Saturday, June 30, 2012

July 2012 Picks

Here are all the books in July 2012 that I'm looking forward too and will eventually review on this blog.

July Picks:

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson.-Because I've always been more interested in Tiger Lily then in Wendy. Release date: July 3rd.
The Magnolia League Book 2: The White Glove War by Katie Crouch-Because I liked Magnolia League even though I am highly aware that it is very cheesy. Release date: July 3rd.
Team Human by Justine Larbelestier and Sarah Rees Brennan.-Metaish vampire book? Yes, please. Release date: July 3rd.
So Close to You Trilogy Book 1 by Rachel Carter-Sounds interesting. Release date: July 10th.
Something Strange and Deadly Trilogy Book 1 by Susan Dennard-Hello gorgeous cover. Plus, zombies. I'm in. Release date: July 24rth.
Cold Fury by T.M. Goeglein-The summary had me at Jason Bourne meets The Sopranos. Release date: July 24rth.
Paranormalcy Book 3: Endlessly by Kiersten White-My favorite trilogy is coming to a end. ;sadface; Release Date: July 24rth.
The Lying Game series Book 4: Hide and Seek by Sara Shepard.-Because I'm addicted. Though I still need to read book 3...Released: July 31rst.

Immortal Empire Book 1: God Save the Queen by Katie Locke-Steampunk book that sounds like it could be cool. Release date: July 3rd.
Women of the Otherworld Book 13: Thirteen by Kelley Armstrong-The last Women of the Otherworld book. No idea when I'll get to this. I hope at least by the end of this year. Release date: July 24rth.

Book Review: Wondrous Strange

TITLE: Wondrous Strange
Book 1 in the Wondrous Strange series
AUTHOR: Lesley Livingston
GENRE: Urban fantasy, faeries, romance,
PREMISE: A girl attracts the attention of faeries and finds out she's one of them.
MY REVIEW: You ever have a book where you're literally scratching your head wondering what the hell is going on the whole time you're reading it? Well, that was me during Wondrous Strange. I'm sorry but not one bit of this made sense.
Now I will say I get the feeling this is aimed more at the younger tween crowd into Twilight then older teens who fell in love with Wicked Lovely. So it's really not fair of me to judge the juvenile tone of the book. The writing isn't awful...but it's not great either. The characters frankly bored me. They were cookie cutter characters down to the Mary Sue main character who naturally found out not only was she special, she was a fairy princess. Sigh.
Still though, I have to wonder if even tweens would raise their eyebrow at the randomness of this book and the slight stupidity of the main character (seriously, she finds a magical horse or something and decides "Hey I know, I'll lead it to my NYC apartment!" at one point. Despite her roommate specifically saying no pets). Honestly to me the book was one big what the hell hot mess. I say the younger crowd may get a kick out of it but for everyone's kind of a waste of your time.
WHO SHOULD READ: Younger tweens into Twilight, Wings fans
MY RATING: Two out of Five what the hells

Book Review: This Dark Endeavor

TITLE: This Dark Endeavor
Book 1 in The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstien
AUTHOR: Kenneth Oppel
GENRE: Retelling, classic book fusion, drama
PREMISE: Young Victor Frankenstien searches for a cure for his sick brother...
MY REVIEW: Ladies and gentlement, this is how you do a good retelling of a classic book. Granted this is more of a prequel then a retelling but it still manages to be a GOOD prequel.
I think my favorite aspect of this is that it explores the character of Victor Frankenstien without excusing him. Nothing annoys me more when people try to do retellings for the dark character and just explain away all his actions (see pretty much every retelling of Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights for what I mean; the way people try to excuse the crappy things Rochester and Heathcliff do really annoys me). The author doesn't try and make us adore Frankenstien. He tries to show just what would make a guy become the man he was in Mary Shelley's Frankenstien. This I totally get behind.
This is definitely one to look into if you're a fan of Frankenstien. It is respectful of the original material while at the same time giving some new insight to the book. I especially rec it for any of you high schoolers who are reading Frankenstien for your summer reading list. The second book in this series comes out this summer.
WHO SHOULD READ: Retelling fans, fans of Frankenstien
MY RATING: Four out of Five stumbling monsters

Book Review: No Humans Involved

TITLE: No Humans Involved
Book 7 in the Women of the Otherworld series
AUTHOR: Kelley Armstrong
GENRE: Urban fantasy
PREMISE: Jaime is a ghost medium with a hit show. She gets called in by Jeremy and the pack for help on a case...
MY REVIEW: This will be short as most of my reviews for this series will be similar. I love Armstrong's writing and ability to come up with different characters. I love how she does character growth.
In the long run this probably doesn't do much for the world in Otherworld but it does give more insight to the character of Jeremy and it's nice seeing a book series that has older characters in it for a change instead of twenty-somethings.
Basically this is more of the Otherworld as we love it. Bring on the next book.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those that have read books 1-6, Armstrong fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five pendants

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Top Ten Tuesdays: Top Ten Characters Who Remind Me of Myself

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week's Topic: Top Ten Characters Who Remind Me of Myself or Someone I Know

1) Neville Longbottom (in the early years) Harry Potter: in my younger years I was awkward like Neville (and I still am frankly, I've just gotten better at hiding it). Is it no wonder he is my favorite HP character?

2) Percy from Percy Jackson series: Percy's sarcasm/odd sense of humor/rambles so much resembles me sometimes it's scary. Sadly I have not discovered I am demi-god.

3) Mia Thermopolis from The Princess Diaries: Well let's face it: it's hard NOT to relate to Mia at some point in this series. Cabot gets so much of what being a teenager is like correct in these books. I saw lots of myself in Mia from how she handled having such a strong-minded friend in Lily to our unadultered love of Disney despite knowing Disney's flaws.

4) Gina (Suze's friend) from The Mediator series: Gina actually reminded me of a close friend I had in elementry school: opinionated, accepting of wierdness, and always had my back. However we lost touch when I moved from Maryland to Missouri (this was before the days of things like Facebook and IMing. Internet was still dial-up).

5) Susan from The Lion,The Witch, and Wardrobe: I tend to be logical about things, sometimes a little too much as you've probably noticed in my book reviews. It's something I'm working on. So I related heavily to Susan and her "this isn't logical" stuff in the beginning. She deserved a better ending, frankly.

6) Grandmere from The Princess Diaries: Sadly I have a grandmother who is very similar to Grandmere. She didn't force me into princess lessons (thank god) but she is not shy about criticism and having everything just so. I love her and all but it's a really good thing she's in another state right now. She's the kind of relative you can only take in small doses. The panic that Mia and her mother had about Grandmere visiting the loft was eerily similar to whenver my grandmother visits.

7) Luna Lovegood from The Harry Potter series: Like Luna I tend to just be myself. This doesn't always work out well. Even when you're a adult. Teens, anyone tries to tell you the popularity mentality only lasts in high school. Laugh at them.

8) Hermione Granger from The Harry Potter series: Like Hermione I was that wierd student who liked learning. I didn't go AS overboard as she did (I was a average student, liked learning/hated homework) but it was enough that I got wierd looks.

9) Samantha Madison from All American Girl by Meg Cabot: Mostly it was because of the artist part that I related to Samantha. Her experiences in art class (as well as the life drawing classes in the second book) are totally accurate. Plus I also lived in the D.C. area (though farther then her).

10) Molly Weasley and Arthur Weasley from the Harry Potter series: Their marriage and the way they behave towards each other reminds me a lot of my parents. Complete with embarressing lovey dovey talk in front of the kids. Yes, I'm traumatized. Thanks for asking.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Book Review: Pandemonium

TITLE: Pandemonium
Book 2 in the Delirium Trilogy
AUTHOR: Lauren Oliver
GENRE: Dystopian
PREMISE: Lena continues her journey into the Wilds.
MY REVIEW: Authors of the Matched Trilogy and The Chemical Garden Trilogy please take notes: THIS is how you do a trilogy continuation. Oliver continues to impress me with her writing and storytelling ability. I absolutely loved this even if some things were a tad predictable.
This did not bore me to death with Lena whining about losing her true love like I feared, nor did it have her mooning over a boring new love interest, nor did it give me shoddy world details that make little sense. Yes, Lena mourns Alex and clearly goes through the grieving process but she learns to survive. She makes herself useful in the Wilds. She moves on and becomes a stronger person as a result. We are introduced to new characters who actually serve purposes. We get a expansion of the world of Delirium and bless Oliver, it makes sense. Yes, I am still somewhat fuzzy on how someone can cure love in a person but instead of trying to fool me with faulty science Oliver just pretty much goes the Star Trek route: "It's the future. Deal with it" which I think is the best way to deal with something like the idea here. She doesn't waste time coming up with how they cure it, she spends time coming up with WHY they would cure it and how it's effected the world and it's actually more believeable this way. Also look: a love triangle that doesn't annoy me to death! It's actually kind of a poetic love triangle for a change: Alex is the boy that taught her love, but she thought he was dead and moved on and Julian is the boy she taught how to love thanks to Alex teaching her how to in the first place. I can see her with both guys and it's interesting and actually helps Lena's character grow instead of just being there for drama's sake. As a bonus it's done with Olivers lovely lovely writing.
In other words this was just as good as Delirium. Olver seems to get better and better as she progresses (I really need to read Liesl and Po...). I can't wait for the third Delirium book.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those that have read Delirium, Lauren Oliver fans, dystopian fans
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five rallies

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Stacking the Shelves: June 24th

This is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews that tells people what new books we've gotten over the week.

My library haul:
Struck by Jennifer Bosworth-2012 debut and part of the Fierce Reads tour. It sounds like it could be pretty cool.
Mortal Instruments Book 5: City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare-I admit I've been less then enamoured with this series as of late but damn it I just can't stop reading them. There needs to be a rehab program for readers so we can stop reading series like this or Hush Hush or Fallen. Maybe we should start support groups?
The Wicked and the Just by J. Anderson Coats-2012 debut that sounds really awesome.
Steampunk Chronicles Book 2: The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross-Yes I found the first Steampunk Chronicles to be very cheesy. But it was a fun entertaining sort of cheese so here I am reading the second book.
Dark Days Book 1: Nightwalker by Jocelyn Drake-Adult UF series that looked interesting. Already finished, review forthcoming.
The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison-Mystery 2012 debut that looks cool. Plus I love the cover.
The Redemption of Ajax Book 1: The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegan-debut from last year I've been meaning to read.
His Fair Assassin Trilogy Book 1: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers-Really looking forward to this 2012 debut one which has been getting lots of buzz.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Book Review: The Girl Who Played With Fire

TITLE: The Girl Who Played With Fire
Book 2 in the Millaneum Trilogy
AUTHOR: Stieg Larsson
GENRE: Thriller/mystery, contemporary
PREMISE: Two journalists friends of Michael Blomkvist are murdered and to his shock the number one suspect is Lisbeth Salander.
MY REVIEW: It has been longer then I meant to for me to get to the second book of this trilogy. My only defense is that a) they're really big, even by my book standards, b) have you seen my TBR list on Shelfari? Yeah, it's long. c) I got into Game of Thrones in between and those books are just as long as these. But now I've had time to really think about this trilogy and learn about Stieg Larsson and it's actually upped my opnion of it. Now reading the second one I'm in full blown love with the trilogy. The only flaws it really has are the flaws that most adult thrillers tend to have: flat impersonal writing and way too many details that are unimportant. I mean I'm sorry but I don't need to know what Lisbeth bought at the store therefore a lengthy paragraph about the items and why she bought it is highly unneccessary. But like I said, this is bad habit that tends to be in all thrillers (have you all tried reading Clancy? Sheesh).
That small annoyance aside this is once again a engrossing noirish type murder mystery that goes deep into the character of Lisbeth Salander and shows the evolution of her character. It's one of the best character studies I've read in awhile. Like Girl with a Dragon Tattoo the mystery is dark and complex and this just reminds me of why I really like noir fiction thrillers in the first place even though I've sort of put the genre aside in recent years due to trouble finding characters I enjoyed. It doesn't help that most thrillers are male oriented. I think James Patterson and few other older writers are the only ones who actually write thrillers with female protagonists.
Basically if you loved Girl With a Dragon Tattoo you will most likely love this. Just be warned you will need Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest right away because it ends on a evil cliffhanger.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those that have read Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, thriller fans, James Patterson fans
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five kick-ass heroines

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Book Review: The Calling

TITLE: The Calling
Book 2 in the Darkness Rising trilogy
AUTHOR: Kelley Armstrong
GENRE: Urban fantasy
PREMISE: Maya and her friends escape and are on the run from a corporation that is responisble for the ruin of their town.
MY REVIEW: Okay I admit to getting a lot of deja vu during this and thinking it was almost similar to Darkest Powers book 2. That is a bit of a problem with this trilogy: it's very similar to Darkest Powers. What makes it work though is different mysteries, different characters, and Armstrong's very solid world-building.
Also three cheers for Maya and these characters. They have personalities, backstories, you can tell they've all grown up together, and I understand where they're all coming from. I don't even mind the ever present love triangle. This one I understand and can see Maya working with both guys. They're all mature about it for the most part and instead on wasting time on mindless drama actually use their time coming up with plans. Let me tell you, this is a rareity in YA, I can count on my hand the number of love triangles that didn't interfere with the characters doing their thing. One of those is Darkest Powers.
All in all if you are familiar with Armstrong's work by now this is more of the same. I look forward to the ending of this trilogy. Also did any of you know that apparently this year's Women of the Otherworld is seriously going to be the last book? Man, I need to catch up.
WHO SHOULD READ: Kelley Armstrong fans, Darkest Powers fans, UF fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five shifters

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: My Top Ten Summer TBR books

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Summer TBR Books

Here are the reads released during June 21rst to September 20th that I'm looking forward to reading eventually.

1) Paranormalcy Trilogy Book 3: Endlessly by Kiersten White-I'm sad my favorite character Evie is saying goodbye but can't wait to read this. Release date: July 24rth.

2) Team Human by Justine Larbelestier and Sarah Rees Brennan-Looks like a fun read for us anti-Twilighters. Plus I love Sarah Rees Brennan (passive about Larbelestier). Relase date: July 3rd.

3) Nevermore Trilogy Book 2: Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh.-I read and loved Nevermore a few months ago and have been eagerly looking forward to the sequel. Release Date: August 28th

4) Anna Dressed in Blood Book 2: Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake-Yeah...have you read Anna Dressed in Blood? So I don't need to explain? Good. Release Date-August 7th.

5) The Diviners Book 1 by Libba Bray-Well a) it's Libba freaking Bray. b) It's her getting back into historical fantasy. Bring it on. Release Date-September 18th.

6) Raven Cycle Book 1: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater-Because I have a weakness for Stiefvater's books and this one looks awesome. Release Date-September 18th.

7) The Lynburn Legacy Book 1: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan.-It's Brennan. Nuff said. If you haven't read The Demon's Lexicon Trilogy you totally should. Release date: September 11th.

8) Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr-New book by Marr! Squee! Release date: September 4rth

9) Amber House by Kelly Moore, Tucker Reed, Larkin Reed.-Hello gorgeous cover. Plus I love books about big old manors and it's in my home state of Maryland so nostalgia factor. Release date: September 1rst.

10) The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron-Yay for more steampunk! Release date: September 1rst.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Book Review: Shattered Dreams

TITLE: Shattered Dreams
Book 1 in the Midnight Dragonfly series
AUTHOR: Ellie James
GENRE: Paranormal
PREMISE: A girl finds out she has a magic gift.
MY REVIEW: This is one of those formulaic books that you read and then forget about almost immediately. I hate to say it but it's true. I read this like last week and for the life of me I can't tell you much about it, that's how forgetable it is.
There are tropes upon tropes. The main character has a bland love interest. Naturally there is a mean girl. The MC has a gift that winds up being important to solving mean girl's murder. etc. etc.
I was bored throughout it. I don't remember having any strong feelings about it unless you count constantly rolling my eyes at the uneccessary teen drama. Makes for a okay library read but not much else.
WHO SHOULD READ: Paranormal romance fans
MY RATING: Three out of Five pretty necklaces

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (5)

This is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews that tells people what new books we've gotten over the week. This actually from last week but I couldn't post last Sunday. So here's my haul:

Downloaded to Kindle:
Scars by Cheryl Rainfield-was a temporary freebie. No longer free though.

Library haul:
Women of the Otherworld Book 6: No Humans Involved by Kelley Armstrong-Halfway through this series!
Mercy Thompson series Book 6: River Marked by Patricia Briggs-Completely caught up with Mercy now! Jury is still out on whether I'll continue with the new one out later this year. I was rather bored throughout this one and kind of think Mercy needs to be finished.
The Selection Book 1 by Kiera Cass-This was one of those really hyped up books but when it came out reviews were very mixed. Mostly reading to say I've read it. I'm not really expecting much from it.
The Body Finder series Book 3: The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting-This is one of those series that I've taken awhile to warm up too. I wasn't as crazy about book 1 as everyone else, book 2 made me hopeful, and having just finished this one I'm now finally on board with it. Can't wait for the next book (review is forthcoming).
Princesses of Myth Book 5: Spirit's Princess by Esther Friesner-I just love these mythology books by Friesner. This one's about a lesser known Japanese historical figure and I can't wait.
Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin-Picked up mostly because of the awesome cover.
Wondrous Strange Book 1 by Lesley Livingston-One of those series I've been meaning to read for awhile.
Widdershins series Book 1: Thief's Covenant by Ari Marmell-2012 debut that looks fun.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Saturday Recs: Southern Setting books

You could say books set in the south are almost their own genre nowadays. It's completely understandable why: the south has a lot to offer in terms of setting whether you're going for realistic settings or paranormal or fantasy. So here are my recs for books with a southern atmosphere.

Books set in the South:
Many books by Mary Kay Andrews
The Splendor Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore
Girls in Trucks/The Magnolia League series by Katie Crouch
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
The Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margeret Stohl
Many John Grisham books
The Sookie Stackhouse series (and others) by Charlaine Harris
The Gods and Monsters series by Kelly Keaton
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Gone With the Wind by Margeret Mitchell
The Miss Julia series by Ann B Ross
The Help by Katheryn Stockett
The Ya-Ya Sisterhood series by Rebecca Wells

Book Review: Broken

TITLE: Broken
Book 6 in Women of the Otherworld series
AUTHOR: Kelley Armstrong
GENRE: Urban fantasy, werewolves, mystery
PREMISE: Elena and co. investigate a portal.
MY REVIEW: Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld is one of those long series that just continues to deliver. Elena is now pregnant but still her badass self. One of the things I really appreciate about this series is these women are badass but also are allowed things like falling in love and having family life. More often then not there seems to be this stigma in adult urban fantasy that for a female to be badass she must not want the family life or even contemplate being a wife/mother because this somehow makes her less of a woman or she gets the family life and then suddenly she's all about family only and suddenly all the things that made her awesome are gone and she's no longer independant and constantly worrying about her man only. This is not so in Women of the Otherworld and I totally approve because you can be feminist and still want things like a husband and children.
If you're a reader of Armstrong and this series, you know the drill with her books and Broken is no exception to the rule. There's adventure afoot, there's interesting additions to the fabulous world Armstrong has created, and we get some cute scenes with Elena and co. It's mostly just satisfying seeing Elena have kids.
So this is still a very solid series. Next up: No Humans Involved.
WHO SHOULD READ: Women of the Otherworld fans, urban fantasy fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five pendants

Friday, June 15, 2012

Book Review: Starters

TITLE: Starters
Book 1 in the Starters series
AUTHOR: Lissa Price
GENRE: Dystopian, adventure
PREMISE: In a world where teens rent out bodies to older rich people in order to get money, Callie is forced to rent her body and becomes drawn into a plot for assassination.
MY REVIEW: Let's face it: dystopians are EVERYWHERE now thanks largely to the success of The Hunger Games. With this being the trend now it's difficult to make a dystopian stand out. While I don't think Starters is a completely brilliant novel (I just have a very difficult time buying that people would treat the young this extremely ever considering all the ageism in this world) I do think this is a highly entertaining and interesting story and like how despite the somewhat not believeable premise the author did come up with several plausible ideas for how this could happen and for how the world operates. So I forgive the fact that I don't for a minute think it could ever happen. This is a thing with me in dystopians: if you can't make me believe this could actually happen at least give legit explanations for how the world came to be. That's what I love about the Hunger Games and the world of Delirium: the worlds will probably never actually happen but the author does manage to set up a plausible thought out scenario that makes me want to stay in said world anyway.
Plus, Callie is very refreshing. She's actually a proactive heroine for a change. True, I could have done without the insta romance with Blake and some of her drama about that but for the most part I liked Callie and root for her. I also like the topics this book tackles such as ageism, priviledge, how ignorance among people can be a bad thing, etc. etc. Plus this world was just interesting and instead of info dump after info dump the author takes time to set up the world.
Honestly I really liked this. It may be one of my favorite dystopians/new series so far this year and certainly is one of the stronger YA debuts of 2012. I'm definitely looking forward to Enders and anything else Lissa Price will write in the future. Much thanks to Delacorte Press for the eARC of this book.
WHO SHOULD READ: Hunger Games fans, Delirium fans, dystopian fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five renters

Book Review: A Temptation of Angels

TITLE: A Temptation of Angels
AUTHOR: Michelle Zink
GENRE: Angels, fantasy, romance
PREMISE: A girl gets caught up in a world of secrets...
MY REVIEW: Sigh...I think I will have to part ways with Zink's books from now on because if this is what she's going to be writing from now on...I'll pass. Maybe I'm being too picky but I adored Prophecy of the Sisters and its uniqueness. just more of the same old same old and where was Zink's usually lovely writing? This book felt like it was written by a completely different (and less talented) author.
Also unlike Prophecy of the Sisters, I got no sense of character from anyone, even the MC who was narrating felt like a cardboard cut out. Then the plot was littered with the usual angel tropes: war, girl caught in between it somehow, love triangle that was utterly predictable, etc. etc. Coming from a author who brought us the wonderful clear world of Prophecy of the Sisters, this book felt like a huge let down.
Look, for average angel fans who haven't read Prophecy of the Sisters, this book will probably be enjoyable. It's readable, has a plot going, and does mildly entertain. It's just nothing very special and coming from a author I've come to really's disapointing.
WHO SHOULD READ: Angel book fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five predictable storylines

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday-June 13th

TITLE: Spookygirl-Paranormal Investigator
AUTHOR: Jill Baguchinsky
GENRE: Paranormal
SUMMARY FROM PUBLISHER: Violet Addison can chat with the dead, but what really frightens her is starting her sophomore year at a new school. Still reeling from the loss of her mother, Violet is about find herself in the company of ghosts . . . both playful and deadly evil. Standing at the threshold to an unseen world with newfound friends at her side, only Violet can uncover the truth behind her mother’s death and save the family business--paranormal investigation.

RELEASE DATE: August 16th

WHY I'M EAGER: It just looks fun and like something I'll enjoy. I have a weakness for books about mediums.

This is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: My Top Ten Beach Reads

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.


Now for me, I tend to like my beach books to be one of these things: a) About summer, or taking place in a place that's warm. b) About a adventure of sorts or c) Has settings that are vactiony like it's in Paris or a sea-side town. That said, here are my picks for my top ten beach reads:

1) The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares.-Takes place during the summer when four friends are being seperated for the first time and mail each other a pair of pants that magically fits them all in order to stay closer. Still has some of the best female friendships in YA that I've read.

2) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee-Tells a coming-of-age story about Scout during one of her memorable summers. Forget The Help please, this is my book to open a discussion about race.

3) 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson-If like me, you are stuck at home during the summer you can live vicariously through Ginny's trip to Europe as she follows the request of her dead aunt's letters.

4) Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan-Percy goes to the coolest camp ever: Camp Half-Blood. The first book especially has one of the coolest road trips ever.

5) Heist Society by Ally Carter-Follow Kat and friends on a romp to Paris where they aim to steal a painting from the Louvre.

6) The Millaneum Trilogy by Stieg Larsson-I dare anyone not to get absorbed in these complex mysteries set in Sweden with one of the most fascinating female heroines in recent years. Plus, given how big they are, if you take them to the pool/beach a lot the three books should hold you all summer.

7) Beauty Queens by Libba Bray-One of the most hilarious parody books I've read in awhile that unabashedly comments on our society and it's obsession with consummerism/race issues/feminist issues/LGBT issues and pretty much anything under the sun. The only downside is you may get wierd looks on the beach from LOLing too hard.

8) The Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris-The Sookie books are great entertainment and always a fun read. They take place in the south so it makes me think of warm muggy nights and it's camp is its charm.

9) Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake-I don't know about anyone else but these warm nights tend to make me crave spooky paranormal stories and for that Anna totally fits the bill.

10) Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.-Great contemporary romance/coming-of-age set in Paris that's really sweet.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Book Review: Arcadia Awakens

TITLE: Arcadia Awakens
Book 1 in a new series
AUTHOR: Kai Meyer
GENRE: Urban fantasy, shifters, romance
PREMISE: Rosa goes to visit her family and gets caught up in Mafia business that is more then it seems...
MY REVIEW: I originally picked up this book because it sounded like it was something that could possibly be very cool. Yes, the summary clued me in that it was going to be slightly cheesy and believe me, it was. But cheesy can be good sometimes, I mean look at the Sookie Stackhouse books. Unfortunately this is the bad kind of cheese. The kind where I can't get any enjoyment from.
The number one bad thing, is the writing. Now before any defenders try it, yes I am aware that this is translated from another language and sometimes translations aren't good on paper. But you know what? That's no excuse for this. I've read several translated books that are decently written. For instance Cornelia Funke's Inkheart Trilogy or The Millaneum Trilogy by Stieg Larsson or Battle Royale (and anyone who has tried to learn Japanese can tell you translating Japanese to English can be funky). So I'm sorry, the translation has nothing to do with it: the writing is just bad. That would be forgiveable however if the characters and story were good. They aren't very much. Rosa is a annoying Mary Sue who doesn't do much except swoon after the male hottie she just met. I didn't really buy their epic romance at all. The "twists" weren't really twists if you read these paranormal romances a lot which I and probably many others in the YA genre do. Everything in this book has been done before and in better ways. I saw elements of Romeo and Juliet, Curse Workers series by Holly Black, etc. etc.
All in all this was just unimpressive and lackluster. Maybe some Twilighters will get enjoyment from it, I don't know. I just know it wasn't for me and I'm having a hard time thinking of people who would enjoy it.
WHO SHOULD READ: Twihards who don't mind lack of originality in their plots.
MY RATING: Two out of Five shifters

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Saturday Recs-June 9th

Going through Hunger Games withdrawel? Just finished the trilogy and itching for more books like it to read? Here are my recs for books to read if you're a Hunger Games fan.

If you like Hunger Games, try these:

1984 by George Orwell-Call this one the granddaddy of dystopias. Many of the todays YA dystopians draw influence from it, including HG. Though personally I think the guys in charge in this book make the Capitol look like wimps.
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess-Oh what's that? You thought HG was mind-trippy? Heh, you ain't seen nothing yet.
A Handmaiden's Tale by Margeret Atwood-AKA the book that Wither is trying to be but fails.
Battle Royale by Koushun Takami-There is no denying it: HG definitely got some influence from this book/movie. Though I don't like saying it's a rip-off because Hunger Games goes in a completely different direction then Battle Royale.
The Hunger Games Companion-All HG fans please read this. Especially those of you who constantly whine about the way Mockingjay ended. Read the explanations of things in here and then I dare you to come back and logically try and tell me Mockingjay sucked.
The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
Raven Duet series by Hilari Bell
The Compound by S. A. Bodeen
Airman by Eoin Colfer
Matched Trilogy by Ally Condie
The Last Princess by Galaxy Craze (new release, haven't read yet but it's dystopian so it fits)
The Steampunk Chronicles by Kady Cross
The Maze Runner Trilogy by James Dashner
The Chemical Garden Trilogy by Lauren DeStefano
Incarceron series by Catherine Fisher
Dearly Departed by Lia Habel
When the Sea is Rising Red by Cat Hellisen
Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky
The Iron Codex Trilogy by Caitlin Kittredge
Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne (new release, haven't read yet)
Legend series by Marie Lu
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
The Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin
Bumped Trilogy by Megan McCafferty
Sunshine by Robin McKinley
Delirium series by Lauren Oliver
Drought by Pam Bachorz
Maximum Ride series by James Patterson
Rampant series by Diana Peterfreund
Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Starters by Lissa Price
His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillup Pullman
Across the Universe Trilogy by Beth Revis
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Divergent series by Veronica Roth
The Forest of Hands and Teeth series by Carrie Ryan
Dark Parties by Sara Grant
Article 5 by Kristin Simmons
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Uglies series/Leviathan Trilogy by Scott Westerfield
The Bar Code Tattoo/Empty by Suzanne Weyn
Dustlands series by Moira Young
All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin

Friday, June 8, 2012

Book Review: Pretty Crooked

TITLE: Pretty Crooked
Book 1 in a series?
AUTHOR: Elisa Ludwig
GENRE: contemporary, drama
PREMISE: A girl steals from the rich girls in her school in order to give things to the poor girls.
MY REVIEW: I did like this retelling of Robin Hood. Granted I have a few issues with it but for the most part it's a enjoyable romp and I like that it brings up things like race issues, priviledge issues, and even ethic issues.
Is it realistic? Yes, and no. I admit, I still am somewhat confused about the MC's reasoning for the robbery. I mean she could have just bought the girls nice things herself instead of stealing that way she wouldn't have had to rob people. But I guess then there wouldn't be a story so it's probably a moot point to bring up. I do like that at least there were actually consequences for her and that that author made sure to say that what she was doing was wrong (but also that what the bullying rich girls were doing was wrong). She didn't make the situation black and white and it sort of makes you think about things. Also, how nice was it to have a MC who didn't whine about going to a fabulous new school for change?
All in all, I liked what was done here. Kind of shrug at the predictable romance but it could be worse. This makes for a very decent library read. I sort of hope there's more coming because with that ending I have a feeling this is being made into a series, which I'm all for.
WHO SHOULD READ: Robin Hood fans, contemporary fiction fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five Gucci bags

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Book Review: Witch Way to Murder

TITLE: Witch Way to Murder
Book 1 in the Ophelia and Abby Mystery series
AUTHOR: Shirley Damsgaard
GENRE: witches, mystery,
PREMISE: A librarian gets caught up in intrigue.
MY REVIEW: This is another short review because this is just one of those books that I really don't have much to say about. Cozy mysteries are what they are, nothing more, nothing less. Some are better then others and some click more then others but really whether a cozy mystery clicks is probably wholly dependant on the reader. Therefore I find cozy mysteries somewhat hard to write lengthy reviews on because lets face it: most of them are more or less the same.
This series is perfectly all right for a quick mystery read. It's a quick read, has some fun characters here and there (Abby is awesome), and has promise of romantic drama to keep readers coming back. So if you just want a new series to distract you for a bit, this fits the bill. It's just not terribly original. But as I've said, most cozy mystery series are pretty similar so it's rather silly to complain about lack of originality when it comes to the genre.
Hmm...did I say short review? Never mind. Rec this to fans of the cozy mystery genre. For everyone else...only read if you want too.
WHO SHOULD READ: cozy mystery fans, Bewitching Mysteries series fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five amateur sleuths

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (11)

This is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine highlighting upcoming books we can't wait to read.

TITLE: The White Glove War
Magnolia League series Book 2
AUTHOR: Katie Crouch and Grady Hendrix
GENRE: southern fiction, urban fantasy, witches
SUMMARY FROM PUBLISHER: Every society has its secrets.

The members of Savannah's Magnolia League have it all: money, beauty, power, and love. Some may call them lucky, but we know better. Spells, potions, and conjures are a girl's best friends, and thanks to the Buzzards -- a legendary hoodoo family -- the Magnolias never run out of friends.

Golden girl Hayes Anderson would never dream of leaving the League or Savannah, where there's no problem that can't be fixed with a cup of Swamp Brew tea -- served in a bone china cup, of course -- and no boy who can't be won over with a Conjure Up a New Love spell.

But when danger lurks and family secrets are unearthed, Hayes discovers that her life may not be charmed after all.
RELEASE DATE: July 3rd, 2012
WHY I'M EAGER: Okay I freely admit: Magnolia League was cheesy and had problamatic southern stereotypes. However....I enjoyed it anyway. It's a enjoyable cheesy. Plus the way the first book ended I just have to know what goes down. I just can't wait to see the conflicts that arise from the consequences of book 1. It's like True Blood: cheesy in the extreme but you just can't stop at one.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday Rewind: Childhood Favorites

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

It's a free week and the past topic I chose is the first one: Childhood Favorites.
I'll warn you right now, I have a retired English teacher for a grandmother and when I was a kid she would constantly push random books into my hands whenever I visited. Basically, she is responsible for my book habits today, therefore this list will be very random. The only reason stuff like HP isn't on here is because HP came out when I was in high-school so I can't really say that was my childhood favorite as I wasn't a child when I read it the first time (same with LotR). Yes, I know, I'm old.

1) The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi-About a girl who goes on a sea voyage and winds up in the middle of a mutiny and then becomes a sailor. Eleven year old me loved the hell out of this book. I heard a rumor somewhere that there's a movie of this in the works and I really really hope it's true.

2) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott-Well, pretty much loved the whole series, as well as Alcott's lesser known works. But Little Women was where it was at for me as a kid. And yes, I had a crush on Laurie as a kid, though nowadays I find him to be a bit of a whiner and think Jo definitely was wise to go with the sexy German professor instead. What can I say, I was young.

3) Anne of Green Gables series by L. M. Montegomary-It's Anne Shirley. Need I say more?

4) The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle-Yes, I know, what is a kid doing reading a bittersweet fairytale like this and loving the hell out of it? I found it in my Grandmother's library and didn't know it was technically an adult book. Blame her. All my kid self knew was that it had unicorns in it and this was my unicorns/horses in general phase.

5) Peter Pan by J. M Barrie-It's Peter Pan. Nuff said.

6) The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett-Still my favorite coming-of-age tale about find your place and moving on.

7) The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster-What can I say, it had puns. I have a corny sense of humor. It was a match made in heaven.

8) Nancy Drew Series by Carolyn Keene-Nancy Drew is probably directly responsible for my love of the mystery genre. Yes, I also read Hardy Boys, Bobbsey Twins, and The Boxcar Children but Nancy was my idol growing up.

9) Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll-Because it's Alice in Wonderland.

10) Tortall series/Circle of Magic series by Tamora Pierce-I first discovered these books when I was 12 or so and they are still going strong all these years later and I still adore them. Personally I blame Pierce for my fantasy addiction and I'm also pretty sure this is where my feminist leanings started to develop...

Book Review: Katana

TITLE: Katana
AUTHOR: Cole Gibsen
GENRE: adventure/action, paranormal
PREMISE: A girl discovers she is the reincarnation of a kick-but samuarai.
MY REVIEW: This is yet another book that I wanted to like a lot but unfortunately fell short. Part of the trouble is, this is not very original. Look, sorry but this idea has been done before. I can name a anime called Jubei-Chan that uses a similar idea as well as a old Disney Channel movie called Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior (yes, really. It had Brenda Song of Suite Life of Zack and Cody fame in it). This book runs like a combination of those two ideas as well as has several tropes that I've seen a million times before. So sadly, I can't give it much credit for originality.
I do give the author several points though for creating something that is hell of a lot of entertainment. I totally see this becoming a TV movie/mini-series of sorts and doing well. ABCFamily, this book is calling your name. There are some great action scenes in this, a few deux es machinas aside the author is good at setting up the worlds. The dialogue is also nice and snappy and there are some scenes that made me grin. Also while the love interest was kind of boring, at least he was miles ahead of previous jerky male leads so I guess that's something.
Honestly I say this is a good library read. Just not OMG you have to read this immediately. If there is a sequel like I think the author is planning, I may even give it a look.
WHO SHOULD READ: anime fans, action movie fans
MY RATING: Three out of Five reicarnated souls

Book Review: When the Sea is Rising Red

TITLE: When the Sea is Rising Red
AUTHOR: Cat Hellisen
GENRE: Fantasy, romance
PREMISE: A girl escapes her priviledged life only to be drawn into a rebellion.
MY REVIEW: I really did want to love this. To be fair to the author much of my grumbling is mostly my issues. When you erase my issues, this book is not bad. The writing is really good, the world-building is phenomenal, and there are interesting things about it. But for some reason it just didn't click with me.
I think part of the issue was I just couldn't get into the main character. I've said several times already but it needs repeating: if I can't get into the main character or any of the side characters then chances are I'm not going to get into the book. This doesn't mean I want extremely likeable people. I mean Twilight pretty much proved that perfect characters are extremely boring. But at least give me some rhyme or reason to their motivations. I just didn't get this girl at ALL. Don't get me started on the insta-romance that led to nowhere in the end. I mean what was the point of that forced love triangle if in the end the guy in question apparently never stood a chance to begin with? Don't promise me hard choices when there really wasn't a hard choice to begin with. I wind up feeling cheated.
While I did like the overall plot of the book with the rebellion, ultimately I was left feeling a bit dissatisfied with this, especially with the ending of the forced love triangle which felt rather unneccessary and just thrown in because the readers would expect it. I do think Hellisen is a very promising author. I just think this book could have stood for some polishing.
WHO SHOULD READ: Fantasy fans, fans of love triangle drama
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five forced love triangles

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Saturday Recs: Beachy Summer Reads

So school is out (or about to be out depending on how wacky your school system is) and everyone is off the pool/beach/family vacations. Here are my recs for best summer breezy-type reads to enjoy on vacation:

The Gilda Joyce series by Jennifer Allison-Middle Grade paranormalish series with a fun heroine who goes to fun places like San Fransico in search of ghosts.
Starcrossed series by Josephine Angelini-Takes place in Nantucket area and is a easy fun read with many twists to keep you turning the pages.
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi-Middle Grade adventure with a girl who becomes a sailor on the high seas.
Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie-You know you want to spend your summer on Neverland. Sans evil pirates.
The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle-Just because, unicorns.
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake-Me, summer comes I want good old spooky stories. This book definitely fits the bill.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares-Perfect books set during summer.
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray-A hilarious riff on all feminist issues. Be warned you may get strange looks for LOLing too loud.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgins Burnett-Because everyone should read this.
Anything by Meg Cabot-Her books are perfect pool books and are always a good time.
Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger-Like Cabot, these books are great fun and perfect for pool time.
Heist Society by Ally Carter-Adventures to some of the greatest cities in the world such as Paris.
Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore-A girl goes on vacation to her families farm and gets caught up in the family business: the paranormal.
Croak by Gina Damico-Another one where a girl gets sent to her uncles and learns about how to be a reaper.
The Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich-Nearly all of her books are great pool books, but the Plum series is just pure fun and great for poolside reading.
The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke-Cute drama about child thieves who live in Venice.
Coroline/The Graveyard Book/Stardust etc. by Neil Gaiman-Great reading for those like me who like their summer books with a side of spooky.
The Caster Chronicles series by Kami Garcia and Margeret Stohl-Because Gaitlin is a place I want to go and spend my summers.
The Princess Bride by William Goldman-Perfect for long road trips and always fun.
Clarity series by Kim Harrington-The first book especially, because it takes place in a tourist town and is a great summertime paranormal mystery.
The Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris-There's a reason True Blood always premieres in the summer and why there's always a new Sookie book in May: it's perfect summer reading.
Bad Kitty by Michele Jaffe-Fun contemporary mystery where the MC gets involved in a mystery while on vacation.
13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson-Stuck at home like me? Live vicariously through the MC who goes on a European adventure following her Aunt's advice.
The Millaneum Trilogy by Stieg Larsson-Another trilogy perfect for long road trips. Complex mystery solving with the lovely backdrop of Europe and all it's (non) glory. You will understand why I say non glory after you read it.
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee-The ultimate summer coming-of-age story.
Fever series by Karen Marie Moning-Great UF read set in Dublin.
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephani Perkins-It's set in Paris, need I say more?
Killer Unicorns books by Diana Peterfreund-About girls who go to Rome to learn to kill Unicorns: who are evil. If that doesn't intrigue you, I don't know what will.
Die For Me by Amy Plum-Again, it's set in Paris. Nuff said.
Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan-Because Percy and friends go to the coolest camp ever.
Harry Potter series by JK Rowling-Because there's never a wrong time to read HP.
The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series by Michael Scott-Fabulous adventure series that goes from America to Europe to Avalon and back.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor-Great creative fantasy taking place in Europe.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain-See how kids back in the day escaped boredom. Be thankful we have video games now.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Book Review: Bloodshot

TITLE: Bloodshot
Book 1 in the Cheshire Red Reports series
AUTHOR: Cherie Priest
GENRE: vampires, urban fantasy, mystery
PREMISE: A vampire for hire gets involved in a mystery that's more then it seems...
MY REVIEW: Personally, I adored this book. However I write this review knowing there's a good chance it won't appeal to the average vampire reader. There's very little romance and instead of drama the book is mostly focused on mystery. Most vampire book readers I know read them for romance and while there is SOME here, it's not the focus. There isn't even a sex scene. So if you want romance, I'd look elsewhere.
But for anyone willing to go a different route with their vampires, I say pick this book up immediately. Yes, the main character is a vamp but that isn't the total point of the book. She's badass, you actually do get the sense that she's lived a long time, and like I said much of it is more focused on the mystery part of it. It's like old-school detective novels but the detective just happens to be a female vampire.
So I really enjoyed this but I acknowledge there's a good chance it won't appeal to everyone. I recomend this for fans of the Harry Dresden Files especially.
WHO SHOULD READ: mystery fans, noir fans, Dresden Files fans, those who don't mind a lack of romance
MY RATING: Four out of Five gumshoes