Archive for September, 2008

Book Review: The Opposite of Invisible (A++)

Title: The Opposite of Invisible
Author: Liz Gallagher
Publication Date:
January 2008
Genre:
YA Reality

Grade: A++(I *loved* this book)

Summary:

Alice is an outsider in her high school in Seattle, but it’s alright, because the outside is with Jewel, her best friend since forever. Together, they’re allowed to be different, they’re allowed to be their artistic selves and share everything they could ever possibly have to share. They may be invisible to the rest of the world, but to Alice, Jewel is the opposite of invisible. The boundries between visible and invisble start melting though, when suddenly Simon Murphy, Alice’s long time crush and one of the most popular guys in school finally notices her, and by some miracle, asks her to the Halloween dance. Suddenly, it feels like everything has been flipped over sideways, especially when Jewel decides to kiss her one day, right after Simon’s offer. How can someone so close to the edge of invisible suddenly turn so flamboyantly visible? But Jewel’s her best friend, and Simon is, well…he’s her long time crush, and seems even more perfect when she gets to know him. Is a perfect relationship worth losing Jewel though? The one she can spill all her secrets to?

Review:

(please pardon the really bad summary).

I *loved* this book. I loved it beyond words. Back in January, when I first heard of its release, I was skeptical in picking it up. So many other cool novels were coming out at the time, and I’d decided that I would skip this one. If I could go back in time now, I would tell myself to go back and reshelve all those other books and go straight to The Opposite of Invisible. I was even reluctant to grab it last week; it was more because I couldn’t find any books to take out (not that I didn’t have a bunch rotting in my room everywhere already). So I took it home, and since it looked short, I decided to give it a try (yes, I know, I know, not a good thing to do). I turned to the first page…and then couldn’t put it down! It was amazing (mind you, it was maybe 11 pm when I decided I didn’t feel like sleeping and started reading…on a school night. But I couldn’t stop. When I was finally too tired to continue, I finished the rest of it on the bus, which I rarely do, since reading in motion gives me headaches but…back to the point, this was a read that was worth the trouble!).

Liz Gallagher is a debut author, and she is definetly an author to watch out for. Not only was this novel witty and funny, it was just so captivating and cute. The basic idea, a not so popular girl catching the eye of a popular guy and losing her best friend that way, may be a bit unoriginal, but Ms Gallagher makes it work. The novel is full of imagery and metaphors…the writing really is beautiful. Its lyrical almost, poetic and unstopping. And Alice, the main character…wow. Just wow. I loved her. She was refreshingly different, but so easy to relate to. All the characters, in fact, were unique and likable.

If you’re going to get only one book at the library, or book store, or wherever, be sure to pick of The Opposite of Invisible (if you haven’t already 😉

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Book Review: The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson (A)

Here is my very first review. Criticism and comments are very much appreciated! (:

Title: The Adoration of Jenna Fox
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Publication Date: May 2008
Genre: Science-Fiction

Grade: A-

Summary:

Who is Jenna Fox? Who is the perfect girl with the perfect life on all those discs? Who is the girl her parents call a miracle? Jenna sure doesn`t know. After a year in a coma, Jenna doesn`t seem to know much of anything. She doesn`t know who her parents are, who her best friends were, and everything that had once made up her life, but she remembers everything about the French Revolution, and all the events that made up _____. She remembers every detail of a history much before her, and yet she couldn`t even recognize her own mother. Who was Jenna Fox? Who is she now?

In The Adoration of Jenna Fox, Jenna searches for the one thing no one else can give her, not even 16 discs documenting every year of her life: her identity. She needs to know who she is, and slowly, the edges of her past life, and the one that followed the brutal accident that should have destroyed her, are peeling away to show the secrets that it was hiding. The bits and pieces that made up her life are starting to reammerge, and with those memories come even more questions, with answers even Jenna is afraid to hear.

Review:

This novel was written brilliantly by Ms. Pearson. The writing just seems to flow in almost a poetic way, and the phrasing really draws you into the story. The emotions captured in the writing is absolutely unbelievable. You really follow Jenna as she slowly grows during the story, and the realization that comes with every new discovery. You feel extremely connected to her as you read, and the other characters are also drawn in such an interesting, raw way that you feel as if you know them or as if they were standing right in front of you.

The story itself is really powerful. It tells an enlarged story that seems to be every teen`s at some point. Who are you really, at the end of the day? Who is the real you, and who is the fake? This story truly makes you think about it, about who you are. What do all those odd bits and ends add up to? Jenna is fighting herself in this story, who she thinks she was, who she is, and who she thinks she should be.

If you haven`t read this novel yet, you definetly should. Ms Pearson definetly has a talent in writing; this novel was absolutely beautiful. It will keep you reading for hours, and when you`re done, you will without a doubt be exploring all the questions Jenna was trapped with, in your mind too.

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Book Challenge: The Mind, Body & Soul Challenge

The idea behind this challenge is to use reading to inspire the mind, care for the body and nurture the soul over 31 days. Pretty much it’s just a fun way to stretch our reading muscles and a good excuse for me to give away some prizes!

DATES: The challenge will begin on 1st October 2008 and will continue till the 31st October 2008.
HOW TO ENTER: Simply leave a comment at the end of this post stating which categories you’re entering in and which options you are doing from those categories. Submit reviews for the books you read or listen to during this challenge and you’ll receive a bonus entry. Subscribe to my feed and advise me you’ve done so and I’ll give you a bonus entry. Blog about the challenge and advise me and I’ll give you a bonus entry. There are plenty of ways to increase your chances to win!
PRIZES: The winners will be chosen at random. There will be a winner selected from each category and an overall winner selected from readers who participate in all three categories.
Mind: A US$30 Amazon Gift Voucher
Body: Copy of The Time Traveller’s Wife Audio Book
Soul: Copy of Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom
Overall Winner: Choice between Season One or Season Two of The Tudors brand new on DVD!
1) Choose a real person whose life you find absolutely fascinating. Got one? Good. Now I want you to arm yourself with knowledge…go read a biography on your person! Once you’ve got the facts straight, follow it up with a fiction novel based on the same person.
2) Do you have a classic novel sitting on your bookshelf you’ve always wanted to read but have never gotten around to? Great! Time to pick it up this month and finally read it! When you’ve finished, read a follow-up novel to your classic written by a different author. This could be a sequel to Pride and Prejudice or a modern novel modeled on your classic.
1) Combine reading and workouts. How you say? NOT by reading on the treadmill. You WILL fall off and it WILL hurt. Trust me, I know. Opt for a safer option and listen to your favourite audio book while your exercising. Set a daily exercise goal and use reading to get you through it!
2) Learn more about your body. Read a nutrition/diet book or try a few recipes from a low-fat cookbook. Knowledge is power – what can you learn to help you reach your health goals?
1) Read something inspirational. Choose an autobiography of someone whom you really admire, a self-help book you’ve been wanting to read or a spiritual novel. Read something that you hope will light the fire in your belly.
2) Read your favourite love story. Reread an old favourite or read the book version of your favourite chick-flick. Why do you love it so much? What is it about the characters that speaks to you?
*This looks like a really cute challenge, and I’ll be starting promptly (hopefully) on October 1st. Here are my choices:
Mind: I opted for Option 1; I’m thinking about reading a Jane Austen novel, since I’ve been meaning to for a while now.
Body: I chose Option 2; I’m going to try to finish An Apple a Day, which I’ve been meaning to start for a while now.
Soul: Option 2; I have no idea yet what I’ll be reading for this option.
This is a really cool challenge, and great chance to win some cool prizes, so go over and try sign up!! Thanks Annie for this great challenge 😀

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Book Contest: Breathing by Cheryl Renee Herbsman

This sounds like such a cool novel, and I’m a sap for any romantic tale. 🙂

Ms. Herbsman is kind enough to giveaway one signed ARC of Breathing, which comes out April 16th, 2009.

All you have to do is comment here, at her website, for a chance to win Breathing, so what are you waiting for?

Summary from Cheryl’s website (which is totally cute and worth a visit!):

What if the guy who took your breath away was the only one who could help you breathe?


Savannah would be happy to spend the summer in her coastal Carolina town lying in a hammock reading her beloved romance novels and working at the library. But then she meets Jackson. Once they lock eyes, she’s convinced he’s the one — her true love, her soul mate, a boy different from all the rest. And at first it looks like Savannah is right. Jackson abides by her mama’s strict rules, and stays by her side during a hospitalization for severe asthma, which Savannah becomes convinced is only improving because Jackson is there. But when he’s called away to help his family—and seems uncertain about returning — Savannah has to learn to breathe on her own, both literally and figuratively.


This debut novel has it all — an endearing, funny, hopelessly romantic main character, lots of down-home Southern charm, and a sunny, salty beach setting that will transport you to the Carolina coast”

Does that not sound cool or what? I can’t wait for the release of her novel and get to read Breathing 🙂

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OVER-Book Contest: Sleepless by Terri Clark

Click here for your chance to win an autographed version of Sleepless by Terri Clark. All you need to do is comment on Harmony’s blog for a chance to win 🙂

EDIT: This contest is over.

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The 2nd Canadian Book Challenge, Eh?

Starting July 1st, 2008 and running to July 1st, 2009, I challenge you to read (and write about) 13 Canadian books (by Canadians and/or about Canadians). For more information click here.

I’m really looking forward to this challenge, mostly because I’m Canadian myself 🙂 and I haven’t really read all that many books by Canadian authors/about Canadians (except for the Dear Canada novels when I was younger). I’m going to go with the From Sea to Sea to Sea method, which means I’ll be choosing 13 books, one from each territory/province. Here’s my list (will probably change a lot):

1. (Newfoundland & Labrador 1): The Town that Forgot How to Breathe by Kenneth J. Harvey
: The House of Hate by Percy Janes

2. (Prince Edward Island 1): Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

3. (Nova Scotia 1): Fall on Your Knees by Anne-Marie Macdonald

4. (New Brunswick 1): Minago Streets by Donna Allard (poetry)
: Mercy Among the Children by David Adams Richard

5. (Quebec 1): The Law of Dreams by Peter Behrens [also for Book Awards II Challenge]
: Life of Pi by Yann Martel [also for Book Awards II Challenge]

6. (Ontario 1): Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures by Vincent Lam (short stories)
: Dreams Underfoot by Charles de Lint

7. (Manitoba 1): A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews [also for Book Awards II Challenge]

8. (Saskatchewan 1): Serpent in the Night Sky by Dianne Warren (play)

9. (Alberta 1): One Muddy Hand by Earle Birney (poetry)

10. (British Columbia 1): Generation X: Tales of Accelareted Culture by Douglas Coupland
: Silverwing by Kenneth Oppel

11. (Yukon 1): The National Dream by Pierre Berton (non-fiction)

12. (Northwest Territories 1): Bloody Falls of the Coppermine by Mackay Jenkins
: Late Nights on Air by Elizabeth Hay [also for Book Awards II Challenge]

13. (Nunavut 1): White Dawn by James A. Houston

As usual bold means I’ve read it, italics means I’m working on it. 🙂

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Book Awards II

10 months. 10 award winners.

The challenge for Book Awards II will be slightly different. First of all, it will last for 10 months instead of 12. Since we had over 100 participants last time, there wasn’t room for everyone on the blog site due to blogger’s limitation of only 100 contributors. Taking off those two months will allow me to clean up the site and set up the next challenge. On July 15th, I’ll be deleting the participants from the first challenge UNLESS you’ve signed up for the new challenge. Your reviews won’t be deleted, you just won’t be able to post at the blog site anymore.

Rules:

  1. Read 10 award winners from August 1, 2008 through June 1, 2009.
  2. You must have at least FIVE different awards in your ten titles.
  3. Overlaps with other challenges are permitted.
  4. You don’t have to post your choices right away, and your list can change at any time.
  5. ‘Award winners’ is loosely defined; make the challenge fit your needs, keeping in mind Rule #2.
  6. SIGN UP here
  7. Have fun reading!

This will be my first book challenge. :O Here are my 10 books (they will probably change):

1. The Colour Purple by Alice Walker (1983 Pulitzer)
2. To Kill A Mocking Bird by Harper Lee (1961 Pulitzer)
3. Life of Pi by Yann Martel (2002 Booker)
4. Inglorious by Joanna Kavenna (2008 Orange)
5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in Night-Time by Mark Haddon (2003 Costa/Whitbread)
6. Late Nights on Air by Elizabeth Hay (2007 Giller)
7. A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews (2004 Governor General)
8. The Law of Dreams by Peter Behrens (2006 Governor General)
9. Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding (1998 British)
10. Runaway by Alice Munro (2004 Giller)
11. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (1986 Hugo)

Bold means I’ve read it, italics means I’m working on it.

I’ve mostly chosen books that I’ve planned to read for a while now, and the others are usually ones that I’ve heard of before.

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