Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What I'm reading

Right now I'm about to finish City of Fallen Angels, by Cassandra Clare. It's the fourth book in her Mortal Instruments series. So far, it's just what I expected it to be: a fun, action-packed read. I'm enjoying getting a bit more of Simon in this story, and I like that the romantic relationship is in the we're-already-a-couple-but-growing-in-our-relationship-and-dealing-with-stuff-or-not stage. It's a nice change from the typical boy meets girl.

I've also started Monsters of Men, by Patrick Ness, the final installment of his gripping and heart-wrenching Chaos Walking trilogy. Holy cow. That's all I can say.

And slightly related to what I'm reading...I've also started watching the first season of the t.v. show Friday Night Lights. It's a good show -- solid storytelling, interesting characters and great actors. All the things I enjoy from a good book! And even though the insane football stuff just makes me shake my head in wonder, I have to admit it kinda makes me miss Texas a little.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Forgot to mention that I read The Iron Thorn as part of The Story Siren's 2011 Debut Author challenge!

Review - Iron Thorn

Iron Thorn, by Caitlin Kittredge

Aoife lives in a world where science and reason are the only religion. There is no magic, no gods, nothing weird or strange or fantastical. And anyone who says or acts otherwise is either a heretic, or infected with a deadly nanovirus. Aoife's mother is, in fact, infected with the nanovirus; and lives in one of the city's many mental hospitals. Luckily Aoife, whose father is not in the picture, is smart, and she has been allowed to attend the School of Engineering. Unluckily, Aoife is almost 16, the age when her older brother's nanovirus manifested itself and he tried to kill her before disappearing. But Aoife doesn't believe that her brother really tried to harm her, and she's been getting secret correspondence from him since he disappeared. Weeks before her own 16th birthday, Aoife receives a brief letter from him: Help. She finds out he has gone north to find their father, and tells Aoife she must follow him. Withing nothing to lose, Aoife sets out on a dangerous adventure and discovers a lot more about the world she lives in...and some she doesn't.

That may be the worst summary ever! But I didn't want to give too much away. For the most part, I enjoyed Iron Thorn. I liked the world that Kittredge built: it's an alternate United States around 1959/1960, with steampunk touches. That's a time period you don't see a lot of in YA fiction these days, and it allowed the author to add some fun details, such as the 1950s morals (think Sandy in the first part of Grease), and a James Dean-esque bad boy. The first part of this book was really creepy and trippy, which I loved. As the story unfolded and the reader -- along with Aoife -- start figuring out what's really going on, things became more straight forward. Unfortunately, this is about the time I started getting really irritated with Aoife. I felt like she was just so dense and very uneven. I really wanted to smack her a few times. The secondary characters were interesting, but I would have liked to see a little more development. Fortunately, it's a trilogy, so maybe that will come in later books. I will also say that the very end of the book picked up quite a bit, and really left me wanting to read the next installment. My only other complaint with the book, is that I didn't really feel the romance. It seemed a bit forced to me.

Overall, it was a good read, if not one of my favorites.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Link to interview with Lish McBride

I've been looking forward to reading Lish McBride's debut novel Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, how about you? I think my copy at the library is about to come in for me...yay! In the meantime, check out this interview with the author over at The Enchanted Inkpot.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Review - Not That Kind of Girl

Not That Kind of Girl, by Siobhan Vivian

Summary from Goodreads: Natalie Sterling wants to be in control. She wants her friends to be loyal. She wants her classmates to elect her student council president. She wants to find the right guy, not the usual jerk her school has to offer. She wants a good reputation, because she believes that will lead to good things.
But life is messy, and it's very hard to be in control of it. Not when there are freshman girls running around in a pack, trying to get senior guys to sleep with them. Not when your friends have secrets they're no longer comfortable sharing. Not when the boy you once dismissed ends up being the boy you want to sleep with yourself - but only in secret, with nobody ever finding out.
Slut or saint? Winner or loser? Natalie is getting tired of these forced choices - and is now going to find a way to live life in the sometimes messy, sometimes wonderful in-between.

I read this book in one sitting, staying up late to finish it and then staying up even later as my mind thought about it and processed it. I enjoyed Vivan's writing: it was straightforward and descriptive and genuine. The characters rang true -- which is probably why I just wanted to smack Natalie and Spencer throughout the first 3/4 of the book! The story itself felt very genuine, and felt like a story that everyone experiences at some point -- regardless of your age. Life isn't as black and white as many people want it to be; we are all responsible for our own choices in life, and it's important to be true to yourself, without worrying so much about what other people think. That's definitely something even I have a problem remembering! I guess the only real problem I had with the book, is that the ending felt a little rushed. And thematically, I had a big problem with Spencer's speech and the ensuing idea that sex is your weapon to control boys and make them do what you want. Yes, girls and women should be in charge of their own sexuality; however, I think it's mean and disrespectful to use anything to have "power" over another person, male or female. Sexuality as a weapon is one of my big pet peeves. And, of course the street goes both ways. Life isn't a gender competition and power struggle. Maybe the characters were on their way to realizing that and just didn't have time...that's what I like to think anyway.

Bottom line: an enjoyable book that entertained me and made me think...both things that I love!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Review - Red Glove

Red Glove, by Holly Black

Spoiler Warning: if you haven't read White Cat, you should probably stop here, go out to your local library or book store and immediately get a copy, then block off an afternoon and read it. But then you'll want to read Red Glove right away, so just go ahead and get both books while you're at it and block off an entire day.

As you can probably tell, I love White Cat and its sequel Red Glove. Black has created a world filled with shades of gray -- there is very little black and white in this book (except for the cat, of course. Sorry, couldn't help myself). But really, what do you expect from a book about magic, crime familes and con artists. I love the slightly noir feel to the books, the creative world-building (modern but with a touch of magic), and most of all the characters. Cassel (the main character) is complex, conflicted, and such a real teenage boy. But Black has also give us a cast of wonderful, fleshed-out characters from Cassel's crazy mother and horrible brothers, to his "normal" friends at school.

Bottom line, these are great books. Read them!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

On deck

We've gotten some new books at the library recently, which always makes me a little giddy. And these past couple of orders have some items I've been waiting for. Plus, I have some books I've bought or received as gifts that are calling out to be read. Here's what's piling up on my TBR stack:

The Red Glove, by Holly Black (sequel to the awesome White Cat)
The Grimm Legacy, by Polly Shulman
Trapped, by Michael Northrop
Pegasus, by Robin McKinley
Other Words for Love, by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal
One Amazing Thing, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni