Book Reviews by Today, I Read…

A Continuous Book Review and Vocabulary Assignment

October 5

Comments: 25

Review: Ruined by Paula Morris

by Ann-Katrina

Ruined Cover

Back Cover of Ruined

Rebecca couldn’t feel more out of place in New Orleans, where she comes to spend the year while her dad is traveling. She’s staying in a creepy old house with her aunt. And at the snooty prep school, the filthy-rich girls treat Rebecca like she’s invisible. Only gorgeous, unavailable Anton Grey seems to give Rebecca the time of day, but she wonders if he’s got a hidden agenda. Then one night, in Lafayette Cemetery, Rebecca makes a friend. Sweet, mysterious Lisette is eager to talk to Rebecca, and to show her the nooks and crannies of the city. There’s just one catch: Lisette is a ghost.

A ghost with a deep, dark secret, and a serious score to settle.

As Rebecca learns more from her ghost friend — and as she slowly learns to trust Anton Grey — she also uncovers startling truths about her own history. Will Rebecca be able to right the wrongs of the past, or has everything been ruined beyond repair?

Three Quick Points About Ruined

  • Point 1: Fueled by racial tension. Handled delicately, for the most part, was the issue of race, its intermingling and its consequences.
  • Point 2: New Orleans is real. The descriptions were rendered so tangibly that I felt I was in the city itself.
  • Point 3: Mystery with a hint of romance. The story, for the most part, is Rebecca unraveling a mystery, but there was a hint of romance.

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September 13

Comments: 4

[TSS]: Sunday Sketch 0.5 (Anton Grey and Rebecca Brown from Ruined)

by Ann-Katrina

Ruined by Paula Morris Cover This week’s Sunday Sketch is a bit late because I’ve been swept up by the book for most of the day. And the weather has been delightfully cooperative—dark, eerie rainstorms.

I’m about halfway through and it has been smooth sailing. I’m soaking up the spooky—and oddly romantic—atmosphere and I’m surprised at how much I’ve learned about New Orleans. I’m mentally booking a trip.

For this week’s sketch, I decided on Anton Grey and Rebecca Brown because I’m liking their dynamic so far. (And it’s super quick because I’m anxious to get back to the book. :D )

Anton Gray and Rebecca Brown from Ruined

Next week, I promise to spend a bit more time and create a more detailed sketch. For now, I’m off to read!

P.S. If you haven’t already entered, I’m holding a Book Giveaway—5 winners will receive a copy of this book.

4 Comments, add yours...

September 3

Comments: 4

Review: Being Dead by Vivian Vande Velde

by Ann-Katrina

Being Dead Cover

Back Cover of Being Dead

They may be dead, but thee certainly not gone. They dance with the living, sleep under your bed, and follow you home from school.

In this deliciously creepy collection of seven stories, Vivian Vande Velde follows the haunted souls of yesterday beyond the grave into our world–a place they just aren’t ready to leave.

Three Quick Points About Being Dead

  • Point 1: The cover is creepier than the stories. Of course, that doesn’t mean there isn’t some level of nerve-altering in at least one of the stories.
  • Point 2: A mixed bag. A few of the stories seem like incomplete thoughts, but the remainders have the power to make one gasp, laugh, or misty-eyed.
  • Point 3: Smooth and fast reads, all. Each story flows from one page to the next making this book an exceptionally fast read.

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4 Comments, add yours...

September 1

Comments: 2

Review: A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb

by Ann-Katrina

A Certain Slant of Light Cover

Back Cover of A Certain Slant of Light

Someone was looking at me, a disturbing sensation if you’re dead.

In the class of the high school English teacher she has been haunting, Helen feels them: For the first time in 130 years, human eyes are looking at her. They belong to a boy, a boy who has not seemed remarkable until now. And Helen–terrified, but intrigued–is drawn to him. The fact that he is in a body and she is not presents this unlikely couple with their first challenge. But as the lovers struggle to find a way to be together, they begin to discover the secrets of their former lives and of the young people they come to possess.

Three Quick Points About A Certain Slant of Light

  • Point 1: Classic voice wrapped in a contemporary setting. It felt more like reading historical literature than contemporary fiction, despite its 21st century setting.
  • Point 2: James and Helen (once she gets a body) are bunnies. And I don’t mean cute. I mean they like to get down and dirty. A lot. And passionately.
  • Point 3: More questions than answers. After the final page is closed, a lot of questions about the meaning of life and death are still lingering in the air, unanswered.

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August 27

Comments: 1

Recent Arrivals: Ruined: A Ghost Story by Paula Morris

by Ann-Katrina

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

Ruined: A Ghost Story Cover

First line: Torrential rain was pouring the afternoon Rebecca Brown arrived in New Orleans.

Initial thoughts: I’ll be up front, the cover sucked me in. (Though, I admit, I have a problem with the wrought iron archway–the word RUINED should be attached to both the top and bottom, but that’s minor.)

Anyhoo, as far back as I can remember I’ve been a fan of the supernatural and I went through an entire New Orleans/Voodoo phase, so when I learned what the book was about, I knew I had to read it. Plus the early reviews look promising.

Book description:

Rebecca couldn’t feel more out of place in New Orleans, where she comes to spend the year while her dad is traveling. She’s staying in a creepy old house with her aunt. And at the snooty prep school, the filthy-rich girls treat Rebecca like she’s invisible. Only gorgeous, unavailable Anton Grey seems to give Rebecca the time of day, but she wonders if he’s got a hidden agenda. Then one night, in Lafayette Cemetery, Rebecca makes a friend. Sweet, mysterious Lisette is eager to talk to Rebecca, and to show her the nooks and crannies of the city. There’s just one catch: Lisette is a ghost.

A ghost with a deep, dark secret, and a serious score to settle.

As Rebecca learns more from her ghost friend — and as she slowly learns to trust Anton Grey — she also uncovers startling truths about her own history. Will Rebecca be able to right the wrongs of the past, or has everything been ruined beyond repair?

Book Details: 304 pages; Point; Pub. August 1, 2009

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