Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Currently Reading #4

It is that time again, when the latest CR list ends and a new one begins. 

I know that there was a book after Sister Mischief, The CoolKids, but I will not be reviewing it. I honestly could not get past the first page, as well as flicking through just to make sure if I was wrong or not. And I wasn't. The prose was stiff, the author tried too hard, making it look like he had a dictionary right next to him, etc. It just was not good. So I won't be reviewing it, and now you know why. Anyway, lets get to the new list!

This list's theme is indie authors. I wanted to feature authors who fly under the radar, most of them (possibly all on this list) are self published, and you have to give them props for getting out there. It's also a way of honoring Amanda Hocking, who is the poster child for successful self-published author (and on this list), although she now has a contract with St. Martins Press (yay for her! (: ). Without further ado, here are the books!

1. Demon High - Lori Devoti
2. Impulse Control (Talent Chronicles 0.5) and Hush Money (Talent Chronicles #1) - Susan Bischoff (Again, novella and novel being combined)
3. Beautiful Demons (Peachville High Demons #1) - Sarra Cannon
4. A Dozen Deadly Roses - Kathy Bennett
5. Gamers - Thomas K. Carpenter
6. Demon Girl (Rae Wilder Series #1) - Penelope Fletcher
7. Feed (Newsflesh Trilogy #1) - Mira Grant
8. Hollowland (The Hollows Series #1) - Amanda Hocking

So there you have it! I have a feeling this will be a great series of books, and will hopefully spotlight some potentially great indie authors :)

Until next time, viva la literature!

Review #70: Sister Mischief by Lauren Goode

Hey everyone. Hope all is well on this day! Just finished this book last night, and I'm eager to review it, so lets go!

Sister Mischief is by debut author Laura Goode. I think the Goodreads description is better than anything I could come up with, so here it is:
     Listen up: You're about to get rocked by the fiercest, baddest all-girl hip-hop crew in the Twin Cities - or at least in the wealthy, white, Bible-thumping suburb of Holyhill, Minnesota. Our heroine, Esme Rockett (aka MC Ferocious) is a Jewish lesbian lyricist. In her crew, Esme's got her BFFs Marcy (aka DJ SheStorm, the butchest straight girl in town) and Tess (aka The ConTessa, the pretty, popular powerhouse of a vocalist). But Esme's feelings for her co-MC, Rowie (MC Rohini), a beautiful, brilliant, beguiling desi chick, are bound to get complicated. And before they know it, the queer hip-hop revolution Esme and her girls have exploded in Holyhill is on the line. Exciting new talent Laura Goode lays down a snappy, provocative, and heartfelt novel about discovering the rhythm of your own truth.

I have a sort of history with this book. Back in May (either May or June, my memory on this is a bit vague), I heard about this book through NetGalley, a site which lets book reviewers, libraries, etc obtain an eARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of yet to come out book. I thought the premise was good and the cover pretty, so I requested it. After a week I checked in and found that I was approved for a ARC! I squealed with delight, downloaded Adobe Digital Editions, and with help from friends, transferred it to my Nook. But then, as I tried to read it later that night, my Nook told me that the file didn't exist, or wasn't good (again, vague memory xD). I tried again the next day, no dice. After a few more lame attempts, I decided to delete it from my Nook and buy the Nook version when it came out, which I did. I've finally gotten around to reading this book, and I'm glad I did!

This book is fantastic. It's a well written LGBT/hip hop book, that questions things without anything or anyone turning into a caricature or stereotype (well except for Mary Ashley Baumgarten, but more on her later.). I loved the little footnotes, which enhanced the story and gave you a behind-the-scenes feel. You get sucked in from page one, and you feel like you live in Holy Hill with the girls of Sister Mischief. The story flowed well, and when you read the third act, you are angry, shocked, and extremely happy. 

Esme, the main heroine, is a great heroine. She is the perfect person to take us on this journey, and watching her own personal journey is fascinating. You feel what she feels, you want her to be happy, and successful in all of her endeavors. Also, I love her sense of humor. Her friends Marcy and Tess were also fantastic. Marcy was so sarcastic and hilarious, but also could be vulnerable and sweet. Tess was great as well, you see the conflict she goes through because of her love of hip hop and God, also her innate curiosity and willingness to stand up for what's right. Plus her curse substitutes were hilarious, as one of the characters sort of points out. Rowie is also the love interest, which is why she gets her own separate bit. Honestly, I sort of despised her, for reasons which I can't dispel because they're spoilers. I'll say this, being conflicted is fine, but the way Rowie went about things was just wrong. Now onto Mary Ashley Baumgarten. Like I said, she's the only stereotype/caricature in the book, along with her friends. While this normally is wrong, and would make me downgrade the book points, it worked out in the book's favor. Using the stereotypical MashBaum, as the main four called her, showed just how ignorant and mean some people can be, especially towards someone who's different. Everything Mary Ashley represented was a magnifying glass to the issues at hand. Just look at the recent events, with all the suicide victims of malicious bullying/gay bashing. That's why I'm fine with this character, because she shows why such ignorance and malice is wrong.

Laura Goode is a great writer. She completely got into Esme's head, and created well done characters who had good friendships, as well as wrote some good/funny lyrics. She also had the main four and their friends name drop a lot of artists, but that fine because their hip hop/rap/music connoisseurs. And like I said, the annotations/footnotes were a great addition to the book, giving you the feeling of being let in on great secrets. 

If you like well written LGBT literature, or just looking for a fun book, read this.

I won't be reviewing the last book on this current list because I didn't get past the first page and page flipping. I'll explain further in my next Currently Reading post.

Until next time, viva la literature!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Review #69: Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

Salutations friends! Hope the past weekend treated you all well, and happy upcoming holidays to those of us celebrating Rosh Hashannah! Have a new review for y'all today. Well, more like a gush fest, but more on that later. Lets get to it!

Five Flavors of Dumb is by the sublime Antony John. Piper is a senior in high school, who because of her comments, becomes the manager of school darlings, the band Dumb. Small issue: Piper is deaf. She is also struggling with the fact that her parents have put so much focus on her baby sister Grace, who would have been fully deaf if not for the cochlear implants her parents just had put in. Piper has one month to get Dumb a paying gig. If she does, she becomes their manager for real, getting a cut of whatever they earn. What Piper doesn't know is that in saying yes, her life will change significantly. 

Oh holy cheese, this book is AMAZAZING!!!! I can't even fully explain how much I love this book. It completely and utterly took me by surprise, grabbed onto my shoulders, and still isn't letting go. It is a perfect emotional roller coaster, taking you from happy to sad, mad to "aww", and all the emotions that make life wonderful. You feel for the characters that you fall in love with, hate those who you don't like (I'll get to that later), it is truly an amazing book of the empth degree. You also learn a lot about music history, which I appreciated as a music geek.

I know I've talked about all these literary heroines who could potentially be my best friend, but I am adding Piper to that list. She's smart, sarcastic, witty and funny, vulnerable and cunning. In other words, she's real. I can believe that she could exist outside the realm of literature. Yes, she's deaf, but that doesn't consume her personality or the story. She doesn't let her disability keep her down. She struggles with her identity and home life just like any other teenager. And like anyone else, she judges people sometimes by how they look. But she makes mistakes and owns up to them. I truly wish she was a real person so we could hang out. Her brother Finn was great too, and their relationship makes me so envious. Being an only child, Piper and Finn's relationship, as I've just stated, makes me wish I had a brother or a sister. They're close where most siblings aren't , yet they don't have the perfect sibling relationship, which I love. I also loved Ed, Piper's best friend/potential love interest. Their banter was fun, and near the end I nearly welled up with tears at what I read (I won't spoil it ;)). Ed is now added to my literary crush list for sure ^^. I liked that Piper's parents weren't absent, as a good chunk of parents are in YA fiction. I despised Piper's father in the beginning, though I warmed up to him in the end. Characters like Kallie and Tash will surprise you. At first, they seem like glaring stereotypes, but by the end you become extremely attached to them, finding out they are so much more then who they are perceived as. Now onto Josh. I wanted to hit him, hard, potentially strangle him. I've never felt that strongly about a character before. But boy, do/did I hate Josh. Holy god, he is an asshat. If there was a way to reach into the pages and smack a character, I'd do just that. 

Antony's writing is superb. He really got into Piper's head, showing how a deaf person deals with life, but also developing his story and all of the characters very well. His style is just fantastic, and as a music geek I appreciated the chapters that delved more into music history. I am officially a rabid Antony John fan, and am looking forward to his future works!

I normally don't say something like this, but do yourself a favor and pick Five Flavors of Dumb up. You will NOT regret it!

I'll next be reviewing Sister Mischief by Lauren Goode.

PS I was at Barnes and Noble today and saw that they had Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I gawked then picked it up. Can't believe I finally have my hands on it! Reading it and it is fantastic!

Until next time, viva la literature!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Review #68: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Salutations my friends! Hope the week treated you all well :). Enough talk, lets review a book!

Will Grayson, Will Grayson is by two fantastic authors, John Green and David Levithan. It centers on two boys, both named Will Grayson. Will Grayson has a best friend named Tiny Cooper, who is a large, gay football player who is creating a autobiographical musical, drawing in Will and their circle of friends. will grayson is the deuteragonist, only feels emotion and excitement through his online relationship with a boy named Issac, who makes him feel alive. These two boys have nothing in common, but when they meet, their lives change in profound ways.

I thought I would like this book much more than I did. I had high expectations, given the amazing rave reviews it has gotten. Plus I love both authors from previous works. But sadly, I did not truly enjoy this. I feel like the two Wills, do, indifferent, not truly liking the book, but not truly hating it. At times the book was so interesting, bringing you into the story as if you were there. Other times, the pacing was sooo slow that I wanted to just skip the the next book on my list. 

I honestly could not connect or relate to the characters. Both Wills were apathetic or indifferent, making it extremely hard to relate. A character doesn't have to share the same situation with me, but they have to be at least a little likable. I know the traits I just described were the obstacles both Wills had to get over, but they really didn't get over them, they never really changed. Maura was a straight up bi*ch, I don't care what her reasons were, what she did wasn't right. Jane felt generic. The only character I liked the slightest, was Tiny. He was the only one with personality, or any vitality to him. You know it's sad when you only connect to one character. 

I truly wish I could have loved this book more, but I don't. In my opinion, is is one of both authors least well done works. I still love John and David, and will continue to read their books. 

I'll next be reviewing Five Flavors of Dumb, by Antony John

Until next time, viva la literature!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Review #67: Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik

Hello my lovely and fantastic friends! I hope all is well with everyone. Have a review for ya today, so lets get started!

Epic Fail is a modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, written by Claire LaZebnik (that is a cool name, especially with the capital Z). It follows Elise Benton (Elizabeth Bennett), who moves from Boston to California with her parents and 3 sisters. Her parents enroll them at Coral Tree Prep, where their mom is the new principal and their father a new professor. Her eldest, and closest sister Juliana meets and falls in love with Chase Baldwin, whose best friend is Derek Edwards (Mr. Darcy). Derek is the son of a major film actress, known throughout the school as Hollywood royalty, guys wanting to be him and girls wanting to be with him. He and Elise butt heads on their first meeting. But there is an underlying spark. Will pride and prejudice keep them apart?

I love this book. It is officially up there in my Great Contemporary Fiction list. It also happens to be a modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (see above). And while I haven't actually read P&P *runs away from the torch-carrying mob*, I have the gist of the story. From that knowledge, this was a decent adaptation. LaZebnik nailed the general story of P&P, as well as the characters perfectly. Other than that, this is just a generally great Contemporary book. Funny, heartwarming, heartbreaking, all the things a good book should be. I wanted to throw my Nook at the wall (I would never actually do that), gasped at times (especially near the ending), squealed in delight, etc. It flowed well, sucking me in immediately. 

I liked Elise a lot. She was a normal girl, stubborn in her ways, figuring everything out. She was extremely believable, which is always nice. I feel like if we were friends in real life we would just constantly have sarcasm wars, and it would be fabulous. She's down to earth, sarcastic, loyal to her sisters, all around awesome. Derek was *sigh* amazing. Another one added to my literary crushes. You don't really like him at first, but he grows into someone you love by the end. He and Elise are now added to my favorite literary couples. Their chemistry was so palpable, I felt it sizzling through the air. Back to Derek, who was quiet at times, jerky at times, but also sweet and sincere. He was so loyal, I would love a guy like that, minus the jerkiness. Juliana, the catalyst for the story, was pretty cool. I felt like she was too trusting at times, but that was who she was, and I loved watching her develop. Being the eldest sisters, she and Elise had a close bond. I loved reading that, their closeness is something I wish I had, if I had a sister, or a sibling at all. She was sweet and loyal, and her blind faith and trust did lose points with me. All the other characters, like Chase and Chelsea were great. I loved hating Chelsea, she was such a typical mean girl, but she was so good at it. 

LaZebnik is crazy talented. She took a beloved classic and breathed new life into it, all the while making it her own. Her prose was spot on, dialogue brilliant, nothing was too flowery. I foresee great things from her, even though this wasn't her debut. Can't wait for your next book, Claire!

If you love Pride and Prejudice, as well as good Contemporary romance, you'll love this.

I'll next be reviewing Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan and John Green (SQUEAL!!!)

Until next time, viva la literature!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Review #66: Hidden Gem by India Lee

Hey everyone! Hope the weekend treated you guys well. Have a review for ya today, so lets get started!

Hidden Gem is the first in the Hidden Gem series (didn't know it was a series when I bought it xD Who knew?) by India Lee. Gemma Hunter lives dual lives, as herself and her pop star persona, Queen Bee. After wrapping her latest tour, Gemma is finally going to live a normal, regular life with her brother in a posh New Jersey town. Just as life is starting to settle, and her attraction to Lucas, her friend's boyfriend deepens, Tyler Chase, a mega pop star declares his love for Queen Bee. With that announcement, Tyler's extreme-rabid fanbase starts sites and campaigns dedicated to finding out QB's true identity. Will her dual lives collide? Will she save her normal life? Find out!

I liked this book quite a lot. It was quick and easy, but brought you in very fast. I feel this is what Hannah Montana could have been if it were for a teenage crowd plus Mean Girls style HS drama. It flowed along smoothly, sucking you in and having you rooting for Gemma super fast. I loved reading about all the drama, and hoping it would fix itself. 

I absolutely love Gemma. She was a great main character to follow. She felt like a good friend of mine, hence I was protective when I read about something bad happening to her. I rooted for her, cheered her on. Her Gemma side was relatable, and yet so was her Queen Bee persona, because Gemma kept part of herself when being QB. Then there's Lucas. Oh Lucas, you have officially become part of my Literary Crush list. Sexy, sweet, all the things a guy should be. Damn books for raising my expectations xD. *Sigh* I so wish he were real. Then there's Madison. You go on a roller coaster with how you feel about her. You'll have to read the book to understand why I wanted to smack her hard in the second half of the novel. The whole cast of characters were great. None were one note, except that one girl running a anti-Queen Bee site. Also Tyler Chase felt a little too much like Justin Bieber to me, which isn't good. 

I liked India Lee's writing style. It was fluid and fun. No flowery descriptions, tight storylines, etc. I am definitely a fan now. 

I'll next be reviewing Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik.

Until next time, later days.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Review #65: The Sisters Club by Megan McDonald

Hello again everyone! Back with another review in the same day, because this book was less than 100 pages on my Nook. Lets get started!

The Sisters Club is the first in the Sisters Club series by Megan McDonald, author of the beloved Judy Moody series. Alex, Stevie, and Joey are sisters living in Acton, Oregon (I think it's Oregon). Their town is rife with theater, and their family has a long line of actors. The three have a bond most sisters don't. The also have a club, The Sisters Club, comprised of only them. They will go through various dramas that test their bonds, but sisters are always forever!

I have a long history with this book. I had a well worn copy growing up, and I loved it. I was always reading it, and always as my fallback if I didn't have another book to read. Then, as I grew up, I lost it, and had forgotten all about it. Then, less than a week ago, my friends at The Cheap posted about it, saying that the NookBook version was only $1.99. Instantly remembering how much I loved it as a kid, I snapped it up like a snapdragon (not a very good one, I know xD). As I read it, I realized how much I missed it. Another thing I learned as I was buying it was that Ms. McDonald made it a series. Who knew?

I don't know how to review something that's close to my heart, but I'll start with I still love this book, after all these years. The story isn't too complex, just shows you the lives of three unforgettable and unique sisters. Each one has a distinct personality, as does this book's format. It's told through regular 1st person POV, scripts/transcripts, diary entries, etc. Each style fits the girls' personality which was very cool. The story flows pretty well, leading up to the semi-climactic ending, which was very heartwarming.

I won't really go into the characters, save for one thing. It's a single gripe I have with the novel that I didn't realize when I was reading this as a kid. Is it me, or do Alex, Stevie and Joey not speak like a 12, 10, or 8 year old? I mean it, they talk like mid teenagers, not the above ages. Especially Joey. I don't know an 8 year old who is THAT articulate. Maybe that's just me, but it bothered me how well spoken these girls were. Alex not so much, more-so Stevie and Joey. Maybe it's because I'm 19 and re-reading it now after a lengthy hiatus, but I feel like the way these girls speak is not realistic in any way. Other than that these characters are distinct, funny, and relatable. You love them like your own sisters, pulled into their simple dramas. 

I love how easily McDonald taps into the mind of a young girl. She does it so damned well. 

If you know anyone of Middle Grade age, recommend it to them. Although women of all ages can read it. Because honestly, this is not a gender-neutral book. It is totally a girls book, and that's ok. 

I'll next be reviewing Hidden Gem by India Lee.

Until next time, viva la literature!

Review #64: Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

Ciao everyone! A happy Friday to all! I hope everyone will enjoy the weekend like the bosses you are :) Anyway, lets get on with the review!

Sloppy Firsts is the first book in the Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty. Jessica Darling is, at the start of the novel, almost 16 and a sophomore in High School. Her best friend Hope moves away, leaving Jessica devastated. During Hope's absence, Jess hangs with her "friends", the Clueless Crew, and forms an odd relationship with the class druggie, Marcus Flutie, who seemingly understands her. The book chronicles the year that follows Hope's move, told through journal entries and a monthly letter to Hope. You'll laugh, cry, all the good stuff. 

I love this book. I mean that. It's become one of my favorite contemporary books. It's also nostalgic because it takes place in the year 2000. I was 8 that year, and I remember so much from this book. This is just a great contemporary novel with a real girl as the main character, and juicy teenage drama. I love how it's all through sort of daily vignettes that have a sort of plot, but become more solid when you string them together. I love how smoothly it flows, everything tying into each other. You're glued to Jess' adventures with the Clueless Crew et. all. 

I mean it when I say this, I wish Jessica Darling were a real person, so we could become best friends. I know I've stated that numerous times, but I mean it the most here. Jess and I are so alike, it's not even funny. She's, as the description will tell you on Goodreads, hyperobservant. She's snarky, witty, intelligent, and funny. So many times while reading I kept thinking "Me too!" I was rooting for her wholeheartedly. If she were real, again I'd want her as my best friend, or sister. I was attached to watching her develop and make mistakes, while owning up to them. Now onto Marcus. I admit, at first I didn't like him. He was kind of a**holey. But by the end, whew! I am now officially Team Flutie. He's smart, sexy, funny, everything I'd want in a guy. He's not perfect, but that makes him even sexier. I also liked the other characters, in how bitchy they were. They're those girls who you look at and roll your eyes, but can't help but be glued to their drama and cluelessness. Some of them surprise you in great ways, like Bridget. 

I've read a book by Megan McCafferty before, Bumped. While that is a totally different book. But with this, I am completely sold on her. I believe this was her debut novel, and I can see why it made her well known. She has this knack for writing teenage life extremely well, and creating unforgettable characters that become standard. She makes such a great cast of characters, along with a story that takes you on a complete emotional roller coaster. In my opinion, she's up there with Sarah Dessen in the Best Contemporary Authors list. Megan, you officially have my full and total fandom :).

I'll next be reviewing The Sisters Club by Megan McDonald.

Until next time, viva la literature!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Currently Reading #3

Salutations! With my last book review, my last Currently Reading list came to a close. It's time to start a new one. And with that, here it is!

This list's theme is Contemporary YA. For those who don't know, contemporary means that the book is realistic. That means no paranormal elements, nothing out of the ordinary. It's just realistic characters dealing with realistic issues all in a realistic setting and time. Here are the books I will be reading during this list:

1. Sloppy Firsts (Jessica Darling #1) - Megan McCafferty

2. The Sisters Club (Sisters Club #1) - Megan McDonald
3. Hidden Gem- India Lee
4. Epic Fail - Claire LaZebnik
5. Will Grayson, Will Grayson - John Green and David Levithan
6. Five Flavors of Dumb - Antony John
7. Sister Mischief - Laura Goode
8. The CoolKids - Ramsey Dean

So that's what I will be reading now and in the near future. Can't wait to review these books! 

Until next time, viva la literature!

Review #63: FM for Murder by Patricia Rockwell

Hey everyone! Have another review for y'all tonight. It'll be brief, because I couldn't finish the book xD.

FM for Murder is the second in the Pamela Barnes Acoustic Murders series by Patricia Rockwell. A popular radio DJ was murdered on air, while many were listening. Pamela is asked to listen to a recording of the show in order to figure out who the culprit is. Meanwhile Pamela deals with her disapproving yet loving husband, her daughter, colleagues, etc. 

For my review of the first book, Sounds of Murder, click here 

I just, I couldn't bring myself to continue this novel, I can't finish something I am not enjoying. The story was very boring, and the every other chapter flashbacks became extremely annoying. I could predict a plot twist from the beginning, which I despise doing. 

Pamela was flat, while sort of likeable. Her husband, Rocky, became repetitive and as bland as a beige towel. The only character I was really invested in was Angela, Pam's daughter. 

I just can't believe that the first book was so good, and this one just isn't. I hope Ms. Rockwell starts another series, and that it is consistently good. Hopefully.

And that ends my last Currently Reading list. I'll be posting my new one very soon. Check it out to see the next book I'll be reviewing!

Until next time, viva la literature!

Review #62: A Tale of Two Goblins by H.P. Mallory

Hello hello hello! I hope the week has been treating everyone well. :)

I have a bit of sad news. I've decided to stop doing In My Mailbox. I know I've only done 3, but to be frank, it just takes too much time.Hunting down the links to each and every book every week is extremely time consuming. I know I could do a vlog, but I don't feel like whipping out my laptop every Sunday to show you the books on my Nook. Now you can call me lazy, whatever you choose. But with my schedule, I have to shelf IMM on this blog for a while. I'll possibly/probably reinstate it later on when my schedule lets up. But for now, I must discontinue this feature. I hope y'all understand. 

Now onto the book review!

A Tale of Two Goblins is the second in the Dulcie O'Neil series by H.P. Mallory. Dulcie assists her sexy boss/partner Knight Vander in a case involving people suddenly falling into a coma, slowly dying. Dulcie starts contemplating who is committing this crime slowly, until her best friend Sam becomes a victim. Now Dulcie must race against the clock to save her best friend, and protect those she loves from a monster out to get revenge on her. 

On a brief side note, H.P. Mallory's hosting a contest to be a character in this series' third book, Great Hexpectations. If you want to enter the contest, click here

If you want to read my review of the first book, To Kill a Warlock, click here

I liked this book a lot. It was a great installment in a great series. It was fast paced, well written, and just plain fun. Although I didn't really enjoy the sudden serious moment near the end, I still love it. The idea of people being hurt/killed in your dreams isn't a new concept, but I like Mallory's take on it. Plus the banter between the characters, especially Dulcie and Bram, was fantastic. The winking side plot of Dulcie writing a Paranormal book was great, an in thing that was deeply enjoyable.

Dulcie is a great character, that thankfully hasn't changed. She's still kick ass and sarcastic and all around awesome. I love that you get to see a more vulnerable side to her, as well as how she will literally do anything to save/protect those she loves (case in point that one part near the end that I didn't like). She grows a lot and makes mistakes, while owning up to them and moving on. I wish Sam was in the book more, but I can understand why she wasn't, as she was the real catalyst for the story. Knight was sexy as ever, although he did pursue Dulcie a bit too hardcore for my taste, he was still sexy and fabulous. I love his chemistry with Dulcie, and their banter is great to read, since it oozes chemistry and sexual tension. I love how Quillan was brought back, although not as much as I'd have liked. I loved every scene with him in it. And of course Bram, who has become one of my favorite Dulcieverse characters. He reminds me a lot of Jean-Claude from the Anita Blake series, only slightly toned down, but still fun and witty. I really loved his scenes and his banter with Dulcie, by far my favorite scenes. 

H.P. is a fantastic author. She builds upon the world she's created well, writes great characters (<3 Bram), and has a fluid, well done writing style. I can't wait for more books from her!

I'll next be reviewing FM for Murder by Patricia Rockwell.

Until next time, viva la literature!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Review #61: The Mage in Black by Jaye Wells

Ciao everyone! I hope this day was filled with remembrance for those who lost their lives, and how 10 years ago, our country changed. I honestly can't believe that it was the 10th anniversary of 9/11 mere minutes ago. O.O Anyway, yes yesterday (it's past midnight here) was sad, and filled with memories, but we must move on, as our loved ones would want. This review will not disappoint. Just to let you know, I'll be doing my IMM for this week tomorrow. It's just too late for me to hunt down the links on Goodreads and put the post together tonight. I'm sorry. But I promise tomorrow the post will be filled with amazing books! :) So without further ado, here it is!: 

The Mage in Black is the second book in the Sabina Kane series by Jaye Wells. Sabina has just betrayed the only "family" she's ever known, while being betrayed by her actual family, her grandmother and head of the vampires. She heads to NY to meet her long lost twin sister, along with Adam the sexy mage, and Giguhl, her demon familiar/minion. While there, our intrepid hero becomes engrossed in Mage politics, learns more about her family, embraces and expands her mage powers, and more! But the tensions between the races are mounting, and Sabina finds she is in the middle of it all.

For my review of the first book, Red Headed Stepchild, click here

It's official, I'm in love with this series. Truly, I am. It is one of the best series out there, possibly one of my favorite series of all time. Yup, over the course of two books, Jaye Wells has enchanted me and enthralled me, making me adore and worship her sick skills as an author. I mean it, this is probably one of the most well written, amazing series' out there, also one of the best vampire series. Anyone can read, and love it. 

This story was fantastic. It starts off fairly slow (well as slow as it can get for Sabina Kane), and gradually builds up to the brilliant action-y ending, making you want more. You keep reading, loving the details, the path the story takes. Plus this book is hilarious. I could not stop laughing at certain points. I know that the Stephanie Plum novels are funny, and they are. But I admit it freely that this series is even funnier, especially since about vampires, mages, etc. I literally had to stifle a laugh while reading before class. New characters are added into the mix, and well done too. You are brought into the narrative from line one, page one.

Sabina is amazing. She's that kick-ass older sister you always want. Protective, sarcastic, snarky and cynical. She has a lot of inner demons (no pun intended) to work out, but that makes you love her even more. Plus she's more relatable that way. I mean, no one can relate to a character who's utterly perfect, it just can't happen. You read about Sabina's journey, especially in this one, and can't help but want to help her, be there for her. Adam, well I can't say much, since he was really only in the beginning and end of the novel. I hope there's more of him in the third book, especially because of the way the book ended. More Adam, Jaye Wells! Giguhl was fabulous as always. Snarky and sarcastic, but loyal to Sabina, he makes me fall in love with him even more. I know we're supposed to be team Adam, and I know he'll never be with Sabina, but I am team Giguhl all the way! He is sexy and wonderful. I would love a Giguhl in real life. He grows a lot more in this one. You see a vulnerable side, which makes him even sexier. New characters like Maisie are fascinating. Maisie is the polar opposite of Sabina. She was raised by their mage grandmother, and to see how different she is from Sabina truly is fascinating. Plus she has her moments where you see that she really is the twin sister of Sabina Kane. I loved Maisie, can't which is why the ending made my gut wrench. Rhea was fantastic, I loved her. She's Adam's mother, so there's a connection. But she stands out on her own. I love how she handles Sabina. My god, she is fantastic. Others like Slade, Orpheus, etc are just fun, although I wanted to smack Orpheus numerous times, he was still fun in a little way.

Ms. Wells has quickly become of of my all time favorite authors. Ms. Wells, if you somehow stumble across this review, let me say I am officially a massive fan. You have created such a unique, fascinating, and rich world that is so spellbinding, you can't help but love it. Your characters are so rich and interesting, loveable, hateable, all the good things characters should be. You are a extremely talented author, and I can not wait to see more from you, as well as continuing this wonderful confection of a series.

As you can tell, I love this book, it is excellent in the best sense of the word. Anyone can read it, if fact, READ THIS SERIES!!! STAT!!!!!

I'll next be reviewing A Tale of Two Goblins by H.P. Mallory

Until next time, viva la literature! 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Review #60: The Secret Prince by Violet Haberdasher

Salutations my lovely, fantabulous people! Hope the weekend is treating y'all well! :) Anyway, lets get the gushing on!

The Secret Prince is the second installment in the Knightley Academy series by Violet Haberdasher, aka Robyn Schneider (seriously, look her up on youtube, she is fantastic!). Henry and his friends are back at the academy, but their troubles are far from over. With friendship issues, finding new friends/allies in the strangest of places, and the incoming trouble from the Nordlands, Henry and the Knightley crew have a lot to deal with. The growing tensions in the Nordlands, Henry decides to sneak over with a compatriot, but ends up getting stuck with some others. Will they find a way out? 

It seems I haven't reviewed Knightley Academy on here, I must do so one day, probably as a re-read (ooh that sounds like a good blog feature!). 

Ok, I hate to be a git right now, but I have to say this, so get ready for a rant of semi epic proportions (with lots of all caps rage):

Ok, I have to say it, THIS IS NOTHING LIKE HARRY POTTER! GET THAT INTO YOUR HEADS, THOSE WHO THINK THAT! UGH!!!! Ok I'm fine. So I was with my friend on the way to his birthday party, and I was telling him about Knightley Academy. I pulled out my Nook so I could read him the synopsis. He mentioned offhandedly that it sounded like Harry Potter (insert rolling eyes here). I told him it was nothing like it, especially since THERE'S NO MAGIC. Then I went to the reader reviews, and one person mentioned that it was like HP in a good way. Fine, I'll give it to her because she was positive, but honestly, when she was comparing the names from both books, I wanted to vomit. I'm sorry, but the characters are nothing like each other (especially one connection she made. Seriously I wanted to scream). Ok one of the characters is similar, maybe a couple more, but that's it. Yes, both main characters are orphans, and aspire to more, but that's where the similarities stop. I am so sick of people comparing this to Harry Potter, it's NOT anything like HP. X_X *Headdesk*. Ok, rant over.

Anyway, the story was BRILLIANT! I am in love with Robyn Schneider's writing, I really am. The story was smooth, enjoyable, and kept me guessing and continually shocked. Especially that library scene. Holy crap, me eyes went huge like this: O.O. This whole story took me for a roller coaster ride,and Haberdasher/Schneider didn't let me off the coaster until the end, leaving me wanting more. This book is truly addictive. Yeah the action doesn't really happen until the second half, but the first half builds up to it extremely well. 

Henry is still fantasmagorical. All the characters in general develop well, and Henry is no exception. He goes through so much, you become so attached and feel so much for this fictional boy. He's like the little brother I never had. Frankie still rocked, although I wish she was more in the book, perhaps the 3rd one. I love her snark and wit, and those little moments of vulnerability which show she isn't all snark and bravado. Adam also had more depth, and I loved learning more about his past. He still retained his sense of humor, which is always great. Rohan, well I thought he was kind of a butthead in this one. He isn't as prominently featured, but when he was he seemed extremely elitist and alienating. Valmont, man did he surprise me. I mean that, he became one of my favorite over the course of reading this book. Who knew, huh? Another character shocked me as well, but you'll have to make it to the end to know who ;). 

Haberdasher continues to engross me in her books. The writing is superb, the expansion of the world she created is fantastic. All in all she is beyond talented.

If you've read Knightley Academy, pick this up. If you haven't read this series, you should! It is utterly brilliant.

I'll next be reviewing The Mage in Black.

Until next time, viva la literature!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Review #59: Hunger by Michael Grant

Hey everyone! This review will be a bit somber, as I feel deeply sad that I couldn't finish it. 

For my review of Gone, click here

Hunger is the second novel in the Gone series by Michael Grant. Sam and the gang are running the town, but food had run out, and people are becoming murderous. Caine and Drake are still problems, but the Darkness is rising, and everyone will have to work together to stop it. 

I wanted to like this book. I really truly did. The first book was pure genius, a literary masterpiece. But after 3 chapters, I got bored. I hate that I can't get into this book, because I'm now a huge fan of Michael Grant. But plot felt meh, and I just could not keep up interest.

I know I will one day revisit this book, and hopefully gain as much devotion as I have to Gone. I hope that time is soon. But for now, I put this book down with great melancholy. 

I will next review The Secret Prince. 

Until next time, viva la literature!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Review #58: Fins are Forever by Tera Lynn Childs

Salutations my lovely and wonderful friends! Have another review for ya, since this book was so short. 

For my review of Forgive my Fins, click here.

Fins are Forever is the second in the Fins series. Lily's 18th birthday nears, and once it turns midnight on that day, she will sign her royal claim away to be with the boy she loves. All of a sudden, her human-hating cousin Dosinia shows up at her door in "terraped" (aka human) form. She has been exiled and sent to Lily to learn to love humans. As Lily gives Doe the crash course, Doe bats her eyes at Lily's former crush, Brody. Lily also meets a childhood friend, Tellin, again. Caught between love and duty, Lily must choose where her future lies, on land or in the sea. 

Honestly, this book was meh. It was alright, and I wished it was better. I anticipated this book with such vigor. Forgive my Fins was such a beautiful and funny book. I was hoping this installment would be even better than FMF. But the story was just so.....ehhhh. It went by so quickly, I think the whole book took place over the course of a week. Plus it all just ends too neatly. I won't give away what happens, but it all was too cleaned up. I mean, it felt gift wrapped and presented on a silver platter, with a prettyful bow on top. I'm all for a happy ending, but it felt rushed and well, I know I'm repeating myself, but too happy. 

Lily was still great as a character, although I didn't see much growth. She remained the same, with little growth whatsoever. Quince seemed to devolve a little into a jealous jerk. Brody matured a little bit, but not by much. All the characters felt one note and cardboard-y. Plus it also felt like a formulaic re-visitation of FMF. 

I'm sorry, but Childs' writing has not evolved. I still love her writing, but it didn't change from FmF to FAF. I wish it did. 

If there's a third book, I hope it gets better, because I love this series, and would hate to see it end on such a meh note. 

I'll next be reviewing Hunger by Michael Grant. 

Until next time, viva la literature!

Review #57: Throne of fire by Rick Riordan

Hello hello everyone! Hope this week is going well for ya. Have a book review, so lets get started! 

Throne of fire is the second book in the Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan. Carter and Sadie have been teaching their new recruits for a few months, but now class is over, and the final exam has come in the form of Apophis attempting to break out of his prison and destroy the world. Carter and Sadie must bring together their recruits and everyone they know to save the world once again.

If you would like to read my review of The Red Pyramid, click here.

I love this book, a great follow up. While yes, it did seem a bit formulaic at times, that was few and far between. The story was fast paced, exciting, and fun. There was a bit more romance, but it didn't really bother me. 

Carter and Sadie showed some real growth, which I loved. They both matured and learned from everything that happened, while retaining their true selves and keeping their wits and styles. Sadie is still hilarious and deadpan, while Carter is still sensitive and kick butt. Zia was a bit different, but with  Bast is still a great character as well, although she wasn't in the novel much at all, which was greatly disappointing. Although, her replacement was just as awesome and fantastic. Which brings me to the host of new characters added in this novel. Walt and Jaz were great, though Walt was more developed, especially since Jaz is basically MIA for most of the book. Walt was a great addition, and I quickly became attached to him. His story made me cry at times, it was so beautifully sad. Bes, Bast's replacement, was kick-butt. He was funny and awesome, especially at the end, where I almost cried out in agony at what he did for Carter and Sadie. Apophis, and Vlad were super frightening. The whole time I had such a scary, ominous feeling from them that made me jump. 

Riordan never disappoints. He is such a fantastic writer, I am behind him 100%. His style is still tight and descriptive, keeping the characters constantly growing, never stunted. He pulls you in and keeps his world ever expanding. 

If you loved the first novel, you'll love this.

I'll next be reviewing Fins are Forever.

Until next time, viva la literature!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

In My Mailbox #3

Greetings my spectacular friends! I hope your weekends were filled with fun and good cheer :). Got my IMM for this week. Here we go!

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by the fantastic Kristi, aka The Story Siren. Here are my books from this week:

1. The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June - Robin Benway
2. Thunder in the Morning Calm - Don Brown
3. Unnatural (Archangel Academy #1) - Michael Griffo
4. The Fixer (Lawson the Fixer #1) - Jon F. Merz
5. Unholy Ghosts (Downside Ghosts #1) - Stacia Kane
6. Craved (Gwen Sparks #1) - Stephanie Nelson
7. Vampire Vacation (The VV Inn #1) - C.J. Ellisson
8. Descended by Blood (A Vampire Born #1) - Angeline Kace
9. First Frost (Mythos Academy #0.5) - Jennifer Estep
10. Deep Blue Secret (The Water Keepers #1) - Christie Anderson
11. Never Buried (Leigh Koslow Mysteries #1) - Edie Claire
12. Lovely - Alison Liddelle
13. Mama Does Time (Mace Baur #1) - Deborah Sharp
14. The Murder at the Vicarage (Miss Marple #1) - Agatha Christie
15. Love's Magic - Traci Hall
16. The Cruelest Cut - Rick Reed
17. Stars Collide (Backstage Pass #1) - Janice Thompson
18. Scared Stiff (Mattie Winston #2) - Annelise Ryan
19. Sweetwater American - Eileen Cruz Coleman
20. Rumpel - Eileen Cruz Coleman
21. 33 A.D - David McAfee
22. Mr. Bradley and the Amazing Smoke Giant - Andrew Augustine
23. Snapdragon Alley - Tom Lichtenberg
24. The League of Freaks and the Secret Key - Alberto Hazan
25. Call of the Herald (The Dawning of Power #1) - Brian Rathbone
26. Inherited Danger (The Dawning of Power #2) - Brian Rathbone
27. The Amulet (Custodian #1) - Alison Pensy
28. Worlds Unseen (The Seventh World #1) - Rachel Starr Thompson
29. Where the Sky Ends - Gloria Piper
30. Silent Hero - Christine E. Shulze
31. A Secreat Lost (Kid Combat #1) - Christopher Helwink
32. The Heist of Spring Road Toys (Kid Combat #2) - Christopher Helwink
33. Jones Strikes Back (Kid Combat #3) - Christoper Helwink
34. The Stone of Cuore - Stephen I. Carmer
35. Colin and the Rise of the House of Horwood - Michael Eadie
36. Will Grayson, Will Grayson - John Green and David Levithan
37. Death Whispers (Death #1) - Tamara Rose Blodgett
38. Scepter of the Agents (Skulduggery Pleasant #1) - Derek Landy
39. Flowers for Algernon - Daniel Keyes
40. Once a Princess (Sasharia En Garde! #1) - Sherwood Smith
41. Divine Intervention - Cheryl Kaye Tardiff
42. Gotcha! - Christie Craig
43. Fire and Ice (Liam Campbell #1) - Dana Stabenow
44. A Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy #1) - Jennifer Estep

Wow, I think that's my record for the number of books in a week. O.O That's a lot. Maybe there's something there you might like. Never be afraid to try a book outside of your comfort zone! 

I am still reading Throne of Fire, and will be reviewing it soon.

Until next time, viva la literature!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Review #56: Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter

Salutations comrades! I hope this Friday was a happy one! :) Anyway onto the literature! :)

Uncommon Criminals is the second book in Ally Carter's Heist Society series. If you'd like to see my review of the first book, click here. In this installment, Katarina Bishop is back in the thieving world for good, but doing it Kat style. Until she gets hired to steal something that is impossible to steal, something rumored to be cursed: The Cleopatra Emerald (dun dun DUNNNN). But this job has more intricacies, betrayals, and shocks than Kat has ever dealt with. Soon, Kat realizes this time, she has to make the rules as she goes along.

I LOVE this book. It is such s great sequel to HS. Even better, I say! I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, which makes a great adventure novel. This book hooks you at the instant you read the first sentence. And the twists, the ending! Oh my god, you never see any of it coming, and the shock is just wonderful and lovely. I was almost inconsolable as this book came to it's close, as if I was on the best roller coaster ever, and I finally came down. The character development was consistent, which was great.

Kat is still kicking butt in this book. Still proving to adults that kids can be just as, if not more cunning and intelligent. I loved seeing the parallel between the heist and her personal life, watching her learn her latest lesson. I'm glad she resolved her issues with her family and friends. I loved watching her grow up and change, which all books should do concerning character development. Which brings me to Hale. Hale is still fantastic and crush-worthy, although a bit moodier and less in the novel. The villain was fantastic, brilliantly villainy, in the best sense possible. All your favorite characters, like Simon, the Bahgshaws, and Gabrielle returned, back and better than ever. 

Carter has such a way with words, even making me like her 3rd person POV. She is so talented, the light is blinding! I love how she kept her characters interesting, developing without becoming one dimensional. The story flowed well, weaving a great heist story with juicy relationship/family drama and a dash of romance.

Fans of Heist Society will love this sequel.

I'll next be reviewing Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan. 

Until next time, viva la literature!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Currently Reading #1

Salutations comrades! We have come to the end of another Currently Reading list. It is time for the next one. This list's theme is Sequel Madness! This list will feature sequels to books past read. Will they live up to snuff? Be on par with their predecessors? We shall see! Without further ado, here are the books in list 3:

1. Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society #2) - Ally Carter
2. Throne of Fire (Kane Chronicles #2) - Rick Riordan
3. Fins are Forever (Fins #2) - Tera Lynn Childs
4. Hunger (Gone #2) - Michael Grant
5. The Secret Prince (Knightley Academy #2) - Violet Haberdasher
6. The Mage in Black (Sabina Kane #2) - Jaye Wells
7. A Tale of Two Goblins (Dulcie O'Neill #2) - H.P. Mallory
8. FM for Murder (Pamela Barnes Acoustic Mysteries #2) - Patricia Rockwell

Well that's this time's list! Can't wait to dive in! :)

Until next time, viva la literature!

Review #55: Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

Greetings my gorgeous comrades! Damn, I just noticed I have posted so much this week. Wow! I must warn that posting might be more infrequent, as I'm starting up school again. I shall roll with the punches as life goes on. But anyway, lets talk literature! 

Nevermore is the first in a series by Kelly Creagh. Isobel is a junior in High School, a typical blonde cheerleader who hangs with the popular crowd. She gets paired up with Varen Nethers, a goth student who she would rather eat nails than work with. They must do a project on a dead author due Halloween, also the day of the highly anticipated rival game. As Isobel and Varen work on the project, they start getting closer, Isobel abandoning her friends to be with him. She becomes fascinated after sneaking a glimpse of his notebook. As time goes on, both fall in love, deeply, passionately. But Varen is steadily being pulled away into a dangerous dream world, and only Isobel can save him.

I had such high expectations of this book. After seeing great reviews, having it's praises sung so high, I was itching to read this. Sadly, it fell short a few notches. I found myself skipping pages, almost wanting to skip chapters. The story just didn't live up to snuff for me. I was bored quite easily at times. I do give credit to Kelly for using Poe as the basis for a YA Paranormal Romance. I mean, using Poe's stories, and the Poe Toaster! Being a fan of Poe, I was excited. It was a unique concept, and I do adore the dream world she created, that beautiful, frightening dream world. But I was just bored by the story itself. You should be engrossed while reading, not bored.

Isobel was a cool character. I do love when a character starts out one way, and gradually as the story goes on that character is more that what they seemed. She stood up for what she believed in, never faltering once, even if that meant losing her friends and social standing. Varen was great as well, just a really cool character/love interest. I do have a gripe, I didn't feel their romance so much. It moved soo slowly, too slowly. I know love doesn't happen fast, but this was at a snail pace. Brad, well he was an arse, a grade A one. I wanted to smack him and bring him to reality. Gah, I hate such maliciousness and ignorance. Gwen was awesome, especially since we're both New Yorkers :). Reynolds is one of my favorites, smugness and all. He was mysterious and grabbed my favor as soon as he appeared.

Again, kudos to Creagh for using an original concept for YA. I adored her dream world, wanting to get lost in it. Something I dislike is 3rd person POV, unless it is done really well, which I don't find often. This 3rd person fell flat. I would have loved to see Isobel's thoughts in 1st person, it would have been much better, at least to me. 

Overall, this book was decent. I'll read what happens next, to see what happens to Isobel and Varen. Hopefully Ms. Creagh will improve, and win my full favor.

I will be reviewing Uncommon Criminals next.

Until next time, viva la literature!