21 February 2011

In My Mailbox (018)

In My Mailbox is a feature started Kristi over at The Story Siren and it explores the contents of my mailbox or shopping bag on a weekly basis. [More about IMM here.]
It isn't too often that I actually get books, I'm usually a library supporter, but I had a Barnes & Noble gift card as well as a few bucks to spend. . . So, I decided to get some.

Here's what I acquired and where I got them from!

  1. Other Words For Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal - (review)

  1. XVI by Julia Karr - Barnes & Noble | paperback - (review)
  2. I AM NUMBER FOUR by Pittacus Lore - Barnes & Noble | hardback - (currently reading)
  3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - Wal-Mart | paperback
  4. The Last Thing I Remember by Andrew Klavan - Borders | paperback
  5. An Audrey Hepburn bookmark - Borders
I am one of those lone people who have yet to read The Hunger Games... But that will change very soon.
I've been quite distracted lately, and haven't had the chance to finish I Am Number Four... But I'm like it so far, I'm exactly 200 pages in out of 440 pages. Really hoping to be finished by Wednesday... Have more to do tomorrow.
I got the movie poster version because, I honestly do not like the original cover! And I'm usually very against getting promotional versions of books. But... come on... Alex Pettyfor is hot! :)
The Last Thing I Remember has been on my "to-read" list for awhile and Amanda (Another Book Junkie) & I went to Border's for their closing (*weep*) sale and it was the last one, so I went ahead and got it. I probably won't be reading it too soon, I have a lot of books I should be reading (read: Should have already read!)

Let me know what you got this week, month, or day. . . !

16 February 2011

Book Review: "Other Words for Love" by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

Published: January 11th, 2011 | Delacorte Books
Age: Young Adult
Pages: 368
Challenge: 2011 Debut Author
Acquired: Public Library


Review: Ari has been trapped in others shadows for most of her life. First her beautiful and popular sister and now her beautiful and popular best friend. But when her family unexpectedly inherits a small fortune Ari is able to go to the elite prep school along with her best friend, and just as she feared, she just doesn't fit in with her crowd. Which leads her to meet to interesting and quirky Leigh who then introduces Ari to her gorgeous and older cousin Blake.
As Ari learns a whole new side of 1980s New York and the romance she never thought was possible, her ideas of life begin to change as this new world begins to consume her. Especially this budding romance with Blake. But when tragic strikes Blake and his family, he ends his relationship with Ari and she in turns begin to lose her way in life. Now she has to try to see what this relationship with Blake was and try to salvage any relationship with both her family and friends that were put on the back burner while Blake began to take over everything she once did and loved.

I won't lie, when I read the summary of this book, I figured it'd just be another lovey-dovey fluff read that left me void of any emotion or attachment towards it... I was wrong. The depth of this book will definitely leave an impact with me in the long list of debut authors this year!

When Ari describes her pain or any feelings she has, you feel them, you understand them. When we read about the small and meticulous things Ari did... You wanted to know about them. Everything. But the things that made you continue reading are what mattered the most. Like her falling in love and experiencing everything that comes along with your first love. Having feelings that are otherwise forbidden in the eyes of the world. Being in the shadow of your best friend who may always be there for you but just doesn't understand who you are and why you are that person. I believed it all.

I knew from the first few pages that this book would be different. And it wasn't just the year (set in the late 1980s) or that the world they lived in is different from ours... The author knew how to speak to me and let me know exactly how things were. We're not only introduced to characters, but we get to know these characters. And that's done without having their biography laid out for us.
The way Ari would describe her feelings towards someone would allow you to develop your own feelings and judgement towards them, openly -- non biased.
Especially her family... And her sister's husband. Though she liked him, a lot, I was actually annoyed by him. And her sister? Boy, that woman's got a mouth on her. But it was hilarious!

I did want more of Leigh however. I found her fun, refreshing, and real. And Blake, her cousin, was hot and weird at the same time. "Nice" this "nice" that... Agh!! However the love scenes between Ari and Blake--ow, ow--I would love to read an adult romance book from Lorraine!! Them scenes were hot! ^_^"

The interaction between Ari and her parents, especially her mother, were real and honest. Who doesn't get annoyed with their parents and though they hold it in just want to tell them exactly how they feel. We all have at some point, and sometimes things get so serious that you just have to. And when Ari finally does, you cringe, you feel both Ari's anger and her mother's pain.

The ending, let me just tell you... I loved it and from the moment Blake and Leigh came into the picture, that is exactly what I hoped happened. I can't say much more, but I will say I wouldn't mind a sequel to see more into Ari's world! Though it's wrapped up very well that you feel perfectly fine with guessing what may happen in everyone's future.
I cannot wait to read more from Lorraine Zago Rosenthal!!

When I read a book I usually don't associate the cover with anything that happens in this book, but this is exactly how I imagined New York and Ari herself. Gorgeous cover with soft colors that draw you in and make you want to pick it up!

With this book you not only get the contemporary young adult romance book but you get honesty, realness and believablitiy (redundant & made up words for the win)! I definitely recommend this to everyone--no matter your usual genre choice. It's a breath of fresh air and leaves you feeling good!

Ending:  (can I give 10?)


Author's Info:
Lorraine Zago Rosenthal
was born in New York City where she went to high school in Queens at St. Francis Prep. She graduated from the University of South Florida in Tampa with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and a Master's degree in Education. She has also earned a Master's degree in English, with a concentration in American and British Literature, from Northern Kentucky University.
In addition to writing she also enjoys reading, exercising, watching movies and spending time with her husband.
in February 2011 Lorraine became a contributing writer for PopMatters, an international popular culture webzine for which she reviews new DVD releases in film and television.
Other Words for Love is her first novel. She is currently working on another Young Adult novel that will also be set in NYC!
Check out Lorraine on her: website | twitter | goodreadsPopMatters

15 February 2011

Book Review: "XVI" by Julia Karr

XVI by Julia Karr

Published: January 6th, 2011 | Puffin/Speak
Age: Young Adult
Pages: 325
Challenge: 2011 Debut Author Challeng
Acquired: Barnes & Noble (paperback)

Overall: 1/2

Review: XVI is the first dystopian novel that I've read and am glad that it was my first! This book kept me interested, confused, and interested some more from beginning to end.

Nina Oberon lives in the year 2150 where being sixteen years old is anything but innocent. And for her, anything but something to look forward to. When teenage girls turn sixteen they are required, by law, to get a tattoo on their wrist of the Roman numerals "XVI" which lets the world know (especially creepy men) that she is ready for sex. Some girls become so obsessed with turning sixteen they're known as sex-teens. And Nina's best friend, Sandy just so happens to be one.
When Nina's mother is brutally attacked in an alley, her dying wish is for Nina to protect her younger sister, Dee and learns the truth about her past that throws her world for a loop.

Within the first few chapters I was seriously confused--trannies, skivs, chips, PAV's--none of it made any sense. But after awhile, things became clear and more and more interesting. But unlike a lot of books with made up worlds, whether they're futuristic or present, XVI was believable. Other than the natural progression that may occur in life, the only thing that would (hopefully) not happen is the XVI tattoos and hopefully the craziness of the government. Though, I wouldn't mind the world wide veganism. I believe that would be a very smart--and healthy thing for our lives.

After her mother's untimely death, Nina (and her sister) are forced to move in with her grandmother and grandfather. They return to their old schools and are reunited with old friends and meet new ones. Like Sal and Wei. Though I felt like we didn't get to know much about these characters or her other friends: Sandy, Derrek and Mike--I liked them and wanted more of them. I actually wanted more of Derrek even though he was nothing more than a friend to Nina... Not sure why.
But the relationship between Sal and Nina gets testy and hot as well. Loved that.
And Wei seems like the kind of friend every girl needs in their life!

I was glad that Nina looked at the "XVI" thing as negative, in part from some influence from her mother, but in reality...she just knew that the whole idea of letting teens not only have sex at sixteen but seriously encourage it is ridiculous!

The way the book ended doesn't leave much for you to need more, but according to Julia Karr's website she is writing not only a sequel to this book, but a spin-off as well. (I think it'll follow her younger sister Dee).
I think I have neutral feelings towards the sequel. I would love to see more into this world and the lives, but the way XVI ended was nicely wrapped up. No cliffhangers. I likey.

On a negative note, I felt like XVI leaned more toward MG than most YA I've read lately? I think it was the more on the writing and less on the situations, characters, and plot. This, however, will not prevent me from reading future Julia Karr books. I enjoyed this one and would love to read more from her mind!



Author's Info:
Julia Karr is a debut author this year and is currently working on a sequel as well as a spin-off to her first novel, XVI
She grew up in the small town of Seymour, Indiana and has lived in St. Augustine, Florida and Longmont, Colorado. 
Living far away from her mother, Julia would write lengthy letters to her and learned to love editing when her mother would return them back to her with corrected spelling. Poetry and drawing kept her interest and she used them to make greeting cards for friends and family.
When she was sixteen years old, she moved to Chicago and fell in love.
She now has two grown daughters who experienced her love of writing when they were younger. She would make up stories for her daughters and that's when she first started thinking of writing  for children.  And now that they're grown and out of the house, Julia is able to take writing seriously.
Check out Julia on her: website | twitter | facebook | goodreads
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