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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Best of the Bunch: August 2011!

Best of the bunch is a monthly meme hosted by Lyrical Reviews. It spotlights our very favorite, out of all the books we've read each month.

My pick for August is:

"Every Other Day" by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Every other day, Kali D'Angelo is a normal sixteen-year-old girl. She goes to public high school. She attends pep rallies. She's human.

And then every day in between . . .She's something else entirely.

Though she still looks like herself, every twenty-four hours predatory instincts take over and Kali becomes a feared demon-hunter with the undeniable urge to hunt, trap, and kill zombies, hellhounds, and other supernatural creatures. Kali has no idea why she is the way she is, but she gives in to instinct anyway. Even though the government considers it environmental terrorism.

When Kali notices a mark on the lower back of a popular girl at school, she knows instantly that the girl is marked for death by one of these creatures. Kali has twenty-four hours to save her and, unfortunately, she'll have to do it as a human. With the help of a few new friends, Kali takes a risk that her human body might not survive. . .and learns the secrets of her mysterious condition in the process.

I read a few really fantastic books this  month, but this one was by far my favorite. I keep telling everyone I know to read this as soon as they can get their hands on it! I've read and loved Jennifer Lynn Barnes books before, but this one is definitely my favorite of all of hers. I just hope it's going to be a series, because I want more :0)

I don't have a review posted yet, because it's not actually out for a few months, but trust me when I say this is good stuff!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"The Sweetest Thing" by Christina Mandelski

Release Date: May 10th, 2011
Publisher: Egmont USA
Format: eBook
Age Group: Young Adult

In the world of Sheridan Wells, life is perfect when she's decorating a cake. Unfortunately everything else is a complete mess: her mom ran off years ago, her dad is more interested in his restaurant, and the idea of a boyfriend is laughable.

But Sheridan is convinced finding her mom will solve all her problems - only her dad's about to get a cooking show in New York, which means her dream of a perfect family will be dashed.

Using just the right amount of romance, family drama, and cute boys, The Sweetest Thing will entice fans with its perfect mixture of girl-friendly ingredients.

I think this book holds magical powers of persuasion, because I actually stopped reading part way through so I could whip up a batch of buttercream frosting and make some delicious treats. No joke. I'm a big fan of all the cake decorating shows on tv, so I thought it was really cool that our main character was a teenage cake decorator, and she was really good at it. I want to say that Sheridan was naive and young for her age, but then I think to myself, she really wasn't that young for her age I'm just really used to reading characters that act old for their ages. She was definitely naive about a lot of things going on around her, though. I don't know what it's like to have a parent walk out on you and can only imagine you always hold on hope that they will return someday, but I kept hoping that she would realize she was only hurting herself more by continuingly trying to find her. Sheridan's dad really made me angry throughout a lot of the book, it seemed like he was unconcerned with his daughter and only cared about his new cooking show. It was nice to see some real emotion from him toward the end of the book.

Sheridan's best friend, Jack, has been the only one who knows she's actively trying to find her mother. He helps her, hesitantly, but all the while worrying for her. I loved Jack. He was such a great friend to Sheridan, even after Ethan came into the picture and he was mad at her for trusting someone he thought was using her. Their friendship was really sweet and realistic. Sheridan's grandma, Nanny, owned the bakery that she did all of her cake decorating at. I loved Nanny. She told it like it was no matter what, and she was a crack up. There should be more Nanny's in this world.

Overall this was a really cute story. There definitely some heartbreaking parts and real family moments, which I don't think we see enough of in YA. Now I'm of to eat some cupcakes :0)

Top Ten Tuesday

I'm participating in Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Every Tuesday they post their top ten lists on different bookish topics.

This weeks Top Ten is dedicated to the books that are on our TBR lists this fall :0)

1. "Lola and the Boy Next Door" by Stephanie Perkins (I pre-ordered this one today and I wish it were Sept. 29th already!)

2. "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett

3. "Past Perfect" by Leila Sales

4. "Supernaturally" by Kiersten White

5. "Possess" by Gretchen McNeil

6. "The Pledge" by Kimberly Derting

7. "Perfect Chemistry" by Simone Elkeles

8. "Wolfsbane" by Andrea Cremer

9. "The Girl of Fire and Thorns" by Rae Carson

10. "The Iron Knight" by Julie Kagawa

Monday, August 29, 2011

"Ripple" by Mandy Hubbard

Release Date: July 21st, 2011
Publisher: Razorbill
Format: Hardcover

Lexi is cursed with a dark secret. Each day she goes to school like a normal teenager, and each night she must swim, or the pain will be unbearable. She is a siren - a deadly mermaid destined to lure men to their watery deaths. After a terrible tragedy, Lexi shut herself off from the world, vowing to protect the ones she loves. But she soon finds herself caught between a new boy at school who may have the power to melt her icy exterior, and a handsome water spirit who says he can break Lexi's curse if she gives up everything else. Lexi is faced with the hardest decision she's ever had to make: the life she's always longed for - or the love she can't live without?

Going into this one I wasn't reall sure what I was going to get out of it. This is actually my first Siren/Mermaid book and I was a tad skeptical. I didn't need to be so concerned, though, because I really enjoyed this book. Lexi's lake in the middle of the forest was described so well. I could picture myself standing in the woods watching her swim and I could almost feel the pull to be in the water. This story was truly heartbreaking at it's core. Sure there are some good things that happen throughout, but the truth behind the tragedy in the beginning of the book is not something that ever goes away. Even still Mandy Hubbard manages to tell a great story and gives hope for the future of her characters.

My favorite character, hands down, was Cole. I couldn't find anything I didn't like about him. Through the whole book he was so patient with Lexi and just wanted to be there for her. Even when she pushed him away, his anger didn't change the fact that he cared. He was just a genuinely nice guy. Lexi was a great character, too, even though she got a little too whiny in her own head, sometimes. She had good reason to be like that, but it drove me nuts when she refused to really let anyone in, even when they so obviously just wanted to be there for her. There was definitely a fair amount of character growth for her in the book and by the end it seems like maybe she's on her way to accepting she can have a better life. I'd say my biggest gripe was probably that she was so willing to forgive Sienna so quickly. I'm sure having your best friend back is hard to resist, but two years of torture forgiven in one day. I don't know about that, although I might just be cynical. Not an Erik fan, nuff said.

All in all this was a fantastic read. And I am so glad that it wrapped up nice and satisfying in one book. Don't get me wrong, I love series, but sometimes you need a good standalone and this one was!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

In My Mailbox (3)

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It's a weekly showcase of the contents of our mailboxes!

For Review:

"Every Other Day" by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (already read and LOVED!)
"The Sweetest Thing" by Christina Mandelski


"Bloodlines" by Richelle Mead (My Review)
"Possess" by Gretchen McNeil
"Chuck Norris Cannot Be Stopped" by Ian Spector (In Honor of my cat, Chuck Norris :0)!)


"Heart of the Matter" by Emily Giffin

Friday, August 26, 2011

"Love Story" by Jennifer Echols

Release Date: July 19th, 2011
Format: Paperback
Publisher: MTV Books

She's writing about him. he's writing about her. And everybody is reading between the lines..

For Erin Blackwell, majoring in creative writing at the New York City college of her dreams is more than a chance to fulfill her ambitions--it's her ticket away from the tragic memories that shadow her family's racehorse farm in Kentucky. But when she refuses to major in business and take over the farm herself someday, her grandmother gives Erin's college tuition and promised inheritance to their maddeningly handsome stable boy, Hunter Allen. Now Erin has to win an internship and work late nights at a coffee shop to make her own dreams a reality. She should despise Hunter . . . so why does he sneak into her thoughts as the hero of her latest writing assignment?

Then, on the day she's sharing that assignment with her class, Hunter walks in. He's joining her class. And after he reads about himself in her story, her private fantasies about him must be painfully clear. She only hopes to persuade him not to reveal her secret to everyone else. But Hunter devises his own creative revenge, writing sexy stories that drive the whole class wild with curiosity and fill Erin's heart with longing. Now she's not just imagining what might have been. She's writing a whole new ending for her romance with Hunter . . . except this story could come true.

I love paranormals and probably read them 2/3rd's of the time, but contemporaries always seem to be the ones I stay up 'til the wee hours finishing. And this one was no different. I absolutely loved 'Going Too Far', but only just liked 'Forget You', so I wasn't sure I would read this one when it came out. After I initially read what it was about, I decided it sounded too good to pass up. I'm glad I didn't. Both Erin and Hunter frustrated me to no end, at some points, I still loved finding out their story. I really liked that we got to read the stories that they were writing for their class. I thought that was a unique touch to the story. I personally don't really know much about horses and even less about horse racing farms, but it was a cool background for our characters. The whole stable boy/heiress taboo relationship reminded me of an old fairytale type story, and I liked that she used that basis to make a modern love story. While the book wrapped up nicely and was ultimately satisfying, I wished there had been just a couple more pages. I could have used a little extra fluffiness at the end, but that's just my girlish need for a sappy, better than real life ending. This story definitely felt realistic. There were some things that did seem a little far fetched, but it is fiction afterall, and the book as a whole felt like it could possibly happen to someone.

I think my favorite character had to be Summer. She was so sweet and naive and I was always charmed when she was present on the page. I wished we could have gotten to know Manohar a little better. He had moments of real humanity and compassion, which makes you think there had to be a reason he acted like an ass so much of the time. I liked both main characters, but they were both so ridiculous and stupid most of the time. If they just stopped and paid attention once in a while, they never would have caused themselves all of those problems. Of course without a little angst, it wouldn't have been a very entertaining story. The story ended with hope and a smile, and I'll choose to believe it all works out the way my fairytale brain imagined it to :0)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

"Bloodlines" by Richelle Mead

Release Date: August 23rd, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Razorbill

When alchemist Sydney is ordered into hiding to protect the life of Moroi princess Jill Dragomir, the last place she expects to be sent is a human private school in Palm Springs, California. But at their new school, the drama is only just beginning.

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Bloodlines explores all the friendship, romance, battles and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive - this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone's out for blood.

So when I first heard there was going to be a spin-off series from Vampire Academy, I said to myself "Self, after you finish 'Last Sacrifice' you need to move on with your life and not spend time pining over Richelle Mead's next book". And I had just about convinced myself to follow through, but after the ending of 'Last Sacrifice' and finding out I would get heaps of Adrian in this book, I couldn't keep away. I love me some Adrian Ivashkov. And I was definitely intrigued by the focus on Sydney. She was a little uptight at times in the VA books, but I was really interested in the ideas behind the Alchemists and the lives they lead. So here I am having just finished reading 'Bloodlines' and I am not disappointed. And let me tell you, Ms. Mead sure knows how to work a cliffhanger!

We have Adrian all over this book, which was complete awesome! He was still good old Adrian, most of the time, but actually see some growth and dare I say maturity start to develop in him. I certainly won't mind continuing on his journery throughout the rest of the 'Bloodlines' series. I still feel like Sydney is a bit too uptight at times, but you see some major changes in her in this book, too. We don't really know too much about her going in, and it was cool to have the book be from the perspective of an outsider to the vampire community. She knows they exist and all that, but she doens't really understand them and definitely isn't too fond of spending much time with them. Although, that starts to change throughout the story, too. I'm so glad Eddie got to come along in this one. I always loved him in VA and he doesn't let us down here. Extrememly loyal and willing to go to whatever lengths needed to help someone he cares for. I sure hope Eddie gets some well deserved happiness in the upcoming books.

There were a couple of different big plot pieces threaded through the book. I liked the plotline with the magical tattoos. I can't say I was completely surprised by the way that one tied up, but I still really liked getting to the end point. And the stuff with healed strigoi, that will shape up to be some meaty story for the rest of the series. That part I definitely couldn't have seen coming, but it was a nice setup for the beginning of this spin off series. I look forward to the next installment, of course I'll have to wait almost a year, but pining for a new Richelle Mead book is what I do best :0)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that showcases our most wanted upcoming releases.

"Spellbound" by Rachel Hawkins

Release Date: March 13th, 2012

Hailed as “impossible to put down,” the Hex Hall series has both critics and teens cheering. With a winning combination of romance, action, magic and humor, this third volume will leave readers enchanted.

Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.

Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?
* From Goodreads

I actually needed this one, like, yesterday!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

I'm participating in Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Every Tuesday they post their top ten lists on different bookish topics.

This weeks Top Ten is to give a shout out to books we loved, but for one reason or another, never reviewed...

Top Ten Books You Loved, But Never Wrote A Review For

"Anna and the French Kiss" by Stephanie Perkins: I don't have a good excuse for not writing a review for this one. Especially considering I don't even have any gripes with it. I almost didn't read it, because I thought the title was silly and made it feel a little juvenile to me. You know what they say about judging books. Now that I've read it, the title works for me too :0)

"Catching Fire" and "Mockingjay" by Suzanne Collins: I managed to put up a measly review for "The Hunger Games" when I first finished it, but by them time I had devoured the last two, I didn't have the words to accurately express how I felt.

"Where She Went" by Gayle Foreman: I loved this book so completely, even more than the first, that I couldn't think of anything better to say than "Go, Read Now!".

"Darkness Becomes Her" by Kelly Keaton: I really, really dug this book! The honest truth is that I read it while I was staying at someone's house dogsitting, and I didn't have my computer to write up a review on.

"The Mockingbirds" by Daisy Whitney: This book had such a good message and it just all around rocked. I read it way before my blog, and back then I wasn't always so good about putting reviews up on Goodreads.

"Switched","Torn" and "Ascend" by Amanda Hocking: I read all three of these books in a matter of a few days, and adored all of them, but since I read them all so close together I was afraid of mixing up the details from the three books and writing about the wrong thing.

"Across the Universe" by Beth Revis: This is the book that convinced me that I could read and enjoy sci-fi. It made me nostalgic for Star Trek and Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century. It was awesome, but also before the blog.

"Paranormalcy" by Kiersten White: Love, love, loved it! It was another casualty of not yet blogging and Goodreads procastination. I do have the second one in the series on my TBR short list, so I will definitely get to review that one on the blog soon!

"Before I Fall" by Lauren Oliver: This book was fantastic, but everyone already knows that :0) It was another before the blog casualty.

"Audrey, Wait" by Robin Benway: It feels like I read this book a million years ago, but it made me laugh my butt off. I remember my roommate constantly asking me what was so funny!

Monday, August 22, 2011

"Drink, Slay, Love" by Sarah Beth Durst

Release Date: September 13th, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry

Pearl is a sixteen-year-old vampire... fond of blood, allergic to sunlight, and mostly evil... until the night a sparkly unicorn stabs her through the heart with his horn. Oops.

Her family thinks she was attacked by a vampire hunter (because, obviously, unicorns don't exist), and they're shocked she survived. They're even more shocked when Pearl discovers she can now withstand the sun. But they quickly find a way to make use of her new talent. The Vampire King of New England has chosen Pearl's family to host his feast. If Pearl enrolls in high school, she can make lots of human friends and lure them to the King's feast -- as the entrees.

The only problem? Pearl's starting to feel the twinges of a conscience. How can she serve up her new friends—especially the cute guy who makes her fangs ache—to be slaughtered? Then again, she's definitely dead if she lets down her family. What's a sunlight-loving vamp to do?

So I've been off Vampires for some time now. I wasn't going to pick this one up, but the cover was pretty and I was intrigued. So I read the description on Goodreads and she had me at Unicorn. Well, also the plot sounded witty and fun, but Unicorns have been my favorite since childhood, so how could I say no? I'm so glad I got over my vampire racism and gave it a go. This book was a riot!

Pearl, the main character, was a pull no punches, tell it like it is protagonist and it was fantastic. Some of the one liners in this book are definite LOL moments. She's got a lot going on in her life, what with her being the only vampire that can go out in the sun. She loves the sun, but her family think she is an abomination. Her family convinces her to go to high school, to help serve their not so innocent purposes, but Pearl starts developing a consciene and even friendships. Bethany was a little over the top positive sometimes, but she always meant well and you couldn't really hate her. No matter what, she tried her hardest to be a good friend to Pearl, even when Pearl didn't want anything to do with it. Evan wasn't you typical swoony male character. Don't get me wrong, he was adorable and admirable, but he was never trying to be overtly charming or cheesy. He was just a stand up guy and didn't really take Pearl's crap. Matt and Zeke were definitely my favorites. Comic relief at it's finest, but unexpected heroes when needed.

The vampires in this book were pretty straight forward, typical vampires. I think that worked better for me, too. I like creativity and originality, but since there was so much else going on in this story, we didn't really need complicated vampire back story. I don't want to say too much about the plot, because I don't want to spoil any specifics, but just know that it is made of awesome!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Book Store Help :0)

I'm moving to the Houston, TX area in a few weeks and was hoping to get some recommendations for good book stores in that area. Thanks in advance to anyone who has some suggestions :0)

In My Mailbox (2)

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It's a weekly showcase of the contents of our mailboxes!

For Review:

Bought: (I got a nice gift card from, so I went a little book crazy!)

Borrowed: (Thanks to my BFF!)

It was a big and Awesome! book week for me this time around :0)

Friday, August 19, 2011

"Beyond the Grave" by Mara Purnhagen

Release Date: August 30th, 2011

I can’t move forward with my life until I know my demons are confined to the past...

Being Charlotte Silver, the daughter of famous paranormal investigators, means my life isn’t like that of other teenage girls. Especially after what happened to my parents. Things changed. I missed prom and deferred my big college plans. But I still have my boyfriend, Noah. He’s everything I could want—if I can figure out what’s up with him. Suddenly Noah is secretive.

I fear it has something to do with what happened to us three months ago. The bruise Noah suffered during a paranormal attack has never completely faded. Now I’ve learned Noah is researching demons. And when he disappears, it’s up to me to find him—before something else does.

Charlotte Silver cannot catch a break. First she's being stalked by spirits who think she's their daughter, then she's being stalked by a guy being possed by something that wants to kill her, and now her boyfriend is being secretive and she's afraid the watcher has returned.

This series has grown on me more and more over the course of the three books. I really liked the storyline with the watcher. I felt like it got everyone involved more than just Charlotte. Don't get me wrong, I really like the character of Charlotte, but I love all the people she has surrounding her, too. I missed having Avery around in this book, we didn't get to see as much of her since she is away at college, but I really liked getting to know a different and better side of Bliss. She ended up being a friend and a good person to have around. Of course Noah is adorable and is finally Charlotte's boyfriend! His back and forth temper in this one was hard to take, though, he is usually just so sweet and accomodating. I have to say, though, my absolute favorite is Shane. I want an "uncle" like him!

I don't want to spoil anything, but the storyline in this one was pretty creepy and intense. It starts out in an old abandoned prison, in the electric chair, and goes from there. I love reading about and watchin stuff like what these characters do for a living, but I could never actually do it myself. Way to scary for me. This one had a solid ending with everything wrapped up pretty nicely and I can't seem to find anything saying there will be another installment, but if there is I will gladly pick it up!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that showcases our most wanted upcoming releases.

"The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight"
by Jennifer E. Smith

Release Date: January 2nd, 2012

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. She's stuck at JFK, late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's in seat 18B. Hadley's in 18A.

Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.
* from Goodreads

"Shut Out" by Kody Keplinger

Release Date: September 5th, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Poppy

Most high school sports teams have rivalries with other schools. At Hamilton High, it's a civil war: the football team versus the soccer team. And for her part, Lissa is sick of it. Her quarterback boyfriend, Randy, is always ditching her to go pick a fight with the soccer team or to prank their locker room. And on three separate occasions Randy's car has been egged while he and Lissa were inside, making out. She is done competing with a bunch of sweaty boys for her own boyfriend's attention.

Lissa decides to end the rivalry once and for all: she and the other players' girlfriends go on a hookup strike. The boys won't get any action from them until the football and soccer teams make peace. What they don't count on is a new sort of rivalry: an impossible girls-against-boys showdown that hinges on who will cave to their libidos first. And Lissa never sees her own sexual tension with the leader of the boys, Cash Sterling, coming.

Inspired by Aristophanes' play Lysistrata, critically acclaimed author of The Duff (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) Kody Keplinger adds her own trademark humor in this fresh take on modern teenage romance, rivalry and sexuality.

I will say this, Kody Keplinger never fails to make me laugh out loud. This story was smart, funny and sweet. I'll admit, it was a little disconcerting at first, to think about teenagers being able to use sex for power. I mean, not all of them have their own cars, but they want to control their boyfriends with sex. Of course, I'm not so old that I don't remember that sex was fairly prominent in my high school, too. So after my initial 'OMG' moment, I continued reading and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

I really liked the main character Lissa. She was definitely naive, especially concerning her boyfriend Randy, but she was smart and tough. A good leader, as long as she was focused on what was important. Her best friend Chloe was a trip! She kind of reminded me of a friend I had in high school, attitude wise. I loved that she wasn't ashamed of who she was, or that she wasn't afraid to speak her mind. She was a terrific friend, too, always there for Lissa. Ellen was a great character, too. Once we get to know her a little better, we get to see why Lissa missed her so much. Tool is a good word for Randy and that's about all that needs to be said on him. Cash on the other hand, WOW! Now I know it's fiction, but I'd like to think that there are actually teenage boys out there as wonderful as him, and I don't just mean looks wise. Although, he had me at green eyes :0)

I'd never read the story of Lysistrata, so I don't really know how similar the two are, but the premise of a sex strike definitely made for some hilarious antics. I am going to go on record, and this is something I have believed since my high school days, soccer boys are way hotter than football boys! Well done Miss Keplinger, bring on the next one!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

I'm participating in Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Every Tuesday they post their top ten lists on different bookish topics.

This week is Freebie week, which means we can pick whatever topic we choose...

Top Ten Series I Needed to Start Reading Yesterday

"Queen of the Dead" Series by Stacey Kade
"The Lying Game" Series by Sara Shepard
"The Chemical Garden" Series by Lauren DeStefano
"Angelfire" Series by Courtney Allison Moulton
"The Demon Trappers" Series by Jana Oliver
"Steampunk Chronicles" Series by Kady Cross
"Firelight" Series by Sophie Jordan
"Faeriewalker" Series by Jenna Black
"13 to Life" Series by Shannon Delany
"The Parasol Protectorate" Series by Gail Carriger (not YA, but still!)

"Juliet Immortal" by Stacey Jay

Published: August 9th, 2011

"These violent delights have violent ends And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume."
—Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

The most tragic love story in history . . .
Juliet Capulet didn't take her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, her new husband, Romeo Montague, a sacrifice made to ensure his own immortality. But what Romeo didn't anticipate was that Juliet would be granted eternity, as well, and would become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light. For 700 years, she's fought Romeo for the souls of true lovers, struggling to preserve romantic love and the lives of the innocent. Until the day she meets someone she's forbidden to love, and Romeo, oh Romeo, will do everything in his power to destroy that love.

Going into this I was intrigued by the idea of a retelling of the Romeo & Juliet story. I have mixed feelings about the original story. I know it's hailed all over the place for being the best tragic romance and all that, but while I don't hate it, I've always kind of felt like it was telling the story of a couple of really naive and irrational teenagers. Regardless, I had no idea what to expect with this story, but I was very pleasantly surprised with what I got.

I love the evolution of the character of Juliet that is in this story. She is no longer a sweet, naive girl. She is strong, angry and wants revenge for what was done to her. She's by no means perfect, but she is definitely a fighter. I like that Stacey Jay has taken a literary character that was so wholly dependent on the love of her man and made her into an independent and tough girl. I'd like to see Claire Danes and Leo DiCaprio play these versions of Romeo and Juliet. Romeo, quite frankly, creeped me out. Even when he wasn't being outright evil, he just gave me the skeevies. I could picture his smug smirk and shifty eyes. Not a guy I'd want in my homeroom. He grew on me a little by the end, but I'm still not sure about his true intentions.

The girl who Juliet inhabits, Ariel, has some interesting people in her world. She has very low self esteem, due to some very visible scars, so she doesn't have a lot of people around her. Melanie, her mother, clearly loves her but isn't really great at loving her for who she is. Her best friend Gemma is crazy bossy and harsh, but deep down she's got some things that make her less than cuddly, too. Ben was just a really sweet character and despite his past, a good guy. I don't know if the author is planning this to be a series, but the end was left just open enough that I would be interested to see where she might take the story. Of course, it was also satisfying enough to be a stand alone. Well done, Miss Jay!

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Lying Game Tonight @ 9pm!

I'm so excited to watch The Lying Game premiere tonight on ABC Family! Don't forget to tune in @ 9pm!!

Update: Well I'm in, hooked already!

"One Hundred Candles" by Mara Purnhagen

It's taken a long time for me to feel like a normal teenager. But now that I'm settled in a new school, where people know me as more than Charlotte Silver of the infamous Silver family paranormal investigators, it feels like everything is falling into place. And what better way to be normal than to go on a date with a popular football star like Harris Abbott? After all, it's not as if Noah is anything more than a friend….
But my new life takes a disturbing turn when Harris brings me to a party and we play a game called One Hundred Candles. It seems like harmless, ghostly fun. Until spirits unleashed by the game start showing up at school. Now my friends and family are in very real danger, and the door that I've opened into another realm may yield deadly consequences.

Normally a second book in a series doesn't usually hold my attention as well, but that wasn't the case here. I actually liked the second book in the "Past Midnight" series, much more than the first. The paranormal mystery in this book was much more exciting to read about. I liked the fact that a lot of the problems were centered around what could have been considered a silly party game. And at first, with some minor exceptions, that all it really seems to be. As the story goes on, you are never really sure who or what is responsible for the crazy things that are happening all over the school.

The drama that is happening in Charlotte's home life is also an interesting aspect to the story. I hate to read about tension in families like that, but it definitely gave the story a more human feel, despite all of the things going on around the characters. The ending was a crazy whirlwind that left some unanswered questions, but gave us hope for the next one.

After reading the second in this series I am eagerly anticipating the third!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It's a weekly showcase of the contents of our mailboxes!

For Review:

"Wanderlove" by Kirsten Hubbard
"Graffiti Moon" by Cath Crowley
"Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink" by Stephanie Kate Strohm


"Juliet Immortal" by Stacey Jay
"Baby Proof" by Emily Giffin

Saturday, August 13, 2011

"The Near Witch" by Victoria Schwab

The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.

And there are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.
But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.
The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.
As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.
Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab’s debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won’t soon forget.

Let me start off by saying, this story was so beautifully written. I can safely say that I will gladly whatever Victoria Schwab writes in the future.

I love that she kept the era this was set in, so ambiguous. It added to the mystery and allure of the story. You get the impression that it's taking place many years ago, but you never really know for sure. I loved how she built up the moor that surrounded the village of Near. It was so haunting, but at the same time you just wanted to know what was out there.

Our main character Lexi, was totally badass. She may not have been your conventional kick butt heroine, but she wasn't afraid to stick up for what she believed and what she wanted. I liked the fact that she wasn't a prissy girl, who couldn't do anything for herself. She was a hunter and tracker, she even chopped her own wood for her family. Her little sister Wren was absolutely precious and I could picture her dancing around and playing her games. Cole wasn't your typical male lead either, but that doesn't mean he wasn't swoon worthy. In the beginning he was very hesitant to be around Lexi, but as we learn it is for good reason. As the story goes on he proves how worthy he is and shows how much he cares for Lexi.

The direction the story took and the way the people in the village were behaving, in the second half of the book, actually scared me a little. Not because it was horror movie type stuff, but it was a very realistic feeling portrayal of the way humans behave when they need to have an answer or someone to blame. It was an excellent, if frightening, insight into the human condition.

This story was haunting, romantic and at times hopeful. I hope everyone will give this book a read :0)

Friday, August 12, 2011

"The Iron Daughter" by Julie Kagawa

Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey—ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.

Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.

The second installment in the Iron Fey series didn't catch my attention quite the same as the first one. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed it, but it wasn't one of those stay up all night reading books. This story focused on the differences of the different types of fey, and the oncoming war due to the theft of a very important item.

Meghan starts out staying in the Unseelie Court, with  no powers and no one to talk to. Except Tiaothan, a phouka, who we don't really learn much about. I'm hoping she gets further developed in the next book. Something about her made me want to know more. She has some unsettling run ins with Prince Rowan, the middle prince. A cryptic conversation with Prince Sage, the oldest prince. And then some terrible things go down and her and Ash are on the run.

We meet back up with some old favorites along the way and run into plenty of trouble before we get the the final scene. I will say, though not entirely unexpected, the final happenings were pretty exciting. I wasn't on the edge of my seat as often during this installment, but Julie Kagawa's writing is just as spectacular and the world she has created is constantly new and exciting. I'm still eager to find out what happens next to Meghan, Ash, Puck and Grimalkin, so I will definitely pick up the next one :0)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Moonglass" by Jessi Kirby

I read once that water is a symbol for emotions. And for a while now, I've thought maybe my mother drowned in both.

Anna's life is upended when her father accepts a job transfer the summer before her junior year. It's bad enough that she has to leave her friends and her life behind, but her dad is moving them to the beach where her parents first met and fell in love- a place awash in memories that Anna would just as soon leave under the surface.

While life on the beach is pretty great, with ocean views and one adorable lifeguard in particular, there are also family secrets that were buried along the shore years ago. And the ebb and flow of the ocean's tide means that nothing- not the sea glass that she collects on the sand and not the truths behind Anna's mother's death- stays buried forever.

This book made me wish my home were right on the beach. Being able to watch the ocean from my window sounds like the best way to live. This book is full of summer, hope, and the promise of a beautiful future.

I think the author did an amazing job of, not only portraying the beautiful scenery and places surrounding Anna's home, but also showing the emotions Anna was constantly dealing with. Both the obvious ones and the ones buried underneath. Anna's dad was such a great character. He wanted what was best for his daughter, always, but sometimes he didn't really know how to handle her. Dealing with his own grief and emotions, sometimes made him a little overprotective, but it was obvious Anna was the most important thing to him.

Anna and Tyler's relationship was fantastic. It was realistic and understated. It was the perfect fit for this story. With the heavy backstory and emotional battles in this story, I could have never fallen for Tyler and Anna if they had one of those immediate full fledged love.

This story was sad and beautiful, but also hopeful. It is a great read for summer or really any time of year. Well done, Miss Kirby :0)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Countdown Fun!

I was looking around online at different book memes and thought this one sounded kind of fun, so I figured why not? :0)

Five fictional characters you wouldn't kick out of bed: Tucker from "Unearthly", Zachary from "Shade Series", Conrad from "The Summer I Turned Pretty Series", Cal from "Hex Hall Series", Adam from "Where She Went"

Four books you became utterly lost in: "Darkness Becomes Her" by Kelly Keaton, "Anna and the French Kiss" by Stephanie Perkins, "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins, "Unearthly" by Cynthia Hand

Three things from books (images, ideas, characters) that really snagged your imagination: The portrayal of Magic in "Misfit" by Jon Skovron, Annie and her spy skills in "He's So Not Worth It" by Kieran Scott, the Iron Kingdom from "The Iron King" by Julie Kagawa

Two genres that are in danger of taking over your shelves: YA Paranormal, YA Contemporary

One literary series that was completely satisfying from page one to page done: "The Hunger Games Series" by Suzanne Collins

Monday, August 8, 2011

"Epic Fail" by Claire LaZebnik

Will Elise’s love life be an epic win or an epic fail?
At Coral Tree Prep in Los Angeles, who your parents are can make or break you. Case in point:
As the son of Hollywood royalty, Derek Edwards is pretty much prince of the school—not that he deigns to acknowledge many of his loyal subjects.
As the daughter of the new principal, Elise Benton isn’t exactly on everyone’s must-sit-next-to-at-lunch list.
When Elise’s beautiful sister catches the eye of the prince’s best friend, Elise gets to spend a lot of time with Derek, making her the envy of every girl on campus. Except she refuses to fall for any of his rare smiles and instead warms up to his enemy, the surprisingly charming social outcast Webster Grant. But in this hilarious tale of fitting in and flirting, not all snubs are undeserved, not all celebrity brats are bratty, and pride and prejudice can get in the way of true love for only so long.

For me, this book was the complete opposite of it's name. It is definitely one of my favorite contemporaries this year, so far! This book was hilarious. I laughed out loud so many times. I loved the main character Elise. Her sense of humor is a lot like mine, so that made her all the more endearing to me. She was so sarcastic and random, but at the same time caring and honest. He relationship with her oldest sister was nice to see, I've always wished I was much closer with my siblings. Juliana was a great character, too, maybe a little to nice and forgiving sometimes, but a legitimately good person. It was nice to see the two sisters have each others backs, so completely. I really liked the scenese between her two youngest sisters, Layla and Kaitlyn, too. They way they were always fighting cracked me up.

The male characters were excellent! Derek, the celebrity child, who's a lot mysterious and often rude. Webster, who's super charming and funny, but not quite. Chase, who was really just an all around good guy. Although, not everyone is exactly as they appear in the beginning. The rich kids at a prep school has been done plenty, so that wasn't anything new, but I really liked the added element of Derek's parents being celebrities. It certainly gave his character a little justification for his attitude toward people.

The writing in this was superb. The dialogue was witty and clever. This was just an all around good time! Definitely recommended for anyone who wants a laugh and a little fun :0)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Top 5 Books of 2011...So Far!

I loved this entire series, but this was a fantastic final book. I devoured it in a matter of hours and just about reread it immediately. I could hang with Belly, Conrad and Jeremiah every summer! My only complaint, I want just a little bit more :0)

I don't think words can express how much I love this series, and the second book is definitely my favorite, so far. I love Rachel Hawkins sense of humor. All of her characters are immensely entertaining and I feel like I could live in their world forever!

Paris, swoony boys, awesome paranormal element...need I say more! So good! Eagerly anticipating the second book :0)

Definitely my favorite of the angel books I've read. Really cool backstory and excellent characters. Not to mention that beautiful cover! The angel story all other angel stories want to grow up to be!

I know this book technically came out last year, but I didn't get to it until this year. Part of me wishes I had read it sooner because I loved it, but the other part is glad I missed out last year, because I was able to read the sequel right after I finished this one! Ghosts are way cool in my book.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Random Acts of Kindness: August, Hosted by Book Soulmates

I was on the Book Soulmates blog and saw this giveaway that they host. It's a really cool idea and a great way to share the love of books. I'm really excited to participate in this, giving the gift of books is my favorite thing to do :0) Listed below are the giveaway rules from their blog:

  • Sign up each month that you'd like to participate.
  • Show off your participation by grabbing our RAK button :)
  • Create a wish list (on Amazon, Goodreads, or your blog etc) and post it in the Google Doc located in each R.A.K post for the month.
  • If you choose to do a R.A.K for someone, check out their wish list and contact that blogger for their address.
  • NEW REQUEST: Please, once you receive a RAK, email or tweet me {Vanessa} so that I can update the Google doc. There are a lot of requests for this!
  • At the end of the month, SHOW US YOUR R.A.K!  Make a post saying 'Thank You' to whoever granted one of your wishes and share it with us :)
Let's keep our International bloggers in mind and in our hearts.
Remember, there's always the Book Depository and they offer FREE shipping!

"The Iron King" by Julie Kagawa

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.
Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.
When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.
But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

For reason's I've never really been able to discern, I have always
stayed away from books about Faeries. If I read the blurb and it mentioned anything about them, I would move on to the next title. I can say, after reading this one, I am officially a faery convert!

This story starts pretty ordinarily. You have Meghan, who is the uncool, hick girl at her school. She has her best friend Robbie and a little brother, Ethan, who she adores. Her crush on the most popular guy in school gets her into an unfortunate situation, that leaves the whole school laughing at her. It's okay, though, because she's got bigger things to deal with. Like the fact that her brother has been kidnapped and taken to Faery, and Meghan is determined to get him back.

While traveling to the Summer Court, she meets Grim the Cait Sith, also known as a talking cat. Grim is by far one of my favorite characters. You wonder if all cats really think the same way he does. Once at the court she meets King Oberon and Queen Titania, both terrifying in their own ways. We are also introduced to Queen Mab and Prince Ash of the Winter Court. We don't get much face time with the King of Queens, but we get to know Prince Ash along the way, as he helps Meghan find her brother.

The world building was fantastic. Julie Kagawa described the characters and places so well, I felt like I was a part of it. Even the Iron Kingdom, as creepy and cruel as it was, still seemed so real and awesome in it's own way. There are so many great things and characters in this book, but I can't go spoiling the whole story. I'm diving into the next installment immediately!

Monday, August 1, 2011

"Forbidden" by Tabitha Suzuma

Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives—and the way they understand each other so completely—has also also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending.

I think this may be the saddest story I have ever read. It was a story about incest, but it didn't feel as wrong as I imagined it would when I started reading, and that is credited completely to Tabitha Suzuma's great writing. She does an amazing job of making you feel for the characters, hoping for them even, when you know they are in a completely hopeless situation. Their lives were difficult enough, without the added problem of falling for one another. It broke my heart the most, when the characters were dreaming of someday and all the happiness they could have, because as a reader you know that isn't really a possibility. Regardless, I was very impressed with the storytelling and grew quite fond of all the characters. It's heavy, but worth the read.


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