Monday, April 29, 2013

Front and Center (Catherine Gilbert Murdock)

Title: Front and Center
Author: Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Length: 256
Rating: 4.5/5

After Dairy Queen and The Off Season, D.J. Schwenk is back, and hoping to fade back into the background. She just wants to be plain old DJ again, but everyone in her life has a different idea. Like her brother Win, and college scouts, and her basketball coach. And for some reason, as hard as she tries, D.J. can’t stop thinking about Brian Nelson. So as much as she wants to be in the background, it seems an unlikely fate for D.J.

I loved the first and second book so much, you know I started reading this one the minute The Off Season’s audio book finished. My only complaint with the early books is that D.J. was a little too shy and na├»ve about the world. But in this third book, D.J. is forced to face the future and what it might hold for her. Already grown up so much more from the events in the second book, the questions D.J. must answer in Front and Center really make her grow as a person, and will make the reader love her all the more as a character.

This entire trilogy is great for readers of all ages and comes highly recommended!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Where She Went (Gayle Forman)

Title: Where She Went
Author: Gayle Forman
Publisher: Dutton (Penguin)
Length: 264 pages
Rating: 4.5/5
Three years after the catastrophic events in If I Stay, Adam is a famous rocker and Mia is a celebrated classical musician. But things are not as rosy as they appear, as both are still haunted by the events in If I Stay, and their break up which followed. A chance meeting in New York City forces them to confront the past.

I attempted to listen to this book like I did the last one, but it was so good I grabbed a hard copy and read it in one sitting. I liked this book even more than it's catalyst, maybe because there was less death. Still a good amount of moping and troubled souls, but it was all very cathartic. It's as if this book is the therapy to If I Stay; completely necessary and quite soothing once you work through the knots the characters have tangled themselves in.

Adam and Mia have both changed a great deal in three years, and it's easy to hate them for destroying each other in such complicated ways. But in this book, we finally get to hear Adam's voice, and get his side of the story. And when Adam and Mia finally meet again, they, and the reader, gets some much needed closure.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Days of Blood and Starlight (Laini Taylor)

Title: Days of Blood and Starlight
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Length: 517
Rating: 5/5

In this sequel to Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Karou has finally learned who she really is. But this revelation and the betrayal it exposes shatters her world. To avenge her people, Karou is pulled into a deadly war between angels and demons that has been raging on for centuries.

This book is both stunningly gorgeous and terribly tragic. I had the pleasure of meeting author Laini Taylor at a book signing, where she admitted that it took her a while to realize that this book had a completely different tone from the Daughter of Smoke and Bone, the tone of a war book.

This isn’t the magical, romantic world of Prague any more. Karou teams up with the monsters, but still struggles to find the clear line between good and evil, while the reader roots for it to never exist, because we love characters on both sides of the war. We get the same struggle from Karou’s angel, Akiva, and I loved seeing the world from his point of view.

The book was just so beautiful, and so well-written, and I’m so upset I have to wait for the third book in the trilogy to come out. Until then, all I can do is hope that Karou and Akiva can find some sort of peace, because I’ve come to love them and all their friends so much!

You can find a great interview with Laini Taylor here.