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Monday, January 31, 2011

Leaving Paradise - Simone Elkeles

Title: Leaving Paradise
Series: #1
Author: Simone Elkeles
Publisher: Flux
Pages: Paperback, 303 pages
Rating: 4 Excellent go buy it!

Amazon | Goodreads | Book Depository

Nothing has been the same since Caleb Becker left a party drunk, got behind the wheel, and hit Maggie Armstrong. Even after months of painful physical therapy, Maggie walks with a limp. Her social life is nil and a scholarship to study abroad—her chance to escape everyone and their pitying stares—has been canceled.
After a year in juvenile jail, Caleb’s free . . . if freedom means endless nagging from a transition coach and the prying eyes of the entire town. Coming home should feel good, but his family and ex-girlfriend seem like strangers.
Caleb and Maggie are outsiders, pigeon-holed as "criminal" and "freak." Then the truth emerges about what really happened the night of the accident and, once again, everything changes. It’s a bleak and tortuous journey for Caleb and Maggie, yet they end up finding comfort and strength from a surprising source: each other.


Leaving paradise is about Maggie And Caleb who shared the same fate.

Caleb the one who hit and run Maggie Armstrong as he drive while being drunk was imprisoned for a year while Maggie suffered from tibial plateau fracture and is now under therapy in order for her to walk better again. After a year of accident the two faces the world as Caleb is finally sent out from prison while doing the community service and Maggie doing her monthly therapy.

The accident changes their lives as Maggie instantly became a freak and a loner as her friends left her and doesn’t treat her friends anymore. And Caleb’s family became a stranger to him. They don’t look at him the same way and being constantly nervous whenever his around.

I bought this book because Simone Elkeles is the author seeing as how I love her Perfect chemistry made me think that maybe this story will stock in me too. And it did. Ms. Simone indeed made a story where you can feel the character’s emotions and making you stay up night just to finish the story. Plus she wrote with the two characters point of view really will inform you how the two thinks.

Though I think that Caleb falling for Maggie in ‘this book’ is a bit rushed and I was left gaping. I won’t give any detail as to why but you reading it may be able to find why I said it.

The ending was…a bit disappointing. There is a twist in the story that you think there is hope about Caleb’s life (which is true) but still he decided to do it and that made not only Maggie but his family sad despite of everything.



Sunday, January 30, 2011

In My Mailbox (6)

In My Mailbox
IMM is a meme started by Kristi of The Story Siren with some inspiration from Alea of Pop Culture Junkie.

The idea behind IMM was not only to put new books on your radar but to also encourage blogger interaction. IMM explores the weekly contents of my mailbox & books bought. And sometimes other fun goodies.

Anyone can participate in IMM and you are not limited to only sharing books that arrive via your mailbox. You can also share books that you've bought or books that you've gotten at the library.

Mithee's Mailbox:

These are the books I got for the past couple of weeks.

Won/Bought/Borrowed/For review
Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
Radiance by Alyson Noel
Awakened by Ednah Walters
Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
Breaking Dawnby Stephenie Meyer
Eternal (anthology) edited by P.C. Cast
Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John (ARC)
Fallen by Lauren Kate*
Across the Universe by Beth Revis*
Logic of Demons by H.A. Goodman*
The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney*
The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa*
Phantom Universe by Laura Kreitzer (ARC)*
Sunflower :)
*not in pic (e-book/borrowed/returned to the owner before I could take a pic)

From NetGalley: (clicking the image will lead to its Amazon page)

Lost VoicesOkay for NowThe Betrayal of Maggie BlairThe CellarThe Lipstick LawsThe VespertineTrickster's Girl (Raven Duet)AwakenAlways a WitchAngelfire (Angelfire - Trilogy)Outside In (Harlequin Teen)
I downloaded as much galleys as I could download from NetGalley because my mom wants to permanently unsubscribe from our internet provider. It totally sucks, but I guess it is for the better. My parents are getting tired of my brother doing nothing but surf the web all day, all night. Internet is making him totally useless, so yeah. Whether I like it or not, I'm doomed as well. :((

Thanks a lot to Project Fraeya, Bev, Leslie, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Clarion, Graphia Books, Harlequin Teen, H.A. Goodman, Laura Kreitzer and Obsidian Mountain Publishing and to whomever put the sunflower on my computer desk (my parents, sis and bro don't know where it came from!)


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Wordsworth Classing Reading Challenge: January Update

January is heading toward the end, we've been in 2011 for almost a month now, and I'm able to finish two classic books. One of them unfortunately not part of Wordsworth Classic so I can't add it as my list but if you're curious, you can read my review on Animal Farm by George Orwell.

Title: Picture of Dorian Gray

Author: Oscar Wilde

Publisher: Wordsworth Classic

Rate: 3 and a half stars

"...In this country it is enough have distinction and brains for every common tongue to wag against him. And what sort of lives do these people, who pose as being moral, lead themselves? My dear fellow, you forget that we are in the native land of the hypocrite."

Picture of Dorian Gray tells a story about a very beautiful man who was gifted (or was cursed, depend on which side you're on) with eternal youthfulness. Not even one wrinkle or line landed on his face; even when he grew older he still had his boyish face. On the contrary, it was a painting of him that became older and more wicked by the time, bore the mark of every crime he committed; a girl committed suicide, a young man fell intoxicated by drug, and many more. It seems everything he touched were crumbled, while himself stayed pure and beautiful.

First time I read this story was years ago; it was abridged version and I really like it. The horror in the painting and how it changed the way Dorian thinks about himself. Now, after reading the original version, I must admit I didn't like it they way I liked it before. It was too much distractions, too much details, too much description that made me bored. I understood that some of those descriptions were necessary, but it was just too much.

However the characters were interesting. Though I didn't like them, I was fascinated by them. This kind of remind me of one scene in this book where Lord Henry lent a book to Dorian Gray, and asked about the book.

"I didn't say I liked it, Harry. I said it fascinated me. There is a great difference."

That is exactly how I feel about the characters in this book. I didn't like Dorian Gray, Lord Henry, or even Basil Hallwark. Most of them were too in love with vanity; it was boring for me. But I quite enjoyed reading Lord Henry and Dorian Gray's conversation, especially when they were joined by woman; they were charming, I got to admit that.

So, what about you? Have you read any classic book on January? You can link your review or tell me your progress in comment.


Review: Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

Title: Flipped
Author: Wendelin Van Draanen
Series: None
Pages: 224 (Paperback)

Release Date: May 13th 2003
Published by: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Flipped is a romance told in two voices. The first time Juli Baker saw Bryce Loski, she flipped. The first time Bryce saw Juli, he ran. That’s pretty much the pattern for these two neighbors until the eighth grade, when, just as Juli is realizing Bryce isn’t as wonderful as she thought, Bryce is starting to see that Juli is pretty amazing. How these two teens manage to see beyond the surface of things and come together makes for a comic and poignant romance.

Brilliant. That's what this book is. The moment I started reading the first chapter, I knew I was going to be hooked. I mean, how can one be not enthralled by Bryce?
"All I've ever wanted is for Juli Baker to leave me alone. For her to back off - you know, just give me some space."
Okay. Maybe that was rude. But, seriously. Didn’t that pique your interest? :))

The moment Juli Baker laid eyes on Bryce Loski, it was love. But for Bryce? It was not. Flipped is told in alternating points of view of Juli and Bryce. It was really amusing to get a peek on how these two characters perceive the same situations. Juli seemed a little pathetic as she would constantly misunderstand Bryce's actions. Her brain would make her perceive things from her Bryce fantasies instead of what really happened – a perfect example of an infatuated person. She would keep throwing herself at him thinking that he was just being shy… as if he really has a crush on her.

I really enjoyed both POV's, especially Bryce's. His character development was very much interesting. Even though he was such a jerk to Juli, you can’t deny the fact that this kid is totally adorable. Juli was very naïve, but at the same time, she was very smart and understanding. She was brought up by wonderful parents who taught her so many valuable things in life. Bryce, on the other hand, was brought up by a family whose head had so much influence on him that he unknowingly adapted his rotten attitude. I hated his father with a passion. He was an insensitive jerk who did not value other people’s feelings. Really, Bryce’s bad attitude must be blamed on him. I was really glad that he flipped on the end.

The Loski family might be more logical than the Baker family, who use their hearts and feelings more often over their minds, unlike the Loskis. But when the two families are compared, I realized that the Loskis were actually more naïve than the Bakers. At the beginning of the book, I’ve always questioned the Baker family; why do this? Why do that? Didn’t they know that it’s not the right thing to do to a neighbor? And other things like that. I was certain that I didn’t want a neighbor like them. I thought that their family was very ignorant, but as the story goes on, I flipped. I thought the Baker family was the best family ever. No kidding. The way they brought up their kids was (for the lack of word) very cool. And I came to realize just how well above the Bakers are from the Loskis; that their family was the more ignorant one. I truly admire the Baker family.

This book teaches the readers a lot of things about family, and life in general. It teaches us to count our blessings because a simple mishap could change our lives forever. It also teaches us to look at the bigger picture of things instead of looking at the individual parts - like what happened to Bryce and Juli. For 6 years, Juli had been swayed by the bright blue color of Bryce’s eyes. It became the basis of her feelings for him. She failed to realize that his attitude made him less than what she perceived him to be. I am truly glad that Bryce has overcome the cowardness, and just be himself – the one that was not influenced by his father. I was pretty happy that he found his true self at the end. But that aside, I was slightly disappointed with how the book ended. Not because it was awful, but because it was left open-ended. I really wished it would go on forever…

Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository

About the Author:
Wendelin Van Draanen (born January 6, 1965, Chicago, Illinois) is an American author of children's books. She lives in California with her husband Mark Parsons and two sons, Colton and Connor. The daughter of chemists who emigrated to the U.S. from Holland, she worked as a math teacher and then as a high school computer science teacher before becoming a full-time writer. Her books feature spunky lead characters and very real classroom dialogue. Van Draanen is probably best-known for her Sammy Keyes series of novels, featuring a teenage detective named Samantha ("Sammy") Keyes. Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief won the 1999 Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Juvenile Mystery. In 2004-2005 Van Draanen wrote a four-book series for younger readers called Shredderman, about a 5th grade boy who assumes a secret identity to help him win the battle for truth and justice. These two series manage to be character driven and very funny while featuring fast-paced plots. Van Draanen also wrote the standalone teen romance Flipped in a he-said she-said style with the two protagonists alternately presenting their perspective on a shared set of events. Her book, Runaway, is about a girl named Holly who tries to escape from her latest foster home. He latest book that was released December 2008, is Sammy Keyes and the Hard Cash.

Stalk the Author: Goodreads / Website


You have no idea just how in love I am with Callan McAullife. That cute dude who played Bryce in the movie. God, I've been swooning over him for weeks now! He's so adorable I think I'm gonna cry! Lol.


Book Blogger Hop (4) & Follow Friday (8)

Book Blogger Hop
Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee. Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Jennifer of Crazy-For-Books.

Question for the hop: "What book are you most looking forward to seeing published in 2011? Why are you anticipating that book?"

Lyn: Some of the books I looked forward to be published in 2011 have been released, or soon to be released and I already read the ARC. And for other books, I must say City of Fallen Angels and whatever book Paulo Coelho is going to write.

Question for FF:"What is/was your favorite subject in school?"

Lyn: Ugh, this is tough. It's been awhile since I studied but in high school, English was my favorite subject. In college, it was Mass Communication.

While you're here don't forget to check out what we have this week! And enter our GIVEAWAY for Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Sausages by Tom Holt. It's hilarious!

Friday, January 28, 2011

YA & MG Fantasy Novels: US vs UK

Few days ago while chatting with Mithee, I thought about the differences between fantasy written by US authors and UK authors.And in my mind I can see the pattern. It's not really distinctive but after reading several UK books and US books, you might notice the differences.

These are some of the US YA/MG fantasy novels:

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa

These are some of the UK YA/MG fantasy novels:

Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
Bartimaeus Series by Jonathan Stroud
Tunnels series by Roderick Gordon & Brian Williams
The Crowfield Curse by Pat Walsh

Now, lets discuss one by one.
1. Cover
US: Usually use real person
UK: Usually abstract, drawing, items, or anything but real person.

2. Main Character
US: Not all, but most of main characters YA/MG in US fantasy novels are girls. Except for some like Eragon, most famous YA/MG fantasy novels from US feature girls as main character. And usually it was written in first person POV. I don't have the number, I don't know if anyone had research about this before, but I think it must be more than 70% YA/MG US fantasy out there written in first person POV. Not only that, most main characters in US fantasy are super handsome or beautiful. Basically appearance matter, which prone to be Mary-Sue and Gary Stu.
UK: UK YA/MG fantasy novels usually feature boys as their main characters and written in third person POV. Some combine first person and third person (ex: Bartimaeus trilogy) but still the amount of fantasy novels written in third person POV are bigger than first person POV. UK Fantasy also considered appearance as important, but instead making it handsome and pretty, usually they made it unique.

3. Plot Style
US: The common theme in US YA/MG Fantasy is teen angst and love triangle. Love story became the important thing, sometimes as important as the action or the good vs bad plot.
UK: Most of UK YA/MG Fantasy features coming-of-age story. Most notably, Harry Potter. Love story usually only featured as side-story, hinted, or even not exist at all.

I'm not going say one is better than another. I think it all depend on what kind of fantasy story do you like. Personally I like third person POV more, I also like coming-of-age theme and I prefer love story as side story, which is why I tend to read and like UK fantasy more. But it doesn't means I didn't like US Fantasy because some of them were great and I enjoyed it very well.

So, did you spot any difference I haven't listed in here?



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