Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (2)

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.

"As the man stepped off the curb, I saw the elements coming together - the wet street, his head bent checking the time again, then snapping up at the screech of brakes, a crunch like nothing I've ever heard: of bone and metal and shards of plastic, screams, the people hurrying to work frozen, then running to the street or away from it" - The Mark, page 4

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Snowball Effect by Holly Nicole Hoxter

"18-year-old Lainey Pike can tell you everything you need to know about the people in her family just by telling you how they died. Her reckless stepfather drove his motorcycle off the highway and caused the biggest traffic jam in years. Her long-suffering grandmother lived through cancer and a heart attack before finally succumbing to a stroke. And Lainey's mother, still devastated over her husband's death, hung herself in the basement just days after Lainey's high school graduation. Now Lainey's five-year-old brother is an orphan and her estranged older sister moves back home to act as his guardian. Dealing with her brother has always been a struggle, but sharing the responsibility with her sister is proving to be just as challenging.
Lainey knows that this is all her mother's fault, but she also knows that she eventually has to move out of the "anger" phase of the grieving process. What she can't figure out, though, is how to make peace with a dead woman."
I liked the beginning of this book, struggled through the middle, and loved the end. A sure fire way to draw me into a book is to start with either death or destruction, (those aren't the only ways, but they always work) and this book kicks off by describing three deaths, all within the same year. At first, I was really sympathetic with the main character, Lainey, but after she didn't deal with her feelings, and didn't deal with her feelings, and didn't deal with her feelings...Well, she really got on my nerves. Plus, she went on a perfect-boyfriend-dumping-and-slurpee-guy-dating fling, creating a love triangle that was quite frankly unnecessary. It wasn't until a little impromptu road trip that I really got back on board with the story.

Although The Snowball Effect does have a bit of a derailment midway through, it still had moments that were pure gold. One of them, as I mentioned above, involves quite a few miles of driving. Others involve Lainey (finally!) dealing with her feelings and learning some important things about herself and her family along the way.

Lainey works her way through some difficult relationships in this novel. She has to deal with a sister she hasn't seen for years, a father that was never there for her, conflicted feelings for two different boys, and most importantly, her feelings about the mother that left her behind.

Considering that The Snowball Effect is Holly Nicole Hoxter's debut novel, I really am impressed by it. The dialogue is clean and realistic, and the story moves along fairly well. I enjoyed some of the details that the author threw in, such as Lainey being named after a soap opera character. This book isn't a must-read, but it certainly has its moments.

Sunday, August 29, 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. This week I have pictures of the fabulous books I bought at PAYA, along with some other goodies.
From PAYA:
Rae by Chelsea Rae Swiggett
The Snowball Effect by Holly Nicole Hoxter
Angel Star by Jennifer Murgia
Rain by Kieryn Nicolas
13 to Life by Shannon Delany
We Hear The Dead by Dianne K. Salerni
The Pace by Shelena Shorts
Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog
Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready
Forget-Her-Nots by Amy Brecount -White

Dark Goddess by Sarwat Chadda
Devil's Kiss by Sarwat Chadda
The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa  
 From the Library:
The Mark by Jen Nadol
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Distant Waves by Suzanne Weyn 

I also purchesed a copy of Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. You can read my review here.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Angel Star by Jennifer Murgia

"Seventeen-year-old Teagan McNeel falls for captivating Garreth Adams and soon discovers that her crush has an eight-point star etched into the palm of his right hand-the mark of an angel.

But where there is light, dark follows, and she and Garreth suddenly find themselves vulnerable to a dark angel's malicious plan that could threaten not only her life, but the lives of everyone she knows, and now, she is torn between one angel's sacrifice and another angel's vicious ambition.

Divinely woven together, Angel Star takes readers on a reflective journey when one angel's sacrifice collides with another angel's vicious ambition in a way that is sure to have readers searching for their own willpower."

Angel Star pleasantly surprised me. I had some trepidation about reading this book because it deals with God and angels, which are not light subjects. However, Jennifer Murgia handles each with skillful grace. She weaves together thoughts and ideas into the beautiful tapestry that is Angel Star.

Teagan McNeel, the main character, is very relatable. As soon as I read the passage describing her bookshelf with its "overflowing collection", I knew that I would like her. Plus she has a sharp mind and an amazing guardian angel. Her Guardian, Garreth, is just about flawless. Every good quality you can possibly have presents itself in him. He constantly protects Teagan, but not in that creepy way (ex. the Bella/Edward relationship). At first, I didn't understand how a relationship between a guardian angel and a human could work out. I thought it would be really strange because the angel would have known the person for their whole life, but this book changed my mind. Teagan and Garreth's relationship is nothing but sweet and wholesome. They have taken their rightful place as one of my favorite YA couples.

This novel's plot is faced-paced and strong. I flew through the pages of this book faster than any angels wings could carry me. With a combination of love story, loss, and a looming dark presence, Angel Star captured my imagination and took me on an exciting adventure.

I have to say that I don't understand the attraction that Teagan feels toward Hadrian. It seems that after a lifetime of being haunted by a dark angel, you would despise him, not want to make out with him. It's pretty obvious that the author wants to create a love triangle, but it just doesn't work. However, that's the only complaint I have about this novel. I found the rest to be quite wonderful, and I thoroughly enjoyed Jennifer Murgia's take on heaven and angels.

Overall, I really can't wait for the sequel to Angel Star, Lemniscate.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dark Goddess (ARC) by Sarwat Chadda

Dark Goddess is by far one of the best fantasies I have ever read. There is enough action in the first few chapters alone to comprise an entire novel. In addition to a fast-paced plot, the characters are well-developed and interesting.

Billi SanGreal is not just a Templar (a warrior with a mission to fight the Unholy), she is also a young woman struggling to come to terms with her life. Her former best friend, Kay, is dead and Billi’s new charge, nine-year-old Vasilisa, may soon follow him. The Templars are quickly caught up in a war against the Polenitsy, the Dark Goddess, and time itself. With the fate of the world literally resting on their shoulders, the Templars head to Russia, home of the Dark Goddess. Once there, they meet up with the Bogatyrs, a band of warriors that supposedly has the same mission as the Templars. Unfortunately, everything is not as it seems, and dark secrets threaten to kill Billi and her new companion, Ivan. Billi not only has to fight external beasts, she also has to fight the Beast Within in order to save mankind. In the end, the lines between friend and foe will be blurred and Billi’s world will never be the same.

Dark Goddess not only has a great plot, fascinating character development, and delicious twists and turns – it also has beautiful descriptive passages and imagery. I absolutely adore this book and I can’t wait for any future installments. I commend Sarwat Chadda for his imaginative, lovely prose and his fresh take on creatures like werewolves and vampires. There are no sparkly bloodsuckers in this book!

I want to share a wonderful quote that I came across in this book. You should note that I read the ARC, so this quote could change between now and the release of the finished book. “Billi stared at the small figures moving over the vast gray city like ants, struggling against the wrath of nature. That’s what humanity did, wasn’t it? Despite the overwhelming odds, it fought on” page 114. Dark Goddess will be released in January 2011.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

I thought creating a story darker than the first two books in The Hunger Games trilogy was not possible. Obviously I was wrong. Mockingjay is dark, twisted, and raw. I promise not to give away too much, but you should know that your heart will hurt and your eyes will tear. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t almost throw the book across the room. Don’t take that the wrong way... Mockingjay is an amazing book. It’s exciting and fast- paced, but the storyline is also excruciatingly painful.

Katniss’s life is full of hurt as she adjusts to life without District Twelve. She also has to fight through her guilt over being rescued while Peeta was left to the Capitol’s devices. The plot and setting whirl around Katniss in a way so vastly different from the first two books that it was quite a shock. I compare it to Harry Potter in that the reader spends six books at Hogwarts and then spends the seventh romping over the countryside, and in The Hunger Games, the reader spends two books in District Twelve and the Games and is then thrust headlong into District 13. At first, the change seemed to affect the whole tone of the book. It just didn’t feel like The Hunger Games. However, I quickly warmed up to it, and I enjoyed getting to know certain characters better, as well as meeting some new ones. The reader gets some fascinating, albeit sad, glances into the pasts of important characters such as Katniss and Finnick. As I mentioned above, this book has some tear-jerking moments. Some deaths left me deeply sad and disbelieving. Many characters died, but that’s what happens during war. Therefore, I can hold no grudge against Suzanne Collins for simply trying to portray war accurately. The author also shows us that life, love, and war are not black and white. Everything has shades of gray and sometimes danger hides behind a mask of salvation.

After hanging on through all the ups and downs of this book, my mind was at first left in numb shock. So much went wrong, so much went right, so much just went. As always, Katniss perfectly conveys the emotions of someone in such arduous circumstances. She brings every scene to life. I continue to admire her ingenuity and ability to think on her feet. The other characters are multi-facetted and weave a web of intrigue that enhances the story.

I’m not going to give away the ending, but I want to warn you that it’s bittersweet.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Rae by Chelsea Rae Swigget

"When you're fourteen and trying to deal with the highs, lows, traumas, and humiliations that go along with being a high school freshman, having severe anxiety can become all consuming. Chelsea Rae Swiggett's anxiety has affected every area of her life—school, family, friendships, and romance—ultimately pushing her to lose her voice, withdrawal from everyday life and school, and develop an eating disorder.

The sounds of planes flying overhead could spark a panic attack and something as simple as being called on in class could push her over the edge, convinced that everyone was judging her, mocking her. Faking sickness so she could stay home became her only solution, since she'd rather do anything than face the reality of what happened behind the school's double doors. Rae tells a story all-too-many teens today relate to—what it feels like to see the world through a lens of constant debilitating fear, anxiety, and stress."
Rae profoundly affected me. When I read this book, I saw myself. So many of the author's experiences are like my own; I know what it's like to analyze every word you say, to worry, and worry, and worry, to be labeled as simply "shy" when it's so much more than that. Going on this journey with the author, through elementary school bullying to the trials of high school, was amazing.

Similarities to my life aside, Rae is still a great read. With strong references to mythology, witty word choices, and a fresh, engaging voice, Rae claims its place as one of the best memoirs that I have ever read. Alternately funny and terribly sad, this book completely captivated me. I devoured Rae and then longed for more after it was over.

Chelsea Rae Swiggett's voice is not only frank and unique, it's so very real. Her words spoke to me and changed me, what more can you ask for from a book?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Willow by Julia Hoban

I know that Willow isn't exactly the most recent release, but I read it this summer and I absolutely love it. Willow's feelings are so real and tangible that you experience every one of them along with her. You really feel exactly what she feels, pain, grief, guilt, rejection. This novel is heartbreakingly beautiful. It made me want to laugh, cry, and sometimes scream. The prose is so lyrical that the book seems to flow like a song.

Willow cuts herself. She has ever since discovering that the pain of slicing her own skin muffles the pain and grief she feels about her parents deaths. She was driving the night her parents died in a car crash. They died and she didn't, and Willow has to live with that for the rest of her life. Willow keeps to herself until the day she meets Guy. Guy is sensitive, charming, and as well-read as Willow. They immediately connect, even though Willow is hesitant to care for people again. As Willow and Guy grow closer, Willow has trouble hiding her secret fix. If Guy finds out, and more importantly if Willow's brother finds out, Willow's world would crumble.

I have to admit that I have a little crush on Guy. He is sweet, charming, and I'm sure we could have some great book discussions. Confession: I named a turtle after him. Yes, you heard me right. I found this big turtle on the side of the road, so I picked him up, brought him over to a nearby pond, and named him Guy.

I recommend this book to fans of Speak or Laurie Halse Anderson's other works. Actually, I would recommend this book to just about anybody. Teenagers, adults, aliens, intelligent plant life...You get the point.

On a personal note, I will sadly be away this week. Because of this, I don't know if I will be able to post any reviews until Friday. Upcoming reviews will include Dark Goddess (the ARC I won at PAYA) as well as the highly anticipated conclusion to the Hunger Games series, Mockingjay. I will also be posting reviews for most, if not all, of the books I purchased at PAYA.

Saturday, August 21, 2010



Today I went to the amazing PAYA (Brining more YA to PA) event in West Chester, PA. Upon walking in a long table of books greeted me, and I was immediately won over. Just the sight of one book is enough to make me feel warm and fuzzy inside, and seeing that many books in one place and knowing that I would soon meet the authors... Well, it was a pretty good feeling. I purchased quite a few books and spent a bit more money than I'd like to admit, but it was all for a good cause (supporting libraries across PA). At first I was a little bit intimidated. I, plain old me, stood in a room full of successful, brilliant published authors, not to mention the proprietor of one of my favorite blogs. Don't worry, it all turned out okay. Stephanie Kuehnert (author of I Wanna be your Joey Ramone and Ballads of Suburbia) greeted me and asked me what I like to read. During the first hour, I met Shannon Delany (13 to Life), Jeri Smith-Ready (Shade), Dianne Salerni (We Hear the Dead), Jennifer Murgia (Angel Star), Shelena Shorts (The Pace), and Cyn Balog (Fairy Tale, Sleepless). I also met a very cool book blogger, Michelle of Michelle's Minions. The second hour brought encounters with Amy Brecount White (Forget-Her-Nots), Chelsea Swiggett (Rae), Kieryn Nicolas (Rain), Ellen Jensen Abbott (Watersmeet), and Holly Nicole Hoxter (The Snowball Effect). All of the authors were wonderful and graciously signed multiple bookmarks for me so that I could have a little giveaway on my blog (details to come). I really enjoyed meeting all of the authors, but Kieryn Nicolas sticks out in my mind because she is only fifteen and she already has a published book. Chelsea Swiggett sticks out as well, especially since she wore a Hunger Games t-shirt (Down with the Capitol!). I also enjoyed meeting Ellen Jensen Abbott for the third time (she remembered me!!!!). To top it all off, I won an ARC of Dark Goddess by Sarwat Chadda, along with some swag! Anyway, I could continue to gush about PAYA all night, (believe me when I say that I gushed and squealed to my friends and family already), but I know that you probably don't want to hear my drivel. I can't wait for PAYA next year! In the meantime, I have some reading to do!
Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera to the event, so I only have pictures of the books and swag, not the authors. Keep in mind that some of this could soon be yours!

The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller

Suspense, romance, and reincarnation... what more could you want? The Eternal Ones had my undivided attention from the first page. Haven Moore thought she had trouble with her grandmother, but when the story starts, Haven's problems have only just begun.

Since childhood, Haven has seen visions of another life. In that life her name was Constance and she lived in New York. She also loved a young man named Ethan Evans. At seventeen, Haven sees an image of playboy Ian Morrow on television, and she knows that he was Ethan Evans in his last life. When Haven's grandmother convinces most of the town that Haven is possessed by a demon, Haven leaves for New York. She has always felt an inexplicable pull to the city. She knows it's streets as if she has lived there for her entire life, even though she has never left her small town of Snope City, Tennessee. From the moment of her arrival in New York, Haven is swept into danger and mystery. She may have found Ethan, but is he really who he says he is? Was he the one that murdered Constance Whitman? Is he planning to murder Haven again in this life? And what do mysterious Adam Rosier and the Ouroboros Society have to do with all of this? These are only a sampling of the mysteries that The Eternal Ones has to offer.

This book is completely engrossing from the very first page. Haven's journey, combined with a romance spanning thousands of years and more than one murder mystery, create a thrilling read. While the plot is very exciting, some of the characters seem to have multiple personality disorder. I won't mention names, but one character especially seems to flip-flop between a jealous murderer and a helpful acquaintance. Also, I didn't understand some of the characters' motivations or actions, and I found Ian's web of lies to be confusing. Isn't the truth supposed to set you free, especially with the one you love? Overall, I enjoyed this book, and I highly recommend it. The Eternal Ones has something for everyone, whether you love mystery, romance, or YA in general. For a little fun, here is the link to the "Ouroboros Society" website: The Ouroboros Society.

Friday, August 20, 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.

Q: How many blogs do you follow?
A: Currently, I follow about fourteen blogs. However, my blog is only a baby in the book blogoshpere, and I hope to follow many more in the future.

Beastly by Alex Flinn

Since the movie adaptation of Beastly is quickly approaching, I thought I'd post a quick review. Beastly is a very charming modern-day variation of the Beauty and the Beast story. Unlike most versions of the story, the reader meets the beast before the beauty. In this case, the beast's name is Kyle Kingsbury, an incredibly narcissistic high school student.

Kyle is the king of his exclusive school in New York City until he spurns a "witch" named Kendra. It isn't until Kendra shows up at his house and turns him into a hairy beast that Kyle realizes how spot-on he was when he called her a witch. Ugly and scorned for the first time in his life, Kyle realizes that none of his "friends" really care about him. His father, a prominent newscaster, sends Kyle to live in a brownstone in Brooklyn, a prisoner in his own house. His only companions are Magda, his father's former house keeper, and a blind tutor. That is, until Linda Shows up. Linda Owens lives with her father in a neighborhood filled with unsavory characters. When Linda's father breaks through Kyle's greenhouse, which is full of the roses that he has come to love, Kyle makes a deal. He will spare Linda's father if Linda comes to stay with him. A week later, Linda moves into the room that Kyle has prepared for her, but Linda hates Kyle and thinks of him only as her captor. Over time, Linda comes to like Kyle, but it may not be enough. To break the spell, Lind must truly love Kyle.

This is a light, entertaining read. I read the whole book in less than two hours, and I really did enjoy it. Kyle and Linda's relationship is charming, and it was fun getting to know Linda (a fellow bookworm). This book, with its fairytale elements, is a good escape after a long day.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Another Faust by Daniel & Dina Nayeri

Another Faust begins with all the promise in the world. The synopsis and first chapter certainly seem to set the stage for an exciting novel. However, after waiting several months for this to come out in paperback, I believe that this book was not worth the wait.

The five children that are the focus of this book, Victoria, Christian, Belle, Bice, and Valentin, seem flat. Some of the children make decisions that are very out of character. You might say that these decisions were only the work of the Devil, in this case Madam Vileroy, but I believe the flaws went deeper than that. Overall, I feel like the authors tried too hard. The premise of this novel is very good, but some of the plot points seem forced and unrealistic even in their fictional world.

The reader meets the five children before they meet Madam Vileroy. All five have had difficulties in their lives and, excluding Bice, are unhappy. Throughout the novel, Vileroy plays off the children's fears and desires. She gets them to make bargains with her. She will give them whatever they want in exchange for something else. However, four of the children have already made the ultimate bargain... Eventually, some of the children begin to weave their way out of Madam Vileroy's web of deception, but they will not make it out without scars.

Even though I am disappointed with this book, it does have some interesting features. At the beginning of every chapter is a short peek into other lives that Madam Vileroy has corrupted. I found these to be intriguing as they brought greater depth to the story. Also, the perspective gives the reader insight into each of the character's thoughts, even some of the minor characters.

If I could go back, would I still read this book? The answer is yes. Even though this book isn't my favorite, it's a quick and at some points intriguing read.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wenesday 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.

Freak. That's what her classmates call seventeen-year-old Donna Underwood. When she was seven, a horrific fey attack killed her father and drove her mother mad. Donna's own nearly fatal injuries from the assault were fixed by magic—the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. The child of alchemists, Donna feels cursed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a normal life. The only thing that keeps her sane and grounded is her relationship with her best friend, Navin Sharma.

When the darkest outcasts of Faerie—the vicious wood elves—abduct Navin, Donna finally has to accept her role in the centuries old war between the humans and the fey. Assisted by Xan, a gorgeous half-fey dropout with secrets of his own, Donna races to save her friend—even if it means betraying everything her parents and the alchemist community fought to the death to protect.
I think this book sounds pretty promising. Not to mention that cover. What do you think of the synopsis?

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

All I can say is WOW. The Iron King swept me up and kept me hanging on for dear life. The world that the author created is so vivid and magical that it is impossible not to be taken with this fantastic adventure. The background of the Nevernever perfectly combines with a strong cast of characters.

The lead character, Meghan Chase, transforms over the course of the novel. She starts as an insecure high school girl and blossoms into a strong young woman. Through an incredible journey to save her brother, Ethan, Meghan finds true power within herself, and she might even find true love as well. Through this journey, she is accompanied by Puck, her best friend, Grimalkin, a cait sith, and Ash, a Winter prince with a frozen heart that Meghan is going to try her best to melt.

The story kicks off when Meghan finds out that her brother was kidnapped and replaced by a changeling, and her best friend Robbie Goodfell is really the infamous Puck. Meghan encounters even more trouble when she enters the Nevernever, the home of the fey. At first she and Puck set off together, but during a hunt in the wyldwood, Meghan finds herself alone in a tree with a cait sith named Grimalkin. She makes a deal with Grimalkin, the cait sith will lead her to Puck in exchange for a small favor. This is the beginning of a long journey that the two will embark on together. They eventually reach the Seelie Court. Once there, Meghan is in for the shock of her life, and danger is lurking around every corner. Anyone could be out to get her, including King Oberon's wife, Queen Titania. Even more danger comes from the Unseelie Court, especially from Queen Mab's son Ash, with whom Meghan just might be falling in love. Eventually, Meghan is forced to make a deal. Ash will help her find Ethan, and she will have to do something for him in return...
Myths and legends blend flawlessly with pure imagination in this fantastic novel, an incredibly refreshing read. I rarely find YA fiction in which the author demonstrates so much creativity. This book is perfect for those of us who have not completely forgotten the allure and magic of childhood fairy tales. I recommend this book to fans of fantasy in general, Cassandra Clare's City of Bones series, or a good love triangle.

Tuesday, August 17, 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.
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

'"Human!" whispered a familiar voice, somewhere above me. "Hide!"
"What?" I said, but it was too late. Twigs snapped, bushes parted, and a slew of creatures spilled into view."
-The Iron King, Page 97

Betrayal by Gillian Shields

Betrayal, a companion to Immortal, is a one-sit read. As soon as I picked up this book, I couldn't get Evie Johnson or the Wyldcliffe Abbey School for Young Ladies out of my head. Just a few months ago, Evie believed that she was a normal teenage girl. Now, after finding her sisters in the Mystic Way and winning the first battle against the Wyldcliffe coven, Evie knows that she is anything but normal.

Throughout the novel, Evie has a lot of raw emotions swirling around inside of her. She is desperate to find Sebastian, her centuries old boyfriend, and save him from an existence of servitude to the Unconquered. Meanwhile, she continually receives notes that threaten her life and she struggles to unlock the Talisman left to her by her ancestor Lady Agnes. Luckily, her two best friends and sisters in the Mystic Way, Helen and Sarah, are there to help her every step of the way. It is because of her struggles that Evie Johnson finds true power and confidence in herself.

After returning to Wyldcliffe for the new semester, all Evie wants to do is find Sebastian and save him. To do so, she will need the help of Helen, Sarah, and Agnes. Together, they begin to go further into the Mystic Way. Although the group works hard and their powers grow daily, Evie fears that it is too late to help Sebastian. To complicate matters, any of the Wyldcliffe teachers could be out to kill Evie and take the Talisman. Furthermore, no one knows where High Mistres Hartle is, and this makes her an even more dangerous foe.

Betrayal is set in an old gothic mansion on the English moors, reminding me a bit of my favorite novel, Jane Eyre. With her words, the author paints a striking picture of the stark beauty and enchantment of the mansion, ruins, and moors. This background adds even more mystery and excitement to an already intriguing plot line.

I would especial recommend this book to fans of A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. The first book in this series, Immortal, was recently released in paperback. I encourage you to check out this series.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Hollow by Jessica Verday

The Hollow had me caught in its web from the very first page. I was immediately swept into Abby's feelings of disbelief, grief, and finally tentative acceptance over the death of her best friend Kristen. Mixed into this brew is Caspian, a gorgeous and mysterious boy full of "mixed signals", parents that can seem insensitive but are ultimately loving and understanding, some cheerleaders that may just push Abby over the edge, and a tangle of dark secrets that would test the sanity of just about any girl.

Abigail "Abby" Browning is the life and soul of this book. Her emotions are so true to life and her behaviors so very human that I was immediately drawn to her. She became even more real as I learned about her hobby (perfume making) and her goal to open her own store called Abby's Hollow. I found myself rooting for her as she dealt with all the trouble brewing in her life.

The story begins with the disappearance of Abby's best friend, Kristen. The townspeople believe that Kristen is dead, drowned after an "accident" on Sleepy Hollow's famous bridge. However, Abby refuses to believe that her best friend is dead. It isn't until Caspian comes along that she really begins to admit the truth to herself. She is incredibly drawn to Caspian, but her guilt for being happy when Kristen may be dead, and Caspian's mixed signals make the relationship difficult. Then, Abby discovers that Kristen kept some big secrets from her, secrets that may or may not be involved with the accident on the bridge that night...

Set against the backdrop of Sleepy Hollow, New York, this story is brilliantly interwoven with myth and legend. I absolutely loved that each chapter began with a quote from 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow'. Also, Abby and the other townsfolk's deep connection with 'The Legend' really added to the story. The reader even gets to spend some time with the Headless Horseman and Katrina Van Tassel.

The ending of The Hollow left me with a hundred questions and a longing for the next book. Book two, The Haunted, will come out in hardcover on August thirty-first.