Archive | January, 2011

Poor Rich by Jean Blasiar

30 Jan

Poor Rich

Author: Jean Blasiar

Pages [paperback]: 270

Favorite Character: U2

Summary:

Asthmatic, reclusive genius Rich Cameron has grown content with his sheltered life until one day the allergies that have plagued him since childhood suddenly disappear. With the help of a caring psychiatrist and an irreverent parrot named U2, Rich sets out into a strange new world.

Review:

This book was sent to me for review over the summer. I tried to start it then, but kept putting it off for books with faster plots. I finally settled down to read it around a month ago.

Rich is certainly an interesting character. He hasn’t made many friends, hasn’t done so many things normal kids and teens do because he used to be allergic to pretty much everything. When the allergies disappear, he has to try to figure out the world and his new place in it.

The book did have its good moments. I liked when he started tutoring his classmates and the different reactions he would get. Some of his short stories toward the end were good. But it got confusing at some points. The regular plot switching to a collection of stories with an explanation for each, and then randomly shifts back to the regular plot without a smooth changeover. It seemed too jolting and forced. I prefered the first part of the book to the second.

 I give Poor Rich 2/5 stars. It had its good moments, but I don’t think I’ll be reading it again.

Everlasting by Angie Frazier

29 Jan

Everlasting

Author: Angie Frazier

Pages [hardcover]: 336

Favorite Characters: Oscar & Ira

Summary:

Sailing aboard her father’s trade ship is all seventeen-year-old Camille Rowen has ever wanted. But as a girl of society in 1855 San Francisco, her future is set: marry a man she doesn’t love, or condemn herself and her father to poverty.

On her final voyage before the wedding, the stormy arms of the Tasman Sea claim her father, and a terrible family secret is revealed. A secret intertwined with a fabled map, the mother Camille has long believed dead, and an ancient stone that wields a dangerous—and alluring—magic.

The only person Camille can depend on is Oscar, a handsome young sailor whom she is undeniably drawn to. Torn between trusting her instincts and keeping her promises to her father, Camille embarks on a perilous quest into the Australian wilderness to find the enchanted stone. As she and Oscar elude murderous bushrangers and unravel Camille’s father’s lies, they come closer to making the ultimate decision of who—and what—matters most.

Beautifully written and feverishly paced, Everlasting is an unforgettable journey of passion, secrecy, and adventure.

Review:

This book is certainly a nice breath of fresh air. Set in the 1800s, Camille has to choose between following her heart or marrying the gentleman who will keep her father’s company afloat. Embarking on one final journey with her father, the boat is striken by a freak storm. Stranded in a foreign land, Camille must use all of her wits, as well as rely on the help of her father’s finest sailor, Oscar, to find an enchanted stone.

This adventure paced plot is filled with giant spiders, unsavory bushrangers, and dark secrets. The more Camille unravels her father’s past, the more she risks her life.

I’m not sure how I feel about this book. It was significantly hard to get into, and I only really finished it now because it’s due at the library. I’m not sure how long it would have taken me otherwise. The characters seemed interesting but I never really felt for them. The premise seemed intriguing but I was never caught up in it.

But I did love the little quirks that made the plot unique. I liked Camille, who is independent for her time, though not entirely stripped of the values imposed upon women those days. I loved Oscar wholeheartedly by the end of the book. The end changed much for me. Around the last 100 pages I started to enjoy it more, and now that I’ve found it there will be more books, I’m definitely going to pick up the next one. My feelings at the end were nothing but positive-I could nearly forget about the rough beginning.

I give Everlasting 3/5 stars. It was slow at first, but really caught my attention toward the resolution. I’ll definitely read the next in this series.

The Green Mile by Stephen King

27 Jan

 

The Green Mile

Author : Stephen King

Pages: [paperback] 592

Memorable Quote: “Sometimes the embers are better than the campfire.”

Favorite Character: Mr. Jingles

Available Now

Summary:

At Cold Mountain Penitentiary, along the lonely stretch of cells known as the Green Mile, killers are depraved as the psychopathic “Billy the Kid” Wharton and the possessed Eduard Delacrouiz await death strapped in “Old Sparky.” Here guards as decent as Paul Edgecombe and as sadistic as Percy Wetmore watch over them. But good or evil, innocent or guilty, none have ever seen the brutal likes of the new prisoner, John Coffey, sentenced to death fro raping and murdering two young girls. Is Doffey a devil in human form? Or is he a far, far different kind of being?

Review:

I love Stephen King. I’m not a hardcore fan or any such thing, but if I happen to pick up one of his novels, I pretty much always end up liking it.

The Green Mile was originally written as a serial novel. This means that before it was compiled as a whole, it was split into 6 parts and published seperatly. Like a series only . . . not. It’s one book. Sort of like how Charles Dickens used to publish. And since I’ve been interested in that sort of thing, trying to picture how that would work out in my overly romanticizing brain, I’m also trying to figure out how people survived when they had to read that way.

Waiting months to find out what happens next? I’m definitely not patient enough for that sort of thing. But there is something oddly addicting about obsessing for a few months about what you think will happen next.

The Green Mile took my original expectations of what would happen and turned them upside down, in the best way. I wasn’t sure how into it I would be, but near the end I couldn’t put it down! Though I’m not sure that was a good thing, as I should have been studying. Hey, I’d rather enjoy a fantastic book.

The Green Mile gets 5/5 stars from me. I absolutely loved it, especially the ending.

Fallen Angel: Guest Post

26 Jan

I’m very exctied to welcome author Heather Terrell to the blog! As part of the Fallen Angel blog tour, she stopped by to provide a guest post for the day. In it she discusses how she decides what the setting should be for each book she writes, both past novels and this new release.

 

Setting the Scene for Your Story.

Most of my books are inspired by a long-standing historical mystery.  Since I usually uncover this “inspiration” in the pages of a historical tome or research text, I often find my settings there too.  But, I never stop at those pages.  No matter how far the destination, I always visit my settings in person to ensure that I capture the look, feel, and even the smells of the place my fictional world will inhabit.

In my first three historical novels, this meant traveling some pretty far distances to some clear-cut settings.  The Chrysalis focused on a puzzling seventeenth-century Dutch painting stolen by the Nazis, necessitating a trip to various spots in Europe.  The Map Thief revolved around the very first map of the world, requiring visits to China and Portugal.  Brigid of Kildare dealt with the original image of the Virgin Mary, mandating a trip to Ireland.

But, my most recent novel, Fallen Angel, presented a slightly different situation.  The book addressed the origin of the vampire legend, and could be placed in a variety of locations.  I toyed with many sites, but once again, research guided my course.

In my reading about the vampire legend, I kept coming across historical reports about vampire sightings and attacks in eighteenth and nineteenth-century New England.  I read about the Rose Family vampire in nineteenth-century Rhode Island who had allegedly turned one of the daughters into a vampire.  I learned about the alleged vampire case of Dartmouth College student Frederick Ransom in early nineteenth-century Vermont.   I examined the eighteenth-century tale of Rhode Island native Sarah Tillinghast who had purportedly turned vampire and killed her remaining siblings.  And these are just a few of the New England stories I uncovered.  

I had found my setting for Fallen Angel.  Having spent my college and law school years in New England, I knew that the locale bore a slightly haunting, eerie quality, especially in winter and particularly in a remote coastal location.  Still, I went back to Boston and the environs to be absolutely certain.  As I suspected, it was perfect for my supernatural tale. 

So I placed the Fallen Angel in an isolated, coastal town in New England.  And I honored my inspiration – those eighteenth and nineteenth century reports of New England vampires – by naming the coastline Ransom Beach
and the town Tillinghast, Maine.

Thanks so much for this awesome post! It’s always interesting to see how authors figure out where to set their stories.

Be sure to check out Fallen Angel, available now! And go to The Teen Book Scene for the rest of the tour! I’ll also be posting  a book review on February 9th.

Safe House by Meg Cabot

22 Jan

Safe House

Author: Meg Cabot [also wrote Avalon High, Size 12 is Not Fat, and Airhead]

Pages [paperback]: 272

Available Now

Book 3 in the 1-800-Where-R-You Series
Book 1: When Lightning Strikes Book 2: Code Name Cassandra

Favorite Characters: Rob & Jess

Summary:

Jess Mastriani was on vacation when Amber went missing. Most people blame Jess for Amber’s brutal slaying, but how could Jess-even with her psychic ability to from anyone, anywhere-have stopped the cheerleader from turning up dead, without having known she was even missing?

When yet another cheerleader disappears, Jess has a chance to redeem herself. If she can just find the girl before it’s too late, maybe Jess will finally have a chance to be part of the in crowd. Except that it’s starting to look like being “in” might just get you-not to mention your loved ones-killed. So much for popularity.

Review:

Okay. So that summary, taken right from the back cover of the book, makes it sound like Jess is trying really hard to get into the ‘in’ crowd. Um, no.

This book picks up on the first day of school. Jess is now a junior, and she’s determined to make a good start. She has a new wardrobe, and wants to have a new attitude [aka loosing her anger management issues], and won’t spend every day in detention. Hopefully.

That all changes as soon as she gets to homeroom.

This book, I have to admit, was a little slow in parts. Not enough that I considered putting it down, but it took over 100 pages to start getting into the plot. I loved reading about Jess and her troubles [I mean, being a psychic is a big responsibility. And a bit of a hassle, when the FBI keeps stalking you...], but knew from the back of the book someone else was going to be kidnapped. I was looking forward to the plot picking up its pace, and got a bit impatient.

I also have to say that I officially like Rob now. In the first book, I wasn’t sure if I did. Now, I think he’s a pretty cool dude.

Safe House gets 5/5 stars. Though it wasn’t as face-paced as I’d have liked, it still had me hooked enough to deserve full credit. Go check out this series!

Books to Movies: Dear John

20 Jan

After reading and reviewing Dear John last week, I decided to pick up and watch the movie. If only to get my friends off my back, as they absolutely insisted I watch the thing. (: Please, Channing Tatum was in it, and if it turned out to be a train wreck, I could at least mute it and watch something pleasant…

Turned out, I didn’t have to do to extremes. The movie was great, and there were moments when scenes from the book played out exactly as I imagined them, which I always think is awesome. It’s one thing to picture a scene in your mind, filling it with possibilities, and quite another to see it on the big screen-or, in my case, a not-so-big screen.

The only thing that bothered me was the pointless change of details. Savannah lives by the beach in the movie. In the book she’s only down for the summer. Maybe they thought it’d make more sense if she lived close to John? Also in the book, Alan, the autistic boy, is Tim’s younger brother-definitely not his son, as portrayed in the film. I’m really clueless as to why they felt the need to include Alan as a son. Did it really affect anything else in the movie? Nope.

And then there was a huge, enormous, ending-shattering difference that left me thinking oh no they didn’t. I won’t say what they did, because it would definitely ruin the end for those who haven’t yet seen it. Suffice it to say I was extremely annoyed.

I liked it, overall. It wasn’t a favorite, and I won’t be begging to rent it again anytime soon. But I don’t regret watching it. It was good, in its own way.

The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg

19 Jan

The Lonely Hearts Club

Author: Elizabeth Eulberg

Pages [hardcover]: 285

Available now

Opening Lines: When I was five years old, I walked down the aisle with the man of my dreams. Okay, make that boy. He was five, too.

Memorable Quote: Diane Monroe and Ryan Bauer had been together for four years. They were supposed to get married, have 2.4 kids, and have a 50 percent chance of living happily ever
after.

Favorite Characters: Tracy & Diane

Summary:

Love is all you need…or is it? Penny’s about to find out in this wonderful debut.
Penny is sick of boys and sick of dating. So she vows – no more. It’s a personal choice…and, of course, soon everyone wants to know about it. And a few other girls are inspired. A movement is born; The Lonely Hearts Club (named after the band from Sgt. Pepper). Penny is suddenly known for her nondating ways…which is too bad, because there’s this certain boy she can’t help but like…

Review:

This was a cute, quick read. I love the idea of sticking with your friends, and not letting boy troubles ruin your high school years. I see it happen way too often with my own friends. They get caught up with a boy, start ditching their friends to go on dates, then get their heart broken. Of course, this isn’t the case all of the time. There are always exceptions.

The only little pet peeve I had with this book was a scene in the beginning. The Club went to Homecoming, and Penny kept going on about how odd it was that a group of girls were attending date-less, going with friends. I’m not sure how it is for other schools, but for mine, that’s not odd in the slightest. Half the female population does this . . . Though that might just say something about the quality of the boys we have to pick from. ;)

That said, I loved this book. It had me wanting to blast some Beatles songs, get together with my friends, and have a girls night. This book has a great message, that a lot of YA books today don’t provide. Boys aren’t everything. And your friends can be much more fun than a boyfriend ever could be.

The Lonely Hearts Club gets 5/5 stars. I loved it! Now I’ve got to go listen to a few Beatles CDs . . .

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 495 other followers

%d bloggers like this: