Really Ravishing Review (Red Glove)

literati_rain66 Tuesday, April 26, 2011 ,
Red Glove (Curse Workers, Book 2)Review of Red Glove (Curse Workers, book 2), by Holly Black. 

Warning: Contains spoilers from White Cat. Please read White Cat before reading this review!! For my review of White Cat, please go here.

Quickie: This series is in my top 5 YA series, no question. A must read.

From the cover flap: Curses and cons. Magic and the mob. In Cassel Sharpe's world, they go together. Cassel always thought he was an ordinary guy, until he realized his memories were being manipulated by his brothers. Now he knows the truth- he's the most powerful curse worker around. A touch of his hand can transform anything -or anyone- into something else.
That was how Lila, the girl he loved, became a white cat. Cassel was tricked into thinking he killed her, when actually he tried to save her. Now that she's human again, he should be overjoyed. Trouble is, Lila's been cursed to love him, a little gift from his emotion-worker mom. And if Lila's love is as phony as Cassel's made-up memories, the he can't believe anything she says or does. 
When Cassel's oldest brother is murdered, the Feds recruit Cassel to help make sense of the only clue- crime scene images of a woman in red gloves. But the mob is after Cassel too- they know how valuable he could be to them. Cassel is going to have to stay one step ahead of both sides just to survive. But where can  he turn when he can't trust anyone - least of all himself?
Love is a curse and the con is the only answer in a game too dangerous to lose.

Okay seriously. Does that not sound awesome?? I loved every bit of Red Glove. It was exciting and tense and thoughtful.

I love Cassel and I love reading a male POV that's convincing! He's not the normal female-written-male. He actually thinks like a guy, in a good way. Faults and flaws and normal guy-ish things aren't left out or changed, he feels real. Miz Black, I adore you and I thank you so very, very much for really and honestly being true to Cassel's voice.

(More on Cassel) In most books we read, the tortured boy is the love interest that gets away, or the interesting side character, or the love interest that our female protag has for a while, but things don't work out. Sometimes, the tortured boy is the enemy. He's done bad things. Therefore, he must be inherently bad. We can't like him, no matter what he does to try to redeem himself. Not so in Red Glove. Cassel is tortured and broken and a mess, no doubt about it. He's done terrible things. More than a few times. He's by no means perfect. But despite all that, we are rooting for him the whole time. We love him and adore him and sympathize with him. He's done bad things, but he's good. That is quite possibly my favorite thing about this series.

Another thing that I just loved was reading about a world that is nearly identical to the one I live in, but with one major difference. The whole curse worker thing is fascinating and terrifying and it's interesting to see how this one difference impacts everything and everyone. Just one major change and it branches out and becomes important in some of the most unexpected ways.

Seriously guys, I can't pimp this book enough. I can't say enough wonderful things about it. It's just something you have to read and appreciate for yourself. Please, please, please do yourself a favor and read White Cat and Red Glove!! You'll be hooked.

5 out of 5 stars.

My Magnificent Mailbox #27

literati_rain66 Sunday, April 24, 2011
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme brought to you by The Story Siren.

This week I got:

From Amazon:
Teeth anthology, edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling

From Nantucket Bookworks:
ARC of Mission (un)Popular, by Anna Humphrey
ARC of Sister, by Rosamund Lupton
Twenty Boy Summer, by Sarah Ockler

That's it!! Clearly, I haven't gone to the bookstore nearly enough. :-p

*Sigh* And apparently even though I've been taking pictures of my books... Blogger doesn't want to cooperate with my computer so I can put them up. Maybe next time.

What did you get?

Really Ravishing Review (Delirium)

literati_rain66 Saturday, April 16, 2011 , ,
DeliriumReview of Delirium, by Lauren Oliver. 

Quickie: Emotional and devastating. Basically, read it.

Full: Lena Haloway is haunted by her mother. She has fond memories of her mother, but she's not entirely sure she's allowed to be thinking of her mother like that- after all, her mother was sick. Very sick. She had the delirium. Those fond memories are chock full of illegal things- singing, dancing, hugs that lasted too long, touching... love. That terrible sickness that kills people. It killed her mother. She was so full of the sickness that she walked right off a cliff and fell into her watery grave.

Lena's adopted her aunt's last name, Tiddle, because it was easier, and it helped to cleanse her family (at least a tiny little bit) from the touch of her mother's illness. An unofficial last name doesn't change the fact that all of Portland already knows the story, and it certainly doesn't help get rid of Lena's nightmares.

All Lena wants is to have the operation. Everybody gets the operation sooner or later, usually on or around their 18th birthday. It's all Lena can think about; being safe from the disease forever. She likes to follow rules and not push people, she likes to keep her nose clean and play it safe. She's seen what happens to people who don't play it safe, and it's no fate she wants.

Things start to change for Lena when her best friend, Hana, convinces her to sneak out and attend an illegal party. There's music the likes of which she could never have imagined. There are people touching without fear. It's all amazing and surreal for Lena. But it's too much. This is wrong.

But if it's so wrong, why did it feel so good? Why did everyone look so happy, so full of life? Why do all the cured people seem so lifeless?

Then there's Alex, a boy who works in the labs where Lena has her evaluation. He's cured, so it's okay to talk to him, and he starts hanging out occasionally (usually out of the public's eye) with Hana and Lena. But Alex has a secret that will change Lena's life forever. In fact, it will change Lena herself forever.

Delirium is one of those books that has a lot of buildup. Not a bad thing, it just means that the world is complex and you have to be familiar with it to truly appreciate the story. My problem wasn't so much with the buildup, but with the slow pace that we saw through most of the book. It took me about a week to read Delirium, which is a pretty long time for me. It wasn't that I was uninterested or that the writing was bad or any of that. But it wasn't hard for me to set down and I wasn't dying to pick it back up.

That said, I really did like it. Now that the world has been established and the story has gotten interesting, I want to read the next installment. If you had asked me if I planned to read Pandemonium when I was half-way through I would have said, "Meh. Maybe." Now though, it's a resounding "Yes."

Lena's personality and viewpoint was understandable and relatable. Her character development was great; I felt like she really grew as a character and she surprised me with her pluck. It was a bit drawn out at times when she was busy figuring things out and analyzing everything, but overall I liked her and I liked seeing things from her point of view.

Alex and Lena's relationship moved at a believable and natural pace, which I appreciated. I liked that she didn't fall head-over-heels in love with him at first sight. I liked that she was a bit insecure and didn't just assume that she deserved his love. She questioned his motives and her own, and I was glad to see it.

In sum, I liked the book and would recommend it to folks who enjoy dystopian novels that make you think.

4 out of 5 stars.

Mediocre Mable's "Meh" (The Lost Saint)

literati_rain66 Friday, April 15, 2011 ,
The Lost Saint: A Dark Divine NovelReview of The Lost Saint, by Bree Despain. (Please read the first book, The Dark Divine before reading this review as it may contain spoilers!!)

Quickie: An enjoyable book for sure, but not quite as wonderful as I'd hoped.

From the back cover: "They're coming for you," a muffled voice said over the phone. "You're in danger. You're all in danger. You can't stop them."
"Who is this?" I asked, panic rising with the tension in my muscles.
"You can't trust him." The voice on the line seemed suddenly clearer  like the hand covering the receiver had moved out of the way- and the familiarity of it made my heart nearly stop. "Please, Gracie, listen to me this time. You're all in danger. You have to know that--" The voice cut off with a clatter, like the phone had been dropped, and the line went dead. 
"Jude!" I shouted. 

What I liked: I honestly wasn't quite sure who to trust. Grace's boyfriend Daniel has started keeping things from her, and he knows she knows he's not telling her everything. He's hanging out at shady places with no explanation, he's pulling away from Grace, and he's making obvious lies about his whereabouts when he disappears for days at a time.

Then there's Talbot, Grace's unlikely hero. (Or maybe not at all unlikely, who can say?) Talbot happens to be at a club when Grace's friend April gets roughed up by a man and Talbot rescues them both. Then Grace runs into him again at a community service project her Religion class is doing. They keep bumping into each other and soon an odd relationship is formed. Grace can't help but feel a bit guilty (it's obvious that there could be something between Talbot and Grace) for hanging out with Talbot when she should be hanging out with her boyfriend... but her boyfriend hasn't exactly been around, has he?

Then there's Gabriel. The last of the Saint Moons. He's visiting from one of the big wolf packs and is generally surrounded in mystery. He seems nice, but he keeps warning Grace away from things she's pursuing and she can't tell if he's in all this for good or bad.

I loved trying to figure out who the "him" was that Grace shouldn't trust. There were so many men who it could apply to. Didn't help that all of them were being simultaneously trustworthy and not trustworthy. But hey, I love a good mystery.

I also like the end. Good action that progressed the story at a pace I could get down with. Things finally got really interesting at the end.

What I didn't like: Dude, can we say communication fail?? A lot of Grace's troubles could have been averted had she and Daniel been open about things. I realize this is essential to the plot... but it drives me nuts to see a couple hitting their own self-destruct button in fiction. I just want to smack them both.

I felt like it dragged out. Eeek! Maybe this is just me. It probably is. But I felt that the middle was just too long. Things were happening, sure, but it was mostly the same things. Grace making bad decisions and thinking she's invincible, trying to figure out who to trust.

As I said, I liked the book. It just didn't 'wow' me as much as The Dark Divine. I'll read the next book, but I hope it's a bit better.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

My Magnificent Mailbox #26

literati_rain66 Sunday, April 10, 2011
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme brought to you by The Story Siren.

This week I got:

From my friend Aine, over at Aine's Realm:
Dime Store Magic, by Kelley Armstrong
Industrial Magic, by Kelley Armstrong
Haunted, by Kelley Armstrong
Broken, by Kelley Armstrong
No Humans Involved, by Kelley Armstrong
The Tiger Rising, by Kate DiCamillo
The Tale of Despereaux, by Kate DiCamillo
The Ice Dragon, by George R. R. Martin
The Shadow Thieves, by Anne Ursu
Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy- Dragon Hunt, by Richard A. Knaak & Jae-Hwan Kim
Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy- Shadows of Ice, by Richard A. Knaak & Jae-Hwan Kim
Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy- Ghostlands, by Richard A. Knaak & Jae-Hwan Kim
The Logic of Demons, by H. A. Goodman

From Amazon (late birthday present from hubby; he pre-ordered it for me):
Red Glove, by Holly Black

From Barnes and Noble:
Darkness Becomes Her, by Kelly Keaton
Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins
Paper Towns, by John Green

Really Ravishing Review (Boy Meets Boy)

literati_rain66 Friday, April 8, 2011 ,
Boy Meets BoyReview of Boy Meets Boy, by David Levithan. 

Quickie: Absolutely adorable. It will melt your heart.

Full: Noah's a new boy in town. His parents travel all the time and move the family continuously to be closer to their work. This time though, they've promised to stay and settle. It means more traveling for them, less time at home, but Noah and his sister will be able to stay and make friends that they can keep.

Paul has recently been dumped by Kyle. It's all very dramatic; Kyle dated Paul for a while but then decided that he (Kyle) wasn't gay. In fact, his brief stint as a gay boy was all Paul's fault. Kyle dumped Paul and spread all kinds of lovely rumors around the school. Paul's been coasting through life ever since, hanging out with his best friends, Joni and Tony, and just being a regular guy.

But then...

Paul meets Noah. There's a spark. A real spark, the kind that keeps you tingling for days. The kind you can't seem to forget even though your life keeps on going forward, with or without you. Paul is mesmerized by Noah. By his easy smile, his genuinely interesting personality, and of course, there's that spark.

He'd like to talk about it with Joni, but she's started seeing this guy Chuck, who Paul really doesn't approve of or connect with. Tony's parents are super religious and are petrified that Tony (also gay) will go and "be gay" with some boy. They think that his sexuality is like a switch, if you hit the right button you can switch it off. So they're desperately trying to do just that... by sending him to church camps and watching his every move. It's hard for Tony to get out of the house, let alone talk to Paul (a gay boy! *gasp*).

Meanwhile, Kyle (Paul's ex) has started acknowledging Paul in the hallways again, even giving him a smile and a few words. Paul is intrigued, but wary. Is Kyle playing a trick on him? Is Kyle gay, or not? Seeing him making out in the halls with that girl says "not", but if that's the case, then why is he speaking to Paul again? And most importantly, how does he feel about all this? Will this change things?

Confusion abounds, but one thing's for sure: Paul like Noah, and Noah likes Paul....Right?

This book is lovely. David Levithan can write a love story, no doubt about that. It's whimsical and emotional and so very honest. Paul's a sweet kid and I was rooting for him the whole time. He's sure of himself, but awkward. He's insightful, but oblivious. You can't help but love him.

In fact, the whole cast of characters is lovable. Infinite Darlene, the homecoming queen/football quarterback has sass and personality coming out her pores. Joni, the bestie-since-second-grade-turned-mortal-enemy-(maybe). Kyle, the confused but endearing ex-boyfriend who sort of dumped Paul in a very cruel way. Chuck, the lughead. Tony, the boy who knows who he is but has to wear a mask at home and live two very different lives. Noah, the new boy who's sweet, charming, artistic, and all around wonderful. And of course Paul, the one who ties them all together.

The best part about this book for me, is that I knew Paul. Or, I knew a few mixes of Paul, Noah, Tony and Kyle. Chances are, you know one of them too, or maybe a combination. I felt like I was reading the story of my best friend through middle school. He was a lot like Noah, with a few bits of Paul. His room was an amazing place, it was his personality turned decor. He was strong and vulnerable and his energy and enthusiasm was contagious. I saw all of that as I read Boy Meets Boy. I felt like I was seeing though my old best friend's eyes. And it made me love him and all the characters just that much more.

Of all the LGBTQ books I've read, this is my favorite (so far). The honesty and understanding this book gives the reader is simply delightful. What is Boy Meets Boy? It's a love story. And it's not one to miss.

5 out of 5 stars.

Terrific Teaser Tuesday #12

literati_rain66 Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Teaser Tuesday is brought to you by MizB at Should Be Reading.

Boy Meets BoyThis week's teaser is from Boy Meets Boy, by David Levithan. 

"I stop painting and watch him for a moment. He is concentrating on the music now, moving his brush in an arc. He is completely in tune with the trumpet solo above the beat. His mood reflects indigo. Is it heartbreak that makes him sad (I remember his sister's comment in the kitchen), or is it something else?" 
(Page 49)

Here is how it works:
- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two (2 or 3) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
- Remember to show the title & author, too, so that others can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Really Ravishing Review (The Implosion of Aggie Winchester)

literati_rain66 Monday, April 4, 2011 ,
The Implosion of Aggie WinchesterReview of The Implosion of Aggie Winchester, by Lara Zielin. Coming August 2011.

Quickie: If you're a fan of The Duff, or Before I Fall, I highly recommend this. It's a wonderful tale of self-discovery. Loved it.

Full: Aggie Winchester dresses in black, cakes her face in white makeup, and is by all accounts "Goth". Her best friend Sylvia is the only other Goth at school and together they're invincible. As Sylvia says, act tough and nobody will mess with you.

Aggie's still trying to get over her recent break-up with Neil, her ex-boyfriend who suddenly got popular and stopped acknowledging her. The whole thing chafes, but Aggie is still hopeful that Neil will come to his senses and realize that he loves her.

Not only is Aggie Goth, she's the principal's kid. Talk about pressure. A few years back Aggie's ex-bestie started a rumor that Aggie had ratted her out to her principal mother and soon Aggie was about as popular with her peers as a plague, and treated like one as well. (Thus the transition into Goth) It's not easy being the principal's kid.

It gets even harder when a scandal at the school goes down. It's the talk of the town and the town wants to pin the scandal on Aggie's mother. Aggie becomes swept up in trying to uncover the truth, but she has to make some very tough decisions and she might lose her best friend, boyfriend, and parents' trust all at once.

I loved this book. Plain and simple. It was surprisingly complex and thoughtful. Although the plot might seem mundane, I assure you it was not. There were so many different twists and complications that I found myself distressed and imploding right along with Aggie.

If you're anything like me, you might read the back cover and assume this is just another "teen drama" book, but it's really much more than that. It's a tale of self-discovery and self-acceptance. It has a wonderfully positive message, letting teens know that it's okay to be who they are, to enjoy the things that they enjoy. You don't have to like something just because most kids like it. (I'm all about YA having positive messages for teens.)

Aggie was cute and sweet and I could relate to her. She wasn't perfect, but she tried hard and wanted to do what was best. Her story is one you don't want to miss.

I would recommend this book for older teens and up.

4 out of 5 stars.

My Magnificent Mailbox #25

literati_rain66 Sunday, April 3, 2011
I really should start doing these regularly again. I'm a slacker, I know. Anyhow, In My Mailbox is a weekly meme brought to you by The Story Siren.

This past few weeks I got:

From Nantucket Bookworks:
ARC of Parents Behaving Badly, by Scott Gummer
ARC of Mercy, by Rebecca Lim
ARC of The Eternal Sea, by Angie Frazier
ARC of Across The Great Barrier, by Patricia C. Wrede
ARC of Pretty Bad Things, by C. J. Skuse
ARC of The Dragon of Cripple Creek, by Troy Howell
ARC of Mothers & Daughters, by Rae Meadows
The Amanda Project, by Amanda Valentino and Melissa Kantor
Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
Dance Upon The Air, by Nora Roberts

From my hubby:
Real Vampires Have Curves, by Gerry Bartlett

What did you get this week?