help her be a hero. But as the two grow closer, the wolf grows in Grace, and her relationship with Daniel is put in danger—in more ways than one.
Unaware of the dark path she is walking, Grace begins to give into the wolf inside of her—not realizing that an enemy has returned and a deadly trap is about to be sprung.

Having yet to read The Dark Divine doesn't prevent me from being excited bout the next book in the series. It sounds just adventurous as any great paranormal story should be right? I fell in love with the gorgeous cover too. One thing, it'd be even better if the synopsis was less detailed.

Who's the lost saint? You'll have an answer on Dec 28th 2010

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Pub.Date: March 20th 2008
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 198
Format: paperback
Source Of Copy: from the publisher - Hodder Children's Books

Since the beginning of the school year, high school freshman Melinda has found that it's been getting harder and harder for her to speak out loud: "My throat is always sore, my lips raw.... Every time I try to talk to my parents or a teacher, I sputter or freeze.... It's like I have some kind of spastic laryngitis." What could have caused Melinda to suddenly fall mute? Could it be due to the fact that no one at school is speaking to her because she called the cops and got everyone busted at the seniors' big end-of-summer party? Or maybe it's because her parents' only form of communication is Post-It notes written on their way out the door to their nine-to-whenever jobs. While Melinda is bothered by these things, deep down she knows the real reason why she's been struck mute...

A realistic yet poetic story on a delicate topic that you, regardless of being a fan of Laurie Halse Anderson, should never miss.

The story starts out like any other ones in young adult books you will find, and with a vague synopsis like this you'll probably never know what it's all about. I think that'll give a better impression and influence of the story on readers because of curiosity.

Melisa's highschool story sounds nothing special: another outcast that somewhat lost all of her friends in middle school and now she doesn't know how to belong. But there's something darker and deeper about her that prevents you from putting the book down (even if you're extremely sleepy, in my case).

The book is almost a monologue which included very few conversations that are rather awkward. It highlights the title and the message the author wants to deliver. It's nice because you can feel the numbness of the character transferring to you here and there. That's what I like about Laurie Halse Anderson. She knows how to consume readers with emotions, whether that are light or heavy.

As for Melinda, I think she's a very unforgettable character with perfect development. Her journey of learning how to actually SPEAK is totally amazing.

Having said all that, I don't think Speak appeals to me as much as I expected. Because Wintergirls blew me away, I thought Speak would turn out to be better but I wasn't strongly captivated by Melinda's story, even it's a good one.

To sum up, if you're a fan of young adult, you have to read SPEAK. And watch the movie too (because I heard it's really good)

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

THE BOOK REVIEW CLUB AUG 2010 - The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta

Publisher: Penguin Australia
Pub.Date: March 1st 2010
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 328
Format: paperback
Source Of Copy: from the publisher

Thomas Mackee wants oblivion. Wants to forget parents who leave and friends he used to care about and a string of one-night stands, and favourite uncles being blown to smithereens on their way to work on the other side of the world.

But when his flatmates turn him out of the house, Tom moves in with his single, pregnant aunt, Georgie. And starts working at the Union pub with his former friends. And winds up living with his grieving father again. And remembers how he abandoned Tara Finke two years ago, after his uncle's death.

And in a year when everything's broken, Tom realises that his family and friends need him to help put the pieces back together as much as he needs them.

Melina Marchetta is my number one favorite author. I love all of her books because they are so thought-provoking yet so close to heart and they never fail to impress me. The Piper's Son, happily, is no exception.

This book tells the story about a family falling apart because the death of a member and is trying to hard to pull themselves together again. In case you haven't noticed, in all of her books, Melina Marchetta always explore the subject of family to the core, each time deeper and with more people involved, thus the topic never gets old. Instead, I want to read to know more.

I also think this book is a upgrade version of everything the author has ever written because this time it's told in third person's respective - making everything fiercer and refreshing. You get to know not only the life of a guy that has abandoned his friends and the girl he loves because of the grief and the aunt whose life cannot be anymore complicated. All generations in one. This, amazingly, allows not only teenagers, but also readers of all ages to enjoy the book as well.

Characters in The Piper's Son? Unique but realistic. Some are totally cool when some are screwed up, but once they're introduced into the story you will find it hard to forget them. Readers that have read (and loved) Saving Francesca will be able to meet her and Will Trombal once again in this book and I can guarantee that they aren't just mentioned then disappear right after that.

I really like Thomas. His personalities and family background are just intriguing. At first I think he's sort of depressed it's hard to read, but then the pace picks up and that suddenly strengthens his character. He is, too, like every male lead in the previous books, one of the guy whose love for the girl is extremely adorable and still believable. Of course there's Tara Finke, a softer yet loveable girl that I wish to know more of.

Bottom line: if you don't get this book it's your loss. Even though it focuses much on family, the story perfectly depicts everything else in life, even little things that have never crossed your mind.

Rating: 4/5

Sunday, 1 August 2010

The Lost Summer by Kathryn Williams

Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Pub.Date: July 14th 2009
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 256
Format: hardcover
Source Of Copy: from the publisher - Disney Hyperion.

For the past nine years, Helena Waite has been returning to summer camp at Southpoint. Every year the camp and its familiar routines, landmarks, and people have welcomed her back like a long-lost family member. But this year she is returning not as a camper, but as a counselor, while her best friend, Katie Bell remains behind.

All too quickly, Helena discovers that the innocent world of campfires, singalongs, and field days have been pushed aside for late night pranks on the boys' camp, skinny dipping in the lake, and stolen kisses in the hayloft. As she struggles to define herself in this new world, Helena begins to lose sight of what made camp special and the friendships that have sustained her for so many years. And when Ransome, her longtime crush, becomes a romantic reality, life gets even more confusing

Want to read stories on summer but something else rather fun, crazy, exciting ones? Then The Lost Summer should be one of your top picks. Poignant and relatable, this book provides a different for the favorite time of the year of everyone.

From first look The Lost Summer is similar to all the stories of the same topic, but you can immediately feel that the atmosphere is somewhat not the same. There's something very lonely and nostalgic about it. With Helena's new position at camp, this summer has opened a whole new world on her that she isn't sure she wants to know.

The thing I like the most about this book is that Helena's story seems like a story of a half teen, half adult. It isn't exactly carefree or wild, but it isn't just serious and full of worries. Happenings are told in an ordinary way but readers can't help but sense upcoming sadness. And the thing is that the feeling is extremely vague and cannot be explained.

Helena is a typical character, the kind that is in the progress of growing out of her shell and enter the real world. That's why it's easy to understand her but at the same time she can be quite forgettable. What she encounters/experiences, though, will stay on and provoke thoughts and emotions in you.

The lost summer is the summer Helena lost something very special, but still gained a lot. It's a beautiful story you shouldn't miss.

Rating: 3.5/5