Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Healer's Apprentice

Title: The Healer's Apprentice

Author: Melanie Dickerson

Pages: 257

Rating: ****

Summary (From Goodreads): Rose has been appointed as a healer's apprentice at Hagenheim Castle, a rare opportunity for a woodcutter's daughter like her. While she often feels uneasy at the sight of blood, Rose is determined to prove herself capable. Failure will mean returning home to marry the aging bachelor her mother has chosen for her---a bloated, disgusting merchant who makes Rose feel ill.When Lord Hamlin, the future duke, is injured, it is Rose who must tend to him. As she works to heal his wound, she begins to understand emotions she's never felt before and wonders if he feels the same. But falling in love is forbidden, as Lord Hamlin is betrothed to a mysterious young woman in hiding. As Rose's life spins toward confusion, she must take the first steps on a journey to discover her own destiny.

Review: This book was sent to me for review a little while ago, and I FINALLY got to read it. And am I ever glad it was! I am a sucker for fairy tales and happy endings, and this book was right up my alley. Sleeping Beauty was always my favorite princess, so I was really excited about this novel.

The Healer's Apprentice is a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty tale; it is quite different. It is more realistic in some ways, but still very much a fairy tale. There are some new characters to the story (who are amazing) and some characters are eliminated or changed (Aurora's fairies and Malificent, respectively.)

I LOVED LOVED LOVED Lord Hamlin. He is the PERFECT Prince Charming. However, I also liked Lord Rupert, and I felt Rose's interactions and feelings for each lord were realistic and definitely relatable (I know if a prince told me I was beautiful, I'd feel pretty good too! No shame in that Rose!)

This was one of those books where I knew the ending (duh, it's a retelling of a story everyone knows) but I didn't know how it would get to that point, and that was the best part. When obstacles arose, I knew the good guys would win, but I could never for the life of me figure out how! That curiosity is what made this book all but impossible to put down.

There were a few small things that bothered me, however. The author couldn't seem to decide if she wanted to write the book in a more modern verse or in old-fashioned English. Sometimes the characters spoke as we would today, while other times she'd throw in a "thither" or "thou." Very minor, though. Also, the princes' admiring of Rose's beauty got a bit old. "You're so beautiful" over and over and over again. Yeah guys, I think she gets it. It made the princes come off as shallow and only interested in her looks (rightfully so, in one case. But again I'm treading the line of spoiler-zone.).

All in all, I LOVED this book. These minor things are the only things keeping it from five stars.

A warning however: the book gets quite religious at the end, thanking God for his gifts, and lots of praying takes place. If that bothers you, you probably won't enjoy this book as much as I did.


Recommended for: anyone who loves a fairy-tale ending (aka hopeless romantics)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I Am Number Four

Title: I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies #1)

Author: Pittacus Lore

Pages: 440

Rating: ****1/2

Summary (from Goodreads): In the beginning they were a group of nine. Nine aliens who left their home planet of Lorien when it fell under attack by the evil Mogadorian. Nine aliens who scattered on Earth. Nine aliens who look like ordinary teenagers living ordinary lives, but who have extraordinary, paranormal skills. Nine aliens who might be sitting next to you now.

The Nine had to separate and go into hiding. The Mogadorian caught Number One in Malaysia, Number Two in England, and Number Three in Kenya. All of them were killed. John Smith, of Paradise, Ohio, is Number Four. He knows that he is next.

I AM NUMBER FOUR is the thrilling launch of a series about an exceptional group of teens as they struggle to outrun their past, discover their future—and live a normal life on Earth.

I AM NUMBER FOUR.
I AM NEXT.




Review: I tried to describe this book to some friends, and it comes off sounding incredibly nerdy: "Oh well, these aliens are living on earth because their planet was destroyed, and now the people who destroyed their planet want to kill them and eventually take over earth." Lame, right?


THIS BOOK IS SO FAR FROM LAME! I'm not big on all the alien theories and such, but I loved this book. It sucked me in; it's over 400 pages, and yet I finished it in less than five hours. Yeah. That's how awesome this book is.


The writing is pretty good. I've read better, but it was far from terrible. It kept me interested, obviously, and it wove a very unique story that I couldn't bear to step away from. What kept it from being great was how stupid John acts sometimes. I have to keep reminding myself he's a fifteen year old guy, and they don't always make the best decisions. But I felt like, as one of the last members of his race, he should have a certain set of priorities.


But that's as far as I'm going to go into spoiler zone.


The characters were incredible; I don't read many books from the male perspective, so it was nice to get a new take on things. John was as realistic a teenage boy as an alien can be; there were some stock characters, however, such as Sarah and Sam, but they still add plenty to the story.


This book will knock your socks off. Perfect as a last minute addition to your own Christmas list, or a quick gift for a friend.

The sequel, The Power of Six, is said to be coming out June 7, 2011!


Recommended for: sci-fi, supernatural lovers




AND I am Number Four is being released as a movie this spring! And, as those of you who remember my Mortal Instruments review will recall, one of my favorite young actors will be gracing the screen as John Smith: ALEX PETTYFER!!!

*swoons*


Anyway, here's the totally epic-looking trailer!*WARNING: it does give away a plot twist from late in the book...but it didn't ruin anything for me.*****







Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Amazing Grace

Title: Amazing Grace

Author: Megan Shull

Pages: 256

Rating: ****

Summary (from Goodreads): Grace Ace Kincaid has it all. Shes a teen sports sensation. Her face and body are on the cover of every magazine. Shes front and center on the red carpet. She has the world at her feet, as long as she toes the line.But then she says three little words. Three words that take her out of the spotlight to Medicine Hat, Alaska. Population 272. Grace has the chance to start all over again. Its something she wanted so much. Now the question is: Who will she be?

Review: Hot guy? Check. Amazing best friend? Check. Cozy little town? Check. What more do you want?

I read this book for the first time about five years ago. I found it at my library and just HAD to read it again. It's one of those books. It took me barely 24 hours to finish.

Grace is a celebrity who decides to call it quits. She is just too overwhelmed with everything that she feels like she's losing herself. It'd be nice if some real-life celebrities would do this before they go over the edge (*cough* Britney Spears *cough*). Her mom has the perfect reaction--no questions, no persuasion, just says "Ok." Suddenly Grace is trading her make-up and five gajillion dollar wardrobe for parkas and sweaters in Alaska. This seemed much more fitting for her; if she was enjoying her life as a celebrity, she wouldn't have been so excited to give everything away.

I loved the setting. Alaska is often forgotten, I think. This book was great to read at this specific town because I could actually think "Wow, maybe there is someone out there who is actually colder than I am right now."

Now, let's talk about the guy. That's all anyone really cares about anyway, right? Teague is perfect. He is gorgeous, courteous, giving, and of course he falls for Grace the first time they meet. A little too perfect? Perhaps. But I really don't care. Also, how awesome is his name? I'm totally naming my son after him.

Fisher (another awesome name!) is the perfect quirky best friend for Grace. Ava is pretty cool, even if her character isn't developed as much as it could be.

This is a quick, sweet read. Cheesy? Oh yes. But it's fun. Upon finishing it this time, I felt like Megan Shull could have done more with it; many characters and minor plot lines were either hastily answered or only briefly mentioned. But Amazing Grace is short and sweet; curl up in front of the fire for a day with it, and you won't regret it.


Recommended for: romance lovers.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Gemini Night

Title: Star Crossed #3: Gemini Night

Author: Bonnie Hearn Hill

Pages: 229

Review: ***1/2

Summary: Logan McRae's guy is far away and out of touch, and she is heartbroken. She turns to her mentor, renowned journalist Henry Jaffa, who helps her land a job as the Friday intern for CRUSH magazine in San Francisco. With a little luck, she could also be the mag's teen astrology columnist. All she has to do in order to prove herself to Stacy, her editor, is figure out the astrology chart for one of the celebs who will be attending the CRUSH launch party Halloween night. But when she studies the mystery person's chart, she sees disaster predicted for the weekend of the costume party. Who is the in-danger Gemini? Is it fashion designer Graciela Perez, the "Silver Dragon"? Is it her friend Chili's new guy, teen celebrity chef Alex Keen? Or is it, as Logan suspects, out-of-control singing star Arianna Woods? As Logan turns to her book Fearless Astrology for guidance, she sees something she's missed before. Big trouble is predicted that night for her sign as
well.

Review: This book was interesting. It is a quick, cute read, but what interested me most was all the astrology information. Being a Gemini, there was extra stuff for me, but there are plenty of facts about all the signs.
The story itself was okay. The writing wasn't the best I've ever read, but it was far from the worst (*cough* Simone Elkeles? *cough*). I will say I was definitely not expecting the ending, however! That was a total shock, and made me want to finish the book quickly.
Logan is the average teenage girl, only she happens to be obsessed with astrology. I imagine you learn a bit more about her and her boyfriend in the first two books in this series. (This is the third book in the Star Crossed series. I haven't read the first two, but I could still understand everything.) The mean girls were pure stock characters, but her best friends were fun and added to the story.
Though I probably won't read the rest of the series, I can definitely see myself pulling this book out in the future to read about different signs. There are excerpts from Fearless Astrology (is this a real book? Probably a question answered earlier in the series. If it is, I want it!) and the astrology columns Logan writes, there's a lot of information in this book! So if you are interested in your sign (or the signs of significant people in your life...) check this book out! I imagine the other books in the series are just as informative, too!

Recommended for: Astrology lovers

Monday, November 8, 2010

It's Monday! What are you Reading?


Hi everyone who still bothers to check this even though I haven't posted in ages! I'm so sorry about my absence. With school and homework and my job I barely have time to read, much less blog! It is a terrible tragedy. But I'm bringing it back!

This past week I started Grendel by John Gardner (though not by choice; we are reading it in AP English). It is strange. Beowulf was weird, and this is just insane. It is the story of Beowulf from Grendel's perspective, and guys, he is a wack job.

I also started Star Crossed: Gemini Night by Bonnie Hearn Hill, who's publisher/agent (not sure who it was) sent it to me for review! I'm liking it so far; lots of cool astrology stuff, especially about Geminis, which this Gemini finds very interesting.

I am also truckin' through Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I'm sorry to say I have been reading it for about four weeks and I just reached the halfway point. Granted this book is the longest one I own (after Gone With The Wind), but still. Did I mention I'm extremely busy?

On the bright side, I went to Half Price Books this morning! As a member of their "Enews" mailing list, I received several coupons for this week, so I just had to use one up today! It was 40% off one item, so I headed over. I got

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnely (pure amazing)





and












One Night the Changed Everything by Lauren Barnholdt. I've read her novel Two*Way Street, and I absolutely loved it, so I'm really excited. I also plan on going back on Wednesday (to use one of the other coupons) and get Watch Me, also by Lauren Barnholdt.

Now if only I could actually find the time to read....

P.S. I am SO INCREDIBLY PSYCHED about the release of Crescendo!!! Sadly, due to my very low funds (Half Price Books is a savior for those of us with very little spending money), I will probably have to wait for it until Christmas.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wintergirls

Title: Wintergirls

Author: Laurie Halse Anderson

Pages: 278

Rating: ****

Summary (from Goodreads: Lia and Cassie were best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies. But now Cassie is dead. Lia's mother is busy saving other people's lives. Her father is away on business. Her step-mother is clueless. And the voice inside Lia's head keeps telling her to remain in control, stay strong, lose more, weigh less. If she keeps on going this way—thin, thinner, thinnest—maybe she'll disappear altogether.

In her most emotionally wrenching, lyrically written book since the National Book Award finalist Speak, best-selling author Laurie Halse Anderson explores one girl's chilling descent into the all-consuming vortex of anorexia.

Review: Wintergirls is the type of book you sit there thinking about after you finish the final page. It sits with you, makes you think. I finished this book yesterday, and it's all I've been able to think about today.
Wintergirls isn't necessarily "dark" (when I think dark, I think evil), but it is haunting and harsh. Nothing candy-coated here! It is truth, and lies, and perception, and loss.
Anderson's writing style mimics that of Speak (the only other book I've read by her), with fragments, varying text sizes, crossed out text, and other aspects of the text not usually considered "right" in a published novel. it is much more like stream of consciousness writing. Cassie's death is constantly in the back of her mind. "she called thirty-three times" is a common thought.
I didn't quite get the term 'wintergirl'. I understand it means not dead, but not alive, but I just couldn't really grasp it. I found the ending to be quite fitting and interesting. I liked how Laurie drew the contrast between not onlly Lia and Cassie, but Lia and Elijah as well (you'll learn all about him when you read this).
I couldn't put Wintergirls down. It is a quick read, but it will stay with you. I highly recommend it to any teenage girl, especially one struggling with body image or an eating disorder. As a girl who often wakes up hating her body, I found Wintergirls to be a reminder of how far into "dangerland" many girls go, and being skinny simply isn't worth it.

Recommended for: teenage girls.

P.S. might I just make a note of how GORGEOUS the cover is??? It is one of my all-time favorite book covers.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Guardian of the Gate

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven't read Prophecy of the Sisters, READ NO FURTHER!

Title: Guardian of the Gate

Author: Michelle Zink

Pages: 335

Rating: ****

Summary (from Goodreads): The ultimate battle between sisters is nearing, and its outcome could have catastrophic consequences. As sixteen year-old Lia Milthorpe searches for a way to end the prophecy, her twin sister Alice hones the skills she'll need to defeat Lia. Alice will stop at nothing to reclaim her sister's role in the prophecy, and that's not the only thing she wants: There's also Lia's boyfriend James.

Lia and Alice always knew the Prophecy would turn those closest to them against them. But they didn't know what betrayal could lead them to do. In the end, only one sister will be left standing

Review: This book was a great sequel to The Prophecy of the Sisters. It took me about halfway through the book to get into it; before then, I just felt like it had no drive. There was nothing that made me want to sit down and read more.
Then it changed.
The second half of the book is amazing. Lia must make several choices, and betrayal is her biggest threat. The betrayal she faces shocked me, though of course I knew it would be to easy to have it be the person they suspect (is that giving too much away?)
Another reason it picks up is *swoon* Dimitri. TO be completely honest, I read The Prophecy of the Sisters too long ago to remember how I felt about James, but I adore Dimitri. He is sexy, charming, chivalrous, and powerful. An excellent fit with Lia.
One thing that bothers me is how inferior Lia comes off as to her sister. WE are told Alice is a huge power, the Souls answer to her now. And Lia...well, she's learning. How on earth is she going to win this battle? And the twist at the end--I can't tell for certain if I was expecting it (hindsight bias, and all that jazz).
I'm a bit confused on the title. Initially, I heard it was The Guardian and the Gate, but somewhere along the line it was switched to Guardian of the Gate, and I couldn't really fit that with the plotline, since Lia is the Gate.
Also, the covers--I know many people are really excited about the new design, but I honestly liked the original cover to The Prophecy of the Sisters more (with the stone statues). These new covers don't really grab you like the statue cover grabbed me. It seems like it could be the cover of any book.
It was an excellent story, though. Michelle Zink is a great writer who I'm sure we can expect more from in the future.

Recommended for: Supernatural fans; historical fiction junkies

Also a note: if you haven't heard anything about Speak Loudly movement, be sure to check it out. It's all about fighting for banned books and authors' freedom of speech. Sarah Ockler talks a lot about it here, since her book Twenty Boy Summer (review here) is being targeted in Missouri.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

So, really, who HASN'T read the Harry Potter series? I haven't read the entire series since about fifth grade (and I'm pretty sure only 4 were out then anyway), so I decided it was time to reread the series! This'll be my third time through. I know, a lot of fans have read them tens of times, but oh well! There may be spoilers in this review, so if you haven't read the series, READ NO FURTHER!!!!

Title: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Author: J.K. Rowling

Pages: 309

Rating: ***** (what else can you give Harry Potter??)

Summary: we all know the story right?

Review: So as stated above, I haven't read the first four books in a very long time (I reread 5 and 6 before 7 came out). I've watched the movies quite often (who else LOVES Harry Potter weekend on ABC Family???), but I'd forgotten many of the details and differences in the books.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is an excellent book. It's so interesting to read these earlier books after having read the entire series, because as I'm noticing in the first two, they are definitely geared towards a younger audience. The writing is much simpler, and the plot isn't nearly as dark.
That's another thing I noticed in this first book--the writing. It wasn't nearly as stellar as it is in the later books. Of course, this was J.K. Rowling's first novel, but it's cool to see where she started (which, of course, is still pretty good, but not MIND blowing) and where she ended the series as a writer--there's a lot of progression! Don't get me wrong, her writing is still great, but it gets even greater as the series goes on.
Another thing that's interesting about going back and rereading these earlier books is the incredible amount of detail and foreshadowing J.K. Rowling includes. Snape protects Harry at the Quidditch game, the centaurs discuss how bright Mars is (Mars was the god of war, and a war is coming to the wizarding world), etc. As for detail, she really shows us the characters and the setting, so next time I watch the movie I'll have to make the comments I always do for other book-based movies: "That's wrong--this is how it is!" and "He's supposed to look like this." Yeah. I'm kinda annoying to watch a movie with. For example, the Dursleys seem a lot meaner to Harry in the book than they were in the first movie. Like they dye his clothes black and only give him Dudley's hand me downs, which drown him. He does all the cooking and cleaning. (And, since I might forget this by the time I review book 2, Aunt Petunia threw a FRYING PAN at Harry's head.)
Sorry for the somewhat rambling review, but I'm not really concerned with discussing characters and plot since most of you have probably read these books and analyzed them to pieces, as most of us have while waiting for the next book to be released.

Recommended for: EVERYONE--young and old, boys and girls, avid bookworms and non-readers alike

Also, I highly recommend two Harry Potter discussions:
~Mark Reads Harry Potter. This is a twenty-something guy reading the series for the first time, and he hasn't seen any of the movies. He reviews chapter by chapter, and these reviews are hilarious! I've been following along from the beginning of the series as I read, but you can read from anywhere! He's on the 6th book now. There is a bit of profanity, so I recommend this to high school age+
~Mugglecast. This is a podcast (kinda like a taped radio broadcast. Basically people discussing Harry Potter.) done by the people who run Mugglenet, the #1 Harry Potter fansite in the world! They are currently doing a chapter-by-chapter discussion of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, but you can find older episodes on their website too. They don't just do a chapter-by-chapter; they discuss listener emails, Harry Potter news, and more great stuff! I've laughed so hard I cried listening to these guys, and I highly recommend them to ANY Harry Potter fan.

Enjoy! Only 64 days until the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Half Price Books

Sooo I only recently (as in, this summer) discovered the wonder that is Half Price Books. Of course I've always known about it. There's a store about five minutes from my house, but I always passed it up for Borders or Barnes and Noble. That is, until I was out with my lovely reader friend and she suggested we go there. I'd been there before when I was younger, but, as stated, I always chose a new book store instead.

What a mistake.

Half Price Books is a store full of treasures. Some books aren't in the best of shape (which sucks for a perfectionist obsessive-compulsor like myself) but the prices are right. Hardcovers aren't super cheap ($8-9), but in comparison to list prices, they are steals. Paperbacks are all half of the list price, which is amazing.

They are having a 20% off everything labor day sale, so my sister and I headed there this morning. I was armed and ready to go! I ended up spending waaaay more than I intended, but the most expensive book I bought was actually one I got for my sister, and it was $5.18. Yeah. That's how cheap this place is. Here is my list of treasures acquired this morning:















How to Build a House by Dana Reinhardt (already read--well, listened to--but it was only $4!)

Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer (also already read, but it's a classic and one of my favorite books of all time)

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (I saw this movie and loved it! And the book is always better, right?)

Waiting For You by Susane Colasanti (I've read When It Happens by her and loved it, and I vowed to read her other books. This is one that isn't in the best of shape, but it was the only copy they had, and it was $4.50! I can survive a little damage for that price!)

Take Me There by Susane Colasanti (See above. though this one is in almost perfect shape)

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (I'm not entirely sure what this is about, but it's a classic, right? And it's so pretty--this copy is smaller, leather-bound, and has a ribbon bookmark--all for only $3!! How was I supposed to pass that up?!)

The Choice by Nicholas Sparks (love love love him. Almost perfect condition hardcover for only $2. Two dollars!!)


This is what I call a successful morning.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sea

Title: Sea

Author: Heidi R. Kling

Pages: 323

Rating: ****

Summary: Haunted by recurring nightmares since her mother’s disappearance over the Indian ocean three years before, fifteen-year old California girl Sienna Jones reluctantly travels with her psychiatrist father’s volunteer team to six-months post-tsunami Indonesia where she meets the scarred and soulful orphaned boy, Deni, who is more like Sea than anyone she has ever met.

She knows they can’t be together, so why can’t she stay away from him? And what about her old best friend-turned-suddenly-hot Spider who may or may not be waiting for her back home? And why won’t her dad tell her the truth about her mother’s plane crash? The farther she gets from home, the closer she comes to finding answers.

And Sea’s real adventure begins.

Review: This book was really, really good. For romance lovers, of course, but I loved the story.
Sienna takes a trip across the globe to help out at an orphanage for tsunami victims. I loved this because so many of us forget that these people's lives are still devastated. We feel bad and donate some money once we hear about it but after a few months we forget and move on. This is the case with most natural disasters. However, the people who live(d) there's lives are forever changed, often for the worse.
And then, of course, there's Deni. Hot, sweet, deep Deni whose family was killed in the tsunami, leaving him on his own. He is a wonderful love interest. But this wasn't some ordinary love interest. Indonesian culture is very different from ours, as most of us know, especially in regards to dating and marriage. That cultural conflict shows up quite a bit in the story.
I really liked Sienna as a protagonist. She could really relate to the kids because, though she still had her father, she lost her mother to the ocean, just like the children at the orphanage. She was in pain herself, and yet she was there trying to help other kids feel better.
Yes, this story has lots and lots of cheese. But it's not just about the romance, and though I predicted the "plot twist" at the end, it still threw a wrench into the story, and I wanted to find out what was going to happen! This is a great summer beach read, and though I realize summer is over, it could be great for the winter as well. When cuddled up by the fire, you can read about Sienna almost melting in the 100 degree heat.

Recommended for: romance lovers (fans of Twenty Boy Summer and Sarah Dessen, though it's not quite up to those levels)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

30 Best Book Engines

Hello all! Again, so sorry for my extended absence. With school starting, I've just been a tad busy.

A site has been brought to my attention that I thought you all might like to know about! It's called 30 Best Book Engines to Finding Your Perfect Summer Read, but it doesn't have to be just about summer books. I've looked at some of the sites and they look AWESOME! So go check it out here!

I also will have a review up shortly for Sea by Heidi R. Kling, which I finished yesterday! (Hint: It was amazing!)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

YA Fantasy Showdown

So I recently discovered this "showdown" going on between characters of different YA series! For each "battle", fights have been written out, and you can vote for who you think will win!

Which brings me to the reason for posting. Katniss Everdeen, of The Hunger Games, is up against Eugenidenes (anyone read Queen's Thief? I've never heard of him). She is losing by only 10 votes!!! So go vote for her here!

Other characters still in the race include Katsa from Graceling and Jace from The Mortal Instruments (swoon!)!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June

Title: The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June

Author: Robin Benway

Pages: 281

Rating: ***1/2

Summary (from Goodreads): Three sisters, three extraordinary, life-changing powers!

I hugged my sisters and they fit against my sides like two jigsaw pieces that would never fit anywhere else. I couldn’t imagine ever letting them go again, like releasing them would be to surrender the best parts of myself.

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 always have each other.

Because there’s one thing stronger than magic: sisterhood.

Review: If you have sisters, older or younger, you will totally be able to relate to this book. It was a cute, quick read about love, magic, and of course, sisterhood.
Since I myself am the oldest of three girls, I could relate the most to April, but I found that these three sisters mirrored my sisters and I quite well--maybe it's a birth order thing. April is protective, motherly, and yes, a bit bossy--key trademarks of the oldest child. May, being the middle child, just wants to disappear--and does. June, the youngest, wants people to like her and be popular--the fruity, shallow wishes of the baby. The powers they have also relate a bit to birth order--April is able to look out for her sisters' futures, May disappears, and June can read minds.
The plot of this book, thinking back on it, isn't that deep, and yet it sucked me in. The first half of the book is really the girls getting used to their powers, the second half is when the real "action" kicks in. Of course, the ending is quite predictable, but it's cute.
As in Audrey, Wait!, the writing is very real. Nothing wordy or fancy; I felt like this book was taking place in real life. The characters speak normally and as if they are simply talking to each other, not having a written out conversation. The only thing I worry about this is the possibility of it aging--in a few years, slang will be different. Will Robin's books not be as popular when the speech is no longer modern?
All in all a good light read. I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as Audrey, Wait!, but it is still worth checking out.

Recommended for: Sisters

I could have sworn I reviewed Audrey, Wait! on here, but apparently not. Check it out on Goodreads or Amazon!!

Friday, August 6, 2010

CUWAC: "A Streetcar Named Desire"

I realize I've slacked off on this meme for a while now, and I sincerely give my apologies. This book is technically a play, but I recently read it at my program at Carleton.

Title: "A Streetcar Named Desire"

Author: Tennessee Williams

Pages: 179

Rating: ***1/2

Summary: Blanche DuBois shows up on her sister's doorstep with a trunk of her belongings and bad news: the family home, Belle Reve, has been lost. Blanche spends the summer with Stella and her husband, the animalistic Stanley Kowalski. With her "nerves", Blanche is a bit unsteady--and not all she appears.

Review: This book--or play, rather--was very interesting. As stated, I read in for a writing program, not necessarily by choice. I can't say I particularly liked any of the characters, but it was very real. This play is a perfect example of gender and class roles in the mid-twentieth century--men are in charge, women just take care of them, and those of working class and just so "common" compared to the upperclass.
After reading the play, we went to see its performance, which was simply outstanding. Plays are always better on stage, where they are meant to be seen. Reading the text is one thing, but seeing it live really helped me grasp some of the deeper content of the play--such as the contrast between desire and death throughout the story. The story has also had a movie adaptation, which I have not seen, but have heard good reviews for.
All in all, a good look at an interesting time period in the United States

Recommended for: historical fiction fans, readers interested in gender roles

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sorry!!

SO sorry for my inactivity recently. I was at a summer writing program at Carleton College, and I didn't have much free time! I highly recommend the program however!!

Here is a great summer read; hope you can get your hands on it before summer's over!

Title: It's Not Summer Without You

Author: Jenny Han

Pages: 288

Rating: ****

Summary (from Goodreads): Last year, all of Belly's dreams came true and the thought of missing a summer in Cousins Beach was inconceivable. But like the rise and fall of the ocean tide, things can change--just like that. Suddenly the time she's always looked forward to most is something she dreads. And when Jeremiah calls to say Conrad has disappeared, Belly must decide how she will spend this summer: chasing after the boy she loves, or finally letting him go.

Review: A good sequel to a great book. It's Not Summer Without You picks up the summer following The Summer I Turned Pretty. With flashbacks to tell us what happened over the past year, I felt like I'd never left Belly's world.
What I really liked in this book was how Jenny included chapters from Jeremiah's perspective. Of course, when they started I thought maybe we'd get some from Conrad's POV too, but to no avail. Jeremiah offers a peek into the other side of the story--the boys' lives.
This book keeps up the love triangle we thought was solved in the first book. Conrad is still infuriating, sexy, and irrestistable, and Jeremiah is still the perfect guy friend (who wants to be more).
All in all, a good summer read. Their problems get deeper, the relationships grow stronger, and it all comes back to Cousins Beach.

Recommended for: beach readers, romance lovers

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Challenge Update

Since we are officially halfway through the year (Wow, how is it JULY already?!), I thought I'd post an update on the challenges I am participating in this year.



100+ Books in 2010 Challenge: I am currently at 40 books this year. I need to step it up! My inital goal for this year was to read 150 books, but now that has been lowered to 100! Last year I read 130, so this is a bit of a disappointment. The end of junior year was a lot busier than the end of sophomore year!



Read Your Own Bookshelf Challenge: My goal was to read 50 of my own books this year. Now, halfway through, I have read 15. I am a bit disappointed in myself!

I'm going to have to step it up in the second half of the year! Wish me luck!

How are you guys doing on your challenges? Better than I am, I hope!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Amy and Roger's Epic Detour

Title: Amy and Roger's Epic Detour

Author: Morgan Matson

Pages: 344

Rating: ****1/2

Summary: Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew--just in time for Amy's senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she's always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy's mother's old friend. Amy hasn't seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she's surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she's coming to terms with her father's death and how to put her own life back together after the accident. Told in traditional narrative as well as scraps from the road--diner napkins, motel receipts, postcards--this is the story of one girl's journey to find herself.

Review: Read this book. Right now. I'll wait.
Okay, this book, as its title states, is EPIC! I absolutely loved this book. I don't even know what to say. I finished this book at 2:00 this morning; I just couldn't put it down! It has also given me a huge desire to go on a cross country road trip. I've been to more of the country than Amy had before this trip, but I haven't seen enough!
This is the perfect summer book. Reading it at the beginning of the summer makes me feel like anything can happen in a single summer--something previously only Sarah Dessen books could promote. The characters were fantastic. Amy is a good protagonist; we are left wondering about some of her secrets, something that makes me want to keep reading. Roger is adorable. He is the perfect guy for this book, and I absolutely love him! The plot is also fabulous; there is obviously the overlying goal of reaching Connecticut, but there is enough going on during their "detour" that the trip is the best part. Of course, this is often the case in literature and life.
The only thing keeping this book from 5 stars is the predictability. I mean, you can probably guess what happens. But it isn't overly cheesy, which I appreciated.
What I really liked in this book was the scrapbook inserts, including pictures, receipts, playlists, etc.
So go read this book. You will not regret it!

Recommended for: everyone except anyone who hates romance.

Friday, June 18, 2010

City of Bones

Title: City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments Book One)

Author: Cassandra Clare

Pages: 485

Rating: *****

Summary (from Goodreads): When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder - much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing - not even a smear of blood - to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know....

Review: This book has become one of my all-time favorites. Full of action and suspense with just enough romance to keep my interest, Cassandra Clare has written one of the best books no one's heard of. It is really a shame how few people have even heard of this series! (City of Bones is the first of four--City of Ashes, City of Glass, and City of Fallen Angels--out May 2011--are the next three.)
Jace is a kick-butt, sexy, self-sacrificing love interest. From about...the second time we see him I was in love. He definitely gives Edward a run for his money. I'm not completely sure, but I believe there is movie talk for this book, if not series. Alex Pettyfer would be a freakin' amazing Jace. Just look at him! *swoons*

Clary, as a whole, is not the strongest female protagonist. In this first book, she is never really involved in the fighting or the problem-solving, but that kind of makes the book more real. If I suddenly stumbled across this world of demons and Shadowhunters, I know I wouldn't be much good in a fight either!
The supporting characters are strong, and add a lot to the story, including Magnus Bane, the glittery high-warlock of Brooklyn, and Alec and Isabelle, Jace's fellow Shadowhunters.
This story has a HUGE twist at the end that made me want to throw the book at the wall. But I didn't.
I read this book last summer ( I think) and I recently finished the audiobook. DEFINTELY READ THE BOOK! The audiobook isn't the best I've listened to--no offense to Ari, but her voice got a bit annoying with lack of emotion and verging-on-Valley-Girl intonations. So if you have to choose, I definitely recommend reading the book itself.
All in all an AMAZING book.

Recommended for: supernatural fans.

And don't forget the rest of the series!

AND Cassandra is writing a "prequel" series to The Mortal Instruments, the first of which is The Clockwork Angel, out September 7, 2010 (you can see the countdown on my sidebar)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: Extras


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading

Warning: this teaser is from the fourth book in a series.

From page 89 of Extras by Scott Westerfeld:
"Underwater and underground?" He nodded again. "That would explain wetness. And yet I'm still mystified."

Monday, June 14, 2010

Thoughts?

So...what do you think of the new layout?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

YES!!

I am blowing off my two final exams tomorrow to present you with this BREAKING NEWS!!!

I'm not sure how many of you are as PSYCHED for Only the Good Spy Young, the fourth book in the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter, as I am. The publishing date was moved from June 15 to June 29 (check out the countdown on my sidebar!)

To tide you over, here is the AWESOME book trailer!

Monday, June 7, 2010

In honor...

In honor of the marvelous Sarah Dessen's birthday yesterday, I give you:

Title: This Lullaby

Author: Sarah Dessen

Pages: 345

Rating: ****1/2

Summary (from Goodreads): When it comes to relationships, Remy doesn't mess around. After all, she's learned all there is to know from her mother, who's currently working on husband number five. But there's something about Dexter that seems to defy all of Remy's rules. He certainly doesn't seem like Mr. Right. For some reason, however, Remy just can't seem to shake him. Could it be that Remy's starting to understand what those love songs are all about?

Review: Another amazing novel from Sarah Dessen. I read it a few years ago and just recently finished the audiobook. I think this one might be my third favorite--right after Just Listen and Along for the Ride (1 and 2, respectively). Remy is a realistic girl who even I, the hopeless romantic, could relate to. Dexter is adorable, as all of Sarah's male leads are. Sarah really sets the bar high on the boyfriend front, doesn't she?
As always, this book is beautifully written. The plot moves smoothly, and the conflict is a normal one, not some drastic complication that never happens in real life. The characters are realistic too, even if Dexter is way cooler than any boy I've ever met. But I can dream that guys like him are out there!
There's so much I want to say to express how marvelous this book is, but all I can think of is...amazing! The audiobook was good quality, so if you don't have time to sit down and read the novel (though that is always the best way to go) check out the audiobook!
I honestly believe Sarah Dessen is one of the best writers of our generation. I love every single book of hers, and know only one person who doesn't like her (and I know a lot of bookworms). She writes elequently and realistically. If you haven't picked up any and all of her books, do so IMMEDIATELY! You are missing out. She writes romance for the realist. I hope to be anywhere near as good as she is someday when I get around to writing a book!
What's your favorite Sarah Dessen novel?

Recommended for: romantics, but basically all girls teenaged+.

And...

Have you heard about Sarah's new novel, coming out May 2011?

Cut and Run is described as "...a high school senior who, after her parents’ divorce, has taken up the practice of assuming a new identity in each of the four towns she’s lived in."

This will be Sarah's tenth book out! Don't miss it! I'm already counting down!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I'm sure you've already seen...

The beauty that is... CRESCENDO!




Nora should have known her life was far from perfect. Despite starting a relationship with her guardian angel, Patch (who, title aside, can be described as anything but angelic), and surviving an attempt on her life, things are not looking up. Patch is starting to pull away and Nora can't figure out if it's for her best interest or if his interest has shifted to her arch-enemy, Marcie Millar. Not to mention that Nora is haunted by images of her father and she becomes obsessed with finding out what really happened to him that night he left for Portland and never came home.

The further Nora delves into the mystery of her father's death, the more she comes to question if her Nephilim bloodline has something to do with it as well as why she seems to be in danger more than the average girl. Since Patch isn't answering her questions and seems to be standing in her way, she has to start finding the answers on her own. Relying too heavily on the fact that she has a guardian angel puts Nora at risk again and again. But can she really count on Patch or is he hiding secrets darker than she can even imagine?



So what do you think? I don't think it has the "WOW" of the Hush, Hush cover, but it intrigues me about the book. I'm so excited!
P.S. If anyone's found a countdown for this book...feel free to share! ;)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sing Me to Sleep

Title: Sing Me to Sleep

Author: Angela Morrison

Pages: 301

Rating: ****1/2

Summary: THE TRANSFORMATION
Beth has always been “The Beast”—that’s what everyone at school calls her because of her awkward height, facial scars, and thick glasses. Beth’s only friend is geeky, golden-haired Scott. That is, until she’s selected to be her choir’s soprano soloist, and receives the makeover that will change her life forever.

THE LOVE AFFAIR

When Beth’s choir travels to Switzerland, she meets Derek: pale, brooding, totally dreamy. Derek’s untethered passion—for music, and for Beth—leaves her breathless. Because in Derek’s eyes? She’s not The Beast, she’s The Beauty.

THE IMPOSSIBLE CHOICE

When Beth comes home, Scott, her best friend in the world, makes a confession that leaves her completely torn. Should she stand by sweet, steady Scott or follow the dangerous, intense new feelings she has for Derek?

THE HEARTBREAK

The closer Beth gets to Derek, the further away he seems. Then Beth discovers that Derek’s been hiding a dark secret from her …one that could shatter everything.


Review: Ah. Maze. Ing. I absolutely LOVED this book. I so wanted to give it five stars! Beautifully written, relatable characters, interesting plot--this book has it all! It is so beautiful, it has joined a very prestigious, small group of books that made me cry (the others being Nory Ryan's Song, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, New Moon, and I think there was another one...can't think of it though!). I will say I predicted Derek's "big secret", and I'm sure most other readers did too.

What kept it a half-star away are two miniscule issues. First, Beth is a bit whiny in the beginning. All she talks about is how ugly she is; she never once compliments something about herself. It got a little annoying; I mean, I'm not drop-dead gorgeous either and I don't go around moping. But it got better. A little cliche on the whole "makeover" bit too, but oh well. My other issue was with the VERY LAST PAGE! I loved the ending, until the very final thing (which I won't reveal). It nearly spoiled the book for me.
In a word, this book is beautiful. Derek and Beth's relationship is enviable of every girl--whirlwind, sweep you off your feet, leave you breathless love. Who doesn't want that? It made me a bit jealous!
A fabulous read. I can tell you right now this book will be on my "Top books of the year" list. READ IT NOW!!!

Recommended for: romance lovers, high school age+

Also, check out the book trailer:

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Award!

I have received an award from Rachel at Books are a Garden. Thanks for the award, Rachel! Be sure to check out her blog!




A prolific blogger is one who is intellectually productive, keeping up an active blog with enjoyable content. After accepting this award, recipients are asked to pass it forward to seven other deserving blogs.

Here are the blogs I am awarding this on to:
The Compulsive ReaderTeens Read and Write
One Book at a Time
2 many good books, 2 little time
Books at Midnight
Fantastic Book Review
Shut Up! I'm Reading.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Girl in the Arena


Title: Girl in the Arena

Author: Lise Haines

Pages: 336

Rating: ****

Summary (from Goodreads):It’s a fight to the death—on live TV—when a gladiator’s daughter steps into the arena
Lyn is a neo-gladiator’s daughter, through and through. Her mother has made a career out of marrying into the high-profile world of televised blood sport, and the rules of the Gladiator Sports Association are second nature to their family. Always lend ineffable confidence to the gladiator. Remind him constantly of his victories. And most importantly: Never leave the stadium when your father is dying. The rules help the family survive, but rules—and the GSA—can also turn against you. When a gifted young fighter kills Lyn’s seventh father, he also captures Lyn’s dowry bracelet, which means she must marry him...

Review: I really enjoyed this book. I won it from The Compulsive Reader a while back, and I finally got around to reading it. The plot was fairly unique (more than once I was reminded of the Hunger Games), the characters were great, and there were just enough "What?!" moments to keep you guessing. But let me just get this out of the way: the dialogue bothered me. No quotation marks were used, so dialogue looked like this:

--I just don't know, I said. I shook my head and turned away.
--It'll all work out, he reassured me, though there was no possibly way of knowing.

It made the story hard to follow in some places, and I couldn't tell what was more speech or just her thoughts. It was somewhat distracting.
Other than that, which really doesn't have much to do with the story, I loved it. Lyn is a take charge, kick butt girl who doesn't let anyone fight her battles for her (no pun intended). She has a lot on her plate, but she balances it all gracefully.

The writing, for the most part, was pretty good. There were a few parts in the middle where there would be a really long run on sentence that wouldn't really go anywhere, but it just went on and on, throwing in a detail here, a bit more information there, and finally she would try to end it DRAMATICALLY. See what I mean? I only noticed it in the middle of the novel; the beginning and ending were much better.

The other little problem I had with this book is the same thing I had with the Hunger Games. They treat life like it is so disposable. Death isn't a major concept, like a character dying is normal. And I guess in the life of a gladiator you have to get used to it, but life is still a life. Death is still an ending, even if suddenly it's a sport (which disgusts me, don't even get me started). For much of the story, I had to forget the fact that the point of this "sport" is to kill your opponent. The winner isn't the one who scores more runs or the most baskets; it's the one who's still alive after the match. Which sent chills down my spine while reading.

But the story doesn't focus that much on the actual fights; it focuses on Lyn's life and the trouble she has as part of the Gladiator world. The GSA, the association that runs the sport, has many constricting rules and regulations members have to follow. Lyn is trying to break free of that and have a normal life for her and her little brother, but it isn't easy.

This really was a very good book. My issues were slight; I tore through this book in a couple days. I had to know how everything turned out for Lyn. A great read.

Recommended for: fans of The Hunger Games and kick-butt female protagonists.

But don't just take MY word for it. Watch this video, and I dare you not to want to read Girl in the Arena afterwards:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Star Shack

First, let me just say I am SO sorry for my absence! School was stressing me out, and I had prom last week (!!) so I was a little busy with that! I read a TON of great books over spring break, including this one, which I received from the author, Lila Castle!



Title: The Star Shack


Author: Lila Castle


Pages: 224


Rating: ***1/2

Summary (from Goodreads): Pete and Annabelle live for their summers together on Gingerbread Beach. They've always believed they were a perfect pair… until junior year, when Annabelle becomes obsessed with astrology. Now they can hardly stand each other. Pete thinks that Annabelle (a Leo) has become a total flake; Annabelle thinks Pete (a Scorpio) has become an uptight jerk. When Annabelle dares Pete to open a summer business on the Boardwalk generating personalized horoscopes, their fast-paced, hilarious bickering soon rises to a fever pitch. The he-said/she-said advice of the Star Shack is wildly popular and seems able to fix any relationship problem… except their own. But when one of Annabelle's star charts helps catch a thief, Pete might have to admit that the stars could really hold the key to the future…and to his own heart.


Review: I really liked this book. Told from alternating viewpoints, Lila Castle has creating a funny, cute read. I really enjoyed the characters--I laughed out loud more than a few times while reading!--and the plot was good. How they came to run the Star Shack was a bit unrealistic, but I just went with it. After reading this, I wish I could have my horoscope read to me! I want to find my perfect match! Anyway...


At the beginning of each chapter, there was a horoscope for one of the characters. This was really cool! It helped me understand the character; of course, they could have been made up for the book...but either way!


I love astrology and horoscopes, the idea that fate is playing a role in life, so I really understood where Annabelle was coming from. It'd be awesome to learn about the stars and be able to do an in-depth analysis of different people in my life (for others interested in this--check out The Secret Language of Birthdays. It's awesome, and accurate!!)


All in all, a good book. It was a quick, cute read; perfect for spring break or summer.



Recommended for: romance lovers, aspiring astrologers (aka anyone who reads her horoscope)

Friday, April 2, 2010

CUWAC

CUWAC, Curl Up With a Classic, is a monthly meme, hosted by me, in which I review a classic novel.

Title: Romeo and Juliet


Author: William Shakespeare


Rating: *****


Summary: Seriously? Is this necessary? Two feuding families, kids fall in love...


Review: My favorite work of Shakespeare. Beautiful, romantic, and tragic, Romeo and Juliet is perfect for a hopeless romantic like myself. It's story is based on the themes of true love and the fact that violence and hatred will get one no where. I know there are many complaints about this play, and here I shall attempt to address them:


  • Juliet is too young for Romeo; it's gross. Okay, so yes, she is supposed to be about fourteen, and it is assumed Romeo is at least twenty. But when Shakespeare was around, this was completely normal! He didn't write it to be gross. During this time period, girls were married as soon as they were were women, and never to boys their own age. Which is completely sexist, but hey, let's just be thankful that time is over!!

  • They fall in love too quickly, and they know each other for three days before getting married. All I can say about this one is whoever says this has no faith in the power of love. I think if you believe in love at first sight, you can believe this could happen. Love isn't always this sudden, but in Romeo and Juliet's case, it drowned them from the beginning.

Now, you may not agree with me, but I love this play. If you have to read something by Shakespeare, make it this. Not only is this my favorite play, it is one of two works of the Bard that I actually like, the other being Twelfth Night. All in all, definitely read this play, romantic or not. It's basically a necessity of anyone who calls themselves a reader.


Recommended for: romantics


If you haven't already, check out my review for the "retelling" of Romeo and Juliet, O, Juliet by Robin Maxwell here.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Crescendo!

Guess what guys! There is an official synopsis out for the sequel to Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, Crescendo! I discovered it from Teens Read and Write, and they found it on Girls Without a Bookshelf. Thanks to them! You can read my review of Hush, Hush here.

So here it is:


Nora should have known her life was far from perfect. Despite starting a relationship with her guardian angel, Patch (who, title aside, can be described as anything but angelic), and surviving an attempt on her life, things are not looking up.Patch is starting to pull away and Nora can't figure out if it's for her best interest or if his interest has shifted to her arch-enemy, Marcie Millar. Not to mention that Nora is haunted by images of her father and she becomes obsessed with finding out what really happened to him that night he left for Portland and never came home.

The further Nora delves into the mystery of her father's death, the more she comes to question if her Nephilim bloodline has something to do with it as well as why she seems to be in danger more than the average girl.

Since Patch isn't answering her questions and seems to be standing in her way, she has to start finding the answers on her own. Relying too heavily on the fact that she has a guardian angel puts Nora at risk again and again. But can she really count on Patch or is he hiding secrets darker than she can even imagine?


So what do you guys think??? I'm so excited!

As the picture shows, the cover will be released on April 10, 2010!!
Crescendo wil be released November 16, 2010!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Contests!!

Bloody Bookaholic is hosting two--that's right, TWO--contests!

First, she's giving away three copies of Numbers by Rachel Ward. This book looks amazing; I can't wait to check it out! Enter here by tomorrow! Sorry about such late notice!

Second, she's having a "Ridiculously Awesome Contest" and the name tells no lies! SEVEN winners, over 20 books! Check it out here, and enter by April 18!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Perchance to Dream

Again, I'm sorry about my absense. I have a feeling my goal of reading 150 books this year will not be reached, because I am already ten books behind where I was last year. Also, I am skipping Teaser Tuesday this week because I'm still reading One Butt Cheek at a Time (yes, I'm terrible). But, here is my review of a great sequel of 2010!



Title: Perchance to Dream



Author: Lisa Mantchev



Pages: 333



Rating: ****



Summary (from Goodreads): The stuff that dreams are made on.
Act Two, Scene One.
Growing up in the enchanted Thèâtre Illuminata, Beatrice Shakespeare Smith learned everything about every play ever written. She knew the Players and their parts, but she didn’t know that she, too, had magic. Now, she is the Mistress of Revels, the Teller of Tales, and determined to follow her stars. She is ready for the outside world.
Enter BERTIE AND COMPANY.
But the outside world soon proves more topsy-turvy than any stage production. Bertie can make things happen by writing them, but outside the protective walls of the Thèâtre, nothing goes as planned. And her magic cannot help her make a decision between—
Nate: Her suave and swashbuckling pirate, now in mortal peril.
Ariel: A brooding, yet seductive, air spirit whose true motives remain unclear.
When Nate is kidnapped and taken prisoner by the Sea Goddess, only Bertie can free him. She and her fairy sidekicks embark on a journey aboard the Thèâtre’s caravan, using Bertie’s word magic to guide them. Along the way, they collect a sneak-thief, who has in his possession something most valuable, and meet The Mysterious Stranger, Bertie’s father—and the creator of the scrimshaw medallion. Bertie’s dreams are haunted by Nate, whose love for Bertie is keeping him alive, but in the daytime, it’s Ariel who is tantalizingly close, and the one she is falling for. Who does Bertie love the most? And will her magic be powerful enough to save her once she enters the Sea Goddess’s lair?



Review: I'm a huge fan of the Thèâtre Illuminata. I adored Eyes Like Stars (You can read my review here), and Perchance to Dream was no disappointment. The characters were just as likeable and funny, and this sequel does a great job of showing Bertie as she adjusts to her newfound power.

Ariel is the only person on Bertie's "Rescue Mission" who has ever been outside the Thèâtre, and it is nothing like the rest of them could have imagined. Bertie's magic doesn't work the way she expects it to out in the real world. The romance it the book is great until the end; Lisa does a great job of showing the love triangle. I thought the romantic ending left something to be desired; hopefully that'll be cleared up in the next book?

This book has a lot more magic in it. There were some parts I read four times, but still didn't quite understand what had happened. I liked it for the most part--it added flair and mystery. I thought some parts could have been a bit clearer.

Perchance to Dream keeps the originality of Eyes Like Stars going; I have yet to read anything close to Lisa's world.

Overall, much more fantasy than Eyes Like Stars. It answers some questions, but also brings up new ones.

Perchance to Dream will be released May 25, 2010!



Recommended for: Fantasy lovers, those who believe in the power of words

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: One Butt Cheek at a Time


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme held by MizB at Should Be Reading


From page 92 of One Butt Cheek at a Time by Amber Kizer
"Oh no, Ms. Whoptummy has a terrible gleam of power in her eye. The same twinkle Hitler had, I'm sure."
This simply says it all! What are your teasers this Tuesday?
And what do you guys think of the countdown at the top of the page? Too much? I tried it on the side, but you couldn't see it.

Monday, March 8, 2010

It's Monday! What are you Reading?


Correction: This is a meme brought to us by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through a World of Books. Sorry about that!

This past week, I've read quite a few gems:


Perchance to Dream


















O, Juliet


















          Heist Society
















          I loved all of these books! I already posted my review of O Juliet, and I'm eager to post my reviews of the rest!


          Now, I am currently reading One Butt Cheek at a Time, which promises to be hilarious!



          What are you reading?

          Sunday, March 7, 2010

          O, Juliet


          Title: O, Juliet


          Author: Robin Maxwell


          Pages: 306


          Rating: *****


          Summary (From Goodreads): Before Juliet Capelletti lie two futures: a traditionally loveless marriage to her father's business partner, or the fulfillment of her poetic dreams, inspired by the great Dante. Unlike her beloved friend Lucrezia, who looks forward to her arranged marriage, Juliet has a wild, romantic imagination that knows not the bounds of her great family's stalwart keep. The latter path is hers for the taking when Juliet meets Romeo Monticecco, a soulful young man seeking peace between their warring families. A dreamer himself, Romeo is unstoppable, once he determines to capture the heart of the remarkable woman foretold in his stars. The breathless intrigue that ensues is the stuff of beloved legend. But those familiar with Shakespeare's muse know only half the story...


          Review: Usually I wait a few weeks to post my review of a book. Not sure why; it just takes me that long to get around to it.

          SO not the case with O, Juliet.

          This book was fantastic. I love the Romeo and Juliet love story, so when I heard about this book, I had to have it. First, the writing. Phenomenal. I've found two styles for historical fiction: Some historical fiction is written in a modern tone, so I often forget it is actually set in a different time period until someone mentions a ball or something. Maxwell wrote in the second style: classical. It is written with an old voice, so it sounds as if it is really coming from that time period. It is beautiful and inspiring. It makes me want to live during that time and write from that period, but this style is much more difficult, I believe--and much more satisfying.

          Next, the story. As mentioned, I love Romeo and Juliet; it is my favorite of Shakespeare's works. I am a hopeless romantic, so I could just imagine being Juliet, wanting true love and knowing it is hard to find (not unlike modern times). She knows a terrible marriage to a dull man is imminent--until she meets Romeo. Romeo is everything she has ever wanted in a man; their love is fast and true. The part I loved most about this book was how it filled in the blanks. Shakespeare's play is, while excellent, short and, obviously, a play. You only read the dialogue and actions. In Maxwell's novel, readers can read Juliet's thoughts, see into exactly what she was thinking when she fell for Romeo and when she decides life isn't worth living without him (sorry if that spoiled the ending--but we all know what happens, don't we?).

          Maxwell does make a few changes to the traditional story, but none that mattered much to me. If you are a die-hard Shakespearean and treasure is works above all other literature, it may bother you. Some differences include: they live in Florence, not Verona; Juliet is 18, not 14; their names are different; and Juliet doesn't have a nurse, but a best friend named Lucrezia. I found nothing wrong with these changes; it's an author's right to take liberties with their writing.

          All in all, I adored this book. The writing was beautiful, the characters were filled in, and the story completed what Shakespeare outlined.


          Recommended for: hopeless romantics, historical fiction junkies, Shakespeare fans; no reader under high school age (for some *ahem* mature scenes)

          Friday, March 5, 2010

          CUWAC: To Kill a Mockingbird

          Title: To Kill a Mockingbird

          Author: Harper Lee


          Pages: 336


          Rating: *****


          Summary (From Amazon): Set in the small Southern town of Maycomb, Alabama, during the Depression, To Kill a Mockingbird follows three years in the life of 8-year-old Scout Finch, her brother, Jem, and their father, Atticus--three years punctuated by the arrest and eventual trial of a young black man accused of raping a white woman. Though her story explores big themes, Harper Lee chooses to tell it through the eyes of a child. The result is a tough and tender novel of race, class, justice, and the pain of growing up.


          Review: This is one of my favorite books of all time. I read it several years ago for school, but it has remained at the top of my list ever since. The story is touching and revealing about human nature, and the themes present can be applied to modern day as well. By telling this story through Scout, a child, we see the way innocence was ruined in children by the lies and threats of violence. Scout faces challenges far beyond her years. Atticus is a loving, brave man who I respect deeply. But it is not all deep and brooding--Boo Radley adds much to the story, and the reader comes to see what is believed is often not the truth. This is a must read for all, even those who are not big readers. Recommend it to your friends, family, teachers, waitresses, random people on the street...


          Recommended for: Everyone!

          Thursday, March 4, 2010

          Bad Apple


          Title: Bad Apple


          Author: Laura Ruby


          Pages: 256
          Rating: ***


          Summary (from Goodreads): Junior Tola Riley doesn’t care what people say about her. She knows her ever-changing hair color and goth clothes make her an easy target. Whatever. But the latest rumor is different.... The entire school believes she had an affair with her art teacher. The rumors may be a lie, but the fallout is all too real. Will Tola finally stand up for the truth?


          Review: This book was ok. Not great, but I liked it alright. The writing and plot were pretty good, but it never really hit me. When I finished it, I forgot about it.

          I could never really connect with Tola. She's a unique young girl, and I respected how she stood up for herself in the end, but overall I never really liked her. I felt like she should have stood up to the mean girl more than she did (I mean, if someone wrote on my face, I would slap them silly!). I could relate to her sister more--the intelligent if unstable older sister who's trying to figure out where her life is going. She was pretty cool. I also couldn't relate to the absent parent thing. Her parents thought she had an affair with her art teacher, and wouldn't even listen to her side! That kind of frustrated me. Bad parenting 101.

          I liked the [comments] after each chapter. It was cool to see how other people were feeling over the course of the book, even if the people were wrong and judgemental.

          Overall, an ok read. Not at the top of my recommendations.


          Recommended for: anyone who has ever felt like no one would listen


          So sorry for my recent silence, guys. Please don't give up on me! I'll do better, promise!

          Tuesday, March 2, 2010

          Teaser Tuesday: Perchance to Dream

          Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.
          Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
          • Grab your current read
          • Open to a random page
          • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
          • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
          • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

          From page 77 of Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev (ARC):

          "That went rather well," Moth said. "No one was killed by a high-heeled shoe to the noggin."

          This book is really, really good. Though something just happened that has me a bit confused.

          What are your teasers this Tuesday?

          P.S. I've hit 30 followers!!! Yay!!! Might have to celebrate in some way...suggestions?

          Tuesday, February 23, 2010

          Teaser Tuesday: Looking for JJ and goodies!

          Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
          Grab your current read
          Open to a random page
          Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
          BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
          Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

          From page 41 of Looking For JJ by Anne Cassidy:
          "As soon as she'd seen the photograph in the newsagent's shop window she'd known that there would be others....Someone, the detective in the greasy leather jacket perhaps, was hanging round the corners of her life, waiting to walk up behind her one day and lay an accusing hand on her shoulder."

          These two lines aren't technically next to each other, but I thought they made a better teaser together.


          As for goodies, I meant to post about this last week when I received them: I got books in the mail! I finally understand online book-buying. I always preferred going to the store and looking thorugh the shelves, but now? I totally get the hype of buying online. I was so excited when I got home to find a big box of books just waiting for me! I finally spent my Barnes and Noble gift cards from Christmas (I know, new personally record for how long I kept book gift cards in my possession). I received (last week):

          Dear John by Nicholas Sparks
          Heist Society by Ally Carter
          Avalon High Coronation #3: Hunter's Moon by Meg Cabot
          Mystery book that cannot be revealed, for it is a follower of this blog's birthday present!

          I've already finished Dear John, and I am so excited to read Heist Society! I love Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls series, so I'm pretty pumped for this new book!



          I'm so sorry for my recent silence. School is getting more and more hectic, so I am just trying to manage that and basketball. It should get better soon, I promise!

          What are your teasers this Tuesday?

          Saturday, February 20, 2010

          Sorry & Reward

          So sorry for my absence the past couple days! School is a little controlling right now, so I haven't had much time to read, much less blog!

          So, in return, here is a great contest being held by Storywings! She's giving away a ton of books and there will be more winners the more followers she gets! Check it out here! Ends March 19.

          I just read Dear John (*cough* amazing! *cough*), so I will have a review of that up after I see the movie so I can give you a comparison!

          Sunday, February 14, 2010

          Along for the Ride

          Title: Along for the Ride


          Author: Sarah Dessen


          Pages: 383


          Rating: *****


          Summary (from Goodreads): When Auden impulsively goes to stay with her father, stepmother, and new baby sister the summer before she starts college, all the trauma of her parents' divorce is revived, even as she is making new friends and having new experiences such as learning to ride a bike and dating.


          Review: I am a huge, huge, huge Sarah Dessen fan. I love all of her books, and Along for the Ride is no different. I can relate somewhat to Auden's focus on school, but I know nothing of her social awkwardness. However, Sarah Dessen makes it relatable and believable. I enjoyed Auden's narration and I loved Heidi, Maggie, and Eli. Maggie was the perfect girlfriend. Colby is the perfect vacation town.

          This is Auden's summer away. I wish every summer that I could go somewhere and have everything change, which is exactly what happens for Auden. She decides at the last minute to go stay with her father and stepmother for the summer, and her whole life turns upside down. She makes friends, and she has to finally step away from her mother's expectations of her. The one thing that doesn't change is her insomnia. It was very interesting to hear about the "night life"--I myself have only pulled four all-nighters. I really enjoyed how Sarah ended the book, but I won't go into detail for obvious reasons.

          Sarah's writing was superb, the characters were people I wish I had in my life, and the plot was interesting and never dulled. My favorite thing about Sarah Dessen's books is how she makes it more than a love story--it isn't run of the mill chick lit. She makes it about something bigger, something deeper. She makes it seem as if this is just a normal girl's life--she's simply documenting it. Sarah Dessen=my idol.

          I read this book when it first came out last June, but I just finished the audiobook. The quality of the audiobook is probably a 3.5. There were some gaps that didn't belong, but I liked the reader.


          Recommended for: anyone who dreams for a summer that changes everyone; anyone who was robbed of a childhood; anyone! middle/high school age+
          Now I must get back to the Olympics! Who else is addicted to them?

          Saturday, February 13, 2010

          Twitter

          Hey guys,

          As you probably know, I have twitter. I had a personal twitter and a twitter for this blog, and I've now decided to combine them. My new username is qt_bookworm, and you can follow me by clicking on my twitter sidebar.

          I deleted my blog twitter and kept my personal twitter, so if you were following me there, please now follow my other account. The personal twitter will now be for both personal stuff and book blog stuff.

          Sorry if this is confusing in any way. Please follow me! Thanks :)

          Thursday, February 11, 2010

          Hunger Games 3! and The Reckoning Correction (again)




          Title: MOCKINGJAY

          Author: Suzanne Collins
          Release Date: August 24. 2010

          Ok, who LOVES the cover and title? I am so excited for this book!

          Scholastic has decided not to release advanced reader copies, which is unfortunate but also kind of nice. You won't have to worry about spoilers!

          So what do you think? Any theories?





          In other news, I was wrong AGAIN on the release date for The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong. It coems out April 6, 2010 according to Amazon. So sorry about that!