Thursday, May 31, 2012

Review: Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

Something Like Normal
By: Trish Doller
Pub. Date: June 19, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's
Pages: 224
Source: ARC
When Travis returns home from a stint in Afghanistan, his parents are splitting up, his brother’s stolen his girlfriend and his car, and he’s haunted by nightmares of his best friend’s death. It’s not until Travis runs into Harper, a girl he’s had a rocky relationship with since middle school, that life actually starts looking up. And as he and Harper see more of each other, he begins to pick his way through the minefield of family problems and post-traumatic stress to the possibility of a life that might resemble normal again. Travis’s dry sense of humor, and incredible sense of honor, make him an irresistible and eminently lovable hero.
Something Like Normal is a short read, but packs a lot of emotion. There is so much heart and I loved that it was in the POV of a 19 year old Marine. Trevor is home for one month on leave from Afghanistan and has three more years of active duty. He watched his best friend, Charlie get killed and now suffers from nightmares. The last place that he wants to be is home, with his father who he can't stand and who can't stand him, his mother who has been so worried about him, that she couldn't deal with anything else but him while he was away, and his brother who stole his girlfriend while he was gone.

I loved Trevor. He was a normal teenager and his voice was so realistic. I absolutely loved getting to know him. He really was dealing with a lot, but refused to talk about it. Knowing his inner thoughts made me realize how hard it is for young men to come home after being at war, and trying to live a normal life. Trevor was always looking for bombs and couldn't deal with loud noises. It was so hard to read, but was something that needed to be read.

I loved Trevor's love interest, Harper. She had the best comebacks and could definitely hold her own! I think that Harper saved Trevor and I was so happy that they found each other and was able to move on from their shared pasts.

The first 50 pages or so was a little slow for me, but then the rest of the story just flew by. I was so amazed at the writing and was intrigued by the story. I am so happy that I got the opportunity to read this story early and I would definitely recommend picking up this book when it hits bookstores on June 19th! 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Review: Fallen in Love by Lauren Kate

Fallen in Love
(Fallen # 3.5)
By: Lauren Kate
Pub. Date: January 24, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 256
Source: Netgalley
What makes your heart race a little faster? Just in time for Valentine's Day, it's FALLEN IN LOVE, four wholly original new stories collected in a new novel set in the Middle Ages by Lauren Kate. FALLEN IN LOVE gives fans the much-talked about but never-revealed stories of FALLEN characters as they intertwine with the epic love story of Luce and Daniel. The stories include: Love Where You Least Expect It: The Valentine of Shelby and Miles , Love Lessons: The Valentine of Roland; Burning Love: The Valentine of Arriane; and Endless Love: The Valentine of Daniel and Lucinda.
I'll be honest, I am not the biggest fan of the Fallen series, but when I heard about Fallen in Love, I thought it would be a really cute story for Valentine's Day and when I saw it on netgalley, I requested it right away. Fallen in Love consistes of four short stories based on some of our favorite characters. I thought each story showed the characters in a different light and I enjoyed seeing them that way.

Love Where You Least Expect It: The Valentine of Shelby and Miles

Shelby and Miles story was the first story in the book. I was always a fan of both Shelby and Miles, so I enjoyed reading their story. It was also my favorite one. It was so
sweet, and I absolutely loved the ending. I wonder if this will play out at all in the forth book.

Love Lessons: The Valentine of Roland

Roland has also been another favorite of mine, and it was interesting to see this other side of him. He is usually such a fun guy, and to see this other personality was heartbreaking. His story was realistic and honest.

Burning Love: The Valentine of Arriane

Whoa! Talk about a forbidden romance! This story was also very sad, and I did not like the ending, though I did understand it. Arriane was always an interesting character, and I feel I know her a lot better now.

Endless Love: The Valentine of Daniel and Lucinda

The last story in the novel is about our favorite couple, Daniel and the Lucinda from the past. The whole novel is setting up for the two of them to finally get together on Valentine's Day and it was sweet that it finally happened.

Fallen in Love in a quick read with good pacing. The only story that will really change something in the fourth book was Shelby's and Miles story. I kind of wished that the other stories would have played a bigger part in the series, but for what it is, Fallen in Love is the perfect book to read if you are looking for sweet Valentine's Day love stories.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Review: Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson

Flirting In Italian
By: Lauren Henderson
Pub. Date: June 12, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pages: 320
Source: Netgalley
Four girls. One magical, and possibly dangerous Italian summer. Family mysteries, ancient castles, long hot nights of dancing under the stars . . . and, of course, plenty of gorgeous Italian boys!

I thought this book was going to have so much potential and I was very excited to be able to read it early, but sadly, I was very disappointed. I think this book would have been perfect if it was a stand alone-instead it is part of a series. Everything was dragged on and by the time you reached the end, you are no closer to the mystery of finding out who Violet is then you were in the beginning.

See, Violet finds out that she is the exact replica of this girl in a painting from the 1700's. Violet decides to go to Italy to investigate and to figure out who she really is. She joins a summer program where she will be able to learn about the family she might come from and also to learn Italian.

One thing I did enjoy was the history of who Violet really was. But as I said, the author makes you buy the second book to find out the mystery. I didn't connect to the characters, in fact, I couldn't stand Luca, the boy Violet had a crush on (and who might be a distant cousin of hers!?!). Luca annoyed me. One minute he was sweet, the next he was being a jerk. The entire book was Violet trying to figure out her feelings for him.

I did enjoyed the setting. I think Henderson did a good job describing Italy, and I felt like I was there. I wish I was! I thought it was very brave that Violet decided to go on this journey to find out where she came from. I wish I had the balls to do something like that!

I do think a lot of people will enjoy Flirting in Italian, but it just wasn't for me.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

In My Mailbox (47)

In My Mailbox (IMM) is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.

Last Rite - Lisa Desrochers 
Goddess Interrupted - Aimée Carter (My review!)

Pushing The Limits - Katie McGarry (via netgalley) 
The Goddess Legacy - Aimée Carter (via netgalley)

I already read Pushing The Limits and it is easily one of my favorite books of 2012! The Goddess Legacy was also very good and a perfect addition to the series! 

I read ReVamped a few months ago and the very awesome Ada Adams sent me a signed book as well as goodies to give away! 

What did you get in your mailbox? Leave me your link in the comments section so I can check it out! 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Review: The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg

The Lonely Hearts Club
By: Elizabeth Eulberg
Pub. Date: December 29, 2009
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages:  290
Source: Bought
Love is all you need... or is it? Penny's about to find out in this wonderful debut.

Penny is sick of boys and sick of dating. So she vows: no more. It's a personal choice...and, of course, soon everyone wants to know about it. And a few other girls are inspired. A movement is born: The Lonely Hearts Club (named after the band from Sgt. Pepper). Penny is suddenly known for her nondating ways . . . which is too bad, because there's this certain boy she can't help but like. . . .
My best friend has been telling me to read The Lonely Hearts Club for years. She said I will love it, especially being the big Beatles fan that I am. I just never got around to reading it, until I read Take A Bow. After reading that I knew I had to read Elizabeth Eulberg's other work, and I was not disappointed with The Lonely Hearts Club at all.

Penny has been hurt way to many time by stupid high school boys. One day she decides to start "The Lonely Hearts Club". Member: 1. What begins as Penny's way to stop herself from hurting by swearing off dating until she graduates turns into a movement that all of the high school girls want to join.

I really liked Penny. Despite being cheated on and treated like crap by guys and so-called friends, she is still trustworthy and loyal. Penny's best friend is Tracey, who I absolutely loved. She had this confidence and attitude about her that I just loved and respected. I also like how protective she was of Penny when Penny's former best friend, Diane (who stopped being her friend when she got a boyfriend), came back into the picture. Diane was someone that I wasn't sure if I could trust, but she definitely wanted to atone for what she did and I respected her for it. I loved watching all of these girls gain the confidence they needed to be their own person and not let others rule their life.

While "The Lonely Hearts Club" becomes bigger and bigger, Penny starts to get romantic feelings for Ryan, a boy she was always friends with, but was never available. I loved Ryan! He was so sweet and patient. There is nothing hotter then the popular boy being a total sweetheart!

There were so many things that I loved about The Lonely Hearts Club. I thought the characters were so realistic and I loved the relationships between Penny and Tracey, Diane and Ryan. I also LOVED all of The Beatles references and it even got me into the mood to listen to some of their songs while reading.

I definitely recommend reading The Lonely Hearts Club. It was a cute, fun and quick read with a great message! I can't wait to read Prom & Prejudice, another Eulberg book that I must read asap!

I was lucky enough to meet Eulberg at Teen Book Con this year. She was a total sweetheart and I loved how she signed my copy of The Lonely Hearts Club

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cover Reveal: Audition & Subtraction

Here is the cover for Audition & Subtraction by Amy Fellner Dominy! How cute is this cover?

For as long as Tatum can remember it’s been:

Tatum + Lori = Best friends

They do everything together, including a yearly clarinet/flute duet for District Honor Band auditions. But when a new boy transfers to their middle school and their band, the equation suddenly changes to:

Lori + Michael – Tatum = One happy couple

With her best friend slipping away and her parents recently separated, Tatum’s life has turned upside down. Plus her good friend Aaron thinks that they are secretly boyfriend and girlfriend, all because of one little lie Tatum told. Accepting change isn’t easy for Tatum, but just how much is she willing to give up to hold on to her friendship with Lori and life as she knows it? For Tatum, the best way to move forward may require a whole new formula . . . 

Excerpt from Audition & Subtraction:

Mr. Wayne pointed to where we stood. “Tatum also plays clarinet, and Lori is our principal flute.” We both sort of nodded, and Michael smiled, his sunglasses reflecting back my face for a second before moving to Lori. His smile widened, and she shuffled from one foot to the other. I was still half behind her, and I tapped her with my shoulder.
Loser, right? my shoulder nudge said.

She didn’t nudge back.

About the Author:

Amy Fellner Dominy is the author of OyMG. She worked as a copywriter in the advertising business for twenty years before leaving to earn her MFA as a playwright. Her plays for adults and children have been staged in various cities around the country. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with her husband and two teenage children.

Want to win a copy of Audition & Subtraction?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar
(Steampunk Chronicles # 2)
By: Kady Cross
Pub. Date: May 22, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 304
Source: Netgalley
In New York City, 1897, life has never been more thrilling - or dangerous.

Sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne and her "straynge band of mysfits" have journeyed from London to America to rescue their friend Jasper, hauled off by bounty hunters. But Jasper is in the clutches of a devious former friend demanding a trade-the dangerous device Jasper stole from him...for the life of the girl Jasper loves.

One false move from Jasper and the strange clockwork collar around Mei's neck tightens. And tightens.
The Girl in the Steel Corset was one of my favorite books of 2011, and it's wonderful follow up, The Girl in the Clockwork Collar did not disappoint! Set in an alternate steampunk 1897 New York City, this book has action, romance, awesome characters, and a fast-paced plot!

The book picks up right where the first one left off-with the gang heading to NYC to save their friend, Jasper. One of my favorite things about this book was the change in setting. Don't get me wrong, I loved London, but New York is my hometown, and I am always excited when books are set there! While in New York, we get to meet a few new characters, including bad boy, Dalton and Jasper's love, Mei.

We didn't get to learn that much about Jasper in the first book, but I was always intrigued by him. After Clockwork Collar,  I feel like I know him a lot more and I loved learning his backstory! I always had a special place for Jasper, but now I love him even more.

Finley, Griffin, Sam and Emily are also there, but I felt that there stories took a back seat to the Jasper and Mei plot. I would have loved to see more scenes of Sam and Emily. Griffin, who I absolutely adored in the first book, is a little bit more guarded and insecure in this one. He comes to terms with his feelings for Finley, but she keeps putting herself in these dangerous situations, causing Griffin to freak out, which was always cute and kind of funny.

Finley was still as kick-ass as she has always been but she is still dealing with the two different sides of her. I think she figures out a way to merge the two by the end. She really has a sense of who she is now and I love that!

Overall, a really awesome read! I can't wait to see what situations these characters can get into next!  

Monday, May 21, 2012

Review: Night Sky by Jolene Perry

Night Sky
By: Jolene Perry
Pub. Date: March 1, 2012
Publisher: Tribute Books
Source: Publisher
After losing Sarah, the friend he’s loved, to some other guy, Jameson meets Sky. Her Native American roots, fluid movements, and need for brutal honesty become addictive fast. This is good. Jameson needs distraction – his dad leaves for another woman, his mom’s walking around like a zombie, and Sarah’s new boyfriend can’t keep his hands off of her. 

As he spends time with Sky and learns about her village, her totems, and her friends with drums - she's way more than distraction. Jameson's falling for her fast. 

But Sky’s need for honesty somehow doesn’t extend to her life story – and Jameson just may need more than his new girl to keep him distracted from the disaster of his senior. 

Night Sky is a very realistic read about a 17 year old boy named Jameson as he deals with family and first love. Jolene Perry is a very talented writer and should definitely be praised on her ability to accurately portray a male character whose voice is full of heart and realism. I absolutely loved this male POV in Night Sky.

On the night that Jay's loses the girl he has been in love with for years to the popular guy in school, Jay doesn't think he will ever be the same. That changes when he meets Sky for the first time and offers her a ride home.

Jay was a great male lead. I loved watching him grow throughout the story. He has great parents and great friends, and he starts this friendship with Sky that was so honest, I couldn't help but root for them.  He was dealing with some very normal teenage things like watching the girl he loves be with someone else and watching his parents marriage crumble. I just loved everything about Jay. There wasn't anything that I didn't like about him.

Sky was a very interesting character. She comes from Alaska but is living with her grandparents in Las Vegas while she attends school. Sky makes Jay realize many different things about himself and helps him to grow. Eventually you start to realize that she is keeping some secrets of her own, and her story is truly heartbreaking. I loved how Sky and Jay were there for each other. It was really like they were meant to find each other in the worst times of both of their lives.

I really enjoyed Night Sky. While at times I thought the story was a little slow, I was still interested in what was going on. It was a very sweet read with a nice, feel good ending.  

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Review: Timepiece by Myra McEntire

(Hourglass # 2)
By: Myra McEntire
Pub. Date: June 12, 2012
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Pages: 336
Source: Netgalley
A threat from the past could destroy the future. And the clock is ticking...

Kaleb Ballard's relentless flirting is interrupted when Jack Landers, the man who tried to murder his father, timeslips in and attacks before disappearing just as quickly. But Kaleb has never before been able to see time travelers, unlike many of his friends associated with the mysterious Hourglass organization. Are Kaleb's powers expanding, or is something very wrong?

Then the Hourglass is issued an ultimatum. Either they find Jack and the research he's stolen on the time gene, or time will be altered with devastating results.

Now Kaleb, Emerson, Michael, and the other Hourglass recruits have no choice but to use their unusual powers to find Jack. But where do they even start? And when? And even if they succeed, it may not be enough...

The follow-up to Hourglass, Timepiece blends the paranormal, science fiction, mystery, and suspense genres into a nonstop thrill ride where every second counts.
Last years Hourglass was one of my favorite books of 2011 so I couldn't have been more excited when I saw Timepiece on netgalley. I read it in a few short hours and I could not have been happier with it. Everything that I loved about Hourglass can be found in Timepiece-the southern feel, the awesome characters and the amazing writing.

I had heard that Timepiece is very Kaleb centered and boy is it-the entire story was in his POV! I was not expecting that at all and I loved every single second of it. Kaleb is such a complex character who I adored in Hourglass, and now I was able to see him in a completely different way, which just made me love him even more!

Due to the events in Hourglass, the time space continuum has been compromised and now if Kaleb, Emerson, Michael and the rest of the Hourglass Society do not find Jack in time, someone is going to turn back the clock to when Liam and Michael are dead, and Emerson is basically a vegetable in a mental institution. The clock is running out of time and I had no clue how everything was going to turn out. I was so worried for my favorite characters!

As far as characters go, I love every single one of them, even the bad guys! They are all written to terrifically, it is hard not to feel something for them. There wasn't as much Emerson and Michael as I would have liked, but we did get to see more of Lily, Emerson's best friend who has some powers of her own. I absolutely loved Lily and I think she was the perfect interest for Kaleb. She put him in his place so many times and I loved watching these two form a friendship. Timepiece explores a lot more of Lily's past as well, and that was all very interesting.

Kaleb comes off as the typical strong and silent type who holds all of his emotional pain and deals with it through being an ass and drinking. But there is so much more to him. He is sweet and caring and will do anything and everything possible to protect those he loves. Kaleb is dealing with the fact that his dad, who has been dead for over a year, is back, and his mom who he misses more and more everyday is still in a coma, and is getting worse. The whole time I was just rooting for Kaleb to be alright, he deserves that and so much more! One of my favorite lines in Timepiece shows how adorable Kaleb is:

"You're also as big as a house, tattooed, and pierced. And wearing a black leather jacket"

"Oh, yeah." I'm a bad ass. A bad ass who bakes when he's depressed.

One of my favorite things about Hourglass was the Southern feel of the story. It is set in Tennessee, so the southern charm is definitely there. That charm can still be found in Timepiece and I loved that feeling. The writing was also fantastically done. Myra McEntire has the power to grab you from page 1 and keep you completely invested until the very last word. The story line is also getting more interesting as we dive deeper into the Hourglass society and learn a lot more information about the people involved.

If you haven't read Hourglass, you seriously have no idea what an amazing series you are missing out on. Timepiece is a perfect continuation of the series and I can not wait to see these characters again in book three. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Guest Post: Author Pavarti K. Tyler

Today I have author Pavarti K. Tyler on the blog discussing Women in Islam. She is the author of Two Moons of Sera: Volumes 1 and 2 and Shadow on the Wall

"Behind the Veil: My Experience with Hijab"

Hijab is the headscarf some Muslim women wear.  There is great debate over the need, use and appropriateness of the hijab, which has fueled cultural debate and conflict.  In Islam there is a cultural practice of covering a woman’s hair and neck, this is considered modest dress and the roots of the practice are based in the Qu’ran.  There are multiple surahs (verses) and hadiths (oral histories) which are used to explain the need for men and women to dress modestly.

The specifics of what needs to be covered is controversial.  Some say only the hair must be covered, others say everything but the eyes and hands should be.  From Burquas in Afghanistan to hijabs in France, it seems everyone has an opinion.

In 2001, right after 9/11, I participated in an event called “Sisters for Solidarity.”  The sponsoring group was an interfaith movement for social awareness.  Over 200,000 women in the US donned hijab for Eid Al-Fitr, a celebration that marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

Somewhere in the depths of my basement there is a picture of me with a beautiful red-and-gold scarf covering my hair and neck. For three days in November, 2011, I went to work, the grocery store, church and everywhere else with my hair covered.

I could discuss the political reasons for doing this, or my own religion beliefs, but what I learned during those three days has nothing to do with either. I donned a headscarf for very personal reasons, which I believed deeply and still hold dear.  And every moment I wore it, I felt stronger in my convictions.  Something about a physical declaration of my beliefs was empowering and liberating.

I also felt a part of something.  Other women in hijab would stop, smile and speak with me no matter where we were.  It was a kind of sisterhood I haven’t experienced in other parts of my life.  Even when they found out I wasn’t Muslim, the kind response I received for what I was doing was deeply touching.

Simultaneously, I found the covering very oppressive.  It was hot under there, and kept slipping.  This was probably mostly due to my inexperience, but I found it physically cumbersome and something that needed constant monitoring.  I was also very surprised to find that a number of co-workers with whom I had been close to did not speak with me during the days I was wearing hijab. I received sideways glances on the bus and subway, not the usual smiles and commuter camaraderie I was accustomed to.

There are three female characters in my novel, Shadow on the Wall.  Each has an opinion of and relationship with wearing the hijab.  I pulled on my short experience to inform how I wrote these characters. Rebekah, Darya and Maryam - each of them represents a different archetype of Middle Eastern women.  While it's certainly not an exhaustive representation, the issues of gender and the veil are explored in depth through the course of the story.

What I learned during the Sisters for Solidarity movement - and what I hope Shadow on the Wall conveys - is that covering is a deeply personal experience. Ideally each  woman would be able to decide for herself without the pressures of politics, family or cultural assumptions.  Unfortunately, we don’t live in that world, which is what makes the discussion so volatile.

I’m curious as I move into publishing Shadow on the Wall how readers will feel about these women.  Which will they respond to?  With which will they identify?

Shadow on the Wall Book SummaryRecai Osman: Muslim, philosopher, billionaire and Superhero?

Controversial and daring, Shadow on the Wall details the transformation of Recai Osman from complicated man to Superhero. Forced to witness the cruelty of the Morality Police in his home city of Elih, Turkey, Recai is called upon by the power of the desert to be the vehicle of change. Does he have the strength to answer Allah's call or will his dark past and self doubt stand in his way?

Pulling on his faith in Allah, the friendship of a Jewish father-figure and a deeply held belief that his people deserve better, Recai Osman must become The SandStorm.

In the tradition of books by Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie, Shadow on the Wall tackles issues of religion, gender, corruption and the basic human condition. Beautiful and challenging, this is not a book to miss.

Price: $11.95
Pages: 248
ISBN: 9780983876908
Publisher: Fighting Monkey Press
Release: May 1, 2012

Amazon buy link

Pavarti K. Tyler's Bio:

Pavarti K Tyler is an artist, wife, mother and number cruncher. She graduated Smith College in 1999 with a degree in Theatre. After graduation, she moved to New York, where she worked as a Dramaturge, Assistant Director and Production Manager on productions both on and off Broadway.

Later, Pavarti went to work in the finance industry as a freelance accountant for several international law firms. She now operates her own accounting firm in the Washington DC area, where she lives with her husband, two daughters and two terrible dogs. When not preparing taxes, she is busy penning her next novel.

Throughout history, literature and the art of story-telling have influenced politics, religion and culture. The power of the epic tale is universal. Why is it that those who never read The Iliad know Helen of Troy? Her story, Homer’s story, transcends the written word and has become a part of our human lexicon. The power of the written word is undeniable and Pavarti is honored to be part of the next wave of literary revolution.

Fill out the form below to win an ebook copy of Tyler's Fantasy Romace-Shadow on the Wall: Volumes 1 and 2!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Review: Pretty Amy by Lisa Burstein

Pretty Amy
By: Lisa Burstein
Pub. Date: May 15, 2012
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Pages: 304
Source: eARC from Publisher
Amy is fine living in the shadows of beautiful Lila and uber-cool Cassie, because at least she’s somewhat beautiful and uber-cool by association. But when their dates stand them up for prom, and the girls take matters into their own hands—earning them a night in jail outfitted in satin, stilettos, and Spanx—Amy discovers even a prom spent in handcuffs might be better than the humiliating “rehabilitation techniques” now filling up her summer. Worse, with Lila and Cassie parentally banned, Amy feels like she has nothing—like she is nothing.

Navigating unlikely alliances with her new coworker, two very different boys, and possibly even her parents, Amy struggles to decide if it’s worth being a best friend when it makes you a public enemy. Bringing readers along on an often hilarious and heartwarming journey, Amy finds that maybe getting a life only happens once you think your life is over. 
I was so happy when the publisher sent me an eARC of Pretty Amy. I started it right away and finished it in one setting. It was a fast and interesting read and it wasn't at all what I was expecting, but I loved every minute of it!

Amy is a normal teenage who feels like she is all alone. Her parents don't understand her and pretty much ignore her, and her two best friends, Lila and Cassie are the "bad girls". They smoke, drink and have sex. When Amy started hanging out with them, she lost her best friend, the All-American boy next door, Joe. On the night of the prom, which was supposed to be the best night of her life, their dates stood them up and they weren't able to get into prom because they didn't have tickets. Instead, the three of them decided to  drive around while smoking and drinking. This leads to her prom night arrest.

Man, I really loved Amy. I felt her pain, and it brought back so many high school memories of being awkward and never feeling like you belong. Her voice was just so realistic. I felt like I could have been friends with her in high school.

Only two boys are mentioned in Pretty Amy. There is Aaron, the bad-boy who stood her up at prom. He came off like he really cared about Amy and gave her the attention she so desperately wanted, but I knew he was bad news from the very beginning and didn't like him one bit. Then there is her childhood friend Joe. He was very sweet, but I would have liked more scenes with him and Amy together.

Amy's mom was my favorite! She was such a realistic portrayal of mothers. She even reminded me of some of my friends moms. The way she twists everything that Amy is going through and makes it about her...I loved it! It cracked me up because there are so many mothers like that!

The writing was fantastic. Every single character felt realistic and I think Lisa Burstein created a very realistic story about being a teenager and trying to get through it the best way you know how. There was also some very funny one liners.

I seriously loved everything about Pretty Amy and I can not wait to have a pretty finished copy on my bookshelf on May 15th.   

Monday, May 14, 2012

Review: The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

The Book of Blood and Shadow
By: Robin Wasserman
Pub. Date: April 10, 2012
Publisher: Random House Children's
Pages: 448
Source: Advanced Readers Copy
It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up. When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love. When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark.

But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead. His girlfriend Adriane, Nora’s best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora’s sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.

Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.
So everyone seems to be raving about this book lately. I received an ARC of it at ALA, and knew I had to give it a shot. I have to say though, I was extremely disappointed. Maybe I just went into it with higher expectations then I should of had, and I am definitely a minority here.

Nora, along with her best friend, Chris and boyfriend, Max are working on deciphering The Voynich Manuscript, a centuries old book that no one has been able to figure out the code for. When Nora gets the tasks of translating 400 year old letters of Elizabeth she starts to realize that the letters and the Manuscript are directly related. The closer they get to the mystery, the weirder things get. One night, Chris is murdered in front of his girlfriend, Adrianne, and Max, who is nowhere to be found, is also the prime suspect. Nora makes it her mission to figure out what happened the night Chris died and to clear Max's name.

People are comparing this book to The DaVinci Code, and where I can understand why people are saying this, I don't really feel that it is completely justified. I found the whole mystery stupid. I just couldn't get into it. Don't get me wrong, I wanted to know the mystery and I wanted to know who killed Chris, but I was just so disappointed when everything started to come together.

The Book of Blood and Shadow starts off slow, then at Part II, I could not put the book down, but by the last hundred pages or so, I was so turned off, it was hard to even finish it. Plus, I'm not sure if I was the only one who had this problem, but I was confused for most of the time, which also turned me off. The only thing that kept me completely invested was the characters. They were terrific!

I absolutely loved Nora. I felt so bad for her. First she loses her best friend in a gruesome murder, then her boyfriend goes missing, and then whoever killed Chris, goes after her. Even through everything she was smart, brave and loyal. She was also funny as hell. She meets up with Chris' cousin, Eli, who helps her solve the murder, and I could not help but root for Eli and Nora (Max who??). The two of them were hilarious and I loved their bickering. There was a lot of mystery surrounding Eli, and I enjoyed getting to know him and learning his secrets.

Some of my favorite quotes were between Eli and Nora:

"You want to talk about it?" he asked
"Not really"
"Excellent. Talking is highly overrated. I suggest video games. Or poker. Funny cat videos? He paused when he saw I wasn't cracking a smile. "Or we could just sit here and stare at each other really intensely until one of us manages to melt the other one's brain" (pg. 89 in ARC)

"You're alarmingly good at acting like a bitch," Eli whispered. "It suggests practice".
"And you are alarmingly good at acting whipped," I shot back. "Food for thought." (pg. 304 in ARC)

Seriously! I really loved the characters. Even Chris, who I knew from page 1 was going to die, I couldn't help but become attached to him. Even Adrianne had great moments!

Even though The Book of Blood and Shadow didn't work so much for me, there are so many others who are calling this book their favorite read of 2012, so definitely still give it a shot!  

Saturday, May 12, 2012

In My Mailbox (46)

In My Mailbox (IMM) is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.

My Life Next Door - Huntley Fitzpatrick (via netgalley)
What I Didn't Say - Keary Taylor (via netgalley)

Revived - Cat Patrick (Finished this book last night and LOVED it!

Until I Die - Amy Plum 
Insurgent - Veronica Roth (Review coming soon!)
City of Lost Souls - Cassandra Clare
Sweet Evil - Wendy Higgins
Wrecked - Anna Davies 
Anna Dressed In Blood - Kendare Blake

What did you get in your mailbox? Leave me your link in the comments section so I can check it out! 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...