Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Book Look/ Mini Reviews
Haunted by Joy Preble & Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

 Book Looks are mini reviews of books I have read. Today, I will be using a format created by Staci at Life in a Thumb  where she reviews books using only six sentences for each review.

Anne is trying her best to live a normal life, but she's still got some power sparking inside her. She's hearing and seeing things that she tries her best to ignore-like being haunted by a Russian sea nymph that claims the princess Anastasia is still alive.

That's when Ethan Kozninsky-he of the stunning blue eyes, thick brown hair, and former immortal status-returns. Anne soon realizes that everything she's been trying to forget might be impossible to bury. (Publisher's summary from Goodreads)

Haunted by Joy Preble was an exciting sequel to Dreaming Anastasia, and while I did not read the first book in this series I can honestly say that Haunted did stand strongly on its own. What I truly enjoyed about this book was Anne’s attempt to adjust to life after Anastasia and Ethan. She has a boyfriend, but because of the previous events she and Ethan shared, she cannot seem to get him out of her mind. The Russian folklore was fascinating and I loved how masterfully Joy weaves it through the story. I also absolutely adored Anne’s best friend, Tess, who encourages Anne and has her back. Finally, I enjoyed the book’s fast-pace and the extraordinary ending that left me breathless and wanting more. 
 Source: Received book from publisher for review

It's hard finding beauty in the badlands of Washokey, Wyoming, but 14-year-old Grace Carpenter knows it's not her mother's pageant obsessions, or the cowboy dances adored by her small-town classmates. True beauty is wild-girl Mandarin Ramey: 17, shameless and utterly carefree. Grace would give anything to be like Mandarin. When they're united for a project, they form an unlikely, explosive friendship, packed with nights spent skinny-dipping in the canal, liberating the town's animal-head trophies, and searching for someplace magic. Grace plays along when Mandarin suggests they run away together. Blame it on the crazy-making wildwinds plaguing their Badlands town. Because all too soon, Grace discovers Mandarin's unique beauty hides a girl who's troubled, broken, and even dangerous. And no matter how hard Grace fights to keep the magic, no friendship can withstand betrayal. (Publisher's summary from Goodreads)

Like Mandarin is a quietly arresting contemporary novel that delves into two very different characters. Grace is smart, and lost wanting only to be like Mandarin, who is beautiful confident and sensual, and when Grace is asked to help Mandarin with a school project, she get the chance to befriend and get a close up view of the object of her obsession. Hubbard’s writing is often understated and certainly fluid and as the plot unfolds the reader is mesmerized by the story as much as Grace is with Mandarin. As is often the case, Grace ends up finding out that the life she thinks see wants is more broken than the one she has, but only after allowing herself to be subjugated to Mandarin’s whims. I loved Grace and ended up reveling in her growth over the course of the story. Like Mandarin is a book that provides a windy look at relationships and obsessions and the need to step back and see both from different angles.

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