Saturday, February 28, 2009


Rae, nicknamed Sunshine by her stepfather, is the baker at her family's coffeehouse. She's happy getting up at 4 am to make cinnamon rolls for the breakfast rush, and dealing with people and food all day. But one evening she needed somewhere she could be alone for a little while, and there hadn't been any trouble out at the lake for years.
She never thought of vampires.
Until they found her.

Nathan says 4 stars...
Do you like vampires? Are you tired of Twilight? Well then, Sunshine may be for you. Robin McKinley is an absolute genius. Any book of hers is sure to be full of an energy that most books don't possess. This was an interesting turn for McKinley though. This is by far her most adult novel, and a few scene are somewhat graphic for younger audiences. Sunshine is a well-formed and intensely personal character. As the audience, we feel her responses deeply. Con, the vampire she befriends is an enigmatic vampire (slightly redundant, I know) who shatters Rae's ideas about Others. The universe of Sunshine is detailed and contains the intricacies readers of The Blue Sword and maybe even the Harry Potter series can connect with. My one qualm with the book is the writing style. McKinley adopts a staccato and reader-based style of prose that is radically different from most of her previous work. At points I had to re-read some of her quips to understand her direction. Now, that could be my own idiocy, but it seemed more deeply rooted than that. The plot is very nice and a refreshing change from the, dare I say, cliché vampire novels, though personally I would have enjoyed a little more denouement. I know, I know, it's about letting the reader imagine what happens next, but I like seeing how the author envisions her character's story ending. I guess in one blurb, this book is good, but still not the McKinley I fell head-over-heels for.

The Tears of the Salamander

Summary: Alfredo, a choir boy in 18th-century Italy, loses his family in a fire, and his mysterious Uncle Giorgio spirits him away to their ancestral home below a volcano. There he learns that Uncle Giorgio is the Master of the Mountain; he can control the volcano. He is also an alchemist, able to make gold from the tears of the fiery salamander he captured from the heart of the mountain. Alfredo is his heir, the next Master; and as Alfredo learns the history of his family and its power, he begins to suspect that his uncle is actually a fearsome sorcerer.

Beth says 4 Stars...
I first picked up one of Peter Dickinson's books because I wanted to read what the husband of Robin McKinley (one of my favorite authors) wrote. I've been a fan ever since. This book was short at less than 200 pages and a very quick read. For the most part, the characters were believable. The evil sorcerer was made of a very different, quieter evil which was a bit disconcerting at first, but then became interesting. One thing that I enjoyed was how Dickinson wove music throughout the story and tied it to fire. The plot moved along fairly well, but was slow at several parts. All in all, this is a really fun quick read.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

3 Willows: The Sisterhood Grows

summer is a time to grow

Polly has an idea that she can't stop thinking about, one that involves changing a few things about herself. She's setting her sights on a more glamorous life, but it's going to take all of her focus. At least that way she won't have to watch her friends moving so far ahead.

Jo is spending the summer at her family's beach house, working as a busgirl and bonding with the older, cooler girls she'll see at high school come September. She didn't count on a brief fling with a cute boy changing her entire summer. Or feeling embarrassed by her middle school friends. And she didn't count on her family at all. . .

Ama is not an outdoorsy girl. She wanted to be at an academic camp, doing research in an air-conditioned library, earning A's. Instead her summer scholarship lands her on a wilderness trip full of flirting teenagers, blisters, impossible hiking trails, and a sad lack of hair products.
It is a new summer. And a new sisterhood. Come grow with them.

Beth says 2 Stars...

I"m going to preface this review by stating that, as a general rule, I do not like chick-lit. I never have, and probably never will. That being said, I didn't particularly like this book. One of the biggest problems I had with it was the style. Brashares attempted to interweave the stories of the three girls into every chapter and it didn't work. The stories didn't feel connected enough to be lumped together into the chapters. The characters themselves were also problematic. They attempted to deal with deep issues; however, they were addressed in a very superficial manner. The one girl that I found most realistic and deep was Ama, the overachiever. Other than her, none of the other characters felt very real to me. Overall, the flaws in this book far outweigh and overwhelm the few virtues.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Inagural Post-City of Bones

In celebration of the upcoming release City of Glass, we are doing our first review on Cassandra Clare's debut novel City of Bones.

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder — much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing — not even a smear of blood — to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . .


Beth says 5 Stars...
This is one of the most exciting debut novels I have ever read. Claire creates a new hidden world wrapped within the New York City we all love. Clary is a fantastic new heroine, both vulnerable and strong. The Shadowhunters and other creatures lend an air of darkness and fantasy that meshes perfectly with the realism of Clary and the city. The plot is full of twists and turns. This book had me hooked from the first page; it's one of the rare books that is impossible to put down. I've given this as a gift to someone I liked, because it really is that good.

Nathan says 5 Stars...
Cassandra Clare is truly one of the most innovative and talented writers to reach the young adult section in many years. If this book (and its sequel) are any indication, then Clare has a long career ahead of her. The story centers around Clary, the fiery redhead who gets sucked into a rabbit hole that Lewis Carrol would be proud of. The Shadowhunters are incredibly well-conceived and the detail given to each of the characters lets the reader truly connect. This book is best described as fantasy with a layer of grit. I mean, Holly Black is quoted on the cover- it has to be good. A perfect novel for our generation.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

in BetweeN the pages

Hi, welcome to the newly minted in BetweeN the Pages. This is a creation of two best friends who've spent their lives in the middle of nowhere, where books were the best escape. Through it all, our authors- new and old- have been our constant companions, not to mention therapists.
Our names are Beth and Nathan and we are forever on our own literary journeys. We're both seniors in high school. We both love movies, music, and obviously books-we are what you call, media geeks. We've both been involved in our respective scouting programs and earned each organizations highest honor. We both speak two languages, sarcasm being the second. However, we're also very different. Nathan plans to be an English major. Beth will major in chemistry. Nathan is laid-back and thinks planning is pointless. Beth is hyper-driven and plans everything months (if not years) in advance. Nathan adapts easily. Beth likes structure. Nathan is liberal. Beth is moderate-conservative. Nathan is long winded. Beth likes things straightforward. These similarities and differences will hopefully enable us to deliver fresh and engaging reviews.
Sometimes we'll both review the same book and give a "he-said, she-said" style review. Other times we may individually post a review, but either way we promise to give our honest, only slightly censored, opinions.

Here is our rating system:
One Star-Use as doorstop
Two Stars-Bearable while on pain medication
Three Stars-Read once, do not repeat
Four Stars-Definitely keep it on your shelf
Five Stars-Use as altar

As the blog continues we may expand our format to include things like music, movies, or anything else we have an opinion on. So stick around, and enjoy the bookage (Nathan enjoys creating new words).