Thursday, January 28, 2010

When Autumn Leaves by Amy S. Foster

I had posted about this book on my Teaser Tuesday, but now that I've finished it, I'm sharing a few thoughts.   I'm using a review from Library Journal here, because I think their summary is a good one: "In the tiny town of Avening in the Pacific Northwest, life hums with a peculiar sort of energy. Some call the town enchanted; others call it quirky. But all would agree that it is a special sort of hamlet, populated by some rather intriguing people. Perhaps the most intriguing is the town witch and wise woman. An individual of extraordinary, even magical talents, Autumn Avening is ready to retire-and must find a replacement from among the local denizens. With one year to choose, Autumn begins keeping an ever closer watch on her friends and neighbors, looking for just the right candidate. Through her eyes, we get intimate glimpses of the locals of Avening-strong men and women whose stories are both heartwarming and heartbreaking."

Here's my reaction:   I liked the story, and was reminded very much of Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman, a book with magical women.   Foster's characters are at times a little frustrating, but I liked them (even though I sometimes wished Foster would spend a little more time on a few of them).   I liked Foster's ideas here, as well, and the setting she has created is an appealing one (actually, I don't think I would mind living somewhere  like Avening).   However, I did find that at times, the book seemed a little clunky -- ideas were good, but the writing wasn't as smooth as I would have liked.   But, I liked this book, and would recommend it to readers who enjoyed Practical Magic (either book or the movie).     

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Teaser Tuesday!

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB over at Should be Reading -- and it's just what I need to start my day!     Per the instructions:

1) grab your current read;  2) open to a random page;  3) share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page.

My teaser today is from When Autumn Leaves by Amy S. Foster.
        "She walked slowly through the graveled entrance, marveling at the arched trellis and the blooming, fragrant flowers that wound their way around almost every inch of it."   "She had never mastered the art of being demure or casual."                p. 119

I just started this book last night, but randomly opened to this page.   So far, this story is good: interesting characters and just a pinch of magic.               

Friday, January 22, 2010

Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers

Summary (taken from the back cover): "Regina Afton used to be a member of the Fearsome Fivesome, an all-girl clique both feared and revered by the students of Hallowell High... that is, until vicious rumors about her and her best friend's boyfriend started going around.  Now, Regina's been 'frozen out' and her ex-best friends are out for revenge."
This is just a snippet, but it captures the basic story here.    When I first read a review of this book, I expected it to be like the movie Heathers, or Jawbreaker where one girl's friends turn against her, things get ugly, etc etc etc.    However, Courtney Summers takes the idea of girls turning against each other to a new, more vicious level here.    Regina's not always the most sympathetic character; she's not really that nice of a girl sometimes.  However, compared to the rest of the Fearsome Fivesome, she's a lightweight.   Pranks on Regina start out with someone spraypainting "Whore" on her locker, and then things keep escalating into feats of retaliation and violence.
        I actually liked this book, even though parts of it made me cringe.   I found Summers' writing to be powerful, and she made me care about Regina, even when I didn't like her sometimes.    I think this book might really resonate with some readers, because this kind of thing does happen --- maybe not in the extremely vicious ways portrayed in this story, but I think many readers can identify with just how mean people in high school can be.  Or maybe that's just me.    I wasn't the most popular kid in grade school, but when I transferred to high school, I had a group of friends.  We weren't unpopular, and we weren't popular, but we were a close group.   Then, I made the mistake senior year of making friends with a girl that my friends didn't really like --- so they stopped talking to me.   It was really upsetting, because none of them would tell me what was going on -- they just froze me out.   Adding to that, my roommate (yes, I went to boarding school) starting spreading nasty little rumors about me.   Eventually, I realized that the one girl really wasn't a good friend, and my other friends took me back -- but after that, I just felt like I didn't know who I could trust.     What I went through was pretty boring compared to what happens to Regina in this book, but I'm sure there will be readers who feel like they can identify with Regina.   And that's sad.  What I mean is: it makes me mad that there will always be girls like Anna and Kara who makes everyone around them miserable.  And it makes me mad that it seems like girls like them always get away with acting like this.

          I don't think that every reader is going to love this book.   It's not necessarily a happy story.  But, it's a powerful story, and one that I think is important.   

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Teaser Tuesday !!!!

I've been very bad about not blogging, but it was a crazy crazy week last week.... but I was determined I'd make it to Teaser Tuesday.   Straight from Should be Reading, the instructions are:  1) grab your current read, 2) open to a random page, 3) share two "teaser" sentences.

On to the teasers!!!!!  

"I have this memory of Liz.    We froze her out, sabotaged her, finished up the rumor campaign, and she had no reputation and no friends, and Ana was bored with it, uninspired, but she wasn't done, because she wanted to make sure I got the message."      

p. 87 from Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers.

I just got this from the library today, so I'll be starting it later tonight.    Stay tuned for a review!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Choices, Choices

I had a lot of fun with the Teaser Tuesdays entry, and found a lot of good-sounding books to add to my TBR list.    Right now, I have 3 books I brought home from the library -- just trying to decide which one to start with first....   Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr, The Darkness That Comes Before by R. Scott Bakker, and Prospero Lost by L. Jagi Lamplighter.        Decisions, decisions.....

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Teaser Tuesday!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of Should be Reading.   Here's my 2 teaser sentences for today:

p. 77 "It was an all-you-can-eat demon buffet, and I went back for seconds."
"She was repulsed and fascinated, a sharp pungent mixture."

This is taken from Confessions of a Demon by S.L. Wright.   Our library doesn't own this book, so I interlibrary loaned it --- and just finished it today.   

Friday, January 8, 2010

Cover temptation.....

After seeing this, I'm thinking I could do a weekly posting about how tempting a book cover can make a book.   I have no idea what this is really about, but I want it.  The fact that I'm apparently going to have to wait a while isn't a deterrent (although it makes me a little cranky).      So what's so appealing about it?  Let's start with the sentences at the top: "There is a box.  Inside that box is a door...and beyond that door is a whole world."    Definitely food for thought --- doors (usually) ask to be opened.   What's behind it?  Is it scary?  Is it soft? (ok... perhaps I'm thinking a little too Monsters.Inc-ish here...).    But seriously, just this little description sets my imagination going off into all kinds of explorations.    Maybe waiting a long time to read this book won't be so bad, because I can imagine all the things that might be in store for me when I read it.

   Then, there's the picture: simple, with some grace and style.   A moth.   And one red window.   What's up the red window?  Who knows!  But, again, my imagination can conjure up all sorts of things for me.   

So, starting the new year off with some longings......           More info here at this link over at Angry Robot Books.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010 -- I'm up for a challenge (or two...)

I've been fiddling around with settings and backgrounds here, but have done enough (for now) -- so I am preparing myself for some challenges.   I've added buttons on the side, but I've also made myself plenty of notes so I can keep track of my reading.    This is the first time I'm trying a challenge, so I've decided on a few I can handle (hopefully!).   Wish me luck!   :)
Blog Design by Use Your Imagination Designs using images from the Before the First Snow kit by Lorie Davison