Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Books I'm waiting for...#4

Coming to terms with an event you can't remember? I foresee tears while reading this, but will that stop me? Absolutely not. 

On The Fringe sounds just 'otherworldly' enough to keep me on my toes.

How do you fight an enemy in your own home?

Monday, 28 May 2012

Review: Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti

(image from goodreads)

I have always felt that in fiction, authors reveal just as much about themselves as they do their characters, though you often have to read between the lines to figure this out. It was clear to me from the get-go that the author could relate to some of the incidences in her story because she probably dealt with some form of bullying during her teen years as well. 

This was a pretty short book but it packed a punch, dealing with an issue that is constantly in the news these days - bullying. The main character is the subject of much abuse by her peers due to the fact that she is 'poor' when compared to them. While bullying is the main topic, the story covers other important issues such as child neglect and peer pressure. One of the things that I loved most about this book is that at least one supporting character had a back story of her own, instead of merely serving as a 'prop' to the MC.

While not my favourite book by Susane Colasanti, I appreciate the fact that she tackled an all-important issue, and I look forward to what she has in store for her readers next.

(eARC courtesy of NetGalley)

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Review: A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson

(image from goodreads)

I didn't expect this book to be quite so uplifting!

Set in 1912 (and no, it has nothing to do with the Titanic), the story centres around Harriet, a bright, sprightly and altogether sweet young lady, who through some cosmic mistake, was born into quite possibly the dreariest home in Cambridge. Her stuffy professor of a father and scrooge of an aunt allow her only one delight - ballet. When a visiting ballet master offers her a job - dancing at the famed Manaus opera house in South America, Harriet seizes the opportunity and runs away with the company. However, her love of dance is not the only reason for her escape. While on a visit to Stavely manor, Harriet chances upon the heir of Stavely, a precocious lad who asks for her help in seeking out 'the boy', a young man who walked away from Stavely years ago, and has not been heard of again. 

Part romance and part adventure with a whole lot of unexpected humour thrown in, A Company of Swans is a book I will undoubtedly read again and again.

P.S. Dare I say that Romain Verney is the ultimate YA love interest? Though he may be a little older than other YA leads, still, what's not to love about a boy who will don a multitude of disguises to rescue the woman he loves?

P.P.S. Anyone else think this would make a great movie?

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Review: What I Didn't Say by Keary Taylor

(image from goodreads)

I love books that make me ask myself the 'what if' question. In this case, it was 'what if I lose the ability to speak?' 

Our protagonist Jake is just like any other teenager - he's carefree, full of hope for the future and pretty much takes for granted everything he has. Then he is involved in a car accident, and life will never be the same. The permanent damage to his vocal cords ensures that he will never utter a single word, or sound, ever again. 
From this moment on, Jake has to make a choice - learn to live without a voice, 
or not live at all? 

His biggest regret? Not telling the girl he loves how he really felt about her. Samantha was a lovely supporting character for our lead. Not only does she help him deal with his frustrations, but she doesn't allow to him to feel sorry for himself either, not when he has such a supportive family and friends that he didn't even know he had. 

I did feel like this book was written for a younger audience, in the sense that the writing was relatively simple. Nonetheless, it is a great story about coming to terms with loss, realising all the ways you are blessed and learning to speak without saying a word.

(ARC courtesy of NetGalley)

Monday, 14 May 2012

Review: One Moment by Kristina McBride

(image from goodreads)

This book was one that I had been looking forward to since the cover art was revealed. While the plot seems vaguely familiar (a death followed by the grieving process), 
the story turned out to be anything but. 

The protagonist, Maggie, is dealing with two horrific incidents at the same time; her boyfriend Joey has died, and she cannot recall a single moment of his last minutes despite being the only witness to them. Throw in a police investigation into Joey's death, a secretive best friend and her own overwhelming guilt over not being able to remember significant details, and the stage is set for a great book. 

We as readers have the opportunity to glimpse inside Maggie's mind, as she not only recalls the events of that terrible day, but learns things about the boy she thought she knew, but may as well have been a complete stranger. 

I haven't read anything else by Kristina McBride, but I sure am going to after reading this one.

Thanks NetGalley!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Cover Love...#1

Occasionally I do the unthinkable and put a book on my to-read list merely because I fell in love with its cover. Here are a few that I'm dying to read.
(I know, I know, I have another category for these, but how could I resist?)

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Review: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

(image from goodreads)

I always find that it is the books I love most that I struggle to write reviews for. Perhaps in some way I feel that the author did such a good job with words that any attempt by me would be 
significantly below par.

Graceling is definitely one of my favourite books. Reading it again in anticipation of the 3rd book in the series (Bitterblue), I find that my feelings during the second read are unchanged from that of the first. I am still thoroughly enthralled by Kristin Cashore's description of the locations in the book, and am full of admiration for one of the most kick-ass heroines in YA lit. Unlike a lot of books which seem to harp on a pretty young thing who is trying to discover herself, in Graceling, we are faced by a young woman, Katsa, who having grown up with a talent she somewhat despises, is trying desperately to put it to good use and maintain a sense of self while distancing herself from those who would 
use her talents for untoward means. 

The author should also be commended for creating several strong supporting characters in Po, Raffin and Bitterblue, all of whom have the difficult task of aiding our heroine 
on her quest towards self-discovery.

I may have only just finished the book, but honestly, I can't wait to go on this journey with Katsa once again.

Review: The Wicked and the Just by J.Anderson Coats

(image from goodreads)

Wow, I'm not actually sure where I should begin. I think it's best to start by saying that J. Anderson Coats has inspired in me an interest in English-Welsh history. 

Now back to the book. The setting is beautiful, if tumultuous, and features two very distinct voices - 2 teenage girls, one the 'servant', the other her 'mistress'. What starts out and pretty much carries on as genuine mistrust and animosity does reveal, to the readers at least, 2 very similar personalities, despite their differing backgrounds. While the book takes us back to events more than 700 years ago, it's sad to say that they are not a thing of the past. Injustices, unstable political situations and oppression are very much alive in various parts of the world, even today. And as clearly depicted through the viewpoints of both girls, the tables can turn at any given moment. 

I would have liked a more conclusive ending, but then again, I'll take what I can get. The author's note on the events that took place during those turbulent times is a testament to her thorough research and helped me better understand and imagine the setting and characters.

Now off to read about the events of Michaelmas 1294!

Thanks Netgalley!