Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Space Between Trees

Not your everyday coming-of-age novel
This story was supposed to be about Evie how she hasn't made a friend in years, how she tends to stretch the truth (especially about her so-called relationship with college drop-out Jonah Luks), and how she finally comes into her own once she learns to just be herself but it isn't. Because when her classmate Elizabeth "Zabet" McCabe's murdered body is found in the woods, everything changes and Evie's life is never the same again.

Beth says 3 Stars…

This novel didn’t sit well with me. Initially I thought it would be a murder mystery filled with intensity and plot twists, but it wasn’t. It ended up as a coming of age type-story, which contrasted oddly with the supposed mystery. Honestly, because I expected something more based on the murder so the plot disappointed me. I also am not the biggest fan of coming of age type novels, so that worked against this book in my eyes as well. I didn’t find the plot particularly compelling or that original. It didn’t pull me in… I could definitely put it down. There weren’t really any shocking twists in the story line, but it seemed convoluted at times and didn’t always make sense to me. I will say that I found the prose enchanting. I really liked the way Williams wrote for some reason, and that’s what really kept me interested in the book.

As far as characters go, I didn’t connect well with Evie. Her compulsive lying and constant fantasies grated on my nerves. Although I did understand that she used them to escape from her reality, it made her seem very weak and I frankly had trouble understanding her. She did grow some, which I appreciated, but she started out in a place where growth was a necessity to accomplish anything. I will say that I thought Zabet was very interesting and I only wish that she had been alive to actually contribute and have interactions with the other characters. Her memory remained one of the most fascinating points of the book, and the survivor’s guilt suffered by everyone else provided more insights into their minds than anything else. Hadley had so many more layers that she interested me more than Evie. Despite the fact that she could be a terrible person more than occasionally, her ups and downs absolutely fascinated me.

I’m still not sure what entirely to say about this book. I came into it with completely unrealistic and mistaken expectations, which hurt the novel in my eyes. If you’re looking for something mysterious this isn’t it at all, despite what the set up leads you to believe. This is for people who absolutely love realistic fiction and can’t get enough of coming of age stories. It wasn’t that bad, but it certainly wasn’t very good. If this isn’t your normal cup of tea then it’s one to skip over.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Crush Control

Willow has spent most of her life as her mother's sidekick in a popular Las Vegas hypnotism show. So when she and her mom move back to their sleepy southern hometown to start over, she thinks she's in for a life of quiet normalcy. Except that her new life turns out to be anything but, when she kinda sorta hypnotizes Quinton, the hottest guy on the football team, to fall madly, deeply, head over heels in love with her. But what started out as an innocent way to make her best friend, Max, jealous soon gets way out of hand, and Willow begins to wonder if the mind - and more importantly, the heart - is something you can really control.

Beth says 4 Stars...

This isn't a book I would have picked up normally, probably due to the lack of epic magic. I personally don't particularly care for the cover. It didn't really draw me in and wouldn't grab my attention in a bookstore. The story, however, was just a ton of fun. The plot didn't break much new ground or have all sorts of twists and turns. I had a general idea of the end within the first 15 pages, but that wasn't that much of a bad thing. The book wasn't designed as an edge of your seat thrill ride and instead is cute and slightly fluffy. The twist of hypnosis kept the very conventional plot from becoming super boring. It also allowed for some highly ridiculous situations that cracked me up. I mean, a dog who needs to hear Cher to calm down? That wasn't the only wacky thing that happened, but I don't want to spoil anything! I did think that the comparisons to A Midsummer Night's Dream that ran through the book got rather heavy handed. After the first one I got it and didn't need the reminders.

I found the love square partially entertaining and partially annoying. It was a change from the typical love triangle, but it wasn't highly intense. The characters in the book don't have a huge amount of depth, but that wasn't the point for me. They served a purpose and allowed the plot to move forward. I liked Max more than Quinton, although that could have been because of certain plot points that shan't be revealed. I think that this book would be totally perfect for the beach, because it's super adorable. Grab this one for some poolside laughs!
Book from Publisher

Friday, July 8, 2011

Crush Control Book Tour!

Hey all! Here at in BetweeN the pages we're excited to be a part of the book tour for Crush Control. We have an interview with the lovely Jennifer Jabaley the novel's author. We'll be reviewing the book this weekend (it would be sooner, but I have to move out of my apartment... so things are insane!), but as a preview it's super cute and funny. We hope you enjoy Jennifer's responses as much as we did!

What made you decide to write a book about hypnosis?

I was hit with a bolt of inspiration one night when my infant daughter wouldn't sleep. I thought, 'if only I could rock her, and say, you are getting sleepy!' Then I realized that the idea of hypnosis was really unique and interesting and, as far as I know, not yet explored in YA literature. So I began to think about the mind of a teen girl and what she would do if she had the ability to hypnotize people. The possibilities seemed endless.

Have you ever been hypnotized yourself or hypnotized anyone else?

No and no. But I did witness other people being hypnotized at a Las Vegas show.

What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever done to make someone jealous?

Hmmm. I can't really think of anything I did to make someone jealous. I do remember however, a time when, because I was jealous, I took some extreme measures. A boy I liked (in high school) happened to comment that he liked curly hair which prompted me to get a perm. Ok, so maybe that's not extreme, but trust me, if you saw a picture, you'd realize it was not a good look for me :)

Style wise are you more like Willow, more sedate, or her mother, who loves her flash and sparkle?

I'm definitely more Willow. I'm a conservative, preppy, dresser. Maybe a little more girly or feminine than I imagine Willow to be.

If you could star in any Las Vegas show what would it be?

I'd love to be able to sing - especially well enough to fill an arena in Vegas.

Finally, favorite Cher song?

Well, after writing CRUSH CONTROL, I'll never be able to listen to BELIEVE without smiling, so I guess that's my favorite.

A big thanks to Jennifer for taking her time and being utterly delightful!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Enchanted Ivy

What Lily Carter wants most in the world is to attend Princeton University just like her grandfather. When she finally visits the campus, Grandpa surprises her: She has been selected to take the top-secret Legacy Test. Passing means automatic acceptance to Princeton. Sweet!

Lily's test is to find the Ivy Key. But what is she looking for? Where does she start? As she searches, Lily is joined by Tye, a cute college boy with orange and black hair who says he's her guard. That's weird. But things get seriously strange when a gargoyle talks to her. He tells her that there are two Princetons—the ordinary one and a magical one—and the Key opens the gate between them. But there are more secrets that surround Lily. Worse secrets.

When Lily enters the magical Princeton, she uncovers old betrayals and new dangers, and a chance at her dream becomes a fight for her life. Soon Lily is caught in a power struggle between two worlds, with her family at its center. In a place where Knights slay monsters, boys are were-tigers, and dragons might be out for blood, Lily will need all of her ingenuity and courage—and a little magic—to unite the worlds and unlock the secrets of her past and her future.

Beth says 4.5 Stars…

I’ve enjoyed all of Sarah Beth Durst’s books, so I had high hopes for this novel. Thankfully, it delivered most of what I wanted. I loved the concept and thought it was well executed. I certainly can’t say that this novel is a derivative of another; it comes on its own term and with its own ideas. Parallel worlds are nothing new, but the delightful little twists put on it made it just different enough. As a student who actually looked at Princeton not too long ago, I could picture some of what she wrote about. The plot itself wasn’t actually that mind-blowingly original, but for some reason it felt fresh. Perhaps it’s because this book is distinctly not a paranormal romance, but it absolutely hit the spot for me. The evil-doer took me slightly by surprise, although I think that some people will catch on much faster than I did. I will say that the world was built very well and the concepts explained readily enough. Having Lily as both ignorant of the reality she was stepping into, but smart enough to figure it out worked well. Thus, readers could attempt to determine what was happening, but then not feel foolish if they couldn’t. Durst’s writing remains as delightful as ever and always manages to pull me in immediately. I find her style similar to a warm blanket and fire on a cold day; nothing fancy, but completely comforting and slightly magical.

Lily delighted me. I really felt connected to her, probably due in part to the fact that we have some very similar personality traits. I enjoyed reading a representation of a focused teenager who put academics high on her list. I will say that she didn’t particularly grow throughout the novel in any way other than increasing her awareness of the reality of the world(s) and her role in it. She didn’t have a huge moral change, or become a stronger and more confident person. She actually started out the book as a reasonably well-adjusted and competent teenager, and didn’t need a dramatic change. I would say that some sort of development would have been nice from any of the characters, but alas, none existed. The “love triangle” was just pathetic. There was never any real conflict with Lily, and honestly the romance wasn’t the driving force behind the novel. Tye amused me greatly and didn’t quite fit the stereotypes of tall, dark, and broody – I’m slightly partial to the snarky rebel, the role he did fall into.

This book is absolutely fantastic. It’s super cute – nice and light for the summer. This could be fun on the beach or in the car during a college search road trip. This falls in line with Durst’s other novels, and is for fans of the rest of her work. I’d recommend this for some nice fluff that’s well written and won’t make you feel dirty after reading it.
Book from Library