Only the best YA, MG, and Children's Fiction gain entry into the Lit Castle.....

I am Maiden Myth, just a humble servant of the Lit Castle in the Clouds, devouring literature as I anticipate moving up to Queen : )

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"Beach Reads" Summer Challenge Wrap-Up!

Hey everyone! Well, just like I said in the title, the Challenge that I have been participating in for the last week is closed. I read and reviewed eight books for the challenge, which gives me the Minnow status (which is an eight book minimum, I believe.) I consider this pretty good, considering the fact that I just heard about this contest a week ago.

I hope that you had fun reading my reviews. I had such a great time participating in my first Challenge, and I hope that this will inspire you to take on a few reading challenges of your own.

Here's a brief recap:

-Diary of a Wimpy Kid #4: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney
-Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
-Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
-Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen
-Dreamland by Sarah Dessen
-Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
-Wings by Aprilynne Pike
-Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway

Until the next review,

Maiden Myth.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway

Like I told you before: wildfire posts. I'm on a roll today, and I need to whip these out fast!

After the mind-boggling, wonderful, deep book that was Before I Fall, I have to say, it sucked the life right out of me. I was so consumed in this book, and it was so powerful, but, man, it gave me a headache and left me haunted at four in the morning. I needed something light. I needed something funny.

And Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway all but fell into my lap, the perfect book for my Challenge.

Here's the synopsis:

When her ex writes a break-up song about her that rockets up the charts, Audrey is suddenly famous--she can't go out without being mobbed by fans and paparazzi. Readers can take a wild ride with Audrey as she makes headlines, confronts her ex on MTV, and shows the world who she really is.

I devoured this book like cotton candy at a carnival. Honestly, it was great! Audrey is a great character, full of sass and wit and spunk. It was easy to sympathize and suffer with her as she became a media sensation after her ex-boyfriend bares his soul about their break-up on a worldwide level. But, in the beginning of the novel, Audrey isn't really experiencing fame-more like infamy. She's seen as the enemy through the eyes of countless fangirls of her ex's band, as her ex-boyfriend, named Evan, warps her image into that of a terrible, cold-hearted person who broke his heart without looking back. But, after the scrutiny dissolves after some time, she starts becoming famous in a totally different way-now people herald her as a sort of celebrity. Audrey, however, is fighting all of these factors along the way-I mean, the poor girl can't even go on a date with the guy she likes without being hounded by the paparazzi!

The supporting characters were also good-Victoria was a great example of a loyal best friend, even though sometimes she got a little too excited over the freebies that Audrey was constantly getting from companies hoping to get a sales boost from her endorsement (she didn't accept most of them, of course). James was adorable, I just absolutely loved him, and he will probably be one of my literary crushes. He was so sweet and music-obsessed, just like Audrey.

One of the best things about this book, though, was the various music mentions in the book. Lyrics were inserted at the beginning of each chapter, and reading about bands, from the popular to the obscure, really enriched the experience of the novel for me. I wanted to cheer when I saw some of the artists I like, such as Regina Spektor and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, referred to in the book.

Overall, this was a great book deserving of four stars. I can't wait to read Robin Benway's next book, called The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June. It's more of a fantasy novel, which is my favorite genre, so I'll probably be snatching it up within the next week (after I promise myself that I'm not going to buy anymore books for a while. It never works out).

Until the next review,

Maiden Myth.

I took the synopsis from Border's website and the pic from Barnes and Nobles's website.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Great news-the shipment of books that I mentioned a couple of posts ago came in, so I'm going to be able to read all of them for the Challenge! YES! Today I'm reviewing Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. Here's the synopsis:

What if you only had one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: the world’s most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.

Instead, it turns out to be her last. Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

Amazing. Let me tell you, I am the pickiest reader in the world. You might not know that since my reviews have been positive (I think that finding good books is some sort of sixth sense for me or something) : ), but that's because I am so careful about choosing the right books so I don't waste my time. I have been pining for this book for months now, and I have to say that it was not a waste of time at all. It was one of the few books that made me cry, made me think, and surprised me more than many other books have in the past.

Samantha Kingston starts out as one of the mean popular girls at the school, her life centered solely around herself-she does horrid things to the school outcasts, fools around with the teacher, cuts class, does whatever she wants and has never experienced any consequences for it. But, one night, coming home from a party, a car crash ends her life.

But that's not the end-far from it. She begins to find herself reliving the same day that she died, and, one she begins to notice the subtler details about the people and things around her, she begins to see that she doesn't truly know what kind of life she's been living-and sees the life that she should have experienced all along.

There was not an ounce of predictability in this book-Lauren Oliver would make you believe fully that one thing happened, then spin the tables around what you once thought was the truth so fast that it jars you-but it instantly makes sense. This book has been instantly compared to the movie Groundhog's Day, but it is so far from that it's not even funny. Each day is not the same; some of the key notes remain unchanged, but Sam is adamant in her quest to make each one as vastly different from the other as possible-and that leads to some truly touching and incredibly heartbreaking moments along the way, as well as a few rash moments that made the story all the more believable. And the way that everything comes together in one way or another in each day is incredible-every key plot line in this story is a multiple-layered secret, and when you peel them back and everything clicks together, it truly is amazing.

As for the characters, Lauren Oliver reminds me of Meg Cabot in the way that she makes her characters seem so realistic and human. Sometimes I forgot that I was reading a book and not Samantha's diary or something; it sounded like the voice of a teenager, with some poetic flavor to what she said. Even though her friends are incredibly flawed and sometimes so cold-hearted, I did grow a tad bit fond of Lindsay, Ally, and Elody-they were loyal to their best friend, even though they did so many harsh things to everyone else. It was easy to love and hate all of them at the same time.

The ending-well, I won't spoil it for you, but I'll just say that it wasn't just one way or the other. It was shocking and moving and forced tears out of my eyes, and I was thinking about it until the wee hours of the morning.

One thing that you should know? This book could change your life. Throughout the book, even through the sweet and humorous moments, you could still feel the despair of Samantha's situation, how desperate she was to change her fate. I know this is going to sound cheesy, but it really did make me think about the way I live my life. Sometimes I take it for granted or don't do enough or everything that I feel like I need to do. I think that occasionally we all have the thought that we'll live forever, but Lauren Oliver proves in so many ways in this book that time is so precious, that we shouldn't let a second of it waste away.

I know that I was gushing, but this book was perfect. You can guess that I gave this book five stars. Again, I know that I have been handing out good reviews a lot lately, but I keep reading amazing books! Or maybe I never met a book I didn't like. Hmm. : )

Until the next review,

Maiden Myth.

I took the synopsis from Lauren Oliver's official website and the pic from her official blog.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book #4: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney

This is a blog for YA, MG, and Children's Fiction, but I've only written about YA up until now. To throw a bit of MG into the mix, I give you Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Now, I should start with the first book, but I need to read this book for the challenge. Long story. So:

*Warning: there might be a few spoilers*

It’s summer vacation, the weather’s great, and all the kids are having fun outside. So where’s Greg Heffley? Inside his house, playing video games with the shades drawn.

Greg, a self-confessed “indoor person,” is living out his ultimate summer fantasy: no responsibilities and no rules. But Greg’s mom has a different vision for an ideal summer . . . one packed with outdoor activities and “family togetherness.”

Whose vision will win out? Or will a new addition to the Heffley family change everything?

This is one of my guilty pleasures. I have read all of the other Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. It may not have depth, but Jeff Kinney is the master of humor. I love Greg, the "Wimpy Kid." He is lazy and self-absorbed, and those traits follow him into all of his hysterical whims. All that he wants is to either go to the country club to which his best friend's father belongs (and is soon kicked out) or hole up in his room and play video games, but his mother has different ideas in mind. Since money is running low in their household, his mom attempts to thrust her family into a perfect low-budget vacation, but, while most of her attempts fail to bring any entertainment to her family, they always succeed in ruining Greg's slothful summer.

The supporting characters are fabulous, including his best friend Rowley, who's sweet, naive, and generally clueless, and Fregley, who doesn't appear much in this book, but when he does, his comically weird personality leaves a lasting impression. This is a read that you can breeze on through, due to the light content, the notebook format of the book, and the comic strip-style illustrations on the pages. I love the illustrations, because they capture the feel of the book and whatever particular scene that they're depicting perfectly. I laughed out loud and quoted the book for anyone that would listen throughout my time reading this. Definitely read this book!

I give this book five stars, and this is my first official five-star post! Yay! : )

Until the next review,
Maiden Myth.

I got the picture from Wikipedia and the synopsis from Amazon.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I am participating in the 2010 Summer "Beach Reads" Challenge

Summer might almost be over, but I'm definitely not finished with it yet. A Fanatic's Book Blog is hosting a challenge where bloggers read + post reviews about books that they deem appropriate for summer. There will be contests exclusively for the challenge participants and a bunch of cool stuff. Warning to you, though: since I started the challenge so late in the game (the end date is the 30th of this month) I'm going to be posting reviews like wildfire! I'm a pretty fast reader, so I might be able to read quite a few books before this challenge comes to an end.

Now, some of these books I just bought from the Book Closeouts and Books A Million websites, so they might not come in time. This is just a tentative list, I may have to substitute.

Here are the books that I'm planning to read:

-Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book #4: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney

-Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen

-Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

-Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

-Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

I chose a medley of YA and MG books to make it interesting. I may read more for the challenge if I have time.

If you want to be a part of this challenge, click on the official challenge button on my blog for more info!

Friday, August 20, 2010

All about Paranormalcy by Kiersten White!

I'm sure that most of you readers out there suffer from an enormous, teetering TBR pile. That's true for me-and when I found out about Paranormalcy by Kiersten White, I knew that the pile was about to collapse.

I discovered the cover some time ago and was instantly captivated. I mean, look at it! It's sophisticated and absolutely exquisite. I have to stop gushing about this cover, but it's just so perfect!

If you weren't hooked already by the cover, here is the synopsis to tantalize you further:

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.

Paranormalcy is intriguing for so many reasons. There are hordes of supernatural creatures in this book-mermaids, vampires, werewolves, zombies, and-as you found out from the synopsis-faeries and shape-shifters. Honestly, what fantasy lover wouldn't adore a book that has all of these mythical creatures spilling out of the pages? And Evie is such a kick-butt heroine. Kiersten White created a three-dimensional character with convincing layers and a teenage mind tinged with supernatural experiences, and does it so well that I am so excited to read more of it.

How do I know so much about a book that isn't out yet, you may ask? Well, head on over to Harper Teen's official website and check out the Browse Inside section, where you can read nine chapters of Paranormalcy for free! Awesome, right? You can also read other books, some a limited preview and some in full. For example, right now Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard is full online for free. Here's the link: Browse Inside Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Paranormalcy comes out August 31st, 2010. Also check out Kiersten White's Twitter, she is hilarious.

I wanted to post the book trailer as well, but my computer isn't working right. : (

Until the next review or book-rave,

Maiden Myth

I got both the synopsis and cover pic from Amazon.