Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Review: Wildthorn by Jane Eagland

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Title: Wildthorn

Author: Jane Eagland


Who Should Read It?
A GREAT book for all fans of YA, especially those that like a lot of intrigue and a bit of mystery.

What I Have to Say:
I really really really LOVED this book, and I desperately wanted to feel like I could give it 5 stars or even 4 1/2 stars. Unfortunately, though, there were just some parts that felt over-contrived. If that makes sense. As difficult as it was to get to the point in which things worked out for Lou, things worked out just a little bit too easily for her. Things always ended up being pretty much EXACTLY as you expected them to be.

That said, this book read SO smoothly. I had barely started before I was finished - almost like I got so into it that I never even really felt myself reading.

The story starts off when Lou ends up at the doors of a mental institution, where she is told she is crazy, and she must be schizophrenic, as she doesn't even seem to know her own name. The more she tries to convince the people there that she is not crazy, the crazier she seems. No one believes her, except for one exceptionally sympathetic worker, Eliza.

This book moves flawlessly back and forth between Louisa's time at Wildthorn, the mental institution, and her memories of growing up with her mother, her doctor father, and her terrible brother. This book moves back and forth between past and present so smoothly that, if you don't think about it too much, it's difficult to know whether Lou's memories are memories or figments of her imagination. Is she actually Louisa Cosgrove? Or is she really the crazy Lucy Childs?

I really enjoyed every aspect of this story, except maybe the love story. I don't want to say too much about it, as I'm afraid it will give to much away, but it really just felt out of place to me. I was totally incapable of believing it, even from a fictional point of view.

Anyway, overall, this book is mysterious, well-written, and full of mystery and intrigue! It will keep you easily reading and excited right up until the very end.

Summary:Seventeen-year-old Louisa Cosgrove longs to break free from her respectable life as a Victorian doctor's daughter. But her dreams become a nightmare when Louisa is sent to Wildthorn Hall: labeled a lunatic, deprived of her liberty and even her real name. As she unravels the betrayals that led to her incarceration, she realizes there are many kinds of prison. She must be honest with herself - and others - in order to be set free. And love may be the key...

Cover Story: It's kind of fabulous. Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems like the corsette might be symbolic for all the different ways that Lou found herself trapped throughout her life. Wonderful cover!

Disclosure: This book was received for review from Net Galley. This in no way affected my review.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Review: Karma Bites by Stacey Kramer and Valerie Thomas

As I think has been evidenced by my lack of presence in the blogging world lately, I haven't really been feeling the desire to say anything about books lately. I want to read them and not feel like I HAVE to have something to say. It's weird, as I used to feel like I was just DYING to get something out every time I would finish reading something. Anyhow, I'm going to give this a try here, but it's been a while. Also, have you entered this awesome contest yet? If not, you should. So go do it. Now.

Title: Karma Bites

Author: Stacey Kramer and Valerie Thomas

Rating: 1/2

Who Should Read It?
This is a book that will really appeal to middle grade readers. It's absolutely brilliant for the age range to which it's aiming, and adults might still enjoy it for nostalgia purposes.

What I Have to Say:
Karma Bites was cute. Really cute. An absolutely adorable read for any middle grade reader, I think. I feel like the problem I have, a lot of times, with middle grade books, is that I am so far away from being that age that I'm just totally incapable of understanding the main character. Which leaves me finding them absolutely annoying and unsupportable. Franny Flanders, while slightly annoying at times, managed to escape the annoying middle grade main character stereotype.

She was funny and ballsy and ridiculous, and even though she often had absolutely nothing going for her, she managed to be just the right amount of OCD neurotic ridiculous (which is something, I must say, I can totally understand). And maybe that's why I almost ended up loving her at the end. She messed up EVERYTHING, but in that way that it's just messed up enough so that everything is okay. And this is something I also do regularly in my daily life. Which made her, despite our age difference, totally relate-to-able.

Franny Flanders aside, the rest of the characters, from the into the occult Granny with the magic box to Alden, the supposed love of Franny's life who once managed to touch her ear for a whole few seconds, to her two best friends who can't talk to each other, were all just the right amount of ridiculous. I loved reading about everything and everyone Franny managed to screw up.

Unfortunately, there were also times when this book lagged. Some things that were funny in the beginning just kept going on and on and on and on and on (and then on and on some more), when I really wished they would just end. The twists never really felt like twists, instead feeling more like inevitabilities. The plot was just too easy at times. And then, while I'm into magic and therefore loved that aspect of the book, I'm also tired of reading about stereotypical cliques, and without those, this book couldn't have existed.

Still, my final conclusion is that it was an overall pleasant and funny read, best read in one sitting.

Summary: Life seems to have it in for Franny Flanders.

Her best friends aren’t speaking, her parents just divorced, and her hippie grandmother has moved in. The only karma Franny’s got is bad karma.

Then Franny gets her hands on a box of magic recipes that could fix all of her problems. It could even change the world! Finally, life is looking up.

But Franny is about to learn that magic and karma aren’t to be played with. When you mess with the universe, it can bite back in unexpected ways.


Cover Story: I really enjoy this cover! I don't know why, but it sort of reminds me of a Goosebumps cover. I used to LOVE those books back when I was, like 10. Definitely got the nostalgia feeling going on!

Disclosure: This book was sent to me for review for the publisher, which in no way affected what I had to say. :-P

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