Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

Title: Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac
Author: Gabrielle Zevin

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR);
Published: First Edition edition (August 21, 2007)
ISBN-10: 0374349460
ISBN-13: 978-0374349462
If Naomi had picked tails, she would have won the coin toss. She wouldn’t have had to go back for the yearbook camera, and she wouldn’t have hit her head on the steps. She wouldn’t have woken up in an ambulance with amnesia. She certainly would have remembered her boyfriend, Ace. She might even have remembered why she fell in love with him in the first place. She would understand why her best friend, Will, keeps calling her “Chief.” She’d know about her mom’s new family. She’d know about her dad’s fiancĂ©e. She never would have met James, the boy with the questionable past and the even fuzzier future, who tells her he once wanted to kiss her. She wouldn’t have wanted to kiss him back.

But Naomi picked heads.

After her remarkable debut, Gabrielle Zevin has crafted an imaginative second novel all about love and second chances.

Review:

Before you read my review you should be forewarned that it is based off an Advanced Reader's Copy and some things may have changed and/or been fixed.

This book definitely had its moments of brilliance. One of the things I enjoyed the most was that it was realistic in the relationships and development of the characters. They were all flawed in their own ways and sometimes they try to make excuses for themselves but not one of them sees giving up on others as the ultimate solution to their problems. What I mean is, that they don't give up on trying to improve the relationship they have with the people in their lives. It's also not one those you-know-everything-will-turn-out-alright type of books. It's unputdownable in the sense that you don't know what's going to happen but you want to know till the point where you could easily finish the novel in one sitting.

The writing was one of the issues I couldn't get past while reading the book because in the beginning it was really bland which sort of correlated with the main character's predicament and main theme of the book but it didn't excuse its distant tone. Also there were hints that the main character, Naomi, was talking to the read in the "I was" portion of the novel as if telling her story about the on-set of her amnesia. However, there was no real mention of it later on in the latter two portions of the book. And in the general middle portion of the book, there was a point where I seriously considered just skimming the rest of the book because the plot was boring me and I wasn't fully immersed in the romantic relationship Naomi and James shared.

Overall, I'd say this was a just a tad bit more than a decent read.

C+

LiLi

Monday, July 15, 2013

Kindle Fire Giveaway

Kindle Summer

This is a joint AUTHOR & BLOGGER GIVEAWAY EVENT!

Bloggers & Authors have joined together and each chipped in a little money towards a Kindle Fire HD 7".


Kindle Fire HD 7" Giveaway
The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HD (US Only)


Or $199 Amazon.com Gift Card (International)


Or $199 in Paypal Cash (International)


Sponsoring Bloggers & Authors

  1. I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
  2. Feed Your Reader
  3. New Adult Addiction
  4. Jessabella Reads
  5. The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Somthing Year Old Girl
  6. Books Unhinged by StacyHgg
  7. S.A. Larsen - Writer's Ally
  8. Author Inger Iverson
  9. The Geeky Gamers
  10. annakyss
  11. Everyday Word Magic
  12. Candance's Book Blog
  13. Page Flipperz
  14. SMI Book Club
  15. Laurie Here
  16. Feed Your Fiction Addiction
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  18. The Book Bellas
  19. Please Don't Remove MarGreat's Glasses
  20. Author Jennifer Laurens
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  23. Young Adult Novel Reader
  24. Author Heather Bixler
  25. Literary Meanderings
  26. Suspense Author Kim Cresswell
  27. Mother Daughter & Son Book Review
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  30. Author Camelia Miron Skiba
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  34. Curling Up with A Good Book
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  40. Turning Pages
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  46. Sher A Hart: Written Art
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  48. Word to Dreams
  49. Buku-Buku Didi
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Giveaway Details

1 winner will receive their choice of a Kindle Fire 7" HD (US Only), $199 Amazon Gift Card or $199 in Paypal Cash (International).

There is a second separate giveaway for bloggers who post this giveaway on their blog. See details in the rafflecopter on how to enter to win the 2nd Kindle Fire.

Sponsor a future Kindle Fire Giveaway by signing up HERE.

Ends 8/15/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.



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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Death and the Girl Next Door (Darklight, #1) by Darynda Jones

Title: Death and the Girl Next Door
Author: Darynda Jones
Series: Darklight, #1

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance

Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: October 2, 2012
ISBN-10: 0312625200
ISBN-13: 978-0312625207
Things get turned upside down for sophomore Lorelei MacAlister when the Angel of Death starts high school in her small town. What she doesn’t know is that she has been slated to die. It’s simply her time. And Death has been sent to do the deed. But when he touches her, when he peers into her eyes and reaches into her heart, he realizes she is more than what he was led to believe, and he disobeys his orders. He brings her back from the brink of death when he was supposed to push her into it. Because of this, he gets trapped on this plane. And that’s when all hell breaks loose. Literally.

Goodreads I Amazon
Review:

Characters:
Lorelei is a firecracker as her auburn hair stereotypically suggests. Though in the beginning there was a bogged down version of Lorelei's feistiness because of the anniversary of her parents' disappearance, there's still some of her witty, and sassy self to hook you into the narrative. She does have a tendency to rely on others more when she is in any way hurting or emotionally distraught, but as the story progressed I could see an independence and motivation to discover the secrets behind her abilities and an internal strength that grew in the face of conflict.

Casey and Brooklyn, a.k.a. Glitch and Brooke, are crazy supportive when it comes to their best friend Lorelei and are absolutely amazing BFFs. They go above and beyond to make sure Lorelei is protected as she breaks into new territory concerning her abilities and also help her discover new information about their crazy and unbelievable situation.

Jared is one of the first characters introduced in the book, as being a powerful being who can slay monsters in one of Lorelei's visions. He is portrayed as a "supernova" among other males, making his physical appearance out of this world in good looks. His tall, muscular presence attracts Lorelei magnetically and they seem to share a bond. While I wouldn't say the romance between them started instantaneously, there didn't seem to be much getting to know each other before they couldn't live without the other.

Cameron was initially one of those characters that got under my skin because he fell under one of my bookish pet peeves. He started stalking Lorelei for a reason unknown, then proceeded to pick fights with Jared--though Jared wasn't opposed--and then he would make comments about Lorelei's inability to understand the situation going on around her. The problem I had with Cameron dealt more with the latter. Sometimes, in YA books, there seems to be a character that serves no other purpose in the novel except to antagonize the main character with passive aggressive comments about how they couldn't possibly know what was happening around them, and instead of giving the protagonist a hint of what's going on, they instead  think it is more productive to badger them with verbal insults and provocations. It makes my blood boil.

It wasn't until the halfway point of the book that we got to learn any real information concerning these two battling forces that seemed to be at each other's throat with just the drop of a hat. That was yet another question unanswered till further in: Why did Jared and Cameron hate each other so much?

Plot:
The plot of Death and the Girl Next Door is the biggest issue I have with the book. In the first half there were too many instances where Lorelei was more of an observer than an actual participant in the ensuing chaos. Again, not until the halfway point, was there any real role for her to play besides the grieving orphaned daughter that's dealing with her parents' mysterious disappearance. To not go into too much detail, there were certain parts where Jared and Cameron were bickering and started revealing things about each other just to get the other fired up. These tidbits they were spewing was the only informative way to really get any straight answers about their purpose and underlying motives. Well, something is revealed about Jared and when his role is explained, it was too convenient of a description. It's hard to explain without spoilers but I'll say this much, if all it took was a prayer from a faithful person then I think his job would be way more complex then it is actually portrayed.There was also a lack of cohesion when it came to seamlessly tie in one event to another, it felt like watching choppy jump cuts in a video.

Because of all the explanation about Jared's character and Cameron's stupid brooding self, there's a lot to be desired when it comes to the main character. I would even go so far as to say that the romance is given a prominent role than Lorelei. I just wish there was more sustenance to her character and her desires than just wanting to kiss Jared. While the ending was more than informative and cathartic for Lorelei, it didn't fully let the new discoveries sink in before the book was finished.

Writing:
The writing is one of the lighter and addictive aspects that kept me reading and engaged. I greatly enjoy the author's writing because the narrative as well as the dialogue have a fluidity that pushes you to read the next chapter when you had originally planned a break two chapters ago. The book's setting is Riley's Switch, New Mexico which feeds my weird craving of wanting to go to a desert or really boiling state as a vacation. I'm not sure if that's something I'll ever pursue but whenever I read books that take place in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, or Nevada, I relate to them more--since I live in Florida--than I would if I read a book with a more seasonal setting.

While the writing is not complex or particularly suspenseful, it does provide enough descriptive technique, active voice, and an overall thrill to attract readers into finishing the novel and wanting to know what's going to happen next. 

C+

Source: Bought

LiLi

Friday, April 19, 2013

Persuasion by Jane Austen

Title: Persuasion
Author: Jane Austen

Genre: Historical, Romance, Classic

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Modern Library
Publication Date: June 12, 2001
(first published December 1817)
ISBN-10: 0375757295
ISBN-13: 978-0375757297
In the novel, Anne Elliot, the heroine Austen called 'almost too good for me,' has let herself be persuaded not to marry Frederick Wentworth, a fine and attractive man without means. Eight years later, Captain Wentworth returns from the Napoleonic Wars with a triumphant naval career behind him, a substantial fortune to his name, and an eagerness to wed. Austen explores the complexities of human relationships as they change over time.

Persuasion is the last work of one of the greatest of novelists, the end of a quiet career pursued in anonymity in rural England that produced novels which continue to give pleasure to millions of readers throughout the world.

Review:

Loved it more than Pride & Prejudice. (Granted, I will probably re-read it since I loved Persuasion so much but overall, I think this one, being her last published novel, was more refined in its writing.)

Anne Elliot is the middle child, sister of Elizabeth and Mary, daughter of Sir Walter Elliot. When Anne was nineteen years old, she was engaged to a sailor known as Frederick Wentworth, who, according to her family and dear friend Lady Russell, was not good enough for her--in wealth or status. Anne, being the timid flower she was at nineteen, was persuaded finally by Lady Russell not to go through with the marriage, utterly devastating Mr. Wentworth. Now, it's almost eight years later, and Anne's family is experiencing some financial trouble and have decided to let their house to an Admiral Croft and his wife, sister of a Captain Wentworth, while Anne and her family are supposed to move to Bath for the time being.

The plot begins from there and Anne is slightly derailed from going directly to Bath with her sister and Father by her younger, married and attention-seeking sister Mary Musgrove who has caught one of her frequent ill-spells. From Mary's husband's family, the Musgroves, Anne soon learns that the past eight years that have sort of wrecked her life physically and outwardly will come to a peak because Captain Wentworth has been expressly invited by the Musgroves to talk about their lost son who was one of the sailors on the Captain's ship years ago.

As Anne confronts the reality that is her successful and still unbelievably charming ex-fiancĂ©, she questions the possibility that she could have been wrong in being persuaded not to marry him. It's with the help of the fantastic motley crew of characters that Austen constructed for this book that Anne can fully appreciate and thoroughly analyze her personal development theses past eight years. With the characters, I couldn't help comparing some to those in Pride & Prejudice, especially Mr. Elliot, heir to Sir Walter Elliot and Anne's cousin. I was constantly questioning whether he was going to be the Mr. Collins or Mr. Wickham of Persuasion. The Captain and Anne made for a very different pairing than Elizabeth and Darcy. Where Elizabeth is all pride and defiance, Anne is timid and docile.  Where Darcy is stoic and rigid, Captain Wentworth is social and confident. I enjoyed the fact that Austen kind of revisited old territory where the antagonist in this book is concerned but I mostly could not get enough of the new diverse characters and their corresponding background stories.

As I said before, this time around Austen's writing was more refreshingly understandable and cohesive than when I first attempted one of her novels. I don't know if it was better editing or what but when I had to put the book down I couldn't wait to pick it back up and continue with the story. Mainly that and the characters was the allure for me.

I'd say the only negative about Persuasion was the lack of deserved reproval of Anne's mutable and impressionable decisions when she was nineteen. Although she sort of acknowledged Lady Russell's influence and accepted her warning as a way of protecting Anne from some MIGHT-BE-HORRIBLE future, I think she should have been more conscious of how her family and friend were dictating how she should live her life. It came off as uncaring and gave the message that even though a woman rejects a man, if she wants to be with him again, she can just blame it on the circumstances at the time and not her own decisions.

However, overall, I have to give this book a high rating because I loved everything else so much that I could look past that flaw. It really was an awesome build-up to the romance and I liked how the antagonist's arc was handled and how the truth about them was revealed as well. Majorly recommended to read if you haven't read anything by Austen yet.

A

Source: Library

LiLi

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

An Inquiry into Love and Death by Simone St. James

Title: An Inquiry Into Love and Death
Author: Simone St. James

Genre: Historical, Thriller, Paranormal

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: NAL Trade
Publication Date: March 5, 2013
ISBN-10: 0451239253
ISBN-13: 978-0451239259
After her uncle Toby, a renowned ghost hunter, is killed in a fall off a cliff, Oxford student Jillian Leigh must rive to the seaside village of Rothewell to pack up his belongings. Almost immediately, unsettling incidents - a book left in a cold stove, a gate swinging open on its own - escalate into terrifying events that convince Jillian an angry spirit is trying to enter the house and is haunting the woods around Blood Moon Bay. If Toby discovered something sinister during his investigations, was his death no accident?

The arrival of handsome Scotland Yard inspector Drew Merriken leaves Jillian with more questions than answers - and with the added complication of a powerful mutual attraction. She suspects someone will do anything to hide the truth and begins to discover secrets that lie deep within Rothewell... and at the very heart of who she is.

Review:

This is one of those murder mysteries that keeps you guessing till the very end. I had my suspicions about everybody in Rothewell, much like the oh so fleetingly handsome Inspector Merriken, but I can't say I predicted any of the events that took place as the pieces of the puzzle were coming together.

In the early 1920s, outside London, in a small town known as Rothewell, a legendary ghost has haunted the people of the town for decades and has been known to cause quite the spook on travelers who decide to reside in Barrow House.

Jillian Leigh thought taking care of her eccentric Uncle's things after his untimely death would be an undoubtedly quick process. When she learned it would be quite the opposite, her ghost-hunting uncle soon became the least of her worries, because the circumstances in which he died came into question as the Scotland Yard Inspector seems to believe it was something more than a simple fall.

Of all things, the plot and the writing were the elements that attracted me most and hooked me from the very beginning. The plot itself was so different from the genre of books I usually read that I was amazed how well it was thoroughly executed. The thrill and suspense was flying off the pages and I was intrigued and mesmerized while scared out of my socks. The legend of Walking John had a history so dynamically crafted, I sympathized with him when I read the circumstances of his death. It was brilliant. Rothewell was teeming with ghosts yet it was described as such a beautifully haunting town that I got chills while I would have liked to see the defiant waves of Blood Moon Bay. The thrill of learning just pieces of what really occurred while Jillian's uncle Toby visited Rothewell added to the overall mystery and drama of what was later to be revealed and discovered.

The writing blew my breath away with the amount of detail the author added about World War I and its affect on England and its Royal Navy soldiers that seemed to occupy every corner of Rothewell. It was due to this solid background that the author was able to seamlessly incorporate so many different portrayals of the war yet combine them all to convey the impact it had on the men of the time.

Jillian was my undoubtedly favorite character because of her, as Drew Merriken calls it, her "infernal intelligence." She makes brilliant leaps with all the information that she collects and its impossible to not to able to see why she decided to attend Oxford, rather than become a married homebody like Mrs. Kates. It's also her reactions that made me admire her. She was able to confront the most challenging and trying of situations and figure out with a rational head what to do next. The insatiable Inspector Andrew Merriken seemed to be one of those "situations" as most love interests tend to be in books these days. His blunt demeanor took some adjusting to but I could understand his reasoning for suspecting everyone of everything. One of my favorite quotes by him has to be when he's explaining to Jillian why he is how he is, as he simply says, "But that is why you are you and I am me." True, it's a bit condescending in a I'm-a-cop-and-you're-a-civilian way, but it just sums up his character in a nutshell.

While I do admit that An Inquiry Into Love and Death is more of an Adult novel with crossover YA appeal, it does not stop me from forcing it upon my high school friends and demanding that they read it and discuss it with me. I'm just that giving.

A

Source: Publisher via Netgalley

LiLi
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