Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement Moore

Pages: 416
Publisher: Random House
Age Group: Young Adult
Challenges: 350 Page Challenge
Release Date: July 7, 2011

Amy Goodnight's family is far from normal. She comes from a line of witches, but tries her best to stay far outside the family business. Her summer gig? Ranch-sitting for her aunt with her wacky but beautiful sister. Only the Goodnight Ranch is even less normal than it normally is. Bodies are being discovered, a ghost is on the prowl, and everywhere she turns, the hot neighbor cowboy is in her face.

Stars: 3.5/5
Cover: A+

I am absolutely in love with Rosemary Clement Moore. I first fell in love with her Prom Dates From Hell series in, like, seventh grade, so when I borrowed Texas Gothic from Copperfield's (a local indie bookstore) I was SO excited.

It didn't quite meet my expectations, unfortunately. My main problem with it was that it fell really flat in the middle, and kind of dragged on. I think if the book was a hundred pages less, it would have been absolutely perfect.

I liked the whole premise behind the novel, and how it had the whole down-South setting going on. Amy reminded me a lot of Moore's other protagonist in the Prom Dates From Hell series because of how witty and entertaining they both are.

Another thing I liked is how unique and memorable the characters were. Phin, Amy's older sister, was hilarious. She was an experimental scientist, and it was a great comic relief how all of her experiments were either making the house smell like dirty socks, or in some other way not exactly going smoothly.

I thought Amy's love interest, Ben, was really irritating in the beginning of the book because of how arrogant he was, but Ben's one of those guys that grow on you. By the end of the book, I was absolutely in love with the idea of Amy and Ben as a couple.

The cover to this book is absolutely gorgeous. I love the juxtaposition of the model's eyes and her hair (I'm guessing the model is supposed to be Amy, because in Texas Gothic she has red hair).

Lovely Line:

The Final Verdict:
Texas Gothic is the perfect summer read. It combines many different genres of YA, so it will appeal to many different audiences. If the book hadn't gotten a little boring in the middle, it would have been much better!

FTC: Borrowed.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Lost Voices by Sarah Porter

Pages: 304 
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Age Group: Young Adult
Challenges: Debut Author Challenge
Release Date: July 11, 2011

What happens to the girls nobody sees—the ones who are ignored, mistreated, hidden away? The girls nobody hears when they cry for help?

Fourteen-year-old Luce is one of those lost girls. After her father vanishes in a storm at sea, she is stuck in a grim, gray Alaskan fishing village with her alcoholic uncle. When her uncle crosses an unspeakable line, Luce reaches the depths of despair. Abandoned on the cliffs near her home, she expects to die when she tumbles to the icy, churning waves below. Instead, she undergoes an astonishing transformation and becomes a mermaid.

A tribe of mermaids finds Luce and welcomes her in—all of them, like her, lost girls who surrendered their humanity in the darkest moments of their lives. The mermaids are beautiful, free, and ageless, and Luce is thrilled with her new life until she discovers the catch: they feel an uncontrollable desire to drown seafarers, using their enchanted voices to lure ships into the rocks.

Luce’s own talent at singing captures the attention of the tribe’s queen, the fierce and elegant Catarina, and Luce soon finds herself pressured to join in committing mass murder. Luce’s struggle to retain her inner humanity puts her at odds with her friends; even worse, Catarina seems to regard Luce as a potential rival. But the appearance of a devious new mermaid brings a real threat to Catarina’s leadership and endangers the very existence of the tribe. Can Luce find the courage to challenge the newcomer, even at the risk of becoming rejected and alone once again?

Lost Voices is a captivating and wildly original tale about finding a voice, the healing power of friendship, and the strength it takes to forgive.

Stars: 3.5/5
Cover: B+

I was super duper excited to read this when I got it from NetGalley on my Nook, and I didn't really know what to expect when I started it. First of all, I thought the whole premise was really unique. I've never read a story where children who've been mistreated and abused become mermaids. I thought the pace in the story was great, and there weren't any dead spots in the story line.

The one thing that kept me from thoroughly enjoying this story is that I just couldn't get into it.

The main character, Luce, was really well-created. When thrown into crazy situations, she wasn't annoyingly whiny, and she was able to logically think her way out of bad situations. The one problem was that I just didn't relate to her.

The queen mermaid, Catarina, was really fierce. I never really knew what she was going to do, and that definitely heightened the suspense of the story.

I think Sarah Porter's found her place in writing fantasy. I think she provided beautiful descriptions of the scenery, and as I said earlier, paced the story very well.

Okay, I'm being honest with you here. I read this book a few months ago, and thinking back on it now, the ending wasn't that memorable to me. I can barely remember what happened, when usually I can recount endings (and books in general) quite well.

I think the cover of the book is really pretty, and it's simple, but captures your attention. It represents what the book is about, and is a little bit mysterious, which I love.

I think it was my fault I wasn't get into it, and I think I could have enjoyed it a lot more if I hadn't had a lot of different stuff going on in my life at the time that I read it. I recommend this book to anyone who wants a good summer read.
FTC: NetGalley