Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ball Don't Lie by Matt de la Pena

5/5 Stars (Goodreads | Amazon)

Everybody talks about looking for YA books that are boy friendly. People talk about it like it's a mythical creature. Well let me tell you I have found the magical leopluradon. Or I've found an excellent book for boys.
I love basketball. I read this book to compliment all my basketball watching during the month of March. I needed a book I could get excited about, something that could pull my attention away from the NCAA tournament. I realize this is probably not a problem most readers have. But I love basketball.
And let me tell you the main reason why I love basketball--the stories. Sports are not just muscular men bashing into each other. Sports stars are kids who grow up chasing a dream. Sometimes they're rich and white (ala Duke) but sometimes they're poor and basketball is their only shot at making something of their life (See Eric Bledsoe). Sometimes there's a player who everyone thinks should be cut, everyone complains about then he suddenly blossoms with talent. There's a reason there are so many sports movies. Sports have some of the best storylines.
Basketball is about heart and hustle, working hard to make something of your life. Sticky encompasses all those things. A foster kid who has been passed around between homes, always returned because somebody doesn't see his value. Basketball gives him value--something he's good at, something he can excel at. Sticky has a lot of heart and he devotes his life to improving his basketball skills.
This book has an excellent voice. Sticky lives a rough and tumble kind of life. He uses slang, improper grammar but the author never overdoes it. Sticky is believable and relatable and never slips into a stereotype. The use of italics rather than quotations bothered me at first, but it was a stylistic choice that I got used to it. The book does use basketball slang but I don't think you have to know that much about basketball to read the book. Probably helps if you watch some games, but it doesn't require D1 playing talent to read (for the record I'm 5 ft tall I watch basketball. I've never played it).
If you hate sports this book probably isn't for you. If you like sports then I say it's worth trying. If you can't get enough basketball like me then it's a must read.
If you're like me and love a true feel-good basketball story read about my favorite player here: Josh Harrellson from UK Trust me if this isn't one of the best basketball stories (not the article but Josh's story) then I don't know what is. And it's true, he is Mr. Nice Guy.

Friday, March 18, 2011

I want an e-book! No I won't cave & buy the hardcover

Gentle word to publishing people: If it's not available in e-book there's a good chance I won't buy the book. I have no shelf space. I hate dust. I love my Kindle.

This might sound silly. It might sound petty. But folks I just don't have the room for the books in my home (in fact I don't have a home, I live in a garage). So if I can't get it on Kindle I will wait until the library gets it.

I've noticed a lot of books lately that get "released" but not in e-book format. To me paperback vs hardcover was always about expense. I don't buy e-books just because they're cheaper. Actually they're not always cheaper! It's a lifestyle choice. It's less clutter, less dust, easier than a book reading experience.

I want your book. Really I do! I want to support the authors I adore (Looking at you Melina Marchetta because Piper's Son isn't in e-book right now). I may not pay hardcover cost but I will pay a little more than paperbacks.

Here I am buying more books than ever! Buying books on an impulse because the one-click system is sooooo easy. Please for the sake of my allergies sell me your book in e-book format! Otherwise I'll be waiting around for the library to get it.

Don't you want my money? Because I want to give it to you!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Why I love Meet the Dupes - Roswell

1. Worst idea ever -- There are 2 sets of the royal 4! So it's like the Royal 8, only they're the "same"

2. Worst execution of a horrible idea - Stupid costumes, stupid accents. Emilie de Ravin (love her soul) was already struggling with an AMERICAN accent because you know she's Australian and all (and it's totally not possible to write her in that way for sake of her acting since she's been separated from the other 3.) But now let's try to make her do a stereotypical New York accent because clearly she can pull that off better.

3. The sci-fi channel just threw up on my character driven show! Am I the only one who remembers that this was LIZ's story, following her diary? She's supposed to be the main character of this show.

4. The Dupes (sans Tess/Ava) are evil of course. Because you know aliens can't be good and humane like the Royal 4 we love 3/4 of! Plus they're New Yorkers and whoever heard of a nice New Yorker?

5. Dupe Tess is MORE LIKABLE THAN normal Tess. For reals? Can we trade her now? In Dupe part 2 I wanted to punch Tess because she's like "Whatever you do will be right." UGHHHHH. Weak women should not be written. Ava & Liz can actually be friends. Why can't we keep Ava instead? Let the evil-royals have Tess because she'll fit right in.

Ava trumps Tess on the likability scale, despite the bad accent.

6. With all their alien powers and evilness they kill Zan (their Max) by pushing him in front of a truck. And he doesn't even attempt the green glowy forcefield of DOOM to protect himself. Great King of a Planet there.

Seriously this is the most awesomely horrible Roswell episode in the history of Roswell (Well maybe not. There is one coming up in season 3 about marrying an alien). I LOVE MEET THE DUPES. I don't know why but it makes me laugh, makes me realize how off track my fave show went, but makes me love it more somehow. It's like a kid that's so ugly it's cute. Only really, it's ugly but I love in anyways.

(There may have been a glass of wine during this show and parts of this review were written after midnight by a slaphappy Roswell superfan)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Lost Voices by Sarah Porter -REVIEW

Goodreads system: 2 stars
A review I've been avoiding

About a month ago I received Lost Voices from Netgalleys. It's a book about mermaids and I've always really liked mermaids in all of their forms--from Harry Potter creepy mermaids to Disney Princess versions. (In high school I tried to write a mermaid story--so goes my deep love of the creature)

But this version, vindictive and shallow, just didn't work for me. And I know the mermaids in Harry Potter were pretty evil but that was different. The Mermaids in Lost Voices started out as humans. Maybe that's why the characters were so unbelievable. They lacked all humanity and kindness.

Lost Voices starts out excellent. The first chapter is very cinematic, slowly building tension (and my curiosity). Then horrible horrible things happen to Luce. And rather than just die she becomes a mermaid. Apparently this happens to a lot of girls who are mistreated and abused.

Rather than deal with human issues related to recovering from abuse and discovering self worth this is where the story stops. There is no real plot. They play around being mermaids for while and sinking ships for kicks and giggles. (Yes really, that's what they do for fun. Killing innocent people).

Any attempt at a plot is shallow. To me it reads like Sarah Porter had an excellent idea for a world, a new concept of mermaids but no real story. The characters are undeveloped and any attempt at development is a sad caricature. None of the characters are very likable or believable and it's hard to follow any story without a relatable character.

The saddest part about this book is that I fully believe Sarah Porter can write. Her opening was excellent. But either she didn't take the time to develop the story or didn't have anywhere to go.

And I really hate giving books bad reviews and I feel like I've done a lot of that lately. Please believe there are books that I really like. I'll try to find something excellent to review next.

PS I'm going to add as an attempt to be more positive: I think the cover is very pretty. I like the colors, design and font choice.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Katniss Everdeen RUMORS

So lately there have been two Katniss rumors going around.
  1. Hailee Steinfield from True Grit
  2. Jennifer Lawrence from Winters Bone
Can I just say that BOTH of these rumors make me happy? I've had my doubts about rather Hunger Games will work as a movie. Don't get me wrong I intend to see the movie (probably the opening weekend) and obsess over every trailer. And I like the Harry Potter movies and hate the whining fans that complain about the scenes cut from an epically long book.

But Hunger Games is intense in a way that Harry Potter only touches on late in the series. The Hunger Games is about kids killing kids. Are we ready to watch that? The book is written in first person which was a brilliant choice by Suzanne Collins. The violence works because we're seeing it through Katniss's eyes, struggling as she struggles, seeing how she tries to retain her humanity during the games.

Movies are a 3rd person medium. I know that vo
iceover brings a little bit of a first-person element but I don't like when this is overused. I'm not sure how the violence will translate into 3rd person. I worry that it could overwhelm the audience. The book is not pro-violence AT ALL and I hope the nuanced difference between glorifying violence and horrifying violence will translate onto screen.

BUT WAIT I said I was happy
From the looks of the rumors the casting department is searchi
ng for the cream of the crop as far as young actresses go. I don't have much of a social life & thus don't see many movies. But by all reports & clips both True Grit and Winters Bone are brilliant gritty dramas. So to me it seems that the people behind the Hunger Games movie are taking the right path. That doesn't mean it will work--but they are taking steps in the right direction.

Jennifer Lawrence
(Yes I know she's blonde, hairdye is pretty awesome)

Haille Steinfield
(Yes she already has the hair, even can rock the braid)