Review: Siren's Storm (Lisa Papademetriou)

Product Details:
Reading level: YA
Pages: 288
Publisher: July 12th 2011 by Random House Children's Books
ISBN: 9780375842450
Source: library book
Read it in 1.5 days

Siren's Storm (Siren's Storm, #1)
Nothing has been the same for Will ever since what happened last summer. One day, on an ordinary sailing trip with his brother, there is a strange accident. When Will wakes up, he learns his brother has disappeared, presumed drowned. Worst of all, Will can't remember what happened—his family finds him unconscious, with no memory of the accident.

Now Will and his best friend and neighbor, Gretchen, are starting a new summer. Gretchen seems troubled—her sleepwalking habit is getting worse, and she keeps waking up closer and closer to the water. Will is drawn to Asia, the exotic new girl in town. Nobody knows where she's from—all Will knows is that her beauty and her mesmerizing voice have a powerful effect on people.

Then there is another mysterious drowning, and Will and Gretchen begin to wonder: Is Asia just another beautiful, wealthy summer resident? Or is she something entirely more sinister . . . and inhuman?

This book in one word: Spooky.

It’s pretty obvious from the beginning that something is different about Asia and Gretchen, but what makes Gretchen different is unclear. In fact, although this story is told from Will’s point of view, it is mostly about Gretchen which makes it a great mystery. In fact, there are more unanswered questions about Gretchen’s role in things at the end of the book. She is certainly a driving force in the plot.

The characters were pretty good. There were several that you enjoyed and some that you despised. But most of all, Will and Gretchen are complete mysteries. I think there was a fair amount of depth and insight into Will and Gretchen’s character, but the others were a little lacking. I know they weren’t main attractions in the plot, but I still want an inkling into their motivations. I guess it was there for the most part, I just wanted a little more.

I did enjoy the allusions to The Odyssey. That was fun. I’m a big nerd like that, always looking for symbols, themes, and allusions to classic literature. Like I said, big ol’ dork. If you have forgotten the story of The Odyssey or Ulysses, then you need a refresher. Calypso makes a huge appearance in this book. In fact, she is the major antagonist.

The only thing that bugged me was how quickly the plot ended. There was a steady build throughout the whole book that really helped me connect with the characters, but then all of the sudden I was in the middle of the climax and resolution. It seemed too quick. There is no up and down climax that leads to some great cataclysmic event. It’s more like jumping off the edge of a cliff and being in the middle of the action, which ends as soon as you hit the surface again. It left me with many questions. But, since the second book, Fury’s Fire, is coming out next week, I won’t have to wait long for my answers—I hope.

This was a quick read full of beautiful descriptions and quirky characters. I enjoyed it, and I think if you enjoy mysteries featuring killer mermaids, you’ll enjoy this one too.

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Splash Into Summer giveaway!

Splash into Summer

The super awesome Bonnie of A Backwards Story and Jen of Literally Jen are hosting this year's Splash Into Summer event. It's an amazing dedication to all things mermaid.

Obviously I'm super excited since I have an entire summer reading list dedicated to mermaid books. To help celebrate the event and give mermaids their time in the sun, I'm hosting a giveaway.

What's up for grabs, you ask? Well, hopefully you realize it's something mermaid related. I have a signed hardback copy of Tera Lynn Child's FINS ARE FOREVER and a mermaid cookie cutter. (I couldn't resist this awesome kitchen gadget!)

MERMAID Cookie Cutter 4.5 IN. B0916  Fins Are Forever (Fins, #2)
 

Want to enter? Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. The contest is open to US/Canada mailing addresses only, and will run from 7/5 to 7/15. Visit A Backwards Story and Literally Jen for other splash-tastic contests and events during the month.


Review: Thirteen Reasons Why (Jay Asher)

Product Details:
Reading level: YA
Pages: 288
Publisher: October 18th 2007 by Razorbill
ISBN: 9781595141712
Source: library copy
Read it in 1 1/2 days
Thirteen Reasons Why

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.

Oh. My. Goodness.  This was such a great book! Why didn’t I read it before now? Shame on me.

As you’ve probably guessed, Hannah killed herself. What you (and the other characters) don’t know is why she did it. Until the tapes arrive. The stories that she shared are heartbreaking. Hannah refers to things as “the snowball effect” and that’s exactly what happened. There is no one specific event that caused her to want to take her own life. There were a compilation of many, many things that eventually weighed down on her.

The way this story was told was very original. I loved that Clay’s thoughts intermingled with Hannah’s stories. I really felt sorry for both characters. For Hannah, it was sad that she had to endure so much alone. For Clay, it was sad that he never found the courage to speak up, which might have been enough to save Hannah. As you read the book, you can’t help but think about your own life (especially your time in high school). What if that Senior Superlative spoof list you helped pass around in math class wasn’t a joke to everyone? What if that prank you thought was so innocent destroyed someone’s final chance of happiness?  What if all those times you thought you should speak up but never found the courage to do so didn’t work out in the end?

I had so many connections to this book while I read. It was almost like reliving my high school experience with every page. It’s hard to believe this was written by a debut author, because the skill and talent are amazing. I really hope to read more from Jay Asher in the future.

Thirteen Reasons Why is a beautiful way of making readers think about their actions. Everything has a consequence, whether it’s positive or negative, and you realize this through Hannah’s story.

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Mini-Review: Alaska Curiosities (B.B. Mackenzie)

Product Details:
Pages: 296
Publisher: Globe Pequot (June 5, 2012)
ISBN: 9780762770090
Source: My personal copy

Alaska Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff


This is such a fun book! Unfortunately, I bought it at the end of my trip to Alaska. I really wish I had it when I started out. There are so many fun things to "see" in this book that it would have made my visit even better.

I am happy to say that I did manage to find some of the odd spots/highlights all on my own. I am naturally drawn to off-color topics and slightly odd attractions. But it makes me feel better that there is a book celebrating the same things.

If you're looking to plan a trip to Alaska, you need to get this book! Each region is highlighted and there is a plethora of activities, sites, and events for you to see. Each season is also highlighted because not everyone is brave enough to visit Alaska in the winter. One of my favorite activities mentioned is the Anchorage Outhouse Race and the ghost tours.

This was a quick read (I only read the sections for the regions I visitied and the ones I plan to see on my next trip). There are black and white pictures to accompanying most features too. The author's humor is apparent on every page, which makes me think that he must be a lot of fun to hang out with. The book sure was fun to read!

In My Mailbox

I've been taking advantage of all my Netgalley books that are patiently waiting to be read! I feel very proud of myself. I also went to the library this week. I am making a personal effort to use my public library more. I always visit during the summer, but I want to extend that into the year as well.

For review:

The Space Between

Bought: (I got these wonderful books in Alaska at the Anchorage Museum)

Alaska Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff  Tales and Traditions of the Eskimo King Island Tales: Ugiuvangmiut Quliapyuit

Bought (not from Alaska):

Dust & Decay (Benny Imura, #2)

Borrowed (from my local library):

Daughter of the Sea

Thirteen Reasons Why Siren's Storm (Siren's Storm, #1) Pegasus (Pegasus, #1)  Forever (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #3)


Netgalley:

Fury's Fire (Siren's Storm, #2) The Goddess Legacy (Goddess Test, #2.5) Dust Girl (The American Fairy Trilogy, #1)

On Sale This Week

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Great books heading our way this week! Why not grab one to read while you're waiting on the Fourth of July fireworks? Click on the images for more information.


I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am about Waking Storms! Finally the wait is over! This is one of my most anticipated books of the year!

  

  

  

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