Friday, December 31, 2010

The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
Pages: 359
Publisher: Harlequin Teen

"Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey—ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.
Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart."
 
                The Iron Fey is one of the best series I’ve read in a very long time. It is so fresh, imaginative, and exciting. Every twist and turn, every new character, every reunion and heartbreaking parting is like a jewel to pick up and savor. This is one of those books that I’ve been recommending to friends and family of all ages. It has a plot to die for, depth of character development, and engenders real emotions. Our heroine, Meghan Chase, is smart, funny, and not afraid to get her hands dirty. In short, it’s the best kind of book. The kind that picks you up and carries you away to a place where magic and fairies are real.
                This story picks up after Meghan Chase has arrived at the court of the Winter fey. All the events that occur within the first few chapters could be a novel within themselves. Betrayal, murder, deceit, theft, it all occurs in such a short time that it will leave your head spinning, in the best sense. After Meghan and Ash escape the palace of the Winter Fey, things get even more complicated, if that’s possible. The duo find out that some of the Fey have defected to the Iron Fey, and seek to create trouble in Faerie. As the journey progresses, Meghan reunites with an old friend, teams up with a former enemy, and trudges through layers of deceit that threaten to destroy both the world of the Fey and the world of the mortals.
                The first book in The Iron Fey series impressed me so much that I wasn’t sure The Iron Daughter could live up to my expectations. However, this installment proved my doubts to be completely unfounded. The Iron Daughter blew me away with its vivid  depiction of the world of the Fey.  It’s so easy to find yourself completely lost in the story, caught up in the adventure, excitement, and beautiful detail.
                As with many books these days, The Iron Daughter features a love triangle. The triangle in this book features Ash, the Winter Prince, and Puck, the best friend.  When I started reading the series, I was firmly in the Team Puck corner, but the farther I read, the more I wanted Meghan to end up with Ash. The problem with love triangles like this is that both of the boys are good guys. It's so hard to choose between them, knowing that one of their hearts will have to be broken. So, I'd like to hear your thoughts on the matter. Are you team Ash or Team Puck? Why? Leave me a comment below.
                The big picture: The Iron Daughter is a fairy tale for those of us who have matured beyond Cinderella and Snow White (or at least those of us who pretend that we have), but long for a tale with the feel of those old stories. It has magic and wonder in spades and always keeps you on your toes. This novel is a must-read.  

Don't forget to leave a comment telling me if you are Team Ash or Team Puck!

The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade

The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade
Pages: 228
Publisher: Hyperion



"After a close encounter with the front end of a school bus, Alona Dare goes from Homecoming Queen to Queen of the Dead. Now she’s stuck as a spirit in the land of the living with no sign of the big, bright light to take her away. To make matters worse, the only person who might be able to help her is Will Killian, a total loser outcast. He alone can see and hear (turns out he’s been “blessed” with the ability to communicate with the dead), but he wants nothing to do with the former mean girl of Groundsboro High.

Alona has never needed anyone for anything, and now she’s supposed to expose her deepest, darkest secrets to this pseudo-goth boy? Right. She’s not telling anyone what really happened the day she died, not even to save her eternal soul. And Will’s not filling out any volunteer forms to help her cross to the other side. He only has a few more weeks until his graduation, when he can strike out on his own and find a place with less spiritual interference. But he has to survive and stay out of the psych ward until then. Can they get over their mutual distrust—and the weird attraction between them—to work together before Alona vanishes for good and Will is locked up for seeing things that don’t exist?"



If you asked me to sum up this book in one word I would say cute. If you gave me three I would say cute but predictable. However, this is my standard assessment of just about every work of romantic, for lack of a better word, comedy.


The basic premise of the story is that Alona Dare (your typical it girl with a secret) takes a fatal step in front of a bus and ends up as a ghost, spirit, or whatever term you’d like to use. In her incorporeal form she learns that her friends were never really friendly and that the entire school hates her, etc. So far, just a typical plot. Enter Will Killian. Will is Alona’s exact opposite, for one thing he’s goth (hence The Ghost and the Goth) and he despises all things popular. But you know what they say about opposites. After meeting up with some of the other spirits haunting the school, Alona realizes that Will can see and hear her. One thing leads to another and the two are practically joined at the hip because of certain agreements and arrangements, some voluntary and some quiet unexpected. So, the pair work together to free Will from the hoards of ghosts asking him to help them find the light, settle some unresolved issues, and manage to keep Will from getting locked up in the loony bin. Sounds good, right? The problem is Alona keeps disappearing, and one time, she may not come back.


The Ghost and the Goth is a very quick read, practically one sitting. It has some exciting moments, and it definitely holds your interest, but it’s no classic. The story line is, as I said, cute and predictable. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you’re anything like me, you need a break between those hard-core murder/assault/death novels. The Ghost and the Goth is the perfect filler, or as I like to say “fluffy”, novel to clear the mind before tackling another serious subject.


This novel is nice the way it is, but I wish that the plot had received a little more development. It could have had some real elements of exciting action. The seeds of the idea are there, but they didn’t sprout or grow.


The big picture: The Ghost and the Goth is a cute romantic story. It doesn’t require deep thought, and it has no anxiety ridden moments. I would recommend that you take this book on vacation with you. It’s a perfect beach read, quick, light, and funny.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Guest Post: Sybil Nelson in the Voice of Priscilla the Great

Hey everybody, I've got a real treat for you today! Sybil Nelson, the author of  Priscilla the Great, has provided me with a blog post in Priscilla's voice. The topic: Twilight. As you can probably imagine, this is a topic that provides numerous laughs.

But first, let me introduce you to Priscilla.
"Meet Priscilla Sumner, an ordinary seventh grader with extraordinary gifts. As if middle school isn’t hard enough, not only does Priscilla have to fight pimples and bullies, but genetically enhanced assassins trying to kill her and her family. Armed with wit, strength, and a genius best friend, Priscilla must defeat the Selliwood Institute, an organization dead set on turning children into killing machines.

Add an older brother annoyingly obsessed with Christina Aguilera, mischievous baby twin brothers who could scare the sin off of Satan, and parents more puzzling than a Rubik’s cube in the Bermuda triangle and expect a smoking page-turner!"

You can find out more about Sybil anf Priscilla here or here.

My Twilight Book Review by Priscilla Sumner a.k.a Probably the Last Person on the Planet who has Neither Read the Book Nor Seen the Movie.
I admit it. I’m probably the only 13 year old girl who has completely stayed away from Twilight. I’ve never read a single sentence of the book, and God knows I have not seen any midnight viewings of the wildly popular movies. But I still wanted to give my summary of a book that I’ve never read to see how close I come.
Okay, so Bella is a small town girl who apparently never smiles and who obviously can’t get a date with a normal boy thus her only two options are a vampire and a werewolf. Seriously, are there no jocks at her school? Anyway, she meets Edward and it’s love at first sight or something. Or maybe she’s blinded by his skin which I hear glitters in the sunlight. A hot and heavy romance begins with probably some really awesome make out scenes. Maybe I should read the book just for the make out scenes.
Now Edward is not all he seems to be. He’s hundreds of years old, but apparently he has the same sort of syndrome as Matthew McConaughey’s character from Dazed and Confused where he has a thing for teenage girls. He “keeps getting older, they stay the same age.” Gross.
Edward’s family doesn’t like Bella. They probably want to eat her or drink her blood or whatever. But Edward has found a soul mate in this girl who is a fraction of his age and I’m sure he swears to protect her or whatever.
Enter furry little Jacob. I think Jacob is poor and homeless or has an upper body allergy to clothing, thus his lack of a shirt in all the Twilight promos I see.  Anyway, I think Bella at one point had a puppy she loved as child and therefore she feels some sort of attraction to a werewolf. Just so you know I’m not completely out of it, I know that later on he turns out to be a shapeshifter. I think that is even less appealing to me as the only shapeshifter I know is that weird looking guy from Star Trek Deep Space Nine.
Jacob and Edward hate each other. I’m not sure why. I guess Vampires and Werewolfs have some kind of long standing rivalry like the Red Sox and the Yankees or maybe they just don’t enjoy the taste of each other’s saliva on Bella’s tongue.
So a bunch of stuff happens but what it really comes down to is that Bella has to choose between Edward and Jacob. Of course, she chooses Edward and they live happily ever after on his retirement benefits.
So that’s Twilight from the perspective of a girl who has not read the book. Am I close? Let me know.
____________________________________________________________________________
Priscilla is a character from the new book Priscilla the Great by Sybil Nelson. Visit her website www.priscillathegreat.com for more info.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's Time to Pick Some Winners!

Hey everybody, it's the moment you've all been waiting for (or at least I flatter myself by imagining that you've been waiting for it). I am about to pick the winners for my 100 Followers Giveaway and my Speak Up Giveaway. Drum roll please!

The Winners are....

Speak UP! - Kiara Vos

Prize Pack #1 - Jacinda (jacmom)

Prize Pack #2 - Lily M

Prize Pack #3 - brandileigh2003

Prize Pack #4 - jessica b

Prize Pack #5 - Lisa loves to read!

I have e-mailed all the winners. You have a week to respond before I draw new winners. Congratulations!

Monday, November 29, 2010

100 Followers Giveaway Part II

First, I would like to thank everyone who is currently following my blog. I can't tell you how much your support means to me. In recognition of that support, and of the recent spike in followers, I have a couple more prize packs for you!

Prize Pack #4
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
The Snowball Effect Bookmark (signed)
The Pace Bookmark (signed)
Guardian of the Gate Bookmark
Ruin Temporary Tattoos
Beautiful Darkness Button


Prize Pack #5

A Curse as Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce
Rain Postcard
The Pace Bookmark
Fairy Tale Bookmark (signed)
Shade Bookmark (signed)
We hear the Dead Poster (signed)

The Rules
  • you must be 13 years of age or older
  • this contest is for residents of the US only (sorry, I don't have money to ship this stuff internationally right now)
  • you MUST be a follower
  • you can earn extra entries by spreading the word
  • the contest ends on December 1, 2010
*People who have already entered this contest do not need to re-enter. As long as you selected "Please enter me in any other prize packs that you post!", you will be entered to win these prizes as well.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer



"Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything— including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?"
            First of all, I have to say that the cover of this book makes me really, really happy. Not the look of it, the feel of it. It isn't made of that super shiny material that makes you squirm cuz you're so afraid of leaving finger prints on it and it isn't that dull, lifeless cardboard cover either. It has this amazing texture that practically made me do a happy dance. Not to mention the page edges. Usually I don't like that rough-edged, jagged paper, but it just works on this book.  The only down side to this book: the smell. I like the smell of almost every book, but his one, ahhh not so much... Enough of my blabbering and on to what you really want to hear about.
            Nightshade is a good book. It's exciting, has a bit of character development (exponentially more than Twilight, if you want a comparison), and certainly grabs your attention, but overall I was a bit let down. This book has been building and building hype for so long that I expected more of it. The beginning of the novel makes it seem like it is going to maintain a fast pace, but it really doesn't. Some events were abrupt and didn't make sense. Also, I don't understand Calla's attraction to Ren... at all. Even worse, the ending is an abrupt cliffhanger. (On a side rant - why does every book end in a cliffhanger nowadays? Don't any authors know that books in a series are supposed to be able to stand alone?)
            While I certainly have some (a lot) of issues with this book. I do have to say that I like Calla Tor. I am a HUGE fan of strong female leads, and even though Calla doesn't always take initiative, she certainly qualifies. I like Calla's leadership skills, her curiosity, loyalty, honor, and drive. And even though it may annoy me at some points, I like the way she puts others before herself. However, it isn't until Shay Doran shows up that she begins to think for herself. Shay teaches her independence and gives her the strength to stand up for something.  
            This book does delve a little bit into some deeper meaning. It speaks to the way that people blindly follow leaders and traditions without question. I'm not trying to say that all leaders and traditions are bad, or that people always follow them without question. On the contrary, many traditions are beneficial, and the people of our fair country certainly question their leaders. And the book also addresses this.
            Too many mixed messages? Well, here is the bottom line. Nightshade is worth a read, simply as that. However, if you want a book about wolves, I recommend Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. If you want a book with a similar (but better) plot to Nightshade, try Firelight by Sophie Jordan. You can read my review here.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

"Vera’s spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie Kahn. And over the years she’s kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything.

So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone—the kids at school, his family, even the police. But will she emerge to clear his name? Does she even want to?

Edgy and gripping, Please Ignore Vera Dietz is an unforgettable novel: smart, funny, dramatic, and always surprising."

          Please Ignore Vera Dietz has not received even half the praise it deserves. This book is smart, funny, and all around wonderful. I've never read a novel that combined so much life and laughter with death and sorrow. A.S. King is sharp as a tack and has a wicked sense of humor. This book was such as pleasant surprise. It isn't just your basic run of the mill realistic fiction. It has elements of the supernatural, not wizards, vampires, or werewolves, but subtle references and occurrences (watch out for the pickles).Please DON'T Ignore Vera Dietz. She is so wonderful, so quirky, so lovable and relatable, that she will worm her way into your heart on the very first page.
            Vera loves her best friend Charlie, and she also hates him. The only problem is that he's dead, and Vera is the only one who may know the truth about why. This book combines the perspectives of Vera, her father Ken, Charlie, and the Pagoda (the Pagoda may be my favorite character, sorry Vera). Each view point helps build the story up and make it special. As a reader, you get to really explore every characters' thoughts, feelings, and motivations. Even though the characters act really stupid sometimes (or a lot of the time) you can understand why they do (for the most part).
            This novel is heartwarming and heartbreaking. It makes you want to laugh and cry and scream (believe me, you will laugh out loud). At some points I got so frustrated that I didn't want to read any farther, and at others I couldn't put the book down. In short, this book is everything a book should be. It is captivating, character-driven, and combines the past and the present in a plot that will capture your heart and mind.
            Once again, Please Don't Ignore Vera Dietz. (By the way, A.S. King is not a pseudonym, isn't that so cool!)
         

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Restored Hope by Brenda Youngerman


"Peter and Tara Miller are the image of perfection. They have three beautiful children, live in a wonderful neighborhood, and are still each other's best friend. When their world completely disintegrates within a short period of time, their daughter must survive the aftermath. Creating a new persona, Samantha finally breaks free and discovers that the real world is not much kinder than her dysfunctional family. Emotionally shattered, the solace of the ocean, and a loving dog, carry her on her way. Samantha meets Timothy Bleak, who was raised in a seemingly kind, loving family, but is virtually invisible to them. His voice goes unheard, his needs are unmet, and his emotions are squashed. Timothy summons the strength to leave his family, and discovers Samantha in his journey. Restored Hope follows these two bereft young people as their lives intertwine and they face the challenges of life, love and happiness together."
As I was reading Restored Hope, I really felt the author's heart and soul behind the story line. I could tell that she truly invested herself in the lives of these characters. While the work and love that went into this book is quite apparent, it did fall a bit flat. I truly believe that this book has good bones, but it seems like it got somewhat deformed as it grew. The characters are often awkward and unrealistic with flat dialogue. Some of the scenes seemed very forced and contrived. Furthermore, tragedy followed tragedy followed tragedy, and not in a good way. Half the family dies or tries to kill themselves using the same old oak tree for goodness sake! Overall, I didn't like this novel. I feel terrible about saying that, but it's the truth. However, I am grateful that the author, Brenda Youngerman, entrusted me with a copy of her book to review. I'd like to say that just because I disliked this book doesn't mean that the rest of you will. That being said, if anyone is interested in reading Restored Hope, shoot me an e-mail and I'll gladly send it to you. I hope that this book will find I home that can give it a little more love than I did.

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by The Story Siren. The purpose of IMM is to share the books that we have purchased, won, bought, borrowed, etc.
Bought:
-Guardian of the Gate by Michelle Zink
-The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King
-Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
-Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
-Nightshade by Andrea Cremer







Gift:
-Harry Potter Film Wizardry
-Fallen by Lauren Kate










                                                                                  Won:
                                                                                  -Hush by Eishes Chayil (not pictured)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Twin's Daughter by Lauren Baratz-Logsted


"Lucy Sexton is stunned when a disheveled woman appears at the door one day... a woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to Lucy's own beautiful mother. It turns out the two women are identical twins, separated at birth, and raised in dramatically different circumstances. Lucy's mother quickly resolves to give her less fortunate sister the kind of life she has never known. And the transformation in Aunt Helen is indeed remarkable. But when Helen begins to imitate her sister in every way, even Lucy isn't sure at times which twin is which. Can Helen really be trusted, or does her sweet face mask a chilling agenda?
Filled with shocking twists and turns, The Twin's Daughter is an engrossing gothic novel of betrayal, jealousy, and treacherous secrets that will keep you guessing to the very end."
            The Twin's Daughter is the exact opposite of what you're thinking right now. Trust me on that. This novel is one of those books that you pick up thinking 'this looks good' and put down a sleepless night later thinking 'oh my gosh that was incredible'. Speaking as a person who has encountered her fair share of literary twists and turns, I never saw the ending of this novel coming. In fact, I felt all high and mighty because I believed I figured out what was really going on before the main character. Then WHAM, the novel slapped me over the head and crushed everything I thought I knew about the characters and the story.
            Not only does the story leave you hanging on every word, the prose is vibrant, with a perfect balance between details and action. It lays the foundation for a story full of intrigue, excitement, pain, loss, and love. The plot combines murders and mysteries in ideal proportions with a coming of age story and first love.
            Lucy Sexton, the protagonist, truly has her heart in the right place. When her mother's twin Helen shows up on the doorstep, Lucy almost immediately welcomes her with open arms. I say almost because she does have an understandable and expected period of shock. (If my mother's twin suddenly showed up, I doubt I'd be half as gracious as Lucy). The two women form a bond. They sleep in rooms across the hall from each other and attend classes with the same tutor. I have to admit that I was suspicious of Helene from the beginning. With the book jacket's ominous statement, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery...until it becomes a deadly obsession", how could I not suspect her of performing dark deeds? I won't tell you whether or not my opinion of her changed, but I will tell you that you will never see theses twists and turns coming.
            As I discovered the web of lies and dark deeds that took place in the Sexton household, I was completely and utterly dumbfounded. The twists were not only unexpected, they were brilliantly executed. I have to admit that I am incredibly jealous of the author's ability to create such a suspenseful, exciting plot.
            Because I do enjoy a good romantic subplot, I have to give you a little information about Lucy's incredibly adorable relationship with Kit. When Lucy first meets Kit at her parent's party, she thinks of him as "the bored boy". Soon, their acquaintance grows into friendship, and their friendship into something more. With Victorian sensibilities, the relationship is slow, sweet, and perfect. They are each other's best friends and sweethearts. However, one of the personality traits of Lucy's that does bother me is her disbelief that Kit really loves her. She always doubts herself, thinking that other girls are smarter, prettier, and better. More than once she approaches Kit to 'release him from his obligation to her'.
            So what am I trying to tell you? Read this book. Even my friends who barely read at all are caught up in this book's spell.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It's Giveaway Time Again! (100 Followers Giveaway!)

Yes, you heard me right. It's time to share some amazing books and swag with my wonderful followers! This giveaway will celebrate the exciting benchmark of reaching 100 followers. As such, the one hundredth follower of my blog will automatically receive a prize. To my other followers, do not despair! I have three (possibly more) other prize packages to give away. The more new followers I get, the more prizes will appear!

*A note to the patient entrants of my Speak Up Giveaway. I hope to meet Laurie Halse Anderson at a book signing during the second week of November. At that time, I will get a copy of Speak signed for you guys. If you think a signed copy of Speak is worth waiting for, then I will pick a winner on November 10. That means anyone else who's interested still has time to enter my Speak Up Giveaway.

Prize Pack #1

Angel Star by Jennifer Murgia (signed)
Angel Star Postcard (signed)
Angel Star Bookmark
Angel Star Sticker
Beautiful Creatures and Beautiful Darkness Bookmarks
Rain by Kieryn Nicolas Postcard

Prize Pack # 2

13 to Life by Shannon Delany (signed)
13 to Life Bookmark (signed)
13 to Life Postcard (signed)
13 to Life Buttons (2 - one square and one circular)
Rain by Kieryn Nicolas Postcard

Prize Pack #3
Rae by Chelsea Rae Swigget
Rae Bookmark (signed)
The Pace Series Bookmark
Watersmeet Postcard (signed)
Beautiful Creatures and Beautiful Darkness Bookmarks
Rain by Kieryn Nicolas Postcard (signed)

The Rules
  • you must be 13 years of age or older
  • this contest is for residents of the US only (sorry, I don't have money to ship this stuff internationally right now)
  • you MUST be a follower
  • you can earn extra entries by spreading the word
  • the contest ends on December 1, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Jane by April Lindner

            

Forced to drop out of an esteemed East Coast college after the sudden death of her parents, Jane Moore takes a nanny job at Thornfield Park, the estate of Nico Rathburn, an iconic rock star on the brink of a huge comeback. Practical and independent, Jane reluctantly becomes entranced by her magnetic and brooding employer, and finds herself in the midst of a forbidden romance. But there's a mystery at Thornfield, and Jane's much-envied relationship with Nico is tested by a torturous secret from his past.

Part irresistible romance and part darkly engrossing mystery, this contemporary retelling of the beloved classic Jane Eyre promises to enchant a new generation of readers."
            Jane is a charming modern version of the classic novel Jane Eyre (which happens to be my favorite book). Unlike the inundation of rather unremarkable Pride & Prejudice updates, Jane is more than just readable. This is high praise indeed considering that Pride & Prejudice & Zombies is the only book I haven't finished reading in years. A beautiful old story takes on a fresh new life in Jane's pages.
            April Lindner transplants the story of Jane Eyre into a modern world with great care and attention to detail. While some events can be directly connected to its predecessor, Jane also takes on a life of its own. It does not follow the original novel in a blatant and clumsy way. Some similarities are so subtle that I did not even notice them at first. Ms. Lindner's ability to overcome the obstacles that occur when trying to bring the past and the present together may be the most remarkable part of this novel. She solves the problem of creating a class difference between Jane and Mr. Rathburn, deals with the issue of the mad woman in the attic, and even evokes some of the beauty and feeling of the original novel.
            Jane is such an enchanting read that I had it finished within twelve hours of purchasing it (yes I let it jump to the head of my TBR pile, but can you really blame me?). Jane (the character) is endearing, sweet, and interesting. She has a complicated past and a rich inner life. From the moment I met her in the lobby of the Discriminating Nannies Inc., I knew we were going to be good friends.
           Bottom line: read Jane. It doesn't matter if you love the classic or you've never heard of it, you will enjoy this novel.

         

Friday, October 22, 2010

Book Blogger Hop (I'm back!)

Book Blogger Hop
Hey guys! I'd like to apologize for my rather lengthy absence from the blogosphere. The good news is that I have read several books since my last post, and those reviews will be appearing any day now! To top it all off, I will be posting a really cool giveaway (if I do say say myself) during the next couple of days. The giveaway will celebrate the fact that I am close to one hundred followers (I can't believe it!).

And now on to the main attraction:

The Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Crazy for Books. The purpose is for book bloggers and book lovers to connect.

What is your favorite place to read?
Hmm... that depends if you want my favorite real reading place or my favorite imaginary reading place. If you want a real place, it would have to be sprawled across my bed ( I've tried reading while sitting in a tree, but I have to say that no location is whimsical enough to make up for the pain caused by sitting on a branch for a few hours). My favorite imaginary reading place is a bit more interesting. This spot would be a window seat overlooking a beautiful sunset filled woods with a lake in the distance...Oh, and there would be a curtain that I could draw between myself and the room so that it would just be me, my book, and a lovely view... Ah well, no such luck.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Matched by Ally Condie


November 30, 2010
Dutton Books
384 pages
"Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s barely any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one . . . until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion.


Matched is a story for right now and storytelling with the resonance of a classic."
            Once you start reading Matched, there is no going back. The world that Ally Condie has created is so engrossing, so entirely captivating that there is no escape to the obsession. Yes, I said obsession. If I could create my own award show for books, Matched would win Best Dystopian Novel, Best Romance, Best Characters, Best Writing, and Best Cover. The world, the characters, the fabric of the reality that Ally Condie has created dance around you until they are part of your thoughts and dreams. I lived and breathed this book while I was reading it, and I continue to do so afterward.
            Cassia, our wonderful female protagonist, endures so much during the novel. Everything she believes to be true - that the Society is always right, that they never make mistakes, that they do what is best for the people - crumbles down around her. She is left to stand in the ruins and, where a lesser person would surrender, she finds the strength to go on. Although the Society matches her with her best friend, Xander, Cassia follows her heart to a young man named Ky. The two teens embark on the most intriguing forbidden romance since Romeo and Juliet. Navigating both the rough waters of the Society and her new found love, Cassia grows and becomes an individual instead of another member of the collective.
            The Society itself plays a large role in the events of this novel. In fact, it is really the foundation of the story. The injustices that most citizens cannot see, the restrictions placed on everyone's lives, the way they are told whom to love, when to marry, when to die, are as integral to the story as water is to life.
            Matched has so much to offer. There are so many layers, each one a beautiful gift. The detail, time, thought, and talent that went into each word truly makes this novel stand out. Not only that, but the story is satisfying. Even though it leaves some loose ends to tie up, the last note contains hope, not despair.
            One of the most anticipated books of 2010, Matched does not disappoint. Read it, live it, love it!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

You by Charles Benoit

"You're just a typical fifteen-year-old sophomore, an average guy named Kyle Chase. This can't be happening to you. But then, how do you explain all the blood? How do you explain how you got here in the first place?

There had to have been signs, had to have been some clues it was coming. Did you miss them, or ignore them?

Maybe if you can figure out where it all went wrong, you can still make it right. Or is it already too late?

Think fast, Kyle. Time's running out. How did this happen?

In his stunning young-adult debut, Charles Benoit mixes riveting tension with an insightful—and unsettling—portrait of an ordinary teen in a tale that is taut, powerful, and shattering."
           
            Reading You is like climbing up a mountain only to be pushed off the peak. The climax occurs at the very end of the novel, and the falling action is a brief plunge to a bloody end. But don't let that dissuade you from reading this novel. The way it's written, as though the main character is talking to you as if you're him (I know that's a bit confusing, but I couldn't think of any other way to say it) is so unique and fresh. It's truly a style of writing that I have never seen before.
            Plot alone makes this book stand out, but combined with the author's unique way of drawing the reader into the story, it's truly a book that stays with you long after the last page. Granted, the style takes a little bit of getting used to because it doesn't follow one of the traditional first or third person narratives that are prevalent today. However, the adjustment period is well worth it. The book holds you in its grip and takes you for a wild, devastating, painful ride. Unlike some other books ( I won't name any names) You is really thought-provoking. It definitely made me think about all the little choices I've made in my life and the effects those choices have on me and my family.
            The attachment that the reader forms with the main character, Kyle Chase, is so much deeper than usual. Because we see his life through our own eyes, the level of involvement in the story increases tenfold. I felt caught up in every scene, and I wished I could change the events that sent Kyle spiraling toward his less than happy end.
            You is fresh, emotional, and heartbreaking. It is suitable for a wide range of ages and persons of both genders.

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by The Story Siren. The purpose of IMM is to share the books that we have purchased, won, bought, borrowed, etc.
Bought:
Jane by April Lindner















Won:
Dust by Joan Frances Turner


















Rae by Chelsea Rae Swigget
Alexis by Alexis Singer
Hannah by Hannah Westberg
































Friday, October 8, 2010

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop
The Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Crazy for Books. The purpose is for book bloggers and book lovers to connect.

What's your favorite beverage while reading or blogging, if any? Is it tea, coffee, water, a glass of wine, or something else?
Hmm... hot chocolate during the winter, water if I am really thirsty, and diet Pepsi (because I sometimes get random cravings for it).

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Firelight by Sophie Jordan

"With her rare ability to breathe fire, Jacinda is special even among the draki—the descendants of dragons who can shift between human and dragon forms. But when Jacinda’s rebelliousness leads her family to flee into the human world, she struggles to adapt, even as her draki spirit fades. The one thing that revives it is Will, whose family hunts her kind. Jacinda can’t resist getting closer to him, even though she knows she’s risking not only her life but the draki’s most closely guarded secret."
             Firelight is my new love. Talk about adventure, excitement, love, and dragons - excuse me, draki. I love the concept of this novel. Instead of giving us the standard shape shifter (ei. werewolf) Sophie Jordan presents the reader with the draki, a species that can shift between human and dragon. I have always been a huge fan of dragons (Eragon and the Dragon's Milk Series to name a few) but this book takes dragons to a whole new level. Instead of having a human as the main character and a dragon as a sidekick, we get both rolled into one super package. Not to mention the fact that the main character kicks some serious butt.
            Jacinda Jones is a fire-breather, the first one in centuries. In fact, both the draki and the hunters (the people that hunt draki, bet you couldn't guess that one :) thought that fire-breathers were extinct. Unfortunately, this means that her Pride treats her more as a possession than a person. Basically, they want to breed her with the alpha male to produce lots of little baby fire-breathers. Obviously, this does not role with Jacinda, or her mother. Even so, Jacinda doesn't want to leave the Pride, but that's not entirely her decision. One night her mother packs them off and ships them out to a desert town called Chaparral. The place will quickly kill off her draki, a circumstance that her mother (who killed her draki by choice) and her sister (who never manifested into a draki) find desirable and Jacinda hates. Then she meets Will, dangerous and handsome, he is her desert oasis, especially because he brings her draki to life. The problem is that his family might be out to kill her.
            So, Jacinda rocks, the plot rocks, Will rocks, what's the downside to this novel? Well, I have to say that I have a bone to pick with Jacinda's family. I know that her mother thinks she is doing what's best for Jacinda, but she really isn't. She doesn't understand that Jacinda and her draki are one and the same, that killing one kills both.  Oh, and there's also Cassian the male draki that the Pride wants to breed with Jacinda. He got on my wrong side, way on my wrong side. I was so mad at him I just about started yelling at the book. Anyway, these aren't the worst part of the book. The worst part is the cliffhanger. I could hardly stand it. I thought I had at least a chapter left when I read it, but then I flipped to the next page and it was the acknowledgements. I could hardly stand it!
            Even so, Firelight is a wonderful novel. I can't wait for the next book!
          

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. The purpose of WoW is to share upcoming releases that we are excited about. This summary is from goodreads.
"Tory Brennan, niece of acclaimed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (of the Bones novels and hit TV show), is the leader of a ragtag band of teenage "sci-philes" who live on a secluded island off the coast of South Carolina. When the group rescues a dog caged for medical testing on a nearby island, they are exposed to an experimental strain of canine parvovirus that changes their lives forever.

As the friends discover their heightened senses and animal-quick reflexes, they must combine their scientific curiosity with their newfound physical gifts to solve a cold-case murder that has suddenly become very hot if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer's scent.

Fortunately, they are now more than friends they're a pack. They are Virals."
I am dying to read this book? What about you?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB at Should be Reading. Here is how it works: grab the book you are currently reading, open it up to a random page, share a couple of "teaser" sentences, DO NOT include spoilers.
'"Let's see, Watson," he says, and now he's pretending to have a British accent. "Black T-shirt, black hooded sweatshirt, baggy black pants, fashionably unkempt hair, horned skull ring on one hand, fingernails bitten down to the nibs, sullen piss-off expression...yes, quite obvious. At some schools they're called the Freaks, at others the Burnouts, at one school in the East they're referred to as the F-U tribe, as that is their traditional greeting." He leans in on the table as if to get a closer look at you. "Here at venerable Midlands High, I believe the species is known as the Hoodies."' You, page 59*
You is AMAZING. I have never read anything like it. If you're observant, you probably noticed the "you" in the quote above. Well, the whole book is like that. The Main character, Kyle Chase, talks to you as if you are him. Confusing right? I thought so too, but once you get used to it... well, it's like nothing I've ever read before.

*I am reading an ARC, so both the quote and the page number could be different in the finished copy.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers


            

"Frannie Cavanaugh is a good Catholic girl with a bit of 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."
             Personal Demons is a strange combination of predictability and originality. (Yes I am contradicting myself once again.) The cover says, "If you had a choice between Heaven and Hell, which would it be? ...Are you sure about that?" Could they have made it any more obvious that Franny (the main character) will fall for a demon? I think not. However, mixed in with some routine plot points are moments of pure brilliance.
            Franny's character is about as contradictory as the plot. She has this good girl/bad girl hybrid vibe that really confused me at first. Why would it be so hard for Hell to tag her (mark her as destined for Hell) if she drinks, dates, parties and got kicked out of Catholic School? But Franny is not simply what she appears to be on the surface. She has felt much pain in her short life. As I found more layers in her character, I really began to like Franny. She's sweet, relatable, damaged, and sometimes a bit maddening. I could hardly stand it when she was pulling her date-a-demon-and-kiss-an-angel-behind-his-back stunt.
             All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The plot carried me along with ease and the more I got to know each character, the more I enjoyed the book. I also liked the way Franny's and Luc's (the demon love interest) voices alternated as narrator. The angel, Gabe, didn't get any story-telling time, but I heard that he'll have his fifteen minutes of fame in the next book.
            On the Luc vs. Gabe debate. I have to say that I started out team Gabe. I don't really see the appeal of "bad boys" and Luc is their king. However, the more I learned about Luc and heard his thoughts, the more I liked him. So, now I'm team Luc.
            This book has so much content, Lisa Desrochers really could have made it into two books, but I'm not complaining. I love thick books, the longer the better. While some of the initial action is very predictable, the twists and turns get successively more original. It's also the only book I've read with a demon love interest. Usually the leading lady's man is a vampire or an angel.
            I have a bit of a rant about the cover of this book (who am I kidding, it's a BIG rant). Take a look at the cover and tell me how old you think the characters are. Guess what...they're only supposed to be in high school. It's ridiculous how much older they look. To top it all off, the woman portraying Fanny looks like she belongs with the scantily-clad, busty women in the adult fantasy/sci-fi section.
            To recap, the cover has issues but the book is enjoyable. So pick up your own copy of Personal Demons and enjoy the ride.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by The Story Siren. The purpose of IMM is to share the books that we have purchased, won, bought, borrowed, etc.
Bought:

Thirteen Reasons Why - I've been waiting for this to come out in paperback since 2007, but I finally caved and bought it.










ARC Tour:

Cate of the Lost Colony - This is an amazing book. You can read my review here. Visit Good Golly Miss Holly ARC Tours here.










Won:

The Ghost and the Goth (ARC) - Thanks to A Good Addiction.










What books did you get this week?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Cate of the Lost Colony by Lisa Klein

            Cate of the Lost Colony is a rare jewel in the historical fiction world. With fresh prose, an intriguing historical mystery and a sprinkle of romance, this novel can do no wrong. The story takes off at a clip from the very first page, and the pace only increases as Cate navigates her way through the stormy waters of Queen Elizabeth's court. Never fear, before all the noble's mind games become too tiresome, Cate sets sail for Virginia with a heart full of courage and hope.
            Catherine Archer is one of my favorite heroines of 2010. She has such spirit, generosity, courage, and open-mindedness. Cate narrates the story perfectly. Her ability to see the truth sets her apart from the others in both Queen Elizabeth's court and Roanoke colony.  Cate really goes against the grain with her beliefs. She doesn't go along with the crowd, and she isn't afraid to speak out, and that is saying something for a women in the 1500s. I feel like Cate and I would be really good friends if we lived in the same world, and I hope she would feel the same about me.
            Joining Cate is a caste of unforgettable characters, including one Native American named Manteo. Manteo, along with many of the other Croatoan Indians, make the difference between life and death for the colonists. As the Colonists become more and more dependent on the Croatoan, England seems to drift farther and farther away, until their old home is almost forgotten. Cate even begins to forget Sir Walter Ralegh, the man whom she loved and who's apparent affection triggered her banishment. New affections and old become mixed, and Cate must make a choice between England and Virginia and all they hold.     
            Cate's foray into the world of Queen Elizabeth's court was intriguing, but I have to say that it was her life in Roanoke that really captured my imagination. At first it was quite the opposite, I was so interested and caught up in court life that I didn't want Cate to fall out of favor with the Queen. I would find myself with thoughts like: Please just burn Sir Walter's letters Cate! After all that worrying, I actually enjoyed the story more after Queen Elizabeth banished Cate. I immediately became wrapped up in the lives of the colonists. Their triumphs were my triumphs, their losses and foolishness (which presented itself in abundance) were mine as well.
            Lisa Klein has a remarkable ability to weave fiction and history together. I have never read a book quite so satisfying. It has lovely descriptive passages and a plot that moves at a good pace. I have already enthusiastically recommended this book to all of my friends, and I recommended it to all of you as well!

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop

The Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Crazy for Books. The purpose is for book bloggers and book lovers to connect.

How do you spread the word about your blog?
Well, the only way I really know how to network my blog is to visit other people's blogs. I comment, follow them, and hope they'll check out my blog.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. The purpose of WoW is to share upcoming releases that we are excited about. This summary is from goodreads.

Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end. No more puzzles. No more Variables. And no more running. Thomas was sure that escape meant he and the Gladers would get their lives back. But no one really knew what sort of life they were going back to.

In the Maze, life was easy. They had food, and shelter, and safety... until Teresa triggered the end. In the world outside the Maze, however, the end was triggered long ago.

Burned by sun flares and baked by a new, brutal climate, much of the earth is a wasteland. Government has disintegrated--and with it, order--and now Cranks, people covered in festering wounds and driven to murderous insanity by the infectious disease known as the Flare, roam the crumbling cities hunting for their next victim... and meal.

The Gladers are far from done running. Instead of freedom, they find themselves faced with another trial. They must cross the Scorch, the most burned-out section of the world, and arrive at a safe haven in two weeks. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.

Thomas can only wonder--does he hold the secret of freedom somewhere in his mind? Or will he forever be at the mercy of WICKED?
I don't know about you, but I love this series. It's full of danger, excitement, and twists and turns that left me speechless.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop

The Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Crazy for Books. The purpose is for book bloggers and book lovers to connect.

When you write reviews, do you write them as you are reading or wait until you have read the entire book?

As far as actually writing the review, I usually do that right after I finish the book. However, I am constantly composing reviews in my head while I am reading the books.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Pace and The Broken Lake by Shelena Shorts

            I wanted to love The Pace, I really did. I'd heard so many good things about it. Unfortunately, this book didn't really live up to all the hype. Don't get me wrong, The Pace is a good book; it's just not an excellent book. I couldn't help seeing a lot of plot points very similar to Twilight.
            For instance, the main character, Sophie, lives with only one parent and she has just moved back to the town in which she was born. In this town she meets a boy who doesn't seem to show very much interest in her, but eventually comes around. They start dating, but it's pretty obvious that the boy, Wes, has a secret. Lo and behold, Wes is immortal. About three quarters through the novel, Wes pulls a New Moon and abruptly breaks up with Sophie because he thinks she will die if he stays with her (sound familiar?). He also pulls some over-protective borderline stalker moves. Top it off with the fact that he comes over every night (from the terrace, not a window), and you've got two very similar plots. Oh, and there's also the life and death show down with the bad guy at the end.
            Now that my Twilight rant is over, I have to say that this book does have some great elements. For one thing, Shelena Shorts came up with a really creative and logical explanation for immortality, instead of chalking it up to being a vampire. Also, Sophie is most definitely not like Bella. Sophie isn't afraid to voice her opinions, and she isn't constantly whining about the fact that she's aging much faster than her boyfriend.
            All this comparison to Twilight aside, The Pace is a unique story (yes, that statement is a contradiction to most of what I just said, but hey). I absolutely love the fact that reincarnation plays a part in the book. I really didn't expect that and it added more depth to the story. Also, the explanation for Wes' apparent immortality (you'll have to read the book to find out what this truly brilliant explanation is) was extremely refreshing.
            Now on to Sophie and Wes' relationship. I have to say that I love this couple. They just act so right, and I love reading their scenes together. Furthermore, they have a healthy relationship. One person doesn't dominate the other, and they actually talk to each other.

          
       After reading The Pace, I also read The Broken Lake, the second book in the Pace series, and I absolutely love it. It was completely worth reading all those Twilight parallels in the first book to get to this one. The plot is totally original, the twists and turns leave your head spinning (in a good way), and there is no shortage of sweet romantic moments.
            In this novel, Wes and Sophie face new challenges in their relationship and new foes. The mystery and suspense moves the plot and adds some really intense moments. I have to admit that I simply could not put The Broken Lake down. In fact, I may have read it when I really should have been doing my Chemistry homework.
            However, I do have another bone to pick with this series. The cliff-hangers are killer! I could hardly stand it! It's even worse than the end of The Empire Strikes Back when you don't know what's happening to Han Solo.
            Anyway, the bottom line is that you should read this series. I can't even tell you how eager I am to read the next book, The Iron Quill! (Isn't that a deliciously intriguing title?)