Thursday, June 30, 2011

Review: Brightly Wovenby Alexandra Bracken

Publisher: Egmont

Pages: 354
Source: Publisher


Sixteen year old Sydelle grew up in Cliffton. A small town plagued with many years of drought. Sydelle has always dreamed of leaving Cliffton and exploring the world. When a young wizard named Wyland North comes to Cliffton and ends the drought. Sydelle's father, the town elder is very appreciative and promises him anything he wants. North asks to take his daughter Sydelle, the town weaver. Sydelle wakes to find her belongings being packed by her mother, and her father telling her that she must go. Sydelle's dream to leave Cliffton, was a dream. She always expected to marry her childhood friend and remain in Cliffton. Sydelle is reluctant to go, she's bewildered by North and does not understand why he has decided to choose her. When North doesn't tell her why he has chosen her, she is very resentful of North and hurt by her parents abandonment. Together, North and Sydelle must rush to the Capital and warn of an imminent, unnecessary war. Hoping to put an end to war. Along the way they encounter sudden earthquakes and unpredictable, unnatural weather. They begin to be pursued by Reuel Dorwan, a dark wizard and old friend of North. Dorwan has taken an interest in Sydelle. As the journey continues Sydelle begins to piece together her own mystery, and discovers a dark secret of North's. A sinister curse threatens North's life, a curse with no known cure.Her resent towards North subsides and they begin to bond and fall in love.

Overall Impression:
I really want this to become a series...I loved this book! It was amazing. I do enjoy Young Adult fiction, and I do enjoy a great fantasy novel. Alexandra Bracken kept me interested and intrigued every step of the way. The story is well paced and is filled with many twists and turns. I loved Sydelle's reactions, her feelings changed gradually and their story was imaginable. I was afraid we would have another Young Adult book with a love triangle, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Sydelle held her own, she is not the damsel in distress. She is a heroine. I really, really hope Bracken makes this into a series!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Review: Keeping Corner by Kashmira Sheth

Publisher: Hyperion

Pages: 304
Category: Young Adult
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4.5/5


This novel is set in pre-industrial India. A place where traditions, and status are highly valued. Twelve-year-old Leela comes from the elite Brahman class, she has been engaged since she was two, and married at nine. The story begins while she is currently awaiting her impending, much anticipated 'anu.' Afterwards, she will move into her husbands household and begin her life as a wife. Leela always wanted for nothing, her parents provided her with all the luxuries, knowing their time with their daughter was limited. Childhood remained short is India. As Leela begin to be acquainted with her husband, she realizes she is fortunate to have loving in-laws. However, disaster soon strikes. Her husband is bitten and killed by a snake. Leela's life of luxury comes crashing down and sever life-long restrictions are a new reality for her. A widow becomes a widow for life. In her social class women are never allowed to remarry, and will be shunned forever while a man is free to remarry. A widow is considered a bad omen, and feared by all. This is a remarkable coming of age story. Tradition dictates that Leela must remain in her household for a year. She must keep corner. Leela must shave her head, shed her gold, loose her colorful saris and become a proper widow. Through her year kept in her home, Leela begins to read about a political movement led by Gandhi. Her brother and tutor encourage her enlightenment. Her year kept in the home is met with sadness, anger, and desperation. As Leela becomes aware of the monumental calamity that has befallen her, she begins to want more.

Overall Impression:

I really enjoyed this novel. I love reading about different cultures, and traditions. Leela was a very strong young girl. A girl to be admired. Sheth keeps the language simple, but the messages strong. The glossary was very helpful, especially with the family terms. I strongly agree that this is a young adult book. The India culture was brought alive, and I really enjoyed every chapter. My heart broke for Leela, she was too young to realize her circumstance. She had to grieve for a boy she barely knew. Her life was over before it began. I was rooting for her throughout the novel. This story proves the importance of education. I will highly recommend this one.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Sarah's Key

"Children crying, children screaming, children hiccuping with terror. The little ones could not understand, kept moaning for their mothers. They wet their clothes, rolled on the ground, shrieked with despair."

P. 88 of Ebook

Author Tatiana de Rosnay

Comments: This is one you will not want to put down. A great read! Review to come soon.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading

Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Publisher: Katherine Tegan
Pages: 496
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4/5

Beatrice Prior lives in a world divided by factions. Each of the four factions have like-minded citizens with similar mentalities and virtues. Beatrice is sixteen and getting ready for her mandatory aptitude test, a test that will determine which faction she will enter. Will she remain an Abnegation, and stay with her parents and brother or will her heart take her somewhere else? Abnegations are devoted, selfless people and Beatrice doesn’t feel that her instincts always point to Abnegation. At times she looks at her brother and wonders why one situation can be looked at so differently from both their perspectives. When Beatrice enters the simulation, her test results prove to be inconclusive. She is told that she is Divergent, and must keep it a secret, as this can be deadly if exposed to others. Afraid, shocked, confused and alone Beatrice goes home. The test results are kept undisclosed even with family members. The day of the choosing ceremony, Beatrice must choose her destiny. She decides to either choose Abnegation, and stay with her family or Dauntless, a faction consisting of courageous and brave members. She risks losing her family forever but it might be something she has to do for herself, a selfish decision.

Divergent is an amazing dystopian novel. I wanted to read page after page, but I knew once it was done it was done-bitter-sweet. Choosing Dauntless was a huge leap of faith, but now Beatrice must live up to the expectations or be factionless forever. There is no going back, no running home. The look in her father’s eyes said a thousand words, but the smile on her mother’s face was perplexing. Beatrice is a character readers will immediately feel a connection with, she’s a young girl lost in her own world, forced to make her own decisions. She is one of the many likable characters. Beatrice is strong, independent and at the same times small and afraid. The Dauntless training camp is intense and fiercely competitive. As political tensions rise amongst the factions, Beatrice struggles to choose faction before blood.

Veronica Roth has weaved a complicated dystopian tale, one filled with twists that will leave readers captivated and ardent. I was skeptical at first, having read Divergent was similar to The Hunger Games. I really wouldn’t compare the two, the dystopian characteristics are similar but that’s as far as I would go in comparing the two. Divergent was just as entrancing as The Hunger Games however, Veronica Roth has created a story all her own.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

In My Mailbox

Canada Post is still not delivering. So, I did a little more ebook shopping. I picked up some books that I'm really excited to read.

I bought:

The Agency: A Spy in the House by Y.S Lee
Dreams of Joy by Lisa See
Robopocalypse by Daniel H Wilson
Smokin Seventeen by Janet Evanovich

Friday, June 24, 2011

Review: The Last River Child by Lori Ann Bloomfield

Title: The Last River Child

Author: Lori Ann Bloomfield
Publisher: Second Story Press
Pages: 280
Source: Personal Copy


An old legend changes the life of one little girl and her family. Seth Staynor, his wife Rose and their two daughters, Peg and Sarah live in a quaint little town called Walvern. The small town people strongly believe in a well known legend. A legend Seth warned his wife about when she moved to the town a few days before their wedding. The Magurvey River which runs through Walvern is believed to have a spirit trapped beneath the water. A child that is drawn to the river may become a victim to the evil spirit, and allow the spirit to live on through the child. The town believes a river child is destined to bring bad luck and destruction to those around her.The towen firmly believes Rose's youngest daughter is a river child. As a result, Peg Staynor becomes the town outcast. Her mother becomes frustrated with the ridiculous legend and her father, unfortunately begins to join the town in their beliefs. During Peg's baptism, a meteorite lands on earth and barely misses the church. On the day war is declared, her mother suddenly dies. Each mishap in the Staynor's lives are blamed on innocent Peg. Peg is constantly aware of the town shunning her. Peg has a great ability to endure. She is compassionate, diligent and determined. Once her mother dies, Peg takes on her mother's responsibilities. Her sister Sarah, is a reckless wild child. Sarah's only concern in life is her own happiness. Peg tries to hold her family together during a world war that has no foreseen end in sight. The men are enlisting in what they believe will be a short, glorious war. Rose believed Peg would eventually leave Walvern to start new. However, Peg loves her town and has no intention of leaving. After the death of Rose, her father begins to retreat in side himself and begins to frequently disappear, Peg hold steady and observes her family while beginning a secret friendship with an inspiring aviator. Peg's friendship and letters to a soldier gives Peg an incredible amount of strength. Readers will learn never to under estimate the town outcast.

Overall Impression:

Every once in a while, you come across a book that you don't want to put down but don't want to finish. You want to savour every paragraph, sentence and word. This is a book I kept thinking about and would patiently wait to have a few minutes to read. Lori Ann Bloomfield has created a remarkable story. A story that came alive for me. Reading about the World War from a Canadian perspective was very interesting. I felt for the homesick men who had been away from home for years. Once the war had ended they returned home different men. Each character stood out, and evoked emotions in me. I felt for Peg, was frustrated by stubborn Sarah, and I was initially disgusted at Seth. When Peg's mother died, I was very concerned for Peg and Sarah. I knew Peg's only ally was no longer around to help her. This is a book I highly recommend. This book was a pleasant surprise.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Review: American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

Publisher: Square Fish
Pages: 233
Source: Personal Copy
Category: Graphic Novel
Rating: 5/5


American Born Chinese is a story about stereotypes, desires, and the struggles to fit in. This powerful graphic novel follows three story lines that seem completely separate, Each story line is woven together skillfully in the last chapter, leaving readers with a powerful message. The first plot follows Jin Wang, a typical example of the struggles of being different. Jin Want has changed schools, and he's the only American-Chinese male in his school. His classmates refuse to see him as anything but Chinese. He's mocked, bullied, and eventually meets one friend, the other Asian who comes to his school. The second plot illustrates the ancient fable of the Monkey King. A king who refused to see himself as a monkey. The Monkey King constantly wanted more in life, and he was not willing to settle for anything less. The third plot follows Chin-Kee who depicts the ultimate negative stereotype of being Chinese. This story is for anyone who has ever felt different, who has fought to be accepted or anyone who has had to battle stereotypes.

Overall Impression:

I admit, this was my first graphic novel. I will be looking for more, because I never thought a Graphic novel could be so good. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. This book is a great book for anyone who has struggled with identity issues. I can absolutely relate, as a Native American. I'm Native to some people, and not Native enough for others. I cringe at the line 'You don't look Native.' Okay, sorry I don't fit your mold. I think everyone struggles with identity issues at some point, but I believe anyone who doesn't fit the norm has a more difficult time. I walked away from this novel very satisfied. I thought this little graphic novel had a great message. Identity, stereotypes, and self-acceptance are constant struggles. I loved the Monkey King's greed, and stubbornness. His lesson was learned the hard way, but it was fulfilling for the reader. The story of Chin-Knee was both hilarious but despairing. I honestly despise stereotypes, and so many people deal with them on a daily basis. This graphic novel really hit home for me. It is a great masterpiece, that deserves every award it received. I loved the artistic illustrations. This is a great book for any race.

My review does not give this book justice, for that I apologize...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Review: Dead Politician Society by Robin Spano

Publisher: ECW Press

Pages: 326
Source: Author for Blog Tour
Category: Mystery
Rating: 5/5


Clare Vengel is a 22 year old, motorcycling, sassy police-woman. She's been on the force for three months and her skills are about to be tested. When the local mayor is poisoned in public and falls down dead during his speech, the local police begin to investigate. Clare Vengel is given her first arduous assignment. She must go undercover, enroll in university as a 'poli-sci' student, and penetrate the secret society claiming to be responsible for the death. She must keep her eyes and ears open at all times, and gain the trust of her supervisor who doesn't seem too impressed by her. Being a student is difficult, the students seem to speak a different language, and her professor seems to have it out for her. Life is demanding when your reality and your occupation become one. Clare brushes up on Political Science and begins to form relationships with her suspects, some she is suspicious of and others she believes to be honest. As her relationships grow, Clare becomes increasingly perplexed. The killer may be among her classmates, but the killer may also be one of her friends. Each event poses a great risk to the unsuspecting politicians. As the bodies begin to pile up, Clare is increasingly pressured to find out who's poisoning the politicians.

Overall Impression:

First, I would like to say I really enjoyed this mystery. Dead Politician Society is a fast-paced, enjoyable, intriguing debut novel. Robin Spano introduces her readers to multiple characters, and writes from each perspective. The short, quick chapters leave the reader wanting more. The reader begins to build trust in each character as the tone continually changes. Clare is twenty-two, she wants to date, she wants to party, and she wants to be herself. As I began to read the novel, I wanted to read the book in one sitting. It took me a few chapters to understand who each character was, but once I acquired the flow of the novel I was hooked. I trusted everyone! I thought 'No, it couldn't possibly be this person, or that person.' I was in the dark until the end. Robin Spano created an amazing cast of characters: some witty, some angry, and some just trying to get through their day to day activities. My favorite character is Clare but I really enjoyed Annabel as well. I loved how she was trying to get the scoop and undermine her editor at the same time. I didn't know what to expect when I picked up this book, but I quickly realized that I will be looking out for the next instalments. Clare Simpson, or shall I say 'Vengel' is a new character that I will want to keep track of. She has some exciting adventures in store for herself I'm sure. Robin Spano I'm officially a fan!

The next novel in the series is called: Death Plays Poker. Coming October 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Review: My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira

Publisher: Viking (Penguin)
Pages: 364
Source: Publisher
Category: Fiction


My Name is Mary Sutter is the story of a young, brilliant, midwife who aspires to become a doctor. Her biggest obstacle, her gender. In 1861, no medical school will accept her, and deem it preposterous that she evens wants to become a surgeon. Mary is told to remain a midwife, and nothing more. Mary Sutter comes from a well-to-do family, she is an accomplished midwife, who outshines her own mother. Her twin sister Jenny, has no regard for midwifing. She is the pretty sister, the wife of the man that Mary admired. Now pregnant, Mary can not be the woman to assist in Jenny's birth. When the civil war breaks out, Mary sees an opportunity. She must leave Albany, New York. Without the approval or knowledge of her mother, she boards a train to Washington. Becoming a surgeon may be out of her league at the moment, but a nurse seems more attainable. Mary is unprepared to for the unspeakable conditions of Washington, she wonders if she has made the proper decision. Washington city at the time was filthy and wealthy people were discouraged from visiting. Mary's ambition is at a great cost to her. She is forced to change her way of life, and live in unutterable conditions. The army is filled with men with no guns, no food and no training. The doctors are surgeons who have never performed an operation. Make-shift hospitals have basic supplies, and supplies are scarce. Mary does everything in her power to learn. Doctor William Stipp agrees takes Mary under his wing.The hospital soon becomes over-crowded with wounded soldiers, and Mary is the only person able to help Dr. Stipp. Mary finally begins to apprentice, Dr. Stiff reluctantly allows her to assist during amputations. Dr. Stipp himself performs his first surgery, with the aid of Mary. In Washington Mary's dream becomes a reality, she mends her broken heart and she paves the road for her future.

Overall Impression:

I really enjoyed Mary Sutter, I feel in love with her character and I was rooting for her throughout the novel. When Thomas chose her sister Jenny over her, I felt heartbroken for Mary. After all, Jenny is her twin sister, only more beautiful. Mary is an independent courageous, and persuasive character. I loved her spontaneity and her strong-willed mind. Mary Sutter is a remarkable heroin for women. She made the impossible, possible by never giving up. Searching for opportunities, and she never wavered from her goals. Mary's perseverance is admirable. I do admit, as a Canadian I was not very familiar with the civil war but I really did appreciate the history of the book, Robin Oliveira has created a powerful account of the civil war. My Name is Mary Sutter is filled with captivating characters, inspiration and passion. A book that is not to be missed. Yes, there is a little romance in this one and some shocking events that I will not divulge. You'll be heartbroken, disturbed and enthralled.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Review: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Publisher: McElderry Books
Pages: 485
Source: Personal Copy
Category: Young Adult Series


Clare Fray may seem like an ordinary 15 year-old teenager, but she is not, she is a nephilim. An innocent evening turns life-altering when Clare witnesses a murder in a New York Club. It quickly becomes clear that only Clare herself is able to see the murder take place. Things quickly spiral out of control when Clare's mother leaves cryptic messages on her cellphone telling her to stay away. Clare can hear the distress in her voice, and she becomes very worried. She does the opposite of what her mothers demands, and she returns home to view her home wrecked and her mother missing. Clare is attacked by something that is not human, and rescued by Jace Wayland, a Shadowhunter. Jace introduces Clare to a world she never new existed, a world that is not safe, and a world that reveals her parents many secrets. Jace was at the nightclub, and it turns out that Jace is a Shadowhunter. He and many others are devoted to destroying demons. While Clare would love to know everything about her past, she has a spell cast of her memories. Clare begins to fight for her survival and reveal her hidden past. Clare swiftly realizes she is a key character in this new bewildering world. She vows to find her mother, and teams up with Jace and his fellow Shadowhunters.

**keeping my synopsis short, I don't want to give away any spoilers**

Overall Impression:

I really enjoyed City of Bones, but there was something that really bothered me. I read the description of City of Ashes (Book 2) and discovered a major spoiler. While I continued to read City of Bones, I kept wondering when that spoiler was going to happen. It made me very impatient. I felt like my first-time reading experience was ruined. I will stay away from book descriptions from now on...This book was fast-paced, detailed and entertaining. Clare Cassandra is very talented, and I can see why she receives so many praises. I'm excited to continue the series, and i'm sure i'll enjoy the next one more. This book felt mature for a Young Adult book, and that really appealed to me. This book has a little bit of everything: mystery. paranormal, sexuality and romance. I was surprised in many ways, and the characters were very well written. I highly recommend it, but please do not read any book descriptions for the rest of the series.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

In My Mailbox

Welcome to my new updated blog!

My blog has officially moved and my domain has changed to Ultimately, I didn't want to change my domain but it had to be done. I'm happy with the end result, and the options blogger has to offer. I should have done this from the beginning! I know it's a lot of work for right now, and i've lost all my subscribers but in the end it's a better option for myself and those visiting my blog.

This week, I recieved one book in the mail. Which is great considering Canada Post is on strike.

I recieved:

Birthday Pie by Arthur Wooten

I also did some ebook shopping!

The Karma Club by Jessica Brody
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishihuro
Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
Divergent by Veronica Roth I own the hardcover, but I love reading on my Sony Reader. Plus, my books stay new. :)

Marcia of The Printed Page for hosts Mailbox Monday. Mailbox Monday is now going on tour and this month (June) it will be hosted by Bluestocking Guide.
Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks & audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.
We highlight what books we bought, received or picked up at the library.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Review: My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares

Publisher: Riverhead Books/Penguin
Pages: 324
Source: Publisher (ARC)
Rating: 5/5


A story of love, loss and heartbreak. Readers will be immersed in a magical, captivating love story that spans many centuries. Reincarnation has brought two people back together over several centuries and only one has the ability to remember. Daniel and Sophia have lived many lives. Through many lives, and many bodies Daniel has loved her. He has loved Sophia from the first time he met her, and unintentionally caused her great harm. Daniel, full of regret and guilt wants to prove his eternal love to Sophia. However, unable to control the universe, he is not always able to find her. Occasionally he has had to wait over 200 years to find her. When he does find her, many times he is unable to interact with her, due to age differences, tragedy or life circumstances. When she is married to your brother, you have to respectfully endure. When she's an old woman and you're a toddler, life can be difficult. Lucy is born first as Sophia and in each life has a different name. Daniel always manages to maintain his name, his unknowing parents sometimes are reluctant but he is adamant and manages to persuade each of them. This time Sophia is named Lucy and Daniel is determined to spend his life with her. The book spans from Daniel's earliest memory in 541 to present-day 2009. The narrative alternates between confused, present-day Lucy and Daniel's past memories and present situation. Daniel and Lucy are brought together in high school. Lucy is oddly drawn to a quiet, distance, familiar Daniel. She's not sure why he seems familiar, she doesn't remember seeing him before. What she doesn't realize is their souls are attracted to each other. Despite their attracted souls when Daniel goes too far and scares Lucy, their lives again begin to distance. Lucy always left wondering about that boy, and Daniel wanting the best for Lucy. When her life becomes endangered, Daniel is committed to keeping her safe. He believes he has caused too much turmoil in each of her lives.

Overall Impression:

I cannot give this book enough praise. When I began reading it, I was expecting another 'Time Traveler's Wife.' Which, I must admit is not a favourite of mine and I was scared to not enjoy this one either. Pleasantly surprised I was completely mesmerized by this novel. A few pages in and I couldn't put it down. Actually, sometimes I did put it down because I didn't want to finish it too quickly. I knew once it was done, I would have to leave the characters behind. I felt invested in Daniel and Lucy, I wanted so much for them. I am elated to find out that this will be a trilogy. Thank you Ann Brashares! I found this book to be magical, and beautifully written. The changing perspectives and lives, including names was not confusing at all and built the story wonderfully. Both characters were extremely likeable and I was really rooting for them throughout. This is definitely a must read!

This will be in my top 10 books read in 2010.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Review: Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Publisher: William Morrow: Harper Collins
Pages: 342
Source: Personal Copy
Category: Multicultural Fiction
Rating: 5/5


Usha was born in a country where daughters may be seen as a burden. Sons help in the fields and stay with the family, daughters on the other hand are married off, and a dowry needs to be in place. If the dowry is too small, the bride may be burned alive. In the case of a poor family, a daughter is not essential, a son is. A daughter is expensive and not cherished. Usha's mother Kavita gave birth in a little hut, and was very excited to see that she has given birth to a beautifully, little daughter. When she showed her husband the baby, he scowled and walks away with the child. Kavita never saw her daughter again. The innocent baby had no chance at life, her little body was disposed of. When Kavita becomes pregnant a second time, she hoped and prayed that she would have a son. She could not possibly go through the same ordeal a second time. After giving birth to a second daughter, she was distraught and refused to have the baby killed. She pleaded with her husband for one night alone with the baby. In the middle of the night; sore, weak and saddened Kavita brought baby Usha to an orphanage a few hours away in Mumbai, hoping she will have a wonderful life. Usha becomes known as Asha when she is adopted by an American couple 10 months later. Asha's parents are a biracial couple, both doctors who met in medical school. Somer, an american is betrayed by her body when she learns that she will never bare her own children. Her husband Krishnan suggests that they adopt from his native country India. As soon as Asha comes into their lives, they fall in love with her and their world feels complete. As Asha begins to grow into a young woman, she seeks to figure out who she is exactly. She has never been to India, she hardly eats India cuisine, she is different from her Indian friends but she doesn't look like her American friends. This is a story of family, and what creates a family. Is it only blood that bonds a family? Life forces you to make choices in life, but that 'what-if's' still linger in our minds. Gowda keeps reader guessing throughout the story.

Overall Impression:

A truly, riveting, amazing read. Some books are written for entertainment purposes, this book transports readers into a world of heartbreak, shock and life's unknowns. This is more than entertainment, this is a book that lingers in your mind long after you've put it down. This story spans Asha's 19 years of life. My heart broke for Kavita, she wanted what was truly best for her daughter, she was shunned by her husbands family for giving birth to two daughters. Her third child was a boy, but all his events were bittersweet for her. She could watch her son grow up, but her daughter who was just a bit older than her son was somewhere. As she watched the children living in the slums, and the daughters prostituting themselves, she kept wondering if her daughter was amongst them. Somer and Krishnan tried to raise their daughter with the best of everything, they tried to keep India away from her, fearing the worst would happen if they brought her back. They wanted to Americanize her, and show her a safer world. Asha on the other hand had her own intentions and convictions. She was on a search to find herself. I loved that all the characters in this story did not play the victim role. All the characters did what they honestly thought was needed. Culturally daughters were not needed, Kavita's husband did what he thought was essential for the family. Kavita gave up her child, but she felt like she had no other choice. Somer and Krishnan dealt with what life handed them and raised their Indian daughter as their own. This is a story of family and endurance. A debut read, that will having you thinking.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Review: Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

***one of my favorite reads***

Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Pages: 306
Source: Provided by Author
Category: Fiction
Rating: 5/5


We all have a path to follow in life, a path that is unpredictable, filled with ups and downs, some people come and go, while some others have a great impact on our lives. Beth Hoffman introduces her readers to the concept of a 'life book'. When one chapters ends, another is just beginning in each of our life book. Some characters overlap, and some constant. In each case our books are written by a greater being.
CeeCee Honeycutt is a sweet, charming little girl. In this novel we learn about her 'life book' and her difficult childhood. Her mother Camille, a southern belle with a troubled mind has difficulty coping with life in Ohio. Her mind has her trapped in the extravagant world of pageants. She is constantly reliving her glorious days living in the South when she was crowned '1951 Vidalia Onion Queen.' As a result of her mothers constant flare-ups, and her need to parade around in pageant attire, CeeCee is no stranger to ridicule. She has only one friend, an older neighbor named Mrs. Odell who tries to aid CeeCee. Her father refuses to deal with his wife, and he's mostly absent. He shows up from time to time, but CeeCee is forced to escape her unconventional life by reading. Escaping in the world of books is CeeCee favorite past time. As a result, she is a brilliant, dedicated student. When tragedy strikes, and her mother passes away CeeCee's whole world abruptly changes. A new chapter in her life book begins when she is sent to live with her wealthy great-Aunt Tootie in Savannah. CeeCee is reluctant, grieving, and angry. She's sure she will never forgive her father, she's confused about her mothers death and her Great-Aunt Tootie is a stranger. While Tootie is comforting and generous, CeeCee keeps tries to keep to herself. She's careful about retelling her stories about her mother. While CeeCee is trying to mend her broken, tattered heart, she is thrown into a world controlled by women. She enters a world full of female empowerment, and strong female relationships.

Overall Impression:

Overall, this is a delightful, uplifting and positive book. While it may seem that it is a very depressing story this is not the case. CeeCee's whole world changes for the better, and she comes to terms with her mothers illness, and her fathers absence. Her whole world is constantly challenged.The story is beautifully narration, and Beth Hoffman's vivid imagery had me picking up the book whenever I could get a few minutes to read. The novel is very character driven, and I loved each and every character. I loved Oletta, while she may seem like just a cook in the beginning, she had such a positive impact on CeeCee. She was firm, yet loving and wanted to guide CeeCee is the right way. CeeCee was a little lost, lonely little girl and this was a great coming of age story. This is a marvelous debut novel, and I will definitely be looking out for more of Beth Hoffman's future reads.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Review: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Pages: 363
Source: Personal Copy
Category: Young Adult
Rating: 5/5


Meghan Chase has always felt like an outsider, a nobody. Her best friend Robbie is her one and only friend. High School seems unbearable, and the only thing Meghan is looking forward to is obtaining her drivers license. Her step-father scorns technology, and her family has little money. Meghan feels almost invisible on a daily basis, even in her own home. Her High School crush teases and taunts her. These problems only scratch the surface. Meghan's life may seems boring, simple, and non eventful but her world is literally about to change. Her four-year-old step-brother has gone missing. A horrible, misbehaved changeling has taken the form of Ethan. Only Meghan is able to see this is not her true brother. She should have listened to Ethan when he was afraid of the monsters in his closet. Meghan has just turned sixteen, and she thinks she going crazy. Robbie also has a secret, he is not who he seems. Before she knows it Meghan enters the faery world. Dangerous, manipulative creatures are lurking every where. When Robbie is hunted by a dark prince, Meghan is forced to brave this nightmarish world by herself. She makes a deal with a talking cat named Grimalkin who promises to help her find Robbie. Meghan soon finds out she is the daughter to King Oberon, and despised by his Queen. As much as she wants to find her brother, no one seems to be interested in helping her. Meghan must escape the Seelie court and find her brother in Nevernever land. Along the way, she has Ash, the Winter Prince and Grimalkin. Both have their reasons for helping her, both seeking their own reward.

Overall Impression:

Wow, the faery elements of this story are fantastic. The Iron King balances fantasy, romance and action. I was completely drawn into the story, and didn't want to put the novel down. This book is filled with magical, mysterious, mythical characters. Danger begins within the first few pages, and the details of the faery world creates a fast-paced, page-turner. The romantic element between Meghan and the Winter Price is very subtle, and I am excited to see how their relationship progresses. They unfortunately have a Romeo-Juliet type relationship, and I hope the different courts can come to terms with their love. I am also interested in seeing how Meghan balances human world vs Nevernever. Will she be able to balance both?

Review: The Jewel of St Petersburg by Kate Furnivall

Publisher: Berkley (Penguin)

Pages: 410
Source: Publisher
Category: Historical Fiction
Rating: 5/5


Valentina Ivanova lived in bliss, born into the privileged upper class, she was the Jewel of St. Petersburg aristocracy. A pianist like no other, having the honour and privilege to play for the Tsar himself. While the aristocracy enjoyed their world, Russia was on the eve of a revolution. A revolution that would shock and destroy. The aristocracy refused to see the desperation amongst the Bolsheviks. Men and women were fighting not to starve, fighting for safe working conditions, and fair pay. The dire state of the working classed was mocked by the gentry. The men with nothing working amongst the gentry witnessed first hand the extravagant lifestyles of the rich. Valentina became a victim herself when her own home was invaded and bombed, crippling her sister and fracturing her relationship with her parents forever. Valentina began to open her eyes, and see the changes amongst her world. Trust very little, live in fear and hope for the best. Although, Valentina acknowledged the issues, she couldn't help but despise the men who paralyzed her little sister, she vowed to do everything possible to keep her sister safe and secure. Very few people took the revolutionists seriously. Her parents concerned themselves with marriage prospects for Valentina. A daughter was only good for making connections, she is expected married well. However, Valentina had her own visions for her future, she would be a nurse. When no one believed an aristocrat was capable, Valentina was mocked and dismissed but she kept hope alive. Her parents had the perfect marriage lined up, until Valentina met a Danish engineer named Friis. Her father begins to burden her with a secret, but Valentina remains strong-willed, and persistent.

Overall Impression:

Overall, this book was simply impossible to put down. I loved the juxtaposition between the aristocracy and Bolsheviks. Through the eyes of Valentina, the reader is able to see the effects of the destruction and terror caused by the revolutionists. A little girl is paralyzed, a family's home suddenly unsafe. At the same time men, women and children lacked food, fought diseases, and demanded higher wages in extremely unsafe working conditions. Government officials lives were constantly at risk, amongst the government officials was Valentina's father. The family driver Arkin, a revolutionary through and through explains in great detail his point of view. We see the arguments through each character's eyes. This book was fast-paced, compelling, and engaging. If you like historical fiction, you will want to read this one. This was my first Kate Furnivall book, but it will not be my last. A great read is always appreciated, and savoured, this is an amazing read!

Monday, June 13, 2011

In My Mailbox

Welcome, to my new updated Blog. I will be moving all my older posts shortly. I've been continually having issues with Iweb, and struggling with its limited abilities.

If you are a subscriber, please change your feedreader to

This week, I received two books.

Pk gave me Divergent by Veronica Roth

And I received as a review copy:

The Ambition by Lee Strobel

Marcia of The Printed Page for hosts Mailbox Monday. Mailbox Monday is now going on tour and this month (June) it will be hosted by Bluestocking Guide.
Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks & audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.
We highlight what books we bought, received or picked up at the library.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Blog update

I've been wanting to change my blog for a long time. I continually have issues with iWeb and I was looking for a better option. I've decided to move my blog to Blogger. I love all the options. I decided to make the change and I'm really happy with my decision!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Review: Broken Wings by Carla Stewart

Publisher: Faith Words
Pages: 320
Source: Publisher
Category: Fiction, Christian Fiction

Brooke Woodson and Mitzi Steiner are two very different individuals who come together when Brooke is in desperate need of a friend. Brooke appears of have found the perfect man, with a recent proposal Brooke’s family is applying the pressure for them to set the date. Her mother insists that her biological clock is running out of time. When Brooke’s Fiance Lance announces he is campaigning to becomes Tulsa’s newest District Attorney he decides to set the date, and the venue plotting to have the perfect campaign. Brooke is almost the last person to learn the details. While everything seems quintessential on the outside, secretly Lance is nothing like he seems. When Brooke forgets an important event Lance strikes her, leaving her with a gash on the side of her face and a scar to remain. Brooke takes herself to the hospital, and is relieved when everyone believes her “accident” story, including her mother. Mitzi, a pink lady recognizes the signs of domestic abuse, and makes no secret of it to Brooke. She extends her hand and offers support immediately. While Brooke is reluctant to admit to Mitzi her circumstance, the two soon form an unforgettable bond.

Mitzi Steiner and her husband Gabe were a singing sensation, capturing the hearts of many for more than two decades but recently Gabe has been suffering from Alzheimer's. Mitzi visits with him everyday, doing everything she can possibly do to help Gabe but mostly he stares right past her. In an attempt to occupy her time, she volunteers at the local hospital. Brooke takes Mitzi up on her offer when a second attack lands her in the hospital, ashamed Brooke does not want her family to know the extent of her situation and she’s now officially afraid of Lance. Brooke’s mother admires Lance and hangs onto his every word. Her sister thinks everything can work itself out. While Brooke feels isolated, Mitzi is the perfect friend. Mitzi has a history of domestic violence, observing the destructive relationship of her parents, Mitzi was also a victim to her fathers rage. When her mother finally had enough they set out for a better life. Mitzi and her sibling unfortunately become orphans, soon adopted and when she’s old enough to leave Mitzi tries to make it on her own.

Both protagonists are very likable. Brooke is very strong, and doesn’t fall for Lance’s tactics very long. She’s soon living with Mitzi and determined to regain control over her life, which comes with many obstacles, Lance is manipulating, confident, and very influential in her world. The relationship between Brooke and her mother is very heart wrenching. Her mother tends to twist situations into a more favorable light. Brooke remains distant and eventually her mother has to come to terms with Brooke’s situation. Mitzi’s story will have to glued to the pages.

Broken Wings is deemed a Christian Fiction novel, but it is very much the mainstream novel. I loved every page, and each character was memorable. Carla Stewart has created an unlikely friendship, a friendship that’s real and captivating. Two women from very different backgrounds, two very different chapters in their life, come together and lean on each other. A must read, a book you will want to carry with you everywhere hoping to squeeze in a few pages.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Review: Thicker than Blood by C J Darlington

Publisher: Tyndale Fiction
Pages: 372
Source: Personal Copy
Category: Christian Fiction

Christy and her sister May grew up with loving parents. However, alcohol and financial issues caused their parents to distance themselves. On Christy’s 18th birthday, her parents pass away in a tragic car accident. Christy blames herself since they were coming home to celebrate her birthday. Her younger sister May idolizes the ground she walks on, and Christy can’t take the pressure of sticking around and disappoint her sister. May is sent to live with their aunt, and Christy runs off with her boyfriend the first chance she gets. Years pass, and the girls don’t contact each other. May is not even sure if Christy is alive. They now live very different lives, May has turned to God working hard on ranch she co-owns while Christy is struggling with alcoholism, an abusive boyfriend and a job she loves but may loose at any minute. After a close relative passes away, the two sisters are brought back together. Christy is in a dire situation, and reluctantly returns to her sister.

I really enjoy this one. Unlike a lot of Christian fiction these characters are realistically flawed. May struggles with her faith in God when she’s not sure what to do with her sister or the feelings of abandonment. Christy literally looses everything and turns to her sister for help. “Thicker than Blood” is a captivating read. I did have a hard time connecting with May but as the plot progressed I really enjoyed both sisters. Christy’s storyline starts off with a bang and continually gets more and more interesting. I don’t think this is your typical Christian fiction novel. It may seem a little preachy, but it’s definitely worth the time. If this is a debut novel, I can’t wait for another one.