Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Dream of the Stone Review

(Quick note, this is very overdue, and I'm going to the library in two hours and I'll have to return it or get in trouble, so sorry if this is rushed.)

The Dream of the Stone by Christina Askounis

Summary (from the inside flap of the book jacket because it's really good, so I'm typing up the whole thing): Someone is following Sarah Lucas. When she peers down from her apartment window late one night, she sees him hovering in the shadows. And what about the other strange things that have been happening to her? The old woman who appears every so often to give Sarah a cryptic piece of advice and then vanishes? The mysterious gleaming stone that turns up in the mail, a universe of tiny stars suspended in its depth?

But there's no one Sarah can trust with her story. Her journalist parents have been killed in a freak plane crash, and her older brother, Sam, a scientific genius, has disappeared under suspicious circumstances from the top secret institute where he works.

Sarah couldn't be more alone in the world, until she meets Angel Muldoon, a half-Gypsy stable boy who carries a secret of his own. Together they will begin an incredible journey to another world, where they must return the stone to its rightful place and keep the forces of unimaginable evil at bay.

Review: Amazing, amazing, amazing! I'm giving this one four and a half roses only because I don't give anything five roses. I've read a ton of fantasy and I've never read anything quite like it. It's so unique, and draws you in from the start, keeps you reading until you finish it.

The characters were so interesting. Sarah was very mature for being fourteen, which in my opinion always makes it easier to like a character, and made her even more real. And Angel - love him. He's in at least half of the scenes in the book, but I still wish there had been more of him because he was so awesome. By no means, though, were all the characters likable. The aunt and uncle who Sarah lived with after losing her parents were honestly horrendous and you could see easily why she hated living with them. There was nothing in particular, they just came over as horrible in general, which showcases the author's writing talent.

One gorgeous example of the author's writing is in describing the Stone.

From page 81-82:
At first it had looked black and opaque. Now she saw it was not black at all, but a deep pure blue, the ethereal blue of a winter twilight deepening into night. Hidden in its depths, among veils of clouds, glimmered a universe of tiny silver stars.

The Stone
I have two qualms. I wasn't a huge fan of her brother Sam, but I'm not even sure why. He just wasn't my favourite character (Angel was). The other thing that I didn't love was the ending. It was very well written and suited the story really well, but it wasn't what I wanted to happen. It made me tear up, though.

Conclusion: My copy was a reprint from 2007, I believe (does anyone know what the original cover looks like? Just out of curiousity) as it was originally printed in 1993, but stands the test of time. It sounds like it could have been written today, other than a lack of mentions of cell phones and computers and such, but that wasn't particularly noticable. I don't say this often, but I'd love to see this made into a movie, if it was done well. Again, I'm going to say this is an amazing book that fantasy, science fiction, really any kind of book fan should read. Four and a half roses. Read it!!!


Peace and cookies,
Laina

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Waiting On Wednesday (5)

(This is scheduled, that's why it's not late. And that's probably the only reason it's not late.)

Waiting On Wednesday comes to us courtesy of Jill at Breaking the Spine.

My picks this week are:

The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees

Nick and his brother, Alan, have spent their lives on the run from magic. Their father was murdered, and their mother was driven mad by magicians and the demons who give them power. The magicians are hunting the Ryves family for a charm that Nick's mother stole -- a charm that keeps her alive -- and they want it badly enough to kill again.
Danger draws even closer when a brother and sister come to the Ryves family for help. The boy wears a demon's mark, a sign of death that almost nothing can erase...and when Alan also gets marked by a demon, Nick is des-perate to save him. The only way to do that is to kill one of the magicians they have been hiding from for so long.
Ensnared in a deadly game of cat and mouse, Nick starts to suspect that his brother is telling him lie after lie about their past. As the magicians' Circle closes in on their family, Nick uncovers the secret that could destroy them all.
This is the Demon's Lexicon. Turn the page.

Summary from amazon.com.

Why I want to read it: This one looks soooooo good. And by looks I mean... the guy on the cover is really hot.

Umbrella Summer by Lisa Graff
Annie Richards knows there are a million things to look out for—bicycle accidents, food poisoning, chicken pox, smallpox, typhoid fever, runaway zoo animals, and poison oak. That's why being careful is so important, even if it does mean giving up some of her favorite things, like bike races with her best friend, Rebecca, and hot dogs on the Fourth of July. Everyone keeps telling Annie not to worry so much, that she's just fine. But they thought her brother, Jared, was just fine too, and Jared died.
It takes a new neighbor, who looks as plain as a box of toothpicks but has some surprising secrets of her own, to make Annie realize that her plans for being careful aren't working out as well as she had hoped. And with a lot of help from those around her—and a book about a pig, too—Annie just may find a way to close her umbrella of sadness and step back into the sunshine.
Summary from amazon.com.

Why I want to read this: The cover is adorable and it sounds good too.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ducks

Bad duck:



















Good ducks:






















End of story.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Fun Friday! (2)

And it's actually Friday, too, and late!! Yay! P. S. Does anyone have an idea for a better name? I'd give you full credit if you came up with something and I used it. Fun Friday was from my French class in fifth grade. Well, technically sixth, but I was enjoying the alliteration and got carried away.

Anyways, the songs this week are:

Tongue Tied by Faber Drive off the album Seven Second Surgery (I think, don't quote me)




and Homecoming by Hey Monday off the album Hold on Tight (again, don't quote me).



It annoys me somewhat that I can't put up one of the official videos, but embedding is disabled, so this is good enough. What are you guys listening to?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Thursday, April 23, 2009

More awards!!!

Wow, what a week! People are so nice. :)


First I received the "You Don't Say" award from Jennifer at Jennifer's Book Blog, but I can't take credit for this one, really, because she put my blog as YA Blog Newsletter, and I don't do much work there, really. But I still thank her for it!

This one is given to bloggers who comment on your blog, and you're supposed to pass it on to 5-10 bloggers, but I'm bowing out of that and going with the anyone who wants this one can nominate themselves route.



The other one is Lemonade Stand award from both Robyn Campbell at Putting Pen To Paper and Liyana and LiyanaLand! (whose has a really cool name, don't you think?)

Rules are:

1) Post the logo on your blog.
2) Nominate 10 blogs with gratitude/attitude.
3) List and link my nominees.
4) Alert them of their nomination on their blog.

But I'm going to do the same thing as the last one. Thanks to everyone, though!

Oh, and hopefully I'll finish my review of The Dream of the Stone today or tomorrow and put it up on Saturday. (Friday is Fun Friday. I still need a better name for that, though. Any suggestions?)


Peace and cookies,
Laina

Waiting On Wednesday (4) a bit late... again

Man, I should just do this as Waiting On Thursday. I can't seem to remember to do it on Wednesday. Anyways, Waiting On Wednesday comes to us courtesy of Jill at Breaking the Spine.

My picks this week are:

Alyzon Whitestarr by Isobelle Carmody

Are Alyzon’s new abilities a blessing . . . or a curse?

Alyzon Whitestarr doesn't take after her musically talented father or her nocturnal, artistic mother. In fact, she’s the most normal member of a very eccentric family . . . until the day that an accident leaves her more unique than she ever could have dreamed.

Suddenly colors are more vibrant to Alyzon; her memory is flawless; but strangest of all is Alyzon’s sense of smell. Her best friend smells of a comforting sea breeze. She registers her father’s contentment as the sweet scent of caramelized sugar. But why does the cutest guy in school smell so rancid?

With Alyzon’s extrasensory perception comes intrigue and danger, as she becomes aware of the dark secrets and hidden ambitions that threaten her family. In the end, being different might be less of a blessing than a curse...

Summary from amazon.com.

Why I want this: I'm not sure if one of these covers is hardcover and one is paperback, or if one is the US cover and one is the UK cover, but I think I like the one on the right better, even though Shooting Stars Mag makes a good point that the girl on the left cover looking a bit like Alexz Johnson, who's one of my favourite singers.

Kladeiscope Eyes by Jen Bryant

Will Lyza’s 1968 summer mystery lead to . . . pirate treasure?

When Lyza helps her dad clean out her late grandfather’s house, a mysterious surprise brightens the sad task. In Gramps’s dusty attic, Lyza discovers three maps, carefully folded and stacked, bound by a single rubber band. On top, an envelope says “For Lyza ONLY.” What could this possibly be? It takes the help of her two best friends, Malcolm and Carolann, to figure out that the maps reveal three possible spots in their own New Jersey town where Captain Kidd (the Captain Kidd, seventeenth-century pirate) may have buried a treasure. Can three thirteen-year-olds actually conduct a secret treasure hunt? And what will they find?

Summary from amazon.com.

Why I want this: The cover is cute and it sounds good. It just annoys the heck out of me that I can't for the life of me spell kaledeiscope on the first try!

And the real star of this show:

Meridian by Amber Kizer

Half-human, half-angel, Meridian Sozu has a dark responsibility.

Sixteen-year-old Meridian has been surrounded by death ever since she can remember. As a child, insects, mice, and salamanders would burrow into her bedclothes and die. At her elementary school, she was blamed for a classmate’s tragic accident. And on her sixteenth birthday, a car crashes in front of her family home—and Meridian’s body explodes in pain.

Before she can fully recover, Meridian is told that she’s a danger to her family and hustled off to her great-aunt’s house in Revelation, Colorado. It’s there that she learns that she is a Fenestra—the half-angel, half-human link between the living and the dead. But Meridian and her sworn protector and love, Tens, face great danger from the Aternocti, a band of dark forces who capture vulnerable souls on the brink of death and cause chaos.

Summary from amazon.com.

Why I want this: I want, I want, I want, I want, I want!!!!!!!!! The cover is gorgeous, Tens sounds really cool (weird name, though), her name is neat, the concept itself is great, and it sounds amazingly executed.

That's it for this week. Sorry it's a bit late!
Peace and cookies,
Laina

Friday, April 17, 2009

Fun Friday and awards

Hey, guys, sorry for the lack of posting lately. Like I said before, I had some insane computer issues, and I finally got it pretty much all fixed up, but I haven't really been reading YA lately as I have a lot of other overdue library books to read first, so I don't really have anything to review. But now that my computer is back to normal, I will be posting Waiting on Wednesday posts again, and (circumstances allowing, which they unfortunately haven't been lately) In My Mailbox posts.

Anyways, I got two awards recently.

The first is:


One Lovely Blog Award. This is the award given to new blogs and blogging friends that the blogger has just discovered. I got this one from Dibbly Fresh whose blog I love. I'm going to rebel here and not do any nominating because, well, I'm lazy and I'm just going to be super grateful, okay?

The other is:

The zombie chicken award. I have been hoping desperately for this one for ages! It is SO cool! This one I got from Amanda at Reviewabook123.blogspot.com, who totally rocks.

Now, to explain Fun Friday. I love music. That's why I can't bring myself to get rid of the music player on my sidebar. So I thought that every Friday I'd post a video (or three) of songs I like. What do you guys think?

The first song is Music Is My Boyfriend by Skye Sweetnam. She made the video herself, and it is really cool.




The second song is also by Skye (I just found her second CD and I'm addicted to it) and it's called My Favourite Tune.




The third (and last, more than three is too many) is also by Skye. It's called Cartoon.




Is it just me or does Cartoon remind anyone else of those bad kitty books? Not to mention that song on the Twilight soundtrack, Go All the Way (Into the Twilight) by Perry Farrel. (Also, I totally love the end of the song, it cracks me up.) All three of these songs are off of Skye's CD Sound Soldier.

That's all for now, but what do you guys think of this feature? Also, I suck at coming up with titles for things, so please don't flame me for Fun Friday being the best I can think of.
Peace and cookies,

Laina

Edit:
I KNEW there was another one, but
I totally can't remember a darn thing if you don't leave a note for me somewhere.

This is the Splash award. I received it from H at About Books. Isn't it gorgeous? Thanks again to everyone!

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Miracle Girls review

The Miracle Girls by Anne Dayton & May Vanderbilt

Summary (from the back of the book): Meet the miracle girls of Half Moon Bay... They may look ordinary, but each one is living out her second chance at life. Too bad it's their last chance at surviving high school!

Ana Dominguez was happy in San Jose, but everything changed when her dad moved the family to Half Moon Bay, California, to open a law practice. Her parents think she's settling into her new school nicely, but she has them fooled. Riley, the most popular girl in school, has picked Ana as enemy #1, and Tyler, Ana's crush, doesn't even kno
w Ana exists.

When Ana ends up in detention with Riley and two other classmates - Christine and Zoe - the girls discover they have more in common than they ever would have imagined. Now as Ana lives out her faith, she and Zoe are determined to befriend Riley and Christine. But the drama of high school has only just begun...

Review: That summary sucks but I can't be bothered to write my own. It absolutely does not do the book any justice. Any summary that has "the drama of high school" is going to throw me off, I'm sorry to say. The whole Gossip Girl genre holds no appeal to me whatsoever.

The Miracle Girls - opposite of the spectrum. It isn't perfect, but it actually held my attention long enough for me to finish it, which some YA literature just doesn't for me (advanced reading comprehension isn't always a good thing).

Things I liked: The characters, above all. They are all so well thought out, and they come off almost real. The ones you expect to be cliche... aren't. Riley, the supposed perfect cheerleader, is so reckless it's ridiculous sometimes. Christine totally cracked me up sometimes, plus I felt close to her because she dyes her hair blue (a personal goal of mine). The only thing I didn't like about her is she used Manic Panic, and Manic Panic totally sucks. Special Effects all the way!

Things I didn't like as much: Ana's parents. They were strict to the point of unreasonable. And maybe I'm just lucky to have grown up with a mother who actually trusts me, but their level of super over-protectiveness was just ridiculous to me. That was probably the point, though, so that may be a good thing.

Conclusion: All in all, it's a very good book and definitely, definitely worth reading. I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a clean, good read, and I'm looking forward to the next book, Breaking Up is Hard to Do. Four roses.


Monday, April 6, 2009

In My Mailbox (4)

Once again this is late, but oh well, no biggie. Only one book, but I also got three Twilight posters, a laptop bag, and two bottles of blue hair dye.

Recieved (won in a contest so it's signed with MY name!!):

How to Hook a Hottie by Tina Ferraro

At 17, Kate Delvecchio has one goal in life: to become a millionaire before the age of 20. And as far as she’s concerned, college will only slow her down. Unfortunately for Kate, the one thing her parents do agree on is that they totally disagree with her strategy. And so the deal is born. If Kate can raise five thousand big ones by graduation day, her parents will hand over the balance of her college account to invest as she pleases. No college, no degree, and no way she’ll ever be able to pull it off. But when Kate accidentally agrees to go to the sports banquet with the hottest guy at school, she stumbles upon a possible cash cow. The rest of the junior class is amazed that no-nonsense Kate could hook such a hottie, and one by one they approach her for help hooking their own. She doesn’t know anything about getting guys, but for $100 a pop, she’s more than willing to invent a six-step plan for How to Hook a Hottie. And how could that possibly backfire?

That's all because I didn't go to the library or anything. It looks good, though. :)

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Heads up...

Ashley over at Books Make Great Lovers is doing a special feature all throughout April about Child Abuse. She's featuring books about it, and related contests, among other things. Check it out!!

Computer issues - EEK!

Okay, so in case you've all noticed, I've been very quiet for a few days now. The reason for that is that my computer went a bit crazy on me. It was super quick to freeze, and I had no anti-virus for a short period of time. Anyways, you don't want me to go through all the crud I had to do to fix it (and I don't remember half of it, that's how much there is), and I think I've finally got it almost back to normal, so I'm getting around to doing all the stuff I couldn't.

So look for reviews and stuff soon!