Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon

(Dark Hunter Book #12)
by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Genre: Paranormal Romance / Historic

Eleven thousand years ago, a god was born. Cursed into the body of a human, Acheron spent a lifetime of shame. But the strongest steel is forged from the fires of hell…
Acheron’s human death unleashed an unspeakable horror that almost destroyed the earth. Then, brought back against his will, he became the sole defender of mankind. Only it was never that simple. For centuries, Acheron has fought for our survival and hidden a past he’ll do anything to keep concealed. Until a lone woman who refuses to be intimidated by him threatens his very existence. Now his survival—and ours—hinges on hers, and old enemies reawaken and unite to kill them both. War has never been more deadly...or more fun.
What goes into making a God? Acheron begins life as a human with hopes of living a privileged and royal life, except everything goes wrong. He is tossed away like trash from his mortal family and struggles for 21 years until his birthright changes everything. Though thousands of years of passed, Acheron is still struggling to overcome the horrors from his youth. Enter Tori; she's equally stubborn and determined to get Ash (the modern Acheron) into helping her resolve her grandfather's reputation of locating the real Atlantis, but nothings as easy as she hopes.

First off . . . this book if HUGE. Almost 800 pages. I got hooked with the first half and loved it. I enjoyed the ancient historic feel to the story and the grief was really gut-wrenching. You cry for all that Acheron goes through. Then you skip ahead a couple of 1000 years to him settling in as a God. Then you skip many many many more 1000 of years to the modern day. I felt this part didn't do the book justice. I couldn't grasp how easily Acheron feel for Tory when he had literally tons of time to come to terms with all the skeletons in his closet. I dunno' . . . their story felt rushed and not as enjoyable as the beginning part. Overall, it was a fun read but a bit awkward considering the size of the book.

Likes: I loved the mythology.

Dislikes: Ash came off as a pansy near the end. I know it was suppose to represent him letting his guard down, but it just felt forced and not natural to me.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Dirty Little Secrets by C. J. Omololu

Dirty Little Secrets
by C. J. Omololu

Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Young Adult 

Everyone has secrets. Some are just bigger and dirtier than others. For sixteen years, Lucy has kept her mother's hoarding a secret. She's had to—nobody would understand the stacks of newspapers and mounds of garbage so high they touch the ceiling and the rotting smell that she's always worried would follow her out the house. After years of keeping people at a distance, she finally has a best friend and maybe even a boyfriend if she can play it right. As long as she can make them think she's normal. When Lucy arrives home from a sleepover to find her mother dead under a stack of National Geographics, she starts to dial 911 in a panic, but pauses before she can connect. She barely notices the filth and trash anymore, but she knows the paramedics will. First the fire trucks, and then news cameras that will surely follow. No longer will they be remembered as the nice oncology nurse with the lovely children—they'll turn into that garbage-hoarding freak family on Collier Avenue. With a normal life finally within reach, Lucy has only minutes to make a critical decision. How far will she go to keep the family secrets safe?

Everyone has a secret. But Lucy’s has one she’s been hiding for years—that her mom’s out-of-control hoarding has turned their lives into a world of garbage and shame. She’s managed to keep her home life hidden from her best friend and her crush, knowing they’d be disgusted by the truth. So, when her mom dies suddenly in their home, Lucy hesitates to call 911 because revealing their way of life would make her future unbearable—and she begins her two-day plan to set her life right.

I finished this book in one night. Though I was fascinated with the overall plot of 'hoarders' in the story, I felt it ended too quickly. There was so much more that I felt needed to be told, but at least you get to enjoy a short interesting story of Lucy's finial decisions of her families "truths". It's a quick read, but you do get some unknown insight into a world many never see.

Likes: All the childhood objects Lucy discovered that triggered memories while cleaning.

Dislikes: Lucy was quite unemotional throughout the story, so I'm assuming it was shock.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison

My Fair Godmother
by Janette Rallison

Genre: Fantasy / Fairy Tale / Paranormal Romance / Young Adult

Finding your one true love can be a Grimm experience! After her boyfriend dumps her for her older sister, sophomore Savannah Delano wishes she could find a true prince to take her to the prom. Enter Chrissy (Chrysanthemum) Everstar: Savannah’s gum-chewing, cell phone–carrying, high heel-wearing Fair Godmother. Showing why she’s only Fair—because she’s not a very good fairy student—Chrissy mistakenly sends Savannah back in time to the Middle Ages, first as Cinderella, then as Snow White. Finally she sends Tristan, a boy in Savannah’s class, back instead to turn him into her prom-worthy prince. When Savannah returns to the Middle Ages to save Tristan, they must team up to defeat a troll, a dragon, and the mysterious and undeniably sexy Black Knight.

Sixteen-year-old Savannah is devastated when her boyfriend dumps her for her studious older sister, and she dreams that her life will take a fairy-tale turn, complete with a handsome prince, a ball, and a happy ending. Her wishes bring the astonishing arrival of Chrissy, an aspiring fairy godmother. Still in training and not quite in command of her magical abilities, Chrissy sends Savannah through a chain of otherworldly mishaps, including visits to Cinderella and Snow White’s stories and finally to the Middle Ages, where Savannah defeats a cast of magical creatures and discovers that regular guys are sometimes preferable to princes.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book!!!! I got caught up in all the silliness of the characters, the crazy time-travel mishaps, and the overall fairy-tale plot that I found myself falling asleep at night with my book still open in the morning. Love that! Savannah comes off as the normal ditzy teenager who makes all the wrong choices by not being honest with what she really wants in life. I was fascinated where all the story takes the reader and, at the end, it seems like such an
long & complex tale when really the book only a little over 300 pages. This is definitely a fun read after a long day at work!

Likes: The time travel wasn't kooky and got a lot more fun when more characters got involved.

Dislikes: I felt like Savannah should have stood up for herself a little more throughout the book.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Old Magic by Marianne Curley

Old Magic
by Marianne Curley

Genre: Fantasy / Paranormal Romance / Young Adult

His name is Jarrod Thornton. He has blond-red hair to his shoulders, nice clean skin and green eyes like fiery emeralds; but this is not why I can't drag my eyes off him. There's something else. Something disturbing . . .

Kate is at a loss. She meets a boy with extraordinary powers and a bizarre family history that can be traced back to the Middles Ages. But Jarrod doesn't believe in the paranormal. When Kate tries to convince him that he has supernatural powers that need to be harnessed, he doesn't take her serious, and only puts up with her "hocus pocus" notions because he finds her captivating. However, the dangerous, uncontrolled strengthening of his gifts finally convinces Jarrod that he must take Kate's theories seriously. Together, they embark on a remarkable journey - one which will unravel the mystery that has hung over Jarrod's family for generations and finds them pitted against immense forces in a battle to undo the past and reshape the future.

When Jarrod Thornton walks into the classroom, Kate Warren instantly senses that he is as different as she is. In anger, he unknowingly unleashes a storm in the science lab and Kate realizes that he has exceptional paranormal abilities that exceed her own. As an uneasy friendship forms, she helps Jarrod confront and internalize his talents. With her grandmother's help, the teens journey back to the Middle Ages and break the curse that has controlled the Thornton family for generations.

Another book from my TBR pile finished. Yayy! I'm finally putting a dent in that never-ending stack. The plot in this book was very well planned out. The first half was set in a small town along the forest in Australia and the second half was set in the Scottish Highlands among castles and villagers. Two different mixtures that blended quite well with the story. Both of the main characters can use magic, but in different ways and at different skill-levels. Yet, Kate and Jarrod are instantly attracted to each other as well. Each lead gets their own chapter and they flip back and forth throughout, so the reader gets quite a smooth story telling of attempts to break the old family curse, time traveling experiences and different uses of magic.

Likes: I enjoyed that it was set in Australia for the majority of the book, so there were lots of unfamiliar Australian slang . . . which I found fascinating!

Dislikes: Jarrod came off as too pessimistic and I couldn't really warm up to him because of that.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

To Catch a Pirate by Jade Parker

To Catch a Pirate
by Jade Parker (AKA Rachel Hathorne)

Genre: Historical / Romance / Young Adult

Once caught, it’s harder still to let a pirate go. When Annalisa Townsend’s ship is set upon by pirates in search of her father’s treasure, one of the crew, James Sterling, discovers her in the hold. When he moves to take her necklace, she begs him not to, as it is all she has left of her mother. He accepts a kiss in exchange for the necklace. “A fair trade, m’lady,” he tells her afterward, before disappearing. A year later, with a forged letter of marque, Annalisa is intent on hunting down the wretched James Sterling and reclaiming her father’s treasure from him. But now she’s in danger of him stealing something far more vulnerable this time: her heart.
In the early 1700s, Annalisa is on-board a ship, with her father, set sail to the Caribbeans. Upon almost reaching their destination, the ship is attacked by pirates. Annalisa was able to hide safely below decks, until a young pirate named James Sterling finds her. His thieving ways tempt him to steal Annalisa's prized possession, but since her necklace is the last connection to her Mother, she pleads desperately to keep it. In exchange, James asks for a kiss and vanishes. One year later, her Father is in jail due to the missing treasure the pirates stole and Annalisa, hoping to reclaim the life she had, acquires a ship and crew of her own to go after the pirates, especially James Sterling.

It's a short & sweet historical pirate book which many can highly compare with
Pirates of the Caribbeans. It's also a cute & fun love story with a perk, since there's more romance in here than most young adult books. Both Annalisa and James were enjoyable characters and there's some fun twists in the plot, but don't expect anything mind-blowing. In short, this would make a great summer adventure read for the beach!

Likes: I highly enjoyed the snappy verbal sparring between the two leads.

Dislikes: I wish there was a second book. This would be a fun series!


Friday, June 18, 2010

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side
by Beth Fantaskey

Genre: Paranormal Romance / Young Adult

Jessica Packwood is a normal teen attending Woodrow Wilson High School. Her mathematical nature has even given her a slightly geeky reputation, which is about to change with the arrival of Lucius Vladescu, who seems to be stalking her. She tells her mother about him and learns that she is really a Romanian vampire princess who has been betrothed to Lucius at birth. She knew she was adopted, but this revelation comes as a shock. It is this agreement that has kept rival vampire clans, the Dragomirs and the Vladescus, at an uneasy peace. If the marriage does not take place, war will ensue and threaten the ultimate destruction of Jessica's vampire family. To say that this is a lot for the teen to take in is an understatement. Lucius is gorgeous, old world, tender as well as arrogant, and very overprotective of her. However, she chooses to date Jake, a handsome but rather dull boy. But not all is as it seems in the vampire world, and as the story progresses, circumstances force Jessica and Lucius to take matters into their own hands; in doing so, they examine their true feelings about themselves, family, and duty.

Down-to-earth mathlete Jessica is completely horrified when, a few months shy of her 18th birthday, a Romanian named Lucius shows up on her doorstep, claiming that he and she are vampire royalty betrothed to each other since infancy—what's worse, her adoptive parents verify the betrothal story and explain that her birth parents identified themselves as vampires, too. Fantaskey makes this premise work by playing up its absurdities without laughing at them, endowing Jessica with a coolly ironic sensibility and Lucius with old-world snobbery that Jessica's girlfriends find irresistible & dub him the nickname "Luscious Lucius".

I've had this book on my TBR pile for awhile now and finally got around to it. I'm glad I did! I was so absorbed in the conflict between Jessica (or known by her original Romanian name - Antanasia) and Lucius that I finished the book in one day! It begins like many of the cooky vampy love stories out there, but the more you get into the actual tale - the more you enjoy the characters and get sucked (haha no pun intended) into where their lives are leading them. I loved the flip of feelings between the two and it even had me crying at parts . . . a mark of a great book to touch me so emotionally! Perfect weekend read if you want to become absorbed in a fun paranormal book!!! Check out Jessica & Lucius's continuation HERE.

Likes: I was surprisingly shocked how wonderful this book was!

Dislikes: Starts out rather slow and then it ends too quickly!


Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause

The Silver Kiss
by Annette Curtis Klause

Genre: Dark Fantasy / Paranormal Romance / Young Adult

Zoe is 16 and facing bereavement: her mother is dying of cancer, and her father seems to be excluding her from her mother's hospital bedside. No one dares speak to Zoe about the family tragedy, and she is isolated by grief, anger and fear. Then she meets the alluring, enigmatic Simon, who has an uncanny ability to recognize her feelings. After a series of nocturnal meetings, Zoe learns that Simon is a vampire kept alive by his thirst to avenge the death of his own mother three centuries ago. Drawn to him by an empathy charged with both longing and fear, Zoe agrees to participate in a dangerous scheme to trap Simon's mother's supernatural killer. The two emerge from their encounter able to mourn and acknowledge their losses.

Zoe is struggling and trying to cope with her mother's illness. Her father (consumed with his own grief) doesn't want Zoe disturbing or stressing out her mother in the hospital, so she's often alone at home falling deeper and deeper into an isolated depression/anger. Then she meets Simon one night in the park. He's the first person who relates to her dark & numbing feelings and together, throughout the book, they begin to share each others company. On the flip side, throughout Zoe's town, young women are being brutally murdered and Zoe begins to realize Simon's true intent of being there as well.

It's odd thinking this book is a good 20 years old, written back in the day (1990) before the 'vampire craze' took over. Yet, there were definitely some creepy/gory parts throughout
The Silver Kiss and sadly some down right predictable ones. For example, I guessed the killer right from the beginning! It's a quick emotional read and you flip back and forth between the characters, but overall I felt the tale was weak. Nothing really stood out, the villain was under developed, it's got a sad climax, and when I finished . . . I was hoping for a better read overall.

Likes: It's a quick vampy read, if you don't have very high standards.

Dislikes: The whole story carries such a dark heavy tone of death, that it's hard to get past it.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Beautiful Creatures by Kimi Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Beautiful Creatures
(Caster Chronicles Book #1)
by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Genre: Paranormal Romance / Fantasy / Young Adult

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps, and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever. Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them. In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

"Some loves are meant to be…
others are cursed.

There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
At least, that’s what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
There was a curse. There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave."

Ethan, a high school sophomore, plans to escape his small Southern town as soon as he can. Life has been difficult since his mother died; his father, a writer, has withdrawn into his study. Then Lena Duchannes arrives, and this strange new girl is the very one who has been occupying his dreams. She and her kin are Casters, beings who have supernatural powers. Getting to know her exposes Ethan to time travel, mortal danger, and love. The teens can hardly bear to be apart, but Lena's 16th birthday, when she will be Claimed for dark or light, is only 6 months away. To save her, they fight supernatural powers and the prejudice of closed-minded people. Yet, good and evil are not clearly delineated, nor are they necessarily at odds.

I thought I wouldn't enjoy a story told from a teenage boys perspective, but Ethan's view was very natural and easy to follow. It was enjoyable seeing the story threw his eyes and witnessing the oddness that is the Caster World . . . unlike many other paranormal tales told from the witches, zombies, vampires, etc. point of view . . . Ethan was just plain normal and human - something all readers could relate to. I was thrilled with the small town feel to the story, reminded me SO MUCH of my hometown. Loved it!!!! The concept was very original as well and there's just the perfect touch of romance & anticipation to keep the reader turning the pages. Next Up : Beautiful Darkness

Likes: MACON MELCHIZEDEK RAVENWOOD was by far my favorite character!!!

Dislikes: It's a lot to take in. I felt the Caster Universe grew throughout the book, so it was defiantly a story one will have to read more than once (or at least certain parts) to gain the full effect.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hourglass by Claudia Gray

(Evernight Book #3)
by Claudia Gray

Genre: Paranormal Romance / Young Adult 

Bianca will risk everything to be with Lucas. After escaping from Evernight Academy, the vampire boarding school where they met, Bianca and Lucas take refuge with Black Cross, a fanatical group of vampire hunters. Bianca must hide her supernatural heritage or risk certain death at their hands. But when Black Cross captures her friend—the vampire Balthazar—hiding is no longer an option. Soon, Bianca and Lucas are on the run again, pursued not only by Black Cross, but by the powerful leaders of Evernight. Yet no matter how far they travel, Bianca can't escape her destiny. Bianca has always believed their love could survive anything . . . but can it survive what's to come?

The Evernight series follows Bianca, the teenage daughter of vampire parents who has both bloodthirsty and human qualities, and her mortal beloved, Lucas, to Manhattan, a “city with a serious vampire problem.” Posing as a member of the vampire-hunting group Black Cross, to which Lucas belongs, Bianca continues to take part in the war between humans and vampires, which rages everywhere from elegant apartments to Central Park.

Seventeen-year-old Bianca, half-vampire, half-human, & twenty-year-old Lucas, a Black Cross vampire killer ,continue to take refuge with the enemy. Effected by dizzying spells and a weaker body due to the lack of interactions with her own kind, Bianca must beat the odds of remaining undetected even though she is afraid of who and more importantly what she is becoming. Hourglass is highly tension packed at times and at others quite emotional with the whole bond of family/friends. There's some big shockers that really break your heart, but with the story plot . . . it was pretty much inevitable. The ending was excruciating for me since I would have chosen differently, but it definitely spices things up.
Likes: Modern Romeo & Juliet tale with a twist!

Dislikes: A plot twist full of death and heartache!


Monday, June 14, 2010

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

The Iron King
(The Iron Fey Book #1)
by Julie Kagawa

Genre: Fantasy / Paranormal Romance / Young Adult

My name is Meghan Chase.

In less than twenty-four hours I'll be sixteen. Countless stories, songs, and poems have been written about this wonderful age, when a girl finds true love and the stars shine for her and the handsome prince carries her off into the sunset.

I don't think it will be that way for me.

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny—one she could never have imagined...Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school...or at home. When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change. But she could never have guessed the truth—that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

I've been seeing this book EVERYWHERE and have been shunning it for a while due to all the rave ratings its been receiving, but I finally bit the bullet and read it myself and . . . LOVED IT! It has an odd mixture of Alice in Wonderland, A Midsummer's Night Dream, Legend and mostly - Labyrinth. It has all the classic fairy tale elements: a child kidnapped by fairies, a magical quest, and a handsome prince. Plus, Meghan finds out she 1/2 Faery herself, so things become a lot personal throughout the book. Next up - The Iron Daughter, coming out August 1st.

Likes: I had thought Robbie/Puck's silliness would grow on my last nerve, but he did quite the opposite when I finished the book. Presently Surprised!

Dislikes: It's almost too similar to the 1986 Jim Henson film, Labyrinth.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

You Are So Undead To Me by Stacey Jay

You Are So Undead To Me
(Megan Berry Book #1)
by Stacey Jay

Genre: Urban Fantasy / Young Adult

Megan Berry's social life is so dead. Literally. Fifteen-year-old Megan is a Zombie Settler by birth, which means she's part-time shrink to a bunch of dead people with a whole lot of issues. And things are about to get even worse. Someone at school is using black magic to turn average, angsty Undead into flesh-eating Zombies and it's up to Megan to stop the zombie apocalypse...
Studying her Settler textbook is important, except Megan just wants to be a normal sophomore in High School. Her biggest worry right now is getting a date to the Homecoming dance, not the zombie on her doorstep. So, when an old friend shows up to teach Megan some new tricks and zombies begin attacking her all over town, she becomes a bit preoccupied and doesn't realize danger is closer than she thinks.
I've been on a big zombie fix lately since reading Dan Waters Generation Dead series, but I feel this book was written for a much younger crowd - thus I didn't find it really interesting. I found the plot lacking, the characters flat, and the all over story predictable. Megan was immature and she didn't really develop much throughout the story. I didn't find myself enjoying any of the side characters as well and the end was just plain CHEESY!!!! Stacey Jay's writing style was pretty boring to me as well, didn't flow well and I found myself skipping paragraphs to read ahead. If you're looking for a quick bit of fluff to read, this might satisfy your needs - but I think you'd be much happier looking elsewhere.
Likes: The idea of "Settlers" was growing on me, but the story didn't carry it through enough for my interest.
Dislikes: Too many similarities to Buffy; just switch the vamps for zombies and it's pretty much the same story line.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

My Soul to Keep by Rachel Vincent

My Soul to Keep
(Soul Screamers Book #3)
by Rachel Vincent

Genre: Urban Fantasy / Young Adult

Kaylee has one addiction: her very hot, very popular boyfriend, Nash. A banshee like Kaylee, Nash understands her like no one else. Nothing can come between them. Until something does. Demon’s breath. No, not the toothpaste-challenged kind. The Netherworld kind. The kind that really can kill you. Somehow, the super-addictive substance has made its way to the human world. But how? Kaylee and Nash have to cut off the source and protect their friends—one of whom is already hooked. And when the epidemic hits too close to home, Kaylee will have to risk everything to save those she loves.
Becoming use to her bean sidhe-side has taken some life adjustments and long lessons, but Kaylee now faces a personal battle that only she herself can solve. Drug addictions, kidnappings, demon possessions, Netherworld celebrations, boyfriend troubles are just a few of the battles Kaylee deals with in Rachel Vincent's My Soul to Keep.
I kinda skipped ahead in the Soul Screamer's series by jumping to the most recent release. I started the second one and will finish it soon, but I got caught up reading this one and finished it in one night. It starts out quite frightfully with Kaylee being able to cross over into the Netherworld by just dreaming about death, meaning she has no real control over her powers yet and she puts off sleep for most of the book. Then she begins to realize some of her classmates are acting strange and that the cause is Demon Breath. From there on, it's a downward spiral into darkness (literally!) and she has to make some important decisions about her life, love, and family/friends.
Likes: Kaylee getting a backbone when dealing/talking to her cousin.
Dislikes: Nash's actions.

Friday, June 11, 2010

My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

My Soul to Take
(Soul Screamers Book #1)
by Rachel Vincent

Genre: Urban Fantasy / Young Adult


She doesn't see dead people, but...
She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally. Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about the need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be next...

Kaylee cannot control herself when she sees someone wearing the death shroud. She knows death is imminent and because of her Bean Sidhe (aka Banshee) heritage, an uncontrollable scream builds inside her every time. She never knew about the effects of her birthright (thinking she would have panic attacks instead) until high school hottie Nash Hudson's voice began to calm and coax her wailing side into submission. Now girls are dying left and right and Kaylee wants to help even though its not her "job" to do so.

This was a quick read, but it was highly fun as well. I enjoyed the mixture of folklore and mystery and Kaylee came off as very realistic - stuck between an illness that brutally takes over her in not the best of situations and learning to enjoy the attentions of Nash, a popular ladies-man from her school. Along the way - you get to meet Reapers, learn about Kaylee's past, and slowly see a world that is unknown to most, except Bean Sidhe.

What Kaylee sees in the Netherworld fog . . . spooky!

Dislikes: The story dragged here and there.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Gone by Lisa McMann

(Wake Series Book #3)
by Lisa McMann

Genre: Paranormal Romance / Young Adult

Dream-catcher Janie must decide her fate: continue living in society and helping the police but eventually become blind and crippled, or isolate herself completely. The choice becomes even more difficult when her father, in a coma and on the brink of death, comes into her life for the first time and reveals important information to Janie through his dreams. Cabel remains a steadfast and loving companion, and Janie’s mother, a barely functioning alcoholic, plays a greater role in this volume.

Things should be great for Janie--she has graduated from high school and is spending her summer with Cabel, the guy she's totally in love with. But deep down she's panicking about how she's going to survive her future when getting sucked into other people's dreams is really starting to take its toll. Things get even more complicated when she meets her father for the very first time--and he's in a coma. As Janie uncovers his secret past, she begins to realize that the choice thought she had has more dire consequences than she ever imagined.

I sped through the previous two wonderful books in the series (WAKE & FADE), but was majorly disappointed in this one - the last one in the series,too. I felt each book was great at building up the drama and GONE was just a major let down on all over. The plot felt blah, nothing too exciting, the characters weren't developing as much as I would have liked and it was more depressing than anything else throughout. Sure we meet the father and had some dream facts revealed, but you could almost predict what would happen to her already. I read this quickly just to see if anything got better near the end (nope!) and I felt Lisa McMann really pushed Janie & Cabel's relationship to add something to the story that she wasn't getting from the plot. Most Dream Catcher followers will read this to finish the series, but as a stand alone - just don't!

Likes: Can't really remember . . . ?!?!?

Dislikes: Lets see . . . no definitive climax, no closure, & no new material. Blah!


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Kiss of Life by Daniel Waters

Kiss of Life
(Generation Dead Book #2)
by Daniel Waters

Genre: Paranormal Romance / Young Adult

The phenomenon that’s been sweeping the country seems to be here to stay. Not only are the teenagers who have come back from their graves still here, but newlydeads are being unearthed all the time. While scientists look for answers and politicians take their stands, the undead population of Oakville have banded together in a group they’re calling the Sons of Romero, hoping to find solidarity in segregation.

Phoebe Kendall may be alive, but she feels just as lost and alone as her dead friends. Just when she reconciled herself to having feelings for a zombie -- her Homecoming date Tommy Williams -- her friend Adam is murdered taking a bullet that was meant for her. Things get even more confusing when Adam comes back from the grave. Now she has romantic interest in two dead boys; one who saved her life, and one she can't seem to live without.

The story opens with Adam dealing with his new "life" as a zombie. Some of the newlydead come back more agile & talkative and then some have a much harder time adjusting to being undead. Adam falls into the latter. He can barley speak, barley walk, and his thoughts are all jumbled. Phoebe, on the other hand, is torn between guilt and affection for him. She's sad he sacrificed his life for her, but she's still deeply moved he has feelings for her, something she never knew until after his death. Their relationship has its ups and downs throughout the story all while the zombie generation begins to make rebellious protests (a sort of zombie revolution) to the way they're accepted in society.

I love when you like the first book in a series and then you read the second book . . . and enjoy it ever more! I devoured this story. I got so caught up in Adam's development and Phoebe's torn feelings between Adam and Tommy that I found it hard to put down. It's an emotional tale and you really see the characters change from chapter to chapter. The ending probably wasn't as gut-wrenching as the first book, but it still gets the tension going and gets the reader excited for book three - Passing Strange

Likes: All the visits to the zombie dance club AFTERMATH in New York.

Dislikes: Discovering the Hunter Foundation's experiment of how to "cure" being undead.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev

Eyes Like Stars
(Theatre Illuminata, Act I)
by Lisa Mantchev

Genre: Paranormal Romance / Fantasy / Young Adult

Beatrice Shakespeare Smith, a likable 17-year-old, must find a way to make herself invaluable to the Théâtre Illuminata or she will be forced to leave the only home she has ever known. How she arrived at the theater as a baby is somewhat of a mystery, and through the years she has been allowed to run free and cause mayhem of one kind or another. Beatrice proposes to restage Hamlet set in ancient Egypt and promises it will be the sell-out performance that will restore the Théâtre to its former glory. If that were all, the story line would be fairly straightforward. However, the Théâtre Illuminata is no ordinary theater. Characters from the world's major plays live inside, summoned forth by pinning a note on the Call Board. They are bound to the physical confines of the theater by the pages in The Complete Works of the Stage, an enchanted book. Scene changes happen magically by command, though human Properties and Scenic Managers argue over which pieces belong to whom.

Bertie has only ever known the Théâtre; it's been her playroom, her connection to friends, and her home since infantry. Her room is a set, she pulls all her clothes from wardrobe, and she uses props and stage makeup whenever she likes, but things are beginning to change. Her actions are no longer being over looked and, since she's not a true "character" but a orphan given to the Théâtre, she's (now 17) being treated as someone who has to take full responsibility of her life. Thus, to prove her step into adult hood and that she can truly be apart of "home" - she decides to direct a play. Not just any play, a new version of Hamlet.

This story really sparkled! Honestly, I got the book from the library solely for the cover - which I found amazing. She rocks the blue hair! Yet, the story is so unique and enjoyable that it is hard NOT to dig right in. I loved Bertie's various personalities (vulnerability, curiosity, being sarcastic, etc.) and I believe her character really made her different from most female leads. Plus, the chemistry she develops with Nate, a pirate from THE LITTLE MERMAID, and Ariel, an air spirit from THE TEMPEST kept me coming back for me. It's truly an enchanting tale and I cannot wait for Perchance to Dream.

Likes: Bertie's stubborn interactions with the Théâtre manager are hilarious! Great humor throughout.

Dislikes: I know the fairies from A Midsummer Night's Dream where there to provide comic relief, but they were almost TOO annoying at times.



Monday, June 7, 2010

The China Garden by Liz Berry

The China Garden
by Liz Berry

Genre: Paranormal Romance / Fantasy / Young Adult

'Remember, I tried to stop you. Don't blame me. Remember I tried to warn you.'
Clare is chilled by her mother's warnings to stay away from Ravensmere, the large country house where her mother has taken a private nursing job. But Clare knows she has to go there - it is not a choice but a compulsion. And she only intends to stay a few weeks, anyway, just until she goes to university in the autumn. Ravensmere is a strange, enchanting place, but she grows increasingly disturbed. How come the local villagers appear to know her? Why is she having these odd visions? And who is the attractive, leather-clad stranger who is watching her? What is the power of the Benison and why must she visit the China Garden in the middle of the night? Ravensmere casts a magical spell over Clare, drawing her into a mystery that stretches back over thousands of years. She knows that Ravensmere and the valley are in danger and that time is running out - but will she risk her future to save it? The China Garden is a haunting novel of an ancient legend, family secrets and young love. A heady mixture of romance and mystery.

Basic Summary = Clare, moves out to the country to Ravensmere and leaves London and Adrian, her controlling boyfriend behind. There, she meets Mark, and falls in love with him and begins to discover the secrets behind the saying . . .
Guard Ravensmere well
Its stones and hollows,
Health and prosperity
Always doth follow.
Let Ravensmere die,
Let the land be torn open,
The end of the world
Is surely betokened.
It's a remarkably likable plot full of myth, history, mystery and a little romance. Wasn't too thrilled with the ending since it got a little too Sci-Fi'ish for my taste. The beginning was brilliant though. I thoroughly enjoyed the setting of the hidden English estate, an ancient family secret, and the cryptic way the superstitious villagers just "knew" Clare was coming to Ravensmere. I found the whole unraveling of the mother's dark past fascinating as well. Yet, I sadly found myself skipping whole pages to jump ahead in the story. It didn't capture my attention and basically the book had too many sections that just . . . dragged along and then at the end, the story picks up WAY too quickly.

Likes: The mythical vibe the countryside created.

Dislikes: The love story seemed a bit too far fetched/shallow and the fact that Clare and Mark are really cousins . . . um, ew! Too taboo to overlook that one!



Sunday, June 6, 2010

Ruined by Paula Morris

by Paula Morris

Genre: Paranormal Romance / Fantasy / Young Adult

Rebecca couldn't feel more out of place in New Orleans, where she comes to spend the year while her dad is traveling. She's staying in a creepy old house with her aunt. And at the snooty prep school, the filthy-rich girls treat Rebecca like she's invisible. Only gorgeous, unavailable Anton Grey seems to give Rebecca the time of day, but she wonders if he's got a hidden agenda. Then one night, in Lafayette Cemetery, Rebecca makes a friend. Sweet, mysterious Lisette is eager to talk to Rebecca, and to show her the nooks and crannies of the city. There's just one catch: Lisette is a ghost. A ghost with a deep, dark secret, and a serious score to settle. As Rebecca learns more from her ghost friend -- and as she slowly learns to trust Anton Grey -- she also uncovers startling truths about her own history. Will Rebecca be able to right the wrongs of the past, or has everything been ruined beyond repair?

Rebecca is left with her 'Aunt' Claudia, a French Quarter Tarot card reader, and her daughter Aurelia while her father is out of the country. Adjusting to a new city, new school, and new friends is harder than she imagined, but after sneaking into a nearby cemetery late one night - her life becomes a lot stranger.

It's a good old New Orleans ghost story! I think I enjoyed this story more for the fact of picking out all the places Rebecca lived, visited, went to school, ate at, and what-not around the city. It's fun to actually have the detailed places set in my mind first and to then build the story around them. It's a good history lesson as well, for the cities past and people. Though it got a bit cheesy at the end, the book throughout was enjoyable and very true to the New Orleans culture.

Likes: Lisette's annual journey to here home through the city.

Dislikes: It became very predictable and the ending happened too quickly for my taste.


Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Wolf Next Door by Lydia Dare

The Wolf Next Door
(The Westfield Wolves Book #3)
by Lydia Dare

Genre: Paranormal Romance

They can't even be in the same room together...Ever since their failed elopement years ago, Prisca Hawthorne has taunted, insulted, and in every way tried to push him away. If only her heart didn't break every time Lord William Westfield left her...But staying apart is even worse...Lord William throws himself into drinking, gambling, and debauchery and pretends not to care about Prisca at all. But when he returns to find a rival werewolf vying for her hand, he'll stop at nothing to claim the woman who should have been his all along. Can Prisca forgive the unforgivable, or are the moon-crossed lovers going to be forced into a battle of wills that could be fatal?

Will and Prissy have always been at each others throats. Neither are willing to admit that they have romantic feelings for the other; so instead they bicker, they quarrel, they infuriate their friends and family by keeping up a silly facade of hatred, and in like most Regency romances . . . they end up forced into marriage. Yet, the story has a twist with Will and his brothers actually being werewolves. Can the couple's loath for each other be turned into love when Will's wild side becomes known?

I haven't read a good historical romance for a while, so this was fun + it has werewolves (yummy!). I found I read half the book in one sitting and devoured the last half shortly after and considering this was book three in a series, it held strong as a stand alone read. Definitely a sizzling Regency England tale that has gone to the wolves! Of course, I'll be checking out the two previous books in the series since I'd love to see how the other brothers (Simon and Benjamin) fared.

Likes: Will & Prisca's bickering was enjoyable throughout and her brothers were great characters as well.

Dislikes: Not much to dislike: romance - check, humor - check, historical - check. Good!


Friday, June 4, 2010

Seven Tears into the Sea by Terri Farley

Seven Tears into the Sea
by Terri Farley

Genre: Fantasy / Paranormal Romance / Young Adult

Gwen Cooke was 10 years old when chronic sleepwalking led her onto a midnight beach and into a world of Celtic magic, mystery and danger. Was her encounter with a boy with dark, slightly tilted eyes a dream? Were the words he whispered before vanishing, a spell? In the wake of gossip over what really happened to Gwen, her family moved away from their seaside home and Gwen never saw the boy again. Now seventeen, Gwen is returning to her childhood home. She says it's because her grandmother asked for her help at the Sea Horse Inn. But Gwen knows it's time to go back for another reason: She yearns for the sea. Perhaps the sea itself is calling to her. Perhaps the memory of the boy and his haunting words are drawing her back to the place they met. Perhaps it's time for her to face her destiny.

It's been seven years since Gwen has visited the seaside community that once was her home. At 17, she's decided to help out at her Grandmother's coastal inn for the summer and try to figure out what exactly happened years earlier when her family fled the place. On her first day, she meets Jesse and he finally starts to shine some light on her past and what is to come.

This book was full of mystery, romance, and old-time community folk lore. I enjoyed it a lot since it brought to life a not-so-well-known myth (Scottish Selkie) that was a fun twist to the traditional mermaid stories. It's definitely a quick/lite read, easy to get caught up in and the ending will keep you wanting more and googling if there's a sequel (which sadly . . . there's isn't one) once you reach the last page! Good Summer Read!!!

Likes: It's a perfect balance of enchantment and suspense.

Dislikes: The story was too short (I wanted more!) and the reader understands things a lot quick than Gwen does.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn

A Kiss in Time
by Alex Flinn

Genre: Fairy Tale / Paranormal Romance / Young Adult

An agreeable, fluffy expansion of "Sleeping Beauty," this novel conflates the traditional story with that of an American teenage boy. Talia (the princess) has the world's most overprotective parents—not without reason, of course. Seventeen-year-old Jack's parents think about him only when they are criticizing him. When he awakens Talia with a kiss, she is thrust more than 300 years into a future in the 21st century. The learning curve is steep (and not entirely consistent) but readers will laugh at the pair's escapades as they depart Europe for Florida, try to pass Talia off as a modern Belgian girl, and come to new understandings with their respective parents.

Told from two different perspectives, you see Talia vainly wishing for more in life and Jack running away from the privlidges he's given. Totally normal teenagers caught in a not-so-normal situation.

Overall, it's a cute and fun read. Something easy to jump into for a quick escapism. I liked the modern day concept of "Sleeping Beauty" and how Talia grew throughout the story. Both are amazingly annoying at times, but what true teenager wouldn't be in their circumstance. If your into fairy tales and want a book to pass the time for the beach or bath - this is a nice one.

Likes: That party-boy-slacker Jack enjoys . . . of all things . . . landscaping. That's nice.

Dislikes: That modeling had to be thrown into the concept, why? B/c it's set in modern day Florida? What was the big deal about visiting the modeling agency for ONE day? Don't get it.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb

A Certain Slant of Light
by Laura Whitcomb

Genre: Dark Fantasy / Young Adult

In the class of the high school English teacher she has been haunting, Helen feels them: For the first time in 130 years, human eyes are looking at her. They belong to a boy, a boy who has not seemed remarkable until now. And Helen--terrified, but intrigued--is drawn to him. The fact that he is in a body and she is not presents this unlikely couple with their first challenge. But as the lovers struggle to find a way to be together, they begin to discover the secrets of their former lives and of the young people they come to possess.

Helen died 130 years ago and since then she has occupied various bodies. She's not exactly a ghost, but she depends on her hosts immensely since she's avoiding what happens after death. Her first host was a poet, heavily hinted to be Emily Dickenson, (thus the title of the book is pulled from her own poetry) and the latest an English teacher, Mr. Brown. It's a lonely existence for Helen - never to be seen, heard, or even feel for herself again, but one day, at school, someone mysteriously sees past her host and slowly awakens her to other possibilities.

There's a certain slant of light,
On winter afternoons
That oppresses, like the heft
Of cathedral tunes.
Heavenly hurt it gives us;
We can find no scar,
But internal difference
Where the meanings, are.
None may teach it anything,
'T is the seal, despair,
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the air.
When it comes, the landscape listens,
Shadows hold their breath;
When it goes, 't is like the distance
On the look of death.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The concept was so unique, so poetic, and so disturbing that I was hooked from the first page. It was enthralling to read the different types of existence Helen has with her hosts and the type of person James helps her become. It's the perfect mixture of grittiness and sensuality to stir the imagination - a must read!

That it's simply a beautiful and haunting love story.

Dislikes: The image of a purgatory parallel to our own life. Scary!


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Poison Study
(Study Series Book #1)
by Maria V. Snyder

Genre: Fantasy / Young Adult

Shivers, obsession, sleepless nights—these are the results not of one of the milder poisons that novice food-taster Yelena must learn during her harrowing job training but of newcomer Snyder's riveting fantasy that unites the intelligent political focus of George R.R. Martin with a subtle yet potent romance. Through a stroke of luck, Yelena escapes execution in exchange for tasting the food of the Commander, ruler of Ixia. Though confined to a dank prison cell and doomed to a painful death, Yelena slowly blooms again, caught up in castle politics. But some people are too impatient to wait for poison to finish off Yelena. With the help of Valek, her steely-nerved, cool-eyed boss and the Commander's head of security, she soon discovers that she has a starring role to play in Ixia's future—a role that could lead to her being put to death as a budding magician even if she hits each cue perfectly.

At the beginning of the book, Yelena is on the cutting block - literally - she's next in line for the noose for committing the sin of murder. Yet, at the last moment, she is offered the position of the Commander's food taster and she jumps at it. What she doesn't learn is that this position is NOT held for long due to the many poisons often placed within the Commander's meal, thus, the cursed position is always forced upon a soon-to-be executed prisoner. While secretly plotting to escape her new occupation, she is trained by Valek (the Commander's master strategist) to smell, see, and experience the side effects of what poisons she is consuming - not enjoyable lessons for a girl with strong & stubborn survival instincts.

I found this book intriguing and somewhat refreshing to read. The time-setting, character backgrounds, and story plot was fascinating as well. Plus - the reader, throughout Poison Study, becomes aware that Yelena is hiding a secret that she herself can do magic, an even bigger sin during her time. There's also so many twists and hidden surprises throughout Poison Study, that I found it hard to stop reading at the end of a chapter - something I always love in a book. It's indeed different from most stories out there, but I'm excited to check out the next book - Magic Study - in the series.

Likes: How ruthless Valek can be . . . yummy!

Dislikes: How frustrated you get at Yelena's previous benefactor and those under his command.