Monday, September 3, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Fall TBR

Hosted by the wonderful Broke and Bookish

Top Ten Fall Books To Be Read

*most of these books are yet to be released and I have included the expected publication dates from

1. The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan ~ out Oct 2nd
Percabeth!! I am too excited to see the reunion of Percy and Annabeth. Plus, sounds like Annabeth is going to be getting into or causing some major trouble...

2. Unwholly by Neal Shusterman ~ out Aug 28th
I just bought this book yesterday and I feel in order to truly appreciate it, I need to do a reread of Unwind. I have waited a long time for this book and Unwind is one of my top ten books so I am nervous to see where Unwholly takes the story.

3. Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta ~ out Sept 26th
3rd book in the Lumatere series. If you haven't read Finnikin of the Rock and Froi of the Exiles, go and do it right now. Don't finish reading this list, get in your car, get to a bookstore and get reading...

4. The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling ~ out Sept 27th
Not gonna lie, I'm still holding out that this is a very cleverly disguised Harry Potter prequel...

5. Crown of Embers by Rae Carson ~ out Sept 18th
I'm actually surprised there is a sequel. The first book had a satisfying ending but it seems as if there is still some trouble for Elisa. 

6. Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater ~ out Sept 18th
A girl who is destined to cause her true love's death. Ghosts, private school boys and mystery. Sounds like a good read to me!

7. Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff ~ out Sept 1st
Apparently the author summed up this book as "telepathic samurai girls & griffins in steampunk feudal Japan." Yep, I'm sold...

8. Reached by Ally Condie ~ out Nov 13th
Time to find out what happens between Cassia, Ky and Xander and what happens in their Society. I am desperate for a conclusion!

9. Necromancing the Stone by Lish McBride ~ out Sept 18th
The first book was intense and hilarious, a beautiful combination. I mean already the title is great and I hope we get to see more of waffle loving Ashley!

10. Eve and Adam by Katherine Applegate & Michael Grant~ out Oct 2nd
It's been over 10 years since I finished Animorphs and Everworld and in the meantime I have been hooked on Grant's Gone series. I really have no idea what this book is about but I would probably read anything by these two!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Mini Review Bonanza Part 4

Well, I officially started grad school and I have officially lost all track of time, sigh. I am taking some technology courses and soon I'll get to learn some HTML so maybe I can make my blog more unique. Anyway, here's what I was up to (besides schoolwork) in August!

July Series

The Selection by Kiera Cass

My Rating: 4 Peaches

One of my students described this book as the Hunger Games meets the Bachelor and I must say that wasn't a huge selling point. However, I truly enjoyed this book. America was sassy and smart and her dilemma and inner struggle were believable and honest. The big pit in this story was Aspen. I bought it in the beginning and how it shaped America's resolve in the contest. His re-ermergence later in the story just seemed to regress America and I guess I just don't like him, sigh. Guess I'll have to wait for the next book.
Would I recommend? Yep, actually passed it on to my mom...

 Nevermore by James Patterson

My Rating: 3.5 Peaches

The much awaited conclusion to the Maximum Ride series and the long proclaimed end of the world finally arrived! Nevermore has the usual Max sarcasm, kick butt energy with an extra helping of teenage angst. We get the conclusion of the Max-Fang-Maya-Dylan square and not everyone gets a happy ending. There is betrayal on all sides, new enemies, old enemies and a whole lot of fighting. As Maximum Ride novels go, this isn't the best but it isn't the worst. The ending wasn't particularly mind-blowing or even all that solid, still some leftover questions but I actually like having room for my imagination to work. 
Would I recommend? If you've stuck with Max this long, you might as well see it through to the end.  

 Fearless by Brigid Kemmerer

My Rating: 4 Peaches

A short story in the Elemental series, we get a look at Hunter's life before the events in Storm. It may only be a few chapters but it gives great insight into Hunter and explains a lot about his actions in Storm. Can't wait to read more of his story in the full length book Spirit! First on to Spark, and Gabriel's story...
Would I recommend this series? Oh yes. Lots of fun, some powerful brothers and spunky girls!

 Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

My Rating: 4.5 Peaches

A fun new paranormal story that is perfect for middle school and high school girls. Evie is a very relatable heroine, struggling with normal girl things but she also has quite a few paranormal issues, a crazy powerful "sister" being one of them! I look forward to seeing what happens next in the trilogy!
Would I recommend? I think young girls will love Evie and Lend and it's a fun intro to paranormal romance!

 The Vampire's Apprentice by Darren Shan

My Rating: 3 Peaches

The sequel to A Living Nightmare, we get to see more of Darren's life as a half-vampire and apprentice to Mr. Crepsley. Darren returns to the Cirque Du Freak where new friendships and tragedy await. I can see teenage boys devouring these books but I don't see myself reading any further in the series. 
Would I recommend? I think I would probably steer kids to the Vladimir Tod series first, a little less dark but still creepy and exciting. 

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

My Rating: 5 Peaches

Easily my favorite book of August! I love historical fiction and the whole Tudor age, and Grave Mercy is somewhat of a historical fantasy. We have a mix of "old religions", royalty, spies, intrigue, sabotage, betrayals and romance. Ismae grew strong and untouchable through her circumstances as a child and her lessons at the convent until she meets Duval and she sees a different path for death's handmaidens. The best part of this book, is even though it is part of a series, it feels complete at the end. There are still some questions to answer, mystery's to solve and a kingdom to save. I am excited for the rest of the trilogy, to hear Sybella's story and hopefully Annith's in the third.
 Would I recommend? Already have and can't wait to pass it on to more!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Mini Review Bonanza Part 3

Wow, so I was busy reading in July while I was trying to avoid real work. I read some fantastic books but, again, slacked off on the reviewing side. So here is one more month of mini reviews and August, I will try to be back to full on reviews!

July Stand Alone's

Ready Player One by Earnest Cline

My Rating: 5 Peaches

I know I love a book when only a few chapters in I have a list of people I need to pass it on to. Cline has a created a disturbing future where reality is ignored by most in favor of an ideal virtual world. Both worlds are seen through the eyes of Wade, a high school student and "gunter". Wade builds a vast knowledge of 80's trivia, first to win a major contest and then because it resonates with him, giving him a sense of hope and a reason to remain connected in a world that seems to offer neither. The 80's trivia is fun but a lack of 80's knowledge won't detract from enjoying the novel and it may just encourage you to immerse yourself in it as Wade does! So whether you love gaming or can't stand it and whether the 80's bring back fond memories or blank stares, you should definitely give this book a try!

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

My Rating: 3.5 Peaches

A Zombie love story? When I first heard this pitch, I was a little aghast. I get the attraction to vampires, faries, werewolves, even ghosts, but common zombies? But I'm on a zombie kick lately, so why not?  Marion presents a very fresh take on the Zombie genre and, amazingly, I found myself understanding, then connecting to, and then finally caring and rooting for R by the end. The "flashback" scenes help to contrast R to Perry and raise questions for who was truly living. I wish we could've seen as much growth from Julie and depth from some of the other secondary characters. Must say, I am very curious to see how this plays out as movie. 
Would I recommend this book? If you are going to see the movie, you should read the book, but then I think that should always be a requirement... 

July Series & Sequels

Storm: The Elemental Series by Brigid Kemmerer

My Rating: 4.5 Peaches

When I first heard about this series- 4 powerful and hot brothers- I thought it would be pretty shallow but Brigid Kemmerer proved me wrong. First off we have a smart, sassy heroine who doesn't just go all doe-eyed over the main character's afore mentioned hotness. Becca's dealing with enough problems of her own without the added trouble Chris and his brothers bring with them. It's very refreshing to see a relationship start on rocky ground, build into a friendship and then slowly turn into something more. Secondly, we have a whole surrounding cast of characters that aren't one-dimensional, yay! With the brothers, Becca's family and friends, and Hunter, this book could have very easily been lost right there but instead there are changing/growing relationships and meaningful interactions. Thirdly, the story itself was exciting with plenty of conflict and powerful magical showdowns. Would I recommend it? Yes! I can't wait for the next book Spark, coming out the end of August! 

The Ask and The Answer: Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness

My Rating: 4.5 Peaches

Aaarrgggghhh, Patrick Ness is the King of cliffhangers. I didn't think anything could be more suspenseful than the end of The Knife of Never Letting Go, oh I was sooo wrong. All in all an absolute heart-stopping follow-up. We find out what happened to Todd and Viola after they reach Haven, and it isn't happy fun time. This story questions what it means to be a leader and what sacrifices are necessary in a war. Trust, betrayal, forgiveness, obedience, leadership, responsibility and love are all experienced through Todd and Viola's eyes. So far this is my favorite series of the year. Monster's of Men is staring at me as we speak, daring me  to enter the world once again, but I don't know if my heart is ready for this series to conclude. I do know, I can't wait much longer, not after where I left Todd and Viola! Would I recommend this series? It's violent for sure, so I'd recommend to more mature readers. 

Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley

My Rating: 3.5 Peaches

Corrinne's life falls apart when her father loses his job and she is shipped off to live with her grandparents in Broken Spoke, Texas. This is a solid book about growth, family and friendship. Makes me want to unpack my cowboy boots and move to a small town in Texas. Of course, things just seemed to be getting interesting when the book twists again and end. No spoilers, but I wasn't really a fan of the end and I wish we could have seen some more interactions between Corrinne, her mom and her grandmother. The shinning star, in my opinion, isn't Corrinne but local, country born Kitsy Kidd, who just so happens to be the star of the sequel, so I guess I will have to pick that up. Also, I love this cover, can't tell if it's the yellow dress or the boy in the hat and boots, sigh.

Would I recommend it? Eh, I wouldn't discourage it but I'd be far more likely to recommend Anna and the French Kiss (Stephanie Perkins), Graffiti Moon (Cath Crowley) or Looking for Alibrandi(Melina Marchetta) first...

My Rating: 4.5 Peaches

My first laugh out loud book of July. This book made me laugh so hard while at the same time keeping me so enthralled that I couldn't put it down! Sam is easily one of the most unlikely of heroes, college drop-out and a fast food working slacker but through his interactions with friends and family, his efforts to not be the expected evil necromancer and his totally "smooth"  moves with local werewold hybrid, you see the awesome hero inside. My favorite part of this book has to be Ashley, the  waffle loving, catholic school dressing, harbinger of death.  Hope to see much more of her in the sequel!
Would I recommend this book? Some violence, sex and language would make me wary of passing this on to students younger than high school.

My Rating: 4 Peaches

A strong debut fantasy that can be a little heavy on the telling and light on the showing. Religion plays a key role in Elisa's life since she has been chosen by God to perform a great service. Elisa's growth from an insecure, timid pawn to a confident, leader is driven through loss on many different levels. She interacts with servants, kings, priests, rebels and traitors. The conclusion is solid and I am curious where the series will go, who it will follow next but I am pulling for more of Cosme! 
Would I recommend this series? If you love fantasy, give it a go!

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

My Rating: 4 Peaches

A new series by Julie Kagawa that explores a world controlled by vampires seen through the eyes of new vampire, Allie. Allie  grew up despising the vampires until she is forced to make a choice, die or become what she hates. I loved Allie's spunk as a human but even more as a vampire, especially during her training and growth into a kick-butt vampire. She learns some difficult lessons as she begins to slowly release her humanity until she runs into a small band of humans working to reach Eden. A ragtag group that includes Zeke, who makes Allie cling to her humanity and hope again. 
Would I recommend this book? I wasn't a huge fan of the Iron Series (don't hate me, it's more that I am not big into fairies) but I am looking forward to seeing where Allie goes to kick butt next.

The Dragon Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

My Rating: 4 Peaches

The conclusion to the Heir trilogy brings all our favorite characters back together for the Wizard War. This is the first book to focus more on a female character as Madison Moss drives the story. Many loose ends are tied up and lives are changed. Chima doesn't let the story get overwhelmed by the amount of characters while also not losing the depth and growth to each character. She also continues to up the action and suspense throughout the story. A great conclusion to a great series. Can't wait to try her other series!
Would I recommend this series? Yep! There is some violence but nothing that would keep this out of middle schooler's hands.

Bloodlines  by Richelle Mead

My Rating: 4.5 Peaches

A companion/sequel series to Vampire Academy, Bloodlines focuses on alchemist Sydney and Moroi's Adrian and Jill. Sydney is very different from Rose but they are both smart, resourceful and full of awesome. There was some predictability, especially with Jill and Adrian's connection, which I love, but there was also a great mystery, new insight into some favorite characters, and of course, Adrian. I loved him in VA (I still think Rose made the right choice) and I am so excited to see him grow into the man Rose knew he could be some day! He's not there yet and I can't wait to get my hands on Golden Lily!
Would I recommend this book? Oh yes, and you should start with Vampire Academy if you haven't read it already!

Woohoo! All caught up on my summer reads, I've only read a few books in August so I can get started on full reviews for them...

Friday, August 10, 2012

NPR and other Random Thoughts

NPR Top 100 YA

So has NPR released their top 100 YA Book list. Harry Potter is number one, which really isn't that surprising and puts a smile on my, unfortunately, muggle face. Hunger Games follows close behind with To Kill a Mockingbird rounding off the top three with a classic.

Definitely some eye brow raising moments for me (House of Night, Hush, Hush and Fallen series, really?). Plus I've learned that I really must start on the pile of John Green books that have been accumulating on my book shelf! It was great to see some classics in the list (although I remember disliking every minute of A Separate Peace in HS, maybe I should revisit) along with some newer series (like Delirium and Divergent but I'll wait till the trilogies end to decide how much I love them).

A good number of my votes made it on the list (check out my post on votes last month) and I have a whole bunch of new books to add to my list or maybe give a second chance to. But WHERE is Melina Marchetta?? I mean, yay that Stephanie Perkins realistic fiction Anna and the French Kiss made it but over Saving Francesca, The Piper's Son, Jellicoe Road and Looking for Alibrandi? This just proves that more people must be told of the complete and utter awesomeness that is Melina Marchetta.

What about you? Any eye-brow raising moments of your own or books that should have been on the list that didn't make it?

Cover Love

Oh my gosh, just went to a random bookstore yesterday and bought This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel. I've seen the book around and thought it sounded good but when I saw this cover up above, I just had to have it. I don't know if it's the raised, pointy silver script or the mix of dark and light colors with the fuzzing around the corners but my heart just had to have it! You have to admit, it is much better than the hard cover on the right.

And finally two things I am super excited about! Only 18 more days until UnWholly comes out!! Plenty of time for an Unwind reread and to check out the new short story UnStrung! If you haven't read Unwind, you definitely should. A mind-blowing dystopia read that has one of my all time favorite chapters in a book!

And there will be a prequel to the Maze Runner series! I absolutely, hands-down, loved the first book in the series. Maze Runner was a thrilling read I could not put down until the end. I enjoyed Scorch Trials but I felt let down by Death Cure. So, I am hopeful that The Kill Order (out in only 4 more days!) is more Maze Runner than Death cure. I'll let you know when we get there :)

Ok, back to work on my July mini-reviews, which are sadly but not unexpectedly behind schedule...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Best Ever Teen Novels?

NPR is holding a Best Ever Teen Novel survey. Out of a list of 235 books, only 100 will make the final cut of best ever novels. Have you voted yet? If not, go and do it now!

So not to sway your votes but here's how I voted! First of all, I only voted on books that, obviously, I had read. When it came to book series, I did not vote on any series that have yet to be completed, no matter how much I love them so far (I'm sorry Divergent and Delirium!) or series that I have yet to complete reading (so so sorry Chaos Walking, I promise to read Monsters of Men ASAP!!).  Without any more babbling, here we go...

My Votes:

Harry Potter - One of my all time favorite series! Pretty sure I reread these once a year! Honestly, if you haven't read these, you need to. I can think of no good reason not to! Thank you J. K. Rowling!

Abhorsen Trilogy - Ok yes, there will be a fourth book in this series (secretly squealing inside, yay Garth Nix!) but on the voting list, it is listed as a TRILOGY, so it doesn't break my rules! Anyways, this is one of the most inventive fantasy series I have read. Love it!

Airborn - Just read this book and loved it! Flying ships, air pirates, mysterious flying creatures and a shipwreck. So much fun and so much imagination from Kenneth Oppel!

Crown Duel - Kick butt heroine who is SMART and capable. Truly delightful fantasy with two main characters who break the mold! I can't wait to read more by Sherwood Smith

Song of the Lioness - Speaking of kick-butt, inspiring heroines! Tamora Pierce knows how to write them and Alanna was the first and closest to my heart. This was my favorite escape in high school and I still go back to visit often!

Enchanted Forest - Hmmm, I am noticing a trend in my last few choices. They all have strong, female main characters who defy genres! Patricia Wrede has written a thrilling and hilarious new bend on the princess fairy tales.

Hunger Games - Like, Harry, I am sure this will get a ton of votes but for a very good reason. Suzanne Collins has created a chilling dystopian world that is most frightening when it hits close to reality. Yes, I love Katniss and Peeta but the side characters are just as deep and intriguing!

On The Jellicoe Road - This is my favorite read of the year. Melina Marchetta is fast becoming my favorite author. I have devoured everything she has written and this is tops for me. The way the story unfolds with seemingly unrelated events that weave together to reveal and amazing history.

Graffiti Moon - This book has taught me two things.   1- I spell graffiti wrong 4 times out of 5.   2. I can actually like realistic fiction books! I love Lucy, Ed and Poet's shifting narration and even more all the art that is spread throughout this story. Absolutely beautiful!

Unwind - Another almost rule breaker because Unwholly is coming out soon! But this was listed as only Unwind, not the series. Anyway, wow, another chilling dystopia. Neal Shusterman uses shifting narration to create a world based on a terrifying premise. This book also includes one of my all time favorite chapters ever! Can't tell you though, spoilers ;)

Anyway, there are my final choices. A lot of tough decisions and a lot of series I wish would have shown up on the list (they must have already been cut) but I am looking forward to seeing the final list! So what are you waiting for?? Go vote now!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Vivid Worlds

Hosted by the very listy Broke and Bookish!

Top Ten Most Vivid Worlds/Settings

1. The Magical and Muggle World of Harry Potter
It's got to be the incredible world of Harry Potter. I have no idea how many years I have spent living on Privet Drive, visiting Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley and, of course, attending school at Hogwarts. The way J.K. Rowling weaves the magical world with our muggle world  captures the mind and gives freedom to the imagination. There's a reason why people wait hours in line just to visit Hogwarts at Universal Studios!

2. Panem in The Hunger Games
Another one that I am sure is on a lot of lists, and for good reason, is Panem. Suzanne Collins dystopia world with the capitol and districts is not a place I would ever want to visit for real (I definitely can't imagine a theme park for this that would be kid friendly) but when reading through the Hunger Games and hearing the descriptions of the different districts and their people, the capitol and it's ridiculous dress, it's hard not to get lost in all. It is the description of the games in the arenas though, that always bring such vivid pictures to my head. 

3. Valdemar in Heralds of Valdemar and others
When I was in high school, I would say I spent about 50% of my time living in the land of Valdemar through Mercedes Lackey's books. She created this incredibly expansive world full of different magic, cultures and histories that has yet to run out of stories for the reader!

4. Tortall in The Song of the Lioness Quartet and others
The other 50% of my time was probably spent in Tortall and its surrounding kingdoms through Tamora Pierce's series. I explored and fought battles with Alanna, saw the land from an animals point of view and visited the Carthak Islands with Daine, learned about the Yamani and the north with Kel, and went to the Copper Isles with Aly. Now I get to go back in time and revisit Tortall with Beka! 

5. New Prentisstown in the Chaos Walking Trilogy
 Recently I have been blown away by the colony planet with Prentisstown and New Prentisstown in the Chaos Walking Trilogy. Again, a place I may not want to visit but for a sci-fi world, Patrick Ness does it right! The places Tod and Viola visit are in turn beautiful and terrifying as are the people and Spackle that inhabit it. 

6. The Old Kingdom in Sabriel
The Old Kingdom always fascinated me with its charter magic, necromancy and Clayr. As much as I don't want to run into any of the dead, Nix's detailed description of death and its gates always fascinated me as much as Sabriel and her bells did. I might visit if I could have Mogget at my side :)

7. The Final Empire of the Mistborn Trilogy
The Final Empire, particulary Luthadel were brought to life by Brandon Sanderson through his amazing descriptions. I could see Luthadel clearly with its grand houses and the Lord Ruler's palace. I could also feel the complete loss of spirit that the people living there have and connect to the hope they are given throughout the story. My favorite are the creatures that Sanderson creates to inhabit his world like the Kandra and Koloss. 

8. Eona's World in Eon: Dragoneye Reborn
 In Eon and Eona, Alison Goodman creates a lush world that is a beautiful mix of asian cultures. The Imperial Court and Palace is described in vivid detail as are the people filling it. It is a sharp contrast to the poverty seen outside the court. It was interesting to see it through Eona's eyes as she held different ranks because it gave a more comprehensive view of the world and its many levels. 

9. Farie in Stardust
There are so many books out now about faires and the world of faries but I think the best world faries was in Stardust where Tristan travels from Wall into Farie!  Gaiman's descriptions of Tristan and Yvaines travels through fairy are exciting, funny and one of a kind! 

10. Incarceron in Incarceron
  Incarceron is a living prison and a world inside a world. Catherine Fisher does a neat job of balancing Finn's journey through the many dangers inside Incarceron with Claudia's life on the outside in a world stuck in time. Absolutely brilliant!

Mini Review Bonanza Part 2

Ok, so I let another week or two slip by but here are some mini-reviews from the month of June. My new goal is to get my July reviews up before July is up...

June Series & Sequels

This was definitely a month of series readings for me. I finished Vampire Academy, Hex Hall and Kane Chronicles. Since I haven't reviewed any of the individual books, I am just going to give an overall review for the series. 

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Overall Series Rating: 4.5 Peaches
My Favorite in the 6 Book Series: Last Sacrifice (book 6)

This series started out slow to me, I enjoyed the first few books but it wasn't until the last half of the series that I was officially hooked. I also did not go into this series with high expectations. The same student that recommended this series also recommended House of Night and I couldn't even get through the first book in that series. So what saved this series? For me it was two things. First of all, the world building was a different and exiting take on vampire lore. The vampire rankings from Dhampir, Moroi and Strigoi add an extra layer of depth to this series and more is revealed throughout the books that build on Mead's vampire "history" without contradicting itself. Secondly, the characters, especially our heroine Rose Hathaway. Whenever I think of Rose I always associate this quote from Madonna to her "I'm tough, I'm ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a b****, okay." Rose is tough, she is ambitious and for the most part, knows what she wants and goes for it. She goes hard and when she makes mistakes, she doesn't hide from them but grows stronger. Rose's other half is Lissa, who I spent the first few books annoyed with until she began to take on some of Rose's spirit and, I believe, finally became an equal partner in friendship with Rose. Then, of course, their are the boys Dimitri, Christian and Adrian. Is there a love triangle, yes sigh but I absolutely approve of the way it ended. Yes there are many "Team Adrian" but Rose's decision in Last Sacrifice is the most intelligent one I have seen a female MC make in awhile. She doesn't just go with the "hottest" or the bad boy but she chooses the man that challenges her to be a better person and that she challenges in return. Loved it. 
Would I recommend this book? Yes, I definitely would over many of the other vampire books out there right now. 

Hex Hall, Demonglass and Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

Overall Series Rating : 4 Peaches
My Favorite in the 3 Book Series:  Hex Hall

This series is just a good time.  It has so much that I like from a sarcastic main character with a snarky love interest, good old fashioned mean girls, a supportive best friend that isn't afraid to tell it like it is and wonder of wonders, supportive parents! It raises some deeper questions about what makes one evil, there are some great fights and action and lots of laugh out loud dialogue.   I could have gone for a little more character development in some of the side characters and wished we could've known more about the Brannicks and The Eye. What I really want to know, having finished the series, is why is there a black cat on each cover?? Did I miss that in every single book? If anyone knows the answer, I will reward you!  
Would I recommend this series? Sure, especially to my high school girls who enjoy the paranormal!


Overall Rating: 3.5 Peaches
My Favorite in the 3 Book Series: Throne of Fire

I am going to try so hard not to compare this series to Riordan's Percy Jackson series but it's so hard! I love the inclusion of the Egyptian God's, the way Riordan describes them and even modernizes them. Oh, I loved Bast so much. She is exactly how I imagine my cat would be and I would love to take her class on napping. The idea of the House of Life and magicians fighting to control chaos or unleash it was thrilling. However, I just did not fall in love with most of the characters enough to really care for or worry for them. I'm not sure if it was the constantly changing point of view but Carter just felt flat to me, I couldn't truly understand his need to prove himself or believe in his leadership while Sadie always just felt selfish and a little too boy-crazy what with the possible end of the world. 
Would I recommend this series? Yes, in fact I have given the first book to several students and the school library but I always tell them to try Percy Jackson first!

Following are books in a series that I have not completed or am just beginning!

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

My Rating: 4 Peaches

Oops! I actually read Lola and the Boy Next Door before reading Anna but I guess they are more like companion novels than sequels. However, I did already know a little about Anna and St. Clair from Lola but I was excited to get to know them better and super excited that this story takes place in Paris. After reading Anna, I wish I could have gone away for a year abroad in High School or college and I definitely need to plan a trip to Europe. Anna and St. Clair were fun, lovable characters and the romantic tension was pretty fantastic. What I would like now is for Perkin's next book (Isla and the Happy After which I hear is going to include Josh from Anna) to have two main characters and love interests that fall in love not already be in relationships with other characters. That was definitely my least favorite plot point from both Anna (St. Clair had a girlfriend) and Lola (Loal had a boyfriend). How about some love for the single people?
Would I recommend this book? Of course! I am not really a fan of realistic fiction but Perkins is slowly changing my tastes!

A Living Nightmare by Darren Shan

My Rating: 3.5 Peaches

I always love it when boys at my school recommend a book for me because it's usually not something I would pick up. This is definitely the case with Cirque Du Freak. It was a fun, strong beginning to a fairly long (12 books, I think) and  very popular series. The descriptions were perfect and had the effect of making me shudder and gag at certain points. I have to say my biggest turn-off was the spider, and that's a personal problem! I can definitely understand why middle school boys would devour this series! If I get a chance, I will probably read the rest of the series but I won't be going out of my way to get the books. I will also probably try to see the movie, if only because of a young Josh Hutcherson, also known as Peeta...
Would I recommend this series? I would pass this around to some of the middle school boys and some of the girls as well!

Playing With Fire (Book 2) by Derek Landy

My Rating: 4.5 Peaches

Oh Skulduggery, you are probably my favorite find of the year and I am enjoying surprising others with your complete and utter awesomeness. What do I love most about you? It has to be the way you talk to me, all sarcastic and arrogant like. Here let me show you:

"What would a thing like you know about honor? Only a heathen would bring a gun to a sword fight.' And only a moron would bring a sword to a gunfight.”

“If things go wrong, I'll lead them away. Once it's clear, get back to the car. If you don't see me in five minutes, then I've probably died a very brave and heroic death. Oh and don't Oh, and don't touch the radio--I've got it tuned right where I want it and I don't want you messing that up.”

“Is he all scarred now? Magic gets rid of most physical scars, but I like to think I scarred him emotionally.” 

Was it a test?" she asked. "I mean,I know I'm still knew at this,I'm still a rookie. Did you hang back to test me, to see if I'd handle it alone?" "Well, kind off" he said. "Actually,no,nothing like that. My shoelace was untied. That's why I was late" "I could have been killed because you were tying your shoelace?!"An untied shoelace can be dangerous,' he said. 'I could have tripped.' She stared at him. A moment dragged by. 'I'm joking,' he said at last. She relaxed. 'Really?' 'Absolutely. I would never have tripped. I'm far too graceful.”

Ok, ok, I'll stop now but only because I need to go order book 3 right now...
Would I recommend this series? Yes, go buy it, right now!

June Stand Alone Novels

Snowed in Together by Ann Herrick

My Rating: 2.5 Peaches

Wow, apparently I only read one stand alone book this month and it was a short story that I downloaded free for my kindle at that, bad me. Anywho, Snowed In Together was not my kind of story, probably because I was never a socially inept, horny, high school boy (thank God!). However, if I were I might have felt some connection to this story. I can understand it and see how it might be realistic and a dream for some guys but overall, not for me. 

Would I recommend this book? Nope, can't really think of any reason why I would. :(

Phew, and with that I am officially caught up to the month of July! Now I have a week to get reviews up from this month!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Mini Review Bonanza!

Wow, two whole months of slacking. That may be a record for me! I'd love to blame it on a number of factors but basically the call of the beach was too much for me. So in order to catch up, I'm going to do mini reviews for each of the books I have read over the last 2 months...

May: Stand Alone's

Callum & Harper by Fisher Amelie

My Rating: 3 Peaches

This book made me feel bipolar. I wanted to love this book at so many points and at other points I wanted to rip it into tiny pieces (except that it was an ebook, so I guess the worst I could've done was delete it). The relationship that grows between Callum and Harper, the struggles they face and overcome, their wonderful friends and the ending had me smiling like a fool. However, it seemed like it was just one struggle to many. I mean, seriously, these poor kids could not catch a break. On top of that, I did not like the cop-out "two years later" jump. I had a hard enough time believing that Callum and Harper hadn't fessed up to their attraction and feelings and having this time jump told me that the author couldn't keep up the facade either so she just skipped it. I am always willing to suspend belief for stories, that's part of their draw but this took me completely out of the story and I was never able to get back in. I am completely split on this book. 
 Would I recommend others read it? I won't be singing it's praises to my High School or Middle School students, but I wouldn't discourage others from it...

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel

My Rating: 5 Peaches

Now this book I loved from the very beginning and it never let me down. You've got luxurious airships, dangerous air pirates, mysterious air creatures and so much action you can't put it down! On top of that, Oppel has written some fantastic characters. I would go exploring with Matt and Kate any day of the week.  Their struggles, interactions and relationships are completely realistic and connectable. Readers will easily put themselves in either Kate or Matt's shoes and love every minute. I especially think middle school boys would just devour this book but I will also be passing this name on to all my students as a must read! Plus it's a great, light intro to the genre of steampunk with little bits of steampunkyness spread throughout. I can't wait to read more! 
Would I recommend: Oh yes and to everyone with absolutely NO reservations!

My Rating: 4.5 Peaches

What! A Robin Hood retelling where Will Scarlet is a girl disguised as a boy! First off, I love retellings of classic stories and Gaughen does a fantastic job re-imagining Robin and his band of thieves, especially Scarlet. She is brave but not fearless, loyal but still has issues with trust, strong and decisive but with a heart that confuses her and breaks over her mistakes. All in all, a relatable heroine who isn't perfect and doesn't try to be. So why not a full 5? Eh, love triangles (again) and I wish there would have been a little bit more of the history. Also, I just wish there was more! I hated to see this book end. 
Would I recommend Scarlet?  Most definitely, there is some violence and references to sex but nothing that should keep this book out of the hands of middle schoolers and up!

May: Series and Sequels

Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Sequel to Divergent

My Rating:  4.5 Peaches

I waited very, very, very impatiently for this book to come. I had it pre-ordered several months before it came out because I loved Divergent so much so I had super high expectations for Insurgent. It picks up right where Divergent left out and I think my favorite think about Insurgent was getting to learn even more about the other 3 factions (besides Abnegation and Dauntless): Amity, Candor and Erudite. Tris and Tobias spend time amongst each faction and learning more about them helped me to better understand Tris's world and why she is the way she is. As for who Tris is, Insurgent really added depth to her character by showing more of her weakness and how she doesn't let them slow her down. She mourns her mistakes but she also learns from them, grows from them and turns them slowly into strengths. Right along side her is Tobias and as much as their relationship struggled and fought in this book, it became that much more believable to me. Tobias and Tris don't just accept each other for how they are, but  they challenge each other to become better and stronger individuals. I think that is rare in YA fiction these days. My one gripe is the ending. It's supposed to be this huge, cliffhanging reveal and, judging by some other reviews, for many it was. However, I just didn't feel the urgency or the surprise. I can't say much more without risking spoiling it for those who have yet to read it. Despite that, I am still, again very impatiently, waiting for  the next book to come out and joining in on all the title predictions, my money's on Convergent... 
Would I recommend Insurgent? The only people I wouldn't recommend this to are those who haven't read Divergent yet because they need to get off their butts and get down to the bookstore to buy it!

Linger and Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
Sequels to Shiver 

My Rating: 4 Peaches and 5 Peaches

Honestly, these books started off slow and finished with a bang. The character's struggles, relationships, failures and triumphs resonated so much with me in this book. The inclusion of more Cole and Isabelle showcases a different relationship from that of Grace and Sam, one that is just as powerful and just as difficult. I love relationships that require work and actual effort and a sprinkling of snarky sarcasticness :) The evolution of Sam and Grace as individuals and partners throughout the books has left me with a completely different view of them since the first book, when I saw them as so one-dimensional. Especially Grace. I really did not like her character in the first book and now I find her completely relatable! Along with amazing character development, the action is increased and even more tense in both books. All in all, a great end to a series. I am looking forward to reading more by Stiefvater now! 
Would I recommend this series? Yep, to my high schoolers. There is some sex, cursing and violence but all in a realistic sense that adds to the story. 

Coming Soon: June Reads!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My Book Boyfriend: Ed

Looking for love in all the wrong places? Try a book! My Book Boyfriend is hosted by Missie at the Unread Reader :) 

This weeks TopTenTuesday reminded me of all the love I had for Graffiti Moon a few weeks ago and how much I adored Ed.


  • dropped out of year 11
  • hair that grows without a plan
  • artistic but trouble with words
  • graffiti artist known as Shadow

How Lucy sees Ed:

“Every time he looked at me I felt like I'd touched my tongue to the tip of a battery. In art class I'd watch him lean back and listen and I was nothing but zing and tingle. After a while, the tingle turned to electricity, and when he asked me out my whole body amped to a level where technically I should have been dead. I had nothing in common with a sheddy like him, but a girl doesn't think straight when she's that close to electrocution.” 

How Lucy sees Shadow:

“Let me meet Poet, too, but mainly Shadow. The guy who paints in the dark. Paints birds trapped on brick walls and people lost in ghost forests. Paints guys with grass growing from their hearts and girls with buzzing lawn mowers. A guy who paints things like that is a guy I could fall for. Really fall for” 

How Ed sees Lucy:

“Kept dreaming of this spot she had on her neck, this tiny country. I wanted to visit, to paint a picture of what I found there, a wall with a road map of her skin.” 
"Her words are paintings, and I'm painting them on the wall in my head as she talks"

How They Get Along:

“I can't believe you're still mad at me," Ed says.
"You grabbed my arse."
"You broke my nose."
"You broke his nose?" Jazz asks. "You grabbed her arse?"
"It was two years ago-"
"Two years, four months, and eight days," I tell him.
"-and I was fifteen, and I slipped and she broke my nose."
"Wait a minute. How do you slip onto someone's arse?"Jazz asks.
"I meant slipped up. I slipped up and she broke my nose."
"You're lucky that's all I broke," I say.
"You're lucky I didn't call the police."

(My Ed is pictured as the wonderfully quirky Joseph
Gordon-Levitt. If they make this movie, my vote is for him!) 

I don't know what it is about snarky, sarcastic guys but they win my heart everytime. It helps that there is a lot more to Ed and the fun is finding it all out along with Lucy during their epic one night adventure to find Shadow. I highly recommend you go out and discover 
Shadow for yourself!

How about you? Who's your book boyfriend this week?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Quotes

Hosted by The Broke and Bookish for those of us that have a love of books and lists! Check them out :)

This week's theme is quotes. Now, I have trouble remembering what I said or did 5 minutes ago, but Goodreads has this fantastic quotes section. So after I read a book, I "like" some of the quotes from it. I decided to go back through the quotes I have liked since joining goodreads and use them. Fun Fact: more than 50% of my quotes were from Melina Marchetta... moving on

My Top Ten Quotes (from my Goodreads "likes"

1. "I'm scared I'm going to spend the rest of my life in a state of yearning, regardless of where I am" ~The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta       

Somehow Marchetta always puts into words the things I am feeling but can't express...

2. "I'm not going to wear a red dress," she (Katsa) said. "It would look stunning my lady," she called. She spoke to the bubble gathered on the surface of the water. "If there's anyone I wish to stun at dinner, I'll hit him in the face." ~ Graceling by Kristin Cashore

The best way to make an impression...

3. "Mum says when wanting collides with getting, that's the moment of truth. I want to collide." ~ Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

Another author who's words I want to steal.

4. "It is our choices, Harry, that show us what we truly are, far more than our abilities." ~ Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowlings

So many wonderful Potter quotes, but this one has always stuck with me.

5. "Peter would probably throw a party if I stopped breathing." "Well," he (Four) says, "I would only go if there was cake." Divergent by Veronica Roth

I fell in love with Four right here, sarcastic humor is the way to my heart. 

6. "This is the way the world ends - not with a bang or a whimper, but with zombies breaking down the back door." ~ Hollowland by Amanda Hocking

Best opening line, ever...

7. "Remember, we're madly in love, so it's all right to kiss me anytime you feel like it." ~The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Are there deeper, more romantic quotes? Sure there are but I'll always love this one, oh 
and Finnick Odair in his underwear, what a great rhyme...

8. "To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable." ~The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis

I know it's long but it's about the truest statement there is.

9. "We live and breathe words... It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone. They could be honest with me, and I with them." ~ Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Oh books, how I love you!

10. "Nine times out of ten, talking is a way of avoiding doing things" ~ Dealing with Dragons by Patricia Wrede

True that, so I should probably get off my computer, and get back to work...

What are some of your favorite quotes?