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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Review: The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg

 Dying of a broken heart is just the beginning.... Welcome to forever. 
BRIE'S LIFE ENDS AT SIXTEEN: Her boyfriend tells her he doesn't love her, and the news breaks her heart—literally. 
But now that she's D&G (dead and gone), Brie is about to discover that love is way more complicated than she ever imagined. Back in Half Moon Bay, her family has begun to unravel. Her best friend has been keeping a secret about Jacob, the boy she loved and lost—and the truth behind his shattering betrayal. And then there's Patrick, Brie's mysterious new guide and resident Lost Soul . . . who just might hold the key to her forever after. 
With Patrick's help, Brie will have to pass through the five stages of grief before she's ready to move on. But how do you begin again, when your heart is still in pieces?

I was not at all prepared for how much I would love The Catastrophic History of You and Me. It was the title that lured me in: having had a horrible year of failed relationships, I was feeling pretty catastrophic myself. At least I hadn't literally died of a broken heart, like the novel's main character. I supposed her tale would prove to be an interesting distraction. I didn't realize just how much I'd come to love this novel and I'm still surprised, two months after having read it, how present it is in my thoughts.

There's something about this book that reminds me of the movie Susie Q - which is a very good thing as I was mildly (read: extremely) obsessed with that movie back in the day. In fact, just thinking of it now makes me want to watch it again... and use the phrase "jeepers." I think it was the combination of ghosts and romance and Brie keeping a watchful eye over her family that caused the connection in my mind, but it put me in a nostalgic mindset that caused a deeper emotional response to the novel.

My absolute favorite part of The Catastrophic History of You and Me was the incorporation of the five stages of grief. I've always been a bit of a psychology nerd and find myself applying these stages to various aspects of my life - you'd be surprised how often we cycle through them in response to the most mundane events to the most life shattering. Following Brie's journey through the stages showcased her growth from the beginning to the end of the novel beautifully.

I loved the various settings throughout the novel, especially the pizza place that where Brie, Patrick, and the other Lost Souls spend quite a bit of time, eating pizza and, for the most part, waiting. It's such a quirky little place... and not what I expected any aspect of "the other side" to look like, though, at the same time, I've never really given much thought to what "the other side" would be. 

Rothenberg takes an most improbable event, which could easily become silly and immature, and gives it a sense of timelessness and realism. It was done so seamlessly that I'm still not entirely sure how she pulled it off, but I won't be spending any time trying to figure it out... with something this wonderful, ignorance is bliss.

Dial/Penguin, Hardcover, February 2012, ISBN: 978090373204, 400 pages

Review copy acquired at GLIBA.

And don't forget to check out the book trailer:

Cover Reveal: Starling by Lesley Livingston

The cover of Lesley Livingston's upcoming novel, Starling, has finally been revealed and it's pretty spectacular:


When Mason Starling rescues an unconscious young man from the ravages of a terrible storm—and he rescues her from the otherworldly creatures lurking in that storm—little does she know her whole life is about to spiral dramatically, mystically out of control. Someone is trying to kill her, someone else is trying to use her, and the only one who seems willing to help her is the tantalizing, dangerous stranger who can’t even remember who—or what—he is. All he remembers is his name: Fennrys Wolf.
What Fennrys doesn’t know is that, thanks in part to his past actions, a crack has appeared in the barrier between the mortal world and the Beyond Realms. The crack has opened up a nexus of dark energy in the middle of the East River and it’s attracting the attention of powerful entities on both sides of the rift.
Because of that, a longstanding truce involving the members of several ancient underworld cartels is now in jeopardy. Mason, Fennrys, and the students of elite Gosforth Academy—a neutral-ground “safe haven” for children of the Families—soon find themselves caught in the crossfire as the servants of the warring pantheons fight to see whose gods come out on top...and whose demons go down in flames.
Set in New York City, with all its dark, gritty sparkle, the STARLING saga explores the spaces between the worlds and the realms of the ancient gods… only a heartbeat beyond. It’s a tale spun from ancient mythologies—Norse and Greek and Egyptian—filled to the brim with adventure, danger, and romance, and played out against the backdrop of a city with its own siren-song.
From the universe of Lesley Livingston’s WONDROUS STRANGE, a new series and captivating heroine make their exciting debut.
FENNRYS WOLF. I can't NOT read this book. Plus, I'm not sure I could dislike anything Livingston has written, so that's a definite plus! 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The I Miss Blogging Giveaway

Dear Readers,
I've missed you terribly. I'm still here, distracted by Romantic period poetry and practical writing assignments, but you all know where I'd rather be.
Until I have time to devote to blogging and creating regularly scheduled posts, as opposed to the random & unpredictable posts you've been seeing lately, I leave you with this contest:

What's up for grabs, you ask? Arcs of:

ILLUMINATE by Aimee Agresti
TAKE A BOW by Elizabeth Eulberg
NO SAFETY IN NUMBERS by Dayna Lorentz Review
REVIVED by Cat Patrick

The twist?
For 10 entries, tweet a Winston Churchill quote and include the hashtag #churchillsaidthat. If you happen to win the contest and you've done this step as well, I'll throw in a finished copy of book of your choice!

Because Churchill was pretty awesome... and why not?

Interested? Enter below!