Monday, December 27, 2010

Review of One Hundred Candles by Mara Purnhagen

Whew what a crazy holiday! My holiday has been really crazy with traveling to see family and grading my students final exams. Thus I haven’t had much time to write up reviews. I am currently working on a list of the top books that I read in 2010 to post on here. In the mean time here is my review of One Hundred Candles by Mara Purnhagen.

The summary from the galley is: It’s taken a long time for me to feel like a normal teenager. But now that I’m settled in a new school, where people know me as more than Charlotte Silver of the infamous Silver family paranormal investigators, it feels like everything is falling into place. And what better way to be normal than to go on a date with a popular football star like Harris Abbott? After all, it’s not as if Noah is anything more than a friend...

But my new life takes a disturbing turn when Harris brings me to a party and we play a game called One Hundred Candles. It seems like harmless, ghostly fun. Until spirits unleashed by the game start showing up at school. Now my friends and family are in very real danger, and the door that I’ve opened into another realm may yield deadly consequences.

I was a little more impressed with this book. I wasn’t a huge fan of past midnight but I found this plot to be a lot more intriguing. The plot is somewhat reminiscent of a mystery book as you are trying to puzzle together what exactly Charlotte has done that is causing all of the strange happenings and also what the repercussions are going to be for her actions.

I found Charlotte’s character to be a lot more dynamic in this book. We see a lot more of her interacting with her peers and not just her best girl friend. Although throughout the book I wasn’t a fan of Harris I was rooting for Noah despite the way things ended in Past Midnight. I was quite happy with the resolution of the story although it is not an ending for your passive YA paranormal readers. It is not the sweet happy ending that is typical of this genre. Charlotte has to deal with a lot in the ending of the story. However, I respect the author for changing that up and for creating this interesting new perspective in paranormal. The Silvers are still holding onto science but there is a bit more mysticism in this book.

Overall I give it a 3.5/5. I liked the plot a lot more from the last book but it was still missing something for me. I’m not quite sure I can put my finger on it but it just didn’t hook me in the same way as most paranormal books do. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon

Dead Beautiful was an amazon recommendation and honestly the description intrigued me greatly. Here’s the description:

“On the morning of her sixteenth birthday, Renée Winters was still an ordinary girl. She spent her summers at the beach, had the perfect best friend, and had just started dating the cutest guy at school. No one she'd ever known had died. But all that changes when she finds her parents dead in the Redwood Forest, in what appears to be a strange double murder.
After the funeral Renée’s wealthy grandfather sends her to Gottfried Academy, a remote and mysterious boarding school in Maine, where she finds herself studying subjects like Philosophy, Latin, and the “Crude Sciences.”
It’s there that she meets Dante Berlin, a handsome and elusive boy to whom she feels inexplicably drawn. As they grow closer, unexplainable things begin to happen, but Renée can’t stop herself from falling in love. It’s only when she discovers a dark tragedy in Gottfried’s past that she begins to wonder if the Academy is everything it seems.
Little does she know, Dante is the one hiding a dangerous secret, one that has him fearing for her life.”

Dead Beautiful is not your average paranormal book. It has a subgenre all to itself. I give Yvonne points for being able to shock me with a whole new type of paranormal or at least one that I haven’t ventured out to read yet.

Renee is full of life and as a main character she has a certain magnetism to her. It is that magnetism that draws Dante to her. Personally, I found a lot of humor in the names in the context of the story J As per the usual Renee falls for Dante and the process of piecing together what he is begins. However, where Bella would have usually declared vampire Renee stumbles upon something unique.

The death of Renee’s parents is a unique way to begin a book. It sets a somewhat dark tone that follows throughout the book. Despite the dark tone the romance that develops is charming and intriguing. The dark tone to the book simply draws you in. For those that aren’t looking for a “happy” paranormal romance this might be your choice.

I give the book a 4/5. It kept me interested but I am not entirely sure what to think of the ending especially since I couldn’t find anything concrete about a sequel. For those that don’t like to not have resolution I recommend waiting until an announcement is made about whether or not there is a sequel.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss is one of the most beautifully written YA stories that I have ever read. Every now and then I come across a book that isn’t paranormal but is just so phenomenal that I have to mention it on here. Here’s amazon’s synopsis:

Anna was looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she's less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris--until she meets Etienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Etienne has it all . . . including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss? Stephanie Perkins keeps the romantic tension crackling and the attraction high in a debut guaranteed to make toes tingle and hearts melt.
The story of Anna and Etienne is so natural. They develop an amazing friendship and begin to see what they can be together despite all the obstacles in their way. As in typical teen life there are many obstacles and as a reader you aren’t sure which way it will go for the two of them. I love the way it is complicated for them in a slightly typical teenage way. There are no major crazy obstacles just typical teenage baggage.

Anna is a brilliant female lead. She is funny, smart, strong but still vulnerable. She cries but it makes her more human and relatable. She makes embarrassing mistakes that endear her to the reader. She is unsure of herself because she hasn't yet found herself. She has problems but never comes off as whiny. Her character made me love this book. The supporting characters are also incredible but Anna will keep you reading this book.
Etienne is a great male lead. The whole story you are waiting for the two of them to figure out what is between them. He is foreign has an accent and treats Anna like you would expect a sophisticated international too. He defends her honor all the while maintaing a teasing relationship with her. He has great hair and a grin that makes the girls swoon. He is respectful of Anna and allows her to be her own woman. This endears him to me as the guy that every woman is searching for. I mean a foreign accent and great hair! :) Stephanie does a great job of making you feel the ache they both feel without making the book seem like it is full of angst.
I really could go on about this book for pages. I absolutely loved it. If you like the happier Sarah Dessen work then this is a book for you. If you typically read the paranormal stuff, take a break and check this book out. I give it a 6/5.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Side Project

So I am working on a bit of a side project and am looking for a female name and five male names that would be from the southern US region. Perhaps something with a bit of a french influence. Any suggestions?

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

I was a little hesitant to pick up the galley and read it to be honest. Its not that I dislike this series but the books have never really stood out to me. I have a hard time getting into the faery world especially with all the different takes on faeries. However the third book is the charm. I really enjoyed the Iron Queen. I found it hard to put down as I tried to figure out how Meghan was going to beat the False Iron King. It was quite interesting. Amazon doesn’t have a summary so here’s mine:

Meghan, Puck and Ash once again find themselves in the middle of faery politics. Despite Meghan and Ash being exiled from faery Meghan is being hunted by the Iron Fey and has to fight back to save faery and to live her own normal life. Crazy twists and turns happen as they try to locate the False King and find a way to defeat him.

What was nice in this book was that there was less of awkward moments between Meghan and the courts. It was just Meghan and Ash or all three of them. So the reader really gets to see what the true Ash is away from Winter Court politics.

I also never expected the turns that the story took. That was pretty interesting. Some of the turns really shocked me.  I really don’t have any criticism of this book. It was a great read and I loved the story line and the different sides of the characters that I got to see in this plot. I will say the ending was another cliffhanger and I am now eagerly awaiting the fourth book which is entirely too far away J I give this book a 5/5 and recommend you pick it up as soon as it comes out!

Blog Hop and Follow Friday

Its time for the Blog Hop and Follow My Blog Friday...

Book Blogger Hop

This weeks question is:

"What very popular and hyped book in the blogosphere did you NOT enjoy and how did you feel about posting your review?"

I guess for me that would be Nightshade. I had just finished reviewing some really awesome books that I loved and there was so much hype in the blogging world about the book. It was still a GREAT book but with all the hype my expectations were really high. I felt mixed in my review because if there hadn't been so much hype I felt like I would really write an awesome review. However, all that anticipation and hype made me expect something extraordinary and the book just did not quite live up to that. 

And its Follow Friday at Parajunkees

And this weeks question is:

What do you do besides reading / reviewing as a hobby??

I enjoy photography and working on side projects for my Calculus classes that I teach. A bit odd I know :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

My Soul to Steal by Rachel Vincent

Now that I a m finally home from all the Thanksgiving festivities I have reliable internet and can finally post some reviews that I have been meaning to put up. Me and my kids traveled all over the place for Thanksgiving going to Dallas and then to Mississippi. Then I fought the Black Friday crowd and finished all my Christmas shopping so it has been a busy break and while I love the holidays I am glad to be home for a bit. While traveling I read the latest Soul Screamer novel by Rachel Vincent, My Soul to Steal. I got my hands on an early copy and was really excited to get to read it early. Here’s the description from

“Trying to work things out with Nash—her maybe boyfriend—is hard enough for Kaylee Cavanaugh. She can't just pretend nothing happened. But "complicated" doesn't even begin to describe their relationship when his ex-girlfriend transfers to their school, determined to take Nash back.

See, Sabine isn't just an ordinary girl. She's a mara, the living personification of a nightmare. She can read people's fears—and craft them into nightmares while her victims sleep. Feeding from human fear is how she survives.

And Sabine isn't above scaring Kaylee and the entire school to death to get whatever—and whoever—she wants.”

Rachel Vincent happens to be one of my favorite authors as I mentioned in my post about Alpha. I really enjoy her writing and the way she portrays her relationships. I feel that this book was probably tricky for her to write and will have a mixed reception since a lot of people would just want Kaylee and Nash to get back together. However, I am a big fan of the fact that she did break up with Nash and take some time.

With that said I really liked this book as it spoke to me through some personal situations I have gone through in my own life. I believe that it is important when you are in a relationship to take a stand on something and that is what, to me, this book is about. However, it isn’t just a switch you can turn off and stop loving someone. I think this part of the book was really well done.

As far as the plot goes I loved the addition of Sabine. She is a really fun character and she really keeps the novel interesting. A book about rehabilitation can get old fast but Sabine keeps it interesting. The mini-cat fights between her and Kaylee cracked me up. I do want to go track down the short story in one of the anthologies where her story is told. I think that may even enhance the novel more as you would see more of a back story.

I also enjoyed seeing more of Todd. He is in a good bit of this book and acts in a very protective manner with Kaylee. However, I sometimes wonder if there isn’t something there on the part of Todd in their relationship.

Alec is also in this novel and I would be interested to see what happens with him in the future. He takes on a very interesting advice giving position. I’m not sure if he made a clean exit in this book or if he will be back later. I really hope we at least see a little more of him in the future books so we know how he continues to acclimate to the world after living 20 some odd years in the Netherworld.

Overall this book was definitely a 5/5. I read it all in one sitting because it was hard to put down as the plot line moves quickly and I was trying to figure out if Nash and Kaylee would make it together.  This book would make a great Christmas gift. The release is schedules for January but you can now buy kindle books as gifts which is pretty neat. Click the link below to pre-order.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

Since I'm off the whole week for Thanksgiving due to the wonderful job that is being a teacher, I have had a lot of time to play on Amazon. I was hoping to get in some nice reading time of some extraneous new things but it seems that most of the books I want to read are releasing either right around Jan or in the early spring. There are quite a few books that I am "Waiting On" as I started looking for sequels to the series that I am reading or new series that I have heard about through the grapevine. I think the top book that I am waiting on is Wildcat Fireflies which is the sequel to Meridian by Amber Kizer. I have read Meridian several times since I got it last year and am really excited to see how the rest of the story is playing out.

If you haven't already checked out my review of Meridian you should check it out and if you haven't read the book there is a link to purchase it on Amazon.

Also Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Torn by Amanda Hocking

Torn is the second book in the Trylle trilogy by Amanda Hocking. If you didn’t read my review of switched here

In Torn Wendy is still trying to make sense of what becoming a princess means and dealing with her relationship or lack thereof with Finn. She is continuing to develop her powers and learning what her limitations are. The interesting part of the story is when a new player is introduced Loki. Personally, he quickly became one of my favorite characters as he seems to be very frank and forward but at the same time you are never really sure what his motivation is or if he is really telling the truth. To keep any other spoilers out I don’t want to give away too much so I will get on with my thoughts on the story.
You can also watch the trailer to get an idea of what is going on in the story:

Amanda Hocking is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors for several reasons. One I love that I don’t have to wait forever for her next book to come out. Two because I get to the end of the book and keep flipping looking for the rest of the story. I don’t realize how far I am in the book because I am so absorbed in the story. I got an early copy from Amanda to read and review and my husband kept trying to talk to me all night but I was reading the story and was so absorbed that I didn’t even hear him asking questions. Which does not make for a happy hubby :)

I really loved the introduction of Loki to the story and the twist with the Vittra. I can’t give it away but it really brought a whole new facet to the story. Sometimes a series can get old if it has the same conflict and the same love triangle in it. Instead Hocking brings out new personality traits and new characters to keep the story fresh. We also find out a lot of new information about what being Trylle means for Wendy and we see her mature so much as a character.

I liked this book in particular because it is truly a coming of age story for Wendy and because we see her mature and grow into the role of becoming the princess. The story of Wendy and Finn continues to be difficult but it does not become the whiny love story that too many YA paranormals become. Wendy remains a strong character and is very determined despite how she feels.

I highly recommend Torn and give it a 5/5. It is truly a diamond in the rough. Follow the link below to get your copy from amazon!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Interview with Jennifer Laurens

As I mentioned in my review of Heavenly (see previous post), the author, Jennifer Laurens agreed to an interview. I was really excited that some of the kids from the school that I teach at participated and came up with some of the questions. I absolutely loved the series and look forward to seeing what else Jennifer comes up with. Here is the interview:

     What was your journey to publishing like?
       I could write pages about this process. J I started submitting to agents at the suggestion of a writing teacher. Immediately, I got a response from a top NYC agent at Writer’s House requesting a full manuscript. I sent it—excited, of course. Author note: I figured I must be pretty good if a) my writing teacher thought I was ready to submit b) I got a request for a full right out the starting gate.

I learned a lot from this experience. The agent didn’t request the material, her intern—a girl out of college—did. Interns go through the slush pile looking for projects outlined by the agent that might fit into the agent’s wish list. Anyway, this girl read the book ( a women’s romance, which is what I was writing at the time ) and told me: 1) it was over-written by about 250 pages. 2) I had two strong protagonists instead of the usual one—and that concerned her.

I asked her: If I cut and make some changes will you look at it again? She said yes. I made the changes, mercilessly chopping redundancies, ( but I didn’t lose one of the two protagonists as they were integral to the story ) and sent it back to her.

In the end, she still declined representation.

Since then, ( 10 years ago ) I’ve had two NYC agents at big houses. Each has been different, but neither was able to sell the project they signed me with.

Like you, I go to the bookstore. I see what’s on the shelf. I knew my stuff was as good as what was out there, and I started getting annoyed. J I have six kids, so, I’m not easily annoyed. But, the idea that a tiny percent of the population chooses what the rest of the world reads really ate at me. Reminded me of high school, popularity and cliques. Stuff that shouldn’t exist outside of high school.

My husband has always wanted to publish NF books. So, we started a publishing company. He has published nothing. I’ve published 17 books.

Long story made short : make your way. Don’t let anything or anyone stop you.

What inspired you to write Heavenly?

      I have six children, one has autism. Her diagnosis was devastating at first. Her handicap has forever changed our family. We can’t go places together, simple things other families take for granted are huge endeavors for us and I could go on and on. Each of my children dealt with her handicap differently. These things and so much more are the backbone of the book. It’s my family story—our coming-full-circle to accepting her, her handicap and the changes it has brought into our lives with open arms and gratitude.

     Did you have to do any research for the series? 

     Well, not really :)

     The characters in the story seem so real and flawed. Was there anyone in real life they were based on? 

      My two teenage daughters are ( in combination ) Zoe.  My son had severe issues with drug abuse, and is completely Luke.  Abria is based on our daughter with autism as she was at 5. She’s now 16.  I guess you get the message here?

      Abria is such a beautiful innocent character. Do you have experience with autistic kids? 

     I honestly thought I could change my daughter—heal her through therapies, food changes, whatnot. I spent years of energy in this pursuit only to come to the final conclusion that she was who she was for a reason and, after seeing my teenagers go through difficulties, making choices that changed their lives or brought them harm, I was glad she wasn’t ever going to have to go through the kinds of challenges they were experiencing.

      Was there any underlying message you were trying to send in the books when you were writing them? 

      Definitely to have hope. Personally, I believe with God’s help we can make it through anything. I didn’t think I could ever accept my child’s condition. I wanted her to marry, to love, to have a career and family – how could she be happy without these life-enriching experiences?  I hoped other people would lose their fears of the handicapped and see them as choice individuals whose presence we are lucky to be in. We’ve learned so much from our daughter with autism. We’re so much more tolerant, forgiving, understanding and compassionate. Those are all qualities the world needs more of.

      How long do you see the series being and can you give any hints about Zoe and Matthias’ future? 

      Originally, I wanted to show the idea that there might be the possibility of love after this life for those who don’t find it here – like my daughter. I loved the idea that, in the next life, people from all eras of the world’s history might interact and, might even fall in love.

As far as Zoe and Matthias’ future goes, it’s pretty well outlined in Penitence and Absolution.

Do you have any “rituals” you have to do to write? As in sitting in a certain place or having the TV on  ?

      I always write to a soundtrack I create just for the project I’m working on and I listen to it 24/7 until the novel is complete. That, and I ADORE Rockstar energy drinks!!

      Several students are interested in pursuing a career in writing, can you give any advice on how to begin the process of turning an idea or story into a novel? 

      When I started Heavenly ( for instance ) I knew: 1) A teenage girl would fall in love with her autistic sister’s guardian angel. 2) she would die and be with him at the end. 

I’m an organic writer, leaving much of the story up to my characters and where they drive the plot. That works for me. It doesn’t work for everyone and, you CAN hit blocks along the way. Knowing as much as you can about the direction of your story, even if it ends up going another direction, is the best way to start. That, and the number one rule of good fiction writing is to start your story on the day life changed for your main character. For Zoe, it changed the day she lost Abria at the park.

Do you anticipate writing any other series in the near future? 

      I’ve got one simmering in my head, but ideas usually need to simmer for a while before I can write them out. So, maybe?

Fun Facts about Jennifer Laurens:

1.     If you could use one word to describe yourself what would it be? 

2.     If you could eat anything in the world what would it be?
 Cake donuts

3.     What is your favorite book? 
Did you have to ask that? Fighting Ruben Wolfe by Markus Zusak ties with Endless Love by Scott Spencer; both beautifully written.

4.     What is your favorite movie? 
ATM; The Social Network is amazing.

5.     What is your favorite book turned into a movie? 
The Devil Wears Prada

6.     If you could sit anywhere in the world and read a book where would it be? 
Isla Mujeras North Beach….powdered sugar sand beach, glorious turquoise water….

7.     If you could choose any other profession what would it be? 

8.     What’s your favorite NFL/College football team? (being from New Orleans, Louisiana this is a must ask question)
 (( I ADORE NEW ORLEANS!!!!)) My fav?? Don’t watch much football, I’m always writing…I cheer for BYU because we live so close to the college and I went there.

A special thank-you to Jennifer Laurens for doing my first interview on my blog and to some students for helping with the questions!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Heavenly by Jennifer Laurens

So I have been feeling a bit uninspired lately in the books area. I think this is a result of how busy things have become at home. My five year old is now taking acting classes and doing auditions and that is keeping me very busy on top of year round swimming. So I kept going through all the amazon recommendations and then the books that people purchased if they were looking at one of my recommendations. I stumbled across Heavenly by Jennifer Laurens. Here’s the synopsis from Amazon:

I met someone who changed everything. Matthias. My autistic sister's guardian angel. Honest. Inspiring. Funny. Hot. And immortal. That was the problem. What could I do? I did what any other girl would do-I fell in love with him. Zoe's sister darts in front of cars. Her brother's a pothead. Her parents are so overwhelmed; they don't see Zoe lost in her broken life. Zoe escapes the only way she knows how: partying. Matthias, a guardian sent from Heaven, watches over Zoe's autistic sister. After Zoe is convinced he's legit, angel and lost girl come together in a love that changes destiny. But Heaven on Earth can't last forever.”

I really enjoyed the first book in this series. I think the best part of this series is the characters. They are very real and very flawed. I like the way that nothing is presented with rosy glasses. Zoe, the main character, sees guardian angels. She also struggles with alcohol when the story begins and as a result of seeing the guardian angels seems to want to be a better person through her relationship with the handsome Matthias. However, it isn’t an overnight transformation for her. It is a daily struggle that she sometimes looses. I really enjoyed the struggles the characters endure in this story. Every now and then you want to read something real that isn’t a fairy tail where everything is easy.

Zoe also struggles with her love for Matthias and what it means to love a guardian angel. As far as romance goes this isn’t the best book for those seeking a really juicy romance in a paranormal book. Laurens takes the idea of love to a new pure level which I personally enjoyed seeing in YA literature. While Zoe is the typical teenager with all the typical hormones she differentiates what she feels for Matthias from the lust that her friends feel and that she feels at times. She begins to understand what love really means.

Overall I give this book a 4.5/5. It is a great read and is long enough with enough action to really keep you involved in the story. I am hoping to start the next book in the series soon and will have an upcoming interview with the author so stay tuned!

Saturday, November 6, 2010


So this week I have been floundering a bit for what to read. Nothing really looks good from my amazon recommendations (which is how I pick what I want to read typically). And I don't have any new galleys to be reviewed. Thus, I am taking recommendations. Anyone read anything really good recently in the YA paranormal genre?? Or maybe something from a few years ago that was really good prior to the big boom in that genre of literature?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Firelight by Sophie Jordan

Firelight was one of my amazon recommendations for awhile and I just finally decided to give it a try. Here’s the synopsis from Amazon

“Descended from dragons, the draki's ability to appear human protects them from hunters. Jacinda lives with her pride in the Cascades, but she chafes under her special status as the only fire-breather in hundreds of years. Recklessly breaking the “no-fly” rule, she attracts hunters; mercifully, one hunter, a beautiful boy who looks upon her with wonder, lets her escape. After this, the pride intends to hobble her rebelliousness, and Jacinda is forced to flee. But while twin sister Tamra, who never manifested and was shunned, is happy with the move, Jacinda feels only anguish within Nevada's desert climate. Then she meets Will and, despite recognizing him as the same draki hunter, feels herself come alive. Jordan's compelling addition to the supernatural star-crossed lovers theme is equal parts taut suspense and sensuous romance, with visceral writing and believable relationships among characters, particularly among Jacinda's family. A foreshadowed twist and a thrilling confrontation in the end pages leave Jacinda heartbroken and in trouble, and readers will howl for more.”

It took a little while for me to get invested in Firelight. For YA readers the action sequence didn’t do a great job of drawing me in the beginning. However, as I got further in the book I became intrigued at the family dynamics of Jacinda and her family.

I didn’t really care much for her mother in the book. As a mother myself you can’t make choices for your children. I did respect the way that Jacinda tried to keep her identity despite the fact that her family wanted her to be different. I think most readers can identify with having done something that your family didn’t agree with at one time or another.

The magnetism between Will and Jacinda is getting a little old in this genre. I wish there would have been a little more to their relationship. They really don’t spend time getting to know one another before deciding they are practically in love with each other. This over romanticized view of love is the main negative for me in this book. In the most publicized magnetic relationship at least Edward knows Bella’s full name and details about her. After the initial magnetism I would have liked to see them make an effort to get to know one another.

I did find the idea of draki interesting. I have not read a shifter book about dragons. I wish there was a bit more description of what they look like because I didn’t really feel like I could quite visualize them. I am a very visual person when it comes to reading and I like to be able to  imagine what is going on.

Overall, Firelight was a light quick read. It does have a bit of a cliffhanger at the end of the story that will lead the reader what happens next. I did try to find a sequel release date because I was quite curious about the ending but was unable to find one. I give the book a 3.5/5. While there were some negative detractors I think the base story was interesting and has a lot of potential for development.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Blog Hop and Follow Friday

Its time for the Blog Hop and Follow My Blog Friday...

Book Blogger Hop

This weeks question is:

"What is the one bookish thing you would love to have, no matter the cost?"

I guess I would love a library with built in bookshelves. I have so many books and having bookshelves everywhere is a pain. Every time I read about a character with a "library" in their house I am jealous!

And its Follow Friday at Parajunkees

And this weeks question is:

If you have, or would have a daughter, what book would you want your daughter to read?

Well since my daughter is named after a character in the Looking Glass Wars serious I would say that particular series is important. Her middle name is Alyssin after Alyss in the series.

Have a great Weekend!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating!

This Wednesday I am eagerly awaiting the release of Hexbound by Chloe Neill. Hexbound releases on January 4, 2011. Hexbound is the second book in Neill's Dark Elite series. Here's the synopsis:

"Lily Parker is new to St. Sophia's School for Girls, but she's already learned that magic can be your best friend-or your worst enemy. That's why Lily has to learn how to control her newly discovered paranormal abilities while fighting the good fight with her best friend Scout as they take on Chicago's nastiest nightlife-including the tainted magic users known as Reapers..."

Monday, October 25, 2010

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

There has been a lot of buzz in the book blog world about Nightshade so I decided to check it out for myself. Here is the summary from

“Werewolves Ren and Calla—the young alpha male and female of two carefully controlled packs—are constantly sparring yet clearly attracted to each other. The plans for their impending union, designed to create a new pack, are upset by the arrival of Shay, a human man, and Calla risks her own safety and the future of her new pack by falling both in love and lust with him.”

I’m afraid that Nightshade didn’t live up to a lot of the hype for me. I did find it to be a great read in the beginning. However, I became frustrated with the virginal stereotypes and the place of women in this world. I realize that it is all about Calla finding her way and breaking free but it became difficult for me personally to swallow in the mean time. I had to walk away from the book at times because I would get so mad at something she had allowed or had decided to accept.

With that said I still enjoyed about ¾ of the book. When I got to the end it did leave me wondering where the rest of the story was….. I felt like things ended all of the sudden with little to no resolution. I would have liked a bit more of a resolution than what happened. I understand the need for a cliffhanger I just would have liked to see at least one or two of the loose ends tied up.

With that said, I do admire the strength that Calla is given in the writing and I did enjoy the style the writing was done with. I feel that the details really allowed me to see and hear what was going on in the story. The attention given to the way in which words were spoken in the story really brought the reader into the world of Nightshade.

I also really admired Shay’s character. He questions the way things are but not in an overtly rebellious way. Shay wants to make educated decisions and is able to quote philosophers and support his beliefs. He doesn’t take things at face value and I found that to be admirable in him.
Overall I give Nightshade a 3/5. It was well written and had a really good story. However, there were several things that I personally struggled with getting past while reading this story.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Savy Bloggers needed

I want to create an archive page where I archive my books I have reviewed by title. For some reason I am also a bit behind on the blogging stuff and don't know how to link the page with the review to the title. In other words how do I make it so that when the mouse hovers over the book title it will bring the reader to the book review??

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Unearthly is a beautiful story about self-discovery and destiny. The big question is do we make our own destiny or is our destiny already set for us?

Clara is an angel-blood. She is ¼ angel and has a purpose she must fulfill. She is told her purpose is the sole reason that she is on this earth. She begins to have visions about what her purpose is and her family uproots itself to move to Wyoming in order to fulfill her purpose. She knows her purpose involves Christian Prescott. However, things are a little vague in her visions. She isn’t sure if she is supposed to just save him or if they are destined to be together. To add to her burdens Tucker Avery comes into her life and complicates her feelings.

Unearthly is the first part angel story that I have read and I found that I really liked it. I felt like there was a lot of background that was put to what an angel-blood is and what they can do. This is part of what initially drew me into the story.

I loved the message that I got out of this story: to question whether your destiny is yours to make or whether you are a puppet in something already determined. I admire Clara for her strength and her decisions in the book. She has to endure a lot to get close to fulfilling her purpose and yet she never backs down. She is made fun of at school and leaves a place where she is popular to be a nobody. This brings her down to the reader’s level so they can relate to her. She is a divine being but at the same time we see how human she is.

The relationship between Tucker and Clara evolves beautifully. It is extremely realistic and the things that make them fall in love are the small moments that touch us all. I really liked the fact that there wasn’t a strange sort of magnetism between them that drew them together. It was just a natural evolution and progression. I think this also make the reader relate to the book.

The ending is a bit of a cliffhanger. I got to the last page and thought “…..” I think Cynthia Hand did an incredible job on the first book in what I believe will be a series. I have been googling a bit on the internet to confirm this suspicion and haven’t found much to corroborate the idea. I will edit this post when I find out myself because I am very excited to see what else Cynthia publishes in the future.

I give Unearthly a perfect 5/5. It was the perfect length and the story is so beautifully written. Unearthly comes out January 4, 2011 according to Amazon. Follow the link below to pre-order it today.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Angelfire by Courtney Moulton

Angelfire gets the award for my favorite read of October. Here is the description from Amazon

“First there are nightmares.
Every night Ellie is haunted by terrifying dreams of monstrous creatures that are hunting her, killing her.

Then come the memories.

When Ellie meets Will, she feels on the verge of remembering something just beyond her grasp. His attention is intense and romantic, and Ellie feels like her soul has known him for centuries. On her seventeenth birthday, on a dark street at midnight, Will awakens Ellie's power, and she knows that she can fight the creatures that stalk her in the grim darkness. Only Will holds the key to Ellie's memories, whole lifetimes of them, and when she looks at him, she can no longer pretend anything was just a dream.

Now she must hunt.

Ellie has power that no one can match, and her role is to hunt and kill the reapers that prey on human souls. But in order to survive the dangerous and ancient battle of the angels and the Fallen, she must also hunt for the secrets of her past lives and truths that may be too frightening to remember.”

There are several things that made this my favorite read. The strong character development is first. Ellie has a strong sense of identity that is transferred to the reader. You know exactly who she is and how she will react. This doesn’t make her predictable it makes you feel like you know her.

The premise of this story was refreshing. At times it seems like ideas are being recycled in literature. However, I have never read an angel book with this premise. Thus, I admire the author for bringing something new to the genre.

Once again I am always a fan of a strong female lead character. In this book the female is the strong independent character although Will is by no means weak, he takes the on a less stereotypical role in their relationship. Ellie is the one in charge and Will puts her there.
The book has a HUGE twist to it that I never even had an inkling of. I always give big points for surprising me in a book or movie. I was the annoying person that figured out everyone was dead in the Sixth Sense. For some reason I can usually pick up on small details the author puts in the books.

Lastly, I loved this book because it is addicting and it is fairly long. I felt like I had to finish it but the book was more than 2 or 3 hours of straight reading. I really appreciated a little extra length because I feel like I am more invested in the story. I can’t wait until the next book comes out.

I give Angelfire a 5/5. Please follow the link below and Pre-order your copy. You will not regret it! Angelfire is scheduled to be released February 15, 2011.

Follow Friday

This is follow Friday hosted by ParaJunkie at

I am currently reading Unearthly by Cynthia Hand.

Book Blogger Hop

In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs to read! So, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start HOPPING through the list of blogs that are posted in the Linky list below!!

The Hop lasts Friday-Monday every week, so if you don't have time to Hop today, come back later and join the fun! This is a weekly event! And stop back throughout the weekend to see all the new blogs that are added! We get over 200 links every week!!

Book Blogger Hop

This week's question comes from Becky who blogs at Becky's Barmy Book Blog:

"Where is your favorite place to read? Curled up on the sofa, in bed, in the garden?"

A: My favorite place to read is anywhere by myself :) Life with kids makes you adapt!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Afterlife by Claudia Gray **Spoilers**

Afterlife continues Bianca and Lucas’ story. Lucas has become a Vampire and Bianca is a wraith. During the story Lucas struggles with the fact that he has become a vampire and Bianca is learning to deal with what being a wraith means. In order to help Lucas get control of his bloodlust they go back to Evernight and claim sanctuary for Lucas. Mrs. Bethany accepts him and gives him sanctuary. Although, Evernight has now set traps for the wraiths, or Mrs. Bethany has set traps to be more specific. Throughout the story Bianca and Lucas try to discover why the traps have been set and why.

I almost didn’t read this book because I didn’t really care for Hourglass. However, I am really glad that I did. I think this is the best book in the series and it had a lot more going on than in the previous books. There are more characters that are explored and relationships that show different qualities in the main characters.

I loved the way this book showed Lucas. He no longer is the knight in shinning armor for Bianca. He is vulnerable and lost as a vampire. He is forced to look into himself and redefine who he is. It was not the stereotypical male role. If anything, Bianca is Lucas’ knight in shinning armor as she loves him through his transition and unconditionally. She is the one that is there for him through everything and she is the one that keeps his emotions in check. It was a very refreshing role reversal. Bianca also becomes more assertive with herself and finds a purpose for her existence.

The ending really wrapped up all of the loose ends in the story but another book could easily be created. Thus, I'm really not sure if this is intended to be the last book in the series or if there will be more. The ending is something no one saw coming and was amazing. I give Afterlife a 5/5. Afterlife comes out in March 2011.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


I'm wondering if anyone has read A Clockwork Angel and has an opinion to share? I love the Mortal Instruments books but I wasn't really drawn in by the synopsis of the book or the excerpt on the web.. Has anyone read it and can let me know if it is worth it to buy it or should I just wait until my library gets it or is it worth picking up? I am always apprehensive about getting invested in a series with only one book out.. Especially since right now I have a backlog of books to review for NetGalley...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Once in a Full Moon by Ellen Schreiber

I have been busy reading several galleys on Netgalley and haven't had much of a chance to update my blog. My son also got into a performing arts academy so we are trying to juggle that with all of his swimming responsibilities! Being a mom can be crazy at times. Anyway I finished this galley a few days ago and just got around to writing up my thoughts on the book.

Once in a Full Moon is an interesting story about love and accidents. Celeste is dating Nash, the school star athlete and one of the most popular guys. However, Celeste never really feels that she belongs with him. Their relationship is strained because Celeste holds back and does not share the same prejudiced feelings as the rest of the town about which side they live on. Then one day a new kid comes to school and she is captivated by him. Not only does he catch her attention in school but he saves her from a pack of wolves during a snowstorm. This leads to a Romeo and Juliet story with a paranormal twist.

I found this book was an interesting light read. It is easy to read and does a fairly good job of holding your interest. Celeste has a lot of compassion for those in her community and that makes the reader take an interest in her. However, her friends strike me as vapid and shallow which naturally pits the reader against them. It’s not that they are bad people it is just they are the typical popular girls in school.

I found the relationship between Celeste and Brandon to be a little rushed. I just personally don’t agree with the magnetic relationships in this genre. I like there to be a period of the characters getting to know one another.
The conflict in the story is mostly between Nash trying to get Celeste back and the prejudices of the community. I think there are some good lessons about prejudice in this book and in recent light of the bullying situation in schools most students will identify with being disliked and judged because of something like where they are from.

Overall I give the book a 3.5/5. It is not one of my favorites that I have read in this genre but it is by far not one that I dislike. I just feel that the plot is a little simplistic for me.

Once in a full moon comes out 12/28/2010 and can be pre-ordered through the link below on

Friday, October 1, 2010

Alpha by Rachel Vincent

*Sigh* I just finished the last book in the werecat shifter series by Rachel Vincent. I have laughed, cried and yelled at the final book. It is by far the best book in the series although it is the hardest to read. I love the person that Faythe has become by the last book and will really miss the characters in this series. If you haven't picked up this series yet get it from Amazon. It is NOT a YA series but it is one of the best adult paranormal series that I have read. Excellent job Rachel! I look forward to seeing what new ideas you come up with!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Always a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

I picked up Always a Witch on NetGalley. I was really excited to see it since it won’t be published until Summer 2011 and I have read the first book Once a Witch. If you haven’t read Once a Witch you may want to pick it up before reading the rest of this review as it will contain spoilers.

The book follows Tamsin as she realizes that her family is still in danger from Alistair. Alistair has gone back to the past and is trying to change the course of the future. Tamsin is the only one that can go back and stop Alistair. However, she has to protect the ones that she loves and keep them from going back.

I really enjoyed this series and found it to be somewhat like a cross between paranormal literature and a bit of a superhero story. Each member of the family has a “talent” that reminds me of superpowers. While they still observe Wiccan guidelines the “talents” themselves remind me of superheros. I found this to be a nice twist that isn’t used too often in this genre. It kept me interested as there is so much literature out there on witches right now.

The writing is extremely fluid. I read the book in one sitting and found myself sad when the book was over. I am not sure if there are to be any other books in this series because the plot is resolved at the end.

The romance between Tamsin and Gabriel is refreshing because they were best friends growing up. I really liked that it wasn’t a love triangle between someone she grew up with and a “hot” new comer. It’s good to see the nice guy win out every once in a while. They have a relationship based on equal footing where they are balancing each others wants and needs. This is seen at several points in the book where they go back and forth about not telling the other person what to do.

Overall I give this book a 5/5. I really enjoyed the storyline and found the plot to be very unpredictable. I never saw the ending being what it was. I also found that the characters really spoke to be as everyone doesn’t fit in at some point in time. I hope to see more coming from Carolyn MacCullough in the future!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Almost to Die For by Tate Hallaway

I absolutely loved Almost to Die for! It was sitting in my Amazon recommendations and I loved this book. Here is the summary from Amazon:

“On her sixteenth birthday, Anastasija Parker learns that her so-called deadbeat dad is actually a vampire king. And he wants Ana to assume her rightful position at his side, in spite of the fact that she has witch's blood running through her veins-from her mother's side.

Too bad witches and vampires are mortal enemies. And now Ana's parents are at each other's throats over her future. It's up to Ana to make a choice, but deciding your eternal destiny is a pretty big deal for a girl who just wants to get through high school.”

I really liked that Ana struggled with her identity but didn’t let her identity define her in the end. While the book seems to have some of the ideas of destiny, Ana makes her own future. This was probably my favorite part of the book. I also loved the honest of her character. While other characters are heralded for their honesty Ana doesn’t sensor her feelings. When a potential suitor frightens her, she calls him on it.

I also enjoyed the plot. It was a different twist. No one was trying to end the world or kill another species per say. It was a simple story about a girl and her own battle to find who she is amidst her different heritages. Keeping the plot simple has many benefits for the reader. It made me want to keep reading from start to finish to find the answers for Ana.

The only detractor from this book for me was the ending. I would have liked to see a longer ending. It felt like there was this huge buildup but then it was wrapped up very quickly. Maybe I will feel differently about that after a few days because I do love the way Hallaway keeps it simple.

Overall I give this book a 5/5 and really recommend reading this book. It is a different twist on the vampires and on the love triangle.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bite Me & Try Me by Parker Blue

I came across these two books from Amazon’s recommend feature. Here is the summary of Bite Me from Amazon:

“Life after high school is tough enough without having to go 15 rounds with your inner demon. Val Shapiro is just your ordinary, part-demon, teenaged vampire hunter with a Texas drawl. And a pet hellhound named Fang. Soon enough she finds herself deep in the underbelly of the city, discovering the secrets of the Demon Underground and fighting to save those she loves. Whether they love her back or not.”

I absolutely loved this series. It ranks up there with the Chicagoland Vampire Series for me. It is a YA book but for the older crowd. Val is 18 and is finding herself on her own. She is going through the same struggles that everyone else does when they strike it out on their own. I like that her character is so strong and independent while having a deep loyalty streak to her family even though they have severely mistreated her.

I loved reading about the different friends that she makes in the Underground Demon organization. Parker does an excellent job of coming up with imaginative demons and making the side characters interesting.

Try Me is an excellent sequel to Bite Me. Val grows so much in the first book and yet the second book doesn’t feel stretched at all. She continues to discover more about her demon side and her human identity. I think that everyone can related to Val’s character as throughout the series she is trying to understand who she is and how she can define herself.

Val’s relationships with male characters also matures a lot in the second book. She gets her first boyfriend and has to deal with the confusing parts of a new relationship. She also has to deal with how her demon defines her feelings and relationship. Because of this she has to try harder to make things work in her relationship.

I give this series a 5/5. I am eagerly awaiting news of the third book and can’t wait to get my hands on it!

Moon Spun, Moon Rise and Moon Stone by Marilee Brothers

This series revolves around a young girl named Allie and the events surrounding her coming to possess a magical Moon Stone. Allie posses supernatural powers that are amplified by the stone. In addition to surviving the normal trials of being a teenager Allie has to survive being the keeper of the Moon Stone.

I found this series hard to get into at first. Being an adult that likes to read YA I tend to gravitate toward the upper end of the YA spectrum. Thus I found Allie’s goofy moments a bit difficult to get through at first. However, as I got further into the series I found it a quirk that I looked forward to seeing in her character. It sort of “grew” on me.

I did find her character flawed but fun. She is strong and independent but still has the vulnerability for a girl her age. She thinks things through and does not simply follow whatever her friends dictate. She is strong enough to take care of her mom but she doesn’t simply do everything. Her and her mother butt heads as she tries to get her to take some responsibility for the household. Also, even though her mother may not do a great job of taking care of her, Allie still makes good choices to not go out and take advantage of the situation. I do hope to see a bit more of her friends’ personalities in the next installment. They are mentioned but their characters are not developed.

The story line itself keeps the reader interested. While it took me a while to get through the first book I feel as though I am hanging off of a cliff waiting to read the fourth installment... I am left hoping that the fourth book is announced soon and maybe I can get it early thorough NetGalley ;)

I also liked that the major issues were wrapped up in each of the books. I do not feel like the entire plot is one big loose end. Some of the series that I have been reading lately have felt like nothing is ever resolved. (I don’t tend to blog about those..)
Overall, I would give the series as a whole a 4/5. For the older audience the goofy aspect may take a while to grow on you and it may take some patience to get through the first book since Allie is so young.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Trickster's Girl by Hilari Bell

I came across Trickster’s Girl on NetGalley while browsing the latest releases. Here is the description given on NetGalley:

“In the year 2098 America isn't so different from the USA of today. But, in a post-9/11 security-obssessed world, "secured" doesn't just refer to borders between countries, it also refer to borders between states. Teenagers still think they know everything, but there is no cure for cancer, as Kelsa knows first-hand from watching her father die.
The night Kelsa buries her father, a boy appears. He claims magic is responsible for the health of Earth, but human damage disrupts its flow. The planet is dying.
Kelsa has the power to reverse the damage, but first she must accept that magic exists and see beyond her own pain in order to heal the planet.”

I found the book to be very inspiring. While this is not the book for people looking for romance in a YA story, it is still a innovative inspiring book about a journey. While Kelsa is on her journey to heal the world she comes to grips with the death of her father and the resulting problems in her family. The futuristic aspect of the book is very believable. I liked that the technology wasn’t so far removed from what things are today and that the security really seemed to be the direction we are headed currently.
Kelsa is a strong lead character and the book centers around her and “Raven” her helper. Raven is the one that explains how to heal the world and takes Kelsa on a interesting adventure to save the world. The story is fast paced and it is constantly changing. The plot is not predictable in the least.

I did find that the ending was somewhat abrupt and it felt a bit unresolved. I am not sure if this is leaving an opening for a future book or a series. However, overall if you are not looking for a YA story with romance this is an excellent book. Especially since it has a “moral” and is relatable for most people in an environmentally conscious time. I give the book a 4.5 out of 5.

Trickster's Girl comes out on 1/3/2011.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Alpha Trailer

If you have read Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamers series you should check out her Shifters series. The shifters series is an adult series but it is really good. Here is the description from Amazon:

"Vincent's debut, an urban werecat fantasy, is a good story that suffers from about 200 pages of bloat. Faythe Sanders is a Texas grad student with a secret: she's a shape-shifting werecat. After she's attacked by a Stray—a werecat without ties to any pride—Faythe's father, the Pride Alpha, orders her to return to the family compound. As it turns out, two other werecat tabbies have gone missing, indicating an organized effort by the formerly go-it-alone Strays. The author's world building is intriguing but overly narrow, reducing the range of jungle feline behavior to a keen territorial instinct. Secondary characters abound, including Faythe's intended, formerly human werecat Marc; five years earlier, she escaped the pride on what was supposed to be the eve of their wedding. Unfortunately, they both have frustrating character tics that are only exacerbated by the novel's length: Faythe is more often too-stubborn-to-live than kick-ass, and all the tears Marc wells up over Faythe don't forgive his insufferable jealousy. A polished tale may hide within this one, but Vincent needs to rein herself in a bit if she wants to build a readership."

Here's her trailer for the latest book Alpha!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Manifest by Artist Arthur

I got Manifest by Artist Arthur through Netgalley. I found the description to be very interesting and requested the book. Here’s the plot summary from Amazon:

“When fifteen-year-old Krystal Bentley moves to Lincoln, Connecticut, her mom's hometown, she assumes her biggest drama will be adjusting to the burbs after living in New York City.
But Lincoln is nothing like Krystal imagined. The weirdness begins when Ricky Watson starts confiding in her. He's cute, funny, a good listener—and everything she'd ever want—except that he was killed nearly a year ago. Krystal's ghost-whispering talents soon lead other "freaks" to her door—Sasha, a rich girl who can literally disappear, and Jake, who moves objects with his mind. All three share a distinctive birthmark in the shape of an M and, fittingly, call themselves the Mystyx. They set out to learn what really happened to Ricky, only to realize that they aren't the only ones with mysterious powers. But if Krystal succeeds in finding out the truth about Ricky's death, will she lose him for good?”

I found the story line to Manifest to be intriguing. The plot keeps you interested in the book. I appreciate the amount of thought that was put into the story line. I found that the characters had a lot of potential and the resolution was well-written.
However, I felt disconnected from the characters while reading the story. I felt like there was so much devoted to the story itself but the characters were left out of that. Krystal has a lot of potential as a lead character but since she isn’t as developed you feel like her depression is just annoying.

I did find Ricky’s mystery to be a very non-predictable scenario. I liked that I didn’t automatically figure it out. I found that Ricky was my favorite character in the story. While he was a bit demanding of Krystal he genuinely cared about the other characters and I felt like I got the best glimpse of him.

Overall I found the story made up for the disconnect with the characters so I would recommend this book to other readers. I am looking forward to see what happens in the next installment but am hoping that I get to see a bit more than the surface of the characters. I give the book a 3.5/5.