Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Release: Full Moon Kisses by Ellen Schreiber

Full Moon Kisses (Full Moon #3) by Ellen Schreiber

Beware of the full moon.

A werewolf wants to take you into his world. Forever.

Celeste and Brandon know that Nash in werewolf form is bad news. But a new prediction from psychic Dr. Meadows has Celeste wondering: Which of them wants to turn her into a werewolf?

Still on Celeste's and Brandon's minds is the "cure" from Brandon's father. Brandon must face one dilemma he hadn't anticipated—if his dad's serum really does work, is he willing to give up being a werewolf for good? Is Celeste willing to give up her heroic werewolf boyfriend? And when Nash finds out there's a cure, will he try to take it from Brandon as they continue to deal with their rivalry, their competing affections for Celeste, and their struggles with their werewolf identities?

Then things grow still more complicated when a gang of sketchy guys from a neigh-boring town comes to Legend's Run just before the big Werewolf Festival. What, or whom, are they looking for?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Releases: Deadly Little Lessons & The Darkest Minds

Deadly Little Lessons (Touch #5) by Laurie Faria Stolarz

When Camelia escapes to a summer arts program in Rhode Island, she gets caught up in the case of Sasha Beckerman, a local girl who is missing. Will the lessons Camelia has learned about her powers help her save the girl, or will she run out of time?

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Release: Foretold by Jana Oliver

Foretold (The Demon Trapper's Daughter #4) by Jana Oliver

Now that Riley’s managed to (just barely) fend off Armageddon, everything’s changed. Well . . . most things. After their passionate kiss before the big battle in the cemetery, Beck is back to treating her like a little girl, as if nothing ever happened. While she’d love to just tell him off and move on, Riley vowed to take care of Beck the way he’s taken care of her since her father’s death—but she’s about to get a whole lot more than she bargained for. When she’s commissioned to go with Beck to his hometown and help him care for his dying mother, they stumble too close to a dark and murderous secret, one that Beck fears will drive Riley away from him forever. As chaos breaks loose, Riley may be Beck's only hope for redemption . . . and survival.

Meanwhile, up in Atlanta, it’s quickly becoming clear that Heaven may have won a battle, but the war is far from over. Riley and Beck face a stormy future, as Lucifer's ex-right-hand-man, Sartael, proves himself to be more resilient than anyone thought. He has Atlanta in his grip and is about to begin a brutal war with the prince of Hell. As the seconds tick down toward a final confrontation, it's up to Riley and the man she loves to finally defeat their old enemy, or lose everything they've fought for.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Release: The Lucky Ones by Anna Godbersen

The Lucky Ones (Bright Young Things #3) by Anna Godbersen

In 1929, the Bright Young Things escape Manhattan's heat for the lush lawns and sparkling bays of White Cove, looking for leisure, love, and luck.

New York City's latest It Girl, Cordelia Grey, is flying high with celebrity pilot Max Darby. But Max is a private person with a reputation to uphold—and a secret to hide. A public romance with a bootlegger's daughter could cost him more than just his good name. . . .

Aspiring triple threat Letty Larkspur has finally gotten her big break, but will her talent—and special bond with the married silver-screen star Valentine O'Dell—make her a target in the cutthroat world of Hollywood? Perhaps the ingenue knows how to play the leading lady after all.

Newly married to her longtime sweetheart, socialite Astrid Donal finds herself spending more time with one of her husband's henchmen than with him. With so many secrets between man and wife, is the honeymoon already coming to an end?

As summer reaches its hottest peak, these sun-kissed girls will find out if their luck can last . . . or if dark surprises are on the horizon.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa

Genre: fantasy
Series and Book #: The Iron Fey #5
Pages: 377

Don’t look at Them. Never let Them know you can see Them.
That is Ethan Chase’s unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he’d dare to fall for.
Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister’s world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten. 
My name is Ethan Chase. And I may not live to see my eighteenth birthday.

Ethan is Meghan's brother. Originally, I thought he'd be interested in the fey and wanting to learn more about them, but that wasn't the case. Ethan was brutal when it came to the fey. His thoughts toward them were volatile and harsh. They had screwed up his life and he wasn't exactly forgiving about that. When he needs Meghan's help, he doesn't like it. After all, she's with Them now. There wasn't a ton of Meghan in this story. She was there but it was from Ethan's perspective and his interaction with his sister was short. He didn't like being in Faerie and he harbored a deep pain toward Meghan. Not only that, but there is the return of the Forgotten seen in The Iron Knight. It's going to be another crazy series with another brand of fey no one wants around.
Ethan was an interesting character. As much as he dislikes the fey, when his half-blood friend needs his help, he returns to Faery to gain answers. When Meghan won't help, he forges on anyway, trusting another faerie in the process. Also, his relationship with Kenzie is always should-I? Shouldn't-I? It was fun to see her always teasing him to get a rise. She was an excellent opposite of his character. Their interaction was wonderful.
Overall,  this book was amazing. To me, it was better than its four predecessors. The reappearance of characters from the previous books (including my favorite faerie, Leananside) and seeing them from Ethan's completely different perspective was interesting. Also, the appearance of some new faeries and the parallels Kagawa put in to the first four novels was great. I'm interested to see where the series will go and how it will end.
The Cover: I don't understand the leaves and branches on Ethan's body. But it's still kinda cool.

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Genre: mystery, paranormal
Series and Book #: Mara Dyer Trilogy #1
Pages: 452

Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there. It can.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed. There is.
She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love. She’s wrong.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer had a great storyline, interesting twists, and enough horror and intrigue to keep me either wanting to put the book down and close my eyes or read until dawn. It was much darker than I thought it would be. Michelle Hodkin kept it creepy and mysterious. Mara's revolting ability to kill people with just a thought was subtle enough that until she states it in the novel, I wasn't entirely sure Mara was the cause of the deaths. With the addition of Noah's powers, the man with the watch, and Jude suddenly appearing, Hodkin kept the surprises flowing and the oddities reappearing.

I didn't like Mara as a character. She was full of self-pity. Everyone wanted to help her and Noah was convinced he could, but she didn't listen. She kept her feelings to herself. At the end, she didn't try to stop herself. Even though Noah said she could, she didn't listen, and she willingly accepted that she could kill people and she was going to use that ability. It disgusted me. I wish she would have tried to fight it somehow. Not just give up.

Overall, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was great. Mara's hallucinations were very detailed and descriptive. What was going on in her head was terrifying. Hodkin didn't hesitate to keep it dark. The mystery surrounding the asylum collapse was intriguing, especially when Jude appeared in Mara's life more often. Mara's amnesia wasn't as prominent as I thought it would be. I wish the sudden flashes of memory would have been touched upon better.

The Cover: Lovely. It's definitely one of those covers that made me think, "This book is going to be interesting."

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

To my U. S. followers, happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Host by Stephenie Meyer

Genre: science fiction
Series and Book #: none
Pages: 619

Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away.
Our world has been invaded by an unseen enemy. Humans become hosts for these invaders, their minds taken over while their bodies remain intact and continue their lives apparently unchanged. Most of humanity has succumbed.
When Melanie, one of the few remaining “wild” humans, is captured, she is certain it is her end. Wanderer, the invading “soul” who has been given Melanie’s body, was warned about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the glut of senses, the too-vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn’t expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.
Wanderer probes Melanie’s thoughts, hoping to discover the whereabouts of the remaining human resistance. Instead, Melanie fills Wanderer’s mind with visions of the man Melanie loves—Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body’s desires, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she has been tasked with exposing. When outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off on a dangerous and uncertain search for the man they both love.

This has to be one of the best books I've ever read. Whether you like Twilight or not, I don't think you should immediately disregard Stephanie's only stand-alone novel. Because it is nothing like Twilight. It is deep and rich with the beautiful things we humans should be thankful for.
Stephenie found a way to tap into the human mind and construct a story that focused on the gifts we humans tend to take advantage of. The souls are aliens who have the ability to overcome a mind. They are unable to feel and can't live long without a host. When Wanderer enters Melanie's body, she is overcome with the sudden flood of emotions and intense senses Melanie possessed. Wanderer describes the vivid colors and fragrant scents and the powerful emotion she now could feel. As the story goes on, Wanderer never ceases in her awe of all the humans were capable of. I felt a little guilty, because everyday it's like I took advantage of the thoughts and feelings I have. It rocked me back into myself and gave me a great sense of gratitude.
I like both Wanderer and Melanie. Stephenie's character development was a decent slope. It was not all at once. They both developed slowly though the change in circumstances, their opposing view of things, and the experiences they had. Wanderer was my favorite of the two because she defied the norm and forced others to see the souls as something other than parasites. I kind of hated Melanie for giving Wanderer a hard time, because it was hard for her to give up her species in favor of Melanie's. But I liked their interaction. Stephenie favored neither side. She wrote the pros and cons of both species and let me decide that neither was good nor bad. They were equal.
Overall, put your prejudices aside, and read this novel. It's powerful. It's impacting. Stephenie Meyer is a brilliant author. I hope this book receives more publicity because it's wonderful.
What's your opinion? Which book do you like better, Twilight or The Host? Comment below.
The Cover: It's simple, but I really like the eye. It's not obvious online, but the ring around the iris reflects light like a souls would. It's very pretty.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Nevermore by James Patterson

Genre: science fiction
Series and Book #: The Maximum Ride Series #8
Pages: 384

One last chance...
For Max, Fang, and Dylan...
before it all ends.
Are you ready for the final chapter? Are you ready for the ultimate flight? Because THIS IS IT. One last incredible, explosive adventure with an astonishing ending that no one could have seen coming.
Yep. It's done.
Final installment of Maximum Ride. Expected to bring back the better times of the series. The wonderful action scenes and the gasp-inducing shockers. But...NOPE. I mean, yes, there was the omnipresent action because it's Maximum Ride, and the series could not function without some kind of kick-butt fights. But it wasn't as excited as usual. And the shockers weren't shocking. And the end was...less than great. But, dang it, I'm going to miss this series.
Maximum Ride is a unique character that had taken a spot at the Top Ten heroines one should know something about. It's not everyday an author writes a story about bird kids who are trying to save the world and also avoid being captured by mad scientists. Maximum Ride is a fiesty character as well. She's not girly, she's not sweet, but she's loyal to a T. This is still present in the final novel because in the end, I don't think anyone would be satisfied unless the flock was back together.
Overall, the final book was lackluster and didn't tie up really any loose ends, caused characters to suddenly disappear, and really had nothing to do with the end of the world, which I thought was what James Patterson was building up to in the FINAL NOVEL. I mean, the ending was great. Max lived. Fang lived. But what about everyone else? If James is going to shock the reading world (more like rock it. I don't think anyone would be shocked) and have one more go at the ending, hopefully he'll do it correctly. Because this doesn't feel like an ending. Which is painful. Beause now I'll be expecting more. *Whimper*
The Cover: Eye-catching. I like this one much better than the other ones, although my favorite is still the cover of Max.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Genre: paranormal romance
Series and Book #: Beautiful Creatures #1
Pages: 563

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.
Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.
In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

I've heard so many mixed reviews about this book that I decided to read it, and here we are. Me adding my own viewpoint into the already muddled thoughts about this novel.
I loved it. I really, really did. It wasn't overly mysterious that it was annoying how little I knew, but it wasn't blatantly honest about everything. The setting and the atmosphere was also deliciously dark and a bit creepy. What's more fun than reading a book about spell casters in a sleepy Southern town? Especially spell casters with a very dark past. Kami and Margaret are excellent storytellers who had ways of adding details without piling them on and who created this world full of darkness and light.
Ethan and Lena. Lena and Ethan. Elena. Lethan. Either way, they are so wonderful together. Lena was a beautiful character, whose complex personality only heightened Ethan's interest in her. I loved her powers and the shocking abilities she possessed. I loved the way she interacted with others, the way her bark and her bite were equally powerful. Ethan was a bit more transparent than Lena, but I loved the way he accepted everything about her with unflinching love. They were so perfect together, Lena's seeming darkness to Ethan's everlasting light.
Overall, I really loved this book. I don't know what else to say. Kami and Margaret reeled me in with promises of darkness and light and I received that in a novel filled with beautiful creatures. If you've heard mixed reviews as well, I'd say just read it and add your own. Sometimes the best voice is your own, as Lena's only too keen in understanding.
The Cover: Goodness, everything about this book is wonderful, including the cover.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Genre: dystopian, science fiction
Series and Book #: none
Pages: 323

In America’s Gulf Coast region, grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts by crews of young people. Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota—and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or by chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: Strip the ship for all it’s worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life….

I didn't really like this one. It was...slow. And though there was some adventure and action, there wasn't as much as I thought there would be. It was somewhat of a disappointment. I liked the setting and Nailer's world. It was gritty and terrifying and dangerous. But that was it. There wasn't a heightened sense of "Oh my gosh, no WAY!" or "That's scary." It had its moments, but they were quickly done with and slowed until the next quick pulse of adventure.
Nailer was a good kid. I liked him. But my favorite character was Richard Lopez. He was the character I felt was best described. He was scary, ruthless, and on the edge of crazy. When he appeared, he sent shivers down my spine, and the way he handled others was a testament to the brutality Paolo described. He never ceased to be murderous. It was always there, like a threat hanging over the novel. Will Richard Lopez find and kill Nailer? Will he be merciful? He was a wild card that added suspense to the novel.
Overall, I'd say this was an okay book. It had its ups but it also had its downs. The action scenes, or the especially suspenseful moments, kept me on the edge of my seat and frantically reading the section, waiting for disaster to strike. I would describe this novel as a city killer*: looming and growing larger until the heavens opened up and I was suddenly hit from all sides. It had its moments but they were brief, exciting, and left me breathless.
The Cover: It's dark, decrepit, and resembles the ships Nailer must take apart. I like it.
*Taken from Ship Breaker. Meaning: a storm so deadly it could wipe out an entire city.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Hunger Pains: A Parody by The Harvard Lampoon

Genre: humor
Series and Book #: none
Pages: 157

Winning means wealth, fame, and a life of therapy. Losing means death, but also fame! This is the Hunger Pains.
When Kantkiss Neverclean replaces her sister as a contestant on the Hunger Games—the second-highest-rated reality TV show in Peaceland, behind Extreme Home Makeover—she has no idea what to expect.
Having lived her entire life in the telemarketing district’s worst neighborhood, the Crack, Kantkiss feels unprepared to fight to the death while simultaneously winking and looking adorable for the cameras. But when her survival rests on choosing between the dreamy hunk from home, Carol Handsomestein, or the doughy klutz, Pita Malarkey, Kantkiss discovers that the toughest conflicts may not be found on the battlefield but in her own heart…which is unfortunately on a battlefield.
Previously, I read a book by The Harvard Lampoon titled Nightlight. It was a parody of Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. Once again, they've taken a beloved story and given it a funny twist. Titled, The Hunger Pains.
I am not a hater of The Hunger Games. I love the Hunger Games trilogy and I saw the movie when it came out and I loved everything about the books. But, even lovers of books must have some fun, and it comes in the form of The Hunger Pains. It's just meant to poke a little fun and make the book seem more ridiculous than it actually is. I must say, it is hilarious. It's a quick read that will give you a giggle. I recommend this to Hunger Games fans or non-Hunger Games fans alike.
The Cover: I'm a terrible person. I really like this cover!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Releases: Reached & Meant to Be

Reached (Matched Trilogy #3) by Ally Condie

After leaving Society and desperately searching for the Rising—and each other—Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again: Cassia has been assigned to work for the Rising from within Society, while Ky has been stationed outside its borders. But nothing is as predicted, and all too soon the veil lifts and things shift once again.

Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill

Meant to be or not meant to be . . . that is the question.

It's one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she's queen of following rules and being prepared. That's why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that's also why she's chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB ("meant to be").

But this spring break, Julia's rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she's partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.

Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be.

Monday, November 12, 2012

An amazing contest for an amazing collection of YA books YOU (yes, you) could win!

So, recently, while perusing through the blogosphere, I came across a contest that is so generous and incredibly...well, amazing. YOU could win an entire library of signed YA books:

Look in Beth Revis's blog for a better explanation of the contest and how you can sign up. Spread the word! This is an opportunity not to be missed!

Obviously, I love YA. I run a blog dedicated the books. But why do I love YA? Because it is the perfect blend of adult literature and teen novels. Being a teenager is so hard. Everyone is trying to influence your decisions, it seems like no one understands you, and there's an entire, scary future ahead of you that is completely unpredictable. YA novels are a place to escape from the demands of everyday life and slip into a place where there are strong characters in impossible situations. It gives me strength, pushes me to become great, like the characters I read about. That's why I love YA. There are no restrictions, there are no limitations. It is a world where anything is possible and even the least can become the most. I don't know what I would do without YA novels. So thank you. To the readers who read. To the authors who write. To the publishers who publish. You create places to discover and happiness to unlock.
Don't forget to sign up! There is a handy-dandy link to your right that will guide you to the contest entry on Beth's blog.
Have a great November everyone!

The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood

Genre: science fiction & romance
Series and Book #: none
Pages: 288

The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud tells the haunting story of a young man who narrowly survives a terrible car wreck that kills his little brother. Years later, the brothers’ bond remains so strong that it transcends the normal boundaries separating life and death. Charlie St. Cloud lives in a snug New England fishing village. By day he tends the lawns and monuments of the ancient cemetery where his younger brother, Sam, is buried. Graced with an extraordinary gift after surviving the accident, he can still see, talk, and even play catch with Sam’s spirit. But townsfolk whisper that Charlie has never recovered from his loss.
Into his carefully ordered life comes Tess Carroll, a captivating, adventuresome woman training for a solo sailing trip around the globe. Fate steers her boat into a treacherous storm that blows her back to harbor, to a charged encounter with Charlie, and to a surprise more overwhelming than the violent sea itself. Charlie and Tess discover a beautiful and uncommon connection that leads to a race against time and a desperate choice between death and life, between the past and the future, between holding on and letting go

I first heard about this book because of the movie that came out based on this book. Sometimes, the book isn't as great as the movie, but there are other times where the movie doesn't even capture the essence of the novel. Though the movie was excellent, I'd have to say this was better.
Charlie St. Cloud isn't a complex character. He's a genuinely sweet guy who loves his brother so much he's willing to give up the promising life he could have if he broke their promise. But he doesn't and he lives his life around the setting of the sun because that's what he promised so many years ago. He is fiercely loyal to not only his brother, but also to Tess, who suddenly comes barrelling into his life and ripping apart the careful facade he's kept for so many years. I really liked Tess. She was witty and strong, but she wasn't so strong that she didn't let her feelings show. I liked the moments when she was emotional because it gave her character depth.
Overall, if you've seen the movie and really liked it, I bet you'd like the book just as much. There are some parts that are different but it doesn't make the book greater than the movie or vice versa. They are their own entities and I can't say one is better than the other. It's the same heartbreaking story of the death and life of a beautiful, wonderful boy.
The Cover: I like how they put a sunset over Marblehead, and the ships coming in and out of the harbor. It sets the mood of the book nicely.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Geek Charming by Robin Palmer

Genre: romance
Series and Book #: none
Pages: 338

Princess meet frog…
Dylan Schoenfield is the princess of L.A.’s posh Castle Heights High. She has the coolest boyfriend, the most popular friends, and to top it all off, a brand-new “It” bag that everyone covets. But when she accidentally tosses her bag into a fountain, this princess comes face-to-face with her own personal frog: self-professed film geek Josh Rosen. In return for rescuing Dylan’s bag, Josh convinces Dylan to let him film her for his documentary on high school popularity. Reluctantly, Dylan lets F-list Josh into her A-list world, and is shocked to realize that sometimes nerds can be pretty cool. As the queen bee of Castle Heights royalty helps Josh turn from a frog into a prince, she’s shocked to find herself becoming friends with a geek—and liking it. But when Dylan’s so-called prince charming of a boyfriend dumps her flat, her life—and her social status—come to a crashing halt. Can Dylan—with Josh’s help—pull the pieces together to create her own happily-ever-after?

So, we're back to Castle Heights, the high school of not only Cindy Ella by also Dylan Schoenfield. Just like Robin's first novel, this book correlates with the fairytale The Princess and the Frog. But, like Cindy Ella, Robin doesn't overwhelm the reader with striking similarities. Although they are most definitely there.
Dylan Schoenfield is not one of my favorite characters. I know she's supposed to be popular and cute, but she was ditsy and annoying as well. Sometimes I just wanted to reach into the pages and smack her over the head myself. But I couldn't help but feel for her when she's suddenly kicked to the curb by her "friends." Josh was a sweetheart, too. Though he can be a bit annoying at times as well, I loved his playful banter or sometimes deep conversations with Dylan. As the story unfolded, it was obvious Dylan wasn't going to be Josh's princess and Josh wasn't going to be Dylan's prince. But they were obviously going to become devoted friends.
Overall, another excellent retelling on the subtle side. I liked how Robin went back to Castle Heights for the setting of her story. Though there wasn't any contact with Cindy Ella, there were some moments with the stepsisters. This version of The Princess and the Frog doesn't have the same romantic ending but leaves a quirky character finally fulfilled.
The Cover: It reminds me so much of Dylan. Very bright and cute.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Cindy Ella by Robin Palmer

Genre: romance
Series and Book #: none
Pages: 264

Prom. The best dress. The best shoes. The best date. Cindy Ella Gold is sick of it all.
Prom fever has infected L. A.—especially Cindy’s two annoying stepsisters and her overly Botoxed stepmother, Cindy seems to be the only one immune to it all. But her anti-prom letter in the school newspaper does more to turn Cindy into Queen of the Freaks than to close the gap between the popular kids and the rest of the students. Everyone thinks she’s committed social suicide, except for her two best friends—the yoga goddess India and John Hughes-worshipping Malcolm—and shockingly, the most popular senior at Castle Heights High and Cindy’s crush, Adam Silver. But with a little bit of help from an unexpected source—and the perfect pair of shoes—Cindy realizes that she still has a chance at happily ever after.

Cindy Ella's letter was an excellent segue into the novel. It opened up into Cindy Ella's life situation, which wasn't as extremely disturbing as the original Cinderella's, but was still terrible. Robin's muted interpretation of the original Cinderella story made it so that it was modernized but you could easily think the book was an original storyline. She didn't feel the need to make sure every single detail was neatly in order or in place. Cindy Ella was a light-hearted read with a satisfying ending.
Cindy Ella is suddenly in the spotlight after the publishing of her letter. The sudden attention paid to her (and not good attention) gives her the appearance of a girl trapped in an undesirable life. But Cindy Ella is not a girl who is easily perturbed. She was a strong female character who was witty, intelligent, and who didn't need magic but her own self to win the heart of the Castle Heights Prince Charming. She was sweet and caring and funny.
Overall, Cindy Ella was a nice, undramatic novel based on a beautiful fairytale. Robin's creation mixes the plot lines of Cinderella and her own retelling so that it there are no overwhelming similarities but it was still noticeable this was based on Cinderella. As this book was so charming, I can't wait to see what Robin has up her sleeve for her other novels.
The Cover: Oh, look at the shoes! But wait, where's the dress? Cindy Ella doesn't wear no dresses. She is her own determined, strong, delightful Cinderella.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Burn for Burn by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian

Genre: social issues
Series and Book #: Burn for Burn #1
Pages: 354

Big girls don’t cry…they get even.
Lillia has never had any problems dealing with boys who like her. Not until this summer, when one went too far. No way will she let the same thing happen to her little sister.
Kat is tired of the rumors, the insults, the cruel jokes. It all goes back to one person—her ex-best friend—and she’s ready to make her pay.
Four years ago, Mary left Jar Island because of a boy. But she’s not the same girl anymore. And she’s ready to prove it to him.
Three very different girls who want the same thing: sweet, sweet revenge. And they won’t stop until they’ve each had a taste.

This novel had a little bit of everything. There was mystery, revenge, a twinge of romance, and even a slight bit of science fiction. I must say, at the beginning of the novel, I expected the girls to each be vying for their own sort of revenge with hearts full of passionate hatred. But I didn't see the characters becoming more complex in their feelings. Sure, each of them wanted their own dose of justice, but they were conflicted about it. The book then transformed into a  will-they, won't-they situation where I wasn't sure what the ultimate ending would be.
Kat was my favorite. She was strong, opinionated, and passionate. I really wanted her to be happy, but it seemed like the world was against her because of all she'd been through. I hope to see more development of her character in the coming sequels because I felt she wasn't as complex as the other two main characters.
Mary was very mysterious. There isn't much of a window into her past and when she narrated, she was uncertain and impartial. But she had moments in her past that made her seem like a a fragile, broken thing with a fire heart. The mystery continued as strange things (unnatural things) begun to happen around her. I wished there was more background to her character.
Lillia. She was the least favorite of mine. She seems like she'd be nice and sincere, but she also had her moments when I was wondering "What is your problem?" Though I disliked the way she treated others I appreciated how fiercely protective she was of her sister and how she came to realize how nasty Rennie really was. In the beginning, she was seemingly the nicest. In the end, she was the hypocrite.
Overall, this is definitely a novel I can see myself rereading multiple times. The complexity of the novel made it a fast-paced, heart-pounding book. Each of the character's had their own view of things and their own stories that added to the suspense. The ending was magnificent. I can't wait to read the next one!
The Cover: I love how each of the girls are perfectly matched to their characters. (Far left) Kat's cold stare, (middle) Mary's hesitancy, and (far right) Lillia's worried glance. It reflects the novel well.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Releases: Alice in Zombieland & A Fractured Light

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

She won't rest until she's sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that's all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.
Her father was right. The monsters are real.

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn't careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies.

A Fractured Light (Beautiful Dark #2) by Jocelyn Davies

When she wakes up in unfamiliar surroundings, Skye knows something terrible has happened to her. It's not until she hears Asher, the dark, rebellious angel she fell in love with, that the memories come flooding back. She tries to put the past behind her, but she knows she'll be forever haunted by the ruthless betrayal that almost took her life.

Skye returns home, but with the knowledge of who she really is, nothing can ever be the same. As she tests the limits of her newfound powers, Skye discovers that she's capable of far more than anyone could have imagined. Both the Order and the Rebellion want her for their side as war between the factions looms. She can't forget the terrifying truth she now knows about the Order, but something holds her back from embracing the Rebellion.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Releases: The Crown of Embers, The Raven Boys, & Burn for Burn

The Crown of Embers (Girl of Fire and Thorns #2) by Rae Carson

She does not know what awaits her at the enemy's gate.

Elisa is a hero.

She led her people to victory over a terrifying, sorcerous army. Her place as the country's ruler should be secure. But it isn't.

Her enemies come at her like ghosts in a dream, from foreign realms and even from within her own court. And her destiny as the chosen one has not yet been fulfilled.

To conquer the power she bears, once and for all, Elisa must follow a trail of long-forgotten—and forbidden—clues, from the deep, hidden catacombs of her own city to the treacherous seas. With her go a one-eyed spy, a traitor, and the man whom—despite everything—she is falling in love with.

If she's lucky, she will return from this journey. But there will be a cost.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”
It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Sioban Vivian

Postcard-perfect Jar Island is home to charming tourist shops, pristine beaches, amazing oceanfront homes—and three girls secretly plotting revenge.

KAT is sick and tired of being bullied by her former best friend.

LILLIA has always looked out for her little sister, so when she discovers that one of her guy friends has been secretly hooking up with her, she’s going to put a stop to it.

MARY is perpetually haunted by a traumatic event from years past, and the boy who’s responsible has yet to get what’s coming to him.

None of the girls can act on their revenge fantasies alone without being suspected. But together…anything is possible.

With an unlikely alliance in place, there will be no more “I wish I’d said…” or “If I could go back and do things differently...” These girls will show Jar Island that revenge is a dish best enjoyed together.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Releases: Hidden and Flesh & Bone

Hidden (Firelight Trilogy #3) by Sophie Jordan

A dangerous journey.
Shattered bonds.
Undying passion.

Jacinda was supposed to bond with Cassian, the "prince" of their pride. But she resisted her fate long before she fell in love with Will—a human and, worse, a hunter. When she ran away with Will, it ended in disaster, with Cassian's sister, Miram, captured. Weighed down by guilt, Jacinda knows she must rescue her to set things right. Yet to do so she will have to venture deep into the heart of enemy territory.

The only way Jacinda can reach Miram is by posing as a prisoner herself, though once she assumes that disguise, things quickly spiral out of her control. As she learns more about her captors, she realizes that even if Will and Cassian can carry out their part of the plan, there's no guarantee they'll all make it out alive. But what Jacinda never could have foreseen is that escaping would be only the beginning. . . .

Flesh & Bone (Rot & Ruin #3) by Jonathan Maberry

Reeling from the devastation of Dust & Decay, Benny Imura and his friends plunge deep into the zombie-infested wastelands of the great Rot & Ruin. Benny, Nix, Lilah, and Chong journey through a fierce wilderness that was once America, searching for the jet they saw in the skies months ago. If that jet exists then humanity itself must have survived…somewhere. Finding it is their best hope for having a future and a life worth living.

But the Ruin is far more dangerous than any of them can imagine. Fierce animals hunt them. They come face to face with a death cult. And then there’s the zombies—swarms of them coming from the east, devouring everything in their paths. And these zoms are different. Faster, smarter, and infinitely more dangerous. Has the zombie plague mutated, or is there something far more sinister behind this new invasion of the living dead?

One thing Benny and his companions can’t afford to forget: In the great Rot & Ruin, everything wants to kill you.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Jane by April Lindner

Genre: unknown
Series and Book #: none
Pages: 365

Forced to drop out of an esteemed East Coast college after the sudden deaths of her parents, Jane Moore take a nanny job at Thornfield Park, the estate of Nico Rathburn, a world-famous rock star on the brink of a huge comeback. Practical and independent, Jane reluctantly becomes entranced by her magnetic and brooding employer and finds herself in the midst of a forbidden romance.
But there’s a mystery at Thornfield, and Jane’s much-envied relationship with Nico is soon tested by an agonizing secret from his past. Torn between her feelings for Nico and his fateful secret, Jane must decide: Does being true to herself mean giving up on true love?

Excellent adaption. Like the author said in her author's note, you see a lot about Pride and Prejudice, but you don't see much about Jane Eyre, which is another beautiful love story about an independent girl in a time where independence is frowned upon. I wasn't sure how this was going to turn out because the time gap is large and customs are different, but April made it work. She stuck to the storyline very well.

Jane's character was so heartbreaking. I hated her family for what they made her think of herself which just made me love Nico and Maddy more because they made her feel wanted and happy. She deserved to be happy. She was unselfish to a tee.

Jane and Nico sitting in a tree.... Delicious romance. I expected Jane to slowly fall for Nico, but only after a few weeks she was head-over-heels in love with the guy. Which was totally fine by me! Their romance was swift but it had been building for awhile. And Nico.... Though he pretended to be this bad boy he was a teddy bear. He was so darling to Maddy and loving to Jane.

Overall, great love story. I think Jane Eyre should be right up there with Pride and Prejudice as one of the greatest love stories of all time. I don't think you have to read Jane Eyre to read Jane, but if you get the chance, I would recommend it. Jane Eyre the character was an strong woman for her time and Jane Moore is no different. I congratulate April on a job well done and for writing and adaption on a story that doesn't get nearly enough spotlight.

The Cover: Really depressing. But it registers the darkness that seems to shadow Nico and Jane's pasts.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Selection by Kiera Cass

Genre: dystopian
Series and Book #: The Selection #1
Pages: 327

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a  crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

All the FEELS! So when I heard it was The Bachelor in book form, I was like "No way in ever". But then I read it. And I was like "WHY WOULD I EVER THINK OF NOT READING THIS BOOK?!" This is going to sound stupid, but it's like a blend of The Hunger Games and The Bachelor. But...better!

Could Kiera have chosen a better name than America Singer? How punny. America is a singer, and she lives in what used to be known as the United States of America (America for short). But enough about her name. America is determined, and she loves her family. She's also very stubborn and I like that she wasn't fawning over Prince Maxon but slowly falls in love with him. I also like that she would put her family before herself, no matter the cost. She stays in the competition because they need the money. She could have been selfish and dropped out but she chose not to because her loyalty to her family came first. That, I think, is the brightest point in her character.

If it's between Maxon and Aspen, I'd choose Maxon. Because Maxon was there for America and he didn't push her unlike Aspen who suddenly drops her after two years together, and then comes back begging forgiveness. You can argue your point in the comments but I'm not changing my opinion on the matter.

Overall, it shouldn't really be called a Hunger Games and Bachelor mash up because it's not. When it comes down to it, Kiera's look on the way the USA turned out after being invaded and stomped on was quite unique. I have never read a dystopian/post-apocalyptic novel about the USA being turned into a kingdom. The whole land was built on democracy, after all. And the Selection is new. I want to see what happens in her second novel. More action? More romance? She really left it open to either option and I can't wait to see which one she goes for.

The Cover: Admittedly, that's what drew me to the book in the first place. I love the mirrors and the tiara over "selection". It's so bright and beautiful. It think it looks too serious for the book, though. The model looks very intense whereas the book is more of a romantic triangle than anything else.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life by Tara Altebrando

Genre: social issues
Series and Book #: none
Pages: 239

High-school Senior Mary Gilhooley and her friends have spent their entire lives—but especially the last four years—feeling like underdogs and also-rans. Having suffered constant ridicule from Oyster Point’s resident bully king and superjock, Jake Barbone, they are all just dying to go away to college and never come back. But with only a week until graduation, there’s one last thing Mary feels they absolutely must do together: compete against Barbone in the Oyster Point High School Official Unofficial Senior Week Scavenger Hunt—and win.
Everyone is racing for the finish line with complicated motives, and Mary’s all-right adventure quickly becomes nonstop drama as shifting alliances, flared tempers, and crushing crushes take over. Though they are racking up points at a rapid clip, it soon becomes clear that she and her friends must reinvent their strategy—and themselves—if they want to even stand a chance at winning.

I loved the idea of this book! An unofficial official scavenger hunt? Sounds fun! The list was weird and the places they went to find these things odd but the overall message wasn't about winning or crushing the competition: It was about growing up and friendship and self-discovery.

Each of the characters were unique and individual. I think Tara did a good job of writing in each of their stories. I also liked how the stories connected with the scavenger hunt. Because while it was Mary's idea in the first place, everyone else had a reason for being there. For some it was revenge and for others it was about proving themselves. Tara did an excellent job of wrapping it all up in the end so that everyone was satisfied.

Mary was such an intense character. Though you're rooting for her team to win, you can't help but want to slap her over the head for how stupid she was being. I thought her wake up call was necessary and afterward, she was a much more likable character. I guess that was the point but it still needs to be said.

Overall, it wasn't absolutely amazing, but it was funny, mind-bending, and pretty cool. Where originally it might have just been for fun I think Tara changed the story into something a bit more serious. You have to be honest with yourself before you can really see how things truly are.

The Cover: Cute! I like the cut-out words that show some of the items on the list

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Genre: fantasy
Series and Book #: none
Pages: 539

Welcome to a glorious realm of mystery, magic, heroism and danger.
In a world where a small percentage of the people have an extreme skill called a Grace, King Leck’s Grace allowed him to tell lies that everyone believed.
When Bitterblue became queen at ten years old, she thought her father’s murder meant the end of his violent, sociopathic influence.
She was wrong.
The intensely anticipated companion to the New York Times bestsellers Graceling and Fire is even more “rageful, exhilarating, wistful,” and romantic. Now eighteen and believing her advisers are overprotecting her, Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle at night to walk the streets of her own city, disguised and alone—risking her life as well as her heart.

Just for warning: wasn't as romantic as Graceling or Fire. Thankfully, there was some romance, but it wasn't as intense as Katsa's relationship with Po or Fire's. But the lack of romance wasn't the focus of this book. It was about a girl who suddenly realizes that she's not a child anymore and she breaks out of the shell her advisers have placed her in. She takes charge of her life and matures into an intelligent, sensible queen.

Bitterblue is an intricate character who has a unique view of things. Since she was raised by King Leck and witnessed terrible things as far back as she remembers, she's more hesitant to trust. Especially with mind readers. She was also a fiercely loyal friend and relative who wouldn't ever think of hurting anyone close to her. Though she's now the queen, she still has a childish naivete that causes her to cling to the people who've practically raised her because she believes them to be good. When they betray her, they hurt her, but she never stops loving them. Because that's who she is. She's a beautiful, wonderful character, and she belongs right alongside Kristin's other strong heroines.

Overall, this novel was as heartbreaking as it was powerful. A story of growing up and being yourself even when everyone around you seems to be changing. Again, Kristin captivated me with the beautiful scenery of Monsea. Her descriptions of the castle and the city were lovely. She also has a knack for using just the right language so that it sounds authentic but also is readable. I must also mention the lovely (and helpful) drawings in the book. They livened the book up and offered even more visual into Bitterblue's world. I hope Kristin doesn't stop writing because her characters are powerful and her stories are magnificent.

The Cover: I like how the blue refelects her name, and I also like the three separate keys. She's unlocking her past, but she's also literally unlocking all her father's gruesome secrets.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Candidates* by Inara Scott

Genre: paranormal, science fiction
Series and Book #: The Talents #1
Pages: 293

Dancia Lewis is far from popular. And that’s not just because of her average grades or less-than-glamorous wardrobe. In fact, Dancia’s mediocrity is a calculated cover for her secret: whenever she sees a person threatening someone she cares about, things just…happen. Cars skid. Structures collapse. Usually someone gets hurt. So Dancia does everything she can to avoid getting close to anyone, believing this way she can suppress her powers and keep them hidden.
But when recruiters from the prestigious Delcroix Academy show up in her living room offering her a full scholarship, Dancia’s days of living under the radar may be over. Only, Delcroix is a school for child geniuses and diplomats’ kids—not B students with uncontrollable telekinetic tendencies. So why are they treating Dancia like she’s special? Even the hottest guy on campus seems to be going out of his way to make Dancia feel welcome.
And then there’s her mysterious new friend, Jack, who can’t stay out of trouble. He suspects something dangerous is going on at the Academy and wants Dancia to help him figure out what. But Dancia isn’t convinced. She hopes that maybe the recruiters know more about her “gift” than they’re letting on. Maybe they can help her understand how to use it…. But not even Dancia could have imagined what awaits her behind the gates of Delcroix Academy.

*There might be some confusion with this book. For some reason, Inara Scott changed the title of this book to The Talents. Originally, this book was called The Candidates and that was the novel I read with this same book cover. However, when I was looking for the sequel, I realized that at some time the book's title was changed. The new cover is to your right. It is the same book, just a different title and cover.

Getting past the odd title change this book was okay. It was interesting but it wasn't captivating. Of course, I knew before Dancia that Delcroix wasn't just a ritzy boarding school. I liked how Jack made Dancia see things that she wouldn't have normally discovered for herself, or if she did, she would immediately discard the idea that it was anything but a normal school. Dancia's blind faith in the school itself was a bit unnerving. I wished she was more curious to the goings-on, and luckily Jack was there to push her natural curiosity until she became wary.

Dancia's character was excellently written. Though she's not book smart she knows what is going on around her and she's not terribly afraid to be herself. Inara didn't make her sound older than she was with her writing and I especially appreciated that. Of course, what good would this book be without a love triangle? Jack or Cam? Both seemed good for Dancia, but neither were really a good medium. It was kind of like Jack symbolizes Dancia's wariness of Delcroix whereas Cam is the faith she has in the school to make her a better person.

Overall, it wasn't terribly engaging, but it wasn't terrible either. I hope the sequel offers more insight into the school, that Dancia still investigates her powers and what Delcriox really is up to, and, for goodness sake, please don't let Jack fall off the face of the earth! I really hope there's more of him!

The Cover: Which one? The original I like because of the gates and the eye catching color scheme that draws your eye to the Delcroix plaque, but I like the second one because it really shows Dancia's immediate hesitation in attending Delcroix. If I had to pick one, though, I'd say I like the newest one.

What are your thoughts about the title change and the covers?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Releases for September 4: Tiger's Destiny, Envy, & Sweet Shadows

Tiger's Destiny (Tiger's Curse #4) by Colleen Houck

With three of the goddess Durga's quests behind them, only one prophecy now stands in the way of Kelsey, Ren, and Kishan breaking the tiger's curse. But the trio's greatest challenge awaits them: A life-endangering pursuit in search of Durga's final gift, the Rope of Fire, on the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal.

It's a race against time--and the evil sorcerer Lokesh--in this eagerly anticipated fourth volume in the bestselling Tiger's Curse series, which pits good against evil, tests the bonds of love and loyalty, and finally reveals the tigers' true destinies once and for all.

Envy (The Fury Series #2) by Elizabeth Miles

Spring is coming, and the ice is slowly melting in Ascension…revealing the secrets buried beneath.
Emily Winters knows the Furies have roots in Ascension, Maine—but she’s about to discover that they’re deeper than she ever imagined. With the help of her new friend Drea, she vows to dig them out. But it’s hard to focus when she’s desperate to make up with JD, and to figure out why Crow, a mysterious Ascension High dropout, seems to be shadowing her.

Meanwhile, new girl Skylar McVoy is determined to leave her own dark past behind. So she’s thrilled when popular Gabby takes her under her wing, and the stunning and sophisticated Meg offers to give her a major makeover. But everyone knows what happens to the vainest girl of all…

It’s tempting to be naughty. But beware: the Furies are always watching, and their power grows stronger by the day.

Sweet Shadows (Sweet Venom #2) by Tera Lynn Childs

Gretchen may have known she was a descendant of Medusa long before her sisters—after all, she's spent her life fighting the monsters that escape the abyss—but that doesn't mean it will be easy to teach the other girls the ropes. Can she rely on Grace and Greer, or even trust herself to keep them safe? Greer has pressing social commitments on her plate and precious little time to train in her newfound powers. But that wretched second sight won't leave her alone, and her fabled heritage seems to be creeping into her fashionable life.

Grace has worries closer to home—like why her brother, Thane, has disappeared. He's hiding something. Could it possibly be related to the secret heritage the triplets share?

With the warring factions among the gods of Olympus coming for them, the creatures of the abyss pushing into their world, and the boys in their lives keeping secrets at every turn, the three girls must figure out where their fate will take them and how to embrace the shadows of their legacy.