Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Waiting On Wednesday (65)

Idea taken from Breaking The Spine

You by Charles Benoit.

A note from the author:
It's easy to forget that we spend our early teens afraid. We're afraid of fitting in, standing out, or being ignored. We worry that we'll never get a date, never get into college, and never amount to anything. Just like everyone predicts.

It's also easy to discount these fears. Looking back, it seems impossible that we would have stayed awake all night worrying about what someone else thought of our clothes or that we ever doubted our abilities, our potential. But that's only because we know how the story ends.

I wanted to write a book that started with these fears as givens, bottling them in tight and capping them off with that artificial indifference genetically required of all teens. Kyle Chase is not a bad kid. He's not a good kid, either. He's a typical kid. He's any kid. And, at one point in your life, he was you.

This book sounds really promising, like something you can relate to, something typical with a touch of refreshment. It has been a while since I've read anything in a guy's perspective so that just doubles my excitement for you.

Is Kyle really you? Find out on September 1st 2010

Monday, 28 June 2010

In My Mailbox (57)

Idea taken from The Story Siren.

The Secret Of Ka by Christopher Pike.

One minute Sara's bored on vacation in Istanbul. The next, she's unearthed a flying carpet that cleverly drags her to the mysterious Island of the Djinn—or genies. By her side is Amesh, a hot boy she's starting to love but doesn't yet trust. When Amesh learns the secret of invoking djinn, he loses control. He swears he'll call upon only one djinn and make one wish. The plan sounds safe enough. But neither Sara nor Amesh are any match for the formidable monster that that swells before them. It hypnotizes Amesh, compelling him to steal Sara’s flying carpet—the ancient Carpet of Ka—and leave her stranded.

Discovering the Carpet of Ka has sparked a new path for Sara, one that will lead her to battle creatures even deadlier than djinn. In this fight, Sara can save mankind, herself, or the boy she loves. Who will she be forced to sacrifice?

Zen & Xander Undone by Amy Kathleen Ryan.

Zen and Xander are sisters—truly, madly, deeply sisters, and this is their last summer together. Zen is the "good" girl with a black belt in karate and a newfound penchant for kicking heads. Xander is a wild scientific genius with a self-destructive streak a light-year long. They have three things in common: they’re brown-eyed blondes, they’ve noticed the boy next door has turned into a hottie, and they miss their mom, who died almost a year ago. These sisters are surviving just fine—except Zen keeps getting into fights that are harder and harder to finish, while Xander spirals into a vortex of late-night parties, scary men, and drugs. What’s worse, Xander has scholarships to the most coveted universities in the country, but she’s about to ruin everything. Should Zen keep trying to protect Xander, or finally let her go?

It Started With A Dare by Lindsey Faith Rech.

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?

All these books were sent to me from Houghton Mifflin. They seem to be perfect reads for summer cos they all sound fun and sweet and adventurous. I wonder which book I should read first.

Thanks Caroline from Houghton Mifflin for these books.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Waiting On Wednesday (64)

Idea taken from Breaking The Spine

Me And Her And You by Lauren Strasnick.

First love, broken friendships, and heartache all play a part in this evocative, voice-driven novel about Alex, a girl whose world is ripped apart when her father’s affair splits her family in two.

Alex moves with her mess of a mother to a new town, where she is befriended by hot, enigmatic Fred—and alternately flirted with and cold-shouldered by Fred’s twin sister, Adina. Others warn Alex to steer clear of the twins, whose sibling relationship is considered abnormal at best, but there’s just something about Fred—and something about Adina—that draws Alex to them and makes her want to be part of their crazy world…no matter the consequences.

When I read the title and the super short synopsis at I thought this would be about two twins falling in love with a boy but this seems more complicated by that. Lauren Strasnick's debut was a good one according to what I heard so I really want to check this book out. And I love this synopsis as well. It's so interesting and I cannot guess what's gonna happen in the book.

What will happen to the three? Find your answer on October 5th 2010

Monday, 21 June 2010

In My Mailbox (56)

Idea taken from The Story Siren

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma.

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?

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.

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...

Ash by Malinda Lo.

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.

Entrancing and romantic, Ash is an empowering retelling of Cinderella about choosing life and love over solitude and death, where transformation can come from even the deepest grief.

I don't think I need to remind you how great Ash and Speak are. I've been dying to read these books and finally I can get my hands on the copies. Forbidden arrived in a surprise package and the issue seems very delicate I'm curious to see how the author handles it. In the other words, I can't wait to start reading these.

Thanks Theresa from Hachette Aus and Randomhouse UK for sending me all the books ^^

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Ruby Unscripted by Cindy Martinusen-Coloma

Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pub.Date: May 5th 2009
Age Range: age 12 and up
Pages: 256
Format: paperback
Source Of Copy: from the publisher - Thomas Nelson

Sometimes the best moments in a girl's life are the unscripted ones.

Ruby Madden moves to an affluent town in Marin County, California, believing her dreams are coming true, but her hometown life is drawing her back. Her not-so-secret crush finally likes her. Her older brother decides to stay behind with their newly remarried father. And her best friend gets a boyfriend who's all wrong for her.

And Ruby's new life isn't as easy as she envisioned. Marin High School is a place for the rich and famous with their BMWs, chic clothes, and liberal beliefs-a place where she clearly doesn't belong. Even with her new job at the Underground Coffeehouse & Cinema, she is unsure of how to act and feels insecure about who she is.

When she tries out for an amateur film group, the puzzle pieces finally begin to fit. And who is this mysterious guy who's messing with her heart?

A slow paced written book with a nice message but sort of fails to deliver.

Ruby Unscripted tells a story about a teenager who has to move to a new home and face lots of challenges in her life because of a sudden chance. The plot is indeed typical with little things added and new situations created, it's somehow interesting to me.

The good thing about the book is that it portrays really well the difficulties and the feeling of a girl who finds it hard to leave everything behind her and adapt to the new world. Also, the frustration of her parents' divorce blends naturally into the rest and make her life complicated as it is. The development of Ruby Unscripted is nice and the film-making part will as well attract readers.

In my opinion, the reason Ruby Unscripted cannot shine is that it portrays daily life issues, but it lacks the charm to make everything feel realistic so people can relate to it. At some points I feel like the story just goes on and on with no end and I have to skip a lot of parts. There's no climax at all and the characters are not very significant either. Ruby acts selfish and her actions don't make sense sometimes. Kaden is mentioned in the synopsis as a large contribution to the story but actually he doesn't. The only one that makes a good impression on me is Frankie, only.

Bottom line: an okay book, suitable for those who wants to kill time.

Rating: 2.5/5

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Waiting On Wednesday (63)

Idea taken from Breaking The Spine

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.

This book sounds so much different from all the books by Elizabeth Scott that I've read (maybe all the books she's written too). It has such a strong aura. I think the story is going to get heavy at sometimes but still very interesting. The cover looks so mesmerizing as well.

Catch Grace on September 16th 2010

Monday, 14 June 2010

Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles

Publisher: Candlewick
Pub. Date: August 11th 2009
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 230
Format: paperback
Source Of Copy: from the publisher - Candlewick

Ellie has sex with boys who make her feel wanted and beautiful and then never call again. Even seemingly decent Josh, a virgin, leaves right after their tryst and never speaks to her again. It turns out the condom "slipped off" (?) and she gets pregnant. The next nine months are narrated by four charaters—Ellie, Josh, and their best friends, Corinne and Caleb. Ellie's and Josh's families are filled with stock dysfunction—from Ellie's shrill, uptight mother and perfect-on-the-outside home to Josh's washed-up, hard-drinking father and hapless mother. The plot of this novel is tired, but Corinne and Caleb, at least, are mercifully convincing and thoughtful. Each, of course, comes from a stable family. Caleb's single mother is the novel's moral center. The blaring contrast between stable kids from loving families versus lost kids from dysfunctional families oversimplifies a complex subject.

Jumping Off Swings is one of the rare books that explore sensitive matters. Written in a realistic yet very vague way, the story will appeal to readers who seek for thoughtful reads.

What I love about the book is that it's very straightforward. The synopsis sounds like it'll be a long way until you reach the part when the trouble begins, actually, it comes right in the first chapter. It's told in 4 perspectives: Ellie's, Corinne's, Caleb's and Josh's, each person with very unusual family backgrounds, which, of course, will draw you to them more and more. However, the author didn't use 4 person to tell a continuing story in rotate. Everyone has their own piece to share and they don't always fit together, so you have to use your imagination for the missing parts of the story.

The special thing about Jumping Off Swings, as stated above, is that it's really realistic - the author isn't afraid to depict the situation directly; on the contrary, it's very vague as well. Normally if you read about such topics, sometimes the story will get too heavy to handle. But Jo Knowles focuses more on the emotions, drawing readers in more and more. Also, rather than telling everything about the accident, Jumping Off Swings chooses to reflect the fact that how much it affects people, those involved and those not.

All characters are interesting in their own way but the realistic one, in my opinion is Josh. His actions, his emotions, sometimes they don't make sense but the readers can still feel the connect with his character. Ellie, though being the lead female, is really hard to read. To be honest I didn't even like her until the very last chapters of the book.

A few things I don't like about Jumping Off Swings: sometimes it's too vague you forget what you're reading and the time between each large part of the book is a really long time, but seems like there has been no change in some situations that I think the characters have to take urgent action, so it's not satisfying.

All over it's a good book. Pick it up when you have a chance.

Rating: 3.5/5

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Waiting On Wednesday (62)

Idea taken from Breaking The Spine

Rich And Mad by William Nicholson.

This is a compelling and beautifully written novel about first love, first sex, and everything in between. Maddy Fisher has decided to fall in love. And not just any sort of love: can't-eat can't-sleep crazy in love. Rich Ross is after the same thing. He's set his sights high, and he's going to make it happen. The problem is, in life's messy whirlwind of friends and lies and sex and porn, the real thing can be hard to fine. But there's always a first time for everything...

I find this one very interesting because who doesn't want to read about love? The kind of love portrayed in this book seems very dangerous and difficult too. Rich And Mad also caught my eyes because it's an Egmont book. I've read and love quite a few from this publisher, so I'm hoping I will enjoy this story too.

Catch the love story of Rich and Mad on September 14, 2010.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Mini reviews: Violet By Design & Violet In Private by Melissa Walker

Publisher: Penguin US
Pub. Date:
Age Range: Young Adult
Format: paperback
Source Of Copy: from the publisher - Penguin US

Last year Violet made a decision to get out of modeling for good-and then the lure of international travel changed her mind. Now she's thinking that she should have stuck with her original decision. If she had, then she never would have let her romance with Paulo hurt her, she never would have gotten into trouble with the press for speaking out about eating disorders, and she never would have anguished over her body the way only runway models do.

The story is getting more and more interesting. Now done with introducing how crazy and awesome the fashion world can be to a teenage girl the same time, Melissa Walker goes on to explore other issues that are close to normal girls. Like crushes, friendships and eating disorders. The experience Violet have throughout this book is priceless and it makes me feel so nice to see her grow up and mature after facing lots of problems, especially how to stay herself in this ironic industry or who her heart is really beating for.

If you love Violet On Runway, you definitely have to pick this book up.

Rating: 3.5/5

Publisher: Penguin US
Pub. Date:
Age Range: Young Adult
Format: paperback
Source Of Copy: from the publisher - Penguin US

Violet Greenfield knows she’s supposed to be a super-confident nineteen-year-old because she’s done runway shows in New York and internationally. But now that she’s finally headed to college, she’s afraid she’ll turn back into that girl who blended into the walls in high school. Vassar is just two hours away from New York City––her friends in fashion think she’s crazy to stop modeling now. And her old friend Roger is there...but things have been weird ever since they kissed. The real question is if she’s not going to be “Violet on the Runway” anymore...who is she?

This book is no doubt the best one of the series. This focuses more on Violet's life as an ordinary college girl - which I love so much because I'm clueless about fashion, thus as much as this part of the series is very exciting, it doesn't appeal much to me. All the intensity is pushed to the climax in this book because not only does Violet have to deal with love desperate love but she also has to make a choice of which life to live - the college girl who used to be insecure as everyone else but finally finds herself, or the supermodel suffocated by the fashion world. I get to see a lot of Violet's good side in this book and I have to admit that even though I don't feel the connection with her in book 1, she's grown a lot on me. The ending is not perfect but a realistic one so I'm really satisfied too.

What else to say? Try this series. I'm sure you'll adore it.

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

THE BOOK REVIEW CLUB JUNE 10 - Looking For Alaska by John Green

Publisher: Speak, Penguin US
Pub. Date: August 14th 2008
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 221
Format: paperback
Source Of Copy: contest prize

Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words - and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps." Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps. Looking for Alaska brilliantly chronicles the indelible impact one life can have on another. A stunning debut, it marks John Green's arrival as an important new voice in contemporary fiction.

There's only one word to describe this book: awesome.

This is the second book by John Green that I've read and to be frank, even though An Abundance Of Katherines is witty and fun, it didn't impress me much. I had a little doubt about how great John Green's writing was because everyone talked about it. With this book, this author really shows me that readers don't adore him for nothing. Looking For Alaska is raw and amazingly gorgeous.

If An Abundance Of Katherines' highlight is the anagram and math, Looking For Alaska's charm will be the last words and passion for reading of the characters. More to that, it has a well developed but seemingly impulsive and natural plot, making you feel like you're reading what's really happening in real life. Normal things are portrayed in a very skillful ways, and as a result, the book attracts us even more.

The characters play a significant part in Looking For Alaska, not just the main ones, but also the subordinate characters. Everyone is unique and has their own background stories and the boarding school is where they fatefully meet each other. I love Alaska so much. She's like a mixture of opposite elements. She can be good at one moment, then turns bad in the next. Sometimes she's just reckless, sometimes so poetic. She's strong but still very vulnerable. She's someone you wish you know. Because she's a great person and she's mysterious as well. For Miles, he has something that very captivating I don't know how to explain. He isn't the ideal type of guys, but John Green does a great job of depicting his inner emotions I can't help but like him.

Overall, this is a really really really good book that I can quote and quote from forever. Go get yourself a copy and join John Green fanclub later when you finish.

Rating: 5/5