Book Review

Willow by Julia Hoban

Willow by Julia Hoban

Release Date: April 2, 2009
Publisher: Dial
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 336

Seven months ago, on a rainy March night, sixteen year- old Willow’s parents died in a horrible car accident. Willow was driving. Now her older brother barely speaks to her, her new classmates know her as the killer orphan girl, and Willow is blocking the pain by secretly cutting herself. But when one boy —one sensitive, soulful boy—discovers Willow’s secret, it sparks an intense relationship that turns the “safe” world Willow has created for herself upside down.

I’m not even sure where to start this review. I’ve honestly written this review almost five times and haven’t been happy with what I’ve spit out. I’m not sure I can do this book justice. To say that it was spectacular would be an understatement. To say that I had a hard time putting it down, widely understated! Yet, why? Because in all seriousness, reading a story about a ‘cutter’ didn’t really appeal to me. I mean sure it sounded interesting, and I’ve read books about eating disorders, drugs, so why not try cutting.

So I did.

I totally agree with Hoban’s choice to write this novel in third person. Had it not been written from Willow’s POV, I know I wouldn’t have found it as impressive as I did. I needed that insight, I needed to know why someone would do that to their self. And I hate to admit it but I understood, I empathized, I accepted it. Hoban doesn’t dance around the fact, there are some shockingly graphic scenes, but instead of grotesque they are honest and revealing.

And it’s not only the characterization of Willow that’s impressive. It’s the disheartening portrayal of Willow’s brother David, and her warped sense of his withdrawal. It’s the eccentric relationship between Willow and Guy. It’s the secondary characters that have some of the smallest parts but remain prominent in your mind. For me I, couldn’t stop thinking about the girl at the restaurant.

Willow is about so much more than cutting. It’s about love. Not only first love, but the power of redemption that only love can posses.

Still haven’t done the book justice, but I’ll leave you with this. Yes, cutting is a painful subject to read about. But Willow was skillfully and uniquely told. Essentially the message is uplifting, even the worst of situations can improve.

Glad I did.


Book Review

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

Release Date: March 24, 2009
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Age Group: Young Adults
Pages: 541

To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters — never mind that enter-ing the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadow-hunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadow-hunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City — whatever the cost?

Why am I finding it so difficult to write this review. I’ve been stewing for days– literally– writing this review in my head– while I’m trying to fall asleep, while I’m in the shower, while driving, which really isn’t such a good idea, and yet everything has ended up crap. Although I did have something going before I feel asleep the other night, and of course I have forgotten it.

I’m saddened to see this series end, but even so I thought that it ended perfectly. No cookie- cuter, sweetened overload, just a perfectly seamless ending. Sure I’d like to know what may happen next, but I’m perfectly content with leaving that open to my own realm of possibility.

The Mortal Instruments is on of my favorite series’ and City of Glass is now one of my all time favorite novels. Cassandra Clare is an amazing story-teller. Sure some parts of the novel were a little predictable, but I can honestly say that didn’t bother me. There were a lot of things that surprised me! The subtle clues that Clare had placed within the previous two novels, came rushing back with clarity and I was aghast with how I had missed so much before!

As much as I wanted to read this book, there was a small part of me that didn’t. While I’d devoured Clare’s previous novels in a day, I took my time to relish in this final chapter. I was emotionally invested in these characters, and I didn’t want to see it end. And yet as the novel progressed, I was content as it came to a close. Clare kept true to her characters, she didn’t change their characterization because she wanted the novel to end a certain way, and I think I feel the need to appraise that more than anything. Too many times in a series, do I see characters take a dramatic turn just to enhance the story. Sure characters grow and develop that is expected, but don’t solidify a characters persona only to destroy it.

The exceptional writing and the articulate plot kept me engaged and entertained, but for me it was the superb cast of characters that kept me reading this series.

Speaking of exceptional writing. Clare has it going on. It takes a lot for me to get into imagery. I just can’t imagine something that is being described to me, well most of the time. There are a few exceptions and Clare’s writings is one of them. And not only that but, I love that fact that she clearly gives each character a distinct voice. When I read her dialogue I know who is talking right away. And I love that!

What else can I say… I loved this books. I love this series. It’s everything a good novel should be and then some. And I love how pretty the books look on my bookshelf. :)




The winner of the signed copy of Jane in Bloom by Deborah Lytton is


Congrats Jenna! I’ve sent you an email, please respond asap! Thanks to everyone who entered!

Don’t forget to:


In My Mailbox (21)

In My Mailbox explores the contents of my mailbox on a weekly basis. Of course I only mention the really cool things, like books! If you would like to participate and have your own “In My Mailbox” post, you can find more information here.(This post was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie.)

How Do You Get All Those BOOKS!?

For Review:

Gorgeous by Rachel Vail (ARC/May 26, 2009/Harper Teen)

She’s looking good . . . but Allison Avery can’t believe it. Growing up with beautiful, blond sisters, Allison has always been the dark-haired, “interesting-looking” Avery. So when the devil shows up and offers to make her gorgeous, Allison jumps at the chance to finally get noticed. But there’s one tiny catch, and it’s not her soul: The devil wants her cell phone.

Though her deal with the devil seems like a good idea at the time, Allison soon realizes that being gorgeous isn’t as easy as it looks. Are her new friends and boyfriend for real, or do they just like her pretty face? Allison can’t trust anyone anymore, and her possessed phone and her family’s financial crisis aren’t making things any easier. Plus, when she finds out that she might be America’s next teen model, all hell breaks loose. Allison may be losing control, but how far is she willing to go to stay gorgeous forever?

Hancock Park by Isabel Kaplan (ARC/July 6, 2009/Harper Teen)

Becky Miller lives in the best neighborhood, goes to school with the children of movie stars, and had her psychiatrist on speed dial. She may live in the City of Angles, but this sixteen-year-old’s life is far from perfect.

By day, Becky navigates the halls of L.A.’s most elite schools, where the mean girls are a special breed of mean. At night, she deals with sparring parents, a grandmother who is man-crazy, and a younger brother Jack, who answers only J-zizzy. As Becky’s life seems to come crashing down around her, she struggles to put it back together and learn to grow up while trying to stay sane.

Riding the Universe by Gaby Triana (ARC/May 5, 2009, Harper Teen)

Chloé Rodriguez values three things above all else—her family; her best friend, Rock; and Lolita, her Harley-Davidson 1200 Sportster. With a black body, blue airbrushed flames, and perfect sloping ape hangers, Lolita is Chloé’s last connection to her beloved uncle, Seth, who left her the bike when he died last summer. So when a failing chemistry grade threatens to separate Chloé from her motorcycle, she vows not to let that happen . . . no matter what.

Enter Gordon. Ridiculously organized, übersmart, and hot in a casual, doesn’t-know-it kind of way, Chloé’s peer tutor may have a thing or two to teach her besides chemistry. But she has to stop falling for Gordon . . . and get Rock to act mature whenever he’s around . . . and pass chemistry so she doesn’t lose Lolita forever. Just when Chloé thinks she’s got it all figured out, a bump in the road comes out of nowhere and sends her skidding.

Worldweavers: Spellspam by Alma Alexander (PB/Febuary 2009/EOS/Harper Collins)

What do you get when ordinary e-mail spam becomes infused with magic?


At first, they seemed like harmless practical jokes, but now, for the students at the Wandless Academy, the spellspams are getting worse. Thea thought she was the only one who could reach through the computer using magic, but someone else is out there, someone bent on more than just stirring up trouble. Someone with a dark agenda from a whole new world.

Worldweavers: Cybermage by Alma Alexander (HB/February 2009/EOS/Harper Collins)

This year at the Wandless Academy feels all wrong to Thea. Her best friend, Magpie, will barely give her the time of day. Ben’s been moody and dismissive. Since when did Tess have a boyfriend? And why is Humphrey May, agent for the Federal Bureau of Magic, lurking around the Academy?

Thea is out of sorts—in all ways, magical and otherwise—and that’s before she discovers she’s an elemental mage, a category of magician so rare that only four others are known to exist.

Now the Federal Bureau of Magic needs Thea’s help to unlock the mysterious white cube—the same cube found over the summer in the professor’s house, the same cube the dangerous Alphiri are still after. To stay ahead of the Alphiri and the wiles of the FBM, Thea needs her friends—all of them.

Loyalty’s Web by Joyce DiPastena (PB/October 2008/Leatherwood Press)

In twelfth century France, King Henry II of England has just finished quashing a rebellion by his power-hungry sons and now seeks to tame the lawless barons who supported them in this corner of his “Angevin empire.” To this end, the king has sent the Earl of Gunthar as his royal representative to ensure that Prince Richard and his former cohorts faithfully adhere to the terms of the peace treaty.

Far from being welcomed with open arms, Gunthar no sooner steps foot in the county of Poitou than he is greeted by a series of assassination attempts. All appear to be linked to the former rebellious prince through the agents of the family and friends of young Heléne de Laurant. A clever, intrepid young woman, she realizes that the only way to prove her loved ones’ innocence is by exposing the true assassin. Heléne races against time—and dark secrets of the past—to unmask the killer before the kingdom plunges back into war.

Fierce determination gives way to mutual attraction as Heléne and Gunthar spar over the identity of the traitor. But their blinding magnetism almost causes them to overlook an even deadlier threat from an entirely unexpected direction.

Plus I got Poseur and Queen of Babble from Paperback Swap! And I bought a copy of Graceling!

Okay so now you know what’s in mine, what did you get in yours? You can sign the Mr. Linky below, if you would, please link your actual post, so that it is easier to find! Thanks!

I’ve been trying to go around and make sure I comment on everyone’s posts!! I’ve been slacking on my part lately! But not anymore! Thanks to all who participate!


Book Review

Miss Match by Wendy Toliver

Miss Match by Wendy Toliver

Release Date: February 10, 2009
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 288

Sasha Finnegan has always had a knack for setting people up, and at sixteen, she’s turned her talent into an online business, molding high school crushes into true love. But Sasha finds her toughest match yet when hottie Derek Urban asks her to set him up with Sasha’s gorgeous sister, Maddie. It’s not that Derek isn’t a good catch. In fact, after spending so much time with him, Sasha can’t help but think he’s perfect — for her, that is.

Can Sasha push her feelings aside for the sake of her business? Or has this miss finally found her match?

What a cute book! I’d never read a Simon Romantic Comedy. And I’m not really sure why, because I love a good Romantic Comedy! Miss Match maybe just be the start of something….

The characters were fun. Sasha’s character was portrayed very realistically. I couldn’t think of a better leading man than Derek and I even liked Sasha’s sister Maddie, who I initially thought I would hate since she was the perfect cheerleader type.

The relationships between the characters, while it may have been typical, was still very entertaining! Wendy did an awesome job creating such a fun novel! And I’m looking forward to more!

If you’re looking for a cute, quick, fun read, look no further than Miss Match!

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