Saturday, June 26, 2010

Glimmerglass by Jenna Black

Dana is fed up with her mother's alcoholism; so much that she decides to run away and live with her father. Dana has grown up knowing that she's part fae and that her father is a faerie, but she doesn't realize how much of a problem that will be when she enters the magical world of Avalon and is subsequently kidnapped by her aunt Grace. As Dana learns more about her heritage and the dangers of fae politics, she finds herself the target of both assasins and abductors. Between her father, her aunt, and her new friends Ethan and Kimber, Dana doesn't know who to trust and how to make her life return to normal.

At first, I didn't like Glimmerglass. One of the reasons that I didn't like it was that I couldn't get used to a magical world that everyone knows about. In many fantasy novels, the mythical world is kept hidden from ordinary humans. However, this was not the case in Glimmerglass. In this book, everyone knows about Avalon and fairies and it just made the book seem a little corny. But once I got past the beginning I started really enjoying Glimmerglass. I especially ilked Jenna Black's writing and Dana's voice. It sounded just like a teenager: complete with witty comments and funny thoughts. I think I laughed out loud a few times. Throughout the book there were a few twists and turns that made me want to keep reading. There were also a couple hot fairy guys that will appeal to any girl. The ending lends itself to a sequel in that nothing is resolved. No cliffhanger but everything that is going on the book is left open. Luckily, Shadowspell will be available in early 2011.

8 out of 10.

FTC: I received this book through the Flamingnet Review Program.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Line by Teri Hall

Rachel lives with her mother on The Property. The good thing about living there is that it's far from the city, where the oppressive government is most active. The bad thing, at least to most people, is that it's close to the Line - an uncrossable section of the National Border Defense System, an invisible barrier that encloses the entire country.

She can see the Line from the greenhouse windows, but she is forbidden to go near it. Across the Line is Away, and though Rachel has heard many whispers about the dangers there, she's never really believed the stories. Until the day she hears a recording that could only have come from across the Line.

It's a voice asking for help.

Who sent the message? What is her mother hiding? And to what lengths will Rachel go in order to do what she thinks is right?

Written in mesmorizing prose, this futuristic debut examines one girl's struggle to risk crossing - not just the barrier, but the lines her mother has drawn to keep her safe from the secrets that Rachel is only just beginning to discover. (Taken from inside flap)

I had high hopes for The Line. The cover is gorgeous, it's a dystopian novel, and the plot sounded interesting. Unfortunately, The Line did not meet my expectations. The main problem for me was the execution of the book, which was done poorly. By no means was the writing awful, it just didn't flow right. The book was almost superficial; it was written in third-person, so it was difficult to get into Rachel's head and feel the things she was feeling. The book definitely felt like an outside observer was narrating the story. It also didn't help that the story changed point of view several times, but still kept everything at a distance with the third-person POV. The shifts between characters were anything but seamless, often occuring at random intervals. In addition to sudden changes, the characters did not have their own voices, most likely a result of the third-person POV, so it was difficult to tell what character we were following. For example, I would be reading about Rachel and then it would shift to her mother, but I would still think it was Rachel until something made it obvious that it wasn't her. This made the book a little disjointed. Another problem I had with The Line was the ending. It was extremely abrupt, like the author wanted to make the end a cliffhanger, except it just felt like the book was missing pages. So that was odd. Unfortunately, I could tell that this was the author's first novel.

However, I feel bad ragging on The Line, so I guess I can think of some good things about. The cover, for one. Wow, it is so pretty, I could stare at it all day. Too bad the book doesn't exactly match its beauty. Ok, I'm being pretty harsh. The Line wasn't all bad. I was able to finish the book, mainly because I wanted to know what happened in the end. I also ike what the author did with the oppressive government and dystopian aspect of the book. It's just that I had really high expectations for The Line and it wasn't as good as I hoped.

6 out of 10.

FTC: I borrowed this from my library.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Reality Check by Jen Calonita

It's the dream of a lifetime for Charlie, Keiran, Brooke and Hallie: they are getting their own reality TV show! Their life in a small East Coast beach town may not seem like television material, but reality show producer Susan Strom seems to think their friendship will draw plenty of viewers. The girls are so excited, until they actually start filming. The producers make them re-do conversations and events in order to get it on camera and sometimes want scripted situations. The girls deal with it, until Susan tries to bring on a new character that no one likes while at the same time attempts to write Keiran off the show because she's too boring. How is Charlie going to solve this problem, especially since she has a contract to stick to?

I really enjoyed Reality Check. I watch a lot of reality TV shows, and I always wondered what it would be like to have cameras following me around all the time. By reading this book, I got the other, less-glamorous side of reality TV. How annoying would it be to have to repeat conversations and events because the producer wanted things done a different way? I liked that this book showed that it's not all fun and games when it comes to being on TV. The four main characters were interesting, and all had unique personalities, which I liked. Charlie was my favorite and I liked how she stayed grounded and down-to-earth throughout the book and didn't become crazy due to her newfound fame and money. The plot was good and once again Jen Calonita writes another light and fun book, perfect for those lazy days in the summer.

8 out of 10.

Release Date: Tomorrow! June 14, 2010.

FTC: I received this ARC through the Little Brown HipScouts review program.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

"Community, Identity, Stability" is the motto of Aldous Huxley's utopian World State. Here everyone consumes daily grams of soma, to fight depression, babies are born in laboratories, and the most popular form of entertainment is a "Feelie," a movie that stimulates the senses of sight, hearing, and touch. Though there is no violence and everyone is provided for, Bernard Marx feels something is missing and senses his relationship with a young women has the potential to be much more than the confines of their existence allows. (From

I decided to read Brave New World for my end-of-the-year research paper. Fun stuff. But I wanted to read this book because I love dystopias and this is a classic in the genre, so it should be an obvious choice, for me at least. But I enjoyed it. Just letting everyone know, however, the beginning is very dry and technical because the author is explaining a lot of things. So if you read Brave New World, don't give up until you read like 20 or so pages. Another weird thing is that it changes point of view, but in a way that it seems like certain characters are going to be the protagonist but then it ends up being someone else. I don't know if that makes sense but in the beginning it starts talking about one character Henry Foster, and then the plot starts revolving around another character Bernard Marx. So yeah, watch out for that.

The new world/government was really interesting, in that the government did not need new technology and propaganda to subdue the populace. All children are born in laboratories, and from birth to about the teenage years, the children are conditioned to act and behave in certain ways. The government would play recordings while the children sleep and explain the caste system in the World State and other philosophies of the government so the children inherently know them. It was very interesting, especially after learning about Pavlov's dogs and his conditioning techniques in psychology last year.

Ok, guys, my brain is fried from my calculus final that I took this morning, that's why this review is lacking. Hopefully you get the gist of what I'm saying: Brave New World was a pretty good dystopian novel and a good choice for research papers/summer reading/schoolwork in general.

7 out of 10.

FTC: I borrowed this book from my library.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Gimme a Call by Sarah Mlynowski

Devi's life has just been turned upside down. Her boyfriend of four years, Bryan, dumped her and now she has no date to the senior prom. But more importantly, Devi feels like she wasted four years on Bryan because she has no friends and slacked off at school, so now she's attending a third-tier college. But when Devi's cell phone falls in fountain after she wishes that she could change her past, she's only able to make one call: to her freshmen self. Devi is determined to tell herself what to change, so she can keep her friends and get into a better college, but she doesn't realize how much these changes will affect the present.

I loved Gimme A Call. It was so cute and surprisingly, hilarious. I actually laughed out loud a few times while I was reading. The antics that the two girls (or should I say: one girl?) get themselves into is priceless. I loved that Devi was able to talk to herself, because everyone wonders what they would tell their younger self. And now Devi actually has a chance to do that. I thought at times Devi was a little hard on her younger counterpart; she made her take really hard classes and join a bunch of extracurricular activities. It was a little annoying to see how bossy Old Devi could get, but it just added to the overall funniness of the novel. I would recommend Gimme a Call to fans of humor or fans of time travel.

9 out of 10.

FTC: This book was provided to me through the Flamingnet review program.