Saturday, August 31, 2013

Taking a Little Break

Hey everybody!  I just wanted to make a quick post to let you all know that I'm going to be going on a hiatus.  I'm not sure how long I'll be gone because I'm not sure what the next few months will entail.  I just started my graduate program and I'm just not going to have the time to keep up with Movies In My Head. That's not to say that I won't be making a post from time to time or reviewing a book once in awhile.  I just won't be requesting review books or accepting review requests for the time being and I won't be posting with regularity.  I really appreciate each and every one of you and I hope you'll stick around while I figure things out.  I'll still be reading of course and poking around the blogosphere so you won't miss me too much I hope! Love you all!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Stacking The Shelves (23)

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Stacking the Shelves is hosted by the amazing Tynga @Tynga's Reviews


For Review:

Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy Children of the Jacaranda Tree The Longings of Wayward Girls Bellman and Black Projection

Won:

Belle Epoque
Thanks Random buzzers!!

Bought:

F in Exams: The Very Best Totally Wrong Test Answers The Small Hand Timeless (Timeless, #1) The Book of Lost Things Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna, #1) Demonglass (Hex Hall, #2) Spell Bound (Hex Hall, #3) Immortal Beloved (Immortal Beloved, #1) A Little Princess Room

As always let me know what you got this week!  Happy Reading!!!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Review: Escape from Eden by Elisa Nader


Escape from EdenAuthor: Elisa Nader
Genre:  Contemporary, Thriller, Dystopian
Pages: 271
Published: August 18th, 2013
Publisher: Merit Press
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Source:  I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

"Since the age of ten, Mia has lived under the iron fist of the fundamentalist preacher who lured her mother away to join his fanatical family of followers. In Edenton, a supposed “Garden of Eden” deep in the South American jungle, everyone follows the Reverend’s strict but arbitrary rules—even the mandate of whom they can marry. Now sixteen, Mia dreams of slipping away from the armed guards who keep the faithful in, and the curious out. When the rebellious and sexy Gabriel, a new boy, arrives with his family, Mia sees a chance to escape. 
But the scandalous secrets the two discover beyond the compound’s fa├žade are more shocking than anything they ever imagined. While Gabriel has his own terrible secrets, he and Mia bond together, more than friends and freedom fighters. But is there time to think of each other as they race to stop the Reverend’s paranoid plan to free his flock from the corrupt world? Can two teenagers crush a criminal mastermind? And who will die in the fight to save the ones they love from a madman who’s only concerned about his own secrets?"~Goodreads

I've always been fascinated with cults.  It's that morbid curiosity thing and I just can't help it.  So when I heard about this Jonestown-esque story I just had to read it.  This book promises suspense, action and shocking secrets and boy does it deliver.   

LIKES:
  • Real Life Dystopia: The setting in this book is masterfully put together.  Nader has created a horrible paradise that feels so real I'm not entirely convinced it isn't.  Of course the thing is, it is real.  No, Edenton isn't a real place, but there have been and probably still are compounds like it out there.  For a good example (and I would imagine probably the inspiration for this book) check out Jonestown.  Probably the most terrifying thing about this story is that it can and does happen in real life.  This isn't some post-apocalyptic dystopian that takes place in the distant future.  It takes place right now and not in some alternate reality.
  • Somebody paid attention in Psychology class: One of the most impressive things about this book is the author's understanding of her characters' psychology.  As with victims of systematic abuse, the people of Edenton are controlled by their fear of The Reverend.  This fear develops into guilt and they believe they deserve all that he does to them.  Those of us not in this situation may not understand why they would not rebel under such cruelty, but the author handles this very nicely.  The reader is able to sympathize with The Flock even while hating what their community stands for.  
  • Subtle but intense romance:  I was really happy with the way that the romance was handled in this story.  I think it would have been a mistake to make it the most important plot point.  It definitely takes a back seat to the action and suspense.  However, the romance that is there is very intense and much different than in most YA novels.  Gabriel and Mia both have so many varied issues that it would be impossible for them to have a normal romance.  But the chemistry is great and fit in perfectly with the story.


DISLIKES:
  • Emotion could have been better at times: There were some moments in the book where I felt like the emotion could have been higher.  In particular, there is a scene near the beginning involving cookies.  I'll leave it at that so I don't ruin it for you, but you'll know when you get there.  I'm reading this scene going "HOLY CRAP WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!" and the main character just sort of acknowledges it and moves onto the next day.  It's possible that this was done on purpose to show how numb she has become to cruelty, but good lord.  EMOTE!
  • Gabriel's parents - WTF?:  Gabriel's parents (and really many of the parents here) should be ashamed of themselves.  I won't go into detail because I don't want to spoil anything but in one of the last scenes they sit there as terrible things are about to happen to their child.  Now, of course at this point they are probably completely controlled by fear so you could give them that, but from what I can gather they've been pretty awful parents since the beginning.  So when they are seemingly absolved later on I had a little trouble buying it.  I can't imagine being able to forgive people who put me through something like that.  Maybe I'm just not Edenton material.
Overall this book was great.  It caught my attention from page one and kept me riveted throughout.  I really came to care about the characters and by the end of the book I felt like I needed a good cry and possibly a Xanax.  The storyline would have been interesting all on it's own but Nader added her own twists and turns and really amped up the suspense.  I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.

  



Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Mini-Review: Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard

Paper Covers RockAuthor: Jenny Hubbard
Genre:  Historical Fiction, Contemporary
Pages: 192
Published: June 14, 2011
Publisher: Delacorte
Rating: 3/5 Stars
"At the beginning of his junior year at a boys' boarding school, 16-year-old Alex is devastated when he fails to save a drowning friend. When questioned, Alex and his friend Glenn, who was also at the river, begin weaving their web of lies. Plagued by guilt, Alex takes refuge in the library, telling his tale in a journal he hides behind Moby-Dick. Caught in the web with Alex and Glenn is their English teacher, Miss Dovecott, fresh out of Princeton, who suspects there's more to what happened at the river when she perceives guilt in Alex's writing for class. She also sees poetic talent in Alex, which she encourages. As Alex responds to her attention, he discovers his true voice, one that goes against the boarding school bravado that Glenn embraces. When Glenn becomes convinced that Miss Dovecott is out to get them, Alex must choose between them."~Goodreads

I love a good boarding school story.  All of that teen angst and no parents in sight.  It's a great recipe for drama and intrigue.  For some reason stories about all boys schools seem to hold a special place in my heart.  It's probably because I grew up loving A Separate Peace and The Dead Poets Society, "Oh captain, my captain" and all that.  These stories really seem to tug at my heart strings.  That's probably why I went into this story expecting so much.  It doesn't hurt that Paper Covers Rock was a finalist for the William C. Morris Debut Award.  So with my expectations towering, I dove right in (pun intended).  Unfortunately, this particular boarding school story was a little stale for me.

Let's start off on a positive note.  The style of the book was really intriguing.  It is told in journal form through entries, essays, poems and letters.  I always have loved this type of writing style.  It allows you to get inside the protagonists head in a way that simple narrative cannot.  It also usually helps to make the pacing of the story work.  However, with this particular book, the pacing was sometimes off and even at only 192 pages this book took awhile for me to get through.  That being said, the journal style was effective in helping me to understand and connect with the main character, Alex.  Even though I felt I knew Alex, it was hard at times for me to sympathize with him.  He allows others to control so much of what he does and how he thinks and allows himself to be bullied by his (to me totally dull, nothing to write home about) best friend, Glenn.  Together the boys get one student expelled and attempt to have a teacher dismissed all to save their own butts.  I'm not sure why I should feel much sympathy for such a door mat.

My other big problem with this book is that the story line is so similar to A Separate Peace.  There are plenty of differences of course but the characters seem like less likable knock-offs of Phineas and Gene and the main conflict (a student being injured/killed) after jumping into a river was just too on the nose for me.  Really, I probably would have had a much different view of the book if this weren't the case since I spent most of the time comparing the two stories in my mind.  Of course the plot lines were different in many ways and I am not at all insinuating that anything underhanded is going on here, but I just felt like I had read this story before and liked it better the first time.

When all is said and done I can't really say  that I disliked Paper Covers Rock.  It was a solid story told in an interesting way, but it fell short.  I would have like to have seen a more original story-line and more likable characters.  The charm of Dead Poets Society and the bite of A Separate Peace were missing for me.  In the end, it's a story that is interesting but not enduring.  I think this book would be a good introduction if you haven't read a lot of books involving boarding schools.  It may really intrigue some of you, I think for me it was just a little late to the party.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Blog Tour Stop and Giveaway: Some Quiet Place by Kelsey Sutton



Hi guys and welcome to my tour stop on the Some Quiet Place blog tour hosted by Mod Podge Blog Tours.  My stop is a character profile of Maggie Stone.  Huge thanks to author Kelsey Sutton for providing the material.  Check out the other stops on the tour and make sure to enter to win a finished hard copy down below.

Character Profile:  Maggie


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Name: Maggie Stone

Physical Traits: “Maggie,” I say, stopping. I instantly take note of the veins beneath her translucent skin, the trembling, the smudges under her eyes. Her ink-black wig shines weakly in the sun. “Maggie, you shouldn’t be here.”

Quote from SQP: Maggie swallows. “I was thinking … you know I joke about death”—the word makes her cringe—“and I brush it off. Hell, I dress like it.” She sniffs, attempts to harden, but it doesn’t work. Not now. Shuddering, she meets my gaze squarely. She’s decided something. “We’re all pretending, all the time. But now it’s different. I feel different. I think I need to face the fact that I’m going to die, and I need to hear someone say it.” 




-- 
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Kelsey Sutton
SOME QUIET PLACE, July 2013






Thursday, July 18, 2013

Review: Prince Of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Prince of Mist (Niebla, #1)Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Translated By: Lucia Graves
Genre:  Historical Fiction, Horror, Paranormal
Pages: 218
Published: May 4th, 2010 (English version)
Publisher: Little Brown
Rating: 5/5 Stars

"A mysterious house harbors an unimaginable secret. . . .
It’s wartime, and the Carver family decides to leave the capital where they live and move to a small coastal village where they’ve recently bought a home. But from the minute they cross the threshold, strange things begin to happen. In that mysterious house there still lurks the spirit of Jacob, the previous owners’ son, who died by drowning.
With the help of their new friend Roland, Max and Alicia Carver begin to explore the suspicious circumstances of that death and discover the existence of a mysterious being called The Prince of Mist—a diabolical character who has returned from the shadows to collect on a debt from the past. Soon the three friends find themselves caught up in an adventure of sunken ships and an enchanted stone garden, which will change their lives forever."~Goodreads

You know those book you read as a kid that just drew you in and totally consumed you for hours on end?  If this book had been translated when I was that age this would have been one of those books.  What am I saying?  It is one of those books.  I picked up this little novel (the first in the Niebla Trilogy) on a whim.  I didn't feel like reading the next book on my to-be-read list yet and needed something quick to keep me entertained for a few days.  The Prince of Mist more than did the trick.  It was charming, exciting and truly scary.  It was everything a young adult horror novel should be.

LIKES:
  • Beautiful writing: Zafon's writing is really beautiful.  He somehow captures the voices of his characters perfectly while at the same time allowing the reader to make their own observations about the world he creates.  The atmosphere was perfect whether that atmosphere was spooky at the time or charming and quaint.  The story moved along quickly and succinctly and kept me wrapped up in it the whole time.  
  • Different take on ghosts:  I love ghost stories, they're probably my favorite kind, but there's usually some sort of formula.  Ghosts are usually dead people who hang around and scare the crap out of the living.  Not in this book though.  These ghosts are unusual.  I'm still not 100% sure how the whole thing went down but apparently they could take different forms, inhabit inanimate objects and resurrect terrifying circus statues.  
  • Truly terrifying villains:  Speaking of circuses, there is a ghost clown.  I hate clowns, I find them truly horrifying at their best so when one of them is walking around all incorporeal with razor teeth I just about lose it.  Throw in some creepy haunted home movies, wardrobe monsters and a ghost ship and I will be sleeping with the light on for awhile.  A+ on the scares.


DISLIKES:
  • Where are the parents:  About half way through the book something happens and the parents and youngest sister leave town.  They're gone for the rest of the book only to reappear in the epilogue.  I was disappointed in this because I really loved the family dynamic at the beginning of the story and it was sad to see them written out for most of the action.  However, I can see why this was necessary so maybe I can't really count this as a dislike.
  • The ending (maybe):  I'm really not sure about the ending.  There are things I loved (the drama and sadness and hope) but I also was kind of disappointed that the story was wrapped up so completely.  It looks like Max won't be the focus of the second book and I really liked him as a character so that was a bummer, but it will be cool to see what the author does with the story from here on out.  After all, this is The Prince of Mist's story right?


I can't wait to read the rest of this series and see what type of terror The Prince of Mist will create. The second and third books involve different protagonists and different time periods which is a really unique and fun idea for a series.  It will be interesting to see what Zafon has come up with (hopefully no more clowns).  I only wish these would have been translated earlier so I could have enjoyed this amazing tale sooner.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Book Blitz and Giveaway: Breaking Glass by Lisa Amowitz





Breaking Glass by Lisa Amowitz
Release Date: 07/09/13
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press

Summary from Goodreads:
On the night seventeen-year-old Jeremy Glass winds up in the hospital with a broken leg and a blood alcohol level well above the legal limit, his secret crush, Susannah, disappears. When he begins receiving messages from her from beyond the grave, he's not sure whether they're real or if he's losing his grip on reality. Clue by clue, he gets closer to unraveling the mystery, and soon realizes he must discover the truth or become the next victim himself.







Available from:
 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png  photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg  photo 111AD205-AA04-4F9E-A0F4-C1264C4E9F30-1855-000001A1E8CEB6D7_zps9b730b94.jpg

***Excerpt***
“So where is he?” She cranes her neck, trying to spot Ryan in the crowd. Heart pounding, my mind hiccups through its storehouse of facts. I reposition myself to block
her view. There’s no time to try texting Ryan a warning. I could tell Susannah. Tell her how Ryan has been sneaking around behind her back for over a 
year, even hooking up with two college juniors in a motel room during one of 
our out of town meets. But defying the Morgan machine by pointing this out 
takes too much energy. Instead I blurt, 

“Did you realize the Watch Hill 
carousel was once part of a traveling carnival?”

She laughs and 
shakes her head. 

“What? Jeremy, sometimes you can be such a--” 
But her voice 
trails off as her gaze wanders past mine, her smile crumpling like a paper bag.
I follow her line of sight and I know this is it. The crowd has thinned around 
Ryan, enough for her to see him with his mouth smashed against Claudia’s.


“Oh, man,” I 
gasp. I turn to comfort Susannah, but she is already gone.

I stand, 
dithering; wanting to run after her and apologize for letting her walk into
this ambush. But, no. This is 
something Ryan needs to take care of. I might have signed on to sweep his mess 
under the rug, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to clean up after him. I push
through the crowd to get to him. 

“What? She what?
Did you know she was coming back early?”

I feel my face 
heat. 

“No.”


Ryan pushes 
Claudia off of him, his stage makeup still glistening and thick, traces of
Claudia’s lipstick smeared on his lips. 

“Good job, Jeremy. You could have at
least texted me.”


My hand curls 
into a fist. I stuff it in my jacket pocket. “She ran out,” I say. 

“Maybe you 
can catch her.” 
Ryan shrugs, and 
without a coat, stalks out of the theater into the night. I wait a few minutes 
then follow. Susannah’s car is gone, and so is Ryan’s. I try to call Susannah, 
but she doesn’t pick up. 
I get in my car 
and focus on resisting the water bottle’s siren call, panicked glimpses of my 
waking nightmare crashing through the floodgates, the terrifying memories swept 
through with it. The rain and the torrents of water sweeping past, draining
into the Gorge, forcing me to remember. To relive it. No. Not now
I need to stay clear.

Since eighth 
grade, when I discovered that liquor dulls my terrors, I have been a master
thief and spy. Not even Ryan 
knows.Just a sip to 
calm my shaky nerves. One tiny sip to beat back the rising waters that threaten 
to drown me. I can do it. I pride myself on my steely self-control. My ability 
to remain stone-cold sober even when the track team holds a victory keg party.
They call me Jeremy the Teetotaler. Jeremy, the History Nerd who never
partakes. I snap open the 
glove compartment. The innocuous silver bottle is shoved behind the owner’s 
manual, gas receipts and a collection of power bar wrappers. I raise it to my
lips and gulp once, twice, three times; the cold liquid igniting as it hits my
throat. It takes two, three more gulps to slow my heart to normal speed. The
bottle is nearly empty. I cap it and return it to the compartment, warmth
flowing to my cold fingers. I’d need to drink three times as much as that to 
lose focus.

Swerving the 
deserted black roads slick with rain over ice, I follow my usual running
circuit. This is familiar turf. My backyard, practically. Yes. I can do
this. Susannah knows my route so I hope she’s come this way and parked, knowing
I’d find her. She wants me to find her. To comfort her. I’ll tell her
everything. How I’m sorry for lying to her. For letting Ryan hurt her. And
maybe at last she’ll accept that it’s not Ryan she wants, but me. But there’s no 
sign of her. After driving 
and searching fruitlessly, my mind churning with outcomes, the now driving rain
blurring my windshield, I can’t stand it anymore. My heart is racing. Just one
last sip to fortify myself is all I need. When I round the 
next hairpin curve, my headlights flash on Ryan’s car parked behind Susannah’s, 
engines running. I squint through the rain and mist and spot them behind the 
guardrail, illuminated in the headlamps’ cone of light. There’s no shoulder on
this side of the road, so I pull over when I can, about twenty yards past them. When I finally
get out of the car I can hear her shouts over the racket the rain makes. My 
head is buzzing, but my thoughts are clear. In fact, they’ve 
never been clearer, as the roots that entangle me fall away.

The damp air 
smells like freedom. 
Susannah 
screams, and pounds at Ryan’s chest with her fists. He shoves her hard and she 
falls backward. I don’t see her get up again. Raucous arguments were nothing 
new between Susannah and Ryan, but I’d never seen him hit her before.

There’s a steep 
decline into the woods where they’ve chosen to have their argument and I worry
Susannah could have gotten hurt. Ryan disappears now, too. What the 
hell are they doing?

I begin to run 
at full tilt. I still have some distance to cover, but that’s no problem for 
me, even with the Absolut pumping heat through my veins. But my boot heel 
catches on a wet leaf then slides out from under me. 
I’m flying, but 
I land softly.

About the Author
Lisa has been a professor of Graphic Design at her beloved Bronx Community College where she has been tormenting and cajoling students for nearly seventeen years. She started writing eight years ago because she wanted something to illustrate, but
somehow, instead ended up writing YA. Probably because her mind is too dark and twisted for small children.




              BREAKING GLASS
which will be released in July, 2013 from Spencer Hill Press, is her first
published work. VISION, the first of the Finder series will be released in
2014, along with an unnamed sequel in the following year. LIFE AND BETH will
also be released in the near future, along with graphic novel style art. 

***GIVEAWAY***
1-custom pendant like the one pictured on the book cover
2-signed ARCS
1-original work of Breaking Glass related art created and signed by the author.