This is just a note to let you know that I will be gone Tuesday-Sunday. I am traveling to California! I told myself that I would post a review for you today, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. So, bye! I will miss all you fellow bloggers.
In My Mailbox was created by the lovely Story Siren. This week, I received the package of books I ordered from Book Closeouts.
Carter Finally Gets It – Brent Crawford (signed!)
Meet Will Carter, but feel free to call him Carter. (Yes, he knows it’s a lazy nickname, but he didn’t have much say in the matter.)
Join Carter for his freshman year, where he’ll search for sex, love, and acceptance anywhere he can find it. In the process, he’ll almost kill a trombone player, face off with his greatest nemesis, suffer a lot of blood loss, narrowly escape death, run from the cops (not once, but twice), get caught up in a messy love triangle, meet his match in the form of a curvy drill teamer, and surprise the hell out of everyone, including himself.
Flightsend – Linda Newbery (BookDivas)
Flightsend is Charlie’s new home, whether she likes it or not. Her mother sees it as an end to all that’s gone so tragically wrong, but for Charlie it’s the end of her family, not to mention her social life. They had been a proper family. Mum, Sean and Charlie, with a new baby sister on the way. But the baby died before she was born and everything changed. Gradually, her mother pushed Sean away, before resigning from her job and selling the house, forcing Sean to find somewhere else to live.Although Charlie believes her mother is making a terrible mistake, she can only offer support – but who will support Charlie, with Sean cut out of their lives? She’s certain that the move to a ramshackle cottage, miles from anywhere, can only make things worse. She couldn’t be more wrong. This first summer at Flightsend proves to be a turning point for them both. For Charlie’s mum there’s a new business and the fresh start that she knew she needed. And for Charlie there’s a new job, new friends, a newly discovered talent for art and new feelings for two very different men. It’s a summer of beginnings, not ends; a summer that Charlie will never forget.
Fox Girl – Nora Okja Keller
Nora Okja Keller, the acclaimed author of Comfort Woman, tells the shocking story of a group of young people abandoned after the Korean War. At the center of the tale are two teenage girls-Hyun Jin and Sookie, a teenage prostitute kept by an American soldier-who form a makeshift family with Lobetto, a lost boy who scrapes together a living running errands and pimping for neighborhood girls. Both horrifying and moving, Fox Girl at once reveals another layer of war’s human detritus and the fierce love between a mother and daughter.
The Book of Luke – Jenny O’Connell
Emily Abbott has always been considered the Girl Most Likely to Be Nice — but lately being nice hasn’t done her any good. Her parents have decided to move the family from Chicago back to their hometown of Boston in the middle of Emily’s senior year. Only Emily’s first real boyfriend, Sean, is in Chicago, and so is her shot at class valedictorian and early admission to the Ivy League. What’s a nice girl to do?
Then Sean dumps Emily on moving day and her father announces he’s staying behind in Chicago “to tie up loose ends,” and Emily decides that what a nice girl needs to do is to stop being nice.
Cotton – Christoper Wilson
Lee Cotton is a black boy born white-skinned in segregated Eureka, Mississippi, in 1950. Over the course of Lee’s first twenty years, he will fall in love with the daughter of a local Klansman, get kicked senseless and left for dead on a freight train headed north, end up in St. Louis as a white man, and be drafted into the psych-ops corps in Nevada. There, a drunken accident will separate Lee from another part of his identity and change his fate yet again. Before he returns to Mississippi, he will experience up close and personal the women’s liberation movement and the dawn of the Lesbian Nation.
Saving Zoe – Alyson Noel
In Alyson Noël’s newest teen novel, one sister’s secrets save the other’s life–in more ways than one. Meet fifteen-year-old Echo, a typical teen trying to survive high school without being totally traumatized by boy trouble, friend drama, and school issues. As if she didn’t have enough on her plate, Echo is also still dealing with the murder of her sister Zoë. Although it’s been over a year, Echo is still reeling from tragedy that changed everything. Beautiful and full of life, Zoë was the glue that held her family together, and although the two sisters were as different as night and day, they still had a bond that Echo can’t let go of. When Zoë’s old boyfriend Marc shows up one day with Zoë’s diary, Echo doesn’t think there’s anything in there she doesn’t already know. But as she gives in to curiosity and starts reading, she learns that her sister led a secret life that no one could have guessed–not even Echo.
I Love You, Beth Cooper – Larry Doyle
Denis Cooverman wanted to say something really important in his high school graduation speech. So, in front of his 512 classmates and their 3,000 relatives, he announced: “I love you, Beth Cooper.”
It would have been such a sweet, romantic moment. Except that Beth, the head cheerleader, has only the vaguest idea who Denis is. And Denis, the captain of the debate team, is so far out of her league he is barely even the same species. And then there’s Kevin, Beth’s remarkably large boyfriend, who’s in town on furlough from the United States Army. Complications ensue.
Chenxi and the Foreigner – Sally Rippin
Love in the time of the Tiananmen Square.
Anna never imagined living in such a foreign place. Fresh out of high school, she has joined her father, who works in Shanghai. She’s eager to see China beyond the bicycle-crowded streets between their apartment, her father’s expatriate community and the art school she’s attending. That’s why she’s thrilled when her father hires a cute local — a fellow student named Chenxi — to be her translator and guide.
In Ecstasy – Kate McCaffrey
A best friend sinks into a quicksand of teenage addictions.
Sophie and Mia have been best friends for most of their 15 years. Sophie is popular, so when she suggests they try ecstasy Mia figures it can’t hurt her own chances with the in crowd. Mia is elated when the drug lives up to its name and amazed when Lewis, the hottest guy in school, kisses her goodnight.
Soon Lewis is Mia’s boyfriend, and she and Soph are running with his fast, rich friends, until Sophie is sexually assaulted by Lewis’s drug-dealing buddy. Reluctant to say what happened, Sophie grows distant, leaving Mia to conclude she’s jealous of her popular boyfriend. But to keep Lewis’s attention, Mia grows increasingly dependent on the confidence that only E seems to give her. When things worsen, it is the girls’ strained but solid friendship that finally helps bring Mia back from the brink.
I am extending the contest for A Mighty Wall to May 1st! Be sure to enter.
How fast of a reader are you?
I thought it would be interesting to see how fast everyone reads. Of course, this varies book from book, but generally I can read about 20 pages in 30 minutes. This narrows down to about 2 pages/3 minutes. While I don’t necessarily feel like a slow reader, I am not fast reader. What about you?
At the age of 45, Gail Konop Baker is a mother of three with a radiologist as a husband. She practiced yoga, ran, ate organic food, and rarely became sick. Gail also hoped to start her writing career with her novel about a woman with breast cancer. Then, strangely enough, not long before Valentine’s Day, Gail is diagnosed with breast cancer. This begins her struggle with marriage, children, with her oldest going to college soon, family, and of course, the cancer itself–all in a heartfelt and humorous way.
I received this novel from LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer’s program. Frankly, when I learned I was going to receive this book, I thought, “Why did I request that?” Luckily, I found myself pleasantly surprsied. Baker’s humorous tone made the novel a quick read. I also liked that, for a book that deals cancer, the novel was not sad or too self-pitying. The novel is titled as Cancer is a Bitch: Or I’d Rather be Having a Midlife Crisis, but through the novel, Baker has a midlife crisis, so the novel is not just about cancer, which was also nice. I enjoyed reading about her family and experiences. Because her husband was a doctor, Baker knew most of her doctors on a more personal level, which, I’m sure you can imagine, can be odd, especially when you’re lifting up your shirt at your doctor’s appointment.
The best part about this novel is that I would want to read it even if Baker did not have cancer or was going through a midlife crisis. That’s how powerful of a narrator she is. She can make going to the grocery store seem interesting.
In My Mailbox was created by The Story Siren.
Sophomore Undercover – Ben Esch (ARC from BookMooch)
For fifteen-year-old, adopted Vietnamese orphan Dixie Nguyen, high school is one long string of hard-to-swallow humiliations. He shares a locker with a nudist linebacker, his teachers are incompetent, and he’s stuck doing fluff pieces for the school newspaper. But Dixie’s luck takes a turn when he stumbles across one of the jocks using drugs in the locker room; not only does he finally have something newsworthy to write, but the chance to strike a blow against his tormentors at the school as well.
The Dragons of Ordinary Farm – Tad Williams & Deborah Beale (ARC, First Look)
Tyler and Lucinda have to spend summer vacation with their ancient uncle Gideon, a farmer. They think they’re in for six weeks of cows, sheep, horses, and pigs. But when they arrive in deserted Standard Valley, California, they discover that Ordinary Farm is, well, no ordinary farm.
The bellowing in the barn comes not from a cow but from a dragon. The thundering herd in the valley? Unicorns. Uncle Gideon’s sprawling farmhouse never looks the same twice. Plus, there’s a flying monkey, a demon squirrel, and a barnload of unlikely farmhands with strange accents and even stranger powers.
At first, the whole place seems like a crazy adventure. But when darker secrets begin to surface and Uncle Gideon and his fabulous creatures are threatened, Lucinda and Tyler have to pull together to take action. Will two ordinary kids be able to save the dragons, the farm—and themselves?
A Little Friendly Advice – Siobhan Vivian (signed!)
Ruby’s turning sixteen . . . but the day doesn’t turn out to be as sweet as it’s supposed to be. Her long-lost father shows up, and Ruby doesn’t want to have anything to do with him. Instead, she wants to hang out with her friends–loyal Beth, dangerous Katherine, and gossipy Maria. They have plenty of advice for her–about boys, about her dad, about how she should look and what she should be feeling. But really, Ruby doesn’t know what to think or feel. Especially when a new boy comes into the picture . . . and Ruby discovers some of her friends aren’t as truthful as they say.
The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .
Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.
The Amanda Project: Invisible I – Stella Lennon (ARC)
When enigmatic high school student Amanda Valentino disappears, her closest friends vow to find her. The search begins in Invisible I, the first title in the eight-book series. But once the teens follow clues that might lead to Amanda, they realize that everything they thought they knew about her was false and find themselves with more questions than answers. As they begin to compare notes on their missing friend, the mystery of where—and who—Amanda is deepens.
The series begins with the books, which stand alone, but will lead readers to www.theamandaproject.com for an extended Amanda Project experience. Online, they can write stories, post art, share theories about Amanda (which could be chosen to become a part of later books in the series), even design and buy clothing and accessories inspired by Amanda. Regularly updated content by and about the characters from the books will keep the community buzzing and ensure that readers check back often.
I created a twitter account today. Follow me please, or give me your URL, so at least I can follow you.
Soundtrack Saturday was started by Persnickety Snark.
This week’s book is The Forest of Hands and Teeth, and what better song than Sufjan Steven’s “They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back From the Dead!! Ahhhh!”? I mean, look at some of the lyrics:
We are awakened with the axe
Night of the Living Dead at last
They have begun to shake the dirt
Wiping their shoulders from the earth
This week I am including the imeem link along with the youtube video. I would have liked to embed the imeem link, but wordpress will not let me.
Ever since she was child, Mary yearned to see the ocean. Most of the people in Mary’s village think she is foolish to think anything but their village exists. They have always been told that their small village was the only thing left after the Return. The village is surrounded by fences, so the Unconsecrated (zombies) can’t reach them. After Mary’s mom is taken by the Unconsecrated, Mary must join the Sisterhood. There, she learns that the Sisterhood has been keeping secrets, and that her village is not the only thing left in the world. Does this mean that a vast area of water, unaffected by the Unconsecrated still exists? And how far will Mary go to find the ocean?
First of all, I loved The Forest of Hands and Teeth. The novel was thrilling and took no easy way outs. I liked how Ryan chose the focus on the apocalypse after it happened. This gave the novel unique feel. My favorite thing about the novel was Mary. She was a flawed person, but a realistic character. I did not like all of her decisions, but I understood that her decisions were her choices. I know that must sound confusing, but what I mean is that Mary knew what she was doing the entire time was what was best for her. Although, admittedly, some readers will be frustrated with how far Mary was willing to go to reach her dream.
I also enjoyed the part where Ryan subtly touched on religion and its flaws. When I reached the end of the novel, I was sad. I wanted more! However, because the point-of-view surrounded around Mary, more of a resolution would have been impossible.
I can’t wait for the companion novel!
In My Mailbox was created by The Story Siren. I had a slow week which was fine because I need to catch up on all the books I have received the last few weeks.
Cold Hands, Warm Heart – Jill Wolfson
Dani was born with her heart on the wrong side of her body. In her fifteen years of life, she’s had more doctor’s appointments, X-rays, and tests, and eaten more green hospital Jell-O than she cares to think about. Fourteen-year-old Amanda is a competitive gymnast, her body a small package of sleek muscles, in perfect health. The two girls don’t know each other, don’t go to the same school, don’t have any friends in common. But their lives are about to collide. Acclaimed author Jill Wolfson tackles this fascinating story with her trademark honesty and wit.