Words & Sinew

Semi-occasional reader & blogger who just really loves Rob Kazinsky. My playstation is basically my child.

What Do You Want to Do Before You Die? - Ben Nemtin, Dave Lingwood, Duncan Penn, Jonnie Penn I've been following these guys since around the start of their TV show. I'll admit, at first I just watched it for kicks but I became invested in it very quickly. The book is a culmination of their message and how it's reached people. It's filled with list items sent in by their fans put against some cool artwork. It's kind of hard not to feel inspired after flipping through it. Nice job, boys.

Twenty Boy Summer

Twenty Boy Summer - Sarah Ockler *Slight Spoilers*There's a blurb on the cover from author Jo Knowles which says, "Breaks your heart and puts it back together again." And honestly, I couldn't agree more. Sarah Ockler immediately sets up for the perfect life. Anna Riley. Frankie and Matt Perino. Neighboring childhood best friends, until it all changes when Anna and Matt fall for each other and start a secret relationship the day of Anna's 15th birthday. But everything just completely shatters one day and Anna is just left with the remaining pieces of her secret relationship with Matt that Frankie has no idea about and the lingering "what if's?" of what would've been their future. When that all just happened, I literally had to just take a moment and breathe. One minute I'm reading about this perfect friendship and seeing this beautiful relationship flower naturally before and then bam. All gone. Nothing left but shattered hearts, suppressed secrets, and broken butterfly wings. Sarah Ockler has this way of just completely immersing you into this life she's created within these pages. One minute reality, the next you just go under, struggling to breathe because there's just so much heartbreak and struggle for these true-to-life characters you end up relating to one way or another. Not only that, she creates this almost secret language with her words. The imagery, metaphors, and similes she uses are so much deeper because of the connection she makes to the character or story with them. It would hard for anyone who didn't fully go along this journey to understand the deep impact those specific words have.Anna is an immensely strong character. After Matt's death, she has so many things to hold up. Her broken best friend Frankie, the guilt of her secret relationship with Matt, her own grief. How she manages to pull herself up in the morning and do all those things, all day long, without letting in a secret person to all her pain (other than her journal) amazes me. A lot of her guilt and grief definitely overshadows her character at times though, but that's the point. She's went so long with having to carrying all of this it's become who she is. She never fully dealt with Matt's death but at the same time, the day he died, he took a lot of her with him. As you go along with Anna on this journey, you become proud of the person she transforms into. Of finally getting rid of her burdens, or at least letting other people help her carry them. It's a proud thing. As usual, Sarah Ockler is a rockstar when it comes to giving fully developed characters. Nearly every person is full of life and have their own journeys to get through which you get to see happens through Anna's eyes as well. Summer is a powerful thing. It's the time when you can retreat into this cocoon and come out at the end a completely new person -- a butterfly. 20 Boy Summer displays the transforming powers of summer and how just a few days away from reality can make you see so much more. The reason why I had to dock half-a-star though was because at times I felt a lull. I felt like I was reading the same thing over and over at times. Anna is guilty about Matt. Anna is worried about Frankie. Anna thinks Sam is stellar kisser. It just felt like the same things repeated over and over with no serious progress that made me want to skip around a bit. Despite all these words, they still don't manage to sum the book quite as well as Jo Knowles did. "Breaks your heart and puts it back together again." The cover is a terrific illustration to this while also making an illusion to an important piece of symbolism within the book. Favorite Quotes: "My eyes were closed and his mouth tasted like marzipan flowers and clove cigarettes, and in ten seconds the whole of my life was wrapped up in that one kiss, that one wish, that one secret that would forever divide my life into two parts. Up, down. Happy, sad. Shock, awe. Before, after.""When someone you love dies, people ask you how you're doing, but they don't really want to know. They seek affirmation that you're okay, that you appreciate their concern, that life goes on and so can they.""When it happens, you're totally unprepared, fragmented and lost, looking for the hidden meaning in every little thing. I've replayed the vents of that day a hundred thousand times, looking for clues, An alternate ending. The butterfly effect." "I pull open the glass door and walk to the middle of the sore, letting the smell of old books soak into my lungs. It's different than I expect; it feels more like a library than a store, and I can totally picture Matt hanging out here. He loved to read. He loved words, the way they string together into sentences and stories. He wanted to study them, to know and create them, to share them with the world." "Yea, I've heard that before. There are all kinds of sayings like that around here. But sometimes you gotta just take things for what they are and appreciate them, not try to label it or explain it. Explanations take the mystery out of it, you know?""It's just us and the music, the universal language of love hope and loss and everything else.""Don't move, Anna Reily," he says. "Right now, everything is perfect."

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares -  'David Levithan', 'Rachel Cohn' This will be short and sweet since I don't recall many details having read this book months ago. But I'll tell you this much: I'll definitely be re-reading this come this holiday season. And I still really want to get a red moleskine notebook and hide it somewhere. You start off this book with really big words. Really big. At first I was narrowing my eyes at the fact that these big words were coming from the mouth of a sixteen year old boy, but once this snarky yet amusing and charming boy explained what a word connoisseur he was, I let it pass. Dash and Lily are an incredibly witty pair. I didn't see them really go from Point A to Point B (or, in Lily's case, Point A.5), but damn did I want them to be together. And when they finally did, it was beautiful and precisely perfect for them. I loved going on all this hilarious journey with them. I kept turning the pages, seeing what other creative challenges Dash and Lily set up for one another and what kind of chaos each would go through to complete them. And the fact that this is set during Christmas gets extra bonus points. A totally light, funny, and charming contemporary that is a perfect read for the holidays. I'm going to make it my own tradition to read this every Christmas season. Favorite Quotes:"She was not a needle. This was not a haystack. We were people, and people had ways of finding each other.""You should never wish for wishful thinking.""The important people in our lives leave imprints. They may stay or go because they helped form your heart. There's no getting over that.""You don't know who Nicholas Sparks is?" Dash asked.I shook my head."Please don't ever find out.""Ooh...a girl!""Boomer, we're not in third grade anymore. You don't say, 'Ooh...a girl!'""What? You fucking her?""Okay, Boomer, you're right. I liked 'Ooh..a girl!' much more than that. Let's sick with 'Ooh...a girl!'""I would like to be the person who stands outside Macy's during the holiday season wearing a cute red outfit and ringing a bell to chime in donations for the Salvation Army, but Mom said no. She said those bell people are possibly religious freaks, and we are holiday-only lapsed Catholics who support homosexuality and a woman's right to choose. We do not stand out of Macy's begging for money. We don't even shop at Macy's." Side note: Lily's mom may be the most fantastic person ever.

Blood Bound (Unbound Novel)

Blood Bound (Unbound Novel) - Rachel Vincent & at: http://wordsandsinew.blogspot.com/2013/01/blood-bound-by-rachel-vincent.htmlI've read this book maybe five times already? Some passages I've read at least a hundred. Every time I read it, it becomes an obsession for awhile because Vincent's world-building is that good. It sucks you in, anchors you, and refuses to let you go until you find something else to obsess about. (In my case, Mass Effect.) Intricacy and fragility carries each power in the Unbound world. Nothing is without some sort of price or catching the attention of some dangerous syndicate leader. The plot is just one giant, tangled mess -- but in the best way possible. For every part of the crime that Liv & Cam solve, there's about fifty more directions they have to follow to solve the big picture. There are just so many pieces thrown about everywhere that when it finally all comes together, Vincent does what she does best: completely blows your mind. I can't imagine the insanity she feels when putting her plots together because it all really is so intricately tied together in a way you can't realize until she decides to tell you. Plotting queen, this woman is. It's funny because in the novel when Live and her motley crew realize how everything came together at the working of one person, I sympathize with them entirely because Vincent does that over and over again.Liv has the Vincent trademark as a main lead: she's bad-ass, has no problems kicking your ass, and suffers hero complex. She's definitely a lot grittier than Vincent's other leads but that's pretty much where the differences end. No problem though because the literary world can always use more bad-ass females like Vincent's. Between you and me, I'm really sick of the nerdy/loner/spineless/quiet MC trope that is just plaguing the market. I'll take bad-ass lead over ~girl-whose-special-but-doesn't-know-it~ any day.The book moves between two points: Cam and Liv's. Personally, I think we could definitely use more books from a male's perspective so Cam's chapters were nice but were riddled with continuous thoughts about Liv. Don't get me wrong, I completely understand why but at some point it does become too much and Cam just begins to sound kinda like a teenage girl. Liv and Cam's chemistry is incredibly hot and so easy to get lost in. OTP alert, anyone?I mean, what else is there to say? If you love urban fantasy as much as I do, this is a must. And if you love Rachel Vincent as much as I do, then this is an absolute must. Rachel Vincent has crafted a world and a cast of characters guaranteed to suck you in and never let you go, just like anything else she writes.
Amy and Roger's Epic Detour - Morgan Matson I struggled to get through this for a good portion of the book. I mean, I understand the appeal and hype; it's good good messages, road trip, dorky MC, all the things you should find in any popular YA contemporary novel. But it just takes forever to get from point-to-point. And then sometimes it just felt like it took itself too seriously and tried too hard to convey whatever message it was giving at the time. I'll have to read it again one day to try and understand why it's so well-received I guess.
Where the Truth Lies - Jessica Warman I don't even know after reading this. It just became so ridiculously implausible.I used to think that no one could be as ignorantly naive as Emily but life smacked in the face with that one. Believe it or not there really are and yes, it is just as frustrating to see in real life as it is to read.Warman does well in writing friendships between girls, making them seem very lovely and true while making some good points on how fragile and temporary they are though.

Evermore (Immortals Series #1)

Evermore - Alyson Noel Just no.
White Cat  - Holly Black Black magic + mobsters + boarding school setting. Like what more does anyone need from a novel?Yea, devilish and charming male lead too, I suppose.
Hush, Hush - Becca Fitzpatrick There were a lot of cliches in here, like too many too count. Patch is the a-typical bad boy. Nothing about him stands out. And maybe this is just me and my wild thinking, but who falls for someone who is repeatedly trying to kill you?Then there's the whole psychotic-girlfriend-who's-actually-the-school-therapist crap. That was just weird and could've been without.Not to mention Nora's best friend made me want to punch her every time she showed up. Nothing up there folks, I can tell you that.

Claire de Lune

Claire de Lune - Christine   Johnson Claire de Lune gives a nice twist to the overdone werewolf premise. However, the plot unfortunately presented nothing spectacular. It wasn't nearly as mysterious or thrilling as it was built up to be and I managed to figure out the mystery before I finished the book. And if I took a shot every time one of the characters used the term, "Oh My God" I'd have been drunk off my ass by the fifth chapter. The way the characters talk in this novel is actually slightly insulting to teens everywhere. And I only say slightly because of the 70% of teens who probably do talk like this.Interesting twist on werewolves. I'm gonna bite my tongue on the rest of it.

The Lonely Hearts Club

The Lonely Hearts Club - Let me start off by saying that this is purely chick-lit. These days a lot of YA is so heavy and dark. I couldn't tell you how refreshing it was to just read something light and fun for once. The characters in here are so funny. They annoyed me sometimes, but still so funny. The plot isn't anything spectacular though and the conflict isn't very conflicty. (I know that isn't a word, but it's nearly midnight and I'm tired. Bear with me.)Things were resolved too easily. But knowing that this was pure chick-lit, I didn't have too high of hopes for the plot. Which is maybe why I didn't find it as disappointing.The book sends a very positive message about friendship but at some point it becomes force-fed down your throat.All I can say is that if I'm ever in the mood for a light fun read, this will be one of the first books I turn to. (Fuller review coming soon.)
Where She Went - Gayle Forman As soon as I finished this book, I had to read it again. Immediately. I seriously can't remember the last time I had to do that with a book. This is definitely my favorite of the year so far and it'll have a place on my favorite books ever shelf forever. Fuller review coming soon.
The Mermaid's Mirror - L.K. Madigan ~May contain possible spoilers.~I love mermaids. They're one of my favorite creatures ever. So you can imagine my excitement to read this, yes? Well that flew out the window quickly.First of all, relationships do not develop in a matter of days! Lena's other suitor does not appear till the last half of the book (more like the last one-quarter) and within days they're in love and ready to proclaim to the world. No, nonononono. I literally rolled my eyes when I read that. The book wasn't difficult to get through. I never really felt like I had to pause because I was getting bored, but what bored me about the book was the fact that it felt like nothing unique and that nothing was every really happening.Lena's got a personality but I just couldn't connect with her. There just wasn't anything in her or her struggle that I found in some way I could relate to or just overall care about. A reason for this could be for the fact that the girl possess no sense of compassion. When Lena finds out the truth of her past, she's a real bitch to her parents. I understand where her frustration comes, I'd be pissed off too, but come on. Can't you at least sit and down and maybe think why your parents kept things from you? Maybe to protect you? She was just so bitter with them it turned me off. I wanted to like this. So much.
My Soul to Save - Rachel Vincent & at: http://wordsandsinew.blogspot.com/2012/09/my-soul-to-save-by-rachel-vincent.htmlFirst review of this book I lamented on how there was a lack of sacrifice on both Kaylee and Nash's part. I went on about how the pacing wasn't as exciting as the first one and how it had hit the somewhat inevitable "sophomore slump."I take it all back.It wasn't till around book four that I realized how much this book would shape and set the foundation for the entire series. How such seemingly small events could grow so huge it would ultimately warp and, in some cases, destroy parts of each character's life.Okay, I lied on taking back the fact that this book wasn't as exciting as the first but this book is far, far, far more genius than the first. In fact, the foreshadowing and discreet intricacy of this book is just brilliant, probably the most brilliant I've ever read in any YA series.The first read through will not impress you much but I promise as the series goes on, and when you look back to find the catalyst of all the tragic events that unfold throughout this series, most will come from within this book. I am just astounded at how much this book changed and started the drive for most of the larger plot-points in this series later on, specifically for Nash.(I'd like to take a quick moment to say I love that boy dearly. Yes, he does some asshole-worthy moves later on but Nash is the tragic character of this series who is really trying to get out of the hole he unknowing and unwillingly fell into.)I'm telling you right now if you haven't read this series, please, please, please do. The inner-workings of its carefully woven plot, not to mention Rachel Vincent's brilliant writing, will amaze you.I guarantee it.Side note: I find it amusing that Rachel Vincent was inspired by pre-teen shows like Hannah Montana because let's face it, the whole "selling your soul for fame" portion is accurate in some cases. I applaud you, Ms. Vincent.
Entwined - Heather Dixon This was a beautiful rendition of a beloved fairytale. The more I read, the more captivated I was by the story. The bouts of humor caught me by surprised. I absolutely loved this. Twelve characters is a lot to juggle. A lot of the younger sisters just sort of blended together and there were maybe about four that stood out but those were distinct from one another which makes the balance between bad character-building and good sort of even.Heather Dixon's descriptions are lovely though. Beautiful, actually. Her writing is kind of made for books like this. I hope she writes more books like this, I'd totally pick it up.
Delirium  - Lauren Oliver [1.04.13] edit: Went down to two stars. Lauren Oliver's writing barely gives it that. I've learned that books with a lot of hype will always be so much more disappointing than they should be. Delirium is a very pretty book... and that's just about it.Let me start by saying that Lauren Oliver's writing totally lived up the hype. It's beautiful and effective. I saw, felt, touched, smelled, and heard nearly everything she was trying to communicate with me. From this point on, I'll always be willing to read more of her writing. So the probability of the things happening in this book are one in a bazillion but hey, who said the plots of books ever had to have even a smidgen of possibility? It's a definitely interesting concept, love being a disease but it was never fully explained how or why society came to this conclusion, working under the assumption that at one point society was allowed to love. Just way too many loopholes in the plot for my liking. It seemed too easy for the characters to work outside the system. I did enjoy Oliver's attempt to present both sides of the argument (anti-love vs. pro-love) but after Lena meets Alex it's like all rationality just flew out the window. Not to mention it was like Alex came out of the LI factory, so typical.A few aspects were okay while others were beautiful and moving.I'd be lying if I said it completely put me under but I struggled a lot more often to continue reading rather than wanting to continue reading.Oh and the ending. Could see that coming a mile away. The thing about cliff-hangers is that they should be surprising. They should have you on the edge of your seat. But when you see it coming and it's presented in an overly-dramatic fashion, you tend to fall out of your seat laughing rather than in tension.