Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Review: The Sweet Dead Life by Joy Preble

The Sweet Dead LifeAuthor: Joy Preble
Genre:  Paranormal
Pages: 244
Published: May 14th, 2013
Publisher: SOHO Teen
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Source:  I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

"“I found out two things today. One, I think I’m dying. And two, my brother is a perv.”
So begins the diary of 14-year-old Jenna Samuels, who is having a very bad eighth-grade year. Her single mother spends all day in bed. Dad vanished when she was eight. Her 16-year-old brother, Casey, tries to hold together what’s left of the family by working two after-school jobs— difficult, as he’s stoned all the time. To make matters worse, Jenna is sick. When she collapses one day, Casey tries to race her to the hospital in their beat-up Prius and crashes instead.
Jenna wakes up in the ER to find Casey beside her. Beatified. Literally. The flab and zits? Gone. Before long, Jenna figures out that Casey didn’t survive the accident at all. He’s an “A-word.” (She can’t bring herself to utter the truth.) Soon they discover that Jenna isn’t just dying: she’s being poisoned. And Casey has been sent back to help solve the mystery that not only holds the key to her survival, but also to their mother’s mysterious depression and father’s disappearance."~Goodreads

I'm not really sure what I was expecting when I picked up this book.  I haven't read a ton of angel books and most of the ones I've heard of are romances.  This novel is about a brother and a sister so  romance really wasn't part of the equation.  After finishing it I'm still not really sure about this one. It centers around Jenna, an eighth grader with a world of problems.  Her father is missing, her mother doesn't leave the house and her older brother is a pot head.  When she and her brother are in a car accident and he becomes an angel things get even more complicated.  There were definitely things I loved about it, but there was plenty that fell flat as well.   

  • The writing style:  The style of the book was really cool.  Jenna definitely had a unique voice and the author did a great job of bringing that across.  The colloquialisms in the writing added to the charm and really pulled me in.
  • Jenna's got spunk:  I just loved Jenna.  She was so full of life and laughter despite her dire circumstances and that really got me attached to her.  Throw in her impressive and growing vocabulary and her sense of humor and I was sold on Jenna.  Her relationship with her brother was also really genuine and sweet.

  • Amber:  I just didn't see the point of Amber, and I don't just mean her character.  I also didn't get why Jenna hated her so much or why Amber was such a pill.  With fun, lovable characters like Jenna and her brother I was hoping that Amber would have been developed a little more.
  • Where's the magic?:  This book reads more like a mystery than a paranormal story.  There isn't a lot of angel-ish stuff going on except for Casey's physical changes and some little tricks that go by practically without notice.  I would have liked to see more of the paranormal/angel element.
  • No surprises: Everything is sort of laid out for you in the synopsis.  The reader already knows the big twist (cough Casey's an angel) before the book even begins.  So when Jenna finally comes to that conclusion it's not very exciting for the reader.  This could have been avoided completely with a different title and description.  The other big revelation, that Jenna is being poisoned, is also right there in the blurb.  
I started out really loving this book.  Unfortunately, by the time I finished it I wasn't as excited about it.   That being said, the writing style alone is enough for me to want to pick up the author's other work.  I'm excited to see what she what else is out there.  If you're looking for something heavy on the paranormal this book might not be for you.  But if you want a cute younger mystery give it a shot.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Book Hauls and Updates and Giveaway Winners, Oh My!

Hey guys!  I just wanted to let you know that I'm not dead.  May has just been a crazy month for me and I haven't had any time really to read or blog. But June looks like it's going to be much easier so I should be able to get back on schedule.  So I thought I'd go ahead and put up a book haul to jump start things.  But first I wanted to  announce the winners of my Blogiversary Giveaway.  

The winner of the prize pack is:


And the winner of a book from The Book Depository is:


Congrats you two! And thank you all so much for making my blogiversary so special!

Now onto the book haul!


Starstruck September Girls The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic

Thanks to Harper Teen, Random House and Tammy at Books Bones and Bunny


Piece of My Heart This is WAR

Thanks to Merit Press and SoHo Teen


The Seer of Shadows Rot and Ruin (Benny Imura, #1) Love Is the Higher Law Looking for Alaska

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Don't Leave a Ghost Homeless - Save The Book House!

Image by The Book House.  Used with permission.

In the heart of Rock Hill, amid the bustle of the seemingly endless Manchester Rd. traffic hides one of St. Louis' most beloved landmarks.  You might miss it if you're driving past but it is in your best interest to find it.  I'm speaking of course of the most magical place on Manchester, The Book House.  Growing up in St. Louis there were few places as wonderful for me as this pretty little 19th Century house.  With it's friendly staff, resident cat (Blake), and every room packed floor to ceiling (literally) with books both used and new what's not to love?  

Image by The Book House.  Used with permission.

Oh, it also happens to be haunted.  That's right, local legend says that The Book House is haunted by an apparently very well-read little girl named Valerie.  She's a playful ghost who is always willing to help people find what they're looking for.  She's even been known to knock a book off of a shelf when a patron couldn't find it (Robbie Courtaway, Spirits of St. Louis).  Now the property owner wants to tear it down to build a storage unit.  A STORAGE UNIT. We can't leave little Valerie without a home, and we can't leave St. Louis without it's Book House.  Luckily there are ways you can help.


Even if you don't live in the area you can help this local treasure stay put.  I'm asking you, my fellow book lovers (or hoarders as the case may be) to do me and my fellow St. Louisans a favor in the name of the printed word.  There are two things you can do.  First of all there is an Indiegogo campaign where you can donate funds that will go toward saving the property.  If you aren't able to donate you can sign the petition and let the City of Rock Hill know that we want to keep our Book House.  It only takes a minute and you don't have to be a resident to sign it.  Please take a second to help out.  My childhood thanks you.

Mini Review: Invisibility by David Levithan and Andrea Cremer

David Levithan's work and I have a tumultuous relationship. Although I find his style and passion both beautiful and earnest I have often found that his penchant for pushing his beliefs on the reader abrasive. This seems funny to me because 90% of the time I agree with what he's saying, it's simply his delivery that I am at odds with. As for Andrea Cremer, I am not familiar with her work so I was able to go into Invisibility without prejudice. I was excited to read this book and to see how the authors worked together to build such a unique storyline.

Unfortunately I was mostly disappointed. At first the story was great. The main character, Stephen, was pretty well-developed in the first few chapters and his relationship with spunky Elizabeth opened up a world of possibility. Throw in her adorable brother, Laurie, and I was sure I was in for a good time. Sadly the book quickly developed into a rushed supernatural plot line that seemed too convoluted for the earlier storyline. It just didn't fit. The last section of the book was a mix of insta-love dramatics and info dumps. All in all I was just disappointed. This book could have been something extraordinary but instead it was just strange and rushed.