Wednesday, September 30, 2009


When I was a teenager, I didn't read too many YA books. Call me a snob, but my attitude was: "I need to be challenged in my reading; forget these 'teen' books--give me Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, the classics. I AM ABOVE YA BOOKS." (Obviously I've done a complete turnaround now--I'm all about YA books now and as for the classics, I try to read one once a month.)

My stuck-up attitude was probably healthy for my emotional growth because dang, if I had read books like Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver when I was in high school, my whole concept of love could've been pretty romanticized and unrealistic.

First up: gorgeous cover, isn't it? The font inside the book matched the deep, dark blue from the cover. Lovely.

Shiver is rich in atmosphere: fall creeping into winter, girl and boy in love. Briefly, the story is about Grace, who was bitten by wolves as a child. But a wolf with yellow eyes saved her from being devoured. For six years, Grace sees her wolf. Then she meets a boy with yellow eyes--and you've got yourself a nice little angsty love story featuring werewolves.

Obviously, it's LOVE the first time they speak. That's one reason why I enjoy YA--people can fall in undying-I'll-do-anything-for-you love immediately. As that's generally not too realistic, it's probably better I read that sort of book as an adult than as an impressionable teen.

Regardless, I enjoyed this light fantasy, with all its high school angst and passion. I'm definitely reading more Maggie Stiefvater.

Rating: 8/10

Thursday, September 24, 2009

YA Fantasy Galore

I'd feel remiss in my recording-what-I-read duty if I didn't mention that I read Mairelon the Magician by Patricia C. Wrede (author of one of my favorite books, Sorcery and Cecelia: or The Enchanted Coffee Pot) and Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith.

I'd like to post a pic of Mairelon but I couldn't find a cover I liked. My copy had a creepy, shadowy '80s vibe going. Let's just say I kept the cover face down when I wasn't reading it. Anyway, both books are YA fantasy, albeit set in totally different eras.

Mairelon does feature a magician, like in Sorcery. Mairelon takes in a street urchin named Kim and they solve a mystery. While there isn't any romance really in this book, I'm hoping for some in book two--Mairelon is in his 20s and Kim is 16, so nothing too illegal going on, at least back in those days. Also, I had a hard time with her name (but not because I don't like the name--I do! One of my best friends is named Kim! Hi Kim!). But this girl, well, I kept on wanting to call her Kat. And were there really Kims back in the early 1800s? I don't know. Her name just didn't suit her personality.

Anyway, the book was a rollicking read. Not as much fun as Sorcery but enough to keep me entertained. I think it was Kim's street slang that threw me off. I can only handle so much guttersnipe talk before I want to throw down the book.

Rating: 7.5/10

Crown Duel is a fantasy set sometime in past-that-never-was. After the death of her father, Countess Meliara and her brother are forced into defending their people. There's a whole bunch of tricky battles and entanglements and kidnappings and alliances and lots and lots of traveling. Has anyone else ever noticed that some books have huge portions of the story dedicated to descriptions of the characters traveling places (Graceling, anyone?). Those stories also make me thankful for my bed. And the fact that no one has ever forced me to go camping--at least since I was 7 or so (thanks a lot, parents).

All in all, I liked Crown Duel ok, but Meliara's ignorance grated on me. WHY IS SHE SO OBTUSE??? Gaaah. At least she admitted she was ignorant--but then she fled the situation so she could go home and "learn." Oh well. And there was a lot of political discussion, which honestly bores me. For me, politics = snooze. Regardless, I'll read the second book but still, not my favorite book ever.

Rating: 7/10

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Oooh yeah

Who's pumped about Dollhouse returning on Friday night? Ooooh yeah, better believe I am. I think this season is going to be fabulous.

Friday, September 18, 2009

YA Fantasy Classic....But....

I actually read Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game a week or two back but have been thinking about what I want to write about it. On one hand, I can completely see why it's a classic; on the other, I'm not completely enthralled with it.

Ender's Game is a classic YA fantasy novel about an incredibly intelligent (and basically grown-up) little boy who has been chosen as the person who can save mankind from the buggers, an alien race that mankind fought nearly a century ago. Ender isn't exactly aware of this and is forced to become a leader and overcome all sorts of miserable obstacles. He's a child that is and was never truly a child.

I read an interview with Card in which he describes his style as American Plain (or something along those lines) and that is a fabulous way to explain how he writes: plain and simple. I don't really enjoy that style and I think that's where my issue with the book lay: I generally remembered I was reading a book instead of being completely sucked into the story with more descriptions and emotions, etc. I love forgetting that I'm reading but Card didn't really achieve that for me with this work.

A few years ago, I did read another fantasy book by him, Enchantment, which I liked, so I'm not ruling him out by any means.

Rating: 7/10

Thursday, September 17, 2009


When I want a comforting read that I know I'll enjoy, Lauren Willig is a sure bet. In the last week, I've re-read The Temptation of the Night Jasmine and The Seduction of the Crimson Rose. Both are lovely, spy-filled reads. With romance, mystery, history and a bit of adventure, the whole Pink Carnation series is one of my favorites.

Side note: although the books may appear to be just fluff, Willig is very intelligent and knows her history--she has several master's degrees and was (still is?) going after her Ph.D. But she makes history fun to read about it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Suzanne Collins' Catching Fire did not disappoint. At all. I started it Thursday night, finished it Friday. Then I re-started it on Sunday and finished it Monday. So yeah, I liked it. A LOT. (It's a rare book that garners an immediate re-read.)

I love where Collins has gone with the series--the Districts are starting to rebel against the Capital. Katniss is struggling to find where she belongs in the uprising when she and Peeta are forced to face their worst nightmare. The title is perfect (and so's the cover! beautiful!). AND THE ENDING....GAAAHH. I can't wait for book three.

I loved the plotting, the characters, the setting and basically everything about the book. All the elements that made The Hunger Games a success are back.

If you can't tell, I highly recommend this series. It's adventure and action with a bit of dsytopia and some love thrown in. And, in honor of Muse's new CD released today, here's the perfect theme song for the book: Uprising.

Rating: 10/10

Thursday, September 10, 2009


My brother actually CALLED me the other day to tell me how good Catching Fire was. (But let's just remember who introduced him to the series, hmmm?) I was jealous he'd already read it but my copy is FINALLY ready at the library. Definitely going to start reading it today!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

So Freakin' Cute

Not too long ago, I read a review by Angie on Jennifer Echols' Going Too Far. She suggested that it'd be a good fit for fans of Simone Elkeles' Perfect Chemistry. Seeing as I adored Perfect Chemistry, I immediately added Going Too Far to my TBR list.

Well, she was right--I loved Going Too Far as well. I couldn't put it down. I started reading it around 9:45 p.m. last night (big mistake). An hour later, I had to force myself to put it down so I could go to bed. Today I thought about it on and off all day, excited to finish it.

The plot is fairly simple: bad teen girl gets in trouble and as punishment, is forced to spend her spring break with a cop during his night shift, driving around their small town and doing police-y work. And they just might end up falling for each other...

But what takes the work above the standard plot is the writing and the characters themselves. I literally laughed out loud at some parts and smiled out of sheer enjoyment at others. Meg and the police officer both have their own issues to work through, but they do and don't let a Big Misunderstanding keep them apart. And did I mention that the book is so freakin' cute? The characters aren't cutesy in themselves but the writing makes the story adorable. Sometimes all you want is a happy, funny story and this fit the bill perfectly.

Rating: 10/10

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Every now and then I need a fluffy read--one that doesn't stretch my mind but is instead pure enjoyment. Hester Browne's The Finishing Touches is just that--enjoyable, light-hearted fluff.

Lovely cover! Browne does seem to luck out in her covers--they've been classy so far. Anyway, the story: Betsy was abandoned as a baby on the doorstep of a posh finishing school in London. (Quick side note: I really like the word posh--and of course, I'm a fan of Posh from Spice Girls--so I think I'm going to try and use that word in my vocabulary more.) It just happens that the couple that run the finishing couple don't have any children and are thrilled to adopt her. Betsy is very happy growing up at the finishing school, but after the death of her adopted mother, Betsy is asked to help run the school.

The school needs quite a bit of updating, so Betsy's got her work cut out for her. There may also be a bit of romance and who's-my-real-mother-searchin sprinkled in, too. There's also quite a few cute little tips on being a lady spread in throughout the book, which made it a charming read.

All in all, it was a light read and didn't make me mad like her last book.

Rating: 7.5/10