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Above: Review

Title: Above
Author: Leah Bobet
Release Date: April 2012
Published By: Arthur A. Levine
Pages: 368
Goodreads Rating: 3.44 stars

Review: Matthew has loved Ariel since he found her in the tunnels, her wings falling away. They live in Safe, an underground refuge for those hiding in the city above, including Whisper, who speaks to ghosts, and Jack, who shoots lightning from his fingers. But one night an old enemy with an army of shadows attacks, and only Matthew, Ariel, and a few others escape above. Now Matthew, unraveling secrets in the process, must remake their haven, not just for himself but for Ariel.

The most remarkable aspect of ABOVE was the writing. It's rare to find a novel with writing quite like this, so beautiful and sad and gorgeous and sparse. This is the kind of writing that can carry you away if you're not careful, the kind of writing that's poetry masquerading as prose in the most beautiful way. No one else could have told this story the way Leah Bobet did.

This story is incredible because it's not really a story in the most traditional sense. It's as if the point of this book was not just to tell a plot sequence but to focus down on the pain and suffering of a group of characters that is unimaginably different from anyone in real life. This is a book not about humanity that is very deeply about humanity.

ABOVE is not a book for everyone. It can be hard to read. But if you're the kind of person who likes "different" books, such as those along the lines of "The Space Between the Trees", then I cannot recommend more that you pick this up.

Waiting on Wednesday (47)

This week, I'm waiting on...

Erasing Time by C. J. Hill. Here's what Goodreads has to say: When twins Sheridan and Taylor wake up 400 years in the future, they find a changed world: domed cities, no animals, and a language that’s so different, it barely sounds like English. And the worst news: They can’t go back home.

The twenty-fifth-century government transported the girls to their city hoping to find a famous scientist to help perfect a devastating new weapon. The moblike Dakine fights against the government, and somehow Taylor and Sheridan find themselves in the middle. The only way to elude them all is to trust Echo, a guy with secrets of his own. The trio must put their faith in the unknown to make a harrowing escape into the wilds beyond the city.

Full of adrenaline-injected chases and heartbreaking confessions, Erasing Time explores the strength of the bonds between twins, the risks and rewards of trust, and the hard road to finding the courage to fight for what you believe in.

How amazing does that sound? What do you think of this book? What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Guest Post and Giveaway: Sara Grant of Dark Parties

Here today we have Sara Grant, the author of Dark Parties, an excellent novel:

Hi Izzy! Thanks for inviting me on My Words Ate Me!

The 45 record played a significant role in my upbringing. If you’d set the arm a certain way on the old record players, it would play your favourite 45 over and over and over again. Getting ready for school, I’d select one song and let it repeat. I’d soon know every word of the lyrics. I must have driven my family insane.

I still have the same 45-record mentality. I download one song and play it over and over and over. Now I typically use earphones so no one has to listen. But there’s nothing better than unplugging the earphones, blasting the song as loud as your stereo – and tenancy agreement – will allow.

I typically can’t listen to music while I’m writing. I’m a sing-along type of person. Music isn’t really something in the background. I do, however, have a selection of songs that I listen to when I take breaks for inspiration and encouragement.

This playlist was compiled by me and one of the book's first readers, 17-year-old Maddie. Some of the songs inspired the writing of DARK PARTIES while others are a response to the reading of it.

Defy Gravity – Prefer the Wicked soundtrack (original cast) but also love the Glee version

It’s On – Superchick

When We Were Beautiful – Bon Jovi

I’m Not Dead – Pink

Into the Fire – the Scarlett Pimpernel soundtrack

I’m With You – Avril Lavigne

Believe in Me – Demi Lovato

Misguided Ghosts – Paramore

We’ll Be a Dream – We the Kings

Mad World – Michael Andrews & Gary Jules

Down – Jason Walker

Cut – Plumb

Bring Me To Life – Evanescence

Fire and Rain – James Taylor

Thanks for stopping by, Sara! There's also a giveaway, US only (sorry to all internationals!), for a book related necklace, pictured below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

New Girl: Review

Title: New Girl
Author: Paige Harbison
Release Date: January 2012
Published By: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 320
Goodreads Rating: 3.50 stars

Review: Ever since she arrived at Manderly Academy, New Girl has been unknown, but not unnoticed - because of her. Becca Normandy, the girl everybody loved, whose spot New Girl got because she went missing. And everyone seems to blame her, except for Max Holloway, who everyone still thinks of as Becca's boyfriend. When New Girl thinks of him, sometimes she feels envy for Becca's life. But now? Becca might be trying to take it back.

I wasn't quite sure how much I would like NEW GIRL going in because I disliked the author's previous novel, Here Lies Bridget. Although this book wasn't perfect, I did end up finding some aspects that impressed me very much, particularly the tone. The quiet but creepy writing combined with a gothic plot and excellently timed pacing creates a growing sense of suspense that glues your fingers to the pages.

However, I did think the story could have been even more suspenseful and gripping if Becca's character had been developed a little differently. The readers are told that she's sociopathic and dangerous but at the same time utterly compelling to people, but I didn't feel like this attribute of her was shown. I wanted to be able to see first-hand how magnetic she was and at the same time how dark and terrifying, and while she was portrayed like this to an extent, it wasn't as satisfying as I'd hoped.

I also felt like there were some contrived areas in the plot in an effort to emotionally isolate New Girl. The whole scenario with her being forced to attend Manderley felt quite a bit cooked up, and I didn't really buy the fact that everyone basically hates her just because she happened to get the spot of a beloved girl who went missing. It's not like New Girl was involved with the actual case in any way, so their irrational hatred for her just came across as feeling off.

All in all, NEW GIRL was a very creepy novel with high levels of suspense that could have been ratcheted up more if Becca's character had been more developed. I wanted to see more of her and less of some of the plot holes that bothered me, but this was still a good novel that I'd recommend to any fans of psychological suspense, even if, like me, you didn't enjoy the author's prior work.

Awkward: Review

Title: Awkward
Author: Marni Bates
Release Date: January 2012
Published By: Kensington Publishing Corp.
Pages: 300
Goodreads Rating: 4.21 stars

Review: Mackenzie is the most awkward girl in the world... officially. She generally spends her time trying to stay out of the spotlight, but when a humiliating YouTube video of the most awkward moment of her life goes viral, the spotlight pretty much follows her. Suddenly she's an Internet sensation, complete with paparazzi, free designer clothes, and rock stars, and she's even caught the eye of the most popular guy in school. And that's when things get interesting.

AWKWARD is the quintessential young adult novel aimed at the younger end of the spectrum: cute and full of heart. Mackenzie narrates with a distinctive and fun voice, her personality bleeding through every page to the extent that she feels like a real and breathing human being. Her awkwardness and insecurity combined with a lovable persona makes her a character anyone could relate to.

Although this is undoubtedly intended to be a fun novel to sit back and relax with, there are a few plot inconsistencies that may give readers some pause. The most prominent call for suspension of disbelief was the fact that Mackenzie's video propelled her to such fame in the first place. She attracted far more attention than a mere YouTube video gone viral justifies.

All in all, AWKWARD is an undeniably fun novel that anyone can enjoy with a main character sure to remain in everyone's memories for a good time to come. The only real quibbles that exist with it are certain inconsistencies with the plot, but other than that, this is a cute and enjoyable read that I recommend to anyone who wants a good book to relax with.

Waiting on Wednesday (46)

This week, I'm waiting on...

The Program by Suzanne Young. Here's what Goodreads has to say: SLOANE KNOWS BETTER THAN TO CRY IN FRONT OF ANYONE. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. AND THE PROGRAM IS COMING FOR THEM.

How amazing does that sound? Although I haven't read Suzanne Young's first novel, it's on my to-read list and I've heard great things about her.

Have you heard of this book? Do you plan to read it? What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

On a Dark Wing: Review

Title: On a Dark Wing
Author: Jordan Dane
Release Date: December 2011
Published By: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 320
Goodreads Rating: 3.21 stars

Review: Five years ago, Abbey cheated Death but lost her mother. Now, she's crossed paths with Death yet again in the form of an ethereal boy made of clouds and sky. She's the target of his ravens, but it's worse than that. He's stalking her secret crush, Nate Holden, because of her. And Abbey learns the hard way that Death never, ever forgets.

ON A DARK WING has an intriguing concept pitched through the summary, but unfortunately I found it very difficult to enjoy the story because the characters just didn't feel believable to me. Abbey in particular seemed almost completely flat and made some decisions that I found to be, well, not exactly the smartest of all decisions. In short, her character's motivations were lacking and the character itself seemed nearly non-existent.

Along that vein, the romance between Abbey and Tanner felt more contrived than anything else, and I didn't really feel like the book led up to that quite properly. It just seemed to come out nowhere without much development, and the romance itself wasn't as good as it could have been, especially since Abbey switched over to Tanner from her borderline obsessive crush on Nate from out of nowhere.

I will say, though, that the concept itself was pretty intriguing. I only wish that the author gave more opportunities to gain a deeper understanding of some of the situations presented in the novel. For instance, I would like to know more about Death and the various forms he chooses to take, since that particular aspect felt a bit on the under-developed side.

All in all, ON A DARK WING ultimately disappointed me, with a fairly flat cast of characters and a lack of development in both the romance and the concept. The writing shows promise, though, and it's not a bad read if you're a fan of paranormal fiction.

Cover Change: Glow

I noticed a recent cover change in Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan. Here's the original cover:

And the new one:

I absolutely love the first cover, with the simple but lovely black background and of course the very cool "O". It's a neat, attention-grabbing orb that goes nicely with the shaded, glossy lettering of the title.

The second cover is nice too, especially with the background of the lettering, but I'm not a fan of the overpowering pink. It's a bit of a turn-off, even though I do like pink.

So, the first one is my favorite. What do you think?

Waiting on Wednesday (45)

This week, I'm waiting on...

Fathomless by Jackson Pearce. Here's what Goodreads has to say: Celia Reynolds is the youngest in a set of triplets and the one with the least valuable power. Anne can see the future, and Jane can see the present, but all Celia can see is the past. And the past seems so insignificant -- until Celia meets Lo.

Lo doesn't know who she is. Or who she was. Once a human, she is now almost entirely a creature of the sea -- a nymph, an ocean girl, a mermaid -- all terms too pretty for the soulless monster she knows she's becoming. Lo clings to shreds of her former self, fighting to remember her past, even as she's tempted to embrace her dark immortality.

When a handsome boy named Jude falls off a pier and into the ocean, Celia and Lo work together to rescue him from the waves. The two form a friendship, but soon they find themselves competing for Jude's affection. Lo wants more than that, though. According to the ocean girls, there's only one way for Lo to earn back her humanity. She must persuade a mortal to love her . . . and steal his soul.

How awesome does that sound? I've loved the novels by Jackson Pearce that I've read so far, so anything by her is an auto-read for me.

What do you think? Have you heard of this book? What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

School Reading: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

I've had mixed experiences with required reading at school, but one book I finished for school a few months ago has stayed with me ever since. I'm talking about The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers.

I don't feel that a full review could possibly do this book justice, but I love this book on so many levels that I feel obligated to express my thoughts in one way or another here.

It's amazing to think that someone so young could write such remarkable prose, every word infused with this sort of quiet but beautiful tone. Reading this book puts you in a stupor, and it's so easy to get sucked into the lonely Southern world she paints with such skill.

And the characters. They're definitely the pillars that hold the story up, and ugh, I loved each and every one of them. Their individual stories were so heart-breaking, and then the way they were all wound together around the central tenet of Singer gave me serious writer-envy.

And as for that event that occurs at the end of Part 2? (I won't reveal because of spoilers.) I literally felt it like a stab in the heart. It was beautiful and terrible at the same time.

So have you read the Heart is a Lonely Hunter? What required school reading did you end up loving... and what did you end up hating?

Article 5: Review

Title: Article 5
Author: Kristen Simmons
Release Date: January 2012
Published By: Tor Teen
Pages: 364
Goodreads Rating: 3.85

Review: Seventeen-year-old Ember is just old enough to remember a time when there was a Bill of Rights instead of Moral Statutes, when there were police instead of soldiers, and when being arrested didn't mean never coming back. But she has perfected keeping a low profile, something of a necessity with a rebellious mother like hers. Except her mother is arrested for violation of Article 5 of the Moral Statutes, and one of the arresting officers is Chase, the boy she used to love.

ARTICLE 5 introduces the readers to a frightening dystopian world that was well-written and fleshed out. I found the concept of Moral Statutes with harsh punishments for violations to be intriguing, and while this kind of world isn't exactly one hundred percent unique, it wasn't painfully derivative or cliché. The only part of this that bothered me, however, was that it was never really explained why the world became like this to start with, when it would have been nice to have some sort of explanation to make it more believable.

Still, while the background wasn't the best it could have been, I absolutely adored the romance. It's rare for me to love a YA romance this much, but I truly enjoyed reading about the budding relationship between Ember and Chase. They both felt like real, honest characters and the love that grew between them was both natural and passionate. The relationship developed very nicely over the course of the story and will, I'm sure, continue well into the sequel.

What worked especially well were the flashbacks sprinkled out throughout the pages. They worked nicely with the pacing of the novel and didn't detract from the story at all, and they provided great insight into who Chase used to be. It was with these that we are able to see the large contrast between the Chase of Ember's memories and the Chase she meets in present time, and it makes the romance all the more sweeter.

Overall, ARTICLE 5 hit just the spot for my dystopian craving. From a fairly creative and scary world to a multi-dimensional cast of characters, this novel is well-written and well-executed. If you're not such a big fan of dystopian, this book probably isn't for you, but anyone who enjoys a good mix of romance and dystopia should eat this book up!

Drowning Instinct: Review

Title: Drowning Instinct
Author: Ilsa J. Bick
Release Date: February 2012
Published By: Lerner Publishing Group
Pages: 352
Goodreads Rating: 4.22

Review: Jenna's life is not exactly a fairy tale. She has a controlling father, a drunken mother, and a brother she used to be able to rely on until he was shipped off to Afghanistan. Now the only light in her life is her teacher, Mitch Anderson. He's a dedicated teacher and coach, a caring husband, and a man with a certain magnetism. Jenna is drawn to him, and the lines between "victim" and "happily ever after" become blurred.

Originally I was attracted to this novel because of the gorgeous cover, and I didn't know much else about the book, but one aspect that certainly jumped out at me as soon as I cracked the pages (or the digital pages, as it were) was the phenomenal writing. Ilsa Bick is undeniably a talented writer, her words gliding across the pages in beautiful, stark language. With letters alone she paints a canvas upon which this twisting, painful, and marvelous story lies.

What I particularly appreciated about the way she handled the story was her ability to get such a complex plot done so delicately and realistically. Many novels about such "impossible love" between a girl and a man clearly portray the predatory nature of the man and show the girl spiraling in her descent into danger, but DROWNING INSTINCT made it much less clear. You could easily be put in the place of Jenna and understand her conflicting feelings about him. Just as these situations are in real life, this was not a black-and-white scenario.

I was somewhat bothered, however, by a few inconsistencies in the novel. For instance, Jenna's parents were depicted as over-protective of her throughout the story, her mother going so far as to regularly inspect her for evidence of self-harm after her trip to a mental ward. But then all of a sudden, her parents just leave her alone for a week, completely trusting her. Even my parents wouldn't want to leave me at home for a week, and I'm not afflicted by the harmful disorders Jenna suffers.

All in all, DROWNING INSTINCT was a novel with unforgettable prose and a - for the most part - well-developed cast of characters to enhance a delicately handled plot. I had my quibbles with character inconsistencies, especially concerning her parents, but this remains a strong contemporary novel that I would recommend to any fan of books with hard-hitting issues.

Cloaked: Review

Title: Cloaked
Author: Alex Flinn
Release Date: February 2011
Published By: Harper Collins
Pages: 341
Goodreads Rating: 3.59

Review: Johnny's just a normal guy with aspirations of being a shoe designer but only currently works an after-school job at a shoe repair shop to help his mom make ends meet. That is, he was until the curse happened. And the frog-napping. And yes, a really pretty princess. The princess wants him to help her recover her frog brother, and what results is an adventure he'll never forget.

CLOAKED opened with an intriguing premise, and I liked that it was somewhat of a fairy tale retelling but didn't really use the same fairy tales that other books have. For instance, there are tons and tons of novels out there that focus on Red Riding Hood or Cinderella, but this book used elements of lesser-known stories, which definitely brings some variety to the fairy-tale genre.

Unfortunately, I ended up not liking this book very much, and this is due primarily to the fact that the characters came across as very flat and without much of a personality. Johnny seemed like he'd be an interesting character, what with being a dude into shoes and all, but instead he was as generic as white bread with reactions that came across as forced. The same applied to the other characters, too, and I had a hard time trying to relate to anyone in this novel.

Another aspect that I didn't enjoy so much was that the plot just seemed so static. I don't have a problem with slow-paced novels in general, but it wasn't something that appeared to work well here. Much of the scenes were written in an attempt to be comedic rather than suspenseful or gripping, but the humor didn't really come across that well (at least for me), and so these scenes didn't really work at all.

All in all, CLOAKED was a novel with an interesting concept that unfortunately didn't deliver. The characters seemed to be too flat, and the plot didn't improve matters much. Still, if you've enjoyed Alex Flinn's other novels, the style may work for you and I'd encourage you to pick it up and give it a try.

Waiting on Wednesday (44)

This week, I'm waiting on...

The Farm by Emily McKay. Here's what Goodreads has to say: Life was different in the Before: before the Ticks began devouring humans in a deadly swarm across America; before the surviving young people were rounded up and quarantined “for their own protection.” These days, we know what those quarantines are—holding pens where human blood is turned into more food for the Ticks. Surrounded by electrical fences, most kids try to survive the Farms by turning on each other…

And when trust is a thing of the past, escape is nearly impossible.

Lily and her twin sister Mel have a plan. Though Mel can barely communicate, her autism helps her notice things no one else notices—like the portion of electrical fence that gets turned off every night. Getting across won’t be easy, but as Lily gathers what they need to escape, a familiar face appears out of nowhere, offering to help…

Carter was a schoolmate of Lily’s in the Before. Managing to evade capture until now, he has valuable knowledge of the outside world. But like everyone on the Farm, Carter has his own agenda, and he knows that behind the Ticks is an even more dangerous threat to the human race...

How awesome does that sound? I love the cover too! 

Have you heard of this book? What are you waiting for this Wednesday? 

Never Enough: Review

Title: Never Enough
Author: Denise Jaden
Release Date: July 2012
Published By: Simon Pulse
Pages: 400
Goodreads Rating: 4.32 stars

Review: Loann has always wanted to be as pretty and popular as her sister Claire, so when Claire's ex-boyfriend starts flirting with her, she soaks up the attention. But as Loann becomes increasingly involved in her sister's world, she starts to see that it's not all it's cracked up to be. Something's wrong with Claire, and she won't stop withdrawing into herself. Is it too late for Loann to heal their relationship and save her sister?

NEVER ENOUGH was a wrenching and heart-breaking look at anorexia. Claire's descent further and further into this terrible disease was portrayed with stunning accuracy and emotion. All I wanted to do throughout the novel was take Loann and Claire out of the pages and hug them both over and over again until everything was okay. (Of course it wouldn't work like that, but it'd be nice if it did.)

My only complaint concerning this aspect of this story is that while, yes, it was of course very sweet and emotional, it didn't touch me on a very deep level. There are some books that are able to affect me to the core so that I remember them long after reading them, and this unfortunately was not the case here. The dark "issue" part of this book was good, undeniably, but not great.

The romance, however, was definitely on the "great" side of things. Loann and Marcus has a true romance, one that advanced at a reasonable pace and actually involved honest emotion. It was realistic for their ages but something that anyone would want to have, and this part of the story was very well-developed.

All in all, NEVER ENOUGH was a book that was hard to get enough of. (Sorry, I could not resist the pun!) It dealt with anorexia in a simultaneously tasteful and wrenching manner, and while it did not grip me as much as I hoped it would, the other aspects of the novel made up for this. I would recommend this to any fans of contemporary fiction or "issues" books, as well as people looking for a better romance than some YA novels have to offer.


I'm a bit late to the party, but as most of you know, there's been a recent scandal regarding a well-known book blogger who plagiarized some posts. I won't say who even though that knowledge is easy to find, but she has been receiving quite a lot of flak for what she did.

And I will say this: what she did was wrong. This was undeniable. And yes, in her apology posts, she tried to make excuses for what she did and claimed that she didn't know she did something wrong. This was obviously not true because she had written a post on plagiarism that actually made it quite clear what is and what is not plagiarism. So, she knew what she was doing, and it was wrong.

I'm definitely not excusing those actions. But I have seen a lot of people say that they chose to unfollow her, or stop participating in memes that she started, on principle of what she did. Of course, everyone is free to make their own decision regarding what happened and I would not want to try and control that.

But I do think that maybe some people are taking this a little far. She made a mistake, and yes, it was a bad mistake, but we wouldn't be human if we didn't make mistakes. I still value the rest of her blog's content and her reviews, and she has been one of the most influential book bloggers for me, especially in the early development of my blog.

Where do you stand on this issue? [Note: please refrain from stating names or any other identifying information in the comments section. I know it's publicly available, but I'd feel more comfortable without her name being spread on my blog.]

Less Posting

My apologies for the recent lack of posting. I've been getting beaten up by a combination of the SATs and a huge, sudden homework overload. Regular posting schedule will return tomorrow!

Wanted: Review

Title: Wanted
Author: Heidi Ayarbe
Release Date: May 2012
Published By: Balzer and Bray
Pages: 400
Goodreads Rating: 4.50 stars

Review: Michal "Mike" Garcia is a seventeen-year-old bookie, and all she needs to do is send a one-word text saying "sanctuary" to gather a crowd. She takes bets but never takes a risk herself. Then Josh Ellison comes to town. He encourages her to feel the thrill, to finally participate in the thrill-seeking sport she could only watch for so long. So she does. And loses. Now she and Josh concoct a plan to steal from the rich to pay back her debt and help her friends, but then everything goes horribly, horribly awry.

WANTED introduces the readers to an intriguing new concept: a girl who doubles as a bookie, taking bets from gamblers, addicted and normal alike. Mike's job only serves to show the kind of resourceful and collected character she is, and throughout the novel, even as times became harder and harder, I admired her strength in the face of adversity.

Although Mike was an admirable character, she still had her flaws and made some decisions that, well, weren't exactly the greatest. However, unlike in some other books, her occasionally stupid decisions didn't make me dislike her or feel as if she herself is stupid. Instead, they were normal bad choices that everyone could make at one point or another and gave her more dimensionality as a character.

This novel had not only a good beginning, but an excellent ending as well. I won't reveal what happened because I don't believe in putting spoilers on my blog, but the last few pages made my eyes blur quite a bit. It was definitely not something I saw coming and left me in a state of both shock and, somehow, being content. There is a quality of this ending that leaves with you a quiet sense of satisfaction, and that's something I crave in every book.

All in all, WANTED is a novel I'd recommend to anyone who wants a gritty, hard-hitting contemporary novel. Heidi Ayarbe has proved herself time and time again to be a master at such contemporary fiction, and this book is no exception. Read this for an impacting ending and true-to-life characters that you are unlikely to forget for a long, long time.

Waiting on Wednesday (44)

This week, I'm waiting on...

Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz. Here's what Goodreads has to say: Hannah Moskowitz's (author of BREAK and INVINCIBLE SUMMER) TEETH features a sixteen-year-old boy whose family, in an effort to cure his ailing brother, relocates to a remote island where legendary magic fish are said to have healing powers, and he discovers the island has terrible secrets, including a half-teenager, half-fish.

I mean, it's Hannah Moskowitz. I'm not really sure what other reason is necessary for picking up this book.

Have you heard of this book? What are you waiting on this Wednesday?