Monday, April 30, 2012

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Title: Between Shades of Gray
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Publisher: Philomel
Publication Date: March 22, 2011
Source: Bought
Add to your shelves!
Summary:  Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously-and at great risk-documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart. 

Review: Most of what I'm going to say about Between Shades of Gray has probably already been said but this book is amazing. It can be heart-breaking, tear inducing and sometimes just plain hopeful.
Lina was one of the most heart-breaking characters I've read about in a long time. She can be stubborn. The way she holds on to drawing was what made her most admirable to me. She was able to latch on to her drawings and her family and friends to try and survive in the harsh and painful cold of Siberia and up into the Arctic. Lina's voice was just as relatable as she was. Even though she's a girl from a very different time period and very different surroundings then readers she still struggles with the same things people do today. 

There's many supporting characters in this one. The range from Lina's actually family to the ones that she sticks with till the very end in camps in Siberia. Every single one of them was memorable, no matter how much page time they got. I loved and hated some but you can't help but want the best for everyone.  

Between Shades of Gray has fantastic historical elements as well. Usually I read historical fiction just for the fun of it and because I love it. But Between Shades of Gray was something different. There's barely anything about what happened to the tiny countries of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and many others in my current world history book. I've heard of Stalin and "The Great Purge" but I never thought of what actually happened after that. Between Shades of Gray makes collectives and work camps even more real then they are in many textbooks. This book does a great job focusing on what happened to the actual people and it makes what happened seem almost palpable. 

devoured Between Shades of Gray in a single afternoon and I held back tears often. Between Shades of Gray contains a powerful story, one that I'm not sure that I'm going to be able to ever forget.  


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Masques and Moons: April 29, 2012

Hi everyone! I hope you've had a great weekend so far!

Last week I didn't get anything but this week I got two books this week that I can't wait to read!

Masque of Red Death by Bethany Griffin-The cover of this one is just gorgeous. The lettering is reflective which makes it even cooler! I can't wait to dive into this one!

172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad- I've heard some really great things about this one. It's supposed to be pretty creepy too! :) 

Did you get any great reads this week?

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Mastermind Plot by Angie Frazier

Title: The Mastermind Plot
Author: Angie Frazier
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: March 1, 2012
Source: Bought
Add to your shelves 

Summary: A new, exciting Suzanna Snow adventure!Suzanna "Zanna" Snow can hardly believe her luck: She's just arrived in Boston, the city she's wanted to visit for as long as she can remember. Think of all the mysteries waiting to be solved here! Her grandmother and cousin, Will, welcome her warmly, but her famous detective uncle, Bruce Snow, seems anything but pleased. He doesn't want Zanna meddling in his current case involving a string of mysterious warehouse fires along the harbor front. But Zanna can't help herself. Is someone setting the fires? Just when she thinks she's on to something, a strange man starts following her. Is he a threat? Zanna needs to solve the case before she has the chance to find out. 

Review: The Mastermind Plot is a quick, fun read. It wasn't as fantastic as the first book in the series but it was still an enjoyable read.

This book is actually more of a middle grade book. I'm not a huge fan of middle grade because I don't think that the kids are portrayed right for their ages but that's a whole other matter. I felt like Frazier really nailed that aspect in this book. I never felt like Zanna was too old or young for her age. I love a well done middle grade book and this is a prime example of that! 

As for the characters, I love Zanna. She's so full of spunk and sometimes she can be absolutely hilarious! The supporting characters were a little one dimensional but I loved Zanna's friend Adele. She was quite an interesting character...! Zanna's uncle Bruce never fails to pain me. He's annoying, condescending and I don't see that man changing anytime soon! 

The mystery took me awhile to figure out but I had figured it out long before Zanna. In this book she was a little slow regarding things. I had most of the book figured out halfway through. Fortunately, this didn't bring down my level of enjoyment. I've always been a fan of historical fiction, so that aspect kept me hooked. 

The Mastermind Plot also takes place in one of my favorite cities, Boston. You don't get to see much of the city because Zanna was confined to one spot the whole time. But, overall, the setting was done well. I missed the New Brunswick setting from the first book and the characters from the first book, though. 

The Mastermind Plot isn't as good as I expected it to be but it was an addicting read that I had no trouble getting into. If you're a fan of good middle grade and feisty heroines then you might want to pick this one up!

Rating: 3.5 stars

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (76)

Hi everyone! Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine to share books we can't wait for!

This week's pick is:

Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes edited by Michelle Zink and Georgia McBride
October 19, 2012

Nursery rhymes sung sweetly can take us back to childhood. But deep inside many of those childhood favorites is… a hint of something dark. TWO AND TWENTY DARK TALES: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes imagines dark and sinister things amuck in Mother Goose-land. From familiar rhymes, to some of the more obscure, TWO AND TWENTY DARK TALES is a must read for anyone who enjoyed Mother Goose rhymes as a child, but has come to love the darkest of tales.

Do you see what this is about??! Mother Goose retellings! When I heard about this anthology I was ecstatic. I haven't read many anthologies in the first place but this one was just too good to pass up. Plus, there are some great authors, like Angie Frazier, Gretchen McNeil, Suzanne Young and on and on! Plus it's a charity anthology which makes it even better.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Springsweet by Saundra Mitchell

Title: The Springsweet
Author: Saundra Mitchell
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Publication Date: April 17, 2012
Source: Bought
Add to your shelves 

Summary: Heartbroken over the tragic death of her fiancĂ©, seventeen-year-old Zora Stewart leaves Baltimore for the frontier town of West Glory, Oklahoma, to help her young widowed aunt keep her homestead going. There she discovers that she possesses the astonishing ability to sense water under the parched earth. When her aunt hires her out as a "springsweet” to advise other settlers where to dig their wells, Zora feels the burden of holding the key to something so essential to survival in this unforgiving land. Even more, she finds herself longing for love the way the prairie thirsts for water. Maybe, in the wildness of the territories, Zora can finally move beyond simply surviving and start living.

Review: I loved The Vespertine, the first book in this series. My feelings for The Springsweet were no different. Mitchell successfully incorporates a western setting, beautiful writing and fantastic characters. 

I loved Zora in the previous book so I was so excited that she was getting her own story. Zora definitely has a lot of spunk. Even though she's been hit hard by tragedy she always manages to come out on top. I just loved that aspect of her personality. 

There's not many supporting characters but the ones you got to know well were very special. There's Zora's love interest, Emerson, who I loved from the start and I'm sure everyone else will!

Mitchell captures historical fiction perfectly. It probably has a lot to do with her writing style. There's just something about it that captures the feeling of the wild west. Oh, I loved it!

In terms of plot The Springsweet is another win. It's not necessarily fast-paced but it is intriguing and you just want to spend more time with the characters. There were times when I was a tad bored but there was always something exciting around the bend.

The Springsweet is a great historical fantasy book. The writing is by far the most notable aspect but truthfully everything was fantastic.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Friday, April 20, 2012

What to Read (21)

What to Read is just a little thing I like to do that features a slew of books from a certain genre. Sometimes I don't exactly do genres, but you get the gist!

Today I'm featuring:
Rainy Day Favorites
I don't know about your corner of the world but mine has just been slaughtered by rain the last few days. So I thought it'd be appropriate to list a few of my favorite rainy day reads! 

Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann
This is the perfect rainy day read. Mainly because it's so creepy. It has tons of cryptic chapters that will give you the chills. McMann's writing makes this one even better. 

She's So Dead to Us and He's So Not Worth It by Kieran Scott
If you 're looking for more for a contemporary read then I'd definitely recommend these. Especially if you're in the mood for a guilty pleasure read. These aren't pure fluff because they actually deal with some pretty serious issues, but they are SO good. 

Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey
What's a rainy day without a great ghost story? Haunting Violet is by far one of the best ghost stories I've ever read. It can be creepy at times but mostly it's a good, fun read with lots of romance mixed in. And that's always a plus. 

The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman
This is actually a very recent read of mine but boy was it fantastic. If you want to lose yourself for a couple of days in an engrossing book then this is the one for you!

What are some of your favorite rainy day reads??

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Speed Date with Laura: Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould

Hi everyone, toady I'm doing something a little bit different. I'm participating in a thing called Speed Dating-with reviews. It's hosted by Mary over at The Book Swarm. The purpose is to tell your thoughts about the book in about 150 words. I think it's a fantastic idea! Go check out her blog to participate. Note: internet is not up. I tired to get everything right using the app but certain things aren't bolded and pictures may not show! Thanks for your patience!

Title: Cross My Heart
Author: Sasha Gould
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: March 13, 2012

Summary: When 16-year-old Laura della Scala learns that her older sister, Beatrice, has drowned, she is given no time to grieve. Instead, Laura's father removes her from the convent where he forcibly sent her years earlier and orders her to marry Beatrice's fiancĂ©, a repulsive old merchant named Vincenzo. Panicked, Laura betrays a powerful man to earn her way into the Segreta, a shadowy society of women who deal in only one currency—secrets. The Segreta seems like the answer to Laura's prayers. The day after she joins their ranks, Vincenzo is publicly humiliated and conveniently exiled. Soon, however, Laura begins to suspect that her sister's death was not a tragic accident but a cold-blooded murder—one that might involve the Segreta and the women she has come to trust.

Review: Cross my Heart is a unique historical romance set in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Venice.

Cross My Heart isn't a fantastic read or an awful. It falls somewhere in between the two, but it does lean more toward the good side.

Cross My Heart is a very short read that doesn't allow for much development in the plot or the characters. While I liked Laura as a main character, she wasn't what I was expecting. The romance was definitely cute but not the best I'd seen.

One of the things I did like was the Segreta or the Society of Secrets. They were some scary old ladies but I liked how they dealt in secrets. The historical Venice setting was fantastic as well!

Cross My Heart isn't the best in terms of characters or plot but ideas weren't half bad and neither was the writing. I'd recommend it especially if you like simpler books with a great historical setting.

Rating: 3 stars

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Technical Difficulties

Hello readers!
I've been having many, many technical difficulties with my Internet these last few days and I was unable to get a Waiting on Wednesday post up. I apologize. I'm currently using the Blogger app to do this post so no, my Internet is still not working.

I'm trying to figure out how I can get a review published using the app but it's definitely a work in progress!

Thank you so much for being patient and dealing with my problems! I *should* be back to commenting and blogging tomorrow! We're putting in a new wifi router (or whatever the right term is) right now so I'm very confident it will start working again!

All I can say is thank goodness for 3G!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

Title: The Book of Blood and Shadow
Author: Robin Wasserman
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: April 10, 2012
Source: Thanks Netgalley and Random House!
Add to your shelves 

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.

Review: The Book of Blood and Shadow is almost indescribable. It's full of ancient history, books, blood and so many things that you wouldn't think could ever make sense. But when everything finally comes together, it's incredible.

Other then the history, the thing I loved best about The Book of Blood and Shadow was the scavenger hunt aspect. Most of the book is spent trying to find things and deciphering different codes. I LOVED this. When scavenger hunts are done well in books they're great. But this-this was brilliant. What Wasserman did in this book was pure genius!

I won't touch too much on the history, other to say that it was fantastic. Isn't it awesome when you can absorb and learn new things by reading a great book? That's exactly what happened in The Book of Blood and Shadow.

Nora. If anyone everyone ever mentions the name Nora to me, I'm sure I'll think of this Nora. Nora is smart, witty and underneath she's just struggling to survive after so many awful and unthinkable things have happened to her. The girl even knows Latin for goodness sakes! How could you not love her?

The supporting cast of characters left a mark on me as well. Every single one of them from The Hoff to Chris to Eli and back to Elizabeth wormed their way inside my head and didn't let go while I was reading. I just loved them all so much. They're written in such a way that you just get to know them so well and you can't help but love (or hate) them to pieces.

The Book of Blood and Shadow is intriguing, suspenseful and incorporates history effortlessly. It has all that plus amazing, well-developed characters. Basically, I love this book.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Unraveling Isobel by Eileen Cook

Title: Unraveling Isobel
Author: Eileen Cook
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: January 3, 2012
Source: Bought
Add to your shelves 

Summary: Isobel’s life is falling apart. Her mom just married some guy she met on the internet only three months before, and is moving them to his sprawling, gothic mansion off the coast of nowhere. Goodbye, best friend. Goodbye, social life. Hello, icky new stepfather, crunchy granola town, and unbelievably good-looking, officially off-limits stepbrother.
But on her first night in her new home, Isobel starts to fear that it isn’t only her life that’s unraveling—her sanity might be giving way too. Because either Isobel is losing her mind, just like her artist father did before her, or she’s seeing ghosts. Either way, Isobel’s fast on her way to being the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons.

Review: If nothing else, Unraveling Isobel is funny. But it has so many other things going for it. It's creepy and the romance will melt your heart.

Isobel is literally one of the funniest characters that I've read about it a long time. She always had the best comebacks and snark. It definitely feel like it was scripted because that's a major turn off in books for me. Another thing that I just loved about Isobel was her lists! She made the best lists, and if you know me I love lists. The book even starts off with a list. In a way, it was what made me pick up Unraveling Isobel so easily.

Another plus to Unraveling Isobel was the romance. It was so sweet and steamy at the same time. It takes awhile for the romance between Isobel and Nate to actually start but once it does you won't be able to put the book down. The other supporting characters aren't as great but Nate and Isobel, as characters, make up for that.

Unraveling Isobel also has a paranormal element but it's very undefined and not developed. I liked it but I just wanted a bit more information about it. But it did add an awesome amount of creepiness to the book. And that was just fantastic!

Even though Unraveling Isobel has quite a few mixed reviews, I'd still recommend it for its funny factor and its characters. The ghosts and paranormal elements are just an added bonus.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

In My Mailbox (74)

Hi everyone! In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren to share the books we received during the week!

Sorry about the flash! 
The Springsweet by Saundra Mitchell: I'm dying to read this one! I love all of Mitchell's books. Plus, you can't go wrong with a historical fiction!

Forgiven by Jana Oliver: This is the third book in the Demon Trapper's series, which I love. Hopefully this next adventure will be just as awesome!

That's all for me this week! Did you get anything awesome in your mailbox?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Blog Happenings (73)

Hi everyone! I hope your weekend if off to a great start!

I'm currently reading Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould. As you might know, the cover of Cross My Heart got redesigned and the cover that it released in is the one on the right. While I like the current cover because of it's darkness and shadows it doesn't have that historical fiction feel, in my opinion.

I feel like the old cover feels more true to the book. You can tell that's it's set in Venice and I love the colors. But that's just my preference! Which one do you like better? 

The actually book is very good so far. It's only about 240 pages long and I'm almost halfway through. I'm definitely curious to see where it will go! 

Allegiance by Cayla Kluver: I thought this was a great sequel to Legacy, the first book!
Dead To You by Lisa McMann: I didn't think this one was as good as her previous books but it was still suspenseful.
Unraveling Isobel by Eileen Cook: I loved this one! It was creepy and hilarious!

The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman
The Springsweet by Saudra Mitchell

I think I'll probably be able to get both of these books done by next week! Maybe I'll even get The Immortal Rules started. I can't wait to read it! 

I've seen nothing but good things about The Book of Blood and Shadow. I'm a little hesitant to start it because of the length but I know it won't kill me! I loved The Vespertine and The Springsweet is the companion to it. I got it yesterday in the mail, I suppose the pre-orders shipped out early! 

I don't know if you can tell but I've been trying to balance out my galleys and books that I've bought in the past or new releases. It's actually working quite well. 

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend! 

Friday, April 13, 2012

What to Read (20)

What to Read is just a little thing I like to do that features a slew of books from a certain genre. Sometimes I don't exactly do genres, but you get the gist!

Today I'm featuring:
My Favorite books of March but What About April?
I wasn't able to do this last week when I planned on doing it but I figured it wouldn't matter anyway!

I read about 10 books in March, which is actually really good for me! Out of those ten books my two favorites were:
Perception by Kim Harrington
I've always been a good fan of a mystery and Perception definitely had those elements. It was a little creepy and a tad more than awesome. If you loved Clarity, the first book, or if you you like books that have a tad of paranormal fun then Perception is the one for you!

Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
I'm not quite sure how much I can hype this book or say how good it was but I'll certainly try! Like I said in my review, Wanderlove is almost like a movie. If you want a book you can escape in for a few awesome hours of contemp at its best then pick this up! If you don't trust me look up all those other great reviews out there.

I feel like I'm doing promotional ads.....but what I want to say is that both books are great! 

I think I've read only one April release ahead of time. That was Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf. It's a book I definitely recommend

Some April releases I can't wait for: 
(Some of these are already out but I haven't got around to reading them yet! 

For some reason I couldn't get these last two pictures to cooperate! Sorry! The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman is already out but the others are not. What April releases are you dying to get your hands on?

Is there anything else I should be excited for? 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Speed Date with Ethan: Dead to You by Lisa McMann

Hi everyone, toady I'm doing something a little bit different. I'm participating in a thing called Speed Dating-with reviews. It's hosted by Mary over at The Book Swarm. The purpose is to tell your thoughts about the book in about 150 words. I think it's a fantastic idea! Go check out her blog to participate. 

Title: Dead to You
Author: Lisa McMann
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: Febuary 7, 2012
Source: Library
Add to your shelves 

Summary: Ethan was abducted from his front yard when he was just seven years old. Now, at sixteen, he has returned to his family. It's a miracle... at first. Then the tensions start to build. His reintroduction to his old life isn't going smoothly, and his family is tearing apart all over again. If only Ethan could remember something, anything, about his life before, he'd be able to put the pieces back together. But there's something that's keeping his memory blocked. Something unspeakable... 

Review: I've read most of Lisa McMann's books and I loved them. I didn't quite love Dead to You but it was still a suspenseful read that I enjoyed.

My main two complaints are the character development and the predictability of the plot. While I loved Ethan as a character, I didn't feel like he changed much through out the story nor did any of the other characters. His parents and other family, with the exception of Gracie, were a tad one-sided and I wish I could have known them better. 

One thing I did enjoy was the romance. It was a little quick but perfectly believable for this kind of story. I loved it!

I loved the concept of Dead to You but I found it a tad bit predictable. I'd heard the ending was crazy but it wasn't quite as epic I was expecting. 

Dead To You definitely ends on an unexpected note but it doesn't quite make it with the characters. Though, I will gladly read anything by McMann!

Rating: 3.5 stars

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (75)

Happy Wednesday everyone! Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine to share what books we can't wait for! 

This week's pick is:
Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier
October 30, 2012

Gwen’s life has been a rollercoaster since she discovered she was the Ruby, the final member of the secret time-traveling Circle of Twelve. In between searching through history for the other time-travelers and asking for a bit of their blood (gross!), she’s been trying to figure out what all the mysteries and prophecies surrounding the Circle really mean. At least Gwen has plenty of help. Her best friend Lesley follows every lead diligently on the Internet. James the ghost teaches Gwen how to fit in at an eighteenth century party. And Xemerius, the gargoyle demon who has been following Gwen since he caught her kissing Gideon in a church, offers advice on everything. Oh, yes. And of course there is Gideon, the Diamond. One minute he’s very warm indeed; the next he’s freezing cold. Gwen’s not sure what’s going on there, but she’s pretty much destined to find out.

Sapphire Blue doesn't come out for awhile but I'm more then excited! I loved the first book in this series, Ruby Red. It was full of time travel and it was so much good-spirited fun. I cannot wait to see where the story goes in this one. I really love how they didn't stick with the cover theme from Ruby Red because this cover is gorgeous!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Allegiance by Cayla Kluver

Title: Allegiance
Author: Cayla Kluver
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: February 28, 2012
Source: Thanks Netgalley and Harlequin Teen!
Add to your shelves 

Summary: He couldn't help his past any more than he could help the way those intense, deep blue eyes pierced me and held me captive.
An eighteen-year-old queen in love with the enemy as their countries pass the point of no return…Bound to a man she cannot love, Queen Alera of Hytanica must forget Narian, the young man who holds her heart. For Narian is destined to conquer Hytanica at the behest of his master, the powerful magic-user known as the Overlord. Alera doesn't truly believe Narian will fight against Hytanica—until Cokyrian troops attack with Narian commanding the charge. Faced with the greatest betrayal a heart can know, Alera must set aside personal feelings and lead her kingdom through its darkest time. And when all hope, will and courage seem lost, she must find strength and remember that even the blackest night must have a dawn…. 

Review: Like Legacy, the first book in this series Allegiance is filled with political intrigue, drama, and most of all: action. But unlike Legacy, all of Allegiance is filled to the brim with secrets and a whole lot of suspense. There's no boring parts in this one which makes it a fantastic sequel. 

Alera is such a strong character. She's one of the heroines you will always root for because of her desire to be more than just a women or just a queen. That's probably one of Alera's most admirable aspects but she also has wit on her side. But she definitely has her vulnerable side, which I always liked seeing because it made her more real to me.

There's a ton of supporting characters to keep track of in Allegiance. Not all of them are memorable, but the ones that are memorable touch your heart. My favorite(s) are The King of Hytanica, Steldor. Steldor has some serious problems but I got so attached to him. He's such a sweetheart. Sometimes. There's also a really special father figure in this series, Cannan, who I felt so much love for. He's literally the kindest man I have ever read about. 

There's over 500 pages in Allegiance making it a very long read. Sometimes long books drag on and on but I didn't feel that with this one. There was just enough action and intrigue to keep me hooked as a reader. And boy do things happen!

Overall, Allegiance is a stunning sequel. I'll definitely be reading the next one because this series has me hooked!


Monday, April 9, 2012

Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf

Title: Breaking Beautiful
Author: Jennifer Shaw Wolf
Publisher: Walker
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
Source: Thanks Netgalley and Walker!
Add to your shelves 

Summary: Allie lost everything the night her boyfriend, Trip, died in a horrible car accident—including her memory of the event. As their small town mourns his death, Allie is afraid to remember because doing so means delving into what she’s kept hidden for so long: the horrible reality of their abusive relationship.
When the police reopen the investigation, it casts suspicion on Allie and her best friend, Blake, especially as their budding romance raises eyebrows around town. Allie knows she must tell the truth. Can she reach deep enough to remember that night so she can finally break free? Debut writer Jennifer Shaw Wolf takes readers on an emotional ride through the murky waters of love, shame, and, ultimately, forgiveness.

Review: Breaking Beautiful is a simply stunning book. I was drawn in my Wolf's fantastic writing but, overall I just eneded up loving the characters.

Allie's grief in so evident through most of the book. Wolf writes in such a way that you literally feel Allie's pain. It was almost like I was going through the ordeal of being the only one to survive a car crash, instead of Allie. Allie is a very powerful character, in my opinion. She's beginning to try and rise out of her depression but it isn't easy for Allie in a down where she's looked down upon. I've said this about a lot of characters, but there was just something so special about Allie. She soars as a character, mainly because she's a well developed character that has many sides.

Another character I'm especially partial to is Blake, Allie's long time friend. He is such a sweetheart. He's a little misunderstood by the people in their town but at heart he's just a artist. A fantastic one. at that. Blake, like Allie, pulled on my heartstrings and I never wanted to leave them.

Breaking Beautiful also has an element of mystery and suspense. It's not so much of a typical mystery where the characters are looking for the bad guys, but a mystery of what happened the night Allie's boyfriend Trip died. In Breaking Beautiful you get to see all of Allie's awful, and painful memories. It hurts a little to see each little layer peeled back until you finally get to see what exactly happened on that night. I was a bit more than surprised.

Breaking Beautiful is a debut that touches on beauty, grief and the promises of what a new friendship or romance will do to a person. And it isn't always for the better. Frankly, this book touches your heart and it doesn't really ever let go.

Cover Note: I love this cover! It's a little grimy like the book. The red heels also have so such significance in the book. Beauty and what it means is a big theme in this book and the title adds even more to that concept.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Sunday, April 8, 2012

In My Mailbox (73)

Hi everyone, happy Sunday! In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren to share books we got during the week!

Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne-This one looks super creepy!
Unraveling Isobel by Eileen Cook-I'm so excited to finally get this one. It just looks fantastic!
The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks-I just had to buy this one. The movie is coming out and I think I should read the book before the actual movie!

Dead to You by Lisa McMann: I love McMann's books. Hopefully this one will be just as good!

Happy Easter, to those who celebrate!! 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Blog Happenings (72)

Hi everyone! I hope your Saturday is starting off fantastic! I'm sorry there was no What to Read yesterday. I actually have an excuse but who wants to hear it? No one. So without further ado....

I'm about halfway through with this book. I think I'd be a lot further but this week was just been so hectic and I haven't had much time to read. Plus, Allegiance is about 500 pages long. I'm enjoying it a ton more than Legacy. That book was a tad bit boring and it was filled with massive descriptions. There's none of that in this book! Oh, it's so good!

Dead to You by Lisa McMann: I think I'm going to need a shorter read after Allegiance!
The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman: Another insanely long book.

Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard: I'm SOOO in love with this book. I think you should read it. Now. 

Last weekend I was able to be very productive! My review archive is up to date. I also posted a ton of reviews on Goodreads. Updating things is something I really enjoy. It's probably why I like lists so much. I'm also wondering if I should start a LibraryThing account to put my reviews on. Has anyone done this? Is it a good idea?

This might be a stupid question, but what happened to Harper Collins on Netgalley? I was looking through the publishers yesterday and I didn't see them. I was just curious! 

That's all for me this week? Has anyone read any good books lately? 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Speed Date with Macy: The Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen

Hi everyone, toady I'm doing something a little bit different. I'm participating in a thing called Speed Dating-with reviews. It's hosted by Mary over at The Book Swarm. The purpose is to tell your thoughts about the book in about 150 words. I think it's a fantastic idea! Go check out her blog to participate. 

Title: The Truth About Forever
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Penquin
Publication Date: 
Source: Library
Add to your shelves 

Summary: a long, hot summer... 

That's what Macy has to look forward to while her boyfriend, Jason, is away at Brain Camp. Days will be spent at a boring job in the library, evenings will be filled with vocabulary drills for the SATs, and spare time will be passed with her mother, the two of them sharing a silent grief at the traumatic loss of Macy's father. 

But sometimes unexpected things can happen—things such as the catering job at Wish, with its fun-loving, chaotic crew. Or her sister's project of renovating the neglected beach house, awakening long-buried memories. Things such as meeting Wes, a boy with a past, a taste for Truth-telling, and an amazing artistic talent, the kind of boy who could turn any girl's world upside down. As Macy ventures out of her shell, she begins to wonder, Is it really better to be safe than sorry?
Review: The Truth about Forever is one of my favorite Dessen books. It has so much in it that is just so lovable.

I instantly fell in love with Macy. She's a girl that's gone through so much, her father has died and her family life is a tad crazy. For some reason I just loved this aspect about Macy's family. It felt so real and broken. I loved it even more when Macy joined Wishbone Catering and met all these fantastic people. Now they made some great characters.

The romance has to be my favorite part of this entire book. Wes is amazing and he was definitely a part of Macy's healing process. Macy changes and develops a lot during the book. It's something that I can always expect out of Dessen books and I've come to love it.

The Truth about Forever has an engaging storyline, an unique and fun workplace and characters that you can actually care about. 


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (74)

Hi everyone! Happy Wednesday! Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine to share books we can't wait to read!

This week's pick is:
Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
July 24, 2012

There’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia… 

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper— 

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia. 

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother. 

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.

I'm loving the sound of this one! There's zombies and it's set in Philadelphia in 1876 according to Goodreads! That totally made my day. I just love historical fiction-with zombies, of course. The cover is stunning, too. It's elegant but strangely creepy and very deadly. See what I did there? 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

Title: Wanderlove
Author: Kirsten Hubbard
Publisher: Delacorte
Publication Date: March 13, 2012
Source: Thanks Netgalley and Delacorte!
Add to your shelves 

Summary: It all begins with a stupid question: 

Are you a Global Vagabond? 

No, but 18-year-old Bria Sandoval wants to be. In a quest for independence, her neglected art, and no-strings-attached hookups, she signs up for a guided tour of Central America—the wrong one. Middle-aged tourists with fanny packs are hardly the key to self-rediscovery. When Bria meets Rowan, devoted backpacker and dive instructor, and his outspokenly humanitarian sister Starling, she seizes the chance to ditch her group and join them off the beaten path. 

Bria's a good girl trying to go bad. Rowan's a bad boy trying to stay good. As they travel across a panorama of Mayan villages, remote Belizean islands, and hostels plagued with jungle beasties, they discover what they've got in common: both seek to leave behind the old versions of themselves. And the secret to escaping the past, Rowan’s found, is to keep moving forward. 

But Bria comes to realize she can't run forever, no matter what Rowan says. If she ever wants the courage to fall for someone worthwhile, she has to start looking back. 
Kirsten Hubbard lends her artistry to this ultimate backpacker novel, weaving her drawings into the text. Her career as a travel writer and her experiences as a real-life vagabond backpacking Central America are deeply seeded in this inspiring story. 

Review: I put off reading Wanderlove for a very long time. I believe I could have read it way back in August because I had it from Netgalley. But what did I do? I put it off. I regret that I did, but I'm so happy that I eventually picked it up. Wanderlove is more than fantastic. It is just SO good. 

Bria is a wonderful character. Scratch that, she's more than wonderful. She's something that I don't even know how to describe. All I can say is that I just loved her character. She's insanely stubborn about somethings but so vunerable about others. I automatically loved her, even before I got to know her better during the course of the book. Most importantly, Bria felt like a real fleshed out person instead of a one dimensional character in a book. Hubbard made Bria pop off the page.

There's tons of other supporting characters and I felt like I knew them so well. Rowan and Starling are two backpacking siblings that you almost have to love. Rowan is, well, awesome. There's something extra special about his character that makes him worm his way into your heart, over and over again. Bria and Rowan had a wonderful friendship. I knew it would turn into something more than that but when it did it was so awesome. 

This might sound a little silly but reading Wanderlove was almost like watching a movie. If Wanderlove doesn't make you want to travel I don't know what will. Hubbard made me feel like I was transported to Central America with Bria and Rowan, staying in grimy hostels and having lots of fun yet serious moments. I don't know how many times I can saw this, but it was just fantastic! 

Wanderlove also has drawings. Drawings done by Kirsten Hubbard, herself! I was so impressed. They added even more dimension to this story. All I want to do now is go out a buy myself a finished copy. Then drool over the pictures.

Wanderlove is a special sort of book that makes the adventurous person inside of you want to come out. Simply stated: you cannot miss this book. 


Monday, April 2, 2012

The Girl is Murder by Kathryn Miller Haines

Title: The Girl is Murder
Author: Kathryn Miller Haines
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Publication Date: July 19, 2011
Source: Library
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Summary: Iris Anderson is only 15, but she's quickly mastering the art of deception in this YA novel for fans of Veronica Mars. It's the Fall of 1942 and Iris's world is rapidly changing. Her Pop is back from the war with a missing leg, limiting his ability to do the physically grueling part of his detective work. Iris is dying to help, especially when she discovers that one of Pop's cases involves a boy at her school. Now, instead of sitting at home watching Deanna Durbin movies, Iris is sneaking out of the house, double crossing her friends, and dancing at the Savoy till all hours of the night. There's certainly never a dull moment in the private eye business.  

Review: The Girl is Murder combines both mystery and World War II in a combination that isn't always winning but definitely addicting. 

I seem to have a problem with WWII books. Especially ones that feature mysteries. They promise a fantastic mystery, romance, and a backdrop of New York during the war. They usually only deliver on one thing and that's the setting. The setting just happens to be my favorite part of this book, as well.

Haines writes wartime New York beautifully. All I wanted to do during The Girl is Murder is soak up more of the factoids about the way New York was during the war. I'm in love with history and I felt the historical elements of this one were fantastic. 

I was so disappointed by the mystery aspect of the story. I didn't expect much romance in this one so that wasn't a problem, but the mystery? It just felt like something was missing. Iris's desire to go traipsing around New York was grand but it felt a bit forced. The way she did is was a tad cheesy, too. The end of the book was a little unbelievable. The mystery was solved with just a snap of the fingers. In fact, the whole mystery began to seem pointless. If you've read this you know what I mean. 

Iris wasn't a favorite of mine, either. I'm not going to dwell on that, though. What I did like was her friends, The Rainbows. They were slang using "bad kids" from Iris's new public school. They were tons of fun and I felt like I got to know them better than I did Iris! 

If you're a huge fan of historical fiction I'd suggest picking this one up. If you like mysteries this might not be the one for you since the mystery is so unbelievable. I'm still going to read the next book, mainly because I have it from Netgalley. I'm anxious to see how Iris develops as a character and to see a new mystery. 


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