Monday, October 31, 2011

A Match Made in High School by Kristin Walker

A Match Made in High School

Good Reads Summary


When the principal announces that every senior must participate in a mandatory year-long Marriage Education program, Fiona Sheehan believes that her life can't get any worse. Then she marries her "husband": jerky jock Todd, whose cheerleader girlfriend, Amanda, has had it in for Fiona since day one of second grade. Even worse? Amanda is paired with Fiona's long-term crush, Gabe. At least Fiona is doing better than her best friend, Marcie, who is paired up with the very quiet, very mysterious Johnny Mercer.

Pranks, fights, misunderstandings, and reconciliations ensue in an almost Shakespearean comedy of errors about mistaken first impressions, convoluted coupling, and hidden crushes.


My Thoughts


A MATCH MADE IN HIGH SCHOOL is a pick me up. It’s ideal for another moment of me finding myself bored with the current crop of YA couples and their “Oh, I love you so’s,” because the two here are most definitely not in love each other. Rather, there’s an intense dislike that causes a series of pretty juvenile exchanges. Juvenile, but hilarious; it was the hilarity that ensued that made A MATCH simple mindless fun. Once again, I find myself experiencing that happy/goofy feeling that I get after reading light fluff (a la So Over You or Fat Cat.)

It starts off very high school musical of the mildly geeky girl with a best friend (who’d metamorphosed into hot) drooling over Mr. Perfect. Yes, this has been done to death already. The hook is the school’s brand spanking new pet project of having the seniors fake through a marriage. The pair ups are obvious of Fiona with her mortal enemy; said mortal enemy’s GF with the boy Fiona’d been drooling over; and Fiona’s BFF with the nice guy. Thus, the resulting exchanges between them were funny, even brushing the line of offensive (and sometimes crossing the same at times.)

The good thing? She gave as good as he did.
The better? Theirs was still no love connection, RATHER an eventual acceptance of what the other was.

Let’s face it: she is what they call her out to be: insensitive and judgmental but also out there and unafraid to say what crossed her mind. As to Todd, he too was precisely what she said he was: obnoxious, a douche and full of himself, but also helpful and kind when need be. BUT their INTERACTION, their BANTER was the best thing in it.

And gosh by golly, while I do appreciate Todd not being the love her life, I love, love, love that he was the source of her aggravation. Mainly because everything else was pretty standard: the real love while cute and sweet was rather obvious. So other than my going “Aaw, shucks” for them near the end; frankly, there’s really not that much to figure out about him. Or Fee’s issues with her BFF’s (or should that be the other way around?) these too were pretty standard and obvious miles away. SO, despite Todd and Fee’s crossing the line sometimes, it was the way they were together on a page that had me laughing (a lot.)

It be fluff-filled, but I be happy.

3.5/5

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

Carrier of the Mark
Good Reads Summary

Their love was meant to be.

When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, everything in her life seems to fall into place. After growing up in America, she's surprised to find herself feeling at home in her new school. She connects with a group of friends, and she is instantly drawn to darkly handsome Adam DeRÍs.

But Megan is about to discover that her feelings for Adam are tied to a fate that was sealed long ago—and that the passion and power that brought them together could be their ultimate destruction.


My Thoughts

Beautiful Cover strikes again. Dang it! What I got out of CARRIER was a story of what Bella and Edward would have done, had they not been vampire and emo-girl but rather some other type of supernatural boy and emo girl/Avatar-to- be.  Things went quickly though, that I have to give it.  Except this fact might have more to do with my feelings of having been there and read that rather than me feeling things like “Oh boy! What a good story!” Not just that it was in turns abrupt and over the top, but that not one of the main characters had much going for them.

Abrupt and Over the Top. They meet. He stalks. She swoons. She loves him. He loves her. Desperately. Passionately. Completely… after knowing each other for a very brief period. What’s worse was her serious consideration of giving everything up for him. What she could be, what she could do… all her power for a very controlling guy. *shakes head* Theirs was relationship that I did not buy. And truth be told, theirs was one that upset me (those be my mild words now,) because where he blew cold then hot then cold again, she just went with it. While Twilight’s seen better days being much smirked at as it is today, at least it had something relatively new when it came out, which is completely not the case here. As said its Edward and Bella all over again. Only similarities do not end there, most every aspect of the other has been mirrored in CARRIER. Her father, his family, their relationship and even the idea of a baby-monster thing were all touched.

Good News: It's a very quick read.
Bad News: Well, I've read stories like this before. (Edward, is that you?)

Good News: It's got a really pretty cover
Bad News: And that's about it.

Good News: It's a 2 1.5!
 Bad News: I couldn’t make myself click the 1 star

Good News: I didn't spend a dime on this copy
Bad News: Urgh, others be better off borrowing a copy to see for themselves

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PB Tour #1

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Somebody's Crying by Maureen McCarthy

Somebody's Crying
Good Reads Summary

A murder in a country town is the backdrop for the story of three young people, Alice, Tom and Jonty, who are bound together because Alice's mother was murdered and Jonty is the suspect. This is a compulsive read from master storyteller Maureen McCarthy.

My Thoughts

It’s highly unusual and at times too slow. But it’s got me thinking. And feeling…

The emotions ranged from the intense then soft and all else in between. Most their relationships are unconventional, complicated, should not work but still do. The lot of them are complicated interesting people. Initial descriptions of Jonty are of a boy with a bright future ahead of him, smart and good. Tom, too had everything going for him, solid family, good school and all that. But when 40 something Lillian enters these 18 year old boys lives, things got complicated. I have to say I was puzzled by what each saw in the other. But they worked, didn’t they?

Then later still, Tommo with his homecoming and facing what he’d failed to do. I understood what he did, understood, but still judged because like Alice I thought him a coward. But what’s to be said but that he did what he had to. And then there’s Jonty, whose experience touched me the most, but confused me the most as well. It’s his role that’s just all muddled. Do I like him? Feel sorry for him? Fear him?

I’m still trying to settle on whether I liked this because while initially I was clear on what I felt for them (Zero respect for Tom, sorry for Alice and even more sorry for Jonty, ) now, though? I’m just not so sure.  Their story (for it certainly wasn’t just about a Lillian’s murder) is slow and complicated. Their story is about the after of it, specifically, of whether they'd moved on at all. Truly, none of them had. Take Tom who’d cut ties with the other. And Jonty whose shine had dimmed some. But most of all, Alice who’s a teensy bit bitter, a lot angry with a hemmed in trapped air to her.

A big part of the story is how different their relationships were. I got sucked into how Tom recounted his initial meeting encounter with a boy his polar opposite and later still of Lillian. As to the first, two boys with seemingly nothing in common, hitting it off and becoming fast friends is not that unusual. But it was the second that had me wondering more, these two befriend a forty something woman with whom they have an intense bond.  But then the unthinkable happens, and then Tom does the unthinkable (unforgivable?) as well of cutting ties and forgetting. Only does he really?

Because there’s still Alice to consider, Lillian’s daughter, left behind and definitely angry, but not so sure about what to do about it. And when all of them start coming home, things get stirred up and even a tad more uncomfortable. Not only because of how unresolved things were or how conclusive Tom’s actions were, BUT because someone makes a love connection that just struck me as odd.

Don’t get me wrong, this is compulsively readable because there’s just so much drama going on as well as a mystery to be solved, but moments of it were just straight out odd for me especially with regard to Tom’s feelings for Alice. Were his feelings authentic ones or carried over from what he felt for her mother? And what on God’ green earth did she see in him? I plan to re-read this because I can’t still get a grasp on when things changed but that ending has me wondering if there is even a possibility of a them. But honestly I wonder if I really  want there to be a them.

3/5

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

The Book of Blood and Shadow
Good Reads Summary

It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up.  When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love.  When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark.

But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead.  His girlfriend Adriane, Nora's best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora's sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.

Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.


My Thoughts

Wow!

I’d split this book in several parts and love each for different reasons. There’s the part with her laying down her history AND that ending (all on its own) that was awesome. The way things start one would think that one knows how thing turn up. You’d be wrong. That she took her time explaining who she was and who they were assured that I see her story through. And that ending? NOT BAD! I love how things went because it dealt with that long, twisted, complicated ride Nora had found herself part of. If there be a fly anywhere in it, it’d be when things were beginning to click in to place. I just wondered would a wrapping up of things, a tying together of sorts be possible? Again, given the nature and number of things being included.

Look it’s a mystery, but while I was thoroughly engaged by that part and even had a couple “Oh no!” moments, it was the first third that made sure I’d finish this. She’s linguistically gifted and those she surrounds herself with likewise~ unlikely, but incredibly entertaining. HOWEVER, it’s her relationships with them that hooked me. How she described who she was to which one and who another was to her, read complicated. As with her and Chris, theirs was a friendship that went deep. As with her and Adrienne’s, theirs was one that was unlikely. As with her and Max… and I’m still not sure what to say on that aspect *O.o*

But again there’s a mystery to unravel, a couple in fact. And when several secret societies are thrown in, one might think that things got a bit over the top. But honestly? They all tie together. And when one thing leads to another, across oceans in fact, I had to follow. Even when there’s the too conveniently present helpful person or seemingly too -easily deciphered clue, things just all tied in nicely.

And of course there’s that vital part of Elizabeth and her letters whose life seems to be mirror for Nora’s own. That the same fact is seen as fanciful by one level headed charry but regarded (albeit hesitantly) as something more, just upped Book some more in my esteem. And color me surprised, even their discussions on faith were good. Oh Gosh, I need a copy of this this.

4/5
BIG, HUGE THANKS NETGALLEY!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Geek Girl by Cindy C Bennett

Geek Girl

Good Reads Summary

"Think I can turn that boy bad?" 17-year-old Jen turns her life upside down when, out of boredom, she makes a bet that she can turn school geek Trevor into someone like her. Instead, the goth girl finds herself sucked into his world of sci-fi movies, charity work, and even-ugh!-bowling. To truly belong with him-and with her new foster family-she must first come to terms with her violent past.

Authors note: Geek Girl has been optioned by Cedar Fort Publishing, and is therefore currently unavailable. It will become available again in December, 2011. Thanks to everyone who has asked about it, and want to know when it will be available!


My Thoughts

There’s nothing new here, but GEEK GIRL’S easy style and quick pace are what’s gotten me out of my reading funk. *THANK GOSH!* While the story is predictable in that there’s a good guy, a not-so-good girl and an ill-conceived dare of turning one of them otherwise, it wasn’t boring.

As said, she is not so good. The ‘why’ of that is a sad story all on its own. HOWEVER, I could never completely connect with her because it all just felt a tad neat, forced. Like someone saying there had to be a reason behind her antics. I felt that had she been bad just because without delving into her history, I might have bought her tough girl façade more. As is, she read more like someone who reacted. So while I did understand her choices, she just didn’t click for me. It was all a bit “because this was the way it was for me before, then I’m this way now.” egh

Now, to the so called geek. He totally isn’t! He is musically inclined, has very good grades, was apparently into sports, and is a really good brother. He sounds like any other boy. Add the fact that he's voted into several positions that are not geek at all. (a) Homecoming King and even later (b) SBO President, just do not read geek to me.

So, perhaps this is the main thing that had me wondering about their story; the labels she put on herself (and on others) was so limiting. That she considers herself imperfect, and him geeky-good, and others cheerleaders or jocks and what not, was not accurate… but that was the point I guess.

OK…
THANKS NETGALLEY!
3/5

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1) by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #1)
Good Reads Summary

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

 
My Thoughts

Who else loves pass the ARC groups? Thanks to a group of lovely ladies on GR, I got to read DoSaB. Halfway through, I already knew I was getting to buy a copy of my own, (which I did.) I devoured it. I'd promised to take it in slowly because rarely if ever do I participate in things tours such as this. I wanted to savor the story, the people especially given the praise it's been given of late. I couldn't help myself though.


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Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a little bit of old and a whole of new. Old? There’s nothing new in a story that has people falling head over heels for each other. And there certainly isn’t anything new to having obstacles in their way. Yet, you’d be surprised by how… ergh, surprising this became. And it’s all in how it’s written. Taylor has very specific vision of what Kairou’s world is like, and of how people in it behave.  And she writes those things beautifully, lyrically even. 

The characters, (they be yummy,) are a lot to take in.Akiva is perfection, but very non-human for the same reason. It was his later confusion about what he felt for her that had him becoming better in my assessment. (But if you really think about it, standing over someone while they slept is creepy.) Karou is also too good at everything to be just what she said she was. The catch: she didn’t know what she was either! But together? Dear me… who doesn’t love it when characters don’t act the way you expect them to? Separately, they were both strong, (deadly?)… only together, that’s not all there was to them. Love them! Zuzana Another character who’s made my reading of this more remarkable. Despite just being the BFF, there’s so much more to her because she added so much more to Karou. I loved how they behaved together.

Her world reminds me of the one in  Burn Bright: Dark, very specific and different.  I love both books for the same reason. In Karou’s there were on one had were seraphim, and on the other chimera. But the good, the bad, and that line in between really depend on which side you’re looking out from. So, her opinions, his opinions were not meant to mesh but once some of the truth came out, it was her reactions that had me considering the book her  even more.

As to the Ending. As I felt with Burn Bright: things ended too soon. And it is this that accounts for the 4/5 instead of 5/5 I’d been leaning to for most of the book.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Black Painted Finger Nails by Steven Herrick


Good Reads Summary

How about we toss a coin? Heads, it's west and a lift. Tails, it's still west, but no lift.'

James is heading into the country on his first teacher-training round when a mysterious girl asks him for a ride. Sophie has him all worked out: 'You live with your parents and they bought you this car, and a very nice car it is too...' At first James can't see past her wild hair and attitude, but then Sophie trusts him with a secret she's been keeping too long.

Steven Herrick masterfully reveals the essence of his characters in this tough and tender story about opening up to love and living a life that's true. Black Painted Fingernails is a captivating novel by the author of By the River and other popular, award-winning books.

My Thoughts

Black Fainted Fingernails would have been ordinary save for two moments that I found positively honest. The story itself swings from James , on his way to becoming a teacher, to Sophie, on her way home, to Michael, who wants nothing more than to have his son break out, just be, and finally, to Angela, who’s having the hardest of times in letting her son go.

Road Trip. As usual there’s the meeting of new AND a slow progression towards getting to know who you’re with. Here, every single one of them discovers a little of what’s in them and of what’s in the people with them. And this is where those “two moments” come in: that James is so unsure about what he wants but dead certain about what he DOES NOT want, is so me. Seriously, truly… that’s me in a handful of words.

The Passenger. How Sophie inserts herself in to his life was too strange too creepy easy, but it was James’ failure to act that had me questioning him: too kind, too helpful… No way, me thought, but her being with him, rubbed off in way because eventually he did show he could be snarky and quick too. But what he said later on, that she was being provocative for the sake of it, was another moment where he showed himself capable of being insightful. It was a moment of him calling it like it was: pure honesty.

Family This was where things turned ordinary and predictable for me. His is one with a mother was hoping for one thing, and a father imagining others. But there’s a re-discovery here too. Again, that re-discovery seemed a bit “too happily ever after” for me, but it was sweet nonetheless/ Hers is a source of heartache. I have come to expect a measure of sad in books from Aussie YA, and this does not fail to deliver. The why of her leaving and the why of her coming home unfold slowly… and got me paying attention, and shocked. Her eventual reaction, had me slightly surprised. Her decision was not an easy one to make.

There’s a moment or two in this that hit it for me…
3/5

Thursday, October 20, 2011

But I Love Him by Amanda Grace

But I Love Him

Good Reads Summary


Tonight was so much worse than anything before it. Tonight he didn't stop after the first slap.

At the beginning of senior year, Ann was a smiling, straight-A student and track star with friends and a future. Then she met a haunted young man named Connor. Only she can heal his emotional scars; only he could make her feel so loved — and needed. Ann can't recall the pivotal moment it all changed, when she surrendered everything to be with him, but by graduation, her life has become a dangerous high wire act. Just one mistake could trigger Connor's rage, a senseless storm of cruel words and violence damaging everything — and everyone — in its path.

This evocative slideshow of flashbacks reveals a heartbreaking story of love gone terribly wrong.

My Thoughts

I have the strongest urge to judge them. No, I'll be honest, the strongest urge to judge her, even to be disappointed in her choices. But with BUT I LOVE HIM beginning as it did~ at their end, I had to hold in my judgments thoughts, and just see what led them to where they were.

And having witnessed the mix of their start, their end, and their in between, I'm still not a hundred percent sure about what to think BUT I do know what I feel: there's a mix of me being pissed off, me being disappointed and me feeling relief.

Pissed off at whom though? Becauae if we're talking blame, Connor is clearly not a good guy. Do I buy his sob story of 'because my history is a certain way, then I'm bound to turn out a certain way?' I should.. I feel like I should. It's just that I AM NOT THAT FORGIVING. That I pity him cannot be denied, but that I was repulsed by him, that I was angered by him cannot be denied either.

And a disappointment directed at whom precisely? At Ann? I skirted that not so positive place of blaming her, the victim, a moment or two there. Because seeing where she was in the beginning of the book, and learning what she was... just tore at me! Or even at her people? While seeing her struggle through things all alone, I wondered where they were and how they could just let things be. BUT Slowly the and their why's came clear across. I saw just how things came to be...

It's intense and emotional. All through out, I struggled with my tendency to put blame on someone and to be too quick to judge others (in fact, I'm still struggling with the same.) It's not a story I enjoyed, but it's got me thinking and feeling intense things right now. But mainly it's got me thinking that you can't help those who don't want to be helped. And in this one, who needed help? Was it Connor? Was it Ann? Or was it both of them?

Read this!     
4/5

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver (author) and Kei Acedera (illustrator)


Liesl & Po
Good Reads Summary

Liesl lives in a tiny attic bedroom, locked away by her cruel stepmother. Her only friends are the shadows and the mice—until one night a ghost appears from the darkness. It is Po, who comes from the Other Side. Both Liesl and Po are lonely, but together they are less alone.
That same night, an alchemist's apprentice, Will, bungles an important delivery. He accidentally switches a box containing the most powerful magic in the world with one containing something decidedly less remarkable.

Will's mistake has tremendous consequences for Liesl and Po, and it draws the three of them together on an extraordinary journey.

From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver comes a luminous and magnificent novel that glows with rare magic, ghostly wonders, and a true friendship that lights even the darkest of places.

My Thoughts

It’s utterly charming. But sweet/sad too.


It’s a middle grade fantasy adventure with themes of family and friendship, grief and loss, as well as threads of magic that tie all of them together. Liesl is all alone at its start but once Po, Bundle and Will enter the picture things changed.

And it’s what each of them underwent, separately and together, that I found charming (there’s that word again!) Where her journey is one of loss and loneliness towards discovery and friendship, Po’s journey is one where he becomes more human. Being of the Otherside, Po is quirky, different and separate... that is, until Liesl. Because where she was involved he became more connected. And then there's Will, who is just a teensy bit head over heels for her. It is his act that got the ball rolling… but still, what a sweet, sad boy he could be!

There's more too, more people who help out, more people who hinder. It's delightful, charming but the story behind the story explains some of the sweet/sad that I felt for it. And yes, there be many a gorgeous illustration in here!

4/5

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tempest (Tempset #1) by Julie Cross

Tempest (Tempest #1)
Good R eads Summary

The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.

That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler. Recruit… or kill him.

Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.

My Thoughts

It took forever to get things going but once I was more than just a little interested, the story ended (and in a dramatic fashion, might I add.) Normally, YA’s told from the boy’s POV are a win for me. Yet, even with Jackson being believable (sometimes likeable and sometimes not, ) I can’t say that I liked his story. Everything just took too long and towards the end was a bit… too much.

He’s a boy with a lot of money as well as good fortune on his side. He’s also a boy who’d discovered he was special beyond good looks and said deep pocket. Add that he’s a boy who’s like any other: deathly afraid of showing his feelings; a fear somehow linked to his tragic family history. OK, so where did the sci-fi bit come in? Think The Time Machine of a girl’s death propelling the boy to go back in time to save her. Only when he does do this: a lot of things (everything?) goes wrong. While I admit that he is the only reason I even finished this, dear me… when I say there’s everything in this, I mean it (kitchen sink included.)

It’s got time travel. He jumps (erg, half jumps) from moment to moment. But unlike stories of the same type, he does not affect the future by doing so. While I’d have liked to understand more of this, that this is the first in a series explains the lack of depth in said aspect. (So, I’m likely to read the next one despite the sad lack in character development.) There’s also the whole spy thriller thing going on. Now, think of JUMPER, except not as fast paced. What I had a problem with was how easily things went for him. Because not only could he friggin’ travel through time, well, he was expected to have (view spoiler)[photographic memory. And if those weren’t enough to take in, there’s this thing called the Axelle. (hide spoiler)]

Of course, there’s a girl who motivates him… for God knows what because seriously, beyond Jackson, all other characters went nowhere. Even Adam, whom I saw so much potential in. So while people abound, I didn’t know that much of them save that they were good friends, best friends, girl friends and sometimes creepy mysterious fathers. Wait! I must mention an enemy with an unfortunately painfully obvious name of…wait for it… ENEMIES OF TIME!

It was interesting (eventually) though I do think this would make for a more interesting movie.

THANKS NETGALLEY!
2.5/5

Monday, October 17, 2011

Dearly Departed by Lia Habel

Dearly, Departed
Good Reads Summary

Love can never die.

Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie?

The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the manners, mores, and fashions of an antique era. A teenager in high society, Nora Dearly is far more interested in military history and her country’s political unrest than in tea parties and debutante balls. But after her beloved parents die, Nora is left at the mercy of her domineering aunt, a social-climbing spendthrift who has squandered the family fortune and now plans to marry her niece off for money. For Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses.

But fate is just getting started with Nora. Catapulted from her world of drawing-room civility, she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting “The Laz,” a fatal virus that raises the dead—and hell along with them. Hardly ideal circumstances. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and dead. But as is the case with the rest of his special undead unit, luck and modern science have enabled Bram to hold on to his mind, his manners, and his body parts. And when his bond of trust with Nora turns to tenderness, there’s no turning back. Eventually, they know, the disease will win, separating the star-crossed lovers forever. But until then, beating or not, their hearts will have what they desire.

In Dearly, Departed, romance meets walking-dead thriller, spawning a madly imaginative novel of rip-roaring adventure, spine-tingling suspense, and macabre comedy that forever redefines the concept of undying love.

My Thoughts

3/5

It's not exactly what I was expecting. Throwing around the words ‘steam punk’ and ‘zombies’ had me thinking of something a little more epic. Instead there’s Bram, a zombie, who takes offense at being likened to a freak… and Nora, daughter of a war hero doctor who is oh- so-special and is technically the real freak. Things are not helped by the fact that I’m still not sure about what differed between the good ‘uns and the baddies. Because all I got was where the Grays were cannibals, Cass, Tom and Bram weren’t. The question, (my big question) is why turn one way or the other?

It’s not bad (at all). I really did get a kick at how things were set up…even if I doubted that she would have behaved the way she did given said upbringing (I mean really, dress that way why don’t you.) Her world is one where people are grouped in “tribes” instead of nations with one particular powerful tribe embracing Victorian ways and another (Punks) rebelling against it. The girl is Victorian, ahem, New Victorian. And the zombie-boy is Punk. All right, I admit it: I took issue with the choice of names. The names simply sounded a tad hokey, but what could I do, but go with the same?

Note though this isn’t a completely romance-fueled YA novel with mere hints of steam punk. Because while there was a romance of the unexpected variety, there’s also heck whole more. Consider the conflict between the Punks and Royals. Or the clandestine way good zombies went about their business (as in a super secret government agency, working in tandem with the army to keep those zombie existence under wraps.) But there’s also the secondary story line of what Pamella was going through… and it’s her story that I truly enjoyed:

Where at first, she’s meek and quiet, the circumstance revealed that she could be so much more. She’s tough and independent and much better than what I thought she was going to be. And dare I say it? Even much better than Nora, the main charry.

If I had to pick my favorite, I’d defintely go with Pamela. Why? Even if it is mainly Nora’s story and where Nora is tough girl from the get, it’s Pamela who actually evolved. From being the quiet best friend, it’s her story that worked more for me. For Nora there’s falling for someone she wasn’t supposed to, and then there’s her realizing that her father is imperfect. But for Pamela there’s a slow shift in what matters. If at first, she’s prim and proper and everything a girl of her station should be, well, she doesn’t stay that way! And where Nora was damsel that needed saving (at least at one point of the story), Pamela does some of the saving on her own.

THANKS NETGALLEY!
3/5

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Hounded (Iron Druid Chronicles #1) by Kevin Hearne

Hounded (Iron Druid Chronicles, #1)

Good Reads Summary

Tempe, Arizona is as far removed from paranormal activity as is possible. And that's where Atticus O'Sullivan, rare book salesman, herb peddler, and 2,000 year old Druid - the last of his kind - has decided to set up shop. He's been on the run, guarding a very powerful sword from a very angry ancient Celtic god for over two millennia now.

But while these years have been good to him - Atticus has become more powerful than he could have possibly imagined - The Morrigan, a very old god of death, has predicted death and doom for our hero, and it's up to Atticus, with help from a pride of werewolves, and a gorgeous bartender with a secret of her own, to stay alive, hopefully for another thousand years.


My Thoughts


I SHALL GUSH NOW...
CLEVER It’s an excellent mix of myths of old and action PLUS all of those involved are positively hilarious. Atticus runs a bookstore/new age shop. But is really a druid in hiding. The people around him too are special and by “people” I mean gods, goddesses, witches, werewolves, and throw in vampire as well. On one hand Atticus is trying to keep a low profile, but on the other, he is being hunted by a certain someone. This someone has cops, witches and demons to do his bidding.

HILARIOUS: Here, our druid can talk with dogs. What’s better is the dog he spoke to is absolutely endearing in this one. Sure, Oberon doesn’t go “Pooh, Todd! Pooh!” like Manchee, but he is just as cute, maybe even more so. That dog’s fixation on sausages and poodles just got me laughing. (Except if you’re listening to him on audio instead of reading through it, as I first was at first, well he sounded like a lackey from one of those mob movies.) Atticus on the other hand is positively hilarious! But when it came down to doing what had to be done he did not pull any punches. Think of Darynda Jones’s Charlie only smoother and not as heavy with the humor.

ACTION PACKED: If anything bad could happen, it normally did happen... to him or with him around. So, he went into one scrape after another. AND BROUGHT IT. I think it’s this aspect that made things go really well for me. Where blood was to be shed, Atticus blinked, but later acted. So he wasn’t all bloodthirsty let me at 'em kick ass; he was “go with flow” till something ticked him off. Yet nothing felt overdone. It’s fast paced, and there was a reason for everything that took place. By its end each thing, each persons role, the reason behind each thing that happened was made obvious.

Oh, Who am I kidding? I’m all about Oberon! But still: Next one please!

4/5

Friday, October 14, 2011

Flat Out Love by Jessica Park

Flat-Out Love
Good Reads Summary

Flat-Out Love is a warm and witty novel of family love and dysfunction, deep heartache and raw vulnerability, with a bit of mystery and one whopping, knock-you-to-your-knees romance.

Something is seriously off in the Watkins home. And Julie Seagle, college freshman, small-town Ohio transplant, and the newest resident of this Boston house, is determined to get to the bottom of it.

When Julie's off-campus housing falls through, her mother's old college roommate, Erin Watkins, invites her to move in. The parents, Erin and Roger, are welcoming, but emotionally distant and academically driven to eccentric extremes. The middle child, Matt, is an MIT tech geek with a sweet side ... and the social skills of a spool of USB cable. The youngest, Celeste, is a frighteningly bright but freakishly fastidious 13-year-old who hauls around a life-sized cardboard cutout of her oldest brother almost everywhere she goes.

And there's that oldest brother, Finn: funny, gorgeous, smart, sensitive, almost emotionally available. Geographically? Definitely unavailable. That's because Finn is traveling the world and surfacing only for random Facebook chats, e-mails, and status updates. Before long, through late-night exchanges of disembodied text, he begins to stir something tender and silly and maybe even a little bit sexy in Julie's suddenly lonesome soul.

To Julie, the emotionally scrambled members of the Watkins family add up to something that ... well ... doesn't quite add up. Not until she forces a buried secret to the surface, eliciting a dramatic confrontation that threatens to tear the fragile Watkins family apart, does she get her answer.

(Approximately 87,000 words.)


My Thoughts

WIN! WIN! WIN!

I am positively in love with every single one of the characters in FLAT OUT LOVE. Brace, yourselves! I feel an onslaught of gushing coming! About to start a new stage in her life, Julie is quite shocked when her apartment fails to materialize. From the very first page, I knew I was going to like her story. That phone call to her mother alone had me laughing! When her mother reconnects with a college buddy to set things straight, the future seemed to be looking up for our girl. Only, she ends up with the Watkin's, who are so out of the box that I really don't know where to start. 


What’s funny is I have an image of all them in my head, based what they did and how they acted but not necessarily on how how they looked. Celeste with her unusually developed vocabulary has me thinking of that robot from that old show Small Wonder. Matt with his quirky statement shirts and monster sized brain has me thinking of Big Bang’s Sheldon, only hotter… and a bit more well-rounded (well, sort of). And Julie is a little of Mary Poppins only younger with a tendency to lose her filter when drunk.

Julie finding a place among them was a revelation because while you'd think she'd be after what any fresh graduate would want (freedom!)... she's content with being plopped right in the middle of some family drama- a family drama that she knew nothing of, but had to tip toe around nonetheless.
Yes, Family. Drama. (or was it family dysfunction?) How else could I describe a teen girl with a cardboard cutout of her eldest brother for a security blanket? How else could I describe another brother who's super smart, super protective but seemed to have no life outside his family? Yet,  
I loved every moment of them (even, that cliff jumping moment with Julie... I'd read that already!

I confess, like Julie, I fell a little in love with Finn. That said, I still enjoyed how her relationship with Seth went along. But what I found particularly refreshing is how things ended with Seth he is not made into the bad one. But that's just one thing I liked because a great deal of this is smart and witty, and had me laughing a whole lot. But once things were out, I found myself crying, no sobbing like a dumb ass. This is more than just new people getting to know each other, more than quirky out of the box characters. Behind all that was a reason why they were the way they were. It’s a sad reason too. And just a bit as insane as Matt described it to be…

FLAT OUT LOVE is a DEFINITE FAVORITE and I need an actual copy of this book!
5/5

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fat Cat by Robin Brande

Fat Cat
Good Reads Summary

You are what you eat. . . .
Cat's smart, sassy, and funny—but thin, she’s not. Until her class science project. That’s when she winds up doing an experiment—on herself. Before she knows it, Cat is living—and eating—like the hominids, our earliest human ancestors. True, no chips or TV is a bummer and no car is a pain, but healthful eating and walking everywhere do have their benefits.

As the pounds drop off, the guys pile on. All this newfound male attention is enough to drive a girl crazy! If only she weren’t too busy hating Matt McKinney to notice. . . .

This funny and thoughtful novel explores how girls feel about their bodies, and the ways they can best take care of their most precious resource: themselves.

My Thoughts

oh, book! you've made me happy today :)

there are times when mindless fluff just does it for me. at first glance, one might assume fat cat to be those thing. and it did get pretty fluffy a couple of moments there; i'm not kidding when i say it brought back some of what i felt when reading hayes's so over you, but this has got so much more going for it.

foremost of which are the people in it: they are each others equal. i've complained time and again of friendships that seemed unlikely, as in the pretty but deeply troubled one being bestfriends with the not so popular one which is totally not the case here.

instead, cat and amanda are equals. neither of them could be stuck under one category. yes, cat's a brain but there's more to her. just like there was more to amanda. basically, they're smart well-rounded people not prone to much moping, not prone to moony eyed "oh, i love him so's."  more importantly they weren't sex crazed and hormone driven all the time because they always had something on their plates. simply put, they're smart kids. come to think of it every single one of main players are smart... they just didn't act like it all the time!

of course there were moments that I just found Adorable (a capital A). And it was such moments that balanced all that smart out.

3.5/5

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts

Dark Inside
Good Reads Summary

Four teenagers on the same road in a world gone mad. Struggling to survive, clinging on to love and meaning wherever it can be found. THE DARK INSIDE is a stunning, cinematic thriller: 28 DAYS LATER meets THE ROAD.

Since mankind began, civilizations have always fallen: the Romans, the Greeks, the Aztecs…. Now it’s our turn.

Huge earthquakes rock the world. Cities are destroyed. But something even worse is happening. An ancient evil has been unleashed, hooking on to weakness, turning the unwary into hunters, killers, crazies.

Mason: His mother is dying after a terrible car accident. As he endures a last vigil at her hospital bed, his school is bombed and razed to the ground. Everyone he knows is killed.

Aries: A school bus, an aftershock and a crash. Pulled out of the wreckage by a mysterious stranger, she’s about to discover a world changed forever.

Clementine: An emergency meeting at the town hall that descends into murderous chaos. Outside the rest of their community encircle with weapons. How can those you trust turn into savage strangers?

Michael: A brutal road rage incident. When the police arrive on the scene they gun down the guilty and turn on the by-standing crowd. Where do you go for justice when even the lawmakers have turned bad?


My Thoughts

i'm half tempted to start this with a "dear heath, i just met your sister and boy, was i impressed. come to think of it, the people with her were not half bad!" but instead, here's a shout out to S&S: thank you! dark inside is chock full of AWESOME, in fact it has pulled me out of my 2-2.5 reading funk of the last couple days.

there be blood. there be gore.
and there be many a cruel act, yet i could not tear myself from it. it's a very engrossing book, very readable and not your typical end of days book. 

only maybe it is a typical end of days book? because as i was reading it my feelings ranged from 'oh fuck they're dead' and 'run, you dumbass!' oh, it brought my inner potty mouth too, just like any horror/zombie movie that's up to snuff does. 

and i'll tell you one more thing, I LOVE how it reminds of REAPERS ARE ANGELS. How? Well, in both, reactions of the people made sense. There were cowards, those who were foolishly brave, others who were sad and scared and lonely, and others still who were determined and together (up to a point). I still have questions about a lot of them, but they were all quite matter of fact in what had to be done. Not that they lacked heart, because as each person's story was told... well, I felt for them, feared for them, but was sometimes angered by them too.

READ. READ. READ! 

4.5/5


THANK YOU SIMON & SCHUSTER!
 


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hunting Lila (Lila #1) by Sarah Alderson

Hunting Lila
Good Reads Summary

17-year-old Lila has two secrets she's prepared to take to the grave. The first is that she can move things just by looking at them. The second is that she's been in love with her brother's best friend, Alex, since forever. Or thereabouts.After a mugging on the streets of South London goes horribly wrong and exposes her unique ability, Lila decides to run to the only people she can trust - her brother and Alex. They live in Southern California where they work for a secret organisation called The Unit, and Lila discovers that the two of them are hunting down the men who murdered her mother five years before. And that they've found them. Trying to uncover the truth of why her mother was killed, and the real remit of The Unit, Lila becomes a pawn in a dangerous game. Struggling to keep her secrets in a world where nothing and no one is quite as they seem, Lila quickly realises that she is not alone - there are others out there just like her - people with special powers -and her mother's killer is one of them...
 

My Thoughts

What?! The cover is very misleading. I'd gone into this expecting another psychological thriller only there's none of that: Hunting Lila got really explosive near the end. 

Me to Lila, "Here's a towel. Please wipe the drool from
your chin." Most of her thoughts centered on her life long love. And I do get where she was coming from. What with his being attentive, caring and sensitive when they were young? Then to his being all grown up, yummy and gun toting? I really understood the attraction he held for her. Still, it was a bit much.

Might I add, her easy acceptance of things said as well as her quick about face was just that: QUICK, too quick that it was somewhat unlikely, even implausible.

Despite those two things, I did get a kick out of this. There's mystery, conspiracy, bullets and blood. There's betrayal, then later eye opening discoveries. But it was all of that, that had me unsure. There was a lot to take in. At its start is a girl with a secret, OK. The same girl has long been in love with a certain someone, OK. Said girl's brother has a secret of his own... Hmm, OK. Only it doesn't end there because the thereafter had tons more twists so that I felt like the author had thrown in too much already.  

I hope I'm wrong on that last bit because as it stands I'm quite curious about where she's taking the story. So, book two? I shall read thee.

2.5-3/5

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Glow (Sky Chasers #1) by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Glow (Sky Chasers, #1)
Good Reads Summary

What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?

Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth's collapse, the ship's crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader's efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don't know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them...

Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.

But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside.


My Thoughts 

GLOW is dark.

Glow is so very unexpectedly dark, but that aspect only really kicked into gear sometime around 61% Frankly, I am not a fan of the writing in this one; things just took too much time. However,  it's the twists and turms that had me covering my mouth in shock/ repulsion.

While sixty plus percent was a lot to go through before things got interesting, I have to emphasize just how dark things got. There are people isolated, people drugged and violated... all acts done because of someone's vision of what other's roles should be. I was shocked by what they could do/ did. There's a pervasive atmosphere of threa that's most felt by the women both on their old home and new home. But there's also a shaking of reality for the boys.  

Initially, none of the protagonists did anything to gain my sympathy. Where Kieran had it all, I could grasp why Seth behaved the way he did. And with Waverly the hesistant foward thinking, past considering one, I found her a tad unbelievable... that is until I didnt find her unbelievable anymore. Because all of them simply changed... some of them for the worst, others (arguably) for the better; but for all of them, their development/devolution was due to some trauma, some violation. Basically, as the story progressed so did they. They evolved (devolved?) And with the way things turned out, I am very interested in how things are going to play out later.

It’s set in space and has characters that actually develop with each twist that the story took. And If you like ACROSS the UNIVERSE, you might like this… but like I said, GLOW is dark.

2.5/5 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Every You, Every Me by David Levithan and

Every You, Every Me
Good Reads Summary

In this high school-set psychological tale, a tormented teen named Evan starts to discover a series of unnerving photographs—some of which feature him. Someone is stalking him . . . messing with him . . . threatening him. Worse, ever since his best friend Ariel has been gone, he's been unable to sleep, spending night after night torturing himself for his role in her absence. And as crazy as it sounds, Evan's starting to believe it's Ariel that's behind all of this, punishing him. But the more Evan starts to unravel the mystery, the more his paranoia and insomnia amplify, and the more he starts to unravel himself. Creatively told with black-and-white photos interspersed between the text so the reader can see the photos that are so unnerving to Evan, Every You, Every Me is a one-of-a-kind departure from a one-of-a-kind author.

My Thoughts

I’d promised myself to re-read this if the mood struck (that was early yesterday morning,) a couple of hours having past with me still wondering about it… I had to give it another go. And still I am unsure about it. That it’s different is certain, even the photographer describes the pictures’ journey as strange (albeit wonderful). As to that first descriptive, I’d have to agree. As to the last, that’s debatable.

It’s sparsely written in fact there’s barely anything there to get by. And I cannot help emphasize how different it looked and felt with all those struck out words; those did a couple of things for me: confused me. But it also emphasized Evan’s conflict, feelings… his angst.

I could not make heads or tails of where things were going but right now I can tell you I could have drowned in the angst! It had me feeling like I was reading THIRTEEN REASONS WHY. (But where I liked THIRTEEN REASONS WHY, I couldn't get over Ev's very dark depressing voice). I felt sorry for him, but there were more moments of me with a furrowed brow because ugh… I repeat, I could have drowned in all the angst!

The most interesting tidbit it how the project came to be: collaboration, but this time with photographs as his inspiration. He wrote around (about) the pictures. But what makes it more interesting is what he got from the pictures and what I saw for myself. 


2.5-3/5


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Frost by Marianna Baer

Frost
GoodReads Summary

Leena Thomas’s senior year at boarding school begins with a shock: Frost House, her cozy dorm of close friends, has been assigned an unexpected roommate: confrontational, eccentric Celeste Lazar. But while Leena’s anxiety about a threat to her sanctuary proves valid, it becomes less and less clear whether the threat lies with her new roommate, within Leena’s own mind, or within the very nature of Frost House itself. Mysterious happenings in the dorm, an intense triangle between Leena, Celeste, and Celeste’s brother, and the reawakening of childhood fears, all push Leena to take increasingly desperate measures to feel safe. Frost is the story of a haunting. As to whether the demons are supernatural or psychological . . . well, which answer would let you sleep at night?

My Thoughts

It’s creepy on a couple of levels… surprisingly, I’m disappointed in how things turned out. Frost is a psychological thriller that didn’t get me going. I was never really very scared. And the points that had me creeped out,I don’t think were supposed to creep me out.I read on hoping things would pick up.

When Leena and her friends decide to room with each other, things could have not been better for her. She’s basically independent anyway, and her friends were her family. When Celeste is thrown into the mix, things got interesting. The girls could be catty…and territorial. Perfectly understandable, yet, I could find nothing remarkable in them. I was almost tempted to not finish FROST because nothing happened in the beginning but slowly (excruciatingly so,) strange things would take place around Celeste. And this is what had the Leena wondering, was roommate right in the head or was there something more sinister going on. And I still didn’t care. The whole reason I was still reading was to see how things would play out in strange trio that had resulted in Leena, Celeste and Celeste’s brother, David.

And David! Oh boy… talk about creepy! Basically, he’s protective. And in the end it’s his schemes that revealed just how protective he could be. It’s his part of the story that had me swinging from “ummm” to “eeegh?!” But Leena’s no better. She’s just too good to be true with her wanting everyone around her to be happy. The problem was she had problems of her own. And her theories of why Celeste was the way she was… well those applied to her as well.

And there’s no good way to say this, so I’ll just say it: the ending sucked.

2/5

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Half Blood (Covenant #1)by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Half-Blood (Covenant, #1)
Good Reads Summary

The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi-pure-bloods-have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals-well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures.Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1:Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden.Unfortunately, she's crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn't her biggest problem--staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck.

My Thoughts

I knew precisely what was going to happen next. How’s that? Well, a good deal of it was Vampire Academy (books 1- 6) 2.O. Also, given everything being told and said, well, it was pretty obvious where things were going to go.

Yet, it wasn’t all bad. But unoriginal? Not completely because the last half went and made Half Blood going in a different direction that I could not get enough of. And it’s this last bit that had me rethinking my initial assessment of Half Blood as a VA rip off. And do you know what? I liked it; specifically, the last half. Perhaps comparing it to VA isn’t a bad thing: what’s not to like when there’s a kick ass girl with a tendency to say snarky things and act tough. And what’s not to like when there’s a Dimka type character present? But I am getting ahead of myself.

Like I said, the first half read like VA. And as a big VA fan, anything that touches on what I liked in that one is a win (for me). She’s Rose… only she’s less selfish. She’s just like Rose because she’s tough and snarky except she’s funnier and with the same tendency to act before thinking things through. And there’s the same too close a relationship where there should be none, just like the one between Rose and Dimka. (All that was missing was an Adrian.)

Even their world was a familiar one with pure blood wielding control over elements and half bloods acting as sentinels, guards or slaves. Or a world where those same people could be turned into something else.

But all that’s fine, because of Seth! He isn’t a good kind of guy. In fact, he seemed rather impressed with himself (OK, I’ll say it: he was full of it.) Yet, he seems to be the only one sticking out as different. Without him in the picture, without the complication that he represented, I very well would have written HALF BLOOD off as an OK read with nothing new to offer. But with him around, I caught a glimpse of what Alex could be. Not just a pseudo-Rose in light of what Aiden was to her, but something more.

The first half is nothing new. Thankfully, the second half was much better. I wonder what’s in store for her. And I know there’s more to Seth than what was presented here. If there’s any reason for me to read on… Seth is it.



3/5

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Faeri Ring by Kiki Hamilton

The Faerie Ring

Good Reads Summary


Debut novelist Kiki Hamilton takes readers from the gritty slums and glittering ballrooms of Victorian London to the beguiling but menacing Otherworld of the Fey in this spellbinding tale of romance, suspense, and danger.

The year is 1871, and Tiki has been making a home for herself and her family of orphans in a deserted hideaway adjoining Charing Cross Station in central London. Their only means of survival is by picking pockets. One December night, Tiki steals a ring, and sets off a chain of events that could lead to all-out war with the Fey. For the ring belongs to Queen Victoria, and it binds the rulers of England and the realm of Faerie to peace. With the ring missing, a rebel group of faeries hopes to break the treaty with dark magic and blood—Tiki’s blood.

Unbeknownst to Tiki, she is being watched—and protected—by Rieker, a fellow thief who suspects she is involved in the disappearance of the ring. Rieker has secrets of his own, and Tiki is not all that she appears to be. Her very existence haunts Prince Leopold, the Queen’s son, who is driven to know more about the mysterious mark that encircles her wrist.

Prince, pauper, and thief—all must work together to secure the treaty…

My Thoughts



Dangit! I had such high expectations for this one... and it started out well too.

Tiki is a thief who had taken it upon herself to care for some other kids like her. I liked her at first with her fiery go at it attitude, but little by little I felt something was missing. What went wrong exactly? Nothing... and maybe that's what was wrong. Basically, the story was too pat.

To start, anything bad that could happen, did happen. Her parents die, leaving her an orphan shuffled to an aunt and a shady uncle. Having run away, she ends up homeless only to turn to thievery to survive. And yet despite all that, Tiki turns into a thief with a heart o' gold, taking in an orphan or two, and stealing from not so upstanding fellows. Plus, she had someone (a couple of someones) watching over her. Am I nitpicking? Maybe I am. But I simply felt no connection to her... it didnt help that tears tended to spill out every so often.  As to the others, I felt there absence and could never have formed connections with any of them (though Fiona did have potential.)

I had also hoped more from Reiker/Rieker(?) but I was let down there as well. His story is another sob story, yet I found myself shrugging out a 'So?'

The more interesting bits had to do with Prince Leo. I felt his reactions to be the most appropriate. He was suspicious, perplexed but managed to put two and two together eventually. As opposed to Tiki and Reiker's own reactions which I felt to be so-so.

Ah, well, if this were MG, I'd say it's an OK read, but still...

2/5

Monday, October 3, 2011

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephenie Perkins

Lola and the Boy Next Door
Good Reads Summary

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.


My Thoughts

I’m keeping this short: This is likely in my top three of my most awaited books this year. And you know what? It did not disappoint. Yes, Anna and St. Claire make a bunch of appearances in it, but they truly are just a bonus (yummy, delicious bonus, but bonuses nonetheless.) Because I positively loved Lola Cricket Bell! But before I go waxing poetic about why I love him, let me say that Lola wasn’t bad either.

I enjoyed her antics, even if I sometimes wanted her to make up her mind and CHOOSE ALREADY! She’s out there and didn’t seem to care what others thought of her. And yet, was she/did she, really? Her relationship with her mother indicated otherwise. My point is she wasn’t just a whacky, costume-wearing teenage girl…though she was those things too. So yes, I liked her even when she was all over the place.

But Cricket? He’s the nice guy. He’s the boy next door…. And he is absolutely darling, despite sometimes being a bit too slow to get things done. But once things were settled well, boy did things move! And now: I am all a puddle!

Read This!

4/5

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Good Reads Summary


Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.

She's wrong.


My Thoughts

Let me zero in on what I did like: (And yes, I am slightly surprised even as I type this…) I liked the couple. Admittedly, theirs is another inexplicable instant attraction thing that’s been done to death already. And I know that he is too perfect to be true: good looks, perfect grades, bottomless pocket yada yada yada. But I seriously enjoyed how they met, how she reacted (resisted,) and then how he reacted (pursued…) because in the midst of that stalker-y sounding description, the banter was pure entertainment with a lot of really good lines. I liked how they interacted. I enjoyed how she gave as good as he did. I liked that he didn’t take himself (or anything else for that matter) too seriously.

That said there were a couple of things had shaking my head like Noah and his tendency toward douche baggery and Mara with her own tendency toward being too emo and mopy. I get that she’d been through a lot… I get the dark and depressed. But thank gosh for the extras though… because with Daniel, Jamie and even Joseph around, Mara could be less of an emo head, more the girl who was spunky and ever ready with snarky reply.

But there was a lot in this, and at times too much! It’s this slapdash putting together of so many things that dampened my enthusiasm for the book. What was she exactly… crazy or special, in a paranormal kind of way? And exactly what was happening… a recovery? An escape? A haunting? Or all that? And who was Noah, really? Because if at first he an A-hole in a league of his own, his sudden turn around was… suspicious. He simply sounded too good to be true

So did I like it or not? If not for so many things going on, I think I’d have loved it more. (But I really did like their banter.)

3/5

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

Please Ignore Vera Dietz

Good Reads Summary

A 2011 Michael L. Printz Honor Book

Vera's spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie Kahn. And over the years she's kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything.

So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone—the kids at school, his family, even the police. But will she emerge to clear his name? Does she even want to?

Edgy and gripping, Please Ignore Vera Dietz is an unforgettable novel: smart, funny, dramatic, and always surprising.

My Thoughts

i loved this. there.i said it. i might probably will gush more later, but know that there’s not much i found wanting here. even with the shitty things that happened, even with that ending that had me wanting just a smidge more. because there’s a lot in this one that took me by surprise talking pagodas and pov of parents’ among them, and even with it, full of screwy choices and sad outcomes.

it’s the screw ups that do it for me. it’s always their sweet-sad stories that have me thinking and feeling too much and while vera could and did screw up sometimes it’s charlie that has me thinking even more. as said, vera could (and did) make crappy choices. this despite being usually levelheaded and pretty ordinary girl. i suppose it is the fact that she is ordinary, that she is “every-girl” that had me liking her even more. then there's the destiny she's so desperate to avoid. destinies that often touched on depressing in light of her father being a recovering alcoholic and a one-time stripper mother who’d left them.

I liked her and wanted to know more of what this sad spunky girl had to say. i wanted to know more of her despite her wanting to blend in. nope, because she wanted to blend in. she’s perfectly aware of a lot of things, at times too aware. and she’s angry and spunky but not so out there… in fact, she’s the total opposite with wanting to just go under everyone's radar. yet, she doesn’t… everything about simply grabbed at me... well, not her exactly but her recollections of the past… and of charlie. Oh. Boy. Charlie! he’s sad and another one of those whom you want give a hug just because!? except I couldn’t discount how he behaved and what he did… but still, that boy needed a hug…!

and the sad parts didn’t end with them because there’s her father to consider too. her father, her and her parents’ story are quite a big part of it. there’s a lot in here that had me smiling over her father’s choices, who’s just as jaded yet ordinary as she is except there’s something special about him, right? I mean just look at those flow charts!

a little of it is quirky, a good deal more is sad, bittersweet… i loved every single bit of it.

read this!

5/5