Thursday, March 31, 2011

Vacation in the Underworld

The Goddess Test

Written by: Aimee Carter

Released: April 19, 2011 by Harlequin Teen

Summary: Every girl who has taken the test has died.

Now it's Kate's turn.

It's always been just Kate and her mom--and now her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld--and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he's crazy--until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess.

If she fails...

I’m not too sure what to write about this novel. I liked reading it; it really captivated me with the story and the characters. But, I don’t know what to say and how to eloquently say it.

Looking on Goodreads, there are several reviews regarding this novel and how it has complete disregard for the Greek deities and their legends. I can see where that would anger people, but I thought that it covered its bases nicely. Maybe if you’re hard-core into the need for accuracy there would be a reason not to enjoy reading this, but it’s a story based upon another (when it comes right down to it) story. And even with that, it’s more of a continuing history as if the deities were surviving in modern times. In that way it’s much like the Percy Jackson series. But that’s where the comparison stops.

Kate is a real martyr. It’s not that I didn’t like her, but at times I just wanted to shake her and tell her to be a little selfish. However, I can’t help but admire her character. I don’t know too many people who would save someone after they were absolutely horrible to me, or someone who would marry someone else just to save a life. But I love how selfless Kate was when it came to her mother. If anything, reading this book made me appreciate mine a little more.

Kate’s relationship with Henry is an odd one and I can’t help but wonder what’s going to happen in the next novel once the Stockholm Syndrome (which I feel Kate is slightly suffering from) wears off.

On a completely different train of thought, I’ve never drawn the comparisons between Beauty and the Beast to the Hades and Persephone myth – thus between this novel as well. And the more that I think about it, the more I can see how they share some of their foundation... weird.

But I digress. Kate and Henry. Henry was a bit of a jerk at times but I could also see the softer side of him. The opening scene of the book really helps establish his compassion with the audience before everything else happens. His protectiveness is endearing – though slightly over the top, even while it’s warranted – and you can feel his torn feelings regarding Kate.

Even though there’s a sequel planned, I felt as though it could have either been added to this novel or not included at all. I thought that things were wrapped up nice enough to leave you wanting a little more, but I can’t see where an entire novel’s worth of plot line could pertain to this first one. At least not without dragging everything out like a lot of YA series seem to be doing lately. Still, I can’t wait to read the second novel.

In short, this is a great debut and it’s left me wanting more from the author. While it may not be for everyone, I greatly enjoyed it. I’m giving it a 7/10.

My thanks to Harlequin and netGalley for making it possible that I read this before publication.

Rampant Giveaway Ends at Midnight!

It’s official. There are less than 24 hours left to enter for a chance to win a copy of Diana Peterfreund’s Rampant right here.

So get those submissions in before midnight tonight! I’ll announce the winner some time tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Read Chapter One of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Are you as excited as I am for the 2011 Debut release of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin? Because I’m even more excited now that I was able to read the first chapter over at Pure Imagination.

I have to admit, though, that I almost wish that I hadn’t read it. It’s just so good that I now want to read the entire thing and find out what happens! So I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but either way I can’t wait until the release date in September.

Michelle Hodkin, please tell me that you’re going to be at BEA so that I can complain about this in person. Or at least tell me that you’re going to be there signing copies of Mara Dyer so that I can get in line ASAP.

Wish List Wednesday - Number Forty-Five

How is it that I am just finding out that there’s a sequel coming out for The Adoration of Jenna Fox? I enjoyed reading the first book and I thought that it ended nicely with all loose ends tied. But here comes a second book that’s going to (by the sounds of it) be amazing!

The Fox Inheritance

Written by: Mary E. Pearson

Released: August 30, 2011 by Henry Holt and Co.

Summary: Once there were three. Three friends who loved each other—Jenna, Locke, and Kara. And after a terrible accident destroyed their bodies, their three minds were kept alive, spinning in a digital netherworld. Even in that disembodied nightmare, they were still together. At least at first. When Jenna disappeared, Locke and Kara had to go on without her. Decades passed, and then centuries.

Two-hundred-and-sixty years later, they have been released at last. Given new, perfect bodies, Locke and Kara awaken to a world they know nothing about, where everyone they once knew and loved is long dead.

Everyone except Jenna Fox.

Doesn’t it sound fantastic? I never would have pictured the book continuing on like this. I love when authors have a surprise tucked up their sleeves. I especially like how they’re recreating the cover from the paperback of Jenna Fox. So pretty.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Movie Monday - Eye of the Beholder


Written by: Zack Snyder and Steve Shibuya

Directed by: Zack Snyder

Released: March 25, 2011 by Warner Bros.

Rating: 14A (PG-13)

Summary: A young girl (Baby Doll) is locked away in a mental asylum by her wicked stepfather where she will undergo a lobotomy in 5 days time. Faced with unimaginable odds, she retreats to fantastical world in her imagination where she and four other female inmates at the asylum plot to escape the facility. The lines between reality and fantasy blur as Baby Doll and her companions battle various creatures and enemies to retrieve the 5 items they need that will allow them to break free from their captors before it's too late...

Way back in September I featured it as a Wish List Wednesday post and I have to say that I’m not disappointed. But I am confused. This is the definitely the type of movie that I’m going to have to watch several more times, again on DVD, and then watch the special features before viewing the entire movie one more time.

Aside from my brain still working out the finer points of the film, this was fantastic. The special effects are pretty great, the cinematography is fantastic, and the action sequences are really kick ass. And I really want the soundtrack. I loved how they mashed-up several songs and it was all just amazing. I enjoyed the characters though I just wish that there was more of a background offered on them.

The acting was fairly good, and though the dialogue is a little non-existent the viewer gets completely lost in the moment and there’s no lack of understanding what’s going on right then. The bigger picture is a little harder to see – as I stated above – but it shouldn’t keep you from watching.

I know that a lot of people aren’t going to like this, but if you go into seeing it with an open mind, you may surprise yourself. At the root of the film, it’s a movie about personal freedom and having the ability to take what you want. It’s also about camaraderie and teamwork in the face of evil and it lets you know that anything is possible. I’m giving it an 8.5/10 and I’ll definitely be buying the DVD once it comes out if only to better understand the film (and to watch the kick ass-ness again).

Sunday, March 27, 2011

In My Mailbox (46)

Another victorious week for me as far as buying books went. Plus, with BEA in just over 8 weeks (I can’t believe it!) saving for the trip is completely trumping giving into literary temptation. I was lucky enough to get some books this week, though, for review and borrowing from family.

From Simon and Schuster and netGalley I got;

Stay by Deb Caletti
A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan
Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

Putting Makeup on Dead People by Jen Violi (review to come)
Pregnant Pause by Han Nolan
Don’t Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon

Borrowed from my cousin;

Falling Under by Gwen Hayes
My cousin really enjoyed it and said that the ending is unexpected. I can’t wait to read it.

So this is what I got in my mailbox this week. Leave a comment and let me know what you got in yours!

Disclaimer: IMM comes from The Story Siren. Check out her site for more information.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Ultimate Travel Guide: Part Two

The Last Little Blue Envelope

Written by: Maureen Johnson

Released: April 26, 2011 by HarperTeen

Summary: Ginny Blackstone thought that the biggest adventure of her life was behind her. She spent last summer traveling around Europe, following the tasks her aunt Peg laid out in a series of letters before she died. When someone stole Ginny's backpack—and the last little blue envelope inside—she resigned herself to never knowing how it was supposed to end.

Months later, a mysterious boy contacts Ginny from London, saying he's found her bag. Finally, Ginny can finish what she started. But instead of ending her journey, the last letter starts a new adventure—one filled with old friends, new loves, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Ginny finds she must hold on to her wits . . . and her heart. This time, there are no instructions.

I was so excited when I found out that I had gotten an advanced copy courtesy of netGalley and HarperTeen that I did a little dance. And really, it couldn’t have come at a better time. I had just – and I mean just – finished reading 13 Little Blue Envelopes and was so perturbed at the ending because I needed to know what happened next. Sure, the first novel had the first few bits of this one at the end, but that was so not enough and it cut off at a horrible (for a reader) moment.

If possible, I liked reading this book more than the first. I think that maybe it was the introduction of two new characters or the fact that Ginny, Keith, Ellis, and Oliver all are together for the vast majority of the novel and for the entirety of the last letter’s adventure. Their being thrown into the chaotic mix of Aunt Peg’s final task added something that the first novel just didn’t have, even though I can’t put words to what it is.

The two new characters – Ellis and Oliver – were so different. Ellis I liked right from the start (it was hard not to) though at the same time I resented her being there (for reasons that I don’t want to share so that it’s not ruined). But Oliver, I really wanted to slap him for about the first quarter of the book but then I couldn’t help but like him and subsequently feel sorry for him. Then at the end I was so happy that I was almost in tears.

This book had be both laughing and crying. Johnson really knows how to capture the human emotion and how to write it so that it’s perfect for her characters. She has the ability to take you from the lows to the highs and back again all while making you feel all warm a fuzzy inside. I can’t wait to read more from her and I’m giving this novel a 9/10.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Royal Swap

The Royal Treatment

Written by: Lindsey Leavitt

Released: May 3, 2011 by Disney-Hyperion Books

Summary: Desi Bascomb's job as a princess substitute has gotten a whole lot more glamorous now that she's advanced to Level 2 within the Facade Agency. Magical make-up, roller-skating celebrities, and the chance to see Prince Karl again are just some of the major perks. Not to mention, she's landed the role of Fairy Queen in her school's production of Midsummer's Night Dream (opposite her best friend's crush. Which is a little weird, but at least he wears a donkey head during their kissing scene). Life should be perfect, but Desi can't seem to shake the feeling that there is more going on with the agency's magic than she's told. Like why is this mind-bending power exclusive to royals? Is it possible that there could be a bigger way to make an impact in both parts of her life?

Now I really want to read not only the first novel but the next one (if there is going to be one – there better be). Wow, this was different and adorable and fun. It was a great way to spend a few hours on a day off while it’s alternating between rain and snow.

At first, I wasn’t too taken by Desi, and I think that may be because I jumped right into the second book in the series and not the first. So while there was a bit of catch-up, it didn’t take too long and then I was sucked right into the entire story. Kylee and Reed were two characters who I enjoyed reading about – I completely have my theories about him and books to come. Meredith I just felt so sorry for whenever it came to her love life, but she was a pretty neat “fairy godmother” type in the book. And then there was Celeste annoyed me right off the bat; which I think is the entire point to her character. I really just wanted to slap her silly at being such a witch.

I think that it would be so much fun to be able to literally step into someone else’s shoes and take over their life for a little while. It would be like the ultimate stage performance without a script – pretty much the best reality television show ever.

I think that this would be a great read for a younger audience since it seems to promote good morals, behaviour, and it’s super cute. I would definitely give it to my younger female cousins to read (I really don’t think that the boys would appreciate reading about princesses) without a second thought to whether or not there would be something in the book that they shouldn’t be reading about. Overall, I’ve got to say that this is a solid 7/10 for me. I really can’t wait to see what else comes from this author and this series.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thrice the Sexy Times

The Guy Next Door (Anthology)

Released: March 1, 2011 by HQN Books

Summary: Three sexy new spring-fling novellas from three of today's hottest contemporary romance authors!

Ready, Set, Jett by Lori Foster

A vacation from her no-strings romance with her sexy next-door neighbor. That's what Natalie Alexander needs to get her head—and heart—together. But her solo trip south turns into a disaster when gorgeous Jett Sutter turns up with another challenge.

Gail's Gone Wild by Susan Donovan

Single mom Gail Chapman insists on chaperoning her teenage daughter's spring-break trip to Key West. But she never expects to face temptation—in the hunky form of Jesse Batista, the mysterious man in the cottage next door.

Just One Taste by Victoria Dahl

All-work-and-no-play businessman Eric Donovan won't be distracted by a "businesswoman" who's all wrong for him. Beth Cantrell owns a women's erotica shop! And she has a juicy little secret. Can she tempt him to put pleasure before business for once?

Is it sad that as soon as I read this I forgot all about it and I almost forgot to write a review? Thankfully (sort of) I went through my list of recently read books and realized that this one was missing a write-up. So, as I sit in my room half watching Chicago on DVD, I’m going to give my honest opinion.

Let’s start with the first of the three novellas. This was the one that really captivated my attention. It started hot and just kept simmering until it bubbled over... and then it sort of fizzled out. I thought that the bits with the dog were cute and the tension of driving in crap weather was very believable, but it just wasn’t all there. I think that it was a little too rushed. And every so often little previously unknown facts would slip in, like about a case that Jett had worked, which really had absolutely nothing to do with anything and could have been left out. Really, had this of been more of an actual novel and not a short story, had it of been able to fully mature and spread out, it would have worked out a lot better. Left as is, I would have to pass to ever read again. And I hated how it was just a ploy to get the readers to buy the ‘companion’ novel that’s coming out soon about the main female character’s sister.

The second story was boring. It was sort of weird to see a ‘hermit type’ mother tag along on her daughter’s spring break in order to chaperone only to have her own fling and completely defeat the purpose of being there in the first place. I mean, she’s all uptight about her daughter and her daughter’s friend getting into trouble and then never even seems to check up on them. Once again, it’s a story were it was sweet to see a woman finding some love, but the entire bit was just too much (or maybe that’s too little) and underdeveloped.

And last but not least, the third little tale in this novel. This one is meant to drill up interest in the continuing adventures of the two main characters and their semi-blooming romance. This was the one that I liked the least out of the three. Beth needed to grow a pair and say ‘screw it’ to everyone about how they thought to perceive her and Eric/Jamie just needed to plain old suck it up and tell the truth about who he was so that the poor little sex shop worker (adult toys and such, not sins of the flesh) didn’t carry around ideas about the wrong person. However, seeing as this was a precursor to the upcoming trilogy, one would assume that eventually that’s what will happen. I, for one, will not be reading to find out. I just didn’t connect with the characters or the situation. I spent the entire time rather bored and yet wanting to know if anything would actually happen. Still, my intrigue isn’t that great.

Personally, this type of novel isn’t for me. I like a beginning, middle and end with what I read. However, if you want to get a taste of what there is to offer with these authors and their characters, I would suggest picking this up. Though it comes off as incomplete in this review, it does offer a nice sampling and in that way it’s really well done. I’m giving it a 4/10.

Thank you netGalley and Harlequin for allowing me to read this advanced copy.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wish List Wednesday - Number Forty-Four

The cover drew me to this book and when I first saw it I thought that it was an adult steampunk-romance. Oh how I was wrong. In fact, this novel is a 2011 YA Debut read and it has landed firmly on my wish list. Hell, the cover alone would have me picking it up to read, but after reading the summary, it definitely looks as though the cover is just the icing.

The Girl in the Steel Corset

Written by: Kady Cross

Released: May 24, 2011 by Harlequin Teen

Summary: She thought there was something wrong with her. She was right.

Finley Jayne has known for quite some time that she isn’t ‘normal,’ but when she beats up the son of her employer and is forced to flee, she stumbles into a world where there are bigger freaks than her. They take her in, treat her like family and demand her trust. How can Finley trust them when she can’t trust herself? And why is she drawn to the powerful Griffin as well as the dangerous Jack? She has to get herself under control before she gets into trouble she can’t get out of.

Griffin King is one of the most powerful men in Britain but he couldn’t save his best friend from almost dying. He is determined to save Finley and help her become the person he knows she can be, but there’s evil afoot in London. Machines have attacked humans under the orders of a nefarious criminal called The Machinist. He has sworn to protect his country against such a threat, but he’s never faced any foe like this. However, when he discovers The Machinist’s connection to his past, Griffin vows to end the villain once and for all — but he’ll need the help of all his friends, including the beautiful Finley Jayne – the girl in the steel corset.

It sounds like amazing sexy times, to me and I love a good steampunk. And that dress. I'm in love with that dress! I hope that this is a little like the Alexia Tarabotti novels (only less supernatural). I can’t wait.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Oh How Cemetery Sleeps

In the Arms of Stone Angels

Written by: Jordan Dane

Released: April 1, 2011 by Harlequin Teen

Summary: Two years ago I did a terrible thing. I accused my best friend of being a killer after seeing him kneeling over a girl's body. That moment and that outcast boy still haunt me.

Now my mom is forcing me back to Oklahoma and I can't get White Bird out of my mind. But when I find out he's not in juvie—that he's in a mental hospital, locked in his tormented brain at the worst moment of his life—I can't turn my back on him again.

No one wants me to see him. My mom doesn't trust me. The town sheriff still thinks I was involved in the murder. And the other kids who knew the dead girl are after me.

I'm as trapped as White Bird. And when I touch him, I get sucked into his living hell, a vision quest of horrifying demons and illusions of that night. Everything about him scares me now, but I have to do something. This time I can't be a coward. This time I have to be his friend.

Even if I get lost, as well…

It took me a while to get around to reading this and now after I have I have absolutely no idea why I took as long as I did. This book throws you right into the murder and intrigue from the first page and it keeps you wondering until the very end; I don’t think that I’ve been as surprised by a book’s ending as I was by this one in quite a while.

The characters in this novel are... damaged. Every single one of them has something incredibly wrong about them and in some cases it works for them. White Bird, for example, even though he wasn’t fully present for the entire book – he was more there in spirit and through flashbacks, which I don’t see as counting – was really able to have an impact on me while reading. He was so broken and yet so strong; it was really amazing. Brenna (the main character) was at times incredibly whiney and petulant but when push came to shove she was able to really pull herself together. Her ability to rely solely on herself was remarkable and she had such an inner strength. I don’t think that I would be able to go through all that she did and not be completely withdrawn from the world at large.

The secondary characters really made the story unfold. Each with their own problems, their lives weave together the entire mystery and they let you see just how harsh life can be. There’s the classic untouchable bully, the reigning princess bitch, the lowly minion, the overwrought mother, the rookie good guy, the predisposed sheriff, the manipulative doctor, and the wise man who helps make the path straight. Set in their separate nooks, they really don’t amount to much, but when brought together with the main characters they give an insight that would otherwise be lost.

The mystery in this novel really had me guessing right until the big reveal. Maybe someone more perceptive than me would have spotted it before, but there are so many misleading bits that I was completely turned around. I think that I suspected almost every person at one point throughout the book. And once the climax hit, I had to stop and catch my breath before continuing on.

I am so glad that I read this. It was so different than a lot of what I see out there in the book world, especially recently. In this book you won’t find anything more supernatural than Native American theology and beliefs – which in themselves are fascinating because they could happen just the way that it’s written. Ok, there are ghosts... but I don’t classify them in the same category as vampires and werewolves and they don’t really add much to the story. So basically it’s a dash of supernatural. Either way, it’s different.

If you’re looking for something new that’s going to captivate your attention and keep it until the very end, this is the book for you. If you like to read something more “normal” (read: non-vampireesque) with just a splash of flavour, this is for you. If you want an amazing mystery with several twists and turns, check this out because I seriously doubt that you will be disappointed. I give this an 8/10.

Oh, and as an added bonus, this is a 2011 YA debut from this author. One more incredible reason to read it! If you want to read an excerpt, click the link here to Jordan Dane’s YA page.

My thanks to everyone at netGalley and Harlequin who made it possible for me to read an advanced copy of this novel.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Countdown to BEA

Oh my goodness, in just 9 week I will (ideally, if all works out) be in NYC for BEA! I am so nervous – I have yet to make final plans for where to stay and how I’m getting there – and I am just hoping that everything goes well.

Let the countdown begin!

Movie Monday - The Adult Spring Break

Hall Pass

Written by: Bobby & Peter Farley, Pete Jones, Kevin Barnett

Directed by: Bobby & Peter Farley

Released: February 25, 2011

Rating: R

Summary: A married man is granted the opportunity to have an affair by his wife. Joined in the fun by his best pal, things get a little out of control when both wives start engaging in extramarital activities as well.

This movie had me laughing so hard that I was literally crying and the ending was sweetly funny. Honestly, there are some parts which are so funny you had better make sure that you haven’t had a lot to drink. However, there were also parts of this movie which were overly disgusting and so did not need to be included.

This was one nip slip short of over the top gross humour and while I enjoyed the movie, the blatant nudity (full male frontal and women’s breasts) was a cheap shot at an attempt to draw an audience. I mean, sure, with a movie like this you’re bound to have your booby show alongside some crude joke mainly directed at the males in the audience but up until the initial point of fleshy un-goodness, this movie was really holding its own.

The characters were amusing and I would have to say that my favourite was the coffee shop barista/DJ; oh my god he was hilarious. The parts when he goes all twitchy over the “hot chick” had me giggling in my seat.

Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis have good chemistry on screen and their reversion into singledom is done really well. They balanced each other out really well and acted off of each other to make the most of the scenes. Jenna Fisher and Christina Applegate as their wives also work really well in the film and their parallel story lines reflect nicely on the entire situation.

The concept of a “hall pass” in a committed relationship is something that I don’t think I would ever do. Basically it’s a freebie card to cheat without consequences but it just seems as though the after affect would haunt the couple and more than likely result in a split. I think that you would have to be in an incredibly secure and nonjudgmental relationship to pull something like this off without any problems.

This movie had real potential to be really good, but its low brow sense of style just dropped it right down in my opinion. If this is your type of movie I would say ‘have at it’, but I highly doubt that I would watch this again unless forced. Had it of stayed clean, I would have given this a higher rating, but as is, it sits at a 5/10. I would hate to see the unrated version if one comes out on the DVD.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

In My Mailbox (45)

Well... I didn’t exactly stick to my guns this week, but I had good reason! Ok, so I’m able to completely justify buying books at any given time, but really, good reasons this week.

First, I finally got my hands on a hard copy of Feed by Mira Grant. I’ve been looking for a copy since last year and even though I was lucky enough to obtain an e-book through netGalley, I knew I wanted a book to hold.

Then, all children’s and YA books at Chapters are an extra 20% off (so I couldn’t pass that up). While in search for Rampant in hardcover by Diana Peterfreund and Ascendant by Diana Peterfreund, I found the copy of An Abundance of Katherines by John Green that I wanted. I love this version of the cover. It’s so pretty and colourful. And as an added bonus, it was on the bargain table!

And finally, from netGalley, I received A Tale of Two Cities by Gail Carson Levine, Mercy by Rebecca Lim, and The Magnolia League by Katie Crouch.

So this is what I got in my mailbox this week. Leave me a line and let me know what you got in yours! Oh, and don't forget to enter for your chance to win a copy of Diana Peterfreund's Rampant! Contest ends March 31.

Disclaimer: IMM is trademarked property of The Story Siren. Ok, it may not be trademarked, but it is her idea and is run through her blog. Go check it out!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

So Many Ghost Stories

One Hundred Candles

Written by: Mara Purnhagen

Released: February 9, 2011 by Harlequin Teen

Summary: 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.

Sadly, I wasn’t able to finish reading this for two reasons. First and foremost; either my netGalley time expired or I accidentally deleted it before the full time was up. Either way, that’s one reason. The second is because I think that by not reading the first novel in the series – Past Midnight – I was missing out on some critical details... which resulted in me not being all too into this novel.

I really think that I would have enjoyed this (I did go and read the last chapter) had I of read the first novel beforehand. I think that that novel would have built up the characters a lot better and I wouldn’t have felt so lost in them.

I would recommend this novel to those who read the first (or are thinking of reading the first) because of what I did read it was interesting and different. But read Past Midnight first. I think that I may just have to go out and do just that so that I can find a hard copy of this novel and give it another go.

Thank you to everyone who made it possible for me to read this advanced copy through netGalley.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Ultimate Travel Guide: Part One

13 Little Blue Envelopes

Written by: Maureen Johnson

Released: September 2006 by HarperCollins Children’s Books

Summary: When Ginny receives thirteen little blue envelopes and instructions to buy a plane ticket to London, she knows something exciting is going to happen. What Ginny doesn't know is that she will have the adventure of her life and it will change her in more ways than one. Life and love are waiting for her across the Atlantic, and the thirteen little blue envelopes are the key to finding them in this funny, romantic, heartbreaking novel.

So, the reason that I picked up this novel at Barnes and Noble was all because I remembered that I had requested the sequel for review and that I wanted to read this one first on the chance that I was able to read the second. Plus, I had heard good things a while ago and I wanted to read it for myself.

I was not disappointed in this book, but I think that I would have been had I of read it when it first came out since it ends the way that it does. Other than that, it just really made me want to take a European tour with only a few dollars in my pocket and travel around by train to see everything.

All the characters in this novel were great in their own way and I loved how they added to the journey that Ginny was on. Ginny was one who had to grow on me, though, for a few chapters but once she was there I really liked reading about her. I think it’s because she eventually becomes a little more independent and adventurous with each letter. But the character who really got me was Aunt Peg. Even after her death, the effect that she has on the people in her life and her reasons for writing the letters cause such an upheaval and yet bring about a type of closure that many are never able to achieve.

Then there was Keith. A guy who can wear a kilt in public and be completely unfazed by it is one cool guy in my books. However, stealing something from an eccentric artist brings down his appeal a little. Still, I loved how he was able to help Ginny and how he pushed her just that little but further so that she would have even a moment of fun unrelated to the letters. He was that grounding influence into the real world when everything else was in slight (or not so slight) chaos. Plus, I wish a guy would make out with me in a cemetery on top of a giant stone version of a Romeo and Juliet book. That would be something to definitely remember.

Oh, and I can’t forget about Richard. He was so sweet I just wanted to hug him.

This, in all, was a great book. However, with the ending how it is (I don’t want to ruin anything) it would be better if a person waited until April when the sequel comes out to read this novel. I’m giving this one a 9/10.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sweet Home Alabama

The Splendor Falls

Written by: Rosemary Clement-Moore

Released: January 11, 2011 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Summary: Sylvie Davis is a ballerina who can't dance; she lost everything important to her in one missed step.

Uprooting her from her Manhattan apartment, and shipping her to Alabama is her mother's solution for Sylvie's unhappiness. But life might not be any more simple down south. As it turns out, her family has a lot more history than Sylvie ever knew. More unnerving, though, are the two guys that she can't stop thinking about.

Then Sylvie starts seeing things. A girl down by the lake. A man peering into the window. And a graveyard with an oddly placed headstone. Sylvie's lost nearly everything—is she starting to lose her mind as well?

I’m not sure how to go about reviewing this book. I really enjoyed reading it, but there’s just something about it that makes me not know how to go about writing this.

There are two parts to this story when you get right down to it. There’s the ghost mystery bit and the supernatural bit. The entire book slowly builds up to the ghost part and just when it climaxes there are still questions left unanswered until the very end – but when the last bits of the puzzle are made known, it’s just like that. There’s no real explanation other than ‘slam bam thank you ma’am – that’s all folks – the end’. It was a little weird. And as for the supernatural bit outside of the ghost part, well, it happened all of a sudden and then was the main focus taking over for the ghost part.

I don’t know if that’s straight enough of an explanation, but it’s the best I could write it all down.

Basically, it was a weird little book that I enjoyed reading even though it had me scratching my head (figuratively) while reading it – especially at the very end.

Sylvie as a character was alright, but I feel that she, like the ending, was rushed. Maybe it’s just that everything seemed to happen at the end that she was swept along with it. And her love triangle was just a little awkward, especially at the end.

I guess when it all comes down to it is that the ending overpowered the entire book and not necessarily in a good way. It was just weird.

I would recommend that you read this book yourself if you’re able to since it’s one of those books that really needs to be read and the reader make their own conclusion. As a book, it was alright though with a rushed ending and a weird combination of story lines. I’m going to have to give it a 6/10.

Oh, and I don’t get the title. Could someone explain it to me if they understand how it ties into the story. Please? But the cover is gorgeous.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wish List Wednesday - Number Forty-Three

There are going to be so many amazing debuts this year and this one is just one of many.

The Near Witch

Written by: Victoria Schwab

Released: August 2, 2011 by Hyperion Books

Summary: 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.

Doesn’t it sound amazing? The cover is absolutely gorgeous too; it’s what first made me take notice of the book.

Be sure to add this one to your debut wish list!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

March Madness Giveaway

So, I find myself with two copies of Rampant by Diana Peterfreund and at a complete loss of what to do.

But, of course, that just means that it’s a perfect time to have another contest. Personally, I have yet to get around to reading it, but it has come highly recommended and killer unicorns sound super amazing.

Here are the rules;

  1. You must be a follower. If you are not currently a follower, you can quickly become one and then enter.
  2. You can be from anywhere in the world. That being said, if you’re half a world away, it will take a bit longer for the novel to reach you.
  3. You must fill in the form below (Click the link provided). Don’t worry, I would never share any information; this is all confidential.
  4. All submissions must be in by March 31 at midnight EST. I will post the winner – chosen at random – on April 1.

Click Link Here to Enter

Good luck to everyone who enters!

Television Tuesdays (4)

Yes, it has been a few weeks, but with the books that have been piling up, I’ve been slacking on writing reviews and focusing more on reading the books that I want to read. However, after watching several episodes of this show in a row, I’ve been inspired to write a post.

I love watching Criminal Minds. It’s just so intriguing and interesting – I’ve cried over episodes before, no lie – and the way that it brings all elements together is amazing. However, I have to admit that I have far from seen every episode and generally am just able to catch the re-runs at night after I’m off work. And even then there are so many times where I haven’t seen the entire episode.

My favourite character has to be Spencer Reid. His intelligence is just so attractive and I would love to just have a conversation with his character and watch him go off and ramble about something completely out there that I would have no clue how to even begin to follow. I would also just want to cuddle with him and watch a romcom.

One thing that I really love about all the characters is that there doesn’t seem to be any one general type that’s left out. They have all genders, so many ethnicities, and different age brackets. I love how there’s someone in the show for just about everyone to really like.

This is one show that I really would love to watch from the very beginning. I would love to get my hands on DVD copies of all the seasons, but along with my book ban I’m trying for a DVD one as well. So it looks like I may have to check out the local movie rental place.

Sadly, this isn’t a show that younger people should watch. It tends to deal with heavy material that may offend some people. Plus, a lot of episodes don’t end on a positive note (hence the crying). But if you’re of age and can deal with the not-so-nice part of humanity, check this show out if you haven’t already. I would highly recommend it.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Cover for Matched #2

Hmmmm... I don't think that I particularly like this cover, however, I do like how it represents how the last book ended and how this one will hopefully play out. Sort of the whole escaping the encasing bubble of society (duh) and becoming an individual.


Released: November 1, 2011

Summary: In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky — taken by the Society to his certain death — only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia’s quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander — who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia’s heart — change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.
It sounds great. But after really looking at that cover... yeah, I'm not digging it. I love the blue but her emerging from the bubble just doesn't look right.

Let me know what you think!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

In My Mailbox (44)

Oh how I love the books that I am able to read. And I love them even more when they don’t cause me to break my book ban – which is in mortal peril since Chapters has a 30% off deal going on for all fiction with your irewards card. Lucky for me, I have a baby shower to go to tomorrow before work, so I may just be able to quell my desire to drive all the way into the city just to buy some books.

Anyways, this week in my mailbox I got;

The Royal Treatment by Lindsey Leavitt
The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson
Girl Wonder by Alexa Martin

Bumped by Megan McCafferty
Hereafter by Tara Hudson
Die for Me by Amy Plum

The Chronicles of Harris Burdick by Chris VanAllsburg

So this is what I got this week. I cannot wait to read the VanAllsburg novel purely due to childhood reasons. And stay tunes for reviews on The Last Little Blue Envelope and The Royal Treatment; both were good.

Disclaimer: IMM is due to The Story Siren in all her greatness. Check out her blog for more information.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lions, and Tigers, and Circus Bears

Water for Elephants

Written by: Sara Gruen

Released: April 6, 20 by Harper Perennial

Summary: An atmospheric, gritty, and compelling novel of star-crossed lovers, set in the circus world circa 1932, by the bestselling author of Riding Lessons.

When Jacob Jankowski, recently orphaned and suddenly adrift, jumps onto a passing train, he enters a world of freaks, grifters, and misfits, a second-rate circus struggling to survive during the Great Depression, making one-night stands in town after endless town. A veterinary student who almost earned his degree, Jacob is put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It is there that he meets Marlena, the beautiful young star of the equestrian act, who is married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. He also meets Rosie, an elephant who seems untrainable until he discovers a way to reach her.

Beautifully written, Water for Elephants is illuminated by a wonderful sense of time and place. It tells a story of a love between two people that overcomes incredible odds in a world in which even love is a luxury that few can afford.

This book is absolutely breathtaking and I couldn’t put it down unless I was forced to. I started reading it sitting in the airport where out flight was delayed for over an hour and while reading it I was so engrossed that I didn’t even notice the incredibly uncomfortable chair that I was sitting in. I finished reading it while driving from Orlando to Panama City Beach (I was in the backseat and not actually driving myself). This book is just so riveting and gorgeous that I needed to know how it ended and I didn’t even jump ahead to read the end before I was really done.

I’ll admit that even though I bought this book a few years ago I always seemed to pass it over because I didn’t feel as though it would be any good. I don’t know why I had that notion, but there it was. But then I found out that they were making this into a movie (I really want to see it) and after watching the previews and seeing some stills, I had to read the book before I saw it. So I figured that it would be a fantastic holiday read and I was so not disappointed.

This novel alternated between Jacob as an elderly man and Jacob as a young man fresh out of Cornell. I was a little worried how the story would play out with alternating viewpoints like that. If anything, though, it just added this extra layer to the story and made you really see the type of man that Jacob is.

The beginning starts out at the end – if that makes sense – and it makes you think one thing until it’s told again. I don’t want to spoil it, though, so keep an open mind to the possibilities. As the story progresses, you can’t help but wonder what all is going to happen and who Jacob’s wife will be since as an older man he makes reference to her though not by name. And the end is full of action and has you on the edge of your seat.

This is going to be one of those books that I’ll read again and again and tell everyone about when they’re looking for a book to read. One thing, though, is that this isn’t exactly a book for all ages. There are several graphic scenes of either a sexual or physical nature and because of that this really isn’t a book that younger readers should enjoy until they’re at the point where they can handle the material. However, if you can cope with that, pick up this book if you haven’t already because it’s really amazing. I give it a 10/10.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Case of the Mystery Texter

Loser Queen

Written by: Jodi Lynn Anderson

Released: December 21, 2010 by Simon and Schuster Children’s Pulishing

Summary: Cammy Hall is what anyone would describe as a loser. She lives with her grandparents and has adopted their way of life… right down to the comfortable shoes and early bedtime. And can she help it that she actually likes to knit?

At school, her skills with knitting needles and some yarn go completely unappreciated: people like Bekka Bell reign while Cammy and her best friend, the fearless Danish exchange student Gerdi, watch from the sidelines. Cammy’s used to being an outsider; after years of humiliating moments, her goal is simply to fly under the radar. Then she suddenly starts receiving mysterious text messages that lead her right to all the embarrassing secrets about the most popular kids in school. Cammy never expected to be able to climb up the high school food chain, and the agenda of the texter may be questionable—but how can she possibly give up the chance to be Queen?

This is the print version of the groundbreaking online interactive serial LOSER/QUEEN that premiered in July 2010 on Each week, readers voted on major plot twists. The winning choice was then incorporated into the next week's chapters. Now that voting—and the book—are complete, LOSER/QUEEN will be published as a paperback and packed with extras from the author… and readers will have the opportunity to own the book they helped create!

I was a little apprehensive about this book but I saw it at Borders on ‘the buy one get one 50% off’ table so I figured that I would take a chance on it and pick up a copy. And while I wasn’t disappointed, I didn’t find that this was particularly special in that “holy crap” sort of way.

I thought that Cammy was slightly annoying and I really disliked her at parts in the novel. I mean, how she just let Gerdi fall by the wayside so that she could be more popular and accepted was sad. Gerdi was such a cool sounding friend and was strong and independent enough to march to her own drum, which I couldn’t help but completely admire. But, other than that, Cammy did some pretty nasty things along with the really nice ones that The White Rabbit (the mystery texter) told her to do.

And that’s another thing – who in their right mind would just do whatever a mystery person told them to do through text messages? I know that if it was me I would tell the person to go suck an egg and be done with it. And I’d like to think that I wouldn’t abandon my best friend just because I made some new ones.

However, I did enjoy reading this – mostly because I wanted to find out who The White Rabbit was and how it all ended. One thing that this book does is build up the intrigue and make you want to read on. Even though I disliked Cammy, I needed to find out what happened to her.

In all, this was a nice way to spend some free time but I’m only giving it a 5/10. If possible, I would suggest getting a copy from the library or borrowing it from a friend, but that’s just me.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Of Telepaths and Vampires

Dead Until Dark

Written by: Charlaine Harris

Released: May 1, 2001 by Ace

Summary: Sookie Stackhouse is a cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana, but she keeps to herself and doesn't date much because of her "disability" to read minds. When she meets Bill, Sookie can't hear a word he's thinking. He's the type of guy she's waited for all of her life, but he has a disability, too--he's a vampire with a bad reputation. When one of Sookie's coworkers is killed, she fears she's next.

You have no idea how ecstatic I was to find the original (aside from the HBO promotion) cover; somehow I had lost my copy or I had loaned it out to someone who never gave it back. Either way, I wanted the original cover and not the ugly tie-in one to go with the rest of the series and I couldn’t find out anywhere. Lo and behold, I found this one in Wal-Mart in Panama City Beach and I gave a little squeal of delight in the middle of the store. Thankfully there wasn’t anyone around to witness it.

So, of course, I had to re-read it as soon as I could. The first time that I read this book was way back in high school just after the first few books had been out and even after watching the first season of True Blood, I had forgotten some of the details. All in all, this proved to be a great beach read.

I had forgotten how much I love this series and how this was the book that started it all off. It was great to be able to re-read this and really enjoy it as though it was my first time reading it. If you haven’t gotten your hands on this book and subsequently this series yet, you really should if you like to read paranormal romances with a little (ok, a lot) of sexy scenes sprinkled throughout. I give this novel an 8/10.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wish List Wednesday - Number Forty-Two

While on Goodreads, I stumbled across this novel after it had popped up in my recent updates feed. Someone had added it as "to read" and once I saw the cover and read the title I was intrigued. So I checked it out for myself.

Obviously it was interesting enough to warrant being added to a Wish List Wednesday (at least in my books) but let me think what your view is on it.

Darkness Becomes Her

Written by: Kelly Keaton

Released: February 22, 2011 by Simon Pulse

Summary: Ari can’t help feeling lost and alone. With teal eyes and freakish silver hair that can’t be changed or destroyed, Ari has always stood out. And after growing up in foster care, she longs for some understanding of where she came from and who she is.

Her search for answers uncovers just one message from her long dead mother: Run. Ari can sense that someone, or something, is getting closer than they should. But it’s impossible to protect herself when she doesn’t know what she’s running from or why she is being pursued.

She knows only one thing: she must return to her birthplace of New 2, the lush rebuilt city of New Orleans. Upon arriving, she discovers that New 2 is very...different. Here, Ari is seemingly normal. But every creature she encounters, no matter how deadly or horrifying, is afraid of her.

Ari won’t stop until she knows why. But some truths are too haunting, too terrifying, to ever be revealed.

It looks and sounds all mysterious and I can't wait to read it. Luckily, it's already released so it shouldn't be too hard to snaggle a copy to read!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

In My Mailbox (43)

Another hit week for me with the pure fact that I didn’t buy anything! I would like to take this time to congratulate myself for getting back on the ban wagon and firmly staying seated!

I was, however, lucky enough to receive some review titles; which I’m really excited about!

So, this week in my mailbox, I got:

The Betrayal of Maggie Blair by Elizabeth Laird
Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly
The Vampire Voss by Colleen Gleason

The Guy Next Door by various authors
Savannah Grey by Cliff McNish
A World Without Heroes by Brandon Mull

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

Thank you to everyone who made it possible for me to have these titles to review. Some of these I haven’t heard anything about them but their summaries sound good. Hopefully I’ll have reviews up soon! Let me know what was in your mailbox this week!

Disclaimer: IMM is property of
The Story Siren. Go check out her amazing blog.
by Aimee Carter (I squeed at this one since I just had it on a Wish List Wednesday a few weeks ago)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Visions at Sundown

The Vespertine

Written by: Saundra Mitchell

Released: March 7, 2011 by Harcourt Children’s Books

Summary: It’s the summer of 1889, and Amelia van den Broek is new to Baltimore and eager to take in all the pleasures the city has to offer. But her gaiety is interrupted by disturbing, dreamlike visions she has only at sunset—visions that offer glimpses of the future. Soon, friends and strangers alike call on Amelia to hear her prophecies. However, a forbidden romance with Nathaniel, an artist, threatens the new life Amelia is building in Baltimore. This enigmatic young man is keeping secrets of his own—still, Amelia finds herself irrepressibly drawn to him.

When one of her darkest visions comes to pass, Amelia’s world is thrown into chaos. And those around her begin to wonder if she’s not the seer of dark portents, but the cause.

I requested this novel on netGalley on a whim because the summary was intriguing even though the cover that was shown was a little weird. The end cover, however, is gorgeous as you can see for yourself. Anyways, while I went into reading this not knowing what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised with the end result.

I’ll admit that I thought that this would be a bit fluffy to read but I loved how lyrical the wording in this novel was and that made all the difference to the romance. The writing in this novel took the historical/paranormal to a whole other level and made it something entirely new and exciting. Being able to envision the scenes as a reader can with this book made it possible to believe Amelia’s ability to see things in the fading sunset. It also brought to life the stolen moments between her and Nathaniel, which had me melting in my seat while reading them.

Amelia as a character seemed a little... weak, for lack of better wording. Oh, she was written beautifully, but her personality just wasn’t fully there. She was timid in my eyes and gave up entirely too easily at times. But since this is a historical novel, there are limitations for a female character with no means of her own, like Amelia.

I loved how the supernatural was blended with this book and how it explored the fraudulent side of psychics which were popular in that time period. By having that aspect in the novel, it makes the real premonitions that Amelia has seem more real in comparison but easily written off since it’s so easy to fake that sort of thing. There are some other little things that happen of a supernatural persuasion but I don’t want to ruin anything, so you’ll have to read this novel for yourself to find out. Still, the way that they blended the two genres really made it seem as though it could have completely happened just like that.

There were times in this novel, especially near the end, where I was close to tears (happy or sad, I’m not specifying) and I think that the only reason I didn’t cry was because I skipped ahead and read the last ten pages or so once I was half-way through the novel. This, I highly recommend you don’t do since it takes away some of the build-up to emotion.

I enjoyed reading this and read almost all of it in one sitting; I don’t think that it will be one that I talk about much after writing this review. It was a good book, it just wasn’t great. I’m giving it a 6/10.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The New Fairy Tale Princess 2

Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer

Written by: Maureen McGowan

Released: April 1, 2011 by Silver Dolphin Books

Summary: In this thrilling story full of adventure and romance, Sleeping Beauty is more than just a lonely princess waiting for her prince—she's a brave, tenacious girl who never backs down from a challenge. With vampire-slaying talents that she practices in secret, Sleeping Beauty puts her courage to the test in the dark of night, fighting evil as she searches for a way to break the spell that has cut her off from her family. In a special twist, readers have the opportunity to make key decisions for Sleeping Beauty and decide where she goes next—but no matter the choice; the result is a story unlike any fairy tale you've ever read!

Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer is an entirely new type of fairy tale–one that will keep today's kids guessing and offer them hours of magical fun.

So if you were to ever mix Buffy with a fairy tale princess, I’m pretty sure that this is what you would get. In fact, the more that I think about it, the more I can relate this to Buffy in weird ways. For example, the vampire-human-human love triangle, the trained slayer turned boyfriend (a la Riley), and the good vampire helping to defeat the evil one. Thankfully, I love Buffy and this was more than original enough that it’s only upon reflection that I notice the similarities.

I liked Lucette as a character and in the role of the ‘sleeping beauty’ I thought she was perfect. I loved the twist on the classic version of the princess and with the entire story the author really made it her own.

In fact, if you took out the opening scene with the bestowal of the curse (the only part that really stayed true to the classic version – aside from the vampires), I think that it might take a little while to pick up on how this is a retelling. Ok, that and the whole finger pricking bit. Still, what I mean is that the base of the fairytale remains the same in several ways, but the surface is so unique that it’s what you really get into without necessarily delving deeper.

I really enjoyed how this was also a “choose your own adventure” novel like Cinderella before it. It also follows the same format and seeing as though this is the second Twisted Tales novel from this author, I really can’t wait to see what else she comes out with in the future. I would love to read her interpretation on Rapunzel of Red Riding Hood.

In all, I’m giving this a 7/10 and would recommend it to anyone who loves different takes on fairytales. I really enjoyed this one (even though I’m a little jaded on the whole vampire movement in YA).

Thank you to everyone who made it possible for me to read an advanced copy of this novel from netGalley.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bra-Stuffers R Us

The Lipstick Laws

Written by: Amy Holder

Released: April 4, 2011 by Graphia

Summary: At Penford High School, Britney Taylor is the queen bee. She dates whomever she likes, rules over her inner circle of friends like Genghis Khan, and can ruin anyone's life with a snap of perfectly manicured fingers. Just ask the unfortunate few who have crossed her. For April Bowers, Britney is also the answer to her prayers. April is so unpopular, kids don't even know she exists. But one lunch spent at Britney's table, and April is basking in the glow of popularity. But Britney's friendship comes with a high price tag. How much is April willing to pay?

I’m at a loss of words for how to review this (e)book. It was so like so many other books and movies (Mean Girls, Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood) that I’m biased on liking it purely for its similarities. However, the thing that really set this apart was the characters and the ending. Oh, and the focus on bra-stuffing.

I thought that April was one of those typical high school girls who had always wanted to fit in and never knew her niche because she wasn’t true to herself. I liked reading about her journey through the ups and downs of popularity and how through that ordeal she was able to find not only herself but some true friends. Her maturation as she went through the book was both natural and completely believable despite her devious behaviour and outrageous actions.

The Lipstick Lawbreakers made me laugh as I read about their escapades and really, they were quite evil-mastermind brilliant. I wish that I had the balls to pull off the stunts that they did. In fact, there’s this one customer at work who rages over absolutely nothing and leaves the cashiers in tears who I’d like to hand over to them to deal with...

I thought that the ending was brilliant. It had self-realization, secret sharing, boob popping, and rain checks. I was laughing and crying in outrage and experiencing so many other emotions with the last dozen pages or so. This was also the last straw for how much I hated Britney (which was a good thing) and how satisfactory it was to see her get her just deserts.

Although I like this cover, I’m not keen on the candy heart between the teeth. With the lips and teeth looking so real, the candy just looks out of place. It also has nothing to do with the book... but whatever. It’s a pretty cover nonetheless.

This was a fantastic debut and I hope that any other books from Holder are as good, though maybe a little more original in content (to be fair, that’s a very hard thing to do since everything has pretty much been done already). I’m giving this an 8/10.

I want to thank netGalley and everyone who made this book available for me to read several months early.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Negative Reviews - Yay or Nay?

As of today, I read a "review" on goodreads (I laughed while reading it, and it made me smile) that got me thinking; since when are we as reviewers meant to do anything other than express our complete and honest thoughts on a book while writing a review?

I look at it like this;

My friend had just finished writing her 120,000 word debut (adult, not YA) and is in the process of contacting publishing companies about it. In order to do that, she wrote a resume letter thing – I don’t know the proper terminology, but I’m also not sending in a finished manuscript – and she wanted constructive criticism on it so that it didn’t sound, for lack of better word, stupid. So I did and I made some changes in a separate document, stated why, and gave some other comments – all while being perfectly polite but honest. Needless to say, when I asked her about it later, a look came over her face and she thanked me for being brutally honest. But I could tell that she was a little put off simply because I tore into something that she had been working on for a while.

In my defence, I did what she asked me to do and wasn’t all “too kind” like she didn’t want.

This is how I look upon writing reviews. I’m not about to give up my standards just to not make waves by writing a slightly less than favourable review. If I don’t particularly like a book that I read – whether I was given it to review or I bought it myself – I’m going to say that I didn’t and try to explain why. Sure, I’ll try to be nice about it and try to find something positive to comment on (even if it’s just that the cover was pretty) but there are some books out there that are just piles of steaming BS and nothing short of a miracle and half a brain could redeem them.

Personally, if I were an author, I would want to know exactly what people thought of my work and I wouldn’t want the fan-girl (or guy) gushings. A negative review that’s concise is always worth more than a positive one. At least a negative review gives you something to work from. And if that negative review came from an established author, don’t you think that they would know better than a debut one?

Hell, even while I was in high school and posting things on fictionpress, there was this one person who commented a lengthy comment on ever since chapter of one of my stories and their comments weren’t exactly positive though they were professionally critical and made me see where I went wrong with characters and plot lines. I greatly appreciated those comments because it made me a better writer and it drew my attention to where I should make changes.

But there are some people who go way too far and start bringing in personal attacks on anyone who was involved with the book – and that’s not cool. But sometimes you really do have to wonder what the hell an author was smoking while writing their novel.

Basically, negative reviews are what make authors better if you ask me, so long as they’re honest. I really believe that without them we would be stuck reading about mediocre to horrible characters with bad plot lines and absolutely terrible grammar and vocabulary. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to read something that’s like this:

Female Character 1 – “like omg lol ‘female character 2’ did you see that totally hot stoner kid over there. He was so hot I just want to sleep with him”

Female Character 2 – “omg I totally did and I so want to sleep with him too. Omg I bet he’s totally a vampire so I just want to sleep with him even more. I want him to bit me and make me a vampire like him”

FC1 – “you bitch I totally saw him first”

Male Character – “bitch please why would a vampire want to sleep with you. You’re such a ho”

FC2 – “omg MC1 shut up you’re such an ass”

FC1 and FC2 run away from MC1 and start to totally stalk the stoner dude vampire

That was just painful to write, and without someone to tell me that it was horrible and give criticism (constructive or not) god only knows what would happen if I tried to get it published. Sure, it probably wouldn’t be bought by any publishing house, but who’s to say considering some of the crap that’s out there already.

But this is just my opinion. Let me know what your take on the matter is.

Wish List Wednesday - Number Forty-One

Currently I’m reading 13 Little Blue Envelopes and really enjoying it. So, of course, it looks as though the sequel will be a good read as well which gives it a place on my wish list. That, and I flipped through my copy of 13 and there’s a little blurb about the sequel... which sort of ruined the ending for this book, but I think I can live with that.

The Last Little Blue Envelope

Written by: Maureen Johnson

Released: April 26, 2011 by HarperTeen

Summary: (taken from my copy of the first book) When someone stole Ginny’s backpack – and the last little blue envelope inside – she resigned herself to never knowing how it was supposed to end. But months later, when a mysterious boy contacts Ginny from London saying he’s found her bag, Ginny can finally finish what she started.

Instead of ending her journey, the last letter starts a new adventure, and Ginny finds she must hold on to her wits – and her heart. This time, there are no instructions.

Doesn’t that sound great? Plus there’s a little excerpt from this book in the one that I’m reading so I’ll be able to get a little taste for this one before I’m able to read it!