Friday, December 31, 2010

Dreaming Anastasia (Dreaming Anastasia #1) by Joy Preble

Dreaming Anastasia (Dreaming Anastasia, #1)Title: Dreaming Anastasia
Author: Joy Peble
Series: 1st in Dreaming Anastasia
Pages: 310
Published: available now from Sourcebooks
ISBN: 9781402218170 
Source: personal copy

Description: Anastasia Romanov thought she would never feel more alone than when the gunfire started and her family began to fall around her. Surely the bullets would come for her next. But they didn't. Instead, two gnarled old hands reached for her. When she wakes up she discovers that she is in the ancient hut of the witch Baba Yaga, and that some things are worse than being dead. In modern-day Chicago, Anne doesn't know much about Russian history. She is more concerned about getting into a good college—until the dreams start. She is somewhere else. She is someone else. And she is sharing a small room with a very old woman. The vivid dreams startle her, but not until a handsome stranger offers to explain them does she realize her life is going to change forever. She is the only one who can save Anastasia. But, Anastasia is having her own dreams…

I Give This ...

I love the whole idea of the possibility of Anastasia Romanov surviving that horrible night.  I especially liked the idea of a mythical answer to the question of did Anastasia survive.

I loved the folklore included in this story.  I didn't know much about Baba Yaga before this.  I found her story particularly interesting.  I liked how the Brotherhood was able to manipulate her to do their bidding.  But, I think in the end she was lonely and managed to twist around the wording of the Brotherhood's spell to get what she wanted. 

I liked how dreamlike Anastasia feels during this entire story.  Even when Anne manages to free her from Baba Yaga grasp, it still doesn't seem possible that the Anastasia we know from history could be alive and well in modern day Chicago.  I also really enjoyed Anne.  She takes everything  in stride but doesn't readily accept things as fact.  I also really enjoyed the twist in the Romanov family.  It was something I'm sure was entirely plausible.

Overally, I enjoyed this story.  It was fast pasted and was an excellent mix of history, fantasy, and modern day elements.  I'll be looking for the next one!

Firespell (Dark Elite #1) by Chloe Neill

Firespell (Dark Elite, #1)Title: Firespell
Author: Chloe Neill
Series: 1st in Dark Elite
Pages: 246
Published: Available now from Signet
ISBN:  9780451228864
Source: Purchased

Description: As the new girl at the elite St. Sophia’s boarding school, Lily Parker thinks her classmates are the most monstrous things she’ll have to face… When Lily’s guardians decided to send her away to a fancy boarding school in Chicago, she was shocked. So was St. Sophia’s. Lily’s ultra-rich brat pack classmates think Lily should be the punchline to every joke, and on top of that, she’s hearing strange noises and seeing bizarre things in the shadows of the creepy building. The only thing keeping her sane is her roommate, Scout, but even Scout’s a little weird—she keeps disappearing late at night and won’t tell Lily where she’s been. But when a prank leaves Lily trapped in the catacombs beneath the school, Lily finds Scout running from a real monster. Scout’s a member of a splinter group of rebel teens with unique magical talents, who’ve sworn to protect the city against demons, vampires, and Reapers, magic users who’ve been corrupted by their power. And when Lily finds herself in the line of a firespell, Scout tells her the truth about her secret life, even though Lily has no powers of her own—at least none that she’s discovered yet… 

I Give This ...

I've been meaning to start either of Chloe Neill's series.  But, there many books and so little time.  I started with this one because I have the 2nd in the series available, while I'm still collecting the book in the other series.   

I felt like this one started out really slow.  It just didn't grab my attention at first.  But about the time Lily follows Scout after one of her disappearances, I finally felt like maybe the story was going somewhere.   The rest, I just devoured.  

I really liked Scout and Lily's friendship.  It clicked for me as much as the instant best friends did for them.  I liked their conversations and how they interacted with each other.  I also like both of the interactions with the brat pack.  A couple times, I actually laughed out loud at their witty remarks.  I liked the romantic interests in the story as well.  Especially how Scout downplays her relationship with Michael.  I was a little perplexed at the sudden decision of Lyndsay to be included in everything.  I didn't think she was going to play into the story at all and then she was.  I wonder how that will play out in future books.

I liked the explanation of magic and the reapers.  It was an interesting twist on how people come into magic and what happens to them.  I also thought it was interesting on how all this is occurring in Chicago.  It made me wonder if this is happening in other locations or is Chicago just special.  A couple things definitely left me curious as to what is truly going on.  It's a series I will be continuing that's for sure!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Pegasus by Robin McKinley

PegasusTitle: Pegasus
Author: Robin McKinley
Pages: 404
Published: Available now from Putnam Juvinelle
ISBN: 9780399246777
Source: ARC from Star Book Tours

Description: Because of a thousand-year-old alliance between humans and pagasi, Princess Sylviianel is ceremonially bound to Ebon, her own Pegasus, on her twelfth birthday. The two species coexist peacefully, despite the language barriers separating them. Humans and pegasi both rely on specially-trained Speaker magicians as the only means of real communication. But its different for Sylvi and Ebon. They can understand each other. They quickly grow close-so close that their bond becomes a threat to the status quo-and possibly to the future safety of their two nations. 

I Give This ... 

I haven't read Robin McKinley before.  This one sounded interesting and the cover really drew me in.  But sadly, I didn't enjoy this book nearly half as much as I had hoped.  And I was sadly disappointed in the ending.

I wasn't sure what to think of the human characters.  I liked Sylvi for the most part.  I think it's because she's a princess that she acts way older than her age.  I really enjoyed her relationship with Ebon.  I wish we got more of it.  I also like Ebon because he was different in so many ways from the other Pegasi.  But, I also liked all the other Pegasi that we get to know in this story.  Their history and differences were really fascinating.  I really liked Sylvi's father.  He's regal and displays all the attributes necessary to running a kingdom, but I also liked the love he shows to his family. 

So were did the story fall for me?  It was in all the details.  I was bored beyond belief for the first 100 pages or so.  There was too much information on the alliance and the history between the Pegasi and humansThere wasn't enough interaction between the two.  I wanted a story about the relationship between humans and Pegasi, and not the reasons behind it.  The last half of the book was better, but I still felt like the story was too complex. 

My last problem was the ending.  I was just getting into the story around 300 pages or so and realized, I don't think this problem is going get resolved.  And spoiler or not, I wish I had known before had that it doesn't.  The book ends in such dramatic fashion that I flipped through the pages again just to make sure I wasn't missing something.  I was not happy.  Less happier still when I go online and realize that the author doesn't always write sequels to her story.  I am happy to say though that a Pegasus II is slated for 2012 (according to the author's website).  I'll read the damn thing because the author left me hanging so badly. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Across the UniverseTitle: Across The Universe
Author: Beth Revis
Pages: 400
Published: Jan. 11, 2011 by Razorbill
ISBN: 9781595143976
Source: ARC from Around The World Tours

Description: Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules. Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone--one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship--tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next. Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

I Give This ...

I really wasn't sure on this one.  I'm not a sci-fi kind of person and this seemed to fit into that category.  But, I was pleased to find that I enjoyed it way more than I thought.  The story is told through the alternating viewpoints of Amy and Elder.  

I really enjoyed Amy's voice from the moments she struggles to decide whether to be frozen or not.  It sounded like an awful process.  Then to wake up on a ship 50 years to soon, and know no one.  And life on this ship is so vastly different than it was on earth.  She keeps her head though and tried to figure out what's really going on while coping with the idea that she may outlive her parents.  There were so many times I felt like breaking down with her.  

I also liked Elder.  I think he was questioning things long before Amy came into the picture and made him question them more.  I was fascinated be the idea of how he really came into the picture.  He never accepted how he was suppose to do things, and I thought that was great.  I'm curios if this becomes a series, what he will choose to do next.

The ship itself was an interesting idea.  The society was well thought out and I wasn't expecting it to be so sinister.  There were clues though, and I was able to piece together most of the true story.  There were elements that definitely surprised me.   What I enjoyed most was the dystopian feel the story had.  It fit really well into the category, it just happens to be a society that lives on a ship in space.  

If the author decides to continue this saga, I will be reading!


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Lying Game (The Lying Game #1) by Sara Shepard

The Lying Game (The Lying Game, #1)Title: The Lying Game
Author: Sara Shepard
Series: 1st in The Lying Game
Pages: 307
Published: Available now from HarperTeen
ISBN: 9780061869709
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Description: The worst part of being dead is that there’s nothing left to live for. No more kisses. No more secrets. No more gossip. It’s enough to kill a girl all over again. But I’m about to get something no one else does—an encore performance, thanks to Emma, the long-lost twin sister I never even got to meet.  Now Emma’s desperate to know what happened to me. And the only way to figure it out is to be me—to slip into my old life and piece it all together. But can she laugh at inside jokes with my best friends? Convince my boyfriend she’s the girl he fell in love with? Pretend to be a happy, carefree daughter when she hugs my parents good night? And can she keep up the charade, even after she realizes my murderer is watching her every move? 

I Give This ...

Sara Shepard has a knack for writing characters you love to hate.  This one seems to be no exception.

I was immediately pulled into the story.  The idea of a long lost twin was intriguing, especially when we know right from the start that said twin is actually dead.   I felt sorry for Emma, but I also liked her.  She's had a hard life but she doesn't let it get her down.  She moves on to the next thing and tries to make the best of every situation.  I wasn't surprised that she was taken with the idea of the long lost twin and a family that might take her in.

I also really enjoyed the mystery.  As Sutton's story is laid out, you can't help but feel like she was a really awful person.  Not that any of it justifies murder, but you can see how one might be driven to do it.   Poor Emma having to step in and fill her shoes when she doesn't know a thing about her.  Plus, as she learns that her twin was really murdered, it was interesting watching her try to figure out who could have done it.  Plus I really liked the fact that she tried to tell people she wasn't really Sutton and nobody believed her.

Reading this one reminds me how much I need to finish the Pretty Little Liar series.  It has similar tones to that series.  So, bottom line is, if you liked that one, I'm pretty sure you will like this.  I did and can't wait to read the next installment!   

Monday, December 27, 2010

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.  It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.  Click on the picture to be taken to Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World of Books!

I hope everyone had a very happy holiday!  We enjoyed it.  My girls were both really into Santa and opening gifts this year.  Yesterday they spent the day exploring everything they got!  This week is more relaxation and maybe a little get together on New Year's Eve.

Read Last Week: 
  • The Redhead Revealed by Alice Clayton
  • The Lost Saint by Bree Despain
  • Real Mermaid's Don't Wear Toe Rings by Helene Boudreau
  • Flawless by Sara Shepard 
Currently Reading:
  • India Black by Carol K. Carr
Up This Week:
  • Fall For Anything Courtney Summers
  • Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
  • Clarity by Kim Harrington
  • My Soul To Take by Rachel Vincent

Sunday, December 26, 2010

In My Mailbox!

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren and she was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture JunkieI also want to mention that all my cover pictures link to Goodreads!

For Review:
The Lost Saint (Dark Divine,  #2)
  • The Lost Saint by Bree Despain (Around The World Tours)

  • Breathless by Jessica Warman

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Sapphire Talisman (Talisman #2) by Brenda Pandos

The Sapphire Talisman (Talisman, #2)Title: The Sapphire Talisman
Author: Brenda Pandos
Series: 2nd in Talisman
Pages: 320
Published: Available now from Obsidian Mountain
ISBN: 9780982903322
Source: ARC from Around The World Tours

Description: With the local vampire coven decimated, Julia and Nicholas try to begin a somewhat normal life together. Bound by secrecy from a shape shifter determined to see Julia’s world-saving prediction come to fruition, Julia isn’t allowed to tell Nicholas the leader survived, ransacking her happiness with guilt. When Alora returns, bent on revenge, the reunion forces Nicholas and Julia to choose what they are willing to live and die for.

I Give This ...

I wasn't really invested in The Emerald Talisman.  It was good, but felt like it had been done before.  I picked up this one with no real idea if it could be better than the first.  I'm happy to say that it was!
I liked Julia a lot more in this installment.  She's risking more both for Nicholas and her friends and family.  I understand the secrecy and sneaking out, but I could tell how heavy in weighted on her lying to her dad all the time.  I enjoyed her bantering with Scarlett.  I think they try to play off that they dislike each other, but I don't think completely true.
I also enjoyed the entire trip to LA.  Nicholas opened up and introduced her to people that were important to him.  I was also touched my Julia's visit to her grandmother and her mother's grave.

My favorite part involved Nicholas.  This story isn't all lovey-dovey.  I thought it had a dark side that was done very well.  I liked how it showed Nicholas' other side that he tries so hard to control.  I also really enjoyed the ending.  It left me actually really wanting to read the next in the series!


Thursday, December 23, 2010

B & K's Reading Daze - Holiday Edition

I completely forgot about this post and didn't have anything picked out. :(
I decided to showcase a couple of our favorite holiday books.

The Polar ExpressTitle: The Polar Express
Author: Chris VanAllsburg

We all  love this book (and the movie too).  I was a little worried about introducing the concept of not believing in Santa.  But, I don't think the girls really got that part of the book.  They love the pictures and the idea of meeting Santa and the North Pole!

SantaKidTitle: SantaKid
Author: James Patterson

I wasn't sure on this one when it first came into our house.  How quickly the girls changed my mind.  They love idea that Santa has a little girl and that she saves Christmas.  I also liked the idea of a business coming and trying to buy Christmas.  It's a good reminder that it's not about the presents!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Mermaid's Mirror by L.K. Madigan

The Mermaid's MirrorTitle: The Mermaid's Mirror
Author: L.K. Madigan
Pages: 336
Published: available now by Houghton Miffin
ISBN: 9780547194912
Source: Netgalley

Description: Lena has lived her whole life near the beach — walking for miles up and down the shore and breathing the salty air, swimming in the cold water, and watching the surfers rule the waves — the problem is, she’s spent her whole life just watching.As her sixteenth birthday approaches, Lena vows she will no longer watch from the sand: she will learn to surf. But her father — a former surfer himself — refuses to allow her to take lessons. After his near drowning years ago, he can’t bear to let Lena take up the risky sport. Yet something keeps drawing Lena to the water . . . an ancient, powerful magic. And one morning Lena catches sight of this magic: a beautiful woman — with a silvery tail.  Now nothing can stop Lena from seeking the mermaid, not even the dangerous waves at Magic Crescent Cove.  And soon . . . what she sees in the mermaid’s mirror will change her life forever.

I Give This ...

This story had so much potential, but for me I just couldn't fully get into it.  I really wanted to like it.

I loved the ocean setting.  I enjoyed the fact that they lived within walking distance to the beach.  I loved how Lena was so drawn to the ocean.  You could really feel that in the story.    I liked how the mermaid's fit into the story.  The explanations for how people felt after they saw them was interesting.  I really liked Lena's father, especially after the truth comes out.  The story of Lena's mother and why he never goes in the ocean was really catching for me.  I also liked most of the other characters.

Which leads me to the biggest problem.  I didn't really like Lena.  She was so hard to identify with.  I really didn't like when she got mad at her dad for not telling her the truth.  For some reason, I just can't picture the right time to break that kind of news.  I also didn't really enjoy how she kept everyone at arm's length.  I also didn't really like the mermaid's.  I know they are suppose to be different creatures who don't necessarily think and act like we do, but they seemed so heartless.  Even Lena's mother didn't seem to be acting motherly.  

The biggest drawback for me was the ending.  I extremely disliked the ultimatum that Lena was given.  It seemed drastic and unnecessary.  I think the mermaid's and Lena could have learned from each other in way that wasn't harmful to either.  I do think many younger teens will enjoy this book though.  It just wasn't really for me.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Team Challenge (The Pony Whisperer, #2) by Janet Rising

Team Challenge (The Pony Whisperer, #2)Title: Team Challenge
Author: Janet Rising
Series: 2nd in Pony Whispers
Pages: 192
Published: Available now by Sourcebooks
ISBN: 9781402239533
Source: sent for review

Description: Team Challenge continues the misadventures of Pia and her horse, Drummer, a pony with attitude. It's the start of summer vacation and everyone in the stable yard is excited about entering a new, nationwide team competition. When Pia and her arch-nemesis Catriona end up on competing teams, it's bound to end in trouble! 

I Give This ...

I really enjoy this series.  It's cute and I'm seeing a positive message in the stories.  I love the inclusion of horses and such an important part of the story.

I liked Pia a lot more in this story.  I love the family challenges she faces.  I think it reflects well on what a lot of preteens are going through at home.  She has to watch her mom start dating men other than her dad.  Plus, she has to deal with the woman her father has chosen to date.   I thought it was interesting the things her dad showers on this women, especially the things Pia has wanted for many years.

I liked how the story presents the idea of working together as a team.  The only way they will win is if they help and support each other.  I also loved how Pia was able to realize that the horses needed more praise.  They weren't getting anything out of being made to train so hard.  I loved the message that animals have feelings too.
I'm really enjoying this series.  I think it will be something my older daughter will love when she's older.  She loves horses!  I know I would have enjoyed it at the age of 8 or so.

Monday, December 20, 2010

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.  It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.  Click on the picture to be taken to Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World of Books!
It's a busy week ahead.  My oldest is out of school and doesn't have dance for the nest 2 weeks.  My youngest daughter's birthday is on Tuesday.  Not to mention Christmas and Christmas Eve! I love this time of year.

Read Last Week: 
  • Once In A Full Moon by Ellen Schreiber
  • Across the Universe by Beth Revis
  • Pegasus by Robin McKinley
  • Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble
Currently Reading:
  • The Redhead Revealed by Alice Clayton
Plan To Read This Week:
  • Real Mermaid's Don't Wear Toe Rings by Helene Boudreau
  • Flawless by Sara Shepard
  • The Lost Saint by Bree Despain (tour)
  • Fall For Anything by Courtney Summers (tour)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

In My Mailbox!

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren and she was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture JunkieI also want to mention that all my cover pictures link to Goodreads!

For Review: 

  • Across the Universe by Beth Revis (Around The World Tours)
  • Pegasus by Robin McKinley (Star Book Tours) 
  • Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings by Helene Boudreau 

Free For Kindle: 
  • Wish by Alexandra Bullen

    Saturday, December 18, 2010

    The Unidentified Redhead (Redhead #1) by Alice Clayton

    The Unidentified Redhead (The Redhead Series, #1)Title: The Unidentified Redhead
    Author: Alice Clayton
    Series: 1st in Redhead
    Pages: 276
    Published: February 2010 by Omnific Publishing
    ISBN: 9781936305063
    Source: ebook provided for review

    Description: When Grace Sheridan returns to Los Angeles to become a working actor, it's a second shot at a life-long dream. With some help from her best friend and agent, that dream could become a reality, but at thirty-three, has Grace missed her chance at the big time? Will an unexpected sizzling romance with the entertainment industry's newest 'it' boy shine an uncomfortable spotlight on her life? Alice Clayton spins a playful and erotic May to December romance in this, her debut novel. Clayton's funny, borderline neurotic heroine is perfect in her imperfections, and the off the charts sexual chemistry between her and her charming, yet blissfully unaware leading man are the true heart of The Unidentified Redhead. With laugh out loud dialogue and a super steamy romance that will get your heart racing, sneaking around in L.A. and dodging the Paparazzi has never been so fun.

    I Give This ...

    Ummm...WOW.  I'm not sure were to begin with this book.  First off, one should note the word erotic in the description.  While, I wouldn't consider the sex in this book over the top or even really descriptive, it's definitely there.  And there's a lot of it.  But, it's hot.  Wow, I can't believe I just said that.

    I LOVED Grace.  For a thirty-three old who claims to still be trying to be comfortable with her new self, she radiates confidence.  What I wouldn't give to have been able to pull off some of the comments that come out of her mouth.  I love the sexual and flirtatious stuff she says.  It just works for who she is.  She sounds like someone you would love to be friends with.  Plus, I love how hard she's trying to make it in Hollywood.  Her best friends Holly is a riot.  I think I'll move in with them.  Oh wait, I'm married and I have two kids.   I don't think that will work.

    I also loved Jack.  Who wouldn't love the new Hollywood golden boy, who's still trying to get use to be the next big thing.  I love that he's younger than Grace, but never makes her feel like it.  I love how well he seems to compliment Grace.  I love that he's from England and has a sexy accent.  I think might be just in love...pretty sure that doesn't work with my husband either. 

    I was going to give this 5 stars, but towards the end I thought the sex overtook the story a little bit.  It was great, but I also like the story of Grace and Jack minus the sex.  But, overall, this was just a fun and sexy story.  I loved the characters and the sex only made me blush a few times.  I can't wait to read the next one!

    Friday, December 17, 2010

    The Iron Witch (The Ironbridge Chronicles, #1) by Karen Mahoney

    The Iron Witch (The Ironbridge Chronicles, #1)Title: The Iron Witch
    Author: Karen Mahoney
    Series: 1st in planned Ironbridge Chronicles
    Pages: 300
    Published: February 2011 by Flux
    ISBN: 9780738725826
    Source: ARC from Around The World Tours

    Description: Freak. That's what her classmates call seventeen-year-old Donna Underwood. When she was seven, a horrific fey attack killed her father and drove her mother mad. Donna's own nearly fatal injuries from the assault were fixed by magic—the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. The child of alchemists, Donna feels cursed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a normal life. The only thing that keeps her sane and grounded is her relationship with her best friend, Navin Sharma. When the darkest outcasts of Faerie—the vicious wood elves—abduct Navin, Donna finally has to accept her role in the centuries old war between the humans and the fey. Assisted by Xan, a gorgeous half-fey dropout with secrets of his own, Donna races to save her friend—even if it means betraying everything her parents and the alchemist community fought to the death to protect.

    I Give This ...

    I think my expectations might have been too high with this one. The description was so promising and reminded me of The Iron Fey series (which I love).  But, I just never really got into the story.
    I did really enjoy the characters.  Donna has an interesting background and she's trying to live as normal of a life as possible.  I enjoyed her connection to the Fey world.  And the idea of the iron tattoos was fascinating.  I also enjoyed her best friend Navin.  He learns the truth about Donna the same time we do, which I think was an interesting setup.  I liked Xan as well.  He comes across as the bad boy, but I don't think he is.  He connection with the fae world also makes the story interesting.

    Oddly enough, it was the story itself that I just could not get invested in.  Things were explained, but I don't think it was enough.  I wanted to know more about Donna and who (or what) she was.  I don't think Xan was fleshed out as well as he could have been.  I liked the wood elves and their small world the inhabit, but I wanted more of it.  

    I really wanted to love this book.  But, it fell a little flat for me.  It had potential though.  I could see the second in the series being awesome!  I'll look forward to it.

    Thursday, December 16, 2010

    An Echo in the Bone (Outlander #7) by Diana Gabaldon

    An Echo in the Bone (Outlander, #7)Title: An Echo in the Bone
    Author: Diana Gabaldon
    Series: 7th in Outlander
    Pages: 820
    Published: September 2009 by Delacorte
    ISBN: 9780385342452
    Source: Personal Copy 

    Description: Jamie Fraser, erstwhile Jacobite and reluctant rebel, knows three things about the American rebellion: the Americans will win, unlikely as that seems in 1778; being on the winning side is no guarantee of survival; and he’d rather die than face his illegitimate son — a young lieutenant in the British Army — across the barrel of a gun. Fraser’s time-travelling wife, Claire, also knows a couple of things: that the Americans will win, but that the ultimate price of victory is a mystery. What she does believe is that the price won’t include Jamie’s life or happiness — not if she has anything to say. Claire’s grown daughter Brianna, and her husband, Roger, watch the unfolding of Brianna’s parents’ history — a past that may be sneaking up behind their own family.

     I Give This ...

    It's really hard to give a review of the 7th book in the series.  Especially a series as epic as this.  It was my personal goal of 2010 to finish reading the current books in the Outlander series.  I did it!

    I'm having to remind myself constantly Jamie and Claire aren't the young and feisty characters we meet in the first book.  While I'm ok with that, sometimes I feel like they need reminding if that makes sense lol.  But, it's good that the characters still feel the same no matter what their age.  I still love them and their adventures.

    I admit, I was a little bored with this novel for the first half.  I'm sensing a pattern here.  The first half is all about the details and preparing the stage for what's to come.  I could have done without the narratives from Lord John and William.  I think I actually skimmed these parts unless they were interacting with the main characters.  I'm not sure on Roger and Brianna.  I don't feel like the belong in their own time.  Although I did find it interesting how Jamie and Claire left them letters in hopes that they would get them in their own time.  The whole idea of it is maddening really.  

    I'm enjoying Jamie and Claire's involvement in the war.  He seems like such a natural part of history that I feel like I should have read about him in school.  I also love how real events and people are included in the story (such as Benedict Arnold).   I think my favorite is Ian.  He's a character I've really grown to love and I hope he's finally finding some peace and love.  I was surprised at the ending.  None of the other books left with such a cliff hanger.  I'm hoping the next one doesn't take to long to come out!

    Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    Hex Hall (Hex Hall #1) by Rachel Hawkins

    Hex Hall (Hex Hall, #1)Title: Hex Hall
    Author: Rachel Hawkins
    Series: 1st in Hex Hall
    Pages: 323
    Published: March 2010 by Hyperion
    ISBN: 9781423121305
    Source: Won

    Description: Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters. By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect. As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

    I Give This ...

    This is one of those books that caught my interest, but not really enough to warrant swift action on purchasing the book.  The more reviews I saw for it, the more I decided I wanted it.  But for some reason, I waited until I won one of those contests were you can choose the book you want.  And the rest is history.

    Sophie is one of those characters that's laugh out loud funny.  I loved her antics.  I love the fact that she's a witch with no firm grasp on her own powers.  It's fun that she develops such a crush on Archer, shuns the most popular girls in school, and her best friend is a much hated vampire. Plus, all these people seem to know more about who she is that Sophie does.  I love all the banter between the characters.  Even Elodie and her coven do some funny things at the expense of Sophie of Jenna (I for some reason thought it was hilarious that the inducted Sophie into their coven without her knowledge).

      I would have like the story without the added mystery of the students being attacked.  But, that plays into the story nicely.  It helps Sophie realize her full powers and who her father really is.  It will be interesting to see were the story goes and I hope the author keeps up the humor.  It was one of my favorite things!

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010

    Such A Pretty Face by Cathy Lamb

    Such A Pretty FaceTitle: Such A Pretty Face
    Author: Cathy Lamb
    Published: August 2010 by Kensington
    ISBN: 9780758229557
    Source: Library

    Description: In this warm, funny, thoroughly candid novel, acclaimed author Cathy Lamb introduces an unforgettable heroine who's half the woman she used to be, and about to find herself for the first time...Two years and 170 pounds ago, Stevie Barrett was wheeled into an operating room for surgery that most likely saved her life. Since that day, a new Stevie has emerged, one who walks without wheezing, plants a garden for self-therapy, and builds and paints fantastical wooden chairs. At thirty-five, Stevie is the one thing she never thought she'd be: thin. But for everything that's changed, some things remain the same. Stevie's shyness refuses to melt away. She still can't look her neighbours' gorgeous great-nephew in the eye. The Portland law office where she works remains utterly dysfunctional, as does her family - the aunt, uncle, and cousins who took her in when she was a child. To top it off, her once supportive best friend clearly resents her weight loss. By far the biggest challenge in Stevie's new life lies in figuring out how to define her new self. Collaborating with her cousins to plan her aunt and uncle's problematic fortieth anniversary party, Stevie starts to find some surprising answers - about who she is, who she wants to be, and how the old Stevie evolved in the first place. And with each revelation, she realizes the most important part of her transformation may not be what she's lost, but the courage and confidence she's gathering, day by day. 

    I Give This ...

    I don't know how a book can be heartwarming, funny, and cringe worthy all at the same time.  But, yet Such A Pretty Face managed it without losing any of the elements of the story.  In fact, the description doesn't even paint an accurate picture of what this story truly entails.

    I completely loved Stevie from the first pages of this novel.  It's absolutely amazing that she's able to stand up on her own two feet after what she has endured at the hand's of her schizophrenic mother during childhood.  And then after the horrific circumstances surrounding her mother's death, she placed into the hands of an uncle who treats her no better than the rest of his family.  She's belittled and constantly told she isn't good enough even into her adulthood.  But, she finds herself after her life altering surgery.  She discovers she is good enough and deserves more than she has been given in life.

    It sounds like a heartbreaking story, but really it isn't.  Because Stevie has some awesome friends (and one that isn't).  Her cousins know just how hard it is because they're living in the same shadows she is.  Her friends from work help her realize her potential and that she can do anything she wants too.  She's even got a love interest who wins your heart as well.  Granted the first part of the book, Stevie hides behind bushes, etc whenever Jake appears.  It's makes for some definite laugh out loud moments.

    In the end Stevie is able to stand up to her uncle, comes to terms with her past, and open up to Jake.  The entire novel was a pleasure to read.  I'll be looking for something else by Cathy Lamb because this one was outstanding!


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