Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Book Review: The Absolute Value of -1 by Steve Brezenoff

The Absolute Value of -1 (Carolrhoda Ya) 
The Absolute Value of -1 by Steve Brezenoff
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
Publish Date: September 1, 2010
Hardcover, 296 pages
Young Adult

My Review:
Why I read this:  It sounded interesting, simple as that.

How is the novel driven: It's all about the characters - this is the story of Noah, Lily and Simon who are friends in some ways and yet not friends in others and it's told from each of their points of view, so it's all character.

My thoughts: I couldn't write my review of this one right after I finished it.  I admit I don't write most of my reviews right after I finish the book, but with this one I needed to think about the book for awhile.  Why?  Because it is so real that it made me stop and think.  Yes there are a lot of YA books out there that look at teenagers just like they are, but there are just as many that aren't completely real.  Neither one is better than the other, but when a book like this comes along, it just makes me think.

Told from the point of view of three apparent friends, Lily, Noah and Simon,  you get each ones' views on the friendship, their own life and that of their friends.  Lily's life is in a downward spiral, one she freely admits at the beginning she could have stopped.  Noah's life is at the bottom and has been for awhile.  Simon, he's somewhere in-between and until his story is told (and his is told last) you aren't really sure where Simon is.  It's an interesting contrast of a book, showing the story from all sides.  Showing how what one person sees can be different from what actually is.  I found the book fascinating.  It was hard to put down and hard to read at the same time.  Hard to read because of the harshness of these kids' lives.  It's all there in black and white and this isn't a happy story, but it is a worthwhile story.

I finished The Absolute Value of -1 almost 3 weeks ago but it has stuck with me.  If you like a serious YA novel from time-to-time or all the time, I highly recommend this one.  I enjoyed this book and it will continue to stay with me and hopefully make me aware as my sons become teenagers of things going on in their lives.  Steve Brezenoff writes an amazing story and does a great job getting into the heads of these three teenagers and keeping the book moving along for the readers' enjoyment.

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

About the Book:

The absolute value of any number, positive or negative, is its distance from zero. So what's the absolute value of a friendship? Of love? Just how far apart are we, anyway?

Lily: "For three years, I'd been trying to hold on to Simon and pull him up against me. He was a bar of soap in the shower, though: slippery as hell, and one false move¯squeeze a little too tight¯and he's gone. And picking up a wet bar of soap in the shower is pretty difficult."

Noah: "Lily has these big brown eyes. It sounds corny, but they totally get me. They make my stomach and heart flip five times a piece. So I looked away quickly, because I have a tendency to kind of stare at her if I don't catch myself. It's been like that forever."

Simon: "I never thought much would change with Lily being my girlfriend. I mean, she and Noah were the only people I hung out with much anyway, so now I'd be kissing her and fondling her and she'd be kissing me and fondling me. Not much of a difference, really."

About the Author:
Steve Brezenoff has written several chapter books for young readers, and The Absolute Value of -1 is his first novel for teens. Though Steve grew up in a suburb on Long Island, he now lives with his wife, their son, and their terrier, in St. Paul, Minnesota.

His Website
His Blog
Trailer for The Absolute Value of -1

FTC Information: I received this book through 1-ARC Tours for review.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.

Book Review: Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers

Personal Demons

Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publish Date: September 14, 2010
Paperback, 368 pages
Young Adult

My Review:
Why I read this:  The cover, the blurb, availability through a tour site - made it a winner to me.

How is the novel driven:  Character mainly - Frannie, Luc and Gabe are the stars of this book.  Yes there are dark forces at work and mayhem to be found, but the true story is in the characters and whether it really is good versus evil and whether evil can change.

My thoughts: Okay I try to stay objective in my reviews and not sound like a raving fan girl or someone younger than myself, but I have to say that this book is "hawt"!  I can't help it,  you'll just have to forgive  me this time, but I don't know how else to describe it.  The tension and attraction between Frannie and Luc and Frannie and Gabe is just too amazing to describe.  And the plot, the plot starts fast and continues that way to the end.  I felt so involved with the characters that I hated for the book to end.

So what else can I say - it's a great story of good versus evil and making choices.  Everyone has choices even demons.  Loved the angel and demon aspect with Frannie right there in the middle.  Frannie is part of a devout Catholic family but she has questions about her religion.  Luc is the bad boy and Gabe is the good boy, so which one should she choose.  It all makes it a fascinating book.  Gabe and Luc are at war for Frannie's soul, but things can change and people can too, so how will Frannie decide and can she come to terms with her own demons as well.

See - I mean how can that not be a fascinating story.  There is so much going on and the interactions are amazing.   Another thing I really liked - Frannie's parents were involved in her life and watching out for her.  They didn't like Luc which would be normal reactions for parents.  They were in her life just enough to make them good parents, they did let her make some of her own decisions though and were there for her when she needed them.

Great love triangle, great romance, good versus evil, angels, demons, high school angst, muscle cars and so much more.  Personal Demons is full of great things, great characters and great plot.  I look forward to more of Lisa's books in the future!

And I just went to her website and saw that she will have two more books coming out - Original Sin in July 2011 and Hellbent in May 2012 - I can't wait!

My Rating: 4.75/5.0

About the Book:
If you had to choose between Heaven and Hell, which would it be?

Are you sure about that...?

Frannie Cavanaugh is a good Catholic girl with a wicked streak. She's spent years keeping everyone at a distance--even her closest friends--and it seems her senior year will be more of the same...until Luc Cain enrolls in her class. No one knows where he came from, but Frannie can't seem to stay away from him. What she doesn't know is that Luc works in Acquisitions--for Hell--and she possesses a unique skill set that has the king of Hell tingling with anticipation. All Luc has to do is get her to sin, and he's as tempting as they come. Frannie doesn't stand a chance.

Unfortunately for Luc, Heaven has other plans, and the angel, Gabe, is going to do whatever it takes to make sure that Luc doesn't get what he came for. And it isn't long before they find themselves fighting for more than just her soul.

But if Luc fails, there will be Hell to pay...for all of them.

About the Author:
LISA DESROCHERS lives in central California with her husband and two very busy daughters. She can always be found with a book in her hand, and she adores stories that take her to new places and then take her by surprise. Growing up all over the country inspired wanderlust, and Desrochers loves to travel, which works out well since she lectures internationally on a variety of health care topics. Lisa Desrochers has a doctorate in physical therapy and maintains a full-time practice. Personal Demons is her first novel.

Her Website

FTC Information: I received this book through Book It Forward Tours for review.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.

Welcoming the Fall Giveaway

Welcome to my Welcoming the Fall Giveaway!  Fall is my absolute favorite time of the year so when Good Choice Reading decided to offer up a special giveaway to celebrate the fall, I wanted to participate.  Besides I really need to clear out some books from my house.  Make sure to check out the other blogs participating that are listed at the end of this post.  Lots of great giveaways going on.  I know I will be hopping my way through right along with you.

Now onto my specifics.  I have five giveaways up, something for everyone, see below.  The rules are simple, US and Canada only (money shortage, sorry international), fill out the form.  You can enter 1, 2, 3, 4 or all 5 of the giveaways.  You do not have to be a follower, but there are extra entries for followers.  Your email address will only be used to contact you if you are the winner, it will be disposed of after this contest.  Simply fill out the form below.  I love comments so give some comment love if you want.  Tell me what your favorite thing about fall is.  Ends 9/29.

Thanks for visiting and entering! Make sure you visit all the other blogs involved listed below the form as well.

The Giveaways:

David Baldacci/Audiobook Lovers - both of these are unabridged audiobooks, listened to once and in good shape:

Absolute Power True Blue

Historical Romance - brand new, never been read

To Beguile A Beast (The Legend of the Four Soldiers)To Surrender To A Rogue (Circle of Sin Trilogy) 

Paranormal Romance - brand new, never read 

My Forbidden Desire  Dark Hunger (Demonborn) 

General Fiction - My Name is Memory is an ARC, The Swan Thieves is an unabridged audiobook on CD

The Swan Thieves: A Novel My Name Is Memory

Young Adult - read lightly, both are ARCs

Sapphique  Nightshade