Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Taking a Break

Hi everyone!

Just a quick note to let you know that my blogging is on hold for the month of December. There is just too much excitement and things to do!

Please check back on the first of the new year for some exciting changes!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday 11/23/11

A MILLION SUNS by Beth Revis

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.

Beth Revis did an absolutely incredible job on the first book, Across the Universe. Her descriptions of Amy going into stasis will haunt me for years to come. I loved that book, and have been eagerly waiting for more. The premise for this second installment to the trilogy does not sound like it will suffer from any of the usual middle-book slumps. I have a feeling this will be a book best read in one sitting!

Release Date: January 10th, 2012

Monday, November 21, 2011

Bound by Book-to-Movie Law: An Invisible Sign of My Own

Book-to-Movie Law states that once you have read the book, you are bound by the media to go see the movie based on said book, and therefor compare to two.

This is going to be an easy review. The book, which is called An Invisible Sign of My Own, is by Aimee Bender, an author I really like a lot. The first time I read this book, I was in college, and I instantly liked her easy style of romance mixed with quirky characters. Her two books of short stories are equally intriguing, and her newest, called The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, was one of my favorite books this year. The movie, on the other hand, was slow and tedious and boring. I blame this mostly on Jessica Alba's uninspired acting. I thought she would be good, since she was in Dark Angel, but in this, she was so frustrating to watch that I found myself yelling at the TV a few times. Not at all how I pictured her character while reading the book. And while Chris Messina was certainly easy on the eyes, his acting didn't add much either. All around, the movie was tedious and a bit of a failure.

Bottom Line: The book was WAY better.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fear Street Flashback (23)

Why? Because FEAR STREET was like, my favorite series growing up.

Originally released in January, 1997.

Besides having a title that is way too long for the length of the story, this book is just about perfect. Actually that's not true. I am also a little disappointed that we never actually got to go to the homecoming dance. But the rest of the book was great! Tania makes a nice character to feel confused about - sometimes you think she has too much, but then other times she is so nice that you can't help but like her. Plus there is the twist that Keith is making a horror movie amidst all the real-life terror. I liked Eva (Tania's best friend) for the narrator, as watching the story unfold through her eyes kept me on the edge of my seat. The reader only knows as much as Eva knows, and her innocence made from some pretty intense scenes!

Fear Rating: 2 out of 3 Screams

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday 11/16


He's persuasive, charming, and way too mysterious. And for Samara Marshall, her co-worker is everything she wants most--and everything she most fears. . .

Samara Marshall is determined to make the summer before her senior year the best ever. Her plan: enjoy downtime with friends and work to save up cash for her dream car. Summer romance is not on her to-do list, but uncovering the truth about her flirtatious co-worker, Caleb Baker, is. From the peculiar glow to his eyes to the unfortunate events that befall the girls who pine after him, Samara is the only one to sense danger behind his smile.

But Caleb's secrets are drawing Samara into a world where the laws of attraction are a means of survival. And as a sinister power closes in on those she loves, Samara must take a risk that will change her life forever. . . or consume it.

This start to a new series looks rather appealing to me, and not just because of the incredibly good looking models on the cover. I am so curious to learn more about who Caleb Baker is and what supernatural things he can do. I have high hopes for this one!

Release Date: January 1st, 2012

Monday, November 14, 2011

Inspired to Art (1)

Every now and then there is a book that is so vivid and unique in its world building that my mind takes flight and I am moved to create art. For many years now, my best friend has encouraged me to post my book art projects. It really is the perfect combination of my love for books and my crafts hobbies. So stay tuned for the occasional Inspired to Art post!

First up is DELIRIUM, one of my favorite reads from 2011. The disease of Amour Deliria Nervousa captured my attention and fantasy. I wanted areal, tangible handbook to have of my own. Since I couldn't have that, the next best thing was to make one!The paper used in this project is from the Creative Imaginations Breathless collection, a dark mix of purples, reads, black, and ivories that I felt worked very well with the idea of love being an unwanted disease. For the sake of space, I will only show my favorite pages.
I found specific passages in the book that came from the teachings, and copied them into my own, abridged version. The red edges is ink, not real blood! And I just love the way the typed lines look in contrast to the hand writing.The whole book was made in probably two hours, and I am pleased with the final result. If I were to do this project over again, I would make it larger and try to get as many actual quotes from the book as possible. Delirium was an incredible book and inspired my imagination to soar, and this was my best manifestation of those imaginings.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Darker Still by Leanna Renee Heiber

Darker Still is one of those beautiful stories that swept me off my feet from the very start. The mood is so dark and mysterious- the perfect Gothic atmosphere! I liked the true bits about 1880's spiritualism and how it played into the story. Natalie makes a fantastic narrator, giving the reader only the most enriching and interesting tidbits from the happenings around her. Her descriptions are not overbearing, and held the perfect amount details about the world and paranormal happenings to keep me on the edge of my seat. Usually I am not a fan at all of journal entry novels, but with Natalie I was ravenous for more. Lord Denbury was a romantic man, too. There are quite a few tantalizing ideas with (a) falling in love above your class status, and (b) being able to transport yourself into a painting. A magic most delicious, is what I think!

I have read two previous books by Leanna Renee Hieber - The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker being her debut. It was a magical story, with tons of character building. With Darker Still, I felt Hieber focused more on world building that character, and it still worked out to be a wonderful book. The second book, however, didn't hold up to the same excitement of the first in the series. I am nervous Darker Still will hold the same to be true. The book wraps up nicely, but leaves plenty of room for a sequel. There isn't a plot summary or title for the second book yet, but I may just skip it and keep this one as the great book it is.

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday 11/9/11

STORMSWEPT by Helen Dunmore

Morveren lives with her parents and twin sister Jenna on an island off the coast of Cornwall - an island that in the long distant past was devastated by a tidal wave, its halls and people lost. Only some of those taken by the sea may not have been lost at all! Now, as Morveren and Jenna's relationship shifts and changes, like driftwood on the tide, Morveren finds a beautiful teenage boy in a rock pool after a storm. Going to his rescue, she is shocked to see that he is not human but a Mer boy. With Jenna refusing to face the truth, Morveren finds herself alone at the worst possible time. Because when the worlds of Air and Mer meet, the consequences can be terrible!

Words along cannot express how much I am looking forward to this book. I would rather dance and laugh and exclaim with glee! The Ingo Chronicles is truly my favorite "mer" series out there today. Helen Dunmore has done such an incredible job building her world and characters, and I am SO SO glad she decided to continue writing these books. More more more please!!!

Release Date: January 5th, 2012

Monday, November 7, 2011

Annual Authors

Do any of you out there have any authors that you love to read and that are reliable in releasing a good book once a year? This year I have been noticing how there are a few authors in my favorites list that put out a book at least once every year. And that I look forward to this year's release and then next year's title. And most important, every book is GOOD. Authors I can totally trust to give me a great book, without having to wait long periods of time in And so time and time again, at least once every year, I look forward to the day I can buy another book buy these lovely ladies.

Jennifer Weiner - My love for this very funny woman started way back with Good In Bed and I have read every one of her books since. This year we were lucky enough to get two books, the most recent being Then Came You, and I can't wait for the next one!

Kristin Hannah - Though I was a bit of a late bloomer with Kristin Hannah, after reading an advanced copy of Firefly Lane, I went back and read her entire catalog to date. Those were some beautiful months of reading! This year brought Night Road, and next year's book is called Home Front.

Joshilyn Jackson - I fell in love with Joshilyn's tender and moving writing with Gods in Alabama and new I had an instant favorite author on my shelf. She writes about small town life with such conviction and honesty. When she revisited the characters of that first book with this year's Backseat Saints, it was like visiting the town myself. Look for my review of her newest book A Grown-up Kind of Pretty, in January!

Pamela Morsi - Confession: I am behind on a couple of books with this author! It's terrible, I know. I will get caught up as soon as possible! Nor have I read her entire back catalog. But when The Cotton Queen came out, I read it in one sitting and had to have more. Bitsy's Bait & BBQ made me laugh out loud and it was with that book that I knew I would be buying a lot more from Pamela Morsi.

Mary Connealy - Followers of this blog already know how much I like Mary, so I will not say too much. Only that I am so glad she writes as much as she does! Most years she manages to release at least two books!

What are your annual authors?

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Sharp Time by Mary O'Connell

I was not sure what to expect with this book. The premise sounded promising and the cover is a pretty rainbow of colors... but there was nothing that really stuck out for me and screamed "you have to read this book!" And I will be honest, it took a little work to get into this story. Mary O'Connell writes with flowery descriptions and a short attention span. Sandinista is brilliant as a narrator, but the reader has to work hard to keep up with her thoughts. There is no exposition and explanation to help the reader figure out what is going on with her thoughts. What really kept me moving through this book was the plot. When I figured out what happened to Sandinista in school, and what she was planning to do about it, I knew I had to keep reading and watch how it was all going to play out. Plus, as I went through the days with Sandinista, I felt a certain amount of satisfaction for sticking with the book and the writing. The story would not have been half as good if it had been written any other way.

So if you are a reader that does not have the energy to figure out every little nuance on your own, you might want to pass on this one. Stick with it, and you will find yourself thinking about it long after you finish!

Overall Rating: 3 Stars

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday 11/2/11

TORN by Cat Clarke

Four girls. One dead body. A whole lot of guilt.

Alice King isn’t expecting the holiday of a lifetime when she sets off with her classmates on a trip to the Scottish wilderness, but she’s not exactly prepared for an experience beyond her darkest nightmares…

Alice and her best friend Cass are stuck in a cabin with Polly, the social outcast, and Rae, the moody emo-girl. Then there’s Tara – queen of mean. Powerful, beautiful and cruel, she likes nothing better than putting people down.

Cass decides it’s time to teach Tara a lesson she’ll never forget. And so begins a series of events that will change the lives of these girls forever...

I absolutely loved Cat Clarke's first book, Entangled, and have been waiting and waiting to read more. She has an almost ethereal way of writing, and I am already so curious about the plot of this one!

Release Date: January 5th, 2012

Monday, October 31, 2011

My Boyfriend is a Monster #4: Under his Spell

Just in time for Halloween!

As a fan of this series (the first story is still my favorite!), I have to say that these are really fun graphic novels. I love that there are strong-willed, fun, cute girls, and "monster" boyfriends that are equally lovable. This story was drippy with "awww" moments, but they fit in perfectly with the super sweet romance. Perhaps my favorite scene was when I gasped out loud at the sudden change from black and white to color pages. SO PERFECT! None of the other stories have had that affect, but with a Fae boyfriend in this one, it works so well. I'm not sure how many more they have planned in the series, but I will definitely be reading all of them.

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday 10/26/11

PRIZED by Caragh O'Brien

Striking out into the wasteland with nothing but her baby sister, a handful of supplies, and a rumor to guide her, sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone survives only to be captured by the people of Sylum, a dystopian society where women rule the men who drastically outnumber them, and a kiss is a crime. In order to see her sister again, Gaia must submit to their strict social code, but how can she deny her sense of justice, her curiosity, and everything in her heart that makes her whole?

I totally enjoyed the first book in this series, Birth Marked, and have been waiting for the next book to come out and continue this fabulous story. I was taken in most by the world building O'Brien has created. If you have not picked up Birth Marked, go do it before picking up this one. You won't be disappointed!

Release Date: November 8, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

You Are My Only by Beth Kephart

Sophie is fourteen years old and living with her mother in run down houses. She is home-schooled, and the two of them have moved to new locations more often than Sophie can keep track of. When they land at a little house next to a boy named Joey and his two Aunts, Sophie realizes she is no longer interested in the nomadic life she has been living. Emmy is a nineteen-year-old mother whose child is taken from her in broad daylight. Emmy is heartbroken, but doesn't have a lot of time to mourn before she is thrown into a mental hospital on the outskirts of town. With little hope of finding her Baby, Emmy maneuvers through her grief and loss.

This is the first book by Beth Kephart I have read and it was very interesting. Most notable is her writing style, which is loose and poetic and really quite beautiful. There is not a lot of happiness in this story, but the prose puts a softer edge to everything and makes it magical. The voices of the characters are also unique, as no one sounds all that educated. I'm not sure how else to describe the dialog, but once I got used to it, the dialog morphed into a character of its own. The alternating chapters between Emmy and Sophie were also confusing at first, with their ages being similar but so different. But as the reader realizes these girls are somehow connected, the pace becomes faster and more urgent until the climax at the end. It is a strange topic for a YA novel, with teen pregnancy, mental illness, and kidnapping, but I think YA readers will ultimately enjoy it. This is a challenging and tragic book that is well worth the time and effort. If you have not yet read any Kephart, give this new one a try!

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

Friday, October 21, 2011

Between the Sea and Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore

Dosinia and Esmerine are sisters and sirens - the highest calling a mermaid can have. Life under the sea is carefree and fun. Dosinia, however, longs for something more, and one day disappears to the lands above. Esmerine has been warned of the evils humans do to to her kind all her life, but still feels she must go rescue her sister. Once on land, she finds her childhood friend Alandare, an angel who used to read to her when she was little, and asks for his help in finding Dosinia. As Esmerine navigates the sometimes beautiful, sometime ugly land of humans, she and Alandare rediscover their friendship from before.

Yummy, a mermaid book! Followers of this blog will know these are near and dear to my heart. Jaclyn Dolamore wrote such an awesome book with Magic Under Glass that I may have had really high hopes for this second novel. This effort by Dolamore was not nearly what I had hoped it would be. The action was very slow. Most disappointing of all was finding the life of the mermaids to be plain and boring. Stuffy, upper-crust. I would long for something else, too! The other element I felt took away from my enjoyment was the preachy feel of the "message" of the book. It wasn't all bad, though. There were many good things as well. The clash of mermaids and angels was utterly tantalizing. Esmerine was a brave heroine and I found myself looking up to her goodwill and courage in venturing out on her own. Alan is super sweet and romantic, too. When all is said and done, this is a fun fish-out-of-water story and a great addition for mermaid story collectors.

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday 10/19/11


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; flamingos 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.

This book sounds so tantalizing and sweet. Like it will make me clutch it to my chest with a smile on my face and the hint of a tear in my eye. Debut novelist Wendy Wunder looks like she might have a winner on her hands with this one, and I intend to read it right away!

Release Date: December 8, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fear Street Flashback (22)

Why? Because FEAR STREET was like, my favorite series growing up.

Originally released in March, 1990 and January, 1995.

Wrong Number is one of the older Fear Street books, back when this series was still getting off it's feet. And while it is not my favorite story, there are many things about it I like a lot. Such as the fact that Deena and Jade do a lot of their own investigating when things start to get a little scary for them. I also like how the Shadyside Police Detectives are so involved in the book. Those guys make small appearances throughout the series as a whole, but this book really gets the police in the heart of the murder investigation. Much more true to real life!

I definitely want to mention the difference in appearance of the Jade and Deena models on the book covers. Wrong Number 2 is a much more updated look, no? This follow-up story, which takes place one year after the first, is much faster in pace and significantly higher in intensity. I appreciated that the action started right away and there wasn't much in the way of back exposition. And this story took place over the course of a few days, rather than the weeks in the first story. Kept the pace moving quickly! I was a little confused at the change of personality in Jade, but it wasn't so bad. Oh, and the detectives from the first book completely disappear from this one, in case you were wondering. A fun story, but glad there is only two books in the series.

Fear Rating: 1 out of 3 Screams

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday 10/12/11


Claire Laurent's greatest aspiration is to paint something that will bring her acclaim. Yet her father insists she work as a copyist. A forger. When she's forced to flee her home, her path collides with attorney Sutton Monroe, who shows her kindness by not turning her in to authorities. But when he later refuses to come to her aid, Claire fears she's sorely misjudged him. Finding herself among the elite of Nashville society, Claire believes her dream of creating a lasting impression in the world of art is within reach—but only if her past remains hidden.The Federal Army destroyed Sutton's home, confiscated his land, and threatens to destroy his family's honor. His determination to reclaim what belongs to him reveals a truth that may cost him more than he ever imagined—as well as the woman he loves.Set at Nashville's historic Belmont Mansion, a stunning antebellum manor built by Adelicia Acklen, A Lasting Impression is a sweeping love story about a nation mending after war, the redemption of those wounded, and the courage of a man and woman to see themselves—and each other—for who they really are.

I admit I have only read one of Tamera Alexanders books, but it was SO good. Good enough to make me go out and buy every other book she has ever written. Just haven't gotten around to reading them yet. This new start to a series looks fantastic, though, and I am looking forward to adding it to my author collection!

Release Date: November 1, 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

Eve by Anna Carey

Eve is finishing up the final days of her last year at the School before going off to learn a trade and become a useful member of society in the City of Sand. But then she gets a dark warning from one of the other students, and witnesses horrible things happening to former graduates. This changes the course of Eve's life, as she manages to escape the School and her terrible fate. However, living outside the walls of her confined world is not going to be easy. She's heard the stories about wild beasts, boys, and untamed humans that will kill her without a moments hesitation. With the King hot on her heels, Eve will only have herself and the help of a couple kindred outlaws to survive.

The story of Eve is by now a rather familiar one: being on the cusp of adulthood, living in a sheltered bubble, and then finding out everything she has been taught her entire life is wrong. But despite the many similarities between this and other recent YA post-apocalyptic stories, I still enjoyed it a great deal. I think there will always be something attractive about the idea of escaping your doomed fate. Eve's character is almost painfully naive and innocent in the beginning, but when she is out on her own, she grows up so fast that by the time I had caught up with the changes, I was pleased to see she had become wiser to the world around her. The secondary characters of Arden and Caleb were strong as well, which I totally appreciated. If it weren't for Arden having such a hard head and soft heart, I might not have liked Eve as much as I did. There are a bunch of twists throughout the book too, that keep it moving at a fast pace. And though none of these twists come at much of a surprise, the story was entertaining and worth the read.

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

Friday, October 7, 2011

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

Hannah is a grown woman living in a society where crimes are punishable by discoloration of the skin. They are referred to as Chromes, and after being convicted of murdering her unborn child, Hannah wakes up to find herself bright red. She anticipated that her life would change, but she could never have seen just how hard living as a Chrome would become. Enemies can be disguised as friends. Trust is a commodity. But Hannah finds a kindred soul in Kayla, another Red, and together these two women set out through dark times to save themselves and each other.

I tore through this book at breakneck speed. The first chapter left me breathless and there was no turning back from there. Every time I had to put down the book and step away, my mind couldn't stop lingering on Hannah's story and craving more. This novel is a very scary vision of society's future, both dark and eerily plausible. I felt Hannah's struggles keenly, and didn't want to trust the people she met, even when she did. Hillary Jordan fills her characters with heart-breaking dialog and gut-wrenching descriptions. I really liked that everyone had their own personal story of difficult decisions, always lurking just below the surface until spoken out loud. There were a few questions that lingered in my mind, like whatever became of Hannah's sister? But Jordan has made me think about ugly and beautiful things, and I will not soon forget this incredible read.

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday 10/5/11

TOUCH OF POWER by Maria V. Snyder

Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan assumes their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Territories, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.

Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince—leader of a campaign against her people. As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because the price of peace may well be her life....

HUGE fan of Maria V. Snyder, so there is no doubt in my mind that this is going to be another gem! The cover looks a little cheesy, but I trust in Maria V. Snyder's power of world-building to make this beginning of a series worth my time and enjoyment.

Release Date: December 20, 2011

Monday, October 3, 2011

Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver

Liesl has been locked in the attic for many months now, ever since her father passed away and she fell into the care of her heartless stepmother. It is a quiet and lonely existence, so when a ghost named Po shows up one day, she welcomes the company. Across town, a young boy named Will routinely carries out errands for his employer, an Alchemist with his sights on creating the most powerful magic in all the land. When Will makes a terrible mistake during a delivery one night, the consequences set he and Liesl off on separate paths away from their jailers. And yet before they know it, their journeys come together for a common purpose.

What fun! The characters of Liesl, Po, Will, and the Guard with Lefty were all so endearing and sweet. The action started right from the start and didn't let up until the very end. There is a lot of sadness in this book, with Liesl and Will living fairly hard and miserable lives, but I still think many readers will be able to identify with the sense of longing and adventure. The villains were simple in their motivations, wanting to destroy the children for their own fame and riches. Oliver has a beautiful, lyrical, story-telling style or writing that would lend itself well to being read out loud. And the end scene is completely worth the trouble for these poor kids (and ghosts)! This is the third book by Lauren Oliver and her first for middle grade readers. If I wasn't already a huge fan of her before, I certainly am now!

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Friday, September 30, 2011

Bound by Book-to-Movie Law: Something Borrowed

Book-to-Movie Law states that once you have read the book, you are bound by the media to go see the movie based on said book, and therefor compare to two.

I wanted to like this movie, because the book is one of my favorites (I've read it more than once!). But there was some seriously bad acting in this one that hindered my enjoyment. For real, can't they find better actors than Colin Egglesfield and Ginnifer Goodwin to play Dex and Rachel? Not only were they stiff and plain, but they didn't have any chemistry either. John Krasinski (from The Office) rocks the socks of this movie though, and made the character of Ethan into someone completely unlike how I imagined him to be in the book. He was cute and funny! not like Dex, who made me want to punch him. Kate Hudson was the perfect Darcy, playing from the original book quite well. Spotting author Emily Giffin, reading the book sequel on a bench in the park, was pretty silly, but I like that authors are getting the chance to cameo in their movies. It would be great if they made a movie out of Something Blue, if only to see how the actors do further along down the story road.

Bottom Line: I thought the movie was sweet and silly, but I am going to have to pick the book for this one.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday 9/28/11


Monday, September 26, 2011

The Kingdom of Childhood by Rebecca Coleman

Judy McFarland is a long-time teacher at the Waldorf school in Sylvania, Maryland, but lately her life has been pretty unhappy. Her husband doesn't have time for her, her children are distant and detached, and her closest friend and confidante recently passed away. So despite knowing that its wrong, when the opportunity to hook up with one of the older students at the school arises, she takes it. Zach is sixteen, with one foot firmly in adulthood and the other clinging to his youth. Being with Judy is intoxicating for him at first, but quickly turns sour as the pressure mounts to keep their affair a secret. And as the situation goes south, elements of Judy's dark past begin to come to the surface.

Be prepared to give this book some time - you will not want to put it down. I got sucked into this story from the very first chapter and could not let go. I was so taken with Rebecca Coleman that I went out and bought Coleman's first book, Desperado City, when I was barely half way through reading this one! I think the story of student and teacher will always carry some allure, whether it is from pure fantasy or full scandal. And indeed, some parts of this book made me feel ill, even when I knew there was no way I could turn away and stop reading. It was curious to see how Coleman switches from chapters from Judy's POV in the beginning, to weening towards chapters heavy on Zach's POV in the end. This worked out quite well, because by the time I was done judging Judy on her actions, I wanted to know more about how Zach was doing. Plus, I liked being kept in the dark about Judy, getting little pieces of her life deliberately revealed to me with painstaking care. I know that it will be a book that sticks with me in my thoughts for months to come.

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Friday, September 23, 2011

Shut Out by Kody Keplinger

"I know that most schools have rivalries with other schools, but that's not how it worked at Hamilton High." So says Lissa, who knows first hand how it works. The football and soccer teams have a long-running feud and she is dating Randy, the star quarterback. When the fighting begins to take time away from their relationship and turn ugly, kids get hurt. So Lissa calls all of the girlfriends into a plan of action - a sexual shut out. This might just work, too... if only Lissa could erase the memory of hot soccer player Cash Sterling.

I just love it when I read books that inspire me to read other books. It happens rarely, but was definitely the case with Shut Out. I dare you to read this book without wanting to read Atonement and Lysistrata afterwards! Readers will be rooting for the girls and their plan, not to mention Cash. He is seriously dreamy! By comparison I thought Lissa was a little high-strung. She really was no fun sometimes. And after the major twist in the middle of the book, I felt betrayed by her, as she was my guide through this story. All in all, this was a great second effort by Kody Keplinger. I was enamored with her after reading the DUFF, and was totally looking forward to reading more by her. Even with the soft plot and uneven characters, Shut Out had my full and complete attention until the end. Please give us more, Kody!

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday 9/21/11

BETWEEN THE SEA AND SKY by Jaclyn Dolamore

For as long as Esmerine can remember, she has longed to join her older sister, Dosinia, as a siren--the highest calling a mermaid can have. When Dosinia runs away to the mainland, Esmerine is sent to retrieve her. Using magic to transform her tail into legs, she makes her way unsteadily to the capital city. There she comes upon a friend she hasn't seen since childhood--a dashing young man named Alandare, who belongs to a winged race of people. As Esmerine and Alandare band together to search for Dosinia, they rekindle a friendship . . . and ignite the emotions for a love so great, it cannot be bound by sea, land, or air.

It's always a curious thing when angels mix with mermaids, but why not? This story sounds like it will have so many good things in it, and a fabulous love story to boot. I am looking forward to it!

Release Date: October 25, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

Triangles by Ellen Hopkins

Three women struggle to keep their family and sanity together when all they want to do is fall apart. Holly joins a writing group as a way to escape her rebelling daughter and a husband who is no longer fulfilling her needs. Marissa is dealing with a gay son, a daughter requiring extreme special care, and a husband who distances himself more with each passing day. Andrea is a single mother with not much on her plate except loneliness and watching her daughter Harley grow up too fast, but when her best friend's husband presents an alluring opportunity, she takes it. Whether they are family or friends, these women experience their lives shatter in both similar and different ways, and pull from themselves and each other as life continues to move on.

Whoo boy. Be warned: emotions run high in this book! Though the constant onslaught on heavy emotions weren't always happy, they did an amazing job in building desires and actions for the characters. With unhappiness running so rampant, the women will have a wide appeal to readers. The misery and longing to escape will resonate with audiences from all backgrounds, even if the situations do not. I typically stay far away from novels written in verse, but was strangely drawn to this book. Perhaps because it is a well-known YA writer's first venture into adult fiction. Whatever it was that made me pick up this book, I am very glad I did. There was a staggering amount of stunning beauty in the simple poems at the end of the chapters. And the sheer emotion almost tipped me over the edge a few times. I barely paused to look up from this book while reading it, and will definitely be picking up more from Ellen Hopkins.

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fear Street Flashback (21)

Why? Because FEAR STREET was like, my favorite series growing up.

Originally released in April, 1994.

This little addition to the Fear Street series was instantly one of my favorites. It was funny, not too spooky, and best of all, it was CLEVER. Bobby Newkirk is written way over the top as the all-knowing, conceited jerk. Which probably makes this a great book for teen girls with revenge-against-their-ex-boyfriends fantasies. Bree and Samantha Wade were total rock stars, with the tricks they pulled. And although I wasn't not sure what would happen until the very end, I knew it was going to be something big. What was also surprising about this title was how modern and simple the story was. There was no need to add chilly past history about creepy Fear Street characters. The Wade Twins had it covered themselves. I love this little Fear Street book!

Fear Rating: 3 out of 3 Screams

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday 9/14/11

FROST by Wendy Delsol

After the drama of finding out that she’s a Stork, a member of an ancient and mystical order of women, and that her boyfriend, Jack, is a descendent of the Winter People able to control the weather, Katla Leblanc is delighted when all signs point to a busy and peaceful Christmas. That is, until the snowstorm Jack summons as a gift to Katla turns into the storm of the century, attracting Brigid, a gorgeous scientist who, in turn, attracts Jack. Between the school play, a bedridden, pregnant mother’s to-do lists, and keeping an eye on her aging grandfather, Katla doesn’t have time to question Brigid’s motives or deal with Jack’s increasingly cold behavior. But Katla’s suspicions mount when Jack joins Brigid on a research expedition to Greenland, and when the two of them go missing, it becomes clear that Katla is the only one who can save her beloved Jack from the Snow Queen who holds him prisoner. Adventure, romance, and myth combine in this winter escapade for teens who like a bit of fire with their ice.

The first book Stork surprised me with it's very contemporary imagining of the stock mythos. It was pretty cool to think of an actual being deciding who gets to be pregnant. This follow-up sounds like it will be just as good!

Release Date: October 11, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Kieran and Waverly are the oldest children aboard the Empyrean, a ship bound for New Earth. Naturally, this makes them perfect for each other, and they have been a couple for as long as they can remember. But then another ship, the New Horizon, arrives unannounced, and splits Kieran and Waverly up. Waverly is taken aboard the New Horizon, where a corrupt woman foists her beliefs upon her crew. Kieran is left behind to clean up the mess on the Empyrean and compete with Seth, another boy with a large chip on his shoulder. They may be light years apart, but Kieran and Waverly need to find the strength within themselves to fight their way back to each other.

Ooh, this book was good. Right up there with Across the Universe and Inside Out good. And tense! The action was literally non-stop, keeping me glued to the pages and biting my nails. I was surprised by how much I could identify with both Kieran and Waverly's suffering. I thought for sure one story would be more interesting than the other, but it really wasn't the case at all. I was also impressed by the science that was rampant throughout the story. Sometimes it can be frustrating not to be given a little of the science behind what is happening, but Amy Kathleen Ryan steps up with spaceship technology without talking down to her reader. The same goes for twists and turns in the plot. Waverly and Kieran are both very trusting people, but at the same time seem to know exactly when they shouldn't trust someone. And though there's not a cliffhanger ending, readers will be left gasping for more!

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta

When a catastrophic event hits Earth and millions of people disappear without a trace, it seems the Rapture is more than a rumor. For those left behind, life is a struggle to rebuild. There's Kevin, a husband who's wife left him to join a silent cult movement with no clear purpose, and whose daughter is getting more distant by the day. There's Thomas, who drops out of college to follow religious cult leader Holy Wayne, until the day a mysterious girl shows up his doorstep. And there's Nora, who is just trying to find her way in a world of grief completely unfamiliar to her. As life moves on for these people and those around them, their paths cross in significantly small ways.

I consider myself to be a fan of Tom Perrotta. After reading Joe College while actually in college, I was bitten by the Perrotta bug and have been an avid reader and follower of him ever since. It seemed every book since that first taste has gotten better and better. This newest, however, left me feeling a little lost. Some parts were absolutely amazing and had all the qualities of great writing and deep characterization that I love about Perrotta. But the book never moved along at a steady pace, and each chapter needed too many pages to ramp up to the story for me to really feel like I was constantly involved. I did like how the individual stories subtly intersected with each other with little details that weren't quite made apparent until the next chapter. Perrotta obviously took great care to plot out the lives and happenings of these characters to make sure the plot was believable. The Leftovers was still a great read, but I prefer Perrotta's other books over this one.

Overall Rating: 3 Stars

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday 9/7/11


Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie?

The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the manners, mores, and fashions of an antique era. A teenager in high society, Nora Dearly is far more interested in military history and her country’s political unrest than in tea parties and debutante balls. But after her beloved parents die, Nora is left at the mercy of her domineering aunt, a social-climbing spendthrift who has squandered the family fortune, and now plans to marry her niece off for money. For Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses.

But fate is just getting started with Nora. Catapulted from her world of drawing-room civility, she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting “The Laz,” a fatal virus that raises the dead—and hell along with them. Hardly ideal circumstances. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and dead. But as is the case with the rest of his special undead unit, luck and modern science have enabled Bram to hold on to his mind, his manners, and his body parts. And when his bond of trust with Nora turns to tenderness, there’s no turning back. Eventually, they know, the disease will win, separating the star-crossed lovers forever. But until then, beating or not, their hearts will have what they desire.

There are no words that could adequately describe my excitement for this title. The beautiful cover, the steampunk, the victorian, the zombies... EVERYTHING. It's like the publishers are trying their hardest to make a book JUST FOR ME. And I approve!

Release Date: October 18, 2011

Monday, September 5, 2011

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

Ben is going through his mother's old belongings when a storm brews and lightning strikes the house. The force of the lightning goes through the phone he is holding against his ear, rendering him deaf. Instead of letting this setback in hearing bring him down, Ben decides that this is the perfect time for him to go to New York to try and find his father. Once there, he follows the tiny clues he has, until a chance encounter with a stranger from his past changes his life forever.

Selznick's first book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, is all but a common sight in middle grade schools. I was a little late reading it, thinking that all of the hype was just that, but when I did finally read it, I was completely blown away. The beauty of the drawings and timing in the pictures, mixed with the fascinating story of a boy and clockwork things was enough to keep me glued to the book. Now with Selznick's second book, I was hoping lightning would strike twice. Unfortunately, while the drawings and timing still had that "tear-through-the-book" quality, the story wasn't as interesting for me. There is a breakneck speed at which the plot unfolds, but I never really felt invested in the characters enough to care about what was happening to them. Readers will be captivated by the silent action that unfolds for a magical reunion, but I am hoping Selznick's next book packs a little more punch.

Overall Rating: 3 Stars

Friday, September 2, 2011

Dry As Rain by Gina Holmes

Eric and Kyra Yoshida are a recently separated couple when Kyra gets in a car accident and loses her memory. At first, Eric is hesitant to take care of Kyra, who does not seem to remember their marriage troubles. But then he realizes he has been given a rare second chance to make things right with his wife. With the constant possibility of Kyra's memory returning, however, Eric will need to reach deep within himself to reconcile their differences and make the wrongs he did right.

I loved Gina Holmes' first book Crossing Oceans, which made my heart swell and my eyes tear up. With Dry As Rain, I was excited to dive into another story of redemption and soul searching. Plus, it was interesting to read a male's perspective written by a woman author. It makes me wonder how close to this story the author really was. I thought Holmes wrote Eric in a rather rough manner, with the only soft edges being when it came to his wife. In fact, Eric does not seem to have many redeemable qualities at all and I felt myself pitying poor Kyra for staying with a total jerk. But perhaps that it what I like about reading Gina Holmes - she tells stories how they are, without apologizing for being ugly and unhappy. One thing is for sure: I will waiting with baited breath for her next book!

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday 8/31/11


A devastated Earth's last hope is found in Pearls: small, mysterious orbs that fall from space and are capable of supplying enough energy to power entire cities. Battling to control the Pearls are the Skyship dwellers—political dissidents who live in massive ships in the Earth's stratosphere—and the corrupt Surface government.

Jesse Fisher, a Skyship slacker, and Cassius Stevenson, a young Surface operative, cross paths when they both venture into forbidden territory in pursuit of Pearls. Their chance encounter triggers an unexpected reaction, endowing each boy with remarkable—and dangerous—abilities that their respective governments would stop at nothing to possess.

Enemies thrust together with a common goal, Jesse and Cassius make their way to the ruins of Seattle to uncover the truth about their new powers, the past they didn't know they shared, and a shocking secret about the Pearls.

I wasn't really interested in this book when I first saw it. But I have watched interest spread through the blogs and now I seriously can't wait to read it. Talk about word of mouth! And I do have to admit that the cover is super hot and alluring!

Release Date: September 8, 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011

After Obsession by Carrie Jones

Aimee begins noticing that her best friend Courtney is acting weirdly around the same time Courtney's cousin Alan comes to town. In fact, it's not just Courtney who's acting oddly. Aimee's boyfriend Blake is suddenly rude and angry at everything, a change that conveniently works in Aimee's favor, since the chemistry between her and Alan is sending sparks flying. As the creepy occurrences stack up (dark shadows in the shape of a man, knives spinning upright on their own) Aimee and Alan decide they need to fight whatever horrible thing is terrorizing their town and friends. But fighting an ancient evil is not going to be easy.

This book was spooky! I got the chills in a number of places, like I was watching some classic teen horror movie from the '90s. While I was careful to read this during daylight hours, I totally soaked up the romance between Aimee and Alan. When we first learn that Alan is into Indian Gods, I got nervous that he was going to be much too nerdy for me to like. But that was totally not the case, when he turned out to be super manly and romantic! I loved Carrie Jones' previous trilogy (Need, Captive, and Entice), which surprised me with it's addictive story line and generally cool characters. This book seems to be stand-alone, and while it didn't carry quite the same intrigue for me, it was still a great read.

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

Friday, August 26, 2011

Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson

Even though Alison is not like other sixteen-year-olds, she has learned to hide her differences in order to appear normal. This means keeping hidden the fact that she can taste words and see numbers as colors. But then an event occurs with a strong and immediate impact on Alison's life and world. She's not sure if she killed her classmate Tori, and the aftermath from that incident has landed her in a mental institution called Pine Hills. The other residents there are truly crazy, and her psychiatrist is untrustworthy. But how do you prove to others that you aren't crazy, when you aren't entirely sure you believe it yourself?

I was completely under Alison's spell from the very first chapter. Ultraviolet has one of the best looks into mental wards that I have seen in fiction in a long time. Alison had some fun superpowers- the colors were totally cool, but the other talents that manifested throughout the story were pretty impressive. I was nervous about getting to the end, having heard that the big reveal is a bit of a let down. But I honestly did not see that twist coming and enjoyed it all the more for the surprise. I found myself tearing through this book, not being able to turn away and needing to know what would become of Alison's fate. Anderson teases that she may write a companion novel to this story, and I sure hope she does!

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday 8/24/11

NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morganstern

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des RĂªves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

One word to be excited about this one: CIRCUS!! This book has been generating a ton of pre-release buzz, and I certainly hope it lives up to the hype. You can bet I will be the first in line to get a copy on its release day!!!

Release Date: September 13, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bridge to Neverland by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

Sarah and Aiden Cooper are playing around the house when Aiden accidentally opens a hidden compartment in an antique desk. Inside is an old, mysterious message, and the two quickly decide to follow it and see where it leads. They track leads from Pennsylvania, all the way to London (due to a convenient family trip), then back again through multiple states. But with every mystery they solve, a dark force is gaining strength and chasing their trail behind them.

I read the previous four Starcatchers books, and they were just okay. The series had an awesome premise that I was totally drawn to, especially since it related to Peter Pan. But I felt a lot of the books were drawn out too long. There was plenty of action, sure, just not enough interesting story to keep me glued to my seat. With The Bridge to Never Land, I was hooked from the first chapter. The series became self referential and mentioned the previous books by name! How cool is that?? I enjoyed this story much more, perhaps because it took place in modern times, with easily recognized technology and places (Disney World!). Ombra was also better in this book than in previous ones, with his control over Raven's being honestly spooky! I am not sure I agreed with the authors that Sarah was seventeen - she acted much younger. And then the reader is asked to pretty strongly suspend their disbelief towards the end. But these little missteps are largely over shadowed by the fun and action of the rest of the story. Definitely the best book in the Starcatchers series - and would be a great tie-in to the Kingdom Keepers!

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Undrowned Child by Michelle Lovric

Teodora is certain about two things in her life: the first that she is adopted, and the second that she belongs in Venice. Hanging out at the old bookstore all day is the perfect life for Teo. That is, until a mysterious book falls onto her head and knocks her unconscious. The book is titled The Key to the Secret City, and suddenly Teo's life will never be the same again. There is more to Venice than meets the eye, and Teo and her friend Renzo are about to see it all firsthand. Plus, something evil lurks beneath the murky waters of the great floating city, and it has plans to destroy everything in its way.

I have to start off mentioning how totally awesome Teo's paranormal power is in this book. Being able to see speech written in script above the speaker's head is the best power EVER. it made me wonder what font my voice would be? It was a totally cool idea. I am also a long time fan of Michelle Lovric. She writes beautiful books about Venice, yes, but she also tends to writes stories that involve powerful books. Books about books. And mermaids. Seriously, does it get any better than this? The mermaids in this story were so awesome. Their dialect was funny and smart and entirely unique. And that's another thing that keeps me coming back to Lovric's books. Her writing style is gorgeous. She can create atmosphere with ease and every single word on the page seems to serve a very specific purpose in her dialog and description. The last thing I will mention is that I think the UK cover for this book is much more inviting and pretty than the US cover. This US cover looks almost frightening. Regardless, I am looking forward to diving into the sequel, called The Mourning Emporium!

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday 8/17/11


The most tragic love story in history . . .

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

Romeo and Juliet really does feel like a tale that has been told a million times over. But this new paranormal twist sounds like just the right boost this tale needs to make it fresh again! Plus I love the mopey girl on the cover.

Release Date: August 9, 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan

Rose is only sixteen when she is awakened from stasis, but it is over sixty years after she was first put to sleep in the tube. Adjusting to life in the future would be a lot harder, but luckily Rose is heir to a huge corporation, which has taken care of all her needs upon waking up. She quickly starts back at High School and joins an eclectic group of friends. Among them is Bren, a handsome boy whose friendship makes Rose pine for her old (and long dead) boyfriend Xavier. But there is something else from Rose's past that has been awakened, and it is not entirely friendly.

Sleeping Beauty with robots. I totally did not expect the completely futuristic sci-fi side to this story, but it was worked pretty well. Anna Sheehan really thought through how she wanted to re-tell her fairy tale and her execution was thorough. But where I thought the dystopian future was pretty neat in the beginning, the language and world quickly became tedious to follow. Maybe it was because Rose is a fairly shallow character, thinking only of herself and whining when little annoyances happen to her. She just doesn't seem like a strong or brave character. Otto the alien was a little weird to get used to. If he can communicate with people's minds, why spend most of the book instant messaging? The further I got into this story, the more I wanted clarification on certain elements of the lifestyle and story, and my questions were never answered. Even the flashbacks to Rose and Xavier felt rather dull and insignificant. A great premise and neat idea for the future, but this book could have used a little more time in stasis.

Overall Rating: 3 Stars

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fear Street Flashback (20)

Why? Because FEAR STREET was like, my favorite series growing up.

Originally released in August, September, and October, 1996.

The First Scream: I remember my initial excitement and anticipation for this trilogy when it originally came out. Finally, my favorite author was going to tap into one of my favorite topics - amusement parks! And what can be creepier than rides and clowns? Stine did an amazing job inserting a theme park into the Fear Street world. I was surprised that a good two thirds of the story revolved around characters completely unrelated to the characters named on the back synopsis, but when it came together at the end, I was totally hooked! I almost wish there was some purple smoke represented on the covers...

The Loudest Scream: This was an excellent middle book for this trilogy. It spent time building tragedies in the wake of the end of the first book. We get to see more of Robin Fear motives and evil plan, as he wreaks terror on the poor, unsuspecting employees of Fear Park. And we also meet Jared, though why we didn't see him at all in the first book is a little too convenient. Like creating a character that wasn't really there before. But all of that aside and this is a great second book! I love the carnival rides and how Mr. Stine cooks up ways to make them scary!

The Last Scream: The least strongest section of the trilogy, this last book wraps things up for Fear Park. It does have a great twist ending, one that I don't think any reader will see coming. But it also leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Such as the fate of the Park and Dierdre's father. And this book didn't have as many horrible amusement park related deaths. Otherwise, it did have some great character development, and as I mentioned before, was a perfect ending to this saga!

Fear Rating: 3 out of 3 Screams