Monday, January 31, 2011

Freefall - Mindi Scott

How do you come back from the point of no return?

Seth McCoy was the last person to see his best friend, Isaac, alive, and the first to find him dead. It was just another night, just another party, just another time when Isaac drank too much and passed out on the lawn. Only this time, Isaac didn't wake up.

Convinced that his own actions led to his friend's death, Seth is torn between turning his life around . . . or losing himself completely.
Then he meets Rosetta: so beautiful and so different from everything and everyone he's ever known. But Rosetta has secrets of her own, and Seth soon realizes he isn't the only one who needs saving.

I loved Mindi Scott's debut novel Freefall. I read this back in November so my memory is a little fuzzy so you'll have to excuse me. I thought this was going to be a bit of a depressing book based on the synopsis so I was a bit surprised to find that it really wasn't. Sure, a lot of Seth's issues come from Issac's death, but he's thrown in a Communications class at school and it seems to really help him.

I LOVED the teacher because she was so quirky and weird and I couldn't wait for Seth to get to class to see what she was going to do next. I thought it showed growth when Seth took what he learned in class and applied them in the outside world.

I was also pretty amused with Seth and Rosetta's initial meeting and knew she'd be "the girl" and couldn't help but think "that's just Seth's luck." I didn't really understand why Seth continued to be friends with his friends because they were more into the whole musician (sex, drugs, and rock & roll)  thing. I guess they would be the typical teen boys though.

This book was probably one of my favorite contemporary YA books of the year. Mindi did a great job with Seth's voice and I think she accurately portrayed how a boy in Seth's situation might act. A great debut my Mindi Scott and I can't wait to read more from her!

Have you read Freefall?

Girl Stolen - April Henry

Sixteen year-old Cheyenne Wilder is sleeping in the back of a car while her mom fills her prescription at the pharmacy. Before Cheyenne realizes what's happening, their car is being stolen—with her inside!

Griffin hadn’t meant to kidnap Cheyenne, all he needed to do was steal a car for the others. But once Griffin's dad finds out that Cheyenne’s father is the president of a powerful corporation, everything changes—now there’s a reason to keep her. What Griffin doesn’t know is that Cheyenne is not only sick with pneumonia, she is blind. How will Cheyenne survive this nightmare, and if she does, at what price?

A few months ago my friend Julie came over for my husband's birthday party and brought a book she wanted me to read with her. It took me longer than I wanted to actually sit down and read April Henry's Girl Stolen but when I finally did last week, I flew through it.

I'm not really sure what to say about this book. I really enjoyed it while I was reading it but the more I think about what I want to blog about, the more questions I have. This is a hard post because everything I want to say is SO spoilery!

I think I'm just going to leave this one at I read it, I enjoyed it for what it was, I liked the concept of accidentally kidnapping a blind girl, and I would read more from April Henry. 

Have you read Girl Stolen? What did you think?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Darlings Are Forever - Melissa Kantor

Jane, Victoria, and Natalya. Together, they are the Darlings. Best friends forever. They have matching necklaces, their own table at Ga Ga Noodle, and even a shared motto: May you always do what you’re afraid of doing.

When the friends begin freshman year at three different high schools in distant corners of New York City, they promise to live by their motto and stay as close as ever. The Darlings know they can get through anything as long as they have each other. But doing scary new things is a lot easier with your friends beside you. And now that the girls aren’t spending all their time together, everything they took for granted about their friendship starts to feel less certain. They can’t help but wonder, will they really be the Darlings forever?

To be honest, I hadn't heard about this Melissa Kantor's The Darlings Are Forever prior to being asked by the publisher if I'd be interested in reviewing it. I'm glad I got that email because I REALLY liked this book. Plus, anything that references Harry Potter is a win in my book.

I read this book in two nights and would have read it in one if I didn't have an early morning (which if you know me, it's TOUGH to get me out of bed when the first digit is a 6 on my clock). I kept thinking "one more chapter" and continued that thought from about 10:30pm to about 12:30am.

The chapters are alternating between Victoria, Jane, and Natalya and I really felt like I got to know them better this way. My favorite girl was Victoria but there were things I liked about each girl.

Victoria: I thought she was the one who grew the most from beginning to end. By the time I was done reading, I had more than one "you go girl" moments from her portion of the book and I just wanted to see her bloom into a confident young woman. Victoria also got the hot photographer guy so that's a bonus. I literally laughed out loud (and almost woke my husband up) during a scene with her, Jack, a banana, and a condom.

Jane: Jane was the cool thespian. I was surprised that Jane seemed to be the one that had less going on compared to the others. She had her story but I guess Victoria and Natalya's just seemed busier. I liked Jane a lot though because she wasn't afraid to speak her mind and call out Natalya when it called for it.

Natalya: My least favorite of the three girls. A BIG part of this has to do with her conforming to what the rich, popular girls wanted her to be and she just wasn't true to herself. I liked the fact that she played chess and liked the Biology teacher that everyone hated but I wanted to slap her at times.

I really enjoyed this book because it was more about the friendship between the girls instead of anything else. Yes, there were the parties, boys, school, and more in the book but it focused on how they dealt with all the new stuff being thrown at them and how there were still there for each other and were able to put aside their differences when it came down to it.

It was a fun book that showed the sister-like bond between three best friends and it did it well.

The writing was good and left me wanting more. I was expecting another chapter when it ended but it turned out to be a sneak peak of the next book, The Darlings in Love and I can't wait to read that when the time comes.

Thank you Disney-Hyperion for turning me on to a book I might not have known about otherwise.

Have you heard of The Darlings Are Forever? Do you think it would be something you might enjoy?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Losing Faith - Denise Jaden

A terrible secret. A terrible fate.

When Brie's sister, Faith, dies suddenly, Brie's world falls apart. As she goes through the bizarre and devastating process of mourning the sister she never understood and barely even liked, everything in her life seems to spiral farther and farther off course. Her parents are a mess, her friends don’t know how to treat her, and her perfect boyfriend suddenly seems anything but.

As Brie settles into her new normal, she encounters more questions than closure: Certain facts about the way Faith died just don't line up. Brie soon uncovers a dark and twisted secret about Faith’s final night...a secret that puts her own life in danger.

I wanted to read Losing Faith by Denise Jaden for a few different reasons and they are as follows: 

Reason 1: Losing Faith is part of the Contemps Challenge and this is something I'm really happy about participating in. This was my fifth book read for the challenge and so far I have loved all five of them. 

Reason 2: The cover and title. You HAD to know this was coming. There are so many aspects of this cover that I love. The girl holding the flowers is just so subtle and I didn't even notice what was going on with it before I actually LOOKED at it. I love the flowers because they are representing death and mourning but the butterflies make me think of Brie's quest to find out what what happened and free her sister's name. I also really loved how the title had double meaning. I can be such a dork when it comes to stuff like that, I just think it's neat. 

Reason 3: My friend Shana is friends with Denise and I'm just all about support. I love supporting authors and all the ones I have come in contact with (in real life or through Twitter) are just people I genuinely want to see do well. They make it so easy though because their work, Denise's include, is just fantastic. 

Going into this book, I wasn't really sure what it was about. All I knew about it was what was printed on the back and that Shana's friend was the author. I started reading one night before bed (which is when I get most of my reading done nowadays) and didn't want to put it down. I didn't get much read for a few days but once I did, I stayed up til after 3am reading. The only reason I stopped? My eyes were burning so bad and it actually hurt to keep them open. 

I was worried that the religion aspect might get too preachy* but was happy it didn't. I had my ideas of what was going to happen but that just made me want to read faster to see if my theories were valid; they weren't. I found myself invested in these characters, especially Brie and her parents. Denise really showed the grief well and it was heartbreaking. 

The writing was beautiful and I really liked Brie. She was relentless in trying to find out the truth and she made a few great friends in the process. I liked that Brie, Tessa, and Alis all had the same common bond and that they were able to open up to each other when they felt they couldn't talk about it with anyone. 

Tessa was my favorite character because she was supposed to be this hard gothy person but she wasn't any of that. Well, ok. Maybe she was a little but she is the perfect example of why you shouldn't be quick to judge people. She was a great friend and was there when Brie needed her the most. Also, I loved Brie's poem about her at the end. Alis was cool but I had a hard time pushing Alistair from Supernatural out of my head. Somehow, I don't think this was who I was supposed to be imagining.

Great debut by Denise and I look forward to reading quite a bit more from her.

Have you read Losing Faith? Will you? 

*I have nothing against religion. I grew up in a Christian household and have the utmost respect for it. The last book I read that contained religion was way preachy and I felt like things were being shoved down my throat. Not cool.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Lament - Maggie Stiefvater

I won a copy of Maggie Stiefvater's Lament from Jessica's a few months back (ok, this post was originally started in September) and I had started this blog entry when I had finished, but I got a bit behind on posting so you'll be seeing a few "older" reads pop up on here.

Sixteen-year-old Deirdre Monaghan is a painfully shy but prodigiously gifted musician. She's about to find out she's also a cloverhand—one who can see faeries. Deirdre finds herself infatuated with a mysterious boy who enters her ordinary suburban life, seemingly out of thin air. Trouble is, the enigmatic and gorgeous Luke turns out to be a gallowglass—a soulless faerie assassin. An equally hunky—and equally dangerous—dark faerie soldier named Aodhan is also stalking Deirdre. Sworn enemies, Luke and Aodhan each have a deadly assignment from the Faerie Queen. Namely, kill Deirdre before her music captures the attention of the Fae and threatens the Queen's sovereignty. Caught in the crossfire with Deirdre is James, her wisecracking but loyal best friend. Deirdre had been wishing her life weren't so dull, but getting trapped in the middle of a centuries-old faerie war isn't exactly what she had in mind . . .

Lament is a dark faerie fantasy that features authentic Celtic faerie lore, plus cover art and interior illustrations by acclaimed faerie artist Julia Jeffrey.

I'm going to preface this by telling you that faeries aren't really my thing. The most I've read about faeries would be the small portion dealing with them in the Sookie Stackhouse books and that was too much for me. They just like to play with people way too much and that trait tends to irk me.

I think my biggest issue with the book was how some things just seemed to be known without talking about them. For instance, Dee and Luke were talking and all of a sudden she knows the person he's talking about is the faerie queen. Up until that point, there was absolutely no mention of a queen. There were other things like that that I just couldn't get over.

I also thought it was highly weird and slightly creepy that while Dee is getting sick in the bathroom, a boy just walks in and starts holding her hair and she never questions it.

The book itself wasn't bad though. I really enjoyed the relationship between James and Deirdre and really wish that was more prominent than hers and Luke's relationship, and that is the reason why I will read Ballad. Plus, I liked it enough to want to see where the story goes and I have to absolutely hate a series to quit it.

What's your least favorite creature?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Fall for Anything - Courtney Summers

From the author of Cracked Up to Be and Some Girls Are comes a gripping story about one girl’s search for clues into the mysterious death of her father.

When Eddie Reeves’s father commits suicide her life is consumed by the nagging question of why? Why when he was a legendary photographer and a brilliant teacher? Why when he seemed to find inspiration in everything he saw? And, most important, why when he had a daughter who loved him more than anyone else in the world?

When she meets Culler Evans, a former student of her father’s and a photographer himself, an instant and dangerous attraction begins. Cullen seems to know more about her father than she does and could possibly hold the key to the mystery surrounding his death. But Eddie’s vulnerability has weakened her and Culler Evans is getting too close. Her need for the truth keeps her hanging on...but are some questions better left unanswered?

When I heard that Courtney Summers was going to be releasing another book in 2010, I knew I had to read it. I have so much cover love for Fall for Anything, especially because it's relevant to the book. It's a cover that would make me pick it up off the shelf and is one of my favorites.

Eddie's life is pretty broken and her mom has just checked out, leaving Eddie to deal with her grief alone. I felt terrible for Eddie throughout the book because it is so hard losing a parent and there were parts that brought back my personal loss. I can't imagine what it would be like to lose a parent to suicide but Summers did a fantastic job of showing Eddie's grief. The quest she takes you on to find out why her dad did what he did is heartbreaking and realistic. If you don't feel anything when you read this book then your name might be Chandler Bing.

Courtney Summers is consistent. Consistently good. Her characters just leap off the page and make you care about them whether they're the mean girl or a girl drowning in sorrow. Fall for Anything is a definite win and Courtney Summers has knocked it out of the park once again.

Have you read any of Courtney's books? Will you read this one?


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