»
S
I
D
E
B
A
R
«
Flashback Friday: A MONSTER CALLS by Patrick Ness
Jul 11th, 2014 by Liza Wiemer

flashback-friday-featured

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON FLASHBACK FRIDAY, check out FICTION FARE’S post!

Flashback Friday: A MONSTER CALLS

by Patrick Ness

Buy it here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Audible

 

Hardcover, 215 pages

Published September 27, 2011 by Walker Books8621462

From Goodreads:

The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.

But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…

This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth.

My review:

STOP.
Seriously, don’t read any further if you don’t want to know my reaction to this novel.
Because this book will grab your mind, body, heart, and soul.
Okay, I warned you.

A Monster Calls SHOULD be read in one sitting. It’s so powerful, so painful that it feels like a gaping wound right where your heart is. I only read one review on Goodreads and I knew I had to pick up this book. The author of that review said she cried and cried. I braced myself.
I picked up this book knowing that it would tear at my heart, make me think. About life. About death. It’s a book about holding on and letting go. It’s about control and losing control. It’s about lies and truths. As I said, I braced myself. Only once did I get misty-eyed. I didn’t want to cry. But when I finished the last page I paced my living room floor. Dry-eyed. A book like this MUST impact the reader in some way because seriously if it doesn’t, I truly would wonder if stone exists in place of a heart. But the real question is what do you DO with a book like this?
I say gobble it up. Take it in. Hold it close. Then. Let. It. Go. Live life with meaning and purpose. Be kind to others. Be kind to yourself. Work on letting go of old hurts. Turn your dreams into action. Don’t just talk. DO! Because all we really have to hold onto is what we do in the here and now. I realize it’s not an easy way to live all the time. But this book reminds us that life is precious. We can’t waste it. That WE are responsible for finding meaning to our own lives and making something special out of it. 
That’s how I see it. I did warn you.

Find Patrick Ness: WebsiteTwitter | Facebook | Goodreads

The Coldest Girl In Coldtown by Holly Black – Five Star Review
Oct 21st, 2013 by Liza Wiemer

The Coldest Girl In Coldtown by Holly Black – Five Star Review

Published by 12813630Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

 

From Goodreads:

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.

My review: (I listened to the audiobook first, and then reread the book the next day, that’s how much I loved it.)

Mention blood, and I get woozy. Mention needles, and there is a chance I’ll need to get horizontal before I pass out. But for some glorious reason, I wasn’t bothered one bit from all the blood and gore and even needles mentioned in THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN. As a matter of fact, I became completely wrapped up in listening to this audiobook that I decided to take a long afternoon drive to enjoy the fall colors in the country and listen to the novel. After I returned home, I dragged an old CD boom-box in from the garage just to finish listening to it while I cooked dinner, and then folded laundry.

Vampires.

I freakin’ loved a novel about VAMPIRES!

Listening to a novel is most definitely a different experience than reading it. Christine Lakin’s performance took Holly Black’s rich, detailed, vibrant story and brought these characters to life. The key to this book is buying into the fact that vampires are real. (Yes, I know they are not real.) They’re out there and if you’re bitten, then you’ll be infected. Once infected, the only way to not turn into a vampire is isolation for eighty-eight days. There is a near unquenchable thirst for human blood and if the infected give in to that thirst, they’ll turn into vampires.

The story opens with Tana waking up in a bathtub at a farmhouse where she attended a party. Soon, she discovers that almost all of her friends were massacred by bloodthirsty vampires. She finds her ex-boyfriend Aiden still alive, but infected, tied up in a bedroom. Across the room is Gavriel, a vampire in chains. Tana decides to rescue them both.

Tana’s journey with Aiden and Gavriel is absolutely fascinating, dangerous, and unapologetically violent, but not over-the-top scary. THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN will make readers think about the power of TV and the Internet and how some sensationalize and embrace the underworld. Vampires were revered by some in a sick, fascinating, cultish way. YA blogged about them, emulated them, wanted to become them. With this desire, the reality and fantasy were too different worlds and Holly Black did an exceptional job of showing the two.

Tana is a heroine of heroines. She’s imperfect, struggles with her own demons, loves those who may not deserve it and goes to extraordinary lengths to protect the people she cares about. Sometimes she succeeds. Sometimes she doesn’t.

THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN was my surprise read of the year. I never expected to love it. I did! I never expected that it would make my “top reads list for 2013.” But it did.

Thank you so much, Holly, for writing such an unexpected and gripping vampire novel!! And thank you Christine Lakin for a captivating performance that brought Holly’s characters to life.

NOTE: There’s something remarkably classic about this novel. Think of classic movies/TV shows/books like FUNNY GIRL or DRACULA or SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE or BETWITCHED. Though this novel is  different from those I just mentioned, except perhaps DRACULA, it’s a book that I believe will last the test of time. It’s something you could pick up 20 years from now and still love. Like those old movies, TV shows, & books. :)

Buy it:

Barnes and Noble

Amazon

The Best MG/YA Novels About Death, Dying, or Those Left Behind
Apr 9th, 2012 by Liza Wiemer

DEATH. It’s inevitable. And even though DEATH isn’t the biggest fear for MG/YA, (alienation from peers is number one according to a child psychologist friend who conducted a study on the topic) it is still a topic YA think about. Yesterday, I finished reading The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder. It was another powerful read about the main character dying of cancer that left my head spinning and my dreams mingled with images right off the pages. When I woke up, I started thinking about how many MG/YA novels I’ve read on this topic. I searched my Goodreads list and I realized that DEATH is definitely a reoccurring theme. No, I am not DEATH obsessed at all. But it’s everywhere – from the Hunger Games to Under the Never Sky to Across the Universe—all fantastic novels I highly recommend. In those novels, characters are murdered and DEATH is prevalent. But they don’t necessarily address the deeper issues of DEATH. So, I decided to compile a list for readers who are looking for some of the BEST novels that dig into this topic. In no particular order:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, WhoRuBlog post: http://www.whorublog.com/?p=1043

The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder, my Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/227446798

Before I Die by Jenny Downham, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/245856732

Winter Longing by Tricia Mills, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/215029968

Fracture by Megan Miranda, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/243297421

Mercy Lily by Lisa Albert, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/151807847

You Are Not Here by Samantha Schutz, Goodread review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/226657322

I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/223975181

Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/223975181

Elsewhere by Gabriella Zevin, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/274770802

Between by Jessica Warman, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/207351225

The Everafter by Amy Huntley, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/162762230

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/174050466

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/150999990

Deadline by Chris Crutcher, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/104403811

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/91838896

If I Stay, by Gayle Forman, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/115787142

Read and added on April 21, 2012 – after recommendations from several YA book bloggers: The Catastrophic History of You and Me, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/195927203

MIDDLE GRADE:

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (author), Siobhad Dowd, Jim Kay (illustrator), Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/234705851

Radiance, Shimmer, Dreamland (Riley Bloom Series, 1, 2, 3) by Alyson Noel, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/223997625

Would love to know your favorites. Feel free to share by clicking on comments. 

 

 

»  Substance: WordPress   »  Style: Ahren Ahimsa
© Copyright 2012 Liza Wiemer