Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!!

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Wishing you a Happy And Prosperous 2010

Frequently Banned or Challenged Books

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I honestly never thought of books being challenged or banned.  In my personal world, I've never been restricted in what I read.  So, when I saw this challenge, I thought I would give it a shot and see what could possible cause this books to be challenged.  I could see some of the reasons, but nothing that would ever stop me from reading (or keeping my children from reading them in the future).  I read...

  • Bridge To Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

  • Slaughter House Five by Kurt Vonnegut

  • The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

  • Alice in Rapture, Sort Of by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

The Catcher in the Rye is probably one of the most frequently challenged books overall.  Phyllis Reynold Naylor is one of the most challenged authors of this decade.  Her Alice series is often challenged as whole.  House of the Spirits was the only one that I felt was overly graphic about anything.  I found nothing wrong with Bridge to Terabithia and Slaughter House Five.

*If you would like more information on frequently banned or challenged books, please visit

BestSellers Challenge

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This challenge was to open up to books that are popular that I haven't read.  I was extremely glad I did this challenge because I found my favorite book of the year this way!  Sadly, I finished this challenge before I started my blog.  So here is what I read...

  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

  • Rise and Shine by Anna Quidlen

  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

  • At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon

  • The Shack by William Young

Can you guess which book takes the top spot for the year?  Of course it was Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.  I can't believe I had never heard of this series.  I plan on finishing this series in the coming year!  The Kite Runner was also awesome.  The Shack was pretty good as well.  At Home in Mitford and Rise and Shine were just ok.  I don't think I will be seeking anything else by those author unless I run out of things to read.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Revelations (Blue Bloods #3) by Melissa De La Cruz

Revelations (Blue Bloods, #3)

Title: Revelations
Author: Melissa De La Cruz
Published: October 2008 by Hyperion
Pages: 256
ISBN: 9781423102281
Source: Library Book

Description:  Have you ever wondered what secrets lurk behind the closed doors of New York City's wealthiest families? They're powerful, they're famous... they're undead.
Schuyler Van Alen's blood legacy has just been called into question--is the young vampire in fact a Blue Blood, or is it the sinister Silver Blood that runs through her veins? As controversy swirls, Schuyler is left stranded in the Force household, trapped under the same roof as her cunning nemesis, Mimi Force, and her forbidden crush, Jack Force.
When one of the Gates of Hell is breached by Silver Bloods in Rio de Janeiro, however, the Blue Bloods will need Schuyler on their side. The stakes are high; the battle is bloody; and through it all, Carnavale rages on. And in the end, one vampire's secret identity will be exposed in a revelation that shocks everyone.

I Give This Book 4 Stars!

Somewhere along the way, I forgot this book was about vampires.  That's not a bad thing, because it makes for an interesting twist on vampires and angels.  And, this was the best in the series so far.  Jack and Schuyler true relationship kind of surprised me.  And it was even more surprising to watch Mimi's reaction.  I expected more fireworks from that.  It was sad to watch Oliver through all of this.  His character is growing on me.  The ending was quite the showdown and left me hanging.  I'm intensely intrigues by what Bliss really is.  I can't wait to get the next installment and hope it brings some closure to this part of the series.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

The Three Musketeers (Modern Library Classics)

Title: The Three Musketeers
Author: Alexandre Dumas
Published: First published in 1844
Pages: 640
ISBN: 9780375756740
Source: Library Book

Description:  First published in 1844, Alexandre Dumas's swashbuckling epic chronicles the adventures of D'Artagnan , a gallant young nobleman who journeys to Paris in 1625 hoping to join the ranks of musketeers guarding Louis XIII. He soon finds himself fighting alongside three heroic comrades, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, who seek to uphold the honor of the king by foiling the wicked plots of Cardinal Richelieu and the beautiful spy "Milady."
As Clifton Fadiman reflected, "We read The Three Musketeers to experience a sense of romance and for the sheer excitement of the story. In these violent pages all is action, intrigue, suspense, surprise and an almost endless chain of duels, murders, love affairs, unmaskings, ambushes, hairbreadth escapes, wild rides. It is all impossible and it is all magnificent."

I Give This Book 3 Stars!

I've only seen the Disney version (the one with Kiefer Sutherland) of this book, so thought I might enjoy it for my classics challenge.  Boy, was I surprised.  It was not an easy read.  It's large and cumbersome.  I didn't have to force my way though it, just had to take my time.  I was most shocked by the differences.  I was under the impression that D'Artagnan was a follower and more of the type to get into trouble.  He's actually more of the leader in this book.  The musketeers aren't as valiant and courageous as I thought.  More along the lines of men who like their women and their wine, and prefer to haggle their way to getting them for free.   There wasn't as much suspense, intrigue, coercion, and backstabbing as I anticipated.  I was glad when I finished it, but happy I read it.

Monday, December 28, 2009

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

First off, this is hosted by J. Kaye's Book Blog.  If you would like to participate, just head on over and join the fun!

Read Last Week:

  • The Queen's Mistake by Diane Haeger

  • Alice in Rapture, Sort Of by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

  • The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent

Currently Reading:

  • Tattoo by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

To Read This Week:

  • The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran

  • Ash by Malinda Lo

  • Truly, Madly by Heather Webber

  • and if I have time I WILL  FINISH Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon.  I've been reading this for 2 months and really want to finish it!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Son of a Witch (Wicked Years #2) by Gregory MaGuire

Son of a Witch: A Novel (Wicked Years, #2)

Title: Son of a Witch
Author: Gregory MaGuire
Published: October 2006 by Regan Books
Pages: 337
ISBN: 9780060747220
Source: personal copy

Description:  Ten years after the publication of Wicked, beloved novelist Gregory Maguire returns at last to the land of Oz. There he introduces us to Liir, an adolescent boy last seen hiding in the shadows of the castle after Dorothy did in the Witch. Bruised, comatose, and left for dead in a gully, Liir is shattered in spirit as well as in form. But he is tended to at the Cloister of Saint Glinda by the silent novice called Candle, who wills him back to life with her musical gifts. What dark force left Liir in this condition? Is he really Elphaba's son? He has her broom and her cape—but what of her powers? Can he find his supposed half-sister, Nor, last seen in the forbidding prison, Southstairs? Can he fulfill the last wishes of a dying princess? In an Oz that, since the Wizard's departure, is under new and dangerous management, can Liir keep his head down long enough to grow up?

I Give This Book 3 Stars!

I will admit that I was not an instant fan of Wicked.  It took the second reading for me to be fully engaged in it and not completely confused.  Maybe that's the case here as well.  Nothing about this book felt similar to the first.  It was even more confusing.  The characters don't feel the same nor does the land of OZ (but then there is no Wizard...).   The first half to 2/3 of the book drag on.  All the action occurs in the end, and then it's over.  I didn't particularly like Liir.  He was a wishy-washy character, and never firmly stood his ground on anything.  In the end, he seemed to develop some character.  But, it was too little too late.  I will probably read the latest in the series A Lion Among Men, but only because the library has it.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


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Merry Christmas from my house to yours!  Hope you have a wonderful Holiday!!

Literary Classics Challenge

Literary Classics by globalglenn.

I have to admit that I am not well read in Literary Classics.  I more of a modern book kind of gal.  But, I though this challenge might be good for me.  Let's just say it was an eye opener :)  Here is what I read...

  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

  • The Scarlett Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

  • The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

Pride and Prejudice was by far my favorite.  Oliver Twist and The Three Musketeers were worthy reads as well.  The Scarlett Letter was just ok.  Wuthering Heights...I just don't know.   I didn't like it, but feel maybe sometime in the future I may have to read it again.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Specials (Uglies #3) by Scott Westerfeld

Specials (Uglies, #3) 

Title: Specials
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Published: April 2006 by Simon Pulse
Pages: 372
ISBN: 9780689865404

Description:  "Special Circumstances":
The words have sent chills down Tally's spine since her days as a repellent, rebellious ugly. Back then Specials were a sinister rumor -- frighteningly beautiful, dangerously strong, breathtakingly fast. Ordinary pretties might live their whole lives without meeting a Special. But Tally's never been ordinary.
And now she's been turned into one of them: a superamped fighting machine, engineered to keep the uglies down and the pretties stupid.
The strength, the speed, and the clarity and focus of her thinking feel better than anything Tally can remember. Most of the time. One tiny corner of her heart still remembers something more.
Still, it's easy to tune that out -- until Tally's offered a chance to stamp out the rebels of the New Smoke permanently. It all comes down to one last choice: listen to that tiny, faint heartbeat, or carry out the mission she's programmed to complete. Either way, Tally's world will never be the same. 

I Give This Book 3.5 Stars! 

I've really enjoyed this series so far.  But, something happened with Specials.  The story felt very thrown together at times.  The time line was strange.  Sometimes a chapter would cover hours and other times it would cover weeks.  It lacked the intensity the first two books had.  The characters didn't feel the same, and at times it felt like the didn't behave the same as they would have previously.  I didn't really get the ending either.  Very disappointing to a series I was really enjoying.  I will read Extras, but only because it's the last one and I don't want to be left hanging.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

The Dark Divine

Title: The Dark Divine
Author: Bree Despain
Published: Dec. 2009 by Egmont USA
Pages: 375
ISBN: 9781606840573

Description: Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared--the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in his own blood--but she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night held.
The memories her family has tried to bury resurface when Daniel returns, three years later, and enrolls in Grace and Jude's high school. Despite promising Jude she'll stay away, Grace cannot deny her attraction to Daniel's shocking artistic abilities, his way of getting her to look at the world from new angles, and the strange, hungry glint in his eyes.
The closer Grace gets to Daniel, the more she jeopardizes her life, as her actions stir resentment in Jude and drive him to embrace the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind the boy's dark secret...and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it--her soul.

I Give This Book 4 Stars!

There's a lot of buzz about this book and for good reason!  It fits right into the popular subject in teen fiction these days.  But, it had more substance that a lot of books I've read.  I really identified with Grace for some reason (and I think a lot of readers will).  I liked her family dynamics.  And Daniel was that elusive "bad" boy we love reading about.   Maybe I wasn't reading the signs correctly, but for once I had a hard time figuring out the twists, and I loved that.   I kept reading way past when I should have gone to bed because I had to know what happened next.  Wonderful new book by a promising new author!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

First, off this is hosted by J. Kaye’s Book Blog.  If you want to participate, head over and join in the fun!

Read Last Week:

  • The Fury by L.J. Smith

  • Dark Reunion by L.J. Smith

  • Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran

  • The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

Currently Reading:

  • The Queen's Mistake by Diane Haeger

Plan To Read This Week:

  • Alice in Rapture, Sort of by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (my last book for my challenges this year)

  • The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent

  • Tattoo by Jennifer Lynn Barnes


Sunday, December 20, 2009

In My Mailbox and Library Loot!

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi and she was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie!

Won From Goodreads

Truly, Madly: A Novel

  • Truly, Madly by Heather Webber

From Paperbackswap

Pretty Little Liars (Pretty Little Liars, #1)     The Au Pairs (The Au Pairs, #1)     Nobody's Princess

  • Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard

  • The Au Pairs by Melissa De La Cruz

  • Nobody's Princess by Esther Friesner



Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.

Alice in Rapture, Sort of (Alice)     Ash     The Heretic Queen

  • Alice in Rapture, Sort Of  by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

  • Ash by Malinda Lo

  • The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Title: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Author: Junot Diaz
Published: September 2007 by Riverhead
Pages: 340
ISBN: 9781594489587

Description: Things have never been easy for Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight, lovesick Dominican ghetto nerd. From his home in New Jersey, where he lives with his old-world mother and rebellious sister, Oscar dreams of becoming the Dominican J. R. R. Tolkien and, most of all, of finding love. But he may never get what he wants, thanks to the Fuku - the curse that has haunted Oscar's family for generations, dooming them to prison, torture, tragic accidents, and, above all, ill-starred love. Oscar, still waiting for his first kiss, is just its most recent victim.

I Give This Book 3.5 Stars

I'm still not sure what makes this book a literary genius.  First off I dislike fiction stories that include footnotes.  Although, I know they are there to state facts, I still found myself not reading them.  There is an interesting history trapped in these pages.  And that I did enjoy.  I liked the story involving Oscar's heritage and the history of the Dominican.  He's mother's story was particularly harrowing.  But, the story of Oscar himself bordered on vulgar at times.  I felt like it was 340 pages of a man's desire to have sex for the first time.  I finished it (and it took me longer than most books this size do), but I don't feel I learned anything from it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

600 Hours of Edward by Craig Lancaster

600 Hours of Edward

Title: 600 Hours of Edward
Author: Craig Lancaster
Published: November 2009 by Riverbend Publishing
Pages: 278

ISBN: 9781606390139

Description: Edward Stanton is a man hurtling headlong toward middle age. His mental illness has led him to be sequestered in his small house in a small city, where he keeps his distance from the outside world and the parents from whom he is largely estranged. For the most part, Edward sticks to things he can count on...and things he can count. But over the course of 25 days (or 600 hours, as Edward prefers to look at it) several events puncture the walls Edward has built around himself. In the end, he faces a choice: Open his life to experience and deal with the joys and heartaches that come with it, or remain behind his closed-door, a solitary soul.

I Give This Book 5 Stars!

All I can say is Wow, what a wonderful book!  While a number of books lately have emerged me in a fantasy world, this one grips you into today's world.  It was a great change of pace.  Edward could be anybody, and I think that's one thing that makes this story so fascinating.  From the first page, you get a very intense view of what life is like for Edward.  You feel slightly sorry for him, but you begin to understand why it is this way.  And then those small little problems that so often happen in life begin to disrupt the perfect little system that Edward has built around himself.  I was so impressed with the way the author wrote how Edward handled all of this.  It was such a moving story from beginning to end.  I felt so connected to Edward, and had a wide range of emotion throughout the story.  While the story ended nicely, I wanted more of it.  There was just enough at the end that made me wonder if a sequel could be in the works.   Overall, I would recommend this to anybody who would enjoy a human interest story.  

* A special thanks to the author, Craig Lancaster, for sending me this book to review! 

Monday, December 14, 2009

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

First, off this is hosted by J. Kaye’s Book Blog.  If you want to participate, head over and join in the fun!

Read Last Week:

  • Son of a Witch by Gregory McGuire

  • The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

  • Revelations by Melissa De La Cruz

Currently Reading:

  • The Fury by L.J. Smith

To Read This Week:

  • Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran

  • Dark Reunion by L.J. Smith

  • The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

Sunday, December 13, 2009

In My Mailbox!

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi and she was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie!

I know last week I said I was going to lay off the books.  Well then this package arrived.  I had completely given up on the book club.  I've been trying to rejoin for months now with no luck.  I was beginning to think I was going to have to go buy the expensive versions of all the books by authors I like to keep!  So, this was a wonderful surprise.

Hunted (House of Night, #5)          The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon, #3)          After

Relentless: A Novel          Kindred in Death          The Scarpetta Factor (Kay Scarpetta, #17)

  • Hunted by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

  • The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

  • After by Amy Efaw

  • Relentless by Dean Koontz

  • Kindred in Death by J.D. Robb

  • The Scarpetta Factor by Patricia Cornwell

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Library Loot


Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

I've been meaning to do this meme for awhile now.  I've been an avid library person for about 6 months now.   I seem to have passed on this love to my older daughter as well.  She likes to go and get new books too.  So, we go about once a week.   Here is what I got this week...

The Fury and Dark Reunion (The Vampire Diaries, #3-4)     Revelations (Blue Bloods, #3)    The Queen's Mistake: In the Court of Henry VIII     The Heretic's Daughter     Cleopatra's Daughter

  • The Fury and Dark Reunion (Vampire Diaries #3 & #4) by L.J. Smith

  • Revelations by Melissa De La Cruz

  • The Queen's Mistake by Diane Haeger

  • The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent

  • Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran

I'm so excited about this weeks haul!  If you would like to know more about each book, just click on the cover picture!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Pulitzer Prize Challenge

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One of my challenges this year was to read 5 Pulitzer Prize winners.  For me this was easier said than done.  I don't read a lot of books that qualify, let alone win!  So here is what I did read this year...

  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker

  • The Hours by Michael Cunningham

  • The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields

  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Of these, I liked To Kill A Mockingbird best.  I can't believe I have never read it!  The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao  would probably be next, but I don't think it's book everybody would enjoy.  The Stone Diaries and  The Hours were just okay in my opinion.  I did not like  The Color Purple at all.  I had to make myself finish it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Masquerade (Blue Bloods, #2) by Melissa De La Cruz

Masquerade (Blue Bloods, #2)

Title: Masquerade
Author: Melissa De La Cruz
Published: May 2007 by Hyperion
Pages: 320
ISBN: 9780786838936

Description: Schuyler Van Alen is starting to get more comfortable with her newfound vampire powers, but she still has many unanswered questions. A trip to Italy in search of her grandfather only serves to make things more confusing. What secrets are the leaders of The Committee hiding? Meanwhile, back in New York, preparations are feverishly underway for the famous Four Hundred Ball. In true Blue Blood fashion, the ball is totally fab, complete with masks, and hidden behind this masquerade is a revelation that will change the course of a young vampire's destiny.

I Give This Book 4 Stars!

I was not extremely impressed with the first book in the series.  But, since I was left hanging, I felt the need to continue on.  Again, I'm glad I did for the second in the series was well worth it!  The story line isn't as choppy this time around.  I liked the character development.  Schuyler makes some interesting discoveries, both about herself and about those around her.  She's different from everyone else in the story, and I think that is what makes her interesting.  I see the love triangle growing, which will let for more intrigue in future books.  Thankfully, I have Revelations waiting for me at the library, so I don't have to wait too much longer to read the next installment!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Eternal (Tantalize, #2) by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Eternal (Tantalize, #2)

Title: Eternal
Author: Cynthia Leitich Smith
Published: February 2009 by Candlewick
Pages: 320
ISBN: 9780763635732

Description: At last, Miranda is the life of the party: all she had to do was die. Elevated and adopted by none other than the reigning King of the Mantle of Dracul, Miranda goes from high-school theater wannabe to glamorous royal fiend overnight. Meanwhile, her reckless and adoring guardian angel, Zachary, demoted to human guise as the princess's personal assistant, has his work cut out for him trying to save his girl's soul and plan the Master's fast-approaching Death Day gala. In alternating points of view, Miranda and Zachary navigate a cut-throat eternal aristocracy as they play out a dangerous and darkly hilarious love story for the ages.

I Give This Book 4 Stars!

I was prepared not to like this book for some reason.  But, it surprised me.  The vampires in this story are far different that the ones you see in must young adult fiction currently.  They are cruel, dark, and very dangerous.  Some of the scenes are tamed down, but still leave a horrific image in your mind.  I liked Miranda.  She never seems to accept that life that has been chosen for her.  Zachary was a great voice of reason for her.  The relationship was more believable than some.  The only thing I wish I had known was that it is part of a series.  From what I gather, this book is separate from the first in the series (it's called Tantalize).  But, both story lines comes together in the third book of the series (which hasn't been released yet).  I'll have to make sure a pick up the first one before I read the 3rd.

Monday, December 7, 2009

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

First, off this is hosted by J. Kaye’s Book Blog.  If you want to participate, head over and join in the fun!

Read Last Week:

  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

  • Specials by Scott Westerfeld

Currently Reading:

  • Son of a Witch by Gregory McGruire

To Read This Week:

  • The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

  • The Amber Spyglass by Phillip Pullman

I think that might be all I'm able to fit in this week.  The Three Musketeers is much bigger than I realized :)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

In My Mailbox!

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi and she was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie!

I'm trying to slowdown a little in the book department.  We will see how that goes :)

Fate          In the Shadow of the Crown (Queens of England, #6)         

  • Fate by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

  • In the Shadow of the Crown by Jean Plaidy

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Struggle (The Vampire Diaries, #2) by L.J. Smith

The Struggle (The Vampire Diaries, #2)

Title: The Struggle
Author: L.J. Smith
Published: First published in 1991
Pages: 313
ISBN: 9780061020018

Description: Damon: Determined to make Elena his queen of darkness, he'd kill his own brother to possess her.
Stefan: Desperate for the power to destroy Damon, he succumbs to his thirst for human blood.
Elena: Irresistibly drawn to both brothers, her choice will decide their fate.

I Give This Book 4 Stars!

Well this would be the extremely rare case of the second book in the series was better than the first.  I could actually feel the pull towards Damon in this book.  Yes, he's dark and dangerous.  But, there's something else there as well.  You don't know what it is, you can just feel it.  Stefan is the brooding vampire.  He's the right choice (if a vampire can be a "right" choice).  And Elena loves him, but can't stay away from Damon.  And she was much more likeable in this on.  Funny what love can do (even to people in stories).  The ending wasn't what I was expecting.  I can't wait to get my hands on the next one to see where this story goes!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Awakening (The Vampire Diaries, #1) by L.J. Smith

The Awakening (The Vampire Diaries, #1)

Title: The Awakening
Author: L.J. Smith
Published:  1991 by Eos
Pages: 320
ISBN: 9780061020001

Description:  Elena: Searching for the ultimate thrill, she vowed to have Stefan.
Stefan: Haunted by his tragic past, he struggled to resist her passion.
Damon: Driven by revenge, he hunted the brother who betrayed him.
The terrifying story of two vampire brothers and the beautiful girl torn between them.

I Give This Book 3.5 Stars!

I'll fully admit I wanted to read this series because I got hooked on the TV series.  I'm not sure if I would have preferred knowing that two are very different.  It's one of those cases that if I had read the books first, I would have been extremely disappointed in the series.  It's actually almost the other way around for me.  It's extremely hard to admit that since it is so rare to like the show/movie better than the book.  I did not like Elena at all in this book.  She's snotty, selfish, and will stop at nothing to get what she wants.  Stefan is interesting, but it's hard to see at first what draws him to Elena besides the obvious.  I liked Damon, and the book explained his character more than the show does.  The story reminded me a lot of Twilight, but it doesn't have the same intensity as that series does.  I'll continue reading because I'm sure the TV series won't satisfy me.  Plus, the book I read was a double book (book 2 included) and I enjoyed the second book way more. 



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