Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I Kiss Girls

I Kiss Girls by Gina Harris
Round Rock, TX: Prizm, 2007
196 pages
3.5 out of 5

Joanie’s got all of the problems of an almost seventeen year old girl. She’s trying to get her driver’s license, her mom and dad are pressuring her about going to prom, and she never can seem to make it to the bus on time.

Even worse, Joanie likes girls, not boys, and all of the girls in her hometown are pretty darned straight. Her best friend, Zane, can attest to that, considering that he never has trouble getting a girl, even if he’s not interested in the freshmen who swarm around him. When new girl Kate shows up, needing tutoring in math and chemistry, Joanie figures Zane will get the date, like he always does, and that makes life even more difficult.

Joanie’s in for a surprise, though, because Kate doesn’t fall for her good-looking best friend. In fact, Kate seems to like girls, too, and things get a little scary when Kate asks Joanie out on a date.

Somehow Joanie knows if she says yes to Kate, things will change forever. Can she manage to pass her driving test, get to prom, and come out to her parents the way Kate wants her to? Or will Joanie’s seventeenth birthday be the worst day in history?

It's good that books like these exist, but just because something is needed doesn't mean it should be rushed. This title is poorly edited, with glaring mistakes that I could be persuaded to overlook, except for the fact that they pulled me completely out of the story.

Joanie's an well-rounded character. She's 17, working to get her license, getting ready for prom. Typical teen. There's a lot of repetition in her activities. Though I'd say this is true of many titles, others have worked it so that it doesn't sound the same each time. Joanie's love interest, on the hand other hand, falls flat. Kate is beautiful, and out to her parents. But other than her being pretty and smart, I'm not sure why Joanie is so interested. Unless it's just because all the other girls at Joanie's school are straight. That's not exactly the best reason to get into a relationship.

Her best friend Zane is pretty great. Listening to her and only being slightly jealous when he realizes that Kate has an interest in Joanie instead of him. I was surprised that Zane is a total ladies man with freshman fawning all over him. I would have expected video-gaming nerd, and like the change up.

The oddest addition, but probably the most necessary, is Joanie's driving instructor. She has really personal conversations with him about her situation. The best part of this is that I feel like it shows it's ok to discuss or think aloud around a trusted adult that's not necessarily a parent.

Overall, this is a decent title. The poor editing is a bit of a distraction, but the angst, frustration, and fear that Joanie experience all come across very well. And although Janie's sexuality is a huge focus in this title, it's not everything she is. In the middle of dealing with her feelings related to Kate and how or if she should tell her parents, she's just a normal teenager.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

September Reads

Welcome to my monthly listing of titles. I've seen monthly wrap-ups on a few blogs, some I follow and others I don't. So this idea is definitely borrowed but not copied exactly. As least as far as I know. (Note: links go to Shelfari).

September Reads:

91: Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty by G. Neri*
92: Smile by Raina Telgemeier*
93: Pavement Chalk Artist: The Three-Dimensional Drawings of Julian Beever
94: Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams*
95: I Kiss Girls by Gina Harris*

*Off the Shelf Challenge
^ New Adult Challenge

It seems I've hit a wall. I'm in the process of reading four different books, but I'm not making much progress with any of them. Finishing the last 45 pages of Dirk Gently took four tries. Gah!

The good news is that I'm making a little headway on one of my goals. The last one I have left to complete (besides 100 overall) is the Off the Shelf challenge. Prior to this month, I'd read 4 out of 15. At the end of this month, I've read 8 out of 15. Though I feel a little guilty that two of the four are graphic novels.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Graphic Novel Review: Axe Cop!

Axe Cop Volume 1 by Malachai Nicolle and Ethan Nicolle
Milwaukie, OR: Dark Horse Books, 2011
144 pages
5 out of 5
Created by five-year old Malachai Nicolle and illustrated by his older brother, the cartoonist Ethan Nicolle, Axe Cop Volume 1 collects the entire original run of the hit webcomic that has captured the world's attention with its insanely imaginative adventures. Whether our hero is fighing gun-toding dinosaurs, teaming up with Ninja Moon Warriors, or answering readers' questions via his insightful advice column, Ask Axe Cop, the adventures of Axe Cop and his incomparabled team of crime fighters will delight and perplext even the most stoic of readers.
Thanks to the Best of the Best challenge, I was introduced to the world of Axe Cop. It's chaotic, funny, and just plain awesome. Packed with secret attacks and being on duty always, there's something for everyone.

Kid logic is unlike any other logic in the world, and Axe Cop is all about it. If you're not sure what kid logic is, a fantastic example can be found in Big Daddy. Remember when Julian wins every hand of cards no matter what he has? And why does he keep winning? Because the game is "I win."

Ask Axe Cop is definitely my favorite feature. "The Ultimate Battle" is also pretty great.

Axe Cop Volume 2: Bad Guy Earth by Malachai Nicolle and Ethan Nicolle
Milwaukie, OR: Dark Horse Comics, 2011
104 pages
4 out of 5

This volume is Bad Guy Earth, the epic, three-volume Axe Cop extravaganza. Axe Cop: Bad Guy Earth definitely takes it to the next level, moving away from strips to a full-length story. Shawna Gore writes in the introduction that it was an experiment to see if there was enough fun left in the Axe Cop universe for such a story to exist. Luckily there was!

Although I LOVE the fact that the writer is a 6-year-old, as a result, some pieces do feel a little disjointed here and there. Even so, Bad Guy Earth packs plenty of laughs and surprises. Plus, I loved getting a sneak peek at the process with the feature "Making of Bad Guy Earth" that appears after the story.

Axe Cop Volume 3 by Malachai Nicolle and Ethan Nicolle
Milwaukie, OR: Dark Horse Comics, 2011
160 pages
5 out of 5

The format of Volume 3 is similar to that of the first Axe Cop compilation The first one is epic in that it is the first, and this one continues to build on the universe. In Volume 3, you'll find various episodes, holiday specials, more Ask Axe Cop, and other special features.

The comics have been anthologized into volumes, but (most) can also be found online at

Seriously, it's awesome. If you've never read it, you should absolutely click that link right now.

Disclosure: Borrowed all three titles from the library.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (1)

After being without a general book sharing meme for a little while, I've decided to join Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews.


Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
The White Deer by James Thurber
Under My Hat:Tales from the Cauldron by Jonathan Strahan (editor)(ebook)
The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison (ebook)

Nook Book:

Unstrung by Neal Shusterman


Speechless by Hannah Harringon

Thursday, September 6, 2012

August Reads

Welcome to my monthly listing of titles. I've seen monthly wrap-ups on a few blogs, some I follow and others I don't. So this idea is definitely borrowed but not copied exactly. As least as far as I know. (Note: links go to Shelfari).

August reads:

84: Fallout by Ellen Hopkins
85: I Am A Pole (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert
86: Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses by Ron Koertge
87: Fruits Basket, Volume 1 by Natsuki Takaya
88: Ultra Maniac Vol 1 by Wataru Yoshizumi
89: The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston^
90: The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

^New Adult Challenge

This month I read manga for the first time. It was crazy weird and I kept reading everything in the wrong order.  But once I got used to it, it was pretty entertaining.

Also, 10 more books and I reach my goal of 100 for the year! Even at my current crazy slow pace, I think I'm going to make it. The one challenge I'm failing is the off the shelf challenge. New books are still too shiny and awesome. And that whole moving thing kind of threw me off my reading game.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

July Reads

Welcome to my monthly listing of titles. I've seen monthly wrap-ups on a few blogs, some I follow and others I don't. So this idea is definitely borrowed but not copied exactly. As least as far as I know. (Note: links go to Shelfari).

73: Gilda Joyce, Psychic Investigator : The Bones of the Holy by Jennifer Allison
74: Same Difference by Derek Kirk Kim^
75: Lovetorn by Kavita Daswani
76: The Notorious Benedict Arnold by Steve Sheinkin
77: Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
78: Scandalous!: 50 Shocking Events You Should Know About  by Hallie Fryd
79: Guy Langman, Crime Scene Procrastinator by Josh Berk
80: The Maze Runner by James Dashner
81: Black Belt Librarian by Warren Davis Graham
82: Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
83: Crank  by Ellen Hopkins
84: Fallout by Ellen Hopkins

Key to all those crazy symbols:
* Off the Shelf Challenge
^ New Adult Challenge 

These books can be terribly sad, but are absolutely worth the read.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Girl is Murder

The Girl is Murder by Kathryn Miller Haines 
New York, NY: Roaring Book Press, 2011
8.75 hours (342 pages)
5 out of 5

It's the Fall of 1942 and Iris's world is rapidly changing. Her Pop is back from the war with a missing leg, limiting his ability to do the physically grueling part of his detective work. Iris is dying to help, especialy when she discovers that one of Pop's cases involves a boy as her school. Now, instead of sitting at home watching Deanna Durbin movies, Iris is sneaking out of the house, double crossing her friends, and dancing at the Savoy till all hours of the night. There's certainly never a dull moment in the private eye business.

Fabulous. That is the best word I can come up with to describe this book.

Iris is making the transition from private school girl to public school girl in the midst of World War II. She's also getting used to living with her private detective Pop after the unexpected death of her mother. When a student from her school goes missing, and his parents approach her Pop, Iris decides to do some investigating of her own.

This book has everything just right. The pacing, the setting, the characters, the mystery all just come together to create a wonderful book by Haines. The historical setting feels very authentic, yet has elements that modern readers can relate to.

Reader Rachel Botchan brings this story to life. This is one of the best audio books I have listened to and Botchan does a fantastic job of bringing the right voice to the right character.

The next book The Girl is Trouble comes out July 3!

Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Charmfall by Chloe Neill 
New York: New American Library, 2012
272 pages
3.5 out of 5

Protecting Chicago from the dark side can be an exhausting job, especially when you're a sophomore. So when the girls of St. Sophia's start gearing up for Sneak, their fall formal, Lily decides to join in on some good old-fashioned party prep--even if it means not giving demons, vampires, and the twisted magic users known as Reapers her undivided attention.

But when a Reaper infiltrates the school Lily doesn't forget what she's sworn to protect. She reaches deep inside herself to draw out her magic--and finds that it's gone. And it turns out that she's not alone. A magic blackout has slammed through paranormal Chicago, and no one knows what--or who--caused it. But for Lily, getting back her magic is worth the risk of going behind enemy lines....

The Dark Elite series fall into my "guilty pleasure" category. Even though I really do enjoy these books, there's not a whole lot of substance. That's not a knock against the series or the author at all. My brain needs a break sometimes, and I'd much rather get that break reading something fun and interesting instead of numbing myself out with TV.

Lily is still trying to figure out the connection between her parents the boarding school she's now attending. And in the meantime, she's fighting Reapers and destroying their evil plans. This installment explores the magical worlds a little more by introducing new characters and further developing existing characters like the Reapers. The real world is already known to me, so seeing more of Neil's created world is nice.

The three novels are absolutely connected and it is highly recommended that you read them in order: Firespell, Hexbound, and Charmfall. The way this one ends requires that there be a fourth and perhaps more. I'm looking forward to it.

Disclosure: Borrowed from the library.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Everybody Sees the Ants

Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King 
New York, NY: Little Brown, 2011
282 pages
3.5 out of 5

Lucky Linderman didn't ask for his life. He didn't ask his grandfather not to come home from the Vietnam War. He didn't ask for a father who never got over it. He didn't ask for a mother who keeps pretending their dysfunctional family is fine. And he didn't ask to be the target of Nader McMillan's relentless bullying which has finally gone too far.

But Lucky has a secret--one that helps him wade through the daily mundane torture of his life. In his dreams, Lucky escapes to the war-ridden jungles of Laos--the prison his grandfather couldn't escape--where Lucky can be a real man, an adventurer, and a hero. It's dangerous and wild, and it's a place where his life just might be worth living. But how can Lucky keep hiding in his dreams before reality forces its way inside?

I'm still not sure how I feel about this book. It wasn't bad by any means, in fact, I liked many element of it. The problem arises from just not knowing what to make of it. It can absolutely be classified as magical realism, and it is the inclusion of these fantastic moments that lose me.

On the realistic side of things, this novel tackles quite a few issues, including parental separation, bullying, and abuse. Most of these issues come to a resolution in the real world but with help from fantasy elements, such as Lucky spending evenings with his POW Grandfather in the jungles of Vietnam, and his talking with dancing ants.

The dream nights with Grandpa are what I had the most difficulty with. The more I consider this novel, the more I feel that maybe I should reread it. Maybe a second time around the jungle will provide me with some answers like it did for Lucky.

As my review shows, I'm a bit ambiguous about this one. I really liked some parts, but didn't like others. The characters are very well fleshed out, and I love Lucky's comparisons of his parents to animals. But the purpose of some elements is unclear to me. In fact, the novel itself is a little fuzzy as I try to look back on it. I'll have to give it another go at some point.

Disclosure: Borrowed from the library.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

Enjoy the day!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

June Reads

I've decided to do a monthly listing of all that I've read and maybe highlight titles I really enjoyed. I've seen monthly wrap-ups on a few blogs, some I follow and others I don't. So this idea is definitely borrowed but not copied exactly. As least as far as I know. (Note: links go to Shelfari).

This month was a little slower than the last two, but I finally finished up a few I've been working on for a while.

64: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor^
65: Level Up by Gene Yang^"
66: Big Girl Small by Rachel DeWoskin^
67: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs*
68: How They Croaked by Georgia Bragg
69: Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl
70: Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
71: Ugly to start with by John Michael Cummings
72: The Angel Experiment (Maximum Ride #1) by James Patterson

^ Best of the Best Challenge (3)
* Off the Shelf Challenge (1)
" New Adult Challenge (1)

Best of the Month

Also since we're now halfway through the year, it's time for an update on all of my challenges.

Best of the Best Challenge - Completed 26 of 25 books. Ended: 6/30/12
Off the Shelf Challenge - Completed 4 out of 15 books.
New Adult Challenge - Completed 3 out of 3.
100 Book Challenge - Completed 72 out of 100.

Mostly what I've noticed is that I need to stop getting distracted by side challenges, such as the Bout-of-Books and the Best of the Best Challenge, and shiny new books. But they're so new...and SHINY!

How are you doing with your challenges?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

May Reads

I've decided to do a monthly listing of all that I've read and maybe highlight titles I really enjoyed. I've seen monthly wrap-ups on a few blogs, some I follow and others I don't. So this idea is definitely borrowed but not copied exactly. As least as far as I know.

New this month: Links lead to Shelfari. Why? I'm working smart instead of hard. I discovered I can cut and paste my reading list and it keeps the links. It gives me more time to actually, hopefully, maybe someday post more reviews. And, after all, this is supposed to be fun.

45: The Talk-Funny Girl by Roland Merullo^
46: Super Human  by Michael Carroll^
47: Anya's Ghost  by Vera Brosgol^
48: Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom  by Sue Macy^
49: Shattering Glass  by Gail Giles^
50: Why We Broke Up  by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman^
51: How to Save a Life  by Sara Zarr^
53: The Girl in the Flammable Skirt  by Aimee Bender*
54: Animal Crackers: A Gene Luen Yang Collection  by Gene Luen Yang*
55: Hero  by Perry Moore^*
56: Axe Cop Volume 2: Bad Guy Earth  by Malachai Nicolle and Ethan Nicolle*
57: The Watch That Ends the Night  by Allan Wolf*
58: Axe Cop Volume 3  by Malachai Nicolle and Ethan Nicolle*
59: Shine  by Lauren Myracle*^
60: The Hunger Games Tribute Guide  by Emily Seife*
61: Glass by Ellen Hopkins"
62: Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd Edited by Holly Black & Cecil Castellucci^
63: The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan^

Key to all those crazy symbols:
^ Best of the Best Challenge
* Bout of Books Read-a-Thon
" New Adult Challenge

These kept me up way past my bedtime.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Little This & That

Nyx Book Reviews is hosting today's Bout of Books Challenge.  I like the questions, so I've decided to share them along with my answers here.


Physical Book or eBook? Physical book, but ebooks are great for long, heavy books. I'm looking at you Count of Monte Cristo.

Paperback or Hardcover? Paperback
Reality or Make-believe? Both!

Adult or Young Adult?
Young Adult

Dog Ears or Bookmarks?

Breaking the Spine or Barely Open the book?
Break it! Books are meant to be used.

Tea or Coffee?
Tea...well Pepsi, but for the purposes of this exercise, Tea.

Reading in Bed or On the Couch?
Both (Outside is pretty good, too).

Series or Standalone?
Standalone. It gets nerve-wracking waiting for sequels. (174 days until Days of Blood and Starlight).

Original or TV Adaptation?

Author Crushes or Who-was-that-guy-again?

Interview or Guest Post?

Feel free to share your own answers below!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Bout of Books Goals & Progress

Bout of Books Read-a-thon starts @ 12:01am on Monday! Unfortunately I will not be able to start right away. I need my beauty sleep for an interview. Once lunchtime hits though, it's on!

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon

My Goals:
My primary goal is to sit back and enjoy reading!
I also plan to read at least six books during the week. Crazy, I know!
This blog post will be updated daily.
Finally, I will participate in at least one twitter chat.

Books to Read:
Axe Cop: Bad Guy Earth (Vol 2) by Malachai Nicolle and Ethan Nicolle
Axe Cop Volume 3 by Malachai Nicolle and Ethan Nicolle
The Watch that Ends the Night by Allan Wolf
Hero by Perry Moore
The Girl in the Flammable Skirt by Aimee Bender (Short stories)
Shine by Lauren Myracle

Animal Crackers by Gene Luen Yang
Glass by Ellen Hopkins


Number of books I’ve read today: 2
Total number of books I’ve read: 2
Animal Crackers by Gene Luen Yang
The Girl in the Flammable Skirt by Aimee Bender (Short stories)

Number of books I’ve read today: 2
Total number of books I’ve read: 4
Hero by Perry Moore
Axe Cop: Bad Guy Earth (Vol 2) by Malachai Nicolle and Ethan Nicolle

Number of books I’ve read today: 0
Total number of books I’ve read: 4
Started The Watch that Ends the Night by Allan Wolf

Number of books I’ve read today: 2
Total number of books I’ve read: 6
Axe Cop Volume 3 by Malachai Nicolle and Ethan Nicolle
The Watch that Ends the Night by Allan Wolf

I can't believe I've read six books already! One that was not originally on the list snuck in there (that happens when you forget your book, doh!). Since I have three days left, I'm going to go ahead and read the other two titles on the list above.

Number of books I’ve read today: 1
Total number of books I’ve read: 7
Shine by Lauren Myracle

Mini-Challenge: The Reading Housewives hosted the mini-challenge of combining two faves: Books and shoes! You can depict shoes that match a character or a book cover. I wasn't sure if I was going to participate, but my current read Shine made the decision for me.

Cat: "My feet hurt, however, because I made the mistake of wearing my silver plastic flip-flops with little jewels in the straps" (p. 84).

Number of books I’ve read today: 1
Total number of books I’ve read: 8
Hunger Games Tribute Guide by Emily Seife 

Number of books I've read today: 0
Total number of books I've read: 8
Started Glass, but didn't finish it until 5/21.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon!


This morning, I signed up to join in the Bout of Books Read-a-Thon! Things like this are now possible for me since I graduated last Saturday. *happy dance* Getting a Master's degree is very exciting, and having time to read again is the biggest perk so far.

I learned about the event from the Clock Rewinders feature from On a Book Bender. I really like that this event includes participation from the blogging community. As a sporadic blogger, my connection with other bloggers has been limited, so I'm looking forward to the opportunity to take part in something that allows me to introduce myself and my blog to others.

For information about the Bout of Books Read-a-Thon, visit the sign-up page.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
New York, NY: Little Brown, 2011
418 pages
5 out of 5

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In the dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret the truth about herself.

Under normal circumstances, I probably would not have picked up this book. Party, the cover didn't really appeal to me, but also because it's just not my genre. Thanks to the glowing recommendations from my coworkers, I gave it a try. It took about 100 pages for me to get really invested but now it's one of my favorites of 2012.

From the very beginning, Karou is an interesting character; she's covered in tattoos, collects languages, and naturally has blue hair. How awesome is that? Then she meets Akiva, the dark, brooding, but totally hot man toy. And life as she know it is changed forever. Paranormal titles require that the protagonist discover she has a secret power, identity past, etc. and this is no different, but there's something about the writing, and the way the characters interact, and the fact that it's not one-hundred percent focused on the secret Karou discovers that makes it hard to put down.

In the midst of everything she already knows about the demon world and what she discovers, she remains herself and true to the people around her. I've noticed in the limited number of novels I've read in similar genres that the girls just kind of face into their lives, almost forgetting about what they had before. Karou wants to be involved and wants to be a good friend, until she finds she other, more serious matters to attend to.

I loved this book and if you haven't picked it up, I cannot recommend it enough.

The sequel Days of Blood and Starlight comes out Nov. 6.

Also check out The Real Fauxtographer's photo inspired by the novel.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

April Reads

I've decided to do a monthly listing of all that I've read and maybe highlight titles I really enjoyed. I've seen monthly wrap-ups on a few blogs, some I follow and others I don't. So this idea is definitely borrowed but not copied exactly. As least as far as I know.

I changed the numbering to keep track of the overall number of titles I've read so far.

April Books:

24. There's a Rat in My Soup: Could you Survive Medieval Food? by Chana Stiefel
25. Are You There God, It's Me Margaret? by Judy Blume
26. Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield*!
27. Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman by Marc Tyler Nobelman & Ross MacDonald (illustrator)
28. Something About America by Maria Testa"
29. Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber (audio)
30. The Influencing Machine by Brooke Gladstone and Josh Neufeld (illustrator)^
31. Whoogles by Kendall Almerico and Tess Hottenroth^
32. Chime by Franny Billingsly (audio)^
33. Fever Crumb by Phillip Reeve (audio)^
34. Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson^
35. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (audio)^
36. Sugar Changed the World by Marc Aronson & Marina Budhos^
37. My Boyfriend is a Monster 1: I Love Him to Pieces by Evonne Tsang^
38. Axe Cop Volume 1 by Malachai Nicolle and Ethan Nicolle^
39. Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition by Karen Blumenthal^
40. Wandering Son Vol. 1 by Shimura Takako^
41. Dead on Town Line by Leslie Connor"
42. Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt (audio)^
43. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
44. Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard^**

I'm a little ashamed to admit that I've read my first Judy Blume book this month. Even my non-reading friend was amazed that I hadn't read any of her books. A wrong has been righted and I've added titles to all but one of my challenges:

*Debut Challenge (1)
^Best of the Best Challenge (13)
" Off the Shelf Challenge (2)
! New Adult Challenge (1) (Updated 6/30)

Great video about the pervasiveness & dare I saw awesomeness of Judy Blume.

**Update 5/3/12: I originally listed Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey by mistake. Though the covers are different, they have a similar feel and my mistake on Shelfari migrated here. All's fixed!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Songs for a Teenage Nomad

Songs for a Teenage Nomad by Kim Culbertson 
Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks Fire
256 pages
4 out of 5

After living in twelve places in eight years, Calle Smith finds herself in Andreas Bay, California, at the start of ninth grade. Another new home, another new school...Calle knows better than to put down roots. Her song journal keeps her moving to her own soundtrack, bouncing through a world best kept at a distance.

Yet before she knows it, friends creep in--as does an unlikely boy with a secret. Calle is torn over what may be her first chance at love. With all that she's hiding and all that she wants, can she find something lasting beyond music? And will she ever discover why she and her mother have been running in the first place?

The hook with this novel is the "soundtrack" of Calle's life. It's a completely relatable hook, too. How many tines have you heard a song that thought, that's just what I needed to hear? Exactly.

Calle's been yanked all over the state of California for most of her life. She usually does her best to be aloof and ignored by her fellow students at the newest new school. Unfortunately for Calle, drama kids are pushy, and before she knows it, she's made friends and maybe even has a boyfriend. Almost.

It's a mystery to Calle why she and her mother are constantly on the move. Calle's pretty sure it has to do with her mother's personality, but the secret is finally revealed to her. I'm not much of a spoil sport, so if you want to know what's up you'll have to read the book. (I feel like LeVar Burton all of a sudden).

Anyway, Calle and the other characters feel authentic and I enjoyed discovering new friends, love, and the secret with her. There's only one moment that's a little deus ex machina, but overall the story works.

Disclosure: I bought this title for my own personal enjoyment.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

And Then Everything Unraveled

And Then Everything UnraveledAnd Then Everything Unraveled by Jennifer Sturman 
New York, NY: Scholastic, 2009
256 pages
3.5 out of 5

First there was a disappearance.
Then there was a clue.
Then there was a kiss.
And then...

When Delia Truesdale's mother, T.K. goes missing, everyone thinks she's dead. Well, everyone except Delia, who knows T.K.'s way too organized to simply disappear.

But Delia is still shipped off to New York City to live with her two aunts--one a downtown bohemia, the other an uptown ice queen. She also has to deal with a snooty new school and trying not to fall for the wrong guy. Oh, and find her mother.

As she delves deeper into a tangle of conspiracies and lies, Delia begins to suspect that the wrong guy may be the right guy...and that some secrets--especially the dangerous ones--were never meant to be unraveled.

Amidst all the usual teenage drama of moving to a new town and getting settled into a new school, Delia's faced with figuring out what happened to her mother, tycoon T.K. Truesdale. The title of this novel is very telling and reminds me a bit of Dude, Where's my Car? at the drive thru, "And then...And then...And then..." to the degree that some plot points are unbelievable. But I'm a sucker for conspiracy theories.

Character-wise I feel this novel is very strong. The Aunts and Delia's love interest, Quinn, are dynamic and interesting. I also love the description of Delia because of her mother and father's diverse personalities and backgrounds. Delia's Indian father taught her to surf and she's much more interested in that than the techie stuff her mother does.

Overall, this is a nice read but doesn't wrap up everything. I'm still wondering what's going on with T.K., so I'll have to get my hands on the sequel, And Then I Found out the Truth, at some point.

Disclosure: I purchased this ebook for my own reading enjoyment.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

This Dark Endeavor

This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor FrankensteinThis Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein by Kenneth Oppel
New York, NY: Simon & Schuster
304 pages
4.5 out of 5

The purest intentions can stir up the darkest obsessions.

In this prequel to Mary Shelley's Gothic classic, Frankenstein, fifteen-year-old Victor Frankenstein begins a dark journey that will change his life forever. Victor's twin, Konrad, has fallen ill, and no doctor is able to cure him. Unwilling to give up on his brother, Victor enlists his beautiful cousin Elizabeth and his best friend, Henry, on a treacherous search for the ingredients to create the forbidden Elixir of Life. Impossible odds, dangerous alchemy, and a bitter love triangle threaten their quest at every turn.

Victor knows he must not fail. But his success depends on how far he is willing to push the boundaries of nature, science and love--and how much he is willing to sacrifice.

Not only did this book suck me in from the very beginning, it actually encouraged me to read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. I tried to red it when I was in high school, but got stuck on the language and never picked it back up. This time, I wanted to see how the story meshed with this prequel. Could this carry over into Frankenstein? As a librarian, these connections come to mind. The answer is yes and no.

This book has to have one of the best beginnings I've read. Within five pages, I thought someone was going to die. That is how you hook your reader. The only reason I haven't posted about this book yet, is that I'm suck as to what to say about it. There's adventure throughout. It's dark and gritty, while not completely off-putting.

The only thing left to say is: When is the next one coming out?

Disclosure: Picked off the ARC shelf at work for my own reading enjoyment.