Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bleeding Violet

By: Dia Reeves

Love can be a dangerous thing….

Hanna simply wants to be loved. With a head plagued by hallucinations, a medicine cabinet full of pills, and a closet stuffed with frilly, violet dresses, Hanna’s tired of being the outcast, the weird girl, the freak. So she runs away to Portero, Texas in search of a new home.

But Portero is a stranger town than Hanna expects. As she tries to make a place for herself, she discovers dark secrets that would terrify any normal soul. Good thing for Hanna, she’s far from normal. As this crazy girl meets an even crazier town, only two things are certain: Anything can happen and no one is safe.
(from diareeves.com)

This was an interesting read for me- I didn't love it, but I also didn't hate it. I hate to give a bad review, beacuse there was alot about this book that I really liked and I really loved some of the charecters, but overall I was kind of left just feeling so-so about it. I loved how imagination and reality swirled together, but at some points I was even confused about what was real and what wasn't, especially since you know that Hanna has suffered from halluciantions in the past. I also really loved Wyatt, who is an initiate in the Mortmaine, aka the protectors of Portero. I thought he was a great charecter, trying to figure out how to do his duty to the town and still retain his own idividuality.

One thing that I will admit that really irked me was that alot of the charecters randomly slipped in and out of accents. Saying things like "You gone go get that"- it struck me as less of a regional accent and more like an uneducated accent, which I don't think was the point. Everytime I got to a sentance like that I kind of got a sour taste in my mouth. I would have prefered that if she were going to pull dialect like that out that is be consistant through the entire book and not rendomly dispersed throughout. I thought that the characters and premis were great, but that I needed more on alot of fronts. More info as to why Portero was the way it was, why Hanna's mother was the way she was, and especially how much of what we get through Hanna's point of view was the reality of living in Portero and how much was her own mental illness.
Overall, I'd call this a decent book, I don't regret I read it, it was a fun, quick, easy read, but I'm not sure I would go pick it up again.

The Alchemist

By: Paulo Coelho

This story, dazzling in its simplicity and wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an Alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles along the way But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a meditation on the treasures found within. Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is art eternal testament to the transforming power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts. (from Goodreads.com)

When you want something, the whole Universe conspires to help you realize your dream.

Santiago, the hero of the novel, already forms part of a select gallery of illustrious characters and leads us through his story to experience a remarkable adventure.

“When I wrote The Alchemist, I was trying to understand the reason for the existence of life. Instead of writing a philosophical treatise, I decided to converse with the child inside my soul.

To my surprise, this child was living inside millions of people around the world. With this book I wanted to share with my readers the questions which, precisely because they don't have an answer, make life a great adventure”. - Paulo Coelho (from Paulocoelho.com)


I loved this book and I can't believe I didn't pick it up sooner. This is one of those great coming of age, personal journal, hero quest kind of books that kind of sucks you in and leaves you wishing you had a quest to go on too. Really enjoyed the main charecter, Santiago, and the way he chooses to follow a dream (literally) in the hopes of finding a treasure. I loved the message that you can succeed at being anything, so long as you are willing to work at it and even when things do not seem to be going your way, they may be working to get you to that end goal, to that destiny. There are religious tones to the story, but it's done in a way that makes you want to believe that there is something bigger out there and not in "preachy" manner. Coelho really takes you on the journey with Santiago and you want him to succeed in finding his treasure.

I think anyone who hasn't read this book should go grab it. It's well worth the read and has a great message.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Far From You

By Lisa Schroeder

Lost and alone...down the rabbit hole.

Alice thought she knew
what solitude was:
Her mother—gone.
Her father—remarried with a newborn
in the icy embrace
of a deadly snowstorm
Alice faces the true meaning of loneliness.
But hope
may not be as far away
as she thinks.
(from Lisaschroederbooks.com)

This is yet another great book by Lisa Schroeder- sticking to the same format (prose) as her other two books, Far From You again deals with a young girl coping with death and finding her way in the world after a loss. In this book our main character is Alice, who has lost her mother to cancer, and who is now dealing with her father's remarraige and newborn daughter. A crisis throws Alice together with her "evil-stepmother" and they must learn to communicate and trust eachother in order to survive. This book also has a romantic storyline, with Alice's boyfriend a constant presence, but it isn't the focus here. This is a book about family and how you have to stick together even when things are bad.

Like Schroeder's other books, I loved Far From You, it deals with death with grace and shows you how to learn to move forward and love the people who become your new family, while never forgetting the ones who have gone.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Chasing Brooklyn

By: Lisa Schroeder

This is another great book by Lisa Schroeder. Once again Schroeder deals with death and how the living move forward in a unique and poignant manner. Like her earlier book, I Heart You, You Haunt Me, Chasing Brooklyn is written in poetry. This time the story follows the brother and the girlfriend of a boy, Lucca, who died in a car accident. In alternating entries you see how Nico and Brooklyn are visited by the dead (both Lucca and the dirver of the car, Gabe, who dies of an overdose a year later), and implored to move on without fear, and how Nico and Brooklyn find eachother exactly when they need it the most.
One thing I loved about this book are the connections the I Heart You, You Haunt Me. They aren't big and overpowering, but a mention of Jackson and Jackson's Hideaway (where he died) and a friendly visit or two from Ava, serve to tie the two stories together in a meaningful way. It really shows how the stories, and people, are all connected, and how you can find solace from people if you just let them in.
This was a quick, easy read, but it certainly packs a punch. Once again Schroeder has written a moving story about death and living that sticks with you long after you turn the last page.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Kids Corner

It's been awhile since my last kids corner, life got busy there for a bit. Hopefully this posts marks my getting back into the swing of things! Just because I haven't been posting doesn't mean we haven't been reading, and one of our new favorites is...

By: Mo Willems

This book is adorable, has some great pictures and of course, a great message. The book is nice and big, so it's easy for little ones to grab onto, and you can even buy a little naked mole rat stuffed animal to accompany the book.
The books starts by telling you the three things you need to know about naked mole rats:

"1. They are a little bit rat.
2. They are a little bit mole.
3. They are all naked.

Well they were, with one exception."

So starts the story about the little naked mole rat, Wilbur, who likes to wear clothes. Wilbur is his own mole rat and he loves getting dressed each day, he loves clothes so much he even open a store, but all the other mole rats just won't allow it and they go to the head of the mole rats, Grand-pah to make Wilbur stop. In the end Grand-pah sees the point that just because the mole rats have always been naked, doesn't mean they always should be, and that each little mole rat should make the decision to go naked or clothed for themselves.
The messages are easy to see for older children: be yourself, swim against the crowd, and change is good. And the funny pictures and easy reading are great for the little ones. Plus, who doesn't giggle just saying "naked mole rat"?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Win an ARC of Maggie Stiefvater's Linger

Linger Cover LargeIn Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love -- the light and the dark, the warm and the cold -- in a way you will never forget.

Comes out in stores everywhere July 20th. Pre-order here.

Enter to win an advanced review copies of LINGER, Sisters Red, The Dead-Tossed Waves, and The Replacement on Maggie's blog.


By: Lisa McMann

This is the third and final book in this trilogy and for the most part it does not dissapoint. Again, we find our heroine, Janie, dealing with the ramifications of her gift, which is being a dreamcatcher, or one who can enter other people's dreams and help them. Janie's adventure this time doesn't so much put in her dangers way as much as it is an emotional journey as she tries to figure out what to do with the hand she's been dealt. She can stay with Cabel, continue using her talent for the police and be blind in a few years, or she can seclude herself, stop entering dreams and possibly stay normal. She thinks she knows what to do, thinks she has a plan that will keep Cabel happy and herself normal, until her father, who she's never met re-enters her life and suddenly Janie's plan doens't seem so good afterall. Janie must now come to grips with two, very different, possible futures.
Like I mentioned earlier, this book "mostly" doesn't dissapoint. My biggest dissapointment? Not enough! In the earlier books we got a lot of drama and alot of action, this one resolved everything beautifully, but it was lacking is action (which is not a horrible thing!). There also wasn't enough of the struggle between Janie and Cabel for me, he is a great boyfriend and stands by Janie through everything, but I didn't feel like we got to see enough of their relationship. Again, that's not really what this book is about, it's more about Janie and her relationship with herself and her parents, but I still missed Cabel a bit.
Overall, I really loved this book, and absolutely loved this series. When I put Gone down I wans't nearly ready to be done. Here's hoping that McMann isn't quite ready to be done either and we might someday get a little more Janie and Cabel!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Hush, Hush

Hush, Hush
by: Becca Fitzpatrick

Loved this book. How can I say that? Well using my newly formed criteria of how much can I remember a week after reading, I can say unequivically that I love this book because I remember alot. Although this book stays within the confines of alot of what YA books are dealing with now, it definitly takes it's own spin and point of view. Sure there is the slightly naive girl, Nora and the dangerous new boy, Patch. Of course they obviously belong together, despite the fact that Nora both loathes Patcha and is completely intrigued by him. What's different here is that thre are no vampires or werewolves and in the end what Patch is, (SPOILER ALERT!) a fallen angel, he has become by choice. He wants to be human and his route to humanity is through killing Nora, but when he falls for her, his plans change and he needs to figure out what he wants more, a life on earth or Nora. I loved where this book went with the story line and I look forward to reading more about Nora and Patch and where they will go from here.

Good Books v. Great Books

I'm slacking horribly lately. Which I suppose isn't as true as the fact that I'm increadibly busy lately and unfortunately the ol'blog here has fallen off the schedule. It's not that I'm not reading either. I've read 14 books since January 1st (on my way to 100 baby!), it's just that I can't seem to fit in the time to come post a review. I shall have to start making time!

First though, I've been thinking about good books v. great books. I've been reading alot of books and it seems like just about everything I pick up I love, at least at the moment. I help moderate an online book of the month club on TwilightMoms and I've found that some books just don't stick in my mind. So if a week after finishing I can't even remember any of the main charecters names, how can that book really be great? Some books, like Lisa McMann's Wake and Fade, I read way back in November and I can still remember not only names, but plot points and events. That to me indicates a really great book, because it sticks with you beyond the immediate high of having finished a good book. I think I'll have to reevaluate how I grade these books I'm reading. Instead of giving it 5 stars right out of the gate, I think I'll have to sit with it a week and see what I recall and then grade it as good or great.

And if you haven't yet read Lisa McMann's series, which ends with Gone (which came out on the 9th) I highly recommend going to get it. It's one of those great series that stick in your head for weeks after you turn the last page.