Monday, October 31, 2011

A Great and Terrible Beauty

A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1)A Great And Terrible Beauty
 By Libba Bray

A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy--jumble them all together and you have this complicated and unusual first novel.
Sixteen-year-old Gemma has had an unconventional upbringing in India, until the day she foresees her mother's death in a black, swirling vision that turns out to be true. Sent back to England, she is enrolled at Spence, a girls' academy with a mysterious burned-out East Wing. There Gemma is snubbed by powerful Felicity, beautiful Pippa, and even her own dumpy roommate Ann, until she blackmails herself and Ann into the treacherous clique. GemmaKartik, a beautiful young man who warns her to fight off the visions. Nevertheless, they continue, and one night she is led by a child-spirit to find a diary that reveals the secrets of a mystical Order. The clique soon finds a way to accompany Gemma to the other-world realms of her visions "for a bit of fun" and to taste the power they will never have as Victorian wives, but they discover that the delights of the realms are overwhelmed by a menace they cannot control. Gemma is left with the knowledge that her role as the link between worlds leaves her with a mission to seek out the "others" and rebuild the Order. A Great and Terrible Beauty is an impressive first book in what should prove to be a fascinating trilogy.

My Thoughts:
I can not count the number of times I have been told to "read this book"! I have so many reading buddies who LOVE Libba Bray, and as per usual, I wait until the new and cool become tried and true before taking the dive.
Everyone who suggested this book, was right. They were all so right.
This is a fabulous Historical/Fantasy/Wonderful book.
I kind of felt like it was like every other 'magic is real', 'we found a new world' kind of book. But in all fairness. This one probably came before any of the other 'I am actually magic' books I've read over the past couple years.
I'm totally looking forward to reading the next two books of the series.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Just Like That

Just Like That
Just Like That
By Marsha Qualey

Summary: Things change so suddenly. One day Hanna has a long-term boyfriend; the next she realizes she doesn’t have strong feelings for him and breaks up. One day Hanna trusts her two best friends completely; the next, all of that trust is toppled. One day she feels rooted in a family and a community; the next she begins to question everything, including herself. And when Hanna meets a guy named Will, things are suddenly more complicated than ever. Just like that.Marsha Qualey is known for her characters full of heart and substance— people whom you feel you know, people whom you almost wish you could be. Hanna is such a character, and this story of a pivotal season in her life will remind readers of Sarah Dessen’s novels—insightful, addictive, and real.

My Thoughts:
I enjoyed this book. It does read very similar to a Sarah Dessen book, but Marsha Qualey gives this book it's own voice. In no way can this book be called a copy.

I liked the use of art in in the story. Drawing and creating are a big part of Hanna's character, and yet it doesn't seem like a forced theme, just placed in for effect.
This book was the right balance of dark, and light. Sad, and hopeful.
The struggles that Hanna went through felt real, and not overly dramatic or calculated.
I would definitely recommend this to anyone who likes the writing of Sarah Dessen or John Green.
This was a very raw, natural, and fascinating story.
I wanted to read until the last page to see how it would end?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare Today)
By Jenny Oldfield

Jenny Oldfield creates a hilarious narrative retelling of Shakespeare's comedy, Much Ado About Nothing. When AC Messina's star striker Claudio falls for the team manager's daughter, Hero, he sets in motion an escalating web of deceit. Fuelled by a combination of lies and genuine misunderstandings, Claudio is fooled into believing that Hero is having an affair, and rejects her on their wedding day; whilst star defender Benedick is tricked into falling in love with his worst enemy, Hero's cousin Beatrice. With a delightful cast of reporters, footballers, WAGs and revenge-obsessed scoundrels, will the truth ever be unravelled? But more to the point, will it result in any celebrity weddings? The Shakespeare Today series captures the magic of Shakespeare's original play and sets it in an accessible and contemporary style.

My Thoughts:
This is a cute re-telling of one of my favourite Shakespeare stories.
At first I was a bit confused by the narrative voice, but after a page or two it was fine.
It's a very light read(91 little pages), and basically its just a bunch of fluff. But it's fun and cute. So if you are looking for a beach read - or want to feel cultured and