Monday, February 28, 2011

Review of Fall for Anything by Courtney Summer

Book:  Fall for Anything
Author:  Courtney Summers
Published by:  St. Martin's Griffin
Pages:  230

From GoodreadsWhen Eddie Reeves’s father commits suicide her life is consumed by the nagging question of why? Why when he was a legendary photographer and a brilliant teacher? Why when he seemed to find inspiration in everything he saw? And, most important, why when he had a daughter who loved him more than anyone else in the world? When she meets Culler Evans, a former student of her father’s and a photographer himself, an instant and dangerous attraction begins. Culler seems to know more about her father than she does and could possibly hold the key to the mystery surrounding his death. But Eddie’s vulnerability has weakened her and Culler Evans is getting too close. Her need for the truth keeps her hanging on...but are some questions better left unanswered?


This is such a hard book to discuss.  It was such an emotional read for me that I don't really know what to talk about.  I guess I'll start off with Courtney Summers writing.  Wow...every emotion was so raw, all that pain, hurt, depression, and angst came across in every word.  You couldn't help but feel for all the characters.  Even though you knew Eddie's obsession with knowing why her father committed suicide isn't healthy you couldn't help but want her to find the truth.  You wanted to help get her answers or to find her acceptance.   

One of the greatest things about Summers's writing is the characters.  Each one is so unique and I love how instead of focusing on who each person was, she more focused on how each person in the story was affected by Eddie's father's death.  Every person had pain, but they all dealt with it differently. 

One thing I really loved about this novel is the reality of it.  These characters and situations are so real.  Eddie not only has to deal with her father's death, but also normal teenage emotions like, jealousy, love, and friendship.  

I liked this book, but it was an emotionally hard read for me and I give it ★★★

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Amazing Giveaway!!!

Go to Maggie Stieftvater blog and check out her amazing contest.  Lots of books to win!!!  Here's her blog, The World According to Maggie.  Here is one of the possible batches of  books you could win.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Review of The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

Book:  The DUFF
Author:  Kody Keplinger
Published by:  Little Brown/Poppy
Pages:  288

From GoodreadsSeventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face. But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him. Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

I absolutely adored this book.  It was refreshingly realistic read.  The teenagers acted like teenagers (or at least how I remember high school being).  Bianca was great.  To me it felt like she was a close friend.  I understood her and what she was going through.  I could easily image being stressed and confused and wanting to escape...don't we all need that from time to time?  She didn't turn to alcohol or to drugs, instead she turned to sex.  Sex helped her escape her problems and made her to feel special.  While I don't necessarily condone this behavior I understand how it happened.  She was one hot mess!  At least they were safe and it isn't like she messed around with multiple guys...only Wesley *sigh*.

I also really liked Wesley.  I found him to be a jerk at first and I really couldn't understand Bianca's attraction but as the story continued he started to grow on me.  By the end, I thought he was a great guy and I had high hopes for him.

My favorite aspect of the story was Bianca's relationship with her two best friends.  It reminded me of my two best friends who are absolutely amazing and mean the world to me.  They balance me out and are normally my escape from my hectic work schedule and life in general.  It was so great to see friends in a novel who really cared about each other and stuck up for each other.

The one thing I wasn't too fond of in this novel was all the swearing.  (I know it's ironic that the meaningless sex didn't bother me but the swearing did.)  I'm not a person who swears often so when I see it in print for some reason it seems even more offensive.

Overall I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to mature teenagers because of the adult content and language.  I give this novel ★★★★ and 1/2

Friday, February 25, 2011

Follow My Blog Friday.


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

Q. Share your current fav television show! Tell us a bit about it...


 

My favorite television show right now would have to be Glee.  Though lately the episodes have been either hit or miss with me...some I love and some not so much.  I think one of the reason I like it so much is that I was in Glee club (we called it show choir) in high school.  Though, another reason is that it is hilarious and the singing is really good. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Greek gods and goddesses

Which Greek god or goddess do you most represent?

One of my favorite series is the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan because it got me interested in Greek mythology.  I was thinking the other day that if I were a god or goddess who would I be.  I went online and took a bunch of quizzes and answered the weirdest questions to determine which Greek god of goddess I represent.  My answers were all over the board.  I got Zeus, Artemas, Aphrodite, Hephaestus, Hestia and Athena.  I decided that these quizzes were bogus (but only after I took about 10 of them...they are kinda of fun even if they are completely made up) that I would just pick one and I decided on Athena.



Athena is the goddess of Wisdom, Sewing, Crafts, and War. I think she represents not only a part of me but also a part of who I'd like to become.  

What about you?  Which Greek god or goddess do you most represent?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Review of Raising the Dead by Mara Purnhagen

Book:  Raising the Dead (Past Midnight 1.5)
Author:  Mara Purnhagen
Published by:  Harlequin Teen
Pages:  84

From GoodreadsCharlotte Silver's world is like no one else's...As the daughter of the famous Silver Spirits paranormal investigators, Charlotte Silver is used to all things weird. But when coffins start floating down her street during a flood, life turns extra strange. And wonderful, when her friend and crush Noah signs on to help Charlotte and her folks in the aftermath. Cemetery cleanup might not sound exciting, but as shocking discoveries and a lurking stranger come to light, Charlotte learns that sometimes, raising the dead can bring unexpected rewards.

I haven't read Past Midnight but when I saw the reviews for Raising the Dead I thought I'd give it a try since it was being offered for free on Harlequin’s website.

This was a really quick read, being a novella and all.  It was really well written with all the aspects of a great ghost story.  It starts out with a huge storm that floods the area and leaves several coffins uprooted from their graves.  Charlotte joins her family to identify the remains of the coffin owners and bring them back to their resting place, but not everything is as easy as it sounds. Especially when there's a weird man hanging around the cemetery where the coffins were from.

I really like Charlotte as a character.  She was a fun, happy girl who really cared about others.  She's a little disturbed though that she thought she saw a ghost.  Now she wants to figure out what it all means.  

The one problem I had with this book is that I don't feel like I got the whole story.  It felt a little rushed and the characters were not really well developed.  I wanted more out of it, but what can I expect with it being 84 pages and all.  

This was a good novella, fast to read and hard to put down.  

I'd give this book ★★★   

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Review of Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz

Book:  Blue Bloods
Author:  Melissa de la Cruz
Published by:  Hyperion
Pages:  302

From GoodreadsSchuyler Van Alen is confused about what is happening to her. Her veins are starting to turn blue, and she's starting to crave raw meat. Soon, her world is thrust into an intricate maze of secret societies and bitter intrigue. Schuyler has never been a part of the trendy crowd at her prestigious New York private school. Now, all of a sudden, Jack Force, the most popular guy in school, is showing an interest in her. And when one of the popular girls is found dead, Schuyler and Jack are determined to get to the bottom of it.

I know there are a lot of vampire books out there but what makes this one any different...reincarnation.  I was really surprised too.  Like other vampire series, the vampires in this novel are immortal but they can choose to recycle every hundred years or so.  I thought this was an interesting twist.  Just imagine finding out not only your a vampire but that you also have memories from every "life" you lived up until this point.  How crazy and overloaded would your mind feel?   

Despite the lack of action in this book, I still enjoyed it.  There was something about it that really hooked me and kept my attention.  

I really liked Schuyler; especially that she was different, kind of punk rock and spunky.  I love that she visits her mom in the hospital every week and reads her the paper, even though her mom's in a coma, to keep her up to date with the news and society pages.  I hated Mimi...really hated her. de la Cruz wrote the perfect character for everyone to despise.  By the end of the book every time her 'voice' came around I just rolled my eyes and cringed.  What a self-absorbed, spoiled, condescending person.  How could she be Jack's twin?  The rest of the characters were interesting and I can't wait to learn more about their past "lives" and how they are all connected.

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

Monday, February 21, 2011

Review of Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Book:  Anna and the French Kiss
Author:  Stephanie Perkins
Published by:  Dutton
Pages:  372

From GoodreadsAnna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets √Čtienne St. Claire: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.  As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss Anna—and readers—have long awaited?

Are you ready to fall in love?  Not your typical love at first sight, but the slow gradual development of butterflies in your stomach, sparks when you touch, heart aching desire, and loss of coherent speech or breath for that matter.  Well here it is...Anna and the French Kiss 

The storyline for this novel is very typical, but the writing, the characters, and the dialogue were not.  Stephanie Perkins did such as amazing job at not only describing the sights of Paris, but also the people seeing those sights.  Her characters were so well rounded, and not just the main characters but all of them.  I literally felt myself falling in love while Anna was, being scared when St. Claire was, feeling hurt when Rashmi was, being hopeful when Meredith was and getting frustrated when Josh was.  I got butterflies and swooned, but I also got mad and hurt right along with the characters.   

All of these characters and situations felt so real.  Besides the boarding school in Paris, Anna, St. Clair, Meredith, Rashmi and Josh were your typical teenagers facing issues everyone of us faces no matter what age.  I think one of the best things about this novel is that it is very universal and anyone could fit their lives into the lives of these characters.  No matter where you live, or what your ethnicity is this could be your story.   

Another thing I want to comment on is the cover.  I love that we can't see the male's (who I assume is St. Clair) face.  It's great that we get to image what he looks like and can put in our own hero, instead of having another image forced into our heads.   

If you are looking for an amazing love story, that's beautifully written and will keep you up until all hours of the night just to finish it, I highly suggest this novel.  It's purely magical! 

Overall I give this book ★★★★★ and it deserves everyone of them.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Review of Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison

Title:  Here Lies Bridget
Author:  Paige Harbison
Published by:  Harlequin Teen
Pages:  224

From GoodreadsBridget Duke is the uncontested ruler of her school. The meanest girl with the biggest secret insecurities. And when new girl Anna Judge arrives, things start to fall apart for Bridget: friends don't worship as attentively, teachers don't fall for her wide-eyed "who me?" look, expulsion looms ahead and the one boy she's always loved—Liam Ward—can barely even look at her anymore. When a desperate Bridget drives too fast and crashes her car, she ends up in limbo, facing everyone she's wronged and walking a few uncomfortable miles in their shoes. Now she has only one chance to make a last impression. Though she might end up dead, she has one last shot at redemption and the chance to right the wrongs she's inflicted on the people who mean the most to her.
And Bridget's about to learn that, sometimes, saying you're sorry just isn't enough….

I wasn't sure what this novel was about when I started to read it and the first couple of chapters shocked me.  What a hateful, bullying, self-concerned, spoiled brat.  Bridget is the girl everyone loves to hate (and probably will).  She is the queen bee at school and at home and gets what she wants, when she wants it.  She is never told 'No' and always gets her way. 

The first half of the novel is all about Bridget and this series of lies and deceit she tangles herself in.  Bridget is a truly horrible person that I found myself loathing throughout the novel, even during the second half where she sees her wrongs and tries to fix things.  I couldn't get over her bullying and that she never realized how her actions affected others.

As much as I didn't like Bridget, I did like the story.  Usually if I don't like the main character I have a hard time liking the story, but not this time.  I felt like this was kind of a reality check that this really does happen in the real world.  There are people everyday who get bullied and harassed and my heart goes out to them.  This novel gave me a little more insight to their pain.  I love they way that the author doesn't sugar-coat Bridget's awfulness.  Paige Harbison wrote Bridget to be very direct and in your face.  I feel she wanted us to see the reality of bullying and not the watered down version.  The writing pulled me in and I felt every emotion fluttering inside me; hate towards Bridget, compassion towards the people she hurt, and pain from the damage she caused.   


I think the message the author is sending out is a very powerful one...your actions and what you say affect others.  We all know this, but how often do we really think about it?  It kind of made me look at my life and wonder how many times I hurt people with my words and actions.  I hope not often and at least a tons less than Bridget.  This was an emotionally hard read for me, but a good one. I would recommend this to anyone who like young adult contemporary fiction.

Overall I give this ★★★

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this novel from the Harlequin Teen and NetGalley for my honest review with no compensation.  This in no way affected my opinion or review of this book.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Follow My Blog Friday


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

If you are a fan of Science Fiction what is your favorite book? If you haven't read Science Fiction before...any inkling to? Anything catch your eye?

 

I haven't read many books of the Science Fiction genre.  I think my two favorite would have to be Beth Revis's Across the Universe and Stephenie Meyer's The Host (if you can consider them Science Fiction).  Both were beautifully written and I would suggest them to anyone. 

 

As for Science Fiction books I'd like to read it would have to be The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.  I've heard such great things about it and I feel it is one of those books that every should read at least once in their lifetime.

 

What about you?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thursday's Name Game

Name:  Anna
Gender:  Female
Character From:  Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins


Meanings and history of the name Anna:
  • It is of Hebrew origin, and the meaning of Anna is "He (God) has favored me".
Personal Experience:
  • Surprisingly, for how common the name Anna is I don't know a single person named that.  What about you?
Places name Anna:
  • Santa Anna, Texas
  • Anna Maria Island, Florida
  • Lake Anna, Virginia
  • Anna, Ohio
  • Anna, Illinois
Famous real-life people named Anna: 
  • Anna Kournikova, tennis player/model
  • Anna Pavlova, Russian ballerina
  • Anna Paquin, actress
  • Anna Kendrick, American actress
  • Anna Nicole Smith, model/actress
  • Anna Roosevelt, U.S. First Lady in the 20th Century
Anna in song, story & screen:
  • Anna Karenina in "Anna Karenina" by Leo Tolstoy
  • Anna Fitzpatrick in "My Sister's Kepper" by Jodi Picoult and the movie of the same name.
  • 'Anna Begins' by Counting Crows 
  • 'Anna Blue' by Cyndi Lauper
  • 'Anna Molly' by Incubus

List adapted from www.babynamewizard.com


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

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Butterbeer...yum, yum!


Who doesn't love the Harry Potter series?  I'm kind of missing the series a bit, so I was checking out some of the attractions at Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando and I found out that the most popular food item sold was Butterbeer.  This got me really excited so I found a recipe and I'm going to try and make my own. I'll take pictures and let you know how it turns out, but for now I want to leave you with the recipe.


BUTTERBEER
Start to finish: 1 hour (10 minutes active)

Servings: 4
1 cup light or dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
6 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
3/4 cup heavy cream, divided
1/2 teaspoon rum extract
Four 12-ounce bottles cream soda

In a small saucepan over medium, combine the brown sugar and water. Bring to a gentle boil and cook, stirring often, until the mixture reads 240 F on a candy thermometer.

Stir in the butter, salt, vinegar and 1/4 heavy cream. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Once the mixture has cooled, stir in the rum extract.

In a medium bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar mixture and the remaining 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Use an electric mixer to beat until just thickened, but not completely whipped, about 2 to 3 minutes.
To serve, divide the brown sugar mixture between 4 tall glasses (about 1/4 cup for each glass). Add 1/4 cup of cream soda to each glass, then stir to combine. Fill each glass nearly to the top with additional cream soda, then spoon the whipped topping over each.
 
Taken from:  http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2010/07/02/harry-potters-butterbeer-recipe-uncovered

Have anyone tried Butterbeer before?  I haven't, but I'm sure excited to make it!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Review of On The Edge by Angie Skelhorn

Book:  On The Edge
Author:  Angie Skelhorn

From AuthorON THE EDGE , a novel marked to young females and adults alike. In today's society permeated with illicit and readily available drugs, "On The Edge," tells the story of despair, addiction and with the aid of witchcraft recovery. A story of redemption in which today's reader will find hope.  The death of Carm’s husband had a devastating effect on her. She spends many months in a downward spiral lost to drugs. Haunted by her dead husband and a witch name Gretchen’s penetrating insight and wisdom offers encouraging helpful guidance for Carm to make positive changes to her personal, professional and spiritual life. A tarot reading is preformed with purpose and intention that turns out to be more than entertainment.

This novel starts out with the death of Carm's husband to a devastating tornado that rips apart Carm's life.  She is a young women who is now alone and lost in the world.  She gets taken in by a teenage stranger who deals drugs as a way to survive.

This novel was raw with pain and loss.  The characters used drugs as a way to numb their memories of their painful and damaged lives.  As much as I don't agree with it, I know some people can find life overwhelming and they just want to get away for a while and they figure the only way to do that is drugs and alcohol.  I don't understand a lot of the decision that Carm and the other girls made throughout the novel, but then again I was never in their situations.

This novel was very choppy for me.  The writing wasn't smooth and pieces seemed to be missing.  Instead of reading a lyrical novel it felt as if I was getting Carm's story told by an outsider in more of a timeline format than a story.

The novel was a fast read, but really hard for me to get into because I felt I couldn't relate to any of it.

Overall I'd give this book ★★

Disclaimer:  I received this novel from the author for my honest review with no compensation

Monday, February 14, 2011

Review of The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

Book:  The Iron Queen
Author:  Julie Kagawa
Published by:  Harlequin Teen
Pages:  358

From GoodreadsMy name is Meghan Chase.  I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who's sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I'm not sure anyone can survive it.  This time, there will be no turning back.

This is the third novel in The Iron Fey series and as much as I liked the first two novels, this one I fell in love with.  It was definitely the best book in the series so far.  The battle scenes were colossal with legendary fighting from all sides.  The love scenes were romantic and swoon worthy (make that double swoon worthy) and every page was heart-breakingly beautiful. 

One of the things that bothered me about the first two novels in the series is that I felt Meghan was whiny and a little self-centered.  She tended to only look out for herself and what she wanted.  In this book she grew so much as a character.  She was wise, caring, selfless, brave, and a hero.  She was simply amazing.  I felt so connected with her and really started to care about her.  When she laughed, I laughed and when she cried, I sobbed.

Of course, you can't forget about our favorite boys too.  Ash, I don't even think I have words to describe this boy.  I only wish that the author based him off a real person, because then I would know that soul mates existed.  And Puck, behind his boyish grin and court jester personality was a kind and thoughtful man.  He got dealt a rough hand but accepted it graciously...well almost, it still is Puck.

Julie Kagawa outdid herself with this novel and I must say if you haven't read it yet...go do it.

This novel definitely deserves ★★★★★

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Review of What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell

Book:  What I Saw and How I Lied
Author:  Judy Blundell
Published by:  Scholastic Press
Pages:  281

From GoodreadsIn 1947, with her jovial stepfather Joe back from the war and family life returning to normal, teenage Evie, smitten by the handsome young ex-GI who seems to have a secret hold on Joe, finds herself caught in a complicated web of lies whose devastating outcome change her life and that of her family forever.

This is a great coming-of-age story about a girl vacationing with her family on Palm Beach post WWII.  Evie is fifteen years old and wants to be an adult.  She's desperate to be grown up, but her mother just wants to keep her this sweet innocent little girl.  Evie meets a young man her stepfather had served with and instantly develops a crush that leads her into the deception, deceit, prejudices, and lies of the adult world where she so wants to belong.  Now that she stuck in the middle of all the drama she needs to try and figure out what happened and what her story is. 

Evie definitely grows a lot throughout this novel.  She starts out as this immature, naive little girl and grows in to a women with difficult choices to make.  Her relationships with all of the people she cared about in her life change drastically and she realizes that people are not always who you thought they were.   

This is a beautifully written novel that deals with some series issues.  It was nicely paced and very engaging with a touch of mystery.  

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

Friday, February 11, 2011

Follow My Blog Friday


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

What is your favorite romance hero-type? Stereotype wise. Do you like the strong silent type or the brute macho man?

 

I like my romance hero-type to be a little cocky, arrogant, completely sexy, and very manly.  In literature, I don't care much for the sensitive type.  I think my perfect example would be Eric Northman from the Sookie Stackhouse novels.  Though he is not always the hero he is still my idea hero-type.  

 


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thursday's Name Game

Name:  Evelyn
Gender:  Female
Character From:  What I Saw How I Lied by Judy Blundell


Meanings and history of the name Evelyn:
  • The original form was the Norman French female name Aveline, related to the Germanic Ava/Avia, of unknown meaning. In Latin 'avis' meant 'bird' so that has been attached for convenience, as has the French avelline from Latin avellana meaning 'hazelnut'. It has also been used as an Anglicized form of the Irish Gaelic √Čibhleann meaning 'radiance' but this is coincidental attachment rather than true origin.
Personal Experience:
  • I don't know anyone named Evelyn.  What about you?
Places name Evelyn:
  • Evelyn, London, UK
  • Evelyn, Ontario, Canada
  • Evelyn, California, USA
  • Evelyn, Michigan, USA
  • Electoral district of Evelyn, an electoral district in Victoria, Australia
Famous real-life people named Evelyn: 
  • Evelyn Nesbit, American model and vaudeville personality
  • Evelyn Keyes, American actress who played Suellen O'Hara, younger sister of Scarlett, in the film "Gone With the Wind".
  • Evelyn Ashford, American Olympic gold medalist in the 100 meter sprint, 1984
  • Evelyn Margaret Ay, winner of the 1954 Miss America pageant
Evelyn in song, story & screen:
  • Evelyn was the female lead played by Kate Beckinsale in the movie "Pearl Harbor."
  • Evelyn (Evie) was the female lead played by Natalie Portman in the movie "V for Vendetta."
  • Evelyn Salt was the female title character played by Angelina Jolie in the 2010 movie "Salt".

List adapted from www.babynamewizard.com


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

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Review of Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Book:  Clockwork Angel
Author:  Cassandra Clare
Published by:  Margaret K. McElderry
Pages:  479

From Goodreads:  When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.  Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

I loved Clare's The Mortal Instruments series so I was excited to read another series by her.  I like novels set in past time periods and the thought of Shadowhunters in Victorian times was thrilling, especially when they were relatives of Jace.  

This novel was fast paced, and full of action.  There were twists, turns, and surprises in every chapter.  The action was thrilling,and nail-bitingly good with battles that left you cheering and gasping with shock on the same page.  The dialogue was witty and laugh-out-loud funny.  It has all the elements to make a great book.  

That being said, I did like this book.  However, I wasn't in love with it.  I can't pinpoint exactly what it was about this book, like I said it had everything to be a great book, but it just didn't do it for me.  

The one thing I really didn't like about this book was Tessa.  I feel as if Clare has a thing for writing whiny, self-absorbed female characters.  Tessa had a one track mind about helping her brother and didn't care at what cost it was to others.  I found myself often frustrated and exasperated by her character.

I did really like the rest of the characters though.  They were unique and interesting in their own ways.  Jem was sweet and kind while Will was dark and broody.  They both have secrets that this novel hints at but it's evident we will need to wait until the next book to figure out their secrets along with Tessa's.  

Again as the new trend in series happens to be, this book ends with a bit of a cliffhanger.  Good thing the next book comes out this August.  

Overall I'd give this book ★★★     

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Review of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson

Book:  Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
Author:  Helen Simonson
Published by:  Random House
Pages:  355

From Goodreads:  Major Ernest Pettigrew, retired, of Edgecombe St. Mary, England, is more than a little dismayed by the sloppy manners, narcissism, and materialism of modern society. The decline of gentility is evident everywhere, from tea bags, to designer sweaters, to racism masquerading as tolerance. Mutual grief allies him with Mrs. Ali, a widowed local shopkeeper of Pakistani descent who has also resigned herself to dignified, if solitary, last years. The carefully suppressed passion between these two spawns twitters of disapproval in their provincial village, but Pettigrew hasn't time for such silliness: real estate developers are plotting to carpet the fields outside his back door with mansionettes and his sister-in-law plans to auction off a prized family firearm. Meanwhile, Mrs. Ali's late husband's Muslim family expects her to hand over her hard-won business to her sullen, fundamentalist nephew, a notion she finds repellant and chauvinistic.

Just to warn everyone this is an Adult Fiction novel, not a YA novel like I usually review.  That being said, I think anyone would enjoy this novel, but it is set for an older audience.

I absolutely adored Major Pettigrew's Last Stand.   It was a charming read that left you light-hearted and happy.

Simonson had such deep characterization.  You grew to really know and understand the Major.  He is proper and abides by a strict moral code.  He's opinionated and thinks the simple way of living is the best.  He's a regular guy who tries to do what is right instead of taking the popular choice.  He's kind of old school and yet he falls for not a proper English widow...instead a Pakistani shopkeeper.

This is definitely a forbidden romance on both sides, at least that's what their family members and the town think. You will grow to love the Major and Mrs. Ali by the time you set this book down.  You will strive to be like them in hopes that you have the honor and integrity they have.     

Simonson is an amazing writer with a flowing, lyrical style.  You will get lost in the scenic countryside of England and swept away with the vivid descriptions.

This is definitely a book worth reading.  I give it
★★★★ and 1/2

  

Monday, February 7, 2011

Review of Front and Center by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Book:  Front and Center
Author:  Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Published by:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Pages:  254

From Goodreads:  After five months of sheer absolute craziness I was going back to being plain old background D.J. In photographs of course I’m always in the background . . .
But it turns out other folks have big plans for D.J. Like her coach. College scouts. All the town hoops fans. A certain Red Bend High School junior who’s keen for romance and karaoke. Not to mention Brian Nelson, who she should not be thinking about! Who she is done with, thank you very much. But who keeps showing up anyway . . . 

Front and Center is the last book in the Dairy Queen trilogy.  I loved Dairy Queen and really like The Off Season so I had high hopes for Front and Center, and it didn't let me down.

What really makes this series is the main character, D.J. Schwenk.  She is so normal.  She's not rich and famous, but she is completely fabulous.  She's a sports-star (and she even played on the boys football team, which I guess is not so normal) yet is scared to be noticed and take charge of her life, on and off the court.  D.J. is such a realistic and relate-able character that she could be any one of us.  We've all been in the situation of having to make tough decisions and trying to find our own way.

That's what this book is really about...all the pressures associated with life and trying to find your path.  D.J. stumbles like all of us do.  She is scared and nervous and doesn't want to let anyone down...especially herself.

I think this is a great series and I would recommend it to anyone.  Plus, it's set in Wisconsin!! 

Overall, I'd give this book  ★★★★

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Go Pack Go

So if you all didn't know I'm from Wisconsin...born and bred.  I love cheese, brats, and of course THE GREEN BAY PACKERS!!!!  So for all of you who don't love The Packers I wanted to leave you with some reading choice that might help change your mind....just kidding (well at least about the changing your mind).






 I hope everyone has a great Superbowl weekend and of course, GO PACK GO!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Follow My Blog Friday


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

What is the book you are currently 'pushing'? (Pushing mean trying to get people to read it)

 

I guess for a YA book it would be Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta.  I think this is an amazingly powerful book that all people should read.  For an adult book I would pick Joshilyn Jackson's book gods in Alabama.  I love all of Jackson's books and I think she is one of the funniest authors and her endings are so twisted you'll never see it coming.  Have you read either of these books?  If so, what did you think of them?    

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thursday's Name Game

Name:  Darlene (D.J.)
Gender:  Female
Character From:  Front and Center by Catherine Gilbert Murdock


Meanings and history of the name Darlene:
  • Means "darling one". Darlene is a modern creation from the word "darling".
Personal Experience:
  • My mother's best friend is named Darlene.  I also used to babysit her children when I was younger.
Places name Darlene:
  •  None that I could find
Famous real-life people named Darlene: 
  • Darlene Love, American singer and actress
  • Darlene Gardner, Harlequin author
  • Darlene Gillespie, American child actress, best known for her work on the "Mickey Mouse Club" television show
Darlene in song, story & screen:
  • "Darlene", song by Led Zeppelin recorded in 1978
  • "Darling Darlene", song by Nirvana

List adapted from www.babynamewizard.com


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

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Review of The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

Book:  The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson Book Five)
Author:  Rick Riordan
Published by:  Hyperion Book
Pages:  381

 From GoodreadsAll year the half-bloods have been preparing for battle against the Titans, knowing the odds of a victory are grim. Kronos’s army is stronger than ever, and with every god and half-blood he recruits, the evil Titan’s power only grows. While the Olympians struggle to contain the rampaging monster Typhon, Kronos begins his advance on New York City, where Mount Olympus stands virtually unguarded. Now it’s up to Percy Jackson and an army of young demigods to stop the Lord of Time.

The last novel in a series is always a little bittersweet for me.  Of course I want to know how it all ends, but at the same time I don't want it to end.  I feel as if I've come to know these characters as friends and I will miss them dearly.
 

The Last Olympian is an epic novel with gods and demi-gods battling titans not only literally but also strategically.  Like all of the previous novels in the series, the fight scenes are original and creative.  They never end how you expect them to end; something always pops up out of left field (or in this case out of the pits of tartarus).  I'm very happy this book wasn't just all battle scenes, instead you got to look into some of the characters' lives to help discover certain reasons they were acting how they did.

The writing in this book is so descriptive and inventive.  I feel this is a truly original series that shows something like Greek Mythology in a whole different light.   There was so much in Greek Mythology that I didn't understand and this novel really got me looking into the Titans and the minor gods.  Riordan's storyline and how he gets everything to connect is pure genius. 

I must say that I wish I was Annabeth and that Percy was my best friend.  These two characters are amazing and I truly am going to miss their herioic nature and their constant love-hate relationship.  This was a great end to an amazing series.

I would recommend this book (and series) to just about anyone.  It's so much fun and it really gets you interested in Greek Mythology.

Overall I'd give this book ★★★★★

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Review of Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Book:  Hex Hall
Author:  Rachel Hawkins
Published by:  Hyperion Book
Pages:  323

From GoodreadsThree years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters. By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect. 

This was a surprisingly good novel in YA paranormal genre.  I didn't really know what to think of it going in, but I know that I love stories about witches so I thought I'd give it a try.

I adored the humor in this novel.  I reminded me of the movie The Craft only in a comedic, young adult way.  There are snappy exchanges between all the characters that have you laughing-out-loud and wishing you could think of come-backs that fast.

I loved that these characters were not cut and dry.  They had issues with their families, friends, and each other.  The secrets each of them held not only ruled their lives, but also the lives of the student's around them.  Some of these secrets were your normal teenage secrets while others were dangerous and life-threatening.   

This novel had one of the best surprise endings I've read in a while.  It had twists and turns that made you dizzy and rereading paragraphs just to make sure what you thought happened did actually happen.  I cannot wait to find out where the story goes in it's sequel Demonglass available March 1, 2011. 

This was definitely a fun read that I recommend to any YA reader.

Overall I'd give this book ★★★★