Monday, August 31, 2009

LIAR Cover

I have had a great relationship with Bloomsbury publishing company when it comes to receiving books to review. They sent me a catalog for the fall/winter upcoming releases so that I could choose what sparked my interest to read and review. The cover of the catalog was the cover to one of their new titles that sounded like a very interesting read. I ordered it. My review of the book is coming Wednesday, but there was a lot of controversy over this cover. Below is the cover that I received on the catalog and the ARC.

The cover intrigued me. I thought it was a well thought out cover that added to the mystery of a narrator that is a liar. However, it wasn't until I saw a blog post by author Sara Zarr that I realized something that had totally elluded me (since I had not opened the book yet.) The main character in this novel is both African-American and has short buzzed hair. The cover completely negates these two vital aspects of the character.

There was a lot of controversy over this issue, controversies that I honestly had never thought about. The cover has been changed to the one below.

My only issue with this cover is that the model looks too old to be the character. Other than that I like it. I like that it is the concept of the first one, but fixes the fact that important features of the character are used.

My point of this discussion is not to talk about the political and racial issues, although there are many attached to this controversy. My point is talking about covers in general.

As I have been told by many authors, they have little to no say in the cover art of their books. Not surprisingly, even covers that I have loved I have gone back after reading the book, and I nit-pick that the cover does not represent the main character much at all. I wonder if this would be resolved if the cover artists were allowed to read the author's description of the character.

What do you think about all of this? I really would like your thoughts.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Review: IMMORTAL by Gillian Shields

by Gillian Shields
published August 4th 2009 by HarperTeen
Hardcover, 368 pages

Placement in the Pile: Middle of the Stack inching towards Reaching New Heights

Wyldcliffe Abbey School for Young Ladies, housed in a Gothic mansion on the bleak northern moors, is elite, expensive, and unwelcoming. When Evie Johnson is torn away from her home by the sea to become the newest scholarship student, she is more isolated than she could have dreamed. Strict teachers, snobbish students, and the oppressive atmosphere of Wyldcliffe leave Evie drowning in loneliness.

Evie's only lifeline is Sebastian, a rebellious, mocking, dangerously attractive young man she meets by chance. As Evie's feelings for Sebastian grow with each secret meeting, she starts to fear that he is hiding something about his past. And she is haunted by glimpses of a strange, ghostly girl—a girl who is so eerily like Evie, she could be a sister. Evie is slowly drawn into a tangled web of past and present that she cannot control. And as the extraordinary, elemental forces of Wyldcliffe rise up like the mighty sea, Evie is faced with an astounding truth about Sebastian, and her own incredible fate.

Gillian Shields's electrifying tale will dazzle readers with suspense, mysticism, and romance.

There were many things about it that I liked, and many things that I thought of that I wasn't so fond of. Writing a brief review and giving it a rating were thus extremely difficult.

As mentioned I have been going through a lot in my personal life and have not has much time to read. What I have picked up to read, just wasn't right for me at the time, even if they were well done novels. When I received this from HarperTeen I was anxious for an escape, a romance something vastly unique and exciting. The cover is gorgeous, the description intriguing, the setting on the northern English moors the place of my dreams... What I received was a great story that kept my interest and kept me occupied, but ended up falling a little short of my expectations.

Immortal is a well written story, although the voice of the novel is different from most YA books I have read. I often found myself thinking that the journal entries from the past were much more realistic than the presented modern thoughts and language of the main heroine. I mean really, would a teenager say "Are you ill?". Nope! They would say "You look awful." or "Are you sick?" Little things like this made it hard for me when Shield's would write about taxi's and jeans and cars. The world she sets up is not modern at all, and yet she uses that as her time and space.

I also found myself thinking that the romance between the characters happens very suddenly. One night they meet, the next time they see each other they are in love. I like their love story, and I am rooting for them, but it was hard to let go of that.

Lastly, I unfortunately have to agree with many of the critics of this novel and say that it is VERY much like A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY by Libba Bray. Now, the setting is modern (but it doesn't feel like it) and we get more info in this first book than in Bray's novel. I also saw elements of almost a Twilight-ish love story (I mean if the title Immortal doesn't tell you that someone in the book is immortal, then let me spoil it for you...someone is immortal...ish), and a connection to great Gothic classics like Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre.

But it was so reminiscent my final judgement on the book was: If you liked A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY and want to give a similar story a try, go for it. Expect a book that you will most likely enjoy for the most part, that you will want to find out more for the next novel (which Shields reports is being written right now and is coming out in 2010) but don't expect to want to place it up on the top shelf with your other all-time favorite paranormal romances.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Review Rating Scale

I have been thinking about my blog and a way I can tie in the theme of the pile of books some more. From now on I will have a rating system at the beginning of my reviews that follow this rating scale:

Top Picks
Reaching New Heights
Middle of the Stack
A Bit Buried
Bottom of the Barrel

Hopefully this system will help you see how I would pile my books that I read and review.

Be sure to check in more often, and tell your friends about the blog! I am getting geared up for some fun reviews and giveaways soon!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I wanted to let you all know the reason why I have been MIA. Many family emergencies and trips out of town have come up this month. My father after 6 years of fighting lymphoma passed away last week. All 8 of his children were able to see him two days before his passing to say goodbye. It has been a hard and faith promoting time. I thank all of my friends and family that have buoyed me up at this time.

I have another planned vacation this week, but when I get back be sure to check the blog because I hope to get things rolling better and more often!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


I have been thinking a lot about my blog and why I haven't posted a lot of book reviews lately (don't worry I am focused on getting through some of my pile and then doing lots of fun posting soon!). The factor for me simply is time!

I am a mom, I have had a busy summer with parties and get togethers with friends and family, vacations, family weddings etc. As well I also write, and those of you who write know it takes up a lot of time.

My question for you is, how do you fit it all in? How do you find time to keep updated with the book world, your house chores, writing your own novel and being sane at the same time?