Thursday, July 17, 2014

Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Title: We Were Liars
Author: E. Lockhart
Year Published: 2014

Genre: YA fiction/mystery
Pages: 225
Rating: 4.5 to 5 out of 5

Location (my 2014 Google Reading map): USA (Massachusetts)

FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my school's library

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): A beautiful and distinguished family. A private island. A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, poilitical boy. A group of four friends--the Liars--whose friendship turns destructive. A revolution. An accident. A secret. Lies upon lies. True love. The truth.

Review: Holy crap. That's really all I have to say about this book. Oh, and read it. If I say much more I'll ruin it for you.

But you need more than that for a review, so I'll give it a try. Cadence, Mirren, Johnny, and Gat are such good friends and cousins who meet every summer on the family's private island. They have fantastic summers together and we get to know them and their families. This part of the book is a 4.5 out of 5. They are teenagers, they have romance, family feuds, and the usual pains of growing up.

The summer they are 15 something happens and the narrator, Cadence, now suffers. She spends the second half of the book trying to sort out her partial memories while fighting off the physical pain. In the last quarter of the book, as Cadence's memories return, the book becomes a 5.

I can't say anything else without ruining it for you. Sorry.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Review: Reality Boy by A.S. King

Title: Reality Boy
Author: A.S. King
Year Published: 2013

Genre: YA fiction
Pages: 353
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location (my 2014 Google Reading map): USA (Pennsylvania)

FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my school's library

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): Gerald Faust knows exactly when he started feeling angry: the day his mother invited a reality TV crew into his five-year-old life. Twelve years later he's still haunted by his rage-filled youth--which the entire world got to watch from every imaginable angle--and his anger issues have resulted in violent outbursts, zero friends, and clueless adults dumping him in the special education room at school.

Nothing is ever going to change. No one cares that he's tried to learn to control himself, and the girl he likes has no idea who he really is. Everyone's just waiting for him to snap...and he's starting to feel dangerously close to doing just that.

Review: I wasn't really sure what to expect with this book, but reality shows are so prevalent today that I thought it would be a good one to read. I liked it. Didn't love it, but liked it.

  • Characters--I could feel for Gerald, who is now 17 and is known as Crapper based on his childhood activities on TV. His life sucks: his sister hates him and attacks him physically while his mother allows it to take place. I liked Hannah for her honesty and desire to change and better her life
  • Plot--I also liked the plot: a kid who needs to take charge of his life and break away from his family. This is tough to do since he is only 17, has no skills to get a job, and can't quite pull himself away from his home.
So, what didn't quite work for me? Why isn't this a 4.5 or a 5? It seemed like too much sometimes. I can't quite explain it that well because I did like the book, it just had moments for me that I thought, "again?" or "still?" I guess it felt repetitive at times.

Friday, July 11, 2014

My daughter's on a TV show!

So over the past few months my daughter (and I) have been filmed for a TV documentary called Young Marvels, which will begin airing on OvationTV (a channel we don't get) next week. It follows eight young people in the arts; they are each featured in multiple episodes of the series.

I am definitely nervous about how we'll be portrayed, will my double chins look hideous, etc. But, I am also excited for Sophia and the opportunity for her to be on this show! Here's her Bio/Trailer....

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Review: He Said She Said by Kwame Alexander

Title: He Said She Said
Author: Kwame Alexander
Year Published: 2014

Genre: YA fiction
Pages: 330
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2014 Google Reading map): USA (South Carolina)

FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my school's library

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): You've heard that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, right? Well, forget that planetary ish--Omar and Claudia are from different solar systems. Meet Brooklyn transplant Omar "T-Diddy" Smalls: West Charleston high's football god and full-blown playa. He's got a ton of Twitter followers followers, is U Miami bound, and cannot wait to hit South Beach...and hit on every shorty in a bikini

Then there's Claudia Clarke: Harvard bound, straight-A student, school newspaper editor, and all-around goody-two-shoes. She cares more about the staggering teen pregnancy rate than about hooking up with so-called fly homies and posting her biz on Facebook. Omar and Claudia are thrown together when they unexpectedly lead (with a little help from Facebook and Twitter) the biggest social protest this side of the Mississippi. When a little flirting turns to real love, the revolt is on, and the scene at West Charleston gets real. Fast!

Review: I enjoyed this book; it was fun. I like books that alternate chapters so that the reader gets the story from different characters' perspectives. Omar and Claudia were good narrators for this purpose.

I'll confess that Omar's dialect took a few pages to get used to it, but once I did I liked that the author wrote it this way so that I felt like I could really "hear" how Omar and his friends talked. And, it definitely pointed out the contrast between Omar's chapters and Claudia's chapters.

I also liked that the author incorporated social media, which makes the book feel very now. It is funny that he used Facebook with high school students though because I think Facebook is becoming more of a thing for twenty-somethings and older. But, as a Facebook user and techie, I liked it.

I do have one issue: why is it always the good girl who falls for the bad boy? Yes, the bad boy changes a bit, but it always seems to be the good girl who dates the guy she knows she shouldn't. I did like that Omar cooks well, that was a nice twist.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Review: Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

Title: Mr. Mercedes
Author: Stephen King
Year Published: 2014

Genre: Adult mystery
Pages: 436
Rating: 5 out of 5

Location (my 2014 Google Reading map): USA (Chicago?)

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): In the predawn hours, in a distressed American city, hundreds of unemployed men and women line up for the opening of a job fair. They are tired and cold and desperate. Emerging from the fog, invisible until it is too late, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes.

Months later, an ex-cop names Bill Hodges, still haunted by the unsolved crime, contemplates suicide. When he gets a a crazed letter from "the perk," claiming credit for the murders, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, fearing another even more diabolical attack and hell-bent on preventing it.

Brady Hartfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. He loved the feel of death under the wheels of the Mercedes, and he wants that rush again. Only Bill Hodges, with a couple of eccentric and mis-matched allies, can apprehend the killer before he strikes again. And they have no time to lose, because Brady's next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim thousands.

Review: Confession: I have never read a Stephen King book before. They scare me. I can't see the movies either. Then I heard from Ti, a blogging friend, that she was reading this new Stephen King and I was intrigued. Mostly because she said there were no "clowns in the basement." Thank you Ti!

Stephen King's writing is so good. I was sucked in on the first page and I was glued to this book the whole time. When I wasn't reading, I was thinking about the characters as if they were real people. I wondered what they were doing, would Hodges catch Brady, or what was Brady's next creepy horrible action going to be. I also liked that the "main character" was actually a cast of characters, each one contributing to the story equally.

I am a mystery book fan, but often feel as if the "who done it" comes too quickly at the end. Stephen King has taken this problem out of the equation because we know who did it from the very start. As Bill Hodges (retired Detective) and Brady Hartfield (creepy bad guy) tell their parallel stories, we see them approaching one another and can hardly stand the suspense at the end.