Sunday, July 31, 2011

In My Mailbox (29)




In My Mailbox is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

Here's what I got this week!




Clean by Amy Reed
Tunnel Vision by Susan Shaw
Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst




The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa
The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa
Sacrifice (Crave #2) by Melinda Metz & Laura J. Burns

What did you get this week??

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Frost by Wendy Delsol

Frost by Wendy Delsol
Release Date: October 11, 2011
Publisher: Candlewick Press

After the drama of discovering that she’s a member of the Storks, a mystical order of women endowed with powerful abilities, Katla Leblanc is finally settling into her life in chilly Minnesota. In fact, the ex-California girl even hopes for a white Christmas. But Katla’s wintry wish unexpectedly turns into the snowstorm of the century, drawing the attention of Brigid, a gorgeous environmental researcher with an amazing array of fur coats and an unusual interest in Katla’s boyfriend, Jack. - Goodreads.com

Let me start out by saying that I really loved Stork, so I was really excited about reading the sequel.  Although I did enjoy the book, all in all, I felt that it didn't quite live up to my expectations.  Delsol's writing was just as good as I remember, and the characters just as likeable, but at the same time, I felt like there were so many missed opportunities in this book to further develop them, and their individual storylines.

I always have a hard time with storylines where some chic comes along to derail the hero from his rightful path away from the heroine.  It frustrates me so much as I read, that sometimes that frustration becomes irritation, and I find that I can't enjoy things very much.  This occurs a bit in Frost, as Brigid comes along and kind of ruins, to an extent, the twosome of Jack and Katla that was created in Stork.  I get antsy when so much time and distance starts occuring between two characters that are supposed to be together, at least when it appears that it's unnecessary.  I felt Jack could have involved Katla more rather than Brigid.

I also wish a bit more emphasis had been placed on the folklore, as it had been in the first story.  Despite all of that, however, Delsol is still a great storyteller, and the characters were still the same likeable ones I fell in love with in Stork.  I am not sorry I read it and did enjoy it.  I do look forward to future books by Wendy Delsol.

If you enjoyed this book, you might also like:

Friday, July 29, 2011

Gotta Have It YA Releases: August 2011

A new month!  New books to yearn for!! These are titles that I am salivating over and can't wait to get in August. I Gotta Have It!



Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep (Release Date: 8/1/2011)
Never Have I Ever (The Lying Game 2) by Sara Shepherd (Release Date: 8/2/2011)
Eternal (Immortal 3) by Gillian Shields (Release Date: 8/2/2011)




Blood Ties (Blood Coven 6) by Mari Mancusi (Release Date: 8/2/2011)
Michael Vey: Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Evans (Release Date: 8/9/2011)
The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore (Release Date: 8/23/2011)




Bloodlines by Richelle Mead (Release Date: 8/23/2011)


Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle

The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle
Release Date: September 6, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen

Sixteen-year-old Laurel's world changes instantly when her parents and brother are killed in a terrible car accident. Behind the wheel is the father of her bad-boy neighbor, David Kaufman, whose mother is also killed. In the aftermath of the tragedy, Laurel navigates a new reality in which she and her best friend grow apart, boys may or may not be approaching her out of pity, overpowering memories lurk everywhere, and Mr. Kaufman is comatose but still very much alive. Through it all, there is David, who swoops in and out of Laurel's life and to whom she finds herself attracted against her better judgment. She will forever be connected to him by their mutual loss, a connection that will change them both in unexpected ways.  - Goodreads.com

This is just the type of story I like to see in a debut novel.  Laurel's story was simple but emotionally engaging for me.  Imagine losing all but one member of your family in an instant.  The emptiness you would feel, and the total displacement, not knowing now where your place in the world should be.  We tend to define ourselves partly by those people who are most involved with us, the members of our family.  To lose them all probably brings with it a feeling that you've lost a part of yourself. 

Jennifer Castle did a fantastic job conveying that loss in this book.  There was anger where you would expect anger, and tears where you would expect tears.  Watching Laurel work her way through the loss she's suffered, slowly but surely trying to pull a new life together and go on to a future that suddenly seems to unknown is both emotional and scary.

Part of this struggle is learning forgiveness toward someone she feels is to blame for the tragedy, and also part of it is also learning to let people in.  Her relationship with David, who is a large piece of this tragic puzzle, is slow to build, but worth the wait.  They deal with matters in different ways, but it was brilliant getting to watch them do so.

Jennifer Castle's writing is honest and open.  I had no trouble at all sinking into this story, keeping pace, and getting invested in what happens to Laurel and David.  This was a very simple, quiet, but emotionally tugging story.  Great opening book for what is sure to be a great writing career for Jennifer Castle.

If you liked this book, you might also like:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. WoW posts are about books that you can’t wait to get your hands on.

This is one of my favorite posts to read on the blogs that I follow because other bloggers have found so many wonderful books that I had no idea about! I get most of those from reading Waiting on Wednesday posts. :-) I urge you to visit other blogs and read theirs to find these great lists!




Release Date: November 1, 2011
Why I love it: Sequel to Matched.


Buy it on Goodreads.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Teaser Tuesday



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!


My teaser this week comes from:



The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle



Small blurb from Goodreads.com: Sixteen-year-old Laurel's world changes instantly when her parents and brother are killed in a terrible car accident. Behind the wheel is the father of her bad-boy neighbor, David Kaufman, whose mother is also killed. In the aftermath of the tragedy, Laurel navigates a new reality in which she and her best friend grow apart, boys may or may not be approaching her out of pity, overpowering memories lurk everywhere, and Mr. Kaufman is comatose but still very much alive. Through it all, there is David, who swoops in and out of Laurel's life and to whom she finds herself attracted against her better judgment."

Teaser from page 56: "In the mornings, right when I wake up, I usually had about two seconds of feeling like everything was the same.  I was in my bed in my room, and the light coming in from my blinds was the same light as always.  Then I'd remember."

Monday, July 25, 2011

Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley

Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley
Release Date: February 8, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen

Meet Corrinne. She's living every girl's dream in New York City—shopping sprees at Barneys, open access to the best clubs and parties, and her own horse at the country club. Her perfect life is perfectly on track. At least it was. . . .
When Corrinne's father is laid off, her world suddenly falls apart. Instead of heading to boarding school, she's stripped of her credit cards and shipped off to the boonies of Texas to live with her grandparents. On her own in a big public school and forced to take a job shoveling manure, Corrinne is determined to get back to the life she's supposed to be living. She doesn't care who she stomps on in the process. But when Corrinne makes an unlikely friend and discovers a total hottie at work, she begins to wonder if her life B.R.—before the recession—was as perfect as it seemed. - Goodreads.com

I wasn't sure if I would like this story, but the more I read, it grew on me.  Corinne is spoiled and selfish.  No question.  In the book's beginning we get to see Corinne in her New York element, and it was like watching an episode of Gossip Girl.  Now take Blair Waldorf out of New York and put her in the middle of the country shoveling horse poop in a barn, and you've got the gyst of how the story begins.  I always enjoy these type of "fish out of water" stories because it's so funny to watch people flounder around when they're not in their natural element.  Corinne was no exception.

She looks upon pretty much everything with disdain, snubs people who try to make friends with her, and is an absolute little monster to her family.  You can tell immediately that she truly thinks others are beneath her.  Her grandparents, however, whom she's hardly ever even spent time with, are the ones taking care of her at first.  And they insist that she get a job (they get it for her actually), and she has to work in a barn.  Just what she needs.

Little by little, the reader gets to see Claire change, see things in a new way, and begin to appreciate things and people that are around her.  I think there's one particular event that really acts as a catalyst to this and makes her kind of take a hard look at things around her.

The only complaint I have on this book (and this is really a tiny thing) is the name of her love interest.  When I read a book that has romance in it, I tend to kind of put myself in the heroine's place a little.  I would have a hard time feeling any form of romantic excitement for a guy named Bubby.  It just doesn't scream sex appeal to me.  But I overlooked it and found the romance to be cute.

Good job Gwendolyn Heasley.  :-)

If you liked this book, you might also like:

Sunday, July 24, 2011

In My Mailbox (28)


In My Mailbox is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren

Here's what I got this week!



The Hollow by Jessica Verday
The Haunted (Hollow #2) by Jessica Verday
The Hidden (Hollow #3) by Jessica Verday




Tris & Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison
Legacy by Cayla Kluver
Sharks & Boys by Kristen Tracy


What's in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Mayhem by Artist Arthur

Mayhem by Artist Arthur
Release Date: July 26, 2011
Publisher: Harlequin

A lot can change in a few months. Jake Palmer is living proof of that. In a short time, the once-shy loner has discovered his incredible supernatural abilities and forged a tight bond with his fellow Mystyx. What’s more—he’s fallen for his best friend, Krystal. And fallen hard.  Still, some things remain the same—like the jocks who keep bullying him. Even though they have no idea how powerful Jake has become. And while he tries to follow Krystal’s advice, he may not be able to keep his cool much longer. But there are bigger problems ahead, because the darkness that’s been hovering nearby is about to descend on the town of Lincoln, Connecticut. And when it does, the Mystyx will learn who to trust, who to fear and just how much is at stake… - Goodreads.com

Okay, I have to admit that, like an idiot, I came into this series right in the middle here.  I haven't read the previous two books.  In a way, this put me at a big disadvantage, because there was, of course, history there that I didn't know about.  The characters already know each other and you know there have been things that have happened to them, but despite all of this, I found that I didn't have too much trouble picking it up in the middle, learning pretty quickly what was going on and being able to enjoy the book and the progression of the story that was happening to Jake.

I'm a big fan of books that are written from the male perspective.  Being female, of course, it's always intriguing to hear the inner workings of the male mind, and Artist Arthur did a great job telling this story from Jake's perspective.  You got to see his inner geek, but at the same time, a lot of interesting things were happening to him in that sense that he was fighting an inner battle of good vs. evil as his powers begin to really manifest. He has both sides in him, including evil, and watching him battle that darker side was great because this quiet, shy character began to have a little bad boy emerge.  It gave him a lot of different levels that were really interesting to read.

I do plan now to go back and reread this book after reading the first two.  This one invested me, so I feel like I need to get the history as well.  Although, like I said, the author did a great job juggling the history but also making this a book that could sort of stand on its own if it had to.

A very intesesting, enjoyable series!  I'm a fan now.

If you liked this book, you might also like:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Forgotten by Cat Patrick

Forgotten by Cat Patrick
Release Date: June 7, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown Books

Each night when 16 year-old London Lane goes to sleep, her whole world disappears. In the morning, all that's left is a note telling her about a day she can't remember. The whole scenario doesn't exactly make high school or dating that hot guy whose name she can't seem to recall any easier. But when London starts experiencing disturbing visions she can't make sense of, she realizes it's time to learn a little more about the past she keeps forgetting-before it destroys her future. Part psychological drama, part romance, and part mystery, this thought-provoking novel will inspire readers to consider the what-if's in their own lives and recognize the power they have to control their destinies. - Goodreads.com

This is just the kind of debut I love to read.  It kind of pops out there out of nowhere.  You have expectations and you're a little wary that it won't live up to them.  This book lived up to my expectations, most definitely! 

I absolutely adored London, and I felt so bad for her as she had to struggle through her unusual circumstance... that of going to sleep at night and not remembering anything of the day before.  I have actually seen this done two times before, both in movies, and I thoroughly enjoyed them both, but Cat Patrick brought a couple of unique new elements to it that I loved.  It made it completely her own.

London has to read extensive notes every morning in order to be able to function around people who don't know her secret.  And yeah, having a relationship with a boy is pretty challenging for her.  Let me say right now that I LOVED the guy she liked.  Awesome.  And even better, when the secret comes out explaining why she has this problem, it was so unique and unexpected, I was shocked.

Cat Patrick has written an awesome story here that was unique and suspenseful and had some awesome twists and turns to it.  I'm definitely looking forward to more from her in the future!  I usually close my reviews by giving you a "if you liked this book, you might also like" scenario, but I just can't do it this time, because I can't think of any book that matches this one.  It was so unique.  Praise in and of itself, I'd say.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday



Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. WoW posts are about books that you can’t wait to get your hands on.

This is one of my favorite posts to read on the blogs that I follow because other bloggers have found so many wonderful books that I had no idea about! I get most of those from reading Waiting on Wednesday posts. :-) I urge you to visit other blogs and read theirs to find these great lists!

 
 
Release Date: August 1, 2011
Why I love it: Mythology.

Buy it on Goodreads.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Teaser Tuesday


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!

My teaser this week comes from:



Vanished by Meg Cabot


Small blurb from Goodreads.com: A gift…or a curse? Jessica Mastriani has never liked attention. All she wants is to make it to high school graduation like any ordinary girl. But when Jess is struck by lightning, she becomes anything but ordinary: suddenly she has the ability to locate missing children.
Now Jess is getting noticed in all the wrong ways and by all the wrong people. The media is obsessed with her and her story. The FBI is tapping her phone. And what’s going on with sexy senior Rob? Soon Jess learns the hard way that not everyone who is lost wants to be found…. With no one to trust, it's up to Jess to decide what to do with her new power—before it’s decided for her.

Teaser from page 25: "It wasn't an explosion, I figured out later.  What it was was lightning, hitting the metal bleachers.  Then the bolt traveled down the metal pole I was leaning against.  So I guess you could say that, technically, I was struck by lightning."

Monday, July 18, 2011

Dark Parties by Sara Grant

Dark Parties by Sarah Grant
Release Date: August 3, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown Books

Sixteen-year-old Neva has been trapped since birth. She was born and raised under the Protectosphere, in an isolated nation ruled by fear, lies, and xenophobia. A shield "protects" them from the outside world, but also locks the citizens inside. But there's nothing left on the outside, ever since the world collapsed from violent warfare. Or so the government says... Neva and her best friend Sanna believe the government is lying and stage a "dark party" to recruit members for their underground rebellion. But as Neva begins to uncover the truth, she realizes she must question everything she's ever known, including the people she loves the most. - Goodreads.com

This was an interesting dystopian compared to others I've read in the past.  I wasn't quite sure how I was going to like it, and I'm still not entirely sure.  I love the premise of a society stuck beneath a protectosphere where they are told the outside world no longer exists.  I also like the fact that some teenagers are figuring out that perhaps things aren't exactly what they seem.  It seems that teenagers, who often strain against any form of protection or stricture, would find this type of society to be extremely confining, and so it did make sense to me that they would be the ones leading others in a form of quiet rebellion to figure a way out of that confinement.

Neva's pursuit of truth leads her into a place where she can glean some answers, but someone she has always trusted seems to be neck deep in perpetuating the lie the government has been feeding people.  This gives her lots of conflict to deal with, and I really did like this aspect of the story.  It's always hard to reconcile things when someone you've always loved and trusted is appearing to be the bad guy.

One part I was a little disappointed with was the romantic element.  I felt like the attraction here was just a little too instant, and very underdeveloped.  And yet, they seem to kind of pine for each other throughout the story with very little back up why.  I wanted to see a few more scenes with these two together.  I wanted a little bit more of a build up and just a teensy bit more focus on this aspect of the story.

I was also a little disappointed in the end, as so much was up in the air.  Please let this be a series, because if that was the end for a stand alone novel, I'd be very disappointed for sure.  As it is, the final events seem to be leading to a sequel where I hope the pieces that have been left dangling will be worked out.

All in all, this was a good, suspenseful read, and I will definitely be looking out for a sequel.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

In My Mailbox (27)



In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

Here's what I got this week....

Magic Hands by Jennifer Laurens
Crush Control by Jennifer Jabaley
Forgotten by Cat Patrick




Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs
My Unfair Godmother by Janette Rallison
Moonglass by Jessi Kirby


What did you get this week?  Leave a comment and let me know!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Overprotected by Jennifer Laurens

Overprotected by Jennifer Laurens
Release Date: April 29, 2011
Publisher: Grove Creek Publishing

Ashlyn: A lonely society princess living in New York City.  Daddy hired you to be my bodyguard.  Colin: Childhood enemy, now her protector.  Daddy thought I’d be safe. He thought I’d never fall in love. He thought he could keep me forever.  Charles: obsessed with keeping her safe, keeping her his, he hires the one person he knows she could never fall in love with: Colin. - Goodreads.com

Jennifer Laurens has always been a favorite of mine.  She has a knack for creating characters that you care about, and creating romance between them that is sweet, sexy, and builds perfectly over time.  This book was no exception.

Ashlyn is in a situation that would be considered inconvenient for anybody, but for a teenager, it is unbearable.  She has no freedom, can't go out without a bodyguard, and even when she can go out, it's only to very limited places.  Now if this was imposed on her due to punishment for bad behavior it would be easier to understand, but Ashlyn hasn't done anything wrong.  She's in this predicament through no fault of her own, and it is only her parents unrational fear that creates this situation.  At first, she is more accepting of this, out of habit more than anything else.  But when Colin is placed as her guardian, things begin to change.

Let me say right now, that I fell in love with Colin, just as Ashlyn did.  He is kind, gallant, dutiful, and sexy too!  What's not to like?  Again, it's not an ideal situation because Colin is the one there who is charged with restricting her movements, even if he doesn't actually agree with the task.  It would be easy for her to dislike him because of this, but she doesn't.  Their growing relationship was sweet, sexy, and kept me engrossed.

One of the things I loved about this book was Ashlyn's music.  It was used so perfectly as a way for her to let her feelings out, and Colin was smart enough to see that.  Very intuitive.

This is one of the types of books I enjoy the most because the central focus was all about the people, the romance, and reconciliation.  Don't get me wrong, I love paranormals, and books that have other elements, but when it all comes down to it, all of that is just a framework for what's happening with the characters themselves.  So books that focus on the characters are entertaining and keep me engrossed.  Jennifer Laurens really knows how to do that well, and it's why I always enjoy her books so much.  This was a little bit different than some of her previous works, but it was a nice surprise.  Another great book by a great author.

If you liked this book, you might also like:

Friday, July 15, 2011

Haven by Kristi Cook

Haven by Kristi Cook
Release Date: February 22, 2011
Publisher: SimonPulse

One month into her junior year, sixteen-year-old Violet McKenna transfers to the Winterhaven School in New York’s Hudson Valley, inexplicably drawn to the boarding school with high hopes. Leaving Atlanta behind, she’s looking forward to a fresh start--a new school, and new classmates who will not know her deepest, darkest secret, the one she’s tried to hide all her life: strange, foreboding visions of the future.  But Winterhaven has secrets of its own, secrets that run far deeper than Violet’s. Everyone there--every student, every teacher--has psychic abilities, 'gifts and talents,' they like to call them. Once the initial shock of discovery wears off, Violet realizes that the school is a safe haven for people like her. Soon, Violet has a new circle of friends, a new life, and maybe even a boyfriend--Aidan Gray, perhaps the smartest, hottest guy at Winterhaven. Only there’s more to Aidan than meets the eye--much, much more. And once she learns the horrible truth, there’s no turning back from her destiny. Their destiny. Together, Violet and Aidan must face a common enemy--if only they can do so without destroying each other first.  -Goodreads.com

What a unique twist this book had some of the other "boarding school" "school for magic" or "school for mythical creatures" type story. When I first started reading this, I have to admit I thought, "oh okay, another one of those." I was pleasantly surprised.

I'm afraid to give away the secret because I think it's important for you to read it yourself to get the full enjoyment of the book. If I gave it away now, it would take away some of what made this book unique. So discover it on your own. I will just say, loved the secret, loved the friends, loved Violet and Looooooovvvvvvveeeeeeedddddd Aiden.

Violet and Aiden had such awesome chemistry. Their scenes together were amazing. At first, I had a little bit of trouble understanding why Aiden was so drawn to her in the first place... not that she's not pretty or worthy of attention. But he kind of latched on to her almost at first sight, and I found that kind of strange. However, it's all explained and makes perfect sense.

One of my favorite elements in the book was the friend dynamic.  Rather than the obligatory one or two friends that every teenage girl seems to have in YA books, Violet had something like five friends, and the author did a really good job juggling all of those friends, making all of them interesting, and keeping them all involved in discussions and in the action.  No one was ignored, but seemed to have equal "screen time" so to speak. 

The relationship between Violet and Aiden... like I said, great chemistry.  Great tension between these two.  I have to admit a slight... teensy tiny little bit of disappointment when we discovered Aiden's secret, and only because that particular element has been done quite a bit in the last couple of years.  BUT, that said, Kristi Cook did a great job bringing something brand new to it that I have NOT seen.  So this made it fresh for me and very enjoyable.

Great debut book by Kristi Cook.  Obviously a great new talent in YA.  I look forward to seeing more of her books in future!

If you liked this book, you might like also like:

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