The Thin Executioner by Darren Shan

Summary (via the author's website): "Jebel Rum is a thin, scrawny boy. His father is the famed executioner in the city where they live. When Jebel is humiliated in public, he sets off on a quest to gain great strength and invincibility. If successful, he will be able to compete in a gruelling contest to prove himself and replace his father as the wielder of the axe. Failure, on the other hands, means certain death."

Review: So... not so much. I mean, it was fine. But I wasn't really INTO it. Like, ever.

It took me like a week to get through the first two thirds. And then, because I was on a deadline, I started scanning. And the story was interesting, but I don't know if it was interesting because the story was finally interesting or because I was fast-forwarding it, as it were.

-Epic adventure story.
-Super-creepy villain.
-Morality tale.
-The pacing was what is often referred to as "deliberate."

-The main character spent most of the book as a whiny brat.
-I was kind of bored.
-Deliberate pacing can often feel slow.
-It's a fine line between foreshadowing and the main character being dense. I think this book crossed it.

Goodreads Shelves: fluffy, is-or-would-be-a-good-movie, pretentious



Stork by Wendy Delsol

Summary (via Goodreads): "Family secrets. Lost memories. And the arrival of an ancient magical ability that will reveal everything.

Sixteen-year-old Katla LeBlanc has just moved from Los Angeles to Minnesota. As if it weren’t enough that her trendy fashion sense draws stares, Katla soon finds out that she’s a Stork, a member of a mysterious order of women tasked with a very unique duty. But Katla’s biggest challenge may be finding her flock at a new school. Between being ignored by Wade, the arrogant jock she stupidly fooled around with, and constantly arguing with gorgeous farm boy and editor-in-chief Jack, Katla is relieved when her assignment as the school paper’s fashion columnist brings with it some much-needed friendship. But as Homecoming approaches, Katla uncovers a shocking secret about her past — a secret that binds her fate to Jack’s in a way neither could have ever anticipated. With a nod to Hans Christian Andersen and inspired by Norse lore, Wendy Delsol’s debut novel introduces a hip and witty heroine who finds herself tail-feathers deep in small-town life."

Review: What I liked about Stork:
-The way she uses her language is so awesome. Seriously, I'm in love with the writing.
-The stuff about the birds. Katla says that when she was little she was obsessed with birds, and that she studied them and learned all about them. And then, during the story, she ... like, knows about birds. Hooray for character development!
-The book is written in the first person, and I can remember the main character's name afterward. (This is an actual standard by which I judge first-person narratives, by the way.)
-Her pop culture references make me happy.

What I am iffy about:
-Love At First Sight/He's A Jerk To Me But I'm DRAWN To Him. AKA suddenly a flip is switched in a Twilightesque fashion and, OH, NOW he likes her. In her defense, there is a little bit of, "um, seriously, is he gonna drop the L-bomb after like a week?" (he didn't, by the way) and she says she's concerned that she's so obsessed with him.
-I have doubts that a real teenage boy would say the types of lovey-dovey things Jack said. But the more I think about it, the more slight they are.

What I didn't like:
-The Cover. OH, the cover. I CAN'T HANDLE IT. Seriously, I never would have read it, because of the cover.
-Penny says that Jack is usually really easygoing, but I don't feel that I saw any evidence of that in the book. He spent a lot of it brooding and/or being angry.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, bechdel-test, fluffy, is-or-would-be-a-good-movie, is-this-a-kissing-book, my-kind-of-woman, to-own



Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Summary (via Goodreads): "'What do you want from me?' he asks. What I want from every person in my life, I want to tell him. More.

Abandoned by her mother on Jellicoe Road when she was eleven, Taylor Markham, now seventeen, is finally being confronted with her past. But as the reluctant leader of her boarding school dorm, there isn't a lot of time for introspection. And while Hannah, the closest adult Taylor has to family, has disappeared, Jonah Griggs is back in town, moody stares and all.

In this absorbing story by Melina Marchetta, nothing is as it seems and every clue leads to more questions as Taylor tries to work out the connection between her mother dumping her, Hannah finding her then and her sudden departure now, a mysterious stranger who once whispered something in her ear, a boy in her dreams, five kids who lived on Jellicoe Road eighteen years ago, and the maddening and magnetic Jonah Griggs, who knows her better than she thinks he does. If Taylor can put together the pieces of her past, she might just be able to change her future"

Review: So I can totally understand why the Forever YA girls are in love with this book. It's kind of awesome.

Taylor, as a character, is perfect. She's vulnerable, hurt, angry, but still cares about the people around her. Jonah Griggs, the ultimate Mysterious Loner Dude, is also drawn perfectly - aloof and apart, stern and military, yet loyal and protective. Swoon.

The story was awesome - enough information to be interesting, but enough is held back to still be suspenseful.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, bechdel-test, fluffy, is-or-would-be-a-good-movie, is-this-a-kissing-book, my-kind-of-woman, thought-provoking
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