Monday, January 31, 2011

Review of The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

Book:  The Red Pyramid
Author:  Rick Riordan
Published by:  Hyperion Books
Pages:  516

From GoodreadsSince their mother's death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane. One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a "research experiment" at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives. Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them —Set— has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe - a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.

I loved the Percy Jackson and The Olympians series by Rick Riordan so I have been looking forward to reading this book since it came out.

Maybe it was all the hype surrounding this novel, but the story didn't really do it for me.  I really wanted to love it, and I tired, but I just couldn't. 

I think one of the reason I couldn't get into this book was the Egyptian mythology.  I'm not that interested in it and I felt there were so many characters, that I had a hard time keeping track of them all.  I'm also not a big fan of the half human, half animal gods and goddess. 

I did, however, love the two main character Sadie and Carter.  Sadie is a courageous, gutsy girl with a snappy tongue.  Her comments to her brother and to the other characters will keep you laughing throughout the novel.  She is exactly what you would imagine when you think of the annoying little sister.  Carter was so brave and so innocent that my heart went out for him.  I just wanted to give him a hug and tell him everything will be ok. 
All of that being said, Riordan creates a story unlike any other.  It's full of adventure, danger and tears. 

Overall I'd give it ★★★

Saturday, January 29, 2011

What did you read this week?

So I thought I would try something new and talk about what I accomplished this week. 

Books I finished reading this week: 

Books I started this week: 

It's been a busy week with classes starting again and meeting my new group of students.  I wish I could have finished more books but hopefully I will catch up this weekend.  That's what I've accomplished...what about you?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Follow My Blog Friday

Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee's View.
           My answer to this week's Follow Friday question:

What is/was your favorite subject in school?


My favorite subject in high school either had to be English or Chemistry.  I loved the different books we got to read for English but I hated the grammar and writing parts.  For Chemistry, I just love being in the lab and doing experiments.  I also think it's super cool to use chemistry to understand what things are made of and how they work.  (I'm still studying Chemistry now, hence the change in tenses)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thursday's Name Game

Name:  Carter
Gender:  Male
Character From:  The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

Meanings and history of the name Carter:
  • It is of Old English origin, and the meaning of Carter is "one who transports goods". Occupational name and surname.
Personal Experience:
  • A family friend of mine has a little boy named Carter.  He's about 2 years old and is cute as a button.    
Places name Carter:
  • Carter County, Tennessee
Famous real-life people named Carter: 
  • Carter Burwell, wrote the musical score for the movie Twilight
  • Carter Jenkins, actor in the movie Valentine's Day and he has also been on mutiple TV shows 
  • Carter Stanley, was a bluegrass musician in the band The Stanley Brothers
  • Carter Jefferson, was an American jazz tenor saxophonist
  • Carter Oosterhouse, carpenter on the TLC series Trading Spaces 
Carter in song, story & screen:
  • Carter, character played by Morgan Freeman in the movie The Bucket List
  • Carter Lang, a fictional film director in Joan Didion's novel "Play It as It Lays"

List adapted from

These are just some I know...what about you?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Review of Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry

Book:  Anastasia Krupnik
Author:  Lois Lowry
Published by:  Dell Publishing
Pages:  114

From GoodreadsAnastasia's tenth year has some good things, like falling in love and really getting to know her grandmother, and some bad things, like finding out about an impending baby brother. 

When I was younger I read a lot of Lois Lowry's novels including Number The Stars, The Giver, and A Summer To Die, but I had never read Anastasia Krupnik.  I came across this novel a couple of months ago and knew it was time to finally read it. 

Anastasia Krupnik is a spunky, fickle ten year old girl.  She's creative and original and very opinionated.  One of my favorite things about her is her little green notebook where she keeps her most secret thoughts.  In there she has a list of things she loves and things she hates.  Throughout the novel this list gets changed many times, with items often appearing on both lists or being crossed off and then latter added on the same list or the other list.  It really shows her thought process and how her feelings are attached to a certain moment in her life and not to herself as a person.   

There is not a lot of action in this book, instead the book follows about 6 months or so of Anastasia's life.  There is something endearing about this book.  I think it's the fact that Anastasia is just who she is.  She doesn't care about what others think and she often walks to her own beat.  She is definitely a friend I would have wanted in elementary school (but I probably would have been to shy and intimidated to even say hi). 

One of my only criticisms of this book is that there wasn't much depth and the author didn't go into as much detail as I would have liked, but this is probably a result of me being an adult reading a children's book and not the book itself.  This is a really cute read and I'd recommend it to preteens or children.   

Overall I give this book ★★★★

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Your go-to-Novel

So I'm sure most people have a go-to outfit when they're asked someplace nice at the last minute (like a little black dress) or a go-to meal when they just don't know what to cook (mine is confetti burritos), but do you all have a go-to book when someone asks for a recommendation?

I understand a lot of people have recommendations depending on the person's likes, but what about if you don't know the person well.  Is there a go-to book you have to recommend as a fall back option?

As I was thinking about this question I decided I would choose Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta.  I absolutley loved this book and I think it would be great for both young adults and adults.

So what would be your go-to book recommendation?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Review of Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Book:  Nightshade
Author:  Andrea Cremer
Published by:  Philomel
Pages:  452

From GoodreadsCalla 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 feel like this is a very hard book to review without giving too much away.  First off I did fall in love with the novel.  I stayed up late at night reading/finishing it and I couldn't put it down.  It's a fast-paced, thrilling, sexy ride that I did not want to get off of.  Plus this cover is beyond gorgeous! 

Most of the characters were well developed and very likeable.  The main character Calla is a tough and spunky teenage girl/wolf, as she should be being the alpa female of her pack.  She's a bit of a Tomboy who has a slight problem with certain rules she's suppose to follow revolving her pack.  She's a feminist in a way and wants to stand up for what's right even if it means endangering her life to protect others.

The writing pulls you in from page one and keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout.  This was a lot sexier read than I would have imagined, but it was done in a nice way and not too over-the-top.  I loved that the pack life wasn't perfect and the characters faced real issues and problems that normal teenagers have along with their pack duties.  

I would have gave this novel five stars if it were not for certain aspects of the ending (which I won't go into so there won't be any spoilers).  

Overall I give it ★★★★

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Review of The Crepe Makers' Bond by Julie Crabtree

Book:  The Crepe Makers' Bond
Author:  Julie Crabtree
Published by:  Milkweed Editions
Pages:  288
Available:  April 5th, 2011
Source:  NetGalley/from Publisher

From GoodreadsAriel is the head chef in her family kitchen. Cucumber salads, fettuccine carbonara, fish tacos, and peanut butter pie are just a few of the dishes she crafts when she’s feeling frustrated by the world. And it’s turning into a frustrating year. Ariel, Nicki, and Mattie have been inseparable friends since they were little kids, but now Mattie’s mom has decided to move away. It’s the girls’ last year in middle school, and they can’t fathom being separated. The friends concoct a plan that will keep Mattie in the Bay area — she’ll move in with Ariel and her family. But before you can say "bff," the party is over. Everything Mattie does gets on Ariel’s nerves, and it’s not long before the girls are avoiding each other. This was supposed to be their best year ever, but some painful lessons are threatening to tear their friendship apart. Can the girls scramble to make things right before the bond crumbles?

I really like the idea of a book combining a story and recipes.  I love when I read a book and it talks about a certain food and that author will also provide the recipe in the book.  I almost love cooking as much as I love reading...don't worry I said almost as much.  This time though it felt it was a little forced.  I felt like the author purposely had to mention a certain food just so she could feature the recipe at the end of the chapter.  

This book is written about a group a girls that are in eighth grade.  I don't know too many girls in eighth grade who love to cook.  I know a couple and I think this book will really reach out to them but to others I don't think they will get much out of the recipes provided.  

As for the storyline itself I think that many girls think it would be amazing to have their best friend move in with them or to move in with their best friend's family.  This isn't always the case and it's really hard to explain that to young girls.  This book is really about change and how people deal with it.  I'ts a good lesson learning novel.  
I really enjoyed Ariel's character.  I felt she was a typical eighth grade girl who was self-conscious of her looks, had to study hard in school, had a great loving family, and just wanted to hang out with her best friends.  She shows great emotion in the book, whether it's being worried about one of her friends or angry at something someone did.  I did however feel that the characters of Ariel's two friends were really under developed.  I didn't really get to know much about them and I found myself having a really hard time connecting to either of them. 

Overall this book was ok and I'd give it ★★ and 1/2.   

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thursday's Name Game

Name:  Calla
Gender:  Female
Character From:  Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Meanings and history of the name Calla:

  • is of Greek origin, and the meaning of Calla is "beautiful". Also the name of a flower: the calla lily.
Personal Experience:
  • I don't know anyone named Calla, but I absolutely adore calla lilies.  I think they are one of the most gorgeous flowers.  For my sisters wedding her bouquet was calla lilies and each of us bridesmaids held a single calla lily.  It was very elegant and very beautiful.   
Places name Calla:
  • Calla Bryn Sturgis, a place in Stephen King's Dark Tower saga
Famous real-life people named Calla: 
  • Calla Tartikoff, daughter of late NBC president Brandon Tartikoff.
  • Calla, daughter of actress Mare Winningham
Calla in song, story & screen:
  • Main character in the novel "The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder" by Rebecca Wells
  • Princess Calla, from the TV show Gummi Bears

List adapted from

These are just some I know...what about you?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Review of The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg

Book:  The Lonely Hearts Club
Author:  Elizabeth Eulberg
Publisher:  Point
Pages:  290

From GoodreadsPenny is sick of boys and sick of dating. So she vows - no more. It's a personal choice...and, of course, soon everyone wants to know about it. And a few other girls are inspired. A movement is born; The Lonely Hearts Club (named after the band from Sgt. Pepper). Penny is suddenly known for her nondating ways...which is too bad, because there's this certain boy she can't help but like...

First of all I want to thank whomever gave me this book.  I received it in the mail with no notification so if it was from a contest I'd love to give that blogger a shout-out but I'm unsure of who you are...but I truly want to say Thank You!  

So on the back cover there is a blurb from Jen Calonita, the author of Secrets of My Hollywood Life that says "Why oh why weren't Penny Lane Bloom and her Lonely Hearts Club around when I was in high school?..."  I must agree with her.  What a great group of girls.  They are so supportive and caring that I think every girl in high school needs these kind of girls as her friends.  

I love the idea of this book and I think it was executed wonderfully.  These girls realized they have been treated badly by guys and it's not always just the guys fault.  Often times the girls were changing who they were and what they liked just to please a guy.  They realized if they bond together and really start caring about who they are, they will like themselves and each other so much more.  

I think this is a great novel about 'girl power' done in a classy and not cheesy way.  

I also have to give a shout out to The Beatles who played a big part in this book and to Elizabeth Eulberg who is orginally from Wisconsin...woo hoo to Wisconsin authors!

Overall I'd give this book ★★★★ and 1/2. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Review of Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Book:  Across The Universe
Author:  Beth Revis
Publisher:  Razorbill
Pages:  398

From GoodreadsSeventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules. Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next. Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

I was really excited to pick up this book.  I've heard such good things about it and I thought this was a very original story line.  A girl who is cryogenically frozen gets defrosted fifty years before her time only to wake up on a spaceship that's been traveling in outerspace for multiple centuries.  She doesn't know anyone or anything about how the spaceship is run but she's on a mission to find out some things...especially who tried to kill her. 

I have to admit I was a little scared to read this novel because I'm not really into science fiction or dystopian genres and this book was often described as both.  I had no reason to be scared, Revis did an amazing job with this novel.  It was so thought provoking that I can't wait for my friends to read it so we can discuss it. 

There are certain points of view on the spaceship about how the world was run in the past and how the community of the spaceship, Godspeed, should be run.  This is where the heart of the novel lies.  How can one have the perfect community and what does it take to be a leader to that community?  I was constantly asking myself what I would do in their situations and I still am for that matter.  You know you have a great book when you have the reader still thinking about it days or even weeks after they've read it.

I really enjoyed the character of Amy.  She gets hurtled into a new world where everything she previously knew has changed and she's just supposed to accept it.  She is definity a feisty girl who isn't scared to stand up for what she believes in.  It's nice to have a heroine be such a strong and independent character who is going to fight for what is right.

I also enjoyed Elder as a character.  At times I felt he was a little brainwashed but most of the time he stepped up to be the man he needed to be.  He was put in many difficult situations and being the leader-in-training of the spaceship made him look at the past leadership more closely.

One of my favorite things about the novel was the alternating point of view between Amy and Elder.  I loved being able to know what both of the main characters were thinking and see how they were going to react to each situation.  In many novels changing points of view can get confusing but not in this case.  Revis did a great job in keeping each of the views separate, yet both connected to the story perfectly.

Overall I think this was a very original and interesting novel and I'd give it ★★★★ 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Review of The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

Book:  The Iron Daughter
Author:  Julie Kagawa
Published by:  Harlequin Teen
Pages:  359

From GoodreadsHalf Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey—ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her. Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.

Kagawa creates a beautiful and completely scary fantasy world.   I must say as gorgeous as Nevernever sounds I'm pretty sure I never want to be stuck there without some kick-butt warriors like Meghan had.  Yes there is the return of many of our old friends from The Iron King, but I won't say who since I don't want to give away too much.  

The battles were epic this time around.  The fighting scenes were fast paced and exciting.  Kagawa made you feel as if you were there sparring with them.  There were new characters with new agendas and of course Meghan and Ash are caught in the middle of it.  Something was always happening and there was very little down time.

The really liked this book and I would have probably given it a better rating if it hadn't been for Meghan.  I felt that she was a little too naive and helpless.  She actually reminded me of Bella in Eclipse.  I wish she was a strong, and more independent heroine, but then maybe I wouldn't get to swoon as much over the males in this novel.  

I must say that the ending made the whole book worth it.  I can't wait to read the next book, The Iron Queen.    

Overall I'd give this book ★★★ and 1/2  

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Review of Fire by Krisin Cashore

Book:  Fire
By:  Kristin Cashore
Published by:  Dial Books
Pages:  461

From GoodreadsBeautiful creatures called monsters live in the Dells. Monsters have the shape of normal animals: mountain lions, dragonflies, horses, fish. But the hair or scales or feathers of monsters are gorgeously colored-- fuchsia, turquoise, sparkly bronze, iridescent green-- and their minds have the power to control the minds of humans. Seventeen-year-old Fire is the last remaining human-shaped monster in the Dells. Gorgeously monstrous in body and mind but with a human appreciation of right and wrong, she is hated and mistrusted by just about everyone, and this book is her story.

Often times when I pick up a sequel or the second book in a series I get a kinda of nervous excitement, especially if I really liked the first book.  I definitely felt this way when I picked up Fire.  I loved Graceling, the first book, so much that I was scared that Fire was going to be disappointing.  Boy, was I wrong.

I know that people often complain that this novel was anti-climactic, but I didn't feel that way.  The story itself was about Fire and throughout the novel Fire was constantly struggling with her emotions and her power.  She is a strong, dependent character who also shows compassion and vulnerability.  She is not the heartless, cold monster that her father was, instead she is a beautiful person who cares more for others than for herself which often leaves her in compromising situations.

While I positively enjoyed the character of Fire, my favorite character would have to be Hanna.  She is this cute, spunky little girl who would rather be riding horses or in her fighting lessons than hanging out with the other children.  She brings joy into the story that leaves the reader light-hearted and laughing whenever she's mentioned.         

Cashore is not only talented at creating loveable characters but she's also talented at writing characters that the reader will absolutely hate.  In this novel, as in Graceling, that character was Immiker/Leck.  I get really angry when a person or characters has what feels like complete control over another person and uses it against them.  I feel like this is unjust, cruel and very dictatorial.  It leaves me with a sick and disgusted feeling.  All of these emotions arose whenever Immiker/Leck was in the scene.

Cashore creates a picturesque setting with her vivid descriptions.  The world she creates is like no other in the human or literary world.  It's intricate, complex and perfectly mesmerizing.  I really enjoy her writing style and I can't wait to read more of her work.

Overall, I'd give this book ★★★★ and 1/2

Friday, January 14, 2011

Follow My Blog Friday

Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee's View.
           My answer to this week's Follow Friday question:

What makes up your non-human family??


I live with two very mischievous, spunky and entertaining dogs.  They can be a handful but they are also the most loving animals I have met.   

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thursday's Name Game

Name:  Meghan
Gender:  Female
Character From:  The Iron Fey Series from Julie Kagawa

Meanings and history of the name Meghan:
  • Besides being a cognate of Margaret and meaning 'pearl', Meghan is also a name in its own right, meaning 'brave, bold'.
Personal Experience:
  • Growing up I was really good friends with a girl named Meghan and spelled that way too.  She never really mentioned anything about people spelling her name wrong, but I know it bothers certain people.  What do you think about this?  Do you get upset when people misspell your name?  Lisa is a pretty easy name and doesn't get misspelled often so I don't really have an opinion. 
Places name Meghan:
  • None that I know of or could find.
Famous real-life people named Meghan: 
  • Meghan McCain, daughter of Senator John McCain.
  • Meghan Hayes, "Table for 12", twin
  • Meghan Smith, a swimmer for Duquesne University that was named the Atlantic 10 Women's Swimming Rookie of the Week
Meghann in song, story & screen:
  • Meghann is the main character of the novel 'The Thornbirds'.

List adapted from

These are just some I know...what about you?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Review of City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

Book:  City of Glass
Author:  Cassandra Clare
Published by:  Margaret K. McElderry
Pages:  541

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

Cassandra Clare creates a fantasy world that sucks a reader in from the first page to the last page.  Her writing, much like her story line, are magical.  I had a hard time putting down this book because I just had to know what happend next.  The writing keeps you on your toes and you never know which way the story is going to turn.  Clare has the type of writing that makes a reader react to it.  It is impossible to read this book without screaming or cheering for the characters.   

Speaking of the characters Clary was typical Clary.  She was the headstrong heroine who didn't just sit on her butt waiting for things to happen...she makes them happen.  If she can't see a way around a conflict, she will create one.  I loved that she stood up for what she believed in.  She fought the fight the only way she knew how regardless of her lack of training.  

Jace really stood out for me in this novel.  His journey through his self discovery was hauntingly beautiful.  This book really focuses on Jace as a person and the emotional struggles he has to deal with his father, who he is as a person, and of course with Clary.  

This action packed, beautiful, emotional, breath-taking novel is the perfect third installment to the series.  

Overall I'd give this book ★★★★★


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

YA Take on the Classics

So I was sitting reading Great Expectations by Charles Dickens for my Adult Fiction Book Club and I got to wondering if there was a young adult novel based on this classic.  I couldn't find one but I did find some other YA novels based on the classics. 
Enter Three Witches by Caroline B. Cooney a retelling of Macbeth
Wuthering High by Cara Lockwood a retelling of Wuthering Heights

Jane by April Lindner a retelling of Jane Eyre

Ophelia by Lisa Klein a retelling of Hamlet

The Scarlet Letterman by Cara Lockwood a retelling of The Scarlet Letter

Son of the Mob by Gordon Korman a retelling of Romeo and Juliet

 What do you think about YA versions of the classics?  Do they get people to want to read the classics more or make them more understandable? Or is it wrong to change a classic that way?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Review of Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken

Book:  Brightly Woven
Author:  Alexandra Bracken
Published by:  Egmont
Pages:  354

From GoodreadsSydelle Mirabil is living proof that, with a single drop of rain, a life can be changed forever. Tucked away in the farthest reaches of the kingdom, her dusty village has suffered under the weight of a strangely persistent drought. That is, of course, until a wizard wanders into town and brings the rain with him.  In return for this gift, Wayland North is offered any reward he desires—and no one is more surprised than Sydelle when, without any explanation, he chooses her. 

Brightly Woven was an enchanting story with as many twists and turns as a roller-coaster (I mean that in a good way).  There were surprises around every corner and a little more of the story was revealed with each town they visited on their journey.

Bracken had magical (figuratively and literally) characters that won't soon be forgotten.  Sydelle was spunky and a strong heroine.  She took risks and protected those she cared about.  Wayland was dark and secretive at first and then sweet and charming as your grew to know him.  

This magical world swept you away as you continued on Sydelle and Wayland's journey.  This writing was good, but I wish it was a bit more descriptive and had better transitions between scenes.  Sometimes it felt a little jumpy or just cut off.   Sydelle was suppose to be this amazing weaver and I wish the writing had been more like her weaving, colorful and full of imagery.

Overall I'd give this book ★★★ and 1/2

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Review of The Change by Anna Y. White

Book:  The Change
Author:  Anna Y. White
Publisher:  Amazon and Smashwords (e-formats)
Pages:  317
Source:  Author

From AuthorThis is a story of a teenage girl, Natalya Orlova, who moves to Hungary to get a university degree. Unknown definition of 'cultural shock' becomes central shortly after she finds herself completely alone in foreign Budapest with no parents, friends and no language. Can she keep up with such a radical change? Can she trust those people around her? What is the price of wanting something badly?

I really like the concept of this story.  Often times in our lives we encounter bad times and just want a chance to start over, isn't that part of the reason for out of town colleges?  When Natalya first gets to her new university she feels lost and alone.  I felt this way too when I went to college.  I didn't know anyone and I also didn't know the city.  I can't image going through what she did. 

The author did a great job at letting us get to know Natalya and her feelings.  You could really relate to Natalya and what she was going through.  There were a lot of characters introduced in the novel, but White did a good job at only describing the main characters in detail so you knew which ones to pay attention to.  Her characters were realistic and could easily be people you would encounter in your everyday life.

As for the writing itself, it needs quite a bit of work.  There were often typos, grammatical errors, and rough patches.  I believe this was not the final edit of the novel and  that English isn't the author's first language so that could be the reason for the poor editing.  These mistakes made this a slower and harder read than normal.  I enjoyed the storyline of this novel and I would have scored it higher if not for the writing errors.

Overall I'd give this book ★★★

I'd like to thank Anna for giving me a copy of her novel for review.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thursday's Name Game

Name:  Natalya
Gender:  Female
Character From:  The Change by Anna Y. White

Meanings and history of the name Natalya:
  • is of Latin origin, and the meaning of Natalya is "birthday". Russian name from Natalia which derives from Latin "natälis" meaning "birthday", especially Christ's birthday.
Personal Experience:
  • I work with a girl named Natalia.  She's very smart and she does kickboxing! 
Places name Natalya:
  • Natalia, Texas
Famous real-life people named Natalya: 
  • Natalia Tena - British Actress
  • Natalia Vodianova - Russian Model
  • Natalya - WWE Superstar
  • Natalya Rudakova - actress in Transporters III
Natalya in song, story & screen:
  • Natalia by Van Morrison
  • Natalya Simonova - James Bond - Golden Eye

List adapted from

These are just some I know...what about you?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Review of Infinity (Chronicles of Nick #1) by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Book:  Infinity (Chronicles of Nick #1)
Author:  Sherrilyn Kenyon
Published by:  St. Martin's Griffin
Pages:  464

From GoodreadsAt fourteen, Nick Gautier thinks he knows everything about the world around him. Streetwise, tough and savvy, his quick sarcasm is the stuff of legends. . .until the night when his best friends try to kill him. Saved by a mysterious warrior who has more fighting skills than Chuck Norris, Nick is sucked into the realm of the Dark-Hunters: immortal vampire slayers who risk everything to save humanity. Nick quickly learns that the human world is only a veil for a much larger and more dangerous one: a world where the captain of the football team is a werewolf and the girl he has a crush on goes out at night to stake the undead. But before he can even learn the rules of this new world, his fellow students are turning into flesh eating zombies. And he’s next on the menu.

This was a very interesting read.  I haven't heard much about this book so I wasn't sure what to expect.  There were a lot of different kinds of paranormal creatures in this book that I had a hard time understanding what each person was.  This was one of the first books I've read that had Zombies in it.  I'm not sure how I feel about Zombies.  I like most paranormal creatures because I feel they can have this sexy kind of aura about them, but Zombies I don't really see as sexy. 

I wish that Kenyon would have developed the characters more.  I felt that I learned a lot about Nick, but no one else.  As for Nick I loved him as a character.  He was so witty that his side comments had me laughing through the entire novel.  I loved that he wasn't rich and had everything he wanted like some main characters.  He was down-to-earth and not only book smart, but also street smart. 

One of the things that I though Kenyon did really well was the bullying at the beginning of the novel.  I had a really hard time reading this because it felt so real.  I felt the raw pain of the comments as if they were directed at me.  I was crying, shouting, and cheering all within the first chapter of the book.

Overall I'd give this book ★★★ and 1/2. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Review of Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Book:  Unearthly
Author: Cynthia Hand
Published By: HarperTeen
Pages: 488
Published:  January 4th, 2011

From GoodreadsClara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what it is, though, isn't easy.  Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place--and out of place, at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.  As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make--between honesty and deciet, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Cynthia Hand did a great job at creating a new kind of Angel story.  Hand's writing brought this novel to life for me.  She did a great job with not only the paranormal aspect of the story, but also the everyday 'normal' teenage life as well.  One thing I love about this story is that the main character, Clara, knows what she is.  Often in paranormal novels, the main character doesn't have any idea that they/or the person they are crushing on is a paranormal being.  Well, Clara knows she's a 1/4 Angel and she has a purpose she needs to complete.

One of the best things about this book is the love triangle between the mysterious Christian from Clara's vision, Tucker, Clara's friend's brother, and Clara herself.  Just when you think that Christian is the perfect guy, along comes Tucker to sweep you off your feet!   

Hand's characters were the best part of this story.  Clara is this pretty girl who is down to earth and very likeable.  She's very conflicted just as you'd expect a teenager in her position to be.  Christian is charming and seems perfect in everyway.  He comes across as the great athlete, good student and all around nice guys.  Then there is Tucker, who at first seems a little cocky, but then you can't help but fall in love with.

Hand also gives us some great supporting characters such as Maggie, Clara's mother who is half angel and is keeping secrets from Clara, Angela, and Jeffrey.  Angela and Wendy, two eccentric friends of Clara's and Clara's younger brother Jeffrey, who I think is going to be very interesting in the following novels.  

Finally, I want to gush about this cover.  What a GORGEOUS dress! .  

Overall I'd give this book:  ★★★★

Monday, January 3, 2011

Review of Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti

Book:  Something Like Fate
Author:  Susane Colasanti
Published by:  Viking
Pages:  268

From Goodreads:  Lani and Erin are lifelong best friends — and total opposites. Lani’s a down-to-earth Taurus; Erin’s a fiery Leo. Lani likes to do her own thing; Erin prefers an entourage. They’ve always had wildly different tastes, from pizza toppings to guys. That is, until Erin starts dating Jason. From the minute Lani meets Jason, she can’t deny the amazing connection she feels with him. It’s like they’ve known each other their whole lives. She’s not sure if he feels it, too — but even if he does, he’s off-limits. Lani’s determined to ignore her feelings for Jason, no matter how powerful they are, rather than hurt her best friend. Then Erin goes away for the summer — and Jason seems to appear everywhere Lani turns. How long can she keep running from the guy who just might be the love of her life?

What a dilemma?!?!  How can you struggle between fate and your best friend?  First, I must disclose that I'm unsure what I think about Fate.  Sometimes I believe in fate and sometimes I don't.  When I started this book I didn't believe in fate and I thought Lani was a little crazy.  But as the novel progressed and Jason and Lani become friends it was evident that, at least in this book, fate exists.  Jason and Lani have so much in common and not just typical things but these crazy concoctions, like the color and shape of water??  (that I still don't understand).  How can you keep fate from happening...a best friend.  What I tough decision.  My best friends mean the world to me and I wouldn't haven chosen the path that Lani did, but then again I was never in that situation.  

I think Colasanti did a great job with taking a real life situation most people encounter and writing about it.  Sometimes 'realistic fiction' isn't always realistic, but in this case it was.  I really liked the characters and felt I could relate to them.  I absolutely adored Lani, Jason, and Blake.  Each of these characters were unique and well developed.  They are definitely people I could imagine being friends with.  I didn't like Erin so much.  I felt like she was a very fake individual that I would not like to associate with, but she worked well for the character in the novel.  

One thing I loved about this book was the quotes.  I have to share a few of my favorites with you.

"Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant, filled with odd waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don't always like."  ~Lemony Snicket

"The expected is just the beginning.  The unexpected is what changes our lives."  ~Meredith Grey  

Overall I'd give this book ★★★★

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Most Awaited YA Releases Challenge

This challenge is hosted by Books with Bite.  The goal is to read and review at least one YA novel released in 2011 every month.  I figured this would be a great challenge to not only read debut authors but also some of my favorite authors.  Here are some of my choice: 
  1. The Iron Queen (Iron Fey #3) by Julie Kagawa 1/25
  2. Across the Universe by Beth Revis 01/11
  3. The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney 2/08
  4. Here lies Bridget by Paige Harbison 01/18
  5. What Happen to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen 5/10
  6. Shift (Shade #2) Jerri Smith –Ready 5/03
  7. Supernaturally (Paranormalcy #2) by Kiersten White 9/2011
  8. The Clockwork Prince (Infernal Devices # 2) by Cassandra Clare  9/ 2011
  9. The Sweetest Thing by Christina Mandelski 5/10
  10. City of Fallen Angels (Mortal Instruments #4) by Cassandra Clare 04/05
    Happy Reading!