Friday, July 30, 2010

Things to Come

Things to come:

I've just ordered some books online, so here's what to expect in the next little while:

Beautiful Creatures, Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl
Fallen, Lauren Kate

Beautiful Dead: Arizona, Eden Maguire (Due out August something)
Betrayal, Gillian Shields (Due Out August 3rd)
Clockwork Angel, Cassandra Clare (Due out August 31st)


I’ve always envisioned my creativity as a sort of lap-band that goes around my heart. Only instead of it being some piece of plastic or whatever constricting my stomach, I think of it as a ribbon wrapped around my heart that encourages it to grow bigger, pound harder, love stronger.

I’ve always wanted to take that ribbon and mash it all together until my creativity is just a big, pulsing ball of energy, then rip it open and let the colors splash across a paper. To have one canvas where you can point to it and say utterly complete, “This. Is. Me.” I want to know what mine would look like so badly.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

BR: 13 to Life; The Body Finder

My first negative review :( Sad day…

Okay. The two books that I read this week that I did not enjoy:
13 to Life, Shannon Delany
The Body Finder, Kimberly Derting

The Body Finder:

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Ever since she was born, Violet has had the ability to find the bodies of murder victims and recognize the killers. Those unfortunate souls killed by another, including animals, leave behind some sort of mark (referred to as Violet as an “echo”) on the world that Violet can sense: the sound of bells, a dark bitter taste, a rainbow sheen of oil on water, the bitter smell of dandelions, etc… and the same mark stays with the killer, as an “imprint.” And now that a serial killer is knocking off teenage girls in her small town, Violet is starting to find the bodies of the girls and is determined to use her gift to stop the killer before it’s too late and killer goes after her. Romance with her best friend, Jay, is involved, of course, as well as brief chapters from the killer’s point of view.

WHY I DIDN’T LIKE IT: The story, overall, was cool. It wasn’t bad. The “echoes” idea was really intriguing, and the whole descriptions of them were really well played out, and I enjoyed the plot. The idea was unique to me. But the writing styles vary too much.

What I mean, is that The Body Finder is in omnicent point of view, so it’s told by an ambigous narrator, and the descriptions are large and flowery. But when you get to the dialouge, it’s written like we teenagers “really talk:” sarcastic with swear words in nearly every sentence. The styles clashed too much, and it was distracting to read.

Also, sporadically throughout the novel, there were brief chapters in the killer’s point of view, playing out the scenes when he found the girls he would eventually kill… it was really creepy. Almost too creepy. But I guess that’s the point, right? It kind of freaked me out, and typically, it’s hard to scare me through writing. Ha, I was a dork and whenever I stopped reading, I made sure it was in a part NOT from the killer’s view, just because it would have left me feeling off all day long. Yeah, I’m a dork.

Anyways. It was an okay mystery, a little predictable, but still original. The romance was clean but heavy if that’s what you’re into, and featured an extremely protective boy best friend. It was a decent story, mediocre writing. Just not my taste.

13 To Life, Shannon Delany

This one I didn’t not like whatsoever. The whole entire book, you have no idea what’s going on. If you care to look at the inside cover, you would know that this is a werewolf book. Otherwise, you would have guessed it half way through the book, but it wouldn’t have been explained until the last ten pages of the book. Not in a good way.

(FYI: the copyright page, if you didn’t know, usually has a one-sentence summary of the book that will sometimes give you a big hint into the plot that the back cover might not mention… that or the list the subjects to shelf it by…. In this case, it was 1. Teenage girls- fiction. 2. Werewolves- fiction. Random bit of knowledge for today.)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Jessie’s been having a hard time getting life settled back to normal after watching her saint-of-a-mom die a few months ago, and to make things worse, she’s forced to show the new kid--- exotic Pietr Rusakova--- around school. Pietr is distant and arrogant and always checking the time, and although Jessie hates him, she’s strangely attracted to him at the same time. And although he returns her feelings, they’re trapped in a web of the other people they’re both semi-dating… although Jessie and Pietr make out in her horse stables all the time… it’s a weird situation. Then there’s Jessie’s “friend” that sort of lost her mind that Jessie is trying to nurse back to health, although Jessie has every reason in the world to hate her, especially now the fact that she’s stealing Pietr away from her… it’s all just weird. Especially with all the secrets Pietr is keeping… secrets that are supposed to be revealed in the end, but still leave you confused.

The plot is sporadic. One minute Jessie is all tied up in her high school crush (who, confusingly, isn’t Pietr but this jerk-of-a-jock that’s just using her, but she loves him still the same), the next she’s musing over the vague and sinister things Pietr says, and the way he fell four stories and didn’t kill himself… oh, and by the way, she also researches the Russian Mafia and wolf attacks in the towns nearby on a weekly basis just for kicks and giggles.

If you want to, it’s way easy as a reader to connect all these things together, but Shannon Delany never does it for you like she should. You’re left in the dark, a complete mess, having no idea what all these little side notes thrown in the mix have to do with anything. Things just don’t tie together throughout the story.

Not even in the last few pages of the book are all the loose ends tied up. Apparently, this is meant to be a series, but there wasn’t enough closure in this book. Too many things are going from unrelated to connect, but you have no idea why. The story doesn’t weave itself together in the end. It’s like your reading, and you’re like, “Huh, he’s a werewolf. DUH. …. But what about________?”

Although most of the book is predictable, Delany isn’t revealing anything. Whether she means to in her next book or not, I’m not going to stick around long enough to find out. The plot is too all over the place, characters aren’t nailed down well, and frankly, it’s not striking my as original in the least. At least not so far.

Sorry, Ms. Delany. I’m going for a no on this one.

Monday, July 26, 2010

BR: Immortal-- Gillian Shields

Immortal: Gillian Shields
Young Adult, Fantasy (Witchcrafty type)
(Thumbs up from me!)

(side note--- I really need to figure out how to post pictures with my posts. I'd help just a bit, no, if I could put a picture of the cover so you KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT.... grr... my stupid lack of computer skills...)

I enjoyed Immortal quite a bit more than I guessed I would. Maybe that’s because I’ve had NO LUCK with the last two books I read and was feeling quite pessimistic about my chosen genre. But Immortal proved to be another great addition to the Urban Fantasy genre.

Well, no, not really Urban Fantasy. I mean, sort of… but it’s a very non-paranormal urban fantasy. It deals with more of the spell-casting mortal types than the werewolves, vamps, faeries, etc… So does it even qualify for an Urban Fantasy? Oh gee. Now I’m all mixed up.

Whatever, it’s a Young Adult fiction. Oh, look, right on the cover: “Enticing gothic romance.”--Melissa Marr. Melissa Marr? SHE’S MY FAVORITE! (Aside from Maggie Steifvater, of course. Tied for first place in my heart.) Well lookie-there. Melissa Marr again refuses to let me down.

What you need to know: Evie Johnson is sent as a scholarship student to Wyldcliffe Abbey School for Young Ladies when her grandmother/pseudo-mother falls ill, and her dad is serving in HRH army. But from the beginning, things don’t go so great: the teachers are mean, the other scholarship girl is kind of crazy, and everyone hates her because she’s sleeping in the bed of Laura, their peer that died just before Evie arrived. Collecting demerits and bad judgments from both the Mistresses and her peers like they’re going out of fashion, Evie is starting to hate Wyldcliffe. And then she starts having fainting spells where she sees glimpses of a girl that seems remarkably like Lady Agnes, the girl that once lived and died at Wyldcliffe when it was a normal home some hundred years ago… In an attempt to get away from it all, Evie runs out one night to the lake, where Laura supposedly drowned (although others suspect otherwise), and meets a strange boy with strange depressed moods and always seems sick and like he’s keeping a secret. Sebastian becomes Evie’s nearly only friend, one she sneaks out every night to see for a few hours. Meanwhile, we read excerpts from the journal of the sixteen-year-old Lady Agnes, who in 1882 is starting to get into the Mystic Way with her childhood friend, having discovered the gift of the scared fire… Throughout the novel, we read the stories of both Evie and Agnes’s stories of discovering friendship, mysteries, and their strange ties to each other, Wyldcliffe, and, surprisingly, to Sebastian.

Immortal has strong ties to one of my other favorite series, the A Great And Terrible Beauty trilogy from Libba Bray. Where GATB is set in the late eighteen-hundreds, Immortal is set in the here and now, but both are set in the English countryside at boarding schools for girls. But where GATB is dark, Immortal is light. GATB was intense, and, well, dark. I liked it well enough; actually, quite a bit, but Immortal is like a fresher version of it. Again, the main heroine shows up at a boarding school as an outcast, is hated by the teachers, makes a circle of girlfriends close enough to be sisters, and they dapple in magic together, and the heroine falls in love with what should be a forbidden boy. But where in GATB, the girls are dark and selfish and confused but greedy of the discovered power, the girls in Immortal are pure in intent and are overall good girls.

The story was fast-paced, never lingered and dawdled, which was nice, but at the same time, I wished some of the scenes were written out a bit longer so there was more time--and matter-- to comprehend, especially the scenes with Sebastian. They seemed a bit rushed. But the turns of the plot were well thought out: not terribly surprising, but not completely predictable. And having the novel split into Evie’s story and Agnes’s journal? Very well done. Shields creates strong metaphors with the sea, which is really neat and serves a higher purpose towards the end, and the sisterhood between the two girls who lived generations apart is neat in a non-creepy way. The whole thing was very well done.

Apparently, there is a companion to Immortal, titled Betrayal, BUT BAD NEWS! My Barnes and Noble currently doesn't have it, so I'm going to have to order it online... so it'll be a week or two before I can get a review of it up. From the excerpt that I read, it looks really good. I'm quite excited for it :)

Gillian Shields: props for taking gothic romance/magic, and making it LIGHT and PURE instead of DARK and BROODING.

Hey you, reader! Thank you!

I just realized that I have followers that I don't even know! WHAT?!?


Thank you, strangers, for subscribing to me! Wow. I suddenly feel important. Talk about an ego-boost. Teehee. I love you all, strangers!

-Holly <3

OH. I just got it!!!!

OH MY GOSH, people read my Linger/Shiver review!

OH MY FREAKING GOSH--- MAGGIE STEIFVATER HERSELF READ IT!!! Seriously, I am about to DIE. DIE DIE DIE happy. You have no idea how much I love her.

Okay, and I totally love the fact that people are actually reading what I write! I have half a dozen reviews set up right now... more to come, of course.

So, thanks again, new followers! In case you didn't know... I'm on a quest to read 100 books (of mostly the Young Adult genre) from January 2009 to January 2010 (it's coming up!), and I'm currently on book #86... If people are reading, I'd love to go back and write reviews of all the ones I've read so far....

Let me know what you want. I'm here to serve you, fellow readers! :)

Again--- Love, Holly :)

Friday, July 16, 2010


I want to write beautiful things again.


Okay, I wouldn't say anything that I've ever written has been beautiful, but I want it to be. Really, really bad.

I wish I could write poetry. I wish I could be beautiful. I wish anything I did was beautiful.

If I could have a choice, it would be my writing I'd want beautiful. Because if you make something that's beautiful, it makes you beautiful, right?

If you're a part of something amazing, that makes you amazing, doesn't it?

I wish I could write music. I wish I could play music. I wish that I could write a lullabye, play a lullabye, sing my children a lullabye. This is one thing I've never even attempted.

I've looked through poetry, trying to find something to turn into a lullabye, but I can't.

I just wish I could write something beautiful.

Shiver; Linger, Maggie Steifvater

Twilight is over. Shiver and Linger are here, and it's beautiful.

Stephanie Meyer, say goodbye. Maggie Steifvater is doing it better ten-fold.

I've said it before with Lament, and Ballad, and then Shiver, and now Linger. Maggie Steifvater is magic.

"the cold.
Grace has spent years watching the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--- her wolf-- watches back. He feels deeply familiar to her, but she doesn't know why.

the heat.
Sam has lived two lives. As a wolf, he keeps the silent comapny of the girl he loves. And then, for a short time each year, he is human, never daring to talk to Grace... until now.

the shiver.
For Grace and Sam, love has always been kept at a distance. But once it's spoken, it can't be denied. Sam must fight to stay human-- and Grace must fight to keep him-- even if it means taking on the scars of his past, the fragility of the present, and the impossibility of the future." --(Shiver cover.)
"the longing.
Once Grace and Sam have found each other, they know they must fight to stay together. For Sam, this means reckoning with his werewolf past. For Grace, this means facing a future that is less and less certain.

the loss.
Into their world comes a new wolf named Cole, whose past is full of hurt and danger. He is wrestling with his own demons, embracing the life as a wolf while denying the ties of being human.

the linger.
For Grace, Sam, and Cole, life is a constant struggle between two constant forces-- wolf and human-- with love baring its two sides as well. It is harrowing and euphoric, freeing and entrapping, enticing and alarming. As their world falls apart, love is what lingers. But will it be enough?" --(Linger cover)

The writing, the story, it's beatuiful and at times poetic. The realationship and love between Grace and Sam is strong and believable, and the situations and lives that they live are true to nature and, again, believable. It's not your typical Urban Fantasy with werewolves. The wolves of Mercy Falls are just that-- wolves. Either all wolf or all human, and the struggles and fight to stay one way or another is emotional and sometimes heartwrenching. These books are powered full of emotion, goodbyes, and fighting to accept life as it is, and fighting to keep love in it's equation. It's full of real problems, real emotions, and real love.

If you have ever wanted to read a love story, now's the time. Get out of that chair and find yourself a copy of Shiver, and you'll probably want to pick up a copy of Linger while you're there because it'll just save you a trip to the bookstore. Trust me, you're going to get sucked in.

I don't care if you're an Edward or Jacob, you will be a Sam. I don't care if you're a Jace or a Simon, a Seth or Keenan, a Niall or an Irial or a Devlin, a Damen, a Jude, a Mr. Darcy, a Mr. Rochester, a Colonel Brandon, a Prince Charming, a Harry or Ron or Hermione or Snape, or whatever ficitional character you're into, you're going to be a Sam. A Sam and Grace.

If I write anything even half as beautiful as Shiver (or Linger), I'll die happy.

Just.... ah. I've read good books before, but nothing this beautiful. Beautiful.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

BR: Stolen-- Lucy Christopher

STOLEN, Lucy Christopher

(Okay, this is just what I posted two months ago after reading Stolen. It isn't an official review. It's a rant.)

"Reading a book until two in the morning just to finish it is not recommendable.

Granted, I've done this before. Dozens of times. And yet I do it again and again, hating myself every time.

I mean, it's not a secret that if a book is well written, you're not going to be able to roll over and fall asleep the second it's over, no matter HOW late it is. (Or early. Or, in a few cases, past dawn. Those are always fun.) Hopefully, you've made the author happy and are a storm of emotions. Many conflicting. Especially if it doesn't have a story-tale happy-ending (which, let's face it, most great books don't, right? Okay, there are lots of good books with happy endings. And those can still be frustrating. Anyways). ESPECIALLY if you don't like the ending.

You just need some time to reflect, you know?

I started STOLEN by Lucy Christopher around 6 this evening and finished at 1:30 AM. And I'm frustrated. I'm happy with the ending. But still. There's no way to be completely satisfied, because when in life are you ever completely satisfied by any decision?

STOLEN was about a sixteen year old girl who's kidnapped by a guy. When she was ten, she unknowingly sort of gave him hope in life when he had fallen beyond rock bottom and was living in the bushes in her neighborhood park, drunken in sorrow. Six years later, he thinks her life is smothering her, and he steals her away. To the Australian outback. With no one-- NO ONE-- around, ever. And no, it's not one of those stories-- there is absolutely nothing sexy about it. Nothing like that. Ty really thinks he's doing the best for her. Eventually, she sort of connects with the land, understands him... then when she's bitten by a poisonous snake and his medicine doesn't work cause it's too old he takes her to a hospital-- strapped to the back of a camel as he runs along for who knows how many hours in the rain, over Australian outback, no less-- and he turns himself in so she can get hospital care.

Gemma's struggle to figure out what she thinks after she's back home, completely taken-over by the media, wondering what she's going to tell the court... every screams at her that Ty is evil, but he's not, and she knows it. Everyone is convinced that she has Stockholm's syndrome, but she doesn't. She just knows Ty isn't evil.

There's no freaking way Ty can get out of a prison sentence. She alludes to that. And she's not going to lie and say that she went on her own free will, and she's not going to lie and say that Ty is a monster. It's like, you don't know what to think either. Except sadness. Because Ty is so connected to the land-- it's all he's ever known. Humans have hurt him and destroyed him over his lifetime (cept Gemma, course) and so he's learned to love the land, the desert, all the life there. To think of him holed up in a cell for fifteen years just breaks your heart, even knowing what he did was wrong. And, seeing as the whole thing is written as a letter to Ty, an account of everything that happened, like, "You walked over to the cashier and paid for my coffee yourself; your blue eyes were familiar..." yadayada, makes it way more intense, anyways.

Sigh. Okay. I'm done reflecting. Maybe I can sleep now. Maybe not. I just needed to think.

Gez, I love good books. They make me want to write my own."
---Wednesday, May 5th, 2010.

BR: Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr

Book Review:
Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr
(Wicked Lovely; Ink Exchange; Fragile Eternity; Radiant Shadows)
Young Adult, Urban Fantasy

Um, okay, this is probably my FAVORITE series at the moment. If you have any interest in the Fae, modern Faerie tales, or any sort of Urban Fantasy whatsoever, READ IT.

It combines, as I've said, modern Fae and sort of dark romance together in a deep-thinking Urban Fantasy. It's edgier than most of the other YA dark romances that are one the market. The Fae in Marr's stories are dark and seductive and prone to reeking havoc in selfish ways, and in each story, some poor mortal gets sucked into the mess and has to fight through the mess of the four Faerie courts: The Summer Court, The Winter Court, the Dark Court, and the High Court.

It all begins with Wicked Lovely, in which Aislinn is a mortal girl trying to get through life without the faeries living in her city knowing that she can see them. Doesn't work, however, when Keenan, the should-be-Summer-king, sets his sights on her as his possible Queen. Without her consent or understanding, Aislinn suddenly starts becoming faerie herself and finally collapses and decides to tell her starting-to-be-more-than-friends best friend Seth. What she doesn't know is that in order for Keenan to become king and break the curse put on him by his ridiculously mean mother, the Winter Queen, and help his court and return the earth to it's natural order, he needs to find the one girl that's destined to be the Summer Queen. He's had to go through centuries of finding and testing girls to try and find his queen, and despite Aislinns wants, it turns out to be her. She can't back out of being fae, and despite her wishes, she finds herself caring about the wellbeing of the fae, but can't except the job if it means having to leave Seth.

Loved it. Loved it loved it loved it. Sounds cheesy? It's not. I find it completley compelling that for once, someone is able to write a YA urban Fantasy/Romance without going overboard, and with a STORY.

Melissa Marr, you get a millin gold stars for PLOTLINE!!!!!!!