Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday 6/30/10


Phoebe finds herself drawn to Mallory, the strange and secretive new kid in school, and the two girls become as close as sisters . . . until Mallory's magnetic older brother, Ryland, shows up during their junior year. Ryland has an immediate, exciting hold on Phoebe, but a dangerous hold, for she begins to question her feelings about her best friend and, worse, about herself. Soon she'll discover the shocking truth about Ryland and Mallory: that these two are visitors from the faerie realm who have come to collect on an age-old debt. Generations ago, the faerie queen promised Pheobe's ancestor five extraordinary sons in exchange for the sacrifice of one ordinary female heir. But in hundreds of years there hasn't been a single ordinary girl in the family, and now the faeries are dying. Could Phoebe be the first ordinary one? Could she save the faeries, or is she special enough to save herself?

I totally fell in love with Nancy Werlin for her book Impossible but haven't read anything since. I think I will wait for this one to come out and see if I like it just as much before I dive into her backlist.

Release Date: September 7th, 2010

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

(Warning: spoilers if you haven't read book 1) It stills feels like yesterday when Meghan Chase went to the Nevernever in search of her missing brother and wound up meeting Ash, the youngest Winter Prince. When book two of the Iron Fey opens, Meghan is still the possession of Mab, the Winter Queen. However, when the Scepter of the Seasons is stolen, Meghan ends up breaking out and going after it. The mission, of course, is anything but easy, and everyone she knows and loves will be tested to their limits in order to bring the chaos to an end.

After reading the second book in this series, I am conflicted. It is certainly not my favorite paranormal YA series out there today, but it continues to suck me into the plot and makes me want the next book. What I do like is Julie Kagawa's voice and writing style, perhaps that is the key to keeping my attention. Quite frankly, I have to wonder what Meghan and Ash see in each other. They switch so quickly between pushing away and professing their undying love... pick one already! I was also struck by just how mean those Winter Court fey were. So cruel, especially towards half-breeds! I liked the way Leanansidhe spoke. Her dialog was fun to read, and I could hear her refined voice in my head as I read along. The Briars were perhaps my favorite part of the book, with hold-my-breath-until-the-next-page, totally scary and tense scenes. And as I mentioned, I am absolutely going to get the third book to see what finally comes of all of this Iron Fey madness!

Don't forget to check out the free eBook Winter's Passage (An Iron Fey novella)

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

Friday, June 25, 2010

Doctor in Petticoats by Mary Connealy

When Beth McCellen first meets Alex Buchanan, it is anything but love at first sight. The two of them narrowly escape a coach accident, and while helping those who were injured, realize they are both doctors. As important saving people is to Beth, she knows this means she will miss seeing her sister Mandy off with her new husband, Sidney. Mandy, meanwhile, does not take long to discover her married life is not exactly what she thought it would be. With the aid of Belle Harding (familiar, anyone?), Mandy finds the strength to seek the truth and follow her heart. And through the strength they arouse in each other, Beth and Alex come to chase away the ghosts of the past and create a bright future of helping people together.

Those of you that follow this blog will know that I am a fan of Mary Connealy. So it should not be a surprise that I totally liked this book. In fact, it may be my favorite story from Connealy yet! With the family I fell in with from Petticoat Ranch, this new series gives the reader another chance to get to know Sophie's daughters more deeply. Beth is an inspiring, strong, career minded woman. I loved reading about the patients and the sophisticated doctoring Beth and Alex could do, even in 1879. I wasn't sure my stomach was going to be strong enough in some places! A few scenes had absolutely hilarious dialog that I would be awesome to see on the big screen in a movie adaptation of this book. On a last note, I was totally into the simultaneous stories of Beth and Mandy, and couldn't wait to get updates on each. Sometimes when an author writes in this style, one story can stand out more than the other, but Connealy pulls it off with flying colors.

A great start to a new series, and I am highly anticipating Wrangler in Petticoats, coming out in the fall!

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday 6/23/10

THE TWIN'S DAUGHTER by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Lucy Sexton is stunned when a disheveled woman appears at the door one day…a woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to Lucy's own beautiful mother. It turns out the two women are identical twins, separated at birth, and raised in dramatically different circumstances. Lucy's mother quickly resolves to give her less fortunate sister the kind of life she has never known. And the transformation in Aunt Helen is indeed remarkable. But when Helen begins to imitate her sister in every way, even Lucy isn't sure at times which twin is which. Can Helen really be trusted, or does her sweet face mask a chilling agenda?

Filled with shocking twists and turns, THE TWIN'S DAUGHTER is an engrossing gothic novel of betrayal, jealousy, and treacherous secrets that will keep you guessing to the very end.

I am excited for this one, because I read Lauren's Crazy Beautiful (reviewed here) and totally loved it. Will have to see if her style holds up!

Release Date: August 31st, 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010

Colors of Covers Part 1

Today's thoughts come in the form of black, white, and red. I have been seeing a lot of this palette lately, and thought I would post some of my faves.

Has anyone seen any others out there? What are your thoughts?

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno by Ellen Bryson

When we first meet Bartholomew Fortuno, he is looking down at a mysterious new arrival to the Barnum's American Museum. Nobody knows who she is or where she comes from, but Barnum is going to great lengths to hide her presence until it is time for her debut. When it comes, it shakes up many of the lives within the Museum, for the new woman is Iell, a beautiful bearded lady. No stranger to curiosities of nature (Bartholomew is the World's Thinnest Man) he takes instantly to the exotic allure of Iell, who turns his world upside down. When the Museum begins to suffer small acts of vandalism, everyone is a suspect. Bartholomew must rely on his instincts to sort through the secrets and temptations, and will end up learning about himself along the way.

Those who know me will tell you that few literary topics please me more than circus stories, so it will certainly not be surprising to them that I was completely absorbed in Bartholomew's story. My favorite part of this book was how utterly atmospheric is was. Bryson captured nineteenth century New York City and circus life beautifully. I loved the glimpse into the social life and living style of Barnum's circus sideshow acts. Bartholomew is sometimes philosophical, sometimes naive man, and it was frustrating for me to be stuck with only what he knew. I wanted to get inside the heads of other characters! The mystery of Iell and added trouble of Mrs. Barnum kept me turning pages late into the night. The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno was a very pleasurable read that is sure to appeal to fans of Water for Elephants.

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday 6/16/10

HALF UPON A TIME by James Riley

Life's no fairy tale for Jack. After all, his father's been missing ever since that incident with the beanstalk and the giant, and his grandfather keeps pushing him to get out and find a princess to rescue. Who'd want to rescue a snobby, entitled princess anyway? Especially one that falls out of the sky wearing a shirt that says "Punk Princess," and still denies she's royalty. In fact, May doesn't even believe in magic. Yeah, what's that about? May does need help though—a huntsman is chasing her, her grandmother has been kidnapped, and Jack thinks it's all because of the Wicked Queen . . . mostly because May's grandmother might just be the long-lost Snow White. Jack and May's thrillingly hilarious adventure combines all the classic stories—fractured as a broken magic mirror—into one epic novel for the ages.

It's not often we get re-tellings of Jack and the Beanstalk, even though I just read The World Above (and loved it!), so I am totally interested in this cute younger reader version. It sounds so spunky!

Release Date: September 7th, 2010

Monday, June 14, 2010

Books to Pine For, June 2010

A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman
Amy Inspired Bethany Pierce

The Crimson Cipher by Susan Page Davis
The Air We Breathe by Christa Parrish

Touching the Clouds by Bonnie Leon
Love Finds You In Calico, California by Elizabeth Ludwig

Friday, June 11, 2010

Fear Street Flashback (4)

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

Originally released in May, 1991.

In honor of the start of summer! I really like that Simon Fear plays such a large role in this story. The Fear family legacy is one of the more interesting parts of the entire Fear Street series, so I like it when various family members pop up in single stories here and there.

The idea of the party summer is one I think every teenager can identify with: blue skies, empty beach, all the time in the world. So with that in mind, Party Summer is a timeless tale. The book's not really scary, unless you find the idea of ghosts and mental illness terrifying. And most of all, I liked that (spoiler alert!!!) no one dies. It's probably a lot harder to write a horror story where no one gets killed, but RL Stine does a fine job.

So read up, and let the summer parties begin!

Fear Rating: 2 out of 3 Screams

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday 6/9/10

TORMENT by Lauren Kate

How many lives do you need to live before you find someone worth dying for? In the aftermath of what happened at Sword & Cross, Luce has been hidden away by her cursed angelic boyfriend, Daniel, in a new school filled with Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and humans. Daniel promises she will be safe here, protected from those who would kill her. At the school Luce discovers what the Shadows that have followed her all her life mean - and how to manipulate them to see into her other lives. Yet the more Luce learns about herself, the more she realizes that the past is her only key to unlocking her future...and that Daniel hasn't told her everything. What if his version of the past isn't actually the way things happened...what if Luce was really meant to be with someone else?

Still can't believe I have to wait until September to read this one. I LOVED Fallen, the first book, thought is was one of the better angel paranormal teen books out there. Reviewed here. Must. Read. Torment.

Release Date: September 28, 2010

Monday, June 7, 2010

Nomansland by Lesley Hauge

Keller is training to be a Tracker, those who patrol the outer ridges of Foundland for the enemy. In this case, the enemy is Men. Keller lives in a society of only women, hard work, and survival. No one is permitted to have fancy first names, and all must avoid the Seven Pitfalls (much like the seven deadly sins) if they do not want to be punished. It is a dreary, boring life, but it is all Keller knows. Until one night, when fellow Patrol member Laing takes her to a hidden underground house from the Time Before, and it is filled with colorful magazines of women and men wearing and doing things Keller has never seen before. Suddenly everything Keller knows about life is tipped upside down, and she must quickly find the strength to carry on with or without the answers she seeks.

I thought Nomansland was fascinating dystopian YA lit. Lesley Huage portrayed a bleak, grim picture of a possible future - one not only without men, but also without so many material things to keep people happy. I was surprised at how seriously this book took itself, keeping with the strong biblical references to Eve and the snake. I am also always surprised at how strict the rules are in these imagined dystopian communities. So harsh! Keller's character is deep and incredibly well written. She goes from being completely compliant of her place in life, to thinking on her own and making her own wise decisions. I kept trying to imagine myself in Keller's position and wondered if I could have been as strong as she was. Hauge has written a fantastic book for teen girls to read and share with each other. I will be keeping my eyes peeled for more from this author!

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Friday, June 4, 2010

Fat Vampire by Adam Rex

Doug is a fifteen year old vampire. The details of the night he was turned are still fuzzy, but he and his best friend Jay are convinced that reading Dracula is the best way to learn about his vampirism. When that turns out not to be enough, Doug is stoked to hear from the local head vampire and is issued a vampire tutor. This is all fine and dandy, of course, but Doug still has to deal with all of the regular trials of high school. He is a major dork, and now that he is a vampire, all hope of turning into something cool is gone. On top of that, there's a new foreign student named Sejal, and Doug is in love. All of a sudden, Doug's life is full of things he never thought possible before!

I totally fell in love with the cover of this book before I even knew what the story was about- a great visual! First and foremost, Fat Vampire is absolutely hilarious. Adam Rex is a very funny writer, and he writes some very funny dialog. I had to read some sentences out loud simply because I had to hear the awesomeness spoken into the air. This is a really cute take on the whole teen vampire trend right now. Some scenes hit specifically close to home for me, especially when Doug and Jay were at Comic-Con in San Diego. So true! My only real complaint is that Doug doesn't really change at all as a character. He starts off as kind of a jerk and at the end of the book he is still kind of a jerk. But the scenes that made me laugh out loud were totally worth it. Another great pick for the reluctant male reader! I'll be looking for more from Adam Rex in the future.

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday 6/2/10

THE FIRE LORD'S LOVER by Kathryne Kennedy

Fighting for control of a kingdom that is split into seven domains, Elven warlords use their human slaves to breed an endless supply of soldiers for their armies. Dominic Raikes, the half-blood son of the Elven Lord himself is one such warrior. Betrothed to Lady Cassandra, who has been raised in a convent to keep her pure, he little suspects that she's been secretly trained as an assassin to murder his father…and him. Dominic and Cassandra soon discover that each one is not what they seem, but the price of trust may be their very lives, and the destruction of the magical realm each is desperately trying to save…

I totally loved Kennedy's Relics of Merlin series, and have been aching to read more from her ever since. I have not yet read My Unfair Lady (published late last year) but I think I may read this one first. Can't wait, even if the guy on the front looks like a girl I went to high school with...

Release Date: July 6, 2010

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

Annie is wrapping up an open house when she is abducted. Thrown into a van and taken to a strange cabin in the woods somewhere, she doesn't know where she is or anything about the man who is holding her captive. What she does know is that she must stay alive as long as possible in order for police to find her. A year later she survives, but only through a strength she wasn't sure she possessed. Told through sessions with her psychiatrist, Annie will relive that terrible time in her life. And with the help of a handsome detective, will figure out why and how this happened to her.

WOW is this book ever disturbing. I sometimes wonder about the mental health of the authors who write books like these- seriously, how could someone normal come up with such vile situations? Horrible images aside, however, and this book was incredible. The first half of the book is Annie talking about her time with The Freak, the man who abducted her. This was by far the hardest part of the book to read. I had to physically put the book down and walk away after each chapter. Go listen to a happy song or something just so I could go right back to the book and dive into the terror again. But the second part of the book was much better, as Annie is safe and learning to cope in the real world again. Chevy Stevens is an amazing writer, and her decision to tell the story through Annie's psychiatrist sessions couldn't have worked better. I found myself getting mad at Annie when she was weak, and cheering her on when she was strong. Unfortunately, when the big reveal at the end was finally unleashed, I felt it was slightly anti-climactic. Compared to all of the guesses I had in my head, the actually ending was not nearly as powerful. But the end certainly did not take away from the rest of the book.

Stevens is currently working on her next book, but Still Missing is one I will not soon forget.

Overall Rating: 5 Stars