Friday, July 9, 2010

Jekel Loves Hyde

Title: Jekel Loves Hyde
Author: Fantaskey, Beth
Length: 282 pages
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher / Year: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt / 2010

This books is told alternatively by Jill and Tristen, the two main characters. It starts off with Jill at her father’s burial, and then quickly jumps to a year later. Jill is a straight-A artistic student who excels at chemistry. She is struggling to cope with her father’s death and her mother’s mental illness. Tristen is a macho tough guy on the running team, who also seems to excel at chemistry. He is also living alone with his father, and dealing with what seem to be psychotic breaks where he blanks out and goes violent.
The two of them are drawn together by a number of different things, some chemistry is thrown in (both kinds). Family legacies are dealt with and discussed. Old literature is brought up as relevant. What more could you ask for in a book?
For more, go check out my full review on Amy Reads!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Jekel Loves Hyde...but Trisha Doesn't

Title:  Jekel Loves Hyde
Author:  Beth Fantaskey
Publisher:  Harcourt
Release Date: 3 May 2010
Date Finished: 2 July 2010

The Short and Sweet of It
Jill Jekel and Tristen Hyde are thrown together in a chemistry experiment that could benefit them both. But while Jill's reward is money for college, Tristan's is something more personal and more dangerous. For Dr. Jekyll left a legacy beyond a great work of literature, a legacy which has the power to destroy those involved.

A Bit of a Ramble
First off, I can not get used to typing Jekel. Jekel. Not Jekyll. Seriously, my fingers have to be forced to type it J-E-K-E-L. While my left middle finger is trying for the 'e', my right pointer finger is simultaneously touching the 'y'.  Okay, now on to what you actually care about.

I sped through Jekel Loves Hyde, finishing it in one sitting. Throughout, I was entertained; but the similarity in the narratives and the perpetuation of ridiculous stereotypes annoyed me quite a bit.  I just don't understand the ease with which YA paranormal romance lead females fall in love with boys who admittedly want to rape or kill them.

For a full review, head over to eclectic/eccentric!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives

I would compare this book to a reality TV show. 
By comparing the book to a reality TV show what I am, in essence, saying, is that you are given an intimate look at what goes on behind the facade of an upscale, fancy community. As the story unfolds we are given a glimpse, through Lyssa’s eyes, of what life is truly like. We see the cliques, the gossip, the affairs, and get the inside scoop on a lot of it.
The book deals with issues such as divorce, affairs, cheating, friendship, and more. It imparts the importance of being happy, of being yourself, and of always doing what is right and standing up for yourself. It also ends a little bit too easily with everything wrapped up nicely with a bow.
Did I like it? Well, like reality TV it was a little bit plastic, a little bit predictable, a little bit snobbish, and ultimately not very satisfying. That being said, I enjoyed the book, it was a light, easy, and fast read, I kept reading and couldn’t put it down. I would recommend it as a light read, or to anyone who enjoys the topics of marriage, divorce, infidelity, etc. It very well may be that these topics do not hold as much interest to me because I am simply not at that point in my life. We will see in a few years I guess!
To read my full review check it out over at Amy Reads! I am also doing a giveaway of this book that ends at midnight, June 30th, so there is still time to enter! 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives

But Harry's presence soon stirs up trouble in paradise: if Harry and his wife, the neighborhood’s "perfect couple," can call it quits, what does that mean for other so-called happy couples, like Lyssa and her husband, Ted? When Harry sets boundaries with his new fan club, he is exiled from the ladies' clique. But Lyssa refuses to snub him. What she never expects is the explosive impact her ongoing friendship with Harry will have on her close-knit pals—and on her marriage.

Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives was like brain reality tv, and brain fluff. It was entertaining. Was it the most interesting book I have ever read, no. It was Desperate Housewives meets a VH1 reality tv show, meets the Real Housewives. It was not stunning literature it was the perfect beach read, the perfect break from reality that was well organized well put together. Not an essential read by any stretch of the imagination but still entertaining. There were some gloriously scandalous moments, the intrigue read like a housewives version of Machiavelli's "The Prince" or the "Fourty-Eight Laws of Power", with allegiances steadily changing, and power-shifts, satellite tracking, and back-room dealings. The divorce dealings, the cheating scandals, the charity work, it all combines to create a story that though not groundbreaking is exceedingly entertaining and funny.

Rating, C: if you need a mind break, this is good. No rush, just enjoy if you feel so urged. Get it from the Library and drive up patronage rates.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Of All the Stupid Things by Alexandra Diaz

This book is, essentially, about friendship and love and what we do for both. The story is told by each of the three friends, alternating between chapters – Tara, Whitney Blaire, and Pinkie. They have been friends forever, and do everything together.
Tara is an athlete and spends her time training for marathons and hanging with her mom.Whitney Blaire is a bit of a diva and spends her time shopping and checking out boys, and dealing with parents who are never home. Pinkie is an honors student, on committees, and is always writing letters to her Mama.
Each of the girls has their own issues that they are dealing with, but they also have a strong friendship. That all changes when a new girl shows up. All of a sudden everything is out of order, and things start falling apart between them. Can their friendship weather this?
I loved the way Diaz presented (almost, see below) all of the issues in this book. Each of the girls had a major relationship issue that was at once completely believable and well written. As I am counting this book toward the QLBT Challenge, obviously you can guess there is some sort of GLBT relationship in this book. I won’t say any more, but I will say that it was written extraordinarily well. The way the friends react to it is especially well done. It’s not smooth, it’s not always pretty, but it is realistic.
To read the rest of my review, go check out my full review at Amy Reads. To see more reviews, check out Trisha's at eclectic / eccentric and Amanda's at The Zen Leaf

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Of All the Stupid Things

While in NYC for BEA and BBC, I attended the Teen Author Carnival where Alexandra Diaz was promoting her debut book, Of All the Stupid Things.  During the panel discussion, she presented the novel as a story about three girlfriends and what happens when one of those friends falls in love with a new girl in town. Copies of the book weren't available at the time, but I later saw her at the BEA in the autographing area and was able to snag a copy.  The GLBT premise and the very awesome cover had me excited to read this.  Unfortunately, the book didn't quite cut it for me.  The elevator pitch she gave and the subtitle there on the cover - Three Friends, One Forbidden Love Affair - are rather misleading.... 

I do think that Diaz has potential. The book has a host of unique plot-lines which would make interesting stand-alone books. Hopefully on the next go round, she narrows her focus and sets her sights on truly exploring a single idea.

For the rest of my review including a Filmic Connection, visit eclectic / eccentric. And if you want to read reviews with a more positive spin, head over to Amy Reads or The Zen Leaf.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Matched by Ally Condie

As Trisha and Alix have already posted their thoughts below, I'm posting just one part about the book that I found interesting.

Not only does the book explore rules and the power of individual choice, it also delves in to love and relationships. Cassia feels torn because by questioning the Society she questions everything her life has been based on. If she questions her Match, what does that mean about her parents? From page 221 (in the advance review copy, may change at publication):
"But if the system is wrong and false and unreal, then what about the love between my parents? If their love was born because of the Society, can it still be real and good and right? This is the question that I can't get out of my mind. I want the answer to be yes. That their love is true. I want it to have beauty and reality independent of anything else."
The Matching system, to me, seemed somewhat like arranged marriages. Only arranged marriages where our parents knew every little thing about us and about the other person and made a choice based on our genes and actions and future thoughts, all of which they have predicted out with a fair amount of certainty. Just because someone else has decided for you, does that make it less so? Can love blossom in such a scenario?

For more thoughts (and discussion, in the comments) and a chance to win the book, check out my full review here.