Jun 30, 2009

Review | Echo by Francesca Lia Block

Title: Echo by Francesca Lia Block
Series: N/A
Genre: YA - Magical Realism
Publication: August 6th 2001 by HarperTeen
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Synopsis: Echo is caught at the crossroads of a physical world full of hope and despair and the realm of the supernatural, where young men have wings and skeletons speak. On the way, she is graced by angels and fairies and haunted by ghosts, psychopomps, and vampires. But as Echo falls under the spell of demons who threaten to destroy her, she must ultimately look within to find the strength to survive.

Thoughts: The whole book is written in a dreamlike way, sort of poetically. Each chapter tells a new short story, which didn't make sense to me. I was confused with the new characters that were introduced in every chapter, each different and not related to the last, some only appearing once and with no meaningful significance. In the end, I could see how the stories all connected to Echo in some way, but I didn't like the way it was brought together. I'm not sure how I feel about the author's writing, but I will definitely pick up another one of her books and see how I like it.

Jun 26, 2009

Review | The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

According to Ponyboy, there are two kinds of people in the world: greasers and socs. A soc (short for "social") has money, can get away with just about anything, and has an attitude longer than a limousine. A greaser, on the other hand, always lives on the outside and needs to watch his back. Ponyboy is a greaser, and he's always been proud of it, even willing to rumble against a gang of socs for the sake of his fellow greasers--until one terrible night when his friend Johnny kills a soc. The murder gets under Ponyboy's skin, causing his bifurcated world to crumble and teaching him that pain feels the same whether a soc or a greaser.

Thoughts: I loved the story, it quickly gets suspenseful and dramatic which kept me glued to it. The characters were explained with depth and detail, and the writing made me feel involved. This book tells a great story and it feels realistic, something that can happen in any neighborhood and between any rival gangs.
I would recommend this book to my fellow readers. Its a quick and really great read that you are likely to enjoy :)

Jun 22, 2009

Review | Go Ask Alice - Anonymous

 The torture and hell of adolescence has rarely been captured as clearly as it is in this classic diary by an anonymous, addicted teen. Lonely, awkward, and under extreme pressure from her "perfect" parents, "Anonymous" swings madly between optimism and despair. When one of her new friends spikes her drink with LSD, this diarist begins a frightening journey into darkness. The drugs take the edge off her loneliness and self-hate, but they also turn her life into a nightmare of exalting highs and excruciating lows.

Although there is still some question as to whether this diary is real or fictional, there is no question that it has made a profound impact on millions of readers during the more than 25 years it has been in print. Despite a few dated references to hippies and some expired slang, Go Ask Alice still offers a jolting chronicle of a teenager's life spinning out of control.

I have mixed feelings about this book. I didn't like the writing style, and it may because it was in the 70's I believe, but it was still pretty cheesy and not believable. I've heard that the same editor to this book, edited Jay's Journal, and the similarities in both make it hard to believe this work isn't fictional.
This is the kind of book you expect to be powerfully good, to make you to stay away from drugs because of the way it ruined someone's life. It wasn't. I don 't want to go out and try acid either, but it wasn't as motivational as I thought it would be.
It was a bit interesting, whether the story was true or not.

Jun 17, 2009

Quick Reviews #2

Family Sold Separately by Kate Long

Synopsis: On the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Katherine wants only three things: a smidge of social grace, the body of Courteney Cox, and two parents. What she has instead is an almost complete lack of friends, a pudgy figure, and one extremely eccentric, nearly blind grandmother named Poll. Since Katherine’s father died and her mother disappeared, Poll is her only family. And not only does Poll buy all of Katherine’s clothes, but she forbids her to leave the house unless it’s absolutely necessary. Would a chance to go to Oxford count? But the bigger question is: How can she abandon her grandma?

Just when Katherine has resigned herself to a lifetime of watching daytime television, sparring with Poll, and visiting the town library for “fun,” along comes a handsome, magnetic young man named Collum, who claims to be Katherine’s long-lost cousin. But as Katherine is about to learn, when it comes to family, things aren’t always as they seem.

Quick Thoughts: I wanted to enjoy this book, but I found it hard to really hard to concentrate on it. The main character didn't intrigue me much, so I wasn't really motivated to keep reading it much. It was a pretty easy read, although I had some problems understanding the British English slang.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Synopsis: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” So begins Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen’s witty comedy of manners—one of the most popular novels of all time—that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues.

Quick Thoughts: What can I say that hasn't been said before? This book is just great/amazing/fantastic. It was re-read for me, and I must say I was able to appreciate it so much more the second time around. I love the plot, I love the characters (as silly as they can be) and I love the themes. The writing is great, and its one of my favorite books of all time. Love, love, love this book :)

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith

Synopsis: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”

So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield. Can Elizabeth vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry?

Quick Thoughts: I was uber excited about this book when I first heard of it, I mean Jane Austen and zombies? Best of both worlds right? Wrong. The cover the best part of this book and maybe the first two or three chapters are entertaining, but then you can call it a day. I couldn't even finish the book, I just skimmed most of it except for the pictures which were pretty creepy. It's a good idea, but nothing unique was really added to the story.

Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley

Synopsis: Now I lay me down to sleep,

I pray the Lord my soul to keep.

And if I should die before I awake,

I pray the popular attend my wake.

Charlotte Usher feels practically invisible at school, and then one day she really is invisible. Even worse: she's dead. And all because she choked on a gummy bear. But being dead doesn't stop Charlotte from wanting to be popular; it just makes her more creative about achieving her goal.

If you thought high school was a matter of life or death, wait till you see just how true that is. In this satirical, yet heartfelt novel, Hurley explores the invisibility we all feel at some times and the lengths we'll go to be seen.

Quick Thoughts: A quick and fun read, I thought it was cute if not a bit silly. The storyline is pretty simple, and I enjoyed Hurley's writing. There were a few things about Charlotte that annoyed me, but other than that I enjoyed it. The cover, illustrations and deco for every page are a nice touch that I really liked.

Jun 12, 2009

Review | The Host by Stephenie Meyer

Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of their human hosts while leaving their bodies intact, and most of humanity has succumbed.
Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, knew about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the too vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn't expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.
Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of the man Melanie loves-Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body's desires, Wanderer yearns for a man she's never met. As outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off to search for the man they both love.
Featuring what may be the first love triangle involving only two bodies, The Host is a riveting and unforgettable novel that will bring a vast new readership to one of the most compelling writers of our time

Thoughts: Where to start? I was completely unsure of this book. I got it, looked at it and put on the pile of TBR books I have on my desk. I didn't touch it for three weeks, and since it was a book I borrowed from the library, I tried to renew it a few days before it was due. I couldn't, so now what? I set all other books aside and started it, not really sure if I really wanted to read it all.

Now, I've read a few reviews on this book, and they seem to say 'ehh, it was good, but not too enjoyable' and all I wanna say is 'what? are you crazy? this book was awesome!' but I won't because everyone has they're opinion.

When I first read the inside flap of the book, I expected an evil alien invasion kind of book, but its not like that. The "souls" as they call themselves on Earth, have quietly and non-aggressively conquered the earth. The soul we follow is Wanderer, a kind and pacifist soul that has lived on nine planets, a record for her kind. Melanie, is the human host she has been given. Confused over being able to hear and feel Melanie, Wanderer fears that she will eventually take control over her. Instead, they form a special bond, and start the search of the people they love, and are able to learn how to live life together.

At first, I was confused; I had no idea what was going on and the beginning frustrated me. I didn't understand what was happening and I desperately wanted explanations. It wasn't until about half-way through the book that I started to really get into it. Once I got halfway, I could not put it down. It felt like a roller coaster, everything happening, one exciting and fearful event after the next. And as the book got closer to the ending, I really wasn't sure how it would end, and I was dreading it. The last about 100 pages made me cry, tears streaming down my face. The way it was written made me feel like it was me, in my head, like I was there and so I got really emotional as always.

I love Meyer's writing style. I know its complained about a lot, and her characters aren't liked much, but I love them. Since I first read Twilight, I fell in love with her writing. I think she is a great storyteller, and as her first adult novel, I think she went above and beyond than with the Twilight series. I really loved this book, I would definitely read it again, and I probably loved it more than the Twilight series. I've already heard rumors of there being a sequel and possibly a series for this book and I must say I was a tad disappointed. I did read this to jump the band wagon, but I was hoping this wouldn't be another Twilight fanatic kind of book. But I'd probably read them also...