Saturday, June 30

IMM and My Reading Pile: 20

IMM: Hosted by The Story Siren
My Reading Pile: Hosted by [Fikt]shun

In the Mail:

I am in Utah for the next two weeks and so I have taken advantage of the massive library system here. Now I just need to sit and read like there is no tomorrow.
Haven by Kristi Cook
Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines
Airel by Aaron Patterson and Chris White
Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst
Black Heart by Holly Black
Hourglass by Myra McEntire
Afterlife by Claudia Gray

In the Reading Pile:
Left Behind:
I wasn't able to read The Last Echo since I had to return my library copy. Hopefully I will be able to get to it soon. Even if I was able to hold on to the copy I lost a ton of reading time with two days of driving.

For My Reading Pleasure:

I really don't want to say.  I am on vacation and I want to rebel against structure. Basically I am going to pick up whatever book calls to me the strongest. Two weeks of no obligations just pure fun reading. :) The sun is shining and the pages are waiting. See you around.

P.S. If you are feeling in the mood go ahead and let me know which of the above books you recommend I read next. :)

Friday, June 29

Eye Candy: XXIV

Destroy Me
Tahereh Mafi

(In general I haven't been a fan of the new covers, but this one is spectacular. Yet at the same time "She will choose me," sounds very ominous. I might just chicken out and not read the next two. Warren scares the crud out of me and makes my skin crawl. I don't know if I can take anymore moments with him.)

Through the Ever Night
Veronica Rossi

(I love this cover way more than the first, but then this one has a guy so who could blame me.)

Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop

June 29th through July 5th

US only
Must at least 13 years old

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, June 28

Waiting on Wednesday: Dark Destiny

Hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Dark Destiny
M. J. Putney
Publication Date: July 3rd

From Goodreads

Tory and her friends are celebrating the success of a second mission to aid WWII Britain when an urgent summons calls them back to their own time: Napoleon is on the brink of invading England. Can a handful of young mages stop an army? In desperation, Merlin’s Irregulars ask Rebecca Weiss, an untrained telepath from 1940, to come back to 1804 and change Napoleon’s mind before it’s too late. As Tory and Allarde make a commitment that will cost him his inheritance, Rebecca promises to do what she can to stop Napoleon even though she is unsure of her magical abilities.  But Tory and her friends saved the Weiss family from Nazi imprisonment, and Rebecca will risk anything, even her life and her budding relationship with Nick Rainford, to repay them. A daring mission takes Tory and Rebecca and their friends into the heart of the Army of Boulogne, where Napoleon is plotting invasion.  But while their success may save England, they must still face the bittersweet consequences of their decisions when they return home.

Yes, I am a bit late posting this but I have been traveling for two days so I am sure it is fine.
I have loved this series so far and I am sure this will be no exception. Not too much longer to wait!

Bourne: Novella Review

Lisa T. Bergren
Bergren Creative Group, Inc.
February 27th 2012
Young Adult | Fantasy | Historical (1345)
Time Travel

Official Blurb -
In this e-novella, River of Time #3.1, the dramatic tale about the Betarrinis and Forellis continues, picking up directly after where Torrent left off… The battle is done at the front, but the battle is only beginning back at Castello Forelli. Marcello fights for his life; Lord Greco fights to find his place; and Lia fights for love.
This joins a very select few novellas that are a must reads. The shorter story barely feels shorter in detail. There are a few points at which the direction changed rapidly to move the story along, but it wasn't overly abrupt and doesn't damage the experience. I do admit a bit of confusion about the timing for the exact beginning of this novella. It almost seems that it's supposed to rewrite over the very ending of Torrent. Maybe it is meant to be the next day or very shortly thereafter. Her father's injury is still very fresh at the start.
I loved being able to see Luca flesh out more as a character. He is more than just a flirt. We are also allowed to read Lia's voice in this novella which adds a bit more depth to her character as well. The back and forth dialog between Lia and Luca is adorable. 
While Torrent closes up the story for Gabi and Marcello quite nicely, this helps to flesh out Lia and Luca. These details are not to be missed so go and get a copy.

Sexual: mild
Violence: moderate
Main Character Age: 17

The Journeys of John and Julia: Partial Book Review

The Journeys of John and Julia
Gerber Rigler
June 29th 2012
Young Adult | Contemporary

Official Blurb -

The Journeys of John and Julia begin.
The Twenty-Two are watching.
Reality is about to change.

It all starts when Julia’s parents totally mess with her summer. First Julia’s dad takes off to start a whole new family. Then Julia’s mom yanks Julia from cheerleader camp to spend the summer with her grandmother in the land of no signal, no mall, no best friend Kellie. Julia’s only hope for human contact is geeky John Freeman, who is six months younger than she and about a million years behind her idea of cool.

If only Julia knew that her mom plans to dump her at Grandma’s not just for the summer, but for a whole year. If only Julia knew that a collective of wondrous beings called The Twenty- Two are watching over her and trying to make contact. If only Julia knew that they could tell Julia every thought she never knew she had and bend her reality in any way they choose. And that she’d be with John Freeman when it happened. He’d think that was way cool.

And that is just the beginning. For this seemingly mismatched pair have cracked open the door to another reality. And their enemy-to-be, the beyond evil Niem Vidalgo Oten, is about to enter the picture.
At first I found the language was interesting. It made me smile at the circles it went in even reminded me a bit of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. Before long however it began to feel repetative and unnecessary. Plus it was leaving me confused. When I finally met Julia I was disgusted. I really couldn't stand her character and couldn't agree less with the idea that she was so super special and in need of extra help. What made her so much more special than any other ordinary kid? The combination of the confusion and my dislike of Julia caused me to put this book down.


Tuesday, June 26

Team Human: Book Review

Team Human

July 3rd 2012
Young Adult | Fantasy

Official Blurb - Just because Mel lives in New Whitby, a city founded by vampires, doesn’t mean she knows any of the blood-drinking undead personally. They stay in their part of town; she says in hers. Until the day a vampire shows up at her high school. Worse yet, her best friend, Cathy, seems to be falling in love with him. It’s up to Mel to save Cathy from a mistake she might regret for all eternity!

On top of trying to help Cathy (whether she wants it or not), Mel is investigating a mysterious disappearance for another friend and discovering the attractions of a certain vampire wannabe. Combine all this with a cranky vampire cop, a number of unlikely romantic entanglements, and the occasional zombie, and soon Mel is hip-deep in an adventure that is equal parts hilarious and touching.



Still weird.

Mel is one funny character. In fact I rather disliked moments where she had to restrain herself. The cover really doesn't do this story justice. Yes, the cover is beautiful and eye catching. It really is nice to have a picture to go along with the character of Mel but I am not sure the serious look fits her. The cover is far too serious for the book. The best comparison I can think of is a comedy show. They always try to have some theme among all the skits but come the end the story isn't deep. That sums this book up very well. Plenty of funny moments but the serious moments are odd. They feel like the commercials in between the show. "A word from our sponsors. . . now back to the show." This book is also full of the odd view of all the usual scenes. We get the third wheel view of a romantic union. Which means we are on the outside trying not to vomit. Ugh! Yet, surprisingly a bit funny.

I think these two authors should sign up as an advertising team. They could make some big bucks. In turn, the power of their words instilled a desire for a tomato sandwich as well as Chinese food in me. When I should have been focusing on the characters and story my tummy was grumbling for food at their suggestion.

Here is another point at which the book deserves the label weird, the names. Lottie is a really cruel nick name for Mel's brother. There is a huge stink made over Mel's full name. Though I was less than impressed when it was revealed. They really set the bar high with Kitten for a guy's name.

There even came a point where I began to wonder if they were high when they wrote this. The book is so messed up. Not in a poorly written way but more of a "What were they thinking?" way. The characters sometimes do the strangest things.

Perfect to put a smile on your face and chase away the blues. A very funny and entertaining read but shallow in depth. Reminds me a bit of Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst. Definitely not your average vampire book.

Language: Mild
Sexual: Mild

Moments Divine:
"Anyone who licks that vampire gets a detention!"
"Francis was sitting as if someone had tried to put a stake through his heart but accidentally inserted it where the sun did not shine--which I guess is anywhere for vampires, but in a place where the sun does not shine even for regular people."
"What are we doing, lovely librarian? Plotting world domination! Kidding. We're working on our group project on this map thing. Clearly. And plotting world domination."
"Who would choose the possibility of immortality over chocolate?"
"Better overcautious than missing a jugular vein, as the saying goes."
"Well, vomiting is not high on the list of activities I like to witness either. Or partake in. Vampires are not alone in their vomit distaste."
"Amnesia is way more common than you'd think," Kit said. "It happens all the time on TV shows."
"Do . . . friends always stroke other friends' veins?" "

Saturday, June 23

IMM and My Reading Pile: 19

IMM: Hosted by The Story Siren
My Reading Pile: Hosted by [Fikt]shun

In the Mail:
Rapture by Lauren Kate
I am so disappointed with this cover. The picture on the computer always made the girl stand out. It really spoke emotion to me. For some reason the physical copy is so bland that the girl fades into the page and it just isn't dramatic anymore. I do like the sheen they have added to her dress but it is almost unnoticeable. *sigh* I am sadly put out. I hope the inside is better than the cover.
The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead 

Dragons of Wendal by Maria Schneider

In the Reading Pile:
The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Dragons of Wendal by Maria Schneider

Thursday, June 21

Torrent: Book Review

Lisa T. Bergren
David C. Cook
September 1st 2011
Young Adult | Fantasy | Historical (1345)
Time Travel

Official Blurb -
When Gabi and Lia finally learn to surf the river of time, they realize they must make hard choices about life and love in the third and final book in the River of Time series.  

Gabi and Lia Betarrini have learned to control their time travel, and they return from medieval Italy to save their father from his tragic death in modern times.   But love calls across the centuries, and the girls are determined to return forever—even though they know the Black Plague is advancing across Europe, claiming the lives of one-third of the population. In the suspenseful conclusion of the River of Time series, every decision is about life … and death.  

A great ending to a great set of books. It is safe to say that the main characters have an extra strong helping of luck in their back pocket. As a lover of happy endings I was very pleased but it was all extremely unlikely. 
Gabriella is such a headstrong careless girl in regards to her safety. Her need to save everyone throws her through the gauntlet this time. Especially since the Fiorentini are finally through underestimating her. But the perfect trap hold further danger. All the flattery and adoration finally gets to her head and places her in a compromising situation. At times, Gabriella seems very heedless of how her decisions affect others, such as Marcello. She seems to hold strongly to an idea of being invincible or that nothing bad could ever really come to pass. In part, I feel this is the biggest contributor to her snap. She reaches that moment where she believes she has met her match.
It was nice to see Marcello settle into his element. He becomes one of the Nine and easily inspires loyalty in those around him. Gabriella is highly blessed to have captured Marcello's heart. He lives in a time when women aren't allowed to think much less rush into battle. It is amazing what she gets away with and even more so that he is always there to save the day. 
The bad guys in this book really step it up a notch. I can't imagine being in Gabriella's shoes. How she found the will to keep fighting back is staggering. Through the other books the Ladies Betarrini begin to be worshiped and lauded as unassailable warriors, but we finally see they are just as fallible as any mortal. Everything catches up to Gabriella. Battles, captures, escapes, deaths, love, betrayal, and endless threats finally bring her crashing down. Yet, in this moment, we see how her self-sacrificing love for others has in turn inspired fierce devotion. She finds allies in the least likely places.
The relationship between Marcello and Gabriella is refreshing. There is very little miscommunication riddling their way. Marcello easily admits his feelings and seeks clarification as he understands the value of each day. 
A first-rate series from start to finish. I absolutely recommend all the books to any seeking to be happily entertained.

Sexual: mild
Violence: moderate
Main Character Age: 17

Wednesday, June 20

Waiting on Wednesday: Dark Companion

Hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Dark Companion
Marta Acosta

Publication Date: July 3rd

From Goodreads

When foster teen Jane Williams is invited to attend elite Birch Grove Academy for Girls and escape her violent urban neighborhood, she thinks the offer is too good to be true. She's even offered her own living quarters, the groundskeeper's cottage in the center of the birch grove.

Something's not quite right about the school -- or is it Jane? She thinks she sees things in the birch grove at night. She's also beginning to suspect that the elegant headmistress and her sons are hiding secrets. Lucky is the gorgeous, golden son who is especially attentive to Jane, and Jack is the sardonic puzzling brother.

The school with its talented teachers and bright students is a dream for a science and math geek like Jane. She also loves her new friends, including hilarious poetry-spouting rich girl, Mary Violet. But the longer Jane stays at Birch Grove, the more questions she has about the disappearance of another scholarship girl and a missing faculty member.

Jane discovers one secret about Birch Grove, which only leads to more mysteries. What is she willing to sacrifice in order to stay at this school...and be bound to Birch Grove forever?

If I hadn't posted a cover look alike a while back I am not sure I would have ever noticed this book. Now there is no going back and I must read it. I have it in my pile from NetGalley right now. Hopefully it is awesome!

Tuesday, June 19

Blackwatch: Book Review

Jenna Burtenshaw
Greenwillow Books
June 26th 2012
Young Adult | Fantasy

Official Blurb -
Ten years ago Kate Winters' parents were taken by the High Council's wardens to help with the country's war effort. Now the wardens are back...and prisoners, including Kate's uncle Artemis, are taken south on the terrifying Night Train. Kate and her friend Edgar are hunted by a far more dangerous enemy. Silas Dane ' the High Council's most feared man ' recognizes Kate as one of the Skilled; a rare group of people able to see through the veil between the living and the dead. His spirit was damaged by the High Council's experiments into the veil, and he's convinced that Kate can undo the damage and allow him to find peace. The knowledge Kate needs lies within Wintercraft ' a book thought to be hidden deep beneath the graveyard city of Fume . But the Night of Souls, when the veil between life and death is at its thinnest, is just days away and the High Council have their own sinister plans for Kate and Wintercraft. To help Artemis, Edgar and herself, Kate must honor her pact with a murderer and come face to face with the true nature of death.

A dark, desperate and compelling read. Situations get increasingly more tight and hope becomes all but a memory. Yet the characters are divine and will keep you turning pages long into the night. A great addition to a riveting tale.

Edgar is a perfect light pivot for this book. Everything is full of despair yet he stands stalwart amidst the onslaught. He almost doesn't grasp the danger or perhaps he has very little fear. Since he can't stop it he just keeps moving forward instead of being overcome. Right at the end there is this stellar comment made by Edgar about all the things he has endured that sums up his attitude perfectly. He thinks clearly and even humorously into perilous times.
Silas is the best semi-villain ever. He is always ready to remind you why he deserves the title of villain yet will surprise and delight you with his ability to be genuine. A good portion of this book is done in Silas' perspective which was a treat of enlightenment into his thoughts. In the first book I thought he was a truly chilling villain but now I have met something far worse. This new villain has thought of every angle and can counter everything. There is no escape only submission.

The ending of the book leaves very little to hope for. If you thought the characters were in a bad spot at the end of the last book you will see how mistaken you were. For those with a weak constitution you might want to consider waiting until the release of the third book before plunging in.

Violence: Moderate
Moments Divine:
"Funeral boxes," she said. "Filled with ashes of the dead."
Rising dust swirled unnaturally around Kate's feet and a rush of cold clutched at Edgar's neck.
"Well that isn't creepy at all," he said.
"This bridge has been here for years," said Kate, sensing his nerves. "It's not going to collapse now."
"That's what the person standing on it when it does collapse will have said."
"There's being inconspicuous, and there's stopping," said Edgar, pulling her along.

Monday, June 18

Book Blogger Confessions: Time Machine

Question for Monday June 18th:

We have created a blogging time machine! Pretend you can start over. Knowing what you know now about blogging – what do you wish you did differently when it comes to creating/running your blog?

. . . *stunned silence*. . .
. . . *cricket noises*. . .

Could it be? Are you serious? I get another chance! SWEET!!!

Alright, younger much less experienced me here is the deal:

Be strict in the books you choose to review
Don't force yourself through a book
Don't try to get an ARC, well maybe just that one
Don't do things just to get followers
Book reviews aren't important only giveaways(ignore - see above line)
Don't care if no one comments(see above line)
Don't buy that Kobo(eReaders are of the devil, not you Nook)
Ask the librarian to order books
Don't pass up the opportunity to meet her gypsy sister(charmed snake armlet)
Don't read scary books right before falling asleep(nightmares)
Don't watch Twilight right before falling asleep(frolicking nightmares)
Don't get sucked into envying other peoples' book stashes
Don't buy more books than you can chew, I mean read
Don't worry if no one agrees with your book obsession
Don't sign up for Klout(just not seeing a reason yet not to mention the stress)
Don't be afraid to talk to an author or blogger(they rarely bite)
Don't forget to wear that charmed snake armlet(see gypsy)
Stalking is not okay(Oh wait I only dreamed that incident)
Maybe consider picking a blog name that is a bit less of a mouthful(maybe)

Yep, just do what you want to do and don't worry. This is about you having fun with books. So have fun!

Anyway, thanks for the topic.

Saturday, June 16

IMM and My Reading Pile: 18

IMM: Hosted by The Story Siren
My Reading Pile: Hosted by [Fikt]shun

In the Mail:
Seeds of Rebellion by Brandon Mull

Starters and swag by Lissa Price
Dark Frost  and bookmarks by Jennifer Estep

Velveteen by Daniel Marks
Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill

In the Reading Pile:
Article 5 by Kristen Simmons
Dark Companion by Marta Acosta
Journeys of John and Julia by Aurelia Haslboeck (back on the pile)

Friday, June 15

Eye Candy: XXII

Wendy Delsol

Let the Sky Fall
Shannon Messenger

Gennifer Albin

Eve & Adam
Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate

Thursday, June 14

Cascade: Book Review

Lisa T. Bergren
David C. Cook
June 1st 2011
Young Adult | Fantasy | Historical (1342)
Time Travel

Official Blurb -

Mom touched my underdress—a gown made six hundred years before—and her eyes widened as she rubbed the raw silk between thumb and forefinger. She turned and touched Lia’s gown. “Where did you get these clothes?”
Gabi knows she’s left her heart in the fourteenth century and she persuades Lia to help her to return, even though they know doing so will risk their very lives. When they arrive, weeks have passed and all of Siena longs to celebrate the heroines who turned the tide in the battle against Florence—while the Florentines will go to great lengths to see them dead.
But Marcello patiently awaits, and Gabi must decide if she’s willing to leave her family behind for good in order to give her heart to him forever.

This installment in the River of Times series leaves me with several questions. None of which are terribly pertinent to the story but nag my mind nonetheless. How can you willingly face the Plague and submit loved ones to its grasp? Can you really bounce back from severe dehydration and starvation in mere moments with a few sips of water? If not, was adrenaline more to blame for the surge of energy? Do we all have more capability than we let ourselves believe? Lastly, the ever present time travel debate, how would that work and what would be the effects?
Gabriella does a bit too much unintentional trampling of other peoples emotions, namely Marcello. To make matters worse, he seems to just sit there and take it. Why, he wasn't raised in a time where women could do as they chose? He isn't even some peasant, but a Lord used to commanding obedience. He seems like a pushover which made him a bit boring. I like to see a man smitten by love, but it shouldn't shrivel up his ability to assert himself. My favorite part of the entire book is when he finally makes a stand and gets angry. I hope he holds on to that anger and demands better treatment.
Luca is a funny dude who has no ability to consider himself above others. He can bounce back from the most dire situation. Should you really be up and moving when infected with a deadly disease? He must have a will of iron!
There is such an air of hopelessness in this book. Gabi wants to have something that is completely impossible, or at the very least, comes with a high cost. If she traps her family in the past she will gain her love, but condemn them to a drastically shorter life span and danger at every turn. On the other hand, if she goes home with them, she will lose her love and be committed to some half life.
All the lies start to bring heaps of trouble to the Ladies Betarrini's door. Didn't they ever learn that lies beget more lies and eventually you get caught? If Gabriella heard that, she sure isn't paying much mind. True, she had little choice, but some people just can't let a lie slip by unchallenged. She faces some tough customers in search of the truth and is determined to get it at any cost.
I am very excited to read the third installment and have great hopes of it being as fabulous as its predecessors. I recommend jumping into this particular river as the journey is one you won't easily forget.

Sexual: mild
Violence: moderate
Main Character Age: 17
Moment Divine:
"Without pause he took hold of my shoulders and shoved me down to the base of the trunk and pointed a finger in my face. "Truly," he growled. "Do not try me further.""

Wednesday, June 13

Unleashed: Book Review


Delacorte Books for Young Readers
November 22nd 2011
Young Adult | Fantasy

Official Blurb -

Katelyn McBride’s life changed in an instant when her mother died. Uprooted from her California home, Katelyn was shipped to the middle of nowhere, Arkansas, to her only living relative, her grandfather. And now she has to start over in Wolf Springs, a tiny village in the Ozark Mountains. Like any small town, Wolf Springs has secrets. But the secrets hidden here are more sinister than Katelyn could ever imagine. It’s a town with a history that reaches back centuries, spans continents, and conceals terrifying truths. And Katelyn McBride is about to change everything.

Broken families, ageless grudges, forced alliances, and love that blooms in the darkest night—welcome to Wolf Springs.

Everything is so blown out of proportion, especially the emotions and danger. Katelyn tries to act like some boring well centered person, but she changes personality and opinions at the drop of a pin. She will not get attached to these people, then she is in love with one guy, not five pages later she is in love with another. We are thrown violently back and forth. It isn't even possible to pick sides. She is certainly in no position to pick on others for their lack of loyalty. All of the characters are suffering from a severe cases of bipolar, schizophrenia, and hormonal imbalance. Misdirection abounds and nothing makes sense. Kate is also delusional, imagining the most detailed things. When it comes down to it, the entire town should be committed and medicated. Could we not apply the phrase, "it isn't guns that kill people but people who kill people" to this book? It isn't werewolves that kill people but deranged people with werewolf abilities that kill people.  Horrible doom is threatened seemingly with each breath but nothing ever happens! No one is above suspicion or what they seem. Lies, lies, and more lies. It doesn't help that the book ends before it really even goes anywhere. The best part of the entire story is the grandpa. He is a solid character and the only one I care what happens to.

Werewolves are my favorite, which is why I picked this up. I really was looking forward to reading this and wanted to love it. Mostly it was an irritating read and a disappointment. Doesn't live up to Crusade or werewolves.

Sexual: Moderate
Violence: Mild (Implied)

Tuesday, June 12

Darker Still: Book Review

Darker Still
Sourcebooks Fire
November 8th 2011
Young Adult | Fantasy | Historical (1880)
Demon | Magic

Official Blurb -
I was obsessed.

It was as if he called to me, demanding I reach out and touch the brushstrokes of color swirled onto the canvas. It was the most exquisite portrait I'd ever seen--everything about Lord Denbury was unbelievable...utterly breathtaking and eerily lifelike.

There was a reason for that. Because, despite what everyone said, Denbury never had committed suicide. He was alive. Trapped within his golden frame.

I've crossed over into his world within the painting, and I've seen what dreams haunt him. They haunt me too. He and I are inextricably linked--bound together to watch the darkness seeping through the gas-lit cobblestone streets of Manhattan. Unless I can free him soon, things will only get Darker Still.

From the get go this book stands out. It is told in journal format which contributes to its uniqueness. Another contributor is the heroine and her status as mute. I like that it begins with an asylum of sorts. By the twenty-second page I was completely hooked. Very compelling and engrossing. After so few pages I found myself already trying to imagine up the possibilities hidden on the unread pages. I didn't want to put the book down but I also wanted some silence to properly focus on the story.
There is a point in this story when Natalie mentions Alice in Wonderland. I am no fan of Alice in Wonderland. While this work does seem to grab something from Alice in Wonderland it is done in a far more believable way. Can one actually say "believable" when the main character is stumbling in and out of a painting?
For me the downfall to this book is the high standard it set in the beginning. How do you up the ante? When I was reading the end it felt a bit dull and slow. In hindsight I can see it is anything but. There is a lack of propriety in this book. It doesn't fit well with the time period. I don't buy the excuse, "It isn't really our bodies," if it looks like it then it is. Seems it would be hard to restrain oneself from treading paths already trodden even if only metaphysically. It ruined the picture of him being a gentleman, as well as making her seem less virtuous. Then he has the gall to promise he will be a gentleman to her father. I don't believe it for a minute.
Great read, I keep shuddering at the idea of this book being translated into a movie. It would be a ride through the love tunnel and terror house. So, very beautiful and serene, but around the corner a fright. The feeling of innocence the pages contains make the scary moments that much more potent. Not even the mention of demons put me on my guard. There are some startling moments surely inspired from the movie, The Ring.

Swearing: mild
Sexual: moderate
Violence: moderate
Main Character Ages: 17 and 18
Moments Divine:
"He has brought back that old familiar pull, the pining ache of those dear old stories. He is water on parched lips. I've missed the sweet longing for those worlds, the titillating sense of magic that courses down my spine with delicious possibility, and the sense that the veil to another existence is very thin near me. . .the sense that I am gifted. I've missed that thought."
"I was in love.
With a two-dimensional object. A mute in love with a painting. Lovely. Just lovely. I could do nothing but stand there and accept my absurd fate."
"Well, if I'm indeed living an adventure novel, there must be a love story. There's always a love story. I'm so fond of literary tradition, and right now, its consistency remains my only comfort."

Monday, June 11

Illuminate: Book Review (Abroad)

Here is just another review I have done over at Fire and Ice.   So anyway, without further ado. . .

Presenting. . .

by Aimee Agresti

The Break Up

It seems breaking up with a book is just as hard as breaking up with a guy. 

It just isn't working out between us. 
No books were harmed in the making of this photo.
Everneath (pictured) is actually an awesome book and should not be burned.
No offense, right? We're still friends?

Breaking up is hard to do.

Not that I have had much experience in the real world. In fact, well maybe we had better not go there. Anyway, suffice to say I am no expert in breakups. To complicate matters my mother raised me to never say no to a boy when he asked. "You have to realize how hard it is for him to ask. Say yes once." Only she didn't stick to the once thing. "Dear, I know you have gone out with him before and you aren't interested but he is such a sweet boy. It won't hurt you to go out with him again. Besides what else are you doing?"  Mother!?!
Surely this "teaching" is influencing my reading as well. I keep trying to give the book or author another chance.

I tell myself:
Just a few more pages and. . .
  • it will grab my interest
  • the characters will stop being annoying
  • more character development will happen
  • there will be less plot holes
  • there will be a happy ending
  • the swearing will lessen
  • they will stop trying to get in each others pants and do something meaningful
  • soon things will be less disturbing
  • I won't wish the main character were dead
  • I will stop wishing to be put out of my misery
  • I will find the reason everyone else is head over heals in love with this book

Basically just a few more pages and the book will magically transform and keep my interest. The probability of that is rather slim; this isn't Harry Potter and magic isn't going to happen. But I can't seem to grasp that when in the thick of it.

Should I have to work so hard to make it work? There are at least 100 books waiting for their turn to be read. One of them might be the perfect fit but I won't ever find out unless I dump my current read and move on.

You are thinking, "It sounds so obvious when you put it that way. What is the problem?"

The problem:
  1. The author, in some cases, went out on a limb to give me this opportunity to read their book. They worked hard and were hoping to get a positive turn in response.
  2. The publisher took a risk on me and are waiting for my gushing review. 

It was given to me at someone else's expense.

I feel it is the least I can do to see it to the end.

The consequences: 
  1. If I don't like it, I drag my feet reading it. 
  2. It takes me a week to finish, meanwhile I could have read three books. 
  3. My desire to read drops. 
  4. It puts me in a funk. 
  5. I have to write a bad review

Spelled out just so it seems the only choice is to break up.

But still. . .
I can easily break up with a book I got at the library. There is no sense of obligation attached. I didn't purchase it nor did someone else give it to me at their expense.
I hate to waste money and if I purchased the book I get upset that I made a bad choice. I wonder where I went wrong and have a hard time putting it down. The one good thing about these is I can give them away and not feel too guilty. Surely someone else will enjoy it.
The hardest break ups are those attached to an obligation. Book tours especially leave me in a tight spot. I want to gush and help the author out. That is the point of the tour. But that is not going to happen. What do I do? How do I tell the author that their book isn't working out for me without offending them? Even more importantly what do I post for the book tour post? I want to post my honest opinion but I don't want to pull down the tour.

Breaking up is hard to do.

Any advice?

Saturday, June 9

Got Books? Author Event in The Dalles

On Saturday June 2nd, 2012 I headed out to the "Got Books?" event at the oldest bookstore in Oregon to meet twelve Young Adult authors. Those authors were Inara Scott, Colleen Houck, Jen Violi, Gregg Olsen, Katie Kavinsky, Kendare Blake, Lissa Price, Cynthia Hand, Cat Patrick, Bree Despain, Trent Reedy, and Brodi Ashton. The bookstore also provided a hot dog lunch and musical entertainment.

I got there a half hour early and was able to witness each of the authors trickle in and set up their spots. I felt like a kid in a candy store. Cynthia was rocking her Unearthly tattoo and had setup shop in the right back corner next to Inara Scott. It was nice to listen to Inara speaking with a young boy looking for a new read. She was describing her book as: Kids with talents and a mysterious boarding school. I was really tempted to pick this one up but I had a limit on my spending. Jen was out on the right front sidewalk with her very eye catching piles of books. On the other side out front was Cat. Sadly she forgot to bring her bookmarks. :( The front side walk was decorated with chalk advertisements for the event. There was also a raffle going on for random prizes. I didn't win sadly.

In the back left corner was Colleen. She had the sweetest spot among the YA section of books. She brought Ren and Kishan along with her. They sat so majestically at her feet. It really is very sad news that they came under a curse in Tiger's Voyage and were turned into stuffed animals. I wonder how they will get out of that in Tiger's Destiny, at least Kelsey will be able to transport them around more easily. All right, don't panic, I made all that curse stuff up. Colleen was my first author to visit. I had been waiting for two months to actually meet her and not just eaves drop on her conversation at a previous event. I choked and didn't say anything I meant to say but at least I had the guts to meet her. Small improvements all around are a good thing. She gave my girl a candy which made her the best author there in my kid's eyes (and my husband's, he's such a baby). I am so excited September isn't too far away since I am dying to read Tiger's Voyage but I want to wait to read them closer together.

In the middle of the store was Trent Reedy and Katie Kavinsky. I stopped to talk to Katie and check out her book. It sounded awesome. She was so very nice and open and I enjoyed talking with her. I will have to keep my eye out for Awaken.

At the front of the store was Bree, Kendare, Lissa, Brodi, and Greg. I stopped to admire the ARC cover of Betrayal, the second book in the Empty Coffin series by Greg. It was really eye catching in person. Kendare was very imposing standing next to her scary books. She isn't even super tall or mean looking but Anna Dressed in Blood sure makes up the difference. Lissa was taking a private poll on which of the covers for Starters was the favorite. She was such a sweetheart and was kind enough to talk with me about my hesitations in reading her book. I just can't help comparing wearing other peoples bodies with wearing other peoples underwear. How would I feel if someone used my body? What did they do with it? She gladly explained that there is nothing horror related to the exchange since she is not a big fan of horror and that it is a clean read. Now I will definitely be adding her book to my pile. I really enjoyed talking with Bree about a recent interview she had done with a blogger. We were discussing the source of her inspiration for The Dark Divine series. If you aren't aware, her inspiration stemmed from an encounter with an old friend years after his family had moved. Basically, they had been really good friend and then he and his family moved away. One day, years later, he was sitting behind her and bugging her. When she called him on it he wondered why she didn't remember her old friend. He was kicked out of class and school that day. She said she discovered years later that he was the head of a gang of thieves, which is why she included one in The Lost Saint. I also love the fact that the third book is her favorite. It makes me want to read it all the more. She had a few pink nail polish bottles but my girl passed them up in favor of a piece of candy. This summer she is working to finish edits on her first book in a new series. I loved hearing that she takes her kids to the park and writes while they play. I always wonder how women with children manage to write. After that a ten year old girl came up to ask if Bree thought The Dark Divine series would be good for her to read. It was so sweet watching Bree explain that perhaps it would be too scary for her at this age.

Lastly, but certainly not least, since she is the instigator of my trip out there, Brodi was awesome! Just days before I finished reading a library copy of Everneath and it was just wow, I picked up a cover and got a guitar pick necklace. She even gave my hubby one for being so supportive and coming with me on the four hour drive to get there, especially since our car broke down on the way and we had to buy a new one. I am now officially now a mom, since we bought a Toyota Siena (minivan). When I mentioned I think it would be nice to get Everbound for my birthday she said she would send an email and have the whole publication date arranged so it would be possible. Ha ha ha, as if! She was so funny and kind. As our conversation dwindled I demanded to know where her mother was. I was promised if I came I would get to meet her mother, and there she was waiting so patiently behind me. I loved talking to her mother. She was so sweet talking about her advice to Brodi to reign her characters in. "Don't let them get out of control." I liked that she mentioned the conversation she had had with Brodi over where the whole story was going. She wanted to know if Brodi knew where it was going or just letting it develop bit by bit. It seems while the big picture is there that the characters have taken on a life of their own and want to go where they will. The entire thing was so much fun I still have a smile on my face. Perhaps next time I will come better prepared and it will turn out even better.

IMM and My Reading Pile: 17

IMM: Hosted by The Story Siren
My Reading Pile: Hosted by [Fikt]shun

In the Mail:
Untouched by Jus Accardo

Got Books? Event:
Everneath by Brodi Ashton (signed)
The Lost Saint by Bree Despain (signed)
Everneath, Dark Divine, Tiger's Curse, Awaken, The Marked, Starters, and Anna Dressed in Blood bookmarks. Everneath tattoo and guitar pick necklace.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Spark by Brigid Kemmerer

In the Reading Pile:
I spent so much time with Armchair BEA this week. Plus it took me all week to read one book, I'm a bit miffed about this fact. So very far behind, so back on the pile is…
Eona by Alison Goodman
Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
New this week. . .
Blackwatch by Jenna Burtenshaw  

Friday, June 8

Armchair BEA: Ask the Experts

What did you always want to know about blogging but were afraid to ask?

Alternatively, if you've been blogging for awhile, you've probably learned a thing or two. Whether you stumbled upon a something that makes blogging easier or made a mistake you'd never want anyone to repeat, share your experience and wisdom with others.

So, that's it! Ask a question or share a tip.

My question is more social oriented. I am trying to form stable friendships among fellow book lovers. What recommendations do you have about this process? How do I transition from awe and comments to equal and communication exchange? (You are probably thinking start by not saying "communication exchange", how dorky.)

When attending an author event try to alert the bookstore in advance you will be attending. Meaning a blogger, specifically you, will be there. Go with questions formed and on hand. Even try to set up an interview with an author. You may be surprised with how open they are to bloggers. Also, don't be afraid to mention you are a blogger to authors. They may not all care but some of them are super friendly towards bloggers.

BEA 2012: Recorded Events

I didn't make it out to BEA despite my intentions. I have enjoyed watching the events and wanted to share if you missed out.  They have so many events to watch.

Dreamless: Book Review

Josephine Angelini
May 29th 2012
Young Adult | Fantasy

Official Blurb - Can true love be forgotten?

As the only Scion who can descend into the Underworld, Helen Hamilton has been given a nearly impossible task. By night she wanders through Hades, trying to stop the endless cycle of revenge that has cursed her family. By day she struggles to overcome the fatigue that is rapidly eroding her sanity. Without Lucas by her side, Helen is not sure she has the strength to go on.

Just as Helen is pushed to her breaking point, a mysterious new Scion comes to her rescue. Funny and brave, Orion shields her from the dangers of the Underworld. But time is running out—a ruthless foe plots against them, and the Furies’ cry for blood is growing louder.

As the ancient Greek world collides with the mortal one, Helen’s sheltered life on Nantucket descends into chaos. But the hardest task of all will be forgetting Lucas Delos.

Josephine Angelini’s compelling saga becomes ever more intricate and spellbinding as an unforgettable love triangle emerges and the eternal cycle of revenge intensifies. Eagerly awaited, this sequel to the internationally bestselling STARCROSSED delivers a gritty, action-packed love story that exceeds expectation.

I am strongly inclined to strangling the characters. Please, I am begging just let me reach into the book and take my frustration out on their neck region. I love them so very much but they need some sense smacked into them!

The love triangle in this book has got to be the most messed up in existence. There isn't even a viable option. It may be messed up, but my vote is to toss the rules and follow your heart. At least, in this case, since their lives are already messed up. They deserve some small measure of happiness. I don't see why taking the path that leads to inner darkness is the right path. Poor Lucas just keeps getting dumped on with no reprieve in sight. You can't blame him for being angry and bitter.

My least favorite thing about this book is the nickname "the lover" since I find it somewhat demeaning. What poor sap would want that role or to be called that? It just seems to notate that there is no hope for anything lasting and it seems so meant to be. Oh wait, another thing I really don't like is that Helen seems to be completely fine with some guy who groped and manipulated her insides. So not cool, she should be angry!

This book really made me think about the "good guys" and why they always struggle so much and are seemingly weaker. Here is what I have come up with:

They are predictable
Yep, they care for the little guy and their loved ones which in turn is used against them. Can we have a bad guy who is bored with such predictable foes? Someone who is seeking more of a challenge?
They willingly walk into traps
Heck, sometimes they even help set them up
Good deeds don't always have good pay back
They don't make their stand until they are forced into a corner

The whole book everyone is looking forward to one outcome. If only they can get those crazy fate chicks out of the picture all will be well. Only it doesn't quite work out. Not only that but I really wanted to cheer their actions only to find out that it was a very bad thing. It makes me wonder if the other thing I am wishing for will only reward me with a hand slapping. Shame on you for wanting that! Don't you understand the consequences? Nope, lady I regularly dip that portion of my brain in the River Lethe. Why was it again that I can't have that outcome? I have come to the conclusion that the entire Greek God world is one big incestual soap opera so I don't see why it is a big deal.

This is going to be a hard wait for book three. I will hope that Lucas will get what he promised. Crossing my fingers that there is happiness in his future and not the forgetful type.

Swearing: Mild
Violence: Gruesome, Moderate to Heavy