Posts tagged ‘paranormalcy’

December 22nd, 2010

Five Challenge: Debuts

by Madeleine Rex

Persnickety Snark has a neat challenge/meme going for the last days of the year. I’m terrible at rephrasing things, so I’m going to quote directly:

It’s called the Persnickety Snark FIVE Challenge

From December 21st to 31st I posted daily on different elements of YA. I chose my top five titles/series/moments for each day. It was purely subjective / opinion based but I thought it would be fun to share my thoughts on YA for the year.  I am doing the same for 2010.  You can read last year’s efforts here.

I have included the themes for each day below so should you choose to join me you can. It’s a busy time of year so you might even pre-schedule posts or only chime in on the topics that interest you.

The challenge began yesterday, but instead of posting twice on one day, I’m going to skip the re-reads category (I hardly re-read anyway, so it won’t make much of a difference). Today’s (really yesterday’s) challenge? 5 Great Debuts… But it will actually be three because I haven’t read enough debuts.

1. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.

But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.

My Review

2. Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers

Frannie Cavanaugh is a good Catholic girl with a bit of a wicked streak. She has spent years keeping everyone at a distance—-even her closest friends—-and it seems as if her senior year is going to be more of the same . . . until Luc Cain enrolls in her class. No one knows where he came from, but Frannie can’t seem to stay away from him.

What she doesn’t know is that Luc is on a mission. He’s been sent from Hell itself to claim Frannie’s soul. It should be easy—-all he has to do is get her to sin, and Luc is as tempting as they come. Frannie doesn’t stand a chance. But he has to work fast, because if the infernals are after her, the celestials can’t be far behind. And sure enough, it’s not long before the angel Gabriel shows up, willing to do anything to keep Luc from getting what he came for. It isn’t long before they find themselves fighting for more than just Frannie’s soul.

But if Luc fails, there will be Hell to pay . . . for all of them.

My Review

3. Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick

Amber Appleton lives in a bus. Ever since her mom’s boyfriend kicked them out, Amber, her mom, and her totally loyal dog, Bobby Big Boy (aka Thrice B) have been camped out in the back of Hello Yellow (the school bus her mom drives). Still, Amber, the self-proclaimed princess of hope and girl of unyielding optimism, refuses to sweat the bad stuff. But when a fatal tragedy threatens Amber’s optimism–and her way of life, can Amber continue to be the rock star of hope? With an oddball cast of characters, and a heartwarming, inspiring story, this novel unveils a beautifully beaten-up world of laughs, loyalty, and hard-earned hope.

My Review

All three of these were fantastic books, but I have to step up and say that more people need to read Sorta Like a Rock Star! The other two have gotten so much more hype, but the third deserves just as much!

Anyway, I’m hoping that I’ll actually be able to deliver the desired five books tomorrow with 5 Great Covers!

Good night!

P.S. Exclamation point, exclamation point, exclamation point…

September 3rd, 2010

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: The Iron King

Author: Julie Kagawa

Published: February, 2010

Number of Pages: 368

Rating: 4/5

Quote:

“…What do you want, Ash?”

“Your head,” Ash answered softly. “On a pike. But what I want doesn’t matter this time.” He pointed his sword at me. “I’ve come for her.”

I gasped as my heart and stomach began careening around my chest. He’s here for me, to kill me, like he promised at Elysium.

“Over my dead body.” Puck smiled, as if this was a friendly  conversation on the street, but I felt the muscles coiling under his skin.

“That was part of the plan.”…

“Stay back, princess,” Puck warned, pushing me out of the way. He reached into his boot and pulled out a dagger, the curved blade clear as glass. “This might get a little rough.”

“Puck, no.” I clutched at his sleeve. “Don’t fight him. Someone could die.”

“Duels to the death tend to end that way.” Puck grinned…

Synopsis:

Meghan Chase has never fit in at her small-town high school, and now, on the eve of her 16th birthday, she discovers why. When her half brother is kidnapped, Meghan is drawn into a fantastical world she never imagined–the world of Faery, where anything you see may try to eat you, and Meghan is the daughter of the summer faery king. Now she will journey into the depths of Faery to face an unknown enemy . . . and beg the help of a winter prince who might as soon kill her as let her touch his icy heart. The Iron King is the first book in the Iron Fey series. [From Goodreads]

Review:

I was on the way up to my family’s land, Pine Hollow (we named it. Yes, we did.) and found myself in a dilemma. I had five or six different books that I could read next, and only one set of eyes. I turned to my Twitter pals and asked them which of the books I should read. The Iron King won out, and I’m so grateful that it did! From the minute we dove into the Faery world, I couldn’t believe my mind. The vivid images in my head, the harsh, fascinating realities of Julie Kagawa’s world… they astounded me.

What an insanely interesting book! I haven’t read many books about faeries, and most of the information I’ve read about them I found in Paranormalcy by Kiersten White (Review), which also has a fantastic faery storyline. The Iron King, however, turns faeries into a main focus. Their mystic and often cruel nature was intriguing. I cannot wait to read the sequel, The Iron Daughter, if only to be back in Nevernever (Aka, Faeryland).

The characters in the novel will grip you and hold you tight, wrenching you apart when they move in opposite directions or toward conflicting goals. Meghan is a character I can easily like and respect, although I thought she could be a little ridiculous at times. At one point, she was upset over something (sorry for the vagueness, but I’m trying to avoid spoilers.) and it struck me as totally silly. So, although she seemed a little ridiculous at times, it didn’t shadow the fact that she’s ultimately a good and cute little person. Which makes me glad.

As most YA books seem to, there was certainly a love triangle in this book. It’s actually in a state of germination, if you ask me. I’m sure the sequel holds a lot more in this area as the relationships develop further. Let me tell you – I have never been this torn (well, except in the case of Clockwork AngelReview). Usually, I know right from the start who I’m rooting for, or who I prefer in general, even if I don’t necessarily need them to end up with the girl (I’ll take him!). Originally, I was wholeheartedly Team Puck. Weird “P” names for the win! His goofiness and lightheartedness are endearing, and the skinny boy with bright-orange hair idea of him that I have in my head is cute. However, as Ash became more of a focal point, I couldn’t escape the feeling that he’s great in his own icy way. Overall, I’m remaining open to options, but I’m going to hold tight to my Team Puck for however long I can.

I think the thing about this book that wowed me the most, that has gripped me so tightly that there is no possible way I could go a month before reading The Iron Daughter, is Nevernever. How enchanting and visually delicious. Julie Kagawa gave me the seeds from which to grow some of the most fascinating places I have ever dreamed of. The moment we entered this fantasy world, I was addicted. The culture, social structure – everything about this world pulls me in. This was perfect because the survival of Nevernever comes into play, and I felt as though everything really was being put on the line. The pixies, the goblins, the weird-river-horse-creatures, the elves – all came together to create a world I wanted to be enveloped in. And the addition of Robin Goodfellow (also known as Puck) didn’t dampen the experience a bit.

The descriptions in the novel were strict and detailed enough to give me a clear idea of what the author’s views were – perfectly concise – but also gave me the freedom to do whatever I fancied. As a reader, I had the ideal amount of creative freedom to add to the world the aspects that made it fantastical and hauntingly beautiful to me.

The Faery realities are horrifying at times and most definitely disturbing. I loved this. It gave the book some awe-inspiring quality. I was fascinated by the magical bonds that promises and swearing trapped a person in and the manipulative tendencies of the faeries. The entire world is a riddle, everything has an underlying meaning that you have to be clever enough to perceive, and it’s inarguably just as easy to misinterpret. Nearly everyone has an ulterior motive. This book will require you to keep your ears perked and your senses sharp.

The plot holds together nicely, and I felt I had just the right amount of time to familiarize with Nevernever before I was flung into more action-packed sequences. However, there was, and I believe still is, enough yet to be discovered to add a hint of confusion and occasionally panic that spices things up a bit. The climax passed in a heartbeat, but that was probably because I was sucking the words in like I do blackberry milkshakes. The hint of apprehension that smacked me in the face (and excitement, did I mention excitement?) at the very closing of this novel had the desired effect – I want more and very, very soon.

The fact I wish you to glean from this review: I now have an unhealthy addiction to Faeryland. I encourage you to jump on this Faery bandwagon with me and become addicts yourselves. You will never hear similar words emitted from my mouth, I promise.

Julie Kagawa, thank you. Do I owe you a life debt or my first born child or something for this book?

August 31st, 2010

Everybody Makes Mistakes!

by Madeleine Rex

(Trust me. There’s a reason for the picture you’re looking at.)

Yes, that’s Hannah Montana.

Or is that Miley Cyrus? Sorry, I forgot which one was real.

Yep.

Every time I watch a Nickelodeon or Disney TV show and people are doing something totally ridiculous or embarrassing, I tell my brother: It’s going to take ten years for them to shed the Nick/Disney image. Why would they do that to themselves?

And, really – why? Why not do some commercials and show up on a few episodes of CSI? Obviously, sometimes it works out, and sometimes those shows can be cute, but what Disney/Nick star has been able to shed that image and branch out without people snickering and saying, “Oh, there’s [insert character name from past Disney/Nick show here]. In a real movie. Pfft”?

Look at Zac Efron, who still hasn’t been able to really move on from High School Musical, even though, in my opinion, he’s actually a pretty good actor. And Hilary Duff. Every time I look at her, I think “Lizzie Maguire.” And then there’s Miley Cyrus. The list of Disney and Nickelodeon stars that have yet to move on from their kiddy pasts is long.Their first moves into stardom branded them for years, and possibly for life.

What if your first published work is the same way?

When will Stephenie Meyer ever really be able to move on, past Twilight?

My message to you today: Make sure you’re willing to be branded by your first book.

Clearly, we all love our babies… I mean, books. We’re very probably going to be proud of our first published work – as we should be! It was your Golden Ticket! You’re in! You’re officially a VIP, all thanks to [insert beloved book title here].

However, keep in mind that you will never be able to erase that book from your “permanent record.” Obviously, our writing will always be improving. Every book we write (hopefully) is better than our last. That’s a given.

But I shudder to think that I might regret jumping the publishing gun.

Make sure you are ready, and make sure your darling book is. Don’t be blinded by your seemingly undying love for [insert beloved book title here]. Think objectively.

Not only will your first book brand you, but the genre it’s in. I’ve heard time and time again, things like “Pfft. Zac Efron could never be in a really emotional movie.” Even I tease, “Is he an all-star high school basketball player this time around?”

Attention comes with judgment. That’s how it is. Do you want to be judged by [insert beloved book title here]?

The ideal answer: yes.

Luckily for us writers, people are more open-minded. I’d be willing to read a fantasy novel by John Green. (Okay, okay, I’d be willing to read almost anything by John Green. But you get the idea.)

John Green, lucky him, struck gold with his debut, Looking for Alaska.

You want a brand like that. One that you can show with a sense of pride forever, one a majority of people will respect. Brands tend to be permanent. The hair won’t grow back over the scar.

Be objective. Be a little logical (oh my!). Try to look at yourself thirty years from now from the eyes of other people.

But don’t let objectivity cloud your love. Go ahead and be in love with that blissfully wonderful book of yours.

There’s always a happy medium. Love and logic can coexist. Even if there’s some bickering.

Psst! Paranormalcy came out TODAY! Must. Read.

Also, please, please, please give me suggestions for my blogiversary giveaway! – Help Me Help You