Sunday, April 29, 2012

Weekly Book Haul

Happy Sunday everyone!  This week I was super excited to get Intangible by J. Meyers for review from the author (thank you J.).  I should have the post up later this week.  Hope everyone else had a good week too.  Leave a comment and show me your haul.

Also, I FINALLY got the Facebook page up and running so make sure to check it out!

For Review:

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Friday Feature and Follow (2)

Feature and Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.

This week's question is:  Have you had a character that disappointed you? One that you fell in love with and then “broke up” with later on in either the series or a stand-alone book? Tell us about him or her.

A:  Lina Broud from The Luxe series.  Yes, another answer from the same series.  It's just so good I can't get it out of my head!  I really liked Lina at first and saw the potential for her to be more than just a shallow, social climber.  I suppose in the end she grew a little but it took so long that by the time she got around to growing up I was totally disgusted with her.  She had so many people throughout the book that really wanted to help her, that wanted her to succeed or that just loved her and she never seemed to get it.  She only cared about herself.  The worst part is that even when she finally had all the money and security she could ever want, she didn't immediately insist that her sister quit her job as a maid and move into the mansion.  I was literally huffing as I was reading the last book during Lina's chapters.  Even though she ends up changing, it was just too late for me. 


Author: Heather Dixon
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 480
Published: 2011
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Rating: 5/5 Stars

"Azalea and her younger sisters dance in the mysterious silver forest every night, escaping from the sadness of the palace and their father’s grief. What they don’t understand—although as time passes they begin to get an inkling of the danger they are in—is that the mysterious and dashing Keeper is tightening his snare with deadly purpose. Luckily, Azalea is brave and steadfast. Luckily, a handsome young army captain also has his eye on Azalea. . . . Lush, romantic, and compelling, this debut novel by Heather Dixon will thrill fans of Shannon Hale, Robin McKinley, and Edith Pattou"

My mom insists that she was never really into fairy tales when she was little.  I insist she's lying.  Maybe she wasn't the dress up like Cinderella and run around the backyard pretending to talk to woodland creatures type, but I promise you that at one point in her life someone read her a story about a princess in a far away kingdom, etc, etc and she pictured herself in a big poofy dress holding court over the the family dog and her rather large collection of gerbils.  Little girls (even the non-girly types) love princesses and talking animals and handsome princes. That's why Disney was invented right?  Fairy tales: it's what we do (I feel like that should be on a shirt somewhere).  I, myself, spent the vast majority of my childhood playing princess with my stuffed animals and I have the crown (and the superiority complex) to prove it.  But I digress, why do we really love fairy tales?  I maintain that it is because they are so contradictory.  There are always two sides to a good fairy tale.  First, the fluff.  The beautiful princess, the charming castle, the enchanted forest and the handsome prince.  But something sinister lurks in the dark.  In all of these stories there is fear.  Witches, dragons, imprisonment, and (almost without exception) death.  That's what makes the story so great.  You're enchanted, but you're afraid at the same time.  

Entwined in a fairy tale lovers dream.  It is beautiful, witty and tragic.  There were times during the book where I laughed out loud (usually because of the main character's closest sister, Bramble), there were times when I was grinning like an idiot and there were times when I was so freaked out I had a little trouble going to sleep.  This book is magic, plain and simple.  Dixon tells the story of Azalea and her eleven sisters.  Their mother has died and their father, the King, is distant and can't be bothered with them.  The house is in mourning for a whole year and the girls are forbidden from dancing, which is the only way they find comfort.  They find a magic passageway that takes them to a silver forest where they can dance every night.  However, the sinister Keeper wants something in return.  Meanwhile the girls struggle to come to terms with the death of their mother and the absence of their father all while trying to navigate the sticky world of romance.  This book is not just about fairy tales and princesses though.  The main theme of the story is the importance of family.

This is Dixon's first novel and she has done a magnificent job. One of the most amazing things was the character development.  There are the twelve princesses and the king and queen, the household staff and several friends as well as Keeper and by about the fourth chapter you felt that you knew everyone!  I found myself going "that's so Bramble" or "why does Delphinium have to be so grumpy" as I read. I truly did not want this book to end.  The whole experience was just too much fun.  It was sweet and spooky and quirky and hilarious all rolled in to one big shining package.  I have been scouring the internet looking for news of a sequel with no success thus far.  I really hope Dixon decides to continue the story of Azalea and her sisters, they are too charming for her to stop now.  This is a must read!

Monday, April 23, 2012


Author: Belle Malory
Genre: Drama, Romance, Fantasy
Published: 2011
Rating:  3/5 Stars

"Lola Moori is hiding a secret she doesn't know she's keeping. She begins to remember someone. Someone important. His name is Gabe…and whatever they shared, she could feel that it was epic. Yet it seems Gabe wanted her to forget him. Forever. The curse that repressed Lola’s memories for the span of several lifetimes is coming undone. But unfortunately, she discovers that some secrets are better left buried."

I don't know what it is about gypsies that just freaks me right out.  Maybe it's because my grandma used to threaten to "sell me to the gypsies" when I misbehaved or maybe it's because in every movie ever made about gypsies some idiot messes with one and ends up with some horrible curse.  I don't know, but whatever the reason, the whole idea just gives me the willies.  So when I came across this self-published love story about gypsies I had my reservations.  Luckily for me, the story wasn't all that scary so I was able to read on and actually enjoyed this book!  

The story centers around Lola, a gypsy girl on the run from her father who wants to sell her into prostitution (real nice dad!).  She ends up at her grandmother's house in Florida where she meets the devastatingly handsome Gabe.  She is inexplicably drawn to him and we find out this is because they were lovers in a past life (Lola has no memories of her past lives unlike other gypsies who remember everything).  Gabe, remembering the love he has for Lola, tries and tries to get her to be with him again but she is resistant until she finds out that some of her memories could prove dangerous for them both.

Let me start off with what I liked about this book.  The story was unique.  I haven't read a ton of books about past lives but it is an interesting concept and the way that Malory uses it in this story is charming.  Lola's inability to remember anything about her past lives and Gabe's painful realization that she cannot feel the depths of what he does because she has not lived it like he has is truly a heartbreaking concept.  I also like that Lola doesn't just drop everything and run headlong into his well-toned arms the second she finds out who he is.  It adds a bit of realism to an otherwise fantastic tale.  Lola is a very sympathetic character.  She is not whiny, helpless or bratty.  She is self-reliant and strong but has some depth and vulnerability as well.

Now, onto the not so great parts of the book.  The grammar!  This is a big one for me.  There were times, while reading this, that the grammar was pretty poor. Now, I'm not accusing Malory of having bad grammar throughout the book.  On the contrary, most of it was very well-written, which made the parts that were bad puzzling.  There was a lot of ending sentences in prepositions, spelling confusion and even some subject-verb agreement issues.  Then again, maybe I'm just being a stick in the mud.   Another thing I didn't like about this book was that there wasn't a great payoff with the relationship.  Without giving anything away, I didn't feel like Lola and Gabe ever had the big, emotional talk or moment that I had been waiting to see.  They sort of just went back and forth with the "I love you, but I can't love you" deal for most of the book.  Along the same lines,  I didn't feel like Malory really explained how the relationship came to be during the past lives.  I would have like for her to delve into that a little more.  Finally,  there was one conversation that really irked me.  When Lola finally sees her dad again they have the obligatory conversation about the whole prostitution thing (yeah no big deal).  The problem is that instead of a big dramatic confrontation, it plays out like an episode of a mid-90s sitcom.  Basically she calls him out on trying to pimp his own daughter and he brushes it off like she's accusing him of leaving the milk out on the counter all night.  She should respond by being furious and maybe beating him with a pipe or something.  Instead she kind of shrugs her shoulders like "well, that's just dad!" (studio audience applauds, roll credits).  I mean come on!   We're talking about parental neglect and human trafficking here among other things!  Then again, that's just my opinion.

Overall, though, I really did enjoy this book and I will probably read the next one "Fortell" when it comes out.  This is a good rainy day book and you do feel connected to the characters.  Especially for a first novel, this is a welcome addition to the bookshelf.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

In My Mailbox (1)

In my mailbox is a weekly meme started by Kristi over at The Story Siren to help you show off which new books you received/bought/downloaded/borrowed/stole (just kidding of course, no thievery allowed!) this week.  Hop over to her wonderful blog to learn more about it!

So this is my first IMM, and I download some great looking books onto my Kindle this week and I'm super excited!  Best of all, all of these are currently free through Amazon for download so check them out!

Awakening by Karice Bolton
Awakening (The Watchers Trilogy, #1)
Goodreads Profile
This is the first book in The Watchers Trilogy and it is about a girl named Ana who has lost her parents and is trying to start a new life for herself.  She meet this guy Athen who is from the Underworld (omg awesome!) and finds out she has special powers.  Adventure ensues.

At first I wasn't sure this was up my alley but then I saw the word "underworld" and let me tell you something about myself:  I love mythology, so my mind immediately went there.  I'm not sure if it is actually about mythology, but I'll have fun finding out.

Tears of the Broken by A.M. Hudson
Tears of the Broken
Goodreads Profile

This book only has a handful of reviews but they are raves!  It is a vampire romance (who doesn't love those?) but apparently there are some different twists in this book.  It's about a human with a tragic past, Ara, who falls in love with a vampire named David who apparently has an even bigger secret than...well...being a vampire.  I can't wait to read this one!

Marked by Kim Richardson
Marked (Soul Guardians, #1)
Goodreads Profile

Okay,confession, ever since I developed an obsession with the CW show Supernatural I've had this fascination with angels.  However, I haven't read an angel book yet (I know, shoot me).  This book seems like a great place to start.  It's about a girl named Kara who dies and begins to train as a guardian angel.  However after the other angels notice a mark on her leg they accuse her of being a spy for the demons.  Yes please!  Now, this book has had mixed reviews but sometimes I really end up liking those types of books.  I'll be reading this one very soon.

Shadowbloom by The Sullivan Brothers
Goodreads Profile
Here's another one with mixed reviews. It's about twins, Axton and Aniva, who's parent's disappear after crashing their car into a willow tree when the twins are three.  When they grow up the twins go back to the willow and discover a magical garden world.  The premise, at first, didn't suck me in but some of the reviews on Amazon said it was a really unique book.  Plus that cover is just amazing.  It's like Shel Silverstein meets Alice in Wonderland. We'll see about this one.

That's it for the new books this week.  I have a few more in my TBR pile before I get to these but I should finish them all fairly soon.  Have a great Sunday everyone!!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Feature and Follow


To join the fun and make new book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
    • (Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog  Friday Hosts {Parajunkee and Alison Can Read}
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    • Put your Blog name and URL in the Linky thing. You can also grab the code if you would like to insert it into your posts.
    • Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say “hi” in your comments and that they are now following you.
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    • Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”
    • If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love…and the followers
    • If you’re new to the feature follow hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!
Q: Fight! Fight! If you could have two fictional characters battle it out (preferably from books), who would they be and who do you think would win?  

A:  Penelope Hayes from The Luxe series VS.  Blair Waldorf from Gossip Girl!
The whole time I was reading The Luxe series I couldn't stop thinking about what would happen if Blair were plopped down in 1899 Manhattan and had to go up against Penelope.  I think Miss Hayes would definitely be given a run for her money.  However, in the end I think Penelope would win.  She's just more ruthless than Blair and doesn't have the obstacles of compassion or conscience to stand in her way.  You can bet though that they would be (very ladylike of course) frienemies.  The witty banter and catty plotting would be worth it for me!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Author: Ransom Riggs
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Drama, Historical Fiction
Pages: 348
Published: 2011
Publisher: Quirk Books
Rating:  5/5 Stars
"A mysterious island.An abandoned orphanage.A strange collection of very curious photographs.
It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive."

Oh my goodness, how I loved this book!  The first thing that drew me to it was, of course, the creepy floating girl on the cover.  And she isn't the only beautiful and haunting portrait in the book.  In fact, there are quite a few.  The story revolves around vintages photographs of children with special talents (all of the photos are real antique prints and most have not been altered).  They are so creepy and beautiful, I just couldn't get enough.  This alone probably would have been enough for me to love the book but, to top it off, it also happened to be a great story!

It revolves around a teenage boy named Jacob and his relationship with his aging grandfather.  All of Jacob's life his grandfather has talked about these children and the incredible photos of their talents.  As a young boy, Jacob is enthralled by his grandfather's stories, but as he grows older they grow apart and Jacob stops believing that the children were really as special as they seemed.  In an attempt to learn the truth about his grandfather's childhood and the children's home where he lived during the early part of World War II, Jacob travels to a small Island near Wales where he must try to find the children and the monster that haunted them.

The story was so complex and rich that I found myself completely wrapped up in it for days, even after I had finished. Jacob is such a wonderful character.  In many ways he is a painfully normal teenage boy.  He is bored, insecure and somewhat lazy, but he is basically a good kid who just needs some direction in his life.  Watching Jacob's personality develop throughout the course of the book was really something.  By the end of the book he is a brave, confident young man with purpose and drive.  

Another great thing about this novel is the creep factor.  It isn't a horror novel really, but it is so unnerving at times that I definitely had trouble getting to sleep some nights.  First of all you have the pile of spooky photos, which I've already talked about.  Then, of course the setting is this tiny, rainy island off the coast of Wales and, in particular, a huge decaying mansion that seems to have just been abandoned one day.  Finally there is the monster, this horrible unseen force that is chasing Jacob and is possibly responsible for the deaths of dozens of children.  One word that I could use to describe the whole thing is: haunting.  The creep factor can be seen in the book trailer as well.  (I wouldn't watch before bed if I were you!)

The ending is satisfying but there is room for a sequel (yeah!). This book was just amazing. The pictures add so much to the story and make it really easy to visualize the whole thing.  There is already talk of a movie and according to Rigg's blog Tim Burton has signed on as director!  I'm so happy that I was able to read this one and I can't wait to see it on the big screen!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Long Long Sleep

Author: Anna Sheehan
Genre: Fantasy, Dystopian, Romance
Pages: 342
Published: 2011
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Rating: 4/5 Stars
"Rosalinda Fitzroy has been asleep for sixty-two years when she is woken by a kiss. Locked away in the chemically induced slumber of a stasis tube in a forgotten subbasement, sixteen-year-old Rose slept straight through the Dark Times that killed millions and utterly changed the world she knew. Now, her parents and her first love are long gone, and Rose-- hailed upon her awakening as the long-lost heir to an interplanetary empire-- is thrust alone into a future in which she is viewed as either a freak or a threat. Desperate to put the past behind her and adapt to her new world, Rose finds herself drawn to the boy who kissed her awake, hoping that he can help her to start fresh. But when a deadly danger jeopardizes her fragile new existence, Rose must face the ghosts of her past with open eyes-- or be left without any future at all."

Beautiful, intriguing and sometimes heartbreaking, A Long Long Sleep is a book that sucks you in and holds on.  The story is framed as a futuristic Sleeping Beauty.  The main character is Rose, a shy, sheltered heiress, who wakes up one day to find that her idyllic world is gone and that she is now a ward of her late father's company, UniCorp.  We soon get the feeling, however, that Rose's world wasn't as perfect as it seemed.  Secrets about her former life and her family begin to reveal themselves as Rose starts to  fall for the new CEO's grandson, the dreamy Bren.  Meanwhile she is still holding on to the memory of her long lost love Xavier.

A Long Long Sleep has all the makings of a great book and, for the most part, it delivers.  First though, let me talk about the few issues I had with this book.  The first, and biggest issue, was that the beginning tended to drag on a bit.  There were times in the first half of the book where I felt that several pages could have been compressed into  a couple of paragraphs.  Second, again in the first half, the language was sometimes confusing.  Rose is trying to fit into a new world and the reader sometimes has to struggle along with her as she learns the new slang.  While this drives home the empathy factor, it did tend to make me me feel like an 80 year old trying to make sense out of high school lunch table conversation.  Finally, I really wish we could have seen more of the romance between Rose and Xavier.  I didn't feel very emotionally connected to him until about midway through the book and I feel like, since this is the main love story in the book, it could have been explored a little more.

Now, with that out of the way, let me tell you what I loved (and I did love this book).  I loved Rose!  She was strong, sweet, and just vulnerable enough.  Her struggle as she fell for another guy while still holding on to her first love felt very real to me.  And there's another thing, even though this book is taking place a couple hundred years in the future it was all very relateable.  Usually I don't go for sci fi stuff because I can't really relate to it, but this story felt very plausible and even the super futuristic elements felt realistic.  I think one reason the story seemed so realistic was the character development.  I knew all of the characters, even the background characters, and their motivations.  The relationship that I loved the most was the friendship between Rose and Otto (a half alien/ half human hybrid).  You could feel how much they cared about each other and Otto's dry humor was the perfect companion to Rose's panicked thoughts.  The thing that really sealed the deal for me though was the end of the book.  I really did not see the last couple of chapters coming.  Some of the revelations made my head spin.  More than that though, the ending was incredibly emotional.  I rarely cry when I read and this book made me weep both with joy and with sadness.  

I truly hope that Sheehan plans on a sequel because I would love to explore the relationships in the book more and really see Rose come into her own.  Certainly this book will stay with me for a very long time.  I highly recommend picking up A Long Long Sleep, it makes a great bedtime story.


Please allow me to introduce myself...

I decided to start a blog for two reasons.  First, because you can only look at job applications and post your resume so many times before you feel the need to take a flying leap onto the nearest pointy object.  Second, because I love books!  Books have been my constant companions through a basically lonely childhood, confusing teen years, and my hectic and prolonged college life.  I lose myself in books.  I can see the faces of the characters, hear the soundtrack playing softly in the background and I feel the same rush that you experience while watching your favorite movie.

After I finish a really good book I feel like I'm losing a good friend.  I try to quell my sadness by telling anyone who will listen about how awesome it was and then trying to make them read it.  So instead of driving my family and friends to the brink of insanity I figured I may as well share these reviews with people who may actually want them. So this is for my fellow bibliophiles. Those of you who can't go to sleep until you get to the next chapter, skip going out on a Saturday night because you just got the next book in the series, and have seriously thought about turning the dining room into a library.  I hope that I can help you find some great stories!