Monday, October 31, 2011

Review of The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Title: The Maze Runner
Author: James Dashner
Published by: Delacorte Press
Pages: 375
Source: Borrowed from a friend
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★

Summary From Goodreads: When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

This novel started out a little slow moving for my taste.  It took me a while to get into it and then the last 100 pages flew by. 

The Glade is the terrifying new world that a group of boys got thrown in (after their memories were wiped) and each month a new boy arrives.  They have to learn how to survive by not only planting crops, taking care of animals, but also fighting off vicious creatures.  I cannot think of creatures that were more disgusting and vicious then the creatures were in this book.  They were seriously the worse I think I've encountered.  This world James Dashner created was amazing and completely scary at the same time.  I wish a map would have been included in this novel just so I would see how the Glade was laid out.  So much detail was included that I felt I could imagine everything except the layout.   

The Gladers themselves, even though they are young boys, were wise and weathered beyond their years.  They spend their lives trying to determine a way out of the Glade and they think the key is to solve the maze.  The only problem is that the maze changes every night.  I'm quite impressed with these boys.  They are fighters; even though they were placed in a horrifying situation they've found ways how to survive and hopefully one day beat the system.

I never saw the ending coming. was crazy.  The ending alone makes me want to read the next two books just so I can figure everything out.  The one thing I was really happy with is that the situation that arose in this novel was solved by the end.  Of course there are things that the reader doesn't know about the Gladers situations, but The Maze Runner, even though it is the first book in a triology, could be a great stand alone novel.  Thank you James Dashner for writing a proper book (with a complete ending) in a trilogy. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Review of Revelations by Melissa de la Cruz

Title: Revelations (Blue Bloods #3)
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Published by: Hyperion
Pages: 264
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★

Summary from Goodreads: Schuyler Van Alen's blood legacy has just been called into question--is the young vampire in fact a Blue Blood, or is it the sinister Silver Blood that runs through her veins? As controversy swirls, Schuyler is left stranded in the Force household, trapped under the same roof as her cunning nemesis, Mimi Force, and her forbidden crush, Jack Force.

When one of the Gates of Hell is breached by Silver Bloods in Rio de Janeiro, however, the Blue Bloods will need Schuyler on their side. The stakes are high; the battle is bloody; and through it all, Carnavale rages on. And in the end, one vampire's secret identity will be exposed in a revelation that shocks everyone.

After the last Blue Blood book, Masquerade, I was a little disappointed in Jack (who is supposed to be the kind, extremely hot hero) so it took me a while to pick up this book.  I wanted to read a paranormal book in honor of the upcoming holiday and I needed a little vampire fix.

This novel had some twists and turns that that left shocked and confused all at once.  One of my pet peeves about books it being lost or confused when reading.  I consider myself a smart girl so when I don't gets something or I feel like information is missing I get frustrated. 

Other than that though I enjoyed the book.  Schuyler actions annoyed me for a while and then I reminded myself that she is a 15 year old girl and is going to have raging hormones and sometimes act without thinking of the consequences.  She has had to grow up and mature so much in the last couple of novels that she actually does amaze me in how mature and kind she really is. 

Wow...what a wickedly crazy twist.  This ending rocked in a completely "Oh my f-ing word...did that really just happen" kind of way.  I am so thankful that I started this series late and the next book is out already, because it is not something I want to wait for after that cliffhanger.     

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Night Date Night + Giveaway

On Fridays I wanted to do something a little different then what I normally do.  I decided that on Fridays I'm going to do movie reviews.  I'm hoping to review mostly movies adapted from books, but I'm sure other movies that were not based on books will pop up every now and then.  Hopefully some of these reviews will help you decide what to watch on your date night or a night of chillin with the girls.
I read Water for Elephants when it first came out.  I was enamored by the glamorous life of the circus.  The story captivated me and had me wishing there were still circuses around today that were like the one in this novel. 

When I heard they were going to be making a movie out of this novel I was intrigued.  I loved Reece Witherspoon and thought she would make a perfect Marlena.  After the first two Twilight movies I had my doubts about Robert Pattinson as an actor so I wasn't sure how he would do as Jacob.  It is a good thing that Jacob doesn't show much emotion in the novel and the movie, because I truly believe Robert Pattinson has one facial know the one...that awkward and painful looking expression.   

As for the movie itself, the costumes were gorgeous.  The circus acts were phenomenal and it seriously made me want to run away and join the circus.  Then I remembered we don't have circuses like that around anymore.  Or do we?  What types of acts still perform at circuses?  I haven't been to one in years.  

August was just as nasty as he was in the book.  He had me cringing at parts I knew were going to happen.  He seemed a little more conniving in the movie whereas in the book he seemed more deranged.  

The scenes with Rosie were breathtaking and heart breaking.  I knew Elephants were big but they look enormous when Reece Witherspoon is beside one.  Tai who played Rosie did an amazing job and I want to give major props to all the animal trainers involved in this movie.  I'm sure they worked long and hard and you could tell it really payed off.  The animals looks flawless in this movie and very well behaved.  If I was an actor I think I would have been scared to death to be around all these animals.  Yikes.    

Overall the movie was good, but I still don't think Robert Pattinson can act.  *gasps*

Wanna learn more about the movie?  Here is the trailer

Haven't read the book yet?  Here is your chance to win a gently read copy of Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.

Giveaway Rules:
The contest runs until Friday November 4, 2011 at 11:59pm (CST)
You must be 13 years of age or older to enter
You must fill out this FORM!
This contest is open all readers both US and International
Winners must contact me within 3 days of receiving the email or new winners will be chosen

**I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Review of Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Title: Beauty Queens
Author: Libba Bray
Published by: Scholastic Press
Discs: 12
Source: Libaray
Format: Audiobook
Rating: ★★★★★
Summary from Goodreads: The fifty contestants in the Miss Teen Dream pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras. But sadly, their airplane had another idea crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner.

What's a beauty queen to do? Continue to practice for the talent portion of the program--or wrestle snakes to the ground? Get a perfect tan--or learn to run wild? And what should happen when the sexy pirates show up?

This is the most hilarious book I've read/listened to in a long time.  Libbra Bray does an amazing job narrating Beauty Queens.  She uses different accents for each of the characters (probably around 20) and it brings so much life to the story.  Her voice pulls you in and even if the book was terrible (which Beauty Queens is definitely not) you'd still be captivated by her story telling.  One of my favorite things is that one of the characters announced each of the discs and had a little antidote for each number.  Like if I remember right, Disc 7 was the number of calories she was allowed for breakfast each morning.  It was so funny and something I've never heard before in an audio book.

The story was incredibly funny, but also dealt with some unexpected issues such as homosexuality, transgender identity, feminism, sexuality, and racism.  I loved how Libbra Bray started out with each Beauty Queen having a stereotypical image, but as the story progressed you really got to know each of the contestants that survived the crash and what they were really like behind the sequins, hairspray and the caked on makeup.

Another of my favorite things about the novel was the commercial interruptions.  They essentially made fun of common products that everyone uses.  It almost felt like a parody at times.  I laughed so hard while listening to this audio book that I actually had people stop and ask me if I was ok (multiple times too).  I must have paused it at least 10 times to tell the person whose desk is by mine funny things that were happening in the story.  Some parts were so amusing I just had to share them with other people.

This is a don't miss story...seriously even if you are not an audio book fan listen to this book on audio.  It was seriously on of the best audio books I've ever listened to. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Review of The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Iron Knight (Iron Fey #4)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Published by: Harlequin
Pages: 386
Source: Netgalley and Harlequin
Format: ebook
Rating: ★★★★★

Summary from Goodreads:  My name—my True Name—is Ashallayn'darkmyr Tallyn.
I am the last remaining son of Mab, Queen of the Unseelie Court. And I am dead to her.

My fall began, as many stories do, with a girl...

The perfect end to a wonderful series.  Julie Kagawa outdid herself with this novel.  She takes the readers to a new depth as we travel along side Ash on his destined journey. 

This world that Julie Kagawa created is pure magic.  In The Iron Knight, we visit a part of the realm where we have never been.  It's more dangerous and mystical and pure creative genius.  There is no possible way to read this book and not get lost into the surroundings of the characters.  You feel as if you become immersed in this world and instead of being a reader you are now fighting along with Ash and joking with Puck. 

The dynamic between Ash and Puck is heart warming.  They both have their differences and carry their own burdens, but they still seem to strengthen one another.  We get to delve into the thoughts of not only Ash, but also Puck.  Our typical jokester is witty and sarcastic as ever, but we also get to see a softer, more mature side of Puck this time around.  It was almost as if their journey was a very soul searching journey for all those involved.

The ending, while not what I expected, was brilliant.  It gives us everything we needed and after reading this novel I felt sated and complete...just like I should at the end of a series.

If you haven't started this series yet, now is the time.         

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

Today I'm participating in Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
Top Ten Books To Read During Halloween

For the Vampire Fans
1. The Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampires Mystery Series by Charlaine Harris.  Eric is the ultimate vampire.  Not only is he hot, sexy, tall, blonde, Nordic, but he's ruthless.  Did I mention how incredibly sexy he is? 

2. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead.  Another of my favorite vampire reads.

For the Witch Fans
3. Little Witches Big Night by Deborah Hautzig.  This is one of my favorite books from childhood.  It's all about a litle witch who can't go out on Halloween because she is too good.  It's really cute. 

4. The Witching Hour by Anne Rice.  This was such an amazing book.  I read it in High School and immediately bought the second one in the series.  I loved the southern setting and all the it was quite spooky.

5. The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike.  I really enjoyed this novel.  It was a little weird and twisted which makes it is a perfect Halloween read. 

Just plain scary
6. Complete Tales & Poems of Edgar Allan Poe by Edgar Allan Poe.  In the mood for disturbing and slighting teeth chattering?  Pick up these classic stories and poes. 

For the ghost, zombie, and other Halloween creatures
7-10.  I guess I don't read much about ghosts, zombies, and other Halloween creatures so now is your chance to tell me you favorite novels featuring these characters that are must reads!   

Monday, October 24, 2011

Series or Stand-alone...what's your pleasure?

I have often heard around the blogging world that people are sick of series, yet it seems more authors are writing series and bloggers are gobbling them up as fast as the authors can write them.  So what is it for you?  Do you prefer series or stand-alone novels?  What makes you pick up a new series?

For me, I'm a really moody reader so it all depends on how I'm feeling at the moment.  Sometimes I want to get lost in a new world and see the characters through their epic journeys, while other times I want something short, sweet and wrapped up all in one book.  I really can't define why I pick up a series or a stand-alone novel and I guess, when I ultimately look at it, I don't prefer one over the other. 

But enough about me...what about you?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Night Date Night

On Fridays I wanted to do something a little different then what I normally do.  I decided that on Fridays I'm going to do movie reviews.  I'm hoping to review mostly movies adapted from books, but I'm sure other movies that were not based on books will pop up every now and then.  Hopefully some of these reviews will help you decide what to watch on your date night or a night of chillin with the girls.

I have to admit I haven't read this book yet, but the other night me and my besties wanted a girls night in so we rented Red Riding Hood.  I didn't have high expectations for this movie, because I saw previews for it a long time ago and it looks so similar to Twilight (they have the same director) I just kind of thought it wasn't going to be good.   

Surprisingly, I really enjoyed this movie.  I'm not sure if this was because it was a great movie or that my expectations were so low that it just seemed good in comparison.  Red Riding Hood was a lot darker than I expected, but not too horror like.  It took a really interesting twist on The Little Red Riding Hood fable and turned our fairy tale wolf into a werewolf who just killed one of the villagers.  The villagers want revenge so they go on this mission to discover who the werewolf is so they can kill them. 

I love Amanda Seyfried.  There is something about her that is fresh and spunky.  She was more serious in this movie than I've ever seen her.  She did a good job, but I think I prefer her young and sassy to morose and serious. 

The ending of Red Riding Hood caught me by complete surprise.  I had no idea who the werewolf was and I had never even suspected this person.  Throughout the whole movie my besties and I were analyzing who we thought the werewolf was and we never once guessed right. 

Overall, I'm glad I took a chance on this movie, because I did really enjoy it.

Has anyone read the book and seen the movie?  Are they similar at all?  How was the book?

Wanna see more about Red Riding Hood?  Here is the trailer:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Author Traci Houston Guest Post and Giveaway!

Traci Houston, author of Blood Drive, is with us today talking about what she does when she is not writing. 

Hmmm, when I'm not writing I love to read, read. read. Reading is, unfortunately, is repeatedly interrupted by work. I do still have a day job. I work at Tres Jolie Day Spa as a Nail Technician. I also have two teenage girls that still require attention. So a typical day has me at work then home to throw a load of clothes in the wash, make dinner, feed the animals (of which there are many) and clean the kitchen. I then escape to my office to do bills and catch up on my emails. Finally, finally I get to write. I do blogs or work on the series. Now if I get the opportunity for fun my top choices are the movies, festivals, shoe shopping, and puzzles. I like to have people over the house, make something scrumptious, and hang out. I, of course throw a Halloween Party every year. We are lucky enough that our children aren't too terribly embarrassed by us so we frequently have a houseful of kids. They come to watch sports, play pool, and teenage boys are never ending bottomless pits so I make sure everyone is well fed. My girls have their friends over for sunday dinners so you can see that a lot of my time is spent in the kitchen, but some of my best memories have taken place there so I don't mind.  

Thanks so much to Traci for stopping by and thanks to Once Upon a Twilight for hosting this Book Tour.  

Now on to the Giveaway...Win a finished copy of Blood Drive donated by  Round Table Press Inc.

Giveaway Rules:
The contest runs until Thursday October 27th, 2011 at 11:59pm (CST)
You must be 13 years of age or older to enter
You must fill out this FORM!
This contest is open all readers both US and International
Winners must contact me within 3 days of receiving the email or new winners will be chosen

**I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Review of Blood Drive by Traci Houston

Title: Blood Drive
Author: Traci Houston
Published by: Round Table Press Inc
Pages: 252
Source: Blood Drive Book Tour hosted by Once Upon a Twilight/Publisher
Format: ARC
Rating: ★★★

Summary from Goodreads: When a group of vampires rises from the dark of the humid Miami summer and murders her partner, officer Cara Evens gathers a group of allies with their own unique abilities to avenge her partner's death and save the city. To succeed she'll have to accept her own changing abilities, ignore her lust for a vampire and hide the one thing her enemies need to kill them all.

This novel had some of the most interesting supernatural creatures I've ever experienced.  Not only do we get vampires and witches, we get a Vishka, a gremlin, some Treshcans, and a grounder (which I still don't really understand...I think it is some kind of helper witch.  If anyone has information on grounders feel free to enlighten me on this topic).  This world of otherkin was very fascinating.  I wish the author would have gone into a little more detail about this world though.  There were so many interesting creatures and I would have loved to see how they all connected. I did enjoy the vampire lore and learning how vampires transcended from guardians to being blood thirsty killers.  Maybe we'll learn more about the other creatures and their backgrounds in future books. 

Cara's group of friends turn out to be a really kick butt team.  I enjoyed Mason, Thomas and Beth and I think they added a lot of depth to the story.  I felt as if we got to know these characters more as the story unfolded.  Beth was a very selfless women who would make a great friend.  She was caring and wise.  I felt like she was the Brains behind the whole operation.  Without her they would have failed miserably.  She still has this secret that she is hiding though, and I'm interested to find out what it is. 

As for Cara I felt she was a very closed off character.  She has some psychic and empathic abilities so she learned to shut down her emotions.  I can't imagine the burden she had to carry with these special "gifts" of hers and they are not something I would wish on anyone.  I knew that throughout the story, her tough exterior shell was cracking, but for me it was not enough to truly connect with her.   

Overall, this was a quick read that introduced me to a intricate world of new creatures, with a fast paced plot and enough of a cliffhanger to leave you wondering what Traci Houston's next books will hold.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

Today I'm participating in Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
Top Ten Books That Whose Titles Or Covers Made Me Buy It
1. Nightshade by Andrea Cremer.  I love this cover so much.  The purple hues and the calla lily are just gorgeous. 
2. Fallen by Lauren Kate.  This cover is absolutely stunning.  I really wish I enjoyed her novels more because all of the covers are breathtaking.   
3. Delirium by Lauren Oliver.  What can I The Little Mermaid I'm attracted to bright shiny things.  
4. Vixen by Jillian Larkin.  I bought this novel a while ago because I loved the dress on the cover and I have a thing for the roaring 20s.  (I still haven't read it but I enjoy its cover on my shelf) 
5. Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley.  I loved Gone With the Wind so much that when I saw a book named Scarlett I just had to have it. 
6. In the Company of the Courtesan by Sarah Dunant.  I love the title of this book.  It sounded scandalously delicious...and it was. 
7. What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell.  I think this title is so intriguing.  Every time I went to the bookstore I'd pick up this novel just because the title intrigued me.  Finally I gave in and bought it just so I could see what it was about. 
8. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Anne Shaffer and Annie Barrows.  The title of this book was so funny that I couldn't help but buy it.  Plus it ended up being an amazing novel.  I'm so glad I stumbled upon this book. 
9. The Virgin's Lover by Philippa Gregory.  I picked up this novel because of both the title and the cover.  I love that the title is contradicting itself and again it sounded scandalous.  Plus the cover has a gorgeous dress on it. 
10.  Harry Potter and the... by J. K. Rowling.  If a book's title starts off with those four words I'm hooked. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Review of Need by Carrie Jones

Title: Need
Author: Carrie Jones
Published by: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Pages: 306
Source: Library
Format: Audiobook
Rating: ★★★★

Summary From Goodreads: Zara White suspects there's a freaky guy semi-stalking her. She's also obsessed with phobias. And it's true, she hasn't exactly been herself since her stepfather died. But exiling her to shivery Maine to live with her grandmother? That seems a bit extreme. The move is supposed to help her stay sane...but Zara's pretty sure her mom just can't deal with her right now. She couldn't be more wrong. Turns out the semi-stalker is not a figment of Zara's overactive imagination. In fact, he's still following her, leaving behind an eerie trail of gold dust. There's something not right - not human - in this sleepy Maine town, and all signs point to Zara.

One of the nice things about my job is that when I'm doing pure data analysis it's a fairly mind numbing process so I can listen to a book on my ipod while I'm doing it.  I listened to Need in two days.  The story seems to pull you in because of all the mystery that surrounds the town.

I've never been through something like Zara has so I can't imagine totally shutting down and being sent to Maine just to restart my life.  That being said, at least for Zara, I'm not sure if that was a good decision or a bad decision.  She's in this new town and meets these new boys to get her out of her funk, but at the same time trouble follows the form of a stalker guy. 

I do like Zara as a character.  I think she is not necessarily the strong, fierce, heroine type, but she's got a good head on her shoulders and doesn't back down when times get a little tough.  The best thing about this novel has to be the side characters.  Her grandmother has to be one of my favorite characters; she's spunky and feisty and everything you don't expect from a grandmother.  Zara's new friends are also fun and quirky.  They add so much life to the story that you can't help but love them.     

The storyline is a little different than anything I've read before, but at the same time there were a lot of common themes to other popular YA books on the market.  That is not a bad thing and it wasn't overdone in any obvious ways, it's just that when you read enough most novels have common elements as I'm sure you've all noticed. 

The story, however, did capture me and I was intrigued to find out the mystery of the town, the people, and this crazy stalker guy. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Reward Challenge - stage 2

I don't know if you are anything like me but it is impossible to stop from buying books.  I love it, but sadly my bookshelves and my bank account don't.  When I found The Reading Reward Challenge hosted by Good Golly Miss Holly I knew this challenge was for me.  

The goal of this challenge is not a book buying ban but instead a reward program.  There are different stages and hopefully by the end your TBR pile will go down, but you'll still end up rewarding yourself by getting some new books (plus there are also prizes you can win!). 

Here is how it works
Stage 1      Read ONE Book (you own)       =   Buy ONE Book
Stage 2      Read TWO Books (you own)     =   Buy ONE Book
Stage 3      Read THREE Books (you own)
  =   Buy ONE Book
Stage 4      Read FOUR Books
(you own)    =  Buy ONE Book
Stage 5      Read FIVE Books (you own)
     =   Buy ONE Book

a n d   s o   o n . . . 
Stage 2: I read The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler (review) and Where Demons Fear to Tread by Stephanie Chong (review) and I bought Return to Paradise by Simone Elkeles.   
Have you read any of these books?  What did you think? 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Night Date Night

On Fridays I wanted to do something a little different then what I normally do.  I decided that on Fridays I'm going to do movie reviews.  I'm hoping to review mostly movies adapted from books, but I'm sure other movies that were not based on books will pop up every now and then.  Hopefully some of these reviews will help you decide what to watch on your date night or a night of chillin with the girls.

I loved modern retellings of fairytales.  It is so interesting to see how an author will put a fresh twist on a story we all know and love.  That being said, I really enjoyed Beastly by Alex Flinn.  It was fun, exciting and simply a great story.  When I heard that Alex Pettyfer would be playing the main character Kyle in the movie adaptation, I was intrigued and knew this was a movie I wanted to see.  I mean come on this boy is seriously hott!

The movie started out with Kyle being as arogant as ever.  In fact, I felt it was a little over the top.  Of course he's arrogant in the novel also, but that seemed like typical rich, good-looking, all-star teenage boy arrogance whereas I felt the movie took it to a whole different level.  I didn't feel like this was real and his campaine for Green Earth president (or whatever it was) was ridiculous and I cannot see how any school would allow him on the ballot.  Seriously if someone who was running for an office asked me "Should you vote for me just because I'm a rich, popular, good looking guy...hell yeah," I think I'd either laugh out loud or just shake my head in disgust. 

Next we meet Kendra, the teenage witch played by Mary-Kate Olsen.  I loved Mary-Kate's take on Kendra.  She was edgy and high fashion yet definetly had a dark and mysterious quality to her.  It's definitely a change from her Full House days. 

While the movie followed the story line of the book I felt like there were a lot of liberties taken.  Parts of the book that I was excited to see never showed up in the movie, and then other parts were totally transformed into different, more interesting scenarios.

Alex Pettyfer and Vanessa Hudgens did have great on-screen chemistry.  Once Kyle and Lindy's relationship got heated up you could see they really had feelings for each other.  They seemed to play off each other really well and I started enjoying them more as the movie went along.       
I had high hopes for this movie and I'm not sure if it didn't live up to it because the book is almost always better than the movie or if there were just too many changes for my liking.  I did enjoy the movie, but it wasn't one of my favorites. 

Wanna hear more...check out the trailer to see more on this movie.   

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Review of Where Demons Fear to Tread by Stephanie Chong

Title: Where Demons Fear to Tread
Author: Stephanie Chong
Published by: Mira
Pages: 358
Source: From Author/Publicity Firm
Format: ARC

Summary From Goodreads: Fledging guardian angel and yoga teacher Serena St. Clair dares enter Devil's Paradise nightclub on a mission—to retrieve the wayward Hollywood "It Boy" she's assigned to protect. But she's ambushed by the club's owner, arch demon Julian Ascher. The most powerful demonic entity in Los Angeles, Julian is handsome as sin, a master of temptation who loves nothing more than corrupting pleasure–seeking humans. He won't release the lost soul Serena is supposed to guard. Unless she accepts his dangerous wager…

After the disastrous way his human life ended, Julian vowed that no woman would get the better of him again. Yet this sexy–sweet angel, smelling of fresh ocean air and happiness, triggers centuries–old feelings. Now, their high–stakes game of seduction, where angels fall from grace and where demons fear to tread, will lead them either to an eternity in hell or a deliciously hot heaven.

Meet Serena, an ethereal Angel whose sweet looks mask her feisty attitude and her determination to save souls.  Serena is not your typical Angel.  Sure she is sweet, honest and good to her core, but she's also passionate and is willing to risk it all just to save a soul...but whose soul is the question. 

Meet Julian, a wickedly sexy demon whose life revolves around pleasure and corrupting others.  He's made his life and his fortune out of sending others to the depths of hell, and enjoys the sport of it.

What do you get when you mix a touch of heaven, with a flick of hell...a whole lot of sexual tension.  This novel had quite a twist on the bad boy/good girl scenario.  In fact, besides the devil himself and the Virgin Mary, I'm not sure there is a match quite as opposite as Julian and Serena.  One of my favorite things about this novel was the self reflection and doubt each of the characters had.  They both knew their place in life, but never stopped questioning their actions towards one another.  Though one was essentially good and the other essentially bad, things were not always as black and white as they seemed. 

While I thoroughly enjoyed Julian, some of the other demons in this novel frightened me to my core.  Their actions were horrifying and often cringe worthy.  Serena is one tough cookie for being subjected to these creatures and surviving.  I think I would have ended completely insane. 

The one thing I didn't quite understand was Luciana's vengeance.   It seems as if she and Julian had two different view points to the same situation.  I'm not sure who to believe, but I'm inclined to go with the dangerously seductive hot blooded demon over the conniving vicious one.

While not being preachy, this novel definitely gave you a lot to think about and self reflect on your own actions.  Even though I'm no Serena, I'm definitely not demon material either.  I'm glad things are a little gray here.  It keeps life interesting.     

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Review of Crossed by Ally Condie

Title: Crossed (Matched #2)
Author: Ally Condie
Published by: Dutton Juvenile
Pages: 384
Source: ARC Tour Hosted by Kathy from Read This Instead
Format: ARC
Rating: ★★★★
Available: November 1, 2011

Summary from Goodreads:  In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander - who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart - change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

How far will one person go to find the one she loves?  Cassia finds herself in the Outer Provinces and she is determined to find Ky.  Along the way Cassia picks up a few unexpected visitors that help her on her journey, but can they really be trusted?

In this second book of the series we happen to learn more about the Society, more specifically how strong the Societies connections are and that they'll stop at nothing to have ultimate control.  This aspect of the Society still scares me.  I don't like when other people have complete control.  It is one of those things that gives me an instant red flag and makes me get all defensive.  I'm a pretty laid back person, but if someone took away all my choices I would not go willingly...or as the poem says "I will not go gently."

I loved seeing the development between Cassia and Ky in Crossed.  It was nice to see them grow as characters and really come into their own.  They had some difficult decisions to make and their journeys were not easy.  Not only was this a journey to find one another I also think it was a journey of self-discovery and deciding what they are going to stand for.    

There were a lot of unexpected surprises that kept this novel a fast read.  It answered some questions that they first book left hanging, but also introduced a ton more.  I guess I'll have to wait until the next books comes out to find my answers.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

Today I'm participating in Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
Top Ten Books I Wish I Could Read Again For The First Time

1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling.  This book started me on a phenomenal adventure into a magical world and an imagination beyond belief.  To not know anything about this series and to read it over would be a wish come true.  Amnesia anyone? 
2. Twilight by Stephanie Meyers.  I want to go back when this book (and author) were not a heated debate.  I want to get lost in the story of a plain girl and her vampire crush.

3. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris.  This series started out so good and I couldn't help but devour the books.  I also want to be reintroduced to Eric and all his yumminess...this is purely for selfish reasons.   

4. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin.  Much like the board game Clue this novel is a fun mystery that will leave you guessing until the last page.  
5. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.  Amazing story that puts a unique and captivating twist on a classic.  

6. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares.  I love these four ladies like they were my sisters.  To start the journey over from scratch would be amazing getting to re-experience everything for the first time again.     

7. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta.  This is one of my all time favorites.  I remember setting this book down when I was finished just staring at it in awe.  I recovered moments later and called my bestie to gush about how amazing it was.  I'd love to recapture that experience.

8. Graceling by Kristin Cashore.  I loved the world that Kristin Cashore created.  Her characters and her kingdoms are like none I've ever encountered and I won't likely forget.
9. The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner.  This series was a childhood favorite of mine.  To tell you the truth I could probably pick them up now and it would be like reading them for the first time since it's been so long.  When I see this series it just makes me feel warm and happy inside like the smell of home.

10. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.  This is my favorite classic and I want to experience that insane (both good and bad) love between Katherine and Heathcliff for the first time all over again. 

Yea!  I made it to ten this week!  Which books would you like to read again like it was the first time?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Review of The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore

Title: The Power of Six
Author: Pittacus Lore
Published by: HarperCollins
Pages: 406
Source: Library
Format: Hardcover
Rating: ★★★★★

Summary From Goodreads: Nine of us came here, but sometimes I wonder if time has changed us—if we all still believe in our mission. How can I know? There are six of us left. We're hiding, blending in, avoiding contact with one another . . . but our Legacies are developing, and soon we'll be equipped to fight. Is John Number Four, and is his appearance the sign I've been waiting for? And what about Number Five and Six? Could one of them be the raven-haired girl with the stormy eyes from my dreams? The girl with powers that are beyond anything I could ever imagine? The girl who may be strong enough to bring the six of us together? They caught Number One in Malaysia. Number Two in England. And Number Three in Kenya.

They tried to catch Number Four in Ohio—and failed. I am Number Seven. One of six still alive. And I'm ready to fight.

When I read I am Number Four I did enjoy the story, but for me it wasn't amazing.  Then I watched the movie and realized that I actually really liked the story a lot and it got me super excited to read The Power of Six.  I had lots of questions and wanted some answers.

Did I get those answers?  Some, but not all.  I guess that is part of the experience of reading this series.  You are discovery their histories, legacies and connections at the same time the characters are.  It's suspenseful and at times frustrating, but sure a great way to hook a reader.

One of the things I adored about this novel was the alternating view points told from Four and Seven.  I loved seeing the parallel of how one person was developing their legacies, while the other had to hide theirs.  Seven was a great new addition to the story and is quite a miracle in herself. 

As for my favorite characters, Six, Sam and BK they are all back and wonderful as ever.  Six is amazing!  I have a huge girl crush on her and am very jealous that Sam and Four got to train with her and bask in her awesomeness.  Move over Rose, Katniss and Katsa because this girl can not only fight, but she can seriously dominate.  She's fierce, smart, loyal, and crazy skilled. 

As for Sarah I'm pretty sure I wanted to smack her.  I'm not a violent person but she really upset me in this novel.  I won't give anything away, but if you were a fan of Sarah before I'm not thinking you are going to like her when your finished with this novel. 

And lastly the ending.  The battles were epic and the kisses smokin!  That's all I'm giving away...the rest you have to find out for yourself.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Review of Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready

Title: Shift (Shade #2)
Author: Jeri Smith-Ready
Published by: Simon Pulse
Pages: 367
Source: Library
Format: Hardcover
Rating: ★★★★

Summary from Goodreads: Aura’s life is anything but easy. Her boyfriend, Logan, died, and his slides between ghost and shade have left her reeling. Aura knows he needs her now more than ever. She loves Logan, but she can’t deny her connection with the totally supportive, totally gorgeous Zachary. And she’s not sure that she wants to.

Logan and Zachary will fight to be the one by her side, but Aura needs them both to uncover the mystery of her past—the mystery of the Shift.
As Aura’s search uncovers new truths, she must decide whom to trust with her secrets…and her heart.

Since it is October I thought it would be a great time to read a ghost story.  I was never a huge ghost fan until I met Logan.  Sure he made some dumb decisions, but otherwise he was bright, cocky, and full of life.  He definitely would have been a star if he didn't overdose on the night of his big break. 

Now Logan is back, but Aura is ready to move on.  What's a girl to do?  I like Aura, though I must admit there were times during the novel that I really questioned her sanity.  I think she was put in  incredibly difficult situations and there were no good ways out.  You can tell that as much as she still loves Logan she needs him to move on, and not only so she can move on, but because she truly wants Logan to be at peace.   

As for the boys, I think Logan grew up tremendously in this novel.  He still has his edgy rock star quality but he's starting to realize the world doesn't revolve around him anymore.  He realizes that by staying he is not helping his family cope, but possibly causing them more pain by sticking around.  And how could we forget the gorgeous Zachary with his sexy accent?  Zachary and Aura have so much sexual tension between them and yet can't seem to find a way to be together.  As I was reading I kept thinking that they have to end up together, there is just no way they are not meant to be together...they're too perfect for each other.

As for the story line it gets more amazing as this series continues.  There were some huge changes and surprises that will leave you gasping and rereading sections.

If you haven't read Shift (or Shade for that matter) give yourself a little treat and go out and read them in honor of the upcoming holiday. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday Night Date Night

On Fridays I wanted to do something a little different then what I normally do.  I decided that on Fridays I'm going to do movie reviews.  I'm hoping to review mostly movies adapted from books, but I'm sure other movies that were not based on books will pop up every now and then.  Hopefully some of these reviews will help you decide what to watch on your date night or a night of chillin with the girls.  

So last night  my bestie and I went to go see The Help based on the novel The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  We've both read the book and absolutely loved it too pieces so we both had high hopes for the movie.  My reading the book and listening to the audiobook (yes it that good that I did both) was a difficult but rewarding experience, so I was really nervous about how some of the scenes would transfer to the big screen.

The verdict...I loved the movie.  For about the first 20 minutes I was unsure if I would like it.  I felt that maybe people who didn't read the book would have a hard time following, but then I decided I was wrong.  I came into it expecting the movie to be exactly like the novel so when it didn't start out the same I jumped to conclusions thinking people wouldn't get the story.  After seeing the whole movie I know people will not have a hard time understanding the message of this novel/movie. 

As I thought, some of the scenes were hard to watch but the director did them in a tasteful, but truthful way.  I thought the movie stuck really well to the novel, and the changes that were made only increased the imagery and added to the story. 

I was really pleased with all the actors that were chosen and think they did a great job portraying these characters I've come to know and love.  I actually heard somewhere that the character of Minny was based on the actor Octavia Spencer.  Octavia Spencer is a good friend of Kathryn Stockett and she not only reads Minny's part in the audiobook, but also plays her in the movie.  

Just like reading the novel, the movie was an emotional rollarcoaster for me.  I laughed, I cringed, I cheered and I cried.  Despite my wild ride this is a movie I won't soon forget. 

Still unsure of if you want to see it? Check out the trailer!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Review of Past Perfect by Leila Sales

Title: Past Perfect
Author: Leila Sales
Published by: Simon Pulse
Pages: 322
Source: Simon & Schuster's Galley Grab
Format: Ebook
Rating: ★★★★

Summary from Goodreads:  All Chelsea wants to do this summer is hang out with her best friend, hone her talents as an ice cream connoisseur, and finally get over Ezra, the boy who broke her heart. But when Chelsea shows up for her summer job at Essex Historical Colonial Village (yes, really), it turns out Ezra’s working there too. Which makes moving on and forgetting Ezra a lot more complicated…even when Chelsea starts falling for someone new.

Maybe Chelsea should have known better than to think that a historical reenactment village could help her escape her past. But with Ezra all too present, and her new crush seeming all too off limits, all Chelsea knows is that she’s got a lot to figure out about love. Because those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it….

I was in the mood for a cute light read and Past Perfect sounded like a great book to fulfill that want.  Chelsea is doomed...not only is she working at the Essex Historical Colonial Village as a junior interpreter, wearing a heavy dress and telling people where the bathroom (excuse me, the privy) is all summer, but now her ex-boyfriend is working there too.  She is still stuck in the past in many ways and can't seem to move forward.

Things turn around when Chelsea get nominated as Lieutenant of the Essex Historical Colonial Village junior interpreters war against the neighboring Civil War reenactment village.  She has to make some tough decisions and figure out what she really wants and if the past is doomed to repeat itself.

I liked Chelsea, though at times I thought she was whiny and just needed to get over Ezra.  I wanted to tell her to stop obsessing over him and to move on....that boy is definitely not worth it!  I think she had a good heart and though she made some really dumb decisions, she still fought to correct her mistakes. 

I also enjoyed the plot of this story.  I loved the reenactment villages and the added twist of the war between them.  It was fun hearing about each side's strategies and all of the planning that went into their missions.  Some of them seemed like harmless pranks where I was laughing out loud and others seemed to cross a line.   

The forbidden romance also was a nice feature.  It is so much sexier when the romance is forbidden.  Anyone else think that too?

If you want something different to read that will leave you feeling bubbly and happy inside, Past Perfect is your book.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

Today I'm participating in Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
Top Ten Book Endings That Left Me With My Mouth Hanging Open (because of the cliffhanger or because the ending was MINDBLOWING, etc.)

1.  Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer.  I felt like this novel finished right before the good part.  The story itself didn't wrap up for me, it just left me hanging. 
Wolfsbane (Nightshade #2)
2. Delirium by Lauren Oliver.  I want to know what happens next. 
Delirium (Delirium, #1)

3. The Magnolia League by Katie Crouch.  Again those cliffhangers get you every time.  It makes me feel that I didn't get half of the story, like they left off the last couple of chapters or something.    

The Magnolia League (Magnolia League, #1)
4. The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore.  Are you kidding me?  That battle was brilliant and then Pitticus Lore just left me with that ending...not acceptable. 

The Power of Six (Lorien Legacies, #2)
5. Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins.  Yet another story that leaves me not totally sure what happened or what will happen. 

Demonglass (Hex Hall, #2)
6. City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare.  Seriously, Seriously, Seriously!

City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments, #4)
7. Shawdow Kiss by Richelle Mead.  I bawled and at the same time I was completely floored.  I could not believe Richelle Mead did that...No seriously, I had to reread it multiple times because I really didn't think she was so gutsy!

Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy, #3)
8.  Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter.  Brilliant ending.  I never saw it coming and had no idea how they were going to pull it off!

Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society, #2)
I really tried to get to ten this week but again I couldn't.  I should start thinking about these posts a week in advance so I can take down notes or ideas when they come to me.