Tuesday, June 28, 2011

READING: Hourglass by Myra McEntire

Hourglass by Myra McEntire

Publication date: June 14th, 2011
Published by: Egmont USA
Genre: YA Paranormal, Time travel
Rating: 3/5
Eligible for Debut Author Challenge 2011
For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.

So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.

Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?
After all the raving reviews I've read I expected Hourglass to be quite extraordinary. Unfortunately, I soon realised it was nothing more than your run-of-the-mill YA book: hot guy(Michael), cute girl with tormented past who will certainly annoy the hell out of you at some point(Emerson) and a love triangle for good measure(Kaleb).

I was fed up with Emerson's obsession with Michael. She just could not shut up about how hot Michael was! OK yes we get it, he's gorgeous. Enough already! Still, she couldn't convince me of her feelings towards him since they had no chemistry whatsoever(despite the lightbulbs bursting when they kissed. Dramatic much?) and I could not quite get the bond between them. Especially when Kaleb shows up and gives Michael a run for his money! I believe he shared a connection with Emerson and I think they make a more "believable" couple than Michael and Em. However, I know that there's no way anything happening between them, maybe just a kiss to make Michael jealous and ignite a spark but more than that, no way. So I guess Kaleb's purpose will be a decorative and/or a plot-filling one Sad.

As for the story, I guess it was OK, if not a little predictable. And very confusing.
I like books with time-traveling, as long as its very complex concept is explained properly. In Hourglass, people went from on moment in time to the other with such ease, I felt there was something amiss, something just didn't sit right with me. Like the first time they go back, they want to save X from getting killed and will let him live there. That's why they have arranged everything, money and a place to stay beforehand. When they go back though, they don't save X and leave him there. They bring him to the present!Why? It doesn't make any sense! And if they went and do it again, shouldn't there be 2 Xs in the present? Is that even remotely possible? And when Emerson sees herself in the past, isn't that like a time paradox? 

Ugh, I don't know. Time-traveling for me is a very difficult notion to grasp and when you decide to fiddle with it in a book or movie, you ought to be very specific and detailed in your way of explaining it. At least show you've done some research, and not bend it anyway you like just because it suits your story.

All in all, I think Hourglass is a book for readers who enjoy a good old angsty romance and who will completely skip the time traveling bits(who cares how the physics or whatnot work? I want to see Emerson making out with Michael smooooooch! Or Kaleb, whatever.)
For me, the dynamics of time traveling, which basically is the essence of the book, were a disaster, and unfortunately I don't think the rest of the book made up for it. I just wish that the characters had more depth and the story was more consistent. 
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Saturday, June 25, 2011

READING: Sirenz by Charlotte Bennardo&Natalie Zaman

Sirenz by Charlotte Bennardo&Natalie Zaman

Publication date: June 8th, 2011
Published by: Flux
Genre: YA Paranormal, Gods
Rating: 4,5/5
Eligible for Debut Author Challenge 2011
Bickering frenemies Meg and Shar are doing some serious damage at a midnight sample sale when they find themselves arguing over a pair of shoes—with fatal consequences. One innocent bystander later, the girls are suddenly at the mercy of Hades—the god of the underworld—himself. To make them atone for what they’ve done, Hades forces the teens to become special-assignment Sirens, luring to the Underworld any individual whose unholy contract is up.

But just because they have an otherworldly part-time job now doesn’t mean Meg and Shar can ignore life’s drudgeries (work) or pleasures (fashion!). Finding that delicate balance between their old and new responsibilities turns out to be harder than they expected, especially when an entire pantheon of Greek deities decides to get involved. Then there’s the matter of the fine print in their contracts . . .
Sirenz was such a fun book! One you could easily read in one sitting and enjoy the hell out of. 

After a deal with a very attractive Hades, Meg and Shar gain the abilities of the Sirens, greek mythological creatures who are said to lure sailors with their enchanting music to shipwreck. Meg has the ability to enchant someone with her voice and make them do anything she pleases and Shar with her stare. They have to use these powers to enchant an eccentric fashion mogul and lead him to a portal straight to Hades because apparently his contract with him is long overdue. The more they use their powers however, the more they turn into the actual Sirens, huge bird-like creatures:not pretty at all! So they have to do their job before the time runs out and they completely transform into Sirens.

I liked both Shar and Meg. They are completely different people, Shar being the outspoken flirty type and Meg being introverted and shy, but they both put aside their differences and willingly join their forces in order to solve the problem ahead. I liked the fact that they did it all by themselves with no strong, unbearably hot men to help them and save the day. No, this was girl power through and through and I loved it!
Not that there wasn't some flirting and romance going on because there was. But it didn't interfere with the story at all or complicated it in any unnecessary way.

Hades is exactly as I would picture him: dangerously delicious, smug, arrogant SOB.
Persephone also made an appearance along with her mother Demeter and the queen of the Gods, Hera.I was intrigued by Minthe's story and her connection with Persephone. You think because I'm greek I know all about greek mythology right? Wrong! I wish I did but honestly, it's so vast and chaotic, you can't possibly know all of it. There are always stories to learn that you haven't heard of. 
So Minthe was seduced by Hades which Persephone of course didn't like and she turned her into mint. Yes, the actual mint. Mint was later used in funeral rites in ancient Greece. 
See? Sirenz was both educational and super fun!

Sirenz will lure you in from the very first page. If you're into greek mythology and fashion, you should definitely pick this one up!
Perfect for beach reading.
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Friday, June 24, 2011

READING: Bite Club by Rachel Caine

Bite Club by Rachel Caine

Publication date: May 3rd, 2011
Published by: NAL
Genre: YA Paranormal, Vampires
Rating: 3,5/5
After discovering that vampires populate her town, college student Claire Danvers knows that the undead just want to live their lives. But someone else wants them to get ready to rumble.

There's a new extreme sport getting picked up on the Internet: bare- knuckle fights pitting captured vampires against each other-or humans. Tracking the remote signal leads Claire- accompanied by her friends and frenemies-to discover that what started as an online brawl will soon threaten everyone in Morganville...
With Bite Club, Morganville Vampire series reached its 10th installment. The big arch story of the series, the whole Bishop thing, ended 4 books back in Carper Corpus. It's also where the awesomeness of the books ended, I'm afraid.

The way I see it, books reached their peak with Carpe Corpus and then Caine decided to give the characters their much needed rest, a term used freely here since the guys wouldn't recognize peace and quite if it danced naked in from of them, until she came up with a new arch.
Although she didn't. At least she hasn't yet and honestly, with 2 books to go till the end of the series I don't think she will.
Stand-alones are OK I guess but after the Bishop story, which let's face it was pure awesomeness, I guess I wanted something similar. I also think an arch story gives characters a purpose, a goal, thus more development and interaction, as you see them struggling to fight the impending doom book by book together along with the effects it has on them and their relationship with others.

Also, me wishing Caine to write a bad-ass arch story again does by no means imply that past arch-storys should be recycled. Don't get me wrong, the concept was exciting. Only thing is, by the time I wrapped my head around it, accepted it, liked it even, it was gone. Just like that. Just like the story in Ghost Town when everyone lost their memory. Just like the story in Kiss Of Death with the guy that wanted to leave Morganville. See a pattern here?

Bite Club was more Shane-centered than the previous MV books. I always thought Shane was an interesting character with an equally interesting and intriguing background. We all know about his Frank issues (can you blame him?) and Caine used all the anger he had pent up inside to create this "monster" that vampires could use to their advantage. I liked that I got to see a lot of Shane and for the first time in MV series history, some parts of the book was from his POV.

The part that arose my curiosity more however, was Michael and Eve's relationship and its future. I don't wanna reveal any spoilers but I was bit taken aback by Michael's reaction. Really. It was very subtle but it was definitely there. I think we'll learn more about it in book #11 Last Breath, coming out November 1st 2011. Yay! We don't have to wait long!

It's not that Bite Club was a bad book, quite the contrary. But I found no difference between the 3 previous books and Bite Club. No much development character-wise and the plot is good while it lasts, confined in 350, 400 pages tops. 
I hope the last ones have some kind of a continuing story. It'd be so cool for a series to end like that.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

READING: Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

Publication date: July 12th 2011
Published by: Scholastic
Genre: YA Paranormal, Werewolves
Rating: 4/5
then.
When Sam met Grace, he was a wolf and she was a girl. Eventually he found a way to become a boy, and their love moved from a curious distance to the intense closeness of shared lives.




now.
That should have been the end of their story. But Grace was not meant to stay human. Now she is the wolf. And the Wolves Of Mercy Falls are about to be killed in one final, spectacular hunt.




forever.
Sam would do anything for Grace. But can one boy and one love really change a hostile, predatory world? The past, the present and the future are about to collide in one pure moment-a moment of death or life, farewell or forever.
Forever is the 3d installment in the Wolves Of Mercy Falls series and unfortunately the last.

The Mercy Falls trilogy has been an emotional journey which admittedly I was hesitant to embark on at first. I was not a fan of Shiver. Didn't see the appeal at all. But since I am a big softie and believe in second chances, I read Linger.And I loved it. To say it took me by surprise would be an understatement. Never in a million years did I imagine I'd like it that much and that I'd anxiously look forward to the next one. Which brings us to Forever.

Forever was pretty much like Linger: divided into four POVs, Grace, Sam, Isabel and Cole and had some action, at least in the end. But unlike Linger in which something was always happening and moved the story forward, Forever was a bit static and consequently slow at parts. I guess it had to do with the story, the importance of which was the ending and everything else just led to it. But how interested can 300-filler pages keep you till you reach the important finale? Although there were scenes that just blew me away, like the one with Grace's mother and Sam and Sam's scene with Beck, there were others that could have easily been avoided. Yes, I'm talking about you Grace! I'm sorry, I just can't get myself to like this girl! She'd done nothing wrong but she still rubs me the wrong way. Come to think of it, it's exactly that: she's done nothing. She's bland and colorless. On the one hand I don't blame her, considering who her parents are(worst parents in YA history hands down) but on the other, she's not my type of heroine. And it showed in the end.

What I would love, even though I know it'll never happen, would be a spin-off series about Cole. He is the main reason I loved Linger and read Forever. He is the most well-written character after Sam(or dare I say before Sam?) and I absolutely love everything about him. I love him because he's a screwed up, insane, arrogant guy with a huge heart. And even though everyone thought he was a stupid low-life, he saved the day showing more chivalry, honor and bravery than someone who turned out to be too self-righteous for her own good. He's one of the awesomest character in YA in my opinion and I think he deserves his own series along with Isabel, don't you think? OK maybe Sam can be in there too :)

There comes a time in your life when you watch a movie or go to a concert, an art gallery, whatever, and you take a step back and think "Wow, he's meant to act" or "She's meant to sing" or "He's born to paint".
I think Maggie's born and meant to write. And write amazingly and wonderfully. For me, even though I may occasionally not enjoy all of her stories, Maggie is a Writer. Capital W and everything. She is destined to do this and I'm so glad she does.

That's the end of The Wolves Of Mercy Fall. I might not have been a fan of the series from the beginning, but I'm certainly gonna miss it now that it's gone. 

There's a new book by Maggie Stiefvater and Scholastic coming out October 18th 2011 called The Scorpio Races. Sounds awesome!
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Sunday, June 19, 2011

In My Mailbox (40)

::Thanks to the Story Siren for hosting IMM::



*The Unbecoming Of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (GoodReads)
Initially I absolutely loved this book. After I finished it, I thought it was good. Now, in retrospect I really don't know how I feel about it.
Review will be up a month before publication date, give or take.


*Tris&Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison (GoodReads)
I heard it's more middle grade than YA. Is it true?


*Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (GoodReads)
CAN'T WAIT to read this!


*Eve by Anna Carey (GoodReads)
No idea this one was dystopian. I thought it was full on paranormal. Hm.


*The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegen (GoodReads)
I heard this one has a very descriptive sex scene, so I'm not sure how it falls under the YA category exactly. 


*Sirenz by Charlotte Bennardo&Natalie Zaman (GoodReads)
Fantastic book! Retail therapy and Greek Mythology? You can't go wrong!
Review is up next week




Shatter Me is signed!YAY!


Again, this wouldn't be possible without the love of my fantastic friends in the US.
THANK YOU!!!



What did you get in your mailbox?


DON'T FORGET! After Obsession by Carrie Jones&Steven E.Wedel GIVEAWAY!
You can enter HERE. Ends 6/20. US only.
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Friday, June 17, 2011

READING: Across Eternity by Aris Whittier

Across Eternity by Aris Whittier

Publication date: March 11th 2011
Kindle Edition
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4,5/5
Born a genius; education, wealth, and prestige came easy to Logan Richards. Actually, there wasn’t much that Logan couldn’t learn or acquire. However, he knew there was more to life than money and power. Logan was determined to find the woman who he'd dreamed of his entire life and know what it was like to love her before he died.

Amber Lewis, a waitress for a five-star restaurant in, Dana Point, California, was overworked, stressed, and wary of life since her sister, Heather, had passed away. Then, one evening while working she fell hopelessly in love with Logan Richards, a chivalrous man who felt deeply familiar.

For Amber, it was the beginning of a voyage of self-discovery and renewal. For Logan, it was the completion of life. For each of them it was the deepest sort of love.
I feel extremely lucky that Aris Whittier asked me to review her book Across Eternity, and that I had a chance to read this amazing book. As soon as I read the summary, I was sold immediately and once I started reading I couldn't put it down.

This book is about love, love, love, love! Eternal and unconditional love. 
Logan has spent all his life looking for the woman he could only dream about when he was young. Now, he finally finds her in Amber, a waiter in a five-star restaurant. 
Amber imediattely falls for Logan, all the while feeling like she've known him all her life in some deep subconscious level. She doesn't hesitate to embark on a journey with him, where they discover that the love they felt, feel and will feel for each other is forever.

Across Eternity is such a beautiful and emotional book! It's not a question of whether I liked the plot or the characters because there really was nothing NOT to like! I loved both Logan and Amber. 
Logan is a man that has been through a lot in his life and it shows. Granted, he was super smart (college at 13) and very very rich, but you could tell that none of that filled the void in his life and in his heart. And the,what seems,eternal search for his soulmate, has worn him down a lot. It was worth it though, because when he finds Amber, he feels alive again.
Amber has some baggage of her own. Having gone through the tragedy of her sister's untimely death, she struggles to find something in her life that will give her the hope and the strength she needs to go on. Then she finds Logan, someone that loves her truly, deeply and unconditionally and she just can't believe how lucky she is.

I loved Across Eternity, it's story and the message that it gets across. 
Never has a book made me cry. Even if I said so in my previous reviews, don't believe me! Because I didn't know what crying was until I read Across Eternity. And that's all I'm gonna leave you with.
Despite how sad you feel by the end of the book though, I believe that what the reader should learn/gain from Across Eternity is optimism, hopefulness and encouragement to do anything they want in life because they simply can, and to enjoy it to the fullest.

If you are contemporary romance fans, read Across Eternity now! if you aren't, read it anyway. It's that good!
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Thursday, June 16, 2011

READING: The Shadow Of The Lamp by Susanne Dunlap

In The Shadow Of The Lamp by Susanne Dunlap

Publication date: April 12th 2011
Published by: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Genre: YA Historical
Rating: 2,5/5
It's 1854 and sixteen-year-old Molly would give anything to change her circumstances as a lowly servant in a posh London house. So when she hears of an opportunity to join the nurses who will be traveling with Florence Nightingale to the Crimea, she jumps at the chance. The work is grueling, the hospital conditions deplorable, and Miss Nightingale a demanding teacher. Before long, the plight of British soldiers becomes more than just a mission of mercy as Molly finds that she's falling in love with both a dashing young doctor and a soldier who has joined the army to be near her. But with the battle raging ever nearer, can Molly keep the two men she cares for from harm?
I thought a good historical YA book would be my a much needed break from paranormal YA. That's why I picked up In The Shadow Of The Lamp as soon as I got it. Unfortunately, it fell a bit short.

In The Shadow Of The Lamp is about a 16 year-old girl, Molly, who decides to travel to Turkey along with Florence Nightingale and other nurses and nuns in order to help the injured and wounded. There, under the most strenuous and dire circumstances, she discovers a lot about herself and the devastating repercussions of war.

Well. Not exactly.
The way I see it, Molly didn't stop and think about the war and what it does to people and how wrong it is all that much, despite her rather gruesome narration of the injuries and the despicable conditions in the hospitals. I'd like her to express her discomfort for being in a situation like that for the first time, her emotions-let's not forget that she was just a maid before, which hardships obviously don't compare to being a nurse during the war-and not act like she was doing that her whole life. And what's with the healing hands? Never explained.

I think the author mainly focused on the romance element of the book, which may even forgive the lack of Molly's feelings towards the war if it was well written and believable. I'm afraid it wasn't.
A girl's whose true love dies but still goes back to the man who is "convenient", admitting it was him all long and not the other guy pfft what she was thinking! is not a heroine in my book(no pun intended).At least no one to be taken seriously.
That said, I liked the author's detail description of the nurses' travel to Crimea by ship portraying the terrible conditions of travelling long distance at the time.

In The Shadow Of The Lamp may not be a thrilling read, but I think historical romance fans that don't read too much into a story as I do, could quite possible enjoy it.
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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

READING: Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Publication date: May 24th 2011
Published by: Scholastic
Genre: Insane-o books!Really, no idea...
Rating: 4/5
This is the story of a plane of beauty pageant contestants that crashes on a desert island.
Teen beauty queens. A "Lost"-like island. Mysteries and dangers. No access to email. And the spirit of fierce, feral competition that lives underground in girls, a savage brutality that can only be revealed by a journey into the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Oh, the horror, the horror! Only funnier. With evening gowns. And a body count.
And now for something completely different!

Whew!Beauty Queens was quite a ride, I'll tell you that. A very crazy, hilarious ride. "What the freaking hell is going on??" was mostly what went through my head while reading this insane book!Beauty queens playing Survivor, pirates with lubed abs and British accents, secret government arm dealings, Elvis-impersonating dictators and a mounted monkey lieutenant? I mean, come on!Priceless!

I'm sure you've realised by now that Beauty Queens is very different from any other YA book.Or any other book, for that matter. I don't even know if it should fall under the YA category.
What Libba Bray basically tried to do here is show that there's a lot more to people than appearance and what other people think of them or want to make of them, which I didn't completely buy, but I found myself not caring about it as I got more into the book. Besides, Beauty Queens was so totally bonkers, that you couldn't be bothered to look for any deep meaning behind all the demented stuff that went on. 
Don't get me wrong, I liked the fact that she finally said no to the jerk that mistreated her even though she was attracted to him. I think it was honorable that she said no to her because she wasn't sure and didn't want to hurt her feelings. (names are not necessary. They could be anyone of us). I liked their determination, their spunk and their stupidity. Yes, there was plenty of that an it was adorable. I by no means try to be condescending but personally, what I think makes Beauty Queens such a great book is that it's SO MUCH FUN!!!I found myself giggling at the over the top(or very realistic)idiocy of some of the girls and the hilarity of the product placements. I don't know if that sounds insulting but I think that was what the book was about. Having fun. And Bray's amazing writing and sense of humor were an endless source of that. 

I admit at first I had some trouble getting into Beauty Queens. The scene with the LSD-type fruits was the point I really thought of quitting because I couldn't follow at all. But sticking with it paid off and then some!
And may I just say one thing? Taylor, you're my girl! Texas forever!

I know Beauty Queens is probably not for everyone. It reminded me of Dia Reeve's books somehow, books you know you like but can't really explain why you like them or know who to recommend them to. Beauty Queens is an insanely weird book and definitely not YA, in my opinion. So if you're into that or wanna maybe explore a genre which is basically undefinable, dive right in. It will not disappoint you!
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Sunday, June 12, 2011

In My Mailbox (39)

::Thanks to the Story Siren for hosting IMM::


*Bloodlines by Richelle Mead (GoodReads)
(I literally tore the box open just to get my hands on Bloodlines! I know, I'm a dork. Review to come. Stay tuned!)

*Bite Club(Morganville Vampires #10) by Rachel Caine (GoodReads)

*The Daughter Of Smoke&Bone by Laini Taylor (GoodReads)
(this sounds really interesting)

*Forever by Maggie Stiefvater (GoodReads)

*The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefavter (GoodReads)
(new novel by Stiefvater, sounds like fantasy. Cool!
Here's the blurb that's on the flap(isn't that what they call the inside of the cover, flap?)

"It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line.
Some riders live.
Others die.
At age 19, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of a few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else sees them.
Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races.But fate hasn't given her much of a choice. So she enters the competition-the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen."


*7 Kinds Of Ordinary Catastrophes by Amber Kizer (GoodReads) | (My Review)
(loooooooved it!!!!If you guys haven't read it, do it now!)


Also...Bloodlines is signed, you guys!!!!



A gigantic THANKS to my lovely friends in the US. You know who you are ;)


What did you get in your mailbox?


DON'T FORGET! After Obsession by Carrie Jones&Steven E.Wedel GIVEAWAY!
You can enter HERE. Ends 6/20. US only.

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Friday, June 10, 2011

READING: Popular by Alissa Grosso

Popular by Alissa Grosso

Publication date: May 8th 2011
Published by: Flux
Genre: YA Contemporary, Mystery
Rating: 4/5
Eligible for Debut Author Challenge 2011

Meet the clique that rules Fidelity High: Olivia, Zelda, Nordica, and Shelly, each one handpicked by ├╝ber-popular Hamilton Best. You know you're "in" when you make the guest list for one of Hamilton's parties. And in the thralls of senior year, everyone wants to get noticed by Hamilton.

But Hamilton's elite entourage is coming apart at the seams. Olivia fantasizes about finally having a boyfriend, Zelda dreams of ditching high school, Nordica wants to be alone with her photography, and Shelly's plotting to dethrone Hamilton. Lies and secrets are ripping away the careful ties that have kept them together for years. But Hamilton has the biggest secret of all, one that only her boyfriend Alex knows. If the truth got out, it would shock everyone and destroy Hamilton's fragile world—and she'll do anything to protect her secret and keep her clique together.
If you haven't read Popular, please avoid the SPOILER ZONE below.One single "event" is everything that Popular is about and even though I don't want to reveal it, I can't possibly write a review without referring to it.Sorry!

Popular is told through multiple perspectives:
Hamilton - Queen Bee, most beautiful and popular girl in Fidelity High. She absolutely loves Alex, her boyfriend, who is kind of a loner and no one really gets how he ended up with a girl like Hamilton.
Olivia - sarcastic and witty, she's been friends with Hamilton the longest, is crushing on Chance, a soccer player at school
Nordica - shy and introvert, has a secret crush on Alex
Shelly - superficial and mean, wants to dethrone Hamilton and take her place.

They are "The Clique" .
What do they all have in common?They hate Hamilton! They all think she is a manipulative, shellfish bitch that won't hesitate to stab each and everyone one of them in the back given the opportunity. Now, I have read a lot of high-school-popularity-centered-books and the posse's jealousy of their leader is always a given. But in Popular things were a little bit more heated than I expected. There doesn't seem to be any reason why any of them should be friends, as they are completely different people. In fact the hatred isn't only targeted at Hamilton, but at times I think they kinda hate each other, too. Thing is, despite all the smack they talked about Hamilton, I never saw it. I never saw this mean and evil girl everyone made her out to be. All I saw was a sad and terribly confused young woman who tried every second to not completely lose it.And that was even before I found out about this HUGE(and I mean HUGE!)secret that she was carrying. Honestly, I didn't expect it. Well, I kinda suspected it 100 pages before the end, when Alex's POV started but it really doesn't make a difference because it's still a jaw-dropping twist. Which I unfortunately now have to name because I can't go any further without referring to it. Sorry! 

SPOILER ZONE
I'm gonna keep this short. 
After the twist is revealed (the multiple personality thing), I was stunned. I couldn't believe that Hamilton, or should I say Jayne, had such a serious mental problem and she still functioned properly, going to school, having a boyfriend etc. And then I wondered about her mother and how in the world did she let her daughter go on with the normality of everyday without seeking psychiatric help for her first! Because it was obvious that she didn't. And how is it possible the boyfriend that says that loves her so much could hide such a secret from everyone because he was worried what her classmates would think of her and because he was in love with all her personalities? Well, at least he is a stupid teenager, what's her mom's excuse? 
As far as I'm concerned, her stepfather was the one to blame for Jayne's "condition" first, then her mom and then Alex for letting this go on for no reason other than stupidity and ignorance. 
I felt sorry for Jayne. She was so lost, poor girl. That's why I think her personalities hated her, because she was wallowing in self-hatred and self-pity since she was 5 years old. And that's why she was so afraid of graduation, stressing that she couldn't be able to maintain these personalities after high school and that scared the hell out of her, being alone. I can't even imagine what it's like to have multiple personalities disorder so I am not gonna try to understand it or give any words of wisdom on the matter.
END OF SPOILER ZONE

Popular is a very different and interesting take on popularity-centered teen books. Alissa Grosso did a very good job on her debut novel and I will definitely keep an eye out for her future books.
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Thursday, June 9, 2011

THE DARK DAYS OF SUPERNATURAL



Be sure to tune in and watch the bookstore events live via Livestream at
http://www.facebook.com/PitchDarkBooks!

The dates of the Livestream events are:
Tuesday, June 7
7:00 PM (central)

Saturday, June 11
4:00 PM (eastern)

Viewers will be able to submit questions for the authors to answer, as well as purchase books.
For more information check out
http://www.facebook.com/PitchDarkBooks, or follow @PitchDarkBooks.


MEET THE AUTHORS!
June 7 @ 7:00 PM
Anderson’s (Naperville, IL) *livestreamed!
-w/ Ellen Schreiber, Aprilynne Pike, Veronica Roth, Tara Hudson, and Amy Plum

June 8 @ 7:00 PM
Barnes & Noble (Clackamas, OR)
-w/ Ellen Schreiber, Aprilynne Pike, Veronica Roth, Tara Hudson, and Amy Plum

June 9 @ 7:00 PM
Book People (Austin, TX)
-w/ Ellen Schreiber, Aprilynne Pike, Veronica Roth, Tara Hudson, and Amy Plum

June 10 @ 7:00 PM
Changing Hands (Tempe, AZ)
-w/ Ellen Schreiber, Aprilynne Pike, Veronica Roth, and Josephine Angelini.

June 11 @ 4:00 PM
Schuler Books and Music (Lansing, MI) *livestreamed!
-w/ Ellen Schreiber, Aprilynne Pike, Veronica Roth, and Josephine Angelini.



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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

READING: Ultraviolet by R.J.Anderson

Ultraviolet by R.J.Anderson

Publication date: June 2nd 2011
Published by: Orchard
Source: NetGalley
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Rating: 3/5
Once upon a time there was a girl who was special.

This is not her story.

Unless you count the part where I killed her.

Sixteen-year-old Alison has been sectioned in a mental institute for teens, having murdered the most perfect and popular girl at school. But the case is a mystery: no body has been found, and Alison's condition is proving difficult to diagnose. Alison herself can't explain what happened: one minute she was fighting with Tori -- the next she disintegrated. Into nothing. But that's impossible. Right?
Ultraviolet was certainly an unusual YA book. It was like 2 different books, actually. The first took action in a psychiatric facility and the second in some kind of space station. What does one have to do with the other? You'd be surprised!

Alison, a 16 year-old girl, wakes up in a mental institution. She thinks she killed a girl from her school, Tori. Well, not exactly killed. More like annihilated her with her mind. She didn't tell anybody but her attack on her mother and the policemen that came to question her after Tori's disappearance, were enough to make her mother commit her to a psychiatric hospital. There she meets the mysterious Sebastian Faraday, a neuropsychiatrist (or so he says!) with whom she falls in love with and together they discover that she is not in fact crazy, but has synesthesia, "a neurologically-based condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway". (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synesthesia)
In a nutshell, synesthesia is a condition which pretty much mixes all the senses together. For example, a person who has synesthesia sees colors in sounds, personalities in numbers and letters etc.
Then came people from outer space who built a portal which sucked Alison in,  who tried to find a way to escape because the outer space people wanted to keep her and study her because of her condition.
Told ya. Two different books.

I liked the part in the clinic a lot. I liked Alison's sessions both with Faraday and her actual psychiatrist, Dr.Minta I liked her interaction with the other patients and how they were portrayed. The science fiction part I'm not sure what to make of. It didn't appear completely out of the blue, there were some definite hints, but I didn't expect to read about portals and space stations and the like, to be honest. So I had a really hard time believing that all that actually happened and it were not just in Alison's head. Maybe if the book was equally proportioned and the hospital part didn't take up 2/3 of the book, it would give the reader more time to adjust to the outer space part of it. Personally, I felt it was unnecessary. Alison's story, beginning to end, could have very easily taken place in the institution without the science fiction element. It would be much better in my opinion and a more "complete" book, plot and character-wise.

All in all, the parts about Alison's synesthesia and her life in the hospital are nicely narrated and very interesting. However, I do believe Ultraviolet could have been a lot stronger if its story line wasn't split in two so close to the end.

If you want to find out more about synesthesia, go to The Synesthesia Battery (synesthete.org) or Mixed Signals (www.mixsig.net)

*This book has been given to me by NetGalley, free of charge.
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