Archive | October, 2010

My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares

31 Oct

My Name is Memory

Author: Ann Brashares

Pages [hardcover]: 324

Available now!

Book 1 of what might be a trilogy

Memorable Quote: How many times could you give up on someone you loved?

Favorite Character: Ben

Summary:

Daniel has spent centuries falling in love with the same girl. Life after life, crossing continents and dynasties, he and Sophia (despite her changing name and form) have been drawn together-and he remembers it all. Daniel has “the memory”, the ability to recall past lives and recognize souls of those he’s previously known. It is a gift and a curse. For all the times that he and Sophia have been drawn together throughout history, they have also been torn painfully, fatally, apart. A love always too short.

Interwoven through Sophia and Daniel’s unfolding present day relationship are glimpses of their expansive history together. From 552 Asia Minor to 1918 England and 1972 Virginia, the two souls share a long and sometimes torturous path of seeking each other time and time again. But just when young Sophia (now “Lucy” in the present) finally begins to awaken to the secret of their shared past, to understand the true reason for the strength of their attraction, the mysterious force that has always torn them apart reappears. Ultimately, they must come to understand what stands in the way of their love if they are ever to spend a lifetime together.

A magical, suspenseful, heartbreaking story of true love, My Name is Memory proves the power and endurance of a union that was meant to be.

Review:

I’ve loved Ann Brashares ever since I first picked up The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. However, I just couldn’t seem to get into this book. I love the reincarnation love story aspect-when I read Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn, I was obsessed for weeks. But . . . something just didn’t click. It might have been the characters-Daniel insists on following the same patterns over and over, even when he knows it will push Sophia/Lucy away. I know that part of his personality is emphasized throughout the novel-that he can’t seem to let go. But I think that if you love someone as much as he seems to love her, you’d change yourself the tiniest fraction so you don’t freak them out.

I liked how the reader gets to view Daniel and Lucy from several of their lives, not just their present ones. But in the middle of an intense story of their shared history, Daniel would often break off into a random internal monologue. Actually, Lucy also has this problem. I’m all for knowing what the character is thinking, but less would be more in this case. I can’t count the number of times Daniel worried over whether Lucy would hate him or talked about his endless love for her.

That said, I don’t think it was an especially bad book. There were interesting concepts and vivid settings, tales of love and romance. It gets a little confusing in some parts, but kept my attention throughout.

My Name is Memory gets 3/5 stars.

Teaser Tuesday 10-26-10

26 Oct

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 My Name is Memory, a book that I’ve borrowed from my friend but just can’t seem to get into. On to the teaser!

I won’t attempt to describe the things she said or the way I felt. As Whitman wrote, they scorn the best I can do to relate them.

From page 218, last paragraph.

I love Ann Brashares-I was addicted to The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants for a while. But something hasn’t clicked yet. Hopefully it will soon!

Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen

26 Oct

Girl, Interrupted

Author: Susanna Kaysen

Pages [paperback]: 168

Available now!

Memorable Quote: “What is it about meter and cadence and rhythm that makes their makers mad?”

Summary:

In 1967, after a session with a psychiatrist she’d never seen before, eighteen-year-old Susanna Kaysen was put in a taxi and sent to McLean Hospital. She spent most of the next two years on the ward for teenage girls in a psychiatric hospital as renowned for its famous clientele—Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, James Taylor, and Ray Charles—as for its progressive methods of treating those who could afford its sanctuary.

Kaysen’s memoir encompasses horror and razor-edged perception while providing vivid portraits of her fellow patients and their keepers. It is a brilliant evocation of a “parallel universe” set within the kaleidoscopically shifting landscape of the late sixties. Girl, Interrupted is a clear-sighted, unflinching documnet that gives lasting and specific dimension to our definitions of sane and insane, mental illness and recovery.

Review:

It’s always been hard for me to judge nonfiction books such as this one. They’re not my typical type of story, but one here and there keeps things from getting especially boring. They’re just hard for me to get into. I really liked the style this was written in-free, go with the flow. No pressures. Just looking to see what happens on the ride. But it wasn’t specially intriguing, or gripping, edge-of-your-seat material. It was just . . . okay. One of those books you read and maybe re-read, maybe forget about.

Susanna searches to find her place in society as well as in her new home, a psychiatric hospital. As she tries to find out what led her to this and what could have changed in her life, the reader is shown a glimpse of life as a patient through her eyes.

Girl, Interrupted is a quick, enjoyable read, good for those who have a fondness for memoirs, biographies, or are interesting in learning about life at a psychiatric hospital. I give it 3/5 stars.

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

24 Oct

The Truth About Forever

Author: Sarah Dessen

Pages [paperback]: 374

Available now!

Memorable Quote: “You know, feeling and action are always linked, one can’t exist without the other. It’s sort of a hippie thing.”

Favorite Characters: Delia & Wes

Summary:

Sixteen-year-old Macy Queen is looking forward to a long, boring summer. Her boyfriend is going away. She’s stuck with a dull-as-dishwater job at the library. And she’ll spend all of her free time studying for the SATs or grieving silently with her mother over her father’s recent unexpected death. But everything changes when Macy is corralled into helping out at one of her mother’s open house events, and she meets the chaotic Wish Catering crew. Before long, Macy joins the Wish team. She loves everything about, the work and the people. But the best thing about Wish is Wes—artistic, insightful, and understanding Wes—who gets Macy to look at life in a whole new way, and really start living it.

Review:

I absolutely adore Sarah Dessen’s books. I think this is my fifth or sixth one, and I haven’t come across I haven’t loved yet! I’m never really impressed by the summaries on the back covers [I have no idea why!] but the characters, the dialouge, the funny little quirks that make the book unique, all add up to something amazing and memorable.

 Truthfully, I wanted to bop Macy on the head sometimes and tell her what she was doing wrong with her life. Sure, I was rooting for her the entire time, but she understandably has a hard time making life choices.

I love Delia’s chaos-on-wheels, Wes’s “dark and mysterious, tortured artist” look he’s got working for him, Burt’s end of the world fascination, Monotone’s “Mmmhmm”s and “Doneven”s, and Caroline’s fanatic fascination with Wes’s artwork. These little components all work together to create a great whole, which happens with every Sarah Dessen book. It’s one of the reasons I love these. :D

Everyone has speed bumps in their lifetime, like a death in the family. Macy has to deal with her father’s death, and I think anyone can take something away from this. We all have different ways of grieving, but some people just need a little help along the way.

The Truth About Forever gets 5/5 stars. I definitely recommend it! It deals with grief, romance, and humor. All in all, a great young adult book.

Love to read? Want to join an online book club? Check this one out!

18 Oct

Teennreadingclub.webs.com is a fun new online book club I recently joined. Every month a new book is featured, with members able to suggest the next book. This month it’s Invisible Monsters-who knows what next month holds? Perhaps it’ll be your suggestion!

Even if you don’t feel like participating in the monthly discussion, there’s still room in the forums to talk all about books, authors, books made into movies, and the random things that don’t fit elsewhere. If you love to read and want to find like-minded people, join today!

Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

18 Oct

Forgive My Fins

Author: Tera Lynn Childs

Pages [hardcover]: 293

Available now!

Memorable Quote: He’s a little boy who doesn’t like other people playing with his toys.

Favorite Characters: Shannon and Quince

Summary:

Lily Sanderson has a secret, and it’s not that she has a huge crush on gorgeous swimming god Brody Bennett, who makes her heart beat flipper-fast. Unrequited love is hard enough when you’re a normal teenage girl, but when you’re half human, half mermaid like Lily, there’s no such thing as a simple crush.

Lily’s mermaid identity is a secret that can’t get out, since she’s not just any mermaid – she’s a Thalassinian princess. When Lily found out three years ago that her mother was actually a human, she finally realized why she didn’t feel quite at home in Thalassinia, and she’s been living on land and going to Seaview high school ever since, hoping to find where she truly belongs. Sure, land has its problems – like her obnoxious, biker boy neighbor Quince Fletcher – but it has that one major perk – Brody. The problem is, mermaids aren’t really the casual dating type – when they “bond,” it’s for life.

When Lily’s attempt to win Brody’s love leads to a tsunami-sized case of mistaken identity, she is in for a tidal wave of relationship drama, and she finds out, quick as a tailfin flick, that happily-ever-after never sails quite as smoothly as you planned.

Review:

Wow, being a mermaid is complicated. Sure, Lily can have human legs or a mermaid tail whenever she wants, but she’s also the princess of her kingdom and so has to find love before her 18th birthday-or lose her claim to the throne forever.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a mermaid book. I’ve never watched a mermaid movie other than The Little Mermaid. But though this novel teetered on the brink of becoming terribly corny, it never fell off. The cute fishy sayings and the quirks that come with the whole mermaid thing make up for it. Plus I love one of the main male characters, Quince. :D He’s so snarky.

When I heard that Lily was a mermaid princess, that almost turned me away from the book. Don’t let that happen to you! She still whines to her Daddy like any teenage girl, has temper tantrums, and is forced to deal with her own mistakes.

This book seemed like it would end several times, each with hundreds of pages left until the finish. I thought that was odd, and detracted from my enjoyment. It acts like it’ll nicely wrap up but then I notice there’s fifty pages left. Obviously something else will happen.

I didn’t know this was going to be a series, but now I’m glad! I love these characters and want to read about them again! There isn’t a hint that there’ll be a sequel until the last chapter, which I thought was odd. But, oh well.

Forgive My Fins gets 4/5 stars.

Beastly by Alex Flinn

17 Oct

Beastly

Author: Alex Flinn

Pages [harcover]: 304

Available now!

Opening Lines: I could feel everyone looking at me, but I was used to it. One thing my dad taught me early and often was to act like nothing moved me. When you’re special, like we were, people were bound to notice.

Memorable Quote: Every girl pretends she is a princess at one point, no matter how little her life is like that.

Summary:

I am a beast. A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog, but a horrible new creature who walks upright – a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.

You think I’m talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It’s no deformity, no disease. And I’ll stay this way forever – ruined – unless I can break the spell.

Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and a perfect life. And then, I’ll tell you how I became perfectly beastly.
 

Review:

I’ve been wanting to read this ever since I heard that a movie based on this book is going to be released soon. I’m not entirely sure of the exact date, but it has Alex Pettyfer in it, and that’s the only reason I was interested. Now that I’ve read the book and actually know the plot, I really want to see it!

 Anyway. When Beastly starts out, the main character, Kyle Kingsbury, is truly beastly. I can see why he gets a spell put on him. The whole book is beautifully modernized-from the ‘castle’, to the roses, to every detail I’ve loved since I saw the Disney movie version. There wasn’t a single moment that I thought didn’t fit in.

This book was funny and fast-paced. I read it in two days, and it constantly had me wanting to read more. The characters are so vivid and everything is portrayed perfectly.

I also like how, in my edition, there are other similar ‘twisted fairytales’ listed for those who want to read more books like this one. Very thoughtful, because I find it hard to locate novels like this.

Beastly is a fun, modern spin on an old classic. I give it 5/5 stars and highly recommend it!

Books to Movies: It’s Kind of a Funny Story

12 Oct

It’s Kind of a Funny Story came to theaters last Friday. I actually saw it on Sunday. But I fell in love with the book around a year ago, I guess. My friend recommended it to me, I found it in the library, and I thought it was a fun, quirky read. I didn’t know they were making it into a movie until the trailers hit theaters, and then I couldn’t wait to see it!

 

Like many ambitious New York City teenagers, Craig Gilner sees entry into Manhattan’s Executive Pre-Professional High School as the ticket to his future. Determined to succeed at life — getting into the right high school to get into the right college to get the right job — Craig studies night and day to ace the entrance exam, and does. That’s when things start to get crazy.

At his new school, Craig realizes that he’s just average, and maybe not even that. He soon sees his once-perfect future crumbling away. The stress becomes unbearable and Craig stops eating and sleeping — until, one night, he nearly kills himself.

Craig’s suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio. There, isolated from the crushing pressures of school and friends, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety.

With a book summary like that, and an awesome cover to accompany it, who wouldn’t want to read this?

Usually,  a movie can never compare to the book. Maybe it’s just because I read the book so long ago, or maybe the movie was just fabulous, because the movie was pretty true to the novel in my opinion. It had the quirky characters (with a few sadly left out), the great imagery, and the brain maps. Which were my favorite part of both book and movie.

Overall, I’d recommend checking out the book before the movie (heck, I’d say that with anything) but the movie is awesome on its own. With a great cast and easy to follow plot, I’d say to see it in theaters while you can.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

11 Oct

Mockingjay

Author: Suzanne Collins

Pages [hardcover]: 398

Final book in the Hunger Games trilogy

Book 1: The Hunger Games

Book 2: Catching Fire

Available now!

Memorable Quote:
“Oh, my dear Miss Everdeen. I thought we had an agreement not to lie to each other.”

Favorite Characters:
Prim & Peeta

Summary:

“My name is Katniss Everdeen. Why am I not dead? I should be dead.”

Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss’s family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans — except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss’s willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels’ Mockingjay — no matter what the personal cost.

Review:

I’m still in love, and think I’ll always be in love, with this series. This final book is just as great as the first two.

 It’s all-out warfare in this final installment. Katniss is the face of the rebellion, whether she likes it or not. The whole political conspiracy part of the book really got to me, as it does in most books. The idea of not being able to do whatever you want, to have someone else controlling your every move . . . I wouldn’t like that one bit. Katniss is dealt some serious blows in Mockingjay; will she rise above to obstacles set before her?

All questions are answered in this book: Who will win, the Capital of the rebels? How many lives will be lost in the process? And, of course, the most important question: Peeta or Gale? :D I know for many readers that’s all they care about.

Yet Mockingjay is more than just a love triangle. It’s about the fight for justice. It’s about where to draw the line during that fight. And it’s about love, hope, family, and friendship.

Mockingjay gets 5/5 stars from me. Go read it! :D

What are you Reading Monday 10-11-10

11 Oct

Yesturday was 10-10-10! Hope you all had a great day! And today is Columbus Day, so I have a day off of school. Yet still have tennis practice. What is this madness? Anyway. This week I read:

The Atlantis Complex-Eoin Colfer

The Knife of Never Letting Go-Patrick Ness

And this week, so many great books are coming out! The first book of the new Camp Half-Blood series is released, Beautiful Darkness, The Scorch Trials. If only I had the money to buy all of them! Sadly, I’ll probably have to settle with one, and hope the library gets the rest!

How was your week?

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