Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I think I am in love with the UPS man

More love in the mail today. Just got:

Title: Willow
Author: Julia Hoban
Series: none
Genre: Fiction
Edition: Hardback
Pages: 336
Price: $11.55
Published: April 2, 2009

Product Description/Synopsis:

Seven months ago, on a rainy March night, sixteen year- old Willow's parents died in a horrible car accident. Willow was driving. Now her older brother barely speaks to her, her new classmates know her as the killer orphan girl, and Willow is blocking the pain by secretly cutting herself. But when one boy —one sensitive, soulful boy—discovers Willow's secret, it sparks an intense relationship that turns the "safe" world Willow has created for herself upside down.

Told in an extraordinary fresh voice, Willow is an unforgettable novel about one girl's struggle to cope with tragedy, and one boy's refusal to give up on her.

Sounds very angsty. I may have to read something in between this and Wintergirls. Something with vampires is always good. :D

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Top of the List

Congratulations to everyone!

from NYT - Children's Books

Chapter Books
1 - Twilight Director's Notebook by Catherine Hardwicke (4 weeks on list)
3- THE GRAVEYARD BOOK, written by Neil Gaiman (28 weeks on list)
4- THE HUNGER GAMES, by Suzanne Collins (31 weeks on list)
5- THIRTEEN REASONS WHY, by Jay Asher (25 weeks on list)
6 - WINTERGIRLS, by Laurie Halse Anderson (4 weeks on list)
8- STARGAZER, by Claudia Gray 3 weeks on list)
9- FADE, by Lisa McMann (9 weeks on list)

Paperback Books
1- EVERMORE, by Alyson Noël (10 weeks on list)
2- THE BOOK THIEF, by Markus Zusak (83 weeks on list)
3- THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS, by John Boyne (23 weeks on list)
4- THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN, written by Sherman Alexie (3 weeks on list)
6- THE SUMMONING, by Kelley Armstrong (2 weeks on list)
8- GLASS, by Ellen Hopkins (1 weeks on list)
10-SLAM, by Nick Hornby (23 weeks on list)

Series Books
1- THE TWILIGHT SAGA, by Stephenie Meyer. (88 Weeks on list)
3- HOUSE OF NIGHT, by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast (33 weeks on list)
4- THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS, by Cassandra Clare (3 weeks on list)
5- MAXIMUM RIDE, by James Patterson (49 weeks on list)
6- NIGHT WORLD, by L. J. Smith (18 weeks on list)

Why the gaps? Because I am interested in Young Adult/Teen/Adolescent Fiction. That's why. So anything that doesn't end in "& up" doesn't make my version of their list :D

from - Teens
1-9- Different versions of the books from the Twilight series. I am not typing it, bite me.
10- The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Love in the Mail

Got a little love from yesterday:
Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Virus on Orbis I by PJ Haarsma

And bought these over the weekend:
A Countess Below the Stairs By Eva Ibbotson

I got some grown-up books too, but we don't want to hear about those now, do we?

I really need to be on a deserted island for a few weeks with my books. I have so many to enjoy and get caught up on.

Much love poppets,
Be good to each other!

Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled "This could change your life." ~Helen Exley

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Exchange - Graham Joyce

Title: The Exchange
Author: Graham Joyce
Series: None
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Edition: Hardback
256 pages
Price: $11.55 ($13.59 at Barnes & Noble)
Published: July 2008

I hate to start off this way, but - a big disappointment. I picked this one up a couple of times at Barnes & Noble (the only bookstore in my town) and put it back. One of the reasons I would put it back is that it was not available in paperback. And $12.00 for something I was pretty iffy about didn't seem like a good idea. But the premise sounded interesting and I liked the cover picture. (Boy, the "don't judge a book by its cover," sure came back to bite me this time.) Does anyone else think she looks just like Kristin Stewart? No? Just me, huh? Okey dokey then.

The product description called it "A taut (does this mean terse?), otherworldly (maybe) thriller (no) set in contemporary England (okay, this one I can agree with)."

Caz and her best friend Lucy break into strangers’ homes in the middle of the night—not to steal anything, just for the rush. They sneak up on the resident and get nose to nose with them for 15 seconds. Caz (which is short for Catherine by the way) gets caught doing this by one of her elderly neighbors. The old woman snaps a silver bracelet around Caz's wrist. She can’t remove it no matter what she does; The next morning the bracelet seems to have melted into her skin and looks like a tattoo. In addition to the unwanted tattoo that glows and fades in and out, she begins to have a kind of ESP. She can sense other people’s inner lives.

At issue... It is just not interesting. It sounded like it should have been, but I didn't feel the characters or what they were going through. It was a decent script but poorly acted and over-edited. I wondered if it was just me. When looking at Amazon, no one had reviewed the book yet. I found hardly any mention of it when Googling it. Nothing on the author's website. I finally found it originally published in England in 2006 under the name, "Do the Creepy Thing." At it had one review with 4 stars. Since it was only one review I am not going to worry about it being different from my own. No reviews or ratings given at Barnes and Noble or Borders.

The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Series: The Hunger Games Trilogy, Book 1
Genre: Science Fiction
Edition: Hardback
Pages: 384
Price: $12.23
Published: September14, 2008

The Hunger Games reminded me of why I like adolescent fiction. Good adolescent fiction. It has been awhile since I have read something truly good. I have gotten bored with selections from the young adult realm. I debated about getting this one. Something about the cover (because unfortunately I do judge a book by its cover) turned me off. But the book was mentioned by Stephanie Meyer on her website... so I was curious.

September 17, 2008

People often ask me for reading suggestions, and I'm always happy to share because books are exciting things to me. My latest excitement is this: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I was so obsessed with this book I had to take it with me out to dinner and hide it under the edge of the table so I wouldn't have to stop reading. The story kept me up for several nights in a row, because even after I was finished, I just lay in bed wide awake thinking about it. I've been recommending it to total strangers in Target. And now to everyone who reads my website. The Hunger Games is amazing.


What she said. I started it yesterday and finished it this evening. I was tempted to start this post this morning, but I figured I should at least finish the book first.

Katniss is a 16 year old girl living in Panema, what used to be called North America, sometime in the indeterminate future. There had been a civil war of sorts. The rebels lost and are relegated to living within there regions and not allowed to leave the fenced confines with out permission of the "government."

As part of the settlement between the Regions and the Capital, there is a yearly "tribute," where each region sends two of its young adults to compete in the Hunger Games. The Hunger Games are a fight to the death in a mix between Survivor and Lord of the Flies televised for the entertainment of Panema. It also is a reminder to the Regions of who is in charge and what the consequences might be for defiance.

The Regions are responsible for a variety of agri-economic (is that a real word, or did I just make it up?) ventures. The region that Katniss lives in mines coal. This population is of a poorer socio-economic class and does not have enough provisions to live as comfortably as the populations from the more "loyal" regions.

The Tributes (the name given to the kids involved) are chosen from a pool of young adults that have registered for consideration in exchange for food and supply rations. After a coal mine explosion that kills her father, Katniss takes over as the provider for her mother and younger sister. She leaves the confines of her region to hunt in the woods and supplement the meager supplies of food her family has. When Katniss' younger sister is chosen, Katniss volunteers to go in her place.

The "Tributes" are groomed and coached to gain popularity and gain sponsorship according to their entertainment value. Does any of this sound familiar? The Tributes are let loose in an arena, which is more of a artificially natural environment than a stadium, and the games are not over until only one person is left. The are given some meager provisions: food weaponry and supplies, in the beginning, but they are forced to fight for them. The rest is left to their resourcefulness and the generosity of their sponsors, who may parachute in something the Tribute needs.

Hmmmm... now that I think about it, the book cover looks kind of nazi-ish, don't you think?

In any other young adult book, at least that I have been reading lately, you know the protagonist will prevail and survive. This one I did not have the confidence to predict the outcome. I saw it going several different ways.

Katniss is a well-written character. She is easy to identify with and her talents that may seem convenient are explained in realistic ways. The key to any book for me are the characters. If I do not care about the character(s), then I am not going to care about the story.

Extremely entertaining, well-written, and containing messages (though not overt) even I could understand. One word of warning - it is book one of a trilogy. This one was just published last month and I have not been able to find a time frame for the next one. I hope it doesn't take too long.

Technically it is science fiction, but it doesn't read that way, even less so than The Host.

Wake - Lisa McCann

Title: Wake
Author: Lisa McCann
Series: Book 1
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance
Edition: Hardback
Published: March 7, 2008
Pages: 224
Price: $10.87

Product Description
Not all dreams are sweet.
For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people's dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie's seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime.

She can't tell anybody about what she does -- they'd never believe her, or worse, they'd think she's a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn't want and can't control.

Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else's twisted psyche. She is a participant....

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
December 9, 2005, 12:55 p.m.

Janie Hannagan's math book slips from her fingers. She grips the edge of the table in the school library. Everything goes black and silent. She sighs and rests her head on the table. Tries to pull herself out of it, but fails miserably. She's too tired today. Too hungry. She really doesn't have time for this.

And then.

She's sitting in the bleachers in the football stadium, blinking under the lights, silent among the roars of the crowd.

She glances at the people sitting in the bleachers around her -- fellow classmates, parents -- trying to spot the dreamer. She can tell this dreamer is afraid, but where is he? Then she looks to the football field. Finds him. Rolls her eyes.

It's Luke Drake. No question about it. He is, after all, the only naked player on the field for the homecoming game.

Nobody seems to notice or care. Except him. The ball is snapped and the lines collide, but Luke is covering himself with his hands, hopping from one foot to the other. She can feel his panic increasing. Janie's fingers tingle and go numb.

Luke looks over at Janie, eyes pleading, as the football moves toward him, a bullet in slow motion. "Help," he says.

She thinks about helping him. Wonders what it would take to change the course of Luke's dream. She even considers that a boost of confidence to the star receiver the day before the big game could put Fieldridge High in the running for the Regional Class A Championship.

But Luke's really a jerk. He won't appreciate it. So she resigns herself to watching the debacle. She wonders if he'll choose pride or glory.

He's not as big as he thinks he is.

That's for damn sure.

The football nearly reaches Luke when the dream starts over again. Oh, get ON with it already, Janie thinks. She concentrates in her seat on the bleachers and slowly manages to stand. She tries to walk back under the bleachers for the rest of the dream so she doesn't have to watch, and surprisingly, this time, she is able.

That's a bonus.

1:01 p.m.

Janie's mind catapults back inside her body, still sitting at her usual remote corner table in the library. She flexes her fingers painfully, lifts her head and, when her sight returns, she scours the library.

She spies the culprit at a table about fifteen feet away. He's awake now. Rubbing his eyes and grinning sheepishly at the two other football players who stand around him, laughing. Shoving him. Whapping him on the head.

Janie shakes her head to clear it and she lifts up her math book, which sits open and facedown on the table where she dropped it. Under it, she finds a fun-size Snickers bar. She smiles to herself and peers to the left, between rows of bookshelves.

But no one is there for her to thank.

Copyright © 2008 by Lisa McMann

There is the game we play where we say what superpower we would have if we could pick one. It sounds like fun, right? Except when you have to live with it. In these glimpses we have into characters imaginary lives... we see that have a superpower isn't all it is cracked up to be. These superpowers can't be turned off.

Janie doesn't know why she gets sucked into other people's dreams. She doesn't want to be there. She doesn't want to know what lurks in other's subconscious minds. But she doesn't have a choice. When someone nears falls asleep and begins to dream, she looses consciousness and becomes an observer in the their dream. While she is there, she isn't asleep. WHen she does sleep, she doesn't dream. As she is nearing adulthood, she tries to get control of this power, in an attempt to live a normal life.

Skinned - Robin Wasserman

Title: Skinned
Author: Robin Wasserman
Series: Skinned (Book 1)
Edition: Hardback
Published: September 9, 2008
Pages: 368
Price: $10.87

Lia Kahn was perfect: rich, beautiful, popular -- until the accident that nearly killed her. Now she has been downloaded into a new body that only looks human. Lia will never feel pain again, she will never age, and she can't ever truly die. But she is also rejected by her friends, betrayed by her boyfriend, and alienated from her old life.

Forced to the fringes of society, Lia joins others like her. But they are looked at as freaks. They are hated...and feared. They are everything but human, and according to most people, this is the ultimate crime -- for which they must pay the ultimate price.

Liked it, very much!

In case you were wondering, do those snotty, cheerleader, barbie, popular high school girls know they are "all that"? Yep, and they'll show you the bag of chips too. At least in this story anyway.

The story is set in the future. Lia's car malfunctions and she is the victim of a car accident that destroys her body. But there is a company that has developed the ability to create an automaton and "download" an existing human personality into it. This is new technology and not trusted by the general population. Society cannot decide if they are really people. For example, what is essentially her internet account is canceled because she is technically dead.

Lia knows she is the most popular girl in school. When her organic body is replaced with a mechanical one, she is suddenly the freak. These members of society (are they members any more?) become outcasts. She has a difficult time fitting back in. Her body was bought "off the rack". It doesn't look like her. It doesn't sound like her. And she doesn't look quite human, so people know instantly that she is a "mech (mechanical)" not an "org (organic)."

They question is one of humanity. What makes us human? Is it our cell, DNA? Or is it an essence or soul? With Lia they ask is it still Lia? Or is just a computer programmed to think it's Lia? She questions this as well.

This is the first of a planned trilogy, and I am interested to read the others. Unfortunately it is going to be a bit of a wait. I have no idea where the author is in Book 2. It definitely is not available for pre-order yet. It is in the "B" range only because it didn't totally suck me in. I blame that on Lia being the "popular" girl. I can't relate.

Living Dead Girl - Elizabeth Scott

Living Dead Girl - Elizabeth Scott

Title: Living Dead Girl
Author: Elizabeth Scott
Price: $11.55
Pages: 176
Edition: Hardback
Published: Sept 2, 2008

A 15-year-old girl who has spent the last five years being abused by a kidnapper named Ray and is kept powerless by Ray's promise to harm her family if she makes one false move. The narrator knows she is the second of the girls Ray has abducted and renamed Alice; Ray killed the first when she outgrew her childlike body at 15, and now Alice half-hopes her own demise is approaching (I think of the knife in the kitchen, of the bridges I've seen from the bus... but the thing about hearts is that they always want to keep beating). Ray, however, has an even more sinister plan: he orders Alice to find a new girl, then train her to Ray's tastes.

I am still not sure how I felt about this book. The story is not long and relies on suggestive details rather than lurid. It has gotten excellent reviews. I wasn't as big of a fan as I thought I should be. Alice's situation is horrifying, but for some reason, I didn't empathize with her. I have no idea why not. It is very well written, but it may have been too real. I am undecided.