Archive for December 2009
Title: Treasure Map of Boys
Author: E. Lockhart
Summary: (taken from BN.com)
Ruby is back at Tate Prep, and it’s her thirty-seventh week in the state of Noboyfriend. Her panic attacks are bad, her love life is even worse, and what’s more:
Noel is writing her notes, Jackson is giving her frogs, Gideon is helping her cook, and Finn is making her brownies. Rumors are flying, and Ruby’s already-sucky reputation is heading downhill.
Not only that, she’s also: running a bake sale, learning the secrets of heavymetal therapy, encountering some seriously smelly feet, defending the rights of pygmy goats, and bodyguarding Noel from unwanted advances.
In this companion novel to The Boyfriend List and The Boy Book, Ruby struggles to secure some sort of mental health, to understand what constitutes a real friendship, and to find true love—if such a thing exists.
My Thoughts: The Treasure Map of Boys is definitely my favorite book in this series. I felt that everything just came together in a perfect way. The characters developed so much more and Ruby’s annoyingness completely disappeared but she still kept her unique voice. I loved how she worked through all of her problems and I just adored how the boys were portrayed in this one.
As this is part of a series, I don’t feel that there is much more for me to say. If you enjoyed the first two books, DEFINITELY pick this one up. It’s so sweet.
That said, for some reason, I thought this was the last book in the series but it’s not! I’m not sure how I feel about that. For some reason, I just really loved where it left off and I’m afraid another book will mess up that perfection. But, I’m still pretty excited for it! Can’t wait to see what happens!
Hi all! Harmony asked me to blog about something from my teen years that has had an impacted my writing. While there are many things in my teen years that have helped create the person and writer I am today, I thought I’d explore one of my 9th grade memories that was the kernel of inspiration for THE DARK DIVINE.
I got the idea for my novel when a storm of ideas, thoughts, and memories that had been brewing in my mind finally all came together while I was riding in a car on a dark January night in 2005. It was shortly after I’d read the book Speak, watched the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the first time, listened to the song “Such Great Heights” by the Postal Service over and over again, and was asked to teach a lesson on grace at my church. I was thinking about all of these things, along with a random memory from the 9th grade, when we stopped at red light and I looked up at a billboard in the dark and suddenly this conversation between a brother and a sister popped into my head. The brother was warning his sister to stay away from their former best friend. “He’s dangerous. He isn’t the person he used to be. You have to promise to stay away from him.”
By the next day, the random 9th grade memory I’d been thinking about had transformed into the first scene in chapter one (except my main character is in the 11th grade), and the conversation between the brother and the sister had become the third scene in the chapter.
Okay, so what’s this 9th grade memory I keep mentioning ?
Well, I remember going into my history class one afternoon and noticing this kind of scary looking guy sitting at the desk behind mine. He had long dirty hair, was drug-addict skinny, and his clothes were a mess, but I couldn’t see his face. In my very conservative, middle-class neighborhood, this was the kind of guy that definitely stood out—and definitely made me a little uneasy. As soon as I sat down in front of him, this guy started goading me and being a real jerk. After about a minute, I turned around and snapped, “Who the hell do you think you are?” The guy looked up at me and said, “So you don’t recognize me?”
I looked at his eyes, the only part of him that was still recognizable, and realized that he was my childhood friend who had moved away many years before. He looked so different, and so completely messed up, all I could say back to him was his name. Class started and he ended up getting kicked out by the teacher before it was over, so I didn’t get the chance to ask him any questions. The next day I waited for him to come to class, watched for him everywhere I went, but he didn’t show. I found out a few days later that he had been expelled from school, and I NEVER saw him again.
That memory has always haunted me—especially the way his eyes looked when he looked up at me—and I always wondered what would have happened if he hadn’t disappeared. I knew he was messed up and needed help, but could I have really helped him? And what would have been my family’s reaction to all of this? THA DARK DIVINE is kind of a cathartic exploration of what could have happened after that day—with a fun paranormal twist . . . and, of course, a really hot guy.
Thanks, Bree! To read the first chapter of The Dark Divine, click here.
Title: The Dark Divine
Author: Bree Despain
Summary:Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared–the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in his own blood–but she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night held.
The memories her family has tried to bury resurface when Daniel returns, three years later, and enrolls in Grace and Jude’s high school. Despite promising Jude she’ll stay away, Grace cannot deny her attraction to Daniel’s shocking artistic abilities, his way of getting her to look at the world from new angles, and the strange, hungry glint in his eyes.
The closer Grace gets to Daniel, the more she jeopardizes her life, as her actions stir resentment in Jude and drive him to embrace the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind the boy’s dark secret…and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it–her soul
The Dark Divine is one of my favorite books of 2009. It’s one of those books I want to read over and over again and still can’t put down.
The beginning started off slow and I had to push myself through the first couple of chapters until the introduction of Daniel. From that point forward, the plot becomes more complicated and more intriguing. There was never a dull spot in the story. The Dark Divine kept me guessing throughout the whole book and still left me surprised at the end.
While I found the plot intriguing, it is the characters that kept me from putting the book down. Daniel is, hands down, my new favorite male character. He completely opens Grace’s eyes, he has to many sides to his character, and I picture him as being absolutely gorgeous. Grace was a character that I could relate to. I have heard many people say she is annoying because she’s always worrying that what she’s doing is wrong but I completely understand where she is coming from. The other characters, from Jude to Grace’s parents to other minor characters, were unique and each brought a sense of individuality to the story.
I also love this book because of the romance. It’s not the cute, fluffy, and clichéd romance. It’s the rough but real, makes-my-stomach-ache romance and I just love that. I do believe I was even teary-eyed from reading certain parts of the story.
Overall, I highly highly recommend this to anyone looking for a good paranormal or romance book. You won’t regret picking it up!
Title: Girl on the Other Side
Author: Deborah Kerbel
Tabby Freeman and Lora Froggett go to the same school, but they live in totally opposite worlds. Tabby is rich, pretty, and the most popular girl in her class. But behind closed doors, her ‘perfect’ life is rapidly coming apart at the seams.
On the other side, Lora is smart, timid, and the constant target of bullies. While struggling to survive the piranha-infested halls of her school, she becomes increasingly nervous that somebody might discover the unbearable truth about what’s been happening to her family.
Despite their differences, Tabby and Lora have something in common – they’re both harbouring dark secrets and a lot of pain. Although they’ve never been friends, a series of strange events causes their lives to crash together in ways neither could have ever imagined. And when the dust finally settles and all their secrets are forced out into the light, will the girls be saved . or destroyed?
My Thoughts: Girl on the Other Side started out slow but ended up being much better than I ever expected. While the two main characters were pretty stereotypical, I felt that they each had a few characteristics that made them a little more real. However, I wish that some of the other characters had been more involved in the story and given more personality. I feel like the only two characters we ever get to know are the main ones, even though so many other characters were introduced.
Fortunately, the plot made up for my issues with the characters. Even though it seems like the plot is going to be your general popular vs. unpopular plot, there is so much more to it than that. I loved the family issues added to each side of the story and, for me, that’s what really made it stand out in my mind.
Overall, while I do wish that it had been longer, I recommend this one. It’s more than your typical popular girl vs unpopular and makes for a great read!
Title: Bite Me
Author: Parker Blue
An edgy book for teens that spans the gap between YA and adult fiction. Life after high school is tough enough without having to go 15 rounds with your inner demon. Val Shapiro is just your ordinary, part-demon, teenaged vampire hunter with a Texas drawl. And a pet hellhound named Fang. Soon enough she finds herself deep in the underbelly of the city, discovering the secrets of the Demon Underground and fighting to save those she loves. Whether they love her back or not.
My Thoughts: Bite Me is one of those books that has been sitting on my shelf forever and I’m just now getting around to reading. It’s also one of those books I wish I’d picked up the second it came in my mailbox.
While the first couple of chapters start out slow, Bite Me quickly wrapped me up in lots of suspense, drama, and romance. It was a nice change of pace from many of the other paranormal books out there because, instead of fawning over the vampires and their hotness, these characters are kicking vampire butt. In fact, my favorite thing about the book was the characters. They had spunk and personality, which added so much to the story. I also loved all of the different paranormal creatures introduced.
Like I mentioned, the plot moves pretty quickly and there’s a lot of fun vampire-butt-kicking, as well as some romance and drama.
The one thing I do feel like I need to mention is that while this is marketed towards YA, there’s a lot of romance that I feel would also be more suited for an adult novel. But, that’s just my personal opinion and while it didn’t take away from the story for me, I just wanted everyone to be aware of that.
Overall, I highly recommend this.
Title: Here’s How I See it, Here’s How It Is
Author: Heather Henson
Summary: (Taken from BN.com)
here’s how i see it
Rave reviews, an endless request for autographs, my name in lights on Broadway.
here’s how it is
The audience is half empty, I spend zero time onstage, my dad’s midlife crisis is about to ruin the playhouse…and my family.
Junebug dreams of being a leading lady someday. A serious actress, a stage actress, a real actress. And it should be easy for her to get her start ― her parents own the Blue Moon Playhouse, after all, and her dad performed on Broadway (once). But the truth is, at (almost) thirteen, she’s not even a supporting actress or a stand-in or an understudy or even a child actor has-been. In the current Blue Moon production, her role is this: thunder, props…and stagehand (gopher, actually). And lately it seems like maybe the stagehand mindset ― go unnoticed, don’t say a word ― is rubbing off on Junebug’s personality. She’s starting to feel as though her opinions never count, her worries aren’t taken seriously, that she’s becoming the ultimate stagehand: invisible. And that’s not a role she’s happy with.
From author and former playhouse insider Heather Henson comes a novel about growing up, standing out, and what it means to live your life just outside of the spotlight.
My Thoughts: Heather Henson has created such a fun, creative, and realistic book with Here’s How I See It. Junebug was such a sweet but strong character. Her personality and love for the theater really shines through the story. All of the other characters, whether it was Thespis, her dad, or the stage hands, really had distinct personality and added so much fun to the story. I really loved some of the supporting characters and wish they had been in the story a little more but, otherwise, I loved everything about the characters. Junebug also faces a lot of family issues, which I felt was a great addition to the story. She handled everything in a way that was realistic to a girl her age while keeping true to herself, which I think is something that is missing from a lot of books.
Theater was also a big part of the book. It fit in well, since it was such an important part of the book, but I was going “what?” at times, just because my knowledge of anything related to theater is very little. However, that never really took away from the book and by the time it was over, I can say that my theater knowledge is now greatly expanded.
Overall, I highly recommend this one to tweens and young teens. It’s another book that doesn’t get nearly enough attention, even though it deserves too.