Be omnivorous, don't just read one kind of book, read everything. - Richard Wagamese

Monday, October 31, 2011

Review: The Ivy by Lauren Kunze and Rina Onur

Congratulations! You have been admitted to the most prestigious university in the world. Now what are you going to do?

Callie Andrews may not have money or connections or the right clothes, and she may have way too many complications in her love life, what with

the guy she loves to hate ...

the guy she'd love to forget ...

the guy she'd love to love ...

and Matt
the guy she really should love ...

all vying for her attention.

But she has three fantastic roommates (best friends or her worst nightmare?) and a wholesome California-girl reputation (oops) and brains and beauty and big, big dreams.

Will it be enough to help her survive freshman year at Harvard?
Ultimately, this book fell flat for me. I was excited to see what a college setting would have to offer, they’re not many books with a setting that takes place in college. I felt like the book had a lot of potential, but there wasn’t enough development. The characters seemed stereotypical, and I really couldn’t like any of them. There was a lot going on and not enough depth to each character. In my opinion there was too much dialogue and not enough development, I never had enough time to really know any of the characters. I would like to have seen more focus on the university experience, and not just alcohol and relationships. The university experience is much more than just a social change. I felt like the story was a bit disorienting, and there wasn’t a clear cut point of view. I really think I just expecting something different, and was shocked by what I got. I was looking for a more mature read, and I was very disappointed. This one just really wasn't for me. You'll need to judge for yourself. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

In My Mailbox

While I was on vacation, I didn't receive too many review books. These are the ones I have recieved in the past two weeks, I'm really excited to read them all. Especially, As Long as the Rivers Flow and The Virgin Cure. I've been waiting to Ami McKay's newest book for so long! I'm glad it is finally out. I have quite a few Canadian authors in this post, and that always makes me happy. 

Here are the Ebooks I have recently purchased:

The Giver by Lois Lowry (I can't believe I have never read this one)
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (I want to reread this one)

Swag from Robin Spano! 

Robin knows that I tend to buy ebooks of books I own, this enables me to keep my books in perfect condition. She sent me two packs of cards in case I wanted to keep one "like-new."

Thank you Robin!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Review: Devoted by Hilary Duff

Publisher: Simon and Schuster 
Pages: 368
Source: Publisher
Life has drastically changed for seventeen-year-old photojournalist Clea Raymond. Once a jet setting, carefree teenager, she is now a lost girl seeking to find her soulmate and uncover the secret to her father’s disappearance. An impossible, immortal elixir was once a fable but has now been revealed to be true. Sage was given the elixir against his will and has been hunted and chased by powerful forces hoping to benefit from immortal life. Clea and Sage have been coming together year after year, and her untimely death has always gotten in the way. Clea is determined to have a different outcome this time. Sage has been kidnapped but she knows he is still alive. His image is still appearing in her photos, but she must find him before it is too late.  After shunning Ben for weeks, Clea turns to him for help, he’s let her down in other lifetimes but he is determined to make it up to her and Clea can’t find Sage on her own. After unlikely visits from a young girl named Amelia, Clea tries to put the pieces together. Amelia, her parents, and grandfather have all taken the elixir of life but at this time they seek to use Sage to strengthen their dwindling powers. Amelia is afraid that they will hurt Sage, and use the power to strengthen people who want to wreck havoc on the world. Afraid, and confused Amelia gives clues to Clea to help her along, but remain loyal in her parents eyes. Time is running out, and Clea must decide if it is time to let Sage go. Does she fight till the end, take up an unlikely and deadly alliance or does she walk away?
Devoted picks up right after Elixir ends, and the action continues. Hilary Duff really strengthens her story, and introduces strong characters with a tight backstory. If you liked Elixir, you will love this one. Devoted is much more detail oriented, and action packed. New characters, and more of a backstory creates an original, entertaining read. While Elixir was more simple, Devoted is very detailed and creative, with more of an intensity. It took me awhile to understand how Amelia and her family would play into the story but once I began to understand, I was very impressed with the original and well thought out plot. I liked Elixir, but I didn’t know what to expect from this one, and I was pleasantly surprised. I felt like Duff really grew as a writer. I’m excited to see what the next book will entail, the ending is not exactly happily-ever-after. Duff really progressed with this one, and I’m now impressed with her as an author. I recommend this one to any reader who is looking for a new YA storyline.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Review: The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

Publisher: Sourcebooks 
Pages: 544 
Source: Publisher  

Carrie McClelland is a well-known writer in search of her next book. While beginning her research about the French-Jacobite invasion at Cruden Bay in France, she has a hard time capturing the voices for her new characters, her story is not evolving, she feels stuck. She knows that something is missing, she frequently travels when writing and doesn't understand why her characters won't unveil themselves. On her way to a Christening for her agent and best friend's child, Carrie goes to Scotland and accidentally discovers the ruins of Slain Castle. Carrie immediately feels a connection, and knows that she must come to Scotland. The Castle contains her characters, their story needs to be told. Carrie immediately goes back to France, picks up her few belonging and decides to move to Scotland. She sets herself up in a quaint cottage and begins her writing, working at night and in isolation, her novel begins to take shape. When her landlord learns that she is a writer, and working on a book containing the Slain Castle, he helps Carrie contact some local historians including his own son. Carrie is immediately drawn to her characters, and their voices come to her so easily, in fact this is the first time she is so drawn to her characters. While in search for a female character, Carrie remember Sophie Patterson, a distant cousin according to her father, the genealogist. Sophie quickly becomes the main character. A young girl, abused, abandoned and taken in by her wealthy Aunt. Sophie comes to Slain Castle expecting to be a hired hand, but her Aunt will not have family working in the Kitchen. She treats Sophie like one of her own children and Sophie's world is nothing like she imagined to could be. Carrie has no issues writing about Sophie, she's astonished when her fictional details are proven to have been real-life events that happened to Sophie. Carrie can't understand it, but it seems that she may have inherited the story of Sophie. 

Susanna Kearsley intertwines two stories, the story of Carrie the writer, and Sophie Patterson. The past and present continually shift, capturing readers and leaving them wanting more. I loved reading both perspectives. When I was reading about Sophie, I was wondering about Carrie and vice-versa. I really loved the story, I was swept up in both worlds, and kept wanting to read more. Both stories are plotted out well, and readers can clearly deduce which world is being recounted. The story is moving, and the writing is superb. I had one issue with the story, Genetic memory. The flashes of memory that Carrie has been experiencing are said to have been genetic memories, memories contained in her DNA. I really didn't like this concept, it didn't feel right to me and not plausible. However, the overall story was amazing. I just couldn't settle for the genetic memory explanation..

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Truth

Goodreads Description:

Nina Oberon’s life has changed enormously in the last few months. When her mother was killed, Nina discovered the truth about her father, the leader of the Resistance. And now she sports the same Governing Council–ordered tattoo of XVI on her wrist that all sixteen-year-old girls have. The one that announces to the world that she is easy prey to predators. But Nina won’t be anyone’s stereotype. And when she joins an organization of girls working within the Resistance, she knows that they can put an end to one of the most terrifying secret programs the GC has ever conceived. Because the truth always comes out...and the consequences can be deadly.

Release: January 2012

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Review: A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies

Pages: 400 
Publisher: Harper Teen
Source: Publisher

Skye Parker miraculously survived a fatal car accident, killing both her parents and leaving her with no family. Her mother’s best friend Jo, an orphan herself adopted Skye and became the Aunt she never had. Lately Jo has been occupied, gone most of the time and trying to make it up to Skye by baking her favorite foods. On the night of her seventeenth birthday Skye reluctantly attends a birthday party thrown by her closest friends. While she tries to escape and have a few minutes for herself, she meets Asher. Asher is new in town, and Skye learns that he has come to town with his cousin Devin. Asher and Devin are polar opposites in almost every way; Asher is tall and dark, while Devin is fair and reserved. Skye has a strange connection to them both, and life as she knows it is about to change. Asher and Devin are very concerned about Skye’s life, and they appear to be everywhere she seems to go. She has no idea what they want or what their intentions are. They both warn her about the other each, and Skye can’t help but be confused. When a flurry of strange events occur, Skye can’t help but question her identity, and many secrets begin to be revealed. Her once organized, structured life is hit with a real jolt. Skye was never the person she thought she was, she’ll never be the same person. She can’t help but fall in love with Asher, but can’t forget her obvious connection to Devin. At the root of A Beautiful Dark is good and evil. Skye stands in the middle and must make a decision, coming to terms with an impossible secret- a decision that must be made, and will be forced upon her.

I loved, loved A Beautiful Dark! Jocelyn Davies had me hooked, and wanting more. A Beautiful Dark is full of mystery, intrigue, and likable characters. The world building was well done, and written at a great pace. I was so conflicted as to who Skye should choose, a love triangle done incredibly well. My mind kept switching with Skye’s, and I felt as confused as she was. Skye’s development throughout the novel was realistic, and I was able to connect with her right away. Her turmoil became my turmoil. Her friends were supportive and a great cast of secondary characters. throughout all of Skye’s life changes her friends remain human and normal. This was very refreshing and real. The story was addicting, with no clear cut good vs evil plot line, it left a lot room for grey areas. There is a lot of unanswered questions, but book 2 will be out next year and I will be impatiently waiting to get my hands on a copy. All in All, I really enjoyed A Beautiful Dark it was well written, refreshing, and original. I haven’t read many angel stories, but this one will be a favorite of mine. One that I will be recommending. 

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Review: Triangles by Ellen Hopkins

Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Pages: 544
Source: ARC from PK- Aisle B

Marissa, Holly and Andrea are frustrated with life. Each of them is struggling to come to grips with what life has handed them, feeling unsatisfied, irritated and overwhelmed. Marissa wakes up every morning hoping that this day will be a little better than the last. Her daughter is terminally ill and not expected to live much longer, her son has recently come out of the closet, and her husband buries himself in work -ignoring the issues at home. Holly is a stay-at-home mother and has the picture-perfect family, nice house, handsome husband and beautiful children. Behind closed doors she has many regrets, and finds herself bored in her marriage. She’s ready to take control of her life, and begins to dream about being a writer and doing things for herself. She shed sixty pounds, and begins to like the attention men are giving her. She soon finds herself having an affair and not really enjoying that either. Andrea is Marissa’s sister, and she can’t bear to look at her ill niece who seems to be failing each day. She tries to stay away as much as possible, she can’t take the hurt. She knows it’s selfish, but doesn’t know what to do. She has her own issues. She has spent her whole life looking for that one guy, and she can’t seem to find him. Her last relationship failed when she could not longer take her abusive, married boyfriend any longer. Andrea looks at her best friend Holly throwing away her marriage, and can’t help but pine for the husband Holly doesn’t seem to want.  

Triangles is Ellen Hopkins first adult book, and my first experience reading her books. I wasn’t sure how I would like reading a book completely in verse, and after a few pages I couldn’t help but think “wow, she is talented.” I don’t think this is a book that you can completely enjoy; it’s dark, raw and not a feel-good-story however, alternating narrators carries readers on an emotional rollercoaster. Readers are given the opportunity to understand each of the women, and understand where their issues are coming from. Triangles is a bold novel, hiding nothing, revealing all. I can’t say that I loved the novel, but I really think it was just the subject matter. I may be a little too young to really grasp the mid-life crisis concept.  I wasn’t able to relate to the characters, but I did have compassion for them. I felt like I understood them. I really like the fact that their lives were connected. I would recommend this one, because it is incredibly written.  Hopkins style is unique; her usage of verse and composition is outstanding. I would really like to try her YA novels, but I would certainly need to be in the mood for them.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

In My Mailbox

I'm still on vacation, and will be returning home this weekend. So, these are my newest ebook purchases. I hope everyone has fun participating in the readathon, I wish I was participating. Next time...

Here are my ebooks:

Hidden Affections by Delia Parr
Husband and Wife by Leah Stewart
The Lady of Bolton Hill by Elizabeth Camden
Pattern of Wounds by J Mark Bertrand
The Life You've Imagined by Kristina Riggle
Wicked by Gregory Maguire

Enjoy all your new books!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Review: The Liberation of Alice Love by Abby McDonald

Publisher: Sourcebooks
Source: Publisher
Pages: 417

Alice Love is one of those people who have all their ducks lined up in a perfect row. Although, she’s not completely satisfied with her career as an attorney, it works and she’s learned to live with it. There’s room to move up, and she’ll focus on that when the time is right. She’s the one who keeps everything in order- family-wise, and work related. Alice is surprised when a rather expensive, sexual item is delivered to her apartment with her name on the box. How can this be? She never ordered this...strange things begin to happen. Her bank card gets declined and Alice brushes it off, she simply thinks it a clerical mistake. However, when her credit card is declined soon after, Alice becomes suspicious. She’s never been late on a payment. She’s not the type of person who checks her bank balance everyday. Alice has an appointment to meet a mortgage broker, and his reaction is nothing like she would have imagined. Alice quickly learns that her entire life savings, credit cards, and debit card have been cleaned out. She’s become a victim of identity theft. Her whole world is turned upside down. Hours, quickly turn into days and Alice has a hard time pulling herself together. Her landlord evicts her for late payment, and Alice doesn’t know what to do. How can she be in this situation? When an investigator asks her to look at some video footage, she’s astounded by the person on the other end. For the past two month, someone she least expected was living it up with her accounts. Someone who quickly disappears the moment Alice is starting to figure out her situation. Alice feels ashamed, shocked and furious. She’s worked so hard, and now everything is gone.

I was hooked within the first few pages. This was one of those books where I loved the cover, but I wasn’t sure about the story. It sounded good, but I instantly fell in love with the story. Alice Love is a great character, she’s flawed, emotional and real. This story is perfect for today’s world, a world where identity theft is easily found in the headlines. Alice’s reaction to the identity theft was concrete. She begins to almost grieve for the life she had before. She’s stuck, and hopeless. When she begins to take her obsessiveness of organization and put it to good use, she begins to track down the person who ruined her perfect world. She quickly finds out the person who stole all her money has been living a very extravagant life, Alice has had enough and intends to put a stop to everything. She’s feels like a fool, but she marches on. The Liberation of Love is filled with great characters, believable situations and laugh-out-loud moments. This is one you read for sheer pleasure. Highly recommended!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Review: The Sixes by Kate White

Publisher: Harper
Pages: 384
Source: Publisher

Phoebe Hall is attempting to adjust to a new life. Her once successful career as a bestselling author is in jeopardy when she is accused and found guilty of plagiarism. Her personal life is not much better, her long-time boyfriend abruptly leaves before the accusations, and Phoebe doesn’t know who to turn to. When her agent suggests that she change her plans and keep a low profile until the media storm calms down, Phoebe is elated when her friend Glenda offers her a teaching job at a small-town university in Pennsylvania. Phoebe retreats to Lyle College, and never expects to become involved in a media frenzy once again. A young girl, in Phoebe’s class mysteriously disappears and is found drowned in the river that boarders the college. One year previously, the girl’s boyfriend disappears and no one has heard from him since. Lyle College has a strict policy that no fraternities or sororities be allowed. When the administration hears about a Secret Society they set out to quickly shut it down. When it becomes clear that the Sixes may have a connection to the drowned girl, Phoebe uses her research skills to assist Glenda, the president of the college. Things take a turn for the worst when Phoebe begins to uncover their secrets, her home begins to be targeted by the Sixes and Phoebe is not sure what they will do next. It is clear that Phoebe has been warned to keep her distance. Just when Phoebe thinks she has a lead, she is quickly thrown off course.

The Sixes is a page-turner, it’s engaging, entertaining, and well-worth the read. I was skeptical of everyone, and questioned all the secondary characters. I trusted no one, except Phoebe. I really enjoyed Kate White’s previous novel Hush, and would recommend this one as well. Honestly, Hush was a great read. The characters are full of intrigue and well developed. Kate White does an excellent job of engaging the reader and keep them guessing throughout. Phoebe will stop at nothing in her investigation. As she is threatened, and endangered she still continues with her search. It really makes readers question her character, she’s not a detective, she’s a writer and at what point will she step back.  Phoebe does get involved in a romance and readers are not sure where the relationship is going. While I wanted to enjoy the romance aspect, I couldn’t because I couldn’t trust anyone. I felt like I was in the dark until the end. If you’re looking for a good mystery/thriller I would try this one out. It’s not very scary, but full of mystery.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Insurgent

Goodreads Description:

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love. 

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so. 

New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth's much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating

Release: May 2012

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Pages: 384
Source: Personal Ebook

Anna Oliphant’s is a high school senior. She leads a fairly normal life but her senior year is about to change in a very substantial way. She must leave her friends, her job, her school and her crush. Her best-selling novelist father decides to culture his daughter, and decides that she must go abroad to boarding school. She’s being shipped off to Paris. It may be the city of romance, but Anna is terror-stricken. She can’t speak french, she doesn’t want to leave her little brother behind, and what will her best friend do without her? There is little relief in knowing that her schoolmates will be fellow Americans, but Anna is expecting the worst. When she arrives to the school, and her parents walk away, Anna breaks down and the tear begin to fall. Anna is relieved when a fellow student comes to her rescue. Meredith can’t help but hear Anna crying through the thin walls, and she takes her under her wing and welcomes her into her group of friends. Anna’s first morning in the cafeteria is perplexing when she realizes the menu is all in french. Meredith’s friend Etienne, or St.Clair as he is known, offers to assist her, within a couple of weeks the duo are inseparable. St. Clair is in a relationship but it doesn’t seem to be going well. Anna is enamoured with St. Clair, but she knows that anything more than friends is not likely. As much as she loves the time she is spending with St. Clair, she can’t help but try to keep her feelings under control. Their relationship begins to change when St. Clair deals with difficult family matters. Anna is always there for him, but she’s not sure how much more she can offer him. Meredith is pushing away from Anna, jealousy is obviously the issue. Her best friend back home has kept a VERY big secret from her, and Anna is stuck between two worlds.

A fantastic read! I picked this book up, because so many bloggers were raving about it. I thought I should give it a chance, see what all the fuss was about. I was initially skeptical, the cover gave me the impression that it was just another sweet, teen romance. I was wrong. This book surpassed my expectations. Anna was a true to life teen, a young girl trying to figure out her path in life. Her emotions were real, she’s dealing with many issues. She’s homesick, she’s angry, and she’s lonely. Her friends at home are moving on without her, and she’s not sure how to deal with this. While she’s lucky to have met the friends she has in Paris, it takes awhile to bond with them. The city she lives in terrifies her, she simply can not speak the language, she’s afraid to leave campus. Her relationship with Etienne is not all sweet, and exemplary. Circumstances with Etienne’s family forces Anna not to confront all their issues. The few friends she does have are not friends she’s known all her life, she’s afraid of being left alone. Stephanie Perkins conveys readers into a tangible teenage relationship. This is one I highly recommend, a young adult book that is meant for all ages.

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Review: Pregnant Pause by Han Nolan

Publisher Harcourt
Pages: 352
Source: Personal Ebook

Elly is sixteen years old, and pregnant. After returning to the US from Kenya she has been running wild, drinking, doing drugs and skipping school. Her boyfriend Lam is two years older than her but encourages her wild ways. When she discovers she’s pregnant, she didn’t worry right away. She never expected that she would carry the baby to term, she assumed she would miscarry. She continued her ways, until she realized that the pregnancy was real and she needed to deal with the situation. Her missionary parents were livid with her, they planned to return to Kenya, and Elly was given two choices. She could return to Kenya with them- without the baby, or move to California with her sister and give the baby to her. Sarah had miscarried three times, and would love to raise the baby with her husband. A stubborn Elly decides to marry Lam and remains up in the air about what to do. Both sets of parents are not thrilled but agree to allow them to marry. Elly will join Lam and his parents at the family summer camp and assist with the children. Their struggles escalate when Lam tries to convince Elly to give the baby to his parents who are still grieving the loss of their second child. Lam becomes distant, and Elly throws herself into camp life and begins to enjoy working with the children. Elly is constantly under the scrutiny of her in-laws, Lam is never around and her parents have gone to Kenya.

Pregnant Pause is a heartbreaking novel, a cautionary tale that demonstrates that endings are not always happily-ever-after. Elly’s character is very annoying when the book begins, but by the end she redeemed herself in my eyes. Clearly, Elly is a teenager and becoming pregnant hasn’t suddenly matured her. Lam is continuing her immature ways, and Elly tries to mostly ignore him. This book does not glamorize pregnancy in any way. The parents really bothered me, really, really bothered me. Both sets of parents tried to manipulate the teenagers into doing what they wanted. It seemed like Elly didn’t matter anymore, Elly was a rebel and would always be in their eyes. Elly’s parents never tried to guide their daughter, they set out their options and that was that, no further discussion. The parents were trying to do what was best for them, Elly would have to deal. Elly’s parents continually talk about the children in Kenya and how they are needed, while Elly is trying to wrap her mind around why her parents don’t think she needs them anymore. I would love for a second book because the ending was not at all what I was expecting, I do not want to give away any spoilers but the ending was fantastic.  I was in a complete shock, and my disgust for the other characters grew immensely.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Review: Wicked Company by Ciji Ware

Publisher: Sourcebooks 
Pages: 609 
Source: Publisher 
Category: Historical Fiction 

Sophie McGann is motherless, and almost penniless. Her father owns a bookshop, where Sophie spends most of her time. Recently, her father seems to be selling unlawful material to noblemen. When her father refuses to sell anymore erotic material, a vengeful nobleman has him arrested and he's carted off to jail. Sophie soon finds herself on her own, and grieving for her father. Sophie, an education, stubborn and unforgiving girl uses her writing skills and printing press to vindicate her father's death. Sophie soon finds herself on the run and in need of a quick, safe getaway. Hunter Robinson, a traveling juggler turned actor comes to her rescue. Hunter hides Sophie in a friends traveling trunk headed to London. Sophie intends to start new, find her aunt and uncle in London, and work in their bookshop. Sophie finds the bookshop in ruins, her uncle dead, and her aunt suffering from a severe mental illness. Sophie is shocked, concerned but very determined. While in London Sophie discovers the world of theater, and hopes to become a petticoat writer. 

'Wicked Company' spans thirteen years, and gives a very detailed account of Sophie McGann's life. Many characters comes in and out of her life, and Hunter Robinson continually makes an appearance. Sophie is independent, stubborn, and betrayals force her to be constantly cautious. She is always the loyal friend, daughter and niece. Sophie befriends many great individuals, but in the world of theatre many are focused on themselves and themselves only. Sophie has many life lessons to learn and many heartbreaks of overcome. 

Another great book from Ciji Ware! I've never read a book like this, it felt like I was reading a Dickens novel. I love Dickens style. The time period was very refreshing for me. I've never read anything about petticoat writers, and I kept turning the pages. This is one that you may want to sit down and read for awhile. It's hard to only pick it up for five minutes at a time. Ciji Ware descriptions are enchanting, her characters dynamic and her plot unforeseeable. This is my second Ciji Ware book, and I've loved both. A Cottage by the Sea was my favorite, but this book is the complete opposite. A Cottage by the Sea was more of a simple Romance novel, whereas this one is pure Historical Romance. I believe they're incomparable. Ciji Ware's writing style shined in this one and her talent is undeniable.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Review: Reclaiming Lily by Patti Lacy

Publisher: Bethany House
Pages: 384
Source: Litfuse Blog Tour

Goodreads Description:

A storm the size of Texas brews when Gloria Powell and Kai Chang meet in a Dallas hotel. They have come to discuss the future of Lily, the daughter Gloria adopted from China and the sister Kai hopes to reclaim. Kai is a doctor who had to give up her little sister during the Cultural Revolution and has since discovered that an inherited genetic defect may be waiting to fatally strike Lily.
Gloria's relationship with her daughter is tattered and strained, and the arrival of Kai, despite the woman's apparent good intentions, makes Gloria fearful. Gloria longs to restore her relationship with Lily, but in the wake of this potentially devastating diagnosis, is Kai an answer to prayer...or will her arrival force Gloria to sacrifice more than she ever imagined?

I usually always write my own product descriptions, but I had a hard time with this book. This book really wasn't for me. The synopsis sounded really interesting, and I was excited to read it but I quickly started to feel that I chose the wrong book. My problem with the book wasn't the story line, it was the flow. I felt like there was too much dialogue and not enough description. It felt really choppy, and I felt confused at times with Kai's flashbacks to her issues in China. I feel bad because I wanted to like this one, and I've read many rave reviews. I was honestly left thinking "What did I miss?" I know it happens, and not every book is for every reader. I had a hard time liking any of the characters, and really couldn't relate to any of them. I think this is one that you will need to try for yourself if you're interested. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Review: Wicked by Sara Shepard

Publisher: Harperteen
Source: Personal Copy
Pages: 320

If you haven't read the series, check out my previous reviews.

Pretty Little Liars

Sara Shepard still has me hooked. Wicked is the fifth book in the series, and another captivating read. The suspense is killing me! Alison DiLaurentis held her friends together, and since her death they are finding out more and more about her, alarming secrets, and questionable behavior. The girls are teetering between their hurt that Alison could have been so manipulating, and their guilt of not remaining loyal to a friend that is no longer living. Aria, Spencer, Hannah and Emily are still grieving over the death of Alison, each of the girls are dealing with their issues individually. While their friendships have improved they are still not as close as they once were, they still questions what they should talk to each other about and are hesitant to speak to each other. When the messages return signed “A” they girls initially believe that these are coming from a copy cat, Mona fell off a cliff and Ian Thomas believed to be Alison’s killer has been sent to jail. Spencer is dealing with the fallout from her actions in the previous book, and her parents have distanced themselves. Spencer is feeling alone and embarrassed. Aria has moved on from Ezra, but her attraction to her mom’s boyfriend may cause some issues. Emily is still coming to terms with her sexuality and Hanna is questioning her relationship with Lucas. The girls fear escalated when the messages become more personal and the threats more intimidating.
I really enjoy this series. I usually take a break between each book which is something that I tend to do with every series. I’m surprised that it is book five and I haven’t lost interest, I’m actually more interested in the series. I would really like to try out Sara Shepards new series. I did watch some episodes of the first season, but I stopped afraid that it would ruin the books. I would like to go back and watch because I think I’m far enough into the books now. My own complaint is that the show portrays the girls as best friends, and really they have distanced themselves quite a bit. “A” is the only think that keeps them communicating, as well as their forced therapy sessions. I highly recommend this series, you won’t regret it. You might be a little discouraged because there are so many books, but they read really quick. Pretty Little Liars is one of my favorite YA book series.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Hallowed

I loved Unearthly and I can't wait to read the next one!

Goodreads Description:

For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought. Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning. 

Described by Richelle Mead as “utterly captivating,” Unearthly received outstanding reviews, garnered accolades from New York Times bestselling authors, and was named an Indie Next Pick. In this heart-wrenching sequel, Cynthia Hand expertly captures the all-consuming joy of first love—and the agony of loss. This beautifully woven tale will appeal to fans of Lauren Kate, Becca Fitzpatrick, and Aprilynne Pike.

Release date: January 2012

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Review: XVI by Julia Karr

Publisher: Speak
Pages: 272
Source: Publisher

Nina is a distraught fifteen year-old, living in the year 2150. She’s about to turn sixteen, and be branded with a tattoo on her wrist. “XVI,” a government ordered tattoo will identify her age, and signify that she is officially sexually mature. A few vaccinations to fight STD’s and these girls are let loose. Her best friend is elated, and Nina is intimidated-to say the least. Nina’s mother Ginnie has instilled in her to never buy into the government hype. She instructs Nina to “think outside of the box.” The government is listening at all times. The media, a mere tool to use for its own propaganda. When life seems like it couldn’t get any worst, it does. Ginnie, Nina’s mother is brutally murdered. The government kept her alive just long enough to tell her daughters goodbye. The machine was shut down, and Nina is filled with questions. Coming from a lower tier (class) these machines are not normally used, reserved for higher tiered citizens. Why did the government allow her mother to say goodbye? Nina is concerned about who killed her mother, but investigations are not a priority for lower tiered people. In the few minutes she had left, Ginnie asked Nina to take care of her younger sister, and get Sandy’s baby book to Nina’s father. Nina’s father was thought to have been dead since the day Nina was born. Nina is confused, frustrated and shocked. Nina’s world is turned upside down, and she endures. She is uprooted to her loving grandparents house, and is the rock for her younger sister. Can her father really be alive? Nina begins to uncovers her mother past, her parents were not the individuals they seemed. Nina uncovers her sisters past as well. Nina has a lot to tackle, and in the midst of all the mystery, she must keep her sister away from her abusive father. In the coming weeks she will be branded “XVI.”

XVI is unique, thought provoking, and very well-executed. Honestly, when I first starting reading XVI, I wasn’t automatically absorbed into the plot. It did take me a little while, but once the action began to take place, I couldn’t put the book down. It took me a little while to understand the terms that Julia Karr used, but it didn’t take me long to learn and this didn’t hinder the book, I was intrigued. The characters began to develop quickly, and the plot was not stagnant. The secondary characters were quickly introduced, and indispensable. Julia Karr creates a world that is shockingly realistic, brutal, and alarming. XVI really left me thinking, and wondering how much of this could be true in the future. Media really affects each generation, and each generation is subjected more and more to the media. I wonder how far will the media be allowed to go?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Review: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Publisher: Hyperion
Pages: 352
Source: Personal Copy

Sophie Mercer is sixteen years old, and has already attended nineteen different schools in nineteen different states. Her mother is desperately trying to allow Sophie to have a normal high school experience but the problem is that Sophie is not like the other students; she was born to a warlock father, and human mother. Her powers are too tempting to resist however, she hasn’t perfected a spell and attracts attention. Usually, she is discovered for who she is. Her father is not actively in her life, but she does speak to him occasionally. When a love spell goes wrong on prom night, Sophie is sent to Hectate Hall where she must stay until she is eighteen years old. She is banished to a reform school for prodigium students. This is the first time Sophie will live among witches, warlocks, faeries, and shape shifters and they are astounded that she knows so little about who she is, or who her father is. On her first day of school she is singled out and clearly doesn’t fit in. Within her first few minutes on school property, a handsome boy saves her from a werewolf when Sophie is caught off guard and can only muster “bad dog.” Her roommate is the only vampire on campus, and a group of three witches try to convince Sophie to join their coven. When Sophie turns down their offer, they quickly become her enemies. Sophie is not looking forward to the next two years.

Hex Hall is a fast, fun, entertaining read. Sophie is a very sarcastic character, and I really enjoyed her. She begins the novel very naive, and clueless.  She is years behind the other students in her knowledge of prodigium but her knowledge doesn’t grow too much throughout the novel. As Sophie learns about her past, it felt very patchy. I don’t understand why she wasn’t trying to seek out more concrete answers. The book doesn’t have many twists or shocking moments; it seemed more about world and character building. Since it was a fast read, this didn’t bother me too much. I would have liked more action. When characters are being attacked, I didn’t really feel the fear of the other students. It seemed downplayed. This is the first book in the series, and I’m interested in the progression of the characters. This book does have some flaws, but they may be redeemed in the later books. Many YA novels have teenagers who seem wiser than their years, Sophie clearly is a teenager. I really enjoyed that aspect of her character.  Overall, I enjoyed the novel but I’m curious about where Rachel Hawkins will go next. I think this was a great first novel. The ending certainly leaves you wanting more, giving me a lot of hope for the next book. If you’re curious about this one, give it a try. I honestly enjoyed it, and I’m looking forward to book Demonglass.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

In My Mailbox

I got a lot of books this week, and I'm really excited to show them to you. Last weekend we had another Montreal Bloggers Meetup, and we got together talked about books, ereaders and traded books.

Here's what I got last week for review:

Death Plays Poker by Robin Spano (I loved Dead Politician Society) *Canadian Author

These came from Cindy from Cindy's Love of Books. Thank you!

This one came from Lucy from Moonlight Gleam's Bookshelf. Thank you!