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


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!!