Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Plagiarism Is Still Illegal, Right?

Published: February 28th, 2012
The Humming Room
By: Ellen Potter
Feiwel and Friends
ISBN-13: 9780312644383


Hiding is Roo Fanshaw's special skill. Living in a frighteningly unstable family, she often needs to disappear at a moment's notice. When her parents are murdered, it's her special hiding place under the trailer that saves her life.

As it turns out, Roo, much to her surprise, has a wealthy if eccentric uncle, who has agreed to take her into his home on Cough Rock Island. Once a tuberculosis sanitarium for children of the rich, the strange house is teeming with ghost stories and secrets. Roo doesn't believe in ghosts or fairy stories, but what are those eerie noises she keeps hearing? And who is that strange wild boy who lives on the river? People are lying to her, and Roo becomes determined to find the truth.

Despite the best efforts of her uncle's assistants, Roo discovers the house's hidden room--a garden with a tragic secret.

Inspired by The Secret Garden, this tale full of unusual characters and mysterious secrets is a story that only Ellen Potter could write.


Review

   Roo Fanshaw has always been in her own world, different from everyone else around her.  It works to her advantage when while hiding under her family's trailer home, her parents are murdered.  She is saved by her unique propensity for hiding.  Roo is sent to live with her Uncle on Cough Rock Island, a place that used to be a tuberculosis hospital for children that is said to be haunted.  At first she is miserable and refuses to behave, but slowly Cough Rock becomes her home.  However, there are secrets being kept from her.  Hearing strange noises and not believing in ghosts, Roo investigates and discovers that she has a cousin who is ill.  They decide to nurse his dead Mother's garden back to life, which proves a task for them, a mysterious boy named Jack who's a force of nature and the magic that flows in the Earth.  But can each of them heal and grow themselves?  This book at first was interesting to me.  I saw that it was inspired by The Secret Garden which is such a great book I knew I had to give this one a chance.  However, I ended up being completely disgusted by it's blatant rip-off of Hodgeson-Burnett's original work of fiction.  The only things different in this book are the teasing incorporation of what might be magic, the character's names, the time-period and place (island versus England).  Other than that the idea of a secret garden, two cousins who are both damaged, a boy who's in tune with nature and other numerous similarities (disgruntled housekeeper being a large one) contribute to make this book not inspired, by the original work but basically a very similar retelling.  What makes me the most angry is that it doesn't credit the fact that it's a straight-up retelling, instead saying it's only inspired by it which is a total crock.  This book was a rip-off plain and simple - it should be wiped off the map altogether.  Plagiarism is ALWAYS WRONG - even if the original author is dead and therefore can't be offended.

VERDICT:  0/5  Stars

*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book was published February 28th, 2012.*

Monday, March 26, 2012

Goddess in Training

Expected Publication: March 27th, 2012
Goddess Interrupted (Goddess Test # 2)
By:  Aimee Carter
Harlequin Teen
ISBN-13: 9780373210459


Kate Winters has won immortality. But if she wants a life with Henry in the Underworld, she'll have to fight for it.  Becoming immortal wasn't supposed to be the easy part. Though Kate is about to be crowned Queen of the Underworld, she's as isolated as ever. And despite her growing love for Henry, ruler of the Underworld, he's becoming ever more distant and secretive. Then, in the midst of Kate's coronation, Henry is abducted by the only being powerful enough to kill him: the King of the Titans.  As the other gods prepare for a war that could end them all, it is up to Kate to save Henry from the depths of Tartarus. But in order to navigate the endless caverns of the Underworld, Kate must enlist the help of the one person who is the greatest threat to her future.  Henry's first wife, Persephone.

Review

   Kate Winters thought that once she married Henry and took over as Queen of the Underworld, all of their problems would pretty much be solved.  Imagine her surprise that upon arriving home from a summer spent in Greece with her best friend James (a rival of Henry's for Kate's affection) that things are still unsettled.  Henry is more distant than ever and there still needs to be a ceremony inducting Kate as a ruler of the Underworld before things are official.  Oh and she's developing powers, beginning with creepy visions that she doesn't quite understand, but give her a really bad feeling.  It turns out she was right to be nervous, when Henry and the other 'big six' are taken by Kronos who is working with Hera (who is still looking for revenge against Kate for 'stealing' Henry from her).  Kronos isn't yet powerful enough to surface in the world, but without the original six to stand in his way when he does the world will most likely end.  It's up to Kate and the rest of the gods are refusing to help her.  Wanting to save Henry, she has to find the entrance to Tartarus.  The only other person who knows is the one person Kate wishes she could forget about - Henry's first wife Persephone, Kate's sister.  Will they be able to work together in time to save Henry and the others, while stopping Kronos from rising.  I liked this book quite a bit, but I felt that it never reached the level of the first one.  The side characters were far more one-dimensional in this book and the focus on Kate and Henry's romantic predicament did nothing special for me personally.  It was all angst and despair on Kate's part, with a side of emotional turmoil and cruel subconcious desires on Henry's part.  The amount of time that Aimee Carter spent on the will-they, won't-they (when they're already FREAKING MARRIED!!!) detracted from what could have been a truly intriguing adventure.  It instead became a subplot that depended on the romantic heroine saving the day.  The cliffhanger on this book TRULY pissed me off!!!  Seirously, yet more angst.  Kate just can't catch a break, which is too bad.  Because when she's away from Henry she's a pretty interestng character.  I don't think that I will be reading the third book in the series.  I honestly just don't care anymore.  But I will probably read the short story between books one and two, for more about James and Kate's vacation.  Not recommended too highly, unless you're a big fan of extremely gushy and angst ridden romance with little plot to go with it.

VERDICT:  2.25/5  Stars

*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. The expected publication for this book is March 27th, 2012.*

Friday, March 23, 2012

Follow Me Friday # 11


   
   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 is the longest book you’ve read? What are your favorite 600+ page reads?

A:  So, the longest book I've ever read (that I can think of at the moment) is Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.  It clocks in at  about 1,000 and some + pages!  It's a pretty good read though if you can look past the blatant romanticism and racism of pre and post-Civil war South...ahem.  Anyways, some of my fave 600+ reads are Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, and all of the Lord of the Rings books! :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Don't Breathe My Name...

Published: January 3rd, 2012
Don't Breathe a Word
By: Holly Cupala
HarperTeen
ISBN-13: 9780061766695


Joy Delamere is suffocating...
From asthma, which has nearly claimed her life. From her parents, who will do anything to keep that from happening. From delectably dangerous Asher, who is smothering her from the inside out.

Joy can take his words—tender words, cruel words—until the night they go too far.

Now, Joy will leave everything behind to find the one who has offered his help, a homeless boy called Creed. She will become someone else. She will learn to survive. She will breathe... if only she can get to Creed before it’s too late.

Set against the gritty backdrop of Seattle’s streets and a cast of characters with secrets of their own, Holly Cupala’s powerful new novel explores the subtleties of abuse, the meaning of love, and how far a girl will go to discover her own strength.


Review

   Joy Delamere had a pretty good life, with a decent family and some close friends.  All that changed when she started going out with Asher, a rich boy with a cruel streak.  But after overlooking all of the problems with their relationship, one night Asher goes to far.  Joy decides to run away because she knows that Asher will never let go of her any other way.  Making it look like she was kidnapped, Joy escapes from her house and disguises herself by bleaching her hair, wearing goth-like clothes and calling herself Triste.  Joy only takes some basics with her, including her asthma medication.  Without it, there is a possibility that Joy could literally suffocate to death, because her asthma has already almost killed her before.  Joy sets out to find this homeless boy named Creed, who promised to help her (when he saw her and Asher fight outside a club one night).  Creed, along with his friends Santos and May who are equally messed up, take Joy under their wing.  As they school her on the ways of the streets, Joy learns to value herself  and begins to fall in love with Creed.  Evnetually each of the group's individual issues catch up with them.  Will having one another be enough to survive?  Joy's journey was so heartbreakingly real.  While sympathizing with her situation, at the same time you want to grab her shoulders and shake some serious sense into her!  All of the problems and family issues of each of the kids is realistic and painful to read about, especially Santos.  The book evolves in a way that stays true to the characters, but I did feel disappointed with how neatly things wrap up for Creed and Joy.  Overall a good read that I had a hard time putting down.  Recommended for those who want a realistic fiction book that packs a punch.

VERDICT:  4/5  Stars

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

Ashes, Ashes, We All Fall Down

Published: October 11th, 2011
Ashfall
By: Mike Mullin
Tanglewood Press
ISBN-13: 9781933718552


Under the bubbling hot springs and geysers of Yellowstone National Park is a supervolcano. Most people don't know it's there. The caldera is so large that it can only be seen from a plane or satellite. It just could be overdue for an eruption, which would change the landscape and climate of our planet.

Ashfall is the story of Alex, a teenage boy left alone for the weekend while his parents visit relatives. When the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts unexpectedly, Alex is determined to reach his parents. He must travel over a hundred miles in a landscape transformed by a foot of ash and the destruction of every modern convenience that he has ever known, and through a new world in which disaster has brought out both the best and worst in people desperate for food, water, and warmth. With a combination of nonstop action, a little romance, and very real science, this is a story that is difficult to stop reading and even more difficult to forget.

Review

   Alex doesn't want to go visit his Uncle's farm with his family and subsequently die of boredom.  So his parents actually agree to let him stay home alone for the weekend.  After being a jerk to his family all he wants to do is be alone with his computer.  But then Yellowstone has a volcano erupt and ash travels to Alex's hometown, destroying his house and much of everything in the nearby area.   Feeling panicked about his family's safety (even his bratty sister), Alex decides to make his way on foot to his Uncle's house (140 miles) and find out if they made it through the disaster.  Along the way Alex is forced to deal with the descent of humanity into looting, killing and evil.  Food is in scarce supply and many farm fields have been ruined by the ash.  Also, prisoners have escaped in the chaos and Alex almost dies after an encounter with one of the brutal inmates.  He is saved by a girl named Darla and her Mom, who nurse him back to health.  He learns a lot about helping on their farm to harvest the corn that's still edible and how to build machines to simulate modern conveniences.  But when Darla's Mom is murdered and Alex is forced to leave with her in tow, will Darla and Alex be able to safely make it to his Uncle's?  Even after the government turns out to be yet another threat?  This was the best dystopian book that I've read since finishing the Hunger Games series.  I loved how dark it was and the terrifying part was how viable such a future is.  The people portrayed have real feelings and reactions in dire situations.  I especially enjoyed the fact that while most dystopians focus on the world quite awhile AFTER a major disaster, this was the immediate aftermath.  Alex grows and changes so much over the course of the book that by the end he is such a different character it amazes me.  Darla is a wonderful comparison to Alex, because she had major adult responsibilities from the beginning, before the crisis.  She still manages to learn new things about who she is and her place in the new world order.  I would go as far to say that this will be in my Top 10 for books that I've read when 2012 draws to a close.  Highly recommended to anyone with a sense of adventure, who doesn't shy away from harsh content.

VERDICT:  5/5  Stars

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

Monday, March 19, 2012

In My Mailbox # 15


    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 not been on my blog a lot in the past week or two, because of some vehicle troubles and some much needed upping of my hours at work.  I am glad for the extra money, but sad about the lack of time with you guys!  But I am going to be posting a few things today to get a head start for the week, this meme being one of them.  Lots and lots of books have come my way in the past couple of weeks.  I can't wait to share them with you all!  So without further adieu, here are the books:

Books I Bought and Got Free On Amazon

Firebird (The Avian Diaries) by Ashley Jump (Amazon)
In Dreams by J. Sterling (Goodreads / Amazon)
The Devil's Fire: A Pirate Adventure Novel by Matt Tomerlin (Goodreads / Amazon)
Fated (The Bloodstone Saga) by Courtney Cole (Goodreads / Amazon )
Airel by Aaron Patterson (Goodreads / Amazon)
The Myths, Legends and Lore of Ireland by Amy Hackney Blackwell (Goodreads / Amazon)
Ain't No Sunshine by Leslie DuBois (Goodreads / Amazon )
Three Wishes by Stephanie Bond (Goodreads / Amazon)
I Think I Love You by Stephanie Bond (Goodreads / Amazon)
Nearly Departed in Deadwood by Ann Charles (Goodreads / Amazon)
Optical Delusions in Deadwood by Ann Charles (Goodreads / Amazon )
Two Moons of Sera by Parvati K. Tyler (Goodreads /Amazon)
Play Dead by Anne Frasier (Goodreads / Amazon)
Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Goodreads / Amazon )
Young Love Murder by April Brookshire (Goodreads / Amazon )
The Trouble With Spells by Lacey Weatherford (Goodreads / Amazon )

Books I Got From NetGalley

Beyond the Smoke by Terry W. Burns (Goodreads / Amazon )
Tomorrow Land by Mari Mancusi (Goodreads / Amazon )
The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland (Goodreads / Amazon )
Two Rings by Millie Werber and Eve Keller (Goodreads / Amazon )
Between Gears by Natalie Nourigat (Amazon)
Abe Sapien Volume 2 by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi (Goodreads / Amazon)
Bright Island by Mabel L. Robinson (Goodreads / Amazon)
Flutter by Gina Linko (Goodreads / Amazon)

Books I Got From the Library

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz (Goodreads / Amazon)
Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume (Goodreads / Amazon)
The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth (Goodreads / Amazon)
The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison (Goodreads / Amazon)
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews (Goodreads / Amazon)
Life: An Exploded Diagram by Peet Mal (Goodreads / Amazon)
Getting Over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald (Goodreads / Amazon)
Belle's Song by K.M. Grant (Goodreads / Amazon)
Arcadia by Lauren Groff (Goodreads / Amazon)
Graceling by Kristin Cashore (Goodreads / Amazon)
This Girl is Different by J.J. Johnson (Goodreads / Amazon )
Roadside Assistance by Amy Cipston (Goodreads / Amazon)
The Spell Book of Listen Taylor by Jaclyn Moriarty (Goodreads / Amazon)
Love?Maybe by Heather Hepler (Goodreads / Amazon)

That's all for this week's edition of In My Mailbox fellow book minions!  I am still VERY backlogged with reviews because I'm about 24 books ahead of my yearly goal right now.  They are being ripped through like holiday candy and I can't seem to stop!  There will be reviews upcoming for Ashfall, Don't Breathe a Word, Feeling Sorry for Celia, Everneath, Chopsticks, and love & leftovers.  Have a great week and happy reading y'all! :)

I Am Not Breakable

Published: November 15th, 2011
Shatter Me
By: Tahereh Mafi
Harper Collins
ISBN-13: 9780062085481


Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting as The Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.


Review

   Juliette has been in jail for murder for almost a year.  She hasn't touched anyone since trying to help a little boy at the supermarket got him killed instead.  That was when Juliette learned that her touch is deadly to others.  Her parents have given up on her, she's given up on herself, but there is still someone who believes in her...Adam.  He is from her old life, the only one who was ever kind to her in an increasingly harsh world order (even though she never spoke to him at all).  But now he is a soldier for The Reestablishment, the new government that promises a better life in a world torn apart by war and evironmental devastation.  It turns out that Adam was placed in Juliette's cell as an undercover agent for Warner, a 19 year old soldier who wants to use Juliet to torture the Resistance and anyone else who gets in the Reestablishment's way.  Juliette and Adam must find a way to escape from the crushing influence of Warner and the evil he stands for, while trying to figure out why Adam is immune to Juliette.  Oh, it also throws a wrench in things when they start falling in love.  I enjoyed this book.  However, all the things I truly love about dystopian fiction were barely present in the plot as it was given.  Yes, the world is dying.  But that's about the amount of detail we really receive about the situation.  I don't mind that the story revolves around Juliette's unusual abilities and her struggle to control her own destiny.  I did mind the overwhelming and sickeningly sweet romance between Adam and Juliette.  It was too much of an insta-love connection.  Also, I couldn't get behind the passages with things crossed out.  It began to really annoy me at certain points.  Overall a decent book, just not what I was expecting.

VERDICT:  3/5  Stars

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

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Dragons Unleashed...

Published: April 1st, 2007
Dragon's Keep
By: Janet Lee Carey
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN-13: 9780152059262


Far away on Wilde Island, Princess Rosalind is born with a dragon claw where her ring finger should be. To hide this secret, the queen forces her to wear gloves at all times until a cure can be found, and Rosalind can fulfill the prophecy that will restore her family to its rightful throne.
But Rosalind’s flaw cannot be separated from her fate. When she is carried off by the dragon, everything she thought she knew falls apart. . . .
 
Review
 
   Rosalind is descended from Evaine, the younger sister of King Arthur, who was banished to Wilde Island when she married an outlaw.  Her name was erased from remembrance, but Merlin prophecied that the 21st Queen of her line would redeem the Pendragons, end a war and restore Wilde Island.  Rosalind is believed to be the Queen who is prophecied, but she was cursed to be born with a dragon talon in place of her ring finger.  Her Mother is trying desperately to find a cure so that Rose can be married off to a Prince and save the family honor.  But after a dragon that's been terrorizing the island is finally killed, her mate comes back and carries off Rose.  She is forced to take care of the dragon hatchlings the dead Mother left behind.  To do this she must have a strength of mind she didn't know she possessed.  Rose goes through many trials and home is the only thing keeping her going.  But will she ever be able to return?  I liked this book quite a a bit.  That said, I read it AFTER I'd already read the companion novel Dragonswood.  Going back in the timeline was a little irritating when I somewhat already knew what would happen.  I liked Rose as a heroine and she carried the book very nicely.  I was however bored when she was being held captive by the dragon and that accounted for about a third of the book, which says a lot.  It just seemed like the ending came to quickly and was a little to tidy to be very deeply felt.  I didn't get as attached to Rose's fate, no matter ho much I liked her, because of how easy everything seemed to be resolved.  It was a good book, worth readin.  I won't be re-reading it though. 
 
VERDICT:  3/5  Stars
 
*No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book is now available in stores and online.*

Free Fallin' Under the Sky

Published: January 3rd, 2012
Under the Never Sky
By: Veronica Rossi
Harper Collins
ISBN-13: 9780062072030


Since  she'd been on the outside, she'd survived an Aether storm, she'd had a knife held to her throat, and she'd seen men murdered. This was worse.

Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland - known as The Death Shop - are slim. If the cannibals don't get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She's been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He's wild - a savage - and her only hope of staying alive.

A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile - everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria's help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.


Review

   Aria belongs to a society that is careful and structured by rules.  She and everyone else are part of a virtual reality that is far more appealing then the dismal state of real life.  All of that changes when she and her friends sneak into a forbidden area one night and one of the guys (the son of a prominent community member) decides to set it on fire.  Aria and the boy who caused the fire are the only ones left alive in the end.  His father decides to blame Aria for the whole thing and have her exiled from the society.  Now Aria is alone on the outside, desperately trying to find a way to contact her Mom, who is possibly in danger.   Peregrine 'Perry' is a Outsider, belonging to a tribe of people who do everything they can just to survive.  When his nephew is kidnapped, seemingly by his mistake, Perry is banished from the tribe by the bloodlord - his brother.  Trying to find a way to get his nephew back and return to the tribe, Perry thinks he's found the answer in Aria.  They work on a mutual understanding of her getting to her Mom and him getting his nephew back.  Somewhere between deadly storms, attacking cannibals and misunderstandings about each other love manages to creep in.  But will Aria and Perry be able to stay together when life seems to be tearing them apart?  I honestly enjoyed this book!  I loved that it was from third-person perspective and yet alternated between Aria and Perry's respective worlds.  The character development of both was realistic and heart-wrenching.  I really felt for both the characters as they tried to figure out themselves and the world around them.  Especially fun were the scenes with Perry's best friend Roar, who was something of a mischief maker.  This book has a lot of heart, a good natured sense of humor and some tuly meaningful scenes worth reading.  Glad I spent time with this book.

VERDICT:  4.25/5  Stars

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

Monday, March 12, 2012

God Is The Dog

Published:  January 24th, 2012
There Is No Dog
By: Meg Rosoff
Penguin Group USA, Inc.
ISBN-13: 9780399257643


Meet your unforgettable protagonist: God, who, as it turns out, is a 19-year-old boy living in the present-day and sharing an apartment with his long-suffering fifty-something personal assistant. Unfortunately for the planet, God is lazy and, frankly, hopeless. He created all of the world's species in six days because he couldn't summon the energy to work for longer. He gets Africa and America mixed up. And his beleagured assistant has his work cut out for him when God creates a near-apolcalyptic flood, having fallen asleep without turning the bath off. There is No Dog is a darkly funny novel from one of our most delightfully unpredictable writers.

Review

   In the beginning there was God, a horny and spoiled nineteen year old being who was given free reign over Earth.  He created man in his image, which really explains a lot.  Then he pretty much abandoned them except for his tendency to inappropriately fall in love and cause apocalyptic weather conditions when it doesn't go his way.  This time God's assistant Mr. B has his work cut out for him, when he falls for Lucy a human zookeeper.  Also, Bob is dealing with his gambling addicted Mother, Mona who has gambled away his pet Eck (the last of it's species).  Bob wants it back, but only because it's his Eck, not because he actually values its worth.  This book just seemed like it would be such a fun satire about the unanswered questions of religion.  In the end, all it managed to do was depress me even further about the meaning of life and mankind's creation.  God being a teenage boy who just lusts, eats and plays video games all the time makes sense unfortunately.  I felt truly sorry for the beleagured Bob and his creation, the whales (who are having major habitat pollution problems thanks to God's idiocy).  I didn't particularly like Lucy, as she was portrayed as being too perfect to relate to.  I liked Eck and the daughter of the man who won him from Mona, named Estelle, who wanted to find a way to save him from being eaten by her Father.  The book seemed disjointed, like it forgot it's prupose midway through and no longer knew how to follow through with a cohesive plot resolution.  Not one I would recommend to anyone except perhaps an athiest (and there's a chance even they might not like it).  I love the author's book How I Live Now, so this was doubly disappointing for me.

VERDICT:  1.5/5  Stars

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

Friday, March 9, 2012

Sisterhood Eternally

Published: June 1st, 2011
Sisterhood Everlasting
By: Ann Brashares
Random House Publishing
ISBN-13: 9780385521222


From  #1 New York Times bestselling author Ann Brashares comes the welcome return of the characters whose friendship became a touchstone for a generation. Now Tibby, Lena, Carmen, and Bridget have grown up, starting their lives on their own. And though the jeans they shared are long gone, the sisterhood is everlasting.

Despite having jobs and men that they love, each knows that something is missing: the closeness that once sustained them. Carmen is a successful actress in New York, engaged to be married, but misses her friends. Lena finds solace in her art, teaching in Rhode Island, but still thinks of Kostos and the road she didn’t take. Bridget lives with her longtime boyfriend, Eric, in San Francisco, and though a part of her wants to settle down, a bigger part can’t seem to shed her old restlessness.

Then Tibby reaches out to bridge the distance, sending the others plane tickets for a reunion that they all breathlessly await. And indeed, it will change their lives forever—but in ways that none of them could ever have expected.

As moving and life-changing as an encounter with long-lost best friends, Sisterhood Everlasting is a powerful story about growing up, losing your way, and finding the courage to create a new one.


Review

   Lena, Bridget, Carmen and Tibby thought they'd be super close, best friends for their whole lives.  But over the years as they've gotten older, they've become further apart.  Most especially this is true for Tibby, who moved to Australia and lost touch with the others.  Now Lena, Bee and Carmen have all gotten mysterious messages to meet Tibby in Greece - she has something to tell them.  But they arrive to an empty house and when they get a visit from a policeman, one of them must go through the horror of indentifying a body...Tibby's body.  Devastated and believing that Tibby killed herself, the other girls' lives begin to fall apart at the seams.  Trying to find answers to why this has happened to their sisterhood, Bee goes on a quest, while Carmen and Lena go on journeys of their own.  But did it really happen the way they thought it did?  What was Tibby trying to tell them?  Can they rebuild their broken Sisterhood into it's former glory?  I was gutted by this book.  I honestly didn't know what to expect, because I didn't even want to imagine the girls that far grown up.  I did like all of their individual storylines and how they came back together in the end, helping each other heal.  I am glad that I read this book, even though it was sad, because it was worth the heartache.  Bee has always been my favorite member of the sisterhood and it was truly amazing to see her grow up finally.  Highly recommend this book to those who have read the other ones and are fans of the series.

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 for this book in paperback is March 6th, 2012.*

Thursday, March 8, 2012

I Left My Heart In Poughkeepsie...

Published: November 22nd, 2011
Poughkeepsie
By: Debra Anastasia
Omnific Publishing
ISBN-13: 9781936305940


He counts her smiles every day and night at the train station. And morning and evening, the beautiful commuter acknowledges him—just like she does everyone else on the platform. But Blake Hartt is not like the others . . . he’s homeless. Memories of a broken childhood have robbed him of peace and twisted delusions into his soul. He stays secluded from the sun, sure the world would run from him in the harsh light of day.

Each day, Livia McHugh smiles politely and acknowledges her fellow commuters as she waits for the train to the city. She dismisses this kindness as nothing special, just like her. She’s the same as a million other girls—certainly no one to be cherished. But special or not, she smiles every day, never imagining that someone would rely on the simple gesture as if it were air to breathe.

When the moment comes that Livia must do more than smile, without hesitation she steps into the fray to defend the homeless man. And she's surprised to discover an inexplicable connection with her new friend. After danger subsides, their smiles become conversation. Their words usher in a friendship, which awakens something in each of them. But it’s not long before their bond must prove its strength. Entanglements from the past challenge both their love and their lives.

Blake’s heart beats for Livia’s, even if her hands have to keep its rhythm. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love never fails. Love never fails, right?


Review

   Livia McHugh is living a comfortable and mostly happy life.  She is a graduate student with a great boyfriend, good family relationships and a career path she loves.  Livia never questioned the depth of her happiness, until she met Blake Hartt at the train station.  When she begins talking to him and building a friendship, she decides to take control of her own life.  Even if it means breaking up with her boyfriend and falling in love with emotionally damaged Blake.  All of this while trying to save her self-destructive younger sister Kyle, and get to know Blake's brothers Cole (a priest in training) and Beckett (a dangerous gangster, along with his head hooker Eve).  But will they all come out the other side of their struggles happy and whole?  Or will they be destroyed by them?  This book had so many layers to it!  It shocked me, especially when I heard that it started out as a Twilight fanfiction.  I could definitely see some character parallels, but this book was shockingly true to real life with all of its issues, not even needing to touch on paranormal themes at all.  I fell in love with Blake and Livia, with all their sweet innocence and romance in a rather detached way.  Cole and Kyle were a little too otherworldy with each other for my empathy.  But Beckett and Eve were by far the most damaged and the ones who crept into my heart immediately.  Beckett, who became a tough murderous thug to protect his brothers after they all aged out of foster care.  Eve, who has lost everything and become hard as glass (just as fragile too).  Also, Mouse who works for Beckett and has been friends with him since schoolyard days.  I loved that all of these characters were real people, with real issues.  This book broke my heart and made me cry.  I was especially invested in the endings of all the characters - happy or not.  Highly recommended, but not for the faint of heart.  Very strong language, violence, some sexual situations, homelessness, abuse and abandonment. 

VERDICT:  4.5/5  Stars

*No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book is now available online as an e-book.*

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wield a Katana Proudly (You Didn't)

Expected Publication: March 8th, 2012
Katana
By: Cole Gibsen
Flux Books
ISBN-13: 9780738730400


Rileigh Martin would love to believe that adrenaline had given her the uncanny courage and strength to fend off three muggers. But it doesn't explain her dreams of 15th-century Japan, the incredible fighting skills she suddenly possesses, or the strange voice giving her battle tips and danger warnings.

While worrying that she's going crazy (always a reputation ruiner), Rileigh gets a visit from Kim, a handsome martial arts instructor, who tells Rileigh she's harboring the spirit of a five-hundred-year-old samurai warrior.

Relentlessly attacked by ninjas, Rileigh has no choice but to master the katana--a deadly Japanese sword that's also the key to her past. As the spirit grows stronger and her feelings for Kim intensify, Rileigh is torn between continuing as the girl she's always been and embracing the warrior inside her.


Review

   Rileigh Martin was always just a normal girl, until the night she was mugged in the mall parking lot - and sent the attackers to the hospital with major injuries.  Wielding skills she didn't know she even had, Rileigh fought off the attackers with help from a bad-ass voice inside her head.  Then she gets a visit in the hospital from Kim, a martial-arts instructor, who is convinced that Rileigh is the reincarnation of a samurai warrior.  Now undergoing ninja attacks by those who wish to destroy her, Rileigh must find a way to survive and learn to harness her skills, while fighting her attraction to Kim.  But will that mean losing herself to become another person entirely?  This book looked so promising at first, the cover looked wonderful.  The premise was really interesting as well.  I do love books that harness the topic of reincarnation successfully.  One of my favorite books ever is Remember Me by Christopher Pike.  This book didn't do that great of a job.  Focusing too much on the possibility of romance, this book fell flat for me plot-wise.  I didn't enjoy the will they/won't they romantic overtones between Kim and Rileigh.  Rileigh's indecision and bratty attitude towards the situation got old really fast.  Accept it already and take control!!!  It wasn't neccesarily a BAD book, I just felt really ambivalent about it and the characters were very underdevloped.  I wouldn't recommend this to anyone looking for action in large amounts.

VERDICT:  2.5/5  Stars

*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money was exchanged for this review. The expected publication for this book is March 8th, 2012.*

Monday, March 5, 2012

In My Mailbox # 14


   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 been getting SO MANY new e-books in the past couple weeks, that I felt the need to do one of these posts just to share with all my wonderful followers what they have to look forward to! :)  Also, I feel like I haven't been as present online lately because of how much I've been working and all my transportation issues.  Just want y'all to know that I still love this blog.  I am not going anywhere!!!  Without further adieu, here are the books:

Books I Bought and Got Free From Amazon

Parallelogram by Robin Brande (Goodreads / Amazon )
Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park (Goodreads / Amazon)
Pride's Run by Cat Kalen (Goodreads / Amazon)
Somber Island by Lynn T. Tolles (Goodreads / Amazon)
Reckless Magic by Rachel Higginson (Goodreads / Amazon)
Stuck With You by Trish Jensen (Goodreads / Amazon )
Build A Man by Talli Roland (Goodreads / Amazon )
Amazon Lily by Theresa Weir (Goodreads / Amazon)
Splendid Summer by Mary Matthews (Goodreads / Amazon )
The Typewriter Girl by J.L. Jarvis (Goodreads / Amazon)
A Witch's Curse by Nicole Lee (Goodreads / Amazon)
Asphodel by Lauren Hammond (Goodreads / Amazon)
Grounding Quinn by Stephanie Campbell (Goodreads / Amazon)
Remembrance by Michelle Madow (Goodreads / Amazon )
Vengeance by Michelle Madow (Goodreads / Amazon)
Camille by Tess Oliver (Goodreads / Amazon )
The Deepest Cut by J.A. Templeton (Goodreads / Amazon)
Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn (Goodreads / Amazon)
Pride and Popularity by Jenni James (Goodreads / Amazon )
Katie's Hellion by Lizzy Ford (Goodreads / Amazon )
Katrina, The Beginning by Elizabeth Loraine (Goodreads / Amazon )
Beloved by Patty Sarro (Goodreads / Amazon )
The Goddess Hunt by Aimee Carter (Goodreads / Amazon)
Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly (Goodreads / Amazon)
Between the Lines by Tammara Webber (Goodreads / Amazon)
Where Are You? by Tammara Webber (Goodreads / Amazon )
Wilfair by Alysia Gray Painter (Goodreads / Amazon )

Books I Got From NetGalley

American Rose by Karen Abbott (Goodreads / Amazon )
Paris in Love by Eloisa James (Goodreads / Amazon )
Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim (Goodreads / Amazon )
The Academie by Susanne Dunlap (Goodreads / Amazon )
The Moonstone Series by Marilee Brothers (Goodreads / Amazon)
Burn Mark by Laura Powell (Goodreads / Amazon )
Interrupted by Rachel Coker (Goodreads / Amazon)
The Paladin Prophecy by Mark Frost  (Goodreads / Amazon )
Something Like Normal by Trish Doller (Goodreads / Amazon )
Romeo Redeemed by Stacey Jay (Goodreads / Amazon)
Fitz by Mike Cochrane (Amazon)
Hanging By a Thread by Sophie Littlefield (Goodreads / Amazon )
The Stone Girl by Alyssa B. Sheinmel (Goodreads / Amazon)

Books I Won In Contests (LibraryThing, etc.)

Fated by Alison Noel (Goodreads / Amazon )

Books I Bought

The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen (Goodreads / Amazon )

Books I Got From the Library

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (Goodreads / Amazon )
Article 5 by Kristen Simmons (Goodreads / Amazon )
Double by Jenny Valentine (Goodreads / Amazon )
Dead to You by Lisa McMann (Goodreads / Amazon )
The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe (Goodreads / Amazon )
The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour (Goodreads / Amazon )
BZRK by Michael Grant (Goodreads / Amazon )
Twisted by Sara Shepard (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 Katana, Poughkeepsie, Sisterhood Everlasting, Under the Never Sky, There Is No Dog and Dragon's Keep.  I am VERY caught up on my reading and very behind in my reviews, so it'll be awhile before I run out of backlogged material.  Have a great week and happy reading y'all! :)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Follow Me Friday #


   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 book would you love to see made into a movie or television show and do you have actors/actresses in mind to play the main characters?

A:  Talk about terrifying questions!  I honestly try not to think about this all that much anymore, because it never turns out the way you picture it anyways.  But if I had to say, I'd want:




  It has the potential to make a pretty great T.V. show with all of the drama, mystery and romance that goes on in every book.  Plus the supernatural occurences would appeal to a teen audience like for The CW viewers especially.  I also really enjoy this series (kind of ashamed of how much, actually).  I would cast:

Hailee Steinfeld as Camellia

















Steven R. McQueen as Ben

Sarah Hyland as Kimmie
















Josh Hutcherson as Adam

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Space Between Hell and Us

Published: November 14th, 2011
The Space Between Us
By: Brenna Yovanoff
Razorbill
ISBN-13: 9781595143396


Everything is made of steel, even the flowers. How can you love anything in a place like this?

Daphne is the half-demon, half-fallen angel daughter of Lucifer and Lilith. Life for her is an endless expanse of time, until her brother Obie is kidnapped - and Daphne realizes she may be partially responsible. Determined to find him, Daphne travels from her home in Pandemonium to the vast streets of Earth, where everything is colder and more terrifying. With the help of the human boy she believes was the last person to see her brother alive, Daphne glimpses into his dreams, discovering clues to Obie's whereabouts. As she delves deeper into her demonic powers, she must navigate the jealousies and alliances of the violent archangels who stand in her way. But she also discovers, unexpectedly, what it means to love and be human in a world where human is the hardest thing to be.


Review

  Daphne has always lived in Pandemonium, known to some as Hell.  She is the daughter of Lucifer and Lillith, expected to become one of the Lillim like her sisters.  She has never known love and the closest she's even gotten to it is her relationship with her older brother Obie.  But now, Obie has disappeared and Lillim are being killed off on Earth by a force that could destroy all of her world if she's not careful.  But determined to rescue Obie, Daphne makes her way to the surface and enlists the help of a half-human boy named Truman who is on a path of self-destruction.  Will she be able to save Obie and a Truman both, while resisting the temptation to become like her sisters?  It was an interesting concept for a book, one that I've never seen explored before.  It drew me in and I began to care what happened to Daphne, Obie and Truman.  However, the writing was the best part for me.  It was beautiful on an almost dreamilike level, kind of reminiscent of Francesca Lia Block to me (only toward the less heavenly end of the spectrum).  Definitely worth the read, even though the ending was a bit confusing and even a little too weird for an already odd book.  The plot was carried out extremely well and at no point was I ever bored or skimming ahead.  Well worth the read if you are as sick of the requisite vampires and werewolves as I am.

VERDICT:  4/5  Stars

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

You Are a Miracle

Published: December 8th, 2011
The Probability of Miracles
By: Wendy Wunder
Razorbill
ISBN-13: 9781595143686


Dry, sarcastic, sixteen-year-old Cam Cooper has spent the last seven years in and out hospitals. The last thing she wants to do in the short life she has left is move 1,500 miles away to Promise, Maine - a place known for the miraculous events that occur there. But it's undeniable that strange things happen in Promise: everlasting sunsets; purple dandelions; flamingoes in the frigid Atlantic; an elusive boy named Asher; and finally, a mysterious envelope containing a list of things for Cam to do before she dies. As Cam checks each item off the list, she finally learns to believe - in love, in herself, and even in miracles.

A debut novel from an immensely talented new writer, The Probability of Miracles crackles with wit, romance and humor and will leave readers laughing and crying with each turn of the page.


Review

   Cam is sixteen, but almost half of her life has been spent fighting cancer.  Her Mom and sister are busy searching for a miracle when Cam's cancer makes a reappearance, but sceptical Cam doesn't believe there is one.  All she wants is to spend what little time she has left trying to make up for dying so young, trying to be happy.  But then her Mom finds a town called Promise, Maine where flamingoes roost and there are purple dandelions.  Which means they move from Florida to Maine, in search of a miracle cure.  At first Cam is miserable, but then she meets Asher and gets a job helping animals.  Finally, Cam is happy with her life and in love for the first time.  But will it be enough to keep her from dying?  Cam is a great heroine.  She's sarcastic and vulnerable, unable to believe in miracles.  However, she does believe in helping her Mom and sister, loving them the best she can.  This book made me ache deep inside, while making me smile at the same time.  It was one of the better books I've read where a teen is dealing with death in one way or another.  The supporting cast of characters were human in the best way and I loved how Cam's Samoan heritage played a role in her life.  Plus, she lived at FREAKING DISNEYWORLD!!!  How awesome is that?  This was definitely a book that broke my heart, but I'm glad the author didn't take the easy way out.  Instead she built something beautiful and gave it an ending to match it's beginning.

VERDICT:  4.5/5  Stars

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

Sweet, Sweet Scarlet

Published: February 14th, 2012
Scarlet
By: A.C. Gaughen
Walker Children's
ISBN-13: 9780802723468


Many readers know the tale of Robin Hood, but they will be swept away by this new version full of action, secrets, and romance.

Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in.

It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for.


Review

   Will Scarlet is a companion of Robin Hood, the notorious thief who helps the poor and takes from the rich/corrupt.  Only the rest of the Hood's band of thieves know the truth - Scarlet is really a girl.  She has been working with Robin for two years and none of the others know her real name or were she's from.  All they know is that Scarlet had a rough life and that Gisbourne, a cold-blooded thief taker, is after her.  When Gisbourne makes his way to Nottinghamshire to try his hand at catching the Hood and his accomplices, Scarlet is in true danger of being discovered.  When all of the secrets finally explode, everyone will be changed but will it be for the better?  Scarlet's narration was so true to the era that it took me a little bit to get into the book.  That said, I appreciate Gaughen much more because of this than I would if Scarlet and the other characters would have spoken like I do.  The novel's charm is in the rough-hewn edges and complications of its character's lives.  All their deeds are not perfect or heroic.  I adored the way Scarlet refused to pidgeoholed just because of her gender, insisting on being a useful member of the band.  Oftentimes, Scarlet was the one who mananged to most out of everyone.  I was unimpressed, however, with the love triangle between John Littl, Robin Hood and Scarlet.  I felt that it was an insult to my intelligence as a reader because it was really obvious which guy Scarlet was going to choose.  It also made them all act like idiots who couldn't keep it in their britches at times, and ratcheted up unnecessary angst.  The only other really present female character was Ravenna and the novel only showcased through her plight how little of a choice women had during that time.  The only character besides Scarlet that I truly loved was one-handed, somewhat simple Much.  He was always trying to help out and his character was sterling in comparison to many of the others.  Recommended highly for the adventure and suspense of Scarlet's past, if you're able to overlook the love triangle. 

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 book was published February 14th, 2012.*