indefinite hiatus; i may not come back to the blog, but I'll leave it up anyway if anyone wants to take a look at any old posts etc. :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Review: The Hanged Man by Francesca Lia Block

Title: The Hanged Man
Author: Francesca Lia Block
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pub. Date: September 30, 1994
Length: 144 Pages
Summary (from goodreads):
After the death of her father, Laurel is haunted by a legacy of family secrets, hidden shame, and shattered glass. Immersing herself in the heady rhythms of a city that is like something wild, caged, and pacing, Laurel tries to lose herself. But when she runs away from the past, she discovers a passion so powerful, it brings her roundabout and face-to-face with the demons she wants to avoid.

In a stunning departure from her enormously popular Weetzie Bat books, Francesca Lia Block weaves a darkly exhilarating tale of shattered passions and family secrets.
My Thoughts:  I first found Francesca Lia Block and her novels through goodreads, of course; the first book I read being How to (Un)cage a Girl, which is a beautiful collect of poetry that inspired me to find and read more of Block's work. Fortunately, all the books I've read so far have been absolutely wonderful and I was very happy when I found a copy of The Hanged Man.

Something I've noticed about Block's novels as I've read more of them is that they all seem to deal with similar topics, eating disorder and abuse among them. Her books also contain mythology and mythological beings, such as angels and fairies. I love how she can incorporate all these things together and come  up with a beautiful story. There's something about the way she references all this that makes them real to me. It gives her novels a dream like, fairy tale feel that makes me want to believe. 

The Hanged Man is one of my favorites by Block, and maybe one of the favorites of all time. It is a perfect example of what Francesca Lia Block does best: write poetic, poignant stories that come to life within the pages before you. She captures you not only with her words but with her story itself, with the magic it contains and the mystery that surrounds it. 

Friday, December 30, 2011

Best Covers of 2011

I've decided to post my top five favorite covers out of all the books published this year. I had a difficult time deciding, so the books are in no particular order.

 Alaska by Sue Saliba
Mia's heart made a sound that no one heard except for Mia late one night when she woke from dreams into darkness.
Ethan was asleep beside her, and Em was a forest away. Outside it was night and dark and Alaska. The sky was upside down.
When Mia follows her sister halfway across the world to Alaska, she discovers that love can be found in the most unexpected and beautiful of places. But can Mia find the courage to follow her heart in Alaska? And what if the one you love is not all that you wish them to be?

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
There is.
She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.
She's wrong.

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma
Chloe's older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can't be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby's friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes left floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby.

But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns to town two years later, deadly surprises await. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood.

Wither by Lauren DeStefano
What if you knew exactly when you would die?
Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb — males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.
When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape — to find her twin brother and go home.
But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the
limited time she has left.

The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan
basis, n.
There has to be a moment at the beginning when you wonder whether you’re in love with the person or in love with the feeling of love itself.
If the moment doesn’t pass, that’s it—you’re done. And if the moment
does pass, it never goes that far. It stands in the distance, ready for whenever you want it back. Sometimes it’s even there when you thought you were searching for something else, like an escape route, or your lover’s face. How does one talk about love? Do we even have the right words to describe something that can be both utterly mundane and completely transcendent, pulling us out of our everyday lives and making us feel a part of something greater than ourselves? Taking a unique approach to this problem, the nameless narrator of David Levithan’s The Lover’s Dictionary has constructed the story of his relationship as a dictionary. Through these short entries, he provides an intimate window into the great
events and quotidian trifles of being within a couple, giving us an indelible and deeply moving portrait of love in our time.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Review: Crossed by Ally Condie

Title: Crossed
Author: Ally Condie
Publisher: Dutton
Pub. Date: November 1, 2011
Length: 367 pages
Series: Matched #2
Summary (from goodreads):
 In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.
Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander - who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart - change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.
My Thoughts: I liked Matched better than Crossed, but this series is definitely not for me. I'll probably get the third book from the library when it comes out because I am not at all capable of not reading a series all the way through, no matter how bad it may be.

After reading two books in this series, I can safely say that it is completely unoriginal, a poor ripoff of two great dystopian novels. When I read Matched, it was The Giver; When I read Crossed, it was the first book in the Uglies Series. The whole Matched series is really just the author's poor mash-up of the two books. I felt there were many plot holes and that the whole book was really just underdeveloped. I didn't understand what was going on in the last chapter at all, nor did I understand (view spoiler)SPOILER (highlight to view) how Indie figured out Xander's secret and fell in love with him without having even met him. I didn't really like the characters or how everyone seemed to be able to figure everything out exactly right all the time. All the guys in this story were just super romantic and it made me sick. These were teen-aged guys, right? Seriously. I couldn't believe a seventeen year old boy would do some of the things Vick and Ky did because of their girlfriends (who they hadn't even been dating that long, BTW). Maybe some guys are really like that, but I find it hard to believe that all the ones Cassia knows are. They seemed exactly like girls to me. When they entered the Carving, I couldn't understand how they all managed to run through the whole canyon in like one day with hardly any water or food. It just didn't make much sense to me.

Ky and Cassia's POVs were very hard to distinguish between and I often found myself thinking that I was reading from Cassia's when I was actually reading from Ky's and vise-versa. They could have been the same person, really, the only difference was the places they were at and the people they were with.

Gosh, and the writing! Probably the most annoying part of this book was the fact that the author had no idea what correct English is at all. She would write a sentence and the end it in the middle and then add the end as a next sentence. There is no need for this! I'm okay if there are one or two of those in a book, but Condie does it ALL THE TIME and it annoys me to no end.

One thing I hate is ripoffs and that's exactly what this book is. It annoys me that books like these get so much hype when they really aren't at all good or original. I can't believe how any book in this series could be a New York Times Best Seller, yet Matched was one (and maybe Crossed too, I don't know.).

Monday, December 5, 2011

Review: Enclave by Anna Aguirre

Title: Enclave
Author: Anna Aguirre
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pub. Date: April 12, 2011
Length: 259 Pages
Series: Razorland #1
Summary (from goodreads):
In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups–Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.
As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.
Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first she thinks he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.
As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she’s ever known.

My Thoughts: I think it will come as no surprise to those of you who know me when I say that I am in love with this book. Enclave is one of those books that captured me and my imagination right from the first paragraph and kept me there until the very last word. I simply could not put it down!

Everything about this book is just completely awesome. The post-apocalyptic setting, the bad-ass characters, the originality... I loved all of it. And yes, I do know that Enclave isn't one of those books that everyone will like, but if you're like me and enjoy a good horror novel, it is most definitely for you.

I loved all the characters in Enclave. From Deuce to Banner to Stalker, every character was lovely and completely real. Together they created a strong, addicting story that wouldn't have been nearly as good without them.

 Finally, I have to mention what a fantastic writer Anna Aguirre is. It was not just the plot of Enclave that kept me captivated, it was the way it's written as well. I can't say what it is exactly, but there's something about her writing style that is just absolutely amazing.