Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Vampire, Please Be Mine

Published: March 29th, 2011
Vampire Mine
By: Kerrelynn Sparks
Avon Books
ISBN: 9780061958045


Nothing on earth can make this vampire fall in love . . .
After 499 years of existence, Connor Buchanan has arrived at an inescapable conclusion: he is a cold-hearted SOB. He's been watching his friends—those poor romantic fools—plummet off the cliff into love like a dazed herd of sheep. But not Connor. He knows that love leads to nothing but heartache.
Until Marielle . . .
She is an angel cast down from heaven for disobedience. Trapped in mortal form, she finds a protector in Connor, a Scottish vampire haunted by a dark past. Marielle hopes to heal his broken heart and earn her way back home, but suddenly she has these . . . feelings. This strange yet pleasant physical yearning—for a vampire! Is this the work of a demon luring her into hell, or has this angel found heavenly bliss?

Review

   Connor Buchanan can't believe how crazy his fellow vampires are, falling in love.  He vows he won't become the next one to give in to a woman.  Then, on a mission against the Malcontents Connor witnesses the banishment of Marielle.  She has disobeyed orders one too many times and as a result, been cast out of the heavenly host.  Now Marielle is being pursued by a demon and must adjust to being human and all that it entails.  Plus, she is unable to touch anyone but a vampire because even though she's no longer an angel her touch still has the power to kill.  Can Marielle earn her place back to Heaven and can Connor protect her until she's able?  Is Connor truly damned or is redemption still possible?  But when it comes down to it, will Marielle be able to leave Connor behind?  This was wonderful.  I loved the introduction of angels and demons into the series, especially all of the trials an angel has to go through to adjust to mortal life.  I adored Marielle because she was so sweet and innocent, but she still had a feisty spirit all the same.  Connor was my favorite hero of the series so far, because for him it's all about how he believes he's undeserving and damned to Hell due to past wrongs.  The redemption that he undergoes is pretty awesome.  The romance in this book is hot and sweet both, which is just how I like it.  However, the formula is still present and obvious in this book (which is #10 in the series) so I can't quite say I loved it, so much as enjoyed it a lot.

VERDICT:  4/5  Stars

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

The Vampire and The Virgin (Not a Sacrifice, We Promise)

Published: March 9th, 2010
The Vampire and the Virgin
By: Kerrelynn Sparks
Avon Books
ISBN-13: 9780061667862


Olivia's packing list:
1. Sunscreen
2. Bathing suit
3. Flip-flops
FBI psychologist Olivia Sotiris was looking for a cool ocean breeze, sand between her toes, and a break from her crazy, chaotic, and sometimes all-too-dangerous life. But when she escaped to the small Greek island of Patmos, all she got were meddling grandmothers trying to marry her off. Can't they see that none of the men around interests her—except Robby MacKay?
Robby's packing list:
1. Synthetic blood
2. More synthetic blood
3. Jogging clothes
(even vamps have to stay in shape!)
Robby needs to cool off, too, since all he can think about is revenge on the Malcontent bloodsuckers who once held him captive—but then he meets Olivia, the beauty with wild curls and a tempting smile. When a deadly criminal from a case back home tracks her down, Robby will have to save her life—along with giving her a first time she'll never forget . . .

Review

   Olivia Sotiris just needs to get away from life for awhile - including the demented serial killer who's been stalking her since she helped put him behind bars.  Going to Patmos, Greece to visit her Grandmother for a few weeks seems like a good idea.  Robby Mackay has been forced to go on a vacation in Greece, because he is single-mindedly focused on revenge against those who held and tortured him; even if it means harm to himself and others.  Robby is just biding time at first but then he meets Olivia, who he is drawn to against his better judgement.  Olivia didn't go to Greece looking to meet someone, but when you have the ability to tell lies from the truth, getting a date isn't easy.  It helps that she can't read Robby.  But when the serial killer manages to get to Olivia on Greece and she has a misunderstanding with Robby, it's going to take a lot of work for them to realize they belong together.  This was a decent story and the characters were well developed for such a by-the-numbers plotline.  I enjoyed reading about Olivia's struggles, but Robby kind of annoyed me with his fixed desire for revenge.  Plus, in this book the other characters didn't have as much of a presence as in the other ones because of the fact that Robby was mostly alone (except for Carlos) when he went to Greece.  I like it when there are more than a few supporting characters.  The romance in this one was a little too 'Twilight' for me to truly get behind it's success.  All in all it was a fun and quick read, but I won't be re-reading it again.

VERDICT:  3.5/5  Stars

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

Listen Closely Wednesday # 10


   Hi everyone! As my followers have by now learned, I am passionate about Young Adult books. But I also love many other forms of expression, including music. I truly believe in the quote that is pictured above and as such have decided to create a weekly meme that is dedicated to sharing music that I believe in, music that has touched me, made me laugh/cry or just plain feel something more. Every week, Listen Closely Wednesdays will talk about five songs that have been important to me that week, why they made the list and I will post all pertinent info about the song itself as well. If you wish to do this on your own blog, please credit me. It is something that I would love to share but I do want to be recognized as this having been my own, original idea. On that note, feel free to comment about the things I share with you or about the music that's on your mind at the time. I'd love to hear all about it! Without further adieu, let's kick off this week's Listen Closely Wednesday!

Five Songs That Pay Tribute to Davy Jones

1.  'The Monkees (Theme Song From The Show)' sung by: The Monkees
- This song is available the album "The Best of the Monkees" (2003) but also in many othe places on Amazon, iTunes and the Android Market.  I won't be repeating this spiel because it's the same for the others.

- Reason Behind It:  So, I don't even know how many of my followers even know who Davy Jones is.  But at least they've heard of The Monkees (hopefully).   Davy Jones was the lead singer of the band, which was a sensation in the 60s, selling more records at one point than the Rolling Stones and the Beatles combined.  Plus, they had a T.V. show.  That makes this song more important than you'd think and Davy was a major reason why.



2.  '(I'm Not) Your Steppin' Stone' sung by: The Monkees

- Reason Behind It: This song reminds me somewhat of the Rolling Stones' style and lyrics.  Except for the fact that I can actually STAND listening to The Monkees!  Plus Davy Jones has a great voice, not to be dismissed as simply the lead singer of a boy band.  This song shows his range.


3.  'I'm a Believer' sung by: The Monkees

- Reason Behind It: Who can call themself an American and not have heard this song at least once in their life?  Plus, anyone who has seen Shrek has at least heard Smashmouth's cover of it.  Let me tell you, the original is way better.


4.  'Last Train to Clarksville' sung by: The Monkees

- Reason Behind It: This song really reminds me of The Beatles song, Ticket to Ride.  However, I like that this song is less existential and more down to Earth.  Ther is actually a destination.  Plus the beat it pretty good for this one, even with the 'no-no-no's.  Listen and you'll see what I mean.



5.  'Daydream Believer' sung by: The Monkees

- Reason Behind It:  This song truly brings home that The Monkees were the teen idols of their time.  It makes you believe that Davy Jone is singing straight to you and gives you a taste of what it was like for all the girls who watched him rise to fame in the 60s.  And it's just a beautiful song in general! :)


   That's all for this weeks edition of Listen Closely Wednesdays. I'm honored if you decided to read this post and I would love to hear your thoughts. Happy listening my friends! :)

IN MEMORY OF DAVY JONES

RIP: DECEMBER 30th, 1945 - FEBRUARY 29th, 2012

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

We Don't Play With Our Food...

Published: September 28th, 2010
Eat, Prey, Love (Love At Stake #9)
By: Kerrelynn Sparks
HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN-13: 9780061958038



Wanted: Bride. Must love children. Mortals need not apply.
 
Carlos Panterra is looking for a mate, a woman who will love and care for the young orphans he's recently taken under his wing (or paw, as the case may be). When the shape shifter spies the beautiful Caitlyn, it's like sunshine amidst the darkness. At last, he's found the perfect woman, except . . .
 
Caitlyn Whelan is mortal. Worse, her father is the head of a CIA agency bent on hunting the undead. Still, Caitlyn knows that Carlos is the man for her, shape shifter or not. So she jumps at the chance when her sister offers her a job to work with him, determined to show Carlos their attraction is more than just animal magnetism. But danger lurks in the night, and their unleashed, untamed passion might just get them both killed . . .

Review

   Caitlyn Whelan never believed in vampires and things that go bump in the night.  She's about to get a crash course when after reuniting with her sister Shanna against their parents' wishes, she finds out that vampires at least are real.  And her sisters husband happens to be one of the undead.  She decided to join their organization and help them hunt bad vampires, also known as Malcontents, instead of joining her Dad's secret CIA team that hunts good AND bad vampires.  Carlos Panterra is drawn to Caitlyn from the moment he first sees her, but knows nothing can happen because it's his duty to repopulate his race (were-panthers).  To do that he needs to find a mate that is a were-panther like himself.  But while he is helping Caitlyn learn to fight, he can't help but feel the sexual tension - and neither can she.  When the two are forced to go on a mission together, will they finally give in to fate or will they fight it until it's too late?  Caitlyn's feisty and snarky attitude had me loving her place as heroine of the book.  I was glad that her paranormal ability was something interesting, like the ability to understand and learn all languages almost instantaneously.  Carlos could be domineering and annoying, but his hotness practically radiated off the page.  Sparks creates a world of romance, mystery and adventure that you can't help but feel immersed in.  You wish the book didn't have to end (at leats I did)!  The only thing I didn't like was how long it took Caitlyn and Carlos to get together - it began to border on completley ridiculous.  I am bummed that I started so far into what I had no idea was a series, but it didn't affect my enjoyment the least bit.

VERDICT:  4/5  Stars

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

Pink Haze All In My Mind

Published: January 24th, 2012
Pink Smog
By: Francesca Lia Block
HarperTeen
ISBN13: 9780061565984


 
The girl in the mirror wasn't who I wanted to be, and her life wasn't the one I wanted to have.
 
Despite how much Louise insists, no one will call her Weetzie. It's her dad's nickname for her, but it won't stay put. Neither will her dad. Charlie left Louise and her mom and he took everything with him: her family, her home--and her understanding of who she's meant to be.
 
But Los Angeles is a city full of strange angels, and Louise embarks on a journey to sift through the smog of her heartbreak, to grow her own wings, to become Weetzie.

Review

   Louise "Weetzie" Bat is floating, lost without an anchor ever since the night her Dad left.  This time it looks like he's not coming back.  Weetzie's Mom and Dad had their biggest fight ever the night he left and a mysterious young guy rescued her Mom from drowning drunkenly in the swimming pool.  As she deals with her parents' split, bullies at school and coming to terms with who she is, Weetzie also tries to find the mystery guy.  When she finally meets Winter he tells her that Charlie Bat (her Dad) asked him to keep an eye on her.  But Weetzie is torn between how drawn she is to him and his sister's strange voodoo behavior, along with his Mother's possible involvement in the demise of her parents' marriage.  It takes time but Weetzie makes two really good friends and begins to find her purpose in life, while becoming more connected to the strange and beautiful world of L.A. than ever.  I adored this book.  I truly love the discovery of self inherent in Weetzie's journey throughout this novel, along with how it transitions from stark reality to the dreamy quality of the other Weetzie Bat books.  Francesca Lia Block captures the painful reality of feeling alone and misunderstood, on the edge of something (although you don't know exactly what that something is).  One thing that did disappoint me was the first person point of view in this book.  It felt like something was missing from it when compared to the usual thrid-person omniscient of her other books.  All the same, this is definitely a book for people new to Weetzie and old friends as well. 

VERDICT:  4/5  Stars

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

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Are You Going to Be Less Shallow Ever?

Published: May 1st, 2011
Are You Going To Kiss Me Now?
Sourcebooks Fire
ISBN-13: 9781402254611


High school junior Francesca Manning is an outsider, an aspiring writer and secret devourer of celebrity gossip mags. A fake essay to "Seventeen" wins her the celeb-schmoozing opportunity of a lifetime, but after the plane crashes, she's stranded on a desert island with five of the most clueless, self-involved headcases to escape Hollywood.
Review

   Francesca Manning is an average girl, who wishes her life was a little better.  She is secretly addicted to celebrity gossip magazines, so when the prize in Seventeen magazine for a writing contest is to go to a disadvantaged country with a whole bunch of celebrities she embellishes just a little bit to win.  For instance, maybe her Dad isn't really dead like she said he was.  Of course, nothing turns out the way she thought it would.  For one thing all of the celebrities are jerks.  Then they all get stuck on a deserted island when their plane goes down and gets wrecked.  None of the celebrities are useful in the fight for survival.  Fran needs to find a way to get them off the island before they die or she goes crazy - whichever comes first!  This book was not as funny as it sounded when I first read the synopsis.  There was almost no plot to this novel, it was pretty much just unadulterated satire - and not even that good.  It tried a little too hard to get the point across, and I felt like none of the characters really evolved except for Milan (one of the snotty, Lohan-like celebs).  The rest of them were kind of just placeholders to fill in the blanks.  This had a promising premise and it could've been way better, but it really fell short.  Plus, didn't like how "sexy" it got between Fran and Cisco (who turned out to be a man-whore anyways).  Just felt really sleazy.  I wouldn't recommend this book, but if you feel you must read it don't do it if you're under fourteen.

VERDICT:  1.5/5  Stars

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

Thursday, February 23, 2012

California's Creepy Caress

Published: June 21st, 2011
California Caress
By: Rebecca Sinclair
Zebra
ISBN-13: 9780821727713


Hope Bennett was determined to save her brother's life. And if that meant paying notorious gunslinger Drake Frazier to take his place in a fight, she'd barter her last gold nugget. But Hope soon discovered she'd have to give the handsome rattlesnake more than riches if she wanted his help. His improper demands infuriated her; even as she luxuriated in the tantalizing heat of his embrace, she refused to yield to her desires. She'd accept his terms, then find a way to escape him... somehow...

Review

   Hope Bennett has been taking care of her brother ever since an accident when they were children left him with the mental capacity of an eight year old.  That's why she'll do anything to get him out of a fight with a vicious man who's trying to jump their family's mining claim; even if it means promising her virginity to gunslinger Drake Frazier in exchange for him taking her brother's place.  Of course Hope will do anything to try and get out of it, even though their chemistry is smoking hot.  When tragedy strikes and Hope is forced to leave town with Drake, will she find out there's more to him than she ever could have imagined?  I'm sorry but this book made me extremely angry.  I wanted to like Hope and Drake - they had their moments I will admit.  But most of the time she was a simpering idiot being led around by her lust and he was an uncaring lout who came really close to raping her to get what he wanted.  They were basically the friends with benefits of the 1800s, but without the friend part really being a factor.  The thought that Hope found Drake attractive at ALL after he kept threatening to (and almost carrying out his threats) to rape her to get her payment.  It was truly disgusting.  Sometimes after the tragedy happened (won't say anymore for fear of spoilers) she acted like a victim of Stockholm Syndrome, which honestly is the only reasonable excuse for her behavior.  I definitely will NOT be reading any more books by Miss Sinclair, for fear that they'll be like this one in any way, shape or form.  Not at ALL recommended.

VERDICT:  1/5  Stars

*A copy of this book was given to me by the author herself, in exchange only for an honest review which I've given.  No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book is now available in online.*

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Listen Closely Wednesday # 9


   Hi everyone! As my followers have by now learned, I am passionate about Young Adult books. But I also love many other forms of expression, including music. I truly believe in the quote that is pictured above and as such have decided to create a weekly meme that is dedicated to sharing music that I believe in, music that has touched me, made me laugh/cry or just plain feel something more. Every week, Listen Closely Wednesdays will talk about five songs that have been important to me that week, why they made the list and I will post all pertinent info about the song itself as well. If you wish to do this on your own blog, please credit me. It is something that I would love to share but I do want to be recognized as this having been my own, original idea. On that note, feel free to comment about the things I share with you or about the music that's on your mind at the time. I'd love to hear all about it! Without further adieu, let's kick off this week's Listen Closely Wednesday!

Five Songs I Think People Should Hear At Least Once
1.  'Santa Monica' sung by: Everclear
- This song is available most notably on the album "Sparkle and Fade" (1995)  I'm sure it is fairly easy to find! :)

- Reason Behind It:  I love Everclear.  Art Alexakis and the rest of the badn are just plain awesome.  The lyrics get into your soul, the music keeps you going all day long and they are so into their performance you can't help but be too.  Everclear is EPIC.


2.  'I'm Only Happy When It Rains' sung by: Garbage
- This song is available most notably on the self-titled album "Garbage" (1995)  Which can be found on iTunes, Amazon and the Android market. 

- Reason Behind It:  Talk about 90s grunge rock and these guys come up in the conversation most likely.  They are great lyrically, forerunners of emo music in my opinion but with more rock and less whine.  Definitely a song everyone should hear at least once.


3.  'Wonderwall' sung by: Oasis
- This song is available most notably on the album "(What's the Story) Morning Glory?" (1995)  This is available on iTunes, Amazon, and the Android Market.  It should also be fairly easy to find other places as well because Oasis is a very popular band of the 90s.

- Reason Behind It: I love this song, it always makes you feel like you're floating.  It also reminds you of all the important people in your life and how empty you'd be without them.  We all need saving sometimes.


4.  'Tubthumping' sung by: Chumbawamba
- This song is available on the album "Tubthumping" (1997), which can be found on Amazon, iTunes, the Android market and in many other places.

- Reason Behind It:  It's one of those really annoying songs that somehow manages to make you sing along and know all of the words.  You never happen to forget the words, even though you should really only be drunk when singing this song (it's the only real excuse for it).  That's all the explanation needed.


5.  'Say It Ain't So' sung by: Weezer
- This song is available on the album self-entitled "Weezer" (1994), which can be found on iTunes, Amazon, the Android market and many other places were music is sold.

- Reason Behind It:  Until recently I associated this song very strongly with the 90s, but had no idea that Weezer was the band that sang it.  That's how Weezer is, they sneak into your everyday listening until Rivers Cuomo writes the soundtrack to your life.  That's why everyone shoudl hear this song at least once.



   That's all for this weeks edition of Listen Closely Wednesdays. I'm honored if you decided to read this post and I would love to hear your thoughts. Happy listening my friends! :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Statistical Probability That You'll Like This Book

Published: January 2nd, 2012
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
By: Jennifer E. Smith
Poppy/Little Brown
ISBN-13: 9780316122382


Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. She's stuck at JFK, late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's in seat 18C. Hadley's in 18A.

Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.


Review

   Hadley Sullivan is upset after missing her plane by a few minutes.  At the same time, she's kind of glad because she never wanted to go to her Father's second wedding to begin with.  She's still angry at him for cheating on her Mother and leaving them to live in England with the other woman.  Hadley meets Oliver completely by chance, under the mistaken impression he's going to a wedding to and they hit it off.  It seems like they were made for each other.  When the plane lands in England, Hadley and Oliver go their separate ways with the knowledge they'll probably never see each other again.  But the universe works in mysterious ways and when they are given a second chance will they seize it?  And can Hadley and Oliver work out their family issues as well?  I though this was a cute love story.  However, the other issues the book tried to address left me unsatisfied.  It just wasn't long enough to make a good enough attempt at resolving family issues.  Also, it felt like Hadley was just a little too blase about the whole situation with her Dad after going to his wedding and 'realizing' that he's happier this way.  I'm sorry, no real teenager would let it go that easily.  Oliver's issues were more believable but didn't get enough airtime in comparison with Hadley's.  I didn't mind their instant connection, because it wasn't sickeningly overplayed like it would've been in paranormal fiction.  Overall, this was a cute book but not nearly good enough to read a second time.

VERDICT:  2.5/5  Stars

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

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Be Gone From My Sight

Published: September 6th, 2011
Vanish
By: Sophie Jordan
HarperTeen
ISBN-13: 9780061935107


An impossible romance.
Bitter rivalries.
Deadly choices.

To save the life of the boy she loves, Jacinda did the unthinkable: She betrayed the most closely-guarded secret of her kind. Now she must return to the protection of her pride knowing she might never see Will again—and worse, that because his mind has been shaded, Will’s memories of that fateful night and why she had to flee are gone.

Back home, Jacinda is greeted with hostility and must work to prove her loyalty for both her sake and her family’s. Among the few who will even talk to her are Cassian, the pride’s heir apparent who has always wanted her, and her sister, Tamra, who has been forever changed by a twist of fate. Jacinda knows that she should forget Will and move on—that if he managed to remember and keep his promise to find her, it would only endanger them both. Yet she clings to the hope that someday they will be together again. When the chance arrives to follow her heart, will she risk everything for love?


Review

   At the end of Firelight, Jacinda and her family were headed home to stand judgement for leaving the pride.  Cassian had found them and separated Jacinda from Will, a boy she had come to love unknowing of the fact that he was a hunter.  By being with him she betrayed all of her kind in the worst way.  Upon arrival back home, Tamra finally manifests as a full blown Draki and Jacinda is greeted with hostility by everyone she used to love.  Will she choose to stay and be with Cassian like he's always wanted or run away with Will when he comes looking for her?  And what will the cost be when she makes her decision?  Jacinda truly annoyed me in this book.  It was like reading Twilight with dragons and hunters, instead of vampires and werewolves (which actually, they were shapeshifters STEPHANIE MEYER!!!).  I also really had no sympathy for her Mother, who was kind of useless in the first book and completely useless in this one.  I would have liked to read more about Tamra's unexpected changes and how she felt about finally belonging in a world that had rejected her for so long.  That would have been an interesting book.....but NO, I got to read about Jacinda and how she couldn't make up her mind which boy she wanted.  So she just tortured them both for the entire book!  I am truly sick and tired of love triangles as they are horrible and neither boy ever comes out looking like a winner, because they're both wasting time on a stupid girl who takes them both for granted.  The plot in this book was mostly filler, as it had to set the stage for the final book in the trilogy.  Which, by the way, I will not be reading!!!  I do not recommend this book if you value your time in any way whatsoever.

VERDICT:  1/5  Stars

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

Please Don't Guard My Life...

Expected Publication: March 1st, 2012
The Lifeguard
By: Deborah Blumenthal
Albert Whitman & Company
ISBN-13: 9780807545355


It's an unsettled summer for Sirena. Back in Texas, her family's splitting apart, but here in Rhode Island, at the cottage of her aunt, it's a different world. There are long days at the beach and intriguing encounters with Pilot, the lifeguard with shamanic skills. Sirena explores her obsession with Pilot and discovers his mysterious--almost magical--gifts.
 
Review
 
   Sirena is stuck in Maine with her Aunt for the summer, because her parents are in the middle of an ugly divorce back in Texas.  At first her unhappy family life consumes her thoughts, leaving her depressed and isolated.  But then Sirena crosses paths with Pilot, a lifeguard who she is instantly attracted to.  She also gets a job volunteering at the hospital and becomes friends with a old painter named Antonio.  There are also unexplained supernatural things going on.  Will Sirena be able to heal her pain, get the guy and solve the mystery of all the weird things happening.  This book was a major let-down.  I went in with high expectations and at first it seemed like they'd be met.  However, the obsession/instant love between Sirena and Pilot was a major turn-off for me.  I HATE it when the main characters of a book have such a superficial connection to each other.  Also, none of the supernatural stuff was ever really explained to my satisfaction and Sirena got distracted from her curiosity way too easily.  She was an intellectual bimbo, which was unfortunate and made my brain hurt.  My favorite things about this book were Sirena's Aunt, the dog, Antonio.....yeah and that's about it.  I seriously abhorred the way that this book was written, it was a stylistic nightmare.  I can't stand books that are more description than dialogue and this was one of those books.  I would not recommend this for anyone who actually wants a book where something of substance happens.  If you want fluff and instant love with nary a plot in sight, this one's for you.
 
VERDICT:  1.5/5  Stars
 
*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money was exchanged for this review.  This book is expected to be published March 1st, 2012.*

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Into The Dragonswood We Go...

Published: January 5th, 2012
Dragonswood
By: Janet Lee Carey
Dial Books
ISBN-13: 9780803735040

Wilde Island is not at peace. The kingdom mourns the dead Pendragon king and awaits the return of his heir; the uneasy pact between dragons, fairies, and humans is strained; and the regent is funding a bloodthirsty witch hunt. Tess, daughter of a blacksmith, has visions of the future, but she still doesn't expect to be accused of witchcraft.
 
Review
 
   Tess has always known there was something different about her from everyone else in her small village.  She can see visions of the future in fire sometimes.  She has always been very careful to keep this a secret, but when a witch hunter comes to town and Tess stands accused, her only option is to run for her life.  If only Tess hadn't gone into the Dragonswood to escape her abusive Father, the place everyone believes to be cursed and a sanctuary for witches and other evils.  In reality it is land that was set aside to house the dragons and the fey, protect them from the outside world.  Tess is joined on the run by her friends Meg and Poppy, because she mentioned them while she was being tortured.  They are all taken in by a strange woodsman named Garth, who seems only to have the best intentions.  He has a secret though and it may be one that could ruin them all.  Will Tess and the others be able to clear their names and save the kingdom, using an ages old prophecy as their guide?  This book was absolutely wonderful.  It has a sincerity that endeared it to me from the beginning and Tess is such an honest character, even with all of her flaws.  I loved the prophecy and royalty storylines.  Plus it was nice to see the slow but steady romance of Garth and Tess, which even though it wasn't the book's focus, added an extra layer of depth to it.  All of the supporting characters were interesting and attachable as well.  I loved the dragons and fey, their treaty with the humans and the fact that this was a companion novel but I was able to read it as a stand-alone perfectly well.  I CANNOT WAIT to read the first book about Rosalinda, a princess with dragon blood.  Highly recommended for lovers of fantasy.  Half a star is deducted though for the obviousness of Garth's 'shocking' secret.
 
VERDICT:  4.5/5  Stars
 
*No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book is now available in stores and online.*

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Switched With A Book I Actually Might Have Liked

Published: January 3rd, 2012
Switched
By: Amanda Hocking
St. Martin's Griffin
ISBN-13: 9781250006318


When Wendy Everly was six-years-old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. It isn't until eleven years later that Wendy discovers her mother might have been right. With the help of Finn Holmes, Wendy finds herself in a world she never knew existed - a world both beautiful and frightening, and Wendy's not sure she wants to be a part of it.

Review

   Wendy Everly has never been what you would call a well-behaved or especially good kid.  But that doesn't mean she believes that her Mother was at all sane when she tried to kill Wendy, because she was NOT her child.  So when Wendy finds out that she really did get switched out for her 'Mother's' real child (a son), she is devastated that her life has been a lie.  It becomes apparent that life is no longer safe for her, unless she trusts in Finn Holmes and lets him lead her back to her real Mother - a Queen of Trolls.  That's right - Trolls!  It turns out that Wendy was traded in so she could become a rich heiress and bring back money/overall wealth to the clan.  Because the Trolls are hiding in Minnesota, Wendy must either figure out a way to deal with the mercenary way that they live or take herself (and the boy who was supposed to have her life) back to her brother and Aunt.  This book was horrible.  The premise was interesting and I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't yet another book about a half-fae child who returns to the courts of Titania and Oberon.  That said, Wendy was a whiny and annoyingly useless piece of junk.  I couldn't stand her at all, had no sypmathy for her and was glad when the book was over.  She was the most wishy-washy 'heroine' I've read in quite a while.  At first she's all righteous about the way the trolls live, but for awhile (until near the end of the book) she has no problem living off of the spoils of their bad habits.  Being a princess means being brainless after all - doesn't it?  Definitely not reading any more books by Amanda Hocking.  I should have known better after disliking My Blood Approves, but I figured I'd give her another shot.  NEVER AGAIN.

VERDICT:  0.5/5  Stars

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

One In A Million

Published: January 10th, 2012
A Million Suns (Across the Universe # 2)
By: Beth Revis
Razorbill
ISBN-13: 9781595143983


Godspeed was fueled by lies. Now it is ruled by chaos.
It's been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. And everywhere she looks, she sees the walls of the spaceship Godspeed. But there may just be hope: Elder has assumed leadership of the ship. He's finally free to enact his vision - no more Phydus, no more lies.
But when Elder discovers shocking news about the ship, he and Amy race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed. They must work together to unlock a puzzle that was set in motion hundreds of years earlier, unable to fight the romance that's growing between them and the chaos that threatens to tear them apart.
In book two of the Across the Universe trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Beth Revis mesmerizes us again with a brilliantly crafted mystery filled with action, suspense, romance, and deep philosophical questions. And this time it all builds to one mind-bending conclusion: They have to get off this ship.


Review

   Amy and Elder have spent the last three months trying to come to terms with life on Godspeed, without the people drugged up on Phydus.  Elder is ruling in a way Eldest never did, with people making decisions of their own free will - and it's leading to chaos.  They are rebelling against him, refusing to work, stealing, attacking others and murdering.  Also, Amy discovers a series of clues left for her by Orion, someone she considers evil for his attempts to kill the cryogenically frozen people that include her parents.  But there is an even bigger secret hidden that Amy and Elder could never have imagined in their wildest dreams.  While the people around them are reading about rebellion and beginning to enact it and someone is trying to do anything to stop them from discovering the truth, Amy and Elder may have to make a decision in the end that will affect the future lives of everyone on board.  Will it be the right decision?  And who is the one behind the sabotage of Elder's new regime on board?  This book was a great follow up to the first one in the series.  I truly liked the development of both Amy and Elder, given the horrifically difficult decisions they were forced to make.  It was interesting to get an inside look at why Orion felt the need to destroy the frozens and if/when the planet landing was truly going to happen.  The conflicted feelings of Amy for the person who is the cause of her sometimes misery (Elder) and even being awake at all were so heartwrenching and true.  For an honest, gut-wrenchingly suspenseful tale of murder and intrigue in deep space, this is definitely the book.  I cannot wait to read the next book!  Highly recommended and if you haven't read Across the Universe, get to it so you can pick up this one!

VERDICT:  4.5/5  Stars

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

Monday, February 13, 2012

Questions of Life and Death

Published: October 4th, 2011
Liesl and Po
By: Lauren Oliver
HarperCollins
ISBN-13: 9780062014511


Liesl lives in a tiny attic bedroom, locked away by her cruel stepmother. Her only friends are the shadows and the mice—until one night a ghost appears from the darkness. It is Po, who comes from the Other Side. Both Liesl and Po are lonely, but together they are less alone.
That same night, an alchemist's apprentice, Will, bungles an important delivery. He accidentally switches a box containing the most powerful magic in the world with one containing something decidedly less remarkable.
Will's mistake has tremendous consequences for Liesl and Po, and it draws the three of them together on an extraordinary journey.
From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver comes a luminous and magnificent novel that glows with rare magic, ghostly wonders, and a true friendship that lights even the darkest of places.

Review

   Liesl is locked away in the attic upon the sudden death of her Father, by her evil Stepmother (who only wants Liesl's money without her in the way).  Liesl is unexpectedly visited by Po, not a boy or a girl, but most certainly a spirit from the Other Side and Po's Cat/Dog companion Bundle.  She makes Po promise to find her Father and tell him goodbye.  Po doesn't expect to ever actually do this, but does find Liesl's Father.  He wants his ashes to be taken to the house they lived in when Liesl's Mother was still alive and well.  She decides to undertake the journey, sneaking out of the attic to do so.  What she isn't aware of, is that the alchemist's apprentice, Will, had accidentally switched the box of her Father's ashes with a box of the most powerful magic in the world.  Now Liesl is being chased down by the woman who it was intended for, the Alchemist, Mo (the woman's kind security guard) and her stepmother who wants to get rid of her once and for all.  Will Liesl be able to get her Father to his resting place and will she be able to let him go in the end?  More importantly what will happen to the magic once it's unleashed?  This was a cute book, full of magic and fantastic occurences peppered in on top of ordinary people and places.  I truly enjoyed reading about Po, Bundle and the Other Side.  However, I was at times bored by the slowness of the plot and detached from the characters' predicaments.  I liked Liesl and Will, but never really empathized with them at all.  Mo was wonderful, but I felt like Lauren Oliver did him a diservice by making him mentally slow (kind of like saying he was only kind to the children because he wasn't exactly a 'real' adult) and it bothered me.  Overall a fine story, but a little off in it's connection with me and I would recommend it more for children twelve or under (maybe teachers too).  The illustrations were a serious high point for me.

VERDICT:  2.5/5  Stars

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

Sunday, February 12, 2012

In My Mailbox # 13



   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! :)

   I have decided not to do this post every single week, because that way I don't have to worry about getting to the computer every Sunday and typing this out.  I love my blog and my followers, but I am trying to take weekends off and I want to stick to it.  On a random side-note, I saw Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 3-D the other day with my little brother and it WAS AWESOME.  Plus, any chance to see Star Wars on the big screen and I am so there!  Without any further distractions, here are the books.  There aren't many, but they are awesome:

Books I Got Free On Amazon

50 Ways To Hex Your Lover by Linda Wisdom (Goodreads / Amazon)
Flowers by Scott Nicholson (Goodreads / Amazon)
Undertow by Callie Kingston (Goodreads / Amazon)
Weaver of Darkness by Melissa L. Webb (Goodreads / Amazon)
Heavenly by Jennifer Laurens (Goodreads / Amazon )
Gifts of the Blood by Vicki Keire (Goodreads / Amazon)
Breaking Twig by Deborah Epperson (Goodreads / Amazon)

Books I Got From NetGalley

Dead of Night by Lynn Viehl (Goodreads / Amazon)
Putting Boys On The Ledge by Stephanie Rowe (Goodreads / Amazon)

Books I Won From Contests (LibraryThing, etc.)

Poughkeepsie by Debra Anastasia (Goodreads / Amazon)
Promising Light by Emily Ann Ward (Goodreads / Amazon)
Hickey of the Beast by Isabel Kunkle (Goodreads / Amazon)

Books That I Bought

Rosebush by Michele Jaffe (Goodreads / Amazon)
Tempest by Julie Cross (Goodreads / Amazon )
Throat by R.A. Nelson (Goodreads / Amazon )
The Vampire and the Virgin by Kerrelyn Sparks (Goodreads / Amazon )
Vampire Mine by Kerrelyn Sparks (Goodreads / Amazon )
Eat, Prey, Love by Kerrelyn Sparks (Goodreads / Amazon)

Books I Got From The Library

What Would Mr. Darcy Do? by Abigail Reynolds (Goodreads / Amazon )
Eve by Anna Carey (Goodreads / Amazon )
Bitter End by Jennifer Brown (Goodreads / Amazon )
Dragon's Keep by Janet Lee Carey (Goodreads / Amazon )
There Is No Dog by Meg Rosoff (Goodreads / Amazon )
Mr. Darcy's Bite by Mary Lydon Simonsen (Goodreads / Amazon )
Ashfall by Mike Mullin (Goodreads / Amazon )

That's all for this weeks edition of In My Mailbox fellow book minions! Quite a haul and I definitely will be busy for a long time. I have upcoming reviews for Liesl and Po, Scarlet, A Million Suns, Switched, Dragonswood, The Lifeguard, and Vanish.  I have been tearing through books lately, no joke! Happy reading y'all! :)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Follow Me Friday # 9


   So, Follow my Blog Friday is a meme hosted by Parajunkee and AlisonCanRead. It's where you answer the weekly question and then link yourself and you go and check out other blogs of your interest.

 

Q: What would your prefer: reading your favorite book over and over again until you got sick of it OR reading 100s of mediocre books? And why?


A:  Reading my favorite book, because at least I would get satisfaction until I got sick of it.  With mediocre books there is no satisfaction at all.  Better to stick with a tried and true, great book! :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Not A Match For Me

Published: November 1st, 2011
Matched
By: Ally Condie
Dutton Juvenile
ISBN-13: 9780525423652


The hotly awaited second book in the dystopian Matched trilogy

In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander - who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart - change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.


Review

   Cassia is still holding on to the hope that being exiled from society will lead her to Ky, who has been pretty much marked for death.  Ky is just trying to survive and stay the kind of person that he thinks Cassia can love and believe in.  Cassia and Ky both escape from their prospective death camps to find The Rising, a group of people who have built a rebellion from civilization.  Along with them are Indie, Eli and Vick who are also looking for a better future.  But will any of them survive to see it?  And what secret is Ky keeping about Xander and his role in the rebellion?  This book was one I was excited to read.  That said, I ended up being bored out of my mind.  I read it up till the end, but it was a struggle and I really wanted to bitch-slap Ky and Cassia both, most of the time.  I truly disliked the change in style, that Condie used to give us Cassia's pov AND Ky's.  Unnecessary and not working in any way. shape or form in my opinion.  I will definitely not be reading the third book because I really have no desire to find out how things end.  This book could have been so much better for me, but it ended up being an epic fail and a complete waste of time.  I would not recommed this book to anyone.

VERDICT:  1.5/5  Stars

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

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Listen Closely Wednesdays # 8


   Hi everyone! As my followers have by now learned, I am passionate about Young Adult books. But I also love many other forms of expression, including music. I truly believe in the quote that is pictured above and as such have decided to create a weekly meme that is dedicated to sharing music that I believe in, music that has touched me, made me laugh/cry or just plain feel something more. Every week, Listen Closely Wednesdays will talk about five songs that have been important to me that week, why they made the list and I will post all pertinent info about the song itself as well. If you wish to do this on your own blog, please credit me. It is something that I would love to share but I do want to be recognized as this having been my own, original idea. On that note, feel free to comment about the things I share with you or about the music that's on your mind at the time. I'd love to hear all about it! Without further adieu, let's kick off this week's Listen Closely Wednesday!

Five Songs That Spotlight Buddy Holly (Who Has Been on My Mind This Week)

1.  'That'll Be The Day' sung by: Buddy Holly
- This is availble in so many places, on so many albums it isn't funny.  The same goes for all four of the other songs, therefore I WILL NOT be repeating this spiel again! :)

- Reason Behind It:  This is one the three Holly songs people are most likely to recognize, even if they are unsure who sings it (the others are 'Peggy Sue' and 'Everyday').  It is a great song and it put Holly and his band The Crickets at the forefront of the beginning of the rock n' roll movement.  Everyone should listen to this at least once.


2.  'Maybe Baby' sung by: Buddy Holly

- Reason Behind It:  This song has such a blatant sense of longing about it but the lyrics are ones that cheer you up (even when causing your heart to ache inside of your chest).  It speaks of rejection but hope for the future.  It's wonderful.


3.  'Not Fade Away'  sung by: Buddy Holly

- Reason Behind It:  I love all the jumps Buddy's voice makes in this song and the way the music complements them instead of overshadowing.  Also, the constancy hinted at in the lyrics is the stuff of dreams.  At least my dreams anyways! :)


4.  'Rave On'  sung by: Buddy Holly

- Reason Behind It:  It's SO freaking catchy!  I love this song's beat and general rhythms, plus the lyrics are just plain fun (maybe not so serious, but not every song has to be).


5.  'True Love Ways'  sung by: Buddy Holly

- Reason Behind It:  The unfairness of life makes me want to cry.  You can tell by this song just how much Holly loved his wife Maria and that he was taken from her so suddenly is cruel.  The day the music died is on my mind when I hear this song, but so is every beautiful the world has ever given me - and that is the wonder of Buddy Holly.


   That's all for this weeks edition of Listen Closely Wednesdays. I'm honored if you decided to read this post and I would love to hear your thoughts. Happy listening my friends! :)

IN MEMORY OF BUDDY HOLLY, THE BIG BOPPER, RITCHIE VALENS, and the pilot, ROGER PETERSON. 

RIP:  FEBRUARY 3rd, 1959 (THE DAY THE MUSIC DIED)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

We Are One Weird Family

Published: August 23rd, 2011
Bloodlines
By: Richelle Mead
Razorbill Fiction
ISBN-13: 9780141337111


BLOOD DOESN'T LIE. Sydney is an alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of human and vampires. They protect vampire secrets - and human lives. When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she's still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir - the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir - is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill's guardian and protector, posing as her roommate in the last place anyone would think to look for vampire royalty - a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. But instead of finding safety at Amberwood Prep, Sydney discovers the drama is only just beginning...

Review

   Sydney is still in trouble for helping dhampir Rose Hathaway prove her innocence and a plot against Moroi Queen Lissa Drogomir.  Her people, the Alchemists, view this as a serious betrayl.  But in an effort to protect her younger sister from the harsh life of an alchemist, Sydney fights to win a job helping to protect Jill (Lissa's younger sister) from would be assassins, who will start a Civil War in the vamp world if she is killed.  This involves going to school in Palm Springs, California and posing as siblings to avoid attracting attention.  Also along for the ride is heartbroken Adrian, who's still hurting over Rose choosing Dimitri, Eddie (the dhampir who protects Jill) and Keith, a seriously crooked alchemist who hates Sydney and will stop at nothing to have her sent away.  While at school, Sydney uncovers a possible plot using alchemist technology to make money, by giving humans tattoos with extra properties that are dangerous to them.  Sydney also becomes further confused over who is a friend or enemy, with all the lines blurring as the days pass with Jill, Eddie and Adrian becoming close friends.  Will she be able to do her job without getting attached?  And who will be alive or dead when all is said and done?  I enjoyed this book a lot.  It was obviously set-up for future books in the series, but I found the plot interesting and there was enough action to keep me interested.  The characters were well developed and fun to read, except Jill who comes across as slightly 2-Dimensional.  I truly loved Sydney and Adrian's sarcastic interactions and I also loved Sydney as a confused, but strong heroine.  This was a good first series book and I will definitely be reading the next one.

VERDICT:  4/5  Stars

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

Every Boy's Got One of What?

Published: December 21st, 2004
Every Boy's Got One
By: Meg Cabot
Pan
ISBN-13: 9780330418881


 
 
To: Jane Harris Fr: Claire Harris Re: You
Hi, honey It's me, Mom. I know it's a big secret that your friend Holly and her boyfriend Mark are eloping in Italy, and that you and Mark's friend Cal Langdon (the handsome New York Journal reporter with the big book deal) are going, too, as their witnesses. But I just saw Holly's mother at the Kroger Sav-On, and I thought I'd warn you: She doesn't seem to like Mark very much at all. Just wanted to let you know.
PS I don't understand why you don't like that nice Cal Langdon He seemed so smart when I saw him being inte viewed on Charlie Rose. And so handsome
PPS Don't forget to wear a sweater

Cartoonist Jane Harris is delighted by the prospect of her first-ever trip to Europe. But it's hate at first sight for Jane and Cal Langdon, and neither is too happy at the prospect of sharing a villa with one another for a week--not even in the beautiful and picturesque Marches countryside. But when Holly and Mark's wedding plans hit a major snag that only Jane and Cal can repair, the two find themselves having to put aside their mutual dislike for one another in order to get their best friends on the road to wedded bliss--and end up on a road themselves ... one neither of them ever expected.



Review


   Jane Harris loves her best friend Holly and is really excited to be invited as a witness for their elopment, with her fiance Mark, at Holly's Uncle's villa in Italy. The only thing she's NOT excited about is Mark's best friend Cal Langdon also tagging along. First impressions of Cal aren't favorable and she thinks he's a jerk for not wanting Mark to get married - for not believing in marriage at all. The book is comprised mostly of Jane's entries into a travel journal she originally purchased as a surprise present for Holly and Mark, that ends up being an account of her own adventures. There are also drawings in the margins of Jane's famous cartoon, Wondercat. There are e-mails as well, between Jane and Holly, Cal and Mark, Cal and Jane, to and from their parents/siblings to each respective adult involved in the elopement. Will Jane and Cal be able to resolve their differences in time to save the wedding when catastrophe strikes? Is there something other than dislike lurking beneath the surface of their relationship - have they found their own happily ever after? I loved this book with a passion!!! I adore Meg Cabot already and the only books of hers I haven't really read are some of her adult novels. This was funny and well-written. I also enjoyed reading in the acknowledgements that the main inspiration for this was Meg's own elopment with her husband and finding out what really did happen, vs. what she made up for plot purposes. This was a fun book and I enjoyed the e-mails which allowed other characters' perspectives and the diary entries which really got into Jane's mind. It was a cute romance and an overall enjoyable book. Other than moments where I thought Cal came across as overly pompous, I'd highly recommend this novel.

VERDICT: 4.25/5 Stars

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