Monthly Archives: May 2013

Review: The Program

program-197x300Title: The Program
Series: Program
Author: Suzanne Young
Release Date: April 30, 2013
Pages: 405

First line: “The air in the room tastes sterile.”

In a future where teen suicide has become an epidemic, Sloane and James watch out for each other. But when they lose yet another close friend, they find themselves finding it harder and harder to hide the signs of depression. If they are noticed they can be sent to The Program, where depression is cured, but the “returners” are left with giant holes in their memories and come back not recognizing their closest friends. Sloane and James’s relationship is about to be put through the test. Can they will themselves to remember each other? Will they find each other again if they can’t?

My thoughts: The subject of suicide is important to me, and I think it should be discussed more often and openly, especially with teens. I wondered how Suzanne Young would be able to make a future filled with teens in deep depressions and making tough decisions into a meaningful story without making light of the subject.

To be completely honest, I didn’t have super high hopes for this book, but I was pretty surprised by it. In the beginning, I got a little concerned because it is very depressing, like wading through a thick swamp of emotion. But the way Young used the psychiatrist interviews to reveal Sloane’s past I felt was very well done, and later on in the book there is some hope, a little light at the end of the tunnel, and an interesting question about what’s really going on and who, if anyone, is really the enemy in this story. I will be looking out for the next book in the series.

My Ratings:
Writing: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Subject: 3/5
Originality: 3/5
Kept me interested: 3/5
Overall rating: 3/5

Review: If You Find Me

find meTitle: If You Find Me
Author: Emily Murdoch
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Pages: 256

First line: “Mama says no matter how poor folks are, whether you’re a have, a have-not, or break your mama’s back on the cracks in between, the world gives away the best stuff on the cheap.”

“A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey’s younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and two strangers arrive. Suddenly, the girls are taken from the woods and thrust into a bright and perplexing new world of high school, clothes and boys.

Now, Carey must face the truth of why her mother abducted her ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won’t let her go… a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn’t spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down.” – from the book jacket

My thoughts: There are some very uncomfortable situations to read through in this book, but I think Murdock did it in a way to minimize that discomfort as much as possible while still giving the reader the full impact of what happened. I found it interesting how the places of the parents change as you figure out just how sick Carey’s mother really is, and how much she has been lied to throughout her entire life. I’m glad that Murdoch allowed her and Janessa to find some peace in a family that was entirely normal after the horrible way they had been living for years. As the revelations came to light bit by bit about just how sickening their mother had treated them, it was a relief as the reader to feel trust for the adults now in their lives.

This book is a difficult read in some parts, but it manages to be a beautiful story of strength and family while at the same time being a horrifying story of abuse and neglect. It definitely reminded me how grateful I am for the parents I have.

My ratings:
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 5/5
Subject: 5/5
Originality: 4/5
Kept me interested: 5/5
Overall rating: 4/5

Review: Prodigy

prodigyTitle: Prodigy
Series: Legend
Author: Marie Lu
Release Date: January 29, 2013
Pages: 371

First line: “Day jolts awake beside me.”

“After escaping from the Republic’s stronghold of Los Angeles, June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the pair joins a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and who offer them passage to the Colonies. The Patriots have only one request – June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.
It’s the chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long. But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must me more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood? What if the Patriots are wrong?” – from the book jacket

My thoughts: I’ve read some reviews by people that said they couldn’t really connect to the characters in this book. I felt differently. I really like June. I think her confusion is realistic considering it’s still been a short time since she found out how corrupt the Republic is, and I really like that she is still strong and can for the most part take care of herself easily. I still like Day too; I think his character is a little more interesting than June, and I especially liked the scene with June teaching him how to fight. Kaede is by far my favorite side character in this book, and I wanted to know more about her.

This is definitely one of my favorite sequels. It seems like everything is a series now, and I realize that it can be hard for authors to keep that magic into the second book. I think Marie Lu did it, I just hope that it continues in the next one!

My Ratings:
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 4.5/5
Subject: 4/5
Originality: 3/5
Kept me interested: 4/5
Overall rating: 4/5

Review: Necessary Ill

illTitle: Necessary Ill
Author: Deb Taber
Release Date: March 1, 2013
Pages: 352

First Line: “At ten thirty on a weekday morning the restaurants are as empty as they’ll ever be.”

“Jin, the neuter protagonist of Necessary Ill, begins the novel as a designer of plagues intended to set the world back into balance—a balance of population and resources, creation and destruction, choice and certainty—a balance more important to it than any individual life, including its own. Sandy, a young woman thrust violently out of her farm life into the dispassionate science of neuters like Jin, discovers her own need for balance—a balance of safety and adventure, art and science, self-protection and love. But Jin and Sandy find that human life is full of change, and as the world is thrown off balance for all, each questions their ruling assumptions and must learn to see in new ways for the survival of friends and enemies alike.” – from goodreads.com

My thoughts: Good to read something for adults every once in a while. I liked this book, but the way Taber switches between past and present tense for each chapter kind of bothered me. I’m not the kind of person that hates present tense, but I had to get used to it every other chapter, and I’m not sure why. Interesting story though!

My Ratings:
Writing: 3/5
Characters: 4/5
Subject: 3/5
Originality: 4/5
Kept me interested: 3/5
Overall rating: 3/5

Review: City of Lost Souls

lost soulsTitle: City of Lost Souls
Series: The Mortal Instruments (#5)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Release Date: May 8, 2012
Pages: 535

First line: “Simon stood and stared numbly at the front door of his house.”

“What price is too high to pay, even for love? When Jace and Clary meet again, Clary is horrified to discover that the demon Lilith’s magic has bound her beloved Jace together with her evil brother Sebastian, and that Jace has become a servant of evil. The Clave is out to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. As Alec, Magnus, Simon, and Isabelle wheedle and bargain with Seelies, demons, and the merciless Iron Sisters to try to save Jace, Clary plays a dangerous game of her own. The price of losing is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she still trust him? Or is he truly lost?” – from goodreads.com

My thoughts: I didn’t really connect with the fourth book in this series, but I will say that I felt this one was an improvement. I still hate that Clary and Jace can’t just EVER have a normal relationship, but at least there seemed to be more going on in this book than in the last one aside from that. Sebastian made an interesting character, and I was interested in Simon again. I didn’t really like the conflict between Magnus and Alec, but I guess there has to be more drama than I find necessary. Anyway, as I said, I think this book was a lot better than the previous one, and I will be willing to read the next one when it comes out.

My ratings:
Writing: 2.5/5
Characters: 3/5
Subject: 3/5
Originality: 3/5
Kept me interested: 3/5
Overall rating: 3/5

Top 10 Favorite Book Covers of Books I’ve Read

toptentuesdayToday’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is Top Ten Favorite Book Covers of Books I’ve Read. I also have a lot book cover I DON’T like, but here are ten of my favorites:

1.Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

2. The Girl with Borrowed Wings by Rinsai Rossetti

3. Love and Leftovers by Sarah Tregay

4. Shades of Earth by Beth Revis

5. Ask the Passengers by A. S. King

6. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

7. Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol

8. Bossypants by Tina Fey

9. Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck

10. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

🙂

Review: City of Fallen Angels

fallen angelsTitle: City of Fallen Angels
Series: The Mortal Instruments (#4)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Release Date: April 5, 2011Pages: 424

First Line: “‘Just coffee, please.'”

“Someone is murdering Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second bloody war. Clary’s best friend, Simon, can’t help her. His mother just found out that he’s a vampire and now he’s homeless. Everywhere he turns, someone wants him on their side – along with the power of the curse that’s wrecking his life. And they’re willing to do anything to get what they want. At the same time he’s dating two beautiful, dangerous girls – neither of whom knows about the other one.

When Jace begins to pull away from Clary without explaining why, she is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: She herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.” – from the book jacket

My thoughts: To be honest, I think Clare could have ended the series at the end of the third book, and it would have been a good ending. Instead, she had to think up a way to continue to keep Jace and Clary from finally being able to be together. Really there were a lot of other plot lines to pursue and she had enough material to allow them to be together and still have a story, but she chose to make their relationship complicated again and keep them apart. It’s past the point of interesting and just frustrating. And because it seems the book was concentrating mostly on that plot, there didn’t seem to be much going on overall that was of interest. I’m tired of Jace and Clary’s doomed love affair, but nothing else seemed to be happening. I’m not ready to give up on the series, but I found this book to be pretty disappointing.

My Ratings:
Writing: 2/5
Characters: 2/5
Subject: 2/5
Originality: 2/5
Kept me interested: 2/5
Overall rating: 2/5

Getting Yelled At

angry 2

I now get paid enough to get yelled at. Not that I didn’t get yelled at before, but now I feel like it’s my responsibility to deal with the angry patrons rather than leave them to my coworkers that are assistants and make less. Last week we had a very popular program for preschool age kids with a very limited amount of space. The program started at 10:30; we ran out of tickets at about 10:05. We did this program two days in a row, so the first day was easy. After we filled up, we could tell people to try back the next day, and most of them were okay with that.

The next day we filled up at 10:02. People were very upset. We went ahead and started the program early since everyone was already there. My coworker went in to start the program at about 10:15, and I stayed out to work the desk and deal with the continuing stream of families coming in for the program, telling them all until about 10:45 that it was full. Many of the parents argued with me, told me that it was “dumb,” “ridiculous,” and even “obnoxious” (and yes, including parents that arrived 15 minutes after the program was supposed to start). Finally, it seemed like I was done breaking the news to people.

The families that didn’t get in to the program all stayed in the children’s area, watched the program through the glass doors, and grumbled to each other about how unfair it was. One by one, the parents and grandparents that hadn’t argued with me when they first came in started coming up and yelling at me. Now, I can generally handle a couple of complainers no problem, but after literally an hour of dealing with this, I was pretty mentally exhausted. I mean, I understand that people were disappointed, but it was stated in the brochure and online that the program was limited, so they should have been prepared for the possibility that it would be full. And even if they didn’t see that, you would think that some people could be a little more understanding about it. It was the first time we had offered the program, so now we know to create a registration if we do it again.

We did end up running the program again immediately after it was over for those that had stayed. I work in a pretty rich, privileged suburb, so this is the kind of thing we have to deal with on a regular basis. A couple of months ago, a lady came in with her daughter five minutes before an hour long craft program was supposed to finish, and she told me I didn’t understand and wouldn’t let them in because I don’t have kids of my own. I mean, honestly. Anyway, as I was saying, as an introvert, I can send out enough energy to handle this kind of onslaught for only so long. I desperately needed a break to de-compress. Then I managed to face the rest of the day.

Of course, because this is my luck, as I was closing the door that evening at closing time, a girl wanted to come in. I told her we were closed. She said she just needed one thing, but it was already after the final closing announcement, almost everyone was gone, and the computers were shut down, so there was nothing I could do. She got mad at me and kicked the leaves on the ground on the way back to her mom’s car. I closed the door to the library and on that horrible day! UGH

Review: Thirteen Reasons Why

ThirteenReasonsWhyTitle: Thirteen Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
Release Date: October 18, 2007
Pages: 288

First Line: “‘Sir?’ she repeats.”

“Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker-his classmate and crush-who committed suicide two weeks earlier.
Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.” – from the book jacket

My Thoughts: I read this book in one day, partially because I was just waiting with Clay for his name to come up on the tapes, but also just because Hannah’s tapes were compelling. Even though Clay wasn’t very close to Hannah, his emotions over her death felt raw and real to me. I’ve read some reviews that have said that Hannah reasons weren’t good enough, or that she didn’t seem depressed enough to commit suicide. But having gone through a lot of anxiety and depression in my youth, I felt for Hannah, and I felt her story was realistic. No one ever fully understands why anyone makes the decision to end their own life.

Clay was really the best part of the book for me though. I loved Clay. I felt for him. I cried for him, with him. I liked that his thoughts were spliced in with Hannah’s narration. I liked getting his reaction immediately with my own. I know this book is not exactly new, but I’m glad I finally read it, because I think the subject is important and doesn’t get enough discussion, and it was a very creative way to tell the story.

My Ratings:
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 5/5
Subject: 5/5
Originality: 5/5
Kept me interested: 5/5
Overall rating: 5/5

Top 10 Books When I Need Something Light and Fun

toptentuesdayToday’s Top Ten Tuesday, sponsored by The Broke and the Bookish, is Top 10 Books When You Need Something Light and Fun. This one is a little tough for me because I don’t read too many light and fun books. But here are some I feel like I could go to:

1. Love and Leftovers by Sarah Tregay – Cute, light teen love verse novel.

2. The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare – Nothing too serious in these; at least, nothing I take too seriously. They are easy reading and fairly entertaining if nothing else.

3. Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion – Sweet zombie novel. Adorable, even.

4. The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne – Super quirky, fun junior read, but I’d be hesitant to give it to actual kids. Not sure if they’d really get it.

5. The Tiger Saga series by Colleen Houck – Fun adventure/fantasy series with lots of romance with highly attractive young, immortal, Indian boys that can turn into tigers. Yum.

6. The Runaways series by Brian K. Vaughan – I love Brian K. Vaughan, and this series is really entertaining, a lighter graphic novel series.

7. The Invincible series by Robert Kirkman – Another pretty light graphic novel series that I’m quite enjoying.

8. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling – Mindy Kaling is awesome and hilarious, and I love her. That’s all there is to it.

9. Bossypants by Tina Fey – See above.

10. Binky the Space Cat by Ashley Spires – Good ol’ Binky. I’m sure he’ll make it onto plenty of these lists, but definitely fits for this one!