Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Cover Love...#2

It's time for another round of books that I'd read...well, just because they look pretty.

This cover reminds me of my copy of The Adoration of Jenna Fox (which I really liked). That, and the sentence on top that's a slight twist on the story we've all been told, made me put it on my to-read list IMMEDIATELY!

No other reason than just sheer gorgeousness!

This one I've been wanting to read for a while. There's something about the cover...it shows you that something has happened, but hints that's there's so much more to the story.


Sunday, 24 June 2012

Review: Moonglass by Jessi Kirby

(image and summary from goodreads)

From Jessi Kirby, a debut novel about confronting the past in order to move ahead.

I read once that water is a symbol for emotions. And for a while now, I've thought maybe my mother drowned in both.

Anna's life is upended when her father accepts a job transfer the summer before her junior year. It's bad enough that she has to leave her friends and her life behind, but her dad is moving them to the beach where her parents first met and fell in love- a place awash in memories that Anna would just as soon leave under the surface.

While life on the beach is pretty great, with ocean views and one adorable lifeguard in particular, there are also family secrets that were buried along the shore years ago. And the ebb and flow of the ocean's tide means that nothing- not the sea glass that she collects on the sand and not the truths behind Anna's mother's death- stays buried forever.

My thoughts:
This was a lovely little debut novel. I say little because it was shorter than what I would've liked, but having said that, I am glad the author didn't add on unnecessary parts just to lengthen the story. 

In Moonglass, we view life through the eyes of Anna, a girl who is packing up and moving (with her father) to the place where her parents first met. From the onset, we get the idea that Anna has never quite got over her mother's suicide (while this word is never used, this fact is no spoiler; there is constant mention of Anna's mother walking into the sea and not coming back). While she has been living on the same stretch of beach that her mother walked last, the idea of moving to a place where her parents were happier is not something Anna is looking forward to. Throw in a new school with unfamiliar faces and a host of young lifeguards who while appealing, have been given strict instructions to stay away from her, seeing as how her dad is their boss, and you all but feel Anna's loneliness and insecurity. Of course, if that were the case, we wouldn't have a story, would we?

Firstly, what I wouldn't give to have the view Anna does...walking distance from the beach , lulled to sleep by the sound of waves crashing on the shore...it does seem like its own form of paradise. Secondly, I always like stories where the supporting characters have stories of their own and don't just function to make our MC look like less of a loner. This is the case with Jillian, who starts out as a prospective rival, and ends up in quite a contrasting role. My regrets are that Ashley and especially Tyler were not given enough time to stand out, as their presence did have a big impact on the story, and helped us connect nore with Anna's less sullen side.

Now, off to find a copy of Ms Kirby's sophomore novel, In Honor, which I put on my to-read list even before reading Moonglass!

Monday, 11 June 2012

Review: Crazy by Amy Reed

(image and summary from goodreads)

Connor knows that Izzy will never fall in love with him the way he’s fallen for her. But somehow he’s been let into her crazy, exhilarating world and become her closest confidante. But the closer they get, the more Connor realizes that Izzy’s highs are too high and her lows are too low. And the frenetic energy that makes her shine is starting to push her into a much darker place.

As Izzy’s behavior gets increasingly erratic and self-destructive, Connor gets increasingly desperate to stop her from plummeting. He knows he can’t save her from her pain... but what if no one else can?

My thoughts:
I haven't read many books that are from the point of view of the bystander. This book, written in emails and chats (which I love) is about a teen's struggle with bipolar disorder, and her friend's determination to help her, even when she repeatedly turns him away. I've always thought that many people are forced to endure mental illness without being diagnosed because of the stigma attached to anything remotely related. Mental illness is a genuine health problem, and this book is an interesting way to learn the basics, through both the main character and her friend. 

I have never read anything by Amy Reed prior to this, but I'm definitely going to now.

(eARC courtesy of Simon & Schuster Galley Grab, which I hear is now defunct)

Monday, 4 June 2012

Review: If I Tell by Janet Gurtler

(image and summary from goodreads)

Jasmine Evans knows one thing for sure... people make mistakes. After all, she is one. Jaz is the result of a one night stand between a black football player and a blonde princess. Having a young mother who didn't raise her, a father who wants nothing to do with her and living in a small-minded town where she's never fit in hasn't been easy. But she's been surviving. Until she sees her mom's new boyfriend making out with her own best friend. When do you forgive people for being human or give up on them forever?

My thoughts:
For some reason, the main character in this story resonated with me. No, I'm not biracial like she was, nor am I dealing with insecurities due to my heritage like she is. But I understand her need to rely only on herself and to turn inward in times of trouble, as well as find it difficult to accept help from others. While she did come across as annoying from time to time, I had to remind myself that she was a teenager, and like all others, is still on a process of self discovery. There were some great supporting characters as well, namely Ashley (the one who never gives up), Jackson (the new swoon-worthy bad boy) and even Lacey (she may have her faults, but we get an insight into why she acts the way she does). 

One other point to highlight is the element of racial prejudice. Cross culture marriages are becoming increasingly common, and it was interesting to note how not everyone is open to the idea, though by the look of it, they are quietly embarased about their behavior (if one makes a comment and does not want to repeat it out loud, I take this to mean he/she is embarassed about said comment-cue nurse in the hospital). 

This book is by no means perfect, but it is right up there with some of the good ones I've read. 
Janet Gurtler is one to watch, and I'm looking forward to reading more of her work.

1. A lead character you can emphathize with.
2. Interesting suporting characters, with their individual back stories.
3. An insight into postpartum depression - in my opinion, a highly dangerous and underpublicized medical condition.
4. A slow blossoming romance - none of that I-knew-you-were-the-one-for-me-the-second-I-saw-you nonsense. 

1. Slightly rushed towards the end.

(eARC courtesy of NetGalley)