Saturday, May 23, 2009

In which Medeia and Aella say goodbye

Dearest Readers,

This is long overdue. For that I apologize.

Firstly, I would like to take the time to make it officially known that we of the Maelstrom are resigning. Handing in our keys and tossing our nametags in the bushes. If that wasn't perfectly clear from the months of review drought that we've put you through, then let me say it a bit louder We're leaving for good. Yes, really and truly this time. I know I know, we've done this before and always come back, but seriously. Leaving. Right now. *sound of door opening and closing* ... *sound of door opening again* Well I do need to finish this post. But I assure you that after this is posted I am never coming back.

Secondly, thank you. Our readers and fellow bloggers were what made the Maelstrom more than just a swirling vortex of bookish craziness for us. So, we wish you all the best of luck in your (made of awesome) future endeavors (and book bloggery, if you're the book blogging type).

Finally, as a parting gift, I have made this (alphabetized) list of every single review we have ever done, including the ones currently in the clutches of our ferocious kraken (just kidding, you can click the link, he won't... suck your face off or anything... no really, do it).

Best wishes from the Whirly Girls,

Medeia & Aella

· Airhead by Meg Cabot [6 out of 7]
· Airman by Eoin Colfer [6 out of 7]
· Blade of Fire by Stuart Hill [7 out of 7!!!]
· Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce [6 out of 7]
· Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer [???]
· Chains by Laurie Halse Andersen [Awesome out of 7]
· Chanda's Wars by Allan Stratton [6.5 out of 7]
· Chasing Windmills by Catherine Ryan Hyde [7 out of 7!!!]
· Cybele's Secret by Juliet Mariller [6.7 out of 7]
· Daughter of Statues by Phil McGrail [5 out of 7]
· Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Faria Stolarz [5 out of 7]
· Death by Bikini by Linda Gerber [6.7 out of 7]
· Death by Denim by Linda Gerber [6 out of 7]
· Death by Latte by Linda Gerber [6 out 7]
· Devilish by Maureen Johnson [6 out of 7]
· Dingo by Charles DeLint [4.5 out of 7]
· Dragon's Keep by Janet Lee Carey [5 out of 7]
· Evermore by Alyson Noel [4 out of 7]
· Genesis Alpha by Rune Michaels [6 out of 7]
· Gone by Michael Grant [5.5 out of 7]
· Graceling by Kristin Cashore [6 out of 7]
· Head Games by Mariah Fredericks [5.7 out of 7]
· Heavy Metal and You by Christopher Krovatin [4 out of 7]
· Hero-Type by Barry Lyga [7 out of 7!!!]
· How Not to Be Popular by Jennifer Ziegler [6.7 out of 7]
· How to Be Bad by E. Lockhart, Sarah Mlynowski, and Lauren Myracle [7 out of 7!!!]
· I Can't Tell You by Hillary Frank [2 out of 7]
· Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr [6 out of 7]
· Lamplighter by D.M. Cornish [7 out of 7!!!]
· Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer [5 out of 7]
· Little Brother by Cory Doctorow [7 out of 7!!!]
· Lord of Misrule by Rachel Caine [4.5 out of 7]
· Marked by P.C. and Kristin Cast [3 out of 7]
· My Swordhand is Singing by Marcus Sedgewick [6.7 out of 7]
· Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan [5 out of 7]
· Need by Carrie Jones [3 out of 7]
· Newes From the Dead by Mary Hooper [4.8 out of 7]
· Nobody's Princess by Esther Friesner [5.7 out of 7]
· Ophelia by Lisa Klein [6 out of 7]
· Peeled by Joan Bauer [3.5 out of 7]
· Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock [5.7 out of 7]
· Project 17 by Laurie Faria Stolarz [5 out of 7]
· Prom Queen Geeks by Laura Preble [3 out of 7]
· Revelations by Melissa Delacruz [4.5 out of 7]
· Road of the Dead by Kevin Brooks [4 out of 7]
· Runemarks by Joanne Harris [1.5 out of 7]
· Secret of the Sands by Rai Aren and Tavius E. [4.5 out of 7]
· Shelter Me by Alex McCauley [3.5 out of 7]
· Siberia by Ann Halam [4 out of 7]
· Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before by David Yoo [5.5 out of 7]
· Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson [6 out of 7]
· Sweet Miss Honeywell's Revenge by Kathryn Reiss [5 out of 7]
· The Alchemyst by Michael Scott [5 out of 7]
· The Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky [3.5 out of 7]
· The Compound by SA Bodeen [6 out of 7]
· The Cry of the Icemark by Stuart Hill [7 out of 7!!!]
· The Foreshadowing by Marcus Sedgewick [6 out of 7]
· The Humming of Numbers by Joni Sensel [2 out of 7]
· The Hunter's Moon by O. R. Melling [4.5 out of 7]
· The Latent Powers of Dylan Fontaine by April Lurie [6.5 out of 7]
· The Luxe by Anna Godberson [5.7 out of 7]
· The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart [4.5 out of 7]
· The Red Thread by Roderick Townley [3 out of 7]
· The Sea of Shadow by Fuyumi Ono [6.5 out of 7]
· The Secret Story of Sonia Rodriguez by Alan Sitomer [5 out of 7]
· The Shadow Thieves by Anne Ursu [5 out of 7]
· The She by Carol Plum-Ucci [6 out of 7]
· The Taker by J.M. Steele [6.5 out of 7]
· The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima [6 out of 7]
· The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean [6 out of 7]
· The Wizard Heir by Cinda Williams Chima [5.5 out of 7]
· Truancy by Isamu Fukui [4.7 out of 7]
· Undone by Brooke Taylor [7 out of 7!!!]
· Unwind by Neal Shusterman [6 out of 7]
· Violet in Private by Melissa Walker [5.5 out of 7]
· Wake by Lisa McMann [4.5 out of 7]
· When We Were Saints by Han Nolan [5.5 out of 7]
· Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Mariller [5.5 out of 7]

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Andersen [6.5 out of 7]

Also, interviews:

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

Wow. It's been quite some time since I have written a review over here. But you all know how life gets. Complicated, busy, and occassionally dragged down by the world-suck. It's the books that suffer. But today, on my birthday, I have had the time to sit down and for once in a long while, update you as to a review. Awesome.

It appears to be a fiesta of Laurie Halse Anderson over here, because the title I most recently devoured was by her as well (Medeia having recently reviewed Wintergirls). And devoured is the most appropriate word.

As the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight...for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate become the property of a malicious New York City couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel meets Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages her to spy on her owners, who know details of British plans for invasion. She is reluctant at first, but when the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel realizes her loyalty is available to the bidder who can provide her with freedom. -- (Summary from Goodreads. Thanks Goodreads!)

I have never read anything by Anderson that I have not loved and was struck especially by Speak when I read it in sixth grade (oh. so long ago), but this book has completely revived why I love her books so much. Isabel's character was a fantastic narrator, with all of the emotions from growing older paired with the severity of her situation and tactfully intertwined. She gave a different view on the Revolution than I have ever read and I was completely caught up in the changing moods of loyalty as she learned about the bigger war surrounding her. But that didn't leave her personal battles unattended. Oh no. My heart was with her every step of the way.

Don't think because it's a historical fiction that it was at all short on action either. There was plenty. Spying and secrets and battles and fires and imprisonment and running away and and and... just so good. I was not bored at any point and I read this entire novel this afternoon.

I also loved how educational it was (EWwwww... Educationalllll. I can hear your thoughts, because I generally share them). But it was kind of refreshing to see the Revolution taken on from a different POV, no more the gung-ho patriot that we've read a million times. There is nothing wrong with the Johnny Tremains of the book world, just that there are soooo.... many.... of them....

So find yourself a copy! It's worth the read and *drum roll please* there is going to be a sequel in 2010!

Celebrating a birthday by books,

Aella Siofra

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Cassie died. Alone. After calling Lia thirty-three times. After Lia refused to answer thirty-three times. She died in a motel room. The papers hint at a drug overdose, but no one has a definitive answer. Lia lies to herself. She's fine. Not broken and sad and stuck like everyone thinks she is or thinks she should be. She lies to the scale, with her belly full of water and quarters in her pockets. The scale lies to her stepmother. 107.00, it says. No reason to worry. Lia's getting better. Don't send her back to that hell, New Seasons, where they stuffed her full of butter. Empty is strong. Why can't she just eat like everyone else? Empty is strong. Just one cupcake would be heaven. Empty is strong. But one cupcake would turn into two and three and four, until she got back to where she started. Empty is strong. Fatuglystupid, must not eat. Empty is strong. Cassie understood.

This book... this is what I was looking for. Something different and engaging and chilling and wonderful. The writing style was beautiful, to say the least, and made the book memorable. This is definitely not one of those books that you forget a week after you've read it. The fact that it was a gorgeously written novel made it seem absolutely creepy. I say creepy in the best way possible here. It just reached right down into me and made me care. I wanted to yell at Lia and make her eat something. I wanted to scream at her mother and father, for just letting her slip away. Most of all, I wanted to give Emma a hug.

6.5 out of 7 pomegranate seeds (ohhhhh... just got the Persephone reference) for Wintergirls.

Wishing the sun would come out,

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Some are Graced with dancing, some with weaving, some with story-telling. Not Katsa. Katsa possesses the despicable Grace of killing. To her uncle Randa, King of the Middluns, she is a mere tool. The perfect assassin, who can not only kill quickly and quietly but one that can also be paraded in front of his rivals at dinner. Intimidating even in silks and jewels. Not one (or even ten together) of his elite guards can best her in a fight. The only person who comes close to matching her skills is a visiting Lienid prince, Graced with fighting. Po seems to know what she is going to do before she even makes a move. Training with Katsa provides Po with the perfect excuse to stay in the Middluns while he searches for the person who kidnapped his grandfather. And that's how it begins. Katsa's life changes in ways she never expected as she accompanies Po on a journey to investigate this mysterious occurrence.

Katsa's struggle with humanity, trying to prove that she isn't just a monstrous killer, was excellent. The characters were three-dimensional and intriguing. The world that Cashore created had the flavor of other fantasy realms that I've encountered, but was different enough to distinguish itself from the I've-read-this-before abyss that many novels are falling into these days. My only qualm concerning this book was that it was the tiniest bit predictable. Only in a few instances, though. Overall, I liked it very much. I'd like to bestow 6 out of 7 oddly-colored eyes upon Graceling and add that I am looking forward to Kristin Cashore's future exploits in the YA realm.

In need of something chocolate and delicious,

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Wake by Lisa McMann

Janie, like most 17 year-olds, finds high-school a very hellish place. Unlike most 17 year-olds, she wishes that everyone would just be awake while they're there. I mean, really. All of the dozing students may be just another part of the background for you, but for Janie they're like little whirlpools, devouring her and throwing her into naked-during-the-big-history-presentation nightmares or falling-but-never-hitting-the-ground dreams or sex-with-the-hottest-girl-in-school fantasies.

Needless to say, it's all getting a little old. And inconvenient to say the least. Having to be ultra careful of the streets she drives on (ever since she almost totaled her car for the second time when she was caught in a nightmare) and sleepovers...hah. She tried that once, and after a peek into her friends' disturbing nighttime adventures, she's not thrilled about trying it again. Something she is thrilled about? Her former-druggie neighbor's transformation. It's shocking enough that everyone at school thinks he's a new student. But he's just the same old Cabel...isn't he? His dreams say otherwise...

Wake was... alright....I just could not identify with Janie at all. I mean, her situation is difficult, but the way she lets her mom treat her is just... *throws hands in the air* ugh. And the fact that she is able to hide this dream thing for so long (and that she chooses to tell no one) and thinks that she's the only one to ever have to deal with something like this... The whole Miss Stubin thing really reminded me of what's-her-name in the third Midnighters book.

4.5 out of 7 snickers bars for Wake. And for those who are interested in the sequel, Fade has been released now, too.


P.S. Speaking of dreams, I just finished Volume One of The Sandman by Neil Gaiman. Absolutely reeking of awesome! It's one of those "How have I not read this before?" moments.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Twilig-- I mean, Evermore by Alyson Noel

I find it amusing (and disappointing) that so many novels these days just seem very... similar. I am often able to describe whatever it is I'm reading by mixing multiple books together. This one, for example, is sort of a mixed up Twilight without the vampires (or werewolves for that matter) and a distinct Deadly Little Secret flavoring.

Ever, a car accident survivor, is pretty normal. Well, as long as your definition of "pretty normal" includes having the ability to hear the thoughts of those around you and frequently chatting with your 12 year old sister... who is dead. If your definition of normal does not allow for that sort of thing... well 1.) you haven't read as many fantasy/sci fi/mixes of fantasy and sci fi books as I have and 2.) you might (like Ever's high school classmates) label her "freak" instead. But not to worry, Ever does have some friends, namely an attention-seeking goth chick and the generic gay best friend. Yay for stereotypes. So, basically there's this new guy in school (I believe the word smoldering is used more than once) who everyone from the aforementioned generic gay best friend to the aforementioned goth chick seems to be falling in love with. Ever attempts to avoid him, but when she finally makes contact she (stares creepily at him for a few minutes and) notices something strange about him. He is the only person, aside from her dead sister, who lacks the ever present swirling aura that only she can see.

Even the blurb on the back of the book recalls distinct phrases from Twilight. "...she has no idea just who he really is-- or what he is. The only thing she knows is true is that she's falling deeply and helplessly in love with him." *exasperated sigh* Oh, ye gods of YA lit, I'm sure I've begged this favor of you multiple times but could I pretty please have a (fawesometastic) supernatural romance that doesn't stink of every book I've ever read in my life... okay, slight exaggeration there. But honestly, aren't any of you feeling the same way? I just want something different and amazing. Is more awesome too much to ask for?

A mediocre 4 out of 7 for a not-very-impressive novel.

Fanatically following The Logbook of the Ketty Jay,

Friday, March 27, 2009

Ophelia by Lisa Klein

Ophelia starts off as an ugly duckling with a conspiring lout of a father and an older brother that she loves very much but could never dream of being equal with. But her world changes when she comes into the service of Queen Gertrude of Denmark. Suddenly she has her mind full of the deceptions of court and her eyes full of the image of the handsome young Hamlet, heir to the throne.

Her world is turned around when the prince returns her longing and they fall in the purest of loves. But something is rotten in the state of Denmark (I'm sorry. I couldn't help it) Hamlet falls into a melancholy when the king dies and a plot is uncovered. This is the classic story of Hamlet (and then some) through the eyes of Ophelia.

So. Beautiful. I had never bothered to really think of Ophelia in this way and see her as a strong heroine, despite the many times I have read Hamlet. But the writing gave her this incredible character and these fantastic layers. She was such a real narrator, not to mention the brilliant speech in which she relayed her story. It was Shakespeare for n00bs.

The love she described was brilliant. Passionate without being lewd. Young without being immature. I completely admit to crying in this book. It was just. that. well. written.
Here's the downside.

If you don't like Shakespeare, you probably will not like this piece. It has all the tragedy and much of the language. And understanding of Hamlet is not required, glory be, so I can recommend this with confidence to anyone willing to take the chance on a very straightforward tale of love, hatred, deception, evil, and growth. Ophelia is one of my favorite narrators. Maybe in the top 20. Top 15 even. The only part I did not enjoy was the first 20 pages or so. After that, it picked up in a matter of paragraphs.

6 out of 7 rapidly flowing rivers
. Yay Lisa Klein for writing this. So good. A literary work of art.

Checking out this fantastic author,
Aella Siofra

Monday, March 23, 2009

So I'm a failbat. What else is new?

I know, I know. I've had Bloodhound for...uh.... ever. Here's the shiny review that I should've written... uhm... forever ago. It's funny, because I was really motivated and excited when I first saw it on Aella's bookshelf. My thought process went something like this as I perused her collection for the millionth time: Hmmm.... meh.... oooh pretty cover... wow that book sucked, why does she have that?.... that looks inter---OH! I hope that what I think--- YES! IT IS! *mental happydance*

And here, straight off the shelves of Goodreads, a summary of Bloodhound:

Beka thinks she may be falling for Rowan, but she won't let anything--or anyone--jeopardize her mission. Beka Cooper is finally a Dog--a full-fledged member of the Provost's Guard, dedicated to keeping peace in Corus's streets. But there's unrest in Tortall's capital. Counterfeit coins are turning up in shops all over the city, and merchants are raising prices to cover their losses. The Dogs discover that gamblers are bringing the counterfeit money from Port Caynn. In Port Caynn, Beka delves deep into the gambling world, where she meets a charming banking clerk named Dale Rowan. As she heads north to an abandoned silver mine, it won't be enough for Beka be her usual "terrier" self. She'll have to learn from Achoo to sniff out the criminals--to be a Bloodhound....

*thanks the Goodreads deities*

For all of you who have come to expect awesomeness from Tamora Pierce, you will not be disappointed with Bloodhound. I enjoyed the second installment of the Beka Cooper books because the new setting introduced just enough... new-ness (redundant? who me?) and also showed more of Beka's personal side. Be sure to grab a copy of this one when it comes out on April 14th. 6 out of 7 *lightning-y and thunderous sounds effects*

Off to review something else ( really... I will... don't give me that look...),

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie isthisreallynecessarytotypeout Meyer

Oh wow. Getting a little behind on the reviewing, aren't we? But never fear! The Maelstrom has resolved to fix this readingfail as soon as humanly possible. Then again this isn't so much a review as a "Aella-is-not-a-fangirl-but-still-wishes-to-express-her-giddiness-after- (finally)-completeing-normally-fangirlized-novel" moment.

Short and to the point methinks. This was definitely my favorite Twilight book. It felt very different from the others and I loved how the bond between Edward and Bella became so much more concrete. It didn't feel like a flighty teenage romance anymore and that sort of made me go YESSSSSSS.

Also? Renesmee = love. I have no idea how Stephenie Meyer makes a six month old child so easy to read for and interesting to watch develop as a character. I like the cover just as much as I did when it was first revealed. Some of the buildup for the end conflict was monotonous, but I really liked how everything unfolded right there at the conclusion. It was one of those "Take that _____ insert antagonist here ______" moments. Even if the Volturi do still have a special place in my heart as for awesome villains.

Otherwise? Jacob is still pretty awesome. Edward is mkay. I guess. Jasper needs to not be in lurve with Alice so that I can haz him (creeper moment). All the new vampires were fun to learn about (Kate? Shocking powers? wth?). I still like the Host better. I think that pretty much sums everything up. Now to review something for real. *full month later...*

How do you rate this? It's not brilliant, but it's not bad, but I can't really measure it. No rating. Just draw your own conclusions I suppose.


PS: Then again, according to my English class (yes. even the teacher), I am the last-person-lyk-everr to get around to reading this.

PSthe2nd: Comment with what you thought overall, especially if you don't agree.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Shelter Me by Alex McCauley

I'm really not sure how much of this book to give away in the summary so....
*unsurreptitiously stealz from Goodreads*

Maggie Leigh just wants to be a normal teenager, but when German bombs tear apart London during World War II, her ultra-religious mother sees the destruction as divine punishment. She sends Maggie to a remote boarding school in coastal Wales, supposedly to keep her safe, but also to keep her in line. The school is creepy, the headmistress is a lunatic, and the students range from spoiled rich girls to speechless trauma victims. But when a tragic accident happens on the beach, Maggie and three friends are forced to flee the school, plunging into the nightmarish world of Europe during wartime. Now every decision Maggie makes is fraught with danger, and living to see another day depends on how quickly she can think and act...and how far she's willing to go.

Thank you Goodreads.

The plot in this book was... incredible. When Maggie and her friend met the Nazi pilot who coincidentally crash lands on the beach next to the convent I was like "Oh... okay. That could happen." When Maggie returns to the beach only to find that her friend has killed the Nazi pilot, I gave a skeptic eyebrow-raise. When Maggie and her friend proceed to inspect the remnants of the crashed plane and find a box with a baby in it I stopped expecting something plausible from this book and just enjoyed laughing at the increasingly unbelievable plot twists. Oh no it doesn't stop there. From bizarrely warped nun conspiracies to out of the blue lesbian lovers to random army deserters stabbing themselves on trains, this book has it all.

3.5 out of 7 strangled teddy bears for Shelter Me.

Tracking down a good faerie book,


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Foreshadowing by Marcus Sedgewick

Back in the day when we were at the Charybdis (aaah, to reminisce) I read and reviewed My Swordhand is Singing by the fabulous Marcus Sedgewick. I finished the post with the words "Inter-Library Loaning Every Other Sedgwick book I can find". Lo and behold, I followed through *cough* three months later *cough*! Here is the result!

Sasha is from a good, wealthy, patriotic family in England. Or so it appears. With World War I looming and the young men of her world disappearing to the front, conflict begins in her family. Brother Edgar wants to be a commander. Brother Thomas wants to avoid the call. Father Fox is furious with Brother Thomas and Brother Edgar doesn't help much with that. But Sasha has bigger problems. She can see the future in glimpses, where people are going, where they are, how they will die. Of course, as Cassandra of the ancient Greek stories, no one believes her or they shut her out in fear. But when her brother Edgar dies and she sees a horrifying vision of Thomas's fate, Sasha must find the courage to shed what society demands of her and save her brother against all the powers of destiny and fate.

Beautiful. The writing was beautiful, the characters were beautifully executed (erm... not literally), the settings were gorgeous and it felt very poignant. I put so much will into Sasha's search that I was actually tired when I finally put the book down (two in the morning) to go to sleep. And no, it wasn't just the fact that I was up until two in the morning to finish reading it. So many desperate moments and fantastic descriptions. Agh. But I'm gushing.

The negatives. As with My Swordhand is Singing, this is the sort of book and writing style that you either love or hate. But I recommend trying it. You may find that you love it like I did. And if you're interested in war time writing and historical fiction, there is alot of fact put into the plot that will pique your interest.

6 out of 7 lightnings! BOOMKAZAMPOW! Wow, I missed that rating system. Give this book a try. I can't guarantee you'll love The Foreshadowing, but I can guarantee it will be worth the shot.

Still hunting for Sedgewick,

Aella Siofra

Monday, February 9, 2009

Dear gods of the publishing industry,

please do not make me finish In Too Deep of the Elite novels. I'm not sure I can survive another chapter of this. Set me free to do more constructive things such as reading the new Luxe novel with that amazing cover or building paper mache dinosaurs. Instruct me in the ways of rubbing off the aggressive vapidity and *sparkles*.

Thank you for hearing me out,

Friday, February 6, 2009

I Can't Tell You by Hillary Frank

D0 you haz a pencil?
I haz a pencil.
Do you likez teh girl?
Yes. I likez teh girl. But she hatez meeeee... *sad scribbling*
riting notez be fixing n0?

The above is an Aellafied example of basic conversation in this book. Or lack therof. Jake is in love with his friend Xandra, but due to the recent epic battle with his best friend, the future is looking shaky. And all because of a few misplaced, mistimed, misspoken words. So he decides that the world would just be a better place if he no longer spoke at all. I Can't Tell You follows him through e-mails, notes, writing on walls, and in the margins of science notebooks as Jake looks for the resolution to life, love, and a crazy messy tangle of a friendship breakup that will not let him move on.

I could not remember that this book was about college students. The entire work felt very junior high-high school transition emotionally. So frustrating, because there was so much potential for the very awesome format of this book. But once I got over the awesomosity of reading someone's ever-so-secret confessions of lurrrrve, I realized that it was a recycled plot with no spine that had been shoved into a cooler mold.

So many sexual references. Unnecessary ones that filled in what might have been a place for some quality humor. Ugh. Irritating. Also, it was like all Jake could think about was sex. It seemed almost condescending to males as his thought process was Twilight movie reminiscent, " pencil.... SexSexSexSexSex". Ugh x2. It kind of killed how much I could have cared for the protagonist and the people that surrounded him.

Overall, kind of a frustrating book with a clever format that could have. been. so. awesome. Note general lame book grumpiness. And that's two negative reviews in a row. Perhaps we should break it up with Paper Towns. That review will be up in two days time! Hint = John Green did not f.t.b.a.

2 out of 7 Confessions of Adoration (eeeeh... February....). Do you haz good book?

Rereading the Year of Secret Assignments,


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Need by Carrie Jones

I stared at this one for a while before picking it up. I thought to myself "It's going to be about vampires, just leave it alone." based on the title and cover (which reminds me of the one for Revelations). But it was just so shiny in all its newness... so I took it home and read it and laughed.

What was cool: I learned the names of a bunch of different phobias.... that I have now forgotten.

What was decidedly NOT: It was pretty much Twilight, but with pixies. In fact, the pixies here strangely resembled the vampires of Twilight. Which I find sad. *laments yet another disappointing faerie book* And really, what is it with authors stealing mythical creatures and demeaning them by making them SPARKLE? The only time I have seen sparkling gold dust used awesomely was in Poison. Oh and the faery drugs from Valiant. *applauds Holly Black and Chris Wooding*

3 out of 7 rousing renditions of that song from Peter Pan that's stuck in my head now.

Regretting that her ipod is all the way over THERE,


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

I am a self-professed Nick and Norah's junkie. I have read it multiple times and have no idea how it took me so long to pick up Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List. But really... how does one measure up?

Naomi loves and is in love with Ely, and Ely loves Naomi, but prefers to be in love with boys. So they create their "No Kiss List" of people neither of them is allowed to kiss. And this works fine - until Bruce. Bruce is Naomi's boyfriend, so there's no reason to put him on the List. But Ely kissed Bruce even though he is boring. The result: a rift of universal proportions and the potential end of "Naomi and Ely: the institution." Can these best friends come back together again? (Summary from Goodreads)

It absolutely kills me when best friends break up. Even in books. And being familiar with the pain of that situation, this book was all the more poignant for me. The characters felt incredibly real. I would not doubt the existence of Gabriel, the oh-my-fey-he-is-so-beyond-beautiful doorman or Bruce 1, jilted high school lover and bloomingstalker type. I doubt other authors could have made them so human and believable, while maintaining a quirkiness that kept me caring.

The plot had a good deal of the unexpected. Even though it was short I found myself doing a lot of this: "No he didn't. Oh oh oh he did! And what about.... *gasp* ack! the elevator! I can't even believe...." while my study hall looked on in amused/frightened silence. Not to mention a great deal of laughing out loud (no. kill the acronym. kill it.).

But now for the disappointing factors. Unfortunately, they existed. When the story is written in Naomi's voice there are these really irritating little figures in hearts and spiders and eyes that take the place of real words. Frustrating. It's like trying to have an IM conversation with someone who can only think in pictures and leaves you dying under a flood of emoticons. Thankfully, her voice was not the only POV. Secondly, I was a little upset with unanswered questions. There would be all this build-up and then one resolving scene that kindasorta explained things, but left a lot of emotional character baggage to deal with itself. Meh.

So ultimately... 5 out of 7 reserved Starbucks seats. Not as awesome as Nick and Norah's *bookswoon*, but still solid. I will always look forward to Rachel Cohn and David Levithan writing together.
Hunting for Fluffy,

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I'm getting really sick of this whole vampire thing

Warning: I have not read any of the previous Morganville Vampire books. Though not for lack of trying. Just wanted you to know that all I know about this series is what the (strangely convenient) synopsis in the front told me.

Synopsis of the synopsis (for those of you, like me, who didn't know there was a difference between the Vampire Kisses and Morganville Vampires series... until just now when I told you): The story's about a girl named Claire who's apparently some sort of prodigy. Her parents wouldn't let her go straight to MIT, she's only 16 after all, so they shipped her off to a smaller university in the middle of Texas. That happens to be infested with vampires. Good call, guys.

And now there's a war going on between two vampire groups. One (Claire's side obviously) wants to keep things the way they are and not eat humans (... well, for the most part) and the other wants to make them the prime food source (as opposed to donated bags o' blood... yumm).

I wasn't enthralled by this one. I just didn't get any of that"This is so damn COOL" feeling where you want to just devour the book. It was more of the "I don't have any books to read... oh wait... there's that one with the vampires" kind of deal.
Speaking of books I wasn't enthralled by, theres a new... what was that series again? Oh right Blue Bloods. It's called Revelations and it has the best cover in the whole series. But that's really all I can say for it. Which is saddening. Basically if you loved/hated the first two Blue Bloods novels, then you'll love/hate the third. Nothing really new here. 4.5 out of 7.

What I'm finding about vampire books is that they have to be either really hardcore vampire-centric (real I'm-going-to-reach-into-your-chest-and-tear-out-your-heart vampires) or a new and completely innovative approach (like Peeps and The Last Days), in order to make an impression on me anyways. The middle ground is just disappointing.

Re-reading Poison 'cause faeries pwn vampires anyway... and so does Chris Wooding for that matter,

Medeia Senka

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before by David Yoo

Albert is a loser by choice. During his freshman year of high school, he realized that there was no chance of him ever becoming remotely "cool" so he just... opted out. He doesn't really do much other than watch TV and play games with the neighborhood whippersnappers who worship him as a god. When summer rolls around, his parents give him the choice between taking more classes than he did during school to prepare for college or getting a job at the local inn. It's at the inn that he meets Mia for the first time.

Mia is the typical girlfriend-of-jock-king.
Or...maybe not. For one thing, she broke up with Ryan Stackhouse at the beginning of the summer. For another, she doesn't seem to mind talking to Albert, unlike most other people on the planet. Mia draws Albert out of the glass bubble he's put himself in since freshman year and he helps her get over her boyfriend of three years. And then the near-impossible happens! They hook up and go back to school as a... something. Things seem to be going pretty well for Albert... until Ryan Stackhouse is diagnosed with cancer. *girlfriend-stealing ensues*

This book was another one of those laugh-out-loud funny types. At times it felt like Yoo laid it on a little too thick, but for the most part I was cracking up over this one. Here we run into another protagonist that is unique and endearing. It reminded me of a book I read once, Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You by Peter Cameron, but I liked it MUCH more. Five and a half enormous frogs. In jars. Oh yes. Wait, half a frog is kinda icky...

Looking for a better rating system than partial frogs,


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Death by Denim by Linda Gerber

I don’t think that I will ever get tired of this series. So forgive me for sounding a little bit repetitive as I review the third title in the Death By books.


Aphra is back. Erm… Again. And hiding out in France with fake papers. Seth Mulo, her secret lurrrver, is off and away at a separate, mysterious location. All is well aside from their being apart. Until Aphra and Natalie (Aphra’s mother) find out that they are being followed once again. They must flee to Paris to meet with one of Natalie’s contacts. But when the contact is found dead in the river, a riddle-like message in his mouth, Aphra must decide whether to finally go after “The Mole” herself or to sit around waiting for her world to fall apart all over again.

Like the previous books, I loved the characters. And while development has pretty much been set by this point, there were still some curious revelations and changes in how they related to each other. The romance between Seth and Aphra gets even more heated and more adorable (ack!), even sappy in a few moments. Even though I sensed a little bit of scandal with Agent Ryan McAwesome (anyone else, or am I just crazy?). The action also accelerated, with some scenes that were way more heart pumping than in the previous books. Definitely an improvement, for alternate reality adrenaline junkies like myself.

Ultimately, a short review, but a positive one. Definitely look for this title- out on May 14th of 2009 (Oh! Hey! That's this year!). It is worth the wait.
Linda Gerber’s humor is progressively more awesome and her writing as well. 6 out of 7 Skull-Patched Jean Skirts!!! And has anyone heard news about a 4th novel? *crosses fingers*

Hoping and Thankful to Ms. Gerber,

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Deadly Little Secret Laurie Faria Stolarz

It was a dark and stormy night... wait, no. No it wasn't. It was just dark. Clichefail. And, what book does Medeia choose off of her (growing) pile of books? Well, if you read the title of this post then you know it was Deadly Little Secret. If you've read any of Laurie Faria Stolarz's other books, then you also know that reading one of them at late o' clock at night when you're alone in the house is a BAD IDEA.

This one starts out eerily Twilight-esque. Camelia is walking along, minding her own business, when suddenly a car comes hurtling out of nowhere! *cue dreamy grey-eyed stranger* In a very Cullen-ly move, he pushes her out of the way of the speeding vehicle of death and then they stare into each other's eyes for a while. Camelia doesn't catch his name before he races off (to save more damsels in distress or something) and before she could thank him for saving her life.

{Fast forward three months}

There's a new kid at school who (allegedly) pushed his girlfriend off a cliff. Guess who it is. Just guess. Yeah, it's the dreamy grey-eyed stranger. Camelia tries to thank him, but he waves it off and says that she's probably mistaken him for someone else. As Camelia tries to get closer to Ben (aka grey-eyed stranger) she starts to find pictures in her mailbox. Of her. With increasingly hostile messages written on them.*shudder* Who could be stalking her? Is it the kinda creepy boss at the pottery studio where she works, who's given her an invitation to come in any time? Or could it be the super yummy star jock who keeps running into her? Or... is it Ben, who keeps touching her and can't seem to let go?

I repeat: bad idea to read this at 11 at night. What really freaked me out were the passages written by Camelia's stalker interspersed every couple of chapters. Halfway through I had to switch to Wildwood Dancing. Though some of the the elements of this piece of scary seemed recycled, they still combined to form a chilling read, which is something that we've come to expect (and love about) Laurie Faria Stolarz. Deadly Little Secret gets a 5 out of 7 from yours truly.
[side note: I had to read through the first fifty or so pages of this one before I was 100% sure Ben wasn't going to turn into a vampire. This is what Twilight similarities do to me.]

Closing all the curtains and hunting up a blanket (make that several blankets),

P.S. The winner of the Fiercely Fawesome First Contest is posted below.