YA book reviews, reading and recommending since 2009

Archive for November, 2009

Hello Japan! – November: Are you hungry? challenge

This month the task is simply to eat Japanese food, take a picture if possible, and tell us about what you ate. You can go to a Japanese restaurant, or make something at home. It can be a favourite dish, or you can challenge yourself to try something new. The choice is up to you.

For more information head over to In Spiring it is the Dawn.

I was really excited to do this challenge as I eat Japanese food really often. Besides, I’m a foodie and I like to take pictures of the food I eat.

Warning: this post may cause excessive drooling and hunger pangs.


The fooooooood


Matcha green tea with ice cream


Mushroom and cheese omelette, delicious!!


Seafood pizza, Japanese style. Quite nice. Are you salivating yet? Proceed on for more photos. (more…)

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The Eternal Kiss: 13 Vampire Tales of Blood and Desire

The Eternal Kiss: 13 Vampire Tales of Blood and Desire by various authors
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Publication Date: July 27th 2009
Buy it from: Book Depository (free shipping worldwide!)
Gold star (4/5 stars)

Synopsis: Supernatural forces and desires come alive in these thirteen vampire tales. Like love, the adventures are never safe and hungers never die. And chances are taken. If you are seduced by the mystery of the heart, beating for a destiny unknown, you will helplessly follow the characters’ in this collection—longing for one to call their own.

This collection of original tales comes from some of the hottest, most popular, and best-selling YA writers, including: Holly Black, Libba Bray, Melissa De La Cruz, Cassandra Clare, Rachel Caine, Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie, Cecil Castellucci, Kelley Armstrong, Maria V. Snyder, Sarah Rees Brennan, Lili St. Crow, Karen Mahoney and Dina James.

Review: There are many stories in here, some were great while some were not of my liking. I shall review only the ones I really liked and one or two others which I found ‘ok’. Overall the book was enjoyable enough.

Sword Point by Maria V. Snyder: At first, I found the tense used in the story a little weird but eventually I got used to it. The story itself was really good! It’s basically about a girl Ava who was invited to an exclusive training academy for fencing. She meets a karate trainer who was creepy at first and soon discover strange things in the Academy. (4/5 stars)

The Thirteenth Step by Libba Bray: Lauren takes up a job to work as an assistant in Angelus House, a safe house for troubled teens and addicts. But there is more to the Angelus House than meets the eye. Very well-paced, enjoyed it.(4.5/5 stars)

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black: It started out slow but the more I read, the more I loved it! The ending was genius! The story is about a girl fighting to not become a vampire after she is bitten. But when she discovers her boyfriend and her friend went to Coldtown to become vampires, she must make a decision. To stay human or not. (4/5 stars)

All Hallows by Rachel Caine: This is a story part of The Morganville Vampires series, which I am planning on reading. After reading All Hallows, I am pretty sure I will like The Morganville Vampires series. The story is about a girl Eve who dates a vampire. But their night is ruined when he disappears and Eve and her friends have to save him. (4/5 stars)

Wet Teeth by Cecil Castellucci: Initially, I was really grossed out by the descriptions of the MC describing the veins. But after a while, I focused more on the romance which was nicely done. It’s about a vampire meeting a girl who makes him feel more alive than he’s ever felt since becoming a vampire. Did not see the ending coming. (4/5 stars)

Other Boys by Cassandra Clare: It was a nice story, slightly predictable. It’s about a boy Colin who claims he is a vampire and Jennifer, the main character, is attracted to him. Despite the predictability, I like Clare’s writing. (4/5 stars)

Kat by Kelley Armstrong: Kat is set in the same world as the characters from Armstrong’s Darkest Powers series which I loved. The main character, Kat, is a teenage girl on the run with her vampire foster mum, Marguerite. This story was no doubt fantastic but I have a minor problem. I did not understand the ending, so what was Kat’s Supernatural power at first. How did she end up being a vampire? (3.5/5 stars)

Undead is Very Hot Right Now by Sarah Brennan: Several people said this story was funny but frankly I did not like it as much as The Demon’s Lexicon. It was okay, not terrible, not fantastic. The humour was sarcastic sometimes. An interesting take about a vampire being part of a boy band. (3/5 stars)

Passing by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguié: Skipped the first few pages. I found this story boring. Basically about a vampire hunter falling in love with a vampire. She belongs to an Academy for vampire hunters. Nothing special about this story. (2/5 stars)

Carolyn Mackler’s new novel- Tangled

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Synopsis: Paradise wasn’t supposed to suck.

Not the state of being, but a resort in the Caribbean. Jena, Dakota, Skye, and Owen are all there for different reasons, but at Paradise their lives become tangled together in ways none of them can predict. Paradise will change them all.

It will change Jena, whose first brush with romance takes her that much closer to having a life, and not just reading about those infinitely cooler and more exciting. It will change Dakota, who needs the devastating truth about his past to make him realize that he doesn’t have to be a jerk just because people think he’s one. It will change Skye, a heartbreakingly beautiful actress, who must come to terms with the fact that for once she has to stop playing a role or face the consequences. And it will change Owen, who has never risked anything before and who will take the leap from his online life to a real one all because of a girl he met at Paradise….

From confused to confident and back again, one thing’s certain: Four months after it all begins, none of them will ever be the same.

Visit Carolyn on her website. TANGLED goes on sale December 29th! Be sure to get your copy! I’m super excited for this book. The cover– brilliant.

Book ramblings

Want to win a hardcover of MAGIC UNDER GLASS by Jaclyn Dolamore plus more prizes? See http://fabulousfrock.livejournal.com for details!

Watch the awesome trailer for Magic Under Glass!

The hardcover edition of Vampire Academy was released on November 25. As quoted from Richelle Mead’s blog:

This is book #1 of the series, and they’re just doing a limited run of it. Along with the hard cover, it’s got a printed copy of my signature on the front and the first chapter of Spirit Bound in the back.

 

Some websites call it ‘the signature edition,’ but again: that means there’s just a print of my signature on the front.

But the coolest thing about this book is that it’s the first book ever to use ‘augmented reality.’ As quoted from Richelle Mead’s blog:

If you get the book and a webcam, you can go to Penguin’s Vampire Academy site and launch their augmented reality program. Hold your book up to the camera, and all sorts of things start happening on your computer screen. The text moves, your picture appears, and more. The instructions are on the link I just listed, and here’s a video demonstration:

Totally cool! It’d be a great gift to teens this Christmas! 🙂 Buy it today! Available at all bookstores and online retailers. You can even get it at Book Depository with FREE shipping worldwide!

Oh and BTW, Shiver book discussions postponed till next month. I’m really sorry! And I’m looking for who have read Shiver and want to do a feature or something for Shiver. Please, let me know.

Hit me up! kate.readthisbook (at) gmail(dot)com

In My Mailbox (34)

In My Mailbox:
No books but some awesome bookmarks from C.J. Omololu. I love them!

From the library:
Flash Burnout by L.K. Madigan (It was highly recommend by Heidi Kling, author of Sea.)

Fifteen-year-old Blake has a girlfriend and a friend who’s a girl. One of them loves him; the other one needs him.

When he snapped a picture of a street person for his photography homework, Blake never dreamed that the woman in the photo was his friend Marissa’s long-lost meth addicted mom. Blake’s participation in the ensuing drama opens up a world of trouble, both for him and for Marissa. He spends the next few months trying to reconcile the conflicting roles of Boyfriend and Friend. His experiences range from the comic (surviving his dad’s birth control talk) to the tragic (a harrowing after-hours visit to the morgue).

In a tangle of life and death, love and loyalty, Blake will emerge with a more sharply defined snapshot of himself.

Gateway by Sharon Shinn
As a Chinese adoptee in St. Louis, teenage Daiyu often feels out of place. When an elderly Asian jewelry seller at a street fair shows her a black jade ring—and tells her that “black jade” translates to “Daiyu”—she buys it as a talisman of her heritage. But it’s more than that; it’s magic. It takes Daiyu through a gateway into a version of St. Louis much like 19th century China. Almost immediately she is recruited as a spy, which means hours of training in manners and niceties and sleight of hand. It also means stealing time to be with handsome Kalen, who is in on the plan. There’s only one problem. Once her task is done, she must go back to St. Louis and leave him behind forever….

On A Whim by Robin Jones Gunn
As she heads toward college graduation, Katie’s life begins to change and she must decide what to hold on to and what to let go of. The second book in the Katie Weldon series renews the bond between Katie, Christy, Todd, and Rick as they embrace adulthood.

I’ll edit the post with images tomorrow. I’m tired.

Lipstick Apology by Jennifer Jabaley

Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: August 6th 2009
Buy it from: Book Depository (free shipping worldwide!)
Silver star (3/5 stars)

Synopsis: When Emily Carson’s parents die in a plane crash, she’s left with nothing but her mother’s last words scrawled in lipstick on a tray table: “Emily, please forgive me.”

Now it’s fall and Emily moves to New York City— where she attracts the attention of two very different boys: the cute, popular Owen, and her quirky chemistry partner, Anthony. With the help of some surprising new friends, Emily must choose between the boy who helps her forget and the one who encourages her to remember, and ultimately heal.

Debut author Jennifer Jabaley has written a wonderful, feel-good romantic comedy with real emotional depth. Full of lovably wacky characters, Lipstick Apology is a heartwarming story about the true meaning of forgiveness.

Review:
Lipstick Apology sadly did not live up to my expectations. When I read the first line in the prologue, it really annoyed me.

Steve McCaffity just undressed me with his eyes.

Okay, maybe I’m still clothed, but we definitely made eye contact. Well, actually, he might have only glanced at the tiny chocolate stain on my V-neck — so it was noticable.

Why do I feel like there is so much going on in these three sentences? The writing seemed clunky to me, it didn’t flow smoothly. On the topic of Jabaley’s writing, I was really annoyed to see the excess use of capital letters. I know sometimes it’s good to use capital letters to emphasize a point but too much gets on my nerves. Everytime someone shouts, it’s capital letters. Wah??

Here are two examples of sentences which I felt the capital letters were totally unessasary.

Lindsey vigorously shook her head, agreeing with me. “No you HAVE to go.” (page 186)

“I wasn’t intending to get drunk. You KNOW I don’t drink.” (page 196)

I really wanted to love this book but there were too many problems with it. Another big problem was that Jabaley did a lot of “telling” and very little “showing”. The writing could have been so much better if Jabaley trusted her readers to figure out what was going on and not tell them.

Emily’s mood swings annoyed me. Yes I know it’s hard to deal with the death but it was so frustrating. She seemed to accept her parents’ death calmly. There weren’t many scenes of her grieving. Too many PMS-ing moments. Emily character was too dramatic and I had a hard time relating to her.

The other characters were like any other typical high school novels. You know, rich preppy superficial girls, self-centered high school jocks, the geeky girl etc. I truly liked Anthony, he was sweet but still cliché. Her aunt Jolie’s occupation was unique and I thought it was really cool having an aunt who has her own makeup line. Jolie’s character was quite likable compared to the other adult, Trent who is a hairdresser. Trent in the beginning was over perky and I felt as though he was over caffeinated. But as I went deeper into the book, he became more thoughtful.

Other than the above mentioned problems, I just love the setting of the book, it’s NEW YORK CITY people. My number one dream destination. The setting was nicely described. But did you know that most YA books are set in NYC? Justine Larbalestier did a post Too Many Books About NYC? I felt for Lipstick Apology, the setting was right for the book. I am pretty sure if you had a successful makeup line you’d be living in NYC and not in other states.

Oh and the synopsis totally spoiled the romance for me. It’s so easy to figure out who Emily will end up with at the end. Honestly, if I wanted a predictable romance plot, I would go with Elizabeth Scott’s Something Maybe. Though Something Maybe was also predictable, Scott did it better.

Lipstick Apology was a nice book to pass time but not one of those books that I definitely recommend.

Check out other reviews of Lipstick Apology: Books By Their Cover, Addicted to Literature, That Chick That Reads, Harmony Book Reviews, Presenting Lenore.

Waiting on Wednesday (21)


The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride
Release date: May 25th 2010 by EgmontUSA
Synopsis:

It’s been two years since Noelle disappeared. Two years since her bike was discovered, sprawled on a sidewalk. Two years of silence, of worry, of fear.

For those two long years, her best friend Tessa has waited, living her own life in a state of suspended animation. Because how can she allow herself to enjoy a normal high school life if Noelle can’t? How dare she have other friends, go to dances, date boys, without knowing what happened to the girl she thought she would share everything with?

And then one day, someone calls Noelle’s house. She’s alive.

A haunting psychological thriller taken straight from the headlines, The Tension of Opposites is a striking debut that explores the emotional aftermath of a kidnapping on the victim, and on the people she left behind.

Oh my gosh, I am dying to read this book! Doesn’t it sound fantastic? A haunting psychological thriller. Eeeeeeeek, May 2010 is very far away!