Monday, July 25, 2011

Review: Hourglass by Myra McEntire

I'm having a very difficult time explaining why I like this book so much, so it might be easier if I just made a bulleted list.

Why I liked Hourglass, in ten points.

  • It took me FOREVER to figure out that the cover image was of a girl standing on a wall. After I figured that out, I suddenly liked the cover a lot more, and felt the image was a lot more striking.

    • Basically, this whole book is like that. You start reading it, you think it's pretty nice, fairly good, a good read... and then you figure things out and it's like WHAM. It gets about three times as awesome.

      • I really loved Emerson's voice. She reminded me a lot of Evie from Paranormalcy, in the best way possible. 

        • The time travel explanation MADE SENSE.  It also didn't establish that the future is already set, which I liked.

          • Michael! This love interest is a gentleman. A rare thing to be seen in YA now, apparently. He reminded me of movie-Michael from the Princess Diaries, which is, you know, a HUGE compliment.

            • I really liked Lily. Her best-friend-ness isn't fake at all, and it seemed like the relationship between her and Emerson was completely true, without being too "We share EVERYTHING with each other!" 

              • Some twists I saw way ahead of time, but others bowled me over. One, in particular, nearly made me chuck the book across the room, but I didn't, because I needed to know what happened next.
              • Thomas and Dru were awesome characters. Like Reese in Blood Magic, they balance between well-meaning parents and understanding sibling/sibling-in-law, but it's a role that is under-appreciated in the books I've read lately. 

                • Hourglass is set in the South, yet it doesn't feel overly Gothic or drawly to me. A few books I've read that are specifically set in the South always feel too overwrought to me, but this is managed perfectly.

                  • I hesitate to compare Hourglass to The Time Traveler's Wife, but... they are similar. It isn't near as depressingly sad, but the writing is just as vivid, there's the time travel - of course - and the love story is, well, lovely.

                  Myra McEntire's blog, Facebook, and twitter.

                    Tuesday, July 19, 2011

                    Review: Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

                    Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

                    It didn't take me very long to figure out that I would like this book. First of all, the cover is GORGEOUS, and I think it fits the tone and location of the book rather well. Second, Kiersten White had a blurb on it, and since I really liked Paranormalcy, I thought I would probably like Starcrossed.

                    And I did! The characterisation is what really grabbed me. I felt like each character was a real person, fully believable despite their... abilities. The setting (Nantucket) really felt like a character of its own, and all of the descriptions -- of everything -- were perfectly spot on and I could close my eyes and feel like Helen must have felt at that moment in the story.

                    I loved loved loved the flying bits. I also really enjoyed challenging my poor summer-ified brain to figure out what famous mythological heroes the characters were named after, and Creon stumped me until five minutes after I finished the book (way past my bedtime) and was trying to fall asleep. And to think, that was a name we actually learned in school. Hm...

                    My only issue was, I never quite untangled the Delos family tree. I understand that Castor is married to Noel, and they're the parents of Luke and Cassandra, but I really struggled as to how Pandora fit in. I've also heard a lot of comparisons to Twilight, but honestly, they aren't even in the same ballpark. The relationship between Helen and Lucas felt realistic, and not at all co-dependent or obsessive.

                    Even though there have been a lot of re-done myths lately, Starcrossed is really special. The writing style was like Maggie Stiefvater crossed with Cassandra Clare with a sprinkling of Stephanie Perkins. I am very excited for the sequel, even if I do have to wait nearly a year for it. If it's anywhere near as good as Starcrossed, it will be worth the wait.

                    Josephine Angelini's blog, Facebook, twitter, and website.

                    Tuesday, July 12, 2011

                    Review: Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton

                    Format: Hardcover from local library

                    Summary from Tessa's website:
                    For Nick Pardee and Silla Kennicot, the cemetery is the center of everything.

                    Nick is a city boy angry at being forced to move back to the nowhere town of Yaleylah, Missouri where he grew up. He can’t help remembering his mom and the blood magic she practiced – memories he’s tried for five years to escape. Silla, though, doesn’t want to forget; her parents’ apparent murder-suicide left her numb and needing answers. When a book of magic spells in her dad’s handwriting appears on her doorstep, she sees her chance to unravel the mystery of their deaths.

                    Together they plunge into the world of dark magic, but when a hundred-year-old blood witch comes hunting for the bones of Silla’s parents and the spell book, Nick and Silla will have to let go of everything they believe about who they are, the nature of life and death, and the deadly secrets that hide in blood.

                    My thoughts: I originally put this book on hold because Tessa is one of Maggie Stiefvater's crit partners, and since I love Maggie's books, I figured that I would like Tessa's. I wasn't disappointed. Blood Magic is really well-written, with a couple of twists that I never saw coming.

                    On the whole, the book was excellent. There was one scene, however, that seriously grossed me out. I think that in just about any other book, this scene would have been close enough to the start of the story that I would be able to put the book down and walk away. But I wasn't able to. I did put the book down for a minute, but then I picked it back up, saying to myself, "No. This book is too good to put down just because of one ooky scene."

                    That being said, I really loved the dual narrative, which felt totally natural. I loved Silla's relationship with her brother Reese (Yay for healthy sibling relationships!), and I felt bad for Nick and his issues with his stepmother Lilith. At first, I was kind of confused as to why Lilith's name would be so obvious, but it made a certain sense that your (evil) stepmother's name would be the same as that of the mother of all demons

                    I felt that Nick and Silla's relationship progressed as naturally as you would expect it to when magic was involved, and I really liked that Nick wasn't controlling or manipulative or anything like that. He had his own problems, as did Silla, and it was nice to have the romance as an underlying plot instead of The Main Reason the story happens.

                    In short, Blood Magic is a fantastic book, and you should definitely read it. It's creepy, not enough so that it will keep you up at night, but enough that you'll be watching people's eyes very closely for a couple of days.

                    Tessa's blog, Facebook, Goodreads, twitter, and website. (There will be a companion novel, Blood Keeper, set to be published summer 2012.)

                    Saturday, July 09, 2011

                    Review: Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

                    Format: ARC won at the San Francisco this is teen event

                    Release date (hardcover): Tuesday, 12th July, 2011

                    Summary from Goodreads:  
                    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.
                    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.
                    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.

                    My thoughts: I have tried to write this review at least four times now, and everything I come up with doesn't come anywhere close to describing the sheer awesomeness of this book. 

                    Forever was everything I wanted in the conclusion to the Wolves of Mercy Falls, and it had scenes and descriptions and plot events that I never even knew I wanted. For example, Isabel doesn't like Tuesdays. Cole turns into a mad scientist. And so so many other things, including a wonderful scene with the Northern Lights that Maggie said was based on something that she did as a child.

                    You will cry while reading this book. I would advise having tissues with you for at least the last half. I cried three times in long stretches, and nearly cried a few more. But then, I laughed out loud, startling my family, more than a dozen times (and managed to stifle my laughter on five other occasions).

                    I feel as if I'm not doing the book justice at all, but trust me when I say it's awesome. And worth the wait, and heartbreaking, and exhilarating, and just plain beautiful. Basically, if you've read Shiver and Linger, you'll love Forever even more. If you aren't already planning to buy this book on the day it comes out, you need to rethink that.
                    Also, a moment (narrated by Sam) that I found particularly funny out-of-context, and wanted to share with anyone desperate for small tidbits: "In my pocket."
                    Cole looked down.
                    "I'm not wearing my pants anymore," I said.
                    Cole looked at the step. "No, you aren't."

                    Find Maggie Stiefvater on her blog, Facebook, Goodreads, twitter and website.  

                    Thursday, July 07, 2011

                    First Post

                    Hello to anyone who is reading this. I started this blog as a way to reach a wider audience when discussing books, and also to connect with other book bloggers and authors that I look up to.

                    Since this is all new to me, my reviewing style may vary wildly, but over time, I'll find a style I like, and (hopefully) stick with that.

                    Thank you so much for visiting, check back again soon!