Friday, June 29, 2012

Burning Emerald by Jaime Reed

I'm not really sure how to go about reviewing this book. I was able to get into the first book, Living Violet, easily enough. It had a great female character with Samara, and a smoldering guy love interest with Caleb. But it also deals with demons living inside you. One of those paranormal elements that I just don't enjoy, no matter what the story is. However, I was still interested enough to want to read the second book in the Cambion Chronicles. The first book finishes with such a wide-open ending and I was desperate to see what would happen to Sam next.

Unfortunately, Burning Emerald wasn't as good as the first book. It was still very interesting in a few places, such as those scenes where Sam and Caleb are together and reveling in their love, but for the most part I thought it was way too over the top. Again, this is just my personal tastes, but I don't find pleasure in reading about demons inhabiting bodies, or any other incubus-type beings. I just don't find them very alluring or attractive.

Bonus points for Jaime Reed's writing. Sam is a totally geeky female character, who works at a bookstore (although we see less of this in Burning Emerald) and knows all sorts of nerdy pop-culture references. Her dialog sounds the same across all of the characters though, making me quickly bored with the banter.

After this second book, I will not be checking out the third in the series, Fading Amber. But if you're one of those girls that likes Demons in your beautiful men, be sure to include this series in your reading list!

Overall Rating: 3 Stars

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday 6/27/12

ENSHADOWED by Kelly Creagh

While Varen remains a prisoner in a perilous dream world where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life, Isobel travels to Baltimore to confront the dark figure known throughout the world as the Poe Toaster. This man, the same man who once appeared to Isobel in her dreams and abandoned her in Varen’s nightmare world, holds the key to saving Varen.

But when Isobel discovers a way to return to this dream world, she finds herself swept up in a realm that not only holds remnants of Edgar Allan Poe’s presence, but has also now taken on the characteristics of Varen’s innermost self. It is a dark world of fear, terror, and anger.

Varen is changed. And now Isobel must face a new adversary—one who also happens to be her greatest love.

I must be in a brooding mood this month, because here is another dark title that I am looking forward to. I must admit that I have not yet read the first book, but the plot of this next one makes me want to read the first story even more.  I will definitely need to reserve some time to get into this world!

Release Date: August 28, 2012

Monday, June 25, 2012

Underwater This Summer

Nothing gets me excited for new book releases that compiling all of the new mermaid stories together. These are a few of the titles I am very excited to pick up this summer!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Inspired to Art (6)

Because I've found myself reading so much Geronimo Stilton lately, I have been inspired to make some Stilton-related artwork. Or more accurately, have been inspired to lead others in some Stilton world art. Fans of Geronimo will know and recognize the many maps throughout the books. They are one of my favorite bits to this series. Not only do they teach map-reading skills, but they also spark imaginations to visualize worlds that are not their own. Here are some samples from the books.

My buddy Owen created this masterpiece.
 He came up with his own title for the land (Cat Scratch Island) and then planned out different places on that island. The names are on the left side of the map, and you can connect them to their various locations. A lot of fun to think about and draw up!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday 6/20/12

STARLING by Leslie Livingston

Mason Starling is a champion fencer for Gosforth Academy, but she’s never had to fight for her life. Until now. When a ferocious storm rips through Manhattan and unleashes terrifying creatures onto Gosforth’s campus, Mason barely escapes alive. Without help from the mysterious stranger who appeared in the midst of the storm, she might not have made it at all. But now, in the aftermath, Mason’s life begins to spin dramatically, mystically out of control, and the only one who seems able to help her is the stranger who can remember nothing but his name: Fennrys Wolf.

As Mason and Fenn uncover more about Fenn’s past and the strange events that surround them, they realize that Mason’s family — and its dark allegiance to the ancient Norse gods — is at the center of everything. A predetermined fate seems to be closing in on Mason, but is it possible to change one’s destiny?

If I thought Livingston's Wondorous Strange series was powerful, this plot sounds like it sure packs a punch! Or maybe it is the dark, misty, brooding cover art that give me slight shivers up my spine. Whatever it is, I am sure looking forward to getting my hands on this book!

Release Date: August 15, 2012

Monday, June 18, 2012

Fear Street Flashback (29)

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

Originally released in June, 1995.

Ooh, I like this book. Before it was so popular for boys to be werewolves, and girls wanted to date werewolf boys, there was Danielle.  A poor girl with a great voice and a weird feeling that something not good was happening to her. The plot is great in the book, but the best part is the lyrics interspersed throughout the action. They are sure to inspire any teens reading the story to write their own! There was a strong absence of parents in the book, but I enjoyed Danielle's psychologist visits. That dude was seriously creepy! Between being in a traveling band and having guys fall all over Danielle, I would categorize Bad Moonlight as more of a fantasy than a horror story. There really wasn't much to be scared about. The ending is full of twists you won't see coming. And that's okay with me! Bad Moonlight is a great addition to the Fear Street collection.

Fear Rating: 3 out of 3 Screams

Friday, June 15, 2012

Fictional Recipes (4)

Owen came up to me the other morning and asked how Cheesy Chews are made. He's been reading a lot of Geronimo Stilton books lately, and Chocolate Cheesy Chews are Geronim's favorite tasty treat. I got to work right away in thinking up a recipe. It was not hard to find something that was quick and easy to make. These are the three simple ingredients I used. Basically, I made little slices of cheese (extra cheesy!) quesadilla, then added a chocolate chip on top. The chocolate got all warm and soft, and was just the right amount of sweet to add to an otherwise salty snack. No unhealthy, and Owen loved them!!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday 6/13/12


In an alternate London where magical creatures are preserved in a museum, two teens find themselves caught in a web of intrigue, deception, and danger.

Vespa Nyx wants nothing more than to spend the rest of her life cataloging Unnatural creatures in her father’s museum, but as she gets older, the requirement to become a lady and find a husband is looming large. Syrus Reed’s Tinker family has always served and revered the Unnaturals from afar, but when his family is captured to be refinery slaves, he finds that his fate may be bound up with Vespa’s—and with the Unnaturals.

As the danger grows, Vespa and Syrus find themselves in a tightening web of deception and intrigue. At stake may be the fate of New London—and the world.

*drool* Love the cover (especially her hair). Love the synopsis. A little nervous about the character of Syrus, but have high hopes nonetheless. If this book isn't preachy, like I fear, than I think it will be a very enjoyable read!

Release Date: August 14, 2012

Monday, June 11, 2012

Bound By Book-To-Movie Law: The Help

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.

What I like about the book was that it was told from the maids POV, giving the story that little something extra. The dialect also made me slow down while reading, which I think made for a more purposeful story. One that made me think hard about society, and feel every emotion from Minny and Aibileen. The movie has narration, but misses out on this additional bit of deeper personality. Skeeter was a fantastic character to translate to the big screen, but not as much fun as the bitchy white women. They are not nice people, which I'm sure was a trickier role to portray. What the book was lacking though, was the vivid, extravagant clothing of the times. Something only a movie can get exactly right. The cars, the clothes, the home accessories... they were so awesome to see. I'm afraid to say that I would love to wear those dresses today!

Bottom Line: Tough call, but I am going to say the book was better. Harder to get through, but more enriching in the end.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Books That Inspired Me to Read Other Books

Every now and then there comes along a book that makes a strong effort to mention another book in its plot.It will be more than just a passing mention one character makes to another. I mean that a book will be given powerful mention in the story. Like a character will be reading it, or multiple characters will reference it. Sometimes the plot of one book will be said to so closely resemble that of another, that I will be moved to check out the other book. Here are some of the books I have read that inspired me to read other books that I otherwise would not have picked up.

I read Rot & Ruin after reading rave reviews on it from Karin's Book Nook blog. She and I normally do not share tastes, but this one piqued my curiosity more than others she has reviewed. I LOVED it. But then I started hearing that the plot was very reminiscent of the YA classic The Giver. Though I wasn't really interested in the Giver, it was a short book, so I gave it a shot. I ended up reading it in one sitting, and then immediately passed it to a friend to read. I highly recommend both of these books!

Another book was King Dork by Frank Portman. Tom Henderson is a character very similar to Holden Caufield, but that is not what makes this book so extraordinary. I LOVE the cover of King Dork. How it is a scratched, used copy of what appears to be the Catcher in the Rye. If the cover doesn't make it obvious, the plot certainly helps to cement the idea that Frank Portman wants the reader to experience both books simultaneously. Which is what I did, sort of. I read Catcher in the Rye promptly after finishing King Dork. And I think it made me appreciate the classic more than I would have if I'd read it on it's own. Well done, Portman!

The next book is a little different. Jim Lynch's The Highest Tide is one of my favorite books. I loved how I felt the connection with the ocean just from reading the pages. Miles is a young adult who is very in-tune with the tide pools near his home. He catches sea food delicacies for restaurants. I feel in love with the descriptions of life teaming within the tide polls, and in one part, Miles mentions that he learned a lot from reading a book called The Erotic Ocean (out of print!). Contrary to what the title says, this is a dry book about ocean life, but I still found it to be very interesting.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday 6/6/12


When spirited sixteen-year-old Noli Braddock and her best friend Steven “V” Darrow take a flying car out for a joyride, neither expects Noli to be sent to reform school to mend her hoyden ways. While at the dreadful school, Noli’s innocent mid-summer’s eve wish summons Kevighn, a mysterious man who takes Noli with him to the Realm of Faerie. At first Noli believes she has been rescued. But the sinister reason behind the handsome huntsman’s appearance quickly become clear—he wants to use Noli as a blood sacrifice to restore his dying world. V, who has secrets of his own, shows up to help Noli escape and return to the mortal realm—but first, they must navigate the dangerous intrigues of the Otherworld.
If they are successful, Noli will live. But if Noli lives, the entire Otherworld civilization will die.

Besides the girl on the cover looking extremely ditzy and bored, this book screams for my attention.  I hoping it will be good. Like "Iron Thorn" good. Pretty high hopes, but very much looking forward to trying this author.

Release Date: August 8, 2012

Monday, June 4, 2012

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

This is a very good book. The world Peterfreund created was so futuristic that it had seemingly gone back in time. Elliot lives a simple life, almost Victorian in nature. There's a high society that employed a lower class of servants, each with their own rules and protocols to follow. Elliot (LOVE the boys name for a girl protagonist!) was a fabulous character. Head strong and wise beyond her years. I loved the letters with Kai that fell between chapters. The fact that they were out of chronological sequence made the rest of the story all that more intriguing. It was a brilliant way to divulge Elliot's past with Kai without getting too heavy on exposition. And though I didn't find myself falling in love with Kai as much as I had hoped I would, he was still a lovely gentleman to watch.

I was nervous that the cast system plot points would come off as preachy, but they didn't at all. I also noticed that the descriptions lacked in color. Nothing to describe clothes that were worn or the way a room looked. There were only a few small places where Peterfreund chose to describe something (like Ro's scarf) and I think the story suffered a little from the absence of colors.

As a last tidbit to note, I felt that the story had a very specific momentum and pacing to it. The kind where if I left the book for too long, I would lose interest. Luckily, I was able to read right through with minimal interruptions, which I think factored heavily into how much I liked this book. I've read Peterfreund's Rampant and Ascendant, both of which I also enjoyed, so I was very much looking forward to this sci-fi-with-a-twist novel. This is an author who has cemented her way into my list of authors that I will read everything they write.

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker

Wow, what a hard-hitting, edge-of-the-seat gripping novel.

The action jumps right in with Sherry and her confined, claustrophobic family. Bunker life has taken it's toll on everyone, and Sherry and her father venture out into the world to find more food. What they find, however, is devastation, destruction, and Weepers. Weepers are such a great name for zombie-like beasts! Once I got the description of nasty, gory ooze draining from their eyes, Weepers became a perfect name.

Joshua is a fabulous supporting character.  He is so kind to Sherry and her family. Yet also vicious and very angry at the world around him. A very true representation of how someone would act and feel in a situation such as this. I liked all of the residents of SafeHaven, really. There are the usual story conventions - the guy who has insider secrets about the virus, the caring mother figure, the young boy ready to be a soldier. I fell in love with them all felt invested in their survival. My only note of discontent is that the novel takes place in the once thriving metropolis of Los Angeles,  but doesn't show a single landmark or anything else to distinguish it. I think a post apocalyptic story like this would be better served in a nameless town, or less world-renowned city.

Susanne Winnacker's writing is easy to read and very cinematic. I could see the scenes vividly in my mind. If you are a fan of The Walking Dead, you will eat this book right up! I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel, The Life Beyond.

Overall Rating: 5 Stars