Saturday, October 30, 2010

Review: The House of Dead Maids - Clare B. Dunkle

WherI got it: Library
Rating: 4.5 stars 

Cover Rating: 5 stars (Haunting, much like the illustrations.)
Genre: Young Adult  
Publication Date: September 14, 2010
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Page Count: 146 p.  

Tabby arrives at seldom house to be a nursemaid for the little master. The ghost of the girl that last took her position, haunts her at night and by the light of day. Tabby can't be rid of her and soon other spirits come to her too. She tries to save her heathen charge from his fate, but it is already sealed and he will not take her help. She knows this place houses a terrible evil and she knows they must leave.

This is a story to read on Halloween with only a small light while you are curled up alone in bed. As if the story wasn't horrifying enough, the illustrations aide to put these terrifying images into your head for sure. This was a delectably creepy tale at just the right time of the year. I have not yet read Wuthering Heights in it's entirety, but I now plan to do so soon. I am hoping that there is some chilling edge to Wuthering Heights that follows along where this story left off. It was very interesting to learn that Tabby was in fact a real person and was the nursemaid to the Brontë sisters. This was an excellent spooky tale and you would be wise to read it. The House of Dead Maids was well written and short and definitely one you should not pass up if you have a stomach for hair-raising tales. 

First Line: 
"I was not the first girl she saw, nor the second, and as to why she chose me, I know that now: it was because she did not like me." 

Favorite Line:
"The arms that twined around me were icy, and her dress was wringing wet." 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Review: The Ivy - Lauren Kunze and Rina Onur

WherI got it: Finished copy from publisher via author inquiry
Rating: 4 stars 
Cover Rating: 4 stars (Shiny and very fitting.)
Genre: Young Adult  
Publication Date: August 31, 2010

Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Page Count: 312 p.

Callie Andrews got into Harvard because of her brain. Not her money, not her fame and definitely not for her fashion. This makes her feel a little out of place with her roommates are first. She has Mimi who is from France and Vanessa who is from NYC, though Callie feels left out, their super conservative fourth roommate has to feel super out of place with her crazy mates. As if classes weren't hard enough, Callie also have to navigate the social battlefield that is her life. With an ex who recently dumped her(via e-mail=lame) and some hottie across-the-hall-neighbors Callie has quite the playing field. Whose toes will she have to step on to get what she wants and does she even know what she wants? With all this drama, Callie better hope she can survive her freshman year at Harvard.

This was a fantastic debut novel. It was very fun and just a great read. I do have to say that is you are looking for a novel that promotes good morals, do not read this. The characters have sex and do drugs, binge drink and really enjoy themselves at college, all with no consequence (life doesn't always have consequences). I really enjoyed the little newspaper articles between the chapters, they were very witty and hilarious. It was a little frustrating watching Callie sabotage her relationships (probably not on purpose) with everyone around her. When you read the inside jacket flap, that lists her potential love interests, you know right away which one she will end up with. I am very interested to see where this story will take us, especially since the last page is so juicy. Hopefully Callie makes up her mind and gains a little more self confidence as she trudges along at Harvard, because otherwise I might just have to shake her. If you ever wanted to know what college life was like for an average teenager/almost not a teenager anymore, this is the book to read. Very realistic portrayals about people (hopefully everyone isn't as conniving as some of the characters) girls, guys, foreign girls from France who don't really care about their reputations (this isn't to imply that all French girls don't care about their reps, only that some don't). If you were thinking about reading this one, make sure you do and keep an eye out for these two authors and what they will come up with next.

First Line:
"Dearest Froshlings: peons and future leaders of America."

Favorite Line:
"After spending several weeks together, her roommate's creepy stalker habits were starting to rub off."  

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Review: The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball - Risa Green

WherI got it: Library
Rating: 3 stars 

Cover Rating: 4 stars (I love the picture and everything(it's so fun and pink and the girl's sparkly eyeshadow is awesome), but can we talk about the title. This would be an appropriate title if this is a first book in a series, but there is not really enough secret society to warrant the title including such words.)
Genre: Young Adult 
Publication Date: September 1, 2010
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Page Count: 315 p.

Erin's aunt dies mysteriously and leaves her an even more mysterious present. A pink crystal ball, with a cryptic set of instructions on how to use it. Erin is a very logic-based person, whereas her two best friends tend to be on the more faith side of things. When the ball manages to predict a few incidences though, Erin may just have to start believing in the power of the ball and what it can do for her and her friends.

This was a fun and enjoyable read about an interesting subject. Fortune telling or predicting the future usually seems more darkly foreboding in stories and this novel presented it in a serious but really fun way. I loved trying to figure out the clues alongside Erin and it was interesting when the answers were revealed. I really appreciated how this magic pink crystal ball worked. Plus I really loved Jesse, he is definitely the kind of guy I would go for. I do have to complain about the ending though. I can get over the fact that we will never find out what happened with the trip Erin wants to go on, I can handle that. I hated the how this book ended with one of the girls asking if she would be discovered by a Hollywood Director. It was ridiculous and just didn't seem to really go with the rest of the story. I mean yeah, they are teenage girls and have weird, aloof dreams, but really Hollywood? Maybe it's just me, but i didn't like that one bit. Also if that had to be the end, she definitely shouldn't have revealed the answer. She should have left it shrouded in mystery. Anyways, this was a really fun and quirky read and all the characters were outrageously outrageous in their own ways. If you have a chance, I would definitely try this book on for size. 

First Line:
"Things About Me That Might, in Some Alternative Universe, Be Interesting Enough for the Committee of Tenth Grade Teachers to Pick Me for the AP Art History Trip to Italy"

Favorite Line:
"'You started one a long time ago, Soggy Bottoms.'"  

Okay guys, so I don't have a magic Pink Crystal Ball, but I do have a Magic Cheezburger. So...if you want to leave questions in the comments section, I will consult with the higher powers and post your answers below. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Dark Divine for less than $3.00!!!!

So listen, if you own an ereader, you have probably been filling it full of fantastic ARC from netgalley or all the hundreds of classics you can get for free. You probably don't have The Dark Divine on there. If you're wondering if it's good or not click here to see my thoughts. Listen through November 22nd you can actually get The Dark Divine for the low price of $2.39 from Amazon Or from Barnes and Noble. If you haven't read it yet than this is the perfect opportunity for you to get caught up in time for the release of The Lost Saint in December. If you still aren't sure that you could handle spending $2.39 on this fantastic read, feel free to check out the preview below.

Teaser Tuesday #43

This week's Teaser Tuesday is from The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball - Risa Green

(page 23.)

"Okay, so maybe I don't remember all of the words, but my point is, imagine a group of five year-olds singing some sentimental song to their sappy parents while wearing tiny little mortar board hats. I'm telling you: Mom had the only dry eye in the house."

Teaser Tuesday is brought to us by Should be Reading.
1) Grab your current read
2) Open to a random page
3) Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
4) BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
5) Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Review: Dust City - Robert Paul Weston

WherI got it: ARC from publisher
Rating: 3.5 stars 

Cover Rating: 4 stars (It's nice and spooky.)
Genre: Young Adult 
Publication Date: September 30, 2010
Publisher: Razorbill
Page Count: 300 p.

Henry Whelp is the son of the Big Bad Wolf, who is doing time for killing Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother. Henry doesn't know why his dad did it and he desperately doesn't want to end up like him. Henry's been stuck in a reformatory for animalia inside Dust City. Dust city used to have real fairies, with real fairydust, but since the fairies vanished all that's left is black market dust. When someone ends up dead unexpectedly at the Reformatory, Henry is brought into question. Henry goes to see his dad and find out the truth of what happened that faithful night and what happened to all the fairies.

This was a very interesting novel. I loved all of the fairy tales that were woven into the story. Each character was really a fairy tale character, and it was fantastic. Henry and Fiona as well as some of the other characters seemed a little unrealistic at times. Of course, they are wolves and such in a fairy tale city, so they aren't very realistic to begin with, but sometimes they just felt a little awkward or off. Maybe it is just me. Besides the characters sometimes being a little out of character this was a really fascinating read. It is a new look at the old Red Riding Hood story, from the Big Bad Wolf's side of the story. This novel really talks about how things aren't always as they seem. There is a definite "big brother" feel to the novel, that there is this big company that sort of controls everything and everyone. If you are a big fan of fairy tales, make sure you read this book it is a great edition for fans of the genre. 

First Line:
"Once upon a time, fairydust came from where you'd expect."

Favorite Line:
"Earthwood Cemetery is an oasis of green at the heart if the city."  

Friday, October 22, 2010

Cast Your Villain

Nicole at Word for Teens is hosting a great contest to win Kimberly Derting books and all you have to do is cast your villain. So I picked Vivian from Paranormalcy by Kiersten White. To play the part I found Kate Mara, a fiery redhead who would probably look pretty awesome engulfed in flames.

Review: Ghostgirl - Tanya Hurley

WherI got it: Inter-library loan
Rating: 2.5 stars 

Cover Rating: 4 stars (It's pretty neat, especially the hardcover.)
Genre: Young Adult 
Publication Date: August 1, 2008
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 328 p.

Charlotte Usher is invisible, even before she dies. People just tended to have a way of completely ignoring her. This year she though it would be different, a new look and a new attitude was sure to bring her new respect. Then, she went and died. Now she actually is invisible and none to happy about being dead. She figures she should still have a chance at getting all her dreams lived out, even if she has to do it in someone else's body.

This book didn't really do it for me. I found Charlotte depressingly shallow. I also found this novel a little hard to follow, because so many YA books are written in first person, yet this one seemed to be written as an omnipresent third person narrator. About half way through, while I was considering giving up, I decide that I would take a new approach and pretend that Jim Dale was narrating. He just has this way of making everything satirical. This made the book a bit better, but still it just fell a little flat for me. It wasn't by any means a bad book, just not one I would care to read again. It left me no desire to even pick up the next one to find out what happens. All in all I did not enjoy this book very much but I'm sure lots of other people will.  

First Line:
"You never think it will happen to you." 

Favorite Line:
"After graduation
You'll be all cellulite and fatty,
sittin' next to Maury
searchin' for yo' baby's daddy!"

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Review: The Magnificent 12: The Call - Michael Grant

WherI got it: Finished copy from publisher
Rating: 4 stars 

Cover Rating: 3 stars (It's okay.)
Genre: Young Adult 
Publication Date: September 1, 2010
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Page Count: 243 p

David had no desire to become a hero. He was actually afraid of a lot of things. To name a few things he was afraid of, he had arachnophobia, pyrophobia, thalassophobia and claustrophobia along with many other very scary phobias. So when a creepy old man freezes time and talks to him, he isn't really sure what to do. Later on this same old man tells him he has to go on a journey to save the world from The Pale Queen. David, called Mack, really doesn't want to go, but present danger sets him of on an adventure to find the other 11 Magnifica. 

This was an exciting and fun story, definitely targeted to younger teen boys. This story was told following Mack in the present and following a man named Grimluk around 3,000 years ago. It was a really fun and enjoyable adventure with some neat concepts and some really scary-sounding creatures. I really enjoyed the amusing tone of the novel, where Mack is still young and doesn't take himself quite so seriously yet. I certainly look forward to the next installment of the Magnificent 12. I eagerly await the discovery of the next Magnifica. This isn't a very serious or edge of your seat kind of novel. It is a very fun light read, which I think would be good for young reluctant readers or even avid readers looking for something new.

First Line:
"David MacAvoy--whose friends called him Mack--was not and unlikely hero."

Favorite Line:
"But it's possible that I have grown more than I should because Mom was whispering to Dad that I needed a shrink."  

Matched by Ally Condie Trailer

Also over at the Matched Book (not matchbox) website they can match you with your soul mate(via facebook).

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday #30

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine!

This week I'm waiting on The Betrayal of Maggie Blair by Elizabeth Laird. This is due out on April 18th 2011, so I have a bit of a wait, but who can resist 17th century Scotland? Also, that cover is so gorgeous; I love all the blue.

In seventeenth-century Scotland, saying the wrong thing can lead to banishment - or worse. Accused of being a witch, sixteen-year-old Maggie Blair is sentenced to be hanged. She escapes, but instead of finding shelter with her principled, patriotic uncle, she brings disaster to his door. Betrayed by one of her own accusers, Maggie must try to save her uncle and his family from the King's men, even if she has to risk her own life in the process. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Review: Girl Saves Boy - Steph Bowe

WherI got it: ARC from Princess Bookie's Around the World Tours
Rating: 4 stars 

Cover Rating: 4 stars (It's a very weird picture, but the lights are all sparklely so that's cool.)
Genre: Young Adult 
Publication Date: August 30, 2010
Publisher: The Text Publishing Company
Page Count: 280 p.

Jewel just moved back in with her mother since her grandparents both died. When she goes to the park for a walk, she sees a boy floating in the same lake that claimed her brother's life 10 years before. She dashes into the lake and drags the boy out, gives him CPR and calls an ambulance. Sacha is the boy who was in the lake. Sacha and Jewel find themselves inexplicably drawn together ever since that moment they met. One of Sacha's best friends, True, was even Jewel's friend when she used to live here. There are many small acts of fate that keep bringing them closer and closer to each other, and closer and closer to the truths about life.

This was a fantastic novel. I love all the little characters and Little Al's caravan family. Everyone was so well portrayed. I love that they eat Tim-Tams, I had recently discovered these, and they are delicious. It was interesting reading something in English, but having there be a lot of difference in the way they speak (dodn't: for don't and leant: for leaned). The only thing that kind of bugged me was that Jewel's and Sacha's voices (narration) were very similar and sometimes you couldn't be sure who was narrating at that point in time. Luckily all you had to do was look to the top of the page and you would see either "Sacha" or "Jewel" printed there, but it would have been nice to have a little more distinction between their two voices even if they are very similar. I loved all the little list that Sacha made of random things, like his favorite smells. This book addressed a lot of issue and it did it very well. It was weird to have a narrators so surround by death and grief and loss, but have them still be functioning, it was a nice change. Jewel and Sacha were very memorable characters and I really liked how the story left off. If the story had gone on longer it would have been too depressing and blah. I wish this book was out in America already, so that I could buy a copy for myself and my library. I really think everyone should read this if they get and opportunity to do so. I very much look forward to seeing if Steph has anything else up her sleeve, novel-wise.

First Line:
"There was a boy in the lake."

Favorite Line:
"We scooped up bed sheets and I took the diningtable chairs into the living room and made a tent that encompassed the couch and was long enough to sleep under and wide enough for the both of us."  

Can I just mention how much I adore her author photo too.
It's so cute:)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Review: Nightshade - Andrea Cremer

WherI got it: ARC from publisher
Rating: 5 stars 
Cover Rating: 5 stars (I love that Nightshade(the flower) is purple and this cover is all purplely. I also love the Calla Lilies, for Calla.)
Genre: Young Adult 
Publication Date: October 19, 2010 
Publisher: Philomel 
Page Count: 452 p

Calla is the alpha in her pack of Nightshades. Renier is the alpha for his pack of Banes. They are destined to be together, at least that's what the Keepers have declared. When Calla risk her life for a dying hiker, she thinks it as just a moment of weakness. When this same mysterious hiker shows up at her school and becomes part of her life though, Calla feels herself questioning her every instinct. This boy makes her questions all that she knows, the whole order of her life and the lives of those she loves. Can Calla keep it together and join with Ren to form their new pack, or are there too many questions that she needs answered first?

This book was awesome, a lot better than I was expecting it to be. Nothing against Andrea or anything, I just have a hard time getting super excited about another paranormal romance, but Andrea shows a deft writing skill in this debut. I liked Calla instantly, she was a strong warrior and the leader of her pack. She was very much a typical teenage girl though. All the characters in this novel were flawlessly natural with each other, except for the Keeper kids, they are quite weird.
If you are arachnophobic, there is certainly a part to make your skin crawl. These are not your typical hard-bodied werewolves, they are quite a bit more gruesome than the Quileutes. It was fantastic to read a book that was nearly equal parts love triangle madness and horrifying imagery. A werewolf book with animalistic urges tucked away inside always a great thing in my mind.
Andrea did a fantastic job describing the back-story of the Guardians, without making it seem like someone delivering a monologue. I also really liked the reasoning she gave for why all these folks could go around from werewolf to human form and not just be walking around in their birthday suits (you'll have to read it to know her secrets). 
This was a great debut and I am eagerly anticipating the sequel, Wolfsbane(loving the flower references in these books). Though Nightshade did end well, I am still dying to know what is next for Calla.

First Line:
"I'd always welcomed war, but in battle my passion rose unbidden."

 Favorite Line:
"'Ah. Too personal.' He raised his eyebrows. ' The relationship between a girl and her favorite novel can be complex indeed.'"

Friday, October 15, 2010

Review: Crescendo - Becca Fitzpatrick

WherI got it: ARC from publisher
Rating:  3.5-4 stars 
Cover Rating: 5 stars (Very nice.)
Genre: Young Adult 
Publication Date: October 19, 2010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Page Count: 427 p.

Nora's summer vacation should have been spent gazing into the eyes of her boyfriend/guardian angel. Instead she is taking a chemistry class and is paired up with her arch enemy as a lab partner. Patch is getting distant, and though he has excuses Nora thinks they aren't good enough. On top of this Nora has been having very weird dreams about her father's death and her enemy's father. When a newish boy moves back into town, Nora knows there is something weird about his past and is instantly intrigued. It's very dangerous business trying to snoop around though. Nora is not sure what to make of all that has been happening and with Patch always showing up mysteriously she feels that there may be a lot he's not telling her.

First off, I don't remember disliking Nora this much in the first book. I can't say that she's unrealistic, but puh-lease. She is so obsessed with Patch it gets to be a little disgusting. Like how she keeps going into greatly detailed descriptions of his "lean athletic build that even loose-fit jeans and a T-shirt couldn't conceal". Besides that though this novel was definitely something I had been waiting for. More mysterious hub-bub follows Nora around in this novel and the introduction of a new guy in town is always fun, especially when he's bad. his book seemed to wander a long slowly at times but definitely picked up in the second half. It was very interesting getting to know more about the angel inner workings and the hierarchy they follow. I can not believe how this book ended. I can not believe the next book isn't coming out until forever from now. Becca Fitzpatrick, how could you do this too me? *shakes fist at the sky* If you liked Hush, Hush don't forget to pick this up on Tuesday.

First Line:
"The fingers of the thorn-apple tree clawed at the windowpane behind Harrison Grey, and he dog-eared his page, no longer able to read through the racket."

Favorite Line:
"My mouth was all over his, chaotic and wild and starved."


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