Friday, August 26, 2011

The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

The Vesterptine
by Saundra Mitchell

Genre: Young Adult | Historic | Romance | Supernatural

The summer of 1889 is the one between childhood and womanhood for Amelia van den Broek-and thankfully, she’s not spending it at home in rural Maine. She’s been sent to Baltimore to stay with her stylish cousin, Zora, who will show her all the pleasures of city life and help her find a suitable man to marry.

Archery in the park, dazzling balls and hints of forbidden romance-Victorian Baltimore is more exciting than Amelia imagined. But her gaiety is interrupted by disturbing, dreamlike visions she has only at sunset-visions that offer glimpses of the future. Soon, friends and strangers alike call on Amelia to hear her prophecies. Newly dubbed “Maine’s Own Mystic”, Amelia is suddenly quite in demand.

However, her attraction to Nathaniel, an artist who is decidedly outside of Zora’s circle, threatens the new life Amelia is building in Baltimore. This enigmatic young man is keeping secrets of his own- still, Amelia finds herself irrepressibly drawn to him. And while she has no trouble seeing the futures of others, she cannot predict whether Nathaniel will remain in hers.

When one of her darkest visions comes to pass, Amelia’s world is thrown into chaos. And those around her begin to wonder if she’s not the seer of dark portents, but the cause.

Amelia moves in with her cousins in Baltimore for the spring/summer of 1889 to experience a season full of fashionable dances & dinner parties, risky meetings with boys, and parlor visits for tea & gossip. Along the way, she indulges in spiritualists performances, which were the entertaining highlights of the time, like Lady Privalovna and Miss Avery at the local theater. Purely by chance, Amelia becomes a bit of a silly sensation among her friends when she has a vivid image of her cousin Zora dancing at the upcoming ball and ever details plays out. Before she knows it, word spreads of her unique parlor gift and callers all over Baltimore come for a reading by "Maine's Own Mystic, Miss Amelia can den Broek" (pg. 165) Yet, not all predictions are good and Amelia finds she is beginning to hold back what she sees, keeping secrets of dark truths that are bound to happen. Things become even stranger, when the boy, Nathanial, she is developing feelings for reveals startlingly truths about himself as well. Can Amelia face the pressures of just how powerful and haunting her psychic powers are becoming all while on the hunt for a decent husband and proper social standing?

'Not all that glitters is gold' would be the perfect motto from The Verpertine. Amelia is a head-strong girl that I immediately liked. You can tell she's damaged goods right off from the beginning of the story and that adds a lot to her character development throughout - something I always admire in a good book. Her cousin, Zora, was probably my favorite character since she's so deliciously evil and sweet. Together they are a frightful combination and when Amelia's power of foretelling the future becomes known, Zora becomes her quick-minded assistant in setting up the proper meetings. Yet, things easily get carried away when some of Amelia's morbid readings become unexpectedly true and the tables quickly turn. All in all, I liked this book, it was invigorating since the setting/plot was not all that common for a young adult tale, so I hope you enjoy it as well.

Likes: I'm excited Book #2 -- The Springsweet in the series will focus on Zora Stewart, yayy! April 2012

Dislikes: I highly enjoy historical stories, but if this book would have had a little bit more creative insight, some extra spark within the characters, and even some much needed oomph to the overall tale, it would have received a higher rating from me. Yet, sadly, it dragged out and played almost too leisurely for my taste to get anything higher than 4 out of 5.



Book Blogger Hop #10



" Non-book-related this week!! Do you have pets? "

I do! One fat black and white cat named Draco. He's got a bit of a (cat-)attitude, but I adore him.

Thanks for hopping by!!!

Happy Weekend Everyone

Monday, August 22, 2011

Midnight's Wild Passion by Anna Campbell

Midnight's Wild Passion
by Anna Campbell

Genre: Historical Romance

London's most notorious seducer, Nicholas Challoner lives solely for revenge…

The dashing, licentious Marquess of Ranelaw can never forgive Godfrey Demarest for ruining his sister - now the time has come to repay the villain in the same coin. But one formidably intriguing impediment stands in the way of Nicholas's vengeance: Miss Antonia Smith, companion to his foe's unsuspecting daughter.

Having herself been deceived and disgraced by a rogue - banished by her privileged family as a result and forced to live a lie - Antonia vows to protect her charge from the same cruel fate. She recognizes Ranelaw for the shameless blackguard he is, and will devote every ounce of her intelligence and resolve to thwarting him.

Yet Antonia has always had a fatal weakness for rakes…

Lady Antonia (aka "Toni") made some unfortunate mistakes in her youth and has since suffered alone in the world. Luckily she was able to attain the job of chaperon to her younger cousin's release into London society. Having had (personal !) previous experience in what rakes can do to a young girls life, Toni is determined to find a decent husband for Cassandra and aid her in avoiding the good-for-nothing advances from dangerous scoundrels -- like Lord Ranelaw. Yet, sometimes it's hard to practice what you preach and before Toni knows it, she's under Ranelaw's seductive spell. Hoping to have had learn from past mistakes, Toni decides to let her untamed spirit free and have some wicked fun with this incorrigible man but is more surprised than anyone when the cad falls for her and proposes marriage. How can Toni trust Ranelaw (whom she seriously questions having feelings for as well) when all she's ever known is deception and isolation?

This was an okay read. I never really warmed up to Nicholas, Lord Ranelaw, since he came off as very pushy and overpowering, especially toward Antonia (and not always in a good way!) He wasn't the type of male lead I prefer to read about and his mannerism were just too intense for my taste (and I don't mind a man with power, but this was almost too much!!!). Antonia, on the other hand, was a very enjoyable, knows what she wants, well grounded, etc. She's insanely brave and yet sincere in accepting her current standing in society, plus her actions have rubbed off well on her younger cousin and together there interactions throughout the book were sweet and entertaining. The ending really made the book for me and I'm happy I got that far, but don't expect great literary awesomness with Midnight's Wild Passion.

Likes: Cassie, the younger cousin, was truly the most down-to-earth and sensible character of them all, odd that she's so young! I'd really like to read more about her!

Dislikes: The book just didn't have that overall pizazz that I look in a story and really left a "lacking" feeling when I finished. It just needed something more to feel complete!


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

by Josephine Angelini

Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy

Helen Hamilton has always tried to hide how different she is—no easy feat on an island as small as Nantucket, and only getting harder as she finds herself haunted by hallucinations and vivid nightmares.

It's not until she crosses paths with Lucas Delos at school that Helen's true heritage is finally revealed. Yet even as Lucas helps her awaken to her startling powers, they can never be together—not unless they can break free from the tragic destiny the Three Fates have in store.

Helen begins her school year with frighteningly realistic dreams by night and constantly annoying gossip by day about the new Delos family in town. Upon meeting Lucas Delos for the first time at school, Helen alarmingly attacks him in hopes to kill (acting totally opposite of her usual peaceful temperament) all becasue of three insanity educing spirits (i.e. Fates) that agonizingly cry for his death. Things begin to quickly spiral downhill for Helen when she personally gets attached (more than once!) by an unknown assailant and ancient mythology beings to play an important part in her every day actions. 'Keeping your enemies close' is a motto Helen holds to dearly and thus begins to learn about just what (crazy powers!) she can use from the Delos family all while trying to figure out about her mother and just who she really is.

A LOVE written in the stars . . .
A FEUD started in ancient Greece . . .
A CURSE not even the gods can break . . .

I'm finding a similar characteristic that many young adult novels are recently sharing: single children families with a father raising them solo b/c of the lose of the mother figure. About three of the books I just read all contained the same family structure, but all in all, Starcrossed was an interesting read that ended up being quite enjoyable. I find I really liked the beginning of the story best since the ending kind of went downhill for me, but the book really begins quite nicely - lots of intense emotions, dark dreams, family mysteries, creepy characters - all fun and intriguing stuff! The book contains a fascinating theme throughout that will carry nicely into a series and book #2, Dreamless, is slated to come out May 2012, so jump on the bandwagon and enjoy.

Likes: Helen's nightmares are quite cryptic and captivating.

Dislikes: I'm not exactly a fan of stories where characters all "match" up...meaning...Lucas's two closest siblings "matching up" with Helen's two closest friends making this supper-dupper group where everyone perfectly dates and everything works out evenly, BLAH!!! Boring!!!



Thursday, August 18, 2011

Warped by Maurissa Guibord

by Maurissa Guibord

Genre: Young Adult | Time-Travel | Fantasy

Tessa Brody doesn't believe in magic. Or Fate. But there is definitely something weird about the dusty unicorn tapestry that she discovers in a box of old books. The wild, handsome creature woven within it draws Tessa, and frightens her too.

Soon after the tapestry comes into her possession strange things begin to happen. Tessa experiences vivid dreams of the past and scenes from a brutal hunt. When she accidentally pulls a thread from the tapestry, Tessa releases a terrible secret-one that has been contained for centuries. She also meets William de Chaucy, a young sixteenth-century nobleman with gorgeous eyes, an odd accent and haughty attitude to spare. His fate is as inextricably tied to the tapestry as Tessa's own. "His Lordship" is pretty hard to get along with but equally hard to resist.

Together with Will, Tessa must correct the wrongs of the past to defeat a cruel and crafty ancient enemy.

But what is she willing to sacrifice in order to do it?


n. 1. the set of yarns placed in a loom that forms the lengthwise threads of a woven fabric. 2. a hypothetical eccentricity or discontinuity in the space-time continuum.

- from Webster's dictionary

Tessa and her father live above a used bookstore in Maine and by all appearances, she comes off as a normal teenager with a mundane part-time job, kooky best bud, and the usual school angst. Yet, her father's newest purchase (a collection of leather bound books and other unusual items from an auction estate sale) begins to strangely affect Tessa by causing vivid flashbacks of a long-ago life - a life she's certain she was involved with. When one small action brings the past to the present...Tessa realizes that sometimes souls (ie. "threads of human life") can be twisted to withstand the test of time and that immortality is the 'name of the game'. When dark magic, three mythological goddesses, and one well-built young man all collide in Tessa's humdrum life, can she finally make up for her mistakes in the past while continuing to have a future of her own?

I was presently surprised in how much I enjoyed Warped. Honestly, I expected the usual Young Adult read full of supernatural mystery and innocent romance, but Guibord wrote a very intriguing novel where both sides (good and bad) were in constant battle and it was truly difficult to predict which side would win come page 337. (the end!) Plus, all the characters were well-rounded (ex: Jackson Brody, Tessa's dad, was very warmhearted) and easy to enjoy (ex: Opal, Tessa's best friend, adds a lot of comical humor) throughout, which is always a great perk of a good book. Expect lots of twists and turn within the plot with also a nice amount of romantic intrigue and passion. Do yourself a favor and check it out!

Like: I highly enjoyed the story and was happy to have a complete finish for once. No more continuation in the next book of the series here, which is something I've been sadly dealing with in a few of my other previous reading adventures! Don't get me wrong, I love series, but it was refreshing and quite satisfying to finish a story in one book.

Dislikes: Personally, I was cracking up about the whole auction scene at the beginning because . . . that's my life! Seriously! I work at a Fine Auction House and bidding placards ("like a Ping-Pong paddle" pg 6.) are something I deal with on a monthly basis ---- so, sadly I kept thinking about work and NOT escaping into a new book as I wanted.



Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Color Coordination is Fun

Library Bookshelves BEFORE
And . . . AFTER

I'm kind of shocked I had enough books to pull this off, but I really enjoy it!
I should have taken a picture of all the books on the floor -- that was truly chaotic ;)


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James

When Beauty Tamed the Beast
by Eloisa James

Genre: Historic Romance

Piers Yelverton, Earl of Marchant, lives in a castle in Wales where, it is rumored, his bad temper flays everyone he crosses. He's a Beast.

Miss Linnet Thynne is one of the most exquisite young ladies ever to grace London's ballrooms. She's a Beauty.

But wait—there's more! Piers is a doctor: brilliant, lame, and impossible to get along with. There's a version of him on Fox TV, named after a habitation. Linnet has been involved in a scandalous flirtation with a prince, and everyone in the ton thinks she's carrying a royal child: she needs a husband.

Linnet estimates it will take two weeks—at the outside—to bring the earl to his knees. Piers knows that he will never fall in love, and definitely never marry.

Being seen with a prince is enjoyable, but that happens to be Linnet's downfall as well - that, and a poorly chosen dress that adds fuel to the "royal baby" rumors circulating around London. Now she is a ruined women, whether she was truly naughty or not, and is practically banished to Wales to marry a horrid doctor that she's never even meet. Sure, her family has given up on her and sure, her father & aunt lied about some things (ie. baby matters) to obtain this 'marriage' to the Earl, but Linnet believes her charms & beauty could actually win out against this brute of a man. What she's not expecting is for the doctor to spot her lie on their first visit and how much heat & chemistry to two actually share. Can Linnet actually carry out her original plan for a proper marriage or will she willingly become a ruined women as so many people believe of her already?

I liked this book. I liked it a lot actually. I enjoyed Linnet's innocent manners toward her 'maternity styled' clothing, her silly household servants, the vulgar memories of her mother, and her oddly non-existent father figure. They all added some comical humor to Linnet's life, which was hilariously spiraling out of control. When she finds herself in Wales, in a castle (mock hospital) surrounded by even more chaos, she bravely decides to take control of her "new" way of life and actually live a little - thus she takes up swimming at dawn, freely argues with Piers and so many other things she would never have done back in London. Since she's now a "ruined" women about to be married, she feels rejuvenated and adds some much needed care to Pier's drab hospital and his patients. Also, it was nice to see Pier's hard "tough" shell begin to melt throughout the tale. Overall, the two characters blend so well together that the book was hard to put down!

Likes: The bet between Linnet's & Pier's servants was fun!

Dislikes: Pier's is for sure a beast, lots of rude manners and extreme name-calling -- almost hard to see how Linnet kept her cool much of the time.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Forgotten by Cat Patrick

by Cat Patrick

Genre: Young Adult | Mystery | Contemporary

Past. Present. Future. Which matters most?

Each night when 16 year-old London Lane goes to sleep, her memory of that day is erased. In the morning, all London can “remember” are events from her future and the people who will play a part in it. In order to get by, London relies on reminder notes and a trusted friend to navigate relationships and high school life. Adaptable by nature, she tries to view her memory loss as a fact of life rather than a condition. But when London starts experiencing disturbing flashbacks, or flash-forwards, as the case may be, she realizes that in order to understand her present and her future, she must solve the mystery of her past.

10/14 (Thurs.)

-Straight-leg jeans
-Navy tunic with the little flowers
-Blister-inducing red flats

-Bring book for English
-Get Mom to sign permission slip for history
-Spanish quiz tomorrow (not on syllabus)
-Read over history homework in the morning. . .too tired. . .

Imagine living your life from notes. Notes that remind you of the last 24 hours; who you met, what you wore, where you went, and what you're to do next -- that's London's life. She can't remember the past and struggles with it day by day, but the perk is. . .she can see glimpses of the future. She knows what actions will trigger events years down the road and can easily remember the people she'll know later in life. Even though her world is a crazy juggling act of lie after lie to get by at school, London can blow it off -- since the next day she won't remember a thing. Yet, when a new boy begins to appear more often within her notes and strange dreams begin to keep her up at night, London begins to question her past, as well as her future, and just what both may have planned for her.

Interesting concept even though it was a bumpy ride. London is easy to like and the reading is just as intriguing since much of it is in diary-format, but the overall book was a classic example of 'beginning with a bang and ending with a whimper' since it starts out enjoyable and quickly fizzles out. I felt the mystery part of the story was all over the place since halfway through the book, London switched focuses all together (no longer about Luke) and begins this new plot (about her odd dreams) without any real connection between the two. Also, the story was well rounded at the beginning but near the end became apparent that Mrs. Patrick wanted to create a continuing series, thus leaving some mysteries unsolved ( really felt like she got tired of writing and wrote a quick/abrupt finish) All in all, Forgotten was an okay read but very disorganized & cluttered with gaps that it had me, the reader, questioning "What just happened here?" Maybe I just fizzled out near the end at well and lost focus, but here's hoping you may enjoy it more than I did!

Likes: Ha! Loved Luke's minivan ;)

Dislikes: Sucks not to remember your first date!


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon

Drums of Autumn
(Outlander Series Book #4)
by Diana Gabaldon

Genre: Time-Travel | Historic | Romance, etc.

DRUMS OF AUTUMN is the fourth book in the OUTLANDER series, following VOYAGER. Here Claire and Jamie, with Jamie’s nephew Young Ian, seek to find a place for themselves in the colony of North Carolina, treading a dangerous line between Governor Tryon’s patronage and Claire’s knowledge of the brewing revolution in America, between the help of Jamie’s Aunt Jocasta, last of his MacKenzie kin (“MacKenzies are charming as larks in the field–but sly as foxes with it.”) and the unwanted obligations of her slave-run plantation. As they find mountain land and begin to build their first cabin, their newfound life is bittersweet, with the thought Brianna–the daughter Claire has left behind, the daughter Jamie will never see–always near.

Brianna is thinking of her parents, too. And she’s discovered something dangerous in the historical record; a notice of a fatal fire on Fraser’s Ridge. The time-traveler’s ultimate dilemma raises its head once again: can the past be changed? If it can…what’s the price?

Roger MacKenzie has found the same newspaper notice–and after some soul-searching, has decided not to tell Brianna about it, not wanting her to risk her life for what may be impossible. She doesn’t tell him, either–and his first inkling that she’s found that notice is a shipment of boxes from Brianna, containing her family memorabilia and a note reading, “Everybody needs a history. This is mine. Please look after it ’til I come back.”

Roger follows Brianna into the past, where she has gone on a quest to save her parents’ lives, and upon discovering that she has sailed for America, he takes ship himself…with a Captain Bonnet.

How does time-travel work? Who can pass the stones, and how? What are the risks? And what would make those risks worth taking? Only love.

Jamie and Claire are trying to make their life together work, no more traveling to different countries, no more senseless/risky feats, no more dark/deadly lies, just their family and the land. But not everything goes as planned and along with all the hiccups that pioneer life brings, a blessing in disguise happens with even more struggles in tow. Can their bittersweet life on Fraser's Ridge survive the chaos when the past & future collide again?

I was excited about this book, for once the characters aren't spending chunks of their lives on boats, bunking with family members, or hiding out in caves, and the reader gets to focus on them creating not only a lifestyle but a superb setting for years ( this story does cover quite a few ) to come. Lots of everyday duties/chores ( i.e. the redundant everyday routine ) occurs which is fascinating from a historic viewpoint and adds to the realistic feeling to the story and ( Yayy! ) Brianna and Roger get a lot of storyline dedicated to them. A genuine family grouping is created when they all mix, with of course the revelation of some gut-wrenching truths along with life-and-death adventures --- all in classic Gabaldon writing style!

Likes: Brianna and Roger's romance is gloomy but very destined to happen!

Dislikes: A lot of characters this round were acting very impulsively throughout much of the tale, causing much havoc.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Alison's Wonderland by Alison Tyler

Alison's Wonderland
by Alison Tyler

Warning: NOT exactly YA appropriate

Genre: Erotica | Fantasy | Fairy Tale

Over the past fifteen years, Alison Tyler has curated some of the genre's most sizzling collections of erotic fiction, proving herself to be the ultimate naughty librarian. With Alison's Wonderland, she has compiled a treasury of naughty tales based on fable and fairy tale, myth and legend: some ubiquitous, some obscure—all of them delightfully dirty.

From a perverse prince to a vampire-esque Sleeping Beauty, the stars of these reimagined tales are—like the original protagonists—chafing at desire unfulfilled. From Cinderella to Sisyphus, mermaids to werewolves, this realm of fantasy is limitless and so very satisfying.

Happily-ever-after never seemed so HOT. With over twenty short reads that add some spicy details to well known fairy tales, Alison's Wonderland, is a real treat. It's defiantly a juicy read where the characters hold nothing back and the passion is off the charts, so curl up with some steamy fables & enjoy!

I love fairy tales - give me! give me! - and this was truly a fun book that had me reading all Sunday afternoon. I'm not usually a fan of anthologies since I crave depth and character growth in a story, but these succulent tales had just the right about of heat that it was easy to overlook everything else. The numerous stories were quite easy to read, we're talking less than five-minutes to finish some, but others were a little longer and more involved. My favorites were Wolff's Tavern and Rings on my Fingers, but overall, be prepared for some dirty whispers & naughty acts.

Likes: I happily couldn't put the book down for a few hours after starting and finished later that day!

Dislikes: Some tales were better than others and those "other" tales were far & few between.