Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday - 34

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine for bloggers and readers to get excited about upcoming books.

You Against Me by Jenny Downham

If someone hurts your sister and you're any kind of man, you seek revenge, right? If your brother's been accused of a terrible crime and you're the main witness, then you banish all doubt and defend him. Isn't that what families do? When Mikey's sister claims a boy assaulted her at a party, his world of work and girls begins to fall apart. When Ellie's brother is charged with the crime, but says he didn't do it, her world of revision, exams and fitting in at a new school begins to unravel. When Mikey and Ellie meet, two worlds collide. Brave and unflinching, this is a novel of extraordinary skillfulness and almost unbearable tension. It's a book about loyalty and the choices that come with it. But above all it's a book about love - for one's family and for another. (from GoodReads)

This book has already been published in the UK, but since it hasn't been released in the US, it still qualifies for "Waiting On" Wednesday. I'm a sucker for these type of star-crossed lover books and I think this one could be really thought-provoking and emotional. Look for it in stores on September 13, 2011.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday - 33

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine for bloggers and readers to get excited about upcoming books.

Prized by Caragh M. O'Brien

In the thrilling follow up to Birthmarked, sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone has fled
from the Enclave and now must fight for her baby sister’s survival in the matriarchal society of Sylum.

Striking out into the wasteland with nothing but her baby sister, a handful of supplies, and a rumor to guide her, 16-year-old midwife Gaia Stone survives only to be captured by the people of Sylum, a dystopian society where women rule the men who drastically outnumber them, and a kiss is a crime. In order to see her sister again, Gaia must submit to their strict social code, but how can she deny her sense of justice, her curiosity, and everything in her heart that makes her whole? (from Goodreads)

I absolutely loved the first book in this series, Birthmarked so I can't wait to see what happens to Gaia next! Look for Prized in stores on November 8, 2011.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Shadowspell by Jenna Black

After it's discovered that Dana is a Faeriewalker, one who can bring magic into the human world and human technology into the Faerie world, she is the target of both assasins and abductors. Her father, an important Fae politician, keeps her under lock and key, and she can't go anywhere without a bodyguard. Naturally, however, Dana still manages to get into trouble, which culminates when she meets the Erlking and his Huntsmen. The Erlking, whose pleasure in life is to hunt mortals and Faeries, wants Dana's powers and will do anything to get them. Will Dana be able to outwit the Erlking or will she just be another pawn in this game of politics and court intrigue?


I was so excited to get my hands on Shadowspell because I absolutely adored its predecessor, Glimmerglass. I'm not a big fan of fantasy, and I even didn't like Glimmerglass in the beginning, but I changed my mind very quickly. This series is really good and I hope it's longer than a trilogy.

This is the third book I've read in a row that deals with faeries. It's really funny because I haven't read a lot of Faerie books but it's fun to see the similarities and differences nonetheless. I think I like the Faeriewalker Books better than the Wicked Lovely series but that's just my preferance.

I love Dana as the main character. She is very well-written, including her actions, her thoughts and her dialogue. She's sarcastic like any teenager but really wants to save the day and take control of her own life. Even though she is mostly human in that she can't do magic, she is still a very strong and courageous character.

Dana is hilarious because she is the one who would get into a heap of trouble and has a 24 hour a day bodyguard. A lot of the mayhem involves a new character, the Erlking. I really liked the parts with him because he is evil but actually seems pretty nice sometimes. It is an interesting dichotomy. Dana has to promise him something ... interesting, and we'll just leave it at that.

A book isn't complete without some romance, and our leading lady has two good choices. There's the obvious one, Ethan, because they are sort of together but not. And then there's Keane, who is teaching Dana self-defense. The author makes it apparent that he kind of likes Dana, but she is woefully unaware of his feelings which should be fun in the future. And I honestly don't know who I like better. So we'll see what happens in the next book, Sirensong.

All in all, I really enjoyed Shadowspell and I think all fans of fantasy will agree. I'm also excited to see what happens to Dana in the next book, Sirensong.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

FTC: reviewed through Flaminget Review Program.

2010/St. Martin's Griffin/295 pages.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr

Unbeknownst to mortals, a power struggle is unfolding in a world of shadows and danger. After centuries of stability, the balance among the Faery Courts has altered, and Irial, ruler of the Dark Court, is battling to hold his rebellious and newly vulnerable fey together. If he fails, bloodshed and brutality will follow.

Seventeen-year-old Leslie knows nothing of faeries or their intrigues. When she is attracted to a eerily beautiful tattoo of eyes and wings, all she knows is that she has to have it, convinced it is a tangible symbol of changes she desperately craves for her own life.

The tattoo does bring changes - not the kind Leslie has dreamed of, but sinister, compelling changes that are more than symbolic. Those changes will bind Leslie and Irial together, drawing Leslie deeper and deeper into the faery world, unable to resist its allures, and helpless to withstand its perils...

Melissa Marr continues her tales of Faerie in a dark, ravishing story of temptation and consequences, and of heroism when least expected. (from book jacket)


Before I read the description of Ink Exchange, all I knew about it was that it was the sequel to Wicked Lovely. I did not know that the book would not be from Aislinn's point of view, but rather her friend Leslie's. Unlike Aislinn at the beginning of Wicked Lovely, Leslie knows nothing about faeries, and is introduced in a rather unfortunate way.

I missed reading about Aislinn firsthand because I wanted to see what it was like for her to be Summer Queen, but luckily for us she is still a character in the book. And I really enjoyed reading from Leslie's perspective (some of the other characters get narration time, but I think Leslie is the main character), because she was also a very strong person. She had gone through some horrible things, but still managed to survive and continue on with her life. With this, it is totally understandable that Leslie would want a tattoo to symbolize her new outlook on life, something that would change her for the better. The way Melissa Marr used the tattoo to tie Leslie to Irial, king of the Dark Court, was pretty awesome. It was unexpected and very creative.

The other characters who get to narrate some of Ink Exchange are Irial (who I just mentioned) and Niall, one of Keenan's, the Summer King, advisors. Once Leslie gets the tattoo both guys are drawn to Leslie, one for good reasons and one for bad. They both want her and it's kind of like a competition to see who gets her. Leslie ends up having feelings for both, but that's because their faery natures cause this to happen. So I didn't really like the romance because it never felt real to me. I don't know if it was because of the way it was written or if it was because I knew the whole time that Leslie was being influenced to feel a certain way. Suffice to say, the romance was not my favorite part of Ink Exchange.

I really liked how Ink Exchange ended and I definitely enjoyed seeing Leslie overcome the challenges and still remain a strong and courageous character. I think there's more books after this one in the series, so I will have to check them out to see what happens next.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

FTC: won in a contest.

2008/Harper Teen/325 pages.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Book vs. Movie: Gone With the Wind

I just finished the amazingly long Gone With the Wind movie. The book is over 1000 pages long so it's fitting that the movie would almost be four hours long. Luckily for me, the movie was very engaging and enjoyable and the time just flew by.

I guess we should just get this out there: the book was definitely better than the movie and I would recommend that over watching the movie. But the movie won several Oscars and was nominated for a heap more and I definitely agree that the movie deserved them. It was well acted, well written, and great adaptation from the book. Oh, and it was also filmed in 1939.

Please don't be turned off by the fact that the move is 70 years old. It's in color so that's a plus and there's not much that makes it seem old. It is funny to see how conservative it is compared to today's movies. There's no cursing, and the writers had to get special permission to use the word "damn" in the famous line "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." Even the book is more risque. There's a character in the book who is a prostitute, and she's in the movie but it's never said what her job is so you really have no idea unless you're very observant. But that wasn't such a big deal.

You would think that with a 4 hour movie not much would be cut out - but there was. I didn't mind too much because there's a lot of filler stuff in Gone With the Wind, and movie managed to hit all the important points in a timely manner. I also thought all the actors did a really good job and were well-cast. Clark Gable is just how I imagined Rhett Butler and the same goes for Vivien Leigh as Scarlett.

Both the movie and book forms of Gone With the Wind are American classics and I would whole-heartedly recommend both. They are both very enjoyable to read and watch.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr


Rule #3: Don't stare at invisible faeries.

Rule #2: Don't speak to invisible faeries.

Rule #1: Don't ever attract their attention.

Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in the mortal world. When the rules that have kept Aislinn safe from them stop working, everything is suddenly on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; her life; everything.

Faery intrigue, mortal love, and the clash of ancient rules and modern expectations swirl together in Melissa Marr's stunning twenty-first century faery tale. (from back cover)


Faery books are a popular subgenre of fantasy, but I haven't read too many of this type, so they are still new and exciting to me. Wicked Lovely was a nice addition to the genre, and I thoroughly enjoyed the read.

The summary is very vague, but I loved the plot of Wicked Lovely. Aislinn has seen faeries her whole life and it's a skill that she keeps hidden for a very good reason. Faeries don't like it when humans can see them, so Aislinn has always kept her distance. But when two start following her around and Aislinn discovers why, her view on the faery world changes.

Aislinn was probably my favorite character in the novel. She was really brave and strong, and once she knew what the faeries wanted, she decides to negotiate with them. Gotta love a girl who knows what she wants. Her best-friend-turned-something-more, Seth, was also an integral part of Wicked Lovely. I loved reading the relationship between the two of them because he is such a sweetheart and didn't even flinch when Aislinn tells him she can see faeries.

There's a lot of court intrigue and powerful monarchs in Wicked Lovely, which I really enjoyed reading about. Hand me a book about kings and queens and their subjects and I'll be content. The pacing was good, the detailing was good and I have to say that Wicked Lovely was a pretty solid book. If you like fantasy, or specifically, faeries, you should put this on your to read list.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.
FTC: won in a contest.

2007/Harper Teen/328 pages.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday - 33

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine for bloggers and readers to get excited about upcoming books.

The Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

A move to Ireland is about to introduce Megan to her destiny, her real destiny, can she embrace it and will she survive it? A tragedy in Megan’s past set her on a predetermined course. A chain of events has been set in motion that brings Megan to Kinsale, a small town in the south of Ireland where her destiny awaits her. Her life starts to fall into place as she makes new friends and settles into her new school. However, the reclusive and distant Adam DeRĂ­s calls to her body and soul. She finds herself increasingly drawn to Adam and his strange family. Adam knows a secret from her past and he and his family hold the key to her future. A future that binds her to Adam and his world, a world of power, mystery and ancient orders. A world that unbeknownst to her, she very much belongs in. (from GoodReads)

Besides this sounding like a really good book with a beautiful cover, it also has a character with the same name as me and I'm Irish! It's perfect! (And, ironically, Megan is actually not an Irish name, it's Welsh). The Carrier of the Mark will be published on September 13, 2011.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Heralded by readers everywhere since its publication in 1936 as The Great American Novel, Gone With the Wind explores the depths of human passions with an intensity as bold as its setting in the bluff red hills of Georgia. A superb piece of storytelling, it brings the drama of the Civil War and Reconstruction vividly to life.

This is the tale of Scarlett O'Hara, the spoiled, ruthless daughter of a wealthy plantation owner, who arrives at young womanhood just in time to see the Civil War sweep away the life for which her upbringing as prepared her. After the fall of Atlanta she returns to the plantation and by stubborn shrewdness saves her home from both Sherman and the carpetbaggers. But in the process she hardens. She has neared starvation and she vows never to be hungry again.

In these vivid pages live the unforgettable people who have captured the attention of millions of readers - of every age, in every walk of life. Here are Rhett Butler, Scarlett's counterpart, a professional scoundrel as courageous as Scarlett herself; Melanie Wilkes, a loyal friend and true gentlewoman; and Ashley Wilkes, for whom the world ended at Appomattox. Here are all the characters and memorable episodes that make Gone With the Wind a book to read and re-read and remember forever. (from book jacket)


I decided to read Gone With the Wind after my grandmom kept begging me to read it and telling me that I would love it and want to be like Scarlett. Then my mom bought me a copy in the beginning of last summer. And now I have finally gotten around to reading Gone With the Wind. I'm really glad I had all these people conspiraring to get me to read this epic novel, because it was truly a great piece of American literature.

Gone With the Wind had all the detail and accuracy of a non-fiction book on the Civil War, but it had the drama and plot of the best fiction around. This made for a very good combination because I love history, but I'd rather read actual stories rather than war accounts. Margaret Mitchell is truly a great author and I'm saddened by the fact that she died before she could write any more novels.

Gone With the Wind is (very) long at over 1000 pages. While the length bordered on ridiculous, the sheer volume allows for a lot of plot and character development, which is always a positive. And surprisingly, the book was rarely slow. I won't deny that the language was older and slightly harder to get through - but that just made it better in my opinion.

Scarlett is one of my favorite literary characters. She is bred to be a wife and the manager of a great plantation, but all that changes when the Civil War begins. She quickly becomes smart, resourceful, and cunning. Scarlett would do anything to ensure the safety and well-being of herself, her family, and her beloved Tara, which makes her a strong and brave character. She's also charming and uses her whiles to woo a number of men, including the witty and devilish Rhett Butler, another favorite of mine.

Gone With the Wind is truly a wonderful piece of literature; it's full of romance, war, excitement, history, everything that makes a novel great. Don't let the size scare you, because you'll fly through these pages quickly and wonder how you ever lived your life without reading this great story.

Rating: 10 out of 10.

FTC: copy given to me as a gift.

1936/Scribner/1037 pages.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday - 32

Waiting on Wednesday was created by Jill at Breaking the Spine for bloggers and readers to get excited about new books.

Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba's world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back. Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she's a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization. Blood Red Road has a searing pace, a poetically minimal writing style, violent action, and an epic love story. Moira Young is one of the most promising and startling new voices in teen fiction. (from GoodReads)

Blood Red Road sounds really different, but in a good way! It's dystopian and apocalyptic, which should not fail to make a great story. Look for Blood Red Road in stores on June 7, 2011.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

Kate, Michael, and Emma have been in one orphanage after another for the last ten years, passed along like lost baggage. Yet these unwanted children are more remarkable than they could possibly imagine. Ripped from their parents as babies, they are being protected from a horrible evil of devastating power, an evil they know nothing about.

Until now.
Before long, Kate, Michael, and Emma are on a journey to dangerous and secret corners of the world...a journey of allies and enemies, of magic and mayhem. And—if an ancient prophecy is correct—what they do can change history, and it is up to them to set things right.

The Emerald Atlas brims with humor and action as it charts Kate, Michael, and Emma's extraordinary adventures through an unforgettable, enchanted world. (from GoodReads)


I'm not a big reader of Middle Grade. I honestly probably haven't read a Middle Grade book since middle school. Not that there aren't some great MG books out there; just none that really appealed to me. But I received The Emerald Atlas for review and I thought I'd give it a try. I'm glad I did because I really enjoyed it and thought it was a cute read.

The Emerald Atlas reminds me a little of Harry Potter: there's secret magic, mythical creatures, good and evil wizards, time travel and prophecies. All the things that kids (and adults) love. John Stephens did a great job of creating this new world inside our slightly less exciting world.

Kate, Emma, and Michael have been in orphanages for their whole lives, and suddenly sent to this new orphanage in the middle of nowhere. And the weird part is that they are the only kids at the orphanage. They are exploring the big mansion and come across a book that takes them 15 years in the past. In the past, the town in which they are now living has been taken over by the evil Countess, who is trying to search for this magical book. A lot of time travel ensues, along with getting captured by dwarves and outwitting a host of creepy creatures. I absolutely adored all the adventures that Kate, Emma and Michael get themselves into throughout the novel. There's also a lot of funny parts that had me chuckling.

The Emerald Atlas is a cute read that I would recommend for any age, but especially those who enjoy Middle Grade. The Emerald Atlas is humorous and adventurous, but also has a whole lot of heart.

Rating: 7 outof 10.

Release Date: Today!

FTC: recieved for review from publisher.

2011/Knopf Books/432 pages.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Stay by Deb Caletti

When Clara firsts meets Christian, she feels an instant connection - that kind that only happens in books and movies. They seem perfect for each other, and Clara finds herself falling in love. But as their relationship progresses, Clara starts noticing things about Christian. Like how he's oddly jealous of anyone Clara talks to. And how he's constantly checking up on her. Feeling like a prisoner in her own relationship, Clara starts making accommodations for Christian, hoping that nothing more sinister lurks beneath his smooth and polite facade. Unfortunately, things take a turn for the worse, and Clara must leave town to avoid Christian. Will she ever be able to escape him, or will the fear of his presence prevent Clara from moving on?


Deb Caletti has been one of my favorite authors since I've read Honey, Baby, Sweetheart two years ago, and as I've continued reading her novels, my love has only grown. I feel that she does not get the recognition she deserves, because her novels are truly works of art. Opening Stay was like revisiting an old friend, one that I had not seen since I read Deb Caletti's last book. You immediately get sucked into Clara's world, and know that you are going to witness a fine piece of storytelling.

I really enjoyed the set-up of Stay. It starts out in present day, and flashes back to Clara's time with Christian. You get all the details in parts, which really works. And both parts are equally engaging, so there's never a dull moment. You want to keep reading to see what happens with Christian, and you also want to keep reading to see what happens in the present day.

Clara is definitely one of my favorite protagonists. Even though she stayed with her emotionally abusive boyfriend for a pretty long time, she is still a strong character. You are able to understand Clara's mindset, and since Christian's creepiness is really subtle at first, you can't even fault her for getting involved with him. And creepy he was. It was just little things, like making sure she was at the grocery store when she said she'd be by showing up there and questioning her about the guys at school that made him seem really weird. So to try to avoid Christian, Clara and her father go to Bishop Rock, a small beach town in Washington. Even though Bishop Rock is fictional (I think), it definitely could have been a real town. There was so much character there, from the historic lighthouse, to the ghosts that supposedly haunt various locales, to the boat run by Finn and Jack Bishop. Finn becomes the new love interest, and he is the one to show Clara that you can be in a relationship and still maintain some personal freedom.

As for the writing, many of the passages in Stay are extremely quotable. I had to resist writing everything down that I liked because my quote book would be full (and my hand would probably fall off). But if you buy a copy of Stay, make sure you grab a highlighter, because you're going to need it.

So, all in all, I loved Stay, I love all of Deb Caletti's books, and when's the next one coming out? Seriously, though, I need to read more. These books are so good, and if you haven't read any yet, you better do it soon!

Release Date: April 5, 2011

Rating: 10 out of 10!

FTC: Simon Pulse GalleyGrab

2011/Simon Pulse/313 pages.