Friday, April 29, 2011

Review: Abithica by Susan Goldsmith

AbithicaTitle: Abithica
Author: Susan Goldsmith
Series: I hope it's the first
Pages: 288
Published: Available now for Kindle, paperback June 16
ISBN: 9781606192351
Source: Author sent for review

Description: What if you knew you were about to be torn from your body and replaced by an imposter in a seamless switch forever separating you and the one you love? Would you do whatever it took to stay? Even if YOU happened to be the imposter? Abithica must borrow all that she is from others: names, lives, even bodies. When she switches into the troubled life of Sydney Turner, she breaks the rule that has sustained her, the one thing in her control—never get attached. Lane Riley has no idea he’s fallen for Abithica, wearing Sydney Turner’s body and that a future with her is impossible. Desperate to stay with him, Abithica uncovers the mystery of what she is, only to learn she’s a pawn in a battle over souls, and that she’s probably one of the “bad guys.” What will happen if she refuses to leave Sydney’s body?

I Give This ...

I thought the first couple chapters of this book were really interesting.  We don't know who Abithica is at first.  She has no control over when she changes bodies.  She also has no bodily control right after she changes.  So, when she ends up in the newest body, she winds up face first in plate full of mackerel with no way to move until she regains control.  To make it a little funnier, she's with a women who believe she's doing this on purpose to cause a scene.  It was a great way to introduce you to the characters.

As the story progresses we learn that Abithica has no idea who or what she truly is.  Everytime she changes bodies, her mission is to help the correct their life.  It's often with very little clues as to what needs to happen.  Her current body seems to have some serious issues with her mother and is deeply mixed up with a troubling gang.  Abithica learns she must heal the relationship with her mother.  Along the way she meets Lane who has a sister who witnessed her mother's death and now refuses to speak.  She latches on to Abithica and believes her to be an angel.  As Abithica becomes closer to Lane, she realizes she's broken one of her cardinal rules.  She's fallen in love and can't bear the idea of letting Sydney have control back.

There's a darker part going on during this story.  We get a little bit of a look inside the gang that Sydney was a part of.   It's violent and scary, and the people running it don't seem human either.  When they kidnap a girl and leave her for drugged and nearly dead in the street, something extraordinary happens.  The story is more intricately woven than you could possible realize.  

Ultimately, I felt this story was about love.  Abithica constantly felt that they everyone loved Syndey, not realizing how much SHE had an effect on them.  When the others learn the truth, they feel like they would recognize her anywhere.  It was about the idea of souls connecting and not a physical connections.

There were a few things that bothered me.  At times, it felt like Abithica had a revelation about something and refused to share it with us.  I would wonder what was going on and a few pages later would understand.  Also, I wanted to know more about that gang.  I'm hoping this will be the first in a series or I will be seriously disappointed.  

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Review: The Queen's Pawn by Christy English

The Queen's PawnTitle: The Queen's Pawn
Author: Christy English
Series: Stand Alone
Pages: 373
Published: Available now from Nal Trade
ISBN: 9780451229236
Source: Author sent for honest review

Description: Princess Alais of France travels to England to marry Richard the Lionhearted, the son of King Henry II, armed only with her dowry, the valuable Vexin. When Alais arrives in the land of her father’s enemies, she is welcomed by the beautiful and powerful queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine. Eleanor, the richest and most influential woman in Europe, sees a kindred soul in the young French princess. Intrigued by the girl’s strength and fire, Eleanor adopts Alais as her protégée, teaching the girl what it takes to be a woman of power in a world of men. But Eleanor and Alais’ love for each other is threatened when the capricious and imperious King Henry meets the lovely young princess. Fascination with the king draws Alais deep into political intrigue, and she soon discovers what Eleanor is prepared to do to retain her position as queen. Alais, the one-time pawn, takes ruthless action of her own, as the two women become rivals both for the king’s love and the throne of England itself. 

I Give This ...

I like historical fiction.  I enjoy reading about people who lived long ago, especially royalty.  While the truth may be fabricated, stretched, etc, I feel it can give a sense of who people were.   I enjoyed The Queen's Pawn because it introduced me to characters I knew little about.

My impression of Princess Alais was that she was very naive.  Things must have been different in her father's court.  It seems she had no idea how treacherous life as a royal could be.  Especially in a court such as Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine.  She truly believed that Richard loved only her.  Why it's possible that he did, she really believed he wouldn't take any other lover.  To me, that would be a given.  I was a little surprised and Eleanor's betrayal of her.  But, in my opinion it fits with her character.  She was always trying to find a way to best her husband.  He didn't have her locked away for nothing.

Why I'm sure that many people find it unbelievable that Henry took up with a 14-year-old, I don't.  Girls were married off young and expected to perform there wifely duties.  I think it's a hard concept for us to grasp in modern times.  I wonder if he was really interested or just more intrigued of what it would do to Eleanor.  They really had a very violent relationship.  While, it might not have been so public of a relationship, it's widely rumored to have occurred.

Another point that shows how naive Alais was, was her belief that she could bend Henry II to do what she wanted.  I didn't like her during this part of the story.  I get that she felt betrayed by both Richard and Eleanor, but she really become something worse than that.  How she could honestly believe she could control him when Eleanor couldn't is really beyond me.  You could anticipate when he would walk away from her.  The ending did feel a little rushed though.  But, maybe she finally just grew up and realized she couldn't get what she thought she wanted.  Once again she was naive (although she was right) to think that Eleanor and Richard would forgive her for her even bigger betrayal.

I enjoyed the story, even if certain points were rearranged to fit the author's story line.  It may be more fiction than fact, but the dynamic of the story were great.  I liked how Eleanor and Richard were portrayed.  It was almost like there behavior reflected the calm before the storm.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Review: The Betrayal of Maggie Blair by Elizabeth Laird

The Betrayal of Maggie BlairTitle: The Betrayal of Maggie Blair
Author: Elizabeth Laird
Series: Stand Alone
Pages: 435
Published: Available now from Houghton Miffin
ISBN: 9780547341262
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Description: In seventeenth-century Scotland, saying the wrong thing can lead to banishment—or worse. Accused of being a witch, sixteen-year-old Maggie Blair is sentenced to be hanged. She escapes, but instead of finding shelter with her principled, patriotic uncle, she brings disaster to his door. Betrayed by one of her own accusers, Maggie must try to save her uncle and his family from the king’s men, even if she has to risk her own life in the process. Originally published in the UK, this book has a powerful blend of heart-stopping action and thought-provoking themes.

I Give This ...

I was hoping the mix of historical fiction, the idea of witches, and the young adult genre would make a good combination.  In the end, the story was ok but was very heavy in the biblical references and a slow read.

Maggie Blair has had a hard life.  Her mother died during childbirth and her father died during when of the cattle drive river crossings.   She's been living with her grandmother who seems cold and is not very well liked by the community.  Maggie longs to be normal and I think to feel loved.  The local rich farmer has coveted her grandmother's cottage/land for years.  When her grandmother delivers the farmers baby, she predicts it will die soon.  When he dies, an opportunity presents itself and grandma is accused of being a witch.  The finger soon points to Maggie as well.  Maggie escapes after being sentenced to hang, but grandma doesn't.

Maggie crosses a great distance dressed as a boy and lands at the doorstep of her uncle, who has thought all along that his brother died without children.  But, she's basically traded one form of persecution for another.  Her uncle's family is deeply religious, but do not practice according to the laws.    One day he is captured by the king's soldier's and imprisoned.  Maggie feels guilty because all this might not have happened if she hasn't been followed by one of her false accusers, a maid in the rich farmer's house.  She's trying to escape her own persecution and she doesn't care who she steps on to get what she wants.

A good portion of the book deals with Maggie traveling far and wide to locate her uncle and save him.  I was amazed at all the the things she goes through for someone she still doesn't know that well.  She grows in her own convictions and becomes an amazingly strong young women.  In a time that most people don't see much outside of were they were born, Maggie manages to see much of Scotland.  Her courage and determination were amazing.  The whole situation caused her to look at the world in a completely different way.

I would have really enjoyed this story more without all the biblical references.  I understood the religious persecutions and didn't feel like the characters needed to be quoting the bible all the time.  I also found the story really slow at times (maybe that was due to the biblical references).  I did enjoy the story for the most part.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Review: Rage (The Horseman of the Apocalypse: The Rider's Quartet #2) by Jackie Kessler

Rage (Horsemen of the Apocalypse, #2)Title: Rage
Author: Jackie Kessler
Series: 2nd in Horseman of The Apocalypse
Pages: 228
Published: Available now from Harcourt
ISBN: 978054744528
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Description: Missy didn’t mean to cut so deep. But after the party where she was humiliated in front of practically everyone in school, who could blame her for wanting some comfort? Sure, most people don’t find comfort in the touch of a razor blade, but Missy always was . . . different. That’s why she was chosen to become one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: War. Now Missy wields a new kind of blade—a big, brutal sword that can cut down anyone and anything in her path. But it’s with this weapon in her hand that Missy learns something that could help her triumph over her own pain: control. A unique approach to the topic of self-mutilation, Rage is the story of a young woman who discovers her own power and refuses to be defeated by the world.

I Give This ...

I still love the idea behind this series.  It's a very unique way to present topics that aren't talked about very happen.

I actually really liked Missy's character.  I may not understand the need for self-mutilation, but Missy gave it a face.  How it makes her feel was very descriptive.  In the end, I felt like I really had a grasp on why Missy did it.  She really put on a brave front for the rest of the world, buy behind closed doors it was an entirely different matter.  I liked the inner dialogue's she had about the locked box, how the blade made her feel, and trying to keep herself from turning to it.

 I also really loved her as War.  It taught her a lot about who she was and how to control her pain.  It was also ok for her to feel it in the first place.  I also liked how her personal mood affected how others felt when she took the place as War.  I think my favorite parts were her interactions with the other horseman.  I really enjoyed learning about Pestilence.  

What really bothered me about this book was others reaction to Missy's cutting.    It seems the whole school know about Missy and her problem.  Only one of them seems supportive of her in any way.  They call her names and treat her not as someone who needs helps, but as an outcast because of it.  I found that odd.   What upset me the most was her soccer coach's reaction.  While I understood this reaction was what lead her finally take up the mantle of War, it was poorly done.  I disliked her being called a bad influence.  

I will finish this series and very interested to see what Pestilence does!

Monday, April 25, 2011

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!

This was a tough week for me in the reading area.  None of the books were stand out and one I REALLY struggled with.  I don't like weeks like that because it makes me feel discouraged.  I was hoping to have a better week this one.  I'm afraid I won't get much done though because I've been called into substitute teach all week.  I just started doing this and it's a really adjustment for my family.  The reading has suffered :)

Read Last Week: 
  • Stay by Deb Caletti 
  • Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
  • Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz

Currently Reading:   
  • Possession by Alana Johnson

Up This Week:
  • Bumped by Megan McCafferty
  • Complusion by Heidi Ayarbe
  • Everything I Was by Corrine Demas
  • Savannah Grey by Cliff McNish

Sunday, April 24, 2011

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: 

  • Possession by Elana Johnson

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Review: The Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder

The Lipstick LawsTitle: The Lipstick Laws
Author: Amy Holder
Series: Stand Alone
Pages: 240
Published: Available now from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 9780547363066
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Description: At Penford High School, Britney Taylor is the queen bee. She dates whomever she likes, rules over her inner circle of friends like Genghis Khan, and can ruin anyone's life with a snap of perfectly manicured fingers. Just ask the unfortunate few who have crossed her.   For April Bowers, Britney is also the answer to her prayers. April is so unpopular, kids don't even know she exists. But one lunch spent at Britney's table, and April is basking in the glow of popularity.   But Britney's friendship comes with a high price tag. How much is April willing to pay?

I Give This ...

This book was a huge reminder as to why you couldn't pay me to repeat high school.  There are so many things about it that can be hard for a teenager.

April is struggling to find out who she really isHer best friend (and only) friend has moved.  So she's basically back to feeling like the new kid.  She wants to be popular, but how can she when no one knows she exists.  I liked her, although I think she tries way to hard.  I think if she would have waited patiently, she wouldn't have had to put up with the clique.  But, at the same time the clique is what lead her to her true friends.

The actual "lipstick laws" were a hilarious set of rules that the group must follow.  As we learn more about Britney, the rules she has set up begin to make a lot of sense (not in their use but in why she did it).   How Britney became the "it" girl is beyond me.  It seems like there were a lot more people who disliked her than actually thought she the queen bee.  Maybe the popularity was really all in her head.  

I was happy to see April stand up to the group.  She didn't loose herself completely in the rules and her desire to be popular.  Although, I wonder how long she would have put up with them if the events at the party hadn't occurred. I was a little disappointed in the need for revenge.  While some of them were fun and games, a few were also something Britney would do.  And April had a habit of treating others just like she was treated by Britney.  But, in the end she learns her lesson.

Overall, a quick story that I think is suited towards younger teens.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Review: A World Without Heroes (Beyonders #1) by Brandon Mull

A World Without Heroes (Beyonders, #1)Title: A World Without Heroe's
Author: Brandon Mull
Series: 1st in Triology
Pages: 464
Published: Available now from Alladin
ISBN: 9781416997924
Source: Galley Grab

Description: Jason Walker has often wished his life could be a bit less predictable--until a routine day at the zoo ends with Jason suddenly transporting from the hippo tank to a place unlike anything he's ever seen. In the past, the people of Lyrian welcomed visitors from the Beyond, but attitudes have changed since the wizard emperor Maldor rose to power. The brave resistors who opposed the emperor have been bought off or broken, leaving a realm where fear and suspicion prevail.  In his search for a way home, Jason meets Rachel, who was also mysteriously drawn to Lyrian from our world. With the help of a few scattered rebels, Jason and Rachel become entangled in a quest to piece together the word of power that can destroy the emperor, and learn that their best hope to find a way home will be to save this world without heroes.

I Give This ...

At first glance, I passed on this novel.  I was guilty of judging a book by it's cover.  But then I noticed it was by Brandon Mull who is also the author of The Fablehaven series, which is a favorite of mine.  Then it became a must read.

It's a little slow to start, but Mull has to create the background.  Which I know from his previous books, he's marvelous at.   I really enjoyed this world that he has created.  I felt the tension between the people.  Everyone is afraid to draw the emperor's wrath, and those who have his favor bask in the glory.  Everyone who would challenge him is dead.  Or if they've presented a serious threat, they've been given life long immunity at the ultimate palace that they can never leave.   Hidden along the way are those who secretly oppose the emperor.  They are just waiting for the right hero to come along with the courage to follow through and bring him down.

Enter in Jason and Rachel.  Jason was brought into this world by musicians trying to summon a hero. While he doesn't believe he is this person, he will do anything to find away back home.  Even if it means taking up this impossible quest.  Rachel's true roll I think is yet to be fully revealed.  She provides some key support, and some of the adventures could not have been completed without her. 

It's an epic middle grade fantasy with everything you could hope for in the genre.  There's a giant killer crab, frog's with teeth, mushrooms that make you forget, and berries that give you extra energy.  Along they way Jason and Rachel must outwit a chancellor, run on water, escape the palace that no
 one is allowed to leave, and gain an audience with the emperor.  It's really a fantastic novel from beginning to end.  It's not as great as the later books in the Fablehaven series.  But as the first in a new series, it has the makings to be great!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

B & K's Reading Daze

I have two girls who love to read as much as I do.  Granted they are 5 and 3, so reading isn't exactly what they do.  I'm so excited that this love of mine seems to be passing on to them.  So B & K's Reading Daze highlights some of the books they have enjoyed over the past month.  These books are usually books we find at the library, although occasionally I will showcase some favorites that we own or whatever else they really enjoy.

It seems like we haven't got as much reading time lately.  We've been a busy family which usually means later bedtimes and no time for a story.  Plus, my youngest had the library taken away from her for a little while.  She wasn't treating her borrowed books like she should.  But, we always have favorites and here are a couple of them.

K's Books (5):

The Pout-Pout Fish 
Title: The Pout-Pout Fish
Author: Deborah Diessen
 Illustrator: Dan Hanna

 Swim along with the pout-pout fish as he discovers that being glum and spreading “dreary wearies” isn’t really his destiny. Bright ocean colors and playful rhyme come together in this fun fish story that’s sure to turn even the poutiest of frowns upside down.

K LOVES this book.  It's cute and colorful.  We've read it enough times that she has it memorized.  I love the ending.

B's Books (3):

Noah and the Ark (Read with Me (Make Believe Ideas))Title: Noah and the Ark
Authors: Claire and Nick Page

I would think this one is obvious what it's about.  B particualrly likes stories about Noah and the Ark.  I think it's the animals.  She really enjoys this one.  The entire thing rhymes and has some hilarious  things that Noah says to God.  It also includes an A to Z list of animals that were brought on the boat (not all of course, just an animal starting with each letter).  So if you like bible tales for younger children, we really recommend this one!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Review: Outside In (Inside Out #2) by Maria V. Snyder

Outside In (Inside Out, #2)Title: Outside In
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Series: 2nd in Inside Out
Pages: 320
Published: Available now from Harlequin Teen
ISBN: 9780373210114
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Description: Me? A Leader? Okay, I did prove that there's more to Inside than we knew. That a whole world exists beyond this cube we live in. And finding that led to a major rebellion - between worker scrubs like me and the snobby uppers who rule our world. Make that ruled. Because of me, we're free. I thought that meant I was off the hook, and could go off on my own again - while still touching base with Riley, of course. He's the one upper I think I can trust. But then we learned that there's outside and then there is Outside. And something from Outside wants In.

I Give This ...

She's successfully done it.  I've read everything written by Maria Snyder and everything has earned a 4 star or higher.  I will read anything she writes until she proves me wrong!

I loved this sequel to Inside Out!  The story manages to have something new while remaining true to the characters introduced in book 1.  Since the characters live in a box in the middle of nothing, I was really curious were this story could possibly go.   I was surprised and what the new thing was that was threatening to destroy Inside!

I really liked how Trella progresses in the story.  She didn't mean to start the revolution and she definitely wasn't looking to be it's face.  Why in the world would she want to be it's leader now.  I really wanted to shake and make her see how much good she could do for Inside as a whole.  But, she a teenager.  What teen really wants that much responsibility at such a young age.

I was surprised at how many twists and turns the story takes.  For the longest time I had no idea who to trust.   Trella makes some tough choices that really alienate her from the people who helped in the first book.  I wasn't surprised that so many people could turn on her.  I was glad to see her finally step up the plate and fight for the people of Inside and for herself!   


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Review: Green-Eyed Demon (Sabina Kane #3) by Jaye Wells

Green-Eyed Demon (Sabina Kane, #3)Title: Green-Eyed Demon
Author: Jaye Wells
Series: 3rd in Sabina Kane
Published: Available now from Orbit
ISBN: 9780316037778
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Description: Things to do: 1. Rescue sister. 2. Murder grandmother. 3. Don't upset the voodoo priestess. The clock is ticking for Sabina Kane. Her sister has been kidnapped by her grandmother, the Dark Races are on the brink of war, and a mysterious order is manipulating everyone behind the scenes. Working on information provided by an unlikely ally, Sabina and her trusty sidekicks--a sexy mage named Adam Lazarus and Giguhl, a Mischief demon--head to New Orleans to begin the hunt for her sister. Once there, they must contend with belligerent werewolves, magic-wielding vampires and--perhaps most frightening of all--humans. But as much as Sabina is focused on surviving the present, the past won't be ignored. Before she can save those she cares about most, she must save herself from the ghosts of her past.

I Give This ...

My word Sabina has a lot on her plate.  Just when things were starting to look up, she's slammed with another life threatening situation.  It's a good thing her previous occupation was an assassin, because I think it's enabled her to be able to react to the intense situations that she gets herself in.

While I'm a little tired of the constant change in scenery,  I think I've enjoyed this book set in New Orleans the best.  The feel it gives the story fit into everything else that goes on.  I particularly enjoyed their involvement with the voodoo priestess.  The fact that she was human made for some interesting events and usually the made the priestess look more capable that anybody else.  I loved the scene in the graveyard were they manage to animate a dead body into a zombie!

Sabina grows in leaps and bounds it seems.  She acknowledges that her grandmother is nothing more than an evil vampire who feels to family connection to her.  I think she's also coming to terms with having a twin sister.  Plus, she finally admits both to herself and out loud how she really feels about Adam.  It's funny how paranormal races have such an issue with commitment!

Overall this installment was intense and brought a lot of issues to a close.  But, because we love Sabina, Adam, and Giguhl (can I have a demon minion?) so much, we get new issues.  Who is the leader of the Caste and what does he want?  I my biggest thought...will someone please put the fairy queen in her place!!  I think she might be just as bad as Sabina's grandmother!

Monday, April 18, 2011

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!

Read Last Week: 
  • Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey
  • The Betrayal of Maggie Blair by Elizabeth Laird
  •  The Queen's Pawn by Christy English
  • Abithica by Susan Goldsmith

Currently Reading:   
  • Stay by Deb Caletti 

Up This Week:
  • Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz
  • Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
  • Possession by Alana Johnson

Sunday, April 17, 2011

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:  
Ashfall (Ashfall, #1)
  •  Ashfall by Mile Mullen


Queen of Song and Souls (Tairen Soul, #4)
  • Queen of Song and Souls by C.L. Wilson

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Cover Interview and Giveaway (CLOSED) for Two Moon Princess by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

I'm happy to have Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban, author of Two Moon Princess here at One Book At A Time.  I asked her a few questions about the cover of her book, and here is what she had to say.

Two Moon Princess

How much input did you have into the cover of Two Moon Princess?
This is the easier question ever. None.

Does any part of the story come to mind when you see it?
 The part of the story the cover brings to my mind is Andrea's arrival in California after crossing the Arch.

I assume it’s Andrea on the cover.  Is that how you pictured her (or close)?
Yes, she is Andrea. And yes, she does look like the Andrea I had in my mind when writing the story.

Is the cover a mix of the two worlds, or just one particular one?
The background on the cover of Two Moon Princess reminds me of the beach in California where Andrea arrives after crossing through the forbidden arch into our world. The arch in Andrea's world is set in a rougher coastline with high cliffs.  In fact, the picture was taken at the Jersey shore.

Is there anything you wish you could change about the cover?
In Two Moon Princess, Andrea travels between her medieval world and modern day California by crossing an arch in her world that also exists in ours. The arch, a real place in northern Spain, was the seed for the story in Two Moon Princess. So, I would have loved to have the arch in the cover.
You can read more about this at:
  That said, I do love the cover.

 How did your react when you first saw the final cover (or when you saw the cover on an ARC or finished copy)?

Honestly? I thought, wow! What a beautiful picture but, where is the arch?

You can read about my reaction the day I first saw the cover by clicking here:

All you have to do is comment on this post and be sure and leave your email!  Contest is open to US residents 13 and up.  Will close April 23, at 11:59 pm!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Review: Sometimes It Happens by Lauren Barnholdt

Sometimes It HappensTitle: Sometimes It Happens
Author: Lauren Barnholdt
Series: Stand Alone
Pages: 320
Published: Available July 27th by Simon Pulse
ISBN: 9781442413146
Source: Around The World Tours

Description: On the last day of her junior year, Hannah's boyfriend Ryan dumped her. Facing a summer of loneliness, Hannah turns to her best friend Ava for comfort. Ava does what BFFs do: she stays by Hannah's side...until it's time for Ava to head up to Maine for the summer. Also left behind is Ava's boyfriend, Noah, who's such a great guy he gets Hannah a job at the diner he waits tables at. Slowly, Hannah comes out of her funk thanks to Noah's good conversation and their fun times at the diner. But things get complicated when their friendship turns into attraction--and one night, into a passionate kiss. The novel opens on the first day of senior year; the day Hannah is going to see Ava, Ryan, and Noah all in one place. Over the course of the day secrets and betrayals are revealed, and alliances are broken and reformed. In the end, everyone is paired up once again, but not the way you might think...

I Give This ...

One little events can change your life as well as the readers opinion on the whole situation.  Such was the case with this story.  Yeah...the description is misleading a little.

I liked Hannah.  I even felt sorry for her.  Ava was a total bi#%h.  It's no wonder that Hannah has no friends outside of her.  I sure wouldn't want to hang out with her.  So when Ava all of sudden decides to take a job as a camp counselor, Hannah has no idea who to turn.  Ava, being the generous person that she is, had Noah check up on her.  Why, I can never really figure out.  I liked that Hannah makes new friends and step outside of her comfort zone.  I really loved that she finally decided to see that maybe Ava wasn't the best person to be friends with.

I really like Noah as well.  He's funny, sweet, and seems to be able to bring Hannah out of her funk.  What I don't see is what he ever saw in Ava.  I like the dynamics of his relationship with Hannah.  You can tell he's trying to step away from what he's feeling.  And it's not that Hannah is always trying to put herself in front of him.  He's trying to do the right thing.

I also enjoyed Lexie.  She's just the person that Hannah needed to become friends with.  I found it interesting that she's dated the same person as Ava, but we don't know much about her until they become friends.  What's obvious is Lexie and Ava's mutual dislike of each other.  Feels like there's more of a story there.

I actually was really enjoying this book until we learn what happened that night.  I could have a forgiven a kiss.  It wouldn't be the first time a girl likes her best friends boyfriend.  But, I never pegged Hannah as the type to sleep with him.  I don't buy the whole excuse "sometimes it happens."  Because, that's one of those lines that shouldn't be crossed (even if your BFF is the type of person that Ava is).  Plus, it felt so rushed and lacked the romance, even if they really do really care about each other.  In real life, the best friend isn't really likely to forgive.  And the labels that would come along with that make it even less likely that the guy is going to stick around (because you know the whole school is going to learn of this).


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Review: Divergent (Divergent #1) by Veronica Roth

Divergent (Divergent, #1)Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Series: 1st in Divergent series
Pages: 496
Published: Available May 4, 2011 from Harper Collins
ISBN: 9780062024022
Source: Around The World Tours

Description: In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.  During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

I Give This ...

I really wasn't sure how badly I wanted to read this.  It's seems to have a lot a hype building behind it.  But for some reason, it just didn't really catch my interest.  I decided to give it a chance.  
While, I enjoyed the world created within the novel, I didn't have a good reasoning behind it.  It's explained that certain characteristics of mankind basically brought down the human race.  Apparently, Chicago survived because there is absolutely no mention of anything outside the city (and I assume it's suburbs).  That alone was strange for me, but I let it go.  Maybe there's something more out there, and we just don't know about it yet.

To keep the peace and a functioning society, factions were created with each one cultivating desirable characteristics.  An admirable thought really, but humans have refused to be categorized for millenniums, why it would work now I have no idea.  Yet, I found them fascinating.  On their 16th birthday, the teens in the society are given a test that basically shows which characteristics they tend towards.  Then they choose their faction.  I liked the idea, but was a little confused.  Did they have to choose the faction the test showed?  Or were they allowed to choose any faction they wanted to?  And for a society that seems peaceful, there's a lot of animosity between factions.  

I really loved Beatrice.  She's been brought up as a Abnegation.  Her whole life as been devoted to others.  But, she longs for something more.  So when her test shows some abnormalities, she does the unthinkable.  She joins another faction.  And not just any faction, she joins Dauntless.  They seem to be the crazy one who have a habit of doing things like jump from moving trains and 7 story buildings.  The initiation process was intense.  I kept waiting to see how it all proved how brave the initiates were.  To me, it seemed to be just training them to keep going and that anything less than giving your life was cowardice.  But, Beatrice proves to be way more than that.  She doesn't give up even when all the odds are stacked against her.  But, in doing so she drawn unwanted attention to herself.

The truth behind what is going on behind the facade was awesome and way beyond cruel.  The way the people were used may be far fetched scientifically, but mankind has really done worse throughout history.  The ending was dramatic and fast past compared to the slow buildup.  You really have no idea that anything is really wrong until about 3/4 of the way through.  I found that I really enjoyed the entire story.  I wonder what will happen next?


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Review: Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

Garden SpellsTitle: Garden Spells
Author: Sarah Addison Allen
Series: Stand Alone
Pages: 290
Published: Available now from Bantam Books
ISBN: 9780553590326
Source: Library

Description: The Waverleys have always been a curious family, endowed with peculiar gifts that make them outsiders even in their hometown of Bascom, North Carolina. Even their garden has a reputation, famous for its feisty apple tree that bears prophetic fruit, and its edible flowers, imbued with special powers. Generations of Waverleys tended this garden. Their history was in the soil. But so were their futures.  A successful caterer, Claire Waverley prepares dishes made with her mystical plants—from the nasturtiums that aid in keeping secrets and the pansies that make children thoughtful, to the snapdragons intended to discourage the attentions of her amorous neighbor. Meanwhile, her elderly cousin, Evanelle, is known for distributing unexpected gifts whose uses become uncannily clear. They are the last of the Waverleys—except for Claire’s rebellious sister, Sydney, who fled Bascom the moment she could, abandoning Claire, as their own mother had years before.  When Sydney suddenly returns home with a young daughter of her own, Claire’s quiet life is turned upside down—along with the protective boundary she has so carefully constructed around her heart. Together again in the house they grew up in, Sydney takes stock of all she left behind, as Claire struggles to heal the wounds of the past. And soon the sisters realize they must deal with their common legacy—if they are ever to feel at home in Bascom—or with each other. 

I Give This ...

I'm not sure what drew me to this book really.  It's not a type that I'm normally drawn too.  But, something caught my I and I added it to my to read list.  I finally got around to reading it and I'm glad I did.

The story has a realism to it that I found interesting.  The characters feel like they could be anybody.  They have real problems and real family dynamics. The "magic" the Waverley's are known for seems entirely plausible.   I liked all the characters for what they bring to the story.   Claire was my least favorite, but I think that's because she's so guarded.  She doesn't let herself feel emotions because she afraid of people leaving her.  I was fascinated by what she did with food.  I've never thought certain ingredients can invoke certain emotions.  It was fun to watch her work, especially when she was trying to discourage her neighbors feelings towards her.

Syndey was a character that seemed to wear her heart of her sleeve.  She's been running from family since she was old enough to make the decision to leave.  I liked how she was willing to do anything to protect her daughter, even if it meant facing the one thing she was trying to forget.  The man she was running from was scary, but an all to familiar character.  I really liked her daughter and she seemed to fit in with the rest of the characters so well.

The  story comes full circle, with all the character coming to terms with who they were and who they are now.  I enjoyed the changes the characters make.  I loved the magical elements.  They were so subtle that it didn't feel like fantasy.  I will look for something else by Sarah Addison Allen, because I thoroughly enjoyed this one!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Review: Two Moon Princess (Two Moon Princess #1) by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

Two Moon PrincessTitle: Two Moon Princess
Author: Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban
Series: 1st in series, but works as stand alone
Pages: 324
Published: Available now from Tanglewood Press
ISBN: 9781933718279
Source: Arranged Tour

Description: In this coming-of-age story set in a medieval kingdom, Andrea is a headstrong princess longing to be a knight who finds her way to modern-day California. But her accidental return to her family's kingdom and a disastrous romance brings war, along with her discovery of some dark family secrets. Readers will love this mix of traditional fantasy elements with unique twists and will identify with Andrea and her difficult choices between duty and desire.

I Give This ...

This is a hard book to review.  It was an easy read, but there are elements of the story that didn't flow well, and the characters can be hard to like.   But, I enjoyed the premise, and thus found the entire story enjoyable.

Andrea was hard-headed and extremely stubborn.  For the most part this benefited who she was and what she wanted to do.  She's not the princess we usually see in fairy tales.  She has no desire to learn to be a lady and would be considered a tomboy (and that's putting it mildly).  But there were times I really wanted to yell at her.  She has a habit of thinking something was a great idea and going with it.  She doesn't bother to think about the consequences and how her actions might effect others.  I think so many things could have been avoided if she would just stop and ask herself a couple questions before proceeding.  But then we wouldn't have much of a story.

The supporting cast of characters was a mix.  John was an interesting character when he was in California.  Stick him in Andrea's world and all of a sudden he became the guy I wished would disappear.  He thought it was all a game and so he never realized what was at stake.  Andrea's father...I disliked immensely.   He was just as stubborn as Andrea and wanted such a different life for her.   Not to mention that he was such a man in so many ways.  I loved Don Julian and his brother Alfonso.  They both brought a lot of life to the story.  I had a feeling there was something more to Don Julian and was glad to discover in the end that I was right.

I actually didn't care much for that part were Andrea is in California.  I didn't find in believable that she managed to fit in there so easily and in so little time.  I don't think a princess who leaves in a mid-evil like era could come to modern California, fit in, learn English, etc all in a few months time.  But, it was necessary to the story.  She learns about who her ancestors could have been (they are suppose to have crossed over from our world centuries ago).   

An interesting story overall.  I just saw that this is labeled an book 1, so I'm curious as to were the story goes from here.  There are possibilities, just not sure how interested I am in reading it.

Monday, April 11, 2011

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!
This last week was interesting.  I noticed I was very far behind in my ebook reviews.  So I decided to tackle a few.  I love my kindle, but this was the first time I read 4 books in a row on it.  I think I need to throw in a physical book or 2 this week to make up for it!
Read Last Week: 
  • Outside In by Maria Snyder
  • A World Without Heroes by Brandon Mull
  • The Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder
  • Rage by Jackie Kessler
Currently Reading: 
  • Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey
Up This Week: 
  •  The Queen's Pawn by Christy English
  • The Betrayal of Maggie Blair by Elizabeth Laird
  • Stay by Deb Caletti

Sunday, April 10, 2011

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 MaidShattered Souls
  • The Maid by Kimberly Cutter
  • Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey


Shadowfae (The Shadowfae Chronicles, #1)
  • Shadowfae by Erica Hayes

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Review: Night Road by Kristin Hannah

Night RoadTitle: Night Road
Author: Kristin Hannah
Series: Stand Alone
Pages: 400
Published: Available now from St. Martins Press
ISBN: 978031236442
Source: Won ARC

Description: Jude Farraday is a happily married, stay-at-home mom who puts everyone’s needs above her own. Her twins, Mia and Zach, are bright and happy teenagers. When Lexi Baill enters their lives, no one is more supportive than Jude. A former foster child with a dark past, Lexi quickly becomes Mia’s best friend. Then Zach falls in love with Lexi and the three become inseparable. But senior year of high school brings unexpected dangers and one night, Jude’s worst fears are confirmed: there is an accident. In an instant, her idyllic life is shattered and her close-knit community is torn apart. People—and Jude—demand justice, and when the finger of blame is pointed, it lands solely on eighteen-year-old Lexi Baill. In a heartbeat, their love for each other will be shattered, the family broken. Lexi gives up everything that matters to her—the boy she loves, her place in the family, the best friend she ever had—while Jude loses even more. When Lexi returns, older and wiser, she demands a reckoning. Long buried feelings will rise again, and Jude will finally have to face the woman she has become. She must decide whether to remain broken or try to forgive both Lexi…and herself.  

I Give This ...

I've never read anything by Kristin Hannah although I've been meaning too.  After reading this, it's something I'm going to have to remedy.  I enjoyed Night Road from beginning to end.

I wasn't fond of Jude, which was strange from me as a parent.  I think it's because I'm so far from the helicopter parent and I don't ever plan on being one.  There were so many times I wanted to tell her to step back and let them have lives.  Really, what parent would want to walk the child to their locker and to their first class on the first day of high school?  But, her parenting is such a integral part of the story.  It's part of the reasoning behind what happened that horrible night.

I actually really like the teens in this story.  Mia actually reminded me a lot of myself as a teenager.  She was driven, but was so shy that she needed someone to push her forward.  And she need that person to be someone other than her mother.  I loved Zach.  He has such a connection to his twin even though they have such different interests and friends.  The fact that he's wanted to be with Lexi for so long but stayed away because he knew Mia needed her as a friend more was so admirable.  

The accident that changed all their lives was predicable.  But what happens afterwards was so far from that.  Lexi willingly takes the blame and the courts decide to make an example out of her.  And what happens that first year brought me to tears.  Lexi was trying so hard to distance herself from the Farraday's. I was happy to see the chance when she's finally able to get her life back on track.

In the end Lexi has to face her own demons as well as making the Farraday's (especially Jude) face their own.  Lexi has to learn that she's not her mother.  She capable of love and being loved despite of what has happened.  Jude has to learn to forgive herself.  Because until she does, she can't begin to forgive Lexi.  Zach has to learn to acknowledge what he's wanted all along and that it's ok to have it.  It's an emotional roller coaster ride along the way.


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