Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Home    Challenges    Reviews    Features    Contests    Review Policy    Contact

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Review: Saving June by Hannah Harrington

Title: Saving June
Author: Hannah Harrington
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pub. Date: 11.22.2011
Genre: Contemporary YA
Keywords: Road trip, Loss, Grief, Angst, Suicide
Pages: 336
Description (from Goodreads):
When her older sister commits suicide and her divorcing parents decide to divide the ashes, Harper Scott takes her sister's urn to the one place June always wanted to go: California. On the road with her best friend, plus an intriguing guy with a mysterious connection to June, Harper discovers truths about her sister, herself and life.

It's been a long time since I've loved a book as much as SAVING JUNE... I think my excitement about this book can be compared to how I felt about ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS and THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE - which means that I love this book with a passion. I've said before that there are certain books that feel like they've been written just for you. They don't come along very often, but, when they do, it's one of the best feelings in the world. 
These books usually leave you a bit breathless and teary-eyed. Once you recover, you recommend that book like your life depends on whether others read it. That pretty much sums up how I feel about Hannah Harrington's debut novel!

I easily connected with Harper, the main character of SAVING JUNE. Part of me wonders if this was due, in part, to Harper's roots. Like me, Harper was raised in a small Michigan town. Perhaps I'm just imagining that this detail makes her character easier for me to relate to... or maybe Harrington truly understands how big of impact small town Michigan can have on person and has successful woven this into her character. I tend to believe the latter. Where you're from can have a monumental impact on how you view and interpret the world... and Harper and I are eerily similar.

I've yet to be disappointed by a book which features a road trip. There is something magical about the open road, the right music, and the right person sitting next to you. Harrington has all three elements locked down in SAVING JUNE.

I must say that I was especially impressed by the song selection and play lists in this novel. There are so many great songs that fit perfectly into either specific scenes or the book in general. 

To top it off, this book deals with some pretty heavy topics, including suicide and teen pregnancy. It's difficult to find a novel that can discuss tough subjects truthfully and tactfully while maintaining a tense, yet realistic love story. Often, one aspect is lacking, but this is definitely not the case with SAVING JUNE. I can't complain about any element of this novel... if there was anything I found bothersome, it must have been only a small detail, as I can't recall anything distracting or disappointing.

Please, take the time to pick up Harrington's debut... Not only did I adore SAVING JUNE, I truly believe Harrington is a contemporary author to watch.

Support independent bookstores - use the link below!

Shop Indie Bookstores

Friday, November 4, 2011

Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Title: Anna Dressed in Blood
Author: Kendare Blake
Publisher: Tor Teen
Pub. Date: 8.30.2011
Genre: Horror/Paranormal
Pages: 316
Description (from Goodreads):
Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside of the ordinary: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.
But she, for whatever reason, spares Cas's life.

I'm the biggest wuss ever, so I rarely ever pick up horror novels, but it was absolutely impossible for me to ignore a book with a cover this gorgeous. Plus I kept seeing tweets and reviews gushing over the greatness of ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD. All this goes to show that, for better or worse, both cover art and bloggers can have a pretty big impact on a reader!

I honestly wasn't expecting this book to be as gruesome as it was. It isn't the jumping out and whatnot that makes me skip horror under normal circumstances, it's the gore. My imagination is just a bit too vivid... But, though there were a couple spots where I set the book aside for a moment or two The gory scenes weren't overly long or extravagant, which made them easier for me to stomach. One should note, however, that my idea of gory is actually quite tame... I have a sneaking suspicion most readers wouldn't bat an eye at these scenes that had me taking a moment to collect myself.

The only part of ANNA that I wasn't completely sold on was the romantic plot line. At first I wondered how Blake pull off a romance between a bloodthirsty spirit and a teenaged ghost killer, but she actually made it seem surprisingly possible. Still, I didn't buy it...  the love story just didn't fit for me. I think, that in my mind, romance and horror are too distant to mesh convincingly. 

Overall, this was a fantastically creepy debut and I'll definitely be reading Kendare's next novel.

Support independent bookstores - use the link below!

Shop Indie Bookstores