A Wonderful Weekend

Monday, June 29, 2009 | | 2 comments ♥

After spending two glorious days at Virginia beach and boogie boarding to my heart's content, we headed to the local bookstore. After 'oohing,' 'ahhing,' and practically drooling over the YA section, I came upon The Anatomy of Wings by Karen Foxlee. Just after reading the summary, I was set on reading it, but once I saw that Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief (ahhhmazing!)had loved it, I could hardly resist! Unfortunately, I didn't bring any money with me, but I'm going to order it from the library as soon as I get home. I actually haven't seen any reviews for this book yet, so I don't have much of an idea of how well it was received by other teens. Perhaps I'll be one of the first? (Now I'm sure I've jinxed myself- hundreds of reviews will pop up all over the web!)

At the moment, I'm rereading East, by Edith Pattou. It's been a few years since I picked it up off my shelf, and I had almost forgotten how magical it was! I'm also looking forward to Ice, by Sarah Beth Durst. I haven't read any of her previous books, but I'm interested in reading another retelling of 'East of the Sun, West of the Moon.'

Anyone else looking forward to any new fairy tale retellings?

Shannon Hale Mania

Wednesday, June 24, 2009 | | 2 comments ♥

I have a confession. It's quite possible that I have an addiction to Shannon Hale's writing. Not too serious, but a few friends have shown concern. Ha! And the fact that she is releasing not one, but TWO books this year has gotten me so keyed up that I want to share a little of the excitement with you!

A few weeks ago, Shannon released The Actor and the Housewife, which (to my great displeasure) has not arrived on order from the library yet. {The library, you ask? If this is a true addiction, why not go buy it? Well, my dear readers, I actually DID see it in the bookstore (before it's release date, might I add) but was feeling overly confident of my local library's abilities to get new books out to their-practically panting- readers.} Essentially, it's the story of a very famous British actor becoming friends with an average American housewife. In one of Shannon's previous books, Austenland, she gave the dedication to Colin Firth, saying, "You're a really great guy, but I'm married, so I think we should just be friends." (Gotta love that sense of humor!)She has brought her fantasy of being a companion-nothing more- of Mr. Firth's to life in this book. Based on Enna Isilee's wonderful review on Squeaky Books, I can hardly wait to get my hands on it!

In September, Forest Born, the fourth book in the Bayern series, will be released! I got hooked on Shannon because of the first installment, The Goose Girl, a retelling of the Grimm's fairy tale. Shannon weaves magic into her writing- I haven't got a clue how she does it, but I love getting wrapped up in her stories.

Well, now I can barely contain myself! Next time you're at the bookstore or the library, look for Shannon Hale!

<3 Cate

A Time for Dancing by Davida Wills Hurwin Review

Tuesday, June 23, 2009 | | 0 comments ♥

Samantha and Juliana. Sam and Jules--they've been best friends forever. Now, in the summer before their senior year, they're ready for anything! College? Professional dance careers? They'll share the triumphs and face the fears together. But neither of them is prepared for what happens when Jules is diagnosed with an incurable cancer. (from Goodreads)

When I closed the back jacket of A Time for Dancing, I didn't have any sense of what I felt about it. Backtracking has helped....

I was wandering the bookstore a few Saturdays ago, and I came across a book with a positively gorgeous cover (don't you think?) After reading the synopsis, I was sure that I wanted to read it, but decided on checking it out from the library. When I began to read, I was surprised. I think I was expecting something much...darker, maybe more dramatic? It seemed like each time the author started to let you in on some hardcore emotion, she pulled you out and began another point of view.

In the end, I decided that A Time for Dancing had a good storyline- doesn't everyone wonder what their reaction would be if a loved one became ill? However, something seemed to be missing, something that I can't quite put my finger on. It was a 'meh' book. Not the best I've ever read, but certainly not the worst. If you're looking for a story as poignant as Jodi Picoult's My Sister's Keeper, look elsewhere. But, if you're in the mood for a quick read that requires a Kleenex, this may be what you're looking for.

Rating: 7/10

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen Review

Friday, June 19, 2009 | | 5 comments ♥
"You know, if you don't know how to ride a bike, it's nothing to be ashamed of," Eli said.

"I can ride a bike," I said, "I just... haven't had the opportunity in a while."

She did it again. Sarah Dessen gives us the pleasure of slipping into the world of Lakeview and Colby this summer. And only a year after the release of her previous book, Lock and Key. Impressive. She writes the story of Auden, who, among other things, is on a quest to experience what most people do in childhood. Riding a bike, for example. And, of course, just as on any journey, there were characters that encouraged Auden, and others that brought her down. We watch Auden struggle to stay on the bike- literally and figuratively- as she spends her last summer before college finding herself.

I read this book in less than twenty-four hours. Usually, I spread books out over a few days, trying to savor them. To get into the pacing of the book, learn the characters- just sort of settle in. For me, it was impossible to put Along for the Ride in that category. I felt the story pulling away from whatever I was doing, whether it was laundry or eating lunch. The fact is, Sarah Dessen writes a darn good book. Every element is there- humor, emotion, heartbreak, happiness, let-downs. Reading one of her books is like peering into someone’s life- it’s incredibly realistic. Sarah has a knack for dialogue as well; everything said sounds like the conversations you would have with a parent, friend, or acquaintance. In short, read it- if you don’t, you’re missing out.

There is this little twinge in the back of my mind, though. After closing the cover, feeling satisfied and at the height of my ‘Dessen high,’ I couldn’t help but wonder…will Sarah one day write a book that doesn’t end with a neatly tied bow? Don’t get me wrong, I love a good happy ending. Anyone who loves fairy tales agrees with me. But, I feel like I’ve read this novel before, only with a different cast of characters. I’ll be a dedicated Dessen fan for as long as she’s writing, but the day she publishes a book that concludes with a few loose ends and a couple of T’s left uncrossed, you’ll find the gladdest reader in the world doing a happy dance around her room. :)

Rating: 8.5/10
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