Thursday, October 30, 2008

Living Dead Girl by: Elizabeth Scott

Total: ???

I'm sure the above line confused the heck out of all of you, so I'll try and explain myself - and this book - as best as I can.

I read Living Dead Girl so quickly the pages blurred into one. Last night I watched Bones and Criminal Minds (apt shows for the dark subject matter of the book) and read the new book I received in the mail *thanks, Vanessa & Elizabeth!* during commercial breaks. So, all in all, it probably took me a little over half an hour.

Despite the faults (and this book, like any, has its faults), I was immediately overwhelmed by the story of a fifteen-year-old girl named Alice, who lives with her kidnapper-turned-abuser and has pushed her once-normal life into the furthest crevices of her mind. She survives by eating little yogurt cups and watching other people sort out their problems on talk shows and on soap operas.

I started sniffling and whimpering before I'd even reached page twenty. This is a bone-chilling account of sexual - and emotional - abuse and definitely not for the faint of heart. It's depressing, but rewarding. I have a feeling I'll be thinking about Elizabeth Scott's latest venture long after today.

The one major 'fault' as I mentioned earlier, is the ending, plain and simple. Although hope is omnipresent, hovering in the background, for most of the story, the ending was too darn happy for me. I mean, no, I'm no cruel sadist who wanted Alice to die on her hands and knees.

The ending was it had been ripped out of some happy-go-lucky children's story - well, a children's story with guns and special pills and pedophiles. Maybe this is all the nonsensical ramblings of a crime-show-addicted teenager, but,


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Trailer Tuesday*

I found a really cool cool trailer for you guys. One that coincides with the release of Melissa de la Cruz's 'Revelations' book. Hopefully I'll have a review for that up soon! I know my reviews have been few (very few) and far (quite far) between, but I'll try and get a review for David Yoo's 'Stop Me...' up soon, too.

*This title in no way means I plan to have a trailer up every Tuesday! I'm not that ambitious, I was just trying to give a catchy title!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Once Upon A Time...

The days when every great book began with "Once upon a time," seem to have come to a close. To me, an opener can make or break a book. I try to go further than the first line and the deciding factor on whether or not to buy a book is if I want to keep reading past the first page before I've even left the bookstore.

Today, I decided to share with you five opening line. These are not favourites or least favourites of mine. I simply plucked novels randomly off my many shelves. For the sake of a little game, I won't post the titles/author names. Have a guess in the comments. If you guys like this, I'll post a follow-up with the answers and another set.

1. "Somewhere in the distance I heard a cell phone ringing, and I slipped in unnoticed through the side door."

2. "Right now it's seven o'clock on a Monday morning, and I'm lying on the floor of my bedroom watching the white plastic ceiling fan go around and around and around."

3. "'Can I please go now?' I'm staring at my mom, willing her to stop talking and acknowledge me."

4. "This story is not mine to tell."

5. "'Please tell me that's not going to be part of my birthday dinner this evening.'"

Which ones do you like or dislike? Do you know what books they belong in?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

At Face Value by: Emily Franklin

Total: Three stars.

Cute, light, fun, witty. These are some words I would use to describe At Face Value, which finds Cyrie Bergerac, 17, falling in love with someone she shouldn't.

A modern take on the Cyrano de Bergerac tale, At Face Value reads like a movie marathon of high school-set romantic comedies.

Cyrie, a senior at Weston High, is a near-perfect student: she gets outstanding grades, is a lead reporter for the Weston Word, is best friends with the popular and beautiful Leyla and has a good relationship with her parents. However, her appearance is less than flawless.

Namely, her nose. And it's size.

Although entirely predictable - from Chapter One, even, it's easy to figure out the ending - Franklin's novel is saccharine sweet and a good weekend read. It's not exactly the next modern classic, but the prose is often elegant and the wording is lovely.

Acceptance and inner beauty are two major themes within this book, along with true love and the meaning of friendship. None of these issues are really expanded upon further than expected and the ending ties everything together far two cleanly. Not a must-read, but definitely a should-read.

I'll leave you with a quote from the novel:

It's just I can't help it. Sometimes the words rush out, like water breaking free of a dam.

Bounce by: Natasha Friend

Total: Four stars

To put things into perspective quickly, I liked Bounce about as much as I liked Perfect.

Natasha Friend's latest novel centers around an almost-thirteen-year-old girl, Evyn. Life as she knows it has been turned upside down. Her eclectic father, whom she calls Birdie, announces he’ll be marrying knockout Eleni at Evyn’s thirteenth birthday dinner. He says this like it’s a good thing. Evyn is shocked by this announcement - who would want to marry her weirdo dad? Only Eleni isn’t your typical second wife. She’s a mother of six.

Like it’s predecessors, Bounce is a slim novel, but in no way is it short on life lessons. Occasionally, Evyn’s personality seemed to flit between mature and immature, which, in theory, should be a negative point. It’s not. This is what middle school is like. One day you’re as high as a kite - the next, you’re...not.

Although Bounce is fairly predictable and the flow of the story is more forced than in Lush or Perfect, it’s still worth a read and definitely something I’d recommend.

Drumroll, please...

The winner of my inaugural contest for The Celebutantes: On The Avenue by Antonio Pagliarulo is...


Congratulations and thanks you everyone who participated! Hopefully, I'll be doing another contest soonish (maybe next month?), so keep your eyes peeled.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Interrupting your regular scheduled posting to ask...

At the end of each term/semester/whatever you want to call it, I have to do a book report. It should be on a more intelligent type book, rather than, let's say, Jet Set or Gossip Girl: All I Want Is Everything. Maybe it's a book I've already reviewed, one you have, or simply a book that you love.



- should be intelligently written, raises important questions
- if it's a book I haven't reviewed, please don't suggest hardcovers! As much as I would love it, I can't really get Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games right now. *pout*
- about 200-400 pages, if possible
- that's all, comment/e-mail me with your suggestion

Thanks so much!

ONE MORE THING: Criminal Minds is on at eight tonight for Canadians. You watching? Or if you live in the US of A, will you be watching tomorrow?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Jenny Green's Killer Junior Year by: Amy Belason and Jacob Osborn

Hell hath no fury like a JAP scorned...

Total: Ugh. I can't even rate this it was so heartbreakingly terrible. You want me to? Well, hey, since you asked so nicely. 0.5, maybe?

When I selected this book from Chapters, I had a good feeling. I'd read a couple great five-star reviews for it on Amazon, some other bloggers liked it, it's set in Canada - specifically la belle provence, Quebec. Why not? Also, it was about a teenage girl who becomes a revenge-driven serial killer. The possibilities for an awesometastic review were endless.

I imagined myself slaving away at this very computer, brow glistening with sweat, while typing up an essay-style, four-or-five star review. I would draw comparisons to the teenage generation's morbid fascination with crime and how TV shows like Dexter, CSI, Criminal Minds and the like were bringing murder to the masses and making it commonplace - sometimes even boring.

Then I started reading this book and just about barfed.

For one, all the characters fit nicely into stereotypes. Plot points are easily predicted. It reads like a mis-match of books and shows I've already read or watched.

Two: Jenny's justifications for murder were positively shallow. I never thought someone could make murder seem so vapid.

Number three: It's set in Montreal, a notably bilingual city. Occasionally, Jenny (in her downright annoying "like," "totally," and "killer," voice) complains about all the French. IN MONTREAL EVERYTHING IS WRITTEN IN FRENCH AND ENGLISH. Hello? Second of all, why doesn't anyone else speak French? And why do they speak "French" French? People in Montreal and Quebec City speak Quebecer French!*

Lastly, she says "C'est cool," a lot. It's cool? Really? Wouldn't you just say "Cool"? God, Jenny is annoying.

The only thing that was decent was the ending. Spare yourself the migraine and just skip to the Epilogue.

*Basically just French slang. Not like formal, taught-in-an-American-classroom French.

Lazy Sunday...Happy (earlyish) Thanksgiving, Canucks!

Whilst stuffing your face with turkey and homemade cranberry sauce, why not enjoy this vague yet completely intriguing book trailer?

Can I just say that I would die to get my hands on an ARC of this book? If not, at least I'll get it in time for my birthday.

Perfect by: Natasha Friend

Total: Four stars.

This was quite good. It wasn't quite as "OHEMGEE! WOW!" as Friend's secon novel, Lush, if only because she seems to stick to a formula.

My biggest gripe with Ms. Natasha is the same as my only gripe with legendary YA author, Sarah Dessen. They pick a formula and stick to it. With Dessen, all her books involve outsider girls falling in love with a unique-often-misunderstood boy. This usually happens during a summer the girl believes will be terrible. With Friend, the books are the same in that they tackle difficult issues (eating disorders, divorce, alcoholism), mothers who ignore problems, and thirteen-year-old girls whose voices are interchangeable.

Seriously. Some pages of Perfect, told in the POV of bulimic Isabelle Lee, could be torn straight out of Lush, told by daughter-of-an-alcoholic, Samantha Gwynn. Their voices are interchangeable, the characters are fairly boring, and not very memorable. I was struggling to recall the names of these girls.

That being said Perfect is still a great read. It's short in length, but not "light," "breezy," or "a beach read," in any way, shape, or form. Readers will be intrigued by Isabelle's story and all the different problems she has. Isabelle is just like any other preteen girl - she's entirely relatable. The humour is wry, subtle, but still present.

Personally, I preferred Lush over Perfect, but they are both well-written, intelligent, raw, and honest.

Friday, October 10, 2008

My Stupidity Equals Your Gain

I feel seven kinds of stupid. I was getting all hyped up to read the third instalment of The Celebutantes series by Antonio Pagliarulo. It's my not-so-secret-anymore guilty pleasure. Anyways, stupid me - turned out I bought the first book. Problem? I already own it.

Here is where you come in. Please, please, please take this book off my hands. I feel compelled to put it on my bookshelf but it only reminds me of my stupidity (*facepalm*).

Contest rules:

1) Comment to be included.
2) Either give your e-mail or link to a place where I can contact you.
3) You get an extra entry for a blog mention (but you must give me a link to this).
4) You must live in Canada or the US. Sorry international readers! Frankly, I just don't have that kind of money for shippping. :( Wish I did, though.

The contest for The Celebutantes: On The Avenue will be finished Tuesday, so you have the Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend to entry. Good luck!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I Love Your Blog

My first nomination! Flattery gets you everywhere! Thanks to Gabrielle (God, doesn't that sound like I nominated myself?)@ Innovative Teen for the nomination.

I'm supposed to nominate my seven favourite blogs, so, here goes everything...

WAIT! Rules, first.

1. Put the logo *look up!* and rules on your blog.
2. Link the person who nominated you.
3. List your seven favourite blogs.
4. Tell them they've been nominated!

Nominating tiiiiime:

Frenetic Reader because she can review art books without sounding pretentious and has some unique opinions that I can't help but agree with.

Pop Culture Junkie: the perfect mix of television, pretty book covers, and honest reviews.

Hope's Bookshelf, 'cause she picks out-of-the ordinary books and makes me want to read them!

Reviewer X. An ardent John Green fan with a side of snark. What's not to like?

And Another Book Read. Has interviewed some of the best authors around and done it well.

Book Review Maniac - it's nice to have a guy's opinion in a debate full of girls. Also, a guy who likes Twilight...?

ANNNND, LAST BUT OBVIOUSLY NOT LEAST (what's with the capslock abuse?)

MTV Books - it's worth it for Stephanie Kuehnert's political rants alone!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Revelation (Private) by: Kate Brian

Total: Four stars

(Minor spoilers for earlier books in the series)

(Summary from Amazon)

The biggest mystery of all...and Reed is dying to learn the truth.

Two months after Cheyenne Martin was found dead in her Billings House dorm room, exclusive Easton Academy is rocked by another stunning revelation: Cheyenne was murdered. No one knows who the killer is, but everyone agrees that Reed Brennan, who took over Cheyenne's role as Billings's president, gained the most from her death. Once the most powerful girl on campus, Reed is now powerless to stop her classmates' accusing whispers. Rumours begin to swirl that she killed Cheyenne.

And just like that, Reed is kicked out of Billings.

She's lost everything -- her friends, her home, her boyfriend -- and Reed knows the only way to get it all back is to figure out who really murdered Cheyenne. And she has to do it fast because the killer is still out there. The more Reed investigates, the more she uncovers. And as any Billings Girl knows...secrets can be deadly

After eight books in the bestselling Private series, Kate Brian is still going strong. Reed is still as relatable as she was in the first book and it's interesting to see her back on the outside looking in again.

I should note that, in no way, shape or form, does Revelation work as a stand-alone. It's simply too difficult to keep track of Reed's many problems if you haven't, at least, read the last couple books.

Many of Billings' secrets and revealed and the ending is one you won't want to miss. Even if it gets tedious at times, the final chapters are worth holding out for.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Haters by: Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez

Total: Three stars.

Taken from the back of the book:

"From the first day at her new Southern California high school, Pasquala Rumalda Quintana de Archuleta ("Paski") learns that popular students may be diverse in ethnicity but are alike in their cruelty. While Paski tries to concentrate on mountain biking and not thinking too much about ultra-hot Chris Cabrera, she is troubled by the beautiful and wicked Jessic Nguyen. Jessica is the queen of the haters and she's got her eye on Paski."

That was what you call a terrible summary. I can see why it was written, though. Trying to pull in readers of the Gossip Girl and A-List series, looking for a light read. Of course, Summary Writer Person completely forgot to mention that Paski is perfect at everything she does and has some bizarre psychic abilities.

After moving from the seemingly detached from modern society New Mexican town of Taos, Paski's crazy cartoonist father hits the road for sunny SoCal, where Paski is enrolled in a snooty girl-filled public school. Her "visions," help guide her, as does a spooky amulet given by her grandmother, and often lead her into trouble.

Haters is like a misunderstood, troubled middle schooler. The kind who hears over and over again that it "has so much potential," if only it "applied" itself more. A couple flaws added to Paski's character would be nice. Also, I wouldn't mind a little more about the "visions," stuff or someone who didn't immediately accept this and say "Oh, wow, cool!" or something of that effect. One more thing: sometimes problems take longer than a random out-of-the-blue phone call of which this is the general topic:

"Oh, gosh, Paski. I have been so mean, haven't I? I'm sorry. Just now I realized how horrible I was treating you and it's only because I'm so jealous because you're beautiful, smart, talented and so kind! Please forgive me and then meet me at the mall to shop?"

"Okay. Apology accepted."

It doesn't tread any new territory, but rather resorts to stereotypes and predictable plot turns. However, Paski's often-judgement but occasionally raw and real voice is worth a read if you're really bored.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Filed Under: No Comment (Well, a few actually)

Alisa Valdes-Rodriquez's YA novel, Haters, is "in development for a series at The N"??

Should be interesting, to say the least.

Haters is taking me a really long time to read. A REALLY REALLY REALLY long time. It's about as long as Twilight (the first book) but...

No! Must save comments for review!

In the meantime, check out Alisa and her oh-so-opinionated blog.

She talks mostly about Sarah Palin. And by "mostly," I mean all the fricking time. Seriously. If there weren't little images of her books on the sidebar, I would think she was simply a political blogger.

Also, she thinks Twilight is racist... Hmmmm...

This is where I stutter and ramble aimlessly like Palin at a Couric interview!