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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Reading = Good (Part 1!)

Except whenever your pile of books to read is taller than you are.

Okay, so maybe that's a little bit of an exageration.

But, seriously, I have like, twenty books to read.

So this is why I'm gonna cheat and do little mini-reviews of the books I've read so far. That way I'm not feeling so behind in the blog. So yeah, here goes:

Swoon at Your Own Risk (by Sydney Salter)
This book was cute. The main character, Polly, is funny and relatable. And Xander, the love interest, is sweet and cunning. It was a good book, really. But, even though I finished it and was happy with the end result, I found myself getting bored and finding excuses to put it down.
I originally liked the idea of this book: Polly has to work at a water park with one of her exes after she's sworn off boys forever. Miss Swoon, her grandmother, runs a question and answer section in the local newspaper, and I thought that the book would be about working to find herself with her grandmother's help, or something of that type. But... it wasn't. Polly was kinda whiney the whole time and most of the story was about how she still gets frustrated with boys. And her grandma turns out to be the biggest flirt of all time. So mainly this story was focused around the boys and Polly's past love life (she talks about her million exes a lot).

Once Xander enters, it gets a little better because she's focusing more on something instead of complaining, but he doesn't come around until you're well into the book. Even then, her liking to him seems rushed and slightly unrealistic. However, I did like Polly's quirky mom and the backstory you learn with her dad. Between that and Polly and Xander's moments together (they were cute, and I was still rooting for them in the end) I think the book turned out okay. I especially liked a scene that involves most of the characters and a boat...

Fat Cat (by Robin Brande)
Wow. I know this book was supposed to make me feel better about myself and to say that girls should be proud of their bodies and minds, but mostly it made me scorn myself for eating so unhealthy. Cat has been teased forever because of her weight, so when she is given the assignment to enter the Science Fair and to create a project using only a picture (hers was of cave(wo)men), she takes the chance to turn it into a way for her to lose weight. She vows to eat and live the way cave people did. I didn't realize how unhealthy I eat until I started reading about Cat's new meals and life. She goes through some major changes in both body and mind, and really it was kinda inspiring. As she starts losing, she has new things happening to her: boys are asking her out, she starts to like shopping, she feels healthier and better about herself. But throughout the whole time she stays purely Cat. She doesn't get a big head and if anything she just grows stronger and finds herself.

I thought the book was good and powerful, and if has some awesome healthy food suggestions! Not to mention Matt, who Cat had ignored for years because of a past event. He's mentioned in little snippets, but he's really a big part of the story. He and the story are pretty adorable is all I've got to say.

Harmonic Feedback (by Tara Kelly)
Holy giraffe this book was depressing. But in a good way! Drea has no friends. She feels like an outsider everywhere she goes, and her rotating band of psychiatrists have settled on her having "a touch of Asperger's." So she's majorly surprised when her mom moves them into her grandmother's, and Naomi, a neighbor, immediately offers friendship. She doesn't even find Drea weird, and so Drea is confused but happy. If that wasn't shocker enough, Justin, a fellow new student, won't leave her alone either. At first she's reluctant to believe these two would want to befriend her, and she gets frustrated when sometimes they don't understand her, but soon the three have combined their musical talents (Drea producing, Justin on keyboard, and Naomi singing) and created a band. This book really isn't so much about the music, but about the relationships and consequences to certain choices. I really thought this one was moving and I thought about it long after I finished reading.

Harmonic is really a side-character book. Without each of these secondary people, I don't think the story would be as touching as it is. Drea's trying to help Naomi get her life back on track from a bad relationship and drugs, and at the same time she's struggling to understand her feelings for Justin. She's never had the chance to experience either friendship or love, and it's nice seeing and feeling these emotions again with her. The end had me bawling, and I seriously, truly loved this one.

Illyria (by Elizabeth Hand)
I'm going to be honest. I didn't even know what this one was about when I put it on hold at the library. I simply loved the cover, because it looked magical and mysterious and reminded me of Phantom of the Opera, one of my favorite movies. So whenever I read the inside flap, I was a tad nervous. Because Maddy and Rogan, the main characters, the lovers, are cousins. I know this is strange and unnerving, but I promise, the book is amazing! The story is centered about these two's relationship, and their passion for theater. They're descendants of a famous actress, and besides their Aunt Kate, are the only ones interested in plays and singing and theater. So when they are cast in the school's production of Twelfth Night, they're forced to face their seperate talents and futures, and their future together. The love they feel for each other is real, I think, which is startling. I couldn't quite grasp some of the concepts of their love though, because it was so strange to me. When they're in the play, it just makes things more passionate. Maybe too passionate. After making love (yes, the deed, it's awkward) in a secret attic room, they discover a toy theater where, each time they visit it, the scenery and lighting have changed, among other strange things like snow and rain. The play comes to odds with the toy, and both Rogan and Maddy experience the literal magic each time they act.

Their roles in the play hint toward the seperate characters' personalities, and it's soon to see that Rogan might be wild, and Maddy, dim in comparison to Rogan's singing and acting talents, would be the only one to continue on successfully with Aunt Kate's wishes to have one reach a career like their ancestor's. Maddy is forced between Rogan and her acting, and I was thrown in a huge loop of emotion throughout the whole ordeal. The ending is sad, but you're left with a glimmer of hope. This one is less than 150 pages, but it's so full emotion that you don't even notice. I know it sounds odd, but out of all of these, this was one of my favorites. Which is obvious from how long the description is. -facepalm-



So there. This is Part One. I'll post Part Two (possibly a Part Three as well) later, because this seems a little long... *koffkoff*

Have you read any of these? How'd you feel about them?

6 comments:

Girlinbetween said...

great review!

Lisa and Laura said...

I want to read Ilyria SO bad. Especially after your review. Can't wait!

GreenBeanTeenQueen said...

Yep, I agree Fat Cat made me happy but also feel awful about how I eat! But it was a great book. And I had Ilyria checked out and I need to get it again-it's short so I know I could squeeze it in and you make it sound great!

Sam said...

I like this post.
Fat Cat: It had the weird affect of making me drink soda again. Even though I was off of it. It's like, well, dang, I'm screwed anyway cos there is no way I'm becoming a vegetarian. Ahem.
Harmonic Feedback: Um. The guy? Yeah. <3 is really all I can say. Kinda hot. I cried at the end.
Illyria: ...Is that the one with the cousin thing?? It sounds good. And it is pretty.

Samantha said...

I haven't read any of those, but they all sound amazing, especially Fat Cat. Thanks for the reviews. :)

Maggie said...

Girlinbetween: Thank you!

Lisa and Laura: Yay! I hope you like it.

Sarah: I thought it was really good! Magical, but in a realistic way, which doesn't quite make sense, but is true. And I agree, Fat Cat was good :)

Sam: Fat Cat made you drink soda? Strange. HF made me cry too, and holy smokes, I love the guy! Yes, Illyria is the one with the cousins. The cover is quite pretty indeed.

Samantha: You're quite welcome, and Fat Cat is a really cute story. I hope you like it!