Jul 19, 2012

Jellicoe Road

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Published: August 28, 2006 by Penguin Australia

Taylor is the leader of the boarders at the Jellicoe School. She has to keep the upper hand in the territory wars and deal with Jonah Griggs - the enigmatic leader of the cadets, and someone she thought she would never see again.

And now Hannah, the person Taylor had come to rely on, has disappeared. Taylor's only clue is a manuscript about five kids who lived in Jellicoe eighteen years ago. She needs to find out more, but this means confronting her own story, making sense of her strange, recurring dream, and finding her mother - who abandoned her on the Jellicoe Road.

This book is simply amazing. I'm not sure I can even describe how much I loved it. It's raved about everywhere, and it is a book that deserves to be raved about. Sometimes when a book is talked about as much as this one, and everyone loves it, I just breeze by and think I'll get to it later and see what all the fuss is about - but this a book you should read as soon as you can. It's worth it.

  • writing - The writing is beautiful. I felt like I was in a different world and I was just sucked into this book. I thought about it frequently when I wasn't reading it, and when I was it was like hours passed in the blink of an eye.
  • the territory war - The war, besides being exciting a little nuts, serves as a great way to keep pitting the characters against each other, head to head, as they get to know each other while fighting a battle of tradition.
  • Taylor - Taylor knows what's important to her and she's determined not to let anyone, least of all herself, get in her way - plus she's a great mix of bold, a little bit of anxiety, and a bit antisocial.
  • Griggs - I don't know what it is about Griggs, but even on paper he's got a commanding presence. This love story is the perfect storm of sexual tension and sweetness, and I enjoyed every single second of it.
  • resolution - What was confusing in the opening of the book is unraveled throughout the story, and comes back together to make complete sense.

  • the beginning - I went into this book not knowing anything about it, just that everyone loves it. So this book's beginning had me extremely confused. First there was a section about a death and then it's about something completely different, which was some kind of confusing war game. 
  • 'flashbacks' - I'll call them flashbacks for lack of a better term, but everything about Narnie and Webb and the other 3 was crazy confusing for me. I think it was meant to be that way, as that's how Taylor is getting this info, and once you understand why it was this way, you'll see it's genius. But I had so much trouble keeping things straight in my head. Who are these people? Who's related to who again? Who is dating who? Why are their names so strange?

  • On the other side of the cell Jonah Griggs and Santangelo are too busy sizing each other up like two demented pit bulls who have to prove who's got the biggest...attitude.    I lean against the bars that separate us from the others. "So let me get this right," I say to one of the Townie girls. "All it takes is to insult someone's mother?"   "No," she explains. "That's the beauty of it. They don't actually have to insult. The words Your mother are enough."             -  pg. 93   Taylor + a Townie    
  • I'm on the verge of tears, like I always seem to be these days, and I hear the catch in my voice and I hate myself for it. He throws me off him and I can tell there is a fury in him.     "Never," he tells me in a tone full of ice, "underestimate who or what I care for."            - pg. 202   Taylor + Griggs

5 robots
A beautifully written book that will grab your attention and keep it. Read it!

Acquired: swapped for on swap.com

Jul 12, 2012

So Silver Bright

So Silver Bright by Lisa Mantchev
(Theatre Illuminata #3)
Published: September 13, 2011 by Feiwel & Friends

Bertie thinks her quest is almost done. With the help of Ariel and the rest of her friends, she has managed to find her father and rescue Nate from Sedna, the Sea Goddess. Now, all she has to do is reunite her father, the Scrimshander, with her mother, Ophelia, and she will finally have a true family of her own.

However, things are never easy for Beatrice Shakespeare Smith. Her father has vanished, Sedna is out for revenge, her own actions have trapped the Théâtre Illuminata in a strange kind of limbo, and the stress of her in-between state is tearing apart the fragile threads of her mother's sanity. Bertie's best hope for salvaging the situation may lie in a summons by Her Gracious Majesty, Queen of the Distant Castle, and the hope of winning the magical boon given to the best performance.

Bertie is caught between her growing responsibilities to home and family, and the dream of flying free - just as her heart is torn between her two loves, Nate and Ariel. With so any forces pulling on her, how will Bertie be able to choose which wish to make come true?

I love this series and while I'm sad to see it end, I'm looking forward to whatever Lisa Mantchev dreams up next. I'm also a bit relieved to see another love triangle come to a close, but this series has so much more going on than that. It's truly imaginative and unique - definitely recommended!

  • Serafina talking about birth control - I thought it was great that the herb seller thought Bertie was there for birth control, even though Bertie hadn't ever thought of it or had reason to. I've read so many fantasy and paranormal books with love triangles or sexy boyfriends, and sometimes even sex, where no mention of protection is ever made even though it's important.
  • Bertie's 'mask' - I won't go into details, but I loved everything about this part of the story. It drove things with Nate and Ariel, and was Bertie's own choice to help her friends.
  • Nate - I love Nate. He is so fiercely protective of Bertie, even though he's the one who wants to kind of disarm her to get closer. After the flashbacks I feel for both Nate and Ariel because they waited for Bertie to grow up and even now they aren't sure if their feelings are allowed, if she's old enough, if she wants them to be more than her partners in crime and theater mischief. 
  • the fairies - No matter what happens to Bertie and her crew, the fairies deal with it by shouting insults and devouring desserts by the truckload. And when they aren't eating or making foul jokes, even the boys are unwaveringly loyal to Bertie.
  • Bertie's family - I adore the whole tone and magical setting of these books, and Bertie's parents' story fits right in, intertwining with the theater itself. I detest books where the plot only happens because of the love triangle, and here Bertie is on a quest all her own and her family comes first.

  • Bertie as Ophelia - I didn't really enjoy when Bertie went through the mirror. It was important to the story of Bertie's family, but it felt much longer than it actually was, like dragged out time where Bertie was losing herself. I like her adventures much more when she's with the fairies and Nate and Ariel.
  • traveling to the castle - I should probably be used to the unexpected bits of magic that happen by now, but the sort of being instantly transported to the castle threw me off. I was immersed in road trip intrigue and adventure with lots of time to build sexual tension, and then BAM! trip's over. 

  • "Lass!" Nate caught her before she fell to the floor, but even his solid presence wasn't enough to steady her head or slow her galloping heartbeat.   "That answers that question." She'd wasted the wish. Tears threatened until a dim silver light returned to haunt the space inside her head, as mercurial and taunting as one of Ariel's winds.             - pg. 274   Bertie + Nate
  • The third piece of cake she fed him came with a tiny grazing of his teeth across her finger, and she was a sailor's knot nearly undone.  He must have seen it written upon her face, for something flickered over his own features: a promise, perhaps, mixed with determination and some flavor of triumph.        - pg. 109
4 robots
A magical story with sexy guys, but not a book focused solely on a love triangle. If you haven't read this series, check it out!

Acquired: bought

Jul 4, 2012

Let It Snow

Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle
Published: October 2, 2008 by Speak

Sparkling white snowdrifts, beautiful presents wrapped in ribbons, and multicolored lights glittering in the night through the falling snow. A Christmas Eve snowstorm transforms one small town into a romantic haven, the kind you see only in movies. 

Well, kinda. After all, a cold and wet hike from a stranded train through the middle of nowhere would not normally end with a delicious kiss from a charming stranger. And no one would think that a trip to the Waffle House through four feet of snow would lead to love with an old friend. Or that the way back to true love begins with a painfully early morning shift at Starbucks. 

Thanks to three of today’s bestselling teen authors—John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle—the magic of the holidays shines on these hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance, and breathtaking kisses.

This is a collection of 3 very cute stories, but I wouldn't call them 'interconnected'...more like loosely linked together. All of the authors are great in their own right, but their styles are different - something which becomes obvious when their stories are put in one volume. The stories were good, but I think I would have enjoyed them more if I had read them separately instead of one after the other. For this review, I'm kinda breaking it up by section so I can keep everything straight!

Jubilee Express (Maureen Johnson)

  • Jubilee's parents - their obsession with the Flobie Santa Village is so quirky-cute, and I loved the Flobie Five part of the story almost as much as Jubliee hated it
  • Stuart - I love that he could tell right away that Jubilee's boyfriend wasn't as great as she thought he was, and that he didn't try to take advantage of her.
Cheertastic Christmas Miracle (John Green)
  • the Duke's obsession with has browns - It takes quite a love of breakfast food for a girl to accompany a pair of teenage dudes on their quest for cheerleaders' affections.
Patron Saint of Pigs (Lauren Myracle)
  • Nathan's wardrobe - It's a dedicated guy that owns an entire wardrobe of shirts plastered with Star Trek quotes.

Jubilee Express

  • Noah - Noah is a jerk. A guy who ignores all your phone calls, especially when he knows you're having a family crisis, because he's too self absorbed is not boyfriend material.
Cheertastic Christmas Miracle
  • plot - John Green's style of writing focuses on the characters' relationships with each other more than on any clear plot. It works very well on its own, but in a unique book like this, it killed the flow that Maureen Johnson established in the 1st story, and only loosely tied in with the other stories at the very end.
Patron Saint of Pigs
  • Addie - From her opening line I kinda disliked Addie. She's extremely self-absorbed and acts a lot younger than she probably is if she has a job. She's full of excuses and can't own up to her own mistakes.

  • "You don't happen to need a tow?"     "Not unless you tow trains." He thought that over for a moment. It's always awkward when someone doesn't realize you're joking and devotes thought time to what you've said. Double that when the person is wearing tinfoil. "Too big," he finally replied, shaking his head. "Won't work."              - pg. 32  Jubilee + Tinfoil Guy  (Jubliee Express)
  • "Um, in your opinion, what would be the ideal number of wheels for Carla to currently possess?" I closed my eyes and let my head swivel up, the streetlight bright through my eyelids, the snow on my lips. JP continued, "Because to be totally honest, I think the best possible number of wheels for Carla would be four. And right now there are three wheels physically connected to Carla herself, a nonideal number. Fortunately, the fourth is just a very slight distance away, but unfortunately I am not an expert in wheel reattachment."        - pg. 160-161   JP + Tobin  (Cheertastic Christmas Miracle)
  • "I want you to fly me across the ocean at the prow of an ocean liner! Like the guy in Titanic, remember?"  Jeb turned. "The guy who drowned?"  "Well, I don't want you to drown, obviously."           - pg. 230  Addie + Jeb  (Patron Saint of Pigs)
3 robots
Cute, quirky stories but only loosely related.
Here's the breakdown: Jubilee Express - 4 robots, Cheertastic Christmas Miracle - 3 robots, Patron Saint of Pigs - 2 robots