Friday, September 21, 2012

REVIEW: Belles by Jen Calonita


Belles
Author: Jen Calonita
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Series: Belles #1
Format: Audible Audio Book
Length: 
 9 Hrs 5 Mins 
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary
Release Date: May 1, 2012

Fifteen-year-old Isabelle Scott loves her life by the boardwalk on the supposed wrong side of the tracks in North Carolina. But when tragedy strikes, a social worker sends her to live with a long-lost uncle and his preppy privileged family. Isabelle is taken away from everything she's ever known, and, unfortunately, inserting her into the glamorous lifestyle of Emerald Cove doesn't go so well. Her cousin Mirabelle Monroe isn't thrilled to share her life with an outsider, and, in addition to dealing with all the rumors and backstabbing that lurk beneath their classmates' Southern charm, a secret is unfolding that will change both girls' lives forever.
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My Thoughts

I thought this was a nice, light change from the heavy paranormal series' I've had my nose stuck in the past few years.  Despite it's juvenile air, the story has a charm that is only added upon by the narrator's twangy character voices (which I loved). I thought the story in general was predictable, but enjoyable. I think this is a great read for teenage girls.  It has really good messages about being true to who you are and standing up for yourself, knowing what real friends are, and not judging others before you get to know them.

There's a lot you see coming, but you can't help but root for Izzy all the way through.  Mira needed to be punched in the face just as much as Savannah did, and I really wanted Izzy to punch Braden too.  He didn't deserve her. So basically, I liked this book but it made me want to punch people. :)

I loved that Haden went to bat for Izzy and I thought Lucas was a creep the entire time.  The twist at the end was one I anticipated and Savannah's Sweet 16?  The cheesiest thing I've ever heard of.  Worse than My Super Sweet 16.

I am happy to see this book is a series though, because I'd love to see how Izzy and Mira's relationship develops, and how they fair another year with Savannah around EP. Winter White will be out October 9th, and I can't wait to have a listen.  I am excited to get back to Izzy's story.  A light, fresh contemporary piece, perfect for teen girls and a fun story for some adults.  Who doesn't love a Cinderella story?

I'm rating Belles 4 STARS. I think this is an easy read, it was entertaining, it wasn't hard to get into and awesome because the MC isn't whiny :D! Who can't jump on board with that?

Thank you for being here today!


Friday, September 14, 2012

REVIEW: The Goddess Legacy by Aimee Carter


The Goddess Legacy 
Author: Aimee Carter
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Series: The Goddess Test 2.5
Format: NetGalley Kindle Galley
Length: 
 395 Pages 
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Mythology
Release Date: July 31, 2012

For millennia we've caught only glimpses of the lives and loves of the gods and goddesses on Olympus. Now Aimé e Carter pulls back the curtain on how they became the powerful, petty, loving and dangerous immortals that Kate Winters knows. 

Calliope/Hera represented constancy and yet had a husband who never matched her faithfulness...

Ava/Aphrodite was the goddess of love and yet commitment was a totally different deal...

Persephone was urged to marry one man, yet longed for another...

James/Hermes loved to make trouble for others-but never knew true loss before...

Henry/Hades's solitary existence had grown too wearisome to continue. But meeting Kate Winters gave him a new hope...

Five original novellas of love, loss and longing and the will to survive throughout the ages.
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My Thoughts


I loved these stories!  This is one of my favorite series, and these novellas really add to the world that Aimee Carter has created.  This collection of stories answered questions I didn't even realize I had.  There were clarifications I wasn't even aware I needed!  These stories just lay it all out for you and explain the Gods & Goddesses history in such detail of emotion that it really helps you to understand their motives in the current series, even if I don't agree with their actions in Kate's story.

This collection really makes me want to reread the series again.  The creative liberties that Miss Carter have taken with Greek mythology really work and, in my opinion, definitely do the Olympians stories justice.

I don't normally rate novellas, but as I got this book from NetGalley, I 'm rating this collection 4 STARS.  It just makes me crave more from Aimee Carter!  It you enjoy the Goddess Test series, then you've absolutely got to read this companion collection of novellas.

Thank you for stopping in today!


Friday, September 7, 2012

REVIEW: Insurgent by Veronica Roth


Insurgent
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: Harper Audio
Series: Divergent #2
Format: Audible Audio Book
Length: 
 11 Hrs 22 Mins 
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Release Date: May 1, 2012

One choice can transform you--or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves--and herself--while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable--and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.


"New York Times" bestselling author Veronica Roth's much-anticipated second book of the dystopian "Divergent" series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.
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My Thoughts


I love Tris as a female MC.  She has the guts of Katniss without all the self-depreciation that is SO annoying. But she is risky, and she causes others to be risky, but people in general know she is dependable and I love the reliability of her character.  Tobias takes a chance on her because he loves her, but her actions, while usually successful, tend to put her in danger more often than not, and he has a hard time coping with that.  While everyone sees Tris as being brave, she's just trying to do what she thinks is right, and what honors the people who have sacrificed their lives to ensure that she has come this far.  She is hard work and determination and even when she is upset with something, she doesn't whine.  In fact, she usually keeps her emotions to herself, so no one can have an upper hand against her.

I feel like throughout the series I never really understand what the end goal is.  I do see that there are several smaller goals along the way, and that they change often as the characters learn new information and new characters are introduced, but I never realize what the actual end goal is.  Until the end of book two.  Then I was left sitting there thinking, "whoa."  This book really is mind-blowing.  How Veronica Roth has managed to create such an epic, intense dystopian world with such engaging characters and morally complex situations is amazing and worth every penny anyone will ever spend on this book.

I listened to Divergent during the 3 days I was on bed rest before having my daughter, so I was in a rush to get through through it because I knew I would be busy with baby (which makes no sense because I was in the hospital for 5 days, I could have listened to it there!  Although I wasn't that coherent...)  Anyway, the point is that I didn't re-listen to Divergent before starting Insurgent, which I think is fine if you loved book one, but if you really want to have your wits about you and not feel like you need to go back and look up  certain parts, then I would suggest rereading. You won't be lost without doing so, but I think your overall experience will be better.

That being said, holy moly this book was just fabulous. It is seriously so good.  It was a book I never wanted to end and each time a new chapter started I was excited that it wasn't over yet. The story was long but it never dragged. The pace is perfect and each twist planned down to every last detail.  Everything is so methodical, but not executed in such a way where things feel "too perfect."

I really, really, really love that the romance isn't the main focus of the book.  Tris and Four's relationship is the icing on the cake because the novel doesn't revolve around it. The emotions of this book are so intense.  And the descriptions are so detailed and realistic. This book has more needles than a heroine dealer. And every one made me criiiiinge!  But I could NOT tear myself away from it!  Again, Roth's ability to create a story where every aspect and every detail is meaningful should be celebrated and flaunted!!!

I'm rating Insurgent 5 STARS, and if you know what's good for your brain, you'll want to get your hands on this book.  Seriously, whats holding you up? This book needs to go to the top of your TBR list, STAT.            

Thank you for checking out my review.  You will not regret spending your time with Insurgent.

Review: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver




Pandemonium
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: Story Machine Studio
Series: Delirium #2
Format: Audible Audio Book
Length: 
10 Hrs 37 Mins 
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Release Date: February 28, 2012






I'm pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
push,
push,
push,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.

Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.
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My Thoughts


This sequel had me on the edge of my seat.  I was not a fan of Julian, even though most of what he went through wasn't his fault.  As the story progressed, my heart did soften for him a tad, but still, he was no Alex.  For not really being in the book, Alex's presence was never lacking, though for the longest time I thought the question of his fate would go entirely unanswered and we would have to assume, as Lena did that he was killed.  This causes, in effect, the tension on this subject and his memory to be intense, and it is marvelously wrenching on the emotions.  It was terribly difficult to bear, but fabulous as far as storytelling goes.  

I love the narrator of this audio book, Sarah Drew.  She is intense and soft, rigid and precise.  She has really brought Lauren Oliver's books to life.  I feel Lena's emotions so much more when she reads the dialogue.  

Lena...Lena, Lena, Lena. Oh my gosh.  The transformation, physically and mentally that she goes through is unbelievable.  It is unfair, yet the only thing she can do if she wants to live.  Although, if she didn't want to at this point, I wouldn't blame her.  The fact that she even wants to go on is a testament to the character building that she has endured.  I don't know if I was in her shoes if it would be worth it to continue, although maybe she feels is she doesn't fight to reveal the truth, maybe no one else will?  I haven't yet discovered what keeps her driven to survive.  It can't simply be the new feelings she experiences once she catches the Deliria?  Maybe because it's so new to her it's effect is even stronger than if she'd been exposed to it her whole life?  That is just my speculation, of course.   

I loved the dual perspective of THEN and NOW in this installment, it reeeally works in this book, since the story is longer than I typically find enjoyable. With Oliver delivering each story a little bit at a time, I couldn't willingly tear myself away from it. The emotions in this book go back and forth, and with the THEN & NOW narrative, your emotions will be busy nonstop in the warmest-good-book-feeling possible.  You will be so wound up in one part of the story and then Oliver will switch it up.  Some reviewers found this annoying and it seems this will be one of those love/hate things with readers, and in my case, I loved it.  

I had to keep listening to this book, I HAD TO. My husband does not understand my love affair with books, but I have a naturally inquisitive mind, and I had to know the answers to all the little questions I was left with in Delirium, like IS ALEX ALIVE!?!?!? Plus Pandemonium From what I've read, the next book will be told from Hana & Lena's POV.  After seeing Hana only when Lena thought of her in Pandemonium,  I am so ready for #3! I love Hana and I can't wait to hear more of her story.  

So much happened in this book, that revealing very much would be spoilery. The build up of emotions was so perfect.  I adore this serious and I recommend it to all my friends! I have to let you know that the end is a cliff hanger within the same dramatic realm as Catching Fire. That being said, steel yourselves!

I'm rating Pandemonium 5 STARS, because the book is fantastic and Lauren Oliver continues to just kick butt on the YA scene. She is an author that I can definitely trust.  If I'm in a reading rut, I can pick up one of her books and I won't be disappointed. I hope, if you haven't read this series, that you will.  It's great & worth buying for yourself AND all your friends!  

Thanks for making a stop at Bookish Novelties today! 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

REVIEW: Waking Storms by Sarah Porter


Waking Storms
Author: Sarah Porter
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Format: Audible Audiobook
Narrator: Julia Whelan
Series: Lost Voices #2
Length: 13 Hrs, 3 Mins
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Paranormal, Mythology, Mermaids
Release Date: July 1, 2012

After parting ways with her troubled mermaid tribe, Luce just wants to live peacefully on her own. But her tranquility doesn’t last long: she receives news that the tribe is on the verge of collapse and desperately needs her leadership. The tribe’s cruel queen wants Luce dead. Dorian, the boy Luce broke mermaid law to save, is determined to make her pay for her part in the murder of his family. And while the mermaids cling to the idea that humans never suspect their existence, there are suddenly ominous signs to the contrary.

But when Luce and Dorian meet, they start to wonder if love can overpower the

hatred they know they should feel for each other. Can Luce fulfill her rightful role as
queen of the mermaids without sacrificing her forbidden romance with Dorian?
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My Thoughts


After falling in love with Lost Voices, I couldn't wait for Waking Storms.  I was not disappointed.  WS was just as poignant, but even more emotional and even more raw.  By-the-book Luce makes many decisions in book two that help us to realize that she has maintained more of her humanity than any of the tribe and the temoc allow.  Luce will have to make sacrifices and that means that one part fo her heart will break, no matter what she does.

There is so much more to this story than there was to LV.  In book one, Luce is adjusting to being a mermaid and what that entails: their roles and responsibilities, their laws and the consequences of not following those laws.  Plus, she is also learning about her new gift, her voice.  In book two Luce seems to have this things understood, and her voice mastered.  In an environment where a beautiful voice means power, she is the rightful, yet reluctant queen.

I adore the idea that Luce doesn't want to obey her charge to sink ships and kill humans.  I love that in book 2 we learn where that responsibility comes from and why their roles are what they are.  I loved all the new characters that were introduced, and we learn more about a character I'm not a fan of, Dorian.  His story is interesting but does drag the story out a bit.  I was really surprised how long it ended up being.  When I was on the 2nd half of the audiobook I kept thinking to myself, "now it's going to be over...now, it'll be over...here's where it will end," but Julia Whelan kept reading!  And I was glad she did because it kept getting better and better!

The more I read this series the more I think how difficult a book it must be to write.  I never feel lost in the story but the premise and it's revelation of each new element seems daunting.  Everything is so involved with everything else that I don't understand how Sarah Porter doesn't get lost in the dialogue and story telling herself.  (I guess that's why there are editors :)

Dorian bothers me, even though his story is sad.  It's not his fault he's an orphan, but he's kind of a jerk in some ways.  But, he is unique...he's one of the only people ever to have heard a mermaid sing and live to tell about it. This aspect is also intriguing although Dorian's emotions are all over the place and that drives me crazy.  This is my opinion, and even to me it makes no sense because the kid has every right to be all over the place: his family has been killed, he heard a mermaid's song, he was rescued by a mermaid, law enforcement wants to talk to him about it, and he thinks he's in love with a mermaid.  The mermaid's song alone has confused him with emotion.  Maybe the idea of him being so overcome with "lovey" emotions annoys me?  Idk, but lets just say that when Luce goes away for the winter, I was relieved that she would be away from him for a while. I think he's rude, selfish and needy.  I know this makes no sense because of what he's been through, but he just is!!!

I LOVE SARAH PORTER.  Her storytelling ability is fabulous, her dialogue is realistic (as far as I think mermaids should speak, anyway, considering they were just human girls once), and her writing is genuinely beautiful.  I've used this word to describe her writing before, but I think it really is the only word that fits her style and prose: mellifluous. It's light and beautiful, despite telling a dark and sometimes heavy tale about loss, forgiveness and the devastating realities of humanity, mermaids or not.    Despite all the negative things Luce encounters, one thing glimmers brighter than anything else that could affect her: hope. When I think of the hope in this story I feel like I could be swimming in the ocean with goggles.  I turn on my back, under the surface and look up towards the sun.  The view is rippled, but the light is present and clear.  The hope is there.  Well done Ms. Porter.  Waking Storms is a literary success if I've ever seen one.

Hands down, Waking Storms gets 5 STARS.

Thanks you for making a stop here today!  


REVIEW: Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore


Angel Eyes
Author: Shannon Dittemore
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Fiction
Format: Digital ARC (courtesy of NetGalley)
Series: Angel Eyes Trilogy #1
Page Count: 327
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Paranormal, Angels
Release Date: May 29, 2012

Brielle’s a ballerina who went to the city to chase her dreams and found tragedy instead. She’s come home to shabby little Stratus, Oregon, to live with her grief and her guilt . . . and the incredible, numbing cold she can’t seem to shake.

Jake’s the new guy at school. The boy next door with burning hands and an unbelievable gift that targets him for corruption.

Something more than fate has brought them together. An evil bigger than both of them lurks in the shadows nearby, hiding in plain sight. Two angels stand guard, unsure what’s going to happen. And a beauty brighter than Jake or Brielle has ever seen is calling them to join the battle in a realm where all human choices start.

A realm that only angels and demons—and Brielle—can perceive.


First Line: "The boy trembles."

Last Line: "It means we wait."
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My Thoughts


When I picked up this book I thought it would be just another angel/demon book.  While both appear in this book, I loved Shannon Dittemore's take on the theme.  Sometimes I felt the book was long-winded, but just as that point was coming along the characters would kick it into gear and the plot would twist.  Sometimes, towards the end, the dialogue would get confusing, but I don't really have any other issues with the book.  

I like it enough to want to read number two and that's good enough for me.  I loved the interactions between Brielle and Jake.  Jake really does exude safety.  When I was reading about him I felt a tangible warmth and comfort that is difficult to describe.  I also pictured Chris Zylka (from one Jake to another, right?). Yummy.  He can protect me anyday, angel or not (don't tell my husband ;).

I loved the angel theology and religious undertones that Dittemore employed.  I loved the theological aspects the most because I feel like those are the things in our life that we learn in our most desperate hours that teach us the most.  Having our faith tested and surviving it, enlightened, whether beat up or not, is really what mortality is about.  Brielle learned that and she learned about forgiveness, for herself and others, and also what faith really means.  I love the books that end with a lesson in faith, where help comes to the MC because they finally decided that they could only survive or succeed with God's help.  I know it's really cliche, but I appreciate that because in my life, it's true.  I can't get through one day on my own without God's help and I really relate to character's who are on their own journey to realizing that.  

The ending freaked me out.  I was not expecting that and I'm a little devastated by it! I can't wait to read the second book so I will know what happens with Brielle and Jake's future!  Also, am I the only one who pictures Canaan as Gandalph?  I also hope that Brielle gets to go back to doing what she loves: dancing, now that she knows she's not at fault for her best friends murder.  Maybe then Jake will get to wear that tutu after all :) 

I'm rating Angel Eyes 3 STARS because it could be better, but it's intriguing enough that I need to finish the series.  Great set up for the series. 

Thank you for joining me today!   

REVIEW: Dead Time by Anne Cassidy


Dead Time
Author: Anne Cassidy
Publisher: Walker & Company 
Format: Digital ARC (courtesy of NetGalley)
Series: The Murder Notebooks #1
Page Count: 224
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, UK YA
Release Date: May 22, 2012

When Rose was twelve, her mother and stepfather went out for dinner and never came back. Now seventeen, she lives with her grandmother and goes to school in London. She’s always wondered about her stepbrother, Joshua, whom she only lived with briefly and who was also relocated after their parents’ disappearance. When Rose and Joshua meet again, they find they have much in common, including a desire to uncover the mystery surrounding their parents’ disappearance . . . and a mutual attraction to each other. But when Rose witnesses the murders of not one but two of her classmates, she must uncover who is behind these violent crimes. And when she and Joshua discover that a much larger conspiracy is underway, both of their lives will be in danger. From international bestseller Anne Cassidy, this first in a fastpaced and romantic new mystery series will keep readers guessing.


First Line: "Rose looked at the blood on her arm."

Last Line: Too spoilery to post!!!
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My Thoughts


I loved this plot idea.  There were some execution flaws and things that were annoying, like the characters alternating their doubts about finding their parents, but overall I liked it.   Sometimes the writing was a little flat, but an emotional connection with Rose was possible, so I am really looking forward to book 2. The biggest struggle I think i saw with this book is the telling of two story lines that still seem (to me) to be disconnected.  With rose being involved in both, there is somewhat of a connection, but I don't know yet, and won't know until book two how deeply intertwined they are.  I hope it turns out to be dramatic. *giggles like a school girl* 

Looking back, some people may have found the (semi) conclusion of the book to have been predictable, but I really didn't see it coming.  As far as Rose & Josh's parents fate, I may have thought that was the answer, but I never allowed myself to buy it completely, so that answer was a bit of a shock as well.     

I enjoyed that this book wasn't about the romance.  There are smidgeons of it in there, but every so often I feel the need to have a romance-axed read to keep my brain from drowning in estrogen. You can tell that Anne Cassidy allowed Rose's character to unfold instead of forcing her into this mold of female YA MCs.  Even though Rose is a loner, you can tell she's just kind of lost in her life and that her intentions are good.  She's misunderstood but she is also a poor communicator, which could be the source of her being misread. She can act pretty irrational, but she always takes the reprimand dished out to her willingly, as long as she gets to do the right thing in the big picture.  She's vulnerable, but seems to be pretty stern with herself.   

I think this was a pretty good setup boo for the rest of the series and I really am expecting book two to up the ante.  I really think Cassidy can pull it off, so I'm definitely rooting for her.  I want to know what happens and how these characters will continue to evolve, both personally and in their relationships with each other.  

This is my first exposure to Anne Cassidy's writing, but I've heard amazing things about some of her other work.  I've definitely got to check it out.  

I'm rating Dead Time 3 STARS.  I think it's worth a read if you're stumped with where to go next on your TBR pile. 

Thank you for making me part of your day today! 


REVIEW: Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowan


Dark Kiss
Author: Michelle Rowan
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format: Digital ARC (courtesy of NetGalley)
Series: Nightwatcher #1 
Page Count: 348
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Steampunk,  
Release Date: May 29, 2012

Smart, über-careful, ordinary Samantha—that's me. But I just couldn't pass up a surprise kiss from my number one unattainable crush. A kiss that did something to me…something strange. Now I feel hungry all the time, but not for food. It's like part of me is missing—and I don't know if I can get it back.

Then there's Bishop. At first I thought he was just a street kid, but the secrets he's keeping are as intense as his unearthly blue eyes. If he's what I think he is, he may be the only one who can help me. But something terrifying is closing in, and the one chance Bishop and I have to stop it means losing everything I ever wanted and embracing the darkness inside me….


First Line: "'What are you doing?'"

Last Line: "At the moment, however, all I really wanted to think about was pizza."
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My Thoughts


There were a few twists in this book that were variations of "typical" YA plots, but even still, some of the dialogue, character's timing and sarcasm was really cheesy.  It wasn't a bad book, I just didn't enjoy it.  I was bored with it by the time Samantha learned who Bishop was.  If you like Paranormal romance, then, definitely, this would be a book to read, but the dialogue is kind of everywhere and very predictable.  In fact, the story itself is predictable. So, if you want a fast read that you don't have to think about too much, with a couple twists, this would be a good read for you.

The antagonist of this story was kind of ridiculous, and the plot of her getting what she wants dragged on and on.  It was like a chess game where one player overanalyzes each and every move until the other player starts losing on purpose. I kept thinking, someone move already! She was "older" than the protagonist, and had more experience in this "realm" of things so she should have been able to take Samantha out of the game really easy. Instead, you're left wanting to kick everyone in the scene, except maybe Bishop, because they're indecisive and slow to act.

The angel/demon theme books are big right now, maybe this one just caught the end of that theme?  Or maybe it was just too generic?  I'm not sure, because I think the premise is pretty smart, it was lacking real emotion.  Samantha was...gray for me.  In more than one way.  I needed something to set her apart in my mind, instead of just being unknowingly born with certain ...qualities? 

Also cover crime:  The original angel/boy/whatever had an Elvis bouffant.  Where did that go!?  Bad executive decision.  I'd buy it just for the King do'.      

I'm rating Dark Kiss 2 stars.  I tried, it wasn't my cup of soul-er, tea. 

Thank you for hopping over today! 


REVIEW: The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross


The Girl in the Clockwork Collar
Author: Kady Cross
Publisher: Harlequin 
Format: Digital ARC (courtesy of NetGalley)
Series: Steampunk Chronicles #2 
Page Count: 416
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Steampunk,  
Release Date: May 22, 2012

In New York City, 1897, life has never been more thrilling - or dangerous. 

Sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne and her "straynge band of mysfits" have journeyed from London to America to rescue their friend Jasper, hauled off by bounty hunters. But Jasper is in the clutches of a devious former friend demanding a trade-the dangerous device Jasper stole from him...for the life of the girl Jasper loves. 

One false move from Jasper and the strange clockwork collar around Mei's neck tightens. And tightens.

First Line: "'What are you doing?'"

Last Line: "He was going to be alright after all."
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My Thoughts

This is a series that I have been kind of disappointed with, but this second installment redeemed it a little bit for me.  I have really enjoyed Griffin and Emily, and even Finley, sometimes.  My main qualm with her is that so is so self-depreciating.  Her self-confidence needs a ton of work, and now that she's finally found a small band that she can relate to, it drives me crazy that she still has so much doubt.  At the same time, I can understand why she has an issue with Griffin buying her things or giving her financial help.  I don't like people taking care of me like that either.  Pride. Meh. I like that Griffin likes her enough to be slightly jealous of any other guy Finley is around, an that he wants to take care of her, despite her not needing it. Mei was tricky, but from the beginning her story doesn't add up.  Obviously she and Jasper have a history, and he loves her, so he blindly trusts her. Never a good sign in a book. 

I do love the setting and the time period, and the descriptions of the clothing and parties is a lot of fun.  The pace of this series has been a bit tough for me to deal with, its on the slower side, especially since it's 416 pages. What Kady Cross lacks in pace she makes up for in detail and description, for readers who look more for that. Like in GITSC, this book is on the border of steampunk and science fiction, dabbling more towards the scifi than I enjoy, but the Tesla references & ties were interesting.  

My fear with the Steampunk Chronicles series is that because the world is illuminated so much, sometimes the narrative seems crowded and confused.  Sometimes the plot is very predictable or it's broadcast too early. The multiple POV's works in some cases, but in this story, I don't think it does.  Each of the POV's seemed to be conveying the same ideas, despite each having their own "sound".  That's where it turns flat.  It has so much more to offer, I think, than we are shown here. 

I'm rating Girl in the Clockwork Collar  2.5 STARS.  Better than #1, still not up to par.  Would I still pick up a Kady Cross book?  Yes, but it would just be a book I "got around to reading." 


Thanks for stopping by today!


Sunday, August 26, 2012

REVIEW: Like Moonlight at Low Tide by Nicole Quigley


Like Moonlight at Low Tide
Author: Nicole Quigley
Publisher: Zondervan 
Format: Digital ARC (courtesy of NetGalley)
Series: Standalone
Page Count: 224
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Christian Fiction 
Release Date: September 4, 2012

For Missy Keiser, returning to Anna Maria Island, Florida, means two things: her mother made another poor decision with men, and Missy will have to reenter a world where she’s known as “Messy,” a social pariah who dared to have a crush on Sam King, the most popular boy in school.

But much has changed in the three years she’s been away. Missy’s next-door neighbor is no longer an elderly woman but Josh, an intriguing boy who seems genuinely interested in her. At school, she’s surprised to find few people remember who she once was. And any remaining taunts of Messy are silenced when Sam King gives her his nod of approval.

Just as things seem to be perfect, Josh’s sudden distance, her mother’s latest relationship implosion, and her brother’s strange behavior threaten to ruin it all. Missy is forced to decide between the boy she’s always wanted, a boy who is intent on trying to save her, and the brother she’s known all her life. And her decision could have consequences she can never undo.

First Line: "People never ask me the right question when they ask me what happened the beginning of my senior year."

Last Line: "We waited for the great and wonderful tide to come in, and trusted that it would be good."
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My Thoughts

I fell in love with this story in the first few pages. This story that will keep you turning pages with it's suspense and vulnerability, and a cast of characters with a diverse range of emotional depth. 
It's a fantastic read, if you have any hormonal reaction at all to anything, this book will get you.  It deals with the loss of a loved one, the give and take of high school popularity, the bullies that plague and haunt us through our memories and how we let them rule our futures.   


Missy is the girl that people pity, she doesn't come from much, and not much is expected of her, considering who her mother is and what her mother's choices are, and the reader gets to see the mental, spiritual and emotional development she goes through first hand. I think Missy is the perfect female MC for contemporary fiction because she is a typical teenager.  I think she is very relatable.  Who hasn't been bullied somewhere during their school years? Those who are like Tanya...   


Tanya is the high school bully that everyone has in their past, and dreads ever facing again.  On more than one page I wanted to reach into the story and punch her in the face, for her sometimes subtle, sometimes deliberate berating of Missy.  The world is hard enough on girls and women, we don't need to beat each other up as well.  Tanya needs to learn some hard lessons in humility, compassion and kindness.  

Missy's brother , Robby is the troublemaker that always seems to be left to his own devices and no one really gives much thought to.  Some would like to fly under the radar this way, but really, Robby wasn't that person.  He needs his family and just that one person to believe enough in him to turn it around.  Sometimes just believing in yourself isn't enough.  

Sam is the high school jock that everyone wants to date, and he actually seems nice enough.  There were hints here and there of him being less than a gentleman, but really, he was painted as an average, teenage boy, which is probably why he will never be good enough for Missy.  Missy is used to average, and below average, in life. She's had enough mediocrity, she deserves something great, like a gentleman who respects her and more importantly, understands forgiveness, faith and respects her.  Enter Josh. 

I loved his character.  Josh was very accommodating to Missy and very "turn the other cheek" to the jerks in his high school.  He never holds against others the wrongs they commit when they don't understand what they're doing.  The opposite is also true:  if you know you're doing something that's wrong, he will expect you  to face the consequences. The best thing about Josh is that he sneaks up on you.  He keeps saving the day but he's so humble it almost goes unnoticed. Nicole Quigley has a very unassuming way of showing us Josh's worth and it works, marvelously. It's obvious that he likes Melissa, but it's hard to see how it will come together.  When all these plot twists keep coming, some as subtle as the sand shifts on the shore and some crashing into the reader as hard as waves, some may believe it's not meant to be for Missy and Josh.  Some see Missy and Sam continuing their romance, but really, what will the outcome be? You'll just have to read it and find out!  

The poignant story discusses difficult issues that Missy has grown up, physically, but she is about to be very surprised by the reaction of her peers to her return to the island. She will have to decide if she's happy with this reaction, or if her heart yearns for a different kind of approval and friendship from someone else.  Is what she's wanted for years going to be enough when the seas get rough? What is really going to give her lasting happiness?  In this amazing book, Missy will answer these questions, learn what it means to have faith, and what type of relationship it takes with God to maintain that faith. 

Like Moonlight at Low Tide gets 5 stars from me.  It's one of my favorite contemporary reads of the year, please pick it up and give it a try. I don't think it's possible to be disappointed in this book.  It's the kind of story you wish was a series so it didn't have to be over right away.  READ IT, READ IT, READ IT.   


Thanks so much for spending some of your time here today!


REVIEW: Slide by Jill Hathaway



Slide
Author: Jill Hathaway
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Format: ARC (courtesy of Balzer & Bray)
Series: Slide #1
Page Count: 250
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary, Mystery, with Paranormal Elements
Release Date: March 27, 2012

Vee Bell is certain of one irrefutable truth—her sister’s friend Sophie didn’t kill herself. She was murdered.

Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn’t actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else’s mind and experiences the world through that person’s eyes. She’s slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class. She learned the worst about a supposed “friend” when she slid into her during a school dance. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie’s slashed body.

Vee desperately wishes she could share her secret, but who would believe her? It sounds so crazy that she can’t bring herself to tell her best friend, Rollins, let alone the police. Even if she could confide in Rollins, he has been acting off lately, more distant, especially now that she’s been spending more time with Zane.

Enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger and with no one to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again.

First Line: "I'm slumped at my desk, fighting to keep my eyes open."

Last Line: "'I've already made my choice,' I say, and I grab the sleeve of his leather jacket and pull him inside." 
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My Thoughts

This was a great original story. I loved the mystery and the suspense, and I loved Vee. I think her biggest flaw was too many secrets, kept for too many different reasons.  She couldn't tell her sister because her sister was her "replacement" in the social and cheerleading scenes at their school, she couldn't tell her dad because, since her mother's death, he was emotionally checked out. Then there are the credibility issues, who would believe something like that?  That she slides into someone else by touching their emotionally-charged belongings?  Where would she start?

I loved the relationships in this book! The plot of this book is original, and the "paranormal" elements, for lack of a better word are fantastic, and they all occur while building and developing various relationships: Vee & her sister, Vee & her father, Vee & Rollins, Vee & Zane, Vee and her "old friends," Her sister and their dad, her sister and Vee's "old friends," even Zane and Rollins.  It could go on and on, but each of the characters in the pairings I mentioned above all had interactions with each other and we see them in the book. I loved that so many of Hathaway's character's interact with one another and that so many are linked.  

I think the best relationship is one we experience only briefly in the story: that of Vee & her mother, who has passed away prior to this event in the girls life.  It is because of Vee's experiences with her mother, and going through the difficulty of her passing, that Vee is able to not only withstand knowing such a difficult and dangerous truth, but also help her sister through it. Both Vee and her sister lose people they're close too, and it's all spurred by one big thing in the story that I can't tell you :) But Vee has to deal with the sliding all on her own, which is the most difficult part.  

The whole time I was reading the story I was yelling in my head, "JUST TELL SOMEONE ABOUT YOUR SLIDING ALREADY!"  I know the believability is really low about that, and how does she speak up about Sophie's death being a murder without becoming a suspect?  The way the author gave multiple reasons for Vee to keep her secrets was a success, and it kind of reminded me of playing chess.  She couldn't make this or that move because the one that followed it could be a potential risk as well.  

I loved the wrap up and the ending.  Maybe it was kind of a sappy, "chick-flick" style ending, but after the drama that Vee faces in the book, I say she's earned it! 

I give this book 3 of 5 stars, on account that I liked it, it was original, but there were some cheesy and predicable parts. 

Also, I recently learned that there will be a sequel to Slide, titled, Imposter.  Check it out on Goodreads, it sounds like a good read.

Thank you for being here today!


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