Friday, September 24, 2010

Short and Sweet Book Review: Lessons From a Dead Girl

Lessons from a Dead GirlLessons from a Dead Girl by Jo Knowles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Leah Greene is dead. For Laine, knowing what really happened and the awful feeling that she is, in some way, responsible set her on a journey of painful self-discovery. Yes, she wished for this. She hated Leah that much. Hated her for all the times in the closet, when Leah made her do those things. They were just practicing, Leah said. But why did Leah choose her? Was she special, or just easy to control? And why didn’t Laine make it stop sooner? In the aftermath of the tragedy, Laine is left to explore the devastating lessons Leah taught her, find some meaning in them, and decide whether she can forgive Leah and, ultimately, herself.

In my quest to read books that have been challenged or banned, in honor of Banned Books Week, this book was second on my list. My first was Laurie Halse Anderson's, Speak. The theme of this book was very difficult to read about-sexual abuse made even more difficult to read by the fact that it was a child who sexually abused another child. It really opened my eyes to how some who are abused go on to become abusers. At times it was difficult to feel sorry for Leah as she was so cruel and manipulative of Laine. Then you realize how tortured and in pain Leah was and what ultimately leads to her untimely demise. What was most heartbreaking for me was the fact that Laine's childhood seemed stolen and what a tragedy that would be. While I was so happy for Laine that she made some true friends, it was disheartening to see her (and her friends) rely so heavily on alcohol use to have a good time. I would recommend this book for an older teen for that reason.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

September Zombies!

Oh my goodness! How could I have forgotten that September is Zombie Appreciation month?!?!? vvB32 has been celebrating zombies all month and is having a giveaway for Zombie vs Unicorns. I'm "dying" to read this one as it has a story from my favorite author, Carrie Ryan. I'm supposed to convince you, the reader, to see things my way and join team zombie...

Carrie Ryan and The Forest of Hands and Teeth series!

What an amazing series and what sparked my interest in "zombie lit." I've always enjoyed reading post apocalyptic all time favorite, Stephen King's The Stand. When I read about Carrie's first book, The Forest of Hands and Teeth I just knew I had to read it. I was hooked and would "kill" to have an ARC of her upcoming third book, The Dark and Hollow Places. To tide me over in the meantime I read Carrie's short story in the anthology Kiss Me Deadly: 13 Tales of Paranormal Romance. Hare Moon gives readers a little look  into Sister Tabitha's world and how she came to be the seemingly cold-hearted Sister she is in TFHT.

If I haven't convinced you so far, check out the trailer for Carrie's second book The Dead-Tossed Waves.

If you want to join in the fun just go here and do the following:

1. Sign guestbook (if you haven't already).

2. Read each team captain's post (links are below) and leave them a comment.

3. Pick a team.

4. Grab the team badge of your choice below and create a blog post with your team preference and link it back to this post ( Make a persuasive statement for your team so that your followers will be compelled to vote for your team too.

Note: all commenters of your post will be eligible to win this book too!

Don't forget to include your post link in comments on this post.

Offer ends Sept. 30, so hurry!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Book Review: The Reapers Are the Angels

The Reapers Are the AngelsThe Reapers Are the Angels by Alden Bell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

From Goodreads:

Zombies have infested a fallen America. A young girl named Temple is on the run. Haunted by her past and pursued by a killer, Temple is surrounded by death and danger, hoping to be set free.

For twenty-five years, civilization has survived in meager enclaves, guarded against a plague of the dead. Temple wanders this blighted landscape, keeping to herself and keeping her demons inside her heart. She can't remember a time before the zombies, but she does remember an old man who took her in and the younger brother she cared for until the tragedy that set her on a personal journey toward redemption. Moving back and forth between the insulated remnants of society and the brutal frontier beyond, Temple must decide where ultimately to make a home and find the salvation she seeks.
I read this book because it received good reviews here on Goodreads and because I'm a huge fan of "Zombie Lit." I was hoping it would be similar to The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan and while it didn't disappoint it was a very different book. Temple is a tough as nails character who is near and dear to my heart now. I wished she had let people into her heart a little more but I understand why she didn't. She had lost too much and didn't have a very high opinion of herself. The relationship between she and her nemesis was a very interesting one indeed. I would have liked to have seen it end on a little more hopeful note but then again, I don't really like endings that are all tied up in a neat little bow.

View all my reviews

Ban This!

In honor of Banned Books Week (September 25-October 2), Bites and Steph Su are celebrating the freedom to read by having a month long celebration. If you have a blog you too can participate in the fun by creating a post about banned books then adding your post to Mr. Linky here. In honor of this important event, I read Laurie Halse Anderson's book Speak which has been challenged in school libraries. You can read a post on Laurie's blog about a particular challenge to her book here.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (web site)
Published April 23, 2001 by Puffin
Genre: Young Adult
Paperback 198 pages
Literary Awards: National Book Award Nominee for Young People's Literature (1999), Golden Kite Award for Fiction (1999), Horn Book Fanfare Best Book (2000), BCCB Blue Ribbon Book (1999), Edgar Award Nominee for Best Young Adult (2000) Edgar Award Nominee for Best Young Adult (2000), Printz Honor (2000), South Carolina Book Award for Young Adult Book Award (2002), ALA's Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults (2000)

From Goodreads: 
Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won't talk to her, and people she doesn't even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that's not safe. Because there's something she's trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth.
What a powerful book this was to read. It's been awhile since a book brought me to tears...a lump remained in my throat long after I closed the book. As a parent I know how clueless we can be sometimes but I was especially distressed to see how Melinda's parents couldn't see that there was something much deeper beneath the surface of their daughter. I would encourage parents to read this thoughtful story. Sometimes we forget how difficult it is to be a teenager on an average day let alone how it must feel to deal with such a traumatizing event such as rape. I felt the story was completely appropriate for a young adults to read and for those who wish to keep this compelling story out of hands of young adults are living in a fantasy world. We simply cannot shelter our children from all of the perils of the world. Writers like Laurie give a voice to teenagers and hope that anyone can survive the atrocities they might encounter in life. I've heard the phrase from parents that certain books are just too deep for someone so young however they are kidding themselves if they don't acknowledge that our kids are dealing with these "deep" issues now. I've added two other books written by this author, Twisted and Wintergirls. I will also be reading Lessons From a Dead Girl by Jo Knowles since it made the 2009/2010 Banned and/or Challenged book list. If you're interested in seeing this list and others check out Banned Books Week at the ALA site. While you're there check out the Banned Books map to see where in the world these books have been banned or challenged.

And Finally I will be wearing my "I'm With The Banned" t-shirt on Monday to celebrate this worthy cause!
You can buy your own at Upstart!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Short and Sweet Book Review: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender (web site)
Publisher: Doubleday, June 1st 2010
Hardcover 293 pages, ya

From Goodreads:
The wondrous Aimee Bender conjures the lush and moving story of a girl whose magical gift is really a devastating curse.

On the eve of her ninth birthday, unassuming Rose Edelstein, a girl at the periphery of schoolyard games and her distracted parents’ attention, bites into her mother’s homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical gift: she can taste her mother’s emotions in the cake. She discovers this gift to her horror, for her mother—her cheerful, good-with-crafts, can-do mother—tastes of despair and desperation. Suddenly, and for the rest of her life, food becomes a peril and a threat to Rose.

The curse her gift has bestowed is the secret knowledge all families keep hidden—her mother’s life outside the home, her father’s detachment, her brother’s clash with the world. Yet as Rose grows up she learns to harness her gift and becomes aware that there are secrets even her taste buds cannot discern.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake is a luminous tale about the enormous difficulty of loving someone fully when you know too much about them. It is heartbreaking and funny, wise and sad, and confirms Aimee Bender’s place as “a writer who makes you grateful for the very existence of language”
On the day I bought this book I was looking for a good Chick Lit book like Good Grief by Lolly Winston. I noticed The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake on the Bestseller list at Amazon and decided to give it a try. What a gem of a book this was. What grabbed my attention from the description was "loving someone fully when you know too much about them." Rose's gift (or curse) allowed her to feel the feelings of others in the food that they prepare. Rose learns more about her mother than she would have liked to have known when she eats the lemon cake her mother baked for Rose's ninth birthday. What a burden that would be to realize your parent's deepest fears and regrets...especially at such a young age. I really enjoyed this book even though it was a bit of a downer. Her brother's story is a bit tragic and at times the mother and son's relationship made me feel a little uncomfortable. What I loved most about Rose is that she isn't your typical teen, some reviews pegged her as an underachiever but I saw Rose as someone who didn't have the same concerns as many teens and was happy with the little things in life. Her sense of humor had me laughing out loud at times. The end of the book was a bit puzzling to me and I had to Google other readers thoughts on what actually happened. I would recommend this book to young adults...especially those who enjoy something a little quirky (best word I could find to describe).

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a fun meme hosted at The Story Siren where we share what books we received this week.

Here's what I got...

You by Charles Benoit
Aug. 24, 2010 by Harper Teen
233 pages

This wasn't the way it was supposed to go.

You're just a typical fifteen-year-old sophomore, an average guy named Kyle Chase. This can't be happening to you. But then, how do you explain all the blood? How do you explain how you got here in the first place?

There had to have been signs, had to have been some clues it was coming. Did you miss them, or ignore them?

Maybe if you can figure out where it all went wrong, you can still make it right. Or is it already too late?

Think fast, Kyle. Time's running out. How did this happen?

In his stunning young-adult debut, Charles Benoit mixes riveting tension with an insightful—and unsettling—portrait of an ordinary teen in a tale that is taut, powerful, and shattering.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Reading Teen Back to School Giveaway Bash

I discovered this contest this morning and it looks awesome! You choose one book from a collection of highly anticipated books to help with the depression (or elation) of back to school month. If there is enough interest there will be a second winner! Check out this post at for information on how to win. I'm hoping to win Dark Song by Gail Giles-looks awesome!

Ends September 24th, 2010

August Wrap Up

Well...I've been missing in action for the month of August. We went on vacation to Tennessee, I've started a new job, and now I have a terrible summer cold. I didn't get a lot of reading done but what I read, I really enjoyed. Sadly I didn't complete the Dystopian challenge. I hoping that I meet my goals for the other challenges I've been participating in!

The highly anticipated book Kiss Me Deadly came in the mail. I read and loved Hare Moon by Carrie Ryan. It was fascinating to finally read Sister Tabitha's story and learn how she came to be the person she is in The Forest of Hands and Teeth. I haven't read any of the other short stories yet but the reviews I've seen on the internet are good.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake Was a sweet and strange story. I was looking for something quirky and funny. I wouldn't exactly call it funny but it was quirky.

Still Missing is an Adult Fiction book that I wouldn't recommend for young adults. I chose this one because I had been reading good reviews on it. It was highly disturbing at times and had a great twist at the end- I love twists!

I won a book from Goodreads and another blog which I haven't gotten to yet. My TBR pile is huge!
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