Recent Posts

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Books of May!

Short list this month, but hey, I finished writing my book!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's in the hands of my beta readers now, which means that I have a month to catch up on that huge, falling over stack of books next to my desk (er, dining room table). Next month I get to read:

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket)
The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour
Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer
Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
No and Me by Delphine de Vigan
and probably 5 or so others depending on how nice my library is at getting things to me.

But for now, lets go over what I read this month. Hope that you find something here you like. 

38. Enclave by Ann Aguirre Please don't waste your time on this book. While the premise was quite original to begin with there were just so many places where one had to suspend their disbelief (as in an entire society could consist off meat and mushrooms ALONE for generations) that it really made me scratch my head. But beyond that there were some serious issues here. I'm not sure what would make the author think that turning a rapist into a LI would work for a YA book, but she does. Yes, that was a spoiler, but if it deters you from picking this up, I don't mind and I don't think you will either.

39. Withering Tights by Louise Rennison* Very funny! Just like Georgia Nicholson, only slightly different. The only thing that really bothered me with this book is that it didn't seem to have a plot until about 3/4 of the way through. But the voice and comedy keep you gluedtothepageslikethis.

40. All I Ever Wanted by Vikki Wakefield ** AUSSIE AWESOMENESS ALERT!!! I was snagged by the end of the first chapter, heck by the first page. The thing that really strikes me about this book was how the author took a minor character that I thought was going to be the source of all evil and made me LOVE her like a favorite aunt. I want to learn how to do that. Will definitely read again and take notes. Also, lovely prose.
41. Night Beach by Kirsty Eagar** SECOND AUSSIE AWESOMENESS ALERT!!! Another great surf story by Kirsty Eagar. This one is a gothic tale about a young artist and the boy she covets, sometimes not so sanely, and how all that goes horribly (even demonically) wrong. I love Eagar's prose so much. If you get a chance to pick this one up, definitely do. 

42. Also Known as Rowan Pohi by Ralph Fletcher* A short story (well, not short-short, it was 200 pages) that had great voice and character development. It was a bit predictable as this sort of plot is, and I got hung up wondering the whole time about the MC's mother and why he was laying all the blame on the dad, but in the end that got cleared up, and I was glad it did. It's satisfying enough to warrant a recommendation.

43. My Heart Be Damned by Chanelle Gray* ARC Buffy fans get out your stakes - er, blessed knives - there's a new sort of paranormal creature on the loose! I really enjoyed the snappy dialogue with this one and the close friendship between Amerie and her friends. There was maybe just a bit "too" much Buffy-ness to it, but for those looking for a kickass heroine, this will definitely suffice.

44. The Whole Story of Half a Girl by Veera Hiranandani** Middle grade read - was not aware of this when I picked it up, but I'm glad that I did. A very cute, yet serious book about a young girl trying to fit in and determine where she fits in. There's a strong message here to just be yourself and to love who that person is. Highly recommended for ages 8-12.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Review - RAPE GIRL by Alina B. Klein

The 1 in 4 number frightens me. It's not just thinking about what kind of society we live in that produces that number, it's all the victims it doesn't include, the ones that go unreported. How can we help them? How can we support them? How can we help them transition into thinking of themselves as survivors rather than victims?  It's not enough to tell them we understand because chances are we don't. Still, it is important that they know someone does.
Young Adult author and rape survivor Alina B. Klein has attempted to do so with her debut novel, Rape Girl.

Goodreads summary:

Valerie always wanted to be the smart girl. The pretty girl. The popular girl.

But not the rape girl.

That’s who she is now. Rape Girl. Because everyone seems to think they know the truth about what happened with Adam that day, and they don’t think Valerie’s telling it.

Before, she had a best friend, a crush, and a close-knit family. After, she has a court case, a support group, and a house full of strangers.

The real truth is, nothing will ever be the same.

Rape Girl is the compelling story of a survivor who does the right thing and suffers for it. It is also the story of a young woman’s struggle to find the strength to fight back.

I've recently had the honor of reading an ARC of Rape Girl (release date Aug 15 2012). Rape Girl inflamed my anger, touched my heart, and gave me hope. Our main character, Valerie, is like so many girls we know - eager to please, willing to break a few house rules to gain popularity, and dying to get some attention from her crush. We see in her the girl who could be inside any of us. Except then she shows us a bit more. It's bad enough that she has to go through the process of pressing charges and all that entails, but when that is said and done, Valerie has to go through more.  The people around her, who should be supportive, don't believe her. It is truly devastating, and to think that this happens daily (and we know it does) is just awful. Yet Valerie shows us how someone ordinary can become extraordinary. I wanted to reach through the pages and hug her, tell her that she was a wonderful human being who didn't deserve to have this happen to her, yet I knew that she was going to be okay when all was said and done. I wanted to tell her I was proud and happy that she had found strength in herself. She was beautiful and brave.

In addition to the wonderful main character, Alina B. Klein does a superlative job of bringing all the secondary players into sharp, and realistic, focus. From the flaky best friend to the un-supportive school administrators. To the loving, and unsure-of-herself mother to the rapist's crazy, and somewhat scary friends. Everyone had their role to play and even though the book is written in first person, we were able to see how they all handled it, sometimes for good, sometimes not. I think the secondary character I loved the most was Sandrina. She seems to come out of nowhere, a girl who Valerie thought was basically her enemy, only she proves to be one of the few friends that Valerie can count on. I loved her charisma and how her slips of Spanish melded into the story so smoothly and made me want to run out and find a best friend just like her. I also appreciated the character of Wesley and what he brought to the table. With the subject of rape, it's easy to assume that the victims become regressed, fearful and shy away from boys. But that's not necessarily the case, and Wesley's  role in the story and how Valerie deals with her feelings toward him illustrated that point beautifully.

Spoiler!! (highlight if you want to read): The ending tore me apart, even though there was a lot of hope there, and Valerie proves herself to be brave - yet again - I really just felt like I wanted to punch the rapist in the balls. And then scratch his eyes out. And then punch him in the balls again. Hehehe... Obviously I would have been more satisfied if Valerie had gotten her day in court, but I kind of liked that Klein decided not to do that. It was more realistic with respect to what often happens in these cases, and even though it pissed me off, I can see the value in showing that Valerie was going to be okay even though she didn't get the justice she deserved. 

The writing. I can't leave a review without touching on the writing. I thought the prose here was simply marvelous. It had a natural flow and incorporated many unique details that made the scenes come alive. It was witty and to the point. The book itself is rather short, but it says all it needs to say and then some.

This book deserves five stars, hands down. Keep your ears open because I'll be doing a Rape Girl giveaway when it comes out on August 15th! Also, be sure to visit Alina's blog. It's very cool!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Books of April

Okay, first off just some things to take care of:

1. IT'S MAY! IT'S MAY! THE LUSTY MONTH OF MAY! (Camelot lovers will recognize that song, if not, then go watch the movie! Er, the 70's/80's version that is).

2. I hate the new blogger dashboard. Why do they always have to change things just as I'm getting used to it? Also, I'm beginning to think I don't like this new layout. Any thoughts?

3. My monthly book summaries seem to be the only blog posts I'm capable of committing to, and I apologize profusely for that! But hey, one commitment is better than none.

4. Rum Runners is now on it's second round of revisions. The plan is to fix all my little (electronic) sticky notes and then send it off to beta readers by June 1st.

5. My good friend Alina did a very important post today about The Not At Fault Project for rape survivors. Go visit her blog and check it out!

5. Random science note: phosphatase assays SUCK!! BIG TIME!!

So, now that that's taken care of, here's the list of books I read in May April (thank you, editor Mel) while I was working so hard (coughprocrastinatingcough) on revisions.

29. Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma* My first thoughts when I opened this book - why is a story about incest so freaking long??? Must be a lot of good smut in there! Well, there were a lot of hot and heavy scenes, more intense than I've probably ever read in a YA book. I think it was maybe a little over the top for the genre, though it didn't bother me. I didn't like the characters much in this book, but that didn't detract me from enjoying it. I expected the ending and had an interesting conversation with a friend about how it had to end that way based on the character's personalities. I recommend it to those who wouldn't be offended by the subject.
30. Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood* Slow beginning, but once I got into it I really enjoyed it. The author did a great job of playing with the reader's emotions by presenting an unjust world where women's rights are restricted and dictated by men. And there was magic. And romance. Triple win!
31. The Ask and The Answer by Patrick Ness* Second book of the Chaos Walking series. I felt that it was much slower than the first book and didn't like it quite as much. The ending draaaaagged. Patrick Ness does do an awesome job of creating complex characters though. I keep putting off reading the third book. I almost feel like I need to "gear up" for it in some sense. Maybe over a long holiday like Memorial day? We'll see.
32. Sweethearts by Sara Zarr** My second Sara Zarr book, and I absolutely loved it. This is also one of those books where after I read it I went to Goodreads and got all disappointed that it didn't have higher marks. I felt like I could really relate to the MC, and unlike most reviewers on GR didn't care much that the romance angle wasn't what it promised to be. A good story of friendship and highly recommended.
33. Everneath by Brodi Ashton I had heard a lot of friends say that they LOVED this book, so I went into it expecting something spectacular. Sadly, it didn't live up to those expectations. I thought the characters were dull and underdeveloped, the love angle was kind of same-old, same-old that you always get with these paranormal romances, and there were a lot of inconsistencies that just didn't make much sense to me. To each his own, I suppose.
34. Rape Girl by Alina B. Klein** Aw, me lovely ARC from me lovely friend, Alina. You're in for a treat guys! I plan to do a review of this closer to it's pub date, but I'll just say this: PUT IT ON YOUR TO-READ LIST!!!
35. Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala** And yes, I have yet another favorite YA contemp writer! I loved most everything about this book, the subject matter, the characters (especially the bitchy mom and the bitchier, man-grabbing best friend), and of course the writing itself. It was dark, yet very true to life and just utterly amazing. Highly recommended.
36. Ashfall by Mike Mullin Disappointing. I enjoyed the unique angle on how the apocalypse happens in this book, but once that had run it's course, it was much the same as any of these types of books. There were the mean characters who were hell bent on hoarding and taking as much as they could get, and then there were the nice neighborly characters who helped everyone out. There was a small token of the "this is the end so let's all just jump off a building" sort of stuff, and of course by the end, the MC had grown up and changed because of everything he had seen. The only part I found refreshingly unique was the female LI. Her character was great. I might read the second book to see what happens with her, but otherwise, not too impressed.
37. Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr**Another amazing read. I am literally a Sara Zarr fangirl now. I want to write like her. I want to know teens like she does. I want to come up with these amazingly simple premises and then turn them into gold like she does. She literally has the midas touch with YA contemp, and I wish it would rub off on me!! Cuz, you know, we could all use a little gold! hehe... :)



Related Posts with Thumbnails