Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Splendor Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore

Genre: Young Adult | Supernatural

Can Love Last Beyond the Grave?

Sylvie Davis is a ballerina who can’t dance. A broken leg ended her career, but Sylvie’s pain runs deeper. What broke her heart was her father’s death, and what’s breaking her spirit is her mother’s remarriage—a union that’s only driven an even deeper wedge into their already tenuous relationship.

Uprooting her from her Manhattan apartment and shipping her to Alabama is her mother’s solution for Sylvie’s unhappiness. Her father’s cousin is restoring a family home in a town rich with her family’s history. And that’s where things start to get shady. As it turns out, her family has a lot more history than Sylvie ever knew. More unnerving, though, are the two guys that she can’t stop thinking about. Shawn Maddox, the resident golden boy, seems to be perfect in every way. But Rhys—a handsome, mysterious foreign guest of her cousin’s—has a hold on her that she doesn’t quite understand.

 Then she starts seeing things. Sylvie’s lost nearly everything—is she starting to lose her mind as well?

Summary: Sylvie Davis is sent to her late father's ancestral home for the summer in Alabama to recover from "The Accident" that ruined her career in ballet.  Bitter and distraught, Sylvie begrudgingly adapts to her new historical residence even though there are some unsettling rules (ex. no dogs in the house), bewildering small-town beliefs/superstitions, and two young men that she develops conflicting/unbalancing feelings for.  Even though the lush green gardens outside her home brighten her days, Sylvie's nights are haunted by a watcher in the windows and high-pitched howling noises from the nearby woods.  Any attempts to discover the secrets of her father's Old South legacy are usually interrupted by the Teen Town Council/Shawn Maddox or the local ghost town (Cahawba) archaeological dig volunteer, Rhys Griffith.  And when the legendary ghost stories begin to become reality, Sylvie takes it upon herself to set the past straight by uncovering the mysteries of Bluestone Hill.

Review: Sylvie was a rocky character for me, she either came off a stubbornly strong or frustratingly vulnerable and as much as I wanted to recognize her as an independent female lead, in my eye, she only succeeded in lacking confidence.  I know she had good reason to be gloomy, but her coarse actions towards events in the story dampened my feelings towards her.  On the other hand, Rhys was a highly witty and delightful character.  He portrayed a compelling figure that actually revealed many of the stories historical facts and much-needed revelations that moved the tale along.  Shawn also depicted a vibrant character who shined greatly as the small-town's favorite son, but who also had a darker more complex and intense side.  The side-characters were all entertaining enough (somewhat excluding cousin Paula who was more of a downer than anything else) without distracting from the main leads -- a plus!

The story had an intriguing concept full of ghosts, folk-lore, history, mythology, etc. that it instantly appealed to me, but there was almost too much going on in each of those areas that they kind of eclipsed each other.  Also, sadly, some parts that I felt were very important in the story were either anti-climatic/down-played and only slightly revealed right at the end (ex. the whole 'past-life' concept), thus I would have liked a bit more development altogether.  I was entertained though by the spook-factor created from the local ghost beliefs/visions which added a little supernatural thrill.  Plus, the romance sparks were there, just slightly hollow.
Likes: Personally, I did enjoy Sylvie's soy milk drinking/meat-substitute eating lifestyle since recently I've adapted to becoming a part-time vegan and got a hoot out of her reactions to the southern dishes. Also, the Welsh mythology was something all together new for me (and that's saying something for a historical/folk-lore Nut like me)!

Dislikes: The overall story's plot development was too lethargic and disordered for my reading taste. The ending left me asking questions that, I felt, weren't fully answered as well as confusion in some of the misleading directions the story took.  All in all, it left me a bit baffled!



Friday, March 30, 2012


TGIF is hosted by Ginger at GReads!
Book Blogger Retreat :
If you could gather up a handful of book blogger friends to spend a weekend away talking books, where would you go? Tell us about it.
Definitely a place in the middle of nowhere since I would crave a location lushly green and/or surrounded by water that would be amazingly peaceful. Somewhere I could lay out in a hammock (with an insane amount of pillows, margaritas, and books) and read/share recommendations to my heart's desire!!


Feature & Follow is hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee
Question :
Do you read one book at a time or do you switch back and forth between two or more?
Honestly, I am usually going back and forth between two to three books at one time! One/two books could be on my Nook e-reader while the other book/s could be loaned to me from friends, purchased for my own collection, or checked-out from the library (and secretly one/two more could be on my MS reader on my work computer *Shhhh*) Unless I get totally sucked into a story, I will easily go back and forth between reads all week depending on my mood and I love it that way!

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

The Scorpio Races
by Maggie Stiefvater

Genre: Fantasy | Young Adult

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

One year after the death of their parents, Puck & her two brothers are getting by the best way they can within their little village of Thisby. When Puck's older brother, Gabe, declares he is going to permanently leave the island for the main land, Puck brazenly decides to participate in the Scorpio Races that occur ever November, in hopes that Gabe will stay on to assist for awhile longer. Yet, when all the odds turn against her (i.e. threats becasue she is the first female racer in a bloody sport dominated by men, eviction from the only home she has ever know, etc.), can her choice to join the races really help her get the outcome she so deeply desires, and if so - at what cost?

Honestly, I did not really know what to expect upon starting this book, but easily found myself absorbed in the fantasy story of the island lifestyle and the daily interactions of all the villagers and dangerous sea-creatures (i.e. water-horses: Capall Uisce). Puck's easy-going & stubborn temperament was enjoyable and the vivid descriptions of the island, Thisby, really created a reality that peaked both my historical and legendary/mythical interests. The book's narration was shared with a fellow islander, Sean, whose whole life revolves solely around the races. He takes on a very calm & level-headed POV within the book while Puck seems a bit lost & impulsive. It was delightful to slowly realize how much both Pick and Sean complimented each other as they accepted that fact that they could only really trust each other. As the races approach, the adrenaline speeds up for the reader and the tale becomes more gruesome and deadly - so expect a bumpy and entertaining ride!

Likes: Even though this was slated as YA, it carried a heavier subject matter (lots of death) than most and much of the dialogue was geared towards older readers.

Dislikes: I wasn't too pleased with how the story ended. I felt there were too many unanswered questions that an epilogue would have been much appreciated and unfortunately, I don't think a sequel/series will follow. Boo! From MS:
Will there be a sequel to The Scorpio Races? -- I don’t think so. I mean, never say never, but I think I am pretty happy with how it ended.



Sunday, March 25, 2012

Awake at Dawn by C.C. Hunter

Awake at Dawn
(Shadow Falls series, Book #2)
by C.C. Hunter

Genre: Young Adult | Paranormal Romance

Kylie Galen thought her life was a mess before she went to Shadow Falls Camp. However, now that she's discovered she's not human, the problems presenting themselves are anything but normal.

She's determined to uncover the answer to her supernatural heritage, but with a ghost insisting someone Kylie loves is about to die, her newly developed sixth sense telling her someone is watching her and a rogue vampire on a murdering rampage, Kylie's quest for answers is on hold. As if her life isn't difficult enough, just when she's about to give her heart to Derek, he starts pulling away. When Lucas comes back, Kylie feels more conflicted than ever. Kylie's weekend with her mom should have been just the break Kylie needs, but it turns out to be her breaking point. Discovering her heritage may not ever matter if she doesn't survive.

As Kylie learns more about herself, the mystery of who/what she is becomes darker. Not only is she sharing characteristics with the camp vampires (i.e. desires for blood, exceptional hearing, etc.), but now she is displaying werewolf traits (i.e. super strength, body changes due to the moon cycle, etc.) as well. Yet, being unique has its mischievous perks since Kylie seems to always find herself within the camp's drama/secrets. But the unfortunate downfall of her solitary status destine her to perpetually be considered an outsider/alone. Kylie's adjustment to her original ghost-seeing abilities becomes more advanced within this story while her romance triangle becomes more complicated. Expect lots of favorite supernatural side characters to return as well as the series suspense and teen angst heats up. Yummy Read!!!

Book # 3 ( Taken At Dusk ) out soon- April 10th.

Book #1 ( Born At Midnight ) Review

Likes: The theme concept of "self-discovery" really keeps this series alive and entertaining for me, can't wait for it to continue.

Dislikes: The friendship interactions in this tale comes off as a little too juvenile for my readying taste, but I guess that is to be expected from a YA book. It's just rather annoying at times, esp. with Miranda & Della going at it every other page.



Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

The Name of the Star
(Shades of London, Book #1)
by Maureen Johnson

Genre: Young Adult | Supernatural Thriller

The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it’s the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.

Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn’t notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.

Moving to London was to be a new experience for Rory's last year of high school. The most she was expecting was to make new friends, try out some new sports, and move back to Louisiana with new memories of living abroad. But what she got instead was a morbid life-altering adventure into one of London's darkest mysteries that became a little to personal for Rory and her roommates. Thus, as the gruesome Ripper copy-cat killer begins re-creating the bloody murders right in Rory's East London neighborhood and Rory herself becomes the only witness . . . a darkness unlike anything she has ever known existed begins to take over the whole city.

I found this book to be quite refreshing within the current YA releases. Yet, the beginning and the end almost created two totally different stories for me. It was easy to devour the first few chapters since Rory was witty and very accepting of her new transition into her London boarding school. The settings created were richly detailed & highly intriguing and the variety of side-characters created added enjoyable sparks to the overall tale. The thrilling murders along with the instant media sensation of "Ripper-Mania" blended realistically well into Rory's new lifestyle and set up for a very dark/suspenseful read, but then the story took a bit of a supernatural spin . . . something one would think I would be highly anticipating, but unfortunately I felt it took away something from the story. It was not as if this new direction during the second portion of The Name of the Star was any less gripping than it's first portion, it just created a different reality within the tale that was some-what lacking. All in all, I'm still tempted to check out Book #2 and will judge the series better after that book.

Likes: The New Orleans/Louisiana references were fun and easily relatable (i.e. hurricanes, swamps, gators, etc.)

Dislikes: Loved the beginning, not so much the ending!



Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sorry I've Been Out of Commission

Be back soon . . .

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter

Born at Midnight
(Shadow Falls series, Book #1)
by C.C. Hunter

Genre: Young Adult | Paranormal Romance

Kylie Galen has had a lot of crap tossed in her lap lately. Her parents are getting a divorce for who the heck knows why. Her boyfriend broke up with her because she wouldn't put out. And her grandmother died because . . . well, older people do that. But now, Kylie's acquired a stalker and she hasn't a clue what he wants or how to get rid of him . . . and she really wants to get rid of him because apparently she's the only one who sees him. Thinking she may be losing it, her parents send her off to see a psychologist who gets Kylie sent to Shadow Falls Camp. Kylie and her parents think it's a camp for troubled teens.

They thought wrong.

Kylie's surrounded by vampires, werewolves, fairies, witches and shape-shifters. And if she believes what they tell her, she's one of them. They're just not sure exactly how she fits in. As Kylie struggles to cope with the realization that these creatures even exist, and the fact that she might not be human, she's got two hot guys, a werewolf and a half-fairy vying for her attention. And they can just keep vying. Kylie's determined that before she lets her heart loose on love, she needs to unearth the truth. What does the ghost want? Who can and can't she trust? And most of all . . . What is she?

Kylie gets innocently caught up in some questionable situations upon her parents sudden divorce and gets sent away to a delinquents (aka "freak") camp for the summer . . . or so she thinks. Yet, when fellow campers begin asking "What she is?" instead of "Who?" and magic/blood become something she shockingly learns to deal with on a daily basis--Kylie beings to examine her meaning behind the word "freak" and becomes worried she may just be one herself. Throughout the challenge of discovering her past in hopes of identifying just what her supernatural status is, Kylie becomes awakened by her new hidden talents (i.e. sensing/seeing ghosts, etc.) and easily gets infatuated with two extremely different guys: 1. Derek, a sweet-tempted half-fairy who was one of her first friends at camp and 2. Lucas, a darker older werewolf who Kylie actually has a history with. Thus, with so many things in Kylie's life crumbling, can Shadow Falls Camp actually become a bitter-sweet surprise?

At first, this story came off as a bit too juvenile for my taste, but as the plot progressed and Kylie's adventures in camp became more complex -- I found myself becoming more and more intrigued. The whole story timeline accelerates quickly, happening within the span of only a few weeks, thus it becomes easy to get caught up in the overall tale. Kylie has a lot of troubles becasue of friends back home, friends in camp, family, etc. that the story never goes dull, but it can become a bit too much at times. The romance in the book is all over with many of the side-characters (young and old) heating up the pages while Kylie herself gets captivated by two guys -- so yummy relationships throughout. All in all, this was a surprising read that I found myself jumping right into Book #2 as soon as I finished Book #1 -- plus Book #3 comes out this April, yayy.

If you're a fan of paranormal/supernatural characters--this is a fun read that pretty much covers them all!

Dislikes: Kylie can have only so much drama on her plate at one time before she gets spread pretty thin and then, due to becoming overwhelmed, avoids or cuts short different parts of the story that the reader would wish to have extended. Frustrating!!