Friday, December 18, 2009

No Reading?

I've been having a really hard time getting into any books lately. I've started a few and not gotten very far on them. Too many other things going on? Or boring books? Maybe both?

Anyway, obviously I haven't been blogging much, but hopefully I'll find some good books to read and review soon!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

October in Review

It's a little late, but here's a wrap-up of my October reading!

I surprised myself and read ten books in October. Four were new (to me) authors. Three were part of a series - actually they were all the first books in new series, so that's something to look forward to! Six were young adult books.

My favorite was Hate List by Jennifer Brown. Great story, lots of tears...would definitely put her down as an author to look for in the future!

Looking at the list, it was a pretty interesting combination of books and subjects. A good month for me, especially being pregnant, when I tend to read less and more slowly. I'm sure the next couple months will be a little slower with lots of holiday festivities going on, but I have a nice stack from the library that I'm working on right now, so certainly no lack of material!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Selling Used Books?

I am trying to do some de-cluttering to make room for this new baby, so I went through some books this morning. Yikes! I have SO MANY!! I'm making some piles and need to figure out my plan of action.

Does anyone know of good places to sell used books? A lot of my books are popular ones that are in great condition. It sounds like most used books stores prefer to give store credit. I could also do swapping online, but I really just need to get rid of a lot of them to save the space.

I don't expect to make a TON of money, but a little cash wouldn't hurt! It's kind of hurting my head to think of how much money I spent on them all in the first place!!

Let me know if you have any advice! I could donate some of them to the library also, but I'd like to check out some ideas for making cash first!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Review: My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

My Soul to Take is the first book in a new young adult series by Rachel Vincent.

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
She doesn't see dead people, but…

She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be next...

This was an interesting paranormal novel...different than most of the others out there right now. I was not blown away, but did enjoy it. I'll read the rest of the series. I thought some of it was pretty predictable, but there were a few surprises. It was a pretty quick read too.

Rated: 3.5-4/5

Review: Blue Bloods by Melissa De La Cruz

Blue Bloods is the first book in a young adult series by Melissa De La Cruz.

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
When the Mayflower set sail in 1620, it carried on board the men and women who would shape America. But not all the Pilgrims were pure of heart; they were not all escaping religious persecution. Indeed, some were not human: they were vampires.

In present-day New York City, Schuyler Van Alen is a sophomore at a prestigious New York private school. On her fifteenth birthday, her veins turn a bright blue and she begins to crave raw meat. Suddenly she is part of an exclusive secret society ruled by The Committee, a group of honored Blue Bloods. One of the popular girls at her school is found dead, and Schuyler decides to find out the secrets of the mysterious Blue Bloods. But is she putting herself in danger?

I've been wanting to start this series for awhile. It's another young adult vampire series, and I've enjoyed a lot of those. I liked this one too. It was an interesting take on vampires and how they have been around for so long. Schuyler's family history was interesting also, and there are still some questions that need to be answered. There are already four books out in this series, so I'll need to catch up!

The one thing that bugged me about the book was the way the main characters name was spelled. I knew how to pronounce it, but I still kind of 'tripped' over it while reading because it just never looked right to me. By the end I was more used to it.

Rated: 4/5

Review: Moonlight by Rachel Hawthorne

Moonlight is the first book in the young adult Dark Guardian series by Rachel Hawthorne.

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
Kayla is the nature lover, the all-American beauty who can't understand why she's so drawn to distant, brooding Lucas. Adopted as a young child, she has no way of knowing that she's inherited a terrifying—and thrilling—gene that will change her life forever.

Lucas is dangerous, gorgeous . . . and a werewolf. As leader of the Dark Guardians, shape-shifters who gather deep within the state park, he has sworn to protect his pack. But when Lucas finds his true soul mate, his love could put them all in harm's way.

As Lucas and Kayla struggle with their feelings for each other, a greater danger lurks: Humans have discovered the Dark Guardians and are planning their destruction. Kayla must choose between the life she knows and the love she feels certain is her destiny.

I wasn't sure how much I would like this book, but actually enjoyed it quite a bit. The setting is different than many young adult books, even paranormal ones. This book takes place almost entirely in the woods. It was a very quick read, and I thought the characters were interesting. Some if it was a little dramatic, but it seemed to work. You know before reading it that Lucas was a werewolf, so you were just waiting to find out how it would be revealed. Looking forward to the other books in this series, it seems like the next one focuses more on some of the other supporting characters.

The only thing that bugged me a little about the story was that even though Kayla clearly liked Lucas, she kept going off with Mason, who was quite obviously a jerk.

Rated: 4/5

Review: Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
It's been five years since 17-year-old Hannah has had any contact with her father, a Hugh Hefner manqué in his 70s who has a reality TV show and Web site that chronicles his comings and goings with his "special girls." Hannah's mother, one of those "girls" before Hannah's birth, now runs a Web site that features her in live chat wearing only lingerie. Although Hannah strives for invisibility, she finds herself attracting attention from two male classmates and co-workers at her afterschool job: Josh, who seems to be politically aware and sensitive, and Finn, who seems to be a football-playing clod. Readers will quickly clue into the truth, that Josh is a jerk and Finn is a gem, but Scott's spot-on dialogue and deft feel for teen angst will keep them entertained. The unusual family dynamics allow the author to explore familiar themes from a fresh angle. This is a satisfying, romantic coming-of-age story.

I've really liked Elizabeth Scott's other YA books, and this one was cute too. Of course, you know right away who the 'right' guy is, but it was interesting to see Hannah figure it out over time. Finn was such a sweet guy, a typical shy teenage boy who used humor to talk to the girl he liked. Some of the storyline with Hannah's parents was a little...different, but I guess it all worked together in the story. A cute, quick book.

Rated: 4/5

Review: Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
Five months ago, Valerie Leftman's boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saved the life of a classmate, but was implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things she and Nick hated. The list he used to pick his targets.

Now, after a summer of seclusion, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family, former friends and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it, in order to make amends and move on with her life.

I'd heard good things about this book, and it didn't disappoint. It's a young adult novel, and I thought it was written really well from the point of view of a teenage girl who isn't sure how to move on with her life after her boyfriend opens fire on students from a list she helped create of people they hate. It was heartbreaking at times, and felt very honest. The characters had flaws, the situations were things that a lot of teenagers face - divorce, bullying, not feeling like they fit in, trying to figure out who they are. The book was emotionally draining. I always think about my daughter growing up in situations like these, or how I would have handled something like this in my own life. Lots of tears as I finished this one. A very good read, definitely recommended!

Rated: 4.5/5

Friday, October 16, 2009

Review: The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
"When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily."

So begins The Almost Moon, Alice Sebold's astonishing, brilliant, and daring new novel. A woman steps over the line into the unthinkable in this unforgettable work by the author of The Lovely Bones and Lucky.
For years Helen Knightly has given her life to others: to her haunted mother, to her enigmatic father, to her husband and now grown children. When she finally crosses a terrible boundary, her life comes rushing in at her in a way she never could have imagined.

Unfolding over the next twenty-four hours, this searing, fast-paced novel explores the complex ties between mothers and daughters, wives and lovers; the meaning of devotion; and the line between love and hate. It is a challenging, moving, gripping story, written with the fluidity and strength of voice that only Alice Sebold can bring to the page.

This book was very depressing. At first I wasn't sure I was going to be able to get into it. It moved a little slow, and I just wasn't sure I could handle the plot. But I kept reading, and did end up liking the book. Even though there was never any relief from the depression.

Alice Sebold wrote two other books that I loved. Her books are very intense and sometimes hard to read. I guess this one was no different, although I didn't feel quite as connected to the main character of Helen. I guess because I really couldn't relate to her situation. It was well-written though. And I liked the ending.

Rated: 3.5/5 (just not as good as her other books, and I can't help but compare them!)

Review: The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
Stonewood Heights is the perfect place to raise children: it’s got good schools, solid values and a healthy real estate market. Parents in the town are involved in their children’s lives, and often in other children’s lives, too—coaching sports, driving carpool, focusing on enriching experiences. Ruth Ramsey is the high school human sexuality teacher whose openness is not appreciated by all her students—or their parents. Her daughter’s soccer coach is Tim Mason, a former stoner and rocker whose response to hitting rock bottom was to reach out and be saved. Tim’s introduction of Christianity on the playing field horrifies Ruth, while his evangelical church sees a useful target in the loose-lipped sex ed teacher. But when these two adversaries in a small-town culture war actually talk to each other, a surprising friendship begins to develop.

I really like Tom Perrotta's books. His characters are always very real and believable, and this book definitely had that. It wasn't my favorite that he's written, but he always has a way of sucking the reader in. I enjoyed the story and the characters, even though you weren't always sure you should like all of them.

I would be interested to see what happened to them after the story ended...

Rated: 3.5/5 (I probably would have rated it higher if I hadn't compared it to how much I liked some of his other books).

100 Books!

I have reached my goal of reading 100 books in 2009! And I still have 2.5 months to go!!

Since 9 of the 100 books were re-reads, I do still want to make sure I read 100 NEW books this year. So I will work towards that goal next. I don't think it will be a problem though!

I have read some pretty fantastic books this year. Lots of genres, lots of things I wouldn't have thought to pick up before, lots of new authors (for me). And I still have tons in my "to be read" stack and on my Barnes and Noble wishlist, so I don't think I'll run out of good books anytime soon!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Review: The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb

(I'm attempting to review some of the books I've read recently, they will not all be in the order that I read them!)

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
When forty-seven-year-old high school teacher Caelum Quirk and his younger wife, Maureen, a school nurse, move to Littleton, Colorado, they both get jobs at Columbine High School. In April 1999, Caelum returns home to Three Rivers, Connecticut, to be with his aunt who has just had a stroke. But Maureen finds herself in the school library at Columbine, cowering in a cabinet and expecting to be killed, as two vengeful students go on a carefully premeditated, murderous rampage. Miraculously she survives, but at a cost: she is unable to recover from the trauma. Caelum and Maureen flee Colorado and return to an illusion of safety at the Quirk family farm in Three Rivers. But the effects of chaos are not so easily put right, and further tragedy ensues.

While Maureen fights to regain her sanity, Caelum discovers a cache of old diaries, letters, and newspaper clippings in an upstairs bedroom of his family's house. The colorful and intriguing story they recount spans five generations of Quirk family ancestors, from the Civil War era to Caelum's own troubled childhood. Piece by piece, Caelum reconstructs the lives of the women and men whose legacy he bears. Unimaginable secrets emerge; long-buried fear, anger, guilt, and grief rise to the surface.

As Caelum grapples with unexpected and confounding revelations from the past, he also struggles to fashion a future out of the ashes of tragedy. His personal quest for meaning and faith becomes a mythic journey that is at the same time quintessentially contemporary -- and American.

I've read Lamb's other books, but was never as blown away by them as other readers seem to be, but I liked them. They were solid, good books though. This one I think is my favorite of his books. It was long (700+ pages) and there were several storylines going on, but it all came together. There were a few slow spots for me, but overall it was good. Some parts were very heavy and difficult to read (emotionally). It was interesting how he had the fiction mixed in with actual events of the present and past.

Overall, a good book that I would recommend.

Reading about the Columbine shootings was hard for me, I guess because it is real, and picturing being there was just scary. I think he wrote it well though.

The ending was very bittersweet. I was hoping he and Maureen would come back together, and I guess they did, but it was still upsetting that she died. Interesting how things came full circle with Velvet, and he finally seemed to have the child that he had never known he really wanted.

Rated: 4/5

Friday, October 2, 2009

September in Review

I read a bit more in September than I had in past months. Of course, I haven't gotten around to reviewing any of the books yet, but I still hope to do it!

I read eight books. Two of them were re-reads. Two were new (to me) authors. Six different authors total. Four of the books were stand-alones and four were a part of a series.

My favorite was Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, the second book in The Hunger Games series. I was so looking forward to it, and it didn't disappoint. I'm not ready to wait a year for the third (and final) book!!

Harry, A History was much better than I expected. It really just made me love Harry Potter and the whole phenomenon even more!

Overall, a good month with a lot of variety. Hope to keep it up in October!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My Excuse...

If you've been paying attention, you'll see that my reading has slowed down quite a bit in the last few months. I can't blame it completely on it being summer and having more going on...

I'm pregnant! I'm almost 15 weeks along, due in early March.

And along with that...I'm feeling miserable! Nausea, vomiting, just overall a lack of energy to do much of anything. I usually read before bed, but find myself going to bed earlier and earlier lately, which cuts out reading time. My other main time for reading is on my lunch hour, but with being sick and missing work, I'm often working through my lunch hour when I'm feeling ok, to make up time. So that has cut into my reading time too!

So, that's my big excuse for not reading as much, and being so slow about blog updates. I'm hopeful that I'll be feeling better soon, and getting some more energy back so that I'll be able to keep up a little better...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Harry Potter Series

I've spent the last 6 weeks or so revisiting the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. I had wanted to re-read this series for awhile, but am always wary of doing so right before one of the movies comes out. So, I put it off until after seeing The Half Blood Prince. Once I saw the movie, I couldn't put it off any longer!

I adore these books, and the movies, but had only read each of them once. I've seen each of the movies countless times - I have most of them memorized by now, but they never seem to lose their magic. I was a late-comer to the books. My husband had seen the first movie and had me watch it with him. After seeing that movie he became interested in the books and started to read them. I kept putting it off, thinking I would rather see all of the movies first. But eventually I had to give in. We both anxiously awaited the release of the final book when it came out, and we both get excited when a new movie comes out.

There were so many details from the books that I had forgotten! It was so much fun to re-read them, and I did so slowly, since the first time I had read through them so quickly. I really was able to enjoy each of them, and get things out of them that I hadn't before. I think my favorites still hold true. I love book 3 - The Prisoner of Azkaban. I also love book 5 - The Order of the Phoenix. After seeing the 6th movie, I think I enjoyed that book even more this time around. Book 7 is bittersweet...the end. It's great, but I'm sad to see it end. I'm thrilled there will be two movies, because I think they'll be able to get a lot of the details, I'm just excited that there are still going to be TWO more new movies, not just one. Something to look forward to.

Overall, these books are brilliant. I don't know anyone who has read them that hasn't loved them. I'd definitely say that it's the best series I've ever read. They are so magical! Anyone who hasn't picked these up yet definitely needs to do it. You won't regret it! I'm sure I'll be re-reading them again soon, probably after the last two movies are out.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I'm so far behind!

I haven't reviewed any books I read in July yet! It was a smaller number than previous months, so hopefully I'll be able to get caught up. I haven't been reading as much lately, but I'm enjoying the Harry Potter series for the second time right now. I'm taking my time getting through them.

One of these days I'll get some quick reviews up of the other books I read in July. Stay tuned!

Monday, July 6, 2009

June in Review

I didn't think I would have much time to read this month, but I ended up reading 13 books!

I read nine new authors (new to me) and each book I read was by a different author. Some were parts of series (started 4 series, continued 2 others), and some were stand alone. Ten were young adult books.

My favorite of the month was Willow by Julia Hoban. I also really liked Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen.

Overall, a pretty good month of reading. I don't think I'll have any trouble getting to my goal of 100 books for 2009, since at the end of June I'm up to 78 already!

Looking forward to more good books in July!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Review: Undead and Unwed by Mary Janice Davidson

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
First Betsy Taylor loses her job, then she's killed in a car accident. But what really bites is that she can't seem to stay dead. And now her new friends have the ridiculous idea that Betsy is the prophesied vampire queen, and they want her help in overthrowing the most obnoxious power-hungry vampire in five centuries.

Undead and Unwed is the first book in an adult series. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but it was a good read. Lots of humor and the fact that the story was based in Minnesota was fun, since that's where I live. Betsy's a great main character, and I'm looking forward to reading the other books in this series!

Rated: 4/5

Review: Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce—or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live.

A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again...I love Sarah Dessen! I think she writes great young adult novels, and I always feel so connected to the characters. This newest one was no exception. I really can't say enough about the way she writes her books - I can never put them down, and always find myself really rooting for the characters. I really liked the fact that not everyone was who Auden thought they were. She made snap judgements about people, but learned much more about them once she let herself open up to them a little.

Always looking forward to reading more by Sarah Dessen!

Rated: 4.5/5

Review: Wings by Aprilynne Pike

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
Laurel was mesmerized, staring at the pale things with wide eyes. They were terrifyingly beautiful—too beautiful for words.
Laurel turned to the mirror again, her eyes on the hovering petals that floated beside her head. They looked almost like wings.
In this extraordinary tale of magic and intrigue, romance and danger, everything you thought you knew about faeries will be changed forever.

I had heard good things about this young adult novel, and really enjoyed it. I have to say, I never thought I would care much about a story about faeries (I think I've said that before!) but I was really interested. I didn't realize that the book was the first in a series, so of course now I'm disappointed that I have to wait for the next book to come out, but I'll definitely be checking it out!

I'm interested to see how Laurel will divide her time between the two worlds that she's a part of, and how the people around her will be affected.

Rated: 4.5/5

Review: The Shack by William P Young

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
Mackenzie Allen Philips’ youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation, and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack's world forever.

I'd been interested in reading this book for awhile, since I had heard so much about it. It was definitely a lot different than everything else I've been reading lately, but I was anxious to see what all the buzz was about.

The story is really powerful, and I was in tears through most of the first half of the book (ok, and a lot of the second half too!). After that, it got a little wordy at times, and was pretty deep, but definitely a powerful story that made you think a lot. I can see why people have been drawn to it. I don't consider myself a super religious person, but I don't think it necessarily matters when reading this book.

Overall, a good read and I'll be recommending it to others that I think will enjoy the message.

Rated: 4/5

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I'm Behind!

I'm hoping to find some time to update with new reviews and a wrap-up of June very soon!

I found time to read a lot this past month, but not much time to blog!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Review: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

This is a childrens/young adult book.

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family . . .

I wasn't exactly sure what to expect with this book, but I had heard good things. I really enjoyed it. It's geared more towards younger people, but is a great story that I know a lot of adults have liked too. It was very creative and kept me turning the pages. I think it would be a great book for young boys. I know it has been compared to Harry Potter in that way (although the story is quite different).

Rated: 4/5

Review: Carpe Corpus by Rachel Caine

Carpe Corpus is the 6th book in the Morganville Vampires young adult series by Rachel Caine. Spoilers here if you haven't read the previous five books!

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
In the small college town of Morganville, vampires and humans lived in (relative) peace—until all the rules got rewritten when the evil vampire Bishop arrived, looking for the lost book of vampire secrets. He's kept a death grip on the town ever since. Now an underground resistance is brewing, and in order to contain it, Bishop must go to even greater lengths. He vows to obliterate the town and all its inhabitants—the living and the undead. Claire Danvers and her friends are the only ones who stand in his way. But even if they defeat Bishop, will the vampires ever be content to go back to the old rules, after having such a taste of power?

I really like this series, but this one started out a little slow for me. I think that was mostly because I had a hard time remembering where the last one left off. I read the other 5 all pretty much back to back, but it was several months ago. Once I got caught up, I enjoyed the book. It's a good series, and I like the twists and turns the story takes.

I love Shane...and Myrnin is always interesting! The series continues with a new book this fall I think. I'll be picking it up!

Rated: 4/5

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Review: Willow by Julia Hoban

Willow is a young adult novel.

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
Seven months ago, on a rainy March night, sixteen year- old Willow's parents died in a horrible car accident. Willow was driving. Now her older brother barely speaks to her, her new classmates know her as the killer orphan girl, and Willow is blocking the pain by secretly cutting herself. But when one boy —one sensitive, soulful boy—discovers Willow's secret, it sparks an intense relationship that turns the "safe" world Willow has created for herself upside down.

I loved this book. I had heard really good things about it, and it didn't disappoint. The characters are believable, the relationships are real, and you feel all of the pain that Willow is going through as if it's happening to you. I cried a lot while reading it, and will definitely check out more by this author. Highly recommend this one!

Rated: 5/5

Review: Kiss Me, Kill Me by Lauren Henderson

Kiss Me, Kill Me is the first book in a young adult series by Lauren Henderson.

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
When 16-year-old Scarlett Wakefield transfers from St. Tabby’s to Wakefield Hall Collegiate, she is relieved that no one knows her dark, haunting secret. A few months ago, Scarlett was invited to an elite party with a guest list full of the hottest names in British society, including Dan McAndrew. Before the party, Scarlett had only imagined what it would be like to have her first kiss with Dan, but on the penthouse terrace, Dan leaned in close and she no longer had to wonder. Their kiss was beautiful and perfect and magical, and then . . . Dan McAndrew took his last breath as she held him in her arms. No one knows how or why Dan died, and everyone at St. Tabby’s believes Scarlett had something to do with it. But now that she’s safely hidden away at Wakefield Hall, Scarlett would rather forget that it ever happened. Only she can’t. Especially when she receives an anonymous note that will set her on the path to clearing her name and finding out what really happened to the first and last boy she kissed.

I wasn't really sure what this book was about when I picked it up. For some reason, I was thinking it was paranormal, but it wasn't. I also didn't realize it was part of a series until the end.

The story was interesting, and the characters were enjoyable, if somewhat predictable (not all, but some). Scarlett is a typical teenage girl, who just wants to fit in and be liked, and wants to kiss the cute boy that she has a crush on. She wasn't counting on him dying after they kissed, and although she tries to move on, she finds herself needing to know what really happened. By the end of this book, she has some pretty good clues, so I'm interested to see what will happen next. I'm not sure how many books are in the series, I believe the 2nd was just published in the last couple months, and I'm waiting to get it from the library.

Rated: 3.5-4/5

Monday, June 15, 2009

Review: When it Happens by Susane Colasanti

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
Sara and Tobey couldn't be more different. She is focused on getting into her first-choice college; he wants to win Battle of the Bands. Sara's other goal is to find true love, so when Dave, a popular jock, asks her out, she's thrilled. But then there's Tobey. His amazing blue eyes and quirky wit always creep into her thoughts. It just so happens that one of Tobey's goals is also to make Sara fall in love with him. Told in alternating points of view, Sara and Tobey's real connection will have everyone rooting for them from the minute they meet!

This YA book had been on my wish list for awhile, and I really liked it. I liked the fact that it was told from both perspectives. I liked that even though Tobey and Sara were so different, it was still believable that they would like each other.

I really enjoyed Tobey's perspective. I thought it seemed really real as far as a teenage guy's perspective. He was nervous to talk to Sara even though he liked her so much. He made a fool of himself in front of her and felt like an idiot. And he definitely wasn't perfect, which would cause problems later on.

Overall, a great YA book. Believable characters and relationships, and well-written.

Rated: 4.5/5

Review: Two Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
This is Jordan and Courtney, totally in love. Sure, they were an unlikely high school couple. But they clicked; it worked. They're even going to the same college, and driving cross-country together for orientation.
Then Jordan dumps Courtney -- for a girl he met on the Internet.
It's too late to change plans, so the road trip is on. Courtney's heartbroken, but figures she can tough it out for a few days. La la la -- this is Courtney pretending not to care.
But in a strange twist, Jordan cares. A lot.
Turns out, he's got a secret or two that he's not telling Courtney. And it has everything to do with why they broke up, why they can't get back together, and how, in spite of it all, this couple is destined for each other.

I've been reading a lot of quick YA books lately. This one was cute - I liked the way it was written - you got the story from both points of view, and it flipped back and forth from the past to the present as the story unfolded. The relationship was unlikely, but worked. Both characters had flaws, but you still liked them and rooted for them.

Even though I figured out Jordan's secret right away, I was still interested to see how it would turn out. It was a very quick read, and I'd read more by this author.

Rated: 4/5

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I Must Have Jinxed the Weather

Ever since I posted about it being so nice out, and reading less because I was outside more, it's been gloomy, rainy, and cold.

Which has provided a lot more time to read! I've been reading a lot of quick light books lately too, so it seems like I'm getting through quite a few of them pretty fast.

Now I'm just behind on reviewing them!!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Review: Perfect You by Elizabeth Scott

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
Kate Brown's life has gone downhill fast. Her father has quit his job to sell vitamins at the mall, and Kate is forced to work with him. Her best friend has become popular, and now she acts like Kate's invisible.
And then there's Will. Gorgeous, unattainable Will, whom Kate acts like she can't stand even though she can't stop thinking about him. When Will starts acting interested, Kate hates herself for wanting him when she's sure she's just his latest conquest.
Kate figures that the only way things will ever stop hurting so much is if she keeps to herself and stops caring about anyone or anything. What she doesn't realize is that while life may not always be perfect, good things can happen — but only if she lets them....

I read another Elizabeth Scott book recently, and it was really cute, so I tried another one. I liked this one just as much. It was a very quick, light read. YA of course. I think a lot of girls can relate to Kate in this story - I know I did. I read a few reviews that thought it was a little boring and whiny, but I didn't really think so. I didn't take Kate as being whiny - she was insecure, and unsure about herself. I think a lot of girls that age feel that way. Also, her sarcasm was something I could relate to for sure.

A cute book, I'll be reading more from Elizabeth Scott for sure.

Rated: 4/5

Review: Gone by Michael Grant

Gone is the first book in a YA series by Michael Grant.

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
In the blink of an eye.
Everyone disappears.
Everyone except for the young. Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not a single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. Gone, too, are the phones, internet, and television. There is no way to get help.
Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents—unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers—that grow stronger by the day.
It's a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen and war is imminent.
The first in a breathtaking saga about teens battling each other and their darkest selves, gone is a page-turning thriller that will make you look at the world in a whole new way.

I admit, that it took me awhile to pick up this book...because I thought the cover looked dumb. Yep, I judged this book by its cover. I didn't know what it was about, but I thought it looked dumb.

I was wrong. I mean, I was right about the cover. I don't like it at all. But I was wrong about the book - I actually really liked it!

The book is not told in first person, but the main focus is on the character of Sam. He's a normal, average guy...except that he isn't. A lot of the kids are hiding secrets, and he's one of them. It was sometimes hard for me to remember that the main characters in the book are all 14 years old. This was a pretty big book (about 550 pages), but it was hard to put it down, so it didn't take too long to get through it! It got creepy in parts, and I really wasn't sure what would happen. I knew it was the first book in a series, so I wasn't sure if anything would get resolved at the end or not. I will say that I'm definitely looking forward to reading the next book, Hunger, which just came out. And yep, that one also has a bad cover. Oh well.

Rated: 4/5

Friday, June 5, 2009

Review: Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris

Dead and Gone is the 9th book in the Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Series by Charlaine Harris.

Summary from Barnes and Noble:

For Sookie Stackhouse, the day to day activities of the vampire and were communities in and around Bon Temps, Louisiana, are of vital interest, She's blood-bound to the leader of the vamps, a friend to the local were pack, works for a man who is shifter, and has a brother who is a were-panther…
But for most of the humans in Bon Temps, the vamps are mysterious seductive creatures-and they don't even know about the weres.
Until now. The weres and shifters have finally decided to follow the lead of the undead and reveal their existence to the ordinary world.
At first it seems to go well. Then the mutilated body of a were-panther is found in the parking lot of the bar where Sookie works. The victim is someone she knows, so she feels compelled to discover who-human or otherwise-did the deed.
But what she doesn't realize is that there is a far greater danger than the killer threatening Bon Temps. A race of unhuman beings--older, more powerful and far more secretive than vampires or werewolves-- is preparing for war. And Sookie will find herself an all-too human pawn in their battle…

I really like this series. This one was a little...busy though. There were a lot of different things going on and it seemed to be a little too much at times. Some of the characters were only in it for a few pages, and people just seemed to randomly pop up throughout the story.

It was nice to see a bit more of Eric in this one though. I do like him and Sookie together, although I'm constantly torn about who she should end up with!

I finally saw the first season of True Blood, the HBO show that is based on this series, and I love it! I'm eagerly awaiting the 2nd season, which starts next week!

Rated: 4/5

Not Finishing a Book

Do you ever stop part-way through a book and decide not to finish it?

I very rarely do this. Even books that I find really dull, I try to make it through, in case it picks up. And I usually read reviews and summaries of books before reading them, to make sure it sounds interesting to me in the first place.

Last night I started a book. I only made it about 20 pages, but just couldn't get into it. The writing was not my style, and the character was everything was written in a very southern way that was just getting on my nerves. (I don't really know how to describe that better, but it was driving me nuts!)

I know 20 pages isn't much of a chance to give a book, so I may pick it back up again. But I put it down and started something else, and ended up reading 45 pages of that one with no problem. So maybe the other one just isn't for me.

I have to admit, I feel like a bit of a failure putting a book down without finishing it. I'm sure if I don't read it, it will haunt me and I'll always wonder if I should have kept at it, and wondering if I'm missing out on a great book because I didn't read it!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

So Many Books, So Little Time

Anyone else read a lot less as the weather gets nicer?

Maybe it's just because I'm in Minnesota and we only seem to have a few months of nice weather a year! I've been spending more time outside, and since it's lighter out longer, I feel like I can get more done in a day....and by the time I look at the clock, it's getting late and I missed out on a lot of reading time that I'd normally take advantage of!

I have a big stack of books from the library...and it's constantly big. As soon as a I finish a few, a few more than I put on hold are in. It's never-ending! Not that I'm complaining! It's nice to always have some reading options. But I'm definitely not finding as much time to read lately. Luckily some of the books I've been picking up are shorter, light reads - great for summer weather! So the number of books I'm reading might not actually be decreasing, but the number of total pages probably is!

Besides just the nicer weather, there are a lot more things going on this time of year. And my daughter is now walking (running!) around, so that keeps me quite busy. One nice thing is having my lunch hour at work to read. As long as I don't have to be running errands or going to any appointments!

So, my stack and my wish list continue to grow... and I'll read when I have the time!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

May in Review

May was a pretty good month for me as far as reading. It was also a pretty busy month, so I'm surprised I read as many books as I did! Along with a trip to Las Vegas, and my little sister's wedding, I managed to read 13 books. Not bad!

I read 6 new authors this month, and 9 different authors total. I started a series, finished a series, got further in another, and read several stand-alone books. All but two of the books I read this month were young adult books.

My favorite of the month was probably If I Stay by Gayle Forman, and I also really enjoyed Just Listen by Sarah Dessen. I read a lot of great ones this month, so it's hard to pick just one or two favorites!

I have several library books out right now, and a few on my own shelf if I ever find time for those! I'm not sure how much reading I'll get done in June since we'll be spending more time outside (as long as the weather cooperates), but I'm looking forward to quite a few books, so I'm sure I'll find the time for them!

Review: Bloom by Elizabeth Scott

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
Lauren has a good life: decent grades, great friends, and a boyfriend every girl lusts after. So why is she so unhappy?

It takes the arrival of Evan Kirkland for Lauren to figure out the answer: She's been holding back. She's been denying herself a bunch of things (like sex) because staying with her loyal and gorgeous boyfriend, Dave, is the "right" thing to do. After all, who would give up the perfect boyfriend?

But as Dave starts talking more and more about their life together, planning a future Lauren simply can't see herself in — and as Lauren's craving for Evan, and moreover, who she is with Evan becomes all the more fierce — Lauren realizes she needs to make a choice...before one is made for her.

This was a really quick, cute read. I needed something light, and this was it! I enjoyed the characters and the relationships. The awkwardness between Lauren and Dave at times, between Lauren and Evan at first, and between Lauren and her Dad seemed very real. Even if you don't really have anything in common, I found her character easy to relate to.

Rated: 4/5

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen year old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...

If I Stay is a young adult novel that had me in tears almost the whole way through. It's a quick read (200 pages) and I had a hard time putting it down. It's heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time.

I can't say much about it without spoiler, so don't read any further if you haven't read it!

It's difficult to imagine losing your whole immediate family in a moment. That's what happens to Mia, and she's left with the decision to stay or to go. To stay alive and live her life without her parents and younger brother or to go and hopefully be reunited with them in some sort of afterlife. Either decision will be heartbreaking. The book really makes you think about your own life and what you would do if you were the one forced to make this choice. There are things to live for, but is it enough?

This book was really well-written and thought-provoking. I thought the ending was great. Until the very end, I wasn't sure what she would end up doing.

This is the kind of story that sticks with you, long after you read the last page and put the book down.

Rated: 5/5

Review: Bloodfever and Faefever by Karen Marie Moning

I decided to review both of these together, since I read them back to back and can't exactly remember what happened in which book! There will be SPOILERS if you haven't read either of them, beware! These are the 2nd and 3rd books in the Fever series...this is an adult series.

Summary of Bloodfever from Barnes and Noble:

I used to think my sister and I were just two nice southern girls who'd get married in a few years and settle down to a quiet life. Then I discovered that Alina and I descend, not from good wholesome southern stock, but from an ancient Celtic bloodline of powerful sidhe-seers, people who can see the Fae. Not only can I see the terrifying otherworldly race, but I can sense the sacred Fae relics that hold the deadliest of their magic.
When my sister was found dead in a trash-filled alley in Dublin, I came over to get answers. Now all I want is revenge. And after everything I've learned about myself, I know I have the power to get it....
MacKayla Lane's ordinary life underwent a complete makeover when she landed on Ireland's shores and was plunged into a world of deadly sorcery and ancient secrets.
In her fight to stay alive, Mac must find the Sinsar Dubh-a million-year-old book of the blackest magic imaginable, which holds the key to power over both the worlds of the Fae and of Man. Pursued by Fae assassins, surrounded by mysterious figures she knows she cannot trust, Mac finds herself torn between two deadly and irresistible men: V'lane, the insatiable Fae who can turn sensual arousal into an obsession for any woman, and the ever-inscrutable Jericho Barrons, a man as alluring as he is mysterious.
For centuries the shadowy realm of the Fae has coexisted with that of humans. Now the walls between the two are coming down, and Mac is the only thing that stands between them....

Summary of Faefever from Barnes and Noble:

He calls me his Queen of the Night. I’d die for him. I’d kill for him, too. When MacKayla Lane receives a torn page from her dead sister’s journal, she is stunned by Alina’s desperate words. And now MacKayla knows that her sister’s killer is close. But evil is closer. And suddenly the sidhe-seer is on the hunt: For answers. For revenge. And for an ancient book of dark magic so evil, it corrupts anyone who touches it.
Mac’s quest for the Sinsar Dubh takes her into the mean, shape-shifting streets of Dublin, with a suspicious cop on her tail. Forced into a dangerous triangle of alliance with V’lane, an insatiable Fae prince of lethally erotic tastes, and Jericho Barrons, a man of primal desires and untold secrets, Mac is soon locked in a battle for her body, mind, and soul. As All Hallows’ Eve approaches and the city descends into chaos, as a shocking truth about the Dark Book is uncovered, not even Mac can prevent a deadly race of immortals from shattering the walls between worlds—with devastating consequences.…

I enjoyed the first book of the series, and these were no different. Each one ends with a big cliffhanger, and leaves you wanting more! I believe there will be 5 books total in the series, but the fourth is not out yet, so I guess I have to wait now. That will be especially hard after how the 3rd book ended! Some questions are answered, but there are so many more!

I really enjoy the characters in the books, and just when I feel like I've figured out one of the mysterious ones, they surprise me again. Mac is a strong, believable character. She's tough, but she's vulnerable. She's heartbroken over her sister's death, and not willing to trust anyone completely.

I feel like I could re-read these books and pick up on lots of little things I didn't catch the first time. There is a lot of information and tiny clues here and there. I think that's what makes them so interesting. Plus, the sexual tension between Mac and several of the characters is definitely entertaining!

Looking forward to the next two books!

Rated: 4/5

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Review: Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Summary from Barnes and Noble:

Quincie Morris has never felt more alone. Her parents are dead, and her hybrid-werewolf first love is threatening to embark on a rite of passage that will separate them forever. Then, as she and her uncle are about to unveil their hot vampire-themed restaurant, a brutal murder leaves them scrambling for a chef. Can Quincie transform their new hire into a culinary Dark Lord before opening night? Can he wow the crowd in his fake fangs, cheap cape, and red contact lenses — or is there more to this earnest face than meets the eye? As human and preternatural forces clash, a deadly love triangle forms, and the line between predator and prey begins to blur. Who’s playing whom? And how long can Quincie play along before she loses everything?

I really didn't know what this book was about when I picked it up at the library. It was a little different than I was expecting, but I did like it. I was constantly wondering who the 'bad guy' was and second guessing myself. I had no idea how it would turn out. I suspected things, but was still a little suprised at how it all ended up. I also thought the ending was kind of abrupt. Interesting story though, and different from other vampires/wolf stories out there.

Rated: 3.5/5

Review: North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
As he continued to stare, I wanted to point to my cheek and remind him, But you were the one who wanted this, remember? You're the one who asked-and I repeat-Why not fix your face?
It's hard not to notice Terra Cooper.
She's tall, blond, and has an enviable body. But with one turn of her cheek, all people notice is her unmistakably "flawed" face. Terra secretly plans to leave her stifling small town in the Northwest and escape to an East Coast college, but gets pushed off-course by her controlling father. When an unexpected collision puts Terra directly in Jacob's path, the handsome but quirky Goth boy immediately challenges her assumptions about herself and her life, and she is forced in yet another direction. With her carefully laid plans disrupted, will Terra be able to find her true path?

I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was pretty mature for a young adult book, and I think it's a great book for any girl (or woman) to read. I liked Terra and really enjoyed the relationships in the book, even though some were painful. Jacob was a great character and I thought their relationship was written really well. It seemed real. And even though the book is told from Terra's perspective, you still feel like you know the other characters and can feel what they are going through.

Can't say much else about it, except that I liked it more than I thought I would and definitely reccomend it!

Rated: 4.5/5

Monday, May 18, 2009

Review: Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
Halley has always followed in the wake of her best friend, Scarlett. But when Scarlett learns that her boyfriend has been killed in a motorcycle accident, and that she's carrying his baby, she's devastated. For the first time ever, Scarlett really needs Halley. Though their friendship may be tested by the strain, like a true friendship, it will endure.

Another Dessen book! And of course, I enjoyed it. Most of this book was read by a pool in sunny Las Vegas, which certainly didn't hurt!

A lot of this story was about Halley's relationship with a 'bad boy' named Macon. I was torn between liking him and feeling like he was wrong for her. Scarlett's pregnancy as a high school student was interesting to read about as well. Not much else to say about it, except that it was a good read. I really like Sarah Dessen's books, and think they're great for young women.

Rated: 4/5

Review: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Continuing on my Sarah Dessen kick...

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
When Annabel, the youngest of three beautiful sisters, has a bitter falling out with her best friend-the popular and exciting Sophie-she suddenly finds herself isolated and friendless. but then she meets owen-a loner, passionate about music and his weekly radio show, and always determined to tell the truth. And when they develop a friendship, Annabel is not only introduced to new music but is encouraged to listen to her own inner voice. with owen's help, can Annabel find the courage to speak out about what exactly happened the night her friendship with Sophie came to a screeching halt?

I really liked this one. I loved Owen and found him endearing. I liked the fact that we didn't know what had happened between Annabel and Sophie until pretty far into the book. I also enjoyed the sister relationships. Maybe because I'm one of three sisters (although I'm the middle sister). I loved the conversations Annabel and Owen had about music and life.

I read most of this book on an airplane home from Vegas, which says a lot -- I have a hard time reading on planes, but was hooked on this book, and the 3 hour flight was over before I knew it!

Rated: 4.5/5

Review: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
My name is Chloe Saunders and my life will never be the same again.
All I wanted was to make friends, meet boys, and keep on being ordinary. I don't even know what that means anymore. It all started on the day that I saw my first ghost—and the ghost saw me.
Now there are ghosts everywhere and they won't leave me alone. To top it all off, I somehow got myself locked up in Lyle House, a "special home" for troubled teens. Yet the home isn't what it seems. Don't tell anyone, but I think there might be more to my housemates than meets the eye. The question is, whose side are they on? It's up to me to figure out the dangerous secrets behind Lyle House . . . before its skeletons come back to haunt me.

This book was promising, but when it ended I felt like it was a little lacking. I didn't feel very connected to most of the characters. It's the first book in a series, so I'm looking forward to reading the next book to hopefully get to know everyone a little better. The idea behind it is interesting, and different from a lot of the other popular YA books out there right now, so I think the series has potential. And I will admit that I got a little creeped out a couple times when reading it! I'm interested to see where the relationships will go, and to find out what happens next, since the ending was a big cliff-hanger!

Rated: 3.5/5

Friday, May 8, 2009

Review: Wintergirls by Leslie Halse Anderson

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
"Dead girl walking," the boys say in the halls.
"Tell us your secret," the girls whisper, one toilet to another.
I am that girl.
I am the space between my thighs, daylight shining through.
I am the bones they want, wired on a porcelain frame.

Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend's restless spirit.

This book was intense and hard to read at times. I think having a daughter now makes me even more disturbed about this kind of thing.

I loved the writing. Loved the strike-through text. Loved seeing into Lia's mind, and felt myself pleading with her as I read. I was in tears several times, and felt emotionally drained by the time I finished the book.

I think every girl has felt unhappy about how they look at some point, or wanted to have control over SOMETHING in their life when things felt out of control. This would be a great book for any girl to read. I think the author did a lot of great research, and it felt very real.

Rated: 4.5/5

Review: Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

I am becoming a huge fan of Sarah Dessen. I have really liked all the books I've read by her so far, and this one wasn't any different.

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
Ruby is used to taking care of herself. But now she's living in a fancy new house with her sister Cora—a sister she hasn't seen in ten years—and her husband Jamie—creator of one of the most popular online networking sites. She's attending private school, wearing new clothes, and for the first time, feels the promise of a future that include college and her family. So why is she so wary? And what is Nate— the adorable and good-hearted boy next door— hiding behind his genial nature? As Ruby starts to see, there's a big difference between being given help, and being able to accept it. And sometimes, in order to save yourself, you've got to reach out to someone else.

I liked the story, I loved the characters. I think what I like about Dessen's story-telling is that even if you have nothing in common with the characters, you feel connected to them, and you feel like you understand what they're going through.

The only thing I would have liked was to see what happened once Ruby started college. I wanted to find out more about her relationship with Nate.

Rated: 4.5/5

Review: The Key by Marianne Curley

The Key is the final book in the Guardians of Time Trilogy by Marianne Curley. This is a young adult series.

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
In the thrilling, final installment of the Guardians of Time trilogy, tentative guard members Matt and Rochelle have emerged as crucial players in fulfilling the prophecy of the Named. Matt has learned that he is the son of an immortal, while Rochelle is struggling with her newfound powers and her fear that the group doesn't trust her. In fact, their leader is certain that someone in the close-knit circle is a traitor-but who? As suspicions mount, friction threatens to tear apart the Guard. Will the members of the Named be able to overcome their fears and unite the Guardians of Time in their last stand against evil and chaos?

I enjoyed this series, it was different from other things I've been reading lately. This book again was told from the perspective of two characters. Different characters. I found it a little hard to get used to that and had to keep reminding myself WHO was narrating, since each book had different characters narrating. (This one was told by Matt and Rochelle). At the same time, it was interesting to get so many different perspectives throughout the series. There was a lot of action in this one, the plot moved quickly and kept me guessing.

I liked the way the series ended. The fact that it wasn't perfect made it feel more realistic. I was sad, but I think it was the way it had to happen!

Rated: 4/5

Friday, May 1, 2009

April in Review

April was a busy month for me (including my daughter turning ONE!), and I didn't get as much reading done as I had in March.

I read 11 books total, and 4 new authors.

My favorite book of the month was City of Glass by Cassandra Clare. If you haven't read The Mortal Instruments series, you should DEFINITELY check it out!

I started a couple new series, continued a couple series, and read some stand alone novels. Of the 11 books, 9 were books from the library. (The only two I bought were City of Glass and From Dead to Worse).

I'm looking forward to the next Sookie Stackhouse book - it comes out next week and I'm on the waiting list for it at the library. I have several library books already to read, and have a few on my own shelf that I'm hoping to get to! May will be another busy month for me, so we'll see how much reading I can get done!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Quick Reviews

I have been so busy the past few weeks that I haven't had time to review anything I've been reading. It's so hard to catch up once you fall behind! So I thought I'd just give a quick little review of each of them so I feel like I'm back on schedule!

From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris - this is the 8th book in the Sookie Stackhouse (adult) series. This one wasn't as exciting to me, not as much action as some of the others. It was still enjoyable, and I'm very much looking forward to the new book coming out in May!! Rated: 4/5

Blue is for Nightmares by Laurie Faria Stolarz - this is the first book in a young adult series. The first half was pretty slow for me, but it did pick up. The basic plot is that the main character is a witch, and she is seeing her roommate's death in her dreams. She is trying to save her, without knowing what's really going to happen, or who's responsible. There are more books in this series, and I'll check them out. Rated: 3.5/5

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning - Another adult series...the first book. I had heard good things, and wasn't disappointed. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series! Mac finds out that her sister has been murdered in Ireland and is determined to find the killer. When she arrives, she finds that she doesn't know anything about who she really is. She's sucked into a world of Fae, vampires, and other supernatural beings, and finds that she has some extraordinary talents of her own. Lots of intriguing characters in this one, and the ending left me hanging! Rated: 4/5

The Dark by Marianne Curly - This is the second book in the (young adult) Guardians of Time Trilogy. I really enjoyed the first book, and liked this one too, but not quite as much. The book is told in alternating points of view. The first book is told by Ethan and Isabel, and this one is told by Isable and Arkarian. I found that I missed Ethan's point of view. I am now reading the third book, and it is narrated by two other characters. It's nice to see these characters a little closer, but I miss the original story-tellers I guess. I do like the concept and plot, and this one added a little romance to the mix too. Rated: 4/5

Ok, I feel much better getting those quick reviews done. Hopefully in a few weeks things will calm down a bit and I'll have more time to commit to reading, blogging, and reading blogs!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bad Blogger

I've been a bad book blogger lately. I'm a couple reviews behind, and haven't contributed much of anything else for quite awhile! I haven't even had much time to read and comment on other blogs lately!

It's a very busy spring for us - my sister is getting married, my daughter is having her first birthday...along with all of the other day to day things that happen in life! So between bridal showers, photo appointments, dress alterations, and birthday parties, I feel like I'm constantly on the go lately! I'm sure I'll catch back up eventually. I'm still reading, but just haven't had as much time! Such is life!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Review: City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

City of Glass is the third book in The Mortal Instruments trilogy by Cassandra Clare. Spoilers ahead, don't read if you haven't read the first two books!

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
To save her mother's life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters — never mind that enter-ing the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.
As Clary uncovers more about her family's past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadow-hunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadow-hunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he's willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City — whatever the cost?

I was so excited to get this book, since I loved the first two! It didn't disappoint. The characters are great, the plot is exciting, and the tension between Clary and Jace is amazing. There are a few new characters in this one, and it was awesome to see everything fall into place and all the pieces of the story come together. Even though I was pretty busy while reading this book, I still had a hard time putting it down to face my adult responsibilities!

Can I just say HALLELUJAH...Jace and Clary are NOT siblings. I figured this had to happen, but I was VERY happy that the truth finally came out. Even though I suspected a few things before they happened, I still thought it was a great book.

I'm very sad to see this series come to an end!!

Rated: 5/5

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Review: The September Sisters by Jillian Cantor

This is the first novel by Jillian Cantor. It's a young adult novel. I didn't know a lot about the story before reading it, but had heard from a few people that it was good, so I picked it up at the library.

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
Abigail Reed and her younger sister, Becky, are always at each other's throats. Their mother calls them the September Sisters, because their birthdays are only a day apart, and pretends that they're best friends. But really, they delight in making each other miserable. Then Becky disappears in the middle of the night, and a torn gold chain with a sapphire heart charm is the only clue to the mystery of her kidnapping. Abby struggles to cope with her own feelings of guilt and loss as she tries to keep her family together. When her world is at its bleakest, Abby meets a new neighbor, Tommy, who is dealing with his own loss, and the two of them discover that love can bloom, even when it's surrounded by thorns.

I thought this was really well-written from the perspective of a young girl. It was extremely hard for me to read at times. As the mother of a little girl, there were moments when I just had to stop thinking about the abduction of Becky. I was just too painful for me to think about something like that happening to my own daughter. Also, having two sisters myself, the sister relationship was very real for me. I have a younger sister and an older sister, and the way Cantor described the relationship between the sisters was right on, at least in my experience. I found myself in tears many times throughout the book, but I couldn't put it down, as much as I wanted and needed to at times. It's one of those books that really makes you think about what might happen to your own life, or your family, if faced with the same situations.

All around, a great story.

Rated: 4.5/5

Review: The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

This was the second book I've read by Sarah Dessen, and I loved it. So much of what I've been reading lately has been paranormal or fantasy, so it was nice to get back to a good old fashioned book about humans! This is a young adult novel.

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
Sixteen-year-old Macy Queen is looking forward to a long, boring summer. Her boyfriend is going away. She’s stuck with a dull-asdishwater job at the library. And she’ll spend all of her free time studying for the SATs or grieving silently with her mother over her father’s recent unexpected death. But everything changes when Macy is corralled into helping out at one of her mother’s open house events, and she meets the chaotic Wish Catering crew. Before long, Macy joins the Wish team. She loves everything about the work and the people. But the best thing about Wish is Wes—artistic, insightful, and understanding Wes—who gets Macy to look at life in a whole new way, and really start living it….

I immediately felt connected to Macy. I loved her character. I think most people can find something in common with her, in some way. I really liked the relationship between her and Wes. Her insecurities, and the game that they always played. I admit to having a crush on him as well...he was so likeable! I did find myself with tears in my eyes several times while reading the book, but that's a good thing.

I think this would be a great read for any teenage girl trying to find some meaning in their life, whether they've gone through a tragedy or not.

I am not always a 'happy ending' kind of girl, but I have to admit I was extremely happy with how this book ended. I would have been sad with any other conclusion!

Rated: 4.5/5

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Review: The Named by Marianne Curley

The Named is the first book in the Guardians of Time young adult series by Marianne Curley.

I picked up this book on a whim, not really knowing what to expect. I was very pleasantly surprised, and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the trilogy.

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
Ethan lives a secret life as a Guardian of the Named. Under the guidance of Arkarian, his mentor, and with the help of Isabel, his unlikely but highly capable apprentice, Ethan has become a valued member of this other-worldly corps. As the only defense against the evil Order of Chaos, the Named travel through time to prevent the Order from altering history and thereby gaining power in the present and the future.
As the threat from the Order intensifies, secrets of the past are revealed and villains and heroes are exposed. This gripping fantasy is set in modern times, but is infused with intrigue from the past, super-natural characters and surprising plot twists.

I thought this story was really interesting. Time travel isn't something that I've read a lot about, but one of my very favorite books is The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. The whole concept is so intriguing, and this book didn't disappoint. The story is instense immediately, and keeps that pace the whole way through. There were definitely moments when I was a little scared...and wished I hadn't been reading right before trying to go to sleep!

The characters are complex, and things aren't always what they seem. I'm looking forward to seeing how the story unfolds in the next two books!

I'm very interested to see if any sort of relationship happens between Arkanian and Isabel. Also wondering how Matt will do as Ethan's Apprentice, and what will happen with Rochelle. Lots of questions to be answered!

Rated: 4/5

Review: Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston

Wondrous Strange is the first novel by Lesley Livingston.

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
For seventeen-year-old actress Kelley Winslow, faeries are just something from childhood stories. Then she meets Sonny Flannery, whose steel-gray eyes mask an equally steely determination to protect her.
Sonny guards the Samhain Gate, which connects the mortal realm with the Faerie's enchanted, dangerous Otherworld. Usually kept shut by order of icy King Auberon, the Gate stands open but once a year.
This year, as the time approaches when the Samhain Gate will swing wide and nightmarish Fae will fight their way into an unsuspecting human world, something different is happening . . . something wondrous and strange. And Kelley's eyes are opening not just to the Faerie that surround her but to the heritage that awaits her.
Now Kelley must navigate deadly Faerie treachery—and her growing feelings for Sonny—in this dazzling page-turner filled with luminous romance.
Wondrous Strange is a richly layered tale of love between faerie and mortal, betrayal between kings and queens, and magic . . . between author and reader.

When I started this one, I wondered if it was going to end up being too 'out there' for me. I'm new to the fantasy and paranormal world of books (although I'm loving them). But, I got sucked into this one pretty quickly. I am a big Shakespeare fan, and loved the weaving of his work into this story. I thought the relationship between Sonny and Kelley was really sweet. I liked that she was tough, but still vulnerable. And he was the same way.

The ending was left so that there COULD be a follow up book - does anyone know if there will be?

I think the only thing that bugged me a little bit about this one was how quickly Kelley seemed to believe the fact that she was who Sonny told her she was. I guess she had seen some things going on that made her suspicious, but I'm pretty sure if someone told me I was a Faerie Princess, it would take me quite awhile to get a grasp on it! Maybe that's just me!

Overall, I really enjoyed this one and would love to read more by this author. Plus, she's Canadian, which earns me points with my husband and his family (all Canadian). :)

Rated: 4/5

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Review: Heat Stroke by Rachel Caine

Heat Stroke is the 2nd book in the Weather Wardens series by Rachel Caine. If you haven't read this one or the first book, don't read any further!

This one started off a little slow for me, but the action of the 2nd half made up for it! Joanne is now a Djinn, and David is trying to teach her the ropes. What she doesn't know is what he had to go through to create her. He is losing strength to keep her strong, and there is so much more that she isn't aware of...

Again, at times there was so much going on that I wondered if I was really comprehending it all. A little of it might have been over my head, but I did enjoy the story and I was surprised at how it ended...although I did wonder how long she'd be able to survive as a Djinn (I think there are 7 or 8 books in this series). It will be interesting to see how she handles being a human again, with David still as a Djinn. The ending definitely leaves you hanging!

Rated: 3.5/5

Friday, April 3, 2009

My Love Affair with the Library

Oh library, how I love thee!

I'm so sad I haven't been taking advantage of the library until now. Everything about it is great! It's so easy to reserve a book! I can easily check to see how many people are ahead of me for a certain book. I can have them hold a book for me that's available right now, so that I can just run in and pick it up instead of searching for it (always a good thing when you have a young child that doesn't like to sit still in the stroller unless it's moving!)

They even have a drive up book return!

The only thing I could find wrong with it was that I had to pay to park if I went before 5 on weekdays. But, today I found out that if you are parked in the ramps for less than an hour, it's free! Sweet!

Today I picked up eight (yes, eight!) books that were on hold for me. I was surprised so many of them became available so quickly! So, here's the list...guess I know what I'll be reading this month!

The Named (Book 1-Guardians of Time Trilogy) - Marianne Curley
The Dark (Book 2-Guardians of Time Trilogy) - Marianne Curley
The Key (Book 3-Guardians of Time Trilogy) - Marianne Curley
The September Sisters - Jillian Cantor
Graceling - Kristin Cashore
The Abstinence Teacher - Tom Perrotta
Wondrous Strange - Lesley Livingston
Blue is For Nightmares - Laurie Faria Stolarz

And I still have 2 others that I picked up last week:
Darkfever - Karen Marie Moning
The Truth About Forever - Sarah Dessen

I also still need to read the 8th Sookie Stackhouse book, and City of Glass. I ordered both of those, and should get them either tomorrow or Monday.

I'm going to be a busy girl...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Review: Ill Wind by Rachel Caine

Ill Wind is the first book in the Weather Wardens series by Rachel Caine. I decided to try this book out, because I'd read Caine's young adult Morganville Vampires series and enjoyed it.

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
Joanne Baldwin is a Weather Warden. Usually, all it takes is a wave of her hand to tame the most violent weather. But now, she's trying to outrun another kind of storm: accusations of corruption and murder. So, she's resorting to the very human tactic of running for her life... Her only hope is Lewis, the most powerful warden known. Unfortunately, he's stolen not one but three bottles of Djinn-making him the most wanted man on earth. Still, she's racing hard to find him-before the bad weather closes in fast...

This book was a lot different than the Morganville Vampires books, but I enjoyed it. At times, I think some of it was a little over my head. I'm relatively new to fantasy books, so I think that has something to do with it. There was a lot of information in this book, and I think there could have been a bit more character and relationship development, but that may come as I get further into the series. I'm definitely interested enough to keep reading, and I've seen a few reviews that said the books get better as the series goes on.

I was really surprised by the ending of the book, and looking forward to finding out what happens to Joanne as a Djinn! Definitely glad David will still be around! (Well, I hope so anyway!)

Rated: 3.5/5

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

March in Review

March was a busy month for me as far as reading. I read 18 books! I'm actually surprised and wondering how I managed to get anything else accomplished! But the reality is...I probably didn't get much else done! The weather has been gloomy, and I'm tired of I didn't have the energy to do much else besides read once my daughter went to bed.

I read several new authors this month (five) and started quite a few new series of books. I'm looking forward to finishing the ones that I've started, or at least continuing on with them! I also rediscovered the library this month, and I've been busy searching for books and making a reserve list there!

My favorites for the month were definitely Fade by Lisa McMann, and City of Bones/City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare.

I definitely won't get as much reading done in April - it's a very busy month for me. But hopefully I'll manage to sneak a few books in!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Library!

I finally went to the library today! I have lived here for way too long to have never gotten a library card! I finally decided we needed to go in there and get a card. I like to buy books, but there are a lot that I want to read that I just don't want to spend the money on. I used to practically LIVE in the the library in my hometown!

It felt great to be in a library again! I just love seeing all of those books! And they have tons of audio books, cds, and DVDs too. I had jotted down a couple books to look into, so I got my card and then started looking through the shelves! I ended up with four books to start with.

And man...things have changed. I did 'self checkout' with my books and got a printed receipt with my due date. I was in awe. I must be making myself sound old! Or maybe just showing that I really haven't been to the library for a long time!

It was nice to see that you get 28 days when you check out a book, too. At the library I went to growing up, you only got 14. Getting almost a month is definitely nice -- I can get quite a few at a time, and not have to worry about getting downtown to return them too often!

So yes...I was a little giddy about going to the library! And I'm excited to dig into the books I got!

Review: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

City of Ashes is the 2nd book in the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. This is a young adult series. Spoilers to follow, especially if you haven't read the first book!

Here's the synopsis from Barnes and Noble:
Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what's normal when you're a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who's becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn't ready to let her go -- especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary's only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil -- and also her father.
To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings -- and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

As with the first book, I had a hard time putting this down. The tension between Jace and Clary was intense in this book. I kept waiting for them to somehow find out that they aren't brother and sister. Sigh. Lots of twists in this one, and a lot of action. I was afraid there might be several 'main' characters dead after the battle on Valentine's ship! (Luckily they are safe for now!) Of course, Valentine is still out there somewhere. I haven't read any info about the third book yet, but I'm hoping to get it in the next week or two (it's a lot less expensive online, so I have to wait for it to ship!). I'm anxious to find out what happens, and to see how things are wrapped up (it's a trilogy, right?). Now I just have to avoid reading everyone's reviews of the third book - I really hate spoilers!! :)

Rated: 4.5/5