Or, to clarify, I've finally decided to be active on Goodreads (www.goodreads.com). I'm in the process of uploading all of my review archives to the site, which is why there isn't a review up tonight. In the future, I will be reposting all of my reviews there (and not on Amazon, or LibraryThing, or B&N, or any of the other sites I was erratically posting on).
The whole thing looks like a lot of fun (I've downloaded the app for my Nook), and I really can't wait to find more books and join groups and hang with more awesome peeps that love books. It's like Facebook, only BETTER. (And if you're more Twitter-inclined, you can follow the noobness and maybe help me out when I get stuck, which is often, under the hashtag #maggievsgoodreads).
Which brings me to the true purpose of this post: a shameless solicitation for friend requests! You can find me through my email (mdesmondobrienATyahooDOTcom) or by using my full name (Maggie Desmond-O'Brien). Or leave your name in the comments and I'll friend you!
All in all, I'm excited, because let's face it: this is pretty much the most awesome procrastination tool EVER.
July 1, 2011
June 30, 2011
Find it at a local indie!
- Why I read it: Summer camp shenanigans, sa-WOON
- Disclosure: Received an e-galley from the author. Thanks!
Rylie's been bitten.Everyone who's stuck around for any length of time here at the Bookshelf knows of my love-hate-mostly-hate relationship with paranormal romance. I get it, guys, I do. Vampire Academy had me enthralled, too, and I am gaga for The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater. It's just that in a genre that has so saturated the YA market, they all start to read the same to me, and I seem to have a knack for grabbing the very worst of the bunch every time I pick one up. And then I'll get home and read it, and it will suck, and I'll tell myself I'll never read PNR again, and then end up missing out on the really awesome PNR I should have been reading. Lose-lose.
And now she has three months to find a cure before becoming a werewolf... forever.
Rylie Gresham hates everything about summer camp: the food, the fresh air, the dumb activities, and the other girls in her cabin. But the worst part is probably being bitten by a werewolf. Being a teenager is hard enough, but now she's craving raw flesh and struggles with uncontrollable anger. If she doesn't figure out a way to stop the transformation, then at the end of summer, her life is worse than over. She'll be a monster.
Thankfully, when I steeled myself for my latest venture into PNR with Six Moon Summer, it didn't suck. In fact, it kind of rocked, and color me impressed, I want more. Win-win. Who knew?
Sure, I'm not sure how my less-new-to-PNR friends would like it. Oh, honey, I can hear them saying in the back of my mind. Sure, it made a great first fling to pop your PNR cherry, but we have some upstanding members of the community to introduce you to now. You deserve something...long-term. Something...more. I mean, Six Moon Summer was kind of predictable. At times it read more like an amalgam of everything that's been written about werewolves than an actual book, and the foreshadowing was occasionally so obvious I rolled my eyes. It's not like I want to have this book's babies, or anything.
But it was still, somehow, totally awesome. An experience I'll never regret. Kind of like those summer camp boyfriends you cringe about a few years down the line, and that you could never reconnect with in real life (trust me, I've tried), but that still give you butterfly tingles in your stomach every time you think about them. Watching Rylie grow from obnoxious-can't-hardly-stand-her-spoiled-rich-kid at the beginning of the book to a strong heroine I could identify with and adore by the end was like that. Reine's writing, while not jaw-droppingly beautiful or mind-shatteringly sharp, was solid and well-edited and excellent and like that. Six Moon Summer was quick, engrossing, and sweet, and like that. What else does a book (or summer crush) need to be?
By the end, I wasn't dying for the next installment in the Seasons of the Moon series, despite the cliffhanger ending. It just wasn't the kind of book to keep me up at night. But I know that next summer (or release date), as surely as I returned to my favorite summer camp every summer for seven years, I'll be coming back to this series with sweet, fun, flirty anticipation. Four out of five stars.
FYI to tweeps - S.M. Reine has a steampunk novella called The 19 Dragons releasing tomorrow that she asked me to tell you all about when she found out I liked Six Moon Summer. I have my review copy all lined up on my Nook and I can't wait to read it! Check it out on Goodreads, and you can keep up with the author at her website.
June 29, 2011
As, of course, does the book's incestuous relationship between twins Estha and Rahel, which gives me one of my favorite literary quotes of all time, despite my mixed feelings on the novel itself: "Only that once again they broke the Love Laws. That lay down who should be loved. And how. And how much."
Goodreads page.) With most taboos, I am able to easily accept that for some people the taboo in question will be okay and for some people it won't. With most taboos, I think exploration through storytelling is one of the best ways to start conversations and get people thinking about why they feel the way they do. Most taboos aren't incest.
Though Forbidden is getting some of the best and most powerful reviews of the year and I'd normally be dying to read it, I'm having trouble believing I'd enjoy a book about a brother and sister in a consensual incestuous relationship. The "ick" factor is just too much for me - but has also gotten me thinking (as I'm sure was Suzuma's intention). What is a taboo, anyway, and where does it come from? How do we go about breaking down a taboo, and should they be broken down at all?
One thing I love about good YA is its ability to get to the heart of adolescence; already by definition a transition. It gets to a level of our culture no other genre can, which is why I think it is the perfect genre to begin the discussion of taboos in (think Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson). And of course, they're always sure to start a firestorm in libraries and schools about banning and age-appropriateness, which, while unfortunate, is always a conversation-starter. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to stomach Forbidden, but I'm certainly more eager to explore that "ick" factor and find more books that push me to my limits.
What are some personal taboos that you struggle to read past? Do you feel YA is an appropriate forum to discuss these taboos in? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!
June 26, 2011
Find it at a local indie!
- Why I read it: Greek mythology, Sa-WOON, Nantucket Island, sassy Japanese best friends
- Disclosure: Review copy from the publisher via NetGalley. Thanks!
For those of you who follow me on Twitter, the sentiment at the heart of this review is no mystery: I hated it. And feel weird for hating it, because I seem to be so far in the minority. Even the people I thought would hate it seem to have loved it, even more so than The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter, which I preferred. As someone who's been following Josephine Angelini's career since her 7 figure advance made headlines in my local paper, which never reports on bookish news, I was expecting something swoony, lush, and gorgeous; a haunting sort of reimagination of the Greek mythology I love so much. A book to read and re-read and re-read again. Instead I got Twilight fanfic. Was I the only one so disappointed?
How do you defy destiny?
Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it's getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she's haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they're destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.
As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart.
Sure, it's far better than Twilight, and I probably would have enjoyed it much more had I read this one first - Helen Hamilton has at least a few defining characteristics, she doesn't seem to be as much of a virginal archetype, there's genuine swoon without the creepiness of pedophilia, and I'll admit there were a few times I found myself lost in the fantasy world Angelini has created. Unfortunately, like Twilight, there's not an ounce of grit to balance out the cotton candy sweetness, and my patience for a world where a character's actions seem to have no genuine consequences ran out about halfway through Breaking Dawn.
What's really frustrating is that I think my issues stem less from Angelini's writing and more from the utter lack of editing. After all, everyone writes purple prose like this in their first draft:
As she searched, she looked down at the fallen architecture and read the names graffitied on its sides. Gracus loves Lucinda. Ethan loves Sarah. Michael loves Erin. For what seemed like days she ran her fingers over the names carved into the broken bones of fallen loves, stepping around the tumbled pillars of unkept vows, and dusting the headstones in the graveyard of love with her hands. Every kind of death had a resting place in the dry lands.And jokes like this do seem funny in your head:
"Helen!" Hector exclaimed.And what the hell, maybe you can even convince yourself that passages like this are in an authentic villainous voice:
Helen looked down and saw that she was holding a tiny scrap of lace that more closely resembled diamond-encrusted dental floss than underpants. Everyone burst out laughing, pointing at Hector and making fun of his trashy taste.
Creon continued to press his mother and she grew increasingly frustrated, raising her voice and even swearing a bit. Creon was shocked by her crass behavior. A lady never cheapened herself by using foul language, and he hadn't even considered his mother capable of it until that moment.So I can't blame Angelini for any of that - I've written about the same (and far, far worse). I just don't understand how on earth an editor could take a look at those passages, and Angelini's completely inability to leave the word "said" plain, and her excessively detailed descriptions of things the reader doesn't really care about, and some cringe-worthily (and I'm sure unintentionally) misogynistic plotlines, and basically the whole damn manuscript except for the surprisingly excellent scenes involving Helen's friend Claire, and think it was ready for publication.
Helen's nickname is Heaven Hamilton, guys. If my review copy hadn't been an e-galley I'd been reading on my computer at the time, I would have thrown it against the wall.
Ultimately, what's frustrating is that this book didn't have to suck. Cut about 100 pages of the fluff, clean up the dialogue, and help distinguish some of the more cardboard characters - which I doubt would have taken that much revision - and I could see this being one of my favorites of the year. As it is, well...it's right down there with Two Moon Princess. While I might pick up the second book for giggles, and in the (probably vain) hope that something decent is done with the fantastic storyline, this book remains my biggest disappointment this year. Two out of five stars.