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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (68)

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

The Silence of Murder
by Dandi Daley Mackall
To be released: October 11, 2011

Summary from Baker and Taylor:
"Seventeen-year-old Hope Long's life revolves around her brother Jeremy. So when Jeremy is accused of killing the town's beloved baseball coach, Hope's world begins to unravel. Everyone is convinced Jeremy did it, and since he hasn't spoken a word in 9 years, he's unable to defend himself. Their lawyer instructs Hope to convince the jury that Jeremy is insane, but all her life Hope has known that Jeremy's just different than other people—better, even. As she works to prove his innocence—joined by her best friend T.J. and the sheriff's son, Chase—Hope uncovers secrets about the murder, the townspeople, her family, and herself. She knows her brother isn't the murderer. But as she comes closer to the truth, she's terrified to find out who is."

Last week, I posted a mystery... so I figured I'd continue and make it a two week trend :). We'll see what next week brings. But I think this book sounds wonderful! I love that one of the main characters in the book is mute. For whatever reason. I think that will add a very interesting level to the story. Plus... murder mystery for YAs? Sign me up.

What are you waiting on this week?

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Iron Knight
Author: Julie Kagawa
ISBN: 9780373210367
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Released: October 25, 2011
Page #: 367
Source: ARC from NetGalley

Summary (from GoodReads):
"Ash, former prince of the Winter Court, gave up everything. His title, his home, even his vow of loyalty. All for a girl… and all for nothing.
Unless he can earn a soul.

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

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

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

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

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

First Lines: (from the ARC, so subject to change in final version)

"'Oy, ice-boy! You sure you know where you're going?'
I ignored Robin Goodfellow as we wove through the gray murk of the wyldwood, pushing further into the soggy swamp known as the Bone Marsh. Mud sucked at my footsteps, and water dripped from twisted green trees so covered in moss they appeared sheathed in slime."
Page 9

If you haven't read the first three books in the Iron Fey series, there will most definitely be spoilers. This whole book is about post-trilogy stuff... so tread carefully!

Okay, so in an attempt to do a summary...
The Iron Knight is written from the perspective of the Winter Prince, Ash. It is after the huge war of the Faerie worlds - and Meghan Chase has become the Iron Queen. Ash has sworn to protect her and be with her forever, but he cannot do that as a regular faerie. He goes on a huge quest to earn a mortal soul so that he can be with Meghan. It's a much bigger thing than anyone expected - he literally has to go to the end of the world to succeed. And even then, it's a fight to the death.

One thing this author is good at is serious adventurous quests. :) The series started with a big one - and each book has had some version of one. This last book was the biggest quest of all. Ash is faced with all manner of crazy characters. I personally loved that the Big Bad Wolf was involved in the story. All so he would continue to be remembered. That's a very cool idea. There's also a lot more about Ariella who was mentioned in previous books, but she was gone before we met Meghan. It was very interesting to get that side of the story.

I truly enjoyed getting to know Ash better. There are some descriptions from his point of view that I think we missed a lot in the first three books. Also, I was surprised by some of the descriptions in Meghan. For some reason, I honestly hadn't pictured her the way Ash talks about her. But it really helps me love the other books more after hearing his whole story.

There was a part that I thought I was really going to hate the ending. I'm not going to give you much detail, but one of Ash's trials shows you something you didn't realize was going to happen. But I felt better after that part - I was just worried that I was going to hate how things turned out. As it was, I really enjoyed the ending. It's open enough to have more stories about different characters... but it fully completes this story. I really think it's well done and I fully loved it.

Well, all in all, I'd definitely recommend this entire series. I think this last book has been a wonderful addition to an already awesome series. I've handed these books to lots of customers and I cannot wait until this book is published and I can hand it around as well. I will be looking for the next thing by this author as well - she's definitely got my vote for anything she writes in the future. Definitely read this one... and if you haven't read the first three, you need to do that immediately :). They're wonderful.
Other Blog Reviews:

Kait Nolan
Librarian Mouse
Open Book Society
Tea Mouse Book Reviews
The Book Heist
birth of a new witch.
Stalking the Bookshelves
Awesomesauce Book Club

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (67)

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

Deadly Cool
by Gemma Holliday
To be released: October 11, 2011

Summary from Baker and Taylor:
"When sixteen-year-old Hartley Featherstone finds out that her boyfriend is cheating on her, she goes to his house to confront him and suddenly finds herself embroiled in a murder mystery."

This isn't much of a summary, but I'm always excited for another YA mystery. And I think this one sounds like a lot of fun. Can't wait to get my hands on it! Plus, the cover is really cute. What are you waiting on this week?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

XVI by Julia Karr

Title: XVI
Author: Julia Karr
ISBN: 9780142417713
Publisher: Speak
Released: January 6, 2011
Page #: 325
Source: My own copy

"Every girl gets one. An XVI tattoo on the wrist - sixteen. They say they're there for protection.

Some girls can't wait to be sixteen, to be legal. Nina is not one of them. Even though she has no choice in the matter, she knows that so long as her life continues as normal, everything will be okay.

Then, with one brutal strike, Nina's normal is shattered; and she discovers that nothing that she believe about her life is true. But there's one boy who can help - and he just may hold the key to her past.

But with the line between attraction and danger as thin as a whisper, one thing is for sure...
for Nina, turning sixteen promises to be anything but sweet."
First Lines:

"'Nina, look.' Sandy jabbed me in the ribs.
I glanced up at the AV screen expecting to see the latest vert of back-to-school fashions for sixteens.
'No, there.' Sandy jerked my arm, bringing my attention to the doorway."
Page 1

I think I'm becoming a sucker for all things dystopian fiction. Seriously. As soon as I heard the premise of this book, I was so excited. Luckily, I had a right to be... :)

This book is about a girl, Nina, who lives in a world where girls become adults at 16. This means they are pretty much open territory for guys - a scary prospect. There are a few ways to be protected and Nina is taking all the precautions. Then tragedy strikes and she is forced into a different life and less security. She meets some new friends that have information about her past and begin to protect her from the unknown.

With some dystopian novels, there are twists on words that we use today - I guess to make it seem more realistic that our vocab would evolve that way. But there were a few words in this book that I had a hard time with. Specifically "trannie." It stands for transportation... car, I think. But honestly, my head wouldn't let go of today's version. I had to read some sentences twice... like, there was a green trannie following us. Wait, what?! Oh, right... car. :)

Those silly word games aside, I truly loved this story. I was totally on board with Nina's character. I can imagine that she reacted to situations just how a normal girl would. She has to deal with some things that were more than I could imagine. I was very much rooting for her and every turn, I hoped for the best. I also really enjoyed the character of Wei. She's a friend of Nina's in her new school - she's pretty badass. But she's also in-the-know and gives Nina a friendship that she never knew was possible.

There's definitely a bit of romance in this book. In a world where sixteens are also called "sex-teens," you can imagine that relationships can get a bit tricky. But there's room for real relationships, you just have to look hard for them. I think those that love romance stories will find the love in this book to be a bit heart-wrenching, but amazing.

I will definitely be recommending this book to teens. It's a well-written story and I loved all of the semi-lessons throughout about teen behavior and such. I will say that I'm not sure this book is appropriate for younger teens. It's very much about sex (though it's not all that), and there are some instances of abuse and other unfortunate things. They all go right along with the story, but I'm not sure if it's too much to handle for some readers.

While looking on the author's website, I just saw that there is going to be a second book with these characters. I am more than excited about this! I was hoping to get more of the story - it's a little bit of a cliffhanger, but not really. It's more that you don't know what happens next. I can't wait to see what happens! XVI is a wonderful book from a debut author and I am happy to recommend this one.
Other Blog Reviews:

Down the Rabbit Hole
Book Nerd Reviews
The Bookworm Society
Smash Attack Reads!
Rhapsody in Books Weblog
Brooke Reviews
Me, My Shelf and I

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mission (un)Popular by Anna Humphrey

Title: Mission (un)Popular
Author: Anna Humphrey
ISBN: 9781423123019
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Released: June 1, 2011
Page #: 403
Source: ARC from the publisher

"Margot Button has a resolution for seventh grade:
Be more normal.
Easier said than done when you're:
*minus best friend (sent to Catholic school because of your "bad influence")
*minus new clothes (stepdad had a "moral objection" to his job)
*minus eyebrows (tweezer mishap)
*plus improvised bangs (see above)
*plus new nickname ("Hamburgler")
*plus an unpaid after-school job (babysitting triplet sisters - five days a week)

Well, Rome wasn't built in a day. If Margot can just learn to control her big mouth (and hair), there is hope. The new girl, Em, from New York, needs a friend too, now that the popular girls have decided she's "weird." More accurately, Em is "intimidating." She dresses like a rock star, is quick with comebacks and doesn't seem to care what anyone thinks of her - especially Sarah J., the most popular girl in the seventh grade. Em has an agenda for change at Manning Middle School and wants Margot on her side. Progress!

So, okay, Em has a flexible relationship with the truth, and her secret campaign to turn the tables on the popular girls may involve bending some laws. But after years of enduring Sarah J.'s bullying, Margot finds it hard to resist. Her approval rating is finally up - and, it really couldn't hurt to take Sarah down a few notches ... could it?"
First Lines: (From ARC, check final copy for exact wording)

"Did you know that there are literally hundreds of ways to start the year off fresh?
When I was in second grade, my teacher gave us an assignment about it. Everyone had to pick a country and show how they celebrated."
Page 3

Longest. Summary. Ever. But that's what was on the back of the book. What can ya do!? Anyway, I was given this ARC after someone else had already read it... and I have to say that it must not have been meant for two readings. The pages are totally falling out. Here's hoping the final copies hold up better :).

Okay, so this is about a girl going into the seventh grade and really wants a new beginning. She wants to be more popular and to stop being referred to by unfortunate nicknames. When she begins talking to Em, the new girl, she finds someone who will stand up to the popular group. They begin scheming and making things miserable for them. It does involve some rule breaking, but it's worth it to see them squirm - especially when it results in Margot becoming more popular.

One thing I want to say right off the bat is that Margot drove me crazy. It's not the way she was written, I just know girls like her. They always are more worried about how people see them than anything else. It was almost painful to read her first day of school - walking up to random groups to say hi. Then being dismissed. I mean, pain. ful. I suppose I've always been a little non-conformist... so those people have always gotten on my nerves. Personal opinion, of course.

The cool thing about this book is that it's written about an Indian girl. You wouldn't guess it from the cover. You don't get it in the summary. She just is. That's my favorite kind of "POC" book. You're not hit over the head by their differences - unless it's necessary for the story. And you do get a little background about her father and how she sometimes feels out of place. But it was just done really smoothly and I was glad for it.

The character Em was really interesting to me. At first I was totally cheering for her and was so excited there was someone with a backbone in the story. But then you start learning more about her and how she isn't very good with the truth and she's kinda pushy... But you do get the feeling that Margot is better off from having met her.

I think there are lots of girls who will love this story. It's great for that middle grade reader because it deals with a lot of those bullying issues in school and how they can be dealt with (though I wouldn't recommend all of the tactics they used). It's definitely a light read - even though it's 400 pages long. I do recommend it, but I'm not sure it will be for everyone. Enjoy!
Other Blog Reviews:

Ten Cent Notes
Literature Young Adult Fiction
Kirkus Reviews
Reading Vacation

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (66)

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

Beautiful Days (Bright Young Things #2)
by Anna Godbersen
To be released: September 20, 2011

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
"For the bright young things of 1929, the beautiful days seem endless, filled with romance and heartbreak, adventure and intrigue, friendship and rivalry.

After a month in New York, Cordelia Grey and Letty Larkspur are small-town girls no longer. They spend their afternoons with Astrid Donal at the Greys’ lush Long Island estate and their nights in Manhattan’s bustling metropolis. But Letty’s not content to be a mere socialite. She is ready at last to chase her Broadway dreams—no matter the cost.

Cordelia is still reeling from the death of her father at the hands of Thom Hale, the man she thought she loved. Now she is set to honor Darius Grey’s legacy . . . and take her revenge.

Promised to Cordelia’s half brother, Astrid is caught up in a world of dazzling jewels and glittering nights—and the sparkle is blinding. Charlie Grey is a gangster playing a dangerous game; and for Astrid, Cordelia, and Letty, the stakes could be deadly."

I loved the first book in this series. Though they are similar to Godbersen's first series, there's still something so magical about the Jazz Age. I cannot wait to see what happens to the girls!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

Title: The Goddess Test
Author: Aimee Carter
ISBN: 9780373210268
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Released: April 2011
Page #: 304
Source: ebook from NetGalley

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
"It's always been just Kate and her mom—and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld—and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he's crazy—until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess."
First Lines: (from the galley, so final copy subject to change)

"'How did it happen this time?'
Henry tensed at the sound of her voice, and he tore his eyes away from the lifeless body on the bed long enough to look at her."
Page 7

I am a sucker for all reworked stories - or modern versions of ancient tales. That is exactly what this story is, but it comes with a few more twists. It's more like a modern story about gods and goddesses in our current world - and taking place after events in some of the stories. So cool!

This is the story of Kate who has moved from NYC to take care of her dying mother. She starts at a new school and meets a few people who change the course of her life. A huge turning point is where she has to bargain for the life of a classmate with someone who can save her. Unfortunately, she bargains with her own life.

Effectively, this is the story of Hades and Persephone reworked. It's post-Persephone, so Hades has been searching for a new partner to help him rule the Underworld. There's a lot of the Greek stories, but it's also fairly hidden in the characters you meet. You aren't told who people are until the end of the story - and I was shocked. I wasn't expecting some of the characters to be that important! Very cool thing to do. Though... they were a bit more human-like than I recall in the original Greek stories.

I was really rooting for Kate. She gives off the sort of sadness of someone constantly dealing with death. The sickness of her mother has shaped her personality and how she deals with things. But because of this, she eagerly accepts deals to help her and the people she loves. While she starts out a little sad... I ended up really getting excited about how things turned out.

There's a little romance in this story, but it's not at all the main theme. It actually is specifically the opposite. Kate isn't interested in guys and she's not interested in doing anything but saving her mother. But that base for a relationship helps it grow from friendship. It seemed a little more organic to me. I really liked that.

I think anyone who loves stories about gods and goddesses will really get into this book. Especially if you love paranormal romance as well. It's a great story and I definitely recommend it. As far as I can tell, this is the author's first book. It was wonderful and I cannot wait for more from her. The second book is set to be released next spring - I will definitely be in line for that!
Other Blog Reviews:

The Infinite Shelf
Candace's Book Blog
Bewitched Bookworms
A Bookworm's Haven
Missy's Reads and Reviews
One Librarian's Book Reviews
Read Now Sleep Later

Waiting on Wednesday (65)

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

Lola and the Boy Next Door
by Stephanie Perkins
To be released: September 29, 2011

Summary from Baker and Taylor:
"Budding costume designer Lola lives an extraordinary life in San Francisco with her two dads and beloved dog, dating a punk rocker, but when the Bell twins return to the house next door Lola recalls both the friendship-ending fight with Calliope, a figure skater, and the childhood crush she had on Cricket."

I absolutely loved Anna and the French Kiss, so I cannot wait to see how this one turns out. I have seriously high hopes. I'm sure lots of other people are waiting on this one as well... but what are you waiting on?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson

Title: The Last Little Blue Envelope
Author: Maureen Johnson
ISBN: 9780061976797

Publisher: Harper Collins

Released: April 2011

Page #: 288
Source: ebook from Netgalley

Summary (from Barnes and Noble):

"Ginny Blackstone thought that the biggest adventure of her life was behind her. She spent last summer traveling around Europe, following the tasks her aunt Peg laid out in a series of letters before she died. When someone stole Ginny's backpack—and the last little blue envelope inside—she resigned herself to never knowing how it was supposed to end.

Months later, a mysterious boy contacts Ginny from London, saying he's found her bag. Finally, Ginny can finish what she started. But instead of ending her journey, the last letter starts a new adventure—one filled with old friends, new loves, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Ginny finds she must hold on to her wits . . . and her heart. This time, there are no instructions."
First Lines: (from the galley - subject to change in final version)

"It was that time of day again. Time to stare at the question, the two lines of black on an otherwise blank page. Question: Describe a life experience that changed you. What was it, and what did you learn? (1,000 words)"

If you have not yet read 13 Little Blue Envelopes, there are certain to be spoilers in this review. Please proceed with caution - or just go read it... because it's wonderful :).

13 Little Blue Envelopes holds a very high spot on my favorite books list - and will continue to do so for a long while. It's hilarious, it's heartfelt, it's adventurous, it's just a wonderful story. Unfortunately, it came out pre-blog so I can't prove it to you... but trust me! I was so excited to see the ending of the story years later.

The Last Little Blue Envelope picks up right where the first book left off. Ginny is back in America and trying to figure out what to do with the rest of her life. That's when she's contacted by someone in England who has found her last letter from her Aunt. She then embarks on a trip that continues her grand adventure and shows her a new side to people she didn't expect.

In the first book, you see Ginny as an innocent girl experiencing the world through fresh eyes. One of the great things about this second book is watching how she has grown and become more worldly wise. She visits several countries that she now considers old friends. It's an interesting change of pace from the first book - you see her as more comfortable with things that happen and more willing to roll with the punches.

I enjoyed the addition of Oliver to the story. This is a little spoilery, but I wish we had learned more about his life before the very end of the book. I think there was a lot of depth to his character and would like to have gotten more of that. But he is also painted as the bad guy throughout - but he isn't your typical villain. I think that was a really cool part of his character.

Honestly, if you haven't read 13 Little Blue Envelopes yet, you're seriously missing out. And I would recommend it to you in a heartbeat. That being said, you can't read this second book without the first. Don't even try it. This second book is wonderful, but shouldn't be taken out of context. I always look for the next awesome thing by Maureen Johnson. You won't be disappointed!
Other Blog Reviews:

The Literary Life of the Well-Read Wife
Jessica Lawlor
The Book Scout
Bewitched Bookworms
Anna Reads
Girls in the Stacks
Steph Su Reads
There are tons of reviews out there. This list only scratches the surface.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (64)

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

After Obsession
by Carrie Jones and Steven Wadel
To be released: September 13, 2011

Summary from Baker and Taylor:
"When Alan, a half-Navajo in touch with the spiritual mysticism of his ancestors, meets Aimee, a gifted psychic in his new high school, they realize they've had precognitive dreams of each other and that they must confront an evil spirit that has been responsible for mysterious deaths in the river in their small Maine town for hundreds of years and which is now haunting Alan's cousin Courtney."

Hello paranormal romance! Well, seemingly. I think this book sounds fantastic. Not to mention that the cover is awesome. I'm definitely sold and can't wait to read this book. What are you waiting for this week?

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