Archive | September, 2010

Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood

28 Sep

Charlie St. Cloud

Author: Ben Sherwood

Pages [paperback]: 320

Available now!

Memorable Quote:
Notice the little things, because somebody is reaching out to you.

Favorite Character:
Sam & Charlie

Summary:

Charlie St. Cloud tells the haunting story of a young man who narrowly survives a terrible car wreck that kills his little brother. Years later, the brothers’ bond remains so strong that it transcends the normal boundaries separating life and death. Charlie St. Cloud lives in a snug New England fishing village. By day he tends the lawns and monuments of the ancient cemetery where his younger brother, Sam, is buried. Graced with an extraordinary gift after surviving the accident, he can still see, talk, and even play catch with Sam’s spirit. But townsfolk whisper that Charlie has never recovered from his loss.

Into his carefully ordered life comes Tess Carroll, a captivating, adventuresome woman training for a solo sailing trip around the globe. Fate steers her boat into a treacherous storm that blows her back to harbor, to a charged encounter with Charlie, and to a surprise more overwhelming than the violent sea itself. Charlie and Tess discover a beautiful and uncommon connection that leads to a race against time and a desperate choice between death and life, between the past and the future, between holding on and letting go.

Review:

 Once this movie came out, I wanted to see it. Unfortunately, I never got the chance. But when I found out it was based on a book, I bought it. I usually try to read the book before seeing the movie anyway. This book goes into plot points that the movie trailer barely grazed or left out completely.

I loved this book. What Charlie feels after the accident, well, most everyone has felt like that at one point or another. Having lost someone so suddenly. I’ve felt that way before. But he and Sam cling to each other, barely managing to stay connected through the years.

I like how the book talks about grief and how to move past it. The relationship between Charlie and Tess moves way too fast to seem realistic, but it all redeems itself in the end. This book is filled of fantastic characters: Florio, Sam, Tink. Even the minor characters have something special to add to the story.

Overall, it’s a great love story, on top of everything else. I give Charlie St. Cloud 5/5 stars. Now I just have to see the movie. :D

Teaser Tuesday 9-28-10

28 Sep

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This is from Catching Fire, the second book in The Hunger Games trilogy. I’ll pick something that doesn’t give much away:

“Let’s start with something more basic. Isn’t it strange that I know you’d risk your life to save mine . . . but I don’t know what your favorite color is?” he says.

I was going to write the page number, but accidentally closed the book. Oh, I found it! It’s from page 52. My apologies. :D

What are you Reading Monday 9-27-10

27 Sep
Emma Stone at the Zombieland world premiere at...

Image via Wikipedia

This week I read:

Fade-Lisa McMann
Extras-Scott Westerfeld

My favorite would have to be Fade. The series is so original, every book is a quick read, and I love the characters!

So. This week I managed to pass all of my tests, get a 6-4 record with my tennis team, watch Easy A [which is an AMAZING movie by the way, that you all should plan to see, because Emma Stone is amazing], rent Catching Fire from the school library [I've been DYING to read it, yet too lazy to put out the movie for a hardcover, but of course now it's in paperback so I really have no excuse and . . . Yeah.], and go to my high school’s first home football game, which we won. Go Eagles! I haven’t been to a game since Freshman year.

Anyway, that long summary is my week. How was your week?

I also have a quick question, if anyone cares to answer it. I was considering starting the In My Mailbox meme, where you take a picture of all the books you’ve rented/bought/recieved for the week and post it on your blog. Would you be interested in seeing something like that? It probably won’t be every week, maybe every other.

Extras by Scott Westerfeld

26 Sep

Extras

Author: Scott Westerfeld [author of Midnighters and Leviathan]

Pages [hardcover]: 417

Book 4 of the Uglies series

Available now

Opening Lines: “Moggle,” Aya whispered. “You awake?” Something moved in the darkness.

Memorable Quote:

Favorite Character:
Frizz

Summary:

It’s a few years after rebel Tally Youngblood took down the uglies/pretties/specials regime. Without those strict roles and rules, the world is in a complete cultural renaissance. “Tech-heads” flaunt their latest gadgets, “kickers” spread gossip and trends, and “surge monkeys” are hooked on extreme plastic surgery. And it’s all monitored on a bazillion different cameras. The world is like a gigantic game of American Idol. Whoever is getting the most buzz gets the most votes. Popularity rules.

As if being fifteen doesn’t suck enough, Aya Fuse’s rank of 451,369 is so low, she’s a total nobody. An extra. But that’s just until she gets to kick a good story for herself.

Then Aya meets a clique of girls who pull crazy tricks, yet are deeply secretive of it. Aya wants desperately to kick their story, to show everyone how intensely cool the Sly Girls are. But doing so would propel her out of extra-land and into the world of fame, celebrity…and extreme danger. A world she’s not prepared for.

Review:

I’ve been reading this series for a very long time. It’s been years since I read Specials, and ever since I’ve been meaning to pick this book up. But by reading the cover, it seemed like an entirely different set of characters, and not the ones I’ve grown to love. Fortunately, my entirely awesome friend lent me this when she heard I never bought it (I usually never buy hardcover books, because they’re so expensive xD). And once I started reading, I was excited when familiar faces started popping up.

Aya, the main character, is quite annoying. I know she has to be this way, and acts like this because of the world she grew up in-where nothing is more important than becoming famous. She’s constantly betraying people, or lying, or doing outrageous things just so that she can get more people to watch her ‘feed’ and her ‘face rank’ will rise. I cannot stand people like that and so found it hard to keep reading. Once the action built up a little, around halfway through the book, it got better. I was hoping to like her more at the end, but I never did.

That said, I love Scott Westerfeld, and this book doesn’t change that thought. Overall, the plotline was pretty good, the whole setup of the social/economical environment was fantastic. Whoever can think up hoverboards, mag-lev surfing, brain surges, creepy aliens who hide in tunnels, and exploding pink cake is an okay person in my opinion. All of that made up for Aya, plus Frizz, who is a cool guy.

Extras gets 4/5 stars. Only one point off for Aya. xD

Anyone else read this trilogy turned series?
Think there should be another book? I know there’s not, but one can hope . . .

Tag, You’re It! 10 Things that Make Me Happy

19 Sep

 

I was tagged over at Zee\’s Wordly Obsessions. I know it was a while ago [over a month! sorry!], but I’m a dreadful procrastinator, even when it comes to fun thing like this. I’m sorry a thousand times over :(

Anyway, this is a meme where you have to post 10 things that make you happy. So here we go:

1. Starting a new book.
I know that sounds kind of corny, but I love opening a book and starting out. Finding out who the characters are, picturing the setting. Good times.

2. Playing tennis.
I was never really into sports, but freshman year, I figured I’d join something and make a few friends. Of course, I was terrified out of my mind, and refused to get out of the car until my mom kicked me out, but in the long run I made awesome friends and found out I was pretty good at tennis.

3. Listening to a new CD.
I love buying a CD, whether it’s from a band I’ve followed for years, or someone I’ve just started to like. Finding out the new style, picking up a few new favorite songs.

4. Family parties.
True, sometimes family can get annoying. But they love me, and I love them. :D What could be better? Plus, there’s sure to be hilarious stories, delicious food, and intense games of jailbreak.

5. Sleepovers.
Getting together with my friends, staying up till dawn watching movies, having dance parties at 2 a.m., and eating tons of junk food makes me happy. We can talk about anything, and because a lot of us don’t have the same school schedules this year, hanging out like this is important.

6. Watching movies.
Especially ones that I’ve been looking forward to for ages. Maybe one based on a book I read, or starring my favorite actor/actress.

7. Nature’s beauty.
Not to sound all deep and everything, but it makes me so happy standing next to Niagara Falls, or driving up a mountain in West Virginia. White water rafting in Tennessee or searching for mooses [true story] in Maine, miles from any civilization.

8. Birthday parties.
Not only for me [but who doesn't love getting presents?]. I love celebrating my friends [and family], too. Everyone I know is so unique, and I love picking out the perfect present for them.

9. Christmas.
I get to see my entire family during Christmas time, including my dad’s side, which I see twice a year, if I’m lucky. I love reconnecting with everyone. Plus, a week and a half of no school. (:

10. Shopping for school supplies.
That might be the geeky-ist thing ever. But I love it.

Now I’m supposed to tag six people. But I’m not really sure who to tag. xD So! If you read this, and think you might want to participate, comment below. :D

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O’Brien

18 Sep

Birthmarked

Author: Caragh M. O’Brien

Pages [hardcover]: 361

Available Now!

Opening Lines: In the dim hovel, the mother clenched her body into one final, straining push, and the baby slithered out into Gaia’s ready hands.

Favorite Character: Captain Gray, Maya

Summary:

After climate change, on the north shore of Unlake Superior, a dystopian world is divided between those who live inside the wall, and those, like sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone, who live outside. It’s Gaia’s job to “advance” a quota of infants from poverty into the walled Enclave, until the night one agonized mother objects, and Gaia’s parents are arrested.
Badly scarred since childhood, Gaia is a strong, resourceful loner who begins to question her society. As Gaia’s efforts to save her parents take her within the wall, she herself is arrested and imprisoned.
Fraught with difficult moral choices and rich with intricate layers of codes, BIRTHMARKED explores a colorful, cruel, eerily familiar world where one girl can make all the difference, and a real hero makes her own moral code.

Review:

I have a sort of love/hate relationship when it comes to dystopian novels. There’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth, which I didn’t like at all, and The Maze Runner, which I quickly fell in love with. [Can't wait for the sequel!] It seems like I either love it, or I hate it. I loved Birthmarked.

It started out a little slow-then again, it takes time to get used to a radically different world, the key ingrediant to all dystopian novels. Gaia’s world is the result of a dramatic climate change, where Lake Superior has dried up to become Unlake Superior. There are no hospitals, or medicines, or countries, for that matter. There’s only Gaia’s poor hometown and the rich, bright, and merry Enclave, seperated from the town by a wall.  

Gaia is a stubborn, strong young woman who lives with a scar covering half her face. This disfigurement has caused her to loose friends and be the target of bullies. But when her parents are arrested for no apparent reason, Gaia will stop at nothing to get them back.

I loved this book. Throughout the entire novel I was trying to figure out what was coming next, why Gaia’s parents really were arrested, and if there was some deeper conspiracy going on than was originally let on. The book builds and builds and finally-it ends, right after the climax.

I for one did not know there was going to be a sequel. Going into this, I expected to get into Gaia’s world and leave immediately at the end of the novel. And now I’m waiting anxiously for a sequel that I’m glad will exist. There’s so much more to be explained, more secrets to reveal.

I give Birthmarked 5/5 stars. Go get it! :D

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

15 Sep

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

Author: E. Lockhart

Pages [hardcover]: 345

Available now!

Opening Lines: I, Frankie Landau-Banks, hereby confess that I was the sole mastermind behind the mal-doings of the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds.

Memorable Quote:
She will not be simple and sweet.
She will not be what people tell her she should be.

Favorite Character: Frankie

Summary:

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14:
Debate Club.
Her father’s “bunny rabbit.”
A mildly geeky girl attending a highly competitive boarding school.

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 15:
A knockout figure.
A sharp tongue.
A chip on her shoulder.
And a gorgeous new senior boyfriend: the supremely goofy, word-obsessed Matthew Livingston.

Frankie Laundau-Banks.
No longer the kind of girl to take “no” for an answer.
Especially when “no” means she’s excluded from her boyfriend’s all-male secret society.
Not when her ex boyfriend shows up in the strangest of places.
Not when she knows she’s smarter than any of them.
When she knows Matthew’s lying to her.
And when there are so many, many pranks to be done.

Frankie Landau-Banks, at age 16:
Possibly a criminal mastermind.

This is the story of how she got that way.

Review:

 This was an okay kind of book for me. Not too bad, but not outstanding. Frankie was an awesome character, staying true to herself throughout the novel, no matter what happened. She’s brilliant, if a bit crazy ;). She’s ambitious, and not ready to stand back just because some boy tells her to.

This book has a long title, which makes me not want to type it as often as I should. That’s possibly bad for publicity, because if you search for it you’re bound to spell something wrong. Yet once I started reading, I realized it was a perfectly appropriate and fitting title. First off it’s catchy, and ties in to some major plot points in the story.

The ending was a disappointment. I can understand that it had to end that way-it’s probably the only way that would make sense. Yet it was unsatisfactory in some way.

I give The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks 3/5 stars. I’ve seen it around in bookstores, wondering if I should buy it. I’m glad I just decided to rent it from the library.

What are You Reading Monday 9-13-10

13 Sep

This week, I read:

Everwild by Neal Shusterman
Juliet by Anne Fortier

I can’t pick a favorite. They’re tied. xD Both lovely in their own ways.

So school started today. Oh, joy. I miss summer already. I also have tennis matches every. single. day. Not much time for reading. I was spoiled this summer. :D

Everwild by Neal Shusterman

12 Sep

Everwild

Author: Neal Shusterman

Pages [hardcover]: 424

Book 2 of the Skinjacker trilogy; book 1 is Everlost

Available Now

Opening Lines: There were rumors. Of terrible things, of wonderful things, of events too immense to keep to oneself, and so they were quietly shared from soul to soul, one Afterlight to another, until every Afterlight in Everlost had heard them.

Memorable Quote: And perhaps you can sense, in some small twisting loop of your gut, the convergence of the wrong, of the right, and of the woefully misguided.

Favorite Character: Allie & The McGill

Summary:

Everlost, the limbo land of dead children, is at war. Nick the “Chocolate Ogre” wants to help the children of Everlost reach the light at the end of the tunnel. Mary Hightower, self-proclaimed queen of lost children and dangerous fanatic, is determined to keep Everlost’s children trapped within its limbo for all eternity. Traveling in the memory of the Hindenburg, Mary is spreading her propaganda and attracting Afterlights to her cause at a frightening speed.

Meanwhile, Allie the Outcast travels home to seek out her parents, along with Mikey, who was once the terrifying monster the McGill. Allie is tempted by the seductive thrill of skinjacking the living, until she discovers the shocking truth about skinjackers.

Review:

Neal Shusterman is one of my favorite authors. I discovered his books by accident a year ago, and have been attempting to get my hands on more ever since. Everlost was the first book I picked up that was written by him. I had no idea that there was going to be a sequel, yet Everwild suddenly appeared. And, in February, the trilogy will be complete.

Everlost, which I haven’t reviewed on this blog, tells the tale of two young teenagers who happen to be involved in a car crash together, die, and awake nine months later in a strange, gray world, where you sink into the living earth if you aren’t careful. Terrified, they meet several other kids along the way-no one in this strange place is over sixteen-and eventually encounter the Sky Witch, Mary.

Everwild picks up a little after the first book left off. Nick and Mary are at odds, each attempting to save the children of Everlost in their own way.

I loved this book! The characters are so unique-I’ve never before read about a Chocolate Ogre battling a Sky Witch-and the world of Everlost is described so perfectly that the reader can believe it really exists-at least while reading the book. And that is one of the most important components of a book like this.

I’d recommend this for anyone who enjoys fiction, science-fiction, or reading about the afterlife and doesn’t mind reading about ‘ghosts’ [if you can call them that] or death.  I give Everwild 5/5 stars.

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