Saturday, July 28, 2012

Be Careful What You Wish For ("The Boy Who Couldn't Die") Book Review

picture courtesy of jacketflap
Hope you all are having a wonderful head-start on your weekend. But now the book review at hand!

At a library or bookstore there is always a random book you will find that will snatch you by the cover or maybe its magical allure (maybe not). However, for me this one was the title. Any book can have a skull on the cover but a title like this? It kind of reminded me of those Fear Street novels by R.L. Stine.

Written in first person narrative by William Sleator, The Boy Who Couldn't Die is the story of Ken, a teenage boy who is dealing with the death of his best friend Roger. After two weeks of dealing with his grief he ventures out to become immortal. What he doesn't know won't kill him right?

Reading this novel was exciting in some ways. This one is rather unique from the usual supernatural books. Although there is romance, it isn't the main focus of the story. Sleator wrote Ken's character so believable that I actually disliked his personality. I was glad Ken learned a few lessons after finishing the book. The ending was "meh" because it focused on the romance part of the book. Of course it would have been cliche if the ending was something like the villain coming back and getting one last laugh. Either way I definitely recommend this book if you are in the mood for some supernatural third world witchcraft.

Til Next Blogpost,
Miss Bobo

Friday, July 27, 2012

Unraveling Isobel (Book Review)

picture courtesy to
I remember back when I reviewed Possessed, mostly a quasi ghost story I lost anticipation in. It was all right for amounting to the suspense in a lot of moments but where was the huge wisp of mystery? Anywaaaaays, talking about ghost stories, just  a few days ago I finished reading another ghost-story novel titled Unraveling Isobel by Eileen Cook.

Written in first person narrative, this novel is about Isobel, 17 years old, who is dealing her last year as a minor living with her mom, her new husband, Richard, and Richard's hot son. Isobel really didn't want to leave her home in Seattle to live with Richard (a.k.a "Dick"). Plus the fact that she is still thinking about going to art school despite her mother's rejection to it. However, as Isobel stays at Richard's house she starts experiencing things that set her on the brink of questioning her sanity.

Within reading the first page of this book, I was in giggles. Isobel's character is relateable and there are no hints on what comes next. OF COURSE, there is a whole subtlety to "Dick" in the way he acts that eventually you get it. I like that Cook put good humor within the characters and the events that happen throughout the book, enough to entertain but not throw off the plot. There were moments where I was taken by the unexpected. I liked that I couldn't guess right what was going to happen next. However, the ghost part of the book wasn't too much to really freak me out. The ending was just the icing on the cake. I still recommend it in case there is a mood for some dark humor and a mystery literary scooby snack gone not-too-stale.

Til Next Blogpost,
Miss Bobo

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Things Don't Always Stay the Same: Return to Paradise (a book review)

picture courtesy of
Last blogpost I reviewed Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles; which dealt with the perspective of two people involved in a drunk hit-and-run accident.

I liked the book so much, I went and read the second after I returned the first book. Both books took me about 2-3 days to finish so it wasn't much of a big deal to pick up the sequel and finish it.

Return to Paradise which is the sequel to Leaving Paradise, deals with Maggie and Caleb growing up. The first book covered how they both reacted towards each other after the accident. Things got out of control after Caleb's release from juvie and soon enough Maggie and Caleb end up facing the emotions they feel towards each other.

However, Caleb makes a decision that hits a bump on both his and Maggie's life. Both continue to carry a secret which play a major role in Caleb's and Maggie's new attitude within Return to Paradise. Eight months have passed and things have changed over that course of time. Caleb and Maggie are forced to deal with the secret behind the accident and how they feel about each other.

I found this book to be more dramatic and have interesting twists besides the "big secret" Caleb and Maggie share about the accident. I found myself laughing and giggling with some of the new characters that are in the story. When it comes to some sequels, I find that they are sometimes rushed and sloppy. This one isn't sloppy or rushed. I could tell that Elkeles took her time developing the plot to be more in depth with the main characters. She didn't give a cliche ending but rather a lingering hope to all her characters. As a matter of fact, this book reminded me of other books I have read when I was in my junior high years. I definitely recommend this book, or rather this series, if you loved Judy Blume's Forever. It isn't the same, but the way Elkeles weaves these characters into this story is almost equivalent in greatness of exposing the reality of the events that happen in every teen's life that aren't just ordinary. Like Judy Blume, she weaves a story of a life lesson hard learned.

Til Next Blogpost,
Miss Bobo

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Accidents Happen: "Leaving Paradise" (a book review)

courtesy of
I love reading teen books despite the fact that I am not a teen. A lot of teen books in the realistic fiction section depict the frustration and the angst of dealing with events that happen out of one's expectations. But it also shows what it's like to pick yourself up; to make the best of the sour lemons life gives us.

Nowadays, a lot of the teen books sold at bookstores deal with supernatural romance and adventure rather than the angst of being misunderstood and all that yada yada we all know when we were teens (and some of you who are still teens).  It is one of the reasons why I go to the library to pick out books rather than to buy them.

And I love how in the library I always find some good gems, or maybe even diamonds in the "rough." I found this one you see here on the first shelf I stopped by.

Written in first person narrative by Simone Elkeles, this novel tells the story of Maggie Armstrong and Caleb Becker who are tied by an accident that changed both their lives.
Caleb ends up in jail and Maggie ends up going to physical therapy sessions for her left leg. Maggie hates Caleb for what he did to her and Caleb just wants to make things right. But the events that come after Caleb's early release sets them both on quite.a.ride.

I love the fact that the book doesn't start with an explanation of what happened; it starts with Caleb's release and how it affects people. Throughout the book, the pieces come together and things start to fit until the end when things go beyond the limits of both Maggie and Caleb. I think this is one of those stories you read with the blazing underlying message: "don't drink and drive" or "friends don't let friends drink and drive." This story is beyond corny in the making of the plot and doesn't show a perfect ending. Somethings that were said by the characters were cliche but not over the top. However, there were somethings that took me by surprise and others that didn't. I would definitely recommend this book if you are looking for something to lift you but not make you cry.

Til Next Blogpost,
Miss Bobo

Monday, July 9, 2012

Faithful Place (A Book Review)

picture courtesy of good reads
During summer nights when there is a thunder storm and its raining lightly or there is a foggy area you might be the person who likes to get all cozy while flipping pages on a good mystery.

This pretty one will give you a good mystery. Written in first person narrative by Tana French, this mystery novel takes place in Dublin where Francis Mackey [a detective] loses his heart to a girl named Rosie Daly. He was planning to leave his family with the love of his life and she never came. Twenty years pass and Francis has not forgotten about what happened that night or the memories shared with Rosie even after becoming a cop. .....Until, he gets a call of her suitcase being found. After that Francis pretty much goes batshit (excuse my language!) crazy on figuring out what happened to Rosie Daly that night.

 As I kept reading I found myself deep in this one, following Francis' moves as he kept putting the pieces together. Being an undercover detective; he did a great job figuring out what happened to Rosie Daly. There were many things in the book that took me by surprise. There were twists that I didn't have a chance to even figure out. I was too busy getting into the book and following Francis that I didn't reflect much.

French does a good job in writing a realistic personal voice that not only leads you in but also takes you inside his mind. Brings you in memories of something that was dear to him and had deeper meaning within his reactions. He didn't just tell you, he showed you. But....(yes there is a but) I found that French took too long in delivering the events of murders and the murderer itself. There was some unnecessary dramatic entrances but the ending was the icing. It wasn't just some happy ending. There was grief, there was awkwardness in dealing with the aftermath of the events that happened. I liked that. So, I definitely recommend this book for a good mystery read.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Cruelty Can Be Beautiful (book review)

courtesy of Barns & Noble
You look at the cover of this book and you think "seems like it could be a good suspense book." And to no avail, it is a ghost story. Shall you read or shall you leave this one behind?

Written in third person by Kate Cann, this YA novel takes place in London focused on the view of a 16 year old girl named Rayne. Rayne deals with an alcoholic mother, a little brother, and a possessive boyfriend.

Summer heat is insufferable and Rayne is suffering from the heat outside and inside her home. With her mother, she is always held responsible to take care of her brother while her mother goes out partying with her boyfriend. With her own boyfriend, Rayne feels lucky but finds herself cornered at times. Rayne wants to get away from her usual life so she goes and looks for a job. She gets one at an Estate far from her home in order to get away from her usual life; only to find out she is gotten herself into an adventure she didn't expect.

The book was alright if I was 13 and was easily scared by little details in books like "a creaking door" or "red-eyed self portrait" of some dame back in the victorian era. But certainly I am not. As Rayne explores the different creepy rooms of the Estate she is working on, I found myself still looking for the "scary" part of the book. The bad guys are just laughable and the main attraction of the book is a particular scene that involves her possessive boyfriend.

Cann did good in writing a main character who isn't your usual archetype. Rayne is more realistic in the aspect of how she reacts emotionally with people. But the dialogue was a bit cliche. The ending was rather weird to me in the way it was written so far in the aesthetics of the book. To conclude this review, I was disappointed to find that the ghost story part of this book wasn't fulfilling as it should be. If you're going to pick up this book just to give it a chance despite this review; I will suggest to not expect much of a creepy ghost story. Otherwise...

Til Next Blogpost,
Miss Bobo

Tell Me What You Know About Me?

Being raised by a single mother always brings its own sets of complications just as any set of parents.

For Billy Allbright, that means being home schooled and raised by his religious mother while having his own sets of desires to be a regular high school kid.

Because his mother has taken the quest to destroy anything that is particularly related to the devil, Billy and his mother are always on the road and so he never gets the chance to stay in a stable environment.

Until, his mother decides to stay at a town with a mormon church. At first, Billy thought this was just another mission and then when he found out the church he questioned what was this all about. While still wondering what exactly is going on, he receives a Bible in the mail with his name on it. His mother proclaims its a sign of God when in reality it turns out to be the ticket to his oddyssey of self discovery.

Reading this book, I found many humorous moments and others that were heart warming. I am actually glad that the author pretty much wrote this story in similarity to Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. But its not the same and that is another thing I love about it. There is a whole dynamic between this fight to stay christian and a fight to find his true self. There is a lot of crazy happenings in this book that is unique from all of the books I have read so far. A lot of this book, I didn't expect which is good. You never want to predict what is happening in the book 3 chapters before it even happens. (Maybe that is just me). I would definitely recommend this for someone 16 and up who is looking for a coming-of-age story with no limits.