Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Omens of Doom

Expected Publication: December 27th, 2011
On A Dark Wing
By: Jordan Dane
HarlequinTeen
ISBN-13: 9780373210411


"The choices I had made led to the moment when fate took over. I would learn a lesson I wasn’t prepared for.
And Death would be my willing teacher."


Five years ago Abbey Chandler cheated Death. She survived a horrific car accident, but her lucky break came at the expense of her mother’s life and changed everything. After she crossed paths with Death—by taking the hand of an ethereal boy made of clouds and sky—she would never be normal again.

Now she’s the target of Death’s Ravens and an innocent boy’s life is on the line. When Nate Holden—Abbey’s secret crush—starts to climb Alaska’s Denali, the Angel of Death is with him because of her.


Abbey finds out the hard way that Death never forget.


Review

   Abbey is obsessed with Nate Holden, but as her best friend Tanner likes to remind her he doesn't know she even exists.  So when Abbey goes out of town for the weekend with her Dad to their cabin to remember her Mom on what was her birthday, she doesn't think it will make much of a difference.  But she has noticed some strange things lately, these creepy ravens that have been watching her.  Also, Abbey is struggling with the guilt of knowing it was her fault that they were on the road the day of the crash that her Mom died in - oh yeah, she died too.  The only difference is that death let her go and she'd never figured out why.  Abbey is an outcast because of her Dad being an undertaker and she's considered a weirdo.  Right before she leaves town a website is posted, GoFarkYourself.com, that has cruel and explicit photoshopped pictures of her and her paralyzed best friend Tanner.  Nate is on his way to a climb of Mount Denali with his Dad and his friend Josh.  He's been waiting for this for years, but he's been having uneasy feelings and bad dreams.  He's scared something will go wrong.  Death reaches out to Abbey while posessing Nate's body so she'll trust him.  Death also longs to feel humanity once more and no longer wants to collect souls.  But posessing Nate comes at a price and that price just might be Nate's life.  Can Abbey save him before it's too late?  Are they really meant to be together or is it just a crush?  I liked this book in some ways and not at all in others.  It was really hard to relate to Abbey though, because her obsession with Nate came across as creepily unhealthy.  It was almost like that of a stalker objectifying the person they're after.  Also, she acted like a brat a lot of the time toward her Dad as if she was the only one suffering from her Mom's death.  Tanner was awesome, but I felt like Abbey took him for granted and I didn't understand what he saw in her.  I will commend her for being awesome enough not to ditch him when he became paralyzed the way his other friends did.  Nate was pretty one-dimensional and I felt like all I really knew about him was his name and that he liked mountain climbing.  I finished it because I wanted my answers and to see how it ended, not because I cared about anyone in the book all that much.  It was okay, but definitely NOT my cup of tea. 
VERDICT:  2/5  Stars

*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money was exchanged for this review. The expected publication of this book is December 27th, 2011.*

The Four Stages of Posession

Published: September 13th, 2011
After Obsession
By: Carrie Jones and Steven E. Wedel
Bloomsbury USA Children's
ISBN-13: 9781599906812


Aimee and Alan have secrets. Both teens have unusual pasts and abilities they prefer to keep hidden. But when they meet each other, in a cold Maine town, they can't stop their secrets from spilling out. Strange things have been happening lately, and they both feel that something-or someone- is haunting them. They're wrong. Despite their unusual history and powers, it's neither Aimee nor Alan who is truly haunted. It's Alan's cousin Courtney who, in a desperate plea to find her missing father, has invited a demon into her life-and into her body. Only together can Aimee and Alan exorcise the ghost. And they have to move quickly, before it devours not just Courtney but everything around her.


Filled with heart-pounding romance, paranormal activity, and rich teen characters to love-and introducing an exciting new YA voice, Steven Wedel-this novel is exactly what Carrie Jones fans have been waiting for. Meet your next obsession.

Review

   Aimee Avery just wants things to get back to normal, the way they were before her best friend Courtney's Father was lost at sea.  Alan Parsons feels the same, having been forced by his Mother to move from Oklahoma to Maine, so that his cousin Courtney and her Mom can have help keeping their house.  Aimee has noticed that things aren't right in the small town she's lived in her whole life.  People are acting angry and just plain mean spirited and Courtney is acting secretive.  Her boyfriend Blake has become jealous, cruel and overly posessive upon the arrival of Alan - almost bordering on racist regarding Alan's status as half Navajo.  It turns out that the problems in town are being caused by an entity who has plagued the area for hundreds of years intermittently, the River Man.  He is demonic presence who is tied to the river near Aimee's home where her Mom drowned when she was little.  It was always thought that her Mom's death was a suicide brought on by bi-polar disorder, but it turns out to have roots far deeper than that.  She was trying to protect the town and her family from the River Man.  Aimee is also attempting to deal with her ability to heal people and the fact that things she sees in dreams come true.  Alan is also having dark dreams, connected to his cougar spirit guide Onawa, who says he has a great destiny as a spirit warrior.  It turns out that Courtney summoned the demon in an attempt to reach her Dad and now it is posessing her.  With time running out, Aimee and Alan have to find a way to defeat the River Man and save Courtney from her own destructiveness - while dealing with their attraction to each other.  I really enjoyed this book!  I honestly liked this a lot better than Carrie's Need series which I felt stumbled after the first book's promising start.  I enjoyed the alternating points of view, which blended together so well I didn't overtly notice I was reading two different authors.  I liked the interactions and how real the characters felt.  I also wish to thank Carrie and Steven for the presence of REAL parents/parental figures and family situations.  Oftentimes in YA paranormal books the parents are non-existence.  Gramps and Aimee's brother are hilarious.  I love that they sell a cheeto looking like Marilyn Monroe on eBay.  I couldn't put this book down once I started although it was more because the plot sucked me in than the characters themselves.  That ended up being okay though, and the ending was wonderful.  Also, I liked the use of Native American legends, practices and culture to help move along the main storyling.  Very well done and a highly commendable job not being cliched or overdone.  I would recommend this to anyone who likes YA paranormal with a fresh twist and is very sick of the same old crap.  This was something welcoming and new.

VERDICT:  5/5  Stars

*No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book is now available in stores and online.*


At The Beginning With You...

Published: August 9th, 2011
Juliet Immortal
By: Stacey Jay
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
ISBN-13: 9780385740166


"These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume."
—Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

The most tragic love story in history . . .

Juliet Capulet didn't take her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, her new husband, Romeo Montague, a sacrifice made to ensure his own immortality. But what Romeo didn't anticipate was that Juliet would be granted eternity, as well, and would become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light. For 700 years, she's fought Romeo for the souls of true lovers, struggling to preserve romantic love and the lives of the innocent. Until the day she meets someone she's forbidden to love, and Romeo, oh Romeo, will do everything in his power to destroy that love.


Review

   Everything that you've ever been told about Juliet and Romeo was wrong.  They were in love in medieval Italy, but Romeo sacrificed Juliet for eternal life through a faction of evildoers, the Mercenaries, who spend eternity separating couples who are made for true love by getting one to sacrifice the other.  Juliet was taken into the service of the Ambassadors, rivals of the Mercenaries who fight for the survival of true love, trying to make it into an unshakable bond.  Juliet and Romeo have been rivals for over half a millenia but now it might be coming to an end.  Juliet suddenly finds herself in the body of Ariel Dragland, a seriously miserable teenage girl who has led a fairly painful life with her single Mom, scarred and unable to find the beauty in herself.  She is plagued by a popular boy name Dylan who acted like a creep on their first date, before crashing the car.  This is when Juliet posessed Ariel and Romeo posessed Dylan, attempting to kill Juliet.  Thankfully, a great guy named Ben comes to her rescue.  Before long Ariel finds herself falling in love with Ben, but thinks that it's doomed and he's meant to be with Ariel's best friend Gemma, because they both show the glow of someone who's found their soulmate.  Romeo is meanwhile trying to win Juliet back because he thinks she's his only hope of escaping the service of the Mercenaries and still living forever.  It turns out that Ben and Gemma aren't soulmates - they are each meant for someone else.  We learn more of the politics of the Ambassadors and Mercenaries (Juliet's Nurse was an Ambassador in disguise).  The ending is really shocking, has two parts to it (one for Juliet and one for Romeo) and it involves alternate universes.  I really loved Juliet's alternate universe ending, I thought it was absolutely beautiful.  Romeo's left me feeling creeped out and semi-cheated, especially after the tragedy that led to the necessity of alternate universes.  This entire book was sort of a conundrum - beautiful and twisted at the same time.  I can see why there are so many mixed reviews out there, but my love for the beauty of the way the story was told outweighs my disgust for Romeo's behavior and subsequent ending.  It definitely is not for everyone but I'd recommend trying to read it if you're hardcore for Shakespeare and literature in general. 

VERDICT:  3.75/5  Stars (Yes that's right, I said 3.75!!!)

*No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book is now available in stores and online.*



Monday, November 28, 2011

The Power Will Deliver Us

Published: August 23rd, 2011
The Power of Six
By: Pittacus Lore
HarperCollins
ISBN-13: 9780061974557


I've seen him on the news. Followed the stories about what happened in Ohio. John Smith, out there, on the run. To the world, he's a mystery. But to me . . . he's one of us.

Nine of us came here, but sometimes I wonder if time has changed us—if we all still believe in our mission. How can I know? There are six of us left. We're hiding, blending in, avoiding contact with one another . . . but our Legacies are developing, and soon we'll be equipped to fight. Is John Number Four, and is his appearance the sign I've been waiting for? And what about Number Five and Six? Could one of them be the raven-haired girl with the stormy eyes from my dreams? The girl with powers that are beyond anything I could ever imagine? The girl who may be strong enough to bring the six of us together?

They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They tried to catch Number Four in Ohio—and failed.

I am Number Seven. One of six still alive.

And I'm ready to fight.


Review

   At the end of I Am Number Four, John was on the run with Six, Sam and Bernie Kosar after Henri died and the Mogadorians destroyed the school, failing in the attempt to capture him.  All John has left of his Cepan is the chest from Lorien that he has yet to open, his ashes, and a letter that might explain some things he didn't have a chance to tell them.  John is mooning over Sarah as per usual but finds himself fighting a serious attraction to Six, especially since Sam has a thing for her.  And after all, people from Lorien only have one true love.  Or do they?  Aside from John's p.o.v. we are introduced to Marina, who is Number 7 and lives in a Catholic Spanish orphanage with her Cepan, Adelina.  Something broke inside of her on their fight for survival, so when they settled at the orphanage Adelina began to ignore Marina and her responsibility to train her for battle against the Mogs.  Marina has taught herself how to use her Legacies all by herself.  All she wants is to be free to fulfill her destiny.  She knows about what happened to John in Ohio and is dying to go find him.  I loved all of the action plot twists and the fact that the kids are proactive about getting back Six's chest, which was stolen by the Mogs when they killed her Cepan and held her prisoner for almost a year.  This is important because it introduces us to Number Nine who is also being held captive.  He is set free by John and Sam, but it comes at a  very steep price.  It's also revealed to us that there was a second ship with a tenth garde member that managed to leave Lorien safely.  Number Ten is younger than the others because of this and her only legacy so far is the capability to change her age.  Sam's father WAS involved with Henri as an ally of Lorien, but when they return to Paradise to retrieve something he left behind, they are betrayed by a trusted friend.  I liked this book but I thought that some of the plot twists (*cough*Sarah*cough*) were a major copout.  But overall, it was a really strong sequel to the first one and I can't wait to see what happens next.  That cliffhanger is going to kill me!!!  Not the most eloquent book ever but fun and a fast-paced read.  Highly recommended for those who like brain candy every once in awhile.

VERDICT:  4/5  Stars

*No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book is now available in stores and online.*

In My Mailbox # 4


   In My Mailbox is a weekly meme that I picked up from The Story Siren's blog. If you don't know what this is, it is a way for us bloggers to show our followers what books we've received this week in the mail, bought somewhere or gotten from the library or elsewhere! :)


   So, I don't have very many print books in my mailbox this week - just the first four on the list below, but they all sound pretty awesome!  Also, NetGalley was extremely kind to me this week and I can't wait to see what I win on LibraryThing which just closed November's giveaways today.  There are some very interesting things on this list and you guys should definitely take a look at the links.


Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer (Goodreads / Amazon)
Dark Parties by Sara Grant (Goodreads / Amazon)
The Girl Is Murder by Kathryn Miller Haines (Goodreads / Amazon)
Shut Out by Kody Keplinger (Goodreads / Amazon)
Allegiance by Cayla Kluver (Goodreads / Amazon)
Another Jekyll, Another Hyde by Daniel Nayeri, Dina Nayeri (Goodreads / Amazon)
Halflings by Heather Burch (Goodreads / Amazon)
Lies, Knives and Girls in Red Dresses by Ron Koertge (Goodreads / Amazon)
New Girl by Paige Harbison (Goodreads / Amazon)
The Obsidian Blade by Pete Hautman (Goodreads / Amazon)
Shadows On The Moon by Zoe Marriott (Goodreads / Amazon)

That is all this week!  I have upcoming reviews for Juliet Immortal, The Power of Six, and After Obsession.  And I am TRULY excited to read the book by Paige Harbison which is a retelling of Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier.  Also, the recap of "Once Upon A Time" will hopefully be up by Thursday at the latest.  Happy reading! :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

In Another Life

Published: September 29th, 2011
Lola and the Boy Next Door
By: Stephanie Perkins
Dutton Publishing
ISBN-13: 9780525423287


Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.


Review

   Lola seems like she's a pretty normal girl other than her life-is-a-costume-party philosophy (which is actually kind of cool).  She's seventeen, has a cool rocker boyfriend Max (who at 22 makes her parents nervous), two Dads who love her fiercely and a great best friend she can always count on.  Everything starts to blow up in her face when the Bell family moves in next door again and she has to face the humiliating episode between Calliope, Cricket and herself from two years ago.  When Cricket seemingly shut her down, Lola's heart was broken and Calliope has always been jealous of the possibility that Lola could be important to her twin, when outside of her figure skating career he's all she really has.  Plus, Lola has to deal with her re-emerging feelings for Cricket, her dimming feelings for Max and all the drama that comes with her birth mother Norah, who is her adoptive Dad Nathan's biological sister and is causing all sorts of issues between him and his partner Andy.  A really cool thing about this book is that Lola works at a movie theater close to Berkley and her co-worker is Anna, also later on Etienne St. Clair.  So I got to see two of my fave characters in YA literature from Anna and the French Kiss again.  Other than that this book underwhelmed me quite a bit.  Lola came across as a confused, overly dramatic, spoiled brat, drama queen who didn't appreciate how good she had it.  Honestly Max's sudden trasformation from good boyfriend to complete asshole felt very contrived.  I felt like all of the feeling that showcased in this book was very shallow and one-dimensional.  That said, it was a pretty cute book.  Not very deep, but a cute and angsty teen romance.  I don't know if I'd recommend it to anyone other than people who have read and fallen in love with Anna and the French Kiss previously.  Overall, kind of a disappointment.  I honestly hope I connect better to the characters in Isla and the Happily Ever After.

VERDICT:  2.5/5  Stars

*No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book is now available in stores and online.*

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Angel on a Christmas Tree

Expected Publication: December 6th, 2011
Obsidian (Lux #1)
By: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Entangled Publishing
ISBN-13: 9781937044237

Starting over sucks.
When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring…. until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.
And then he opened his mouth.
Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something…unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks
me.
You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don’t kill him first, that is.


Review

   Katy Swartz is living the life of a normal girl.  She is feeling out of place, moving from Florida to a small town in West Virginia to start over with her Mom after her Dad dies from cancer.  Katy loves books and has a blog.  She doesn't believe she's anything above average.  But when she meets Dee and her brother Daemon all that begins to change.  Dee becomes her best friend and smoking hot Daemon is all over the place, friendly one minute and downright hostile the next.  It doesn't help that Katy and Daemon have some serious chemistry smoldering between them.  Weird things begin to happen, especially when Katy is almost killed outside of the library by a man looking for them, after Daemon saves her from a bear attack.  Then a car almost kills her and when he stops it in its tracks, Katy demands to know why.  Turns out that Daemon and Dee are aliens!  They have superpowers and their lives on Earth are regulated by the U.S. government, who know nothing of their powers and belive them to be completely harmless.  And a mysterious race called the Arum is hunting them down, killing their kind one by one.  It turns out that anytime they use their powers on a human, it leaves a glowing trace.  Katy is lit up like a christmas tree angel - this could be a problem.  I really ended up loving this book!  Katy was such a real person with real emotions and that can be hard to come by in YA fiction sometimes.  Her mother was actually THERE.  I know, *gasp* right?  Plus she was plain awesome.  Daemon was a total ass and completely unreadable.  But then he'd do something perfect and it would throw me off, plus he's smoking hot!  That can allow quite a bit to slide.  I loved the origin storie for the aliens and the nemeses even though it did remind me quite a bit of Superman's mythos.  This book was well paced and the ending fit the plot.  It didn't leave me cold like so many have in the past few months.  Definitely would recommend this to people who like paranormal YA, but want something different than the usual vampire/werewolve/zombie/freak of nature stories. 

VERDICT:  4.5/5  Stars

*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money was exchanged for this review. The expected publication of this book is December 6th, 2011.*

"Once Upon A Time" Episode 4 - The Price of Gold


   So, this episode definitely had A LOT of interesting stuff happen!  Yet another fairy tale origin story, this time Cinderella's.  It was really well done in my opinion and there were a couple of large revelations near the end of the episode.  I also adored the interactions between Emma and Henry - they were pretty awesome.  Also, would you believe I'm not running too far behind this week?  I know, a total miraculous occurrence, but it's because their isn't a new episode until the 27th of November! Without further adieu, the recap. 


Recap:


This weepy looking young girl is sweeping a yard while three women pile into a fancy carriage in front of her to go somewhere she is OBVIOUSLY not invited to.  If this isn't enough of a confirmation of her identity (btw we're in FT World right now), a fairy godmother pops out of thin air and calls her Cinderella.  Oh yeah bitches, it's ON.  FG tells Cindy she's gonna send her to the Ball and change her life for the better.  Then she starts twirling her shiny magic wand around and rhapsodizing about it's awesomeness.  This happens to be cut short when she disappears in a poof of smoke and Rumpy shows up to take the wand!!!  Apparently it was what he wanted.  He basically tells Cinderella that all magic comes with a price and her FG was not there out of the goodness of her heart.  He also says she should just go back to living her life.  But Cindy is desperate by this point due to the craptasticness that is her life and she begs him to help her.  Rumpy warns her that she'll have to give up something 'precious' later.  Of course being the blonde she it, Cindy signs when he hasn't even specified what he wants.  Rumpy transforms her for the Ball into the princess she'll become. 

Really all she needs is a bath, some bleach for her dress and some grit to stand up to the bitches!

In Storybrooke, Henry and Emma are walking to his bustop discussing codenames.  She says he should just call her Emma.  Sheriff Graham shows up and offers Emma a job as his deputy because of how 'impressed' he was with her work finding John Doe.  She waffles around giving an answer, then takes his card and says she'll think about it.  A little later on Emma is at Granny's Diner when EM (Regina) shows up and basically tells her she is threatened by her relationship with Henry anymore.  EM tells her that she knows Emma will just cut and run like usual, all the while having a very smug look on her face.  Emma ends up in the laundry room after spilling hot chocolated on herself and runs into Ashley, who is obviously Storybrooke's Cinderella and is crying.  She is upset because no one thinks she can take care of her baby once it's born.  That's right folks, Cindy is pregnant!  Emma tells her to fight for herself because there aren't any fairy godmothers in this world.  Ain't that the truth!  Mr. Gold is locking up his pawnshop for the night.  Ashley breaks in, looking for something.  Goldy catches her and she pepper sprays him.  He gets knocked out on his way down, so Ashley cuts and runs after taking something from his pocket.  EM is at home the next morning getting ready for a Saturday city council meeting.  She tells Henry he's not allowed to leave the house.  Right after she leaves, he leaves too.  Good for you kid!

Bish please, as if he listens to you still!  Plus, who goes to a city council meeting dressed like THAT?

Mary Margaret makes breakfast for Emma and herself while Emma goes through some of her things.  Goldy shows up asking for Emma's help finding Ashley, stating that she took something valuable from him.  He doesn't want to go to the police and 'ruin' he life.  He gives Emma a major run-around when she asks what Ashley took.  She reluctantly agrees to help, but only for Ashley.  Henry shows up and wants to tag along and hang with Emma cause his Mom is gone all day.  In FT world, Cindy is marrying Prince Thomas with Snow and Charming in attendance!  Snow and Cindy dance together, with Snow telling her what an inspiration she is.  Rumpy shows up and drops a bomb - he wants Cindy's firstborn child to fill his end of the bargain!!!  Presumably in the future Cindy is packing when Thomas happens upon her.  Turns out she was going to leave because she's pregnant.  She tells him about the deal she made with Rumpy, but he tells her their love is real.  He assures he'll they'll get out of it somehow.  Emma and Henry go to ask Ruby questions about Ashley.  She directs them to Ashley's ex-boyfriend/baby-daddy Sean's house where he lives with his Father.

I'm sorry to say that for me, they have nothin' on Snow and Charming.  NOTHIN'.

Sean in Storybrooke is, of course, Thomas from FT world.  He obviously wants to help her find Ashley, but King Daddy won't let him.  It turns out that he thinks Ashley is a bad influence that will drag his son down.  Ummm, might be a little harder to drag him down if he had enough brainpower to use a glove when he loves!!!   King Daddy informs Emma that they made a deal with Mr. Gold for money, in exchange for the baby.  He thought that was why she was finding Ashley for Mr. Gold.  Emma goes back to see Ruby again while Henry purports doom and gloom for breaking a deal with Mr. Gold.  Ruby refuses to talk with Henry around so he leaves the diner, supposedley to go home.  Ruby admits to Emma that Ashley took her car and is running away to Boston so she can disappear with the baby.  Emma leaves to catch up with her and it turns out Henry stowed away in the backseat!  In FT world Charming, Thomas and Grumpy show Cindy the prison they have set up for when they catch Rumpy.   All Cindy has to do is get him to sign a new deal that will freeze him and his magic.  She worries about the price but Thomas says he'll pay it and she agrees.  Emma and Henry find Ashley crashed on the side of the road, ready to give birth.

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present the Queen of Botox!!!

They rush a protesting Ashley back towards the hospital in Storybrooke.  Ashley desperately wants to keep the baby from Goldy and Emma grills her about whether or not she's ready to be a Mother.  She tells Ashely that once she keeps the baby she's with it forever.  Cindy in FT world asks Rumpy for a meeting.  Cindy pretends she found out she's having twins and wants to trade the other one to make the kingdom's land fertile again.  Rumpy is suspicious but in the end his greed wins out.  He signs the contract with the quill and is trapped.  While the Prince is carting him to his prison, Rumpy threatens that he'll have Cindy's baby no matter where she goes to hide.  Emma and Henry are in the hospital waiting room when he tells her once more that she's the only one who can leave town.  Then, the doctor tells them that Ashley and the baby are okay.  Goldy shows up and thanks Emma for returning the merch - cause you know of course that humans are merchandise.  Creeptastic y'all, even for him.  In FT world, Rumpy's in the cart while Cindy and Thomas discuss the baby's name - Alexandra.  He goes to get her water from the well cause she's having pains, but he disappears without a trace.  Rumpy gloats that all magic has a price and says once again that the baby is his. 

All he wants for Christmas is some new front teeth - seriously what is FT world's dentist THINKING?

Emma tells Goldy he's not getting the baby and of course he threatens to sick the police on Ashley.  Cause peeps, it's all about the merch.  Goldy offers to make a deal with Emma and says if she agrees he'll let Ashley have the baby.  Of course he decided to ask for yet another unnamed favor.  Emma stupidly agrees of course.  Like we don't know that's totally gonna come back to bite her in the ass later on!  Emma and Henry visit Ashley and baby Alexandra.  Emma tells Ashley she gets to keep the baby and of course she becomes a human faucet like usual.  Henry and Emma rush to get him home, because they're running low on time.  This apparently has been just one busy day for them y'all.  EM (Regina) is getting dressed after some obvious sexin' at the B&B.  Told ya, city council meeting my ass!  We don't see who she was with, but we find out he left his socks under the bed.  While they drive Henry home, Emma says she wants her code name to be Pumpkin.  Henry says she's not ready for the code name he wants to give her.  Emma tells him that although she can leave she'll see him tomorrow.  Henry makes it into his bedroom right as EM walks in the door.  Ashley gets a surprise visit from Sean and simply says, 'You're back.'  Emma calls Graham and accepts the Deputy gig, while it shows him hanging up and reaching for his socks under the bed!!!  That's right folks, Regina is tapping THAT after all!!!

Ahhh, sigh.  Shirtless Sheriff of my dreams.  But he's with the Evil Witch!  Seriously ABC writers?

That is all for Episode # 4, but this Sunday we get another piece of the puzzle.  It looks as though it mostly revolves around Henry's crazy mischief.  But I hope some of it will be set in FT world like usual.  Those parts are too amusing to be missing!  And on that note, Happy Thanksgiving and I'll see you later.  Welcome to Storybrooke, land of weird y'all!

The One That Is Two

Published: October 18th, 2011
Beautiful Chaos
By: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN-13: 9780316123525


Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange, impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small Southern town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home, strange and impossible have taken on new meanings. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena's Claiming. Even Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals is affected - and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear: What - or who - will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin?
For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He's being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it isn't by Lena - and whatever is haunting him is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Even worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself - forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn't know why, and most days he's too afraid to ask.
Sometimes there isn't just one answer or one choice. Sometimes there's no going back. And this time there won't be a happy ending.

Review

   Ethan Wate and Lena Duchannes have been through Hell and back over the last two years.  But they made it through the other side and things should be getting better now, right?  Wrong, very wrong.  Everything is just now starting to hit the fan.  Biblical-type plagues are hitting Gatlin and making things hard on the townspeople, Abraham Ravenwood and Sarafine are still on the loose and Ethan is having dreams about being pushed from the water tower.  Plus, a voice keeps following him through his days with the words, "I'm waiting."  Nothing tastes right to Ethan anymore and he's losing bits of his memories.  Ridley, although no longer a Siren or a Caster, is somehow making things happen magically - it turns out she has freed John Breed from the Arclight and has him trapped, forcing him to allow her to channel his powers.  Amma is making a devil's bargain in New Orleans and refuses to tell Ethan why she's doing it.  Link is now a quarter incubus, with things changing physically and emotionally for him lightning fast.  Lena's house is out of whack and all the Caster's powers are misfiring.  Plus, Marian and Liv are about to be put on trial for interfering in the Caster's destinies.  This books was a bumpy ride to say the least.  But I am very happy to report that it was 99% less angst than the last one!  Although things are going crazy, Ethan and Lena are at their strongest and together for the whole of it.  All of the supporting characters flesh out the book wonderfully, with Link, Amma, The Sisters and John Breed providing most of the side story that matters.  I definitely liked this book more than the second one in the series.  It flowed better and had less slump in the plot and character writing.  It feels like the series is once more on an upswing which relieves me.  There was a MAJORLY EPIC cliffhanger!!!  I cannot wait to read the next book and I'm going to be dying during what will probably be a yearlong wait!  Highly recommended to fans of the series and I would actually recommend starting the series to those who were previously wary.

VERDICT:  4/5  Stars

*No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book is now available in stores and online.*

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I Will Survive

Published: October 11th, 2011
The Survival Kit
By: Donna Freitas
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN-13: 9780374399177



When Rose’s mom dies, she leaves behind a brown paper bag labeled Rose’s Survival Kit. Inside the bag, Rose finds an iPod, with a to-be-determined playlist; a picture of peonies, for growing; a crystal heart, for loving; a paper star, for making a wish; and a paper kite, for letting go.
As Rose ponders the meaning of each item, she finds herself returning again and again to an unexpected source of comfort. Will is her family’s gardener, the school hockey star, and the only person who really understands what she’s going through. Can loss lead to love?


Review

   When Rose's Mom dies, her enitre family is falling apart.  Rose especially has a hard time living without her Mom around but things begin to look up when she finds the Survival Kit that she left for Rose with her favorite dress.  In the kit are  a picture of peonies, a crystal heart, a box of crayons, a paper star, an iPod with an empty playlist, and a paper kite.  It takes her some time, but with the help of her friend Krupa and the senior boy from her school, Will Doniger, who landscapes the yard Rose slowly begins to heal.  This book was a beautiful exploration of losing a loved one and coming to terms with life afterwards.  The rawness of emotions and the sincerity of the characters and their words/actions cuts like a knife to the heart.  But there are just as many gorgeous moments that are happy.  This book takes you through the first year after the loss of Rose's Mom and her growing relationship with Will after quitting cheerleading and after a rough break-up with her popular football player boyfriend.  Rose learns to enjoy the music in life again by taking it one song at a time and to have fun again by hanging out with friends at Will's hockey games.  But that doesn't mean things are perfect.  Rose's Father is getting lost in a bottle and driving drunk.  Her brother is pulling away from her and her Grandmother is bristly and interfering (although with a good heart and good intentions).  This whole book is about love, healing and the power of living life to the fullest.  I was touched more than I can say and I would recommend it VERY highly to fans of Sarah Dessen and authors that deal with heavy subjects in such a beautiful way.


VERDICT:  5/5  Stars

*No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book is now available in stores and online.*

Monday, November 21, 2011

From A-List Flop to A-List Hot

Expected Publication: July 10th, 2012
Don't You Wish
By: Roxanne St. Clair
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
ISBN-13: 9780385741569


When plain and unpopular Annie Nutter gets zapped by one of her dad's whacked-out inventions, she lands in a parallel universe where her life becomes picture-perfect. Now she's Ayla Monroe, daughter of the same mother but a different father—and she's the gorgeous, rich queen bee of her high school.

In this universe, Ayla lives in glitzy Miami instead of dreary Pittsburgh and has beaucoup bucks, courtesy of her billionaire—if usually absent—father. Her friends hit the clubs, party backstage at concerts, and take risks that are exhilirating . . . and illegal. Here she's got a date to lose her V-card with the hottest guy she's ever seen.

But on the insde, Ayla is still Annie.

So when she's offered the chance to leave the dream life and head home to Pittsburgh, will she take it?

The choice isn't as simple as you think.


Review

   Annie Nutter has what she thinks is a horrible life.  Her Father works at a crappy job while trying to invent things that never work, her Mother is miserable living in their run-down, trashy house and she has an obnoxious little brother.  Then  one day the most popular boy in school makes a laughingstock of her on the schoolbus, her Mom sees the house she would've had is she's married her old boyfriend Jim Monroe, and her parents have a huge blowout over her Dad's latest crazy invention that shows your ideal face/body.  Annie is somehow transported by that messed up invention into a parallel universe where her Mom married Jim Monroe instead of Mel Nutter and she's popular, gorgeous, bitchy Ayla Monroe living in Miami instead of Pittsburgh.  Annie enjoys the designer clothes, the servants, the beautiful house and everything that goes with it.  Except for the fact that her parents are on the verge of divorce because of her Dad's infidelity, her Mom and her brother Trent hate her, plus the entire school's afraid of her because Ayla ruled with an iron fist.  Annie decides to start living the way she wants to, ditching her ass of a popular boyfriend on the night she was supposed to be de-virginized and becoming friends, more later on, with a poor scholarship student Charlie.  Him and his sister Missy are reasons why Annie wants to stay and live Ayla's life even though it's pretty superficial and miserable.  But he is working on a way to send her back to her life as Annie Nutter.  Can they change things for the better at all before she leaves?  Or will she stay and become Ayla for good.  This book was an extremely fun story and I had a wonderful time reading it.  Annie's life as an invisible, unpopular girl was relatable and she was a fairly strong character.  Also, who has honestly NEVER ONCE imagined the 'what-ifs' of their life?  I would recommend this to anyone who wants a quick, sweet read that has a lot of heart and some laughs. 

VERDICT:  4/5  Stars

*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money was exchanged for this review.  The expected publication of this book is July 10th, 2012.*

Somebody Mixed My Medicine

Published: October 4th, 2011
The Apothecary
By: Maile Meloy
Putnam Juvenile
ISBN-13: 9780399256271


It's 1952 and the Scott family has just moved from Los Angeles to London. Here, fourteen-year-old Janie meets a mysterious apothecary and his son, Benjamin Burrows - a fascinating boy who's not afraid to stand up to authority and dreams of becoming a spy. When Benjamin's father is kidnapped, Janie and Benjamin must uncover the secrets of the apothecary's sacred book, the Pharmacopoeia, in order to find him, all while keeping it out of the hands of their enemies - Russian spies in possession of nuclear weapons. Discovering and testing potions they never believed could exist, Janie and Benjamin embark on a dangerous race to save the apothecary and prevent impending disaster.
Together with Ian Schoenherr's breathtaking illustrations, this is a truly stunning package from cover to cover.



Review
   It's 1952 and Janie Scott has great parents, an interesting life in L.A. - she's happy.  All of that changes because of The House of Un-American Activities Committee's interest in Janie's parents who are television writers in Hollywood.  They say they're not Communists but the government is having them followed and is ready to arrest them soon.  So the Scotts flee to England to write for a BBC Robin Hood tv show under assumed names.  Janie is miserable to be leaving all she's ever known and not helping matters is the fact that England isn't as fully recovered from the destruction and rationing of the war as America is.  Plus, Janie starts at a grammar school where she is out of place and made fun of by the other kids, especially popular and rich Sarah Jane Pennington.  But the apothecary around the corner from their apartment is kind to her, giving her a potion for homesickness.  She visits him after school one day and becomes involved in intrigue with his son Benjamin Burrows, who goes to her school.  It turns out that Ben's Father is involved in a covert plot to stop the detonation and/or testing of an atomic bomb by the Russians near Norway.  He plans to help three other scientists using a book called the Pharmocopeia that uses science to perform magical feats like invisibility, truth-telling and transforming into a bird.  Will Janie and Benjamin be able to save Benjamin's father after he's kidnapped by rival spies?  What is their Latin teacher Mr. Danby's connection?  Are their classmate Sergei Shiskin and his father friend or foe, and can they trust the juvenile delinquent Pip?  Also, there is romance brewing between Janie and Benjamin.  This book was extremely well-written and it almost read like an autobiography most of the time.  The Cold War and spies in general normally bore the tar out of me, but Maile Meloy kept me at the edge of my seat for the entire book.  For a young adult debut it is very polished and has wonderful characters that are relatable and you can sympathize with easily.  It is a must read for anyone who likes fish-out-of-water, high flying adventure stories.

VERDICT:  5/5  Stars

*No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book is now available in stores and online.*


In My Mailbox # 3



   In My Mailbox is a weekly meme that I picked up from The Story Siren's blog. If you don't know what this is, it is a way for us bloggers to show our followers what books we've received this week in the mail, bought somewhere or gotten from the library or elsewhere! :)

   My stack of books to-read just keeps growing higher each week!  But I got through quite a few last week, so maybe I'll eventually get semi caught up at least.  This week I got a TON of books from the library and one from NetGalley.  Instead of posting pics, I've decided to post the titles with links to the Goodreads pages and Amazon pages. I encourage you to check these out if you're interested.

Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (Goodreads / Amazon)
The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore (Goodreads / Amazon)
Once Upon a Time by Jane Yolen (Goodreads / Amazon)
Between the Sea and Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore (Goodreads / Amazon)
The Poisoned House (A Ghost Story) by Michael Ford (Goodreads / Amazon)
Past Perfect by Leila Sales (Goodreads / Amazon)
Witchlanders by Lena Coakley (Goodreads  / Amazon )
After Obsession by Carrie Jones and Steven E. Wedel (Goodreads / Amazon)
Inheritance by Christopher Paolini (Goodreads / Amazon )
On A Dark Wing by Jordan Dane (Goodreads / Amazon)

That is all for this week! I have a review for "The Apothecary" and a couple others that I will be posting either today or tomorrow for sure and the "Once Upon a Time" recap that is still missing from last week (as it is not on again until November 24th) will be up by Thursday at the latest. Well, that's it for today. Happy reading! :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Wounds Go Deeper Than Just the Surface

Published: September 12th, 2011
Blood Wounds
Harcourt Children's Books
ISBN-13: 9780547496382


Willa is lucky: She has a loving blended family that gets along. Not all families are so fortunate. But when a bloody crime takes place hundreds of miles away, it has an explosive effect on Willa’s peaceful life. The estranged father she hardly remembers has murdered his new wife and children, and is headed east toward Willa and her mother.
Under police protection, Willa discovers that her mother has harbored secrets that are threatening to boil over. Has everything Willa believed about herself been a lie? As Willa sets out to untangle the mysteries of her past, she keeps her own secret—one that has the potential to tear her family apart.


Review

   Willa already feels lost inside her own, seemingly perfect family.  She feels like Brooke and Alyssa (her stepfather Jack's daughters) get priority over her, even with her Mother.   Willa has taken to cutting to dull the pain of going unnoticed inside her own family and trying to be perfect.  But then something changes in an instant - Willa's biological Father, Dwayne 'Budge' Coffey, is on the run with one of his other daughters after mudering the other two and their Mother.  And the cops thinks that he's headed for Willa and her Mother.  At first this doesn't mean much to Willa because she doesn't even really remember Budge or her life when her Mother was still married to him.  But then after Budge is killed by the police in her front yard, with the deacpitated body of the last of her sisters in the car, she decided that she wants to know more about Pryor (the town they left behind) and the other half of her DNA.  So she goes to the funeral for Budge's wife Crystal and her sisters Kellie Marie, Kadi and Krissi.  In doing so she seemingly alienates her Mother, Jack, Brooke and Alyssa.  None of them will answer her calls.  But Willa gets to know her older brother Trace, stumbles onto memories she didn't even know she had and learn who she is on her own and within her strange, twisted family unit.  Sometimes the truth is harsh, but Willa only becomes stronger for it.  I really enjoyed this book a lot.  The description makes it sound like the book was mostly about hiding from her Father, but really it was about Willa coming to terms with who she is, and who her family is - that none of them are even close to one-dimensional or perfect people.  Definitely worth reading and I'd recommend it to anyone who likes mysteries, true-crime, and books with complex family relationships.

VERDICT:  4.5/5  Stars

*No money or favors were exchanged for this review.  This book is now available in stores and online.*

Thursday, November 17, 2011

She Could Be You

Expected Publication: February 14th, 2012
Someone Else's Life
By: Katie Dale
Random House Children's Books
ISBN-13:  9780375899720


When 17-year-old Rosie's mother, Trudie, dies from Huntington's Disease, her pain is intensified by the knowledge that she has a fifty percent chance of inheriting the crippling disease herself. Only when Rosie tells her mother's best friend, "Aunt Sarah," that she is going to test for the disease does Sarah, a midwife, reveal that Trudie wasn't her real mother after all. Rosie was swapped at birth with a sickly baby who was destined to die.
Devastated, Rosie decides to trace her real mother, joining her ex-boyfriend on his gap year travels, to find her birth mother in California. But all does not go as planned. As Rosie discovers yet more of her family's deeply buried secrets and lies, she is left with an agonizing decision of her own, one which will be the most heart breaking and far-reaching of all.



Review

   When Rosie's Mum Trudie dies of Huntington's disease, she is devastated.  Also she is terrified that she might have inherited it as it's heriditary with a 50% chance in either direction.  Rosie is just about to get tested when 'Aunt' Sarah, the midwife who delievered her, admits that she swapped Rosie with a teenage mom's baby that she abandoned.  Trudie's husband died the night Rosie was born and Trudie's baby was sick and seemingly dying.  Sarah figured that she was doing the right thing for everyone, especially Trudie so she wouldn't lose everything.  Rosie is shocked and abhorrent at this and goes off on a world tour with her off-again, on-again boyfriend Andy with the underlying mission to find her real parents.  In doing so she finds out that her mother, Kitty, is a famous actress who denies her existence.  Also, Trudie's daughter didn't die at birth; Holly is alive and living with Rosie's father Jack and his family.  Now Rosie has to decided whether or not to risk destroying a happy family to find herself.  Plus, she has to decided whether or not to let them know that Holly might have Huntington's disease from Trudie.  Holly hasn't told her family or her boyfriend Josh that she is pregnant.  So when she is deciding about being tested she has to keep in mind whether or not to go through with having the baby.  I felt that although this was a very complex book, Rosie and Holly both acted like brats more than half of the time.  But Rosie matures over the course of the book and Holly stays vindictive and spiteful until she does a 180 at the end.  I felt cheated by the fact that Holly chooses not to know her results and the ending seemed way to neat and happy to be true.  It was interesting but it was nowhere near being the best I've ever read. 

VERDICT:  2/5  Stars

*No money or favors were exchanged for this review.  I received this book for review from the publisher via NetGalley.  This book will be available in stores and online February 14th, 2012.*

A Force to Be Reckoned With

Published: November 1st, 2011
Reckoning (Strange Angels # 5)
By: Lili St. Crow
Razorbill
ISBN-13: 978-1595143952


Nobody expected Dru Anderson to survive this long. Not Graves. Not Christophe. Not even Dru. She’s battled killer zombies, jealous djamphirs, and bloodthirsty suckers straight out of her worst nightmares. But now that Dru has bloomed into a fullfledged svetocha—rare, beautiful, and toxic to all vampires—the worst is yet to come. Because getting out alive is going to cost more than she’s ever imagined. And in the end, is survival really worth the sacrifice?

Dru Anderson’s not afraid of the dark.
But she should be.



Review

   Dru Anderson is on the run yet again after rescuing Graves from Sergej and staking him on the way out.  Ash, who now has a toddler's vocabulary, is tagging along for the ride.  First they hide at Dru's Gran's place in the mountains, but then they almost get caught and have to run again, this time with Christophe who has been following them all along.  This is the last book in a very action packed series and I had some very high expectations going into it.  I thought that Dru would finally get to stop running, would chose a boy as the one she loves most of all over the other, and that we readers would finally find out what 'Dru' is short for.  Well, one of these things happens.  I liked this book because Dru gets to find out what is happening with some of our other beloved characters like Augie, Hiro, Nat and Dibs.  Also, Sergej is finally dead at the end of it and he dies in a pretty awesome way.  But at the same time, this felt like a pretty weak ending for what has been a strong series during the last four books.  I felt let down and slightly cheated by the ending.  Hopefully there will be a spin-off series or book to tie it up.  If not, oh well, guess that's that.  I would say to whoever has been reading the series, to finish it up by reading this one.  You might as well so you're not stuck with the cliffhanger from Defiance as your ending.

VERDICT:  2.5/5  Stars

*No favors or money was exchanged for this review.  This book is now available in stores and online.*   

NASCAR and Nachos, Brains and Tomato Soup

Published: May 25th, 2011
My Life As A White Trash Zombie
By: Diana Rowland
DAW
ISBN-13: 9780756406752


Teenage delinquent Angel Crawford lives with her redneck father in the swamps of southern Louisiana. She's a high school dropout, addicted to drugs and alcohol, and has a police record a mile long. But when she's made into a zombie after a car crash, her addictions disappear, except for her all-consuming need to stay "alive"...





Review

   The book starts with Angel being in the hospital, with no idea how she got there.  She remembers a car wreck but doesn't have a scratch on her.  She's told she was found naked on the side of the road, suffering from an overdose.  Angel finds a note telling her that a job is waiting for her at the morgue as a van driver and to take it...or else.  Angel soon finds out that she's a zombie who needs to eat brains every two to three days to keep from decaying.  Being a zombie makes it easier for her to shed her 'loser' life.  Angel gets off of pills and alcohol fairly quickly and comes to some harsh realizations about the squalor that she and her abusive, alcoholic father are living in.  Their driveway is pretty much literally made of beer cans.  Also, her loser 'boyfriend' Randy is becoming less and less relevant to her.  Especially as she finds herself more and more attracted to the hot cop, Marcus Ivanov.  Angel is sarcastic and snarky, not letting being dead get her down in the least.  There is also a mystery element, in that Angel has no idea who infected her and why.  Plus there is a possible serial killer who cuts off heads running around the parish.  By the end of the book, the mystery is resolved and the answers are kind of a surprise.  Angel is far from the perfect heroine - she is a high school dropout whose crazy Mother hung herself in her prison cell and whose Father is a useless drunk.  But the way she evolves over the course of the book is amazing and awesome.  I loved this book and couldn't put it down.  This being said by someone who is normally NOT a fan of zombies AT ALL.  EVER.  This book got to me, probably in part because I myself am white trash.  I get Angel in a way some people might not.  This is a must-read for anyone who can stomach descriptions of slurping brains, who loves a good laugh and a well-written book. 

VERDICT:  5/5  Stars

*No money or favors were exchanged for this review.  This book is now available in stores and online.*

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Make It a Clean Break

Expected Publication: January 17th, 2012
Fracture
By: Megan Miranda
Bloomsbury/Walker Books for Young Readers
ISBN-13: 9780802723093


Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine
-despite the scans that showed significant brain damage.  Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?
Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she's reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy's motives aren't quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening?
For fans of best-sellers like Before I Fall and If I Stay, this is a fascinating and heart-rending story about love and friendship and the fine line between life and death.


Review

   Delaney Maxwell has a fairly average small-town life.  One night when she's on her way to a party with her best friend Decker, all of that changes abruptly.  She falls through the ice on the lake.  Under for eleven minutes before she's rescued, Delaney is in a coma for a week.  All of the Doctors think she will have extreme brain damage and possibly be a vegetable for the rest of her life.  Delaney wakes up absolutely fine and they have no explanation other than a medical miracle.  At first she doesn't realize why the itch in her brain is pulling her to certain people - then she figures out it means they're going to die soon.  Then this weird boy named Troy Varga - who can do the same thing as Delaney - begins to get close to her.  He has serious issues though and the pressure of her ability and feeling crazy starts to get to Delaney and she begins to self-destruct.  I thought this was a truly interesting book.  The relationships of Delaney and her parents were painful but realistic.  I was totally invested in Delaney's life and her problems getting Decker to understand the complexity of what she was going through.  Also, I come from a very small town myself and that side of things definitely read realistically.  I liked that the paranormal element of this book wasn't overplayed or underplayed - it was just right.  By the time the ending rolls around the book truly comes full circle.  I would highly recommend this book to fans of If I Stay and The Beginning of After.  It was definitely worth the read and it got into my heart more than I thought it would. 

VERDICT:  4.5/5  Stars

*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money was exchanged for this review. This book is now available in select stores and online.*


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Plagues of Humanity

Published: September 1st, 2011
The Eleventh Plague
By: Jeff Hirsch
Scholastic Books
ISBN-13: 978-0545290142


The wars that followed The Collapse nearly destroyed civilization. Now, twenty years later, the world is faced with a choice—rebuild what was or make something new.

Stephen Quinn, a quiet and dutiful fifteen-year-old scavenger, travels Post-Collapse America with his Dad and stern ex-Marine Grandfather. They travel light. They keep to themselves. Nothing ever changes. But when his Grandfather passes suddenly and Stephen and his Dad decide to risk it all to save the lives of two strangers, Stephen's life is turned upside down. With his father terribly injured, Stephen is left alone to make his own choices for the first time.

Stephen’s choices lead him to Settler's Landing, a lost slice of the Pre-Collapse world where he encounters a seemingly benign world of barbecues, baseball games and days spent in a one-room schoolhouse. Distrustful of such tranquility, Stephen quickly falls in with Jenny Tan, the beautiful town outcast. As his relationship with Jenny grows it brings him into violent conflict with the leaders of Settler's Landing who are determined to remake the world they grew up in, no matter what the cost.



Review

   The USA has collapsed from an inevitable war with China, who released a plague that decimated its population.  Slavers roam the country, selling the people to the wealthy in other countries and salvagers/nomads are the average US citizen, fighting for survival.  Stephen has grown up fighting and being abused by his Grandfather, a harsh ex-miltary man, while his Father stood by and watched.  His mother has been dead for about five years and his world is survival with no fun or happiness.  Then Grandfather dies, leaving Stephen and his Father to fend for themselves.  Of course his Father tries to help a woman and child escape from the slavers, which ends up with him in a coma and Stephen alone.  Stephen is captured by people from Settler's Landing who believe he's a spy and they take him and his Father back to their town.  This is when things get really interesting.  I enjoyed this book on many levels.  Hirsch manages to paint a picture of a world ravaged by disease and war, that still resembles our own in a chilling way.  Jenny Tan is an interesting foil to Stephen because she has had a relaxed, relatively safe upbringing but longs for something she perceives to be more real.  He just wants to be able to quit worrying for awhile and live.  I also enjoyed the starkness of the language, that managed to give more than enough description for my brain to fold in upon itself.  This book was terrifying in a way The Hunger Games, because it gave a view into a very plausible outcome of our contries political dealings and world relations in general.  The ending was well written and fit the rest of the book very well.  I would recommend this to anyone who like dystopia, adventure and complex human interaction.

VERDICT:  4.5/5  Stars

*No money or favors were exchanged for this review.  This book is now available in stores and online.*

Monday, November 14, 2011

In My Mailbox # 2


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme that I picked up from The Story Siren's blog. This is my second week doing this, but it is a way for us bloggers to show our followers what books we've received this week in the mail, bought somewhere or gotten from the library or elsewhere! :)

  I got A LOT of new books this week!  I hopefully will be able to read them sometime in the near future.  There were quite a few that I bought, a few from the library, ones on my Kindle for PC, and there was one from NetGalley as well.  Instead of posting pics, I've decided to post the titles with links to the Goodreads pages and Amazon pages.  I encourage you to check these out if you're interested.

Awake At Dawn by C.C. Hunter (Goodreads / Amazon)
Blood Rights by Kristen Painter (Goodreads / Amazon)
Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay (Goodreads / Amazon )
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (Goodreads / Amazon)
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (Goodreads / Amazon)
Reckoning by Lilli St. Crow (Goodreads / Amazon)
Blood Wounds by Susan Beth Pfeffer (Goodreads / Amazon)
The Apothecary by Maile Meloy (Goodreads / Amazon)
Wisdom's Kiss by Catherine Gilbert Murdock (Goodreads / Amazon)
Hades by Alexandra Adornetto (Goodreads / Amazon)
Pure by Julianna Baggott (Goodreads / Amazon)
Silver Smoke by Monica Leonelle (Goodreads / Amazon)
The Forest of Adventures by Katie M. John (Goodreads / Amazon)
Hex: A Witch and Angel Tale by Ramona Wray (Goodreads / Amazon)

That is all for this week!  I have a review for "The Eleventh Plague" that I will be posting either today or tomorrow for sure and the "Once Upon a Time" recap will be up by Thursday at the latest.  Well, that's it for today.  Happy reading! :)