Friday, January 29, 2010

The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking, #2) The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
#3 of 25 for the 2010 YA Reading Challenge

Immediately separated from Viola and imprisoned, Todd is forced to learn the ways of the Mayor's new order. But what secrets are hiding just outside of town? And where is Viola? Is she even still alive? And who are the mysterious Answer? And then, one day, the bombs begin to explode..."The Ask and the Answer" is a tense, shocking and deeply moving novel of resistance under the most extreme pressure. (from the description on Goodreads)

Wow, this is some bizarre stuff. You really get the feel of ground-level, do anything to survive base existence. I admired the unbreakable connection between Viola and Todd - neither of them really have anyone else and that has forged a bond that they will die to protect.

It's hard to figure out how to review this book - it truly is chaos walking all the time and jumps from one disaster to another to more torture, to more evil, to more humanity in the face of death that it is hard to pin down any concrete thoughts. I felt rage, I felt frustration, I felt anger, I felt desperation, I felt pure degradation, I felt shock and a whole lot of others while reading this novel.

I feel that it moved more slowly than the first, it is really long, over 500 pages, and it seems like it could have been about 200 pages shorter. However, this gets a four and nearly five because of the crazy genius of Patrick Ness who can toy with emotions like no other. I don't know exactly how I feel about the ending, a little like, "after all that, seriously?" but suffice it to say, #3 will be worth waiting for.

If you want to read a truly brilliant review of TAATA, check out this one on Bart's Bookshelf

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

One Lovely Blog Award

Nothing short of a miracle! I received an award for my straggling little blog. Thank you SOOO much to Gerbera Daisy Mom for making me feel so special!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

2010 YA Challenge List (so far anyway, will probably be added to daily)

  • The Island at the End of the World by Sam Taylor
  • Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
  • Last Kiss
  • Genesis
  • The Ask and The Answer
  • Keeping the Moon
  • Paper Towns
  • The Leviathan by Scott Westerfield
  • Hate List by Jennifer Brown
  • Lost by Jacqueline Davies
  • If I Stay by Gayle Forman
  • The Declaration by Gemma Malley
  • Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

Keeping Track of the 2010 Challenge

This post is purely for me to keep track of how I am doing on the 2010 challenge, here is what I have done so far:

Young Adult

Any book classified as young adult or featuring a teenage protagonist counts for this category.

T.B.R. **
Intended to help reduce the old T.B.R. pile. Books for this category must be already residents of your bookshelves as of 1/11/09.

Shiny & New
Bought a book NEW during 2010 from a bookstore, online, or a supermarket? Then it counts for this category. Second-hand books do not count for this one, but, for those on book-buying bans, books bought for you as gifts or won in a giveaway also count!

Bad Blogger’s ***
Books in this category, should be ones you’ve picked up purely on the recommendation of another blogger count for this category (any reviews you post should also link to the post that convinced you give the book ago).

A Lady Like Sarah by Maragaret Brownley (recommended by My Friend Amy)

Support your local charity shops with this category, by picking up books from one of their shops. Again, for those on book-buying bans, books bought for you as gifts also count, as long as they were bought from a charity shop.

New in 2010
This category is for those books newly published in 2010 (whether it be the first time it is has been released, or you had to wait for it to be published in your country, it counts for this one!)

Older Than You
Read two books that were published before you were born, whether that be the day before or 100 years prior!

Big Rock Candy Mountain by Wallace Stegner
The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

Win! Win!
Have a couple of books you need to read for another challenge? Then this is the category to use, as long that is, you don’t break the rules of the other challenge by doing so! ;)

Who Are You Again?
This one isn’t just for authors you’ve never read before, this is for those authors you have never even heard of before!

Up to You!
The requirements for this category are up to you! Want to challenge yourself to read some graphic novels? A genre outside your comfort zone? Something completely wild and wacky? Then this is the category to you. The only requirement is that you state it in your sign-up post.

The Curse of the Spider King by Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Crossing to Safety Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An absolutely gorgeous novel about two couples who meet in college and lives are intertwined from that day forth. The book stretches over nearly 50 years of friendship, loyalty, honesty and generosity. The prose in this novel is amazing.

I haven't read a book for so long that has phrases like, " are at once drawn together, braided and plaited into a friendship . . . held together by neither law nor property nor blood, there is no glue in it but mutual liking. It is therefore, rare." At the beginning of the friendship, Larry talks about how we delight in being chosen - meaning that we love people who seem to love us first, who praise and adore us.

Much of the novel takes place in the woods of Vermont on Battell Pond. At one time they take a week-long walking tour and camp every night. I'm not a huge camping person but after reading that part of the book, I want to be, as long as it is with the Morgans and Langs, eating the food they eat, reading what they read and singing what they sing.

This was a simpler time, from the 30s to 70s and it seems so blissful to read all that they read and then talked about what they read. The music and singing played a large part in their entertainment and the writing that the two husbands do is important. It seems like our lives are so different now, full of constant interfacing with media - computers, ipods, TV. We don't take much time to just sit still and ponder life like they did in this book and it is beautfiul.

This is definitely not a page-turner in the usual sense of the word, but I found I couldn't get enough of the thoughtful, beautiful scenes and thoughts on life and friendship.

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Monday, January 4, 2010

Paper Towns Paper Towns by John Green
Book 1 for 2010 YA Challenge
Book for 2010 Challenge

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night—dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows her. Margo’s always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she’s always planned solo. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q . . . until day breaks and she has vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they’re for Q. (from the book description)

Even though I am so irritated at the ending I still have to give this book four stars for the clever writing, fun characters and laugh-out-loud wit. I really liked the three main characters who share a friendship filled with loyalty, acceptance and harmless insults.

I did feel that some of the middle dragged a bit and after all that dragging was not pleased with the ending as I already mentioned. And I could have done without the vulgar boy talk and some swearing, but all in all an inventive plot that is definitely not predictable.

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Friday, January 1, 2010

Keeping the Moon Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Fifteen-year-old Colie is spending the summer with her eccentric Aunt Mira while her mother travels. Formerly chubby and still insecure, Colie has built a shell around herself. But her summer with her aunt, her aunt's tenant Norman, and her friends at the Last Chance Diner&150 teaches her some important lessons about friendship and learning to love yourself.

A cute, fairly predictable read. Sarah Dessen's work definitely improves with the years as this was one of her early novels. Some of the teen language "like" and such was a bit annoying at times. However, enjoyed seeing the growth of Colie and how she changes and gains courage to be proud of who she is.

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