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