Thursday, September 30, 2010

Reading Reflections: September 2010

Books Read:
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (review)
The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June by Robin Benway (review)
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting (review)
Blameless by Gail Carriger (review)

Total Number of Books Read This Month: 4

Total Number of Books Read This Year: 48

Most Anticipated:
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Biggest Let Down:
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Favorite Read:
Blameless by Gail Carriger

Highest Rank:
5 Butterflies

Lowest Rank:
4 Butterflies

Overall Reflection:
Though, I didn't quite reach 5 books this month, I made my monthly goal of 4. Overall, a great month of reading. Now, I know that it may be a little shocking that I put Mockingjay as my biggest disappointment this month, but it's the honest truth. I really was hoping for a little something different. It was very dark and not as enjoyable for me as the previous Hunger Games books. The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June and The Body Finder were both surprising reads for me. I was quite shocked at how much I actually enjoyed them! Blameless was by far my most favorite read this month. I just love Gail Carriger's witty voice! I look forward to another great month of reading in October. I have started Twenty Boy Summer in honor of Banned Books week, so keep an eye out for that review! ;) I hope everyone else had an interesting and productive month of reading! :)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Blameless by Gail Carriger

Book Summery:
Quitting her husband's house and moving back in with her horrible family, Lady Maccon becomes the scandal of the London season.Queen Victoria dismisses her from the Shadow Council, and the only person who can explain anything, Lord Akeldama, unexpectedly leaves town. To top it all off, Alexia is attacked by homicidal mechanical ladybugs, indicating, as only ladybugs can, the fact that all of London's vampires are now very much interested in seeing Alexia quite thoroughly dead.

While Lord Maccon elects to get progressively more inebriated and Professor Lyall desperately tries to hold the Woolsey werewolf pack together, Alexia flees England for Italy in search of the mysterious Templars. Only they know enough about the preternatural to explain her increasingly inconvenient condition, but they may be worse than the vampires -- and they're armed with pesto.

Book Review:
Another fantastic piece of work by Gail Carriger! What I really enjoyed about this Blameless, was the primary focus on Alexia. While I love all the colorful characters in Ms. Tarabotti's world, having the main focus on her was rather refreshing. It allowed the reader to grasp a bit more insight and detail into Alexia's mind, which is a tantalizing and most interesting place. I also enjoyed Alexia's trip to Italy and all the stops she made along the way. Some of the characters that were introduced this time around, were most amusing and original. The mechanical ladybugs were a hoot! I just love Carriger's snarky, yet proper tone. It makes for a most entertaining read! I am soooo disappointed that Carriger's follow-up Heartless isn't released until next July! I am anxious to read it now! If you haven't yet read the Parasol Protectorate series, you should immediately! For more fun and wit, visit the author's website.

Favorite Quote:
"Alexia felt a token to protest was called for at this juncture. 'I mean to say, really, I am near to developing a neurosis-is there anyone around that doesn't want to study or kill me?'

Floote raised a tentative hand.

'Ah, yes, thank you Floote.' " (p.337)

Cover Art Commentary:
The cover of Blameless is just gorgeous and goes well with the other covers from the series. I really like the contrast of the gray and red. :)

Overall Rating:

Monday, September 27, 2010

Don't be a robot! Read banned books!!!!!

This (Sept. 25 - Oct. 2, 2010) is Banned Books week! I think it's important to support BB week because it's supporting freedom, intellect, and above all reading! Last year, I posted a list of commonly banned or challenged classics. You can read said post here. This year, I would like to honor BB week by reading 2 books that have been recently challenged, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler. I first found out about this challenge by posts that referenced an article from Mindful Musings and Book Crazy. Both posts are extremely powerful and I highly recommend that you read them both, if you haven't done so already. The article in question, can be found here. I remember the first time I read a "banned book." I was 16 years-old, and had just found out that books could, in fact, be banned and that The Catcher in the Rye had been previously challenged and banned several years back. My interest was immediately sparked and I picked up said book and read it with intense hunger. Now, while the book in question was not among my favorites, I felt that it was important to read banned books in order to support freedom and discourage censorship. This year, I carry on my tradition and invite you to do the same! Curious about Banned Books? Find out more here.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Book Summery:
Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her “power” to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes the dead leave behind in the world . . . and the imprints that attach to their killers.

Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find dead birds her cat had tired of playing with. But now that a serial killer has begun terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he’s claimed haunt her daily, she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet on her quest to find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved to find herself hoping that Jay’s intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she’s falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer . . . and becoming his prey herself.

Book Trailer:

Book Review:
From the minute I started this book, I had great difficulty setting it down. I basically read this is 2 days, taking time off between for work and quality time with the boyfriend. We are first introduced to Violet's gift at the very beginning of the story. A very powerful way to begin the book. Fast forward to several years later, when Violet is in high school and determining her new found feelings for her long-time best friend Jay. While Violet is sorting things out, so to speak, a string of murders take place. What I like most are the small sections placed strategically throughout the book in which we are inside the killer's head. When Violet starts finding the missing girls bodies, things really heat up. I loved the relationship between Violet and Jay. He is a great source of strength for her without being overpowering or over-dominant. She definitely has no qualms talking back to him, or sticking up for herself. I also loved Violet's strong sense of family, which again weren't too overpowering. There are a few plot twists that took me by surprise. All in all, this was a fantastic, quick and suspenseful read. I am very much looking forward to the upcoming sequel, Desires of the Dead.

Favorite Quote:
"...It was Chelsea that broke the stunned silence. 'I swear Claire-bear, I am going to call your mom and tell her that you need to start riding the short bus. You really need to start practiving your bitchy comments. What are you gonna do when we're not here to get your back?'

Claire rolled her eyes, too oblivious to be insulted, which was why she was the perfect friend for Chelsea, who was too insulting to be oblivious, 'Geez, Chels, I don't even ride the bus.' " (p. 303)

Cover Art Commentary:
I love the colors of this cover. The bright blue flower against the black backdrop is as powerful as one of Violet's echos.

Overall Rating:

Monday, September 13, 2010

HUGE Book Bundle

An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire

October "Toby" Daye is a changeling-half human and half fae-and the only one who has earned knighthood. Now she must take on a nightmarish new challenge. Someone is stealing the children of the fae as well as mortal children, and all signs point to Blind Michael. Toby has no choice but to track the villain down-even when there are only three magical roads by which to reach Blind Michael's realm, home of the Wild Hunt-and no road may be taken more than once. If Toby cannot escape with the children, she will fall prey to the Wild Hunt and Blind Michael's inescapable power.

Blameless by Gail Carriger

Quitting her husband's house and moving back in with her horrible family, Lady Maccon becomes the scandal of the London season.

Queen Victoria dismisses her from the Shadow Council, and the only person who can explain anything, Lord Akeldama, unexpectedly leaves town. To top it all off, Alexia is attacked by homicidal mechanical ladybugs, indicating, as only ladybugs can, the fact that all of London's vampires are now very much interested in seeing Alexia quite thoroughly dead.

While Lord Maccon elects to get progressively more inebriated and Professor Lyall desperately tries to hold the Woolsey werewolf pack together, Alexia flees England for Italy in search of the mysterious Templars. Only they know enough about the preternatural to explain her increasingly inconvenient condition, but they may be worse than the vampires -- and they're armed with pesto.

Total Eclipse by Rachel Caine

Weather Warden Joanne Baldwin has defeated her longtime enemy and saved the world—again. But at what cost? Standing at the ground zero for the last attack, Joanne, the Djinn David, and the Earth herself have been poisoned by a substance that is destroying the magic that keeps the world alive.

Joanne and David have already lost their powers, but that's just the beginning. The poison that has seeped into the planet is destablizing the entire balance of power, bestowing magic on those who have never had it and taking it at critical moments from those who need it. It's just a matter of time before the delicate balance of nature explodes into chaos, destroying mankind—and every living thing on Earth—with it.

Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

Nothing much happens in the sleepy town of Venus Cove. But everything changes when three angels are sent from heaven to protect the town against the gathering forces of darkness: Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, a teenage girl who is the least experienced of the trio. They work hard to conceal their true identity and, most of all, their wings. But the mission is threatened when the youngest angel, Bethany, is sent to high school and falls in love with the handsome school captain, Xavier Woods. Will she defy the laws of Heaven by loving him? Things come to a head when the angels realize they are not the only supernatural power in Venus Cove. There′s a new kid in town and he′s charming, seductive and deadly. Worst of all, he′s after Beth.

Paranormalcy by Kierten White

Weird as it is working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, Evie's always thought of herself as normal. Sure, her best friend is a mermaid, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals' glamours, but still. Normal.

Only now paranormals are dying, and Evie's dreams are filled with haunting voices and mysterious prophecies. She soon realizes that there may be a link between her abilities and the sudden rash of deaths. Not only that, but she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal

Being Jamie Baker by Kelly Oram

An accident that should end in tragedy instead gives seventeen-year-old Jamie Baker a slew of uncontrollable superhuman abilities. To keep her secret safe Jamie socially exiles herself, earning the title of Rocklin High’s resident ice queen. But during a supercharged encounter with star quarterback Ryan Miller she literally kisses anonymity goodbye. Now the annoyingly irresistible Ryan will stop at nothing to melt the heart of the ice queen and find out what makes her so special.

Unfortunately, Ryan is not the only person on to her secret. Will Jamie learn to contain her unstable powers before being discovered by the media or turned into a government lab rat? More importantly, can she throw Ryan Miller off her trail before falling in love with him?

Tell Me A Secret by Holly Cupala

In the five years since her bad-girl sister Xanda’s death, Miranda Mathison has wondered about the secret her sister took to the grave, and what really happened the night she died. Now, just as Miranda is on the cusp of her dreams—a best friend to unlock her sister’s world, a ticket to art school, and a boyfriend to fly her away from it all—Miranda has a secret all her own.

Then two lines on a pregnancy test confirm her worst fears. Stripped of her former life, Miranda must make a choice with tremendous consequences and finally face her sister’s demons and her own. In this powerful debut novel, stunning new talent Holly Cupala illuminates the dark struggle of a girl who must let go of her past to find a way into her own future.

Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs

When Phoebe's mom returns from Greece with a new husband and moves them to an island in the Aegean, Phoebe's plans for her senior year and track season are ancient history. Now she must attend the uber exclusive academy, where admission depends on pedigree, namely, ancestry from Zeus, Hera, and other Greek gods. That's right, they're real, not myth, and their teen descendants are like the classical heroes -supersmart and superbeautiful with a few superpowers. And now they're on her track team! Armed only with her Nikes and the will to win, Phoebe races to find her place among the gods.

Goddess Boot Camp by Tera Lynn Childs

Phoebe, who recently discovered she’s a descendant of Nike (the goddess, not the shoe), is finding that supernatural powers come with a crazy learning curve. Her stepfather, headmaster of the Academy for descendants of the Greek gods, has enrolled her at Dynamotheos Development Camp—aka Goddess Boot Camp—with a bunch of ten-year-olds for the summer. Embarrassing as that is, hopefully it’ll help her gain control over her powers in time to pass the test of the gods, continue training hard enough to qualify for the Pythian Games, and enjoy her godly boyfriend, Griffin, all while avoiding the ultimate mistake of accidentally misusing powers.

Rampant by Diana Peterfreund

Forget everything you ever knew about unicorns...
Real unicorns are venomous, man-eating monsters with huge fangs and razor-sharp horns. Fortunately, they've been extinct for a hundred and fifty years. Or not.

Astrid had always scoffed at her eccentric mother's stories about killer unicorns. But when one of the monsters attacks her boyfriend—thereby ruining any chance of him taking her to the prom—Astrid finds herself headed to Rome to train as a unicorn hunter at the ancient cloisters the hunters have used for centuries.

However, at the cloisters all is not what it seems. Outside, the unicorns wait to attack. And within, Astrid faces other, unexpected threats: from the crumbling, bone-covered walls that vibrate with a terrible power to the hidden agendas of her fellow hunters to—perhaps most dangerously of all—her growing attraction to a handsome art student ... an attraction that could jeopardize

These books were all bought from one of the following places: my local indie bookstore, Barnes and Noble, and

Most Anticipated: Hmmm....I honestly don't know if I can pick just one. I am really excited about Blameless, Total Eclipse and Paranormalcy. I honestly am looking forward to reading ALL of these! :)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June by Robin Benway

Book Summery:
Three sisters share a magical, unshakable bond in this witty high-concept novel from the critically acclaimed author of Audrey, Wait! Around the time of their parents’ divorce, sisters April, May, and June recover special powers from childhood—powers that come in handy navigating the hell that is high school. Powers that help them cope with the hardest year of their lives. But could they have a greater purpose?

April, the oldest and a bit of a worrier, can see the future. Middle-child May can literally disappear. And baby June reads minds—everyone’s but her own. When April gets a vision of disaster, the girls come together to save the day and reconcile their strained family. They realize that no matter what happens, powers or no powers, they’ll al
ways have each other. Because there’s one thing stronger than magic: sisterhood.

Book Review:I had seen this book on several trips to the bookstore. I honestly had no intentions of picking it up until I read several favorable reviews. My interest was piqued. Although I finally had purchased it, I didn't pick this book up right away. As soon as I did, it was near impossible to set down.

Lighthearted, warm, and colorful with a little magic thrown in, The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June did not disappoint! The chapters are told in alternating voices of the 3 sisters, whom I absolutely adored! It was refreshing to read a story told from multiple perspectives. I love how Benway gave each sister a solid identity, but wove the story together with a thread of family, loyalty, and love. The sisters were kind, funny, flawed characters that were easily relatable, even if the reader doesn't have sisters. This was a wonderful pick-me-up book that I desperately needed. I definitely plan on re-reading this in the future! :)

Favorite Quote:
"Our plan is written in pink ink," May grinned with with I've learned to recognize as false sincerity. "Great. What could possibly go wrong now?" (p. 76)
"Well, so far our plan blows," May said. "I blame the pink ink." (p.79)

Cover Art Commentary:
I like the three girls on the cover, conveying the idea of closeness and sisterhood. I also like that each sister is surrounded by her own color, which supports the concept of individuality. Nicely done.

Overall Rating:

Friday, September 3, 2010

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Book Summery:
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12. Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins’s groundbreaking The Hunger Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year.

Rue's Lullaby (Very haunting):

Book Review:

Well, it's official. The Hunger Games are at a close with the release of the third book in the trilogy, Mockingjay. I have to say, Collins had some surprises in store for her readers. There are definite aspects that I liked about Mockingjay, and definite aspects I did not care for. I honestly will admit that this is my least favorite book in the series. Now, before you start throwing food and small tools at me, keep in mind, this is still one of my all time favorite series. I just found Mockingjay to have a little less oomph, and let me tell you why...

*WARNING!!! There be spoilers ahead!*

What I didn't like:
To start off, I was really looking forward to a more evolved Katniss. Instead I got the same rebellious girl, who persistently made the same headstrong decisions which landed her in the hospital. It felt like a continuous cycle. Katniss runs off into combat, gets hurt/knocked out, and then wakes up in the hospital nursing a brand new wound. It was very repetitive for me. Also, I felt like the numerous deaths were overlooked. In the previous 2 books, Katniss would take time to mourn her fallen comrades. This time around, I had to re-read certain parts to make sure I read correctly that someone had died. The third aspect that bothered me was that I was looking for Katniss to end the love triangle once and for all. Instead, it drags on and on, and the final decision is practically made for her. It was a major disappointment for me.

What I liked:
Gale becomes a more forefront character. I enjoyed learning more about him and watching his relationship evolve in multiple different ways with Katniss. Learning more about District 13. I honestly expected District 13 to be more of a democracy. It was a bit more strict than I had expected, but I was completely marveled by their self-sufficiency. Finnick. Talk about character evolution! He started with regression and then progressed to a solider, provider, and friend. It was a very impressive character arc! The rebellion. I am not one for war, but nation of Panem was in dire need of some serious change. It was interesting to read about the strategy and progression of the rebellion movement. Of course, I was happy that it was successful, but at such a cost! So, make that bittersweet for me. I was more happy for the future generations who will be able to enjoy freedom and ultimately only know of the hunger games as a thing of the past.

Overall, Mockigjay was a bittersweet expedition for me. I felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster. While I was happy for the political process the rebels were making, I was saddened by their sacrifice and loss. I have highly enjoyed the entire series and will most likely read it all over again in the future. The three books in the trilogy are among my most recommended reads of all time. Thank you for the incredible journey Ms. Collins! :)

Favorite Quote:
"Fire is catching! And if we burn, you burn with us!" (p. 106)

Cover Art Commentary:
I love this cover. It's simple, stunning, and poignant. Rather fitting, I think. The color is gorgeous.

Overall Rating: