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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Title: Wither (The Chemical Garden #1)
Author: Lauren DeStefano
ISBN: 9781442409057
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Page#: 358
Source: ARC from the publisher (read after publication)

"In the not-too-distant future, because of genetic engineering, every human is a ticking time bomb - males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. To keep the population from dying out, girls are kidnapped and sold into polygamous marriages.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine is taken, she enters a world of wealth and privilege that both entices and terrifies her. She has everything she ever wanted - except freedom. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to escape before it is too late."
First Lines:

"I wait. They keep us in the dark for so long that we lose sense of our eyelids. We sleep huddled together like rats, staring out, and dream of our bodies swaying."
Page 1

I love dystopian fiction. That's no secret. This book falls squarely in my wheelhouse of love. :) It helps that the book is really well written and a crazy-seeming concept.

This book is all about a world in which girls live to age 20 and guys to age 24. That alone is kinda mindblowing. The whole thing is that scientists from the first generation (the ones before the virus started taking lives so early) are trying to find a cure - but they are afraid the population is going to die out before they can do that. So there are many houses around the country with polygamous marriages - specifically to keep populating. The story is of a girl, Rhine, who is kidnapped to become a wife in one of these marriages.

Rhine is an amazing character. She's one that I would love to meet and talk to - her past is only hinted in pieces and you know there's so much more to it. Even if the whole book was about her previous life, I think I would have loved it. But even as it is, her story is as heartbreaking as it is hopeful. The whole situation seems so unbelievable, but I think the characters deal with it in the exact ways I would expect them to. So well done.

This is a very character driven story - despite the world that is painted around them. It's all about their stories, where they come from, and how they all work together. The whole dynamic of the "sister wives" is pretty epic. Each of them bring a different element to the marriage. And I loved their different views of the world and how things were going to turn out.

The whole story is just epic and really well done. I think anyone who is into dystopian fic will really get into this one. Hell, it's even a love story on some level - so maybe the romantics can get into that. I just think it's a wonderful story and I can't wait to put it in the hands of some of my teen readers. I do wonder that it might be more recommended for older teens because of the whole making babies bits... and having babies. It's a little graphic, but it wasn't so much that I think anyone would be offended.

Wither is Lauren DeStefano's first book - and it's the beginning of this Chemical Garden trilogy. I'm already really excited for the second one, whenever that will be. And isn't the cover gorgeous? Seriously, it's seriously wonderful. Alright, I'm done gushing. Check out the other reviews...
Other Blog Reviews:

Electrifying Reviews
Books Complete Me
Reading Angel
The Royal Reviews
Confessions of a Book Addict
The Secret Life of a Bibliophile
Sparkling Reviews

Waiting on Wednesday (51)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Here's what I'm waiting on this week:

Dead Rules
by Randy Russell

To be released: June 21, 2011

Summary from Baker and Taylor:
"When high school junior Jana Webster dies suddenly, she finds herself in Dead School, where she faces choices that will determine when she, a Riser, will move on, but she strives to become a Slider instead, for the chance to be with the love of her life--even if it means killing him."

Doesn't that sound sort of creepy?! I think I've read one book before that was sort of like the whole concept of dead school - but I think this book sounds really original. I'm excited to see where it takes us!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Liar Society by Lisa and Laura Roecker

Title: The Liar Society
Author(s): Lisa and Laura Roecker
ISBN: 9781402256332
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Page #: 358
Source: My public library

"Since when do the dead send emails?
Kate Lowry's best friend Grace died a year ago. So when she gets an email from her, Kate's more than a little confused.

To: KateLowry@pemberlybrown.edu
From: GraceLee@pemberlybrown.edu
Subject: (no subject)

I'm here... sort of.
Find Cameron. He knows.
I shouldn't be writing.
Don't tell. They'll hurt you.

Now Kate has no choice but to prove once and for all that Grace's death was more than just a tragic accident. She teams up with a couple of knights-in-(not-so)-shining armor - the dangerously hot bad boy, Liam, and her love-struck neighbor, Seth. But at their elite private boarding school, there are secrets so big people will do anything to protect them - even if it means getting rid of anyone trying to solve a murder."
First Lines:

"Her email didn't move of disappear or do any of the creepy things I'd expect an email from a ghost to do. It was just there. Existing."
Page 1

This story was the perfect mystery that I didn't know I was waiting for. I wasn't really expecting a huge mystery, but this book does a great job pulling you into it.

You start off with the despair of a girl who lost her best friend in a fire the year before. You can see how she is dealing (or not dealing) with it and how things are turning out. Then strange things start happening - like emails from that dead best friend. And other things like people in school talking to her where before they didn't say a word.

The emails give her clues about solving the murder of her friend - as it was ruled an arson. So, she sets out to find what happened. Her neighbor, Seth (who sounds like the clingiest boy in the world) latches on to her and later helps her out. And she also starts hanging out with a boy named Liam - one of those characters who you wish you could see, really :). The three of them follow all the clues to see where they lead.

This book took me a few days to get through. But I think it was more that I liked living in this story, so I didn't rush through. It was almost like watching a movie, really. You can see the boarding school campus, you can picture her pink hair, there are lots of really cool things about this book that would make a great movie. Too bad that's not up to me :).

I thought the character of Kate was very realistic. She seemed to have the perfect balance of snarky teen and worried friend and Nancy Drew. Things didn't land in her lap that easily - and there were a few times where I thought i knew how she would react to something and I was totally wrong. She's a strong character and I think the authors did a wonderful job creating her.

There are so many twists and turns throughout the story. I started seeing all the characters as guilty - and didn't really see the ending coming. Especially how the ending was received (I know that doesn't make sense, so you'll just have to read it). I thought it wrapped up perfectly. There could have been a lot of loose ends, but I feel like everything pulls together like a perfect package.

I've used the word "perfect" too much in this review. I am aware. But I do think this is one of those mysteries that is a perfect little package for those readers who are fans of the genre. I will definitely be recommending it. I think anyone who likes realistic fic can really get into the story and see the friendships and heartbreaks for what they are. And mystery lovers will just be drooling.

I hope to see lots from these two authors in the future. This is their first book and I know there will be awesome things to come. Check out their website to see what's in store. (I just looked around and found out there's a second Liar Society book!! I cannot tell you how excited I am for that. w000t!)
Other Blog Reviews:

The Book Pixie
i swim for oceans
A Good Addiction
First Novels Club
Jessica Lawlor
Wicked Awesome Books
Forever Young Adult

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wake by Lisa McMann

Title: Wake (Wake #1)
Author: Lisa McMann

ISBN: 9781416953579

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Page #: 210

Source: From my public library


"Not all dreams are sweet.
For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people's dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie's seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime.

She can't tell anybody about what she does - they'd never believe her, or worse, they'd think she's a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn't want and can't control.

Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else's twisted psyche. She is a participant..."
First Lines:

"Janie Hannagan's math book slips from her fingers. She grips the edge of the table in the school library. Everything goes black and silent. She sighs and rests her head on the table. Tries to pull herself out of it, but fails miserably."
Page 1

This book has been recommended to me many times. I honestly didn't think much about it until one of my coworkers put it in my hands. I got lucky that it wasn't requested - it's been going out a lot lately. And now I know why!!!

Oops. Too many exclamation points. L.O.V.E.D. this book. I'm going to try to step back and analyze this book without gushing all over it. It's the story of a girl who accidentally falls into anyone's dream who is asleep around her. This could happen at literally any time. When she's driving, when she's walking in the school hallway, any time. Very scary thought!

Because of this, she closes herself off to most people she meets. One boy gets through. This starts a whole string of drama bits. But it's the twist that really got me. No, I'm not going to tell you what it is. But there was something that I didn't see coming. And it changed the whole course of the story.

Though I loved the relationship, the whole dream thing was what got me most interested. I've always thought dreams are such a mystery. I've only had a few that I really remember - so the idea that a girl sees everyone's dreams around her... it's just an amazing idea. And her journey to figuring out how to control this ability - and even use it - is pretty cool.

Honestly, I fell into this book like Janie falls into dreams. I couldn't pull myself out of it. And it was hella fast - I started it at lunch and finished while having dinner. I'm in serious need of finding the next book in the series. Hopefully we have one at work.

I loved the format of this book - it's not quite diary entries because they aren't written for Janie herself. It's like they are snipits in time that show you what's going on. Each section is dated and time stamped - so it's almost like "so this happened. Then this. And now this." It seems like that would make the book really choppy. But instead it gives the book real flow and gives you the most important stuff. And it helps give you a timeline of how things happen without spelling it out for you.

I will seriously be recommending this book to anyone. that's right. anyone. No, I guess it's best for those who are fans of semi-thrillers... a little piece of fantasy, but mostly reality. there's definite romance for those who love it. There's a definite crime aspect to it that I don't see very often. It adds a really great level to the story. And guys would get into this one just as easily as girls - the leading lady is just that well written.

I look forward to reading the rest of this series and whatever Lisa McMann comes up with! I know Cryer's Cross recently came out, so maybe I'll finally get to that arc sitting in the pile. Seriously though, check out her website for more info and her blog.
Other Blog Reviews:

Today I Read
YA Reads
Tea Mouse
That Chick That Reads
The Weekend Review
Chick Loves Lit
Girls in the Stacks
The Book Pushers

Artemis the Brave by Joan Holub & Suzanne WIlliams

Title: Artemis the Brave (Goddess Girls #4)
Author(s): Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams
ISBN: 9781416982746
Publisher: Aladdin
Page #: 221
Source: From my public library

"Artemis's friends and classmates see her as the most courageous goddessgirl at school. Little do they know that despite her expert archery skills, the smelly Geryon, ring-nosed Minotaurs, and scorpions in Beast-ology class scare her as much as they do anyone else! But what's really bothering her now is that funny feeling she has whenever she looks at Orion. She's never had a crush before. Will she find the courage to talk to Orion, to make him see her as more than a pal, and to ace Beast-ology class?

Authors Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams put a modern spin on classic myths with the Goddess Girls series. Follow the ins and outs of divine social life at Mount Olympus Academy, where the most privileged godboys and goddessgirls in the Greek pantheon hone their mythic skills."
First Lines:

"On silver-winged magic sandals, Artemis zoomed through the Forest of Beasts, her feet gliding just inches above the mossy forest floor. 'Come out, come out, wherever you are.' she singsonged under her breath."
Page 1

I reviewed the first three books in the Goddess Girls series here.

Yes, I lumped the first three books together, but the fifth one isn't out yet... so I'm just going to do this one by itself. Again, these are children's books (maybe middle grade), which is something I don't read very often. But the Goddess Girl books have really grabbed my attention - purely because they're adorable.

As I said in my last review, I've always been a big fan of mythology stories. The authors have taken those stories and put them in a school setting. It really works perfectly. Picturing those characters as young teens or middle graders is kinda weird, but it really is done well.

This story is all about Artemis and her amazing bravery when faced with challenges. Except this time she's challenged with a boy. Before this, she has found her friend's crushes to be irritating... but now she's caught in one herself. And not with a boy who anyone expected. I loved how disorganized and crazy Artemis seemed at times - she's one of my faves.

As much as this book is about Artemis, you really get a good look at Orion as well. I don't know much about his story, so I'm not sure how close it is to the actual stories. But I loved the ending and how things turned out with him. I won't tell ya what happened, but it was really fun.

I know that many people will love the Goddess Girls books - even if they are written for children. Guess that means they are just a fun and fast read for the rest of us. I'll be recommending them, for sure. I have a few Goddess lovers that I know will get a kick out of these. Get ready for April when the next book comes out!

Check out the websites for these two authors: Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams
Other Blog Reviews:

Poisoned Rationality
In the Hammock Book Reviews
Ashley's Bookshelf
I'm a Reader, Not a Writer
Lost for Words

Waiting on Wednesday (50)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Here's what I'm waiting on this week:

The Lost Crown
by Sarah Miller
To be released: June 14, 2011

Summary from Baker and Taylor:
"In alternating chapters, Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia tell how their privileged lives as the daughters of the tsar in early twentieth-century Russia are transformed by world war and revolution."

It's a small summary, but doesn't it sound amazing?! I love the idea of a book set in Russia. It's a place I don't know much about and look forward to reading about. There is a longer summary here, so check it out!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton

Title: Darkness Becomes Her
Author: Kelly Keaton
ISBN: 9781442409248
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Page #: 273
Source: From my public library

"Ari can't help feeling lost and alone. With teal eyes and freakish silver hair that can't be changed or destroyed, Ari has always stood uot. And after growing up in foster care, she longs for some understanding of where she came from and who she is.

Her search for answers uncovers just one message from her long-dead mother: Run. Ari can sense that someone, or something, is getting too close. But it's impossible to protect herself when she doesn't know what she's running from or why she is being pursued.

She knows only one thing: She must return to her birthplace of New 2, the lush, rebuilt city of New Orleans. Upon arriving, she discovers that New 2 is very ... different. Here, Ari is seemingly normal. But every creature she encounters, no matter how deadly or horrifying, is afraid of her.

Ari won't stop until she knows why. But some truths are too haunting, too terrifying, to ever be revealed."
First Lines:

"Under the cafeteria table, my right knee bounced like a jackhammer possessed. Adrenaline snaked through my limbs, urging me to bolt, to hightail it out of Roquemore House and never look back."
Page 1

I seriously picked up this book because of the cover. Period. I just got lucky that the story was awesome. Honestly, I loved this book enough that I'm going to attempt to review without gushing. Let's see if I can do it.

This is a story set in New 2 - New Orleans after major hurricanes and the government sells the land to the nine oldest families in the city. There are rumors about the place having paranormal activity and attracts strange attention for it. One girl, Ari, is strange outside of New 2. And she goes on a search for her birth parents - having been in the system all her life. When her search leads her into New 2, she finds out some crazy things and realizes there is way more to the story.

There are so many aspects to this story that I love.
A. New Orleans. Or New 2. Whatever. I love that city. It's a magical place where I can definitely see living for the rest of forever. It's got more personality than I can even get a handle on. Not to mention that it's just beautiful. It's the perfect backdrop for an urban fantasy novel. I felt like I traveled there every time I picked up the book. Even with half the city in decay, it lends the perfect feel.

B. Mythology. You get the mythology portion about halfway through the story - but it adds a layer that you couldn't have otherwise imagined. I don't think I'm giving anything away by telling you the main goddess in this story is Athena. I think she is one of my favorite mythological characters. I do wish there had been a little more backstory on her. There seems to have been a lot of drama between her and other gods that I would have like to read about. But perhaps there will be another book or something :).

C. Romance. It was a very interesting romance from the beginning. I did wonder that they fell a little fast for each other, but perhaps that's just part of the atmosphere. Nothing is normal, everything happens fast, etc. But I loved the imagery around Sebastian. He's one of those characters I'd like to meet, you know?

I really think that people who love paranormal romances will really get into this book. Or urban fantasy. Or Horror, really. There is a serious creepy factor in this book that gave me goosebumps. So, it's good for all! Well, I will say that there is language and one scene that puts this a little older. I'd say probably 9th grade and up.

Honestly, I'm now in love with this author. One book was enough. But I'm really hoping there is more to this story. Fingers crossed for a second book! The website gives nothing away... of course, this book only came out a month ago. Ah well. Great book! Recommending to everyone I know. Oh oh!!! I just checked out her facebook page and there IS a sequel! Already written and everything. Well, now I'm excited. :)
Other Blog Reviews:

Electrifying Reviews
Girls in the Stacks
True Exclusives
Sara's Urban Fantasy Blog
Candace's Book Blog
Rex Robot Reviews
Books with Bite

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sweet Treats and Secret Crushes by Lisa Greenwald

Title: Sweet Treats and Secret Crushes
Author: Lisa Greenwald
ISBN: 9780810989900
Publisher: Amulet Books
Page #: 291
Source: My own copy

"Olivia, Kate, and Georgia have been best friends since their families all moved into the same Brooklyn apartment building. But lately their friendship has been strained, as confident Kate doesn't notice much but the latest gossip, shy Georgia can't say out loud what's always on her mind, and both Georgia and Kate are ready for Olivia to stop being an observer and start taking action - especially when it comes to the object of her megacrush. They're still best friends, but for how much longer.

When a blizzard turns Valentine's Day into a snow day, the girls hatch a plan to distribute homemade fortune cookies throughout their building. If their scheme works, it might bring a little bit of romance and happiness to their neighbors - and perhaps remind each other why they're such good friends to begin with!"
First Lines:

"I thought Kate was reaching for another Nilla Wafer when it happened. Turned out, she wasn't.
I had just said, 'And under his Brooklyn Cyclones sweatshirt he was wearing this Boston Museum of Science T-shirt. It's gray, but faded, like he's been wearing it for years.'"
Page 1

This is one of those books that feels easy, fun, and breezy. A perfect summer read - even though it's set on Valentine's Day. But it's such a cute story, I'd read it anytime.

The story is about three seventh grade girls who live in the same apartment building in Brooklyn. During a huge snow storm, they decide to pass out fortune cookies to everyone in the building. In doing this, they meet lots of interesting characters and make some fun connections. There's also a huge emphasis on their individual crushes and how that tears them apart - or how they seem to be growing apart a little bit.

There is something about this book that really reminds me of my seventh grade years. No, I didn't live in an apartment. No, we never had snowstorms. But there's always something universal about your first huge crush and how much it really pulls you in. And how much it annoys your friends. :) There's just a real truth about the story... even if it is cute-ified.

I really think this book will appeal to middle school girls. It's perfect for their age group and it's a cool story for those who wish they were Brooklynites. I, personally, loved all of the people they met in the building. And wished for a Chinese food restaurant in the bottom floor of our building. Ahem. But what a really cool idea - and it's a huge part of the story. I just loved it.

It's a fast, easy read. Great for girls. Boys will probably think it's ridiculous. Or wish they were as awesome as girls. Either way, it's a fun book. It will take you back, if you're older... and make you thankful for great friendships no matter how old you are. For those looking for semi-romance, but more focus on friendship, this is a perfect story.

Check out the author's website. It's really cool and there's lots of fun stuff on it.
Other Blog Reviews:

My Love Affair with Books
I Want To Read That
Through the Looking Glass

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Vixen by Jillian Larkin

Title: Vixen (The Flappers #1)
Author: Jillian Larkin
ISBN: 9780385908351
Publisher: Random House
Page #: 421
Source: ARC from the publisher (read after publication)

"Every girl wants what she can't have. Seventeen-year-old Gloria Carmody wants the flapper lifestyle - and the bobbed hair, cigarettes, and music-filled nights that go with it. Now that she's engaged to Sebastian Grey, scion of one of Chicago's most powerful families, Gloria's party days are over before they've even begun ... or are they?

Clara Knowles, Gloria's goody-two-shoes cousin, has arrived to make sure the high-society wedding comes off without a hitch - but Clara isn't as lily-white as she appears. Seems she has some dirty little secrets of her own that she'll do anything to keep hidden...

Lorraine Dyer, Gloria's social-climbing best friend, is tired of living in Gloria's shadow. When Lorraine's envy spills over into desperate spite, no one is safe. And someone's going to be very sorry...

From debut author Jillia Larkin, VIXEN is the first novel in the sexy, dangerous, and ridiculously romantic new series set in the Roaring Twenties... when anything goes."
First Lines:

"They found the entrance exactly as instructed: just before the cracked sign for Malawar's Funeral Parlor, between the tailor and the barbershop, through the rusted gate, eleven creaky steps below street level."
Page 5

The whole time period of the twenties is so fun to read about. It's one that I haven't read many novels about, but lately there have been a couple. They shed some light (for me) on the whole atmosphere at that time and how people behaved. Not to mention that it's such a glamorous time - there's so much that could go on then.

I had a hard time not comparing this book to the recent book by Anna Godbersen (Bright Young Things). There are some serious similarities. They are both about the lives of three girls during the 1920s. Their lives are all intertwined somehow, and usually in dramatic ways. They each have their own thing going and you learn about it chapter by chapter.

Besides those similarities, I really had a good time learning about old Chicago. I haven't been there before, so it was fun to be transported there for a while. The characters are a lot of fun - even if sometimes I'm not sure if they fit in the 20s. But cool stuff about Chicago. It's a refreshing change of scenery from a lot of books these days.

There was a great emphasis on the secrecy and mystery surrounding the girls' stories. Each have a totally different outlook on the world and that really comes through. The guys that they encounter seem to be a little typical. They fit well into stereotypes - which I would have like to have seen less of. But they weren't the focus of the stories, so yeah.

I definitely think that girls looking for a fun historical fiction will have a good time with this book. Not to mention that the cover is very appealing. I spent a lot of the book trying to figure out which character she is supposed to be - because she doesn't really fit the descriptions. Either way, it's a cool cover that really catches your eye.

Jillian Larkin is a debut author and her second book comes out later this year (2011). Check out her website and see what she's got coming up.
Other Blog Review:

Debbie's World of Books
A Musing Reviews
The Lost Entwife
Dirty Sexy Books
Library Lounge Lizard
The Unread Reader
Moonlight Book Reviews

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (49)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Here's what I'm waiting on this week:

Cleopatra Confesses
by Carolyn Meyer
To be released: June 07, 2011

Summary from Baker and Taylor:
"It is the first century B.C. Cleopatra, the third of the pharaoh's six children, is the one that her father has chosen to be the next queen of Egypt. But when King Ptolemy is forced into exile, Cleopatra is left alone to fend for herself in a palace rife with intrigue and murder. Smart, courageous, ambitious and sensuously beautiful, she possesses the charm to cause two of history's most famous leaders to fall in love with her. But as her cruel sisters plot to steal the throne, Cleopatra realizes there is only one person on whom she can rely--herself."

I have a confession to make... I've never read any of Carolyn Meyer's books. As a lover of historical fiction, I know this is a serious issue. I'll probably be fixing that with this book. I love Egyptian history stuff, so I'm super excited for this book. It sounds really unique!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan

Title: I Now Pronounce You Someone Else
Author: Erin McCahan
ISBN: 9780545088183
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Page #: 258
Source: My public library

"Eighteen-year-old Bronwen Oliver has a secret: She's really Phoebe, the lost daughter of the loving Lilywhite family. That's the only way to explain her image-obsessed mother; a kind but distant stepfather; and a brother who has a small personality complex (he thinks he's Jesus). Bronwen must have been switched at birt, and she can't wait to get away from her family for good.

Then she meets Jared Sondervan. He's sweet, funny, everything she wants - and he has the family Bronwen has always wanted too. She falls head over heels in love, and when he proposes marriage, she joyfully accepts. But is Jared truly what she needs? And if he's not, she has to ask: What would Phoebe Lilywhite do?"
First Lines:

"I was switched at birth.
Okay, not really. I just like saying that. I like how it sounds, how it makes me smile, and how it irritates my mother, who pretends with a laugh to find it amusing."
Page 1

I'm trying to decide if I am having a book slump with this one because the last one was so amazing, or if I really did have issues with it. Well, not issues so much... but more meh than anything else. Sorry. "Issues" is a big word. Let me explain.

This book is about a girl who is in a family that doesn't fit her at all. She has a very cool best friend who I wished to know more about. Then she meets a guy who had been a friend of her brothers previously. She and Jared hit it off... and within a year or so, he proposes. It's then about all the drama that comes along with being in high school, trying to graduate, get into college, and plan a wedding.

One thing I really liked about this book was the focus on family. I loved the whole stepfather thing - about her relationship with him and how it turns out in the end. And the family was really good for some humor relief. The grandparents are hilarious and I kinda wish to meet people like them. :) So there were some really shining characters throughout the book. They were so witty and clever, they didn't really seem believable, but they were fun nonetheless.

This book took a whole lot of time - like four years - and crunched it into 250 pages. It felt a little like that sometimes. Like things got swept past because they didn't directly relate to the relationship. I just had a hard time because I like to know more about a character's daily life than the overarching ideas of how they live. The few times we stopped and looked at her school life, I was kinda confused about people she was mentioning.

I also was not so enchanted by the romance in this one. Because you only pick up certain things (because of the timing thing), it seems super-rushed. Enough that I was thinking Bronwen was jumping into things way too quickly. Her whole wait till marriage for sex thing made me wonder if Jacob was rushing into the wedding for that reason. I dunno. It was never mentioned in that context. It just bothered me a little.

You know, all this isn't to say that I hated the book. I didn't. I had been wondering how this book would turn out, and it really didn't meet my expectations. But I did like the ending. The ending was where things started going the way that made sense. Unfortunately, the actual ending felt rushed because you took so long to get to that point in the story. Things just made more sense for me at that point.

I will probably recommend this book to girls who are looking for a cute, sappy-ish romance. There's lotsa love in the air and everything else gets pushed to the back burner. It is a really fast read, i have to give it that. But mostly because there were some family things that I wanted to see play out. I think I just realized that apart from the romance, I really liked this book. It was the relationship itself that gave me a tough time.

I might give this author another shot in whatever she's got coming out next. I will be cautious, but I think there's a lot of potential for this one. Check out her website and see what she's up to.
Other Blog Reviews:

Jenny Likes Books
The Book Scout
Dear Author
YA Reads
Reading Angel
Girls in the Stacks

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Title: Thirteen Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
ISBN: 9781595141712
Publisher: Razorbill
Page #: 288
Source: My public library

"Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker - his classmate and crush - who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

Hannah's voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out why.

Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a first-hand witness to Hannah's pain, and learns the truth about himself - a truth he never wanted to face."
First Lines:

"'Sir?' she repeats. 'How soon do you want it to get there?'
I rub two fingers, hard over my left eyebrow. The throbbing has become intense. 'It doesn't matter,' I say."
Page 1

This book is a doozie. I have been told by numerous people - teens and adults alike - to read this book. I guess I'm glad I did, but holy hell! It totally grabs you by the throat from the beginning and really doesn't let go.

I read this book in less than 24 hours. Very similar to how the main character (Clay) spends a whole night listening to all of the tapes - which may have made this story even more powerful for me. It's the story of a boy receiving these 13 recordings on cassette tapes from a girl who recently committed suicide. The tapes explain what was going on in her life and they were sent to all the people who had a hand in making her life miserable.

This is the most powerful book I've read in a long time. It is just so honest and raw that you feel like you're living the life of Hannah. Her voice is really familiar and normal-seeming. There's just something about it that really struck my heart. The book is super emotional - yet I'm not sure that it made me cry. A little toward the ending, but it's more anger at teenage stupidity (not Hannah's) and how easy it seems to give up.

All you can do is sit back and watch the house of cards fall. It's hard to not think about what you'd say on tapes if it were you. Who would you send them to? Would you send some to the people you love too? Or just the ones you feel are responsible?

This book also opens up the very serious discussion of suicide. I can't help but think that it would be an awesome read for a peer group or just one on one with someone having trouble. As you read through, you think about how Hannah's problems and miseries don't have to add up to suicide. And then thinking about what could have brought about a different outcome - which is something that Clay really gets into as well. Enough that he's almost rooting for someone to change what happened.

It's a hell of a book, and I think it will be great for the right readers. I can't imagine anyone it would be bad for, honestly. But it's such a heavy topic, I'm not sure how easy it will be to recommend it. But I really do. I recommend it highly. The writing is real and honest... the story is gut wrenching... just all around wonderful. Fine, everyone needs to read it. Adults especially, because I think it's as close as you can get to a teen brain at the moment.

The author's blog is linked above, but also check out the website for the book. There's lots of good stuff there.
Other Blog Reviews:

I'm Booking It
Typing With My Toes
Capricious Reader
The Book Lady's Blog
Flight Into Fantasy
Bewitched Bookworms
The Book Whisperer
This is only the first page of google results. Lots of reviews to read out there. Check them out.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Hexbound by Chloe Neill

Title: Hexbound (Dark Elite #2)
Author: Chloe Neill
ISBN: 9780421230799
Publisher: Signet Books
Page #: 246
Source: My public library

"They say absolute power corrupts absolutely. Turns out that even a little magic can turn you to the dark side. That's why Lily has to learn how to control her newly discovered paranormal abilities, on top of avoiding the snobs who think they run her school, nursing a crush on a cute sophomore with a big werewolf-y secret, and fighting the good fight with her best friend, Scout, as they take on Chicago's nastiest nightlife - including the tainted magic users known as Reapers.

Then one night Lily and her friends are attacked by creatures like nothing they've ever seen before. And in the aftermath, she realizes she'll have to use her growing powers sooner than she thought - because she's smack in the middle of a paranormal turf war that could tear Chicago apart..."
First Lines:

"I stayed absolutely still, my eyes closed, the sun warm on my face. As long as I didn't fidget too much, the noon sun was just strong enough to cancel out the chilly October breeze that blew through our part of downtown Chicago."
Page 1

My review for Firespell.

I've decided that this Dark Elite series is quickly becoming one of favorites. It's the story of a girl who was shipped off to boarding school in Chicago while her parents do some mysterious research across the globe. She finds out that she's magically inclined and becomes part of a group of "Adepts" who battle the evil magical creatures for control of the night. Basically. :)

One of the things I really like about this story is the difference of abilities for each character. No one is exactly the same. One person can do spellbinding, one can manipulate any technology, one can communicate with spirits, and so on. Everyone has something different to offer the group - making it a stronger group than if everyone had the same thing. I think that makes for an interesting story. Especially when your main character is just trying to figure out how to use hers.

I really thought I was gonna be lost on where we were in the story. I couldn't fully remember the first book, but it took me less time than I thought. It was so easy to get back into the flow of the story and the author does a great job reminding you where you've come from. The setting is so clear and visual, it makes jumping back in easy.

There are a few more relationship aspects to this book than the first one (if I remember correctly). You have some budding romances and some friendships that are turning into something else. There's some drama around these, but they are totally secondary to the main run of the book. I think that gives the story the right touch of romance without fully giving into it.

Honestly, I stayed up last night finishing this book. I realized too late that I probably shouldn't have. The author writes some things in such a spooky way, it totally freaked me out. Darn book! :) She did a great job giving descriptions of the new evil in their world - it's super gross and creepy. Doesn't help with the sleep factor though.

I've been recommending Firespell to many of my teens, and I know my copy is already requested at the library. Go figure. So I won't have to do much selling of this book, but I still will give it out. Anyone who is into paranormal books - with a hint of romance - will really like this series. I'm definitely a fan and I can't wait for the third book to come out! Not that it's been announced or anything (possibly August '11). So stalk over to the author's page to bug her about the next one :).
Other Blog Reviews:

I Read to Relax!
The Book Smugglers
The Bibliophilic Book Blog
Books with Bite
Rex Robot Reviews
Blkosiner's Book Blog
Pure Imagination
There are so many reviews out there, I can't list all of them. But go give them a look, because it seems that most are positive. See? It's totally worth a read :).

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (48)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Here's what I'm waiting on this week:

The Magnolia League
by Katie Crouch
To be released: May 03, 2011

Summary from Baker and Taylor:
"After the death of her free-spirited mother, sixteen-year-old Alex Lee must leave her home in northern California to live with her wealthy grandmother in Savannah, Georgia. By birth, Alex is a rightful, if unwilling, member of the Magnolia League, Savannah's long-standing debutante society. She quickly discovers that the Magnolias have made a pact with a legendary hoodoo family, the Buzzards. The Magnolias enjoy youth, beauty and power. But at what price?"

This book sounds amazing. I think the author is a debut in YA - but she has other adult novels. I think the premise sounds really cool. And set in Savannah? Sign me up. Not to mention that the cover is beautiful.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Year We Were Famous by Carole Estby Dagg

Title: The Year We Were Famous
Author: Carole Estby Dagg

ISBN: 9780618999835

Publisher: Clarion Books

Page #: 246

Source: ARC from the author

To be published in April 2011

"With their family home facing foreclosure, seventeen-year-old Clara Estby and her mother, Helga, need to raise a lot of money fast - no easy feat for two women in 1896. Helga wants to tackle the problem with her usual loud and flashy style, while Clara favors a less showy approach. Together they come up with a plan to walk the 4,600 miles from Mica Creek, Washington to New York City - and if they can do it in only seven months, a publisher has agreed to give them $10,000.

Based on the true story of the author's great-aunt and great-grandmother, this is a fast-paced historical adventure that sets the drama of Around the World in Eighty Days against an American backdrop during the time of the suffragist movement, the 1896 presidential campaign, and the changing perception of a 'woman's place' in society."
First Lines:

"I arranged a dozen winter-blooming Johnny jump-ups in a tall pill bottle and set them on tray along with three biscuits and coffee in Ma's best teacup. As if it might bite, I took a deep breath and lifted the letter by one corner and laid it across the top of the tray."
Page 3

I wasn't sure what to expect with this book. I don't know that I've read many novels that are based on a real story. But what an amazing story this is! I couldn't believe that it really happened - and at the time it happened. Not to mention the awesomeness of this author writing about her ancestors.

This is the story of a mother and daughter who get sponsored to walk from Washington state to New York City. They do it all to save their farm because of money troubles. The woman in NYC offers them $10,000 to do the trip and write a book about it in the end. This is their story of traveling across snowy mountains, hot lava fields, through Indian reservations, and much more. It's the story of the people they meet and what they learn about themselves along the way.

I was a little worried about how much time the book covers - and how much you might miss (because the book is fairly short), but the author does an amazing job pulling out the really important parts and giving you the main story line. There is a lot of time not covered, but you can imagine that not much happened... besides being tired and finding a place to sleep and eat for the night.

That was one thing that really surprised me - Helga and Clara depending completely on the kindness of strangers to take care of them. I guess I have a hard time believing it because of the time we live in now. Can you imagine taking someone in for the night because they are weary travelers? I don't think so. Even if they had a letter from the governor like they did. It's just amazing to me that people were so trusting.

This book is also set in a time where women's suffrage is just becoming a huge topic. So part of this story is about how women are just as good as men - and how they can do anything they set their minds to. I loved that aspect. I think that gives the book a whole other level of interest. Many of the people they meet along the way are women who are fighting to equal rights - and even women living in a home where she's fighting to be seen as equal. A very cool look at that part of history.

Speaking of history, I'm not exactly well-versed in all things history. In fact, I'm not very good at knowing historical facts and all that. But there were a few parts of this story that I found myself questioning the accuracy. Just phrases or words used that seem a little more modern to me. Again, I have no idea... it just might bother someone who is more well-read on history topics.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book. It was a super-fast read and I've already handed it off to one of my coworkers and mentioned it to someone else. I think this is a great book for teens. I have a lot who come in looking for historical fiction for classes, and this one is the right length and interest for that. I'll definitely be recommending it. It's an amazing adventure, so I think boys will be able to get into it as well.

The author is a debut this year and I look forward to reading more from her in the future. Well done! Her website has lots of historical information, as well as info on the author. Check it out.
Other Blog Reviews:

Damsels in Regress
Well, we have a couple of months until this one comes out. So not many people have reviewed it yet. I look forward to reading others when it comes out!

Offering Excuses

I come offering excuses for my lazy-seeming blogging lately. See, I do have a legit reason. I just didn't want to admit that I'm bogged down at the moment. But it's to the point where I'm not sure how regular the blog is gonna be updated in the next few months.

Here's my super-legit reason:

I'm getting married on April 9!!!

Yeah. So, I'm stressed.
We're looking at less than six weeks now.
39 DAYS! Holy crap, I shouldn't have looked at that.

I'm buried in flower decisions, meetings with everyone we've hired, and doing all this while being in another state. It's more than I was hoping it would be. Of course, I was the dumbo thinking it would be easy.

All this to say, yes... I'm still reading. Yes, I'm still blogging about each book I read. But it feels like I'm slowing down a lot. I can't spend my time at home getting lost in a book (even though I do sometimes to de-stress). But the posts may be slowing down a little. I'd like to think they won't, but I wanna post a warning in case:

Warning: Stressed Librarian Blogging!!!

Okay, I feel better now.

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