June 24, 2013

Recently Read: The Beautiful and the Cursed, Far Far Away and 45 Pounds

I don't know about you, but my to-read list doesn't ever seem to get smaller, regardless of how many I read. Not that that's a bad thing, of course, but there are so many books I want to read, and so little time.

What have I been reading lately?

The Beautiful and the Cursed (The Dispossessed #1) by Page Morgan

Here's the book's synopsis:
After a bizarre accident, Ingrid Waverly is forced to leave London with her mother and younger sister, Gabby, trading a world full of fancy dresses and society events for the unfamiliar city of Paris.

In Paris there are no grand balls or glittering parties, and, disturbingly, the house Ingrid’s twin brother, Grayson, found for them isn’t a house at all. It’s an abandoned abbey, its roof lined with stone gargoyles that could almost be mistaken for living, breathing creatures.

And Grayson has gone missing.

No one seems to know of his whereabouts but Luc, a devastatingly handsome servant at their new home.

Ingrid is sure her twin isn’t dead—she can feel it deep in her soul—but she knows he’s in grave danger. It will be up to her and Gabby to navigate the twisted path to Grayson, a path that will lead Ingrid on a discovery of dark secrets and otherworldly truths. And she’ll learn that once they are uncovered, they can never again be buried.
Sisters Ingrid and Gabby are spunky, no-nonsense young women (/girls) who, in Paris, find themselves in the midst of a supernatural world they had no idea were even possible. Although they're both young (17 and nearly 16, respectively), I found myself connecting with their personalities, and therefore really liked them. In addition, the paranormal creature in the book isn't one of the more familiar (i.e. vampires or werewolves), and the back story Morgan creates for them is unique. The POVs are varied, too, between the sisters and two of the male main characters, which makes for a fun read. I don't know that I'll rush to the bookstore the minute the second of the series is released, but I will definitely pick it up eventually. (You can read my FYA review of this book here.)

Genre: YA/Paranormal Romance
For fans of: Gail Carriger's The Parasol Protectorate, mysterious dudes with secrets


Far Far Away by Tom McNeal

Here's the book's synopsis:
It says quite a lot about Jeremy Johnson Johnson that the strangest thing about him isn't even the fact his mother and father both had the same last name. Jeremy once admitted he's able to hear voices, and the townspeople of Never Better have treated him like an outsider since. After his mother left, his father became a recluse, and it's been up to Jeremy to support the family. But it hasn't been up to Jeremy alone. The truth is, Jeremy can hear voices. Or, specificially, one voice: the voice of the ghost of Jacob Grimm, one half of the infamous writing duo, The Brothers Grimm. Jacob watches over Jeremy, protecting him from an unknown dark evil whispered about in the space between this world and the next. But when the provocative local girl Ginger Boultinghouse takes an interest in Jeremy (and his unique abilities), a grim chain of events is put into motion. And as anyone familiar with the Grimm Brothers know, not all fairy tales have happy endings ...

Young adult veteran Tom McNeal (one half of the writing duo known as Laura & Tom McNeal) has crafted a novel at once warmhearted, compulsively readable, and altogether thrilling--and McNeal fans of their tautly told stories will not be disappointed.
Such a sweet book. It's definitely set for the younger of the young adult crowd, but with a twist that adds a little bit of creep factor that might not exactly be appropriate for the little little ones. Far Far Away is fairy tale for a modern time, and features a character who reminded me of both Ginny Weasley and Pippi Longstocking, which is a a huge plus. (You can read my FYA review of this book here.)

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Fairy Tales
For fans of: Grimm's Fairy Tales, Pippi Longstocking, Criminal Minds


45 Pounds by K.A. Barson

Here's the story's synopsis:
Here are the numbers of Ann Galardi’s life:

She is 16.
And a size 17.
Her perfect mother is a size 6.
Her Aunt Jackie is getting married in 10 weeks, and wants Ann to be her bridesmaid.
So Ann makes up her mind: Time to lose 45 pounds (more or less) in 2 1/2 months.

Welcome to the world of infomercial diet plans, wedding dance lessons, embarrassing run-ins with the cutest guy Ann’s ever seen—and some surprises about her NOT-so-perfect mother.

And there’s one more thing. It’s all about feeling comfortable in your own skin—no matter how you add it up!
I've long struggled with my own body image/weight, so reading about a teenager who struggles with similar issues hit close to home. Ann is a sympathetic character, and I empathized with a lot of the feelings she has during the book. I appreciate being party to her growth and the changes she makes for the better in her life. I think a lot of women—be them 16 or 29, a size 17 or a size 10/12—can draw parallels to their own lives from this story. Plus, Ann's kind of awesome. Were I a teenager in her world, I'd totally want her as a friend. I do have to mention that although this book tried to be an issues book, it fell a little flat. There were beginnings of moments in which the author dipped the more serious issues underlying the weight and body image ones, but she never quite got to the root of it all. However, that might have made it a much different book.

Genre: YA/Realistic Fiction
For fans of: The Biggest Loser, stories of personal growth

What have you been reading lately? Anything I should add to my to-read list?


  1. I just added 45 Pounds to my wish list. I love YA fiction. :) I guess teaching freshmen will do that to you. I am reading the Silver Linings Playbook right now. Just finished A Grown Up Kind of Pretty. It was really good.

  2. Parasol Protectorate is the magic word when I'm looking for a fun read in my down-time - definitely checking out The Beautiful & the Cursed! :D

  3. I need to get on reading Carriger's new Finishing School books!

  4. I have no good excuse like you do—I just love the genre. :) Do you teach English?

    And I've got Silver Linings Playbook to my to-read list. I will have to check out A Grown Up Kind of Pretty, too.

  5. I need to check those out too! So many books D,: Not enough time!