Sunday, February 21, 2010

"The Girl Who Could Fly" by Victoria Forester (Debut Author)

Have you ever picked up a book and thought, "Hmm, that sounds interesting," then, upon reading it, think it's middle-ground, only to change your mind yet again because the final third is so good it more than makes up for everything else? That was my experience with The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester. I'm not saying the first two-thirds were sub-par or dislikable, just that I wasn't hanging onto
every twist and turn in the plot. By the end, however, I was hoping there was a sequel on the horizon, though there doesn't appear to be one yet.

I'm enamored with Forester's characters: Piper, who endeared herself to me with her cheery outlook on life that reminded me of Anne Shirley (from L.M. Montgomery's Green Gables series), Conrad, who was, at first, detestable, but grew to be my absolute favorite character, and I even found myself liking Dr. Hellion. The character development among the major players was handled quite well, and I truly cared for all of them by the end. If is a sequel is to come out, I'd like to see more fleshed out secondary characters as well as some light shed onto the mysterious J. There were too many things left hanging for there to not be a continuation despite the pretty bow typing up the majority of the story and bringing a sense of closure to the end.

The back cover of the book is what initially had me picking it up. I like reading about people who are exceptional. Ultimately, the book is about a bunch of kids with super powers. Our main character, Piper, for example, can fly. Upon discovering that Piper is "special," the government steps in and takes her away from her family to live in a secluded institution for people like her called I.N.S.A.N.E. (which stands for something scientific, but I forget what ^^;). At first, the school seems ob e wonderful and save, but we soon discover that there is something sinister lurking beneath the surface, something the government will go to great lengths to hide, even from the children under its protection...

Without going into further detail since I hate being spoiled and try not to ruin a book for other potential readers, I'll end by saying that this book had a lot of twists and turns, some of which I never saw coming. While some parts of the novel were ho-hum for my fickle mind, I stayed engaged and found The Girl Who Could Fly to be a great way to pass the time.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

"Ice" by Sarah Beth Durst


Due to all of this week's record-breaking snow, I thought it was the perfect time to talk about a recent gem I just finished reading entitled "Ice." It was my first time reading a book by Sarah Beth Durst and upon completion, I snagged her other two novels, Into the Wild and Out of the Wild, from the library. I look forward to reading them because I really enjoyed the world of Ice that Durst wove together for us. I initially picked up Ice because it revolved around a fairytale (East of the Sun, West of the Moon, which is sort of a Norwegian Beauty and the Beast), which is one of my all-time favorite genres to read. It had been on my reading list for a while, but it wasn't until I started hearing positive feedback from fellow readers that I decided to actively read it. I don't know why I waited so long!

First off, I just want to say that Cassie is a kick-ass heroine. We need more girls like her in (especially YA) literature. I love the whole "Girl Power" movement that authors like Tamora Pierce (co-founder of Sheroes) have spent time nurturing. I think the only other recent author with amazing heroines that I've read lately is Kristin Cashore (If you haven't read her novels, particularly Graceling, yet, then what are you waiting for? Run, don't walk!).

Cassie is intelligent and knows exactly what she wants in life. She has a huge heart and cares deeply for the polar bears she researches. Right before her birthday, she finds out that a terrible burden has been placed upon her shoulders. Her grandmother used to tell her a fairytale about a polar bear king and the bargain he had struck with a mortal woman, supposedly her mother, who is now trapped in the troll kingdom as penance for breaking her word. Cassie never believed the story to be true until she actually encounters the polar bear, which is where Ice truly begins. Watching Cassie and Bear's relationship bloom feels infinitely fragile and wonderous. Cassie goes from loathing and fearing Bear and her situation to developing genuine feelings for him. She even blossoms as a person and realizes just how much she can help her beloved polar bears while working with Bear and soon becomes happy with her lot in life. When tragedy befalls the couple (through a situation that reminds me strongly of the mythological tale of Cupid and Psyche), Cassie sets out on a journey to reach the ends of the earth to save her beloved. Not only is the journey long and dangerous, Cassie is also heavily pregnant by the time the story is approaching its climax. I don't want to reveal much more, but there is one part towards the end that simply took my breath away and connected a lot of the dots in the novel for me in a way I hadn't realized was possible. That moment is when I stumbled head over heels in love with Ice.

The story itself has a unique formatting. I like that every chapter starts off with Longitude, Latitude, and Altitude coordinates. Not only is this important in the context of the story, it also reveals a lot about Cassie as a person and her prior way of life before meeting Bear. I really appreciate how much thought Sarah Beth Durst put into her novel. I really felt like I was in the Arctic due to how life-life and precise all of her detailing was. For example, I wasn't sure of what, exactly, a whiteout was when I encountered the term in Ice, so I looked it up. The other day while watching news coverage of Wednesday's blizzard, the newscasters kept tossing the term "whiteout conditions" around and I knew what to expect due to my research on the term.

I really adored reading Ice and look forward to reading more books by Durst. So far, this has probably been one of my favorite books, teen or otherwise, in the past couple of seasons.

[And if you like Ice, be sure to check out other YA retellings of East of the Sun, West of the Moon: East by Edith Pattou and Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George or two other beautiful renditions of this classic tale.]

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"The Lonely Hearts Club" by Elizabeth Eulberg (Debut Author)


With Valentine's Day less than a week away, I decided to kick off the blog with a nice, fluffy romp I just finished reading. This type of novel isn't my usual cup of tea, I know. I initially picked the book up because I noticed the title getting a lot of attention at work and wanted to see what all of the hype was about.

The Lonely Hearts Club was a really sweet, lighthearted book. Reading it was a fun, engrossing way to pass the time. As a reader, I found myself sucked into Penny Lane's life, unwilling to stop reading and deny myself the pleasure of seeing what happened next. TLHC wasn't at all what I had been expecting, and I truly found myself caring about the characters who were sharing their lives with me.

In short, the novel is about a couple of teenage girls who decide to swear off dating because they're tired of the way guys treat them. They form The Lonely Hearts Club and their idea begins spreading through the school. Throughout it all, the girls explore the depths of friendship and learn to become strong individuals who can ultimately allow guys into their lives while still respecting themselves and not changing who they are for "some boy." The novel was like a nice, refreshing glass of lemonade on a clear, sunny day (certainly lighter than a lot of what I've been reading lately!).

But be warned! By the time I hit the last page, I had The Beatles stuck in my head due to the integral part their music played in the book. Even the name of TLHC stems from a Beatles song/album ("Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"). On top of that, the book jacket is designed to look like a feminine version of the cover image of the album Abbey Road, which is kind of awesome.

While we're talking about the design side of things, the book was really nice to hold in my hands. It's definitely worth reading a physical copy for this one. The final page of some of the chapters consisted of a lovely gray page rarely seen in books, then was followed by a Beatles quote. The quotes reminded me of Penny Lane's journal and the importance of Beatle quotes in her life. Plus, as I said earlier, I loved the cover. Cover art always interests me. I'd love to design a book cover someday myself. ^_^

All in all, reading this book was time well spent. I recommend giving this book a go. :)

Book Review Policy

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog and check out my Review Policy.

First and foremost: I only review books I enjoyed reading on this blog. Because of this, it may seem as though the reviews here are always favorable, but I am neither paid for what I type here nor am I a fan of every book I read. As a writer myself, I would never want to slam someone else's hard work. Authors put their hearts into what they write. Just because one person doesn't like a novel doesn't mean that millions of others won't love it. Just because I don't like a book doesn't mean you won't and vice versa. This is a blog for my personal opinions and I won't write bad things about an author that takes away a potential fan of that book. I may mention something I disliked in a book, but I will never post a bad review.

Primarily, I read/review more Teen books than I do adult or middle-grade fiction, but I am open to reviewing anything I have an interest in, especially in the fantasy genre.  My favorite sub-genres are high fantasy, fairy tales and mythological retellings, and dystopian novels.

I'm always interested in featuring author interviews, blog tours, and giveaways on the blog, so I'd love to work with you if the title requires such promotion.

Reviewed titles are eventually posted on sites such as AmazonBarnes and NobleGoodreads, and Library Thing. Sometimes, I'll link to this blog and mention current entries via Facebook or my BN.com Forums profile. Please let me know if you'd like my review of your work posted elsewhere.

If you are a agent, publicist, or author and would like to have your title reviewed, please contact abackwardsstory-at-gmaildotcom.

[If you are experiencing email issues, double-check your spelling and make sure to reformat this address before you copy/paste this email address. I don't have it exactly right above so that spammers won't flood my inbox. Please alter it accordingly. ^_^  I don't check this page for comments and likely WON'T see anything you pitch below. Email is the best way to reach me!]


Welcome, Bookworms of the World!

If you're anything like me, you eat, sleep, and breathe books. Your bookcases (yes, plural) are crammed to the point of overflowing and you have a never-ending pile at your bedside table just waiting to be read. A bookworm's job is never done, and it's up to all of us to help one another discover the next riveting novel just begging to be read.

This blog is just my opinion, dedicated to sharing my love of the written word with you, my fellow bookworms. ^_^




[And hey, maybe by finally putting this blog to good use, I'll get around to posting my reviews with more consistency than I have in the past. It's one of my New Year Resolutions, at any rate!]

Upcoming Blog Tours


I often interact with authors and publishers to take part in Book Tours, Cover Reveals, and more.

Here are the tours I'm scheduled for next:


January 2013

~January 9: CADET by Alex Lidell Guest Post (Hosted by ATOMR Book Tours)
~January 17: RELEASE by M.R. Merrick Guest Post (Hosted by Stuck in Books)
~January 22: EVIE'S KNIGHT by Kimberly Krey Guest Post (Hosted by Prism Book Tours)
~January 9: Blaze (Or Love in the Time of Super Villains by Laurie Boyle Crompton Guest Post (Hosted by Sourcebooks Fire)
~January 27: SCARLET by Marissa Meyer Guest Post (Hosted by Macmillan) 
~January 28: WHILE HE WAS AWAY by KAren Halvorsen Schreck Cover Reveal (Hosted by Sourcebooks) 


February 2013

~February 19: CAST OF STONES by Patrick W. Carr Guest Post (Hosted by Prism Book Tours)
~February 28: Real Mermaids Series by Hélène Boudreau Guest Post (Hosted by Sourcebooks)



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PREVIOUS TOUR STOPS
(Guest posts, author and character interviews, and more!)

TK

Reviews

As of July 2012, this page is a work in progress and not yet complete!

Reviews
(Alphabetical by Author)


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Features

As of July 2012, this page is a work in progress and not yet complete!

AUTHOR FEATURES
(Guest posts, author and character interviews, and more!)


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DESIGNER FEATURES
(Guest posts and designer interviews)


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MYTHOLOGICAL MONDAYS FEATURE
(Reviews, cover reveals, author features, and more!)


See above tab on menu bar for all tagged entries!



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COVER CRAZY FEATURE
(Featuring cover reveals and cover analysis)


See above tab on menu bar for all tagged entries!



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WAITING ON WEDNESDAY FEATURE
(Spotlighting future must-reads!)


View all tagged entries!


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FAIRY TALE FORTNIGHT ROUND-UPS
(Spotlighting future must-reads!)


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SPLASH INTO SUMMER ROUND-UPS
(Spotlighting future must-reads!)


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OTHER FEATURES
(Misc.)


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Contact Me

You can reach me via email at abackwardsstory(at)gmail(dot)com.

You can also follow me on Goodreads and Twitter!

Please visit my Review Policy page before contacting me for a review.

Thank you for stopping by!

Giveaway Policy

A Backwards Story hosts multiple giveaways each year.  Some are self-hosted, while others are sponsored by authors and publishers.

Giveaways rules vary based on the giveaway host; some are international while others are US/CA only.  You NEVER need to be a follower to enter my giveaways.  You often have the choice of optional entries, but it is never required.

For all giveaways, entrants must be at least thirteen years of age or  have a parent/guardian enter in his/her place.

Winning entries will be contacted via email and given a specified time frame to respond before a new winner is chosen.  Winners are no longer announced on A Backwards Story because it takes too much time and generates too many "clutter" posts.

Please email abackwardsstory(at)gmail(dot)com or leave a comment in the giveaway you're entering with any questions.