Saturday, July 31, 2010

Life intervenes!

So, basically, I'm a library baby. No, I wasn't really born in the library (though wouldn't that be a conversation starter?) but DANG, it seems as if I was practically raised in one. All those trips to bookstores, swanky Children's Library memberships to the transition to actual, honest-to-goodness libraries; DANG, I was pretty much surrounded by books my whole life.

So it shouldn't come as a surprise that I've maxed out my library card (A.K.A. I have 50 materials out).


And since I'm such a glutton for punishment, I still haunt my local library, on the hunt for a nice, delicious read once I'm done all those books (if that's even possible considering the time constraints). Ah well, it's always nice to be optimistic.

And considering that my local library is part of the largest library system in North America (A.K.A. millions of materials in circulation), it shouldn't come as a surprise that I found some intriguing books.

So in the meantime, as I read voraciously and as nonstop as I can make it, I've decided to store my finds in this little pocket of cyberspace I have right here just to keep track. So I have something to come back to.

Here are three of those potential reads:

Shrinking Violet by Danielle Joseph

High school senior Teresa Adams is so painfully shy that she dreads speaking to anyone in the hallways or getting called on in class. But in the privacy of her bedroom with her iPod in hand, she rocks out -- doing mock broadcasts for Miami's hottest FM radio station, which happens to be owned by her stepfather.

When a slot opens up at The SLAM, Tere surprises herself by blossoming behind the mike into confident, sexy Sweet T -- and to everyone's shock, she's a hit! Even Gavin, the only guy in school who she dares to talk to, raves about the mysterious DJ's awesome taste in music. But when The SLAM announces a songwriting contest -- and a prom date with Sweet T is the grand prize -- Sweet T's dream could turn into Tere's worst nightmare....

Oh my, seriously, this sounds absolutely sweet and I can totally relate to being a shrinking violet myself. Man, this sounds so Cinderella-like but at the same time rooted in reality. I mean, she has to deal with the consequences eventually... must read this book!

Playing with Matches by Brian Katcher

Review from School Library Journal:
Leon Sanders, 17, a self-described geek, craves the attention of perfection-personified Amy Green, who consistently ignores him. Resigned to life on the fringes of his suburban high school, he takes comfort in knowing that another junior scores zero for popularity: Melody Hennon, whose severely burned face has made her an outcast.

When Leon tells Melody a bad joke and gets a genuine laugh, he is surprised to find an actual person behind the scars, and soon discovers that she shares his interests and offbeat humor. When Melody confides the details of her childhood accident, he tells her about a humiliating encounter with a bully that left him emotionally scarred. As their friendship turns to romance, Leon worries about the opinions of others, but people are accepting of their relationship. Then Leon finally catches Amy's eye. Faced with a dilemma, he allows himself to be lured away from the devastated Melody, but is soon overwhelmed by the emotional consequences.

Leon's self-deprecating, ironic humor keeps an authentic edge running through the story as he explores new relationships and roles, and wrestles with doing the right thing. Melody is a resilient young woman whose experience with Leon helps her develop self-confidence. This is a strong debut novel with a cast of quirky, multidimensional characters struggling with issues of acceptance, sexuality, identity, and self-worth.

This one sounds like a true contemporary teen novel: realistic, and poignant shot through with humour and bittersweet revelations. Body image and the problems teens face in an image-obsessed society (ex. eating disorders, obesity) do get some treatment in young adult fiction but I haven't come across one about facial disfigurement in a while. The last one I read was Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher two years ago (which is a powerful, important read by the way). There's also Firegirl by Tony Abbott, which is listed as children's fiction but can still hold sway for an older audience; same reaction as SFSB. So I'm happy that I've come across another teen-flavoured book with this kind of topic.

Can't wait to pick this one up, definitely!

Last but not least, Spanking Shakespeare by Jake Wizner and Richard Ewing.

SHAKESPEARE SHAPIRO HAS ALWAYS hated his name. His parents bestowed it on him as some kind of sick joke when he was born, and his life has gone downhill from there, one embarrassing incident after another. Entering his senior year of high school, Shakespeare has never had a girlfriend, his younger brother is cooler than he is, and his best friend's favorite topic of conversation is his bowel movements. But Shakespeare will have the last laugh. He is chronicling every mortifying detail in his memoir, the writing project each senior at Shakespeare's high school must complete. And he is doing it brilliantly. And, just maybe, a prize-winning memoir will bring him respect, admiration, and a girlfriend . . . or at least a prom date.

Now this one seems like a nice, laugh-out-loud funny kind of book--definitely what I'll need after a good dose of angst. I've read the reviews and most of them mention the whole bawdiness of this particular bildungsroman so I have pretty high expectations for this one! Hopefully it delivers because the premise is just wacky and has a high potential for hilarity.

Phew, that was a lot of rambling. If you've survived this far, then you must be some glutton for punishment yourself! If not, and you're just here to see what all the fuss is about, then I'm sorry to disappoint you but there was a whole lotta fuss for a small amount of nuggets. :D So I'll make this even quicker: I might make this a blog feature (is that a big deal or not?). I'm fairly new to blogging but I'm pretty sure I'm going to consistently max out my library card so expect this to be fairly regular (and fairly lengthy).

Anyways, I'm off for some reading. Such lovely companions, these novels be!


Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston

For seventeen-year-old actress Kelley Winslow, faeries are just something from childhood stories. Then she meets Sonny Flannery, whose steel-gray eyes mask an equally steely determination to protect her.

Sonny guards the Samhain Gate, which connects the mortal realm with the Faerie's enchanted, dangerous Otherworld. Usually kept shut by order of icy King Auberon, the Gate stands open but once a year.

This year, as the time approaches when the Samhain Gate will swing wide and nightmarish Fae will fight their way into an unsuspecting human world, something different is happening . . . something wondrous and strange. And Kelley's eyes are opening not just to the Faerie that surround her but to the heritage that awaits her. Now Kelley must navigate deadly Faerie treachery, and her growing feelings for Sonny.

Wondrous Strange is one heck of a debut novel. I mean, holy heck, when I say that, I mean it. Lesley Livingston undoubtedly has a gift for writing; she has the uncanny ability of juggling multiple themes, characters (and their respective developments), settings and managing to draw them up as effortlessly as if she had plucked them out of thin air. Though most of the books I’ve read so far this summer are debuts, I think this is one of the better ones that deal with fantasy.

Honestly, I wasn’t expecting so much out of this book. I have to be honest with you; certainly, similar to a lot of people out there, I’m inclined to be prejudiced towards today’s paranormal/supernatural books. I mean, I’ve always loved the genre, always cherished Faeries and the like but with the recent surge in interest, it seems that correspondingly there’s been a recent surge in published duds. Like pfffft duds. And I have no interest in wasting my time on reading those things. But after hearing a positive, albeit offhanded, comment about Wondrous Strange from a hard-to-please member of my school’s book club (“How was it?” “Oh, it was good.”), I thought that perhaps it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try. It didn’t hurt when she mentioned that there was a horse in the bathtub in the book (!), which pretty much piqued my interest to voluminous heights.

So anyway, I put a hold on the book in my library and once I found a quiet little place where my cousin couldn’t disturb me, I started reading. And again, to be honest with you, the first chapter didn’t impress me much. Maybe it was the fact that I was half-asleep/half-awake, maybe it was because I was going through a bit of a “I-am-teenager-hear-me-angst” phase but I thought that the writing was a bit cliché in that first chapter. The preface was what kept me invested so I pushed through and wow-wee-wow. Splendido, I’d say. For me, the second chapter (and onwards) pretty much glued me to my seat and got me seriously, seriously awed at the author. She definitely has a way with words. She brings the settings alive, and while at times her descriptions sound hackneyed, I’ll tell you, she doesn’t slip often. The mood, the delicious. And my, my, she’s not afraid to mince words. Characters will mention the plot holes and problems that may be left forgotten in the excitement--and they always work through them realistically (no deus-ex-machina in sight). Dialogue is also realistic; the characters sound like teenagers do and they also swear but never gratuitously.

And my, my, what lovely characters she sketches. Kelley Winslow, the lead actress of this fine, fine play is refreshingly independent, passionate, fiery but at the same time remarkably vulnerable. She’s your typical teenage girl: one with hopes, dreams, doubts and her own set of what seem to be overwhelming problems. Through it all she manages to stay true to herself and find strength to overcome obstacles. Sonny Flannery is appropriately mysterious and handsome, but unlike many YA heroes today, one who isn’t afraid to show his confusion and his devotion (both to Auberon, Unseelie Faerie King and father figure and to you-probably-know-who). I didn’t really catch any abusive behaviour on his part so there’s another plus (coughEdwardCullencough).

Supporting characters and villains also shine here; they ain’t just flat cutouts, they grow. Bob, in particular, is an absolute gem. He’s probably my favourite character (I won’t spoil any more). For the most part, characters are given fascinating backstories that flesh them out more fully (though I thought Herne’s could’ve been shortened just the tiniest bit). I also thought that Aunt Emma (perhaps even Queen Mabh) needed a bit more screen time to really make her shine.

There’s plot and there are twists so I won’t mention any more on the subject, except to say that I found them clever and satisfying. I’d say artistic too, but maybe I’m just becoming a fangirl. The conclusion is definitely set up for a sequel and you can bet I’ll be reaching for that. In short, Wondrous Strange is a delightful novel, one that shines so much brighter and deserves more attention.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Booking Through Thursday: Beach Buddies

btt button

Suggested by Joy:

Which fictional character (or group of characters) would you like to spend a day at the beach with? Why would he/she/they make good beach buddies?

What an intriguing question! I love to go to the beach, but gosh darn it, I can't really think of a specific fictional character to go with right now. Perhaps Garit, from Janet McNaughton's Dragon Seer would be a good candidate. I mean, he's about my age, loves to tell the 'old' stories, can carve pretty awesomely AND he's purportedly really clever (wait, scratch that, he IS clever; just read further into the book). I can just imagine us watching as the waves lap the shore, his voice near my ear telling me of Father Moon while he somehow carves something magical out of a bunch of twigs.

Can you say dreamy?

Of course, probably my main reason for saying so is he's the only character living in my head right now (I'm currently in the process of reading the book which might explain a few things...). But man, oh man, I'd spend time with him any day!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

So I used to be one of those so-called Twihards. Yes, once upon a time I read the whole Twilight saga (I have all four books, three in hardcover, sitting on my bookshelf to prove it) and I was addicted. Edward Cullen obsession, chapter title memorization, quotations from the books slipping into casual conversation--you name it. I'm not sorry for this obsession, mainly because it rekindled my lust for reading.

And that is precisely why that addiction died down; I read a lot of great, great, AWESOMELY great books, got into in-depth theme analysis, tried to re-read Twilight which was an awful, severe failure, started craving strong heroines... Still, it doesn't change the fact that I'm still curious about what other yarns Stephenie Meyer can spin. So when I spied this sitting on the Best Bets section at my local library, I made a grab for it (I'm going to try to say I did it slowly, but what the heck).

Here's the product description (don't I sound totally clinical now and detached?):

Fans of The Twilight Saga will be enthralled by this riveting story of Bree Tanner, a character first introduced in Eclipse, and the darker side of the newborn vampire world she inhabits. In another irresistible combination of danger, mystery, and romance, Stephenie Meyer tells the devastating story of Bree and the newborn army as they prepare to close in on Bella Swan and the Cullens, following their encounter to its unforgettable conclusion.

Holy moly when I read that the regular price of this slim volume was $13.99 (indubitably much higher in fair Canada), my eyes literally bugged out of my sockets. Because to be honest, I didn't think this novella was worth the price.

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner as I read it rang pretty much as fanfiction (and some rather fanciful fanfiction at that). While I thought it was rather nicely written, I didn't think it deserved to be published at all. A while back I heard that this was released online for free--in my opinion, it should have stayed that way.

For starters, the numbers that Meyer came up with were pretty unbelievable. Knowing that around twenty newborn vampires ravaged the city of Seattle nightly and drained probably three or more humans each per night seemed too much to, well, believe. It was hard to get past that.

The eponymous character, Bree, while easy to relate to, also seemed to be a bit bland. Sure, she's alright. She's got a few skills up her sleeve and soon she has a bit of a dynamic going on with a fellow newborn Diego--but there was little about her that was truly compelling. I suppose it was Diego that I liked more; he seemed to show more personality. The two of them share some childish banter that appeared inconsistent with Bree's character and too immature for Diego's age.

What bothered me a lot though were Riley's speeches. They were... I guess the word that comes closest is inconsistent. Meyer would describe his words as persuasive but, as a reader, they fell flat. They were mishmashes of some abrasive words (I recall that he used the word 'stupid' a number of times) and junky vocabulary (superfluous, anyone?) that combined with a jumbled effect, almost as if they were hastily written but would not be said in a hasty, heated speech.

I suppose the writing was good enough, though I found myself staring at a page with glazed eyes more than once (that could be my fault, however). If further explored and consistently layered, the book could have more satisfying. There were many fascinating parts in this narrative--Seattle's menacing streets, gang life in the old vampire basement, the longer-yet-not-dandy first life of Bree Tanner--that could've have given us readers more food for thought, thereby resonating deeper... Meyer was given the opportunity and it's disappointing that she didn't use it to its full potential.

Sure, there were a few redeeming qualities: Meyer mentions a few realistic things (albeit in passing) such as teenage prostitution, homelessness, and a bit of gang life (out of the basement and in it). The streets of Seattle were palpably menacing; emotions ran high and some tension was developed pretty well. But it could have been much more.

All in all, it was tragic enough--both in Bree Tanner's end and Meyer's squandered opportunity.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Haven't been blogging for the past few days; lots of things going on (not a surprise since it's summer!). But you know, I still have been reading so, without further ado, here's a review!

Five months ago, Valerie Leftman's boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saved the life of a classmate, but was implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things she and Nick hated. The list he used to pick his targets.

Now, after a summer of seclusion, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family, former friends and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it, in order to make amends and move on with her life.

I’ve just finished reading Hate List by the talented Jennifer Brown and... oh my. It’s hard to find words to describe a book that at the same time is heart-wrenching, filled with hope, emotional and sometimes so full of angst and helpless, angry searching that it’s hard to pick it back up. Valerie’s journey of recovery, her questions about who she is, what she truly is and her courageousness makes for an unbelievable reading experience. It is a journey that is ultimately about love and loss, reality and isolation--themes that are just as relatable to any teenager going through rocky adolescence, even if they haven’t experienced exactly what Valerie struggles through.

You see, Valerie Leftman was the girlfriend of Nick Levil, Garvin High’s notorious high school shooter. While she ultimately stops the shooting and is praised by the school with something of an award for her heroism, she still has to deal with the fallout of the event and, let me tell you, it is a heck of a fallout. From dealing with her guilt, her parents’ constant fighting, her changing perceptions of the victims, to being struck down by obstacles that can make you choke back tears... it’s an emotional journey, let me tell you. Valerie’s voice is real. She could be someone you know of but don’t really talk to, that quiet girl in class who sits there doodling in her notebook. Her struggle is a testament to the resilience and hope that is needed to truly navigate those painful, turbulent waters of adolescence.

As you can see, I’m struggling to find the words to write this review. Honestly, this narrative is something else. You just get into Valerie’s head and everything she goes through is what you go through--her confusion, her heartbreak, her deep sadness, her angst. With so serious a subject matter, Jennifer Brown could easily have written ham-handedly, focusing too much on sentimentality. But she writes deftly, with layers and layers of events that converge into something whole, something real and something painful but so mesmerizingly filled with hope.

I know I’m starting to sound like some endlessly gushing fangirl but wow, the impact this novel had on me. Valerie deals with many events, some that could easily have swept her away from her path--instead, she finds inner strength and digs deep. She seeks help and she uses it when she has it. Valerie aside, the characters were fully developed, even those who had bit parts--especially Dr. Hieler and Valerie’s mother. While Mrs. Leftman teetered on the edge of severe melodrama and hysteria at the beginning, her character was one who grew along with Valerie. Her love for Valerie wavers unsurprisingly but it remains throughout the trials. Dr. Hieler was Valerie’s beacon of hope; through his direct but gentle prodding, Valerie finds a willing listener and is able to realize a few things about herself that she isn’t entirely averse to.

Now this is where I hastily summarize everything else I liked about the book. The events in the book and its dialogue were dealt realistically. Jennifer Brown’s straightforward but poignant prose leaves an impact without bogging down. While we see the events through Valerie’s eyes, we also see it through bits and pieces of reports about the aftermath of the shooting. The ending of the book will have you tearing up. All in all, Hate List is well put together and leaves the reader with a heavy heart filled with hope, one that is, as Valerie says, heavy not because of the past but because of the future.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Alas, more giveaways!

Argh, I be in a pirating mood t'day! Awright, laddies and lassies, I be spying buried treasure in th' Land O' Blogging at 21 pages. It be lookin' swell, me maties!

Okay, piratespeak aside, I'm really thankful for 21 pages for hosting such a bountiful giveaway. I mean, WOW! Just look at the prizes she's offering:

Pretty impressive now, wouldn't you say? I'm really, really excited for this--I'm going to put in as much entries as I can, the hoarder I am.

Hey, can't say I'm no Greedyguts. Sorry, Jacob Two Two. :D

But I digress. Contest ends at August 20th, 2010 and it's open for international residents too! Plus, you can add in extra entries later on. It's a pretty awesome giveaway, lots of incentives--and exercises your dedication and determination too!

Ooh la la, here's another one hosted at A Good Addiction. Oh my gosh, these titles are STUNNING. What I wouldn't give to own The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff, Firelight by Sophie Jordan, Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, Matched by Ally Condie, Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers and Torment by Lauren Kate. Contest ends on the 8th of August 2010 and it is definitely international.

I just love entering all of these contests! They're just bursting with hopeful energy. All these kind souls are guilting me back down to earth. I better get going and finishing up that essay!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Well, I'd just like to inform y'all out there that dem folks at YA Highway are hosting a giveaway--a very nice one featuring a signed copy of Courtney Allison Moulton's debut novel ANGELFIRE. It's opened to international residents out there (go globalization!) and it ends Sunday, July 18th. If I were you, I'd hie to the post right away-- it's looking to be a very promising little novel--no submissive heroine, no pushover or abusive hero in sight. Always a good thing in my books. :)

So check out her terrific guest post and gain a little insight. I'd say that's a hefty piece of motivation right there, wouldn't you?

Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor; With Illustrations by Jim Di Bartolo

Three tales of supernatural love, each pivoting on a kiss that is no mere kiss, but an action with profound consequences for the kissers' souls:

Goblin Fruit: In Victorian times, goblin men had only to offer young girls sumptuous fruits to tempt them to sell their souls. But what does it take to tempt today's savvy girls?

Spicy Little Curses: A demon and the ambassador to Hell tussle over the soul of a beautiful English girl in India. Matters become complicated when she falls in love and decides to test her curse.

Hatchling: Six days before Esme's fourteenth birthday, her left eye turns from brown to blue. She little suspects what the change heralds, but her small safe life begins to unravel at once. What does the beautiful, fanged man want with her, and how is her fate connected to a mysterious race of demons?

Hey! If it isn't another gorgeous, gorgeous cover. Thank the stars for Jim Di Bartolo for this enticing art. This is another one of them catch-my-eye-gotta-click Amazon finds for me. Of course, I get all of my books from the library so I get to experience the impulsiveness without the consequences (unless you think having to check out 26 books as once is a bad thing).

But I digress. This was a simply delicious read, a well-written anthology simmering with longing and sumptuous emotions. Ms. Taylor has a poet's gift for words; the flow of her language seemed natural but at the same time evocative, without any pretense that some books today exhibit. The illustrations by Mr. Di Bartolo are as wondrous as the stories, each providing a glimpse at a secondary character's backstory that renders the unfolding of each tale even more special.

Goblin Fruit, featuring the longing-filled Kizzy and her extremely eccentric (and I don't exaggerate when I say extremely) family, is the story out of the three that made me feel the most. I related to the protagonist right away. Kizzy is sarcastic, the ubiquitous girl-in-the-background, sparkling with the promise of beauty (but never noticing it herself). Her desire to be someone else, someone she'd admire, someone mysterious and wanted came across as palpable and sharp; she made me feel her rollicking emotions as she coped with the attractive new boy's attentions, finally grasping that maybe for once, just this once, someone noticed her because she was herself, Kizzy. Supernatural elements (the story is titled Goblin Fruit) throw a monkey wrench into things and that's when the suspense peaks and heartbeats race, leading to what I think is a rather abrupt conclusion. A beautiful, well-crafted story nonetheless.

Spicy Little Curses Such as These for me was the forgettable one for me, though it still contained intriguing elements. Set in India during the British Raj, the story is a sort of retelling of the Greek myth Orpheus and Eurydice, only with demons, curses, and some bargaining thrown in the mix. I enjoyed the story's focus on the supernatural the best; when the focus was shifted instead onto an English girl condemned with a curse and her subsequent romance though, that was when things got a bit bogged down for me. The ending was just a little bit too pat for my taste.

Hatchling is the longest of the three, a novella, and it was an imaginative and creative one at that. It starts with a girl, Esme, who notices that one of her brown eyes changes into a blue one several days before her fourteenth birthday--and from that, she is exposed to a whole new world filled with wonders of different kinds and involves quite a bit of her mother too. To say more would spoil the fantastical twists in plot that Ms. Taylor takes and what a waste that would be! She has a vast imagination and is definitely an author to watch. For now, her Dreamdark books will have to suffice.

Quite simply, I wholeheartedly recommend this book. Great art and beautiful language? Where do I sign up?

Rating: 4 out of 5

Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev (Theatre Illuminata #1)

All her world’s a stage.

Bertie Shakespeare Smith is not an actress, yet she lives in a theater.

She’s not an orphan, but she has no parents.

She knows every part, but she has no lines of her own.

That is, until now.

Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the actors of every play ever written can be found behind the curtain. They were born to play their parts, and are bound to the Théâtre by The Book—an ancient and magical tome of scripts. Bertie is not one of them, but they are her family—and she is about to lose them all and the only home she has ever known.

Well, I must say, wouldn't you think that a gorgeous cover? To be honest, it's what drew me to the book in the first place. There I was, innocently scrolling through Amazon, checking out recommendations, when out of nowhere, this gem of a cover grabbed hold of my eyes and forced me to click. And that's when the summary enticed me further. But I digress. Let's skip to the nitty gritty.

Bertie Shakespeare Smith is a strong, feisty female character--not teeth-grindingly feisty but a good mixture of vulnerability and strength all rolled into one. She's assertive; she swears, she smokes, and she's not afraid to use physical force if that's what it takes to get her point across. In my reading experience, she's also a pretty rare find. Throughout the book, you'll be wanting to follow her increasingly tangled, entertaining adventures--especially once you meet her trusty winged companions Peaseblossom, Mustardseed, Moth and Cobweb, the fairies from a Midsummer Night's Dream. The banter these four exchange, their jokes and their quirky, bawdy sense of humour will make you crack a smile at the very least--or have you full-out chuckling (ask the people I've been sitting beside on the bus).

There's also plenty of inside jokes that people familiar with the old Bard will appreciate, as well as those with an insatiable appetite for theatre. Ms. Mantchev also manages to pile on impressive imagery ("They spoke in silk-hisses of the desperate need roiling under the surface of his skin, and their whispers stole the breath from her lungs") and clever wordplay. Not to mention the love triangle between Bertie, the dashing pirate Nate, from The Little Mermaid, and the provoking (in more ways than one) air spirit Ariel, from The Tempest. I haven't seen it before but the author manages not to lean a particular side; it's truly up to the reader to pick. I myself don't have anyone in mind, which is strange since I usually go crazy-all-or-nothing on a love interest in these types of books. Nevertheless, it makes for entertainment, and sends the plot cracking along.

The novel was also written in a lively pace; you'll never want to put the book down unless it's absolutely necessary. There was never a dull moment. It was just this insane romp throughout a fully realized magical world that I found wholly original. The humour came across as sparkling and natural; Ms. Mantchev writes with precise comic-timing and her fondness for the performing arts just spills over the page (in a good way). You never knew what was going to happen next; it came across as a perfectly improvised script. It was just that original.

In short, I loved it. The conclusion was satisfying but will still have you clamouring for the sequel. Absolutely delicious.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

To Be Read and Reviewed Pile (This Summer, At Least)

So, it's summer. You know what that means, right? Reading. All. Day. Long. Ah, the luxuries of a completely free day. First things first: I picked up a couple of books from my local library and it seems that I've amassed quite a collection. Here's a peak:

1. Jet Set - Carrie Karasyov and Jill Kargman
2. Daughter of the Flames - Zoe Marriott
3. Ice - Sarah Beth Durst
4. Hush, Hush - Becca Fitzpatrick
5. Eyes Like Stars - Lisa Mantchev
6. Beautiful Creatures - Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
7. Princess of the Midnight Ball - Jessica Day George
8. The Swan Kingdom - Zoe Marriott
9. Lips Touch: Three Times - Laini Taylor, illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo

...and of course there's much, much more. As you can see, all of these books are YA; many of them have fairytale elements and some have touches of the supernatural. I'm currently binging on them this summer after a rather tumultuous school year--they're practically crack! I'll be posting reviews of them soon; hopefully, I'll remember the key details. I'll try my best to be spoiler-free.

Welcome Post

Oh! I see you've stumbled upon my cozy nook on cyberspace. Welcome! Name's Squinto and this here's my blog dedicated to reviewing the delicious words resting on those delicate pages--in short, books. They're mostly going to be novels (particularly YA) though I'm not averse to exploring other genres and other forms of media.

Now, this is not my first time blogging--but it is the first time I'm considering posting regularly (heaven forbid!). It helps that I'll be talking mostly about the things I love the most AND that it's currently summer.

But I digress. Without further ado, I hereby pronounce this humble little blog OPEN. Hurrah!