Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Book Boyfriend: Archer Cross

For those of you who don't know, My Book Boyfriend is a (super fun) weekly meme started by The Unread Reader, one of my favorite book bloggers on the web, where bookworms like me post about swoon-worthy literary guys. If you want to start this meme, you can find out how on the introduction post here.

My Book Boyfriend of the week this week is none other than....
ARCHER CROSS from the Hex Hall series.
Oh Archer. Oh goodness gracious. I'm not even sure there are words out there to describe how much I love Archer Cross.... gosh darn it just thinking about him makes me all... giggly (so I try to refrain from thinking about him and Hex Hall in general lest I get looked at strangely for grinning like a fool in public).
But anyways... here's a short description of Archer:
  • came to Hecate when he was 14
  • is a warlock
  • kind of has that whole adorable-bad-boy thing going on
  • was once betrothed (which is totally normal in the Prodigium world)
  • has curly black (but really it's dark brown) hair and dark brown eyes
  • thin but muscular
  • "resident heartthrob"
  • extremely fluent in the language of sarcasm 
  • (without giving away any spoilers...) let's just say there is more to him than meets the eye 

 "Archer?” I asked, raising my eyebrows. Hey, you might be able to take away my magical powers,    but the power of sarcasm was still at my disposal. “Is your last name Newport or Vanderbilt? Maybe followed by some numbers? Ooh!” I said, widening my eyes, “or maybe even Esquire!”
I’d hoped to hurt his feelings or, at the very least, make him angry, but he just kept smiling at me. “Actually, it’s Archer Cross, and I’m the first one. Now what about you?” He squinted. “Let’s see . . . brown hair, freckles, whole girl-next-door vibe going on . . . Allie? Lacie? Definitely something cutesy ending in ie.”
You know those times when your mouth moves but no sound actually comes out? Yeah, that’s pretty much what happened. And then, of course, my mom took that opportunity to end her conversation with Justin’s parents and call out, “Sophie! Wait up.”
“I knew it.” Archer laughed. “See you, Sophie,” he called over his shoulder as he disappeared into the house." 


"She was my assignment."
"From The Eye?"
"No, from the Boy Scouts. That Witch Dating badge just kept eluding me."
"Well, you must have at least three Total Douchebag badges by now, so that has to count for something." 

-Archer and Sophie

"So did The Eye come here looking for me?"
"Actually, we came because we heard it was free corn dog night. Imagine our disappointment." 

-Sophie and Archer

Cal:  "Oh, come on, Sophie. Don't you get it? He's L'Occhio di Dio's ultimate weapon. They used him as a spy at Hecate for years, so what makes you think that's stopped now? This is probably just his new assignment, getting close to you so he can use you for information about the Council."
Archer: "Actually, I was just going to use her for her body, but that's a good idea, too." 


    Monday, November 28, 2011

    Review: Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

    Dash & Lily's Book of Dares
    By Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
    Published October 26th, 2010 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

    “I’ve left some clues for you.
    If you want them, turn the page.
    If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

    So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the New York Times bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?                           


                                                                                -goodreads

    Review

    Thank goodness it’s winter! It might sound silly, but I actually purposefully made myself wait until the end of November to read this so it would tie into December, the holiday month! Unfortunately… my plan totally backfired and I finished the book in TWO days in NOVEMBER!
                    This book was amazing! From the plot to the characters, everything was crafted so splendidly! I’m normally not a huge fan of alternating-POV books, but Rachel Cohn and David Levithan pulled it off sooo unbelievably well. There was absolutely no confusion as to who was narrating which chapter—Dash and Lily’s identities were so… clear.
                    Words can’t even describe how much I loved Dash and Lily. (Funny how I’m always at a lost for words when I have a blog to talk about books…) Anyways, Dash and Lily were the perfect characters.
                    Dash might possibly be one of my all-time favorite male characters—and yes, that is among the rankings of Percy Jackson, Etienne St. Clair, Dimitri Belikov/Adrian Ivashkov, Wes, etc. The thing is, he’s just so different from all the other male characters out there! I mean, come on, who out there knows of a guy, fictional or real who wants an OED (unabridged!) for Christmas and wishes to be “esoteric” and “confound people with their own language?” Also, he is absolutely freaking hilarious. There are so many quotes by him in this book that had me rereading over and over again and laughing eve single time. He is the King of Snark (but in a totally lovable way), yet is very thoughtful and deep and has great moments of gentlemanliness.
                    And Lily! Oh my gosh, she is the quirkiest, most awesome female characters I have ever encountered! And she’s also pretty darn hilarious. She has this great view on life and I can’t help but wish I were friends with someone like here. And Dash of course too. These two characters are opposites in so many ways, but somehow they complement each other exceptionally well.
                    All the supporting characters was great too—they were all incredibly unique and memorable—my favorites being Boomer and Mrs. Basil E. (gosh I would seriously love to have an aunt like her.)
                    The one, only one, aspect of this book that I wasn’t so crazy about was the lack of action, of a climax. Yes, the dares between the two were hilarious and great, but there was no huge maraschino cherry and sprinkles to the Sunday to some sort of major climax, which was unfortunate, but overall I still really enjoyed the book.
                    In fact… I’m highly tempted to go out and get my own copy! My bibliophilic ways are seriously taking a toll on my wallet!
    4/5 stars
    And now on to some of my favorite quotes (because to be honest, I’d like to quote the whole book to you guys so you know how awesome it!)

    “You think fairy tales are only for girls? Here's a hint - ask yourself who wrote them. I assure you, it wasn't just the women. It's the great male fantasy - all it takes is one dance to know that she's the one. All it takes is the sound of her song from the tower, or a look at her sleeping face. And right away you know - this is the girl in your head, sleeping or dancing or singing in front of you. Yes, girls want their princes, but boys want their princesses just as much. And they don't want a very long courtships. They want to know immediately.”                -Sofia

    “I was horribly bookish, to the point of coming right out and saying it, which I knew was not socially acceptable. I particularly loved the adjective bookish, which I found other people used about as often as ramrod or chum or teetotaler.”                           -Dash

    “I mean, what if love isn't a yes-or-no question? It's not either you're in love or you're not. I mean, aren't there different levels? And maybe these things, like words and expectations and whatever, don't go on top of the love. Maybe it's like a map, and they all have their own place, and then when you see it from the sky - whoa.”                                 -Boomer


    “Well sure, who doesn't need a boyfriend? but realistically, those exotic creatures are hard to come by. At least a quality one.”               -Lily

    "You bookish little pervert."               -Mark

     

    Thursday, November 24, 2011

    Want Now--no, scratch that--CRAVE NOW!!!


    The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
    by Michelle Hodkin


    "Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
    It can.
    She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
    There is.
    She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.
    She's wrong."


    Thoughts:
    The blurb is kind of vague, but after reading the great reviews on goodreads (and the quotes too), I can't wait to get my hands on this book! You just can't go wrong with a book that's suspenseful and super humorous....and you know, the whole romantic chemistry certainly doesn't hurt...



    Shatter Me
    by Tahereh Mafi
     

    "Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

    The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

    The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

    Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior. "



    Thoughts:
    Okay, another dystopian.... but seriously? This book sounds really good. I've also read some quotes of the book posted on goodreads and the writing in this book is absolutely beautiful! Argh, how I wish I could read this RIGHT NOW.

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    My Book Boyfriend: Cricket Bell

    My Book Boyfriend is my absolute favorite meme---it was started by Missie, the Unread Reader (go check out her blog!) where you post every Wednesday about swoon-worthy fictional boys. Seriously, I look forward to doing this every Wednesday! Yeah... I'm a serious book nerd :) Anyways, if you aren't doing a My Book Boyfriend, you should totally do one! Find out about it here!

    Surprisingly, I was having a hard time this week coming up with a boy to write about---which, if you know me, is really quite shocking because I'm always reading some sort of chick-lit/romance. However, this week, there just weren't any guys that really popped out of the page for me. BUT then I remembered how I promised to do a MBB on Cricket Bell not so long ago, and let's face it, if you've read Lola and the Boy Next Door, you'll understand just how lovable Cricket Bell is! But without further adieu...
    Ladies and Gentlemen (but probably just Ladies because I seriously doubt there's a guy out there reading this...) I present...

    Cricket Graham Bell
    • Cricket Bell was always taller than most boys, but in the last two years, he's added half a foot. At least. His slender body--once skinny and awkward, despite his graceful movements--has also changed. He's filled out, though just slightly. The edge has been removed. But pointing out that someone is tall is like pointing out the weather when it's raining. Both obvious and irritating.

      "It's the hair," he says with a straight face. "Gravity has always been my nemesis."

      And his dark hair is tall. It's floppy, but...inverted floppy. I'm not sure how it's possible without serious quantities of mousse or gel, but even when he was a kid, Chricket's hair stood strait up. It gives him the air of a mad scientist, which actually isn't that far off. His hair is one of the things I always liked about him.
    • has amazing blue eyes---"There's something about blue eyes. The kind of blue that startles you every time they're lifted in your direction. The kind of blue that makes you ache for them to look at you again. Not the blue green or blue gray, the blue that's just blue. Cricket has those eyes.” 
    • Is shy and gets nervous/flustered a lot
    • blushes easily (aww)
    • has an amazing (maybe slightly quirky) sense of fashion
    • is an inventor
    • has been in love with Lola since they were kids
    • is SO incredibly genuine and sweet
    Kudos to Stephanie Perkins for creating a swoon-worthy real guy--not another seemingly perfect, confident, jock-type--- hard to explain, but hopefully these quotes will show you...



    "Lola, you were the only person I wanted there that night. I was crazy about you, but I didn't know what to do. It was paralyzing. There were so many times when I wanted to take your hand, but...I couldn't. That one small move felt impossible."
    Now I'm staring at my hands, too. "I would have let you take it."
    "I know." His voice croaks." 


    "I know you aren't perfect. But it's a person's imperfections that make them perfect for someone else." 
      Lola: "You have a roommate."
    Cricket: "Yeah." He sounds confused.
    "The, um, picture on your door surprised me."
     "NO. No. I prefer my women with...fewer carnivorous beasts and less weaponry." He pauses and smiles. "Naked is okay. What she needs are a golden retriever and a telescope. Maybe then it would do it for me."
    I laugh.
    "A squirrel and a laboratory beaker?"  "A bunny rabbit and a flip chart," I say.
    "Only if the flip chart has mathematical equations on it."
    I fake swoon onto his bed. "Too much, too much!"
     

    "So do you believe in second chances?" I bite my lip.
    "Second, third, fourth. Whatever it takes. However long it takes. If the person is right," he adds.
    "If the person is... Lola?"
    This time, he holds my gaze. "Only if the other person is Cricket."
     



    "Once upon a time, there was a girl who talked to the moon. And she was mysterious and she was perfect, in that way that girls who talk to moons are. In the house next door, there lived a boy. And the boy watched the girl grow more and more perfect, more and more beautiful with each passing year. He watched her watch the moon. And he began to wonder if the moon would help him unravel the mystery of the beautiful girl. So the boy looked into the sky. But he couldn't concentrate on the moon. He was too distracted by the stars. And it didn't matter how many songs or poems had already been written about them, because whenever he thought about the girl, the stars shone brighter. As if she were the one keeping them illuminated.
    One day, the boy had to move away. He couldn't bring the girl with him, so he brought the stars. When he'd look out his window at night, he would start with one. One star. And the boy would make a wish on it, and the wish would be her name.

    At the sound of her name, a second star would appear. And then he'd wish her name again, and the stars would double into four. And four became eight, and eight became sixteen, and so on, in the greatest mathematical equation the universe had ever seen. And by the time an hour had passed, the sky would be filled with so many stars that it would wake the neighbors. People wondered who'd turned on the floodlights.

    The boy did. By thinking about the girl."
     

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    Review: XVI

    XVI
    by Julia Karr
    Published January 6th, 2011 by Puffin/Speak


    "Every girl gets one.
    An XVI tattoo on the wrist--sixteen.


    Some girls can't wait to be sixteen, to be legal. Nina is not one of them. Even though she has no choice in the matter, she knows that so long as her life continues as normal, everything will be okay.

    Then, with one brutal strike, Nina's normal is shattered; and she discovers that nothing that she believed about her life is true. But there's one boy who can help--and he just may hold the key to her past.

    But with the line between attraction and danger as thin as a whisper, one thing is for sure...

    For Nina, turning sixteen promises to be anything but sweet"


    Review 
    To be honest, I had some misgivings at first about reading this book because it it's *ahem* "frisky" contents, but when I saw it at my library, I just had to give in and get it because the plot line was just too interesting for me to pass up! This novel gives an interesting take on the increasingly-popular dystopian trend (which, quite honestly, is kind of getting on my nerves...) The concept of an XVI tattoo branding anyone 16 and up as legal for sex is a very scary notion to comprehend, yet I feel like that our own society has had some part in inspiring the author. 

     This book was an okay-ish read for me---I enjoyed it, and loved the concept of the story, but let's just say that it didn't quite meet my expectations. I was really excited for this book and wanted so badly to really, really like it, but it just wasn't quite there. 

    The Things I Liked:
    • The Concept--I think the idea of a society like this is quite original compared to the other dystopians I've read. It was interesting and fresh and provided a startling glimpse into a dystopian future using elements of today's society.
    • The Characters--There were some great characters in this book; my favorite ended up being Wei---each character is unique and even though there are quite a lot, you never forget one or confuse one with another
      • The protagonist, Nina, was incredibly admirable in her beliefs, in how absolutely sure she was in what she wanted, and in the way she constantly took care of her sister. You've got to love a character that knows what she wants and doesn't compromise that for anything. Reading about her struggle defining the line that so thinly divides love and lust was fascinating and I think her struggle with the question "what does it mean to love someone?" is something we can all relate to in today's society.  
    Things I Didn't Really Like
    •  Character Development---For the most part, the characters seemed kind of flat to me--there was no particular depth, to them, not even to Nina; I feel like she matures and toughens up a little as she learns about the truth of her family, but for the most part, there is no major character development. Don't get me wrong, they were all well-defined and characterized, but I would've liked to see more depth
      • On a side note, while I enjoyed the romance in the story between Nina and Sal, I also would've like to see more relationship development there. Yes, they met and fell in love, but it all seemed so fast and got unrealistically intense for the amount of interaction that they actually had
    • Execution/plot---- As I said before, I really liked the concept of the story, what with the whole XVI and everything, but I felt like the execution was poor--There were quite a few questions for Nina to figure out, but the answers came way too easily. Also, the plot was kind of slow in the beginning.
      • Another thing that bugged me was how the big deal about sex-teens and XVI (which the book was named for!) kind of took a back seat to the whole problem that is Ed, which was disappointing because I was really interested in the background info about XVI.

    The really good news is that (yay!) there is going to be a sequel! In January! It might be surprising that I'm super excited for a sequel when I wasn't exactly crazy about this book , but I am! The whole idea of this dystopian society still fascinates me and I feel like this storyline has a lot of potential. The first book set things up wonderfully for a sequel, where I'm hoping I'll get answers for some of the questions Karr left hanging. From the reviews I've read from people who got advanced copies, the sequel sounds extremely promising and much better than the first book. :)

    Overall, 3.5 stars

    And now for some quotes....


    “Religion seemed to me like one group of people telling another group that their color of red was the best. And that everyone had to believe that, or else.”


    "I couldn't shake the impulse to help him. It seemed that the older I  got the more I believed that everyone, homeless or not, deserved to be treated at least like a human."


    "A tiny part of me wanted to kick him, too, not because he was homeless, but because he was a judgmental asshole."

    "That line between love and lust was thin as a whisper."


    "I'm afraid to have a boyfriend. I don't know how to do that and not lose who I want to be. And I'm afraid of what it means to be close to a guy, a guy I might really like."
    There it was: the truth.

     

      Wednesday, November 16, 2011

      My Book Boyfriend: Peeta Mellark

      My Book Boyfriend is a suuuuper fun meme started by the Unread Reader-- find out about it here.

      Okay, yes, I am definitely Team Peeta. I just saw the official movie trailer and I am soooo super psyched to watch it! Admittedly, the cast choice is not my favorite (personally, I saw Katniss being played by Lindsay Fonseca from Nikita...) but OH. MY GOODNESS GRACIOUS. The casting director could have chosen a much better Peeta in my opinion. like..... ALEX PETTYFER!!!!!! No offense to Josh Hutcherson or anything....

      Anyways, since I started the Hunger Games trilogy, I have been absolutely in love with Peeta! He is so sweet, selfless, devoted, and kind... and the fact that he's attractive doesn't hurt ;)  especially if you imagine him as Alex Pettyfer!

      I'm coming back into focus when Caesar asks him if he has a girlfriend back home. Peeta hesitates, then gives an unconvincing shake of his head.
      "Handsome lad like you. There must be some special girl. Come on, what’s her name?" says Caesar.
      Peeta sighs. "Well, there is this one girl. I’ve had a crush on her ever since I can remember. But I’m pretty sure she didn’t know I was alive until the reaping."
      Sounds of sympathy from the crowd. Unrequited love they can relate to.
      "She have another fellow?" asks Caesar.
      "I don’t know, but a lot of boys like her," says Peeta.
      "So, here’s what you do. You win, you go home. She can’t turn you down then, eh?" says Caesar encouragingly.
      I don’t think it’s going to work out. Winning...won’t help in my case," says Peeta.
      "Why ever not?" says Caesar, mystified.
      Peeta blushes beet red and stammers out. "Because...because...she came here with me." 


       “Peeta,” I say lightly. “You said at the interview you’d had a crush on me forever. When did  forever start?”
      “Oh, let’s see. I guess the first day of school. We were five. You had on a red plaid dress and your hair . . . it was in two braids instead of one. My father pointed you out when we were waiting to line up,” Peeta says.
      “Your father? Why?” I ask.
      “He said, ‘See that little girl? I wanted to marry her mother, but she ran off with a coal miner,’” Peeta says.
      “What? You’re making that up!” I exclaim.
      “No, true story,” Peeta says. “And I said, ‘A coal miner? Why did she want a coal miner if she could’ve had you?’ And he said, ‘Because when he sings . . . even the birds stop to listen.’”
      “That’s true. They do. I mean, they did,” I say.
       I’m stunned and surprisingly moved, thinking of the baker telling this to Peeta. It strikes me that my own reluctance to sing, my own dismissal of music might not really be that I think it’s a waste of time. It might be because it reminds me too much of my father.
       “So that day, in music assembly, the teacher asked who knew the valley song. Your hand shot right up in the air. She stood you up on a stool and had you sing it for us. And I swear, every bird outside the windows fell silent,” Peeta says.
      “Oh, please,” I say, laughing.
      “No, it happened. And right when your song ended, I knew — just like your mother — I was a goner,” Peeta says. “Then for the next eleven years, I tried to work up the nerve to talk to you.”
      “Without success,” I add.
      “Without success. So, in a way, my name being drawn in the reaping was a real piece of luck,” says Peeta."
       -Peeta and Katniss 

      "Remember, we're madly in love, so it's all right to kiss me anytime you feel like it." 
      -Peeta to Katniss

       "My nightmares are usually about losing you. I'm okay once I realize you're here."
      -Peeta to Katniss

      "It's a long shot, it's suicide maybe, but I do the only thing I can think of. I lean in and kiss Peeta full on the mouth. His whole body starts shuddering, but I keep my lips pressed to his until I have to come up for air. My hands slide up his wrists to clasp his. "Don't let him take you from me."
      Peeta's panting hard as he fights the nightmares raging his head. "No. I don't want to. . ."
      I clench his hands to the point of pain. "Stay with me."
      His pupils contract to pinpoints, dilate again rapidly, and then return to something resembling normalcy. "Always," he murmurs." 
      -Katniss and Peeta

      "You love me. Real or not real?"
      I tell him, "Real." 
      -Peeta to Katniss


      Monday, November 14, 2011

      WANT NOW!!!

      "The most tragic love story in history . . .

      Juliet Capulet didn't take her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, her new husband, Romeo Montague, a sacrifice made to ensure his own immortality..."



       "Joy Delamere is suffocating...

      From asthma, which has nearly claimed her life. From her parents, who will do anything to keep that from happening. From dangerous Asher, who is smothering her from the inside out.

      Joy can take her cruel words until the night they go too far.

      Now, Joy will leave everything behind to find the one who has offered his help, a homeless boy called Creed. She will become someone else. She will learn to survive. She will breathe…if only she can get to Creed before it’s too late."


      blurb doesn't sound absolutely to-die-for, but I've been seeing such great reviews!


      "When Psyche receives a prophecy gone horribly wrong, she learns that even the most beautiful girl in Greece can have a hideous future. Her fate? Fall in love with the one creature even the gods fear..." 













       "My name—my True Name—is Ashallayn’ darkmyr Tallyn. I am the last remaining son of Mab, Queen of the Unseelie Court. And I am dead to her. My fall began, as many stories do, with a girl..."


      Oh. Mygoodness. I have LOVED every freaking minute of this series and now it's ENDING?! I need to get my hands on this book....








       "In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake."

      I read the first book a while back and thought it was pretty good (3.5-4 stars) but I'm really itching to read THIS one because it's going to have Ky's POV too! *fangirl squeal!*








      Dang, how I wish I had all the money in the world to buy books! Oh well, if wishes were fishes, then even beggars would eat.

      Wednesday, November 9, 2011

      My Book Boyfriend: A Tie Between Jonah Griggs and Jude Scanlon

      My Book Boyfriend was a meme started by the Unread Reader---you can find out about it here.

      Okay, so this might be slightly against the rules, but I seriously could not decide between two guys this week! And who might these two guys be? None other than Jonah Griggs and Jude Scanlon (both from Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta). If you saw my last review, you know that I cannot say enough good things about this book---or the guys! I absolutely loved how Jude was with Narnie and how Griggs was with Taylor. They both have such a tough exterior, but are really sweet inside!

      Jonah Griggs
      • is in year eleven
      • leader of the Cadets
      • has had a hard childhood
      • "Jonah Griggs is a tank. His face is blunter, meaner than I remember. Hair cropped. Eyes cold. Arms folded. He has perfected the art of looking straight at someone while avoiding eye contact.  "
      He stops and looks at me. "I'm here because of you. You're my priority. Your happiness, in some fucked way, is tuned in to mine. Get that through your thick skull. Would I like it any other way? Hell, yes, but I don't think that will be happening in my lifetime.”

      Never," he tells me in a tone full of ice, "underestimate who or what I care for.” 

      “What's with what you're wearing?" Griggs asks while we stand outside waiting for the others.
      "It's pretty hideous, isn't it?" I say.
      "Don't force me to look at it," he says. "It's see-through."
      That kills conversation for a couple of seconds.” 



      He shakes his head and, although it's dark, I can tell he's crying.
       "What are you thinking?" I whisper after a while.
      "That you deserve romance," he says.  


      Jude Scanlon
      • was a cadet
      • is a realist
      • had an "indifferent" childhood
      • has been in love with Narnie for years 
      The next year, as the Cadet buses drove into Jellicoe, Jude was desperate for a sign. A sign that would tell him that things would be the same as the year before. He'd spent most of the year wondering about them. Had they fallen out of love with each one another? Did Narnie still have that half-dead look? Had Fitz got himself into trouble? Had they outgrown him?

      "Who are they?" the Cadet sitting next to him asked.
      Jude looked at Webb's face, the grin stretching from ear to ear.
      "They're my best friends. I'm going to know them until the day I die."

      Over the years, he'd had a fair idea of what had happened that night on the Jellicoe Road and sometimes he hated himself for wanting to be part of something so tragic. He wanted to be the hero riding by on a stolen bike. He wanted to be the one carrying their parents and Tate's sister out of the cars. He wanted to belong to them. With them he found solace.

      Sunday, November 6, 2011

      Review: Jellicoe Road

      Jellicoe Road
      By Melina Marchetta
      Published August 28th, 2006 by Penguin Australia

      "Abandoned by her mother on Jellicoe Road when she was eleven, Taylor Markham, now seventeen, is finally being confronted with her past. But as the reluctant leader of her boarding school dorm, there isn't a lot of time for introspection. And while Hannah, the closest adult Taylor has to family, has disappeared, Jonah Griggs is back in town, moody stares and all.

      In this absorbing story by Melina Marchetta, nothing is as it seems and every clue leads to more questions as Taylor tries to work out the connection between her mother dumping her, Hannah finding her then and her sudden departure now, a mysterious stranger who once whispered something in her ear, a boy in her dreams, five kids who lived on Jellicoe Road eighteen years ago, and the maddening and magnetic Jonah Griggs, who knows her better than she thinks he does. If Taylor can put together the pieces of her past, she might just be able to change her future."

                                                                                  ~blurb from goodreads.com 

           I decided to give myself a day after finishing this book before writing my review. I'd hoped that after almost 24 hours, I would be able to find the right words that would be able to convey my feelings towards this book. It didn't help.
      Words really can't even begin to describe how much I LOVED this book. It was a deviation from my normal chick-lit/romance picks, although there was romance too. This book was, to put it simply, a love story. In all senses of the phrase. That might or might not make sense to you, but trust me, once you read it, you'll understand.
           This book had so much emotion, raw and powerful, that I actually started crying while I was reading this. Trust me, I do not cry easily while reading books. The writing was so beautiful and the story took me on an emotional roller coaster that I will never forget. I completely fell in love with the all characters in this book, no matter how minor their roles were, and their relationships with each other. Melina Marchetta does an indescribably fantastic job at creating characters that have depth and are real. It's so hard to review this book because I feel like you need to experience all this for yourself—read it firsthand without any prior information/spoilers. You might be tempted to give up reading this at the very beginning, because I admit, it was a little confusing, but trust me, YOU WILL NOT REGRET READING THIS BOOK.
           I finished this library book at 2 a.m. and the very next day (well, technically it was the same day) I went out and bought my own copy because this is one of those few novels that you can re-read over and over again and it will still be able to make the same impact it did the first time. And trust me, I will be re-reading this. Right now, I'm actually a teeny tiny bit peeved at Marchetta for making me very hesitant to start a new book, even if it is one of my beloved chick-lits. I know, I just know, that no matter what my next book it is, it can't measure up to Jellicoe Road. Not by a long shot.
           If you haven't read this book yet, please, please, please (x infinity) go and read it. I promise you won't regret it!

      5 stars (but it deserves so much more!)

      Here are some of my favorite quotes (because if I were to type up all of them, I might as well just type up the entire book):

      "It's funny how you can forget everything except people loving you. Maybe that's why humans find it so hard getting over love affairs. It's not the pain they're getting over, it's the love."

      What do you want from me?" he asks.
      What I want from every person in my life, I want to tell him.
      More.”

      See, I remember love. That's what people don't understand. 

      Someone asked us later, "Didn't you wonder why no one came across you sooner?"
      Did I wonder?
      When you see your parents zipped up in black body bags on the Jellicoe Road like they're some kind of garbage, don't you know?
      Wonder dies.”

      If something happened to me, whose face will be on the front page of the paper begging for me? Is a person worth more because they have someone to grieve for them?”

      Thursday, November 3, 2011

      Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door

      Lola and the Boy Next Door
      by Stephanie Perkins 
      Published September 29th, 2011 by Dutton Books



      "Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

      When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door."

                                                                                                                 ~blurb from goodreads.com


      Review:
      Stephanie Perkins is officially my new favorite author. I don't know how she does it, but she just has a way of crafting a story that practically pulls the reader right into the it, right into the protagonist's head! Oh, and her characters! She has an absolute talent for thinking up great, memorable characters. 
             I just finished Anna and the French Kiss and immediately got my hands on Lola and the Boy Next Door. I went in with some very high expectations, which, of course, always puts tremendous pressure on a book. BUT THIS BOOK DID NOT DISAPPOINT. AT ALL!

            Once again, Perkins has worked her magic on me and made me fall in love with another book. I completely agree with the raving reviews out there on how great this book is, though I ended up liking Anna and the French Kiss a bit more. Lola had a little to much relationship...angst for me. However, the characters in this book were absolutely amazing. The word amazing can't even do the characters justice; I was absolutely in love with Lola, Nathan, Andy, and of course, Cricket. Lola was such an admirable and likeable character (even if there were some things she did that kinda annoyed me) and Cricket was just so gosh-darned sweet! Be on the lookout for a My Book Boyfriend on him soon...  
           I think Perkins does a great job tackling many controversial issues such as the age-difference dating and having gay parents, but she does it in a way that's believable and not offensive at all.           
            OH! And of course, lovers of Anna and the French Kiss will be in for a real treat because she and St.Clair (!!!) are in this book too! Part of my love from this book come from the fact that you get to find out more about their story and they actually end up being pretty important supporting characters! 


      This book gets 4. 5 stars from me!


      And now, some of my fave quotes...


      “What just happened?"
      "Your father invited the former love of your life in for pie."
      "Yeah, that's what I thought.” 


      “Perfect is overrated. Perfect is boring."
      I smile. "You don't think I'm perfect?"
      "No. You're delightfully screwy, and I wouldn't have you any other way.” 


      “Anna prods St. Clair's shoulder. "Come on. Weren't you gonna show me that thing?"
      "What thing?"
      She stares at him. He stares back. She cocks her head toward Cricket and me.
      "Ah, yes." St. Clair stands. "That thing."
      They rush out. The door shuts, and St. Clair shouts, "Lola, Cricket wants to show you his thing, too-oo!” 


      “I don't believe in fashion. I believe in costume. Life is too short to be same person every day.” 

      “Why didn't you guys dress up?" Lindsey asks.
      "We did." Calliope cracks her first smile. "we're dressed as twins."
      Lindsey grins back. "Hmm, I see it now. Fraternal or identical?"
      "You'd be surprised how many people ask," Cricket says.
      "What do you tell them?" Lindsey asks.
      "That I have a penis."
      Oh God. My cheeks burn as they all burst into laughter. Think about something else, Dolores. ANYTHING else. Cucumbers, Bananas, Zucchini. AHHHH! NO NO NO NO NO NO NO. I turn my face away from them as Calliope fakes a yakking sound.” 


        “I told him your loins were clearly burning, and he should man up and make a move."
      "You did not!"
      "I did. And if he doesn't, then I suggest you jump his bones."



         










      Wednesday, November 2, 2011

      My Book Boyfriend: √Čtienne St. Clair


      My Book Boyfriend was created by the The Unread Reader who hosts one of my favorite book blogs! This is a fun weekly thing where you post about any fictional boys you may be crushing on. For more info, check out the Unread Reader's post here.
        
      Oh. My goodness. I honestly can't even remember loving a character from a book this much before. After reading Anna and the French Kiss, I wanted an Etienne St. Clair of my very own. Why is he so awesome? Oh let me count the ways...
      • He's American and French--but has an English accent (which, come on, is kind of a deal breaker right there)
      • Has hair that's "dark brown and messy and somehow both long and short at the same time"---"it's artist hair. Musician hair. I-pretend-I-don't-care-but-I-really-do hair."
      • Is confident, sometimes cocky
      • Is short (and like Napoleon Bonaparte because they have that in common)
      • Often shows the "classic boy-pulling-girl's-pigtail syndrome"--but always defends Anna
      • Is really funny
      • gets jealous whenever Anna talks about Toph or Dave
      • is genuinely nice and fun to be around                                                                                                                                                                  ...and many many more reasons... but you'll have to read the book to find out!

        He and Anna have such amazing chemistry, and I absolutely love the fact that they start as friends first. Watching their friendship/chemistry build up was great and soon, I was practically yelling at the two of them to kiss! 
      And now, for some of my favorite quotes:

      “A moment of reserve. 'That was it? The whole story?' 
      'Yes. God, you're right. That was pants.'
      I sidestep another aggressive couscous vendor. 'Pants?' 

      'Rubbish. Crap. Shite.'Pants. Oh heavens, that's cute.

      "Har. Bloody. Har."
      He smiles. "Oh, I see. Known me less than a day and teasing me about my accent. What's next? Care to discuss the state of my hair? My height? My trousers?"
      Trousers. Honestly.”
       

      "French name, English accent, American school. Anna confused." 

      “Most people in Atlanta don't have an accent. It's pretty urban. A lot of people speak gangsta, though," I add jokingly.
      "Fo' shiz," he replies in his polite English accent.
      I spurt orangey-red soup across the table. St. Clair gives a surprised ha-HA kind of laugh, and I'm laughing too, the painful kind like abdominal crunches. He hands me a napkin to wipe my chin. "Fo'. Shiz." He repeats it solemnly.
      Cough cough. "Please don't ever stop saying that. It's too-" I gasp. "Much."
      "You oughtn't to have said that. Now I shall have to save it for special occasions."
      "My birthday is in February." Cough choke wheeze. "Please don't forget.”


      Tuesday, November 1, 2011

      Review: Anna and the French Kiss

      Anna and the French Kiss
      By Stephanie Perkins
      published December 2nd, 2012 by Dutton

      "Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.

      As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near - misses end with the French kiss Anna - and readers - have long awaited?"

                                                                                             ~blurb from goodreads.com


      Review:
            WHY did I not read this book until recently??? Oh, wait. I know. It's because of the cheesy blurb and title. Yes. I admit it: I totally judged a book by its cover. And I totally wish I hadn't because this book was absolutely AMAZING. No, "amazing" doesn't even really do it justice. Words can't even describe how much I love this book! Literally, if this book were a person, I would marry it----no scratch that, I'd totally settle for St. Clair. But wait, I'm getting ahead of myself...

              So, I had seen the book multiple time before, but I was always quick to dismiss it due to the aforementioned cheesy-ness. However, after reading all the raving reviews on goodreads, I decided, what the heck? So I read it. And I fell in love. This book has humor, a swoon-worthy crush, a great protagonist, and that special magical touch from being in the City of Love. The protagonist, Anna, is great; she's hilarious and totally relatable and you just can't help but root for her and St. Clair. And speaking of St. Clair...

               Good lord, how does the author come up with such a lovable guy? He's attractive, witty, and has an english accent! I don't want to go into too much depth because he will be featured in My Book Boyfriend soon, but really, I could just go on and on about how much I adore him. What I love most about this book is the fact that the romance isn't like the ones where the characters lock eyes and—Bam! Instant love! Perkins creates a beautiful story in which the boy and girl start as friends and you, as the reader, get to see their relationship grow.

                You'd think that this typical girl-likes-boy-but-boy-has-girlfriend storyline would get kind of boring, but it wasn't AT ALL. Perkins does such a great job constructing the story and the chemistry between Anna and St. Clair that the words flow perfectly from page to page. Once I started reading, I couldn't stop! Let me just say that this book is totally deserving of every single raving review because it was just absolutely perfect.

      And if you haven't read it yet, why are you still sitting in front of your computer?! Go! Go to your nearest book store or library and get it!

      5 stars. (But I'd give it more if I could!)
      And now, some quotes:

      “Soap?"
      "School of America in Paris" he explains. "SOAP".
      Nice. My father sent me here to be cleansed.” 


      “Madame Guillotine gets mad at me. Not because I told them to shove it, but because I didn’t say it in French. What is wrong with this school?”  

      “I moan with pleasure.
      "Did you just have a foodgasm?" he asks, wiping ricotta from his lips.
      "Where have you been all my life?" I ask the beautiful panini.”  



      “I'm not sure how to order."
      "Easy," Josh says. "Stand in line. Tell them what you want. Accept delicious goodies. And then give them your meal card and two pints of blood."
      "I heard they raised it to three pints this year," Rashmi says.
      "Bone marrow," Beautiful Hallway Boy says. "Or your left earlobe.”


      “Imagine," she said, after registering, "a whole city of gorgeous Italian guys. They can say anything to me, and it'll be sexy."
      "You'll be so easy," Rashmi said. "Would you like-ah to order-ah the spa-ghe-tti? 'Oh, do me, Marco!”
       

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