Monday, April 29, 2013

Recent Reads

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe 
bBenjamin Alire Sáenz

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be. ( Description from Goodreads) 

This book took me by surprise. It’s a gentle story with unexpected power: one of those books you read and then moment you finish, you look up the author because you want to read more from them. Thankfully, in this case, there’s a lot to choose from. I have a list of them on request from the library.  

The Uninvited
by Tim Wynne-Jones

Mimi Shapiro had a disturbing freshman year at NYU, thanks to a foolish affair with a professor who still haunts her caller ID. So when her artist father, Marc, offers the use of his remote Canadian cottage, she’s glad to hop in her Mini Cooper and drive up north. The house is fairy-tale quaint, and the key is hidden right where her dad said it would be, so she’s shocked to find someone already living there — Jay, a young musician, who is equally startled to meet Mimi and immediately accuses her of leaving strange and threatening tokens inside: a dead bird, a snakeskin, a cricket sound track embedded in his latest composition. But Mimi has just arrived, so who is responsible? And more alarmingly, what does the intruder want? Part gripping thriller, part family drama, this fast-paced novel plays out in alternating viewpoints, in a pastoral setting that is evocative and eerie — a mysterious character in its own right. (Description from Goodreads) 

This was a page turner, but not as intense as I expected it to be. Loved this writer's style and all the details carefully woven throughout the story. 




The Tragedy Paper
by Elizabeth Laban

This book follows the story of Tim Macbeth, a seventeen-year-old albino and a recent transfer to the prestigious Irving School, where the motto is “Enter here to be and find a friend.” A friend is the last thing Tim expects or wants—he just hopes to get through his senior year unnoticed. Yet, despite his efforts to blend into the background, he finds himself falling for the quintessential “It” girl, Vanessa Sheller, girlfriend of Irving’s most popular boy. To Tim's surprise, Vanessa is into him, too, but she can kiss her social status goodbye if anyone ever finds out. Tim and Vanessa begin a clandestine romance, but looming over them is the Tragedy Paper, Irving’s version of a senior year thesis, assigned by the school’s least forgiving teacher.
 
Jumping between viewpoints of the love-struck Tim and Duncan, a current senior about to uncover the truth of Tim and Vanessa, The Tragedy Paper is a compelling tale of forbidden love and the lengths people will go to keep their secrets. 
(Description from Goodreads) 

I picked this book up because I was intrigued with the concept of the Tragedy Paper and the story revolving around it, but it ended up being a disappointment on a lot of levels. I struggled to even finish it. I still think the concept had a lot of potential, but the flat characters and unrealistic dialogue killed it for me. 



Shatter Me
by Tahereh Mafi

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.
(Description from Goodreads) 

The upside of being behind on your reading is when you finally read a book like this and then don't have to wait for book two. This book was INTENSE: absolutely impossible to put down. My daughter had told me the writing was beautiful, poetic, but I was still stunned by it. 


Unravel Me
by Tahereh Mafi

Juliette's  finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.

Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam's life. 
(Description from Goodreads) 

I have officially been sucked in by this series. It rendered my entire weekend useless. Dystopian/Paranormal are not my usual choices, but these books are INTENSE. Now, sadly, I'll have to wait, just like everyone else for book three. (Although, my daughter tells me she has Destroy Me, the novella on her Kindle, so that's up next.)

Have you read something outside your usual genre lately that's surprised you?


28 comments:

  1. Oh, the first book looks great! And I have been wanting to read Shatter Me. I will have to go look it up for sure, now!

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  2. Oh my! Thank you so much for sharing these. They sound incredible and I haven't heard of one! Wow! Thanks!!!

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    1. You're welcome, Tanya. I love spreading the word about books I love.

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  3. The first 3 are new to me. I will have to look those up.:) I read Shatter Me when it first came out so I feel like I will have to read it again before picking up the next! I just finished Amy & Roger's Epic Detour which was great--exactly in my reading comfort zone.

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    1. I'll have to look that one up. Thanks, Coleen.

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  4. I've read SHATTER ME and enjoyed it. I'll have to put the rest of these on my tbr list. Thanks for the reviews.

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  5. Thanks for reviewing these ... I'm putting a couple on my TBR list ...

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  6. These sound great and I'd be very interested in reading Aristotle and Dante. The current read that's outside my usual genre is THE GIRL WHO CIRCUMNAVIGATED FAIRYLAND IN A SHIP OF HER OWN MAKING. I read fantasy and adventure but this one is quite intensely peculiar.

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    1. Oooo, "intensely peculiar" - I don't read fantasy, but that has me intrigued =)

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  7. Thanks for the reviews! I've been meaning to read Aristotle and Dante--I'm bumping it up on my list. :-)

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    1. Yay! Hope you like it as much as I did =)

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  8. Thanks for all the great reviews and recommendations, Ruth! I have no time and too many books to read already, but I totally want to read most of these, especially the last two which you were so taken with!

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    1. There's never enough time for all of the good books out there, is there?!

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  9. This Spring has been incredibly busy for me, but I hope to read some chapter and MG books this summer. Thanks for introducing us to some possibilities, Ruth!

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    1. I always enjoy MG when I read it, but I definitely gravitate toward YA.

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  10. Oh I'm all excited now. I have a new book to read thanks to your post this week. Shatter Me is now front and center. Thanks!

    I am currently reading the Life of Pi. Extraordinary. That is the word I have for it. It is VERY good. Surprised the heck out of me.

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    1. Oh, I hope you'll let me know if you enjoy it as much as I did!

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  11. Ruth - Thanks for your comments about your "recent reads." I remember hearing about Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe during the airing of the ALA Awards - it won two awards. My son has read it, and with your comments, I think I'll give it a try. Take care ~

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  12. I LOVE dystopian, paranormal novels, so thanks for the heads up on this series! All of these books sound interesting to me. Thanks for your input. I'm not familiar with any of them. Have a great weekend, Ruth!

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  13. I haven't read anything by this author yet- but based on this post I should start! I think the dystopian series sounds very good and I am definitely curious about the writing. Thanks so much for sharing!

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    1. Sometimes I forget to post here about what I've been reading. But I enjoy very much getting book recs from blogging buddies, so I really need to try harder to reciprocate.

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  14. Wow, I'm going to try some of these. Thanks for the recs!

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