Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Review: Hallowed

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I believe I liked Hallowed even better than Unearthly! Lots of revelations! It was…WOW! Absolutely can not wait to see what happens next.

Clara continues to struggle with her purpose and it’s meaning…meanwhile her feeling for Christian deepen in meaning and complexity as do her feelings for Tucker. Clara is now continually dreaming of a very weird scene…Christian is at her side. They are sad. Slowly the scene reveals itself. Clara thinks it’s a funeral. But whose? And why is black wing there? Does it have to do with not fulfilling her purpose? Only time will tell.

What a pleasant surprise Hallowed was! The author totally avoided the “sophomore slump”, making Hallowed more riveting and different than Unearthly. So much was revealed in terms of Christian, Clara’s Mom and even her Dad! Clara grows so much with all that is revealed.

So many elements of the story were beautifully depicted, and there were some heartbreaking moments as well. I did the “ugly” cry in a couple of places! Hallowed really does run the gamut of emotions. One of those books that I truly hated to see end. I suspect that the next book will be equally beautifully written and I will be devastated to see this WONDERFUL series come to an end. But the beauty of having the books is the ability to return to Jackson Hole and see everyone anytime I want and this is one I will revisit often!

View all my reviews

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Review: Stick

Stick by Andrew Smith

Andrew Smith

Published 11 October 2011

Feiwel & Friends

292 pages

Stark (Stick) McClellan and his older brother Bosten endure hell on earth in their little town of Point No Point in Washington. They live by strict rules set down by their "perfect on the outside" parents. Behind closed doors the truth of the real horror is seen. Stark and Bosten are victims of child abuse at the hands of their parents. Together the boys have managed to work within the confines of their parents rules. They are stoic as they endure episode after episode of abuse.

As if being abused at home were not enough for a kid to deal with, Stark is born with anotia, a deformity at birth. This deformity impacts his daily dealing with everyone he encounters. He totally believes he is ugly, not worthy of love. He also seems to think everyone believes him to be dumb because of the deformity. This leads me to my only pet peeve of the whole book. Sometimes the way Stark's internal dialog is written he comes off slow and I felt that was a disservice to this dynamic character. Stark is a typical 13 going on 14 year old, who has raging hormones and is just trying to figure out his place in his dysfunctional world. He is bright, strong and a survivor.

When Stark discovers that Bosten is gay, he know that it is only a matter of time before their parents find out and Bosten will have to leave or face an unspeakable wrath from their father. When that day of discovery arrives, Bosten disappears leaving Stark behind. Stark know he cannot bear living alone with his father so he sets out to look for Bosten in the one place they were able to find happiness--California.

Although this book was an extremely emotional read for me, I have to say I was enamored with the story from the very start. I felt like I was in Stark's head, experiencing everything right along side him. Even though the story involved some heinous actions, it was written in a way that was dignified and endearing for the victims. You just want to be the one to speak up for them, to save them. The love between brothers, the acceptance they showed each other was phenomenal and I think it is what allowed them to survive their own personal hell.

Read this book, it is complex and emotional adventure that is not without hope. I give it 4.5 stars!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Review: Unearthly

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Clara has one quarter Angel blood running through her veins. Which means she has wings, Glory, oh…and a life’s purpose. Clara started seeing her “purpose” through visions while still living with her Mom and brother in California. Her vision led them to Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Christian…the boy in her vision.

Clara is drawn to Christian like a moth to a flame, only as nice as he is, he only has eyes for Kay. That is until after the prom. Christian and Clara do become friends but it’s put on the back burner while Christian spends the summer in New York.

Clara knows the time is ripe for her vision to be fulfilled…but when she is faced with a choice, will she make the right one?

I do so enjoy the idea of Nephilim and the thought of them walking amongst us. And these angelic stories always grab my attention. The beauty of them is the ultimate in terms of the “good” and “bad” everyone has within themselves…evidenced in the choice Clara has to make.

This story was different than most because Clara knew what she was from the outset of the book as well as knowing she was created for her “life’s purpose”…the vision of what that purpose was didn’t come until later though. Hand does a wonderful job of pulling the reader into her vision of the story. Her storytelling is smooth and flows gracefully. I was totally absorbed and couldn’t wait to see what would happen next…and what happens next is usually something I was not expecting in the least. A couple of loose ends were tied at the end…but many more were left dangling!

I’m glad I didn’t read this until now…after that cliffhanger I don’t know what I would have done if I had to wait to see what would happen next…and I’ve been fortunate to receive a galley of the next book in the series. Can’t wait to dive into it.

View all my reviews

Review: Crave

Crave by Melissa Darnell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Savannah isn’t sure why all of her best friends suddenly turned against her back in 4th grade. One day they were all best friends and were staging a pretend wedding between her and Tristan and the next day she no longer existed. Now Savannah is in high school, still pining for Tristan, and still wondering what happened.

Now as Savannah is going through puberty, she is going through some major changes, and her family tells her the truth…so many truths and now it’s painfully clear what happened back in 4th grade. But it doesn’t change the fact that she is still pining for Tristan and Tristan seems to be going out of his way to be in her presence…but that truth remains and Savannah knows she should stay away from Tristan. But what can you do when your head says one thing, and your heart says something completely different.

I started this book to find out what happened in 4th grade…but stayed to see how it was all going to play out. While we never did really find out what happened in 4th grade, it was implied. I’m also still waiting to see how it’s all going to play out…can you say “series”…I knew you could!

One of my all-time favorite stories is “Romeo and Juliet” and this story definitely has that feel. The families descended from The Clann…and this one little family where Savannah’s parents did the whole star-crossed lovers thing before she was born. Yes, history is repeating itself in a big way. You can’t help but feel for Savannah…her family has been keeping some major, life-altering secrets from her, and as a result she is basically a pariah. Tristan is in the same boat…he doesn’t know what the deal is either. He just knows he is just as drawn to Savannah as he was back in the 4th grade…only know he is old enough to start asserting his wishes over those of his parents.

Savannah is very endearing. You sympathize with her as the “outsider”. Then again when she has to battle between head and her heart. Tristan is completely and utterly charming…you can’t help but fall in love with him…and any guy who will beat up his best friend for being an @$$hole is OK in my book.

The story has it’s predictable moments, but overall a very enjoyable and engaging read. I look forward to the future to see where we go after that cliffhanger.

View all my reviews

Review: Saving June

Saving June
Saving June by Hannah Harrington

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Harper Scott is the trouble maker, the instigator, she is everything her sister June is not. June is the “good” daughter…good student, tutor, golden child, everything comes easy to her. When June takes her own life, Harper has to come to terms not only with the loss of her sister, but also the changes in her that her sister’s death brings…and she does it via a road trip to California with her best friend and one Jake Tolan, who Harper suspects was in love with June.

I loved this book! It’s about suicide and a sister’s attempt to deal with the aftermath. It’s not condescending drivel…it’s witty, and snarky, and dark, and funny. The author’s handling of the subject matter was all the things you would expect…gut-wrenching, emotional, as well as the overwhelming thought of “what did I miss”. I haven’t experienced a loss through suicide, but the author nailed my perception of what it might be like.

Harper’s grief is like a cloak…it covers and absorbs you. Harper is sharp and complex…and watching her evolve during this road trip is something worth reading. Harper’s best friend, Laney, can be pretty shallow and self-absorbed and provides some of the best comic relief. Everything Laney does is with her best friend in mind. Laney is an only child and imagined June as her big sister as well. Laney and Harper are as different as night and day, and complement each other equally well. Which leaves Jake. Jake knew June in a different way and is able to provide insight into parts of her life Harper wasn’t privy to. He also provides a musical backdrop to the journey…his musical choices complement the story and bring it to another level. The version of this book I read, had the playlists listed in the back, I wish I had known because I would have loved to create playlists to listen to while I was reading. Just so happens Jake and I have similar musical tastes.

My only complaint would be the first stop on the trip…that was a strange group of friends and the whole “demonstration” just seemed out of place. Not quite sure what it’s purpose was other than to show that June had met this group in the past.

This was a wonderful book…I can’t recommend it highly enough.

View all my reviews

Review: The Stolen

The Stolen
The Stolen by Celia Thomson

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’m going to be lazy and borrow the GoodReads synopsis for this one:
She argues with her mother. She occasionally skips class. And she alternately crushes on two totally different boys. But Chloe King is by no means your typical teenager. The girl can scale buildings and see in the dark. Sometimes, at night, she even likes to leap from rooftop to rooftop. Yes, Chloe has the instincts and ability of a cat. And that makes her unique indeed. It also makes her a wanted woman. Because the Order of the Tenth Blade does not deal kindly with people like Chloe. It stalks them. Preys upon them. And wants many of them -- like Chloe, for instance -- dead.

What brought me back to the Chloe King books was watching the series on Netflix. If you don’t know, the ABC Family channel brought this series to life for one season…it didn’t get picked up for a second and, of course, there was a cliffhanger. So, I was curious to see if that cliffhanger was in the book and what happened. It wasn’t…which was fine, I pretty much expected it, but I can’t say as I like where this book went.

I’m not a fan of this series…but I can’t quite pick out what it is that I don’t care for. I’m not sure if it’s the writing, the story, or a combination of the two. The characters are annoying in their whiney, “the whole world revolves around me” kind of way. Everyone just seems shallow and vapid which I expect from teenagers but not the adults. I forced my way through this book, but won’t be reading the third.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Review: The Lost Saint

The Lost Saint
The Lost Saint by Bree Despain

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It’s ten months since the end of “The Dark Devine”. Everyone is looking for Jude…especially Grace’s Dad. He’s been spending more time away than home. Meanwhile Grace’s Mom cycles between extreme lows and manic highs. Grace is trying to get Daniel to train her to use her powers, but he is reluctant.

Grace makes a new friend in Talbot who is more than happy to train Grace…he takes his “Hounds of Heaven” demon killing responsibilities very seriously. It’s also painfully obvious that he has feelings for Grace that go beyond Teacher/Pupil. Meanwhile Daniel is keeping secrets from Grace which is driving a wedge between them.

So many of the reviewers, below, thought this book was better than “The Dark Devine”…It was definitely more action packed, and built upon the mythology revealed in Devine…but I think I prefer the first story. As is typical, Grace and Daniel are past the blush of “new love” so they have moved onto lying and keeping secrets from one another to save the other. Cliched, I know…but the story was good, if a touch on the predictable side. And the cliffhanger was a good one! I am looking forward to see how the series finishes.

View all my reviews

Monday, November 21, 2011

Review: The Dark Divine

The Dark Divine
The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Grace Divine! How’s that for a name! And she’s a PK, a “Preacher’s Kid”. Grace always knew something awful happened between her brother Jude and his best friend Daniel (who she has loved for years)…but she never knew what. One night she and her younger siblings were sent to stay with her Grandmother for 3 weeks and when they came home Daniel was gone and no one ever spoke of “that night”

It’s now several years later and Grace discovers a very different looking Daniel in her high school AP Art class holding some of her work. She is shocked! She mentions that Daniel is back and the whole world starts to cave in on itself.

It’s a long journey to the truth of what happened…one no one will forget and some may never recover from.

Couldn’t put this one down…just devoured it in one sitting. I had to know what happened between Daniel and Jude! Ohhh and it was big enough to carry all the mystery and suspense! I could deduce what the secret Daniel was hiding, but didn’t see the other big reveal coming until it hit me. That was a surprise!

I could totally relate to Grace in regards to Daniel being her first love and all the emotional highs and lows that go with it…especially since everyone but Daniel seemed to know she was in love with him. Grace wanted, so much, to save Daniel…yet another aspect a lot of us women can relate to. I thought Daniel and Grace were really sweet together.

Thankfully I have the second book all queued up on the Kindle ready to dive in. I hope it’s as good as The Dark Devine was!

View all my reviews

Review: Wide Awake

Wide Awake
Wide Awake by Daniele Lanzarotta

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Kayla is 16 and was adopted as a very young child by a loving couple who basically give her everything! She tends to be a little spoiled and a bit snotty! But that changes when suddenly she is seeing this little girl just about everywhere she goes. It takes Kayla a while to realize that the girl is a ghost. When she makes that realization she also discovers there is a “guy” in her math class that is just bugging the heck out of her…only she can see him too…or so it seems. Turns out Hunter, a kid she grew up with, can see the girl and the guy as well but his interaction with them is a bit different. For example Hunter can’t see the girl, but he can physically interact with the male ghost. Hunter and Kayle discover the guy ghost is actually a demon and he is making life a living hell!

First I have to say that I HATED the ending of this book…it was so cheesy and abrupt. It reminded me of a Friday episode of any soap opera.

Kayla is a brat and calls the people who raised her by their names rather than “mom” and “dad”…I think the least they deserve is to be called Mom and Dad especially after all they have done and given Kayla! Kayla was wishy washy…she liked Hunter but wouldn’t give into it because of the high school caste system…he wasn’t “good enough” for her. So she kept going back to her previous boyfriend who had been cheating on her with one of her best friends. Um…HELLO!?!...anyone else want to smack some sense into this girl???

Hunter I did like…accept for the pining after Kayla crap! I would have preferred the story center around Hunter and the Academy rather than Miss Whiney! I will be checking out the next book in the series in the hopes that it will focus more on the Academy now that we’ve read all the backstory. Here’s hoping it reaches it’s potential!

View all my reviews

Review: Incarnate

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Welcome to the World of Range. Where there have always been 1 million souls. Some are walking around right now, others are waiting to be born. But there have always been 1 million souls…that is until the day, some 19 years ago, when the temple went dark and Ciana died. When the next child was born, everyone was expecting Ciana, but what they got was a new soul…on that had never been born before…her name was Ana, which means “without”, also part of the name Ciana, who wasn’t born!

See, in Range, all those souls continually reincarnate, remembering who they are and what they learned in each previous life for the last 5000 years. Poor Ana was born a blank slate, the first in eons. Her Mother couldn’t be bothered to care for her, let alone teach her anything…everything Ana has learned she has figured out on her own. Now she is 18, her mother is kicking her out, even giving her a faulty compass, and Ana is to find her own way in the World.

This book was so different than what I was expecting. It had a very leisurely pace…it felt like a cruise down a lazy river. So often the books we read are building fast and furiously towards the climax…this book doesn’t…which took a bit of getting used to. But the pacing of the story fit with storyline…I’m not sure if that makes sense. Maybe the rest of my thoughts will clarify it.

Poor Ana is off to see the world and try to find her place in it. We learn so much about Ana’s spirit and attitude as she sets off and comes to the realization that the woman who gave birth to her gave her a bad compass, on purpose. But Ana carries forth and is almost killed by the time she realizes that the compass is bad. No wonder Ana is so untrusting, defensive and leery of people.

Fortunately she meets Sam, actually he saves her life. Personally, I fell in love with Sam as soon as he uttered his first bit of dialog! Sam has heard of the “nosoul” Ana. He prefers the term “newsoul” and thankfully he takes Ana under his wing and makes it his goal to see her safely to Heart (the capital city) so she can find the answers she is after. Where Ana is distrustful, Sam is honest. Where Ana is defensive, he explains what he means so as not to take offense. Where Ana is so leery of everyone, Same introduces her to his friends and family and they treat her as a “newsoul” like Sam does.

It was beautiful to watch their friendship build and flourish…slowly over time. It was equally beautiful to watch Ana blossom and flourish in a positive environment rather than the one she’d been subjected to for her first 18 years.

There was plenty of mystery to drive the story along as well, but I think you can see which part I preferred. Now there was a whole big cliffhanger ending that will drive the story into the next book. Ana has lots of unanswered questions that still need answering. Can’t wait to see what answers come and what other mysteries those answers my start. It was a beautiful read I will be rereading again and again.

View all my reviews

Dusty Cover Monday - #5

It's Monday! That means it is time for our featured meme here on Novel Goddess, Dusty Covers! Basically Dusty Covers is an opportunity to reconnect with a favorite book releases from 6 months ago or longer or a book you've started and put down and need to finish-up.

My family and I decided to get rid of our satellite TV service...we were looking for ways to cut costs. But we are keeping our streaming Netflix! It was over the weekend that I stumbled on the first (and only) season of "The Nine Lives of Chloe King" based on the book series by Liz Braswell.  Over the course of the weekend I watched all 10 episodes.  When I saw that the show was going be on the ABC Family channel I decided to read the "omnibus" book which had all 3 in 1.  I got through the first book and put it aside.  Since I enjoyed the series, which wasn't renewed, I figured I should read the other two books in the series.  So that's my goal for this Dusty Cover Monday!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Review: Everneath

Everneath by Brodi Ashton

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nikki disappeared one day…no word of warning, no goodbye. She reappeared just as mysteriously about 6 months later looking like a heroin junkie. While she told everyone she couldn’t remember what happened, she knew…but how do you tell your loved ones you just spent a century in the Everneath allowing shades to feed off your emotions? Now, she was only back because she couldn’t get Jack out of her head while in the Everneath. She’s only back for 6 months…she wants to make amends for disappearing so abruptly last time and say her goodbyes this time.

This one was different…very different. Story perspectives shifted from the present with a countdown “clock” to the past with a countdown clock…I wasn’t fond of it at first, but got used to it quick enough.

This is Brodi Ashton’s debut and it felt like a first book. The writing and rhythm was rough around the edges but the story was intriguing enough to keep you coming back…and it was Shakespearean in it’s tragedy.

Nikki is very sympathetic to the pain she caused everyone and would do anything to take it back. I felt my heart just breaking for her. Cole was both absolutely despicable and selfish, yet so in love with Nikki he couldn’t think straight…which made me sympathetic towards him and I hated him all the more for it. And Jack, poor Jack…he’d been to hell and back when Nikki disappeared and it made me want to bitch-slap her for doing it to him…regardless of her logic and circumstances.

As has become more the “norm” than the exception…this is the beginning of yet another series and I would be willing to bet I have a very good idea of what will happen in the next book….I think I need to make a spoilers page on the blog where I write down my predictions for what will happen next in a series and anyone who would like to, can discuss away. I’m going to have to check into that. In the meantime I will just have to wait and see how right or wrong I am.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Review: Cinder

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5 Stars**

The title brings to mind the story of Cinderella…and that is intentional. Cinderella is kind of the theme of the book…BUT IT’S NOT THE WHOLE STORY!!

Cinder is a cyborg…part human, part machine. She was in an accident that killed her parents when she was very small. The parts of her that could not be saved are machine. Some it has skin grafts covering it, some of it does not.

Cinder was adopted by a kind man and brought back to Beijing to live with his wife and 2 daughters. Unfortunately, the man contracted the plague that’s killing Earth’s populace shortly after his return with Cinder…Cinder’s step-Mom blames Cinder for her husband’s death.

Now Cinder is 17 and she supports the family as a mechanic for all things electronic. She has a small shop in the basement of the building where she lives, as well as a stall at the market square. It’s at the square where she meets the Crown Prince, Kai. He needs his robot fixed and he heard Cinder is the only one who might be able to do it. Fixing the bot and befriending Kai, sets Cinder off on a journey where she may find herself, or she may lose her life

The title intrigued me, especially with that cover! I was fully expecting a futuristic treatment of the Cinderella fairy tale, but this was much more than that. It was the back story that was the most surprising, and it quickly became the focal point of the story. The quest to find a cure for the plague is the driving force and begs the question “What are you willing to sacrifice for the needs of the many?” In this case, all of humanity?

Cinder is an incredibly smart girl, but by virtue of the fact that she is cyborg, she has no rights…she is merely a possession to be done with whatever her owner, step-Mother, chooses to do with her. I felt tremendous sympathy for Cinder! The fact that she didn’t kill her step-Mom while she slept shows she is much more human, or humane, than I would have been…LOL!

And like the romantic sucker I am…I totally fell for Prince Kai! Even if he did disappoint me in the end. I know there is more of the story to come so I am going to hold out hope that he pulls his head out of his hind end and gets it together!

And I just loved the Doctor at the palace…his name is escaping me…he made a great, if totally unlikely, “Fairy Godmother”!

I loved the juxtaposition of the classic fairytale in a futuristic world. So often the dystopian stories have an almost primitive feel to them, but this one didn’t. And I did consider this dystopian, it’s just that the apocalypse, plague, is still happening. While it was futuristic, it didn’t feel that far off…maybe only 50-75 years in our future…yet another thing I really enjoyed about the story. Can’t wait to see what the author does next…So many possibilities! Is she going to ditch the fairytale theme? If not, what fairy tale theme will she adopt for the next book. And more importantly, will Cinder and Kai get together? Stay tuned!

View all my reviews

Review: Dark Eden

Dark Eden
Dark Eden by Patrick Carman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5 Stars**

Just what are you afraid of? Do your fears keep you from experiencing life to the fullest? If so, than we at Fort Eden have the cure for you! But we only take 7 people, preferably teens, and after your week at Fort Eden, we guarantee you will no longer be afraid! Miraculous you say? You might be right, but our statistics don’t lie!

Or do they?

This was a really different book. I’m not sure what exactly I was expecting but this wasn’t it. Which made for a pleasant surprise.

The story is told from the perspective of Will. He is one of the 7. Initially we meet Will while he is in his therapist’s office. Where he does something completely unethical! I must say he doesn’t endear himself to the reader…but over time all is revealed and our feelings for Will change. The fears of Will, Marissa and Avery are especially debilitating. We do eventually find out what everyone fears, and they all undergo the “cure”…and everyone’s cure is different, which made the story more interesting. Without revealing too much…there is a lot of mystery and cat-and-mouse going on which made for a read that was hard to put down. There is a second book in the works which will have to take a completely different path than Dark Eden did…which makes me interested in reading what comes next.

View all my reviews

Review: The Revenant

The Revenant
The Revenant by Sonia Gensler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5 Stars**

To escape a life she doesn’t want, Wilhemina, impersonates a classmate and takes her teaching job out in the Cherokee nation. Once she arrives at the school, she finds she isn’t prepared to be a teacher of girls her own age. She is also thrust into the middle of a murder mystery. The previous year a classmate was murdered and Willie now inhabits her old room. Things start going bump in the night and the murdered girl’s former roommates are being inexplicably hurt. When Willie starts asking questions she starts to fall for one of the students at the boys school, who is also a suspect in the murder.

Typically, I don’t care for “Westerns” and I went into this book not knowing that it takes place during the “Wild West” era…but I got sucked in right away. So don’t let the time and place fool you, this story could take place in any time period, the author just happened to find a historical place with it’s own ghost story and fashioned this story around it.

As someone who loves to read about other cultures, real or fabricated for a story, this was fascinating in the culture of Cherokees of the time. This group of Cherokee student’s status was based on how much “white man” was in their ancestry. The more “white” you were, the higher your status, at least amongst the townpeople and the other Indian students.

Willie was an incredibly selfish character. I won’t lie, I wanted to slap her quite a few times. Man did she have some growing up to do…which she had actually accomplished by the end of the book. The school Head Mistress, was a stereotypical “harridan”, and Eli kept me guessing. I couldn’t decide if he was a charming slimeball or a knight in shining armor…he turned out how I thought he would…but I did learn which it was until the very end. For a moment I was afraid Ms. Gensler wasn’t going to reveal which one he was.

View all my reviews

Review: The Scorpio Races

The Scorpio Races

by Maggie Stiefvater

published by Scholastic Press

404 pages

Reviewed by: Kristy

One of the main things I enjoy about reading a Maggie Stiefvater book, are her characters. The characters aren't plastic, wearing their feelings on their shoulder and extremely shallow. Stiefavter's characters have a depth about them that even towards the end of the book they manage to reveal one last trait or maybe even leave you feeling that there is more to know about them that would take a lifetime to discover. I like that her books always leave a bit open at the end for the readers to finish. To me she weaves literary magic.

The Scorpio Races is based on fairy tales of water horses from Ireland and Scotland. Instead of going with the mythologies for these stories and working around their restraints, Stiefvater wove her own story about water horses, capall uisce, who emerge from the sea, are captured, restrained and tamed just enough to compete in the big November Scorpio Races of Thisby Island. The races are brutal for horse and rider. The capall uisce just want to return to the calls to them, they yearn for it and seek it with every breath.

Add to the horse dynamic, two very interesting characters: Kate (Puck) Connelly and Sean Kendrick. Kate is determined to hold her family together, save her family home and possibly win the Scorpio Races. Kate will be the first female to ever enter, let alone compete in the Scorpio Races. She has so much to lose, to include her life to a capall uisce.

Sean Kendrick has lived around horses his whole life. His father competed in the Scorpio Races for years until one took his life. Sean is a four time winner riding a capall uisce, Corr. If he can pull off one more win he can buy Corr from his employer and go back to his home. There is such a strong connection between Sean and Corr, it drives the book forward until we are left with a heart wrenching ending that will leave you breathless.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book from cover-to-cover and rated it 5 stars!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dusty Covers Monday #4

It's Monday! That means it is time for our featured meme here on Novel Goddess, Dusty Covers! Basically Dusty Covers is an opportunity to reconnect with a favorite book releases from 6 months ago or longer or a book you've started and put down and need to finish-up. In honor of the trailer release for Hunger Games the movie, my Dusty Cover for this week is Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I am probably one of two people who have not read this book yet (the other being my 4 year old). It is now the time to pick-up this book and get it read so I can understand all the commotion going on with its soon to be released movie. Plus, I have heard such wonderful things about the series as a whole from, none other than, Novel Goddess herself, Pam and many others. So, let the games begin!!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Review: The Demon Lover

The Demon Lover
The Demon Lover by Juliet Dark

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was nothing like what I was expecting. Honestly, the title and cover brought to mind the more erotic books of Gena Showalter and Sherilyn Kenyon. But the reality of the story was more like "A Discovery of Witches", or maybe more appropriately, "A Discovery of Incubi".

Caleigh MacFay is a new professor at a small college in upstate NY. When she arrives in Fairwick for the job interview she immediately feels at home. She even falls in love with a house that is believed to be haunted. The house, "Honeysuckle House" was the home of a famous Barbara Cartland-like author. Cayleigh buys the house when she accepts the job at the college. Once in the house, Cayleigh starts being haunted by dreams of a shadowy "man" from her childhood. Cayleigh discovers, in her search for answers, that nothing and no one is as they seem.

I really enjoyed the whole story...the story behind the college and the town was well thought out...any time an author comes up with a new mythology, it makes me appreciate their creativity all the more. My one complaint was that I didn't feel as though I really got to know Cayleigh though. I knew she lost her parents and that she'd been raised by her rather stuffy grandmother. But, beyond that, we didn't really get to know her. I felt like I knew all the supporting characters better...and it was a great cast of supporting characters. I would like to say that I would love to see a series about the town of Fairwick, maybe with a book highlighting each of the supporting characters...I would love to read more about all of them.

View all my reviews

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Review: CRANK

CRANK by Ellen Hopkins

Published October 5th 2004

Simon Pulse

537 pages

Reviewed by Kristy

Kristina Georgia Snow is the perfect daughter: gifted high school junior, quiet, never any trouble. But on a trip to visit her absentee father, Kristina disappears and Bree takes her place. Bree is the exact opposite of Kristina -- she's fearless.

Through a boy, Bree meets the monster: crank. And what begins as a wild, ecstatic ride turns into a struggle through hell for her mind, her soul -- her life. (courtesy of Goodreads)

My Review: 4 STARS

Oh my. This book is an eye-opener. As a parent I am thankful to Ellen Hopkins for writing this book. Apparently she knows a thing or two about meth addiction because the story is loosely based on her own experience with her daughter's addiction. I learned so much through this book, the mindset of a person even after one hit of meth, how they go about using it and what they will do to acquire it. I found CRANK a refreshingly real approach to a hard topic. Hopkins does not shy way from putting all the ugliness that comes with drug addiction into CRANK, that includes language and situations that addicts put themselves into. This book is not for the faint at heart. Addicts will do ANYTHING for a fix. Addicts will HURT anyone for a fix. Addicts only care about THE FIX. CRANK is written from the point-of-view of an ADDICT. We are in the addicts head, experiencing her urges. Phenomenal read for those strong enough to attempt it.

I read this book in honor of Banned Book Week and I am so glad I did!

Review: Break

Break by Hannah Moskowitz

Published August 25th 2009

Simon Pulse

262 pages

Reviewed by Kristy

Jonah is on a mission to break every bone in his body. Everyone knows that broken bones grow back stronger than they were before. And Jonah wants to be stronger—needs to be stronger—because everything around him is falling apart. Breaking, and then healing, is Jonah’s only way to cope with the stresses of home, girls, and the world on his shoulders.

When Jonah's self-destructive spiral accelerates and he hits rock bottom, will he find true strength or surrender to his breaking point? (courtesy of Goodreads)

My Review: 4 STARS

What a phenomenal read! Knowing that Jonah is out to break every bone in his body and reading about how he goes about this, the pain, the mental preparedness is a whole different ball game folks. I literally cringed each time he broke a bone. I swear I could hear the thuds, the impacts, the cracking and Jonah's screams of pain. The writing of Hannah Moskowitz is exceptionally real. She gives us multiple facets of Jonah's personality and he literally comes alive. This book faces hard issues of parental and sibling dynamics, self-destruction, friendships and adolescents. This book is fast paced and leaves you breathless. If you have a few hours, pick up Break and read it cover to cover.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Dusty Cover Monday!

It's "Dusty Cover Monday" yet again!  Dusty Cover Monday is a meme/challenge started here at Novel Goddess by my partner in crime, Kristy Z. The challenge is to get you to pick up a book that has been sitting and collecting dust, that you've been meaning to read...or maybe pick up a book published a year or so ago and read it.  With all our excitement over new releases, it's easy to set a previous "new release" aside to pick up something that came out more recently. So grab a book and let's go.

My Dusty Cover is "Compound" by S. A. Bodeen

Goodreads SynopsisEli and his family have lived in the underground Compound for six years. The world they knew is gone, and they've become accustomed to their new life. Accustomed, but not happy. 
For Eli, no amount of luxury can stifle the dull routine of living in the same place, with only his two sisters, his father and mother, doing the same thing day after day after day. 

As problems with their carefully planned existence threaten to destroy their sanctuary - and their sanity - Eli can't help but wonder if he's rather take his chances outside. 

Eli's father built the Compound to keep them safe. But are they safe - or sorry?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Review: The Name of the Star

The Name of the Star
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rory has enrolled in a London boarding school for her Senior year of high school because her parents are teaching in England for a year. Shortly after Rory's arrival, someone decides to start emulating the murders of Jack the Ripper. Between the fears and "Rippermania", Rory finds herself in the middle of the investigation due to an unusual ability Rory has recently acquired. Will they get the Ripper before the Ripper gets Rory?

Unlike my "Partner in Crime", Kristy Zee, I loved this book!! It was a page turning roller coaster ride...I felt the fear that was gripping Rory and the rest of the East End. And absolutely loved the little asides the author stuck in to add to the mystery of the ripper and how it was he was doing the deed...It had a bit of a "locked door" mystery feel to it. It was a very atmospheric read and I loved reading it at night with all the lights out, save my booklight.

I loved Rory and her family stories and laughed hysterically at most of them! They provided a much needed break from the tension, as well as did Jazza and her idiosyncracies! Whereas Stephen, Callum, and Boo provided the storyline for the second half of the book as well as, I believe, future books. I loved all the characters and thought they were well developed, there is still a lot more to learn about Stephen, Callum, and Boo...which I'm hoping will be done in the future.

As the mystery came to an end, I wondered what the author might build a future volume on...but then I read the last couple of pages and I believe I know now...which really peaked my curiousity! Can't wait to see where be go next!!!

View all my reviews

Friday, November 4, 2011

Review: Shattered Dreams

Shattered Dreams
Shattered Dreams by Ellie James

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 Stars!

Trinity has recently returned to her birthplace of New Orleans. She moved to the mountains of Colorado when she was a toddler after her parents died. Her grandmother has recently passed and now she is living with her Aunt Sara back in NOLA.

Trinity is starting to have strange visions and dreams involving an acquaintance from school being abducted. But then the girl is really abducted. Trinity, being a good kid who wants to help, shares her visions with the police and she becomes suspect #1. Meanwhile Trinity has a personal quest to find out what really happened to her parents.

I got sucked right into the story…the fact that it starts out in a creepy abandoned house in the Garden District, sure helped. What was so personal for me about this book was the setting. N’Awlins is someplace I’ve visited often and love dearly! I could visualize so many of the landmarks and districts as I read in the story…it brought back so many fond memories!

I liked the story, even though some of the secondary characters were flat. Trinity is a good kid who wanted to help a girl who had gone out of her way to make Trinity feel unwelcome. And she continued to try and help even when everyone turned against her, which I would have found very difficult to do. Chase, the object of Trinity’s affections, however was not one of my favorites. He was an open book…he lacked depth. However, Dylan, on the other hand, was much more mysterious…I wanted to know more about him! This appears to be the beginning of a series, so I’m guessing a love triangle will figure prominently in the future.

The story did have some confusing parts that I found myself rereading a number of times and still didn’t really understand, little side streets we would start to venture down that would then be abandoned. For example, elements of Trinity’s parents that were hinted at, but never explained. Some of these asides seemed pertinent, but most didn’t.

Overall, I thought it was a good debut, though a little rough around the edges. Like I said, I loved the setting and the pacing of the book and Trinity is a character I would like to know more about.

View all my reviews

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Review: Fateful

Fateful by Claudia Gray

Published September 13th 2011


328 pages

Reviewed by: Kristy

Eighteen-year-old maid Tess Davies is determined to escape the wealthy, troubled family she serves. It’s 1912, and Tess has been trapped in the employ of the Lisles for years, amid painful memories and twisted secrets. But now the Lisle family is headed to America, with Tess in tow. Once the ship they’re sailing on—the RMS Titanic—reaches its destination, Tess plans to strike out and create a new life for herself.

Her single-minded focus shatters when she meets Alec, a handsome first-class passenger who captivates her instantly. But Alec has secrets of his own. He’s in a hurry to leave Europe, and whispers aboard the ship say it’s because of the tragic end of his last affair with the French actress who died so gruesomely and so mysteriously. . . .

Soon Tess will learn just how dark Alec’s past truly is. The danger they face is no ordinary enemy: werewolves exist and are stalking him—and now her, too. Her growing love for Alec will put Tess in mortal peril, and fate will do the same before their journey on the Titanic is over. (synopsis from goodreads)

My Review: 4 STARS!

I am one of the many who are fascinated by the tragic voyage of the Titanic. When I found out that Claudia Gray was incorporating this doomed voyage of the White Star Line's Titanic with werewolves, I was intrigued! I had the pleasure of meeting Claudia Gray at a book signing and she jokingly/lovingly called this fateful voyage the Were-tanic!

This book has it all, edge-of-your-seat action, panic, heart-stopping suspense, love, passion, hate, death and doom!

Tess Davies is a maid for the Lisle family of England, but she dreams a better life. When her employers book passage to New York on the Titanic, she is certain this is the opportunity she needs to break away from her present life and start a new one for herself in America.

Alec Marlowe is a wealthy American escaping Europe and a terrible secret. He is being pursued by a Brotherhood out to control him and make him a part of their savage group. Alec and his father book passage on the Titanic to escape the clutches of the Brotherhood and eventually hide Alec in a remote American countryside. The Marlowe's soon discover that the Brotherhood have joined them on the Titanic.

There is a constant pull of Tess staying within her duties as a maid and her desire to know and help first class passenger Alec Marlowe. Tess gives us a brilliant view of the workings behind the pomp and circumstance of first class. Behind every wealthy family their are servants making all the preparations and holding all the families dirty little secrets.

Then we have Alec. He is distinguished, handsome, gentle, kind, a true gentleman without the condescending air of the wealth, but he has a few secrets and they are deadly and could hurt Tess.

Don't forget that they are on the fateful Titanic! Who, if any, will survive? Pull out your tissues boxes for this book and sit down for the first and final voyage of Were-tanic!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Review: Blood Wounds

Blood Wounds
Blood Wounds by Susan Beth Pfeffer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Willa is part of a happy family. Her Mother, Terri, left her abusive husband in Texas when Willa was about 5. Terri eventually met Jack who was divorced with 2 daughters of his own. Jack is the only father Willa has ever known.

One day, out of nowhere, the police are on Willa's doorstep looking for Terri. Willa's biological father has disappeared and there is an Amber alert out for a little half-sister Willa didn't she had. Actually, Budge, Willa's bio-Dad is a person of interest in the murder of his wife and two small daughters.

This was a tough novel to read...While everything seems perfect on the outside, the whole family is simmering with resentment, just under the surface...Willa has been taught to be thankful for what she's got while her step-sisters get everything and then some because their Mom makes a gazillion dollars a year. So Willa's Mom and Step-Dad can't afford any extras for themselves or Willa, but in the meantime the step-sisters live in the same house as Willa and go to private school play sports, have horses and vacation in Europe all on their Mom's dime. Meanwhile, Willa cuts herself to alleviate the stress in her life, which is incredible.

Pfeffer creates a complex world full of complex emotions and situations. I know Willa handled all the chaos that her bio-dad created a lot better than I would have, but it still read as authentic to me. This was the first book by Pfeffer I've read and really enjoyed her writing style...I'm looking forward to read more of her work.

View all my reviews

Review: Destined

Destined by P.C. Cast

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars!

The book opens with everyone safe and sound back in Tulsa. Rephaim and Stevie Rae are getting used to Rephaim’s new boy body at night and bird body during the day. Zoey and Stark are adjusting to life away from Skye and the discovery that Zoey’s Mom has been murdered. Everyone is back at the House of Night campus and Neferete is faking playing nice while creating chaos everywhere she goes…and a couple of ways she does this is by opening the campus to human workers, and bringing back the red fledglings that wouldn’t follow Stevie Ray. Thanatos, of the Council, arrives in Tulsa to be the eyes and ears of the council…which allows for some intriguing possibilities.

Reading a “House of Night” novel is kind of like coming home. Or, if you are of a certain age, it’s like turning on your favorite “stories” in the afternoon and catching up with some of your “friends”. It does move like a soap opera…only a few days passes in the course of the story…but a LOT happens, as is the case with Destined.

This installment, however, did introduce some new characters (“fresh blood” – muwhahaha)…which should allow the story to take some new and interesting directions. But just like a soap opera, there weren’t any earth-shattering surprises or mysteries. You, the reader, could see what was coming from far off. But after 8 books, it’s OK, it’s comfortable, and it’s pretty much what we’ve come to expect.

Bottom line, if you are a fan of the series, “Destined” does not disappoint.

View all my reviews