Friday, March 26, 2010

Book Review: Wherever Nina Lies




Have you seen Nina?

Nina was beautiful, artistic, wild . . . and adored by her younger sister, Ellie. But one day, without any warning, Nina disappeared.

Two years later, Ellie can't stop thinking about her sister. Although everyone else has given up hope that Nina will return, Ellie just knows her sister is out there, somewhere. If only Ellie had a clue where to look.

And then she gets one, in the form of a mysterious drawing tucked into the pages of a book. Determined to find her sister, Ellie takes off on a crazy, sexy, cross-country road trip with the only person who believes she's got a chance -- her hot, adventurous new crush.

Along the way, Ellie finds a few things she wasn't planning on. Like love. Mysteries. Lies. And something far more shocking...the truth.


--From Goodreads


Cover Inspection:
This cover is fantastic! I love the ransom note letters and the mysterious girl.

First Thoughts:
I'm liking Ellie, I'll be rooting for her!

***

My Thoughts:
Hands down, this book is amazing. There is no other word to describe it more aptly. I read Wherever Nina Lies from cover to cover in about an hour, and then I was left with a hole to fill. I wanted more! The pacing of this story is fantastic. I was so enamored with Ellie and her journey that it just went by too quickly.

Ellie is such an intriguing main character! Humor, love, devotion, and lust are all there and in such color. I found myself wanting to find Nina just as much as Ellie did, because who wouldn't want two people with that much soul and depth wandering the planet? In fact if there were more real people like those two in the world, I do believe it would bring about world peace...lol. Okay...I'm being silly yes, but it is a great story!

The love between Ellie and Nina shines from this pages in a very palpable way and touched me deeply. It reminded me of the sister-sister bond that I share with my sibling, and that I need to keep nurturing that every single day. This book is a keeper, and now stands in my row of favorite books!

Wherever Nina Lies is an amazingly well-written story, complete with plot twists and turns. It will keep you on the "edge of your seat" so to speak. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good story. Wherever you are Lynn Weingarten...please write another book!







Book Details
Title: Wherever Nina Lies
Author: Lynn Weingarten
Publisher: Point
Pages: Hardcover; 288
Source: Won

Final Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart
[+/-] Click to see rating.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Book Review: Marked


Marked (House of Night, #1)
The House of Night series is set in a world very much like our own, except in 16-year-old Zoey Redbird's world, vampyres have always existed. In this first book in the series, Zoey enters the House of Night, a school where, after having undergone the Change, she will train to become an adult vampire--that is, if she makes it through the Change. Not all of those who are chosen do. It’s tough to begin a new life, away from her parents and friends, and on top of that, Zoey finds she is no average fledgling. She has been Marked as special by the vampyre Goddess, Nyx. But she is not the only fledgling at the House of Night with special powers. When she discovers that the leader of the Dark Daughters, the school's most elite club, is misusing her Goddess-given gifts, Zoey must look deep within herself for the courage to embrace her destiny--with a little help from her new vampyre friends.

--From Goodreads

Cover Inspection:
I don't really love this cover. It's interesting enough, but it doesn't call out to me like some others.

First Thoughts:
If all the dialogue sounds like this, I'm seriously going to go mad.

***

My Review:
Okay I will not lie, this book's writing style made me cringe and I almost put it down just based on that. I have nothing against catering to your audience. Of course if you're writing YA fiction, you should cater to that age of readers. However it's my opinion that the writing in this story went a little overboard on "hip teen" lingo. Luckily I'm persistent, and so I dove into the book looking for the overall story.

Once I was past the way that Zoey and her friends speak to one another, I found that the story within was actually rather interesting. The vampyres in Zoey's world are actually known to exist by the outside populous, and although they aren't liked they are accepted. I'll admit that I was intrigued by the fact that they had their own boarding school, complete with teachers in each aspect that they needed to master. I also really fell in love with a few of the other characters that surround Zoey in her journey.

Unfortunately the writing and the subtle life lessons that are thrown into the story really turned me off. I may pick up the next installment of the book to find out what happens to the characters, but I'm honestly not sure. There are too many things that I had a hard time with. Perhaps it is my age that created so much trouble with this book, it's hard to say. I still would recommend this as a library book! Give it a try. You'll never know until you try.







Book Details
Title: Marked (House of Night #1)
Author: P.C. Cast
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: Paperback; 306
Source: Purchased from used book store

Final Rating: 2 Keys to My Heart
[+/-] Click to see rating.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Book Review: God-Shaped Hole



God-Shaped Hole
Media Type: Print Book
Title: God-Shaped Hole
Author: Tiffanie DeBartolo
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Pages: Paperback; 336
Release Date: May 1, 2002
Source: Borrowed from a friend
----------------------------------------------
Genre: Contemporary Romance

HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy stories that will tear their heart out.


Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
When I was twelve, a fortune teller told me that my one true love would die young and leave me all alone.

Everyone said she was a fraud, that she was just making it up.

I'd really like to know why the hell a person would make up a thing like that.

Written with the snap, glitter and wit of The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing, God-Shaped Hole is a memorable, poignant love story that will leave you weeping with laughter. It is told in the wry, vulnerable voice of Beatrice "Trixie" Jordan who replies to a personal ad, "If your intentions are pure I am seeking a friend for the end of the world."

In doing so, she meets Jacob Grace, a charming, effervescent thirty-something writer, a free spirit who is a passionate seeker of life. He possesses his own turn of phrase and ways of thinking and feeling that dissonantly harmonize with Trixie's off-center vision as they roller coaster through the joys and furies of their wrenching romance. Along the way they try to come to terms with the hurt brought about by their distant fathers who, in different ways, forsook them.


I finished this book so quickly that I had to take a moment to sit down and read it again. It was even better the second time through.

Superficially it is a love story, but there is so much more than that underneath that is hidden. Once in a while I read a book that I can never read again, because it touched me so profoundly that reading it again is like rewinding over an old video tape. That first memory will be gone forever. This is one of those stories. Trixie and her relationship with Jacob will always be fresh in my mind. The purity mixed with the grittiness of their love for one another, it's hard to top.

It's a little hard to explain exactly what I mean. I'm sure this book will touch everyone differently. Some people may not find it a good read at all. What I loved was the way that this book flowed, and the way it relied so heavily on conversations. It is definitely one of my favorites from now on!




FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Book Review: The Road

A father and his young son walk alone through burned America, heading slowly for the coast. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. They have nothing but a pistol to defend themselves against the men who stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food--and each other.

--From Goodreads


Cover Inspection:
There are a ton of different covers for this book, the most recent being the movie tie-in cover. I like this one. It looks so bleak and desolate.


First Thoughts:
The book opens on a man and his son, no names. It's eerie and fascinating.


***

My Review:

This novel touched me in a way that I truly don't think I will ever loose. Others I knew who read this complained about the lack of names, the jumbled writing style, and the lack of punctuation. I'm telling you now, I didn't notice a single bit of that. It's impressive coming from someone like me who over analyzes everything. Trust me.

I fell into step with a nameless man and his son. All I could do is watch as they trudged along, sometimes finding what they needed to survive but most times not. Watching them slowly succumb to hunger and fatigue, with the hope of making it to the coast their one motivation. It was heart wrenching, it was gritty, it was eerily realistic. I can't say enough how many times this book made me tear up. It's a hard read.

If you enjoy dystopian fiction, and if you have a strong heart, I'd give this book a try. Like I said above, there are some things about it that might be distracting to you. However if you open your mind and let the story take you, you'll fall under a spell. I can only hope that if the world does end, it's not like this.







Book Details
Title: The Road
Author: Cormac McCarthy
Publisher: Picador
Pages: Paperback; 307
Source: Bookswim

Final Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
[+/-] Click to see rating.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Book Review: Stargirl


StargirlStargirlStargirl
Stargirl. From the day she arrives at quiet Mica High in a burst of color and sound, the hallways hum with the murmur of “Stargirl, Stargirl.” She captures Leo Borlock’s heart with just one smile. She sparks a school-spirit revolution with just one cheer. The students of Mica High are enchanted. At first.

Then they turn on her. Stargirl is suddenly shunned for everything that makes her different, and Leo, panicked and desperate with love, urges her to become the very thing that can destroy her: normal. In this celebration of nonconformity, Newbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli weaves a tense, emotional tale about the perils of popularity and the thrill and inspiration of first love.

--
From Goodreads

Cover Inspection:
Love this cover. Complete and utter love.

First Thoughts:
Leo is a cutie, I must say.

***

My Review:
Stargirl is one of those novels that you can finish reading, but you can never really forget. The message it puts forward is one of uniqueness, one of self-esteem, one of being who you are no matter what else everyone else thinks! This is a message that kids don't really receive much anymore, especially with the media trying to fit them all into one mold. Yes, it is a cliche message, but one that is so important in a child's life.

What I really loved about Stargirl was her quirky ways. Any child, any person really, who picks up this book will fall in love with her instantly! She is sweet and funny. It is almost as though she has an impenetrable shield between her and all the evil looks the "normal" kids shoot at her. Stargirl oozes charisma and and uniqueness. It's hard to compare her to any other character I've met so far.

And then, there's Leo. Her love. Her soul mate. I loved following his stream of consciousness in this book, giggling as he fought between utter embarrassment and total love. It reminded me of all the relationships I ever had in middle school and high school. So confused, and yet so determined to figure it all out.

I would recommend this book to anyone! To kids, to adults, to those who just need a boost and a smile.








Book Details
Title: Stargirl
Author: Jerry Spinelli
Publisher: Knopf Book for Young Readers
Pages: Paperback; 188
Source: Goodreads


Final Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart
[+/-] Click to see rating.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Book Review: Speaker for the Dead

Media Type: Print Book
Title: Speaker for the Dead
Author: Orson Scott Card
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: Mass Market Paperback; 382
Release Date: August 15, 1994
Source: Bookswim
---------------------------------------
Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Mild Violence
---------------------------------------
HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who love Sci Fi books, and huge worlds that are built around them.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
In the aftermath of his terrible war, Ender Wiggin disappeared, and a powerful voice arose: the Speaker for the Dead, who told the true story of the Bugger War. Now, long years later, a second alien race has been discovered by Portuguese colonists on the planet Lusitania. But again the aliens' ways are strange and frightening ... again, humans die. And it is only the Speaker for the Dead, who is also Ender Wiggin the Xenocide, who has the courage to confront the mystery ... and the truth. Orson Scott Card infuses this tale with intellect by casting his characters in social, religious and cultural contexts.

I didn't think it was possible, but this book was even more intriguing and amazing than Ender's Game. Yup, I said it...and I simply adored Ender's Game so that's a big deal.

The depth that this book has just amazes me. I was so invested in all the characters that I found myself getting angry when they made poor decisions. I wanted to jump into the book and yell at them. Or when they made hard decisions, I wanted to give them the companionship they were looking for. It takes a lot for a book to make me cry and only this and the Hunger Games have succeeded in that.

This book also has depth in what it addresses in terms of politics, religion and the like. I can see why others were disappointed. It is definitely not as action packed as the first book. However I think that is truly what makes this book so much more touching. It reaches in and wakes up parts of you that you aren't sure you were willing to deal with. I can see why older readers would get more from this than younger readers as well.

I am not sure what else to say, besides the fact that this is a great book. If you are a lover of Science Fiction, if you enjoy books that make you think about society, this is a book that you will fall in love with.

Orson Scott Card has my undying love now. I cannot wait to see what else he has in store for me.

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