just what it sounds like…reading as a religion

Archive for July, 2010

Heartbreakingly Beautiful, or Why Tragedy Can Make a Person So Endearing

Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James

Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James


I am totally reeling after reading Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James.  This fast-paced psychological thriller is intense, but I loved every moment of it.

17-year old Katherine Patterson has suffered a terrible tragedy. (I won’t share it here because, although I had some idea of what happened prior to reading this novel and some reviews give it away, unraveling all the details of Katherine’s past is one of the most suspenseful aspects of this novel.) But, Katherine has moved to the city to start a new life.  Her many attempts at remaining alone and aloof are easily squashed by the beautiful, exciting Alice, who wants to be her friend.  Katherine, who has spent a long time being sad and avoiding any traces of her old party-girl lifestyle, is easily persuaded to take up Alice’s fun and relaxed ways.  But is Alice really as carefree as she seems, or does her beautiful exterior only hide terrible secrets?

This book is so many things at once–thrilling, seductive, touching, intriguing, scary.  Told in alternating settings of past present and future, readers of this novel won’t be able to help but wonder if Katherine will ever overcome the tragedies of her past or if she is destined to end up far worse off.  This novel will hook you from the opening page and keep you guessing throughout.  I couldn’t put it down.

This book was published for adults by Random House, under the Bantam imprint.  When it was promoted at the Random House Fall Preview for adult titles, it was mentioned that it would also appeal to young adults.  Upon reading it, I found that it would definitely be appropriate and appealing to the young adult reader.  The underlying path of the story finds the 17-year old protagonist coming to terms with what it means to grow up.  I would recommend this to a certain type of young adult reader.  However, I will warn those of you reading this review that the novel is quite dark.

I was prepared to tell you to look for it on August 31st , as that’s what my advance copy claims it’s release date to be.  However, upon doing a little further research, it turns out that this book was actually released last week.  Lucky you! You should really go out and get yourself a copy.


Thirsty for Blood, or why Pale is the New Tan

Vampire novels: dark. creepy. romantic. sexy. mysterious. exciting. intriguing. funny.

Bloodthirsty by Flynn Meaney

Bloodthirsty by Flynn Meaney



They are if they’re about a nerdy kid pretending to be a vampire to get girls.

I just finished reading my advance copy of Bloodthirsty by Flynn Meaney.  In Meaney’s debut novel, 16-year old Finbar Frame seems to be the underdog of underdogs.  Not only does he have to deal with a twin brother who seems to be the reincarnation of a Greek Olympian, he’s allergic to the sun and knows more about girly pop culture than any teen boy looking for a girlfriend should.  Yes, that’s right.  He’s allergic to the sun.  While Flynn initially considers his diagnosis of solar uriticaria to be another one of the many unfortunate circumstances of his life, a chance encounter with a vampire-obsessed girl on a train gives him a bright idea.  He’s pale.  He’s brooding.  He’s gonna become a vampire.  Armed with every vampire novel he can find at the library and a handful of True Blood DVDs, he sets out to become Finn, super sexy and suave vampire.   Hilarity ensues as we watch Finbar try to assume his new persona and see if he can use it to land the girl of his dreams.

I found the premise of this novel hilarious and intriguing and in reading it, I was not disappointed.  My only issue with this novel is that while some of Finbar’s girlish  references and actions are believably explained by the fact that he spends most Friday nights at home watching chick flicks with his mother, at times they surpass even this explanation, making Finbar seem more girlish than necessary.  However, we can all find a little bit of ourselves in Finbar, that part that goes to drastic lengths to be happy with yourself or to make someone like you.

Overall, I enjoyed this book for a lazy summer afternoon.  It’s about time someone took to mocking the vampire-obsessed culture.  (Although, I will admit I sometimes fall into that crowd.)

Look for Bloodthirsty to hit shelves in October.

The End of an Era, or Why I’m Feeling a Little Disheartened

The Luxe Series Books

The Luxe Series by Anna Godbersen

I have just returned from a lovely weekend in Pennsylvania, spending time with my family and visiting with relatives.  Most delightedly, I was afforded quite a bit of time to read.  As such, I was able to finish digesting the dubious chronicles of Manhattan’s social elite in Anna Godbersen’s decadent Luxe series.

Oops, so sorry for such a formal tone.  It seems reading this series has left a mark on my grammar.  Anyway, per the title, I’m feeling a little disheartened as I finish this series.  I definitely enjoyed reading it.  Godbersen writes so deliciously about the scandalous lives of Manhattan’s turn-of-the-century elite that one can’t help but soak it all up.  So, in essence, finishing this series has saddened me as I wish there was more to read.  However, although I couldn’t tear myself away from the series, I felt myself a little disappointed as the ending didn’t turn out as I expected and wished.  Though, this is possibly one of the greatest characteristics of the series–the ability to make you believe you know what will happen next and surprise you all the same.  Fear not, while I was momentarily disappointed by the ending, I did find it quite satisfying.  As such, I urge you to read this series if you like a good tale of passion, society, and debauchery.  For those of you considering getting into this series, you might be swayed by reading my earlier review of the first title, The Luxe.  The excitement and mystery of this first novel is certainly carried out through the series’ three other titles, as they take twists and turns you might not ever have imagined.

I will have to be satisfied to wait for the first of Godbersen’s Bright Young Things.  This new series of four titles will bring the excitement and scandal of the Luxe series to the Jazz Age, with a new cast of young ladies to live vicariously through.  The fist title in the series will be released in October.  I wait in anticipation, for the beginning of this new era.