October 29, 2010

Cover Love #15 - The Last Little Blue Envelope

Last Little Blue EnvelopeMaureen Johnson did the cover reveal yesterday in her blog. I'm loving actually. I really want to read this book (I'm SUPER intrigued about what that last envelope said, I hope I can finally read it int he book!).

The Last Little Blue Envelope comes out April 2011, and Maureen has a new series coming out later in 2011, something paranormal involving Jack the Ripper!

October 27, 2010

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

truthAt the beginning of the summer before senior year, 17 year old Macy Queen is feeling a bit lost. Her 'perfect' boyfriend is going to Brain Camp - their first long separation since they got together a year and a half before. Part of Macy feels that she 'needs' Jason to make sense of herself and her life because, soon after the sudden death of her father, it was easier to fit into his world than find her own way.

But now Macy has to face a long summer ahead of her without him, working his usual summer job at the library's info-desk with two girls that, while they worship Jason, hate her; and alone at home since her mother is working all the time. But, when an email from Jason tilts her off center, Macy winds up getting a job with Wish Catering.

At Wish, everything is always a bit chaotic and something is always going wrong and far from perfect - something that should scare her but instead makes her start to feel alive once more. There is her new friend Kristy - she of the always flamboyant outfit - determined to find an extraordinary boy, and her sister Monica - a.k.a. Monotone - whose vocabulary seems to consists of three words. There is her new boss, Delia, who always finds a way to deal with everything, and Bert - an Armageddon enthusiast - and his brother Wes. Most of all, there is Wes. Quiet but extraordinary Wes, who engages her in a game of Truth...about life, and death and forever.

I've been meaning to re-read The Truth About Forever for a while, it's just one of those books that I love and sometimes pick out to read my favorite parts but not as often I read it cover to cover, I decided to do it and I was so glad I did! I had forgotten some things about the book, (like the fact Monica was blond! I don't know why I kept thinking she had black hair) and it was like meeting an old friend again.

Macy's story, with her quest for perfection because it was safe, her need to control, her inability to grief, they were all things that I understood about her and that made her seem real. And I found myself falling in love with Wish Catering, liking Macy's sister Caroline (and recognizing some of my own Drama Queen sister) and nodding along when Macy talked about how she couldn't talk to her Mom. Of course, there is Wes who is very... sa-woon worthy - just as the book.

Favorite Quote: "Listen, the truth is, nothing is guaranteed. You know that better than anybody. So don't be afraid. Be alive." - Kristy.
starstarstarstarstarPersonal Favorite

October 25, 2010

Cover Love #14 - Abandon by Meg Cabot

I've been waiting for this book for so long!! It'll be hitting shelves April 2011 but Meg Cabot just released the cover in her site along with the Abandon page@megcabot.com, where you can see the beautiful full jacket.


— Book One: Abandon —

She knows what it's like to die. Now Death wants her back.

Seventeen-year-old Pierce knows what happens to us when we die.

That's how she met John Hayden, the mysterious stranger who's made returning to normal life—or at least life as Pierce knew it before the accident—next to impossible.

Though she thought she escaped him—starting a new school in a whole new place—it turns out she was wrong. He finds her.

What does John want from her? Pierce thinks she knows... just like she knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven. But she can't stay away from him, either, especially since he's always there when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.

But if she lets herself fall any further, she might find herself back in the place she fears the most.

And when Pierce discovers the shocking truth, that’s exactly where John sweeps her:

The Underworld.

There you have it in all it's awesomeness. I've always been fascinated by this myth so I'm super, super excited.
Update: Meg said in her blog that this cover isn't final, that they are still tweaking it.

October 24, 2010

Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors

CoffeeEvery morning, sophomore Katrina Svensen wakes up early to do some chores around her Grandmother's Coffeehouse, but on a morning just a couple of weeks before winter break, Katrina is startled out of her wits by finding a guy sleeping on the alley behind the Coffeehouse.

The guy is dressed weird and Katrina's first reaction is running back inside and call her best friend Vincent, but in the end she figures it might just be some homeless guy or a kid who partied too hard and wandered there, and decides to give him (as in just quickly put outside the door and lock it again) some coffee and leftover pastries just because she thinks it's better to give them to a human than to the seagulls in the harbor.

She had no idea that such small act of kindness would change her life.

But that's what happens when, later, the same guy - who wears a kilt of all things! - shows up at her school and claims he has to repay her selfless good deed. The last thing Anna needs is to have a crazy guy following her around, but Malcolm will not go away until he has granted Katrina's heart desire. However, with her best guy-friend suddenly becoming a hero and dating a girl Katrina hates, and with her Grandma's coffeehouse loosing money and costumers all the time, Katrina really doesn't want to deal with Malcolm, but with each encounter she begins to realize that there is more to Malcolm that just weirdness... he is, in fact, an Angel.

I have mixed feelings about Coffeehouse Angel. I loved the second part of the book - once Katrina starts to come into herself and really take charge of things - but the first part of the book had me rolling my eyes a lot. Okay, part of it is that the characters are teenagers but they seem very self-absorbed at some points and it annoyed me. And I also found some of the comments made a bit bad taste.

However, in the end I did find the book charming and I loved the ending. The book is a sweet, quick read with a very PG romance.

October 23, 2010

Anime Addiction: Ouran High School Host Club

OuranOuran is an exclusive school, it's students defined by two things: wealth and family prestige. In this fancy school, six very different guys got together to form the Host Club - and after school club dedicated to throw lavish tea parties and play host to the girls of their school.

The members are: the twins Hikaru and Kaoru (who like to play the twincest card), Honey-sempai (who plays the cute for all he's worth and loves bunnies) and his cousin and 'guardian' Mori-sempai (the silent type who spents most of his time looking fater Honey), and then there is Kyoya (the shadow king and co-founder of the club) and Tamaki (co-founder of the club and all around adorable idiot).

On a random day, Haruhi was walking around Ouran when she stumbled across the club. She's a rarity at Ouran because she's an scholarship student, having none of the money or family prestige as the rest of their classmates, and it certainly wasn't in her plans to tangle with the host club but it couldn't be helped

Haruhi expected them to be annoying, and she didn't quite see the point of such a club but she couldn't help it and, just like the other hosts, was drawn to the amazingly crazy but never dull world of Tamaki.

So begins Ouran High School Host Club, a story where friendship and love triumph over everything. Plus, it's very funny!
Alex's Personal FavoritePersonal Favorite

Kyo TamakiRe: Manga
I confess that I saw the anime before I cared to read the manga, but once I did, well, I started to follow month to month.

Just last month, Ouran High School Host Club's manga ended and it was amazing. The basic plot is the same as with the anime, but throughout the story certain differences start to show up. The Manga spanned over 83 chapters and it explained in greater detain the lives and trials of the members of the club.

Kyoya and Tamaki with their twisted family affairs, Kaoru and Hikaru and their need to be their own persons and yet remain twins. Honey and Mori following their independent paths. And Haruhi actually growing as a person and following her dreams.

It was one of the best endings ever! Of course I'm not going to spoil it in case someone hasn't read it, but it was… amazing. For me it was the prefect ending, full of hope and promise and just enough resolution.

Ps- have found Kyoya's name spelled both like that ans as Kyouya, not sure which one is right. Sorry if I used to wrong spelling!

October 22, 2010

Only By Your Touch by Cahterine Anderson

Chloe Evans moved to Jack Pine, Oregon to start over with her son after her divorce from her abusive husband. She has a job she likes as a dispatcher in the Sheriff's office and she and her son are quite happy with this new beginning.

Things begin to complicate when she gets a puppy for her son Jeremy and the puppy quickly falls ill. Since the veterinarian in town proved to be little help, Jeremy strikes out to look for Ben Longtree, the town's black sheep who's rumored to have a magic touch when it comes to animals.

Ben has been burned quite a lot in life - from his reputation in town, to his failed marriage and other things - and he likes to keep himself to himself these days, but he can't ignore Jeremy when he shows up in his home begging for help. Nor can he ignore Chloe once she shows up to protect her son (town gossip filling her head and all that).

Out of need, they strike an uneasy friendship that promises to lead them unexpected places. But things have never been easy for either of them. Ben faces his past and the burden of a gift that destroyed his father's life, while Chloe has to overcome her fears (brought by the final months of her marriage) and the unwanted advanced of one of the Sheriff's deputies.

I quite enjoyed Only by Your Touch, it had a lovely blend of the miraculous and the mundane and there are lots and lots of animals in this story (Ben is a vet, after all) and it was fun to read. I did have a bit of trouble with the characterization, though, mostly when it came to Chloe, she was wimpy one moment, then did some stuff I didn't quite agree with and then she just... meh, you guys find out when you read it. Also, I felt it dragged a bit. But, over all, it was a nice enough read.

October 21, 2010

Cover Love #13 - Demonglass

Isn't it amazing?! Can't wait to read this one.

PS- For full disclosure, I saw it first at The Compulsive Reader's Cover Talk: 2011, or The Year of the Pretty Awesome Covers. She posted a lot more covers there.

October 17, 2010

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

ParanormalcyEvie thinks she's just a normal girl, sure her best friend is a Mermaid and she sort of dated a faerie once, but - at sixteen - she knows no other life than the one she has working for IPCA (the International Paranormal Contingency Agency), they are the closest thing to a family that she has ever known. Before them she bounced around in the foster system until the IPCA found her when she was eight.

Why does is she so important for IPCA? Well, Evie has a rare gift: paranormal glamours don't affect her, she can see through them to whatever they are underneath. So, ever since she was eight, she has been working for the agency, helping them find paranormals as sort of make and inventory of them (Bag and Tag 'em, she calls it), and, as far as she knows, this is a good thing.

But something weird is happening… there have been random killings of paranormals that no one can explain, and when a guy breaks in the Center (where Evie lives), Evie starts to question just what the Agency is all about.

Ever since I saw the cover of this book, I thought it was beautiful, but I never really tried to read it until the reviews began to roll around. At first I didn't think I would like the book (paranormals aren't really my thing), but I was so very wrong and glad to be. Evie is a charming, adorable heroine. She's cute and funny and wears lots of pink. Lend - the break in guy - was awesome. He offers Evie a glimpse into the life of Paranormals outside the Agency, and give her a wonderful sense acceptance that she never had before.

Paranormalcy is a wonderful paranormal world the one Kiersten White concocted. There is humor, there is conflict and a great conclusion. I can't wait to read the next one of the series - I think it's called Supernaturally - and go back to Evie's world.

I bleeping loved it!

Favorite quote: Tasers are one-size-fits-all paranormal butt-kicking option. Mine's pink with rhinestones. Tasey and I have had a lot of good times together.
starstarstarstarstarPersonal Favorite

October 14, 2010

List Maniac #9 Favorite Guys of Fiction

We already did girls and now Guys!! I usually read books with girl narrators and often end up falling in love with the boys they fall in love. So, here we go! In no order in particular these are my favorite Guys of Fiction!
Jesse de Silva - Mediator (Mild SPOILER ALERT)
Oh, Jesse. He had to wait 150 years to meet the girl of his dreams and he did. Jesse is actually a ghost who inhabits Susannah's new bedroom, he was killed in that same room when he was 20 years old in the mid 1850's, and he just hanged around. There is this part in the story where Suze asks him if he knows why he's still around, and he sort of hints that he knows and that the reason is Suze. He's a gentleman, he's reluctant to fall in love with Suze because of his ghostly status, but they still become friends and they still fall in love. Jesse is a really nice guy, that's his core yet his still hot and everything - just because he's nice and gentlemanly doesn't mean he's not going to fight for what he loves (namely Suze), and he's so cute when he gets jealous!!

TruthWes - The Truth About Forever (mild SPOILER ALERT)
In some ways, Wes is the epitome of the Dream Guy, not that he's perfect but he's all those things any teenage girl wants. He's artistic, he's kind and he's even responsible with his feelings -as in when he starts feeling something from another girl, he ends his relationship as soon as he can, rather than dragging it out - and he still has a bit of a bad boy appeal to him. Plus, he's really handsome. But what I really like about Wes was that he was very honest, he and Macy fall in love by talking, by playing their game of truth and when it comes to facing those feelings he gives Macy the time and space to do so, even when it looks to him like he isn't going to win.

Darkest PowersDerek - Darkest Powers (low SPOILER ALERT)
Oh Derk, Derek, Derek. I fell in love with him from mid-way through The Summoning, I just couldn't help myself. He's so socially awkward, he's not good with other people's feelings but the people he considers his pack, his family, those he fights for tooth and nail. Absolutely adore that about him. I don't think he wanted to like Chloe but he couldn't help himself and it starts to show early on the series -at least for me, I remember mentioning to a friend that I thought him and Chloe were going to end up together. Derek doesn't like being vulnerable but he allows himself to be vulnerable with Chloe, first out of necessity and then because he really wants her around, and that made me go "Siggggghh"

BardHeathcliff - Bard Academy Series (mild SPOILER ALERT)
I freely admit that when I first read Wuthering Heights, and when I first saw the movie with Ralph Finnes and Juliet Binoche, I couldn't quite see what was the big appeal of a character like Heathcliff. That changed when I read Wuthering High. There I could see Heathcliff as this vulnerable boy who was sure of only one thing in his life: his love for Cathy. Cathy, however, turned out to be every bit as selfish as I always thought she was. So when Miranda and Heathcliff met and became friends and all that, well I fell for him. He is the original brooding guy with a big heart. He would do anything for Miranda, he would never abandon her and I love that about him.

JellicoeJonah Griggs - Jellicoe Road
One of the first times Jonah Griggs' comes up during Jellicoe Road, Taylor says that he is "not only a name but a state of mind I don't care to revisit" or something like that. Slowly we start to see what happened between them a few years ago and why things are what they are between them, for good and bad. But some feelings are too strong to hide and so happens with Jonah and Taylor. He has one of the most awesome lines ever: "I'm here because of you. You're my priority. Your happiness, in some fucked way, is tuned into mine. Get that through your thick skull. Would I like it any other way? Hell, yes, but I don't think that will happen in my life time." He has had so much crap happen to him yet he's still a decent guy, he loves his family and he loves Taylor. Jonah knows Taylor is one hell of a tough cookie, but he still can't help to give in into his impulses to protect her but he never takes over, he's just there for her.

Those are my guys. What about yours?

October 13, 2010

I So Don't Do Mysteries by Barry Summy

MysteriesAll seventh grader Sherry Baldwin wants is for Josh, the eight grade guy she likes, to like her back. She wasn't counting on her widowed father marrying The Ruler a.k.a. her Math teacher or being shipped off to San Diego - and just when Josh asked her to play video games with him! - while her father and the Ruler go to Hawaii for their honeymoon.

But something has happened, her mother - a cop who was killed in the line of duty - comes back as a ghost with a cry for help. It turns out that Sherry's super cop mom is flunking out of the Law Enforcement Academy for ghosts! and needs Sherry's help to solve a mystery involving the rhinoceros at the San Diego Wild Animal Park.

Things get complicated when Sherry accidentally blurts out this mission to her best friend Junie - who is accompanying her to San Diego - and she doesn't believe her (which is too bad because Sherry was counting on Junie's help to help her with the mystery!). Also, it turns out that Josh might be coming to San Diego after all!

I found I So Don't Do Mysteries charming in general and I really liked Sherry but I had problems with the rest of the book. The mystery bit moved a bit slow for me (odd because it's not a very long book), and I didn't like Sherry's Mom - she annoyed me from the start, she's all ME! ME! ME! most of the time and forces Sherry into semi-dangerous situations my mother (who is not exactly the maternal type) would have chewed her own arm off to prevent me from getting into - and so did Junie.

Like I said, I liked Sherry and I adored Josh (he was such a sweetheart), which I guess is the most important part, so over all I do recommend it.

October 12, 2010

Anime Addiction: Hell Girl (Season 1)

Hell GirlThere is a rumor going around... that if you log into certain website at midnight you'll find a connection to hell and you'll be able to contact Ai Enma who, for the price of your soul, will take revenge of anyone you want, without questions or explanations asked.

Ai's life is all about taking these souls to hell, and she has done so for centuries, but something is different now, there is a human girl, Tsugumi, who has visions about the people who are about to make deals with Ai and her father soon becomes obsessed with stopping Ai (though they always seem to arrive two minutes too late) while Tsugumi struggles to make sense of revenge, life and death.

By all rights, I shouldn't like Hell Girl, I'm not exactly a fan of horror, and I freely admit I'm a wuss, but I couldn't help to be drawn to the story. There is something underneath all the horror, something that is very human: desperation and pain.

Ai Enma does her job in an unfeeling manner but early on we start to see the cracks in her act, and you can start to guess how she really feels about her job, for the folly of men kind and we eventually discover the path that took her from being a happy young girt to being Hell Girl.

Save for this, Hell girl is a fairly episodic anime. Each episode is mostly self-contained and follows a very similar pattern: we meet someone, watch them reach their breaking point, Ai does her job, and sometimes we get a glimpse of their lives later on. Sounds simple but I was surprised at the wide variety of lives of quiet desperation this anime offered.

It's a good series for a scare, and just in time for Halloween too!