Monday, June 27, 2011

Catching Up, Part Five: Scott, Ryan, Kirby

For part five of six, we have Between Here and Forever by Elizabeth Scott, The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, and Moonglass by Jessi Kirby.

Between Here and Forever - Elizabeth Scott
2011 - Simon Pulse
Read: May 26, 2011
Review: Though I enjoyed the story, I couldn't stand the editing problems. There were about five instances of "Tess's" instead of "Tess is," which annoyed me so much and I felt like for such a big name YA author it was just sloppy editing. Much of the story was predictable, but I really loved seeing Abby how she saw herself and then how other people saw her as she met more people or opened up to more people.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth - Carrie Ryan
2009 - Gollanzc
Read: May 29, 2011
Review: This story was basically the zombie apocalypse through a teenagers eyes, which isn't a bad thing, but it was sometimes predictable. I liked how Mary grew as a person over the course of the story and how we learn more and more about her world as she learns it too. I was worried that it was going to be too much like The Village, which would have been really awful, but luckily it didn't go that way. I am excited to read the other books in the series and find out more about the "zombies."

Moonglass - Jessi Kirby
2011 - Simon & Schuster
Read: May 30, 2011
Review: Moonglass was lovely. Though it started slowly, once it picked up and I could figure out where the story was going, I really got into it and I thoroughly enjoyed the characters. Growing up on the water myself really helped to put myself in Anna's shoes. I really liked how the people and their stories all came together in the end to help Anna understand what happened with her mother. I would love to see what else Kirby comes up with, as this was her debut.

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Catching Up, Part Four: Dessen, Johnson, Matson

In part four of Catching Up we have What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen, The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson, and Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. I adored all three of these books, they were each filled with fun, humor, adventure and a lot of friendship. Pick any of these up if you are looking for a really good, satisfying read.

What Happened to Goodbye - Sarah Dessen
2o11 - Penguin
Read: May 13, 2011
Review: I really loved McLean as a character. I loved her confusion and identity problems. There wasn't an excess of drama in this story, but there was enough conflict to keep my interest, and I loved all of the fun parts with McLean's new friends. Dessen has been a favorite author of mine for a long time, and I love that she can write such wonderful characters and situations without having to rely on high emotions or melodrama. I think this book could definitely benefit teen readers as they may be trying to figure out who they really are themselves.

The Last Little Blue Envelope - Maureen Johnson
2o11 - Harper Teen
Read: May 21, 2011
Review: Maureen Johnson is just so fun to read. And follow on twitter. I went to an author event that she was doing recently for this book, and she is just as funny and random in person, which really made her written humor feel genuine. Ginny has always been a little iffy for me as a protagonist, and at times in this sequel to 13 Little Blue Envelopes I felt like she was just letting things happen to her without really sticking up for herself. I really liked Oliver and feel like Johnson wrote him so well, and he kept making me laugh, especially when he could recite the letters by heart. I love this type of story, a lot of fun adventure, exploring new places and people, all while on a mission. I look forward to many more books from Maureen Johnson.

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour - Morgan Matson
2010 - Simon & Schuster
Read: May 25, 2011
Review: I love, love, love road trip books. Now that I have been on a few road trips myself, these types of books bring back such good memories and get me wanting to go another road trip asap. Amy was such a great portrayal of a girl feeling guilty after her father dies. She refuses to talk about it, or anything of emotional substance really, for a very long time, but slowly opens up to Roger as they became friends and journey across the country. Even though it was cheesey, I really liked the addition of their playlists as they went through each state. A lot of the story was predictable, but I didn't mind, because I really was rooting for Amy and Roger and was so pleased with the ending of the book.

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Catching Up, Part Three: Grace, Brown, McCafferty

Part three (of six) of my Catching Up seriesFor this installment we have But I Love Him by Amanda Grace, Bitter End by Jennifer Brown, and Bumped by Megan McCafferty. Both But I Love Him and Bitter End deal with abusive relationships.

But I Love Him - Amanda Grace
2011 - Flux
Read: May 8, 2011
Review: I picked up this book for rather silly reasons. I liked the cover and flipped through the book, becoming intrigued by all of the highly emotional language I found just on the first few pages. I've always been a fan of books about intense situations, because I think they are important to have and to do well. Amanda Grace wrote Ann's story of her abusive relationship with Connor extremely well and convincingly. The chapters were written in reverse chronological order, interspersed with "now" chapters, which take place after a particularly brutal incident with Connor. I was sucked into Ann's story and couldn't put it down. The language felt very genuine and I think teen readers would really like the authenticity of this book.

Bitter End - Jennifer Brown
2011 - Little, Brown
Read: May 2011
Review: It was interesting to read But I Love Him, Stay, and Bitter End all in about the same time period, since they are all books dealing with abusive relationships or the aftermath of such relationships. I think I felt that this was the least genuine of the three, though I do really like Brown's writing style and language. I just felt like the other two stories dealt with the issue more seriously and honestly. However, there were some really good parts of this book. I loved the relationship Alex had with her friends and the points where Zack would try and try to stick up for her, even though she couldn't figure things out on her own. It just felt, to me, that Alex was a bit weak as a character at times.

Bumped - Megan McCafferty
2011 - Balzer + Bray
Read: May 11, 2011
Review: I really, really wanted to love this book. I am a big Megan McCafferty fan, and this concept sounded so great. But I was left wanting. I didn't like the characters, any of them. At times I would think a character would be getting on my good side, and then they would say or do or reveal something that would make me dislike them again instantly. And there was just so much religion throughout the story, I didn't think it would bother me, but after so much of it I just felt annoyed. McCafferty is such a good writer, I just couldn't make myself enjoy this story.

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Catching Up, Part Two: Forman, Whedon, Mahoney

For the next three catch up books I will be reviewing Where She Went by Gayle Forman, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Season 8 graphic novels by Joss Whedon & company, and The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney.

Where She Went - Gayle Forman
2011 - Dutton
Read: April 9, 2011
Review: I am still so impressed with Forman's writing. Most might see this as a bad thing, but I really enjoy her
skill with making people cry. I really loved If I Stay, and I was wary about the idea of a sequel to it, but it just really worked. I am so happy for Mia and Adam and the love that they have for each other. Forman wrote the story so convincingly, and while it might have been an unnecessary story, it was still great and full of emotion and trouble and strength. I am really looking forward to more of Forman's books, I would like to see what she can do with new characters.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Season 8 - Joss Whedon & others
2007-2010 - Dark Horse Comics
Read: April 2011
Review: I haven't finished the season yet, but so far I have absolutely enjoyed the comics. I really like the artwork, too. It is so fun to read the comics and put the characters voices from the show to the speech bubbles. I can't wait to finish the rest of the volumes and find out what happens.

The Iron Witch - Karen Mahoney
2011 - Flux
Read: May 3, 2011
Review: I was expecting a lot more action and adventure from this book than I actually got. The description/summary made it sound like the majority of the story would take place after Navin is kidnapped, but that was really just a bit at the end. I was expecting a big battle scene or something, maybe I was spoiled by The Iron Queen, but it just felt like there could have been more to this story. The writing itself wasn't bad, just very slow. I am undecided about reading more if this becomes a series.

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Catching Up, Part One: Blakley-Cartwright, Kagawa, Caletti

This is Part 1 of "Catching Up" - Where I will review three books at a time, covering what I have read from the end of March until today. These reviews will be shorter than usual.
For this installment I will cover The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa, Stay by Deb Caletti, and Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright.

The Iron Queen - Julie Kagawa
2011 - Harlequin Teen
Read: April 5, 2011
Review: With
every book in the Iron Fey series, I love Prince Ash more and more. I feel like this book in the series really stepped up the action with all of
the fight scenes and battles that took place. Meghan really stepped up and started to learn to use her powers and fight for herself, rather than letting boys fight her battles for her, which had begun to wear on me in the previous books. I am really looking forward to the next book and reading about Ash's quest. Julie Kagawa's writing in this series has been just amazing. I originally hadn't liked the idea of the story, but had heard such great things that I set my judgments aside and picked up the first book... and became completely consumed with the story and characters. I definitely recommend this series to people who love fantasy but also people who love a good romance as well.

Stay - Deb Caletti
2011 - Simon Pulse
Read: April 7, 2011
Review: I have been a big fan of Deb Caletti for years, since I first read Honey, Baby, Sweetheart as a teenager. In Stay, we follow Clara as she moves to the beach with her father to get away from her ex-boyfriend Christian, who has become obsessed to the point of danger with her. Caletti writes relationships so well, not just romantic relationships but just the relationships all people have with each other - fathers and daughters, friends, etc. And her side characters always get me, especially Clara's father and Finn and Finn's siblings (and the seagull!). I really felt like I understood Clara and connected with her as a character, which I think is such an important part of YA lit. The way Caletti strings words together is just amazing.

Red Riding Hood (movie version) - Sarah Blakley-Cartwright
2011 - Poppy
Read: April 7, 2011
Review: This was, surprisingly, not as bad as I had been expecting, especially because it was written after the movie was written. It was a quick read, and not very challenging, but the story flowed and Blakley-Cartwright did a great job of putting a preexisting story into her own words and still making it sound believable. And, I honestly didn't know who the wolf was. However, I was rather annoyed that I had to go online to read the "bonus chapter" in order to find out who the wolf was and how the story ended. I recently watched the movie, and have to say the book was much, much better than the film was, so I really commend Sarah Blakley-Cartwright.

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