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?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Coming Up for Air

After much polishing, perfecting, and tweaking, my long-labored-over WIP is awaiting the scrutiny of beta readers. I was not completely prepared for the "lost" feeling that followed. The first day was the worst. What? I can't sit down at my computer and manipulate these characters I've grown so fond of? What else is there to do? Yes, I have another story idea in the wings, but it seems a bit soon to jump into the depths again. So after a day of aimless internet wandering and sitting down at my computer only to be reassured that, yes, the story is finished (at least for now), I have begun making a dent in my to-be-read pile. First off, I read Lindsey Leavitt's Going Vintage, a fabulously fun read!

Then, Ally Carter's Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover. This series is addicting. In a good way.

And as of this afternoon, when I brought my mother to the salon and happily sat in the sun reading while she got her hair done, I'm halfway through Ann Stampler's Where it Began. Just as the cover boasts, it is indeed unputdownable. I only put it aside tonight to write this blog post and I will, assuredly be picking it back up as soon as this post is, well, posted.

 And when I finish the book at hand, this is what the stack that awaits me looks like:

Ahhhhh, heaven! And no more aimless drifting.

While we're talking about bookish things, I've been meaning to show you the gorgeous journal and pen that my daughter brought back from London for me. Love, love, love them!

Do you usually take some time between projects or do you dive right into the next story?