Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Book Review: Enchanted Ivy

TITLE: Enchanted Ivy
AUTHOR: Sarah Beth Durst
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: urban fantasy, adventure
PREMISE: When Lily gets offered a once in the lifetime oppurtunity to get into Princeton, guarenteed she takes it. After all, it's just a test, right? However, this test ends up being life changing.
MY REVIEW: While this book could of used some polishing I definitely enjoyed it. It was nice seeing good old fashioned fantasy for a change instead of vampires or werewolfs. The book also had a great sense of humor in it, Lily was a nice spunky heroine, and I even liked the romance between her and Tye (who was hilarious).
But there were one or two issues. I felt the romance, while sweet, was a tad bit rushed. The ending was rather rushed as well and I sort of think some of the dialogue with the villian was cheesy (plus the villian kind of became obvious after awhile).
But for the most part, this is a fun book. If you're looking for a good old-fashioned fantasy minus vampires, werewolves, and angels this book is for you. It's fun and creative and convinced me to look into the author's other book Ice. I look forward to whatever else the author has in store for us in the future.
WHO SHOULD READ: fantasy fans, those tired of the current vampire/werewolf/angel thing going on
MY RATING: Four out of Five Princeton shirts

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Book Review: Beautiful Darkness

TITLE: Beautiful Darkness
Book 2 in the Caster Chronicles
AUTHOR: Kami Garcia and Margeret Stohl
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: urban fantasy, romance, drama
PREMISE: Ethan's caster girlfriend Lena starts to pull away from him, and as their relationship dissolves he is drawn further into the caster world.
MY REVIEW: Okay so you guys probably remember I adored Beautiful Creatures so this became one of the books I was most eager to read this fall. I'm happy to report I wasn't disappointed at all. In fact, since they avoided the whole town vs. Ethan and Lena concept (for the most part) I'd go as far to say it was better then the first.
They didn't go at all the usual route these books tend to go. Okay, there is the love triangle trope but this was actually BELIEVABLE and for once involved two GIRLS and a GUY instead of the other way around. Nice change there. New characters were introduced (I LOVED Liv), and many other changes were introduced as well. Granted, I did find some of the things a little out there, such as the seperate galaxy thing (really?) but for the most part I was totally on board with this interesting world that these two authors have created. There were even some suprises and twists that I wasn't suspecting at all. It's nice when a book actually manages to surprise me for a change.
Yes, it's a tad bit more angsty, but on the whole this book was a delight. I still love these characters and world to death (Link and Amma are my favorites btw) and I look forward to the next installment in this series. My only complaint: I have to wait a YEAR till the next one?!
WHO SHOULD READ: those that read and liked the first book, fans of southern type fiction, anyone inclined to pick it up
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five fried chickens

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Book Review: The Wide Awake Princess

TITLE: The Wide Awake Princess
CATEGORY: Childrens
GENRE: fairy tale retelling, fantasy, romance
PREMISE: A retelling of Sleeping Beauty from the one that didn't fall under the spell-Beauty's sister.
MY REVIEW: I have a horrible fondness for princess stories (hence my excitement for the Rapunzel movie out now) and I love retellings. Particularly retellings with spunky princesses who don't sit around waiting to be saved and have more important things on their mind than marrying their prince charming. So this book pushed all my right buttons.
Was it perfect? Not really. Sometimes it seemed to drag and there were absurd goings ons hear and there. There also could have stood to be some character developement and better writing. But it's humorous, the heroine is hilarious (and a great role-model for young girls), and the romance between her and Liam is sweet. Along with Sleeping Beauty, Baker also throws in some sly nods to Hansel and Gretal, Rapunzel (deliberate because of the Disney movie? You be the judge...), and some others as the sister goes in search of Beauty's prince charming all on her own in order to break the spell her kingdom is under.
Granted it does have the slight heavy handed message feel (be your own person, rely on your own strengths) but it's a good message so I honestly don't mind it. If you have a younger teen/tween/late elementary schooler this is a good book to point out to them. Particularly if they're princess freaks.
WHO SHOULD READ: princess fans, fairy tale retelling fans, tweens
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five spindles

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

In My Mailbox (23)

This is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren that tells people about what books we've received over the week. All the links in this post go to the book's amazon page if you want more info on them.

Free on Kindle:
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens-I don't really need to explain this one do I?

From Net Galley:
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand.-Debut novel in 2011, first one I plan to read for the Debut Challenge.

From the Library:
Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst.-Fantasy set in an ivy league campus? Bring it!
The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks-I've heard mixed reviews about this one, but it looks fun, plus the sequel comes out next month so I figured it would be good to read now.
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver-FINALLY off the library reserve! About time.

Gift for birthday:
The Abhorsen Trilogy Box Set by Garth Nix-Heard very good things about this trilogy so I'm looking forward to diving in.

Bought with b-day money:
Infernal Devices Book 1: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare-FINALLY got my copy.

Book Review: Guilty Pleasures

TITLE: Guilty Pleasures
Book 1 in the Anita Blake series
AUTHOR: Laurell K. Hamilton
GENRE: urban fantasy, vampires
PREMISE: zombie animator and slayer for hire Anita Blake gets caught up in a mystery.
MY REVIEW: I've heard of the Anita Blake series before but never had much interest in it. But I promised myself I would give all these vampire books a try this year (hence why there've been so many) so here we are. I've heard many different takes on the series. Some think it's fun, some think it's horrible, some are split. The most people seem to agree on is that it got downright awful after the tenth book or so where apparently it just turns into sex, sex, sex. Oh, I've also heard many comparisons to Sookie Stackhouse and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
So I'd like to address the comparisons first. I do see why people compare it to Sookie Stackhouse. But there's a notable difference: Sookie Stackhouse has rhyme and reason to it's chaos, an actual plot, and actual likeable characters to make up for Harris's somewhat lackluster writing. Anita Blake has none of that and is written poorly. I do give Hamilton credit because I'm pretty sure Anita Blake is one of the first big urban fantasy series of this kind. She also did have some interesting ideas floating around in this mess. However, the execution was just poor. Even for a first book. A major problem is the main character Anita Blake. Anita is a huge Mary Sue. She literally has no personality beyond I'm a major badass. While I like badass females (see Kate Daniels series), they walk a fine line between being badass and just being a cold hearted bitch sometimes. Unfortunately, Anita falls more into the spectrum of just being a cold hearted (and frankly judgemental, particularly towards her own gender) bitch. I just out right didn't like her. Especially as I saw no major reason for why she was this way. I understand why Kate Daniels was the way she was, why Katniss from Hunger Games was the way she was, but Anita has no such excuse. Unless there's a major character background reveal in the next couple of books, but I somehow doubt it. Even if there is, I don't care enough about the character to continue reading it to find out. Even the background characters don't make up for Anita because they're also two-dimensional with little personality and therefore I didn't understand any of their motivations. I mean, why exactly did Phillup even fall for Anita? She was horrible to him!
In short this book was a mess. I don't understand how people can say the series goes downhill from book 10 because from what I see the series was bad to begin with. The sex probably just made people realize it was bad. Look, I like that Hamilton did have imagination (interesting at first that it was in my hometown of St. Louis, but not so interesting when you realize it's where she lives and thus makes Anita more of an obvious self-insert). I just wish she'd work on her writing skills (her grammer and prose are horrible), her characters (less two-dimensional please and have character motivations that make freaking sense!), her plotting and pacing (please actually take time to explain things because half the time I was lost), and overall world building (wild imagination, but very little of it made sense because she didn't think it through). I will not bother with the rest of this series as apparently it gets even worse then this.
WHO SHOULD READ: vampire fans, if you actually want to I guess
MY RATING: One and a half out of Five stakes

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Book Review: Radiant Shadows

TITLE: Radiant Shadows
Book 4 in the Wicked Lovely series
AUTHOR: Melissa Marr
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: faeries, urban fantasy, romance
PREMISE: Ani is an unusual half faerie in the dark court not sure where she belongs. Then she meets Devlin...
MY REVIEW: I will say this is possilby my least favorite of the Wicked Lovely books, but it's still good. Which says a lot for Marr's writing ability there. The thing is I didn't care as much about Ani as I did about what was going on with Irial and Niall so that isn't totally Marr's fault. I'm just a huge fan of their relationship (platonic or otherwise) so I loved (and hated) the parts with them in it and they were the highlight of this rather lack luster book.
But I do still say this is a good series. Mostly because I just love all the twists and turns of the relationships and all the court intrigue. This series is literally like a game of chess. I feel like Marr is slowly but surely setting up the pieces and the courts and the players and it's all leading up to something big that will go down in the last book or so. I love authors that do that (thus one of the main reasons I'm such an HP freak).
So while this maybe isn't the best of the Wicked Lovely books, I still enjoyed it (except for the evil cliffhanger with Irial) and I look forward to what plots Marr brings us in Darkest Mercy, coming out March of next year I believe. That said, Marr? Please do another story focusing on Niall and Irial. Pretty please?
WHO SHOULD READ: those that have read and liked the first 3 books, faerie fans, fans of Tithe
MY RATING: Four out of Five faerie wings

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Book Review: Don't Judge a Girl By Her Cover

TITLE: Don't Judge a Girl By Her Cover
Book 3 in the Gallagher series
AUTHOR: Ally Carter
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: mystery, adventure
PREMISE: When Cammie visits her friend Macey on her father's campaign trail they are attacked but survive. However, the attack is just the beginning to an even larger mystery...
MY REVIEW: I'm loving this series more and more as it goes on. Part of it is again, spy school is awesome. I love the whole idea of it and that we learn more and more about the daily activities as time goes on. I love taking a peek into their classes and watching the day to day activities. It also helps that the characters are just plain fun. I love watching them all interact with each other. Carter's dialogue is excellent and manages to be snappy without the annoying "teen speak" that's been plaguing YA lately.
It helps that Carter is introducing an ongoing plot this time. The first two books were just one shot sort of mysteries but now it appears that she's building it towards something bigger and I heartily approve of this. I also appreciate that finally, there are girls who are actually friends with each other. Lately it's been as though the frenemies idea has been taking over popular mainstream YA. Or at least the idea that girls have to compete in order to win that one hot guy as if that's the only thing girls are interested in. It's nice seeing girls be genuine friends to each other for a change and not compete over a guy. Also: more Zack! Yay!
If you liked the first two books, you will not be disappointed with the third one. The fourth book is already out (I'll be reading it as soon as I can) and the fifth comes out next year (as well as Heist Society 2!). I reccomend this series to all YA readers looking for something outside the fantasy spectrum, but isn't something like Gossip Girl.
WHO SHOULD READ: those that have read the first 2 books, you like spy movies, fans of Heist Society
MY RATING: Four out of Five spy gadgets

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Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone is having a great holiday. I myself just watched the Macy's Parade as is tradition for me and my Mom. Am I the only one that cracked up when they saw Joan Rivers as the snow queen? I hope not.

What I'm thankful for:
I live in a country like the United States. Granted we have our issues. Politics has been insane, people have said some pretty idiotic things lately (God made it his mission to get you through Dancing with the Stars, Bristol? Really? You don't think he has more important things to worry about?), and some pretty sucky things in general have been going on. But you've got to admit the US has it pretty good compared to some. In some countries, I wouldn't be able to have this blog probably. Or a computer, or books. Just saying. So yeah, our country has issues, but in the long run, it's an interesting place. Plus we have awesome entertainment such as Beyonce's concert on ABC tonight which I'm so watching even though I really shouldn't cause it'll get Single Ladies stuck in my head for the eighty millionth time this year.
I'm thankful for family (when they aren't getting on my nerves), my job (I probably won't feel this way tomorrow though...), and the ability to have food and a roof over my head.
I'm thankful for friends (both online and in real life)
I'm thankful that Walmart is open today so that my family was able to get the emergency munchies that we forgot to buy (opps...) A thank you to all employees who had to work today, I know it's tough working on a holiday.
General things like all the awesome books published this year that have been great reading, music (how boring would it be if we didn't have music?), and all the little things that make our life more enjoyable (such as the internet, crazy place that it is).
So Happy Turkey Day everyone!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Blog award!

Many thanks to Small Reviews for awarding me with the Versitile Blog Award!
To accept this award you must:
1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic for whatever reason! (In no particular order...)
4. Contact the bloggers you've picked and let them know about the award.

1) Thank you to Small Review for this award! I also got the same award in the same week from Coma Calm's Blog so thank you as well.

2) Seven things about myself:
1)I'm a huge Harry Potter freak. I'm actually on my way to see the seventh movie in a little bit SQUEE!
2)I detest the Twilight series. I consider it one of the worst written books ever.
3)Originally I grew up in Silver Spring MD (a suburb outside of Washington D.C.) but moved to the St. Louis area in Middle School.
4)I'm a big fan of TV and Movies. My favorite TV shows right now are Glee, Castle, Dancing with the Stars (I'm rooting for Kyle Massey), Project Runway, and Wizards of Waverly Place. Movie wise I'm looking forward to seeing Tangled, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Tron Legacy (incidently, the first Tron came out the year I was born), True Grit, King's Speech, and Green Lantern in the summer (although I'm not sold on Blake Lively being in there). Favorite show of all time? Buffy the Vampire Slayer (followed by Firefly, Gilmore Girls, Stargate, Avatar: The Last Airbender and much more...)
5)I'm a Disney freak. Part of it is the artist in me who loves all the animation they do, other part is I just enjoy it. Even though I am aware there are some funky messages in it for girls and whatnot.
6)I am a former anime otaku. I admit I haven't been much into anime lately, but I still am reading Black Butler, CLAMP (Tsubasa and xxxHolic mostly), and Haruhi.
7)I am a cat person. I have no pictures of my kitty to show you right now, but he is cute. Even if he is a pain sometimes.

3)In no particular order:
Emma Michaels
Reading Adventures
Book Chick City
So Many Books, So Little Time
Reading Angel
Words on Paper
Alison Can Read
Confessions and Rambling of a Muse in the Fog
Confessions of a Book Addict
Page Turners
All Booked Up
Imagination in Focus
Book Crazy
The Fiction Enthusiast

If it turns out that you've already gotten this award, then opps (I tried) and you can just ignore me.

4)I will be contacting you all via comments today. Again, sorry if you've already gotten this award. But thanks again to the two that awarded me this!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Movie Review: Harry Potter 7, Part I

TITLE: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I
Movie seven in the Harry Potter series
ACTORS/ACTRESSES: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Alan Rickman, Jason Isaacs, David Thewlis, Helana Botom Carter, and basically every other awesome british actor/actress you could think of (minus Ian McKlellan whose busy with Hobbit no doubt).
RELEASED: November 19th, 2010
PREMISE: In the first part of the seventh movie epic, Voldemort slowly takes over the wizarding world making things more dangerous then ever for Harry and his friends.
MY REVIEW: I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan. It is one of my top ten books series ever. I discovered the series way back before the fourth book was published, got my Mom hooked (to which my Dad still glares at me for), and have been anticipating the seventh movie since...the seventh book came out. Because unlike half of the Harry Potter fans, I kind of find the seventh book to be one of the best in the series and one of the best conclusions of a series ever (yes, despite the sappy epilogue).
Thankfully, the Potter cast did not disappoint. This totally makes up for a lackluster sixth movie. Right off the bat they start off with some serious stuff and it gets more and more intense as time goes on. I'm telling you, the last part is going to be EPIC. The only thing that disappoints me are 1)no Lupin freak out and Harry telling him to put on his big girl panties and deal with it (that's how I describe that scene, sorry), 2)we didn't get to see Luna's awesome room, 3)Harry and Hermione naked kissing (I know that was in the book, but as a firm R/Hr, H/G shipper I still make faces at that scene. Harry and Hermione to me kind of equals incest). 4)Not enough Alan Rickman but that's been my complaint with all of these movies ;) Everything else was spot on.
Everyone was acting very well in this. Especially the trio who have the most difficult roles I think. Even the added scenes in it, like them showing Hermione Obliviating her folks added to the movie I think. This is one of the most accurate Harry Potter movies in my opinion and I can't wait for the next part which as I said, is going to be EPIC.
Favorite scenes: well as a R/Hr shipper, all of their scenes. All the bad guy scenes-I'm telling, all the best actors in this are the villians! Helena Botem Carter is an awesome Bellatrix (please have the scene with Mrs.Weasley in the next one WB, please please please! You all know the one I'm talking about, I'm sure), Ralph Fiennes is an excellent Voldemort (though his smiling kept creeping me out...), and Rickman as always was awesome in the one scene we had him in. Seeing all the different locations. Cinematography/set people better get a freaking Oscar nod for this. They did a great job of getting everything Rowling described in the book down perfectly.
In short, this is an awesome film and well deserving of all the praise it's getting. If you are a Potter fan you won't be disappointed.
WHO SHOULD SEE: Potter fans, those who have seen movies 1-6
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five wands

Now if you'll excuse me, I have birthday cake to eat ;) Om nom nom....

Monday, November 22, 2010

2011 Author Debut Challenge!

Well, it's that time of year. The time to sign up for new book challenges. The first one I'm signing up for is the 2011 YA debut challenge over at The Story Siren hosted by Kristi. I didn't do this in 2010 because I didn't think I'd read any of the new authors. But I read more then I thought and this year a lot of them look really good. So here I am.
The idea of this challenge is to read at least 12 books written by an author writing for the first time in the YA/Middle Grade category.
Books I'm hoping to tackle:

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand-released Jan. 4rth
The False Princess by Ellis O'Neal-Released Jan. 25th
The Demon Trappers Daughter by Jana Oliver-Released Feb. 1rst
The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney-released Feb. 8th
Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton-Released Feb. 15th
Chemical Garden Trilogy Book 1: Wither by Lauren DeStefano-Released March 22nd.
Entwined by Heather Dixon-Released March 29th
Books of Beginning 1: The Emerald Atlas by John Stephans-Released April 5th
The Coven's Daughter by Lucy Jago-Released April 19th
Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs-Released May 10th
Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky-Released May 23rd
Forgotten by Cat Patrick-Released June 7th

Thank you to Kristi for hosting this great challenge!
More details about the challenge can be found here.
If you wish to sign up for the challenge as well, you can do so here.

Book Review: The Haunting of Charles Dickens

TITLE: The Haunting of Charles Dickens
AUTHOR: Lewis Buzbee
CATEGORY: Childrens
GENRE: Mystery, adventure, historical fiction
PREMISE: Meg's brother Orion has disappeared. In her quest to find him she runs into the famous Charles Dickens and enlists his help.
MY REVIEW: I'm not sure what I was expecting with this book, but I do know I wanted more from it then what I got. It's not a bad book. In fact parts of it are interesting. The author is great at making history come alive, I could easily picture historic London and the tidbits about Dickens himself thrown in there were interesting. I even thought it the aspect of the mystery was decent and a good lesson for children to learn.
But it just fell flat for me for some reason. Part of it was that I didn't care for the stilted writing style. It had a bad habit of telling, not showing. I also frankly was bored with Meg. She had no personality, especially compared with Dickens himself. I think I would have preferred this from Dickens point of view because he was at least interesting. Aside from her brother's disappearance, Meg was just...boring.
So it's not a bad book. It just didn't click for me. However, I do think children will like this book. It's also a good book to read to them if you're introducing Dickens to them. It'll help them understand his contributions a bit more and why his books are important.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of Charles Dickens, historical fiction fans
MY RATING: Three out of Five top hats

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Book Review: Claire de Lune

TITLE: Claire de Lune
Book 1 in an apparently planned series
AUTHOR: Christine Johnson
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: Werewolves, romance, urban fantasy
PREMISE: Claire discovers she's a werewolf and it turns her life upside down.
MY REVIEW: This book was getting a lot of buzz but also a lot of mixed reviews when it came out. I kind of just shrug my shoulders at it because it wasn't the greatest, nor was it horrible. It was just one of the many average books written this year. The author has potential and I'm glad she stayed away from the weak female having to choose between two strong males trope that has been popular lately but that doesn't erase the issues in the book.
The main issue was it was predictable to the point of being boring. Seriously, this has all the makings of a lifetime/disney channel original movie it was that boring. Second issue I had was that the characters were two-dimensional, particularly Claire who reeked of Mary Sueisms. As a result of them being two-dimensional I found it hard to care about the book and that next to the predictability basically had me yawning through the whole book, when I wasn't rolling my eyes at the angsting and the whining Claire did about being a werewolf (why did she whine so much anyway? From what I saw it didn't majorly effect her day to day life, aside from not being able to date Matthew, so what gives?).
So in short, not a horrible book but not the greatest either. Just average and utterly forgettable. I'm not entirely sure why the author plans on making this a series as from what I saw all the plot lines were neatly tied up in a pretty little bow, but who knows? Maybe she'll surprise us in the next book. But for a debut novel I will say it's not half bad. The author just needs to work on creativity a bit as well as characterization.
WHO SHOULD READ: werewolf fans, Twilight fans (particularly Team Jacob fans)
MY RATING: Three out of Five full moons

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

In My Mailbox (22)

This is a weekly meme started by Kristi over at The Story Siren that basically tells people what new books we got over the week. All the links here go to the book's amazon page if you want more info on them. Here are my books:

From Net Galley
Luna series: Enchanted No More by Robin D.Owens-Fantasy type adult book that looked interesting. Will be coming out the first of January. Thank you to the publisher for this advanced ebook copy.
The Lying Game Book 1 by Sara Shepard.-I know I said I wasn't crazy about the Pretty Little Liars books (yet I love the tv show, go figure) but this one looks really interesting and like it'll be more about the mystery then shallow annoying characters who make it hard for me to enjoy the mystery part. At least I'm hoping she'll do that. Fingers crossed! Thank you to HarperTeen for this advanced ebook copy.

From the library:
The Wide Awake Princess by E.D.Baker-Yes, another princess retelling. What can I say? I'm obsessed with these things.
Gallagher Girls Book 3: Don't Judge a Girl By Her Cover by Ally Carter-I continue to love these books, after this just one more to go and I'm all caught up!
Anita Blake-Vampire Hunter Book 1: Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton-After years of hearing mixed reviews about this series, I've finally decided to just try it out for myself.
Wicked Lovely Book 4-Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr-I was going to wait till this came out in paperback so all my books would match but that's not till next year, so I finally decided to just read and buy the copy later.

No bought books this week as I'm trying to cool it with that till I finish Beautiful Darkness. Plus my birthday is this Tuesday so I'm pretty sure I'll be getting one or two books anyway. If not, I'll probably be getting a gift certificate to Borders at least from my Dad because he never has any idea what else to get me (his words, not mine). So next week will probably have a big list ;)

That's it for me this week! What did you get your mailbox?

Book Review: Guardian of the Dead

TITLE: Guardian of the Dead
AUTHOR: Karen Healey
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: urban fantasy
PREMISE: ....I honestly have no freaking idea HOW to describe this book...
MY REVIEW: This book was just...wierd. Not the good kind of wierd either, such as the wierdness in the Haruhi Suzimiya series. This was just wierd in a I didn't know what was going on half the time. It started off okay but then it just got to be an utterly confusing mess and I'm one of those that can usually follow a complicated plot. It honestly wasn't that the plot was confusing, it was just that the author failed to explain things properly and that did not help the book any.
I will say I'm happy the author was creative and wasn't using all the common tropes in YA nowadays (no love triangle!). I also found the diversity in the cast refreshing. I even want to commend the author for being brave enough to put in an asexual male character. I have yet to see an asexual person in a YA book so I'm pretty sure Healey is the first to do this. So that was nice to see. I also will even admit the mythology used was interesting as it's not mythology I'm familiar with and I always like learning new myths. However, that's not enough for me to say this book is actually good. Because it still was a very flawed book. The main character is rather Mary-Sueish, the characters kept drawing conclusions out of thin air with little to no evidence and had me going huh? half the time which only added to the confusion, also the romance? Pretty lame. Even by YA standards.
In short this book had some great ideas but the execution was a big hot mess. The author needs to take time to explain things more. Especially as much of this took place in New Zealand and most Americans (and people in other countries I'm guessing) know next to nothing about this country so a lot of the cultural references/jokes she put were totally lost on me and probably will be lost on all readers not from New Zealand. The author has potential, that's for sure. But her writing needs a lot of polishing before she can be called good.
WHO SHOULD READ: Um...I have no idea, sorry
MY RATING: Two and a half out of Five masks

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Book Review: Haint Misbehavin

TITLE: Haint Misbehavin
Book 1 in a planned series apparently
AUTHOR: Maureen Hardegree
CATEGORY: Paranormal
PREMISE: Heather's summer is pretty rotten so far and it's made worse when she discovers a ghost that is hell bent on getting her attention...
MY REVIEW: I've never heard of this book but saw it on net galley as read now so I figured what the heck? Reading it, I understand why it never became uber popular or got a mention. The writing is terribly amatuerish, despite the fact that apparently the author has been writing for awhile now. All the characters are obnoxious at some point or another, especially the main character. There doesn't really seem to be a plot of any sort and when the solution finally comes along it seems pretty easy.
But for the audience that I'm guessing this book is aimed at (tweens of the Twilight variety) it's okay. It's just that I've read much better and honestly don't have much to say about it as it's one of those books that isn't completely horrible or totally brilliant. It's just there to fill a niche in the market.
WHO SHOULD READ: Paranormal fans in the younger crowd
MY RATING: Three out of Five ghost children

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Book Review: The Iron Daughter

TITLE: The Iron Daughter
Book 2 in the Iron Fey series
AUTHOR: Julie Kagawa
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: Faeries, romance, adventure
PREMISE: Meghan Chase has saved her brother only to now be stuck in the Winter realm abandoned by Ash and trying to convince the fey of the growing threat of the Iron Kingdom.
MY REVIEW: Okay, I love this series. Really I do. Kagawa has created something with lots of potential here. I love reading about this world because everything is so wonderfully described and planned out that I can easily picture it all and have no problem believing it exists. Also, I love Puck and Grimalken. There needs to be a Grimalken plushie (hint hint publishers, if you want promotion ideas...).
Now that said, I still feel this series could stand for some improvement. Because while Kagawa has an awesome world building imagination I feel like her plotting/romance skills...are somewhat genaric. For instance a lot of the scenarios in this book have been done before in fantasy books/movies in the past. I mean the whole mind control bit? Done. The idea forming about Meghan's powers that I can't talk about because it's a spoiler? Done. As for the romance part...while I definitely see potential in the relationships (although I still think Ash and Meghan's relationship could have stood for more slow developement) it's all so terribly cliche. I mean how many love triangles of this sort have we seen lately? Tons. Forbidden love? Been there, done that. These particular issues to me bring down an otherwise really good book series.
Since I know people are wondering, I'm Team Puck. But not Team Puck for Meghan. I'm Team Puck because Puck is an awesome character and I like him more then Ash. After this book, I personally don't think Meghan deserves him. Not that she even looks at him twice with hunky sullen Ash around. That was another thing that annoyed me in this briefly was how Meghan was practically Ash, Ash, Ash throughout the whole book. It was like all that personal strength she got near the end of the first book went away. Though luckily she never got as bad as Bella Swan. So that said, I still enjoy this series, and I think it's good. I just think that Kagawa is capable of so much more. But this is only her first series so maybe she'll improve even more and then her next books will be even more awesome because she's more creative with the plot.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those that read the first book, fans of faerie books, Wicked Lovely fans, Twilight fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five dresses sewn by dwarfs

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Book Review: Princess of Glass

TITLE: Princess of Glass
Book 2 in the 12 Dancing Princesses series
AUTHOR: Jessica Day George
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: retelling, fantasy, romance
PREMISE: Poppy from George's Princess of the Midnight Ball gets her own romance in this retelling of Cinderella
MY REVIEW: Some of you may recall that I read George's Midnight Ball a few months back and kind of loved it. So I was very happy to find out that George decided to give my favorite princess Poppy her own book. It doesn't disapoint either. This one is a retelling of Cinderella and it's one of the more interesting tales of it that I've read (and I've read quite a few of them being the fairytale freak that I am).
One thing I loved about this was hands down Poppy. I love me my spunky princesses (can't wait for the Rapunzel movie coming out next week) and Poppy is definitely spunky and kind of hilarious. I love that she plays cards and isn't overly concerned with finding true love. I also found the character that was Cinderella interesting because I know that Cinderella has never been written this way. Granted, I found Ella rather irritating, but it was an interesting idea character wise. I will say I found the ending chaotic like I did with the other one and didn't particularly care for that part, but overall it was good. Definitely reccomend this to those that liked The Princess of the Midnight Ball. I also really hope that George continues writing these retellings with all the princesses because I would personally love to see her take on Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Frog Prince and so on.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of Cinderella, if you've read Princess of the Midnight Ball, fans of fairytale retellings
MY RATING: Four out of Five glass slippers

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Book Review: Annexed

TITLE: Annexed
AUTHOR: Sharon Dogar
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: historical fiction, drama
PREMISE: See Anne Frank's story and beyond through the eyes of Peter van Pels...
MY REVIEW: I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book or not. The Diary of Anne Frank is one of my most beloved books. I think everyone should read it at least once. While I was curious about it from Peter's view, this idea seemed unnecessary to me. Luckily Dogar managed to surprise me.
I will say sometimes the writing style took some getting used to, and Peter doesn't seem as personable as Anne Frank but this does give a lot of insight to the story of Anne Frank. It gives insight to how other people in the Annex viewed Anne, to the van Pels family, and even to what they may have thought on Anne's views in her diary. I also have to say it's gutsy of the author to give us a glimpse of what life might have been like for Peter in the camps. Most authors in YA probably would have been uncomfortable with that aspect of the story and I must say I too found it difficult to get through because of all the horror that occured in these camps (if you're one of those who think the holocaust was a big hoax, it WASN'T. Trust me, I actually went to one of the camps on a trip to Europe in High School. It happened as horrifying as that is to think about).
This is not a cheesy romantic typical YA book so if you want that, you'll be horribly disapointed. If however, you want a different take on the Anne Frank story, I highly recomend this read. Thank you to the publisher on Net Galley for sending me an ebook copy of this for reading.
WHO SHOULD READ: those that have read Diary of Anne Frank, you aren't squeemish
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five diaries

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Book Review: The Fool's Girl

TITLE: The Fool's Girl
AUTHOR: Celia Rees
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: fiction rewrite, historical fiction, drama
PREMISE: In this continuation of where Shakespeare's play Twelth Night left off, we get to see what happened to Violetta and how exactly Shakespeare got his inspiration for his play.
MY REVIEW: I will say this: Rees is a talented author. She managed to capture the spirit of Shakespeare, while being historically accurate, and I have to admit, the idea is creative. I just wasn't that into it. But it had nothing to do with writing quality.
I think in order to appreciate this you have to be a hardcore Shakespeare fan. I appreciate Shakespeare (didn't love him so much in High School though;))and have read a few of his works. This one is not one I really remember all that well, mostly because it's just not my favorite of his. For those wondering my favorite of his is Two Men From Verona. If you get the chance, go see a production of it, it is hilarious.
So that said, this book is really for a certain audience. But even that certain audience may be a tad bored with it. While writing and characters were sound, the plot was a bit dull. No suprises or twists and turns and everything solved by the end of the book. I kept wanting more from it and never getting it. But for the hardcore Shakespeareans out there, this one will be fun.
WHO SHOULD READ: Shakespeare fans, those who've read/watched 12th Night
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five dramatic scenes

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

In My Mailbox (21)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme started by Kristi over at The Story Siren that tells people what new books we've gotten over the week. All the links in this post go to the book's amazon page if you want more info on it. Here's what I got this week:

Downloaded from the awesome Net Galley:
Annexed by Sharon Dogar-Diary of Anne Frank from Peter's POV. As fascinated by all things Anne Frank as I am, I had to check this one out. Thank you Houghton Mifflin Books for this copy.
Once in a Full Moon by Ellen Schreiber-Yes, this is a new series started by the author of the hilarious Vampire Kisses series. It comes out December 28th. Thank you HarperCollins for the copy!

From the Library:
The Haunting of Charles Dickens by Lewis Buzbee-a ghost story/mystery staring Dickens? You know I'm there.
Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey-Book I meant to read earlier this year.
Claire de Lune by Christine Johnson-See above.

Bought at store:
Zombies VS Unicorns by various authors-FINALLY got this book. Can't wait to read it. I bought it mostly because there are short stories in the Killer Unicorns verse and The Forest of Hands and Teeth verse. Plus it had tons of authors I love like Meg Cabot and Garth Nix and of course the ever awesome Holly Black.
I Am America and So Can You by Stephan Colbert.-Okay this won't be reviewed as it's nonfiction (technically...) but I had to share it because I'm a huge Stewart and Colbert fan (yes, I thought their rally was an awesome idea and it actually made me sad that I no longer live in the DC area...) and Borders had this for 4.99! Awesome, no?
Also not a link for this but I snagged a Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows bookmark as well. How excited are you guys for the movie? I'll be seeing it on my birthday (Nov. 23rd) if everything goes as planned. Expect a post here immediately after I see it.

Book Review: Incarceron

TITLE: Incarceron
Book 1 in the Incarceron series
AUTHOR: Catherine Fisher
CATEGORY: young adult
GENRE: steampunk, mystery, adventure
PREMISE: In the infamous prison Incarceron, Finn is a prisoner with a mysterious past who discovers a key that lets him meet Claudia, a woman who claims to be from the Outside...
MY REVIEW: First, apologies that there's no image. For some reason blogger is being a butt and not letting me post images today. That said, I loved this book to death. First breath it all in: no werewolves, vampires, faeries, or angels to be had. All normal people...for the most part. Nor is it the usual: girl moves to new place and meets guy who is different but pulls at her soul stuff. No. This book is actually creative.
First off, the characters are definitely complicated and three-dimensional. In fact, you may not even like any of them, though I personally thought Claudia was awesome. There is also a lot of thought provoking things in this book without it being heavy handed. Plus there's a complicated plot that doesn't involve romance or a love triangle. In fact there's very little romance in it and some people may not like that but I was personally happy about this because it was nice seeing a plot that didn't revolve around a love triangle for a change. Plus as an added bonus, the writing is actually GOOD. The only thing that slightly bothered me about the book was the revelation about Incarceron that seemed...silly. I won't give it away but trust me, it's a little out there.
Word has it that this may be made into a movie. I kind of do and kind of don't want this to happen. I kind of do because I bet it'll be awesome to see on screen. Fisher's world building is superb in this and I've developed a fondness for these steampunk settins so I really look forward to it if it does get made. I kind of don't because much of the complications in this book are internal. It'll require superb actors/actresses in the teen community to pull these characters off and I don't know if Teen Hollywood has those kind of people available judging from what I've seen lately from the teen set (with the possible exception of maybe Emma Stone and Amanda Syfried...who would both have to dye their hair to play Claudia). So torn about that. But I will say I am definitely looking forward to Sapphique coming out in December.
WHO SHOULD READ: Steampunk fans, if you like books like Leviathan, those that don't mind a lack of romance or darkness in their books
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five lace corset dresses

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Book Review: Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy

TITLE: Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy
Book 2 in the Gallagher Girls series
AUTHOR: Ally Carter
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: mystery, adventure
PREMISE: Cammie is still reeling from heartbreak but in a school for spies she doesn't have time to dwell. Especially not when cute spy boys arrive at the school and turn Gallagher Academy upside down.
MY REVIEW: My love affair with Carter's books continues. I loved this just as much as the first one, if not better. Mostly because 1) Spy school is AWESOME! I want to attend! and 2) Zach is a ten times more interesting and better love interest then Josh. He actually challenged Cammie and also wasn't slightly sexist. Plus, the boy is hot and as I said, interesting. I also bought him and Cammie together and they technically never even really got together. Really hope he shows up in the next two books at some point.
I also love how Carter is not afraid to have strong females in this but doesn't over do it. Much as I love feminist books (you have Tamora Pierce to thank for this) sometimes they can be a little over the top in the women are super great message. This one has a very nice balance. There's a definite feminist message but it's balanced. For example the girls are just as good as the guys in this, but no one goes on about it. In fact, gender is never even brought up. It's actually about school pride for the most part. Never once do the males imply that these girls would make bad spies simply because they're female. But Carter doesn't forget that these are still teen girls. Teen girls who haven't been around boys since coming to Gallagher.
While I do think the ending was somewhat of a let down, I am still eager to read this. I'm dying to know what happened to Cammie's dad, if she'll get with Zach (I hope so) or heck, even background on characters like Mr. Solomon would be awesome. Have I also mentioned I love Bex and Liz?
WHO SHOULD READ: Those that have read and liked the first book, those that liked Heist Society, spy noir fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five stolen school vans

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Book Review: Feast of Fools

TITLE: Feast of Fools
Book 4 in the Morganville Vampires series
AUTHOR: Rachel Caine
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: vampires, urban fantasy
PREMISE: Claire and co. are back dealing with the usual drama and vampires of Morganville.
MY REVIEW: I know in the last book's review for this series I said I was going to try and give it till book six. Well...I'm taking that back because after this book there's no way I'm going to make it till book six. Look, I stand by what I said: I understand why these are popular. They have a lot going on in them, Caine is very clever in leaving every book at a cliff hanger, and they are very nice quick time-wasting reads that don't take a lot of concentration. Plus, there are some genuine funny moments.
However, they are REPETITIVE. Like unbelievably repetitive. You thought House of Night was bad with the going no where plot? This series has started to follow the same idea but with less annoying characters. However, rather decent characters don't really help it because Caine is so focused on getting the plot from point A to point Z that she kind of leaves character developement by the wayside. As a result, these characters remain the same and that's kind of not good because there needs to be developement. Particularly in the main foursome. Plus, there are a LOT of gaping plot holes the biggest one being: why don't these humans just move out of Morganville? It would literally solve all their problems. Also, why don't the college kids warn incoming students about it? I mean, they literally don't mention it during visits? Or do their best to persuade people not to come in? I mean the whole set up makes very little sense to me because my mind keeps coming up with ways to get around the obstacles that Caine half-hazardly puts up in these books and that's...not very good.
So again, not a horrible series. I understand the popularity but I've literally just lost all interest in this series. Mostly because I've figured out the formula Caine follows for each book: intro of all the characters with roommate scenes galore, maybe some scenes with Claire getting picked on by Monica (who I still think is over the top and want someone to smack her, what happened to her in Book 2 was not enough), some sort of meeting with Amelie or some other similar vampire big bad, angsty scene with Michael (and for bonus points, Eve), some scenes in between with Claire and Shane to fill the romance quota, some sort of big event involving vamps, usually ends badly and with Claire making stupid decisions (for a smart girl, she sure is dumb sometimes) and then cue cliffhanger. I've just literally have gotten to the point where I don't care anymore. So sorry, Morganville, I'm breaking up with you. Maybe her adult books are better. I'll try looking into those.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those who have read and liked the first 3 books, vampire fans, Twilight fans
MY RATING: Three out of Five stakes

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Book Review: Love Bites

TITLE: Love Bites
Book 7 in the Vampire Kisses series
AUTHOR: Ellen Schreiber
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: vampires, romance, urban fantasy
PREMISE: Alexander's best friend comes to Dullsville and starts crushing on Raven's best friend Becky...
MY REVIEW: Okay, it's official. I'm breaking up with this series. Look, I still think it's cute and great for younger readers and is a fun sort of parody for older readers but it's just not going anywhere. Plus this is practically the same plot she used in the last book with Alexander's parents. It's getting very repetitive and that's kind of annoying because I know this series has a lot of potential.
Raven is still hilarious (though as of late she's kind of become...annoying? Is that just me?) and her relationship with Alexander is still cute and whatnot. These books are always nice and fast quick reads and again, perfect for younger readers. But also again: nothing changes.
So while I do still like this series...I just don't know if I'll bother reading the rest of them because they've sort of become dull and repetitive. Now maybe I'm wrong and Schreiber will turn the series around but I'm betting not. I'm also not even sure if there's going to be a next book as it seems Schreiber has started a new series that is coming out in December about werewolves. I'm definitely taking a look at that one whenever I can. As for Vampire Kisses...still like it, I just want...more from it.
WHO SHOULD READ: those who read and liked the first six books, vampire fans, Twilight fans
MY RATING: Three out of Five bottles of black nail polish

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Monday, November 8, 2010

Book Review: The Thirteenth Princess

TITLE: The Thirteenth Princess
AUTHOR: Diane Zahler
CATEGORY: childrens
GENRE: retelling, fantasy
PREMISE: See the tale of the Dancing Princess from a character who was forgotten in the legend: their thirteenth sister.
MY REVIEW: I have rather mixed feelings about this book but overall it was good. It was a unique take on the Twelve Dancing Princesses fairytale. I definitely haven't seen the idea before and Zahler makes it work. Zita was a fun heroine, even if I didn't get much from her personality, I enjoyed taking the journey with her. Even the romance aspects were cute.
My issues with it were that the writing was rather flat. It wasn't engaging in anyway and had the annoying tendency to tell and not show. The ending while surprising was also somewhat chaotic. Plus again, rather flat two-dimensional characters.
Overall though, the book was decent. I believe this is Zahler's first book and she apparently has one coming out next year which is also a princess tale. Younger girls will definitely get a kick out of this one, particularly if they're into princesses.
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five princess dancing shoes
WHO SHOULD READ: younger girls in the princess stage, you like retellings, fans of the Twelve Dancing Princesses

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

TV Weekly Recap

Since I didn't get a chance to do a recap last week there will also be chatter about the week before this one as well...

Dancing With the Stars: Okay America, WHAT THE HELL? How is Bristol still here, yet people who got higher marks and are actually GOOD going home? Look, I will give Bristol her due, she's trying and yes I know she's not a performer by trade but you know what? She's STILL not good. Plus, I'm getting a little tired of her whining about how hard the dances are. Suck it up. You signed up for this gig so how about putting in more effort? Look at Kyle. He's getting reemed (unfairly in my opinion) yet he doesn't go around whining. He works hard and has a sense of humor to it. Same with the others. Please don't tell me this girl will actually get into the finals...there's just...no way.

Castle: Fun as this weeks' ep was (I love when they do ones dealing with strippers don't you? So many jokes that they're not afraid to crack. Love it) I really want to talk about last week's ep with the serial killer. Looks like we're going to get a returning villian on the show! Awesomeness. Makes up for how little we've been getting on Kate's mother's murder.

Glee: Okay, Rocky Horror Picture Ep from last week. First off, kudos to the director for getting Sam, Finn, and Mr. S shirtless. Really, thank you guys. Made up for what a jerk Mr. S has become. I admit to liking his character somewhat in the beginning but now I'm finding him ridiculously selfish. I suppose the arguement could be made that he's enjoying his freedom from his harpy ex-wife but still. Favorite moment: Santana and Britney spying shamelessly on their teachers. These two have become my favorite characters next to Kurt and to a lesser extent Mercedes. Favorite song: Tie between John Staimos singing the hell out of Whatever Happened to Saturday Night (it made me wonder why they didn't have him sing more on Full House) and Sweet Transvestite. Can't wait for new episodes. Looks like Kurt IS getting a guy!

Project Runway: I'm going to say what everyone has said or has been thinking since the finale: MONDO WAS ROBBED. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with Nina and Michael? Yes, Gretchen was on trend, but that was LUCK. That is seriously her only style. She can't design anything outside of that trend. Mondo has more creativity in one little finger then that woman does (and more humility and good character). Trust me, in a year or so people will be all "Gretchen who?" while Mondo will be making a name for himself and be big. Ugh, if I wasn't so hooked on Project Runway, I'd seriously consider not watching anymore because these past few seasons have been wonky judging wise. I really wish they would have Tim Gunn be part of the judging panel or at least ask for his input. The man has impeccable taste and he has more of an idea of what goes on in the creative process then the judges do. Did anyone else notice he looked shocked when he came out to congratulate Gretchen? Even he was going "what the hell?"

Things on TV I'm looking forward to this week (new feature on here):
all my regular shows (note: I've pretty much given up on Whole Truth and Undercovers, so BORING).
Avalon High and Wizards of Waverly Place premiere on Disney Channel. Yes, I like Disney Channel, okay? It's cheesy and silly and helps me relax after stressful day at work, plus multiple repeat eps make for good background noise while I read. Currently I mostly just watch Wizards because a) it's fun, and b)there actually seems to be an ongoing storyline and interesting developements. Plus Alex is kind of awesome. Look forward to seeing wizard court ;) Plus it brings back the crazy headmaster who is so obviously a parody of Dumbledore. Love him (Dumbledore and guy doing the parody).
Now Avalon High...I have two minds about it. On one hand giddyness because it's one of my favorite Cabot books. On the other hand, it looks like they once again didn't read the book. I mean for crying out loud, they changed the main characters name (and her appearance and from the looks her entire personality). Plus, Myles is a teenager? Reincarnation of Merlin guys! Hello! I also don't see Ellie's track friend anywhere in the previews, who wants to bet she got cut to be replaced by Myles? Will I be tuning in? Yes. Will I like it? Hard to say.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

In My Mailbox (20)

This is a weekly meme started by Kristi over at The Story Siren that tells people what new books we received over the week. All the links in this post go to the book's Amazon page if you want more info.

Downloaded from Net Galley (which I finally just joined this week!):
Trickster's Girl by Hilari Bell-Doesn't come out till January 3rd. Futuristic sci-fi sort of thing from the author of The Farsala Trilogy, Goblin Wood, Knight and Rogue series etc. (all very good books btw). Can't wait to read!
Ghost Handlers Book 1: Haint Misbehavin by Maureen Hardgree-It had read now on it and looked interesting.

From the Library:
Morganville Vampires Book 4: Feast of Fools by Rachel Caine
Gallagher Girls Book 2: Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy Ally Carter-ended up loving the heck out of the first book so I grabbed book 2.
Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George-sequel to the awesome Princess of the Midnight Ball.
The Fool's Girl by Celia Rees-a sort of continuation of Twelth Night by Shakespeare which I haven't read in AGES but this sounded cool.
Vampire Kisses Book 7: Love Bites by Ellen Schreiber

Bought Books (thank you Borders!):
The Looking Glass Wars Trilogy Book 3: ArchEnemy by Frank Beddor
Sweep series bindup Volume I, Book 1-3 by Cate Tiernan-As embarressing as this is, I totally somehow missed the Sweep series during my high school years. I'd never even HEARD of it till this big volume caught my eye a month or so ago. Then I asked around online and apparently these are very popular books and people thought I was crazy for never hearing about them. My only possible explanation is that I didn't get regular access to the internet till college (these were different times for you young ins who are shocked by this ;)).

Book Review: Hush Hush

TITLE: Hush Hush
Book 1 in the Hush Hush Trilogy
AUTHOR: Becca Fitzpatrick
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: angels, urban fantasy, romance
PREMISE: Nora meets Patch during biology and is confused about him. Then people start turning up dead. Is Patch responsible?
MY REVIEW: Okay, I've been avoiding this book for two reasons: mixed reviews and I don't get this whole angel trend that's been going on. A lot of people have been comparing this one to Twilight and calling it a rip-off of it and for that reason I've stayed away because as I've said before: I can't stand Twilight. Having read it now, I definitely see the Twilight comparisons but this is SO much better. Not utterly fantastic because there are still issues in it, but I must say I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.
Issues in it are that the relationship between Nora and Patch is kind of creepy and I'm not sure I'm one hundred percent for it. But it's a complicated relationship and I do see Nora's attraction and it helps that Nora doesn't go around saying "oh Patch and I are soulmates! We're going to be together forever!" from the moment they meet. Actually she never says the s word. Other issues is that the writing felt off in some places. I think the problem is that Fitzpatrick tried too hard to emulate Twilight in order to appeal to Twihards. Because a lot of the time it was good. But then there'd be these random flowery descriptions or scenes that felt very familiar and that took away some of the enjoyment. Plus it got repetitive in the middle a bit.
However, there is definite potential here. While the Nora/Patch vibe is creepy, it is also an interesting relationship (something Twilight sorely lacked) and I'm going to be curious about where she takes it because judging from the summary of the next book, she's not going to do a Breaking Dawn-everything-happily-ever-after thing. The mystery part of it was fun (and again in the second one it looks like there's more mystery), plus Vee who was hilarious. So yes, some flaws to this but overall a very decent first book and I look forward to reading the next one which is out now.
WHO SHOULD READ: Twilight fans, Fallen fans, angel fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five feathers

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Friday, November 5, 2010

Book Review: Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer

TITLE: Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer
AUTHOR: John Grisham
CATEGORY: Childrens
GENRE: mystery
PREMISE: Theodore loves law. He knows all the local lawyers, cops, and judges. He sneaks into trials, and even helps out the kids in his school with law advice. Then a big murder trial takes place and Theo ends up right in the thick of it...
MY REVIEW: I really wanted to like this. I mean it's Grisham. This man got me started on the mystery/thriller genre so I'll always have a soft spot for him (and Patterson). I admit I was a bit dubious about him writing a kids book, but hey it worked out well for Patterson with Maximum Ride so why not?
Unfortunately I think Grisham is one of those who can't write kids books well. Some author's aren't meant for childrens, or YA, or adult, and Grisham is not right for kids fiction. Mostly because I don't think he remembers what being a kid was like. At least that's my only explanation for Theo. The kid is thirteen yet he's not a raging ball of hormones (and neither are his classmates who apparently live in the sixties when we still had gender seperated classes). Plus I'm sorry but in my day Theo would been picked on relentlessly for his interest. Yet he's not only not bullied once but seems to be respected by his classmates (who are all also very eager to learn law apparently; any middle-school teacher would scoff at this) and even at one point gets asked out by a popular girl. Just...no way. Other things also don't really jive with this book (a kid loving trials? Really?) but the inaccuracy of the school life/how it is to be a teenager really kept bugging me.
Then there's the fact that it's just boring. Literally we already know who did it. There's no surprise twists, no turns. It actually turns into a preachy book about lawyer ethics. Some lawyers may find interest in that but most kids would fall asleep to this. I honestly find it hard to believe that Grisham wrote this because I don't remember him being this bad. I can't help but wonder if he gave this idea to someone and just let them ghostwrite it in his name or something.
Some good thins are that Theo is likeable (but not very relateable). It does a good job of explaining law in a way that kids will understand (I admit I even learned a thing or two I didn't know). But if Grisham plans on turning this into a series he needs to work on character and making Theo and pretty much all of this more believable.
WHO SHOULD READ: Grisham fans if you want, kids interested in how trials work
MY RATING: Two and a half out of Five Judge gravels

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Book Review: The Red Pyramid

TITLE: The Red Pyramid
Book 1 in the Kane Chronicles
AUTHOR: Rick Riordan
CATEGORY: Childrens
GENRE: adventure, fantasy
PREMISE: Siblings Carter and Sadie have always been seperated ever since they were six. Carter travels with his dad, Sadie lives with her grandparents. Then their dad does something crazy during one of his visits with Sadie and all hell breaks loose...
MY REVIEW: If you've read Percy Jackson you pretty much know the deal with Riordan's books: great humor, lots of action/adventure, fast paced, simple. It's a formula that worked well for Percy Jackson and the audience Riordan is aiming this at (reluctant readers, middle-schoolers) and it works just as well here.
Does it sometimes feel like Percy Jackson redone with Egyptian Gods? Yes. In fact this series apparently takes place in the same universe as Percy Jackson so it doesn't really stray much. So if you wanted something new and different and unique with this, you were probably disappointed. Me, I was okay with it. Uber spectacular? No. But like the Percy series it works because of who the books are aimed for and what Riordan is trying to accomplish. He's not trying to be Harry Potter (though lots of people try to accuse him of this), he's not trying to be utterly brilliant either. He's trying to get reluctant readers/boys in middle-school to pick up books and enjoy reading. For that, I applaud him.
I personally enjoyed it. As much as I enjoyed Percy? Maybe not. But it's still a fun series and I look forward to future installments of it. Fans of Percy will probably enjoy it as well. I am personally curious if this means Riordan plans on exploring other gods as well because with this it kind of makes me wonder if there gods in other cultures. For instance Native American Gods, or Japanese Gods, or Nordic Gods and so on. Possibilities are endless and I look forward to whatever Riordan brings us.
WHO SHOULD READ: Percy Jackson fans, Egyptian god fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five hierglyphs

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Book Review: I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You

TITLE: I'd Tell You I'd Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You
Book 1 in the Gallegher Girls series
AUTHOR: Ally Carter
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: mystery, adventure
PREMISE: Cammie goes to a school for undercover spies. She knows kick-butt moves, how to survey and blend in with her surroundings, and is on her way to becoming a top-notch spy. But all of that doesn't really prepare her for her biggest challenge: teenage boys and being a regular girl.
MY REVIEW: Okay, it's official. I'm a fan of Ally Carter now. I read Heist Society a week or so ago and my library finally managed to get this back in so I grabbed it even though I've avoided it for the past few years because it seemed like a Gossip Girl thing from the covers. Yes, yes, I know that's stupid. I'm ashamed of myself right now, okay? Just goes to show that silly covers don't always mean bad books (and likewise beautiful covers don't always equal awesome books).
Now I will say that like Heist Society this premise seems campy and silly and it frankly is. But Carter makes you want it to be real so bad that you don't care. I mean, I would love a school of teen spies for girls to be real. Who wouldn't? The idea is awesome. Carter also manages to make it work well so that you buy it. I also think it helps that she doesn't try to make these books feel serious because if she had gone that route then me (and all the other readers) probably wouldn't get behind this as much.
Plus the writing is hilarious. I loved all the characters (Bex is my favorite! Followed closely by Liz), it was great seeing a girl not afraid or ashamed to be strong and it was just fun. You can't help but laugh at all these spy girls knowing how to diffuse bombs but not know what a guy means when he says "so we'll meet up later, right?" and need clarification of intent. It's funny (and a little sad). I'm definitely picking up the next few books in the future. For those wondering there's going to be a fifth Gallagher Girl book out in 2011 along with the sequel to Heist Society (squee!) in the Summer. Can't wait.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of Heist Society, spy novel fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five plaid skirts

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Monday, November 1, 2010

November Releases

Ah, November. New month means new releases and books to look forward too. Here's some that I think readers of this blog may be interested in, or that I'm interested in, or that just look interesting period. Combination of adult, YA, and Childrens. All the links go to the book's Amazon page if you want more info on them. When the book has this: (!) that means I'm eager to read it and you can expect a review on here sometime in the future.
Eternal: More Love Stories with Bite by P.C.Cast and various authors. Paperback, released Nov. 2nd.
Claim to Fame by Margeret Peterson Haddix.Paperback, released Nov. 2nd.
Pegasus by Robin McKinley. Hardcover, released Nov. 2nd.(!!!) New McKinley book. Nuff said.
Hero by Mike Lupica. Hardcover, released Nov. 2nd.
Haruhi novelizations: The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzimiya by Nagaru Tanigawa.Paperback, released Nov. 2nd(!)-Love the Haruhi books. Read them if you haven't yet. They're hilariously absurd. It's great.
House of the Star by Caitlin Brennan. Hardcover, released Nov. 9th.
Selling Hope by Kristin O'Donnell Tubb. Hardcover, released Nov. 9th.
Foundlings Tale series Book 3: Factotum by D.M.Cornish. Hardcover, released Nov. 11th.
The Painted Boy by Charles de Lint. Hardcover, released Nov. 11th.
Sweep series Bind up Volume II by Cate Tiernan. Paperback, released Nov. 11th.(!)-Okay, confession time. I've never heard of the Sweep series until these bind ups started. Then people started reccing them right and left. I plan on checking out the first volume sometime soon this year.
Hacking Timbuktu by Stephan Davies. Hardcover, released Nov. 15th.
Tyger Tyger: A Goblin Wars Book by Kerstan Hamiltan. Hardcover, released Nov. 15th.
The Last Full Measure by Ann Rinaldi. Hardcover, released Nov. 15th.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer novel bindup Volume III by various authors. Paperback, released Nov. 16th.
Immortals Book 5: Night Star by Alyson Noel. Hardcover, released Nov. 16th.
Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card. Hardcover, released Nov. 23rd.
The Dark Devine Book 1 by Bree Despain. Paperback version, released Nov. 23rd.
Threads and Flames by Esther Friesner. Hardcover, released Nov. 24th. (!)-Loved Nobody's Princess and the author's other works. I'm sure this will be just as good.
Women of the Otherworld: Counterfeit Magic by Kelley Armstrong (adult). Hardcover, released Nov. 30th. (!)
Matched by Ally Condie.Hardcover, released Nov. 30th (!).

Also released this month: more box sets of stuff like The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, The Millanium Trilogy, and the Eragon series. A bunch of tie-in books for Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter. Also naturally several graphic novels and manga including a new Good Neighbors by Holly Black, more Hatter M graphic novels from the Looking Glass Wars, and even the start of a Starfleet Academy series based on the recent Star Trek movie (note Abrhams: GET ON THAT SEQUEL!). Looks like another excellent month for books.