Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hmmm...What to read next???

I'm fortunate to have access to galleys of upcoming books. Of the galleys I have, I've read and reviewed everything with a publication date through September.  Which means to me, that I have some "free" time. Time to read books that aren't galleys, ie., books I purchased.  The question is...which one should I read? I'm really in a many good books and I just can't decide which one to read next. I think I will stew over it a bit tonight and decide in the morning.

Review: The Dark Glamour

The Dark Glamour
The Dark Glamour by Gabriella Pierce

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Dark Glamour is the continuation/sequel, to 666 Park Avenue. Jane and Malcolm are still married though they have separated in hopes that it will be harder for the “bad guys” to find them. Jane has decided to stay in New York and try and make it up to the friends whose lives she has endangered and also to figure out a way to get Lynne Doran, her evil Mother-in-Law, to leave them alone.

While trying to figure out where Malcolm is, Jane discovers a secret that she thinks Lynne would give anything to know. This little tidbit may be her ticket to some peace and quiet…but then that would be too easy, wouldn’t it.

It took me 3 days to read this book. That is highly unusual for me…if I’m enjoying the book it’s done in little more than 24 hours. This one just didn’t “grab” me; on top of that, it moved very slowly. In a word I was BORED! I didn’t really care what happened.

Jane spent way too much time mentally debating EVERYTHING! Not just the big stuff but inconsequential stuff like what shoes to wear. Snooze-ville!

And it was predictable! I knew what was going to happen long before it ever did…with the exception of one event involving Jane’s grandmother at the end of the book.

Overall, the story was pretty good if you could get past the minutiae. Pierce left us hanging, yet again, and I am curious as to how the series will be resolved. I just hope she gets there a lot faster in the next book.

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Next Up: The Dark Glamour (666 Park Ave #2) by Gabriella Pierce

OH...This is one I've been waiting for! Here is the synopsis from GoodReads:
Jane Boyle married her prince charming and moved into his upper east side castle—but she didn’t get her fairy-tale ending
It’s hard to live happily ever after when you discover your demanding and controlling mother-in-law is literally a witch, determined to steal the magical powers you didn’t even know you had. Jane narrowly avoided Lynne Doran’s clutches when she escaped on her wedding day, and has been hiding out in New York City. But she can’t hide forever.
When Jane learns of the one thing Lynne wants most, she sets out to provide it, hoping her good turn will persuade her mother-in-law to stop hunting her. Unfortunately, Jane’s daring plan will send her right back into the witches’ den—the Doran clan’s multistory town house on Park Avenue. But thanks to a tricky spell, blond architect Jane will be transformed into Ella, a dark beauty with a whole new look . . . and all of Jane’s budding powers. Though the stakes are life or death, nobody said “Ella” couldn’t have a little fun along the way, too.

Review: The Unwanteds

The Unwanteds
The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Unwanteds are the young people of Quill that show any signs of creativity…singing, drawing, acting, sculpting, writing, if you are caught doing any of it you will be unwanted!

At thirteen everyone goes to the purging ceremony. All thirteen year olds are put into one of three categories, “Wanted”, “Necessary”, and “Unwanted”. All the unwanted go to the death farm where they are to be dropped into a lake of boiling oil. Lovely, huh?

Without revealing too much, let me suffice it to say that the “Death Farm” is not what it seems!

This book is completely different from Lisa McMann’s other works. This is more of a middle grade adventure and it was a very fun, fast, and easy read for an adult. The galley I read had a preface from Ms. McMann that explained where the story came from. That alone was worth the price of admission for me. That glimpse into how an author’s mind works was fascinating because I have always wondered where author’s do come up with their ideas. I’m truly hoping that couple of pages she shares ends up in the finished product!!!

The story teaches some very important and timely lessons about the arts and their importance, as well as other life lessons like teamwork, honesty, and bullying…but does it without preaching. My son is anxious to read this one and I’m very happy to oblige! I’m sure he and many other boys and girls his age will enjoy this book as much as I did.

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

**NEW** Calendar Page Added!

Howdy all!

It seems I am constantly trying to keep track of when new books I am interested in are coming out.  So...I created a calendar page. Click on it, above, and you will go to a calendar with the dates of highly anticipated book releases.

If you click on the title, it will give you a synopsis of the book in question, taken from GoodReads. If there is a book you would like me to include on the calendar, let me know and I will do some research and add it to the list. This is list is not complete by any means...a work in progress and a way for me to keep track of books I HAVE to have.

Review: Lie

Lie by Caroline Bock

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5 Stars

This is the story of the aftermath of a hate crime. The setting is Long Island, New York. Those involved in the incident are Jimmy…a wanna-be military leader, high school senior. Sean, Jimmy’s best friend, high school senior with a tendency to follow rather than lead. Skylar, Jimmy’s girlfriend, recently lost her Mother to ovarian cancer, and is lost…Jimmy is her life preserver. And Lisa Marie, Skylar’s best friend, secretly in love with Jimmy, and tends to be an “athletics” groupie. The victims are two brothers, Arturo and Carlos Cortez. Arturo is not in the US legally, but Carlos was born in the States and is a citizen.

WOW is really the first word I uttered upon finishing this book. I will be honest, I shied away from this story after reading the synopsis. Hate crimes are ugly. For me they rank right up there, just below child abuse. Not something I want to read about in my spare time…know what I mean? That said, the reviews I’d read about “LIE”, were all overwhelmingly positive so I decided to read it anyway.

I’m glad that I did. If for no other reason than to becoming familiar with, and a fan of, Ms. Bock’s writing. She is talented beyond measure. She crafted such a touching and thought-provoking story…one where I cried and yelled at the characters, quite often. The story is told from numerous shifting perspectives…everyone touched by the “incident”. So you, as the viewer, got to see everything unfold from many viewpoints…which made it interesting, but what made it fascinating was that with each of these viewpoints also came with some of the character’s history, thus putting the character’s filter on that viewpoint.

It was tough read and I struggled through parts of it, even though it was a work of fiction. The author doesn’t pull any of her punches. I urge you to read it, better yet, read it with your kids and use it as a stepping stone for some great discussion…but be forewarned and go into it with your eyes open.

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Friday, August 26, 2011

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren. Each week we are invited to highlight the books we've received whether borrowed, given, or bought.

All books I managed to snag in the last week came via Net Galley and they are (in no particular order):

Next Up: Lie by Caroline Bock

GoodReads Summary:

Everybody knows, nobody’s talking. . . .
Seventeen-year-old Skylar Thompson is being questioned by the police. Her boyfriend, Jimmy, stands accused of brutally assaulting two young El Salvadoran immigrants from a neighboring town, and she’s the prime witness. Skylar is keeping quiet about what she’s seen, but how long can she keep it up?
But Jimmy was her savior. . . . When her mother died, he was the only person who made her feel safe, protected from the world. But when she begins to appreciate the enormity of what has happened, especially when Carlos Cortez, one of the victims, steps up to demand justice, she starts to have second thoughts about protecting Jimmy. Jimmy’s accomplice, Sean, is facing his own moral quandary. He’s out on bail and has been offered a plea in exchange for testifying against Jimmy.
The truth must be told. . . . Sean must decide whether or not to turn on his friend in order to save himself. But most important, both he and Skylar need to figure out why they would follow someone like Jimmy in the first place.

I initially passed this one up...but, I've seen quite a few fantastic reviews, so I figured I had better get on the bandwagon. I will let you know what I think, soon.

Review: Tankborn

Tankborn by Karen Sandler

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Tankborn is a reference to how GENs (Genetically Engineered Non-natals) are created, rather than nurtured in a womb, they are in a tank. Because of this they are considered non-Human…even though they are mostly created with human DNA and maybe a bit of animal DNA to enhance physical attributes they would need on the future job assignment they are being created for. Because of their non-human status they are the “untouchables” of this society, both literally and figuratively.

Kayla and Mishalla are best friends. They grew up together in the same GEN sector, and are the same age. Mishalla has already received her assignment as a “nurturer” to young children in what is an emergency foster home until family can be found to care for the child.

Kayla received her assignment as the caregiver of an high status elderly man, Zul, living with his grandson and family. While caring for Zul, Kayla’s eyes are opened to the reality of tankborns and the knowledge shakes her to the very core of her existence.

Tankborn was an incredibly thought provoking read. It took me a little while to get into it because the story starts out using terminology created for the world of the book, and that didn’t necessarily provide a definition for me. One of my all-time favorite authors does this all the time and it just something I, personally, have to fight through.
While it is quite clear that the author wanted to explore the chaste system, this story could really be a metaphor for any “us vs. them” mentality…be it religion, gay rights, politics, you name it, and there are direct correlations within “Tankborn”. It also carried a message of hope.

“Even without the white diamond glitter from the bali in his right ear, Kayla would have known this one was high-status. His dark hair was straight and glossy, not wild and kinked like Kayla’s or tight curls like Jal’s. His skin was the perfect color, a right medium bown. Not near black like Jal’s, nor the pale mud color of her own skin, but a warm shade in between. The color of status.”

Another thing I appreciated about this book was that the higher chaste, “true born”, people were people of color. Actually the whole book is people of color…but found it interesting that those with the mid-range color were more desirable, or higher status, rather than those at the end of spectrum. Leaving lots of room for interpretation. Also, the model on the book cover is also a beautiful girl of color.

I really enjoyed “Tankborn”. The author did a beautiful job weaving together a story, then did a spectacular job of destroying everything Kayla believed in. It’s one of those books readers will still be thinking about days after they have finished it. I know I am!

View all my reviews

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights eagerly anticipated upcoming releases.

"The Unwanteds" by Lisa McMann

I have to confess that I am reading this book right now! And I am loving it!

Lisa previously wrote "Wake", "Fade", and "Gone"...which was a VERY different trilogy that I highly recommend.  The "Wake" trilogy was geared more towards High schoolers where as "The Unwanteds" is more about Middle schoolers.

I was fortunate to receive a galley copy of The Unwanteds and in it Lisa McMann gave a short synopsis of where the idea for the story came from, which I found fascinating. I hope it makes it into the final version so everyone can have a peek into the mind of an author.

Here is the summary from GoodReads:
Every year in Quill, thirteen-year-olds are sorted into categories: the strong, intelligent Wanteds go to university, and the artistic Unwanteds are sent to their deaths.
Thirteen-year-old Alex tries his hardest to be stoic when his fate is announced as Unwanted, even while leaving behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted. Upon arrival at the destination where he expected to be eliminated, however, Alex discovers a stunning secret—behind the mirage of the "death farm" there is instead a place called Artime.
In Artime, each child is taught to cultivate their creative abilities and learn how to use them magically, weaving spells through paintbrushes and musical instruments. Everything Alex has ever known changes before his eyes, and it's a wondrous transformation.
But it's a rare, unique occurence for twins to be separated between Wanted and Unwanted, and as Alex and Aaron's bond stretches across their separation, a threat arises for the survival of Artime that will pit brother against brother in an ultimate, magical battle.

I hope to finish the book today and will post a review shortly.  This is a wonderful story and can't wait for the public to have access to it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Review: Nevermore

Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 Stars!

Isobel (perky blonde cheerleader type) is horrified to find she has been paired with Varen (skinny, dark, goth type) for an BIG English project. Along the way Isobel’s quarterback boyfriend, Brad, becomes insanely jealous which only serves to push Isobel more towards Varen. Take the high school angst and pair that with dark and creepy Edgar Allen Poe, and you have this supernatural mystery involving ghosts, the dream realm, and boys fighting for the affection of said cheerleader.

I loved the Edgar Allen Poe aspect of this book. It presented a lot of information about Poe that I had never heard before and which prompted me to go and check out. I love a book that makes me think and research an aspect of the storyline. The author, a Poe scholar, really nailed the details surrounding his death and built a very interesting story around it. Now that she has laid the foundation, I am curious what she will build on it in the next book due out in 2012.

Overall, I did enjoy the book. Pretty fast read and I love “creepy” so it worked for me on that level. My complaint would be that the characters lacked depth, we never did learn much about any of them, kind of like they hatched fully formed the day the story began. But I was willing to overlook that in favor of the Poe aspects, this time. I’m hoping the next book will correct this and give us more background on the story’s main characters and less emphasis on Poe. Poe served his purpose by setting up the conflict in this book.

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Review: Unraveled

Unraveled by Gena Showalter

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There is a war brewing between the creatures that lurk the night and Aden is at the center of it. Unbeknownst to him, he emanates a “pull” on these creatures. A pull they can’t really fight.
Meanwhile Aden is yet to be crowned the Vampire King…and the vampires are not real thrilled with a human for king. Aden still has the 3 souls in his head and the prophecy of his death is looming as well. What’s a kid to do?

I really enjoyed the first book, “Intertwined”. I loved all the different paranormal characters and how they meshed. This book was more of the same. The first book seemed original, but this one felt more like “same stuff, different day”. I’m not sure what Ms. Showalter has in store for this series. If it is a planned trilogy, then this felt like filler.

I think you are getting that I thought this book was OK. There were a couple of good cliffhangers which make me want to read the next book in the series. I’m just hoping it was more content, and less fluff than this one did.

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Friday, August 19, 2011

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren. Each week we are invited to highlight the books we've received whether borrowed, given, or bought.

I was able to hit a Borders in Billings, Montana. Picked up a few books I'd been wanting.

Then I also received a whole bunch of new galleys that I am really excited to read and review!!!

I have lots of reading to keep me busy!!! YAY

Thursday, August 18, 2011

GIVEAWAY - "Lockdown" by Alexander Gordon Smith

Win a copy of "Lockdown", the first book in Alexander Gordon Smith's teen horror series, "Escape from Furnace".

More about the 'Escape from Furnace' series:
Beneath Heaven is Hell....Beneath Hell is Furnace! Furnace Penitentiary: the world’s most secure prison for young offenders, buried a mile beneath the earth’s surface. Convicted of a murder he didn’t commit, sentenced to life without parole, “new fish” Alex Sawyer knows he has two choices: find a way out, or resign himself to a death behind bars, in the darkness at the bottom of the world.

Escape from Furnace Series by Alexander Gordon Smith
Includes: Lockdown, Solitary, Death SentenceFugitives (Available in 2012), and Execution (Available in 2012).

Here are the details:

1. Become a follower of this site.
2. Leave a comment to this post, be sure to leave your Name and mailing address.

Giveaway for US and Canadian residents only.

You have until 8/31/11 to enter the winner will be drawn at random!
Become a Facebook fan:

Review: White Tiger

White Tiger
White Tiger by Kylie Chan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Emma is an Australian in Hong Kong. She’s been working as an English teacher at a local Kindergarten as well as taking on private clients. One of these clients is Simone the four year old daughter of a very wealthy Hong Kong businessman. When Emma quits her kindergarten job, Mr. Chen, Simone’s Dad, hires her as Simone’s full-time, live-in, nanny.

Upon moving into Mr. Chen’s home, Emma starts to discover strange goings on…Leo, Mr. Chen’s driver is actually more like a body guard, and Mr. Chen’s late wife was murdered on Leo’s watch. Mr. Chen teaches martial arts and basically has a do-go and full complement of very sharp weapons in his home. Mr. Chen always takes a sword with him. His students are not allowed to speak to Emma under any circumstances or face the wrath of Mr. Chen. Emma knows something isn’t quite normal about Mr. Chen, but no one will answer her questions. Meanwhile Mr. Chen is realizing there is something a bit different about Emma, something he can’t quite explain. Gods and Goddesses, demons and kings, might and magic all come into play.

I found this book incredibly hard to put down…to the point where I got all of four hours of sleep last night. White Tiger is based on Chinese mythology, which I knew nothing about, and it totally drew me in. Maybe I am just a sucker for these modern re-telling of very old stories.

I loved the way Ms. Chan slowly reveals everything, and the frustration that it causes Emma. The stereotypical dance between the man trying to “protection” the woman, and the woman showing the man just what could have gone wrong in his protection scenario. The yin and yang of the situation, basically. I so enjoyed the characters! Simone at 4-5 is delightful and wise beyond her years, but then what do you expect from a child who is half God. Bai Hu gave fantastic comic relief in the most trying of circumstances. Leo, was the uber-man, and ironically gay. I loved the irony, and also was really impressed by the theme of family that runs through the story…how everyone in Mr. Chen’s household is loved as family and accepted for who they are, be it a 6’6” gay bodyguard, or a tame demon trying to gain humanity.

I did have some issues with the story. The dialog was a bit choppy and I didn’t understand the purpose of the storyline with April and Andy, it seemed totally pointless. There were a few times during the story where Emma offered something, and was met with abject horror, but this reader never understood what was so wrong with Emma’s offer. Case in point…I believe it was the first time Emma killed a demon with her chi, Mr. Chen was incredibly weak and Emma drew on her chi to offer it to Mr. Chen. Mr. Chen and Leo reacted with great disdain, but for the life of me I couldn’t understand why. Rereading the scene, then the whole chapter, still didn’t answer that question for me.

It seems, from other reviews, that people either love this book or they don’t. Put me in the loved it column. I will be waiting for the next book in this trilogy. I understand this was originally released in Australia some time ago? If so, I hope the publishers don’t make me wait too long for book 2.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

The Son of Neptune (Heroes of Olympus, #2)

Have I mentioned that I really enjoy Rick Riordan's updated adventures with the Greek and Roman Gods? Well I do! LOL. My son and I red the Percy Jackson series together and when Rick started this series, my son and I knew we would be reading it as well!  So here is the blurb, from GoodReads, on this, the second book from the Heroes of Olympus series that will be out on October 4th!

In The Lost Hero, three demigods named Jason, Piper, and Leo made their first visit to Camp Half-Blood, where they inherited a quest:
Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,
To storm or fire the world must fall.
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.
Who are the other four mentioned in the prophecy? The answer may lie in another camp miles away, where a new camper has shown up and appears to be the son of Neptune, god of the sea...

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights eagerly anticipated upcoming releases.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Review: The Eternal Ones

The Eternal Ones
The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What if…you remembered every one of your previous lives, since time began? What if in every one of those previous lives you knew your soulmate was out there. What if you believed that soul mate killed you in your last life, and he was suspected of murder in this one?

These are the questions Haven deals with in “The Eternal Ones”. Periodically she is drawn into a vision from her most previous life. During these visions she sees her soul mate, Ethan. It’s not until she sees a gossip show on TV that she realizes that New York “bad boy”, Iain Murrow, is the reincarnation of Ethan…and he’s also the prime suspect in the disappearance of a famous musician. What’s a girl to do? Why, investigate, of course.

I fell in love with The Eternal Ones! I got pulled right in and the world Ms. Miller created was so warm and homey…I didn’t want it to end. The story moved very deliberately…I was going to say slowly, but, that sounds like a bad thing. In this case, Ms. Miller was providing so much story and atmosphere to languidly peel back the many, many layers of this story…it was like wearing a comfortable robe with a pot of tea on hand.

My only complaint was the way Haven treated her best friend, Beau. She, at times, treated him like a slave which got to be a bit much. Beau put up with more crap from Haven than I think anyone would/could. I also wished Haven’s Mom had more of a backbone…she was frustrating.

I thought that Ms. Miller did a fantastic job of creating that small Southern town with all the stereotypes…anyone different is touched by the devil, the one gay guy in town is going to Hell, there is another group on the outskirts of town that have a cultish-like religion of their own creation. Ms. Miller’s depictions of the various characters were well thought out and moved me to many emotions. I especially loved the paintings by the up-coming artist and that little twist to them.

Personally I am intrigued by reincarnation and the possibility that I would run into and fall in love with the same “person” over many lifetimes, while romanticized, is appealing. I think I could do a lot worse than be with my loving hubby over many lifetimes! I found this book extremely hopeful! And hope is always a good thing to have!

View all my reviews

Monday, August 15, 2011

Review: Blood

Blood by K.J. Wignall

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s the thirteenth century and Will was destined to be the Earl of Mercia…but, the same night seven supposed witches were burned at the stake, something or someone bit him. He woke up years later in his coffin. Will manages to work his way out of the coffin and finds a cavern that appears to be created as a home for him. He doesn’t know what has happened. Through trial and error he discovers his thirst for human blood and other new powers.

Will goes through wakeful and sleeping cycles throughout the next 750 years. Only this time, things “feel” different. As if whatever possible fate he was created for is going down right now. Will’s first night upon waking he sees a girl, Eloise, and he knows she is going to be integral to whatever it is that waits for him. Together they journey to discover what Will’s fate may be.

This felt like a much more traditional, gothic-like, vampire story. Will doesn’t succumb to all the typical vampire stereotypes, but it still seemed more true to “Dracula”, than most of the vampire stories out on the market.

I got sucked into the story (pun intended), very quickly, and loved all the mystery. There was so much going on. Lots of people/creatures that all play a significant part. Nothing is gratuitous. If the author introduces you to something/one, it will reappear at a later time…little nuggets that come back to make you think later. Something I really enjoyed enjoyed about the author’s writing style, I also liked the way he set up the story…it was very thoughtful, multi-layered, and I just really liked the way Wignall revealed the elements of the story.

Not all of the mysteries were solved, I believe this is a planned trilogy. And while I really wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy the story, I did, and am anxious to see who some of the mystery characters turn out to be.

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Friday, August 12, 2011

Review: Fury

Fury by Elizabeth Miles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 Stars!

It’s Winter Break in Ascension, Maine. At a party, classmates Emily and Chase, find out that another classmate, Sasha, has attempted suicide earlier in the evening. Both Emily and Chase are deeply affected by this. So starts “Fury”, told from Emily’s and Chase’s alternating viewpoints.

Emily is a girl crushing on her BFF’s boyfriend, Zach. While her BFF is away Emily makes a play for Zach…not a nice thing to do! Meanwhile, on the wrong side of the tracks, Chase is doing everything he can to be accepted by the wealthier, popular kids…and makes a few bad choices.
What Emily and Chase don’t know is that they have been chosen and Karma is a bitch, or three.

I didn’t know anything about “Fury” going into it. I’d seen the cover and heard some very vague, very positive comments, so I was anxious to dig into it. Right away I was perplexed. Usually the main character(s) are above reproach…not so here. Immediately Emily is pining for Zach and he seems to be encouraging it, and Chase is talking about how good he felt when his Dad died…even if the Dad was a monster, Chases feelings about it just felt weird the way the author presented it. It was one of those stories I will be thinking about for days after finishing it.

The story did have a Lois Duncan, “Summer of Fear” kind of vibe to it. I knew something bad was going to happen I just didn’t know what, whom, or why…yet! Which made “Fury” very hard to put down. Most of the characters are not terribly likeable, but then this couldn’t be a story about the Fates if they were. I was surprised that we didn’t see more of Ty, Ali, and Meg in the second half of the books…maybe it was more suspenseful just waiting for them to show up? The ending and “2 Weeks Later” were really surprising. I will be anxious to read what happens next.

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Review: The Blackhope Enigma

The Blackhope Enigma
The Blackhope Enigma by Teresa Flavin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paintings and Labyrinths and Monsters, Oh My!

Sunni and step-brother, Dean, are at Blackhope Castle so Sunni can work on an art project. While Sunni is studying a painting, Dean studies the labyrinth on the floor and accidently transports himself into the painting…Sunni manages to figure out how he did it and follows him…leaving her friend Blaise as the only person who knows what is going on.

Meanwhile, Sunni and Dean must figure out how to get themselves back out of the painting. Along the way they discover other people in the painting, monsters, swash-buckling adventures on the high seas, and the answers to several centuries worth of questions and mysteries surrounding the painting and it’s creator.

This was a wonderful story in vein of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Blackhope had a little of everything…mystery, thrills, adventure, and a hint of romance. Flavin created several little worlds that all interlaced beautifully. Her writing was very atmospheric…I loved that when Sunni and Dean examined the picture from within the picture, the details were smudged, kind of like when a picture on the screen is blown up and you can see the individual pixels. It’s the little details, like this, that really made the story…but Flavin didn’t bury the reader with them.

Sunni, our heroine, was quick thinking, while Dean was her comedic foil…snarky without trying to be. Blaise, Sunni’s friend, was the perfect balance to Sunni and with the two of them working together it was clear they could accomplish anything. Bellini, the art thief, out for himself no matter the cost, foiled at every turn…and really got his comeuppance in the end. I loved where he ended up (couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy!). You never really knew who Hugo was and if he could be trusted! And Marin, well, I started out hating him, but loved him by the end of the story!

This book is geared more towards 5th-8th graders, but could be enjoyed by anyone who like a little magic with their adventure.

View all my reviews

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren. Each week we are invited to highlight the books we've received whether borrowed, given, or bought.

I purchased these this week:
Old MagicPossession (Possession, #1)

Old Magic - by Marianne Curley
Possession - by Elena Johnson

I received the following galleys this week:
DoubleThe ShatteringTankborn

Double - by Jenny Valentine
The Shattering - by Karen Healey
Tankborn - by Karen Sandler
Croak - by Gina Damico (not pictured)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights eagerly anticipated upcoming releases.

While I have read and reviewed this weeks selection...I still can't wait for it to come out in print so I can own a copy. Goodness, I loved this book!

The synopsis from GoodReads is as follows:

"The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.
True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.
Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart."

This is absolutely one of my all time favorite reads! My review is HERE.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Review: The Marked Son

The Marked Son
The Marked Son by Shea Berkley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Poor Dylan…he has a total flake for a Mom and she has just ditched him with Grandparents he didn’t know existed until he and his Mom pulled up to their farm this morning. Nothing left to do but to try and make the best of a bad situation.

Dylan starts out helping his grandfather on the sheep farm but strange things start to happen, including seeing a ghost. A ghost that has haunted his dreams for as long as he can remember. Only it turns out she’s not a ghost…she is a “first” named Kera, and she has managed to cross over from her dimension into Dylan’s. But with Kera’s crossing, other creatures have managed to slip through wrecking havoc…a havoc that has it’s start in Teag, and shows no signs of stopping.

“Marked Son” was an adventure. Right away you have such strong sympathy for the life Dylan has lived with his Mom. Dylan is jaded, he’s always felt unloved and uncared for…I wanted to bundle him up and show him how life should be for a kid. But, thankfully his Grandmother, does it for me. I loved how Shea depicted his grandparents…Grandma immediately loving and sympathetic, Grandpa a bit rough and inadvertently taking his frustrations with his daughter out on his grandson.

The world of Teag, at first, seemed to share a lot of similarities with the world of Faerie, but those similarities turned out to be very superficial. Shea has created a new world with some of the same discriminations and prejudices that humans face every day…with a bit of magic thrown in to make it exciting. This was a very relatable story for everyone to enjoy.

In poking around on Goodreads I did find a comment the author made that indicated that there would be a second book. The “Marked Son” was a complete story on it’s own, but I am excited to see that the author will be continuing the story. There was definitely more area for her to expound on. Here is hoping I can be patient while waiting to see what happens next.

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Friday, August 5, 2011

Review: Book of Revenge

Book of Revenge
Book of Revenge by Abra Ebner

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

The story continues with the narration shifting between Emily, Wes, Greg, Max and Jane…with the addition of Avery who was Max’s fiancé when he found out about Jane. So you can see the “woman scorned” thing coming can’t you? Yeah, I could too.

Add to that, that Wes discover’s he has a owl who is stalking him. Emily becomes entangled with a classmate who is not as he appears. Max discovers long buried secrets about his parents. Avery befriends Jane while using an alias to exact revenge on Max. And Jane, poor whiney Jane, discovers that not only was Max previously engaged, but that if he has sex with her, he will probably kill her. Sucks to be you Jane!

I still think this series would have been much better if it had focused on Emily and Wes, rather than Max and Jane. This story was incredibly predictable and boring…well maybe not so much when the focus was on Emily and Wes. And I have to add that the ending was the stupidest and most ridiculous thing I have ever read…what the hell was that all about anyway? What possible purpose could it serve, except to maybe finally shift the story to Emily and Wes…HEY, I think I may have something. OH, I can only hope maybe I have hit on where we might be going from here. That would be the only way I would ever think about picking up a subsequent book in this series!

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Review: Illusions

Illusions by Aprilynne Pike

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In this, the third installment, of the “Wings” series by Aprilynne Pike, we pick up about 6 months after the last book ended. Laurel has spent a good portion of the Summer back in Avalon working on Fall faerie skills and hasn’t seen Tamani since the end of the last book when she told him she was choosing David and Tamani needed to leave her alone, she didn’t want to see him.

First day of David and Laurels Senior year in high school and who should be one of two new “foreign exchange” students, but Tam, aka Tamani. No warning, no explanation, no nothing. In addition to Tam, there is Yuki, a Japanese foreign exchange student who happens to be sponsored by Klea of the “human troll hunting group” we were introduced to in “Spells” (book 2)…Hmmm, something is starting to smell fishy! Trolls still abound in “Illusions”, BUT, they are not responding to the usual faerie defenses…nothing is slowing them down. What’s a faerie and her guardian to do?

I really enjoyed “Illusions”! It’s my favorite of the three books thus far. Ms. Pike says there will be one more, final, book. Sure as heck better be with the cliff she left us hanging on.

Laurel continues to mature, getting better at her “mixing” skills but also realizing she doesn’t need a guy, or two, to complete her. Which really adds to the romantic triangle tension!! I’ve enjoyed watching/reading Laurel grow up and mature. I also appreciate how David and Tam are written as they do a great job of pointing out the pros and cons of whatever situation comes up. They balance each other really well.

Lots of great mystery and intrigue in this story. The kids start to get the impression that something isn’t right with Yuki, and Laurel has never trusted Klea! It was fun to watch everyone working together, the opportunities for witty dialog and some snark (Chelsea!) were laugh out loud funny at times. This really was the best book of the series. Can’t wait to see the resolution to the cliff hanger in the next book. Please hurry Ms. Pike!!!

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