Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Prodigy by Marie Lu. Reviewed from ARC.

I enjoyed the romp that was Legend, the first book in this series, so I eagerly picked up this advance uncorrected galley. For a galley, it is fancy--alternating colors for the  chapters.  June's story is in normal black font, while Day's chapters are in blue.

June isn't sure who to trust now.  She can't trust the Republic--they killed her family. But she isn't sure if she can trust the Patriots, either.  June and Day are at the mercy of the Patriots though after their escape from the Republic. Both are wanted criminals and being hunted.  With the help of some Patriot leaders, they create a plot to kill the new Elector of the Republic, but, of course, nothing is as simple as it seems.  There are traitors among the Patriots AND the Republic.

Exciting, fast read for lovers of dystopias, romance, and action. I wasn't thrilled with the "No, June, we can't love each other" ending, but I'm sure that will be resolved in the third book of the series, Champion, due out in 2014.

Seriously, I'm Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres, Read by the Author

Ellen is funny, so I knew I would laugh a bit during this audiobook. And I did.  No real plot here--just lots of advice and life pondering. And laughs!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Scowler by Daniel Kraus

Reviewed from ARC received at ALA Midwinter.

I finished this days ago and I keep putting off blogging about it. Why? I prefer to not dredge up the ugliness of this book. And I mean ugly as in psychotherapy might be needed if I read it again.....

Nineteen-year-old Ry and his family are trying to recover from the nightmare that is his father. Marvin Burke is in prison for beating, abusing, and doing unspeakable things to his family members.  Now the terror is back.

I don't want to give away any plot details (which had me reading this book late into the night), but let's just say that this book is gripping, scarier than hell, and perfect for teens/adults who want to be freaked out.

Wonder Struck by Brian Selznick

I still feel bad for giving The Invention of Hugo Cabret a 5P and 5Q for my review in VOYA, but I'm going to blame it on the fact that I reviewed the ARC with unfinished drawings.

So I went into this novel expecting a good one and I wasn't disappointed.  Selznick tells two different stories--one in prose and one in pictures.  Rose is the deaf daughter of a silent movie star. She's shunned by her mother because deaf people "can't survive in the city."  Fifty years later, Ben loses his mother, and, after being struck by lightning, is deaf in both ears. He escapes to NYC to track down his father.

Of course, the two stories run together eventually, and it's a sweet tale of acceptance, friendship, and family.

Recommended for grades 3+

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, Read by Libba Bray

I can handle a little snark, but I had a hard time dealing with TOTAL snark and little plot in this one. I admire Bray as a writer, but I really wanted to stop listening to these CDs. She's a great reader, but I had no idea what was going to happen to these beauty queens on an island and I really didn't care.  The reader kinda knows that a feminist enlightenment is going to happen to them, and, even with the snark, I felt that our culture problems were being thrown in my face.  I'm always impressed with subtlety, which wasn't present here. However, I could see an English teacher reading a paragraph or two to demonstrate satire.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Pure by Julianna Baggott

2013 Alex Award Winner!

Another book/movie about a dome.....

but this one is worth reading!

Pressia is outside the dome, forced to live with a doll fused into her hand. The detonations ruined life on Earth--humans are fused with objects or other people and sometimes are barely human.

Partridge is a privileged boy inside the Dome who dreams of finding his mother who is still outside. He's been upgraded, trained, and is physically pure--no defects are allowed inside the Dome.

The last communication between the Inside and Outside was:

We know you are here, our brothers and sisters.
We will, one day, emerge from the Dome
to join you in peace.
For now, we watch from afar, benevolently.

The Pures inside the Dome aren't perfect. In fact, they may have set off the Detonations themselves. Pressia and Partridge are thrown together in an often violent adventure to find answers about their parents and their governments. I really can't do this book justice in a review, but I can't wait for the second book in the series!

Recommended for fans of scifi, dystopia, Hunger Games

Monday, March 4, 2013

To Whisper Her Name by Tamera Alexander

Sometimes I need to read books like this one--sweet, slow historical fiction. I grew up reading Christian historical fiction in my church library (think Janette Oke). I don't read much Christian fiction anymore, but I'm not sure why. It's not all preachy and in-your-face. This book is an example of great historical fiction that just happens to be published by a Christian publisher.

Olivia is shunned by all of Nashville when her husband is found to be a traitor to the Confederacy. She is lucky to move to Belle Meade Plantation, where an old friend of her mother's takes pity on her. Olivia isn't sure what her plan in life is--she wants to teach, but can't even go to church without being shunned. Her benefactor believes a marriage to a respectable gentleman from out of town would solve all her problems, but Olivia is finished allowing others to make the important decisions in her life.

Yes, there is romance between Olivia and a hunky horse foreman. And lots of feminist girl power, too. And pretty dresses. Don't hate me for loving this book.

Let's Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson. Read by the author.

Ahh, finally there is proof that there is someone out there crazier than me! I think that's why I've been on a memoir kick lately....

I never had read Jenny Lawson's blog and this won't draw me to her (I'll stick with librarians and tech people in my Google Reader), but I did love her writing style.  She's had some crazy family experiences and she isn't shy with sharing her own experiences with anxiety, miscarriages, and just being plain difficult to get along with. I laughed and cried right along with her.

Best part? The dressing up of dead animals. And the chapter titles were sung. Badly.  Worst part? The beginning of the audiobook where she keeps talking to the listener--just tell your story, okay?