Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Review: You Have Seven Messages by Stewart Lewis

Title: You Have Seven Messages
Author: Stewart Lewis site
Format: Hardcover, 304 pages
Published: 9/13/2011
Publisher: Delacorte Press (Random House)
Source: Received from Book Divas for review
Challenges: Standalone Reading Challenge (hosted by Icey Books), and the Completely Contemp Challenge (hosted by Chick Loves Lit)

It's been a year since Luna's mother, the fashion-model wife of a successful film director, was hit and killed by a taxi in New York's East Village. Luna, her father, and her little brother, Tile, are still struggling with grief.

   When Luna goes to clean out her mother's old studio, she's stunned to find her mom's cell phone there—charged and holding seven unheard messages. As Luna begins to listen to them, she learns more about her mother's life than she ever wanted to know . . . and she comes to realize that the tidy tale she's been told about her mother's death may not be the whole truth.
Basic Summary:
Luna finds her mother’s cell phone a year after her sudden death, and finds seven voice mail messages. As Luna listens to the messages and meets the people behind them, she learns that her mother had many secrets and may have been cheating on her father. Is Luna willing to forgive and forget for the ones she loves?

The main theme of the book seemed to be forgiveness or learning to forgive. Whether Luna could forgive her dead mother for past wrongs, her father for keeping secrets, and her boyfriend for cheating on her.

Luna wasn’t very memorable for me. She seemed have a more breezy and optimistic perspective. She had some interesting insights, but also some weird and downright preachy ones. Her younger brother, Tile, was really funny. I ended up liking him much more than his sister. And I can’t say that I cared for Oliver, the love interest, either. When weird and odd things happened between them, he didn’t really explain his actions much. I didn’t like that Luna just accepted everything he did either.

Plot and Story:
Maybe I’m alone in thinking this, but the official synopsis seems to imply that the main focus of the story is the mystery surrounding the seven messages on her late mother’s cell phone. But that part of the story really takes a back seat to all the other happenings in the book. For example, Luna’s romance with Oliver. The rest of the book was a lot rest interesting to me and I think I would have liked it better had the mystery of the messages been more of a focal point.

I was bored reading this book. If I had not had to review it, I probably would have put it down. It had good intentions but for me it was ultimately not worth reading. All in all, You Have Seven Messages get a rating of 2.5 of 5.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

100 Follower Giveaway!

Novel Minded

It finally happened. After 8 months of blogging and 26 book reviews, Novel Minded got 100 GFC followers! (And 138 Twitter followers!) Yay! As a thank you to all my followers, I'm hosting a giveaway. Enough of that, let's get on to the details.

The Nitty Gritty
  • There are 3 prize pack, and 3 individual winners.
  • You do not need to follow to enter, though it will get you extra entries.
  • This giveaway is US only. Sorry, but I'm paying for the shipping.
  • You will have 48 hours to respond before I draw a new winner.
  • Only Rafflecopter entries will be counted. Do not leave entries in the comments section.

There will be 3 winners. The first winner will receive a paperback copy of "Across the Universe" by Beth Revis, a signed sticker, bookmark, book plate, and a pink rubber bracelet. The second and third winners will receive both a pink and a glow-in-the-dark rubber bracelet.

I was "moderating" the Rafflecopter entries for my other giveaway and discovered an impossibly large number of entries from one individual, under the guise of many. I thought this should have been obvious, but only one set of entries per individual. I check ALL entries for authenticity and will delete any phony entries. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Just Because Giveaway: "The Golden Lily" by Richelle Mead Autographed ARC and Posters

Last month, the RT Booklover convention was held in the Chicago area and I got to go to there Teen Day with some friends. At the end, they handed out gift bags loaded with all kinds of books, swag, and ARCs. I was lucky enough to get an ARC of "The Golden Lily" by Richelle Mead and a poster autographed at the convention. And just because I'm so nice (and I need to start getting some things out of my house), I decided to do a giveaway.

I have two prizes/prize packs available. The first prize winner will receive signed ARC of The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead and a poster. The second place winner will receive a signed poster. 

You don't have to follow to enter, although it will get you more entries. This giveaway is US only. Please do not leave entries in the comments section, only Rafflecopter entries will be counted. 

I was "moderating" the Rafflecopter entries and discover an impossibly large number of entries from one individual, under the guise of many. I thought this should have been obvious, but only one set of entries per individual. I check ALL entries for authenticity and will delete any phony entries. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, May 11, 2012

Review: Happy Families by Tanita S. Davis

Title: Happy Families
Author: Tanita S. Davis site
Format: eARC, 237 pages
Release Date: 5/8/2012
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (Random House)
Source: Netgalley
Challenges: Ebook Reading Challenge (hosted by Workaday Reads), Standalone Reading Challenge (hosted by Icey Books), and the Completely Contemp Challenge (hosted by Chick Loves Lit)

Teenage twins Ysabel and Justin Nicholas are lucky. Ysabel's jewelry designs have already caught the eyes of the art world and Justin's intelligence and drive are sure to gain him entrance into the most prestigious of colleges. They even like their parents. But their father has a secret—one that threatens to destroy the twins' happy family and life as they know it.

Over the course of spring break, Ysabel and Justin will be forced to come to terms with their dad's new life, but can they overcome their fears to piece together their happy family again?

Basic Summary:
Twins Ysabel and Justin had the perfect, happy, Christian family. But things change when their father is discovered to be transgender. Their father moves out of the house, and things fall apart. Ysabel and Justin are then forced to spend spring break with their father in an attempt to mend their broken family.

Justin and Ysabel’s narrative voices were too similar, they needed to be more differentiated. It was often hard to discern whose point of view I was reading. Neither character came off the page for me; they were both kind of bland and flat.

One of the highlights of the book for me was when Ysabel would do her torchwork. It was an art form I hadn’t ever heard of, and I thought it was really cool. The way it was described, I could perfectly picture it in my head. It totally made me want to learn to make glass beads.

Plot and Story:
What really had me interested to read Happy Families was the subject matter. YA fiction about transgender individuals and their families aren’t all that common. I really liked it for the first half of the book, but toward the end it got kind of strange.

The ending seemed to be both Ysabel and Justin deciding they were okay with their father, and then suddenly changing their minds over and over again. And I feel like there wasn’t a lot of closure in the ending either. Now, I don’t need things tied up in a tidy bow but there were a lot of things left up in the air. Such as what Justin planned to do about his girlfriend.

I really liked the premise of Happy Families, but it just didn’t come together for me.  The characters didn’t seem “real” enough. I liked the first half of the book, but it kind of went downhill from there.  Final verdict, 3 of 5 stars.