indefinite hiatus; i may not come back to the blog, but I'll leave it up anyway if anyone wants to take a look at any old posts etc. :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Don't Expect Magic & A Cover Reveal!

 Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine, that features upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Don't Expect Magic
by Kathy McCulliough
Release: November 8, 2011
Delaney Collins doesn't believe in fairy tales. And why should she? Her mom is dead, her best friend is across the country, and she's stuck in California with "Dr. Hank," her famous life-coach father—a man she barely knows. Happily ever after? Yeah, right.
Then Dr. Hank tells her an outrageous secret: he's a fairy godmother—an f.g.—and he can prove it. And by the way? The f.g. gene is hereditary. Meaning there's a good chance that New Jersey tough girl Delaney is someone's fairy godmother.
But what happens when a fairy godmother needs a wish of her own?


Click image to enlarge :)
 I'm not sure if this cover was just recently revealed or if today was just the first time I saw it. Anyhow, the cover for Twisted, the latest book in the Pretty Little Liars Series, by Sarah Shepherd is on the right!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Review: Wasteland by Francesca Lia Block

Title: Wasteland
Author: Franseca Lia Block
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pub. Date: November 1, 2003
Length: 160 Pages
Summary (from goodreads):
 When you were a baby I sat very still to hold you. I could see the veins through your skin like a map to inside you. I stopped breathing so you wouldn't ... 
You were just a boy on a bed in a room, like a kaleidoscope is a tube full of bits of broken glass. But the way I saw you was pieces refracting the light, shifting into an infinite universe of flowers and rainbows and insects and planets, magical dividing cells, pictures no one else knew ... 
Your whole life you can be told something is wrong and so you believe it.

My Thoughts: "The garden was combing her hair and putting on her earrings. The house was full of dancing creatures, not male not female but both, two lovers in one body. The books downstairs were reciting their poetry to each other, rubbing together, whispering through the leather covers." - from Wasteland

I'm heads over heals in love with Francesca Lia Block's writing. She just has this way with words; her writing flows smoothly and poetically, and in such a way that the characters live both on the pages and off. A story of the dark and light sides of love, Wasteland will pull your heartstrings and stay with you for a long time. It's captivating, realistic, and beautiful; a story impossible to put down no matter how hard you try.

Despite how much I loved this book, it's not for everyone. In fact, some say that this book is disgusting, because it deals with incest. I completely understand where these people are coming from, however, I didn't mind it. I think that Block is a lovely author, and I praise her, because she can take any subject head on and write a beautiful story of it, no matter if some people don't approve.  

This is a hauntingly beautiful story, told from three points of view, and written in lyrical, dreamy paragraphs. Block describes her characters with such compassion and emotion, it just blows me away. If you're not very familiar with her writing style you may be a bit confused at the beginning, but it will be worth it.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Review: Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann

Okay, so I actually posted this review twice before, but both times it was to test, because the format was odd and kept putting the review outside the review box and into the margines. Anyways, here is the real review, finally!
Title: Cryer's Cross
Author: Lisa McMann
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pub. Date: February 8, 2011
Length: 240 Pages
Summary (from author's website): Kendall loves her life in small town Cryer’s Cross, Montana, but she also longs for something more. She knows the chances of going to school in New York are small, but she's not the type to give up easily. Even though it will mean leaving Nico, the world's sweetest boyfriend, behind. 
But when Cryer’s Cross is rocked by unspeakable tragedy, Kendall shoves her dreams aside and focuses on just one goal: help find her missing friends. Even if it means spending time with the one boy she shouldn't get close to... the one boy who makes her question everything she feels for Nico. 
Determined to help and to stay true to the boy she's always loved, Kendall keeps up the search--and stumbles upon some frightening local history. She knows she can't stop digging, but Kendall is about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried....  

My Thoughts: I expected Cryer's Cross to really freak me out. To be the can't-sleep-at-night crazy type of book, one that would make me think, What if this happened to me? And yes, I did think that, but only for a moment before dismissing the thought. Because, and I'm being completely honest here, while I did read the whole book without skimming, it didn't really feel like I did. I kept reading and waiting, expecting something to happen that would draw me in completely, but the book ended without anything like that ever happening.

In Cryer's Cross we have a small town with a creepy name and kids disappearing. The perfect plot for a horror story. It wasn't exactly scary, but it was addicting and very unique compared to most books out there now. It's a creepy read, thrilling with a touch of paranormal (the physiological, ghost-y, spirit-y kind). This was the best part of the story, because it kept me guessing and wondering; though I wish it was a bit longer, because the mystery started almost right away and didn't leave development for the character who went missing.

Cryer's Cross is the type of book I would normally love. I did love the plot, but there were quite a lot of flaws in the rest of the novel. First off, the story is written in third person, the narrative of most horror novels. This doesn't usually bother me, but the third person in Cryer's Cross felt rather boring and unemotional, almost like text book writing. That being said, it was hard to relate to any of the characters because it didn't really feel like I got to know them much. However, like I've said before, the plot was amazing. I think that if they got the right people on it, this would make the perfect horror movie.

Overall, Cryer's Cross was an okay read. If you're not exactly a fan of these types of books, I suggest you give it a try because it's a lighter version of the genre.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

In My Mailbox #11

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren.

I got these books from B&N::  Ask Elizabeth and Wither: both of which I am very excited to read.
I got Echo and Zen & Xander Undone from Bookman's.What's cool about my edition of this book is that it's an arc with a different cover than the ones shown on goodreads, which, I believe, means my edition is a discontinued cover.
I also got an ARC of Dark Song through Reading Teen's Second Hand Saturday. Thanks you guys!

 I'd love to see what's in your mailbox. Leave a link and I'll check it out :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Review: Lost in the River of Grass by Ginny Rorby

Title: Lost in the River of Grass
Author: Ginny Rorby
Publisher: Carolrhoda
Pub. Date: March 28, 2011
Source: Netgalley
Length: 264 Pages
Summary (from goodreads):
A science-class field trip to the Everglades is supposed to be fun, but Sarah's new at Glades Academy, and her fellow freshmen aren't exactly making her feel welcome. When an opportunity for an unauthorized side trip on an airboat presents itself, it seems like a perfect escape—an afternoon without feeling like a sore thumb. But one simple oversight turns a joyride into a race for survival across the river of grass. Sarah will have to count on her instincts—and a guy she barely knows—if they have any hope of making it back alive.
Lost in the River of Grass takes on the classic survival genre using one of the country's most unique wild places as a backdrop. In this tense, character-driven thriller, Sarah must overcome prejudice and the unforgiving wilderness in a struggle to survive.

My Thoughts: Lost in the River of Grass is the kind of book I would have loved if I were a few years younger than I am. It was a good read with a beautiful cover, but it didn't really do anything for me. It was like this: I started the book, I finished the book, and then I had to review the book. And I didn't know what to say. Nothing really seemed to grab me, except for the fact that the story was unique in how it was set in the Everglades.

I think it was sweet that the author wrote this story based on her husband's experiance (as quoted from her website): “Lost in the River of Grass is based on the true story of my husband’s ill-fated trip to the Everglades with his then girlfriend in his airboat. While they were ‘visiting’ one of the hunting camps in the Everglades, the airboat sank. It took them three days to walk out.”

Not every author can write a good survival story, but Ginny Rorby did. It was realistic, and there were no crazy, unbelievable things happening to Sarah and Adam out there in the Everglades. It was nice reading and learning about all the different plants and animals in the wild as well as the survival skills used to survive out there.

Looking back on it, I think I enjoyed this book more than I've let on. I would recommend Lost in the River of Grass to anyone looking for a good survival story, but I don't think you should expect it to be absolutely amazing.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: There You'll Find Me by Jenny Jones

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine, that features upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

There You'll Find Me
by Jenny B. Jones
Release: October 4, 2011
In a small cottage house in rural Ireland, Finley discovers she can no longer outrun the past.
When Finley travels to Ireland as a foreign exchange student, she hopes to create a new identity and get some answers from the God who took her brother away and seems to have left her high and dry.
But from the moment she boards the plane and sits by Beckett Rush, teen star of the hottest vampire flicks, nothing goes according to Finley's plan.
When she gets too close to Beckett, a classmate goes on a mission to make sure Finley packs her bags, departs Ireland-and leaves Beckett alone.
Finley feels the pressure all around. As things start to fall apart, she begins to rely on a not-so-healthy method of taking control of her life.
Finley tries to balance it all-disasters on the set of Beckett's new movie, the demands of school, and her growing romance with one actor who is not what he seems. Yet Finley is also not who she portrays to Beckett and her friends.
For the first time in her life, Finley must get honest with herself to get right with God.

I'd love to see what you're waiting on this week. Leave a link and I'll check it out!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Review: Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Title: Where She Went
Author: Gayle Forman
Publisher: Dutton
Pub. Date: April 5, 2011
Length: 264 Pages
Series: If I Stay #2
Summary (from author's website):
It’s been three years since the devastating accident … three years since Mia walked out of Adam’s life forever.
Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Julliard’s rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia’s home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future—and each other.
Told from Adam’s point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.
Immediate Thoughts Upon Finishing:This book right here is the reason I read. This is why I love Gayle Forman and everything she's written.

My Thoughts (Offical Review): It's hard for me to write reviews for books like Where She Went. Sometimes, I can't even write the review, because the book left me completely speechless (in a good way!). However, I am trying very hard with this one to put into words my feelings for the book and to get my review out there, simply because it was breathtakingly beautiful. I had heard from several people that Where She Went was better than the prequel, and I believed them, I just didn't think it was possible for it to be this much better, considering how much I loved If I Stay.

Where She Went is Adam's story, set three years after If I Stay. He and Mia were together for years, and during those years, they were in love. But after the accident, Mia started to draw back from him, until eventually, she left him altogether. Now, Adam's band is the biggest thing in L.A. and Mia is a rising star in the world of classical music. From the outside they are fine. It's as if they never knew each other. But if you look a little deeper, you realize that things are far from fine. Despite his rock star status, Adam is a mess: burned out and empty. Mia's leaving did things to him, and he can't seem to follow the promise he made to her the day she lost her family.

Adam. He's a beautiful mess, and I love him for that. He got to me in a way most characters never do, making him one that will linger in my mind for a long, long time. His story was beautifully written, flawless, and full of emotion. Going into it, I didn't know much about how he had changed, and I want it to be the same for everyone. I loved him. That's all I'll say.

Where She Went is vulnerable, powerful, amazing, heartbreaking, beautiful, and I loved every minute of it. It's another emotional read by Miss Forman, one that made me think a lot. I'm sad to see this series go, but at the same time, it's the perfect ending to Adam and Mia's story and I'm glad it ended this way. Where She Went is a must read for teens and adults both. If you have not read this one or it's prequel yet, go buy them both right now. You won't regret it.

Other Noteables that made Where She Went one of my all time favorite books:
♥ The POV was Adam's. I liked his voice better than Mia's. I liked her's too, but Adam's was just.... more engaging I guess. Its hard for me to say.
♥ The plot. Though the book mainly takes place during one day, it was beautiful. The perfect wrap up for Adam and Mia.
♥ The characters. Mainly Adam. I think I'm in love with him.
♥ That it was in the future. If it had been set right where If I Stay left off, I don't think it would have been nearly as good.
♥ The lyrics and the music. I loved the importance of the music and reading Adam's lyrics.
♥ How it tied with Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta for being my favorite book. Ever.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Title: If I Stay
Author: Gayle Forman
Publisher: Dutton
Pub. Date: January 1, 2009
Length: 196 Pages
Series: If I Stay #1
Summary (from author's website):
On a day that started like any other…
Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, adoring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. Then, in an instant, almost all of that is taken from her. Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the one decision she has left—the most important decision she’ll ever make.
Simultaneously tragic and hopeful, this is a romantic, riveting and ultimately uplifting story about memory, music, living, dying, loving.

My Thoughts: Books as breathtaking as If I Stay are few and far between. There are books you put on your favorite shelf and there are books that you want to carry with you all the time, just because they were that beautiful. Again, If I Stay is one of those books. This is a reread, to refresh my mind on the book for  when I read Where She Went and to finally get a review up, yet I am still amazing by If I Stay.  It's one of those books you just want to recommend to everyone and rave about until your throat hurts.

One of the great things about emotional books is that while they may be sad, they touch your heart and stay with you for a long, long time.  These books make you think quite a lot, cry, and sometimes even laugh, making them (in my opinion) one of the best types of books you can read. 

It's a rare thing that I either like or love every character in a book, but in If I Stay, I did.  Her parents, Teddy, her grandparents, Kim, Adam.... everyone was wonderful. I felt as if I knew them all very well, despite having never actually met them in the present tense during the story. I  love how Mia took the time to revisit moments of her life, the important ones and simple ones, as if she is trying to hold onto those memories and keep her family together the way it was before the accident, undamaged. 

Despite the small length of this book, a mere 196 pages, it felt unrushed and full. Gayle Forman's writing is beautiful, enhancing the novel in ways others' writings could simply not do. Her story gripped me tightly right from the start and didn't let go until the last word. My suggestion? Read If I Stay. Then, once you have been captivated by it, go read Adam's story,  Where She Went. I have no doubt that it will be as amazing, if not better, than If I Stay.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Review: Warped by Maurissa Guibord

Title: Warped
Author: Maurissa Guibord
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Pub. Date: Janurary 11, 2011
Length: 352 Pages
Summary (from goodreads):
Tessa doesn't believe in magic. Or Fate. But there's something weird about the dusty unicorn tapestry she discovers in a box of old books. She finds the creature woven within it compelling and frightening. After the tapestry comes into her possession, Tessa experiences dreams of the past and scenes from a brutal hunt that she herself participated in. When she accidentally pulls a thread from the tapestry, Tessa releases a terrible centuries old secret. She also meets William de Chaucy, an irresistible 16th-century nobleman. His fate is as inextricably tied to the tapestry as Tessa's own. Together, they must correct the wrongs of the past. But then the Fates step in, making a tangled mess of Tessa's life. Now everyone she loves will be destroyed unless Tessa does their bidding and defeats a cruel and crafty ancient enemy.
My Thoughts: For some reason, I don't read fantasy very often. I have no idea why, because every time I do read fantasy I am completely blown away. Warped was no exception.
It's a very unique read, and  I admit I felt my self drawn in straightaway, which is rare because it usually takes a chapter or two to really pull me in. We are introduced to Tessa, a seventeen year old living with her father in a house above their bookstore, which is completely awesome. I mean, how cool would be to own a bookstore, plus live right above it? Anyways, Tessa and her father win five boxes of  old books through an auction, and as a 'bonus' receive a unicorn tapestry and an antique book that's centuries old. But there's something....odd about the tapestry. And when Tessa is near it, she begins to have strange dreams of a hunt in a foreign land, which introduces her to a world of Fates.
As most of you know, I love mythology. So, naturally, I love the mythology Maurissa Guibord included in her novel. It made her novel unique, because there are very few (if any!) YA books out there about the Fates. The idea that these three ladies can just cut a string and end your life, and that someone would steal those strings for their own intentions and cheat death, just blows my mind.
The plot of Warped was beautiful and Guibord's writing was great, but there were a few gaps  in the story line that left me slightly confused. I found myself wondering why a few things happened, as well why Tessa did  some of the things that she did.  Despite this, I'm eagerly looking forward to her next novel.

My 1st Giveaway (in honor of my 100 lovely followers)!

Amy Holder, author of The Lipstick Laws, sent me some swag a few weeks ago. And since I just recently hit the 100 follower mark, I've decided to host a giveaway of the swag!

Okay, I know it's not much (especially compared to the boxes of books that some folks giveaway), but I want to award all my lovely followers and figured a giveaway would be the perfect gift. The rules are simple:

♥ The giveaway is open to U.S. only. Sorry to those international followers out there!
♥ You can only fill out the form and enter once (excluding extra entries).
♥ You must be 13 years or older to enter.
♥ Since this is a follower giveaway, you must be a follower to enter.  
♥ The prize is four unsigned lipstick laws bookmarks, four signed lipstick laws bookmarks, one lipstick laws magnet, and two lipstick laws stickers!
♥ The winner will be chosen through random.org and will have one week to respond to my email and claim their prize or a new winner will be chosen. 
♥ Spread the word! Because If I reach 200 followers before the giveaway ends, I might just add  another winner :)
♥ The giveaway ends at 11:59 P.M. (mountain time) on June 13, 2011

Fill out this form to enter, and good luck!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

In My Mailbox #10

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren.

Wings &  13 Little Blue Envelopes are currently free on the kindle! I've been a little iffy about reading Wings, because I've never really liked the idea of faeries. But, since I've never even given them a chance, I figured now would be a perfect time to find out if I like them.
I got Ultraviolet off netgalley, and I am super excited to read it. Just look at that cover! It's amazing.

What's in your mailbox? Leave a link and I'll check it out :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Review: Unwind by Neal Schusterman

Title: Unwind
Author: Neal Schusterman
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pub. Date: November 6, 2007
Length: 335 Pages
Series: Unwind  #1
Summary (from goodreads):
Connor, Risa, and Lev are running for their lives.
The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child "unwound," whereby all of the child's organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn't technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.
My Thoughts: I'd just like you guys to know that this is a reread, so I don't exactly have that big urge to rave about it to everyone anymore ( though I did the first time I read it), but I figured since I've been mentioning it around the blog so much lately I may as well write a review. That being said, I may be making references to the strong way I felt about the book the first time I actually read it.
Unwind is one of those books that will linger for quite some time. It's just so amazing in so many different ways, that even after having read it a few times, I am simply amazed by how wonderful it is. The story begins with a problem. It's not necessarily the type of problem you can fix either, because the problem is this: Connor, Risa, and Lev are all more or less about to die, and there's they can do to nothing to stop it. Of course, they don't actually die (at least not in the beginning!!), because then there wouldn't be a story to tell, would there?
Unwind was so much more than I had expected.  That being said, I don't know exactly what I had expected going into the book, but it wasn't the depth and intensity I found. The characters were wonderful, all real and relate-able, and although the story is written in third person, I also loved the writing. It's a book I would definitely recommend, especially to fans of dystopian's, sci-fi's, and anyone looking for a slightly creepy read.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday: The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine, that features upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

The Probability of Miracles
by Wendy Wunder
Release: December 8, 2011
Cameron Cooper, a cynical teenage girl dying of cancer, is told by her doctors she needs a miracle to survive. In a last-ditch effort to save her daughter’s life, her mother takes her to a small town in Maine rumored to be magical. If there’s a shot for Cameron, her mom believes, it’s here. But for Cameron, believing in miracles would mean believing she has another chance at life ... and that’s dangerous for someone who knows better than to get her hopes up. As the girls settle into Promise, amazing things start happening: it snows in August; there’s a rainbow when it doesn’t rain; a flock of flamingos takes residence in the pond behind the high school, even though they’re not supposed to live this far north. Cameron, a scientist at heart, searches for explanations for these bizarre occurrences, refusing to believe they’re miracles.
But soon, the magic of the town—and her feelings for Asher, a local boy who seems to know Cam better than she knows herself—become impossible to deny. Over the course of the coming months, Cameron lets go of her cynicism and opens herself up to life and the world. In the end, Promise is a magical place, but for Cameron becoming a believer might just be the biggest miracle of all.
Why?: This looks real good. The shade of pink on the cover doesn't really appeal to me, but everything else about the book does.

In other news, I currently have a poll in the left sidebar, in which you can help me decide what to read next, and I would love it if you would vote on it. 

I'd love to see what you're waiting on this week. Leave a link and I'll check it out!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Review: Identical by Ellen Hopkins

Title: Identical 
Author: Ellen Hopkins
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Pub. Date: August 2008
Length: 592 pages
Summary (from goodreads):
Do twins begin in the womb?
Or in a better place?
Kaeleigh and Raeanne are identical down to the dimple. As daughters of a district-court judge father and a politician mother, they are an all-American family- on the surface. Behind the facade each sister has her own dark secret, and that''s where their differences begin.
For Kaeleigh, she's the misplaced focus of Daddy's love, intended for a mother whose presence on the campaign trail means absence at home. All that Raeanne sees is Daddy playing a game of favorites -- and she is losing. If she has to lose, she will do it on her own terms, so she chooses drugs, alcohol, and sex.
Secrets like the ones the twins are harboring are not meant to be kept- from each other or anyone else. Pretty soon it's obvious that neither sister can handle it alone, and one sister must step up to save the other, but the question is- who?
My Thoughts: I was first introduced to verse writing when I read Glimpse by Carol Lynch Williams. This stuff is powerful. Its raw and full of emotion and leaves nothing that needs to be said out. I've never read anything by Ellen Hopkins before, not even Crank. It's not that I don't want to read it, it's just that... well there isn't really an excuse as to why I haven't read a book  I've so desperately wanted to read for years. (My library doesn't even have it!) So, when the opportunity came for me to read Identical, I grabbed it.
"When I look into a mirror, it is her face I see. Her right is my left, double moles, dimple and all. My right is her left, unblemished." And so begins the story of two sisters, Kaeleigh and Raeanne. Their parents are married, but only by name. And their father loves Kaeleigh, but not in the way he should.
This is the type of story where the less you know before you read, the better. Although I was a little suspicious through the entire thing, the ending surprised me. It isn't the type that leaves you feeling amazing at the end. Its grimy, its disgusting, its powerful, its amazing, and I loved it.
I have read a lot of books; a lot that haven't left a definite impression. The ones that have are rare. Do you want to know exactly how many? Six. Just six books out of all the ones I've read. Identical got to me in a way most books never do. It's one of those books that will stay on my mind and continue to for a long, long time.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

In My Mailbox #9

In My Mailbox is hosted by the story siren.

Where She Went

Only one book this week, but it's a good one! I wasn't planning on buying this today, but I was out shopping for shoes when I realized there was a Borders a few minutes away and decided to get Where She Went, the sequel to If I Stay. 

What's in your mailbox? Leave a link and I'll take a look :)

An Important Update!!

Do you remember a few weeks ago during an IMM when I mentioned I was thinking about dropping my review system? I've been juggling around the idea for a while, but just recently decided to go ahead and do it.

It was this edition of Dear Story Siren that gave me the final push. Like Kristi mentions, it has become harder and harder for me to decide what rating a book gets,  because I don't feel the same way about each book I rate 3 stars, for example.

I know from experience that when there is a rating with a review, I tend to look at that first, maybe skim the review, and then move on. However, when there isn't a rating, I take my time to read the review and comment. My reviews mean more to me than the ratings, and I want people to take their time and read them.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Review: The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

Title: The Goddess Test
Author: Aimee Carter
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pub. Date: April 26, 2011
Source: Netgalley
Length: 297 Pages
Series: The Goddess Test #1
Summary (from goodreads):
It's always been just Kate and her mom—and 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.
My Thoughts: I was left with mixed feelings about The Goddess Test. For one, it was a lot different than I thought it would be. From the description, I thought it would be an action packed read and Kate would have to accomplish 'impossible' feats (a Hercules type thing),  but infact, most of the time Kate wasn't even aware she was taking a test. There were other faults as well that made it hard to enjoy The Goddess Test and that left me disappointed.On the other hand, I did find myself surprisingly addicted to the story (which may have something to do with my inner Greek mythology nerd).
I try to not judge a book until I am about 75 pages into it, to see if things turn around if the beginning is particularly bad. The Goddess Test was like that for me and to be honest, if I wasn't so eager to find out what happened in the end, I probably would not have kept reading. The beginning felt much too rushed, and some things that happened were not explained at all. SPOILER ALERT! (highlight to read): When she makes her two new friends, it is not at all explained how they came to be friends. One moment James was a kid who followed her around and the next he was an amazing friend. The same thing happened with Ava, one moment she was some crazy girl and the next she was Kate's best girl friend.  
There were a lot of things that felt entirely too convenient, and one 'twist' in particular was repeated about three times in the book and got quite annoying. The thing that bothers me most is that I believe the beginning could have been as good as the second half if the effort was put into it. The book is only 300 pages, and there could have been 100 pages added to the beginning to make it seem less rushed, and it would not have made the book a long read at all. Infact, it would still be of normal size.
As for the characters, I don't really have anything to say. Most of the book seemed to lack real emotion and feeling, which made it hard for me to really know Kate, or any of the characters.
It was hard for me to rate this book. In my mind I split it in two, the first half and the second half, and each felt almost like a separate book. I found the first half incredibly hard to get into, full of unbelievable or unexplainable events, and poor development; and while the second half wasn't amazing, it was a lot better. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series, in hopes that there will be none of that rushed introduction-to-the-story like stuff that was in The Goddess Test.

2.5 Moons
I'm still having trouble deciding what to rate this. Maybe it doesn't even deserve 2.5, or maybe it deserves something way higher :/

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine, that features upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

by R.J. Anderson
Release: June 2, 2011
Once upon a time there was a girl who was special.
This is not her story.
Unless you count the part where I killed her.

Sixteen-year-old Alison has been sectioned in a mental institute for teens, having murdered the most perfect and popular girl at school. But the case is a mystery: no body has been found, and Alison's condition is proving difficult to diagnose. Alison herself can't explain what happened: one minute she was fighting with Tori -- the next she disintegrated. Into nothing. But that's impossible. Right?
Do you really need to ask why? I need this. Enough said.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Mini Review: Dear John by Nicholas Sparks

Title: Dear John
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pub. Date: October 30, 2006
Length: 335 Pages
Summary (from goodreads):
"Dear John," the letter read. And with those two words, a heart was broken and two lives changed forever.
When Savannah Lynn Curtis comes into his life, John Tyree knows he is ready to turn over a new leaf. An angry rebel, he had enlisted in the army after high school, not knowing what else to do. Then, during a furlough, he meets Savannah, the girl of his dreams. The attraction is mutual and quickly grows into the kind of love that leaves Savannah vowing to wait for John while he finishes his tour of duty. But neither can foresee that 9/11 is about to change the world. Like so many proud men and women, John must choose between love and country. Now, when he finally returns to North Carolina, John will discover how love can transform us in ways we never could have imagined.
My Thoughts: If I had to sum up my feelings about Dear John in one word, it word be this: Love. I picked this word for obvious reasons: the love between John and Savannah,  the love Savannah seemed to radiate, and the love I have for this book. Dear John was the first Nicholas Sparks novel I've read, and it won't be my last. I admit I didn't expect this one to be anything special, and was pleasantly surprised when I turned out to be wrong. 
There isn't anything bad I can say about Dear John. I loved the writing, the plot, the characters, the emotion...everything. Which is why this review is so short;  my words can't describe how lovely this book was. Its a perfect example of why I love to read. If you're a fan of love stories and haven't read it already, go out and buy Dear John soon. You won't regret it.

5 Moons

Saturday, April 2, 2011

In My Mailbox #8

In My Mailbox is hosted by the story siren.

My grandmother came over the other day and surprised me with a copy of Cryer's Cross, a book I am very much looking forward to.
I'd also like to thank Amy Holder, author of The Lipstick Laws (out April 4), for the swag. It included: 6 Signed Lipstick Laws bookmarks, 4 unsigned Lipstick Laws bookmarks, 5 Lipstick Laws stickers, a signed post card, 1 elf liquid lipstick, 2 Class of 2k11 (debut authors) bookmarks, and 1 Class of 2k11 stickers. I would have loved to post pictures, but unfortunately my camera is still broken :(
You can see my review of her book here.
What's in your mailbox? Leave a link and I'll check it out.

Review: This Girl is Different by JJ Johnson

Title: This Girl is Different
Author: JJ Johnson
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers 
Pub. Date: April 1, 2011
Source: Netgalley
Length: 320 Pages
Summary (from goodreads):
This girl is different… That’s what Evie has always told herself—and it’s true. Home-schooled by her counter culture mom, she’s decided to see what high school is like for the first time—for her senior year. And what a year it is.
As it turns out, it’s not just Evie who’s Different. Lots of people are. Many of her assumptions about others are turned on their heads as she makes friends with kids her own age for the first time, discovers what’s good and what’s bad about high school, and learns lessons about power and its abuse—both by the administration and by Evie herself.
My Thoughts: This Girl is Different is, hence the title, so different than most YA books published today. I can't just point a finger at a certain part and say, "This is what made it so unique," because there were a lot of aspects and events and types of people that made it that way. There was Evie: who spoke her mind,  her mother Martha: a new age Hippie, the... well, I don't want to give anything away. So, as to not ruin your  reading experience, I'll just tell you that the whole environment made This Girl is Different a nice breath of fresh air.
JJ Johnson has created some real lovely characters. I love how unique Evie was. She wasn't a damsel in distress or a mean girl, like most main characters in YA today. Instead, she dominates the story by being capable of doing things herself, speaking her mind, and having a high self-esteem (I had to say it. There are a lot of MCs out there that think so poorly of themselves and Evie was a nice change). My favorite character, however, was not Evie. It was her mother Martha. She was more of a laid back kind of mom, who knew what most boyfriend/girlfriends do and was okay with it; She was smart, strongly supported Evie, and loved to travel.  I'm also in love with the way she talked. She was so kind, funny and used phrases/words such as, "darling, my love, etc." And I love anyone who talks like that. ♥
This Girl is Different was a nice read, with a good cover and strong characters. It isn't anything to rush and put at the top of your TBR list, but if you're looking for something unique, pick it up soon.

3.5 Moons