Monthly Archives: August 2013

The Girl With Borrowed Wings by Rinsai Rossetti

Very rarely do you come across a book with such an easily cast glamor as The Girl With Borrowed Wings. Seriously, it was like a breath of fresh air in a desert of lame-o teen dramas. 11737310

Frenenqer Paje (say that three times fast) is a girl with an UBER-controlled life. Her father dictates her every move and has made it clear to her that the only reason she exists is to be the person he imagined. He wants the perfect daughter, so that’s what she’ll be. Growing up in an “oasis” in the middle of (what I only imagine is) a Middle Eastern culture, the desert temperature isn’t the only thing suffocating Frenenqer.

Little does she know that when she rescues a dying cat from a crowded market stall, this one tiny act of rebellion sets her bland life into motion. The cat isn’t what it first appears to be (this is YA fiction, after all) and his presence in Frenenqer’s life opens up a whole new world.

A WHOLE NEW WOOOORRRRRRRLLLLLLDDDD!

(Whatever, I know you were thinking it…)

This is definitely one of the most original ideas/concepts that I’ve read in a while and one of the few stories that made me grow to care for the characters. I wanted Frenenqer to be free, I wanted her to know love, I WANTED HER DAD TO JUST FREAKING DIE!! (And I wanted to smack her mother, but that’s beside the point).

FINALLY a great stand-alone novel! Read it, because you are seriously missing out.

5 falling feathers of 5

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Animal Farm by George Orwell

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Oh, George Orwell… You crazy old coot. Animal Farm was not at all what I expected, yet TOTALLY enhanced by the rad illustrations. I read the 50th anniversary edition–depicted by none other than the famous Ralph Steadman–most well-known for his collaborations with Hunter S. Thompson. His addition of chicken cloacas, donkey penises, and pig anuses definitely livened things up a bit… (No, but seriously…)

Orwell’s classic tale is an allegory of government control and the gradual capitulation of power by the ignorant masses. By letting others lead us without question, we allow ourselves to become vulnerable to manipulation and absolute control. The poor dumb farm animals are us, and the pigs in power are our “leaders.”

They always have our best interests at heart, right?

I’m really not one for waxing political, but I think this story is a simple way to understand what happens when we are too eager for someone else to take the reins. *neigh*

4 work horses of 5

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Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Ok, ok… Color me surprised. Glow ended up being a lot more engrossing and entertaining than I expected. Frankly, the market is glutted with teen dramas and post-apocalyptic novels and most of these are just trash.

(That’s what happens when you demand quantity, not quality, you dick publishing companies!) Glow

But I digress, Glow flips POVs between Waverly Marshall and Kieran Alden. They have been pretty much betrothed to each other from day one, but when Kieren proposes to Waverly shit gets real. They’re only fifteen, but such young matches are encouraged by their fertility-troubled parents. K&W are part of the first generation successfully conceived in deep space and onboard the Empyrean you’re expected to start early for the benefit of the human race. Gotta have a population to help colonize the new earth, right?

The real problems start when the companion ship, New Horizon, gets too close for comfort. As it turns out, they ARE there for their own nefarious purposes–ALL the girls are abducted and most of Empyrean’s adults are killed or out of commission. That leaves Kieran and the boys alone to man the ship in a kind of intergalactic Lord of the Flies-type scenario. And as for what Waverly experiences onboard the New Horizon… Let’s just say she probably would rather face a nuclear meltdown…

I really enjoyed this book and I’ve totally lucked out on space reads this year. This one is really well done and it moves away from the typical YA fiction trends. It was one of those stories I could read without my finger marking where the next chapter is… *sigh* Seven more pages to go…

I’ll definitely be reading Spark when I can get my hands on it!

4 nebulas of 5

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The World Without Us by Alan Weisman

Holy fuckballs… Every now and then a book comes along and just punches you in the face.world_without

POW! Right in the kisser! 

(Sorry, I had to). 

The World Without Us is one of those books. I’ve seriously explained this book to about twenty different people to try and convince them to read it. Weisman undertakes the almost unthinkable task of answering the question, “What would happen if all humans just suddenly disappeared *POOF* from the planet?”

Well other than Mother Earth, Father Sky, and all the billions of animals heaving a collective sigh of relief…. A lot actually. And it wouldn’t take as long as you might think.

Weisman illustrates about a bajillion fascinating points in TWWU, and I seriously could not put it down. Did you know that if power cut off in NYC, within TWO WEEKS the subway system would be COMPLETELY filled with water–thus weakening the foundation of all the skyscrapers and causing a relatively imminent collapse? SAY WHAAA??

Or, that it is hypothesized that Africa is the only continent with so many “mega” mammals (elephants, rhinos, etc…) left alive because humans originated there and those species had a chance to grow immune to our disgusting disease-ridden bodies?

Or, that if you cut an 18 inch hole in the roof of your home, it would only take ten years for the building to fall apart!?

Prepare to be amazed, educated, and more than a little depressed. One of my favorite books all year.

Just read the damn thing, ok?

(Oh, and stop using body scrub with little plastic exfoliating beads in it).

5 days after tomorrow of 5

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Falling Leaves by Adeline Yen Mah

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I’ve seen Falling Leaves around a lot the last few years because when I worked at a bookstore, it was on the local students’ required reading list. I seem to have a thing for Asian authors and genres, so I decided to give it a go. Little did I realize, I kind of read the child’s version Chinese Cinderella more than a decade ago.

It’s been too long for me to remember much of Chinese Cinderella–all I can recall is my twelve-year old self sobbing uncontrollably in the middle of the night because of this damn book. It was good, but totally gut-wrenching.

So basically, that’s what I was expecting of Falling Leaves. I was pretty much ready to be really sad for a few days.

But that wasn’t so much the case.

AYM goes into detail of what her childhood and life was like, but she seemed much more factual and less emotional in this book than she was in CC. In fact, far from being devastated, I was actually kinda ehhh during the whole thing. I wanted passion, I wanted tears! It was just a little too chronological and dry for my tastes, especially after reading CC.

Damn public schools, always gotta pick the boring books to kill kids’ love of reading…

*le sigh*

3 ducklings of 5


The Blessed by Tonya Hurley

Oh, Miss Hurley… Why’d you have to go and do this to me?

I was so intrigued by The Blessed and its cover art is one of the most stunning I’ve seen all year. The premise is also pretty interesting–three girls are linked by similar religiously significant bracelets given to them by Sebastian–a mysteriously handsome dude–after they all have a near brush with death. Agnes–the hopeless romantic, tried to kill herself after her boyfriend broke up with her. Cece–the up and coming rockstar, got so wasted that she nearly drowned face down in a puddle. And finally, “Lucky” Lucy–a fame-obsessed starlet who’s overdose sent her to the hospital. They have nothing in common except the boy and the bracelets.

When they all find themselves trapped in an ancient church during one of the worst storms in history–the truth comes out. Is Sebastian really a saint or a psycho?

Such a good concept, utterly trashed. 9943228

Reading this book was seriously painful to me. Hurley felt the need to explain the what, why, and how of every little detail rather than let the reader draw their own conclusions. The whole thing “tells” without really “showing.” There were several times that I had to flip back because I thought I’d missed something, but I didn’t. The story was murky and confusing.

To top it off, all the girls were SO cliche and typecast. I seriously wanted to punch every single one of them in the face for a different reason. There was no moment in time that I cared for any of them and the fact that this is the first in a series is laughable.

YA publishers, can we please stop pumping out quantity over quality? How about some decent stand-alone books rather than a million craptastic trilogies??

2 slit wrists of 5


Rotters by Daniel Kraus

Rotters

Can we all just stand up for a minute a hold a lighter in the air for Daniel Kraus?

….

Thank you.

Because, Rotters was seriously the SHIT.

Life is pretty plain for the nerdy Joey Crouch. He’s a junior in high school, plays the trumpet, and goes pretty much unnoticed by the rest of the student body. But when his mom is killed in a sudden accident, Joey’s world is turned upside down when he is sent to live with his weirdo absentee dad in rural Iowa.

Things are not what they seem when Joey goes to live in his father’s filthy little shack. An ever-present stench lingers in the air and it soon becomes apparent that something about his dad is not normal. Rather than spending his time focusing on senior year, Joey is about to learn one of the world’s oldest professions…

Grave-robbing.

Say what?! (You heard me, bitch).

I’m not even going to tell you anything else about it. You need to read it. Kraus masterfully blends the grotesque, the macabre, and most importantly the living and the dead. Seems that not so much separates us, after all…

Seriously, I. Could. Not. Put. It. Down.

5 trusty shovels of 5