Friday, May 21, 2010

This Gorgeous Game by Donna Freitas

Seventeen-year-old Olivia Peters has long dreamed of becoming a writer. So she's absolutely over the moon when her literary idol, the celebrated novelist and much-adored local priest Mark D. Brendan, selects her from hundreds of other applicants as the winner of the Emerging Writers High School Fiction Prize. Now she gets to spend her summer evenings in a college fiction seminar at the nearby university, where dreamy college boys abound and Father Mark acts as her personal mentor.

But when Father Mark's enthusiasm for Olivia's writing develops into something more, Olivia quickly finds her emotions shifting from wonder to confusion to despair. And as her wide-eyed innocence deteroriates, Olivia can't help but ask - exactly what game is Father Mark playing, and how on earth can she get out of it?

This remarkable second novel by the author of The Possibilities of Sainthood, about overcoming the isolation that stems from victimization, is powerful, luminous, and impossible to put down. (Taken from inside flap)

Wow, this book was so good! I could not put it down; I had to keep reading so I could find out what happened. What I liked about This Gorgeous Game is the originality of the story. We see in the news all the time Catholic priests molesting children, which is a tragedy, but it rarely occurs in books. I think the issue of abuse (mental, emotional, and physical) is a topic some authors are afraid to cover. This story is a little different, and though it's not as violent as the things in the news, you still feel emotionally and mentally traumatized right along with Olivia. I loved how the author was able to write Olivia and her emotions so well.

Speaking of Olivia, I liked her character a lot. I was afraid she would be passive and not take control of the situation, but I was able to sympathize with her and understood why she was hesitant to accuse Father Mark of anything. If I was her, I probably would have told someone right away, but I liked that I could understand her motives, even if I didn't completely agree with them. And Father Mark: man, he was creepy. Once again, he was another character written extremely well.

All in all, I think Donna Freitas took a subject that is rarely written about and breathed new life into it. Her writing was simple, beautiful and just felt true, like she was revealing secrets of the world. Olivia could have been a real person with real feelings. This Gorgeous Game explores an interesting topic but is also a page-turner. Read it if you get a chance!

9 out of 10.

Release Date: May 25, 2010

FTC: This book was provided to me through the Henry Holt InGroup.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Violet has always been different. She was born with a special skill that has enabled her to find dead bodies. It sounds gruesome and macabre, but for Violet it's her life. However, when Violet starts discovering dead human bodies, in an almost serial manner, things change. As her small town begins to panic because more and more young girls are turning up missing and/or dead, it's up to Violet to use her power to find the killer before it's too late.

The Body Finder was extremely creepy, but that's what I liked about it. I love horror/thriller movies, so the fact that this book fit into that genre was awesome. There was a love interest (as usual) and even though it turned out to be the cliched best friend, I still loved the romance. Things actually started getting hot and steamy between Violet and Jay, which I shall attribute to pent-up sexual tension.

Surprisingly, I really liked the supporting characters, who came in the form of Violet's girl friends. They were funny and added something to the plot. I wish we could have seen more of them because most of the time it was The Violet and Jay Show, so I actually kind of forgot about them half-way through the book.

Also, a lot of reviews mention a "twist" that takes place in The Body Finder. There was one, but it wasn't as big of a reveal as I was hoping. It didn't help that I kind of guessed the ending before, but I usually do that anyway so that doesn't mean everyone else won't be surprised. So besides a few things that I didn't like, I thought that The Body Finder was a pretty solid book. It had good description, fun characters, a hot romance and just the right element of suspense.

8.5 out of 10.

FTC: I received this book for the One ARC Blog Tour and mailed it back to the author.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I'm back! & Other Official Business

Wow I can't believe I haven't posted anything in almost a month! Sorry about that, guys. After I reviewed The Karma Club, I went to Disney World for my senior class trip. Then the next weekend was my prom. Now school is kicking my butt as we're nearing the end of the year and I'm getting all these research papers and projects. So I haven't had much time to read, let alone post any reviews. That being said, I'm going to post a review of The Body Finder tomorrow. So if you're interested, look for that.

Now I have other blog business to take care of. I wanted to let everyone know that Linda Weaver Clarke is having a book giveaway on her blog. The book, Famous Family Nights by Anne Bradshaw, includes recipes, games, and crafts to create a fun family night at your house. Enter here. Contest ends May 24, 2010.

Also, Simply Books was featured on in a list of the 50 best blogs for teen readers. There are a ton of great other book blogs, so check them out!

Lastly, there's this great book resource called YABooksBuzz. According to the email I received, it's like the Rotten Tomatoes of YA Lit and it's actually pretty cool. There's lists of books and they go around to the different blogs and look for reviews and average everyone's scores. It's really neat and I suggest you check it out. Simply Books was included for reviews of Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver.