Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi


Shatter Me is one of my first forays into the futuristic writing world. I have really been trying to avoid picking up a future society book because they really don’t interest me. However, I am very glad I picked this one up on the Vine. Here’s the description from Amazon:

"You can't touch me," I whisper.
I'm lying, is what I don't tell him.
He can touch me, is what I'll never tell him.
But things happen when people touch me.
Strange things.
Bad things.
No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal, but The Reestablishment has plans for her. Plans to use her as a weapon.
But Juliette has plans of her own.

Wow! This book was amazing. While the description is very vague it really was an incredible read. The book starts out with Juliette being locked away for what her touch has done to another. We see crazed interaction with herself and her cell mate. Then suddenly she is pulled from that life into a political pawn role with the new government. From there the plot thickens as Juliette fights to be true to herself.
Juliette was an amazing character. I loved how passionate and compassionate she was without ever really being able to experience love and affection. I also loved some of the surprises that were thrown our way with her love interest and the villain. I really can’t say much because it will spoil the book but there were several curveballs that were thrown in the plot.

The writing was very fast paced and I truly enjoyed the author’s style. She managed to use small things in her writing to give some clues as to what was going on without the reader being able to figure out where the book was headed. I particularly enjoyed being able to think back to the beginning and follow the “crumbs” to what happened in the end. I am still very curious about how her touch works and it isn’t as clear cut as it seems.

I give this book a 5/5 and highly recommend it to people even if you are skeptical about futuristic books. 


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Explanations

So in case you haven't noticed I typically post more during the school year as I tend to be in one place and have more time with my kids in school. I have been pretty bad so far this year with posting regular reviews and have a HUGE backlog of things I want to write a review for.

However I can FINALLY talk about the reason why. I have mentioned in the past my son has been taking acting classes and went to a national competition in Los Angeles this summer. Well what I couldn't talk about was the fact that he got 18 call backs and that we were traveling back out there to meet with them over a longer period of time. We went back out a few weeks ago and as of yesterday we officially signed with Clear Talent Group Los Angeles. It has been a long few months as we have been evaluating what is best for my son and which agency to ultimately go with. Not to mention he has a crazy swim schedule. I am so proud of my little man and hopefully now that we have chosen an agency things will slow down a little until I head back out to LA for him to work. I am going to start working on that backup of reviews that I have to get done :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Reckoning by Lilith St. Crow


I must say that I am very saddened to see the end of the Strange Angels series. I really love Lilith St. Crow’s YA work and like the world that she has created. Here’s the summary of the fifth and last installment from Amazon:

Nobody expected Dru Anderson to survive this long. Not Graves. Not Christophe. Not even Dru. She's battled killer zombies, jealous djamphirs, and bloodthirsty suckers straight out of her worst nightmares. But now that Dru has bloomed into a full-fledged svetocha - rare, beautiful, and toxic to all vampires - the worst is yet to come.

Because getting out alive is going to cost more than she's ever imagined. And in the end, is survival really worth the sacrifice?

I had to actually hunt this book down. I thought it would be released on Kindle however it was only in paperback. Thus, had to hunt a copy down at the local bookstore or risk having to wait to read it. I read it in a few hours. The books in this series are always packed with action and this one this one is no exception.

In the latest installment Dru fully grows into her character. Throughout the series she is strong and independent to a fault. In this book she finally starts to learn to trust others and seek help when she needs it. She does get a lot more emotional in this book as well which might get annoying at times.

There is too much spoiler information in this installment so I will talk vaguely about what I liked in the story. I liked the way that the action is continuous in this book. It is definitely not a book to read if you have other things going on in your life. You will not want to put this book down. There is a lot going on all at once.

I also liked the simplicity of the book. For most of the book it is just Dru, Graves and Christophe. This lets us really see the dynamics between them. There also isn’t five other plot lines going on in the story. Several of the books I have read lately have too many subplots going on. Lilith’s writing is beautiful in its simplicity.

I also liked the flashbacks that happened in the book. Some things that I didn’t get before were finally explained and some plot holes were finally filled in.

 I did not care for the ending of the book. Up until the end of the book I loved it. In the last few pages. I didn’t care for the ending. It would be a good ending for a book but as the end of the series I didn’t like it. I felt it was left very unresolved as far as Dru’s story. I realize what the author was trying to do and it is very innovative, however, I didn’t like it. I am sure there are others that will but for me it was too open.

Overall I give the book a 4/5. I loved it up until the last few pages. While I understand why the ending was done that way, I still didn’t like it. 


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegan


It seems the market continues to be saturated with paranormal fiction. I know that the demand is still very high but at times I feel like I am reading exact rewrites of already done stories. There are simply only so many ways to write stories or to alter myths. I applaud Trinity Faegan for her incredible originality with the book the Mephisto Covenant. It was truly an amazing read and extremely refreshing with the bad luck streak I have had lately in fiction. Here is the summary from Amazon:

Sasha is desperate to find out who murdered her father. When getting the answer means pledging her soul to Eryx, she unlocks a secret that puts her in grave danger—she is an Anabo, a daughter of Eve, and Eryx’s biggest threat.

A son of Hell, immortal, and bound to Earth forever, Jax looks for redemption in the Mephisto Covenant—God’s promise he will find peace in the love of an Anabo. After a thousand years, he’s finally found the girl he’s been searching for: Sasha.

With the threat of Eryx always looming, Jax knows he has to keep Sasha safe and win her over.  But can he? Will Sasha love him and give up her mortal life?


I read this 400+ page book in the space of a few hours. It was a definite page turner and had a new mythology. Sasha is a great leading character. There is a certain peace about her. I wouldn’t say she is a stong leading character in the sense that she is take charge, however, she has strong beliefs and practices them. She is not constantly influenced by teenage politics and doesn’t instantly fall in love with the leading male.

Another plus in this book is the lack of a love triangle. I am over love triangles. So many books have had them lately and I just want to see a really great love story with some paranormal thrown in. I LOVED that this book fit that bill. The story between Sasha and Jax grows over time and isn’t split with anyone else in the book.

Lastly, the dialogue was extremely well done for a YA book. I have found myself very annoyed with the past few books that I have read (I haven’t reviewed them on here) because the dialogue is choppy or not how a teenager would speak. I thought this book was beautifully done.

Overall, I give this book a 5/5 and can’t wait to see what happens next! On a side note look at how beautiful this cover is!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

If I Die by Rachel Vincent


The latest addition to the Soul Screamers world came out a few weeks ago and I had the pleasure of reading it on release day. It has however taken me awhile to figure out what to say about it since so much went on and ALL of it was spoilery. Here’s the description from Amazon:

The entire school's talking about the gorgeous new math teacher, Mr. Beck. Everyone except Kaylee Cavanaugh. After all, Kaylee's no ordinary high-school junior. She's a banshee—she screams when someone dies.

But the next scream might be for Kaylee.

Yeah—it's a shock to her, too. So to distract herself, Kaylee's going to save every girl in school. Because that hot new teacher is really an incubus who feeds on the desire of unsuspecting students. The only girls immune to his lure are Kaylee and Sabine, her boyfriend's needy ex-girlfriend. Now the unlikely allies have to get rid of Mr. Beck…before he discovers they aren't quite human, either.

But Kaylee's borrowed lifeline is nearing its end. And those who care about her will do anything to save her life.
Anything.

My first reaction after reading this book was “huh?” followed by “what!?” then followed by “wow!?” This is in my opinion the best book in the series. So much happened in the book with all the characters it was as if your head was spinning. Furthermore, you never knew what was going to happen next.

I don’t want to give much away about the book but since this is in the summary on Amazon I will talk about it a little: the fact that Kaylee might be dying soon is cause for insanity as a reader. I could not stop reading because you have no idea what is going to happen with that plot. I think that some readers may have to “settle down” after realizing the plot of the book but it is by far one of the best that Rachel Vincent has written. I am anticipating mixed feelings about this book from reviewers because there is change. Any time there is change in a series some people shut down and stop liking the series. I am not one of those people.

If you are looking to read a really good book then this is the one for you. The writing and plot are amazing in this one and we really get to see some things from different perspectives. I give this one a 5/5 and if it was possible I would give it more since I was obsessive about finishing the book!


Friday, September 30, 2011

Lola and The Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins



This book was definitely worth the wait. I stayed up until midnight last night so that I could finish the book because I couldn’t put it down for a minute. So fair warning if you pick this book up it is liable to be one you can’t put down. Here’s the description from Amazon:

In this companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss, two teens discover that true love may be closer than they think

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn't believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit - more sparkly, more fun, more wild - the better. But even though Lola's style is outrageous, she's a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket - a gifted inventor - steps out from his twin sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.


I didn’t think it was possible to read a book better than Anna and the French Kiss but somehow Stephanie managed. It was extremely refreshing to see a “sophomore” book that exceeds the first book. The relationship between Lola and Cricket is even sweeter than the one that developed between Anna and Etienne in the first book. They have a lot more history that comes into the book together and you can’t help but push for them to be together.

I also loved that see a lot of glimpses of Anna and Etienne in this book. While I would love to read a whole series about them I recognize that it would not be a good thing. It’s like when chocolate cake sounds good despite being full. You eat it and then regret it. Thus, I think another book with solely Anna and Etienne would be much the same. I must say though it was nice to see them again in this book because I always wonder what characters would be doing later on after the bulk of their story is over.

This is such a great book that I don’t want to give anything in the storyline away. So I am going to leave out my own summary of the book. I give Lola and The Boy Next Door a 5/5. It is definitely one of my favorite books of 2011 and probably my absolute favorite YA romance of 2011. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in this genre

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Reminder!!

One of the best books I read last year was Anna and The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. It was one of the best books that I have read in a very long time. I even rank it above my closet Sarah Dessen obsession. I wanted to remind everyone out there that tomorrow her companion novel Lola and the Boy Next Door comes out!!!
This is the beautiful cover to the novel. While I tried really hard to get my hands on an arc of this book I was unable to. However, I did get a sneak peak of the first chapter on her Austrailian publisher's site and it looks to be just as promising as the first book. So take a chance tomorrow and check out Stephanie Perkins latest book. If you want to see my review of the first book click here. I will be staying up most of the night to finish If I Die so I can start this one tomm. Review of If I Die is coming up soon so stay tuned to the blog for Rachel Vincent's latest YA.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa


The Iron Knight is I believe the last installment in the series for Meghan, Puck and Ash. I have really enjoyed this series and had mixed feelings about it ending. Here’s the description from Goodreads:

To cold, emotionless faery prince Ash, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing any gentler feelings the Winter prince might have had. Or so he thought.

Then Meghan Chase—a half human, half fey slip of a girl— smashed through his barricades, binding him to her irrevocably with his oath to be her knight. And when all of Faery nearly fell to the Iron fey, she severed their bond to save his life. Meghan is now the Iron Queen, ruler of a realm where no Winter or Summer fey can survive.

With the (unwelcome) company of his archrival, Summer Court prankster Puck, and the infuriating cait sith Grimalkin, Ash begins a journey he is bound to see through to its end— a quest to find a way to honor his solemn vow to stand by Meghan’s side.

To survive in the Iron realm, Ash must have a soul and a mortal body. But the tests he must face to earn these things are impossible. At least, no one has ever passed to tell the tale.

And then Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that turns reality upside down, challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice.

I want to first say how much I loved the other books in this series and that I had a lot of expectations for this book based on that. However, I found myself disappointed with this book. I struggled to make it through the text. I always loved the interaction between Meghan, Ash and Puck. However, for most of the book it is simply Ash and Puck on a quest to make Ash mortal. I think this is why I had so much trouble staying interested in the book. It wasn’t until about halfway through the book I was able to stay interested in the story line. While I found Ash’s quest to be very romantic and interesting for the first 30 or so pages it became a bit long.

With that said, I did like how the relationship between Puck and Ash evolves and seems to come to some sort of an understanding. I guess if Meghan was involved the story couldn’t have wound up where it needed to. 

I also liked seeing a fair amount of Grimalkin. He has really become quite an amusing character. However, I am still left wondering why he helped them so much over the course of the stories. Maybe I need to read the story again to puzzle through his true motives.

All in all I am a bit sad to see everything wrapped up in this story. I give this book a 3/5 because at the end there are many redeeming qualities that I can’t share without giving out spoilers. All I can say is stick through it and you won’t regret it if you have read the rest of the series. 


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Indie Read of the Week: Gossamer by SL Naeole

I want to start by saying I loved the Grace series by SL Naeole. It is reason that I originally picked this book up. Its a good find for 2.99 on kindle. Here's the description from Amazon:

Sophia Blithe’s seemingly perfect life masks the scars of a past that’s left her cold and immune to emotion. She hides it well, and is content to live behind that mask for the rest of her life. A zoning change a few weeks before the start of her senior year changes all that when Sophia is forced to attend Gossamer High. It’s there she meets Dex Sterling, the boy whose eyes haunt her dreams. He’s carefree, handsome, cryptic, infuriating, and he knows more about her than he should. He makes Sophia question the feelings she has whenever she’s around him and worse, whenever she’s not. Then one fateful night, Sophia makes a decision that changes everything and, in the darkness that hides nothing, learns the dangerous truth about Gossamer, about Dex, and how he knows so much about her. Now she’s left to figure out what it is she wants and whatever her decision, it could end up costing her life.


To be completely honest I put reading this book off for a while because it didn't fully interest me in the synopsis. However, I know I love the author's writing style so I picked it up this weekend. I was glad that I did in the end. The plot and story is a bit unique. At first I wondered if there was a paranormal reason that Sophia didn't feel emotion. I had a hard time understanding that emotional wounds could cause the complete shut down that they did in her. However, as the synopsis describes it was the trauma she suffered. Not having been through anything like her it took a while for me to connect with that level of hurt and her lack of emotions. 


While I loved the story there were several times I wanted to kick or smack the main character. If you are easily annoyed with characters making continuous poor choices this is not the book for you. I came close to putting down the book at one point because of a sensitive issue that it tackled and Sophia's reaction. Thus, at times it was a hard read for me because I was so interested in the storyline but at time revolted by the behavior of Sophia. 


Dex is a great leading male. He definitely falls in the Edward category with the protective instincts, however, it is refreshing that he somewhat tamps down on his instincts and allows Sophia to make her own choices and gives her space. He is also "beautiful" and perfect in Sophia's eyes which also elevates him to the reader. 


The author has definitely set this up as a series and is currently working on the sequel. I must say that I enjoyed the storyline and premise of this book and will pick up the second one. However, I really hope that the lead character gets her act fully together because I don't know if I will pick up the third if she continues to be stubborn about poor choices. Overall I give this story a 3.5/5. 


**Parents be warned that I really don't think some of the issues in this book should be read by a younger YA audience. Additionally, I think dialogue with even older high school students on these issues is a good idea. It can serve as a great gateway to talk about issues that girls face**



Monday, September 12, 2011

9/11 and Meg Cabot

I know that I am a day late with this. However, I wasn't going to post anything about 9/11 as I feel like everyone has reflected on their experiences and mine aren't all that prolific. I was in a math class at LSU when the never used intercoms came on and it was announced that a plane hit the twin towers. The class was called early that day and all my other classes were cancelled as students gathered in front of the clock tower to hold vigil for those in New York and Washington. My dad called and his plant went on lockdown because they are the largest oil refinery in the US and a prime target for terrorism. I remember watching as the towers came down from the bank that I worked at and feeling very overwhelmed by the emotions I was feeling. I had friends from high school going to college and working in New York and I couldn't reach any of them. It will definitely be a day that I will never forget and I continue to keep those that lost loved ones in my prayers. I am also honored for the police, firemen, EMTs, etc that gave their lives trying to save others. The experience of 9/11 showed me what the verse "One nation under God, indivisible.." meant. Our nation came together to love and support all those that had lost loved ones and I was and still am humbled to have witnessed such an outpouring of love and compassion.

 I sometimes wonder how I am going to explain this to my son when he is older. He is only 6 and doesn't really understand yet. I came across a beautifully eloquent and emotional blog by Meg Cabot. I strongly encourage people to read this blog here. I don't think anyone could read it without crying but it was a great way to relate the events of 9/11. I think that maybe in a few more years it might would be a starting point for telling my son what happened on 9/11. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Indie Read of the Week: Second Kiss by Natalie Palmer


I come across a lot of great Indie books through Amazon and recommendations. I have decided that I want to feature a different Indie book each week that I have read and fell in love with. This week’s recommendation is Second Kiss by Natalie Palmer. Here’s the description on Amazon:

Even my most humiliating moments seemed funny somehow when I told them to Jess.' Gemma Mitchell is a normal girl who somehow gets herself into abnormally embarrassing circumstances. And while she thinks she's the biggest loser in school because of them, there are a few people in her life who would disagree. One of those people is her best friend, Jess Tyler, who is opposite to her in every way. He's popular, good looking, athletic, and intelligent, and he can't get enough of Gemma. But while Gemma is dealing with problems like wrong locker combinations and Valentine's Day dances, Jess is living in a world of serious issues that are foreign to Gemma, until she realizes that he's holding on to her for dear life. Humorous and true to life, Second Kiss is an entertaining saga about a boy and girl who find that their lives have a lot more meaning once they have shared them with each other.

I am so glad I gave this book a chance. It isn’t published by a major publishing house so I still consider it to fall under the Indie radar for my blog purposes. It only has a few reviews on Amazon and I am so glad that I gave it a chance.

Second Kiss is a beautifully told love story between two best friends. Jess is the perfect guy that every mother wishes her daughter would find and every girl dreams about. He shares everything with Gem and never laughs at her or thinks less of her. He is considerate and kind.

Gem is a typical girl throughout the book. Jess is her best friend and most of the book is simply about their friendship and how they make it through some really terrible circumstances with each other.
It is refreshing to read a good clean novel about friendship and love. There aren’t any outside crazy circumstances to what is going on with them. It is just a natural evolution with the characters.

I am dearly hoping that there is a sequel to this story because I don’t feel like Jess and Gem have finished their story. I also really want to see what happens after the last scene in the book. I haven’t been able to locate any information on a sequel but did send the question through goodreads to the author. I will update if/when I get an answer.

Overall, I give it a 4/5.



Saturday, September 3, 2011

Soul Thief by Jana Oliver


While I love the paranormal and the romance YA genre I have become increasingly interested in urban fantasy mixed with the paranormal. I found The Demon Trapper’s daughter through the Amazon vine program and absolutely fell in love with the series. You can find that review here. It is a great blend of paranormal and urban genres. I have had Soul Thief in my wishlist on Amazon as soon as it was listed. So I was very excited to finally have it delivered to my kindle on release day this week. Here’s the summary from Amazon:

Seventeen-year-old Riley has about had it up to here. After the devastating battle at the Tabernacle, trappers are dead and injured, her boyfriend Simon is gravely injured, and now her beloved late father’s been illegally poached from his grave by a very powerful necromancer. As if that’s not enough, there's Ori, one sizzling hot freelance demon hunter who’s made himself Riley’s unofficial body guard, and Beck, a super over-protective “friend” who acts more like a grouchy granddad.  With all the hassles, Riley’s almost ready to leave Atlanta altogether.
But as Atlanta’s demon count increases, the Vatican finally sends its own Demon Hunters to take care of the city’s “little” problem, and pandemonium breaks loose. Only Riley knows that she might be the center of Hell’s attention: an extremely powerful Grade 5 demon is stalking her, and her luck can't last forever…

Oh wow this book was an incredible follow up to the Demon Trapper’s Daughter. This is a series that is simply getting better each installment. I already fell in love with Riley and Beck in the first book and that only got better.

Riley’s character definitely grows up even more in this book. She still has a lot to learn about being on her own and learning when she is in over her head. You also get a lot more insight into Beck and really get to feel what he is thinking. I don’t want to give a lot away because this book was one surprise after another. I definitely didn’t see any of the plot turns coming.

Simon is in this book but is different from the first book. I must admit that I didn’t care for his character or his and Riley’s relationship in the first book. I felt like at some point he would have to ask to change who she is to stay with him. I was happy with some of the changes that went on in the second book with their relationship.

Ori is back and is just as mysterious as ever in the beginning of the book. I will say that eventually you do solve some of the mystery of Ori but it takes getting through the entire book.
Riley and Beck continue to bicker and dance around each other with tension. I am really rooting for a happy ending for those two in later books.

Overall, I give this book a 5/5. It was even better than the first book in the series. In fact I already started looking to find when the third book will be released but haven’t had luck with that yet. 


Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Five!

Wow it's been awhile since I've had a moment to post a Friday Five. I've had trouble keeping up with basic book reviews while trying to juggle going back to work with my son's hectic swim and acting schedules. So here's what's on my mind this week:

1. I am so excited for Labor Day weekend. Right now with my son's schedule I am only home on Weds and Sunday. Therefore, I don't get to see much of my incredibly awesome husband or even have internet access. We are planning to spend the holiday in Dallas with my grandmother and I am really looking forward to the nice break. Hopefully I will be able to relax and get a few reviews done. The hubby is also taking some sort of bar-b-que judging certification class so he can officially judge competitions. I have no idea why he is doing this other than... free food.... lol.

2. School is definitely back in. It is amazing how early the kids go back every year. My son is in first grade so we have nightly homework and because I am a crazy teacher mom I also make him work ahead in a supplemental workbook. So far he has made a 100 on everything so I figure I'm not permanently scarring him with my extra assignments.

3. My daughter's hair is finally coming in!! She's 18 months and has mostly been bald while I dream about one day putting her hair in ponytails, etc. Unfortunately this isn't as fun as I thought. She got my husbands spiral curls that will turn into a giant birds nest at the first sign of humidity.. Not fun living in Louisiana with that kind of hair... Also, it's not fun having to constantly condition and detangle it.

4. It's time for Football!! The Saints are back and University of Tennessee is back. I miss football dearly every summer. I love going to or watching pretty much any game. Hopefully, we'll be able to get a few Saints tickets this year. I'm not found of going to college games because it is really hot and the stadiums freak with out with my fear of heights.

5. I am on the hunt for new tv shows. Anyone have any suggestions? I have pretty much dwindled my list down to just GLEE with a few ABC family shows thrown in when I get bored. I am thinking of watching The New Girl with Zooey Deschanel. It looks really funny. I am looking for fun tv shows or really interesting ones. I love to read so it has to be really good to distract me from reading. However, sometimes I just feel like vegging out and watching a bunch of tv.

I hope everyone has a great holiday and enjoy the football!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles


Wow! Simone Elkeles really hit it out of the park in the conclusion of the Perfect Chemistry trilogy. In fact my final reaction to this book is shocking because quite honestly I was not really anticipating this book. After reading the description I really was a little unsure of this book. I loved the earlier two and wasn’t so sure of this one. Here’s the description from Amazon:

Luis Fuentes is a good boy who doesn't live with the angst that his big brothers, Alex and Carlos, have always lived with. Luis is smart, funny, and has big dreams of becoming an astronaut. But when he falls for the wrong girl, Luis enters a dark world he's never known, and just when he thinks he's got life all figured out, learns some disturbing news about his family that destroys his positive outlook on life. Will that Fuentes bad boy streak come out with a vengeance and lure Luis to live on the edge like his new girlfriend and his own father?

This series has a little bit of a West Side story to it. All 3 books revolve around a division in ethnicity and class. The boys are from the wrong side of the tracks and are involved with gang activity. If you enjoyed West Side Story or other books in that topic then you will love this series. Although there is more of a love story to Elkeles work.

First of all Luis isn’t my favorite Fuentes by far however I think this is probably the best book of the series. Luis is a great lead but I found that he wasn’t quite as intense as Alex and Carlos. He still has his moments and some emotions still have that fierce intensity but overall he doesn’t live life as passionately as his brothers. Then he meets Nikki and she brings out his intensity.

Nikki was by far the most interesting love interest in the series. She has gone through so much prior to meeting Luis that she has a lot more depth from the first chapter. She is a very strong girl and has sustained a good amount of hurt. At times as a reader you might want to shove her along to heal but it makes for a great story.

The plot of this book is surprising. I don’t want to ruin it but I was dumbfounded about ¾ of the way through the book at the curveball we are thrown. There are so many issues that this book addresses and the others simply dance around. It isn’t just a love story but a coming of age/healing story for both of the main characters.

This was by far my favorite book even though Alex and Britney are my favorite couple. I give this one a 5/5. Be sure to check out the first book Perfect Chemistry if you haven’t started the series. 


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tris and Izzie by Mette Harrison


I have really begun to lean toward the summer romance books this past month and so my last few reads haven’t been as paranormal as usual. Also there is a bit of a lack of interesting paranormal books. I saw this book on Netgalley and was really intrigued because Tristan and Isolde is a great love story. Here’s the summary from goodreads:

A modern retelling of the German fairy tale "Tristan and Isolde," Tris and Izzie is about a young witch named Izzie who is dating Mark King, the captain of the basketball team and thinks her life is going swimmingly well. Until -- she makes a love potion for her best friend Brangane and then ends up taking it herself accidentally, and falling in love with Tristan, the new guy at school .

There were parts that I absolutely loved about this book and parts that I didn’t care for. It seemed very black and white while I read it. In the beginning I found it hard to stay interested. It is obvious that the relationship with Mark is comfortable and a major plot conflict was very obvious to me. ** Spoiler ** I figured out extremely easily that she didn’t really take a love potion. However, there were still some surprises at the end about what she did take

I found the rest of the story between the two to be very sweet. It is fairly brief due to conflicts but it was sweet. I also liked the supporting characters and seeing them develop in the story instead of just the main couple.

I found the paranormal aspect completely unbelievable. It is really hard to read a book that is unrealistic. Izzy basically just finds out about her powers and heads out to destroy something that has been killing her kind for decades. I didn’t find that at all believable.

I liked the way the author ended the story. It was obvious that it was the end of the this story and it was nice to see where the characters ultimately ended up. The last few pages of the book were probably the most enjoyable for me.

Overall I give the book a 2/5. I feel like a younger YA audience would appreciate this book better. I don’t think it will work well for older YA readers. 


Friday, August 12, 2011

The Juliet Spell by Douglas Rees


I came across an interesting modern story of Romeo and Juliet on Netgalley and thought I would give it a try. I really enjoyed the modern Pride and Prejudice that I read and was hoping for another hit. Here’s the description on Netgalley:

I’m Juliet.
At least, I wanted to be.
So I did something stupid to make it happen.
Well, stupid and wonderful.
I wanted the role of Juliet more than anything. I studied hard. I gave a great reading for it—even with Bobby checking me out the whole time. I deserved the part.
I didn’t get it. So I decided to level the playing field, though I actually might have leveled the whole play. You see, since there aren’t any Success in Getting to Be Juliet in Your High School Play spells, I thought I’d cast the next best—a Fame spell. Good idea, right?
Yeah. Instead of bringing me a little fame, it brought me someone a little famous. Shakespeare. Well, Edmund Shakespeare. William’s younger brother.
Good thing he’s sweet and enthusiastic about helping me with the play...and—ahem—maybe a little bit hot. But he’s from the past. Way past. Cars amaze him—cars! And cell phones? Ugh.
Still, there’s something about him that’s making my eyes go star-crossed....
Will Romeo steal her heart before time steals him away?
I’m afraid for me this book was not a hit. I had several problems with the story. First the spell itself is odd. Some random spell happens to work and then later on the explanations get really crazy for the age group the book is written for. Being a math major I could relate to several mentions of higher level math or science facts, however, I feel like most teenagers would have no clue.
I also didn’t care for the entire second half of the book. A lot of characters and obstacles are introduced to the plot. I would have preferred a much simpler plot. In the end, too much ends up going on and in a way that distracts you from the real story that is going on with the main characters.
I did like the first half of the love story between the main characters. I felt like there was a definite chemistry between the characters and it definitely piqued my interest in the book. However, as things kept going I was less enthused.
Overall I would give the book a 2/5. For me it wasn’t a great book. I do feel like it will have an audience though and while I didn’t love it others might enjoy it as a quick read. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Beyond the Grave by Mara Purnhagen


I have really enjoyed the previous books in the Past Midnight series so I was excited to see that the newest installment was “in my mailbox.” Here’s the description of the book:

Being Charlotte Silver, the daughter of famous paranormal investigators, means my life isn’t like that of other teenage girls. Especially after what happened to my parents. Things changed. I missed prom and deferred my big college plans. But I still have my boyfriend, Noah. He’s everything I could want—if I can figure out what’s up with him. Suddenly Noah is secretive.
I fear it has something to do with what happened to us three months ago. The bruise Noah suffered during a paranormal attack has never completely faded. Now I’ve learned Noah is researching demons. And when he disappears, it’s up to me to find him—before something else does.

I have to say that I found the first book in this series to be “ok” and the second book really piqued my interest in the series with the curveball that happened in the end (see my reviews in the archives). I was a little apprehensive about the plot of this installment. **Spoilers** The second book doesn’t end well with Charlotte’s mom having sustained a severe head injury. I felt like this book could be a major growing part for the characters or it would be really depressing with the loss of such a vital part of the family unit in the series. I must say that I was really happy that it the first and not the latter.

We see Charlotte grow tremendously in this book along with Noah. They both go through so much that they can’t help but mature and grow. Charlotte finds an inner strength that is amazing. While dealing with her own emotions over her mother she also must deal with her dad and his issues surrounding that night. I liked that we see more of just Charlotte. There isn’t as much interaction with Avery or other supporting characters.

New characters are introduced in the series that counter the Watcher. I really thought that this was well done as it introduces a new belief without seeming outrageous. Furthermore, there are some revelations that once again come at the end of the story that are shocking.

It seems as though things are wrapped up in this book so you aren’t left at a cliffhanger at the end of this book. It is still open to possibly have more books but it doesn’t end with a major event that we have to wait for a resolution for. Overall, I give the book a 4/5. 


Monday, August 1, 2011

Wildcat Fireflies by Amber Kizer


Wildcat Fireflies is the much anticipated sequel to Meridian by Amber Kizer. I absolutely fell in love with Meridian when I first started by blog. You can check out the archives for a review of Meridian. I was so excited when I saw that the next installment in the series was coming out this summer. Here’s the summary from Amazon.com:

Meridian Sozu is a Fenestra—the half-human, half-angel link between the living and the dead. She has the dark responsibility of helping souls transition safely into the afterlife. If people die without the help of a Fenestra, their souls are left vulnerable to be stolen by the Aternocti, a dark band of forces who disrupt the balance of good and evil in the world and cause chaos.

Having recently lost her beloved Auntie—the woman who showed her what it meant to be a Fenestra—Meridian has hit the road with Tens, her love and sworn protector, in hopes of finding another Fenestra. Their search leads them to Indiana, where Juliet, a responsible and loving teenager, works tirelessly in the nursing home where she and several other foster kids are housed. Surrounded by death, Juliet struggles to make a loving home for the younger kids, and to protect them from the violent whims of their foster mother. But she is struggling against forces she can't understand . . . and even as she feels a pull toward the dying, their sickness seems to infect her, weighing her down. . . .

Will Meri and Tens find Juliet in time to save her from a life of misery and illness? And will Meri and Tens' own romance weather the storms of new discoveries?

I have mixed feelings about this book. I loved all of Meridian but did not quite feel the same about the latest installment. It was weird at first because I couldn’t put my finger on what exactly was out of place for me in the story. The characters were the same and the writing is the same however it just didn’t hold my interest as much as the first book. After rereading the book, I really think it was because I couldn’t get into Juliet’s story. I really enjoyed any parts that related to Meridian and Tens but had a lot of trouble getting through the parts related to Juliet. I found it hard to relate to her situation and then trying to puzzle through what was going on in the situation also took away some of my interest.

On the other hand, I couldn’t get enough of Meridian and Tens. They grow quite a bit in this story as a Protector and Fenestra and as a couple. They also mature as they are now on their own. I still feel like we don’t really know anything about Tens because his character is so guarded. While we get some insight to what’s inside of his head we don’t fully see “what makes him tick.” I am hoping to get to know more later on in the series.

We are also left wondering about the relationship between a Fenestra and her Protector. I am really curious to  learn what role the Protector plays. So far we haven’t seen Tens do much other than anticipate Meridian. I am wondering what he could do against a Aternocti. I am thinking that as a Protector he likely has a role against them.

New characters are introduced to the story that are fun and make things interesting. I am hoping Meridian and Tens stay in the same area so we can see how the new characters will play into the story.

Overall, I give the book a 4/5. After reading it the second time I was able to get through more of Juliet’s story and appreciate the addition to the series. Meridian is searching for Fenestras so of course new characters have to be introduced. I am just a little more excited to see how the rest of Meridian and Tens story continues.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Love Story by Jennifer Echols


I absolutely adore all of Jennifer Echols books. I have been waiting on this story since she first announced it early this year. I was a little apprehensive about the premise but it turned out to be a beautiful story. Here’s the summary from Amazon:

For Erin Blackwell, majoring in creative writing at the New York City college of her dreams is more than a chance to fulfill her ambitions—it’s her ticket away from the tragic memories that shadow her family’s racehorse farm in Kentucky. But when she refuses to major in business and take over the farm herself someday, her grandmother gives Erin’s college tuition and promised inheritance to their maddeningly handsome stable boy, Hunter Allen. Now Erin has to win an internship and work late nights at a local coffee shop to make her own dreams a reality. She should despise Hunter . . . so why does he sneak into her thoughts as the hero of her latest writing assignment?
Then, on the day she’s sharing that assignment with her class, Hunter walks in. He’s joining her class. And after he reads about himself in her story, her private fantasies about him must be painfully clear. She only hopes to persuade him not to reveal her secret to everyone else. But Hunter devises his own creative revenge, writing sexy stories that drive the whole class wild with curiosity and fill Erin’s heart with longing. Now she’s not just imagining what might have been. She’s writing a whole new ending for her romance with Hunter . . . except this story could come true.

I read this book during the Mu Alpha Theta National Competition and hated that I only had a few minutes to read here and there. This book was one that I wish I could have read without putting it down! The friction between Hunter and Erin is beautifully done. It truly is a Love Story between the two of them.

Hunter and Erin volley back and forth in her creative writing class with their feelings for one another. It’s a little like watching a ping pong match as the story continues. However, at the same time there are moments in between where their interactions hint at different feelings. Add in a crazy bunch of friends and the story holds your interest and keeps you guessing about what is going to happen next.

I will admit I was nervous about adding in the horse aspect to the story. This is probably one area I am completely not interested in. I have never cared for horse races, etc. However, it was a small part of the story itself so I didn’t feel like I needed an education in horse racing.

One of the reasons I tend to be leery of love stories is because it seems many authors need some sort of tragedy to bring the characters together. I have never really been a fan of that type of writing because I read to escape things. I really liked that Jennifer was able to write a beautiful love story that holds your interest without a horrible tragedy that left me sobbing. There are may conflicts even after some realizations are made. I often get bored with simple love stories and this was not the case. The storyline was very complex as well as the characters and their behaviors.

For once I really don’t have a criticism about a book. I really loved every part of it. I would also like to add that I think this story would translate really well into a movie and would love to see that happen. I give this book a 5/5!


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg


Finally a review! I caught a cold on top of my shingles but am plugging away to finish my reviews that I have been sitting on. Its sad that things actually calm down when I am at work during the school year with the exception of December and May. Between swimming and acting this summer for my son I haven’t taken a breath. Anyway, I picked up Prom and Prejudice through the Vine program with Amazon. I have yet to read Pride and Prejudice but it has been in my TBR stack for awhile. I have been slowly making it through the classics as I go. I’m not a huge fan of a lot of them so it takes me a while to pick a new one up. However, many books I have read recently are referencing this one. Thus, when I saw Prom & Prejudice I decided it would be something fun to read to get a general feel for the original. Here’s the description from Amazon:

“Eulberg retells Jane Austen’s still popular tale of class, love, and danger both emotional and physical. Setting this version in a contemporary Connecticut school for the socially elite, and casting Lizzie Bennett as a scholarship student and musical prodigy, Eulberg’s story unfolds along lines predictable both from the original plot and the spate of recent “mean rich girls” novels. That said, this version does justice to Austen and shows up the utter silliness of kids rich in material—and designer brand name—goods, the moodiness of some males (not often mined in YA literature), and the ways truth can be hidden by both outright lying (on the part of Wick, the villain of the piece) and shyness (both Lizzie’s and Darcy’s). This makes, in all, a fairly delightful blend of past and present value systems and social expectations. For those who haven’t read the original, that will be the obvious next stop; for those who have, there’s fun to be had in forecasting how Eulberg will rescript each upcoming scene.”

I was a little concerned about this book as it seems to be for a younger crowd. However, I absolutely loved it. I read it in one sitting and found it to be a quick enjoyable read. The plot is fairly predictable since I know enough about Pride and Prejudice but it didn’t take away from the story being told. It was a little like watching a movie if you have read the book. It can still be very enjoyable.

I think Eulberg did a great job with character development for Lizzie and Will. Even though it is narrated from Lizzie’s point of view you still get to see a lot of complexity in Will. Lizzie makes a great lead as she is stubborn and has quite a dry sense of humor. Watching her make her way in a difficult world makes you cringe with her and laugh and the dry wit she employs to stay sane at times. Will is your typical male strong hero. He is the type of guy that we find in the end we would all want to sweep us off our feet.

Eulberg also did an excellent job bringing the story into the modern world. It doesn’t seem forced or out of place in the modern retelling. I think she did a great job maintaining the original plotline of the story while updating it.

At times I did find Will’s character to seem a little too old for his actual age but I believe that goes with being Darcy. The other girls in the story add to the drama and remind me of some of the new series like Clique and Pretty Little Liars that my younger sister reads. I think this book will has a wide audience and is perfect for anyone that enjoys a love story. I always enjoy it when there is adversity between the leading characters that eventually evolves into something else. If that is what you enjoy then this is the book for you! Overall I give the book a 4/5.