Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Book Review: Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay

Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Genre: Love and Romance
Publisher: Delacorte Press (Random House)
Websitehttp://www.staceyjay.com/juliet-immortal/http://staceyjayya.blogspot.com/, randombuzzers.com
Source: Bought
Rating: 5 stars (Plus extra credit for an amazing cover!)

As Shakespeare told it, Romeo and Juliet took their lives to be with each other in the afterlife, so that their love could be eternal. But Juliet Capulet knows that it's more like eternal hatred, and that neither of them really died. Romeo tried to kill her to gain immortality, but Juliet was able to get immortality for herself, as well. So for the past seven hundred  years, the Montague/Capulet rivalry has lived on as Romeo works to destroy true love and Juliet battles to protect it. That is, until she meets Ben- sweet, beautiful, forbidden Ben- and starts to question everything she knows. The question foremost in her mind is simple: Can she love again?

I'm a huge Shakespeare fan, and I found this book to be a fantastic adaptation. Juliet jumps off the page with her personable, mildly sarcastic narration. Romeo, in turn, is a perfect villain, and perfectly complex, with his own emotional turmoil and angst. The thing that I really praise Jay for, though, is that Ben escapes the fate of most of today's romantic interests and is realistic, while still being charming and handsome.

From the very beginning, the plot is full of twists and turns and draws you in. As soon as I picked it up, I couldn't put it down! The mythology is fascinating, the relationship between good and evil is well done, and Juliet's journey is extraordinary. It isn't disrespectful to the original at all; rather, it's an excellent continuation of Shakespeare's work.

Other Twists on Classics: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Jane Austen, Seth Grahame-Smith)

P.S. I just found out there's going to be a sequel called Romeo Redeemed. I can't wait to read it!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Bookstore Etiquette

Monday, August 15, 2011
So I was just at Barnes and Nobles today, along with everybody else. Every since the local B & N moved to the mall, it's the number one spot on rainy summer days. That's fine and dandy, and I'm glad they're getting business (since I will have nowhere to go to buy my book if it follows in Border's footsteps), but some of the people there were driving me bonkers. There are certain unwritten rules when it comes to book shopping, and these people were obviously never taught them.

Example 1: I had just found the book I was looking for (Juliet Immortal, if you're curious), when a guy reaches over and across me to pull a book from the shelf. No. No no no. You're not supposed to invade fellow browsers' personal space and that wasn't even the main problem. He, we'll call him Hipster Dude, was hitting on this girl he'd just met, and he wanted to show that book to her. And instead of moving aside once he'd gotten it, the two lovebirds just stood there talking, effectively boxing me in. When I finally got past them, they moved so that they were directly in front of a shelf I wanted to check out. They must not have known that the whole point of bookstore/library romances is to be alone in a sequestered corner, so it's like only the two of you exist. But no, they didn't seem to understand this, nor did they seem to understand that they were in anybody's way. So I ventured elsewhere in the store. Now, we've already covered that my luck percentage was pretty low, but apparently I was invisible, too, because another shopper walked right into me. He apologized and it's not that he was malicious, just oblivious. He really didn't break and rules here, so he's not an example, but it was embarrassing, especially since I was bumped right into a shelf and ended up awkwardly holding on to it to keep from falling down. Anyway...

Example 2: One person to one shelf. That's how it's done. You don't want to feel crowded or awkward reaching for a novel that's closer to another person. But this one girl walked right over to my shelf just as I was about to reach for a book. However, with her there, that was no longer an option. The correct way to handle this situation was the way one blessed rule-aware girl did. I was looking at a shelf that she wanted, but she didn't just elbow me out of the way like the aforementioned customer. Instead, she stood by a neighboring shelf, slighting adjusting her body to face me, letting me know that she wanted to look there, without being abrasive. And I, in turn, respected that and moved on. (I was right. She moved to that shelf a few seconds after I left. Another sign of an experienced book browser: She waited before moving in.)

And then, of course, there was the cafe. I like bookstore cafes, not just because they have coffee and free wifi, but because they're usually pretty serene. But, as I mentioned, everyone and their cousin was at Barnes and Noble. And every single person had to get their low fat- 1/3 cup skim milk- no sugar- latte. Instead of smelling the delicious smell of blueberry scones, all I could smell was yuppy. (Which smells a lot like the aforementioned latte and disdain.) Example 3: It's fine if there's only one other person in the cafe to make twenty seven requests for your coffee. (Okay, maybe not fine, but acceptable.) But on a day when there's a forty people line that's moving at -12 miles per hour, and you ask for some ridiculous order that they're all out of, and then when you say that you're fine with just having a plain black coffee, don't be surprised if you get dirty looks. A lot of them. And it's not nice to the hardworking people behind the counter trying to serve a plethora of impatient customers.

At the end of the day, I did get my book and a (not so) quick bite to eat, so it turned out alright. But if you're going book hunting soon, please, please, please, have a little respect for the rules. People will appreciate you for it.

(By the way, if you're wondering how things turned out with Hipster Dude, there was no way he was leaving without her number. The girl he was pursuing even tried to seductively lean against the shelves, which I think clinched the deal. Well, until the mob of kids ran down the aisle.)

What do you feel about these rules? Did you ever have a bookstore outing go awry?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Book Review: A Need so Beautiful by Suzanne Young

Thursday, August 11, 2011
Genre: Paranormal (Angels)
Publisher: Harper Collins
Website: http://suzanne-young.blogspot.com/
Source: Library
Rating: 4 stars

I've heard a lot about this book lately, so when I spotted it at my local library, I snatched it up. It's told from the perspective of high school senior Charlotte Cassidy, a previous- foster- turned- adopted child who's grown up in Portland, Oregon since she was six. Her best friend, Sarah, is self-centered and pushy, with a large wallet, but an equally huge heart. Harlin, her boy friend, is her bad boy, swoon-worthy Romeo, who would do anything for her. All in all, Charlotte's life is pretty great, except for one thing: The Need. It's been happening since she was little, an overwhelming desire to deliver a message to a person in trouble. She can't resist, and with each passing year, her Needs become more frequent and more urgent, making it harder to keep them a secret. That's when Onika shows up, a woman who used to be like Charlotte, but is now something else, perhaps something dangerous. She offers her a chance to get rid of the Need for good, an opportunity Charlotte's been wishing for, but the consequences could be dire.

Young's style is poignant and gripping as she carries the reader through Charlotte's unique journey. The characters are very real, with their own idiosyncrasies and endearments, and the new take on Guardian Angels is interesting and fresh. The cast wasn't perfect, though. While Harlin shows his depth at times, mostly through his issues with his murdered father, he's similar to Edward Cullen- charming, unrealistic, and two-dimensional. Furthermore, the ending was anticlimactic, leaving the reader with an unsatisfied feeling that there should have been something more. But the sequel, A Want So Wicked, is coming out soon, so let's hope this will give us a more solid finale.

Keep an eye out for this series, because it has definite potential. Make sure to have tissues with you when read it- it's a tearjerker!

For fans of: Twilight (Stephenie Meyer), Coffeehouse Angel (Suzanne Selfors), Abandon (Meg Cabot)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Book Review: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams

Monday, August 8, 2011
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Del Ray
Website: N/A
Source: Library
Rating: 2.1 stars

Okay, so I have a confession to make. I didn't actually finish this book. Quite reluctantly, I forced myself through half of it, convinced that I would finally get to a part that was as brilliant as its predecessor. I didn't. In fact, the whole thing was incredibly dull, and when I found myself skipping paragraphs just to get it over with, I knew it was time to quit. And I hardly ever give up on a book, so you know this had to be terrible!

If you're still interested in reading it, here's the plot: In Hitchhiker's, Earth was blown up by the Vogons to make room for a bypass. Arthur Dent and Trillian are the last two surviving members of the human race. They are stuck in space with Ford Prefect, a research for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Marvin, a manically depressed robot, and Zaphod Beeblebrox, the President of the Galaxy. Or, rather, previous President. He lost that title when he stole the spaceship, the Heart of Gold. Beeblebrox has two heads, and therefore, two brains, but only one is currently working. The other contains... well, he doesn't know, since he sealed off that information from himself a long time ago. But now he has to find out his past knowledge so he can discover who the Ruler of the Universe is.

Now, that concept sounds like it could be potentially hilarious, especially by such an acclaimed author as Douglas Adams. However, despite the fact that the plot is seemingly random, it becomes predictable. Most chapters start off with a 'nonsensical' page or two about these aliens or that planet which Adams then ties in to what's going on in his story. This is clever the first few times, but by the seventh or eighth, you'll just want to scream "Get to the point already!!!" Furthermore, as I mentioned before, it's really boring. Admittedly, it isn't the worst book I've ever read, but it certainly is a let down. If you're going to read it, just skip to the parts with Marvin in it. They're really the only ones worth reading.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What to do when you Meet your Favorite Author

Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Today, I had one of the best days ever. Why? Because I just met Robin Palmer, author of Cindy Ella, Geek Charming  (which is becoming a Disney Channel movie in October!), and Little Miss Red! Along with being an amazing writer, she was also incredibly nice and even signed my copy of Cindy Ella. I was a little starstruck, but she was so friendly that I felt really comfortable talking to her. While I felt that the whole experience went better than I could have even hoped, it got me thinking about what you should and should not do when meeting a favorite author. So I typed up a (not so serious) list. (:

1. You should ask them to sign your favorite book. (Preferably, one by them.)
2. You should not ask them to sign all of their books- especially if they've written a 20 book series.
3. You should mention that you read their blog.
4. You should not beg them to follow your own blog and then send them follow up emails reminding them about it.
5. You should tell them how much you enjoyed their book
6. You should not tell them how you would have differently envisioned Chapter 2.
7. You should ask for writing tips.
8. You should not tell them the entire premise for your novel and ask if they know anyone in the business you can send it to.

What authors have you met? Would you have done anything differently if you could relive the experience?