Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs

Book Summer (Via Goodreads): Grace just moved to San Francisco and is excited to start over at a new school. The change is full of fresh possibilities, but it’s also a tiny bit scary. It gets scarier when a minotaur walks in the door. And even more shocking when a girl who looks just like her shows up to fight the monster.

Gretchen is tired of monsters pulling her out into the wee hours, especially on a school night, but what can she do? Sending the minotaur back to his bleak home is just another notch on her combat belt. She never expected to run into this girl who could be her double, though.

Greer has her life pretty well put together, thank you very much. But that all tilts sideways when two girls who look eerily like her appear on her doorstep and claim they're triplets, supernatural descendants of some hideous creature from Greek myth, destined to spend their lives hunting monsters.

These three teenage descendants of Medusa, the once-beautiful gorgon maligned by myth, must reunite and embrace their fates in this unique paranormal world where monsters lurk in plain sight.
Book Review:
I wasn't sure what I was in store for when I picked this book up. What I got was a unique tale with a mythological twist. The three girls couldn't be more different from one another. Gretchen is one tough chick who is certain of her destiny. Grace is the sweet girl-next-door who is very eco-friendly. Greer is a confident young lady who comes from a very privileged background. Together, they make the decedents of Medusa and must fulfill an ancient prophecy. I loved Childs' writing. It was charming and whimsical. I enjoyed the different voices of each of the girls. Grace is my favorite. Overall, this was a fun story the ended on a cliffhanger. I can not wait to read the sequel! In the meantime, I plan to catch up on Childs' other books!

Favorite Quote:
“For the first time, I want to let people in. I didn't want to hang up on Nick. I had to. Because, for the first time, I wanted to say yes.” 

Cover Art Commentary:
I like the darker colors of this cover. I like the movement of the braid and curly writing at the bottom.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin

Book Summer (Via Goodreads): In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city's most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.'s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidently poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she's to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight--at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family.

Book Trailer:

Book Review:
This was the first book I have read by Zevin, and I have to say, I was blown away! Zevin's voice was colorful and refreshing. I loved, loved the main character Anya. She is flawed, responsible, loving, and always tries to do the right thing. Her family "mob" background was original and engaging. I loved how she interacted with different family members and family acquaintances. Really, all of the characters were superb. The romance was realistic and endearing, and not too overpowering. There was very little I didn't like about this book! I couldn't help but furiously turn the pages, eager to know more. Overall, I highly enjoyed this story, and look forward to the sequel! Ganrielle Zevin is now on my author TBR list! :)

Favorite Quote:
“Tragedy is when someone ends up dead. Everything else is just a bump in the road. For the record, that was something Daddy used to say.” 

Cover Art Commentary:
This is definitely not my favorite cover. For one, it lacks color. Two, because of the font and the majority of writing on the cover, I thought this was a self-help book for teens until I started reading reviews. For what it's worth, I like the chocolate heart! Also, once you remove the jacket, the actual book cover is made to look like a Balanchine chocolate bar, which is beyond awesome! :)


Top Ten Tuesday: Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

 A feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This weeks topic: Top Ten Twelve Books On My TBR List For Winter
  1. Pandemonium (Delirium #2) by Lauren Oliver
  2. A Million Suns by Beth Revis
  3. Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter
  4. Spell Bound (Hex Hall #3) by Rachel Hawkins
  5. The Last Echo (The Body Finder #3) by Kimberly Derting
  6. Hallowed (Unearthly #2) by Cynthia Hand

    Friday, November 25, 2011

    The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherine M. Valente

    Book Summer (Via Goodreads): Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday.  With exquisite illustrations by acclaimed artist Ana Juan, Fairyland lives up to the sensation it created when the author first posted it online.

    Book Trailer:

    Book Review:
    Enchanting! This highly imaginative tale has reminiscent tones of Alice in Wonderland, His Dark Materials, and Abarat. Follow September as she embarks on a journey like no other. Valente uses a vivid and innovative voice to create a world of mystery and magic. Throughout her journey, September comes across many unconventional and dynamic characters. Among my favorites are Saturday, A-through-L, the Green Wind, and the Leopard of Little Breezes. What I love most about September, is that she tries to think logically through all the choices she is faced with. Quite impressive for a twelve year old! I had first heard of Valente through the book blogger calico_reaction, who speaks highly of this author and her diverse publications. I was not the least bit disappointed! My only concern is that this book's intended audience is children, and they might have a difficult time understanding some of the content. Of course, their imaginations will run wild! :) This book has so many whimsical and magical tones that it would be hard for any reader not to fall in love with original modern fairytale!

    Favorite Quote:
    “Stories have a way of changing faces. They are unruly things, undisciplined, given to delinquency and the throwing of erasers. This is why we must close them up into thick, solid books, so they cannot get out and cause trouble.” 

    Cover Art Commentary:
    I love the bright colors! The illustration is whimsical, yet classical. Very eye-catching! :)


    Thursday, November 24, 2011

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    I am thankful to all of you wonderful people who take the time to read my blog! Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    Top Ten Tuesday: Pass the gravy!

     A feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

    This weeks topic: Top Ten Authors I'd Love To Have At My Thanksgiving Feast!
    1. Neil Gaiman - "So Neil, I just love your stories! Did I ever tell you that you're an genius? Also, would you marry me?"
    2. Rachel Caine - "Rach, would you pass the potatoes? Also, you're my writing hero. I just love your world-building techniques! Would you consider adopting me?"
    3. Stephen King - "Seriously Steve, where do you get the ideas for your stories? Did you know that The Shining would scare the living daylights out of me for many years to come? Also, these cranberries are fantastic!"
    4. Chuck Palahniuk - "Okay, Chuck's running a bit late, but it's worth the wait. Trust me, Chuck's got stories!"
    5. J. K. Rowling - "So J, how are you enjoying our American holiday? Would you consider writing more Harry Potter books?  I mean what else is in store for Harry. I feel as though his story isn't over yet. Wait, wait! Where are you going?! I have like a million other questions!!!"
    6. Holly Black - "First of all, awesome name! Second, I love your Curse Workers series. What inspired you to write them? How many more to plan to write? Any thoughts on writing another series?"
    7. Rachel Hawkins - "Rach, I just love your Hex Hall series! So much fun! Can you give us a sneak peak into your other series?
    8. Margaret Atwood - "Thanks for the wine Margaret! It's delicious! I just adore your feminism approach in your writing. Your dystopian novels are just amazing. If I could write like anyone, it would be you."
    9. Rachel Cohn and David Levithan - "Thank you both for bring the rolls! How do you approach your novels when using alternating voices to narrate? Do you have another book in mind to write?"
    10. Julie Kagawa - "Jules, this pie is amazing! By the way, I just loved your Iron Fey series! Could you give us a little insight into your next series coming up?"

    So which authors would you invite to your Thanksgiving meal?

    Thursday, November 17, 2011

    The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

    Book Summer (Via Hodkin's Website):  My name is not Mara Dyer, but my lawyer told me I had to choose something. A pseudonym. A nom de plume, for all of us studying for the SATs. I know that having a fake name is strange, but trust me—it’s the most normal thing about my life right now. Even telling you this much probably isn’t smart. But without my big mouth, no one would know that a seventeen-year-old who likes Death Cab for Cutie was responsible for the murders. No one would know that somewhere out there is a B student with a body count. And it’s important that you know, so you’re not next.

    Book Trailer:

    Book Review:
    I devoured this book in big gulps. It's definitely interesting and engaging. I wanted to figure out what was happening so desperately! How are all these people ending up dead?! What is Mara's connection? It's a hunger that kept the pages turning. I loved Mara and her family, they were definitely a fun and interesting set of characters. I would like to learn a little bit more about her dad, and the case he is working on. I enjoyed walking the halls of Mara's new school, and getting to know everyone. All of these were very good things that kept me reading long after I should have been asleep. There are a few things however, that I didn't not like. Noah's and Mara's relationship for one. It was just too over the top for me. Noah had the prince charming thing down...and it annoyed me. He was just a little too perfect, if you know what I mean. Also, I felt like the paranormal aspects in this book weren't fully connected....think about a connect the dot drawing, without all the dots connected. You still get the major picture, but it just seems off. Overall, I enjoyed reading Mara Dyer, but there were a few elements that left more to be desired. I still plan on reading the next book in the series. Check out more on Michelle Hodkin's blog, which is quite entertaining.

    Favorite Quote:
    “Have you made any other friends since we've been here?"
    I gave him the death stare. "Yes, actually."
    "Who? I want a name."
    "Jamie Roth."
    "The Ebola kid? I heard he's a little unstable."
    "That was one incident.” 

    Cover Art Commentary:
    That is one gorgeous cover. I'm not really sure how it relates to the book. There is a water scene in the story, but it's in a swamp, which doesn't really remind me of the cover.


    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    The Revenant by Sonia Gensler

    Book Summer (Via Goodreads): When Willie arrives in Indian Territory, she knows only one thing: no one can find out who she really is. To escape a home she doesn't belong in anymore, she assumes the name of a former classmate and accepts a teaching job at the Cherokee Female Seminary.

    Nothing prepares her for what she finds there. Her pupils are the daughters of the Cherokee elite—educated and more wealthy than she, and the school is cloaked in mystery. A student drowned in the river last year, and the girls whisper that she was killed by a jealous lover. Willie's room is the very room the dead girl slept in. The students say her spirit haunts it.

    Willie doesn't believe in ghosts, but when strange things start happening at the school, she isn't sure anymore. She's also not sure what to make of a boy from the nearby boys' school who has taken an interest in her—his past is cloaked in secrets. Soon, even she has to admit that the revenant may be trying to tell her something. . . .

    Book Trailer:

    Book Review:
    This was a surprising tale of love, death, mystery, and tragedy. Set in 1896, this historical fiction piece offers a refreshing take on life for privileged Cherokee children. The setting of this book really added something special to the story. Gensler certainly did her research. The school itself is based on an original Cherokee boarding school, which is now the home of Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The mystery plot of the dead girl's ghost is also fantastic and eerie, very, very eerie. This story gave me goosebumps. If I knew better, I would have set the book down before bed, but I couldn't help myself. It was easy to get lost in this story. I loved the main character, Willie. She really struggled to find herself in an unfamiliar setting. She was flawed, and engaging. It was easy to relate to her. Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and anticipate more wonderful stories from Sonia Gensler. Check out her website and blog for more info!

    Favorite Quote:
    "But Papa was dead, and the space next to me was empty. Staring at that void, I knew in my heart I was something much worse than a player on the world's stage/ And more than the summer heat made the perspiration trickle down the back of my neck. I jumped and blushed and perspired for good reason. I was a liar and a thief." (p.3)

    Cover Art Commentary:
    I love the water theme! It has a very significant meaning to the story, and is also beautiful. I love that if you just look at the picture, it's really pretty, peaceful even. Then you read the subheading, "some secrets  wont stay buried" and suddenly you're hooked! There's something sinister beyond the beauty and the only way to discover it is to read the story! Clever!


    Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    Awake at Dawn by C. C. Hunter


    Book Summer (Via Goodreads): Now that she’s settled in at Shadow Falls Camp, Kylie Galen’s determined to discover the extent of her supernatural abilities.  But with a ghost insisting someone Kylie loves is about die, a rogue vampire on a murdering rampage, and her sixth sense telling her someone is watching her, Kylie’s quest for answers is quickly put on hold. 
    To make matters worse, just when she’s about to give her heart to Derek, a half-fairy, he starts pulling away.  When Lucas, a werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past, returns, Kylie’s feels more conflicted than ever. Her weekend with her mom should have been the just the break Kylie needs, but it turns out to be her breaking point.  Someone from the dark side of the supernatural world has plans for Kylie--and it'll take all her resources to get back to Shadow Falls alive...

    Book Review:
    Hunter has done it again! I first became enthralled in Kylie's world with Hunter's first book, Born at Midnight (my review here). Pleasantly surprised with the first installment of the series, I was just as infatuated with the followup, Awake at Dawn. This character driven novel delivers romance, mystery, and paranormal flair! Kylie and her friends are at it again...battling boys, ghosts, and sometimes each other, the trio really set a wonderful tone for the story. All of the characters are vivid and engaging. I love the variety of paranormal beings, it makes for such a colorful story! Kylie sets out to discover herself, with pronounced determination. I really don't want to give too much of the story away. This is a fun, fast read that all ages are sure to enjoy! If you are a YA paranormal romance fan, then this book is for you! :)

    Favorite Quote:
    “Life isn't supposed to be easy. Generally speaking, the harder something is the more rewarding the results will be.” 

    Cover Art Commentary:
    Love the colors of this cover. The waterfall has significance to the story. This cover matches nicely to the first book in the series, Born at Midnight.


    Thursday, November 3, 2011

    Reading Reflections: October 2011

    Books Read:
    Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer
    Away by Teri Hall
    The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
    Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

    Total Number of Books Read This Month: 4

    Total Number of Books Read This Year: 52

    Most Anticipated:
    Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

    Biggest Let Down:
    Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer

    Favorite Read:
    The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

    Highest Rank: 5

    Lowest Rank: 3

    Overall Reflection: 
    Well, it's been a busy month. After a three year hiatus, I've finally returned to school! While this will allow me to better pursue my career options, re-acclimating myself to the academic setting has proven to be time consuming, not leaving much time for recreational reading. Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer left me wanting more. I had highly anticipated it's release after its successor, Nightshade, and was rather underwhelmed. Away by Teri Hall was a bit more enjoyable, but again, was somewhat lacking in the shadow of it's predecessor. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern swept me away into a magical setting full of unexpected surprises. It was my favorite read of the month! Lastly, Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor had a glitch mid-novel, but was overall enjoyable. Not my best month of reading. Hopefully, once I am more comfortable with my school work, I will be able to return a more regular pace of recreational reading.

    Tuesday, November 1, 2011

    Top Ten Tuesdays: Feeling Emotional?

    A feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

    This weeks topic:  Top Ten Books I Had VERY Strong Emotions About (cry, laugh, hurl across the room, etc.)
    1.  Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan - I could. not. stop. laughing as I read this book! It made me smile and giggle unlike any book ever has. Close family and friends frequently commented on my giddy response to this one! :)
    2. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger  - I was enjoyed this book soooo start. Unfortunately towards the end, it took a turn for the worse. I was so annoyed! It made me feel like I had invested a lot of time in a pointless and worthless book!
    3. 1984 by George Orwell - This book sends shivers down my spine. The scariest aspect is that it could ACTUALLY HAPPEN! I find that notion down right terrifying! 
    4. 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher - After I finished this novel, I did something I rarely ever do. I cried. I can't pinpoint exactly what triggered my response, but it was overly emotional, and really made me reflect over what I had read.
    5. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood - This was my first adult intro into the world of dystopia. I was completely blown away, not only by the concept, but by Atwood's writing as well. I have been a HUGH fan of her ever since! :)
    6. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant - I read this book during nursing school, throughout my OB rotation, to be specific. I was learning about delivering babies and such, all the while reading this fantastic homage to women. This book made me proud to be a woman, and alllmost made me want to specialize in OB nursing.
    7. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold - I read this book around the age of 16. At that time, I felt that this book had some very graphic sections. There were times that I would look up from reading as if to see if the people around could actually believe what I was reading! Of course, I wouldn't feel the same today, but at the time, I was quite shocked!
    8. The Shining by Stephen King - This was the first book that really creeped me out. It got to the point that I would keep all the lights on at night! A couple of times, I would stop reading and look over my shoulder to see if some sinister force was behind me! Eventually, I had to stop reading this before I went to bed, or I wouldn't sleep!
    9. Nine Parts of Desire by Geraldine Brooks - I read this for a religion class in college. If you haven't read this book, you should immediately do so! It inspired me to write an award winning paper on feminism in the Muslim culture! 
    10.  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling - I owe a lot to Ms. Rowling. When this book came out, I was periodically reading here and there, but not near as much as I did growing up. For a while I resisted this book/series, and finally gave in with the release of the first movie. It looked really good, and I wanted to read the book ahead of time. I. was. hooked. The book was amazing. It reminded me of all the things I loved about reading, and after I polished off the first four books (at the time, that was all that was published of the series), I started reading again feverishly. I haven't stopped since!  

     So, what books did you have a strong reaction to?