December 13, 2010

Review of "Other"

"Other"
Karen Kincy

4

Pub. Date: July 28, 2010
Pages: 326

Synopsis: Feathers unfurl from my skin. My plummet curves into a swoop, and I tuck my talons beneath my body. From girl to great horned owl in about a second. Pretty good, huh?

Gwen Williams is like any other modern teenager with one exception: she's a shapeshifter. Never having known her Pooka-spirit father, Gwen must struggle with the wild, wonderful magic inside of her alone—and in secret. While society may tolerate vampires, centaurs, and "Others" like Gwen, there are plenty of folks in Klikamuks, Washington, who don't care for her kind.

Now there's a new werewolf pack in town, and Others are getting killed, including Gwen's dryad friend. The police are doing zilch. In the midst of terrible loss and danger, Gwen meets a cute Japanese fox spirit who's refreshingly comfortable with his Otherness. Can Gwen find the courage to embrace her true self and find the killer—before she becomes the next victim?

After months of waiting to read this book, I finally sucked it up and bought it. "Other" is a paranormal romance, but it goes beyond the basics of vampires and werewolves. Gwen is half pooka and her best friend is a dryad, but there are many other paranormal creatures sprinkled in the premier book of the series. The murder mystery moves the story along with its high death rate and tension mounting. Gwen knows that her otherness won't stay secret for very long. I like how Kincy didn't hold back when it came to the death toll. Some books boast there being lots of danger, but then the main characters only have minor scares here and there; Kincy does not fall into this trap, instead the danger gets closer and closer to Gwen as more others die.

"Other" does a great job at discussing social issues that teenagers face daily. Gwen struggles with accepting her true identity and even hides her otherness from her boyfriend of one year. She also struggles with whether or not she is ready to have sex for the first time. Kincy's portrayal of a first relationship was very honest without being completely brutal. I like how she was able to blend typical teenage issues into a paranormal romance/ murder mystery without slowing down the story or taking the emphasis off the main plot. I feel like a lot of teenagers will be able to relate to Gwen's struggles with her otherness because many teens find them not fitting into the cliques that form during that age. Even if they do fit in, many teens hide parts of themselves from their friends and other people their age for fear of being thought of as a freak or seen as different; this is exactly what Gwen does every day.

I recommend this book to anyone that enjoys paranormal mysteries or is looking for a quick read. I think people who enjoyed "The Body Finder" will also really like "Other". There are already two more follow up books in the works. "Bloodborn", the second book in the series, will be coming out next fall. I will definitely be keeping my eyes open for it!

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November 30, 2010

Review of "Three Rivers Rising"

"Three Rivers Rising"
Jame Richards



4

Pub. Date: April 13, 2010
Pages: 304

Synopsis: Sixteen-Year-Old Celestia spends every summer with her family at the elite resort at Lake Conemaugh, a shimmering Allegheny Mountain reservoir held in place by an earthen dam. Tired of the society crowd, Celestia prefers to swim and fish with Peter, the hotel’s hired boy. It’s a friendship she must keep secret, and when companionship turns to romance, it’s a love that could get Celestia disowned. These affairs of the heart become all the more wrenching on a single, tragic day in May, 1889. After days of heavy rain, the dam fails, unleashing 20 million tons of water onto Johnstown, Pennsylvania, in the valley below. The town where Peter lives with his father. The town where Celestia has just arrived to join him. This searing novel in poems explores a cross-class romance—and a tragic event in U. S. history.

"Three Rivers Rising" packs a lot of punch in a small package. The book was written in verse allowing Jame Richards to say a lot using few words. I loved how the book followed multiple characters with completely different backgrounds. It made the book more than just a story of forbidden love; the flood affected people in many different ways and "Three Rivers Rising" did a wonderful job of showing this. There wasn't a ton of character development, but just enough to care about the characters while keeping the book moving at a quick pace. I ended up reading this book in only a few days because it was such a fast read.

The conflicts in Celestia’s family were another part of the plot I really enjoyed. Their story was full of heartbreak, but it was interesting to see their dynamics before and after the flood. They weren't the only family shown in the book, but they were the most developed. Maura, a young mother struggling to raise four young children, is another character I continue to think about after reading this book. Even though her story was only a small piece of a greater plot, she seemed to lose the most out of all the characters. I don't know if everyone will agree with me on this point, but Richards's ending for Maura will stick with me for a long time. It wasn't the ending I expected, but I like that it shined light on something that I didn't expect from the book. Sorry about the super vagueness... but I HATE spoiling anything for readers. You'll just have to read the book for yourself to figure out what I am talking about.

I recommend "Three Rivers Rising" to readers who enjoyed "Out of the Dust" by Karen Hesse and historical fiction. Readers who many not like historical fiction will also be wrapped up in the fast pace of this book, as well as the romance between Celestia and Peter. This is one of the books that has made me so glad I am participating in the 2010 Debut Author Challenge. I never would have picked up this book if it weren't for the challenge and I would have missed out on a great book.

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November 25, 2010

Review of "Nightshade"

"Nightshade"
Andrea Cremer


6

Pub. Date: October 19, 2010
Pages: 453

Synopsis: Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything-- including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

I absolutely loved "Nightshade", it was definitely one of the best books I have read all year. Calla is such a strong character, I couldn't help but admire her. Even though Ren was kind of a womanizer, but he also had a lot more to him than his sex appeal. He was just so charming, but then again so was Shay. Calla's brother and best friend were also fantastic characters... to be honest all the characters were pretty great. Even if I didn't like their personalities, I felt like they added a lot to the book.

I also loved the mythology Cremer created in her story. It was interesting to me that there was this whole other social structure functioning in a world and humans were completely unaware. I also liked the spin on classic werewolves; it seemed to combine them with shape shifters. I hate to say it, but it kind of reminded me of the werewolves in the "Twilight" series. Although there are a lot more politics involved with the packs in Cremer's world.

My favorite part of the book had to be Calla's struggle with personal freedom. I like how this paranormal romance went to another level through the conflicts of civil rights. A lot of the characters were being oppressed, but many of them didn't seem to mind. They may not have even thought about it, or may not have wanted to.

All these elements that Cremer has woven into "Nightshade" make for an amazing series. I can't wait to read "Wolfsbane", the next book in the trilogy. I am glad I won't have to wait a full year for more in the "Nightshade" series. I read on Cremer's website that she is working on a steampunk book that explores what would have happened in the American Revolution never took place... I am pretty psyched about this! If it is anything like "Nightshade" it will be FANTASTIC! Click here for more about "Nightshade" and an excerpt from the book.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone had some great food and spent time with people they love.
This year I have a lot to be Thankful for. I have a job I love, the best boyfriend ever, a super supportive family, and some wonderful blog followers. Thanks for everyone who followers and/or reads my blog.

November 22, 2010

2010 Debut Author Challenge Update

I just realized I have read 14 books by 2010 debut authors! Yay! I am still planning on reading 4 or 5 more books, but I just can't believe I didn't realize I past the 12... oops! I hope everyone is on track with this challenge.
  1. Hex Hall- Rachel Hawkins
  2. Paranormalcy- Kiersten White
  3. The Iron King- Julie Kagawa
  4. The Body Finder- Kimberly Derting
  5. The Secret Year- Jennifer Hubbard
  6. Nightshade- Andrea Cremer
  7. Bleeding Violet- Dia Reeves
  8. The Replacement- Brenna Yovanoff
  9. The Mark- Jen Nadol
  10. Dirty Little Secrets- C.J. Omololu
  11. A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend- Emily Horner
  12. The Ghost and the Goth- Stacey Kade
  13. Halo- Alexandra Adornetto
  14. A Measure of Disorder- Alan Tucker

November 21, 2010

2011 Debut Author Challenge

I am so excited that Kristi (The Story Siren) is hosting another year of the Debut Author Challenge! I read some amazing books in 2010 that I wouldn't have picked up if it hadn't been for the challenge. I recommend everyone join because it really pushes you to read books you may not have picked up on your own. The challenge is pretty easy, just read 12 book in 2011 by debut authors in 2011.
Here is the list of books I plan on reading... I may add titles in the next couple of days:

Across The Universe- Beth Revis
Blood Magic- Tessa Gratton
Between Shade of Gray- Ruta Sepetys
A Touch Mortal- Leah Clifford
Angelfire- Courtney Allison Moulton

For more information about the challenge just click here.

On My Chair

Here are the books I am currently reading, books I have bought, borrowed or have been sent to me, and books I am planning on starting this week (this post was inspired by The Story Siren's In My Mailbox). I am very excited about the books that I bought and borrowed this week.

Bought:
"Other"Karen Kincy
Pub. Date: July 28th 2010

Synopsis: Feathers unfurl from my skin. My plummet curves into a swoop, and I tuck my talons beneath my body. From girl to great horned owl in about a second. Pretty good, huh?

Gwen Williams is like any other modern teenager with one exception: she's a shapeshifter. Never having known her Pooka-spirit father, Gwen must struggle with the wild, wonderful magic inside of her alone—and in secret. While society may tolerate vampires, centaurs, and "Others" like Gwen, there are plenty of folks in Klikamuks, Washington, who don't care for her kind.

Now there's a new werewolf pack in town, and Others are getting killed, including Gwen's dryad friend. The police are doing zilch. In the midst of terrible loss and danger, Gwen meets a cute Japanese fox spirit who's refreshingly comfortable with his Otherness. Can Gwen find the courage to embrace her true self and find the killer—before she becomes the next victim?

Borrowed:
"Chains"Laurie Halse Anderson
Pub. Date: October 21, 2008

Synopsis: If an entire nation could seek its freedom, why not a girl?

As the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight...for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate become the property of a malicious New York City couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel meets Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages her to spy on her owners, who know details of British plans for invasion. She is reluctant at first, but when the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel realizes her loyalty is available to the bidder who can provide her with freedom.

From acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson comes this compelling, impeccably researched novel that shows the lengths we can go to cast off our chains, both physical and spiritual.

"Girl Bomb"
Janice Earlbaum
Pub. Date: March 7, 2006
Synopsis: At fifteen, sick of her unbearable and increasingly dangerous home life, Janice Erlbaum walked out of her family’s Brooklyn apartment and didn’t look back. From her first frightening night at a shelter, Janice knew she was in over her head. She was beaten up, shaken down, and nearly stabbed by a pregnant girl. But it was still better than living at home. As Janice slipped further into street life, she nevertheless attended high school, harbored crushes, and even played the lead in the spring musical. She also roamed the streets, clubs, bars, and parks of New York City with her two best girlfriends, on the prowl for hard drugs and boys on skateboards. Together they scored coke at Danceteria, smoked angel dust in East Village squats, commiserated over their crazy mothers, and slept with one another’s boyfriends on a regular basis.

A wry, mesmerizing portrait of being underprivileged, underage, and underdressed in 1980s New York City, Girlbomb provides an unflinching look at street life, survival sex, female friendships, and first loves.

What is in your "to read" pile?

November 16, 2010

Super Quick Review of "Night World #1-3

"Night World # 1-3"
L.J. Smith



5

Re-release Date: June 3, 2008
Pages: 752

Synopsis: Vampires, werewolves, witches, shapeshifters -- they live among us without our knowledge. Night World is their secret society, a secret society with very strict rules. And falling in love breaks all the laws of the Night World.

In Secret Vampire, Poppy thought the summer would last forever. Then she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Now Poppy's only hope for survival is James, her friend and secret love. A vampire in the Night World, James can make Poppy immortal. But first they both must risk everything to go against the laws of Night World.

Fugitives from Night World, three vampire sisters leave their isolated home to live among humans in Daughters of Darkness. Their brother, Ash, is sent to bring the girls back, but he falls in love with their beautiful friend.

Two witch cousins fight over their high school crush. It's a battle between black magic and white magic in Spellbinder.


I love L.J. Smith since I was a teen and read a few books in the "Night World" series about 10 years ago or so. I didn't get to read most of the books because the bookstore where I lived stopped carrying most of her books. I was so excited when I found out they were re-releasing L.J. Smith's books. I was worried that I inflated the awesomeness of the "Night World" series and that I would end up being severely disappointed; I am happy to report that this was not the case.

I had trouble putting "Night World" down. I love the paranormal romances in this series, even though they obviously aren't realistic, but I still LOVE the idea of soul mates and how you cannot control whom you fall in love with (no matter how much they repel you). Part of the reason I like this idea of soul mates that you meet and fall in love with spot on is that they can be anyone, even if you are racist you could fall in-love with someone of the race you loath so much. It makes the characters reassess their irrational hatred toward one another. I think this message can transcend from the fantasy idea that vampires can love witches to a real situation where people can love each other no matter what race or religion they belong to. Maybe that seems like a huge leap to some people, but I like to think positive.

These books are fun, fast and I never know what is going to happen next. I loved all 3 books in this collection, but I am not picky about what paranormal being I am reading about. I am definitely planning to read more of the "Night World" series and highly recommend L.J. Smith to anyone who enjoys paranormal romance.

November 15, 2010

Review of "Avalon High"

"Avalon High"
Meg Cabot

5

Pub. Date:
December 27, 2005
Pages:
304

Synopsis: Avalon High, Ellie's new school, is pretty much what she'd expected. There's Lance, the hunky footballer; Jennifer, the cute cheerleader; Marco, the troublemaker. And then there's Will - the most gorgeous guy Ellie's ever met. She can hardly believe he likes HER. When Will says he thinks he's met Ellie before, things start getting a little weird. A feeling that grows as Ellie discovers the strange bonds that entwine Will, Lance, Jen, Marco - and herself. As darkness turns to danger, can Ellie stop the horrific chain of events that is about the engulf them all…

Another win for Meg Cabot! This is my favorite book by the author that I've read so far. You should keep in mind that I've only read a handful of her books; luckily I am working on remedying this tragedy! I just wish I could get my hands on more of her books on CD! I listened to "Avalon High" in my car and at the gym and had serious problems stopping. I loved the spin of the Arthurian legend and how Cabot was able to make it believable (never doubt her power to make a fantastical plot work). You may think that there are no mysteries to this book and that all the characters are what they seem, but Cabot is able to add a few twists that I didn't see coming. I loved all the character. Lance even grew on me. Cabot created a fantastic villain; he/she was complex and embraced his/her evil side. I know that may sound weird, but I feel like villains can fall short sometimes in books.

I absolutely love the balance between humor and conflict that Cabot is able to bring to her books. I also love the fact that I never feel like her books are dragging with wasted space. Her books always seem to be the perfect length to fit exactly what needs to be there, no more, no less. I know this isn't always the easiest part of writing, but as a reader it drives me nuts when I feel like books could easily be sped up. I worry sometimes about authors who write a lot of books because sometimes I feel like they get lazy, but so far I haven't found this with Cabot. I am hoping that she keeps the spark in her writing for many more years to come!

Winner of "Enchanted Ivy" and "Halo"

Congratulations to Lauren M. for winning "Enchanted Ivy" and "Halo"! I sent you an e-mail moments ago! Thanks everyone for entering.

November 13, 2010

Review of "The House of Scorpion"

"The House of Scorpions"
Nancy Farmer


3

Pub. Date: September 1, 2002
Pages:
380

Synopsis: Matt is a clone of El Patrón, a powerful drug lord of the land of Opium, which is located between the United States and Mexico. For six years, he has lived in a tiny cottage in the poppy fields with Celia, a kind and deeply religious servant woman who is charged with his care and safety. He knows little about his existence until he is discovered by a group of children playing in the fields and wonders why he isn't like them. Though Matt has been spared the fate of most clones, who have their intelligence destroyed at birth, the evil inhabitants of El Patrón's empire consider him a "beast" and an "eejit." When El Patrón dies at the age of 146, fourteen-year-old Matt escapes Opium with the help of Celia and Tam Lin, his devoted bodyguard who wants to right his own wrongs. After a near misadventure in his escape, Matt makes his way back home and begins to rid the country of its evils.

"The House of Scorpion" fell a little flat for me. The plot was really interesting, but the characters weren't my favorite. I liked Matt, but I wanted to punch him in the face at certain points throughout the book. I struggled with this book because I understood why the author chose to make his character so hard to like and it worked well with the plot, but I have trouble reading books when I don't like the main character. I actually had trouble liking most of the characters in the book. I would say that I maybe liked half the characters in the book, but the best characters didn't show up until about halfway through.

I like how Farmer explored cloning in "The House of Scorpion". Parts of the book were hard to read because of how the clones were treated. It was also interesting to see how technology was used to enslave both humans and animals in Farmer's world. The Eejits were super creepy, but at the same time I felt terrible for them. It was also hard to read about how orphans were treated in Aztlan and how the government was able to control the ideas of the people. Technology was not the only weapon used as a means of control, drugs and psychology also played a large role in "The House of Scorpion"

The future portrayed in "The House of Scorpion" is terrifying, but at the same time it is not unbelievable. I think I would have liked this book more if I was in a book group and had people to discuss it with, but I kind of just felt frustrated at the characters through most of the story. I love how the book ended, but I had trouble getting through the first two thirds of the book. I guess what it comes down to is that the English major in me really liked the book, but the reader in me thought it moved a bit too slow and struggled with the characters. After even writing this review I feel like I should give the book a better rating, but I can't say I "really liked" the book while reading it. Lots of other people LOVE this book, so if you like sci-fi then this book will probably be right up your alley.

Less than 2 days left!

Less than 2 days left in my contest to win "Enchanted Ivy" and "Halo"! Just click here for contest information. Good luck everyone!

November 10, 2010

Review of "ArchEnemy"

"ArchEnemy": Looking Glass Wars Series #3
Frank Beddor


4


Pub. Date: October 15, 2009
Pages: 384

Synopsis: The Heart Crystal’s power has been depleted, and Imagination along with it. The people of Wonderland have all lost their creative drive, and most alarmingly, even Queen Alyss is without her powers. There is some comfort in the fact that the vicious Redd Heart seems to be similarly disabled. Amazingly, she is attempting to team up with her enemy, Alyss, in order to reclaim Wonderland from King Arch. Alyss might have no choice but to accept Redd’s overtures, especially when she begins to receive alarming advice from the caterpillar oracles.

Page-turning and complex, this culmination of the Wonderland saga is intensely satisfying.

I am so glad I finally got a chance to read "ArchEnemy" because I was DYING to learn how "The Looking Glass Wars" Series ended. This book seriously kept me guessing, I had a feeling of whom the good and bad guys were, but Frank Beddor kept me on my toes. There were so many twists and turns in this book. I was shocked at the first chapter and was dying to know how Alyss got herself in such a hopeless situation. I kept rewinding the audio book I was listening to in the car to make sure I understood correctly because I just couldn't believe how the book was starting off. It was pretty fantastic.

I was a bit worried I might be let down by this final book in the series, but I wasn't. The book moved fast and characters were constantly surprising me. It was interesting to see Dodgson again and I liked how the book kind of came full circle in that way. I liked seeing the change in Hatter as he tries to take on the role as father; it was kind of amusing at times. Alyss is a strong character from beginning to end and yet her actions were still able to surprise me down to the last page.

To me this book had everything I was looking for in the final book. We spend more with the caterpillars, which was fun, even though they were confusing at times. Part of the ending was a huge surprise while other parts I saw coming. It ended in a satisfying way without over explaining anything. It leaves some room for a spin off series, but I don't know of one in the works. This is probably just wishful thinking on my part. There is of course the "Hatter M" graphic novels spin off, but for some reason that doesn't appeal to me very much. Beddor has created a world that could be delved into deeper and has endless possibilities. I really hope we get another chance to experience his vision of Wonderland. If not, I may just have to pick up the "Hatter M" graphic novels.

November 8, 2010

Review of "Torment"

"Torment"
Lauren Kate


5

Pub. Date: September 28, 2010
Pages: 464

Synopsis: Hell on earth.

That’s what it’s like for Luce to be apart from her fallen angel boyfriend, Daniel.
It took them an eternity to find one another, but now he has told her he must go away. Just long enough to hunt down the Outcasts—immortals who want to kill Luce. Daniel hides Luce at Shoreline, a school on the rocky California coast with unusually gifted students: Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and humans.

At Shoreline, Luce learns what the Shadows are, and how she can use them as windows to her previous lives. Yet the more Luce learns, the more she suspects that Daniel hasn’t told her everything. He’s hiding something—something dangerous.
What if Daniel’s version of the past isn’t actually true? What if Luce is really meant to be with someone else?

The second novel in the addictive FALLEN series . . . where love never dies.

It took me a little while to get into "Torment", but after about 40 pages or so I was completely hooked! I was very sad that the setting of the story had to change from Sword and Cross to a new school, but Shoreline turned out to be interesting enough. I loved the fact that Luce was infamous at Shoreline because of her and Daniel's epic love story. It was just a nice touch and added conflict to the story. I also liked how I never knew what to expect Daniel or Cam; this book played around with the good vs. evil and blurred the lines making me ding to see where Lauren Kate takes it. Is there really such a huge difference in Kate's world? Is right and wrong always black and white without any grey area?

I was worried that "Torment" would only be about Luce sitting at a school worried about Daniel and questioning their relationship, but luckily this was wrong. The story is about Luce searching for the truth about her relationship with Daniel, but it is also about Luce understanding her past and finding herself. I like how the shadows take on a different role in this book than in "Fallen". Even though Luce was taking unnecessary and dare I say stupid risks to use the power of the shadows to her own end, her experiences with the shadows is what made me fall in love with "Torment".

I was also pretty worried that Penn was a irreplaceable character and that I would spend the entirety of "Torment" missing her, but luckily new characters made the loss of Penn manageable. Shelby is a great character because she is rough around the edges and you never know what will come out of her mouth. Miles is a much more reliable friend and I just couldn't help but like him as the super sweet nice guy. He welcomed Luce to Shoreline on day one and didn't treat her differently because of the rumors about her and Daniel.

I honestly can't wait for the next book "Passion" to come out next summer and not just because "Torment" left on a giant cliffhanger. There are so many unanswered questions and it seems the more answers we get the more questions develop. Lauren Kate has definitely given herself lots to work with in the next two books in the series. I can't wait to see where "Passion" will take our characters!

October 24, 2010

Which ones have you read?

I saw this on Jennifer's blog YA Book Nerd and was curious how many books off the list I have read. Here is a list of the Top 100 Children's Novels, which ones have you read? I have read 42, which I think is pretty good.

100. The Egypt Game - Snyder (1967)
99. The Indian in the Cupboard - Banks (1980)
98. Children of Green Knowe - Boston (1954)
97. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane - DiCamillo (2006)
96. The Witches - Dahl (1983)
95. Pippi Longstocking - Lindgren (1950)
94. Swallows and Amazons - Ransome (1930)
93. Caddie Woodlawn - Brink (1935)
92. Ella Enchanted - Levine (1997)
91. Sideways Stories from Wayside School - Sachar (1978)
90. Sarah, Plain and Tall - MacLachlan (1985)
89. Ramona and Her Father - Cleary (1977)
88. The High King - Alexander (1968)
87. The View from Saturday - Konigsburg (1996)
86. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - Rowling (1999)
85. On the Banks of Plum Creek - Wilder (1937)
84. The Little White Horse - Goudge (1946)
83. The Thief - Turner (1997)
82. The Book of Three - Alexander (1964)
81. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon - Lin (2009)
80. The Graveyard Book - Gaiman (2008)
79. All-of-a-Kind-Family - Taylor (1951)
78. Johnny Tremain - Forbes (1943)
77. The City of Ember - DuPrau (2003)
76. Out of the Dust - Hesse (1997)
75. Love That Dog - Creech (2001)
74. The Borrowers - Norton (1953)
73. My Side of the Mountain - George (1959)
72. My Father's Dragon - Gannett (1948)
71. The Bad Beginning - Snicket (1999)
70. Betsy-Tacy - Lovelae (1940)
69. The Mysterious Benedict Society - Stewart ( 2007)
68. Walk Two Moons - Creech (1994)
67. Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher - Coville (1991)
66. Henry Huggins - Cleary (1950)
65. Ballet Shoes - Stratfeild (1936)
64. A Long Way from Chicago - Peck (1998)
63. Gone-Away Lake - Enright (1957)
62. The Secret of the Old Clock - Keene (1959)
61. Stargirl - Spinelli (2000)
60. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle - Avi (1990)
59. Inkheart - Funke (2003)
58. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase - Aiken (1962)
57. Ramona Quimby, Age 8 - Cleary (1981)
56. Number the Stars - Lowry (1989)
55. The Great Gilly Hopkins - Paterson (1978)
54. The BFG - Dahl (1982)
53. Wind in the Willows - Grahame (1908)
52. The Invention of Hugo Cabret (2007)
51. The Saturdays - Enright (1941)
50. Island of the Blue Dolphins - O'Dell (1960)
49. Frindle - Clements (1996)
48. The Penderwicks - Birdsall (2005)
47. Bud, Not Buddy - Curtis (1999)
46. Where the Red Fern Grows - Rawls (1961)
45. The Golden Compass - Pullman (1995)
44. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing - Blume (1972)
43. Ramona the Pest - Cleary (1968)
42. Little House on the Prairie - Wilder (1935)
41. The Witch of Blackbird Pond - Speare (1958)
40. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - Baum (1900)
39. When You Reach Me - Stead (2009)
38. HP and the Order of the Phoenix - Rowling (2003)
37. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry - Taylor (1976)
36. Are You there, God? It's Me, Margaret - Blume (1970)
35. HP and the Goblet of Fire - Rowling (2000)
34. The Watson's Go to Birmingham - Curtis (1995)
33. James and the Giant Peach - Dahl (1961)
32. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH - O'Brian (1971)
31. Half Magic - Eager (1954)
30. Winnie-the-Pooh - Milne (1926)
29. The Dark Is Rising - Cooper (1973)
28. A Little Princess - Burnett (1905)
27. Alice I and II - Carroll (1865/72)
26. Hatchet - Paulsen (1989)
25. Little Women - Alcott (1868/9)
24. HP and the Deathly Hallows - Rowling (2007)
23. Little House in the Big Woods - Wilder (1932)
22. The Tale of Despereaux - DiCamillo (2003)
21. The Lightening Thief - Riordan (2005)
20. Tuck Everlasting - Babbitt (1975)
19. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Dahl (1964)
18. Matilda - Dahl (1988)
17. Maniac Magee - Spinelli (1990)
16. Harriet the Spy - Fitzhugh (1964)
15. Because of Winn-Dixie - DiCamillo (2000)
14. HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Rowling (1999)
13. Bridge to Terabithia - Paterson (1977)
12. The Hobbit - Tolkien (1938)
11. The Westing Game - Raskin (1978)
10. The Phantom Tollbooth - Juster (1961)
9. Anne of Green Gables - Montgomery (1908)
8. The Secret Garden - Burnett (1911)
7. The Giver -Lowry (1993)
6. Holes - Sachar (1998)
5. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - Koningsburg (1967)
4. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - Lewis (1950)
3. Harry Potter #1 - Rowling (1997)
2. A Wrinkle in Time - L'Engle (1962)
1. Charlotte's Web - White (1952)

On My Chair

Here are the books I am currently reading, books I have bought, borrowed or have been sent to me, and books I am planning on starting this week (this post was inspired by The Story Siren's In My Mailbox). Bought a couple of great books and received a bunch of bookmarks in the mail.
I bought:

"Crescendo"
Becca Fitzpatrick
Published:
October 19, 2010
Synopsis:
The sequel to the New York Times Best selling phenomenon, Hush, Hush!

Nora should have know her life was far from perfect. Despite starting a relationship with her guardian angel, Patch (who, title aside, can be described anything but angelic), and surviving an attempt on her life, things are not looking up. Patch is starting to pull away and Nora can't figure out if it's for her best interest or if his interest has shifted to her arch-enemy Marcie Millar. Not to mention that Nora is haunted by images of her father and she becomes obsessed with finding out what really happened to him that night he left for Portland and never came home.

The farther Nora delves into the mystery of her father's death, the more she comes to question if her Nephilim blood line has something to do with it as well as why she seems to be in danger more than the average girl. Since Patch isn't answering her questions and seems to be standing in her way, she has to start finding the answers on her own. Relying too heavily on the fact that she has a guardian angel puts Nora at risk again and again. But can she really count on Patch or is he hiding secrets darker than she can even imagine?

"Nightshade"
Andrea R. Cremer
Pub. Date: October 19, 2010
Synopsis:
Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything— including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

I was also lucky to have a bunch of bookmarks sent by Alan Tucker the author of "A Measure of Disorder" and the sequel "A Cure for Chaos".

What are you planning to read this week?

October 23, 2010

Contest: "Enchanted Ivy" and "Halo"


Here is your chance to win a Hardcover copy of both "Halo" and "Enchanted Ivy"!

All you have to do to enter is reply to this post with your e-mail and if you want both books or the title of the book you want by Sunday November 14th, 2010 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time.

You must be at least 13 years old to enter and live in the United States (sorry I don't have the money for international shipping). Check out my Contest Policies for more details, but I think everything is clear cut.
Check out my reviews of "Enchanted Ivy" and "Halo".

Review of "Enchanted Ivy"

"Enchanted Ivy"
Sarah Beth Durst



4


Pub. Date:
October 12, 2010
Pages:
320

Synopsis: What Lily Carter wants most in the world is to attend Princeton University just like her grandfather. When she finally visits the campus, Grandpa surprises her: She has been selected to take the top-secret Legacy Test. Passing means automatic acceptance to Princeton. Sweet!

Lily's test is to find the Ivy Key. But what is she looking for? Where does she start? As she searches, Lily is joined by Tye, a cute college boy with orange and black hair who says he's her guard. That's weird. But things get seriously strange when a gargoyle talks to her. He tells her that there are two Princetons—the ordinary one and a magical one—and the Key opens the gate between them. But there are more secrets that surround Lily. Worse secrets.

When Lily enters the magical Princeton, she uncovers old betrayals and new dangers, and a chance at her dream becomes a fight for her life. Soon Lily is caught in a power struggle between two worlds, with her family at its center. In a place where Knights slay monsters, boys are were-tigers, and dragons might be out for blood, Lily will need all of her ingenuity and courage—and a little magic—to unite the worlds and unlock the secrets of her past and her future.

"Enchanted Ivy" is a fun, fast read with a unique plot that sucks readers in. I absolutely loved Sarah Beth Durst's book "Ice" and am happy that I was not disappointed with "Enchanted Ivy", which is impressive because I've been dying to read it since I first heard the synopsis. I had very little time to read this week, but every second I got I spent reading this book. I was almost late to one of the lectures because I was so wrapped up in the book I forgot to look at my watch! I just got sucked into Lily's search for the key and the truth about her family. "Enchanted Ivy" moved really fast, as soon as one problem was solved a whole other issue would come up.

Something I loved about the book was how Durst used real landmarks in Princeton in her book, it made me want to go and check out all the details she added into her book. I loved how the alumni parade, P Rade, played a part in the story; it just added a lot of life to the story. I also liked the role the FitzRandolph Gate played as the bridge between two worlds. The fact that Durst used real landmarks in her story made the book more believable.

I really liked the characters. The interactions between Lily and the two main male characters were really funny. I kept smiling and giggling to myself while reading. I think part of the reason I didn't love this book is that I wanted more of the characters. The book almost felt too fast and I wish I had more of Lily. I also liked how quirky Lily's mom was and liked the addition of her mental struggles to the book. This sounds twister, but I knew there was something more going on and I just couldn't wait to figure out where Durst was going with this.

If you like fantasy and paranormal books, this book needs to be on your "to read" list. I also highly recommend reading "Ice" if you haven't read it. I can't wait to see what Durst will write next! This makes it clearer than ever that I really need to read Sarah's first two books "Into the Wild" and "Out of the Wild". If you are interested in this book then be on the look out for the contest I will be holding.

*I received this book from the publisher for review*

October 18, 2010

Away at the NELA Conference!

Sorry that I missed my On My Chair post yesterday, but I was at the New England Library Association Annual Conference. I will be there all day for the next two days, so I won't have much of a chance to blog. I should be able to make it up at the end of the week though!

Review of "Halo"

"Halo"
Alexandra Adornetto


3

Pub Date: August 31, 2010
Pages: 496

Synopsis: Three angels are sent down to bring good to the world: Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, a teenage girl who is the least experienced of the trio. But she is the most human, and when she is romantically drawn to a mortal boy, the angels fear she will not be strong enough to save anyone—especially herself—from the Dark Forces.

Is love a great enough power against evil?

I liked "Halo", but it was just too long and the characters were not my favorites. I felt like this book would have been more successful as 2 shorter books. There were two huge conflicts that both could have been flushed out in their own book. It made the first conflict seem to be not that big of a deal because it happened and it didn't seem to matter so the build up seemed pretty unnecessary. Although breaking "Halo" into two books may not have worked because the conflicts seemed a bit lacking and people may not have gotten farther than the first book. Maybe if the beginning had been shortened and the conflict towards the end of the book was developed a bit more it may have worked better. I'm sorry this is sounding very vague; I just don't want to give anything away! I was just expecting more action out of "Halo".

My major problem with the characters was that I didn't really like the dynamics of Xavier and Bethany's relationship, it felt kind of controlling, not in a completely "OMG this guy is a psychopath", but it just felt like he could turn into a clingy, overprotective boyfriend. I really didn't like how he would answer for Bethany and decide who is worthy of talking to her. I understand that Adornetto was trying to show that Xavier loved Bethany and was trying to protect her; I also get that Xavier was trying to help Bethany, but I just know that controlling relationships start with similar actions.

If you enjoy paranormal romances, especially ones that don't have much plot outside the central relationship, then you will probably love this book. I have a feeling most people will love Xavier and will not be bothered by his relationship with Bethany, but I had trouble getting past this. I know a lot of people love this book, so if it sounds like something you are interested in then it is totally worth giving it a shot.

*I received this book from the publisher for review*

October 10, 2010

On My Chair

Here are the books I am currently reading, books I have bought, borrowed or have been sent to me, and books I am planning on starting this week (this post was inspired by The Story Siren's In My Mailbox). I had a really busy week so I didn't get as much reading done as I would have liked. But I did finally receive my copy of "Torment"!

Bought:

"Torment"
Lauren Kate
Pub. Date: September 28 2010
Synopsis: Hell on earth.

That’s what it’s like for Luce to be apart from her fallen angel boyfriend, Daniel.
It took them an eternity to find one another, but now he has told her he must go away. Just long enough to hunt down the Outcasts—immortals who want to kill Luce. Daniel hides Luce at Shoreline, a school on the rocky California coast with unusually gifted students: Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and humans.

At Shoreline, Luce learns what the Shadows are, and how she can use them as windows to her previous lives. Yet the more Luce learns, the more she suspects that Daniel hasn’t told her everything. He’s hiding something—something dangerous.
What if Daniel’s version of the past isn’t actually true? What if Luce is really meant to be with someone else?

Borrowed:

"The House of Scorpion"
Nancy Farmer
Pub. Date: September 1, 2002
Synopsis: Matteo Alacran was not Born; He was Harvested. His DNA came from El Patron, lord of a country called Opium -- a strip of poppy fields lying between the United States and what was once called Mexico. Matt's first cell split and divided inside a petri dish. Then he was placed in the womb of a cow, where he continued the miraculous journey from embryo to fetus to baby. He is a boy now, but most consider him a monster -- except for El Patron. El Patron loves Matt as he loves himself, because Matt is himself. As Matt struggles to understand his existence, he is threatened by a sinister cast of characters, including El Patron's power-hungry family, and he is surrounded by a dangerous army of bodyguards. Escape is the only chance Matt has to survive. But escape from the Alacran Estate is no guarantee of freedom, because Matt is marked by his difference in ways he doesn't even suspect.

What is in your to be read pile this week?

Contest Winner!

Congratulations E.J. Stevens!
You won 7 ARCs!
I just sent the e-mail, so just get back to me with your address.
Thanks to everyone who entered!

October 6, 2010

Review of "The Replacement"

"The Replacement
Brenna Yovanoff



4

Pub. Date: September 21, 2010
Pages: 352

Synopsis: Mackie Doyle is not one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is fighting to survive in the human world.

Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass or spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate's baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs.

"Edward Scissorhands" meets "The Catcher in the Rye" in this wildly imaginative and frighteningly beautiful horror novel about an unusual boy and his search for a place to belong.

This review is probably going to frustrate people, because writing it is frustrating me. I really enjoy "The Replacement" and thought it was a really cool book, but for some reason I didn't fall in love with this book and I am having trouble figuring out why. I really loved the plot of the book and thought the story was really intriguing, but I just didn't love it like I thought I would. The main character Mackie is really interesting because of his allergies to iron. I loved seeing how he would react to certain situations. Another thing that I liked was that Mackie was not perfect. At the beginning of the book he spent a lot of time looking out for himself and trying to protect his image; this mostly had to do with his father pointing out that someone who is different shouldn't make waves.

I'm not sure if it was just me, but Tate's character made me want to smack her at times. She just seemed all over the place, which I got at the beginning of the book, her sister had died and no one would listen to her, but at a certain point it got a bit annoying. She would just kind of appear in a scene and then get upset and leave. The funny thing about this behavior is that it made me like Mackie more because it didn't change his feelings for her. I did like Tate's devotion to her sister and how she could see through the magic that so many others ignored.

My favorite thing about this book was how creepy it was and it wasn't just the living dead that were scary; the role that the town people's played was also a bit frightening when you thought about it. I liked how the characters broke away from this and risked everything to change the towns cycle, even if that wasn't their initial thought when they decided to take action. Yovanoff created a terrifying set of characters in the underworld, many were grotesque, but I some of them had human feelings or desires. It was super creepy how an underworld being could take over a human life so easily. I could say more about this creepiness, but I have to leave something for you guys to discover in the book!

To me the beginning of "The Replacements" was good but the end of the book was awesome. I wished I had loved all of it, but it just didn't happen. I think most people will enjoy this book even more than I did and it is the perfect book to read before Halloween. If other people have read this book please comment with your feelings because I would love to hear them!

Less than 2 days left!

Just wanted to remind everyone that the contest I am holding to win 7 ARCs is ending tomorrow night! I know that there are so many contests out there and it is easy to forget. Good luck to everyone who enters! Click here to learn more or to enter.

October 2, 2010

On My Chair


Here are the books I am currently reading, books I have bought, borrowed or have been sent to me, and books I am planning on starting this week (this post was inspired by The Story Siren's In My Mailbox). I was really excited to get two books for review this week!

I borrowed:
"Avalon High"
Meg Cabot
Pub. Date: December 27, 2005

Synopsis: Avalon High, Ellie's new school, is pretty much what she'd expected. There's Lance, the hunky footballer; Jennifer, the cute cheerleader; Marco, the troublemaker. And then there's Will - the most gorgeous guy Ellie's ever met. She can hardly believe he likes HER. When Will says he thinks he's met Ellie before, things start getting a little weird. A feeling that grows as Ellie discovers the strange bonds that entwine Will, Lance, Jen, Marco - and herself. As darkness turns to danger, can Ellie stop the horrific chain of events that is about the engulf them all...

For Review:"Halo"
Alexandra Adornetto
Pub. Date: August 31, 2010
Synopsis: Three angels are sent down to bring good to the world: Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, a teenage girl who is the least experienced of the trio. But she is the most human, and when she is romantically drawn to a mortal boy, the angels fear she will not be strong enough to save anyone—especially herself—from the Dark Forces.

Is love a great enough power against evil?


"Enchanted Ivy"
Sarah Beth Durst
Pub. Date: October 12, 2010
Synopsis: What Lily Carter wants most in the world is to attend Princeton University just like her grandfather. When she finally visits the campus, Grandpa surprises her: She has been selected to take the top-secret Legacy Test. Passing means automatic acceptance to Princeton. Sweet!

Lily's test is to find the Ivy Key. But what is she looking for? Where does she start? As she searches, Lily is joined by Tye, a cute college boy with orange and black hair who says he's her guard. That's weird. But things get seriously strange when a gargoyle talks to her. He tells her that there are two Princetons—the ordinary one and a magical one—and the Key opens the gate between them. But there are more secrets that surround Lily. Worse secrets.

When Lily enters the magical Princeton, she uncovers old betrayals and new dangers, and a chance at her dream becomes a fight for her life. Soon Lily is caught in a power struggle between two worlds, with her family at its center. In a place where Knights slay monsters, boys are were-tigers, and dragons might be out for blood, Lily will need all of her ingenuity and courage—and a little magic—to unite the worlds and unlock the secrets of her past and her future.

What is in your to be read pile this week?

Review of "Ink Exchange"

"Ink Exchange" ("Wicked Lovely Series" Book 2)
Melissa Marr



3


Pub. Date: April 29, 2008
Pages: 336

Unbeknownst to mortals, a power struggle is unfolding in a world of shadows and danger. After centuries of stability, the balance among the Faery Courts has altered, and Irial, ruler of the Dark Court, is battling to hold his rebellious and newly vulnerable fey together. If he fails, bloodshed and brutality will follow.

Seventeen-year-old Leslie knows nothing of faeries or their intrigues. When she is attracted to an eerily beautiful tattoo of eyes and wings, all she knows is that she has to have it, convinced it is a tangible symbol of changes she desperately craves for her own life.

The tattoo does bring changes not the kind Leslie has dreamed of, but sinister, compelling changes that are more than symbolic. Those changes will bind Leslie and Irial together, drawing Leslie deeper and deeper into the faery world, unable to resist its allures, and helpless to withstand its perils...


I was really hoping that I would love this book, but it just didn't happen. I was happy to see that the faeries were as dangerous as I was hoping for in "Wicked Lovely"; Irial was a great villain and I always felt on edge when his character was around. I liked the premise of the ink exchange as a way of feeding the dark faeries. I liked Leslie and Niall as characters and even have to admit that I respect Irial as a character but I can't say that I liked the guy.

"Wicked Lovely" actually had more to offer than "Ink Exchange"; it was a lot darker and dealt with real issues, like abuse, but it was bordering on being too depressing. Where the first book in the series had a super happy ending where, this one totally did the opposite. I think the darkness in "Ink Exchange" did make sense up to a point, but I felt like it was kind of painful to read because of how dark it was and then the ending was also pretty depressing making me just feel sad about everything. I did like how Leslie's side of the story ended, I thought it was fitting, but I didn't agree with how it ended for Niall and Irial. One of the problems was that I liked Niall too much, even though he probably would have caused a lot of harm to Leslie, I just couldn't get over it. There were other problems I had with the ending, but I will totally end up giving something away if I say anymore. Another thing that bugged me was Gabriel's character, I did not get him at all... even his description kind of confused me. Out of all the characters in the book he just didn't seem that evil. At the end of the book I kind of felt like I missed something about his character.

I did like "Ink Exchange" and thought the book was entertaining, but at the same time it was a bit confusing. "Ink Exchange" didn't really seem to be part of the same series as "Wicked Lovely"; yes they did have some of the same characters and dealt with faeries, but I just wasn't expecting this completely dark and depressing book after the super happy-go-lucky ending of "Wicked Lovely". I know I asked for dark, but it just seemed to come out of no where. At the beginning I was enjoying "Ink Exchange" more than "Wicked Lovely", but sadly this changed halfway through the book. I think readers will like this book more if they know what they are getting into when they pick it up. I know a lot of people do really enjoy this series, but after "Ink Exchange" I don't if I will continue reading it.

September 29, 2010

Review of "Paranormalcy"

"Paranormalcy"
Kiersten White


5

Pub. Date: August 31, 2010
Pages: 335

Synopsis: Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.

But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.

I was really excited to read "Paranormalcy" when I first heard about it; I love paranormal books, so it was right up my ally. I got even more excited once I started hearing how amazing it was, but I also got a bit nervous that it wouldn't be able to live up to the hype. I am glad to report that I thought the book was as awesome as others have reported. I was so hooked on this book that I left the copy I borrowed from the library at work and I actually bought it on my nook because I had to keep reading.

What makes this book so awesome? Pretty much everything: characters, plot, narrative, and it is chalk full of paranormal creatures. Evie is fun, has a great sense of humor, a strong narrating voice, and is very relatable; I also love the fact that she is obsessed with pink. It is so funny how she yearns for normal so much that she is excited about ordinary things like lockers and is dying to be enrolled in high school. Lend's character intrigued me from the moment he appeared; I had to know more about him and I have to admit, I have a bit of a crush on him. Even some of the characters that only appeared for part of the book resonated strongly. Evie is a strong character, hunting all kinds of paranormals and all that jazz, but at the same time she can be insecure and has typical fears. A lot of teens struggle with finding their place and Kiersten White has made this a central theme in the book.

Kiersten White is able to balance the humorous with some darker themes as well. Evie likes working for the IPCA because she feels like she is making the world a better place, but she begins to question this later in the book. Is her job really helping the world? Is her power a gift or a curse? I will have to stop there so I don't give away any spoilers. Evie's faeries ex-boyfriend, Reth, is a good example of this balance. Reth can be saving Evie's life one minute and trying to manipulate her the next. There is this constant back and forth trying to figure out if he is good or if he is a villain.

"Paranormalcy" may not be one of my all time favorite books, but I absolutely loved it. This is a must read for anyone who is a fan of paranormal books. I stayed up far too late last night finishing this book, but it was totally worth it. I can't wait for the second book, “Supernaturally", to come out next fall.