Friday, December 31, 2010

Fear Street Flashback (12)

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

Originally released in December, 1995.

Timely, no?

Hmm. The New Year's Party was a little disappointing, to come right out and say it. Perhaps because New Year's eve is so full of hope and promise of a new year that it really wasn't scary. Or more likely, there was simply no tie between the two stories in the book. They seemed forced together for the sake of making it work, without justifying why the characters were who they said they were or explaining the paranormal elements. There was a very slow build up to the actual party on New Year's eve. And then when everyone got there, it was all very short and jumped to the conclusion. Boo, Mr. Stine! The cover is one of the creepier ones in the whole Fear Street series. It would have been great to stay at Liz's party a little longer and look around her gloomy decoration theme. The final ending might surprise some readers, but all in all I think most will feel let down.

Fear Rating: 1 out of 3 Screams

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Best Books of 2010

It's that time of year when lots of lists are coming out, so I thought I would make a short one of my own. In no particular, below are ten of the most enjoyable books I read in 2010. How I wish I could discover these again for the first time!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday 12/29/10

A TOUCH MORTAL by Leah Clifford

Eden didn’t expect Az.

Not his saunter down the beach toward her. Not his unbelievable pick up line. Not the instant, undeniable connection. And not his wings.


So long happily-ever-after.

Now trapped between life and death, cursed to spread chaos with her every touch, Eden could be the key in the eternal struggle between heaven and hell. All because she gave her heart to one of the Fallen, an angel cast out of heaven.

She may lose everything she ever had. She may be betrayed by those she loves most. But Eden will not be a pawn in anyone else’s game. Her heart is her own.

And that’s only the beginning of the end.

This one sounds so interesting, doesn't it? Something a little different for the paranormal fiction out there. And the cover is so pretty! Want to read!!!

Release Date: February 22, 2011

Monday, December 27, 2010

Dark Heart Forever by Lee Monroe

Jane Jonas has never really been a sociable or popular person. She takes comfort in being with her immediate family, like spending time with her younger sister Dot. Then a new boy named Evan starts at her school and suddenly she has not one, but TWO handsome boys after her. Evan's past is as mysterious as his good looks, but Jane can't shake the feeling that there is something darker to him. Luca is the only boy who's ever made Jane feel completely comfortable in her own skin... if only she knew exactly what he was. With so much confusion building in her mind, Jane has to figure out who she can trust. Before someone gets hurt.

This book is out in the UK, but the not the US. Which I only mention because as I was reading it, I kept thinking how it would probably never be released in the States. For one, there is quite a bit of casual underage drinking. Underage for the US, that is. Also, the main character drops out of school because of bullying and switches to a pretty relaxed homeschooling regimen. I'm not sure many teens out there would see this as plausible or be able to identify with it. And then the book itself was just ok. I never connected with any of the characters or felt invested in what was happening at all. I thought Jane made some terrible and naive choices. If it was so obvious to me which boy was the bad one, why couldn't Jane see it as well? I also felt the paranormal elements were thrown in haphazardly. It seemed Monroe wanted the focus to be on the two boys fighting for Jane's affection, and the paranormal bits were an after thought. Perhaps it would have been better to leave them out? Either way, it was interesting to read this debut and I will most likely check out the second in the series, called Dark Heart Rising.

Overall Rating: 3 Stars

Friday, December 24, 2010

Fallen Angel by Heather Terrell

Ellie Faneuil is a special girl. She can read people's thoughts and memories simply by touching them. It's a good life for her, despite having to hide her secret from everyone who knows her. Then a new boy, Michael, begins at her school and Ellie is instantly drawn to him. He is equally attracted to her, and as he moves closer to Ellie, they find they have unique powers in common. Plus more. A whole lot more, including Ellie's parents revealing secrets about her past, a mysterious man following her around, and the popular girls at school cooking up a cruel prank.

Even with all of the angel-themed books I have been reading lately, this one was not what I expected. It was a little slow to get to the real action, but I found that I didn't mind so much, as long as I could keep seeing more of Michael. My heart swelled seeing Ellie and Michael thrive in the comfort of having someone else like them. He was so alluring, especially in the beginning! I don't want to give away any spoilers, but the high school hoax already feels a little outdated. It might be relevant currently, but I am not sure it still will be when the next book in the series comes out. This is not Terrell's first book, but it is her debut YA novel, and it reads a little amateur. Even Ellie's friend Ruth seemed off somehow. I liked her for the most part, but thought she was undeveloped, even for a secondary character. Still, Fallen Angel serves mostly to set up the world Terrell has created, and successfully does so. Hopefully book two, called Eternity, will pick up the pace with some much needed action.

Overall Rating: 3 Stars

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday 12/22/10

DARKEST MERCY by Melissa Marr

The Summer King is missing; the Dark Court is bleeding; and a stranger walks the streets of Huntsdale, his presence signifying the deaths of powerful fey.

Aislinn tends to the Summer Court, searching for her absent king and yearning for Seth. Torn between his new queen and his old love, Keenan works from afar to strengthen his court against the coming war. Donia longs for fiery passion even as she coolly readies the Winter Court for battle. And Seth, sworn brother of the Dark King and heir to the High Queen, is about to make a mistake that could cost his life.

Love, despair, and betrayal ignite the Faery Courts, and in the final conflict, some will win . . . and some will lose everything.

OH BOY OH BOY OH BOY this is the final installment in Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely series, a set of stories that I fell in love with from the beginning and highly anticipate reading the ending. It will sad to see the characters go, but I have always liked seeing how authors wrap up a series. It is not easy to do!

Release Date: February 22, 2011

Monday, December 20, 2010

Cover Colors Part 6

For someone who reads as many books as I do, covers are essential to capturing my attention. Sure, there can be an intriguing premise blurbed on the back, or tantalizing quotes from other authors I love on the front, but first and foremost, the cover has to take my breath away. In the last month, I read two books with cover art that was really not at all interesting to me. But the books turned out to be AMAZING and very enjoyable. Which led me to this month's Cover Colors. I loved Glimmerglass and was blown away by how awesome Across the Universe was. But the mirror image on the covers? BORING. Blah. For Split (can you see the faces in the keys?) and Minder, the stories weren't nearly as captivating, but they had the same style art on the covers. Maybe because the top two books dressed up the mirror images more? Maybe it's the vertical presentation versus the horizontal? What are your thoughts? I would love to hear from others who have also read these books!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

There are angels that walk among humans, and Clara Gardner is one of them. She has wings, glowing hair, and a weird magnetism to birds. At sixteen, she begins to have visions and is given her purpose: to save a boy from a wildfire. Her mom and brother pack up and follow clues in the vision to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where Clara enrolls in the local high school. Though she is an outsider, it doesn't take her long to make friends with two girls, Wendy and Angela. As well as two guys, Christian and Tucker. But as her visions come more and more frequently, Clara discovers not everyone is who they seem.

First I want to mention how much I totally love the cover. No angel wings or anything like that, but a very ethereal girl and a beautiful dress. Great job, design team! I really liked how there wasn't a whole lot of time to get to know Clara before she came into her powers. It is always fun to watch a character discover hidden powers and such, but in time when there are SO many angel stories out there, it was refreshing to be thrown into Clara's world without the wait. The mystery unravels at a snails pace, building a slow and powerful suspense. Cynthia Hand created great tension by having Clara recognize there are parts of her mission that she doesn't yet know but needs to find out in order to fulfill her purpose. Angela was an adorable secondary character, one with her own story worthy of it's own book! And I don't think I've liked a dude in YA paranormal this much since Jude from the Immortals series. But Tucker! He was rugged, handsome, and total swept me off my feet while he showed Clara around the area. I have my fingers crossed that we will see a lot more of him next time. This is a planned trilogy and I wait with baited breath for part two!

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday 12/15/10


Steal away to the Old South with Marcia Gruver’s Backwoods Buccaneers series. Two brothers—one violent and one gentle—belong to a family of bandits. While Duncan McRae can hardly stomach their raids, his brother Hooper revels in the violence perpetrated by the band of thieves. When they meet mild-mannered Dawsey Wilkes, the competition steps up a notch as the brothers vie for her hand. Which marauder will steal Dawsey’s heart? Meanwhile, Dawsey holds the key to Dilsey McRae’s past. What will Dilsey do when she discovers the truth?

I absolutely fell in love with Gruver's writing in her Texas Fortunes trilogy. Her writing had a way of sucking me in and holing on tight to my attention all the way through! I am a little hesitant to start this new series, but I am hopeful it is equally as amazing.

Release Date: February 1, 2011

Monday, December 13, 2010

Once in a Full Moon by Ellen Schreiber

For Celeste, living in Legend's Run means living with stories of werewolves in the woods. It's a way of life. Luckily, it's been many decades since the last time anyone has seen one. The sighting was so long ago, that Celeste and her friends Abby and Ivy have a hard time believing the rumors to be true. Then a mysterious outsider named Brandon comes to town and completely changes Celeste's life. Now she finds herself keeping two sets of secrets - her own and Brandon's - from everyone around them. As the entire town grows more suspicious, it is going to be difficult to know who to trust!

Since I'm part of Team Werewolf, this was the perfect Ellen Schreiber book to start with. I have yet to read any of her Vampire Kisses books, but I want to! The romance between Celeste and Brandon was very cute, though the drama felt a little contrite in some places. Brandon was a perfect blend of mystery and tough guy and softy. I liked that Celeste volunteered at a nursing home. It is always nice to see teens in books helping out and donating their time for free. Ivy and Abby were both funny and serious and ultimately very believable. Once in a Full Moon is a short book, but sets up the town of Legend's Run and it's key players for Schreiber to continue her series with. I look forward to more secrets being revealed in the next installment!

Overall Rating: 3 Stars

Friday, December 10, 2010

Trickster's Girl by Hilari Bell

On the same day that Kelsa buries her father, she encounters a strange boy named Raven. Raven is a shapeshifting spirit who needs her help. The earth is suffering from a deadly tree virus and can only be healed by a human with special magic. Kelsa is not sure she is the right person for the job, but agrees to go with him because staying home with her depressed mother doesn't sound any better. So Kelsa and Raven set out on a long road trip, complete with amazing sights, an angry biker gang, and a little self-discovery.

At the start, this book was good. It captured my interest and introduced me to the poor, hurting Kelsa. I liked the mostly average world, with innovative bits such as floating cars and com pods subtly thrown in. Surprisingly futuristic and yet very understated. Kelsa had a tricky relationship with her mom that most teen girls will be able to identify with. However, as the novel went on, the plot became rather tedious. There were magical elements added that didn't make any sense and yet Kelsa was perfectly accepting of them and seemed to know exactly what to do. The long chapters created little time to relax from being chased and made for a tiresome read. And Raven's constant bashing of humans killing the earth felt too preachy to be enjoyable. I would have been willing to overlook some of the hard-pressed message if there was something redeemable in Raven, like a love interest. But there was none. This may make reader's turn away from the story early, but those who read to the end will find an exciting, action-packed ending.

Overall Rating: 3 Stars

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday 12/8/10

SHADOWSPELL by Jenna Black

On top of spending most of her time in a bunkerlike safe house and having her dates hijacked by a formidable Fae bodyguard, Faeriewalker Dana Hathaway is in for some more bad news: the Erlking and his pack of murderous minions known as the Wild Hunt have descended upon Avalon. With his homicidal appetite and immortal powers, the Erlking has long been the nightmare of the Fae realm. A fragile treaty with the Faerie Queen, sealed with a mysterious spell, is the one thing that keeps him from hunting unchecked in Avalon, the only place on Earth where humans and Fae live together. Which means Dana’s in trouble, since it’s common knowledge that the Faerie Queen wants her – and her rare Faeriewalker powers – dead. The smoldering, sexy Erlking’s got his sights set on Dana, but does he only seek to kill her, or does he have something much darker in mind?

I recently finished Glimmerglass, the first book in the series, and it impressed me more than I thought it would. Dana was multi-faceted and the action was well-written. Looking forward to this next installment, which seems much darker!

Release Date: January 4, 2011

Monday, December 6, 2010

Fear Street Flashback (11)

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

Originally released in November 1991, December 1993 and December 1996.

What better time than now to cover some holiday horror? Christmas-themed books are usually not my thing, but I have enjoyed this particular trilogy on more than one occasion. The first Silent Night introduces us to the truly reprehensible Reva Dalby, spoiled rich brat and heir to Dalby's department stores. Still, such crazy bad things happen that I can't help but feel a little sorry for her! A needle in your lipstick is such a cringe-worthy visual. I liked that this book tapped into the weird phobia of mannequins. And it kept me guessing until the end!

The second book in the series always runs the risk of being the same old thing as the first book. But that is definitely NOT the case with this cast of characters! I loved that Reva was up to her usual bratty self. It made it harder to feel sorry for her again, but it was still funny to read about her terrible jokes on those around her. And I liked that she was back at the perfume counter, picking on people and talking back to her supervisor. The consistency made for a fast and delicious read!

The third Silent Night is probably the weakest in the trilogy, because it strays from the formula a little bit. It was great to see Reva take over her cousin Pam's scarf idea. She's so mean! It was good to see more of Reva's poor, neglected brother in the story too, even if he was super creepy. Which actually leads me to a question about what actually happened to Reva's mother. It may have redeemed her more if we saw more of Reva missing her mom. All of the alternating points of view between Reva and Pam kept things interesting. Sometimes I found myself wanting Pam to get a whole lot angrier! In her own spin-off book!

All-in-all, a fun trilogy to get you into the holiday spirit!

Fear Rating: 2 out of 3 Screams

Friday, December 3, 2010

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

As Amy's father prepares to be cryogenically frozen, he offers her a chance to opt-out and continue living her life as normal on Earth. She chooses to be frozen herself, and follow her parents aboard the Godspeed, to be woken up 300 years in the future on another planet. When she is thawed out, it is extremely painful and 50 years too soon. She quickly makes a friend in Elder, a boy roughly the same age as she is and second in command on the ship. But Amy is from Earth, and her different appearance and behavior does not fit into society on the ship at all. Before long, sinister acts begin happening around Amy, turning allies into suspects. With lies being revealed and secrets being overturned, Amy and Elder hold on whatever truths they hold in themselves.

Across the Universe is breathtaking science fiction, the kind where I feverishly turn the pages to find out what happens next. One of those books where immediately after the last page is turned, I want to start over from the beginning and read it again. It really is that good. I was hooked right from the start, with the detailed process of being frozen. I am usually pretty squeamish but I could not stop reading. I felt every inch of Amy's claustrophobia and every ounce of Elder's frustration. The futuristic swearing is reminiscent of Battlestar Galactica and works well with Elder's character. Revis goes to great lengths in order to let the reader discover what is what in the world she has created. There are no lengthy passages of exposition. Some aspects are very cool (grav tubes) and others are a little far-fetched (mono ethnicity), but overall the concepts are deeply thought out and well executed. Fans of Maria V. Snyder's Inside Out and Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games will love this book. I eagerly look forward to more from this author!

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday 12/1/10


Kit and Fancy Cordelle are sisters of the best kind: best friends, best confidantes, and best accomplices. The daughters of the infamous Bonesaw Killer, Kit and Fancy are used to feeling like outsiders, and that’s just the way they like it. But in Portero, where the weird and wild run rampant, the Cordelle sisters are hardly the oddest or most dangerous creatures around.

It’s no surprise when Kit and Fancy start to give in to their deepest desire—the desire to kill. What starts as a fascination with slicing open and stitching up quickly spirals into a gratifying murder spree. Of course, the sisters aren’t killing just anyone, only the people who truly deserve it. But the girls have learned from the mistakes of their father, and know that a shred of evidence could get them caught. So when Fancy stumbles upon a mysterious and invisible doorway to another world, she opens a door to endless possibilities….

Omigosh that cover is so tantalizing. The pretty colors... the drip of blood... MUST READ! I was totally taken by surprise with how good Dia Reeves' Bleeding Violet was, so I am glad this one is coming out soon.

Release Date: January 4, 2011