Saturday, February 28, 2009

North of Beautiful Review...and blog updates!

So...tonight is the last performance of the musical I'm in, which means, come next week, I'll finally be having some free time. I'm planning on working on this blog, as well as working on some of my writing. Hopefully this means I'll be able to do Cover Love weekly, as well as adding some more regular features.

In other news, I finished North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley yesterday and loved it. Though it's not exactly an action-packed novel, it sure was a page-turner. I wanted to know what was going to happen with Terra, an extremely complex character with a complex life filled with decisions about college, her future, her family, guys, and even her face. Terra made mistakes and sometimes I just wanted to shake her and make her do something--make her stand up for herself--, but throughout she remained sympathetic and understandable. I also loved the map making, traveling, and art (collages! i loved hearing about Terra's collages!) that also came into play in this book, helping set North of Beautiful apart from all the other books that explore beauty and finding yourself.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My poor, poor books...

I think I'm going to change Cover Love Tuesday to just Cover Love Weekly or something, because, um, I'm apparently very horrible at doing things regularly on regular days and the like. So instead of having this feature, I'm instead going to talk about book abuse and deal breakers.

Now, as a high school student, I like to carry whatever book I'm currently reading around with me; that way, when class gets boring, I can open up the book and get some reading done. This means my books get hauled class to class and from home to school and back in my backpack. And...well, I'm not a particularly careful person. I guess you could say I neglect my books more than I abuse them. It's not that I purposely get pencil marks on them or bend the edges and smudge the covers. It just happens. Anybody have the same problem?

As for deal breakers, I just finished reading a YA novel with some romance. I had a bit of trouble with the main character's romantic interest, however, because some of his immoral actions. There are some things, when reading romance, that are just deal breakers to me with guys. I may enjoy the book, but if a guy is stealing or something, I'm not going to want him with the girl. I'm trying to think of some more deal breakers....just, in general, I am not into the bad boy thing at all. What can I say? I like my nice guys. Deal breakers for others out there?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Cover Love Tuesday (2)...Belated!

I guess this whole regular feature thing is going to take a while to get used to, since I forgot all about Cover Love Tuesday, where I blog about some extremely awesome covers. This week I'm going to take a look at one book on my To Be Read pile and one book I've read--and really enjoyed--before.

My first pick:
North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley, YA, published in February 2009
Now I haven't read this book yet, but what I really love about it the cover--besides having a stunning photograph--is how well it fits the book's description. From what I know, North of Beautiful is about a beautiful girl with a port wine stain on a side of her face. This cover captures that beauty, but it also captures that feeling of embarrassment and hiding that I hope will be explored in the book's pages. Overall, I think the photo has an emotional quality to it. The map compass thing (don't know the word for it, I'm afraid) is a good addition because, from reading the first chapter or so, I know the character has an interest in leaving town and a connection to mapping and geography. Thematically, maybe the image is hinting that the main character will be dealing with her direction in life. This cover was one of the main things that attracted me towards this book, as well as some stellar reviews!

My second pick:
Dramarama by E. Lockhart, YA, published in 2007

I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but I am a huge E. Lockhart fan! I really enjoyed this book. Needless to say, I enjoyed the cover as well. The black and white, the hair, the lipstick (especially since it's pink and pops out), etc., just look good together and make me think old-fashioned and classy. It also reminds me of theater, putting me into a place of pre-show jitters when you're hurrying to get on your makeup and costume. Also, I like the model's eyebrows--random, I know--and the entire effect of the author's name across the eyes; it's a good alternative to headless body covers and the like. The spine of this book stands out a lot too.

Thanks for reading. Hopefully Cover Love Tuesday (3) will come on time next week!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

He's Just Not That Into You

Just a few hours ago, I got back from seeing the movie He's Just Not That Into You, which stars big name celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston, Scarlett Johannson, Drew Barrymore, and Ben Affleck. If you haven't seen the previews, it's basically a movie about the ensemble's intertwining love lives. One of the main characters, Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin), is a bit unlucky in the love department. Some of the guys she goes after are, as you'd guess, just not that into her.

Someone not returning someone else's feelings is always an interesting topic, whether it be in film or in books. In some of my manuscripts, there are guys who are just not that into the main character. For example, in my YA novel A REAL FIRST KISS, one of Lara's crushes flirts with, her hoping to use her for help with math. He readily admits to his friends that he has no interest in her whatsoever. In one of my middle grade works-in-progress, a girl named Farren has a crush on a guy who has fallen for a popular, pretty girl rather than her nerdy self.

I'm starting to notice something: most of the guys who don't reciprocate my main characters' feelings come off as jerks at some point. Maybe I do this subconciously since I like my main characters so much and can't imagine guys they like not liking them unless they have some kind of character defect. I don't want to make it sound as if I have guys just throwing themselves at my main characters, because it's not like that either...I guess it's just, in writing, I usually like to focus on burgeoning relationships rather than dead-end ones. After all, that's when the romance really comes in, and I love me some romance.

Anyway, He's Just Not That Into You was super cute. A great chick flick! Go see it if you're in the mood for some romance, some awws, a couple of laughs, and maybe even a few tears.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Cover Love Tuesday (1)

So I think I mentioned earlier that I wanted to start having some regular features. This is the first one. Obviously it's titled Cover Love Tuesday. Each Tuesday I'll pick 1, 2, or maybe even 3 books with awesome covers that I love! The books may be forthcoming, or they may have been out for a while. I may have read them or I may not have. I may have liked them or I may have hated them. Most of them will be YA, but I can't guarantee other books from other genres won't make the cut. The most important thing on Cover Love Tuesday is the covers, after all!

My first pick:
Why I Let My Hair Grow Out by Maryrose Wood, YA, published in 2007

To me, this cover is absolutely gorgeous...totally unique, with a fun, magical vibe that matches the book. I really like the flowers everywhere, and I love the girl's eye makeup. And of course, you've got to love the funky hair, those big lips, and that expression behind her eyes. Overall, this book cover is colorful and cute and an A plus in my book.

My second pick:
Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia by Cindy Pon, YA, to be published in summer 2009

I'm going to be honest. I was not in love with this cover at first sight. I liked it well enough, but I thought there was something odd about it that I couldn't just put my finger on. Soon enough I started to love this cover and realized that I was mistaking odd for different--good different. What I love about this cover is the richness and shine of the pink fabric the girl's wearing, and most of all, the color of that pink. Her pose and facial expression (the latter of which is decidedly unemotional, which makes me even more curious about this book) are also interesting...unconventional even. The dragons in the background are a great, detailed touch. This book will stand out on the shelves, and I, for one, plan on picking it off one!

Check out Maryrose Wood's site and Cindy Pon's to find out more about their books, and feel free to share your thoughts about these covers in the comments. Also, please check back for more regular features coming soon!