Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey


"Set in an Australian mining town in the 1960's, it's the story of 13 year old Charlie Bucktin, and the unlikely friendship he develops with the town's ne'er-do-well, the enigmatic Jasper Jones."

There have been many books I have thought of as 5 star books for various reasons...they were fun to read, they were entertaining, the descriptions were vivid and they played like a movie in my head. And then there are those magical books that come along only ever once in awhile that make you realize you need a 6 star rating system because they just shine above and beyond.

That's Jasper Jones.

The story is told by Charlie, who gets a surprise visit from Jasper Jones one night and becomes involved in a terrible mystery that affects the whole town they live in. It's also Charlie's coming of age story, his journey from the relative safety of childhood to realizing the world isn't always a pretty place. Cruelty isn't just confined to the schoolyard, it happens out there in the real world too.

Silvey is a master of dialogue, the voices of Charlie and Jasper and Jeffrey Lu (Charlie's best friend and all around AWESOME, I ADORED him) are SO incredibly vivid. Each has a distinct personality and sense of humor (and oh my, there were some real laugh out loud moments in this book.) I felt like I KNEW these guys and I genuinely cared for each one. But this was so much more than a telling of what was said or what was done. We get to hear that voice in Charlie's head...the one that wonders why and asks the big questions and then lets us know what he thinks. And we get to nod our heads and say, "Yes, yes Charlie, that's EXACTLY how it is." His observations on the world we live in are spot on.

Not to mention his opinion on Batman, which is nothing short of brilliant.

Jasper Jones is, quite simply, beautifully written. It is the kind of book you feel grateful for after closing its pages. And a little sad when it's over because you hate to say goodbye.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

What a great story this was, I tore through it practically non-stop and finished it in less than 24 hours!

Before I Fall tells the story of a girl who dies in a car accident on the way home from a party. But somehow, miraculously, she gets a week's worth of chances to relive that day. And let me tell you, she needed to...she was one of the popular girls at school and we all know that entails a certain level of bitchiness. It's very interesting to see how she decides to live each day as she keeps getting chances. And very interesting to see if she grows as a person and how her decisions affect her fate.

This is definitely the kind of book that makes you examine your own life and look at the choices you make. If you knew this was your last day, how would you spend it? Would you do things differently? Would you have regrets? Would the people you love know you loved them? Would you try to be a better person?

So often we act as if we have all the time in the world. This book reminds us not to take this precious life we have for granted. HIGHLY recommended.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Upcoming Reviews...

This past week has been CRAZY busy so I haven't blogged much and that kinda makes me sad cause I've been book busy too! Reviews coming soon for Before I Fall AND The Summoning! (Happy dance...I loved both these books!)

Ordered The Forest of Hands and Teeth which I absolutely can't wait to read.

And...received the Jasper Jones ARC in the mail today from the kind folks at Windmill. I'm super excited (ok, I admit it...this is my first ARC)so as soon as I finish City of Bones, which I'm currently reading, I will be diving in!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Taming the Beast

So, I've been thinking a lot lately about why young adult fiction, especially the supernatural romance variety, is so incredibly popular with adult readers. And I can't help but wonder if it says something about our present culture.
Some of the biggest and most commented on news stories are the ones about men who cheat. Look at Tiger Woods, look at Jesse James. Vampires and werewolves have always been associated with sexuality. In more modest times, authors wrote of them as monsters to be destroyed...bury those urges. But today's themes involve the "monster" falling in love and putting aside its urges. Vampires and werewolves, the ones we fall in love with in the books we are reading aren't out for the kill.
In fiction at least, we can tame the beast....

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Author Appreciation Week

I've been noticing a lot of author appreciation posts around the blogoshpere and just had to participate. First up is Stephenie be honest....I've never even read any of her books. So why pick her?

Twilight did something amazing.

It made my daughter a reader.

I've been a booklover since, well, ever since I can remember. And when The Munchkin came along I dreamed she would be a booklover too. Board books, Goodnight Moon, Little name it, I bought books, books and more books. Those little Scholastic book order forms the schools send home? Ordered from EVERY SINGLE ONE. But I swear I don't think she ever finished reading a single book.

Until Twilight.

She ate it up.

I can't tell you how happy it made me to hear The Munchkin say things like "I'm gonna go to bed so I can read my book." "Can we watch that show later? I wanna read my book."

I can now say she's a reader. Not just the books she HAS to read for school...but a REAL reader, you know our kind...the ones who do it for fun.

Thank you Stephenie :)

Monday, March 15, 2010


Wow...second day back to work after vacation and I just can't seem to get back in the swing of things. I really need to start playing the lottery more cause work is seriously cramping my reading time. Which reminds me of my favorite Twilight Zone episode, "Time Enough at Last." It's about a man named Henry Bemis who works in a bank but all he really wants to do is read. On his lunch break one day, he sneaks into the vault so he can read in peace for awhile. Upon leaving he discovers the world has been pretty much destroyed by a bomb. He wanders for awhile until he stumbles upon the remains of a library. Joy!! He spends a crazy amount of time sorting and salvaging the books and is just thrilled because he finally has "time enough at last" to read all the books his heart desires. And then the unthinkable he's about to sit down and start reading, his glasses fall and shatter leaving him unable to see.
Gets me every time I think about it.

Anyway, hoping to finish up The Summoning tonight (I am really loving this book) and trying to figure put what to read next...Madapple (which came today!) or Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver...

From Amazon's website....

What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: the world's most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.

Instead, it turns out to be her last.

Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.
Before I Fall Pictures, Images and Photos

Both sound like they will be amazing!

Oh, and this came today as well....

Graphic novel Pictures, Images and Photos

The art work is GORGEOUS plus I am a HUGE fan of graphic novels so I'm really looking forward to reading this one!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Just ordered this...

No idea how I made it through the past week without ordering any new books (having all your mad money go into buying your daughter a car can influence your shopping habits a bit I suppose) but I caved today and bought this...

madapple Pictures, Images and Photos

From Booklist
*Starred Review* Aslaug lives in isolation; the flowers and plants that her mother, Maren, uses to make their lives possible are more real to her than the outside world. Then Maren dies, and Aslaug makes her way to the nearby Maine town, where she finds her aunt Sara and teenage cousins Susanne and Rune. Aslaug hopes they will have a clue to her father’s identity; she learns, as readers already have, that Maren proclaimed Aslaug a virgin birth. Aunt Sara, a charismatic preacher, wants none of this. But Susanne, enthralled with the writings of esoteric religionists and pagans, believes this is a possibility, while Rune is just enthralled with Aslaug herself. Then Aslaug finds herself pregnant, and divine intervention is once more a possibility. Plot summary does little justice to this haunting book, which is as much mysticism as it is story. Meldrum plunges deeply into the nature of reality. She uses language in a particularly arresting way, with the leaves and petals of the plants that are so much a part of Aslaug’s life shimmering over the pages. If all this wasn’t satisfaction enough, Meldrum, a litigator, mixes faith and science with a solid mystery, told in the transcripts of a trial in which Aslaug is the defendant. There is much to ponder in this enthralling achievement from a debut author. Grades 9-12. --Ilene Cooper

Fallen by Lauren Kate

fallen | lauren kate Pictures, Images and Photos

Let me start off with what I loved about this book. First of all, the cover is absolutely gorgeous and yes, that's important to me. Side note...I recently ordered a used copy of Wicked Lovely, thinking I could save a few bucks since I just bought my munchkin a car...EX-PEN-SIVE. Book arrived WITHOUT the dustjacket. Ya. I can't even read it. Gonna have to order a brand new copy and not make THAT mistake again. Uh huh, I know I'm a little crazy.
Anyway, back to what I loved about this book. There were many scenes that played out like a movie in my head, especially the last 100 or so pages. Big, dramatic gothic moments that kept my visualization skills on overtime and I loved every second of it.
And as far as characters go, I would have to say Cam was my favorite even though he wasn't the love interest of the story. He wasn't easy to figure out and had (And STILL has) a wonderful air of mystery about him. I want to know more about him, what makes him tick and what choices got him to where he is and where his decisions will ultimately take him.
The things I love about Cam kinda lead me to the things about this book that I DIDN'T love. Luce and Daniel, the main characters, just weren't that interesting to me. As a matter of fact, they kinda fell flat. I also have to admit the first 200 pages of this book went really slow for me. Not enough happened in the first half that was all that interesting. Luckily the last half more than made up for it with lots of action and, like I mentioned before, scenes that played out just beautifully in my imagination.
All in all, an enjoyable read and I am definitely looking forward to the next installment.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

elsewhere by zevin Pictures, Images and Photos

It's 12:37 AM. This book was delivered today, I started reading it at 9:30 PM, I finished it 7 minutes ago.


The most beautiful, lyrical, poignant story of an afterlife that I have ever read. Liz, the main character in the book, dies in a traffic accident shortly before her 16th birthday and awakens to find herself on a cruise ship to Elsewhere. Once there, she learns that she will age...backwards...until she is sent off as a baby to be born into a new life.

The story of who she meets, how she chooses to live the rest of her "life," what happens to the folks back home, and even the roles our pets play holds you until the very end. And along the way you are hit...hard...with the knowledge and awareness of what an amazing gift and beautiful mess our time here on Earth truly is.

Read this book.

Monday, March 8, 2010


4 Fangs outta can really sink your teeth into this book!

Catherine Fisher does an amazing job of creating a whole new world right down to whole new words. Can't wait to read the sequel as I am sure there are still secrets and mysteries to be revealed!

Bram Stoker's Dracula

As a fan of vampires, I figured it was high time I dove in and read this classic. I was expecting heavy awkward Shakespearean type language...WRONG! I'm 40 pages in and excited to say it is a compelling read and the words just flow! And we are talking classic gothic mood here....full moon legends, creepy castle on the cliff, a terrifying late night carriage ride, howling wolves...oh how I love it!

Things that have surprised me so far...

Dracula had a moustache!
Dracula had hairy palms!

I am now of course dying to watch Dracula movies and compare them to the book. Course I'll wait until I'm done :)

Have you read this classic?
What's your favorite Dracula movie?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I Love YA...

And let me tell you why...

I guess I should clarify everything by saying I read all kinds of books, Stephen King is my favorite author and I followed Oprah's book club suggestions like The Holy Grail. But lately I find myself oohing and ahhing more over YA books than anything else. I LOVE tales of the supernatural and there is just SO much to choose from in the teen aisle these days. From werewolves to vampires to fairies, it's all there. But how did I get to that aisle in the first place??? No, I'm not a Twi Mom (I must confess, I've never read the series!)....what I AM is a fan of fantasy and science fiction. However I was getting increasingly frustrated by the books crowding that section at the bookstore. Nearly EVERY book seemed to be about some woman deep in vampire romance. And I tried to get into them, really I did. But it seemed like story was constantly being sacrificed for page after page of sex. Sex that seemed to be written for women who just ain't gettin' any. I read that stuff when I was a teenager and it was EXCITING! FORBIDDEN! But I really don't need my books to read like letters to Forum...
Simply put, I like story. And YA delivers.
So HOW did I make the jump?? The book Beautiful Creatures (by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl) was featured on Amazon one day and it sounded yummy! My munchkin got it for me for Christmas (I might have dropped a hint or two!) and I was not disappointed...and my love affair with YA began....