just what it sounds like…reading as a religion

Archive for August, 2010

Breaking News: My Copy of Mockingjay Arrived Today!

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Star Island by Carl Hiaasen

Star Island by Carl Hiaasen

I am so super EXCITED!!!!!!!

Today, my beautiful copy of the newly released Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins arrived.  This is the third book in the highly popular Hunger Games trilogy.  I cannot wait to begin reading  it.  Too bad I have to go to class tonight.  😦 I have a feeling I won’t get much sleep tonight.  Look forward to a review coming very shortly because this is gonna be a can’t put it down kind of read.  I just know it!

Also on my currently reading list is Star Island by Carl Hiaasen.  Although, I’m gonna take a break from this until I finish Mockingjay.

I just wanted to share my excitement with you.  Stay tuned for my review coming soon!

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AAAAAAAHHHHH…….REAL MONSTERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, or Why Freaky is Fabulous

Monster High by Lisi Harrison

Monster High by Lisi Harrison

No, I’m not talking about a fabulous old Nick cartoon, I’m talking about a fabulous new book series.

You may know Lisi Harrison from her Clique and A-List Series.  Well, in September, Lisi is introducing her new series Monster High and I am loving it!  The first volume is aptly titled Monster High and introduces readers to the unique place that is Merston High and the interesting students that attend there.

Melody Carver has just moved to Salem, Oregon from L.A.  Unlike her sister Candace, who has nicknamed their new home bOregon, Melody is excited to move somewhere where looks aren’t top priority.  Although work by her plastic surgeon father has left her visibly flawless, Melody still feels different on the inside.  She appreciates the beauty in individuality.  With one look at her new neighborhood, where every house is as different as the people who live inside them, and Melody knows she’s gonna like it on Radcliffe Way.

Frankie Stein is new, too.  Really new.  15 days new. Not just to Radcliffe Way and Merston High, but to the planet.  Frankie, as evidenced by her name, was built by her father–just like every family member in the long line of Frankenstein monsters before them.  Frankie is just like any other teen girl, except that she is made of metal parts and has to charge herself every night.  However, with the help of Fierce & Flawless Makeup to cover her green skin and her obsessive love of pop culture and shopping, Frankie might just be able to pass for normie.

Monster High by Lisi Harrison Back Cover

Monster High by Lisi Harrison Back Cover

Follow Melody & Frankie as they begin a new year at Merston High, where monsters and normies mix.  New girls trying to fit in at a new school, sounds pretty simple right?  Oh, did I forget to mention that if the normies find out monsters exist, there will be major trouble?  Oh yeah, and Frankie has a tendency to want to fight for the cause of equality and freedom for monsters? And, oops, Melody (a normie) just might be dating Dr. Jekyll, or is it Mr. Hyde?

Monster High is a perfect blend of teen girl drama with the hot supernatural trend.  I found myself delightfully surprised by this novel and am eager to follow along as this series unfolds.  I will warn this first novel introduces a lot of characters.  You might want to read slowly or reread some parts, so you can get them all straight before the series goes further (and possibly delves deeper into the lives of the background characters.  However, you may also choose to just focus on the trials and tribulations of the two main characters: Normie Melody Carver and Monster Frankie Stein.  The novel alternates between the viewpoint of these two characters introducing the normie view of Merston High and the monster view of Merston High.  Melody and Frankie are both admirable protagonists for their real imperfections.  They present a relatable character for young girls who don’t associate with the pretty and popular type.  They take their imperfections and are proud of them, which can hopefully empower young readers.

On a side note, the Monster High book series seems to be just one part of a bigger picture–a Monster High franchise by Mattel in partnership with Hachette Book Group.  Mattel has already released a series of dolls and web content based on the Monster High characters.  I stumbled upon this after seeing a tv commercial for an animated web adventure called Monster High bearing the same pink bow skeleton logo as my Monster High advance copy book.  So, I went and checked it out at http://www.MonsterHigh.com.  This website offers children and teens the opportunity to enroll in Monster High, play games, and watch animated webisodes featuring the Monster High characters.  I will note, however, that the web content and the dolls only feature the monster characters in their more natural monster state.  No normie characters like Melody and her friends here.  Also, in the web series, the monsters attend Monster High, as opposed to Merston High, where there are no normies–just monsters–and a really creepy setting.  However, on its own, the web content and the dolls are quite cute and fun and will definitely broaden the audience for Harrison’s coming book series.

All in all, I’m pumped for the release of Monster High and future titles in the series.  The are just a good, fun read for a rainy day snuggled in bed or a sunny day by the pool.

P.S. Did you catch that Merston High is an anagram of Monster High.  Nice touch Lisi!

P.P.S. Isn’t the cover art adorable? Totally voltage!!!!

P.P.P.S. I haven’t read much of Lisi Harrison’s work before, so I just recently stumbled upon her website:  http://www.lisiharrison.com.  You should go there and check out her blah-g (blog)–it’s fun and funny!


An Evening with Brontë, or Why My Birthday was Super Awesome!

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger Final Cover

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger Final Cover

So, I haven’t been around and there is a sad reason why.  I’ve been reading a lot, but it’s all been pretty mediocre.   And I don’t want to share mediocre with my loyal readers.  But, all that’s about to change.  Friday was my birthday and I decided to celebrate in my own way.  I read two FABULOUS books!  Bonus: They both have ties to the brilliant Brontë sisters (and covers that irk me.)

First, I want to share Kody Keplinger’s The DUFF.  This debut novel was written by the author when she was a 17-year old senior in high school.  I have crazy respect for her for that.  Anyway, 17-year old protagonist Bianca Piper is the DUFF or so she is is called by school playboy, Wesley.  Wesley tells her the DUFF is the Designated Ugly Fat Friend and every group has one.  Even though B hates everything about Wesley and is way too smart to fall for his game, pressures in her life cause her to seek distraction in the form of an enemies with benefits relationship with him.  As she tries so hard to run away from her problems, Bianca may find one more thing she can’t handle…somewhere or someone that makes her comfortable and happy.

Bianca is an awesomely entertaining protagonist…totally brash and off-color and so real for it.  I love that she’s not afraid to tell Wesley exactly what she thinks of him.  She’s also not afraid to admit that girls can use guys just as easily as guys use girls.  She has this crass wit that will leave you doubled over in laughter.  The relationship between Bianca and Wesley is painfully beautiful in its intense teenage emotion.  The author’s voice is highly believable and relatable to any person who has experienced the poisonous nature of teenage emotion and the feeling that life is burying you.  Readers will find themselves rooting for Bianca to find peace with her self and to find serenity in the chaos of her life.

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger ARC Cover

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger ARC Cover

While I often read what some refer to as Pop Tart books, this novel is pretty intelligent.  Fans of classic literature will find well-placed allusions and allegory to Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlett Letter.  I will warn, however, that this book does not stray from bluntness.  I am quite against censoring what people are exposed to, but for those who care–the language and sexual content in this novel would probably earn it an R-rating.

Look for The DUFF to hit stores in early September.  On a side note, I have to share my thoughts about the book’s cover.  The final cover showcases a freckle-faced dirty blonde with too-blue eyeshadow and a big bubblegum bubble.  After reading this book, I have to say this just doesn’t fit Bianca to me.  Bianca is harsh and edgy and this cover just screams early Britney Spears.  Bianca is not a tween-queen wannabe.  I wish they would have stuck with the cover on my ARC.  I thought this cover was gorgeous.  The cover model with dark hair, blunt bangs, and no makeup seems much more appropriate.  Her pursed red lips and piercing blue eyes have this perfect combination of loneliness with a tough exterior.  But hey, cover design isn’t up to me.

Jane by April Lindner

Jane by April Lindner

On to a book with a much bigger and obvious Brontë connection–Jane by April Lindner.  This novel is presented as a modern retelling of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.  Given that it would be a very subjective topic, I will not address whether classics should be retold or whether this a good retelling.  I am just going to share my thoughts about the book on its own.  I LOVED IT! I could not put this one down, which was so welcome after reading a string of mediocre titles.

Jane Moore is down on her luck.  A tragic accident claimed her parents’ lives and forced her to drop out of a prestigious college.  She goes to a nanny agency in search of work, so that she may save up the money to go back to school.  Being intelligent and unphased by popular culture, she becomes the perfect candidate for a position at wealthy rockstar, Nico Rathburn’s, estate.  Once at Thornfield Park, she quickly develops a close bond with Nico’s daughter, Maddy, and in turn Nico, himself.  In a world that seems perfect from the outside, Jane is forced to confront the many secrets hidden inside.  Jane must decide what it means to be successful in life and what she’s willing to give for love.

Jane is an admirable protagonist.  She is independent and level-headed, always doing what she thinks is right and doing what she has to do for herself.  I love how she calls Nico on his crap (he does too.)  Readers will enjoy watching Jane soften and open up to those around her.  There are many lessons about life and love to be learned along with Jane as she finds her way in the world.  Nico is equally as likable.  A girl can’t help but be intrigued by a sexy, tortured rock star.  Plus, he’s adorably loving of his daughter.  Female readers will find themselves swooning over Nico and wishing they were Jane.

I thought that the writing of this book was refreshingly intelligent and well-worded.  I enjoyed being challenged by the vocabulary, but that might be my nerdy side coming out.  It was also deeply beautiful and moving.  I found myself crying on many occasions and overwhelmed with emotion throughout.  Fans of romance will enjoy this modern classic.  I enjoyed every minute of it.

Jane is coming to a store near you in October.  On a cover note here, as well, my ARC cover was plain–a pink title on a solid pastel blue background.  Amazon shows a cover with a girl in a sweater and flowy skirt walking on a foggy plain at dusk.  I hope they change this cover.  If not, please don’t be fooled by this photo!  It is more reminiscent of the original Jane Eyre, than the rock and roll retelling in Lindner’s Jane. Jane Moore is a rock star’s nanny in New England.  She does not go running forlornly across the plain. EVER.

All in all, it was a good birthday!  I especially enjoyed curling up in bed with these two great reads.  I highly suggest you check them out when they are released.  Happy reading!