Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holiday Hiatus!

Hey everyone! With Christmas and New Years fast approaching, I fear that I will be MIA for the next two weeks. I will try to pop in every now and then and leave comments, but I will not be putting up any posts for a short while. I hope that everyone has a wonderful holiday and a spectacular new year! I'll be back before you know it!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Book Review: Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter

After finishing the last page of Born at Midnight, I didn’t think about the story once the entire night. It was only when I sat down at my computer to write this review that I realized that while I enjoyed this book, the story left no lasting impression. The main character, Kylie, is a supernatural being that can see ghosts, but she is unwilling to admit that she is any different from any other 17 year old. Her parents are on the verge of a divorce and at the recommendation of Kylie’s therapist, she is shipped off to Shadow Falls Summer camp for troubled youth. While Shadow Falls is indeed a place for troubled teens, Kylie quickly learns that this is no ordinary camp. Surrounded by witches, fairies, vampires, shape shifters, and werewolves; Kylie must accept that she too is a descendant of the gods. The only other alternative is that she has a brain tumor. This premise is nothing new, but the story is entertaining nonetheless.

The most appealing aspect of this book is the characters. Kylie is a very likable protagonist who is on a journey of self-discovery. Learning to accept that there are things in her life that she cannot change is just one of the many hurdles that she must face. Her anger towards her parents and reluctance to admit that she is anything other than ordinary is understandable given her unique situation. Often times when characters are in these types of situations they come off as whiny or slow on the uptake, so it’s refreshing to have a protagonist that readers can empathize with. Kylie’s roommates Miranda and Della are quirky and fun and some of the more humorous scenes are when they are giving Kylie a crash course in what life can be like when you’re rooming with a witch and a vampire. There is even a perverted shape shifter that is sure to give more than one reader a chuckle.

The laughs stop however, when the plot begins to tread on familiar ground. Tell me, have you ever found yourself in a situation where you had to juggle the affections of three different men? No? Honestly, unless you’re a rock star, the likelihood of this happening is fairly slim. Kylie, however, constantly finds herself at the center of a lot of male attention. There is the handsome, emotionally available fairy that just wants to make it work, the sexy werewolf that tries to keep his distance, and the sleazy ex-boyfriend who just can’t take a hint. Kylie makes out with, agonizes over, and rejects all three of these men at least once in this novel. I’m all for love triangles and even the occasional love square, but this whole scenario was over the top.

Reading Born at Midnight was a little like watching a movie on cable. Chances are you’ve seen several movies just like it, but you continue to watch regardless because it’s entertaining. The problem with these types of movies is that once the credits start to roll, you get up and get on with your life, instantly forgetting what you just watched. Or in this case, what you’ve just read. This isn’t to say that this is a bad book. It just isn’t anything that fans of the genre haven’t read countless times before.

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Sunday, December 19, 2010

In My Mailbox #3


In my mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. Every Sunday you post what books you've received that week, whether it was through the mail, at your local library, or purchased at the store. 

Books I Borrowed from the Library:
Summaries taken from Goodreads:

Now the law has finally caught up with Rose- for a crime she didn’t even commit. She’s in prison for the highest offense imaginable: the assassination of a monarch. She’ll need help from both Dimitri and Adrian to find the one living person who can stall her execution and force the Moroi elite to acknowledge a shocking new candidate for the royal throne: Vasilisa Dragomir. But the clock on Rose’s life is running out. Rose knows in her heart the world of the dead wants her back… and this time she is truly out of second chances. The big question is, when your life is about saving others, who will save you?


“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the New York Times bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?  

 Things in Delilah Hannaford's life have a tendency to fall apart.She used to be a good student, but she can't seem to keep it together anymore. Her "boyfriend" isn't much of a boyfriend. And her mother refuses to discuss the fight that divided their family eight years ago. Falling apart, it seems, is a Hannaford tradition.

Over a summer of new friendships, unexpected romance, and moments that test the complex bonds between mothers and daughters, Delilah must face her family's painful past. Can even her most shattered relationships be pieced together again?

Received from Author for Review:

What would you do if the love of your life was murdered by a deranged killer? Would you become a vigilante and seek retribution and would this revenge affect those you care for in the afterlife? 
Through the lives of a demon, two Angels, and a mysterious teenage girl, a plethora of politically and socially relevant issues ranging from the roots of genocide and sex trafficking to child conscription and religious fundamentalism are addressed in this fantasy thriller. Life as well as the afterlife converge in this novel to explain certain peculiarities of the human condition.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Follow Friday and Book Blog Hop!

Hello everyone and welcome to my brand new book blog! Reading YA, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance is a passion of mine and on this blog I will post my reviews and hopefully discuss books with all of you! Happy hopping!

"What did you study in college, or are currently studying and did it lead to your current 9 to 5 or are you doing something totally different?"


My major in college was English. I'm currently working at a library in the Technical Services Department. I handle bibliographic records, place items on order in the catalog, process materials, and repair all items placed on the mending cart. Some day I hope to go back to school and obtain a Masters in Library Science! 



"What do you consider the most important in a story: the plot or the characters?"

I definitely prefer stories that are character driven. The characters have always been more important to me than the plot. No matter how amazing a story is, if the characters aren't likable or well developed then the story tends to lose its appeal and fall flat. Reading about a character's experiences, watching them learn and grow, and witnessing them experience love or loss are just some of the ways in which a character can reel you into a story, regardless of what the plot is about. Happy Hopping everyone!


Monday, December 13, 2010

Book Review: Falling Under by Gwen Hayes

While reading Falling Under I alternated between disliking it and not being able to put it down. The story is reminiscent of Jim Henson’s The Labyrinth in the sense that nothing is what it seems and that a young, innocent girl finds herself inexplicably caught between two worlds. Much like Sarah who journeys to the Labyrinth to challenge the Goblin King who wishes to possess her, Theia travels to Under only to become the fixation of Haden—a mysterious supernatural being that exists both in her reality and in her dreams. You can’t quite call what Theia and Haden feel for one another love, because quite frankly the two haven’t known each other long enough to develop that level of passion. Therefore, obsession is the only way to describe this fascination that they have with one another.

The story is rather straightforward in that it centers on a girl who lives under the close scrutiny of her overprotective father. In the years since moving to America from London Theia has had to live vicariously through her two best friends. Theia’s father has denied her what all teenage girls dream of experiencing as they get older, such as going to parties and dating boys. When she meets bad boy Haden, up becomes down and down becomes up and it takes all of Theia’s strength just to keep her footing while straddling the two worlds. For once there is no one else competing for the protagonist’s affections. Rather it is just a constant battle of wills between Theia and the strange boy that has suddenly become the center of her universe.

The portion of the story that I did not enjoy had to do with the melodrama between the two main characters. Haden makes every effort to seduce Theia, but refuses to allow them to touch, claiming that horrible things will happen should they ever have physical contact. Theia in return makes it her mission to touch him at every opportunity, as well as discover his true motives for being in her world instead of the dream world where he so obviously belongs. Imagine my disappointment when they to do finally touch and their heads don’t explode and the world doesn’t collapse in upon itself! Honestly, the whole scene was rather anticlimactic.

Falling Under is at its strongest when Theia is in Under. The creatures that live in this strange world are both disturbing and fascinating. The world itself is described in delicious detail allowing the imagination to run wild with the possibilities. Also, most of the suspense and intrigue came about when Theia was in Under, making these portions of the book far more interesting than when she is wallowing at home or at school. Another high point was seeing how the relationship between Theia and her father changed as the two steadily began to be more honest with one another. In the beginning Theia’s father is very one dimensional seeing as how we are lead to believe that he is an evil tyrant. However, as Theia and her father slowly open up to one another, the readers learn the circumstances behind Theia’s mother’s death and why it is so difficult for Theia’s father to talk about his late wife or show his only daughter affection. As a debut novel Falling Under succeeded in that it had an interesting premise and imaginative world building, but the rest of the story fell short of my expectations and left me feeling disappointed. 

Rating: 2.5/5 Stars

Want to read another review of Falling Under? Go check out Book Kritik!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

In My Mailbox #2

In my mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. Every Sunday you post what books you've received that week, whether it was through the mail, at your local library, or purchased at the store.

 Won ARC on Goodreads Giveaways!

Summary taken from Goodreads:
Kylie Galen has had a lot of crap tossed in her lap. Her parents are getting a divorce. Her boyfriend broke up with her because she wouldn’t put out. Her grandmother died and now Kylie’s acquired a stalker. Unfortunately, she’s the only one who seems to be able to see the stalker and that gets her sent to a psychologist’s sofa. The kooky psychologist gets Kylie sent to Shadow Falls Camp. Kylie and her parents think it’s a camp for troubled teens. They thought wrong.
It’s a camp of supernaturals: vampires, werewolves, fairies, witches and shape shifters. And if she believes the camp leader, Kylie is one of them, too. 

That's it for this week! I just got the one book. Perhaps next week will be better :o)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Follow Friday and Book Blog Hop!

Hello everyone and welcome to my brand new book blog! Reading YA, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance is a passion of mine and on this blog I will post my reviews and hopefully discuss books with all of you! Happy hopping!

Do you have an under-noticed author that you think we should all know about?


An under-noticed author that definitely deserves more attention is Laura Whitcomb. She wrote one of my favorite YA novels: A Certain Slant of Light. It's a truly wonderful, moving tale full of suspense and romance sure to make you shed a tear or two by the end! 


Summary taken from Goodreads:

Helen is a disembodied spirit who "attaches" herself to humans in order to possess their bodies. Unable to remember the circumstances of her death, and with no idea why she's in this precarious state of limbo, she knows this much: she's been haunting the living world for 130 years. But when Helen inhabits the body of a high school teacher, everything changes. For though he remains quite unaware of her presence, a certain boy in his class is clearly able to see Helen. This realization, and Helen's subsequent introduction to him, rocks her world. Uncomfortable with the boundaries of her existence, Helen continues to test them and takes hair-raising risks -- often for love. Moved by her passions, she is stymied by limits placed on her that she doesn't yet understand and is unable to control.






Book Blog Hop Question:

"What is the thing you like most about reading book blogs?  Is it the reviews, author guest posts, articles, giveaways, or something else entirely?"

The two things I look forward to reading the most on other people's book blogs are memes and book reviews. Memes are a great way to meet fellow bloggers and get to know them better. Book reviews are a great way to discuss books, get ideas to read new books, and find other bloggers who share similar tastes in books!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Book Review: Matched by Ally Condie

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Matched and I am happy to say that I have every intention of purchasing a copy of this book for my very own. Admittedly, Matched didn’t hook me at first. The book started out rather slow and while I enjoyed learning about the dystopian society, I was wary of the direction that this story seemed to be heading. In the beginning, much of the focus is on the matching ceremony, the main character Cassia’s feelings about being matched to her best friend Xander and her shock and dismay when she discovers that she has not one, but two possible matches. Prior to reading Matched, I read a YA novel where the main focus of the story was on the complicated love lives of four desperate teenagers, hopelessly in love with one another but doomed to never be loved in return. Very little attention was given to the overarching plot and I didn’t want to read yet another YA novel where the main character agonizes over who she should choose to be with. Thankfully, this was not at all the case!

Matched takes place in the fictional town of Mapletree Borough. To be a resident, one must accept that every minute of every day is planned in advance. School, work, and recreational activities are all that the citizens know. Their lives are devoid of color, taste, creative outlets and most importantly the freedom to make choices. Even death is something that must be planned in advance and scheduled. Cassia, like many of the other residents, is just another cog in a well oiled machine. She is at an age where important decisions need to be made, such as what occupation she should be placed in and who she should be matched with. Cassia never could have imagined that she would be given two matches, or that one of her matches, Ky, would be an aberration who is forbidden to marry and should never have been entered into the sorting. How his name ended up in the data pool is just one of the many mysteries that arise throughout this compelling tale.

What drives this story is the evolution of Cassia’s character and her constant internal struggle between doing what Society expects of her and living a life free from oppression. After the death of her grandfather—the one person in Cassia’s life who encouraged her to be more than just another drone—the readers begin to see a gradual change in her behavior. She is no longer content to just simply follow the rules. She wants to create, experience love and speak the words that rage deep within her. Cassia does not outright make a stand, but rather she rebels against the system discreetly. Hiding precious artifacts, learning to write, or sharing an intimate moment with a boy she is forbidden to love are just some of the ways in which she asserts some semblance of control over a life that up until now was never entirely her own.

I was very pleased with how this novel turned out. There were many twists in the story that I was not expecting, as well as some shocking revelations that should have readers anxious to get their hands on the next book in the series. The romance between Cassia and Ky may have started out sweet and innocent, but over time the love and trust that develops between them becomes something worth breaking all of the rules for. This is not simply a story about a girl who is torn between the man she should love and the man that she is forbidden to love. Rather, it is a story about making choices and having to deal with the consequences of those choices.  

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Sunday, December 5, 2010

In My Mailbox #1

In my mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. Every Sunday you post what books you've received that week, whether it was through the mail, at your local library, or purchased at the store.

Won ARC on Goodreads Giveaways! 
 Summary taken from Goodreads:

Theia Alderson has always led a sheltered life in the small California town of Serendipity Falls. But when a devastatingly handsome boy appears in the halls of her school, Theia knows she's seen Haden before- not around town, but in her dreams. As the Haden of both the night and the day beckons her closer one moment and pushes her away the next, the only thing Theia knows for sure is that the incredible pull she feels towards him is stronger than her fear. And when she discovers what Haden truly is, Theia's not sure if she wants to resist him, even if the cost is her soul.

Books I Borrowed from the Library!
Summaries taken from Goodreads:

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

Vampire predators run wild in this exciting steampunk adventure, the first in an alternate history trilogy that is already attracting attention. In 1870, monsters rise up and conquer the northern lands, As great cities are swallowed up by carnage and disease, landowners and other elite flee south to escape their blood-thirsty wrath. One hundred fifty years later, the great divide still exists; fangs on one side of the border, worried defenders on the other. This fragile equilibrium is threatened, then crumbles after a single young princess becomes almost hopelessly lost in the hostile territory. At first, she has only one defender: a mysterious Greyfriar who roams freely in dangerous vampire regions. A trade paperback original; buyer's choice.

Sailing aboard her father’s trade ship is all seventeen-year-old Camille Rowen has ever wanted. But as a girl of society in 1855 San Francisco, her future is set: marry a man she doesn’t love, or condemn herself and her father to poverty. On her final voyage before the wedding, the stormy arms of the Tasman Sea claim her father, and a terrible family secret is revealed. A secret intertwined with a fabled map, the mother Camille has long believed dead, and an ancient stone that wields a dangerous—and alluring—magic. The only person Camille can depend on is Oscar, a handsome young sailor whom she is undeniably drawn to. Torn between trusting her instincts and keeping her promises to her father, Camille embarks on a perilous quest into the Australian wilderness.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Busting the Newbie Blues!

Busting the Newbie Blues is hosted by Small Review. This event was created to put new YA book bloggers on the map! New bloggers can discuss and share their experiences with one another, as well as learn what it was like for established bloggers when they were newbies. On my blog I read and review more than just YA, but I think this event is a really great idea and I'm eager to join in!


New Bloggers:

Pick this questionnaire if you if you feel you're still getting your "blogging legs" and could use some advice and awareness brought to your blog, whether you're a brand new blogger or even if you've been blogging for over a year. 

  1. When did you start your blog? Three weeks ago!
  2. Why did you start your blog? I love to read and review books and I want to meet other bloggers who feel the same way and talk about books with them!  
  3. What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far? Learning how to design and update my blog! I'm not very computer savvy and when I first started blogging I didn't even know how to upload a picture or create a link!
  4. What do you find most discouraging about being a new blogger? Never having enough time to do everything that I want to do. Updating my blog and meeting other bloggers is wonderful, but also time consuming. I want to be more involved in the blogging community, but I only have so much time to do everything that I want to do in a day and I dont always have access to a computer.
  5. What do you find most encouraging? How warm and friendly everyone is!
  6. What do you like best about the blogs you read? Have you tried to replicate this in your blog? I love blogs that have a lot of images and memes. I would like to start doing more memes, and maybe even start a meme of my own!
  7. What do you dislike about blogs you’ve read? Do you try to avoid this? I have yet to find anything I dislike, but then again, I've been blogging for less than a month.
  8. Any advice for other new bloggers? Don't be afriad to put yourself out there! Also, always be honest! If you don't like a book, don't be afraid to say so! 
  9. Anything else you’d like to share about your experience? Nope.
  10. Is there anything you’d like to tell us about your blog? I read and review YA, urban fantasy, and parnormal romance. Reading is my passion so expect me to post a lot of reviews!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Follow Friday and Book Blog Hop!

Hello everyone and welcome to my brand new book blog! This is my very first Follow Friday! Reading YA, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance is a passion of mine and on this blog I will post my reviews and hopefully discuss books with all of you! Happy hopping!

What do you do besides reading / reviewing as a hobby?


Between work, reading and reviewing, and making time to be with those I love, it's really hard to find time to do other stuff! I do, however, love to bake and I'm trying to learn how to cook. My favorite dessert to bake is cookies and this Christmas I plan to make at least four of five different batches of some of my more popular recipes! I find cooking to be much more difficult than baking because I have zero instinct when it comes to knowing what ingredients to use and what spices to add! I also enjoy crafts, but haven't had any time recently to make anything. For awhile though I was decorating picture frames :o)

"What very popular and hyped book in the blogosphere did you NOT enjoy and how did you feel about posting your review?"

I really did not enjoy Halo by Alexandra Adornetto! At 500 pages one would think that after the 100 page mark, something, ANYTHING, would have happened, but the only thing that I learned within the first 100 pages of this book was that for inexplicable reasons the main character is in love with a teenage boy that attends her school. I didn't write a review for Halo because I couldn't finish it.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Book Review: 13 to Life by Shannon Delany

13 to Life is a very quick read that takes an awfully long time to get to the point of the story. If you’re curious as to what this book is about, honestly, very little happens in the span of 308 pages and more questions are raised than answered by the book’s end. For the most part, the focus of this story is on the love square between the main character Jessica Gilmansen, Pietr Rusakova the mysterious bad boy, Jessica’s best friend Sarah, and Jessica’s crush Derek. Jessica and Pietr meet very early on in the novel and are thrown together so often that one can’t help but wonder if the readers are supposed to believe that this all just a series of coincidences. Jessica becomes Pietr’s peer guide and they share almost all of their classes together, as well as ride the same bus. Jessica’s father has even hired Pietr to help manage their farm. The word ‘coincidence’ starts to lose all meaning when the two are paired together constantly. That being said, I did like both main characters and given their many encounters, their relationship evolved naturally.

The mystery surrounding the Rusakova family receives very little attention, and while the readers are given hints about their past from time to time, overall, not much is learned in this novel. I assume, given the cliff hanger ending, that more will be revealed in the next book. One thing that is made abundantly clear, however, is that Pietr is a werewolf. This is one of those cases where the readers are very much aware of the fact that a character is Other, but the main character hasn’t the foggiest idea that the boy she is crushing on has supernatural abilities. At one point she even jokes about the idea of Pietr being a werewolf, but then quickly dismisses it.

The love square reminds me a little too much of storylines that can be found in teen dramas on TV. Jessica has strong feelings for Derek, a popular jock at her school, but after having many encounters with Pietr, she starts to develop feelings for him as well. Jessica’s best friend Sarah also has feelings for Pietr and while Jessica encourages the two date, a little piece of her dies inside every time she sees them together. I never fully grasped the idea of forsaking your own happiness for the happiness of another. Self-sacrifice isn’t always the honorable thing to do, especially if it means lying to everyone around you. Pietr isn’t any better because he clearly has feelings for Jessica, but chooses to date Sarah for no reason other than that Jessica asked him to. There’s also something funky going on with Derek, but I’ve already spent too much time detailing the complicated love lives of these characters!

As werewolf books go, 13 to Life is definitely one of the weaker stories I’ve read. I hate to compare anything to Twilight, because Twilight shouldn’t be the standard by which all paranormal YA books are compared to, but the whole dynamic with the Rusakova family reminded me a little too much of the Cullens. While I have no plans to read the sequel to this book, should you find yourself wanting to read a story about werewolves, 13 to Life is worth a try, but there are much better werewolf stories to be found. 

Rating: 2/5 Stars