Saturday, April 28, 2012

Reader's Corner - April 2012 Update

"No one better touch my cells!"
Oh, April, why have you flown by so quickly? It seems as though I was just settling into you and now we must say good-bye.

I did get a good amount reading in, though. I read A Breath of Eyre by Eve Marie Mont and Something Like Normal by Trish Doller (review pending).

I even finished reading Peter Pan (remember, Project Gutenberg is a goldmine for free public domain ebooks).

And I like to mix up my fiction reading with some nonfiction. I finally started reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott (all writers should read this) and I'm about halfway through The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

I love me some good science books, especially when they're so amazingly written like The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. I'm constantly interrupting my husband as I read to tell him what I've just learned. Plus there's the heartbreaking human story behind it all. Can't wait to finish reading it!

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks book trailer:

Happy reading!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Breath of Eyre Book Review

Title: A Breath of Eyre
Author: Eve Marie Mont 
Publisher: KTeen 
Publication Date: March 27, 2012 
ISBN-13: 978-0758269485

352 pp.

Purchased ebook via

I was totally excited about Eve Marie Mont's debut YA novel, A Breath of Eyre. Jane Eyre is one of my favorite novels, but I'm okay with taking liberties with it. Jasper Fforde has a ton of fun riffing on it in The Eyre Affair. A Breath of Eyre is getting a lot of love with positive reviews, including a starred review from Kirkus. But I got to tell you, I didn't feel the love so much.

Emma is a quiet, lonely girl at an exclusive prep school. She's the scholarship kid, so she keeps under the radar to steer clear of the mean girls. Her mother died when she was young, and she feels disconnected from her father and step-mother. She crushes on her English teacher and thinks cute boy Gray, whom she has known since she was little, is equally out of reach. She doesn't have any friends except for the books she reads. Then on one storm-filled night, she finds herself at Thornfield ...
I did enjoy how certain events in Emma's life mirrored Jane's and I think the contemporary sections work well. And Emma does grow as a character, from the quiet girl to someone who learns to speak her mind. Which is awesome.

But several things bumped me. The first time Emma enters Jane's world felt slow and went on too long without moving Emma's story forward. I know Jane's world has to be introduced, largely to an audience not familiar with it, but it really stalled for me.

Another thing that bumped me was not that Emma thought a certain character from Jane Eyre gets a bum rap, but that she thought this was an original and controversial idea. I so wanted to hand Emma a copy of Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys.

*SPOILER* And maybe it's just me, but the fourth (!) time Emma ends up in the hospital, I found it unintentionally funny.

So this one wasn't a complete winner for me, but I would recommend it to readers who enjoyed Entwined by Heather Dixon or The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor. This is also the beginning of a series, with Emma next visiting the world of The Scarlet Letter.

A Breath of Eyre book trailer:

Friday, April 6, 2012

Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe Book Review

Title: Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe
Author: Shelley Coriell
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication Date: May 1, 2012
ISBN-13: 978-1419701917

320 pp.  

ARC from publisher via Netgalley

When I chose Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe, I thought it would a fun piece of fluff about a girl who worked at her high school radio station. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the novel is so much more than that.
Chloe is a gregarious, popular girl at her school and her humorous voice comes through the narration in pitch-perfect style. But Chloe isn’t having a good time right now.  Her two BFFs have turned their backs on her for a perceived slight and they’ve gone so far as to spread a terrible rumor about her. Her junior year project has been rejected and she’s forced to help the struggling radio station with promotions. And Chloe’s family life is a war zone as her independent grandmother refuses any help, even though her Parkinson’s disease is getting worse.
This is why I love Chloe as a character. She takes all this drama and as she says, turns rotten tomatoes into salsa. She has moments where she feels alone and sad and scared, but not for long. She’s optimistic enough to throw all her energy into saving the radio station, where she meets cute boy Duncan.
And that’s another thing I love about this novel. Duncan is definitely cute boy material, but Chloe doesn’t instantly fall for him just because he is a cute boy. She gets to know him. He gets to know her. They build a believable relationship together.
And what I really love about the novel is that there are ISSUES in the novel, but they come organically from the characters and are handled deftly. When Duncan reveals that his mother has a meth addiction, we’ve seen Chloe change from a girl who cracks jokes to a girl who can listen when she needs to. There are other issues, too, like growing apart from friends and learning to accept the decline of a beloved grandparent. But the novel earns these moments as Chloe matures without ever betraying who she is as a person.
There’s a great cast of well-developed supporting characters in the novel, who are at turns funny and tragic. The one thing that bumped me was that a school-related arson is wrapped up too quickly and deus ex machina-like. One false step in a book that is otherwise bursting from the seams with believability.
 No book trailer as of yet, but check out Shelley Coriell's website.
I would recommend this book to readers who enjoyed The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler or Stoner & Spaz by Ronald Koertge.


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