Hello, blog readers!
I’m so sorry I haven’t blogged much in the last few weeks. I know I was scheduled to do two reviews that I missed completely. I kept being optimistic each week that I’d have the time to write the reviews, but between a revision deadline and being swamped at work, the days just kept getting away from me. Many apologies!
But I intend to make it up to you, dear readers, by posting not one, not two, but all THREE reviews I missed in the past few weeks. I will do them in reverse chronological order from when I was supposed to post them. The books I will be reviewing today are as follows:
AUDITION by Stasia Kehoe
What It’s About:
When high school junior Sara wins a coveted scholarship to study ballet, she must sacrifice everything for her new life as a professional dancer-in-training. Living in a strange city with a host family, she’s deeply lonely-until she falls into the arms of Remington, a choreographer in his early twenties. At first, she loves being Rem’s muse, but as she discovers a surprising passion for writing, she begins to question whether she’s chosen the right path. Is Rem using her, or is it the other way around? And is dancing still her dream, or does she need something more? This debut novel in verse is as intense and romantic as it is eloquent.
What I thought:
Wow! This book is gorgeous. I am a sucker for pretty writing and in my opinion, there’s nothing prettier than books written in verse. Every word is so carefully chosen that I just want to savor each page.
This book was gutwrenching and raw, everything laid bare on the page from Sara’s struggles with ballet–and the extremes she needs to resort to in order to compete with the other girls, sometimes depriving herself of things she needs and wants in order to get it. I went through intense emotions reading this book, wanting desperately for her to succeed but knowing succeeding would be at a cost.
I am a huge fan of books about dance and this was no different. It reminded me in a way of one of my favorite movies, CENTERSTAGE. I just love the intricate world of ballet and the only time I get to experience it is through another character’s eyes. I loved the conflict of the dance school where you must compete against your friends.
Sara’s relationship with Remington was a dance in itself and I loved the way it twisted and turned across the pages. I was with her at every step, every movement that brought her closer or further away to him.
I loved everything about this book!
FATEFUL by Claudia Gray
What It’s About:
Eighteen-year-old maid Tess Davies is determined to escape the wealthy, troubled family she serves. It’s 1912, and Tess has been trapped in the employ of the Lisles for years, amid painful memories and twisted secrets. But now the Lisle family is headed to America, with Tess in tow. Once the ship they’re sailing on—the RMS Titanic—reaches its destination, Tess plans to strike out and create a new life for herself.
Her single-minded focus shatters when she meets Alec, a handsome first-class passenger who captivates her instantly. But Alec has secrets of his own. He’s in a hurry to leave Europe, and whispers aboard the ship say it’s because of the tragic end of his last affair with the French actress who died so gruesomely and so mysteriously. . . .
Soon Tess will learn just how dark Alec’s past truly is. The danger they face is no ordinary enemy: werewolves exist and are stalking him—and now her, too. Her growing love for Alec will put Tess in mortal peril, and fate will do the same before their journey on the Titanic is over.
What I thought:
I’m a huge fan of Claudia Gray’s EVERNIGHT series, so naturally I was psyched to get this book. In fact, I made the signing at BEA a priority, choosing to wait for this book over many others, and I devoured it shortly after I got home.
I was super impressed with this book. I was curious how Gray would handle a historical setting versus a modern setting, and I’m thrilled that Tessa’s voice is very different than Bianca’s. The voice fit the setting perfectly. And whew–the setting! So…back in 1997 a tiny movie called TITANIC was released. High School-aged me saw it back to back on premiere day and then two more times that same weekend. I’m not even going to get into how many times I saw it after that. Every time I spot the movie on TV, I’m compelled to watch and every time I get depressed for over a week (seriously–why couldn’t Rose and Jack take turns on the damn wood???!?!). Needless to say, I’m a big fan of the Titanic. And that made me even more eager to read this.
I loved the different perspective we got of the ship even though some things were similar. Both the movie and book involved a 3rd class passenger spending a lot of time in 1st class. Both involved a forbidden romance between a third and first class passenger. Though this time the first class passenger’s family accepts the romance–there are plenty of other conflicts at stake.
I liked that the focus wasn’t on the ship itself but on the werewolf mythology. Less time was spent on the actual sinking (no spoiler alert needed there, haha). I thought that worked really well since this wasn’t a story about the Titanic sinking but rather two people stuck in unfortunate circumstances.
I thought the characters were great–and Alec was super sexy! Those that love the Titanic–or paranormal in general–will love this!
LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR by Stephanie Perkins
What It’s About:
Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit — more sparkly, more fun, more wild — the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.
When Cricket — a gifted inventor — steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.
What I thought:
My love for ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS is not unusual. That book has sneaked its way into my top ten all time faves. I’d heard that LOLA was better, but I didn’t think it could be possible.
Wow do I believe now.
The best way I can describe this book is that it’s the opposite of ANNA. This time Lola is the one in the series relationship. Where Etienne was short, Cricket is tall. Where Anna was a neat freak, Lola is chaotic and messy. Where parents were absent, parents have a huge role. I thought all these opposites worked perfectly to not only set Lola apart from Anna but to give an entirely fresh story along the same universal theme.
Lola was such a fantastic character. I adored her from page 1. I loved her quirkiness and her costumes. I loved Cricket’s sunny and always-upbeat personality. I loved Lola’s family from her two-dads to her tea-leaf reading birth mother.
I loved everything.
It’s hard to write this review without putting an exclamation point after every sentence and doing a bunch of dances and also running up to you, shaking you, and forcing this book into your hands. I loved it. No, I LOVED IT.
I think I have a new favorite top ten!
CHECK OUT WHAT THE OTHER BOOKANISTAS ARE READING THIS WEEK:
Elana Johnson interviews Elle Strauss, author of Clockwise
LiLa Roecker discusses S R Johannes’ e-book experiment
Christine Fonseca is wowed by The White Assassin – with giveaway
Shannon Whitney Messenger loves Lola & the Boy Next Door – with giveaway
Beth Revis delights in The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer – with giveaway
Shelli Johannes-Wells falls for Fracture
Carolina Valdez Miller adores Ashfall – with giveaway
Jessi Kirby marvels at The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Shana Silver steps up to Audition
Corrine Jackson is crazy about Cracked
Stasia Ward Kehoe swoons for Swan and To Dance