Book Reviews by Today, I Read…

A Continuous Book Review and Vocabulary Assignment

October 21

Comments: 11

Recent Arrival: Fallen by Lauren Kate

by Ann-Katrina

I smell a fallen angel craze on the horizon. (It was inevitable once the teen vampire angst-ridden romance market became saturated.) And so far, it smells good.

Recent Arrivals chronicles the books that have made their way onto the Today, I Read… bookshelf. Here’s the latest arrival: Fallen by Lauren Kate

Fallen by Lauren Kate

First line: Around midnight, her eyes at last took shape. The look [...]

Initial thoughts: I saw the cover for Fallen on another blog a few days ago, so I was super surprised and excited when a UPS man showed up on my doorstep with an ARC (the cover of the ARC is not half so lovely as the cover in this post, but I’m concerned more with what’s inside).

After finishing Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, I’m anxious to see what else is being done with the fallen angel theme. Plus the description sounds positively addictive.

Book description:

There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce–and goes out of his way to make that very clear–she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.

Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, Fallen is a page turning thriller and the ultimate love story.

*******From the Back of the Book******

What if the person you were meant to be with could never be yours?

Daniel’s gaze caught hers, and her breath caught in her throat. She recognized him from somewhere. But she would have remembered meeting someone like him. She would have remembered feeling as absolutely shaken up as she did right now.

They were still locking eyes when Daniel flashed her a smile. A jet of warmth shot through her…but then he raised his hand in the air. And flipped her off. Luce gasped and dropped her eyes. Her momentary delirium vanished. What was that guy’s problem?

Just before she ducked into her first class, she dared to glance back. His face was blank, but there was no mistaking it–he was watching her go.

Book Details: 464 pages; Delacorte Press; Pub. December 8, 2009

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October 13

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Review: Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

by Ann-Katrina

Hush, Hush Cover

Back Cover of Hush, Hush

For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She’s never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch came along.

With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment.

But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora’s not sure who to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can’t decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.

For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen – and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.

Three Quick Points About Hush, Hush

  • Point 1: The best kind of bad. The smokin’ hot half-nekkid angel guy on the front cover barely does Patch justice.
  • Point 2: Nora disappears in the story. I mean that figuratively, of course. Her personality disappears. Sometimes she felt like a shrinking violet. (Not altogether a bad thing.)
  • Point 3: The names made me cross-eyed. OK, some of the character names were so far out there, I had to stop reading, process, shake my head, then continue.

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September 12

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Review: Hannah (Daughters of the Sea, Book 1) by Kathryn Lasky

by Ann-Katrina

Hannah Cover

Back Cover of Hannah

Hannah wants to be normal, but she’s not. The sea calls to her, and she can see a delicate tracing of scales on her legs. Billowing waves soothe her, but flat land makes her sick. She knows there’s something wild in her that’s different, wrong–and deeply thrilling.

Only one person seems to know who–or what–Hannah is. He’s a guest in the house where she works as a scullery girl, and his fascinated gaze follows her. She doesn’t understand his terrifying allure, or her longing. But even as the mystery deepens, Hannah is sure of one thing. A sea change is coming.

Three Quick Points About Hannah

  • Point 1: Deus ex machinas abound! Hannah’s problems were all too easily resolved.
  • Point 2: The intended audience must be precocious children or idyllic teens. In general, too superficial for an audience over 12 with words too laborious for an audience under 15.
  • Point 3: It’s the book equivalent of Chinese food.

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September 3

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Recent Arrivals: The Hollow by Jessica Verday and Ash by Malinda Lo

by Ann-Katrina

Recent Arrivals chronicles the books that have made their way onto the Today, I Read… bookshelf. Here are the latest arrivals: The Hollow by Jessica Verday and Ash by Malinda Lo

The Hollow

The Hollow Cover 544 pages; Simon Pulse; Pub. Sept. 1, 2009

First line: It was funny. At a time like this, I wasn’t supposed to be thinking […] *

Description:

When Abbey’s best friend, Kristen, vanishes at the bridge near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, everyone else is all too quick to accept that Kristen is dead?and rumors fly that her death was no accident. Abbey goes through the motions of mourning her best friend, but privately, she refuses to believe that Kristen is really gone. Then she meets Caspian, the gorgeous and mysterious boy who shows up out of nowhere at Kristen’s funeral, and keeps reappearing in Abbey’s life. Caspian clearly has secrets of his own, but he’s the only person who makes Abbey feel normal again…but also special.

Just when Abbey starts to feel that she might survive all this, she learns a secret that makes her question everything she thought she knew about her best friend. How could Kristen have kept silent about so much? And could this secret have led to her death? As Abbey struggles to understand Kristen’s betrayal, she uncovers a frightening truth that nearly unravels her—one that will challenge her emerging love for Caspian, as well as her own sanity.

Ash

Ash Cover 272 pages; Brown Young Readers; Pub. Sept. 1, 2009

First line: Aisling’s mother died at midsummer.

Description:

Pushed into indentured servitude for her stepmother in the City to pay off her father’s debts, Ash is consumed with grief. She misses her family and her happy life at the edge of the Wood where old magic used to linger in the air like fairy breath. Her only joy comes from the brief, stolen walks in the woods with the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean. Ash’s single, unspoken hope is that someday he might steal her away, as fairies are said to do.

But on the day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King’s Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, from Kaisa she learns the art of the hunt, how to ride and track. Their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, but it grows and changes, and with it, Ash reawakens her capacity for love—and her desire to live.

Entrancing and romantic, Ash is an empowering retelling of Cinderella about choosing life and love over solitude and death, where transformation can come from even the deepest grief.

I was so excited when these books arrived (both on the same day no less) because it means I have a couple more books to add to the RIP IV reading pool. The Hollow immediately went on my Want List when I first read about it during a Waiting on Wednesday round. Plus, Ash will be my first foray into (contemporary) GLBT reading (I think…I can’t recall any other title off the top of my head, but I may have read something in high school) and I’m anxious to see how it’s done.

* I’m trying something new with the first line; rather than printing only the first full sentence, I’m only going to include the first line as printed in the book.

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August 9

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Recent Arrivals: Kiss of Life by Daniel Waters

by Ann-Katrina

Recent Arrivals chronicles the books that have made their way onto the Today, I Read… bookshelf. Here’s the latest arrival: Kiss of Life by Daniel Waters

Kiss of Life Cover

First line: Phoebe.

Beautiful Phoebe.

Through the glass watch Phoebe leave bus walk to house phoebe green skirt green eyes skirt trailing hair flowing black and shiny in the sun.

Initial thoughts: OK, so reading the first line (or few lines really) to create this post nearly made me cry. For those of you who haven’t read Generation Dead, this is a spoiler.

Adam died at the end of that book and came back as a differently biotic person (aka zombie). This book, obviously, opens with what’s actually going through his mind and seeing his loose, choppy train of thought hit me like a sledgehammer.

In Generation Dead, the characters were so well developed that I actually cared what happened to them and I was a bit distraught when Adam died, especially under the circumstances and before he could say the three little words that he carried around in his heart for the special girl next door.

I can’t deny that I’m looking forward to reading Kiss of Life, even if it’s bittersweet.

Book description:

The phenomenon that’s been sweeping the country seems to be here to stay. Not only are the teenagers who have come back from their graves still here, but newlydeads are being unearthed all the time. While scientists look for answers and politicians take their stands, the undead population of Oakvale have banded together in a group they’re calling the Sons of Romero, hoping to find solidarity in segregation.

Phoebe Kendall may be alive, but she feels just as lost and alone as her dead friends. Just when she reconciled herself to having feelings for a zombie — her Homecoming date Tommy Williams — her friend Adam is murdered taking a bullet that was meant for her. Things get even more confusing when Adam comes back from the grave. Now she has romantic interest in two dead boys; one who saved her life, and one she can’t seem to live without.

From the back cover:

"You didn’t move, Tommy! He pointed the gun right at me, and you didn’t do anything!"

"I…"

"All you had…had to do was…move," she said; "it wouldn’t have hurt if he shot you. But you just stood there, and…and Adam’s dead! He’s dead, Tommy!"

She looked at him, her eyes blurry with tears. He’d stopped trying to talk, and the mask of concern had fallen away from his face as he stood there.

Just stood there.

"He’d be alive if it wasn’t for you, Tommy," she said, whispering so all of the gawkers wouldn’t hear.

He’d be alive, she thought, and you and I would be together.

Book Details: 416 pages; Hyperion Book CH; Pub. May 12, 2009

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