Friday, January 28, 2011

Book Review: Misguided Angel by Melissa de la Cruz

Title: Misguided Angel
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Series: Blue Bloods #5
Publisher: Disney/Hyperion
Release Date: October 26, 2010
Other Books In Series:
Blue Bloods

The Van Alen Legacy

Warning: Summary may contain mild spoilers for books 1-4 of the Blue Bloods series.

Goodreads Summary:
After inheriting the dark Van Alen Legacy, Schuyler fled to Florence with her forbidden love, Jack. Now the two of them must embark on the mission Schuyler was destined to complete: to find and protect the five remaining gates that guard the earth from Lucifer, lord of the Silver Bloods.

Back in New York, Mimi has been elected Regent of a crumbling coven. Struggling with her heartache over the loss of Kingsley and with her overwhelming desire to destroy Jack, she must focus all of her energy on a perilous new threat. Vampires are being abducted and their captors are planning to burn them alive online…for all the world to see. Help arrives in the form of Deming Chen, a Venator from Shanghai, who must untangle the web of deceptions before the killers strike again.

As the young vampires struggle for the survival of the coven, they uncover a deadly secret, a truth first discovered by Schuyler’s mother during the Renaissance but kept buried for centuries. And as the Blue Blood enclave weakens yet further, fate leads Schuyler to a terrible choice that will ultimately map the destiny of her heart.

My Review:
Misguided Angel is one of my two favorites of the series so far (along with Revelations). I think I'm alone in saying this- all the other reviews I've read have regarded it as a plotless "filler book". The format changes from the previous books- instead of a rotating perspective between the three female leads, the book is divided into 3 sections. Part 1: Jack and Schuyler in Florence. Part 2: Mimi in New York. Park 3: A new character- Deming Chen, also in New York. Bliss is completely gone from this book, but will be reappearing later in a spin off series.

If you're a fan of the Schuyler-Jack romance, you might me a bit disappointed by this book because they aren't mentioned after the first part. I was never hugely invested in their romance, and I found the first part easily the most dull section of the book.

In part 2, we see Mimi, who has been elected Regis (leader) of the New York Coven (a choice I LOVE!). Mimi is one of those characters I used to hate, then I loved-to-hate, and now I think I just love. She's powerful and manipulative, but not as shallow as she used to be either.

But the reason this book is one of my favorites of the series was because of the new character Deming Chen. She's a 17 year old venator from Shanghai, and she's seriously awesome and talented. Deming's part of the book is a huge murder mystery. A blue blood student has been murdered, and the video of her burning was posted on the internet for the red bloods (humans) to see. Deming goes undercover at Duchesne and using awesome detective skills to solve it. The twists in the murder mystery are crazy! It reminded me of a TV show episode- right when the crime was solved, it wasn't! I hope we see more of Deming Chen in the next books in the series.

I don't know if a lot happened to advance the overall plot of the series, but I still think this was a good addition to the series. One other little thing I've noticed a couple times throughout the series that has bugged me are nods to pop culture references, without actually saying the title of the Movie/TV Show being referenced. For example, Deming observes there are no "slushie facials" in American high school, like in "American TV shows". An obvious reference to "Glee", if you've seen the show, but Deming doesn't actually say the show name. A really small thing, but I noticed it nonetheless.

The worst part of the book was the length- it was too short. Only 265 pages and felt even shorter. I think if it would've been a longer book, the plot could've been a lot more developed and clearer. This was one of those books I had to pay very close attention to the plot so I wouldn't get confused.

I've been tearing through this series... I'm very sad I've come to the last one that's currently out. (With the exception of the novella Bloody Valentine). I can't wait for the sixth one Lost In Time to be released!

4 out of 5 stars

Edit: I forgot to mention- there is no random modeling plot tangent!!! This is probably why this was one of my favorites in the series. That part really bugged me....

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday: Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins

(I'm not posting the summary because it contains HUGE spoilers for those of you who haven't read Hex Hall yet, and I don't want to give anything away about that awesome book.)

I haven't posted a WoW in awhile, but I really NEED to read this book, and I figured this would be a great way to share it with everybody! I just finished Hex Hall earlier this week, and I am so stoked for the next book in the trilogy! I've heard this book is even better than the first one from the ARC reviews circulating around the blogosphere. I CANNOT WAIT to read it! Anybody else excited from Demonglass?

Old Favorite Review: Molly Moon's Incredible Book of Hypnotism

Title: Molly Moon's Incredible Book of Hypnotism
Author: Georgia Byng
Publisher: Harper Trophy
Release Date: April 1, 2004
Titles In Series:
Molly Moon's Incredible Book of Hypnotism
Molly Moon Stops the World
Molly Moon's Hypnotic Time Travel Adventure
Molly Moon, Micky Minus, & the Mind Machine
Molly Moon & the Morphing Mystery

The Review:

The Molly Moon series by Georgia Byng was one of my favorites around the time of 5th or 6th grade. The story revolves around British orphan Molly, who lives in a cruel orphanage where's she's constantly bullied until she discovers a book of Hypnotism in the local library. She reads the book, and very quickly learns how to hypnotize people herself.

Molly uses her new power to go on the ultimate adventure a pre-teen girl could imagine. Of course, there are others out there that want to get a hold of her hypnotism book and use it for less-than-innocent means. Molly is a smart and hilarious girl who uses her wits (along with her pug Petunia) to deflect them and have a fun time, and learn some lessons too.

But hypnotism is only the first book in the series. In each successive book, Molly learns another supernatural power, and consequently deals with others who have the same power and want to use if for their own evil benefits.

There are 5 books in this series (so far), but I only read the first 2 (I didn't even know there were more until sitting down to write this reveiw!). The first book could've been a stand alone though, then it could've been a series of two, and I was amazed to find there were more. I don't know if the sucessors are as good as the first two, because they wrapped up the plot pretty well.

Though it may sound like it, this series is not all just fluff. The plot was so epic and intense in both of these books. The first book revolved around Molly going to New York City and performing on Broadway. In the second book, where she can freeze time, she goes to Los Angeles and gets into the Academy Awards, all while foiling an evil billionaire who has been using hypnotism to make a ton of money. Cheesy at times, yes, but a lot of fun and intense situations.

Being a book about an orphan, one part of the plot is Molly searching for her parents, who she does eventually find, also one of my favorite parts.

I devoured this fun series when I was younger, I read the first two books at least twice if not more. I think if I re-read them, I would enjoy them just as much. This series is Middle Grade, but still awesome. I don't know if the last three books in the series are as good as the first two, but I might have to read them and see for myself.

Preview it from Harper Trophy

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Book Review: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Title: Hex Hall
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Series: Hex Hall #1
Publisher: Hyperion
Release Date: March 2, 2010
My Source: Library

Goodreads Summary:

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 student 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.

My Review:

Sophie Mercer is a hilarious, sarcastic, and completely relatable MC who really made this book so good. Her world isn't entirely unique- paranormal creatures (Vampires, shapeshifters aka werewolves, and fey) called Prodigium, live in our modern human world, managing to escape detection of their magical powers from the clueless humans. Something I've seen in plenty of paranormal/urban fantasy books, but still providing a decent setting.

Witches and warlocks though, are something not found too often in paranormal stories. (Though they're not completely uncommon of course- Harry Potter, The Mortal Instruments, and other big series include them). Sophie has known she's a witch- the daughter of a normal mother and a warlock father. After a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, she is sentenced to Hecate-or Hex- Hall, a school for misbehaving Prodigium teens.

This story is fast moving and it doesn't take long for the plot of a murder mystery at Hecate to spring into action. The story keeps you guessing the whole time, but comes to a satisfying ending. It's not really a cliffhanger, because the mystery is solved, but it still leaves a lot of open ends and more mystery for the next books in the trilogy. This is my preferred way to end the first book of a series- it was done very well.

As I mentioned at the beginning, I loved Sophie's character. Unlike a lot of other girl MC's I've read about, she was completely unafraid to stand up to the "popular" girls when they made fun of her friend and offered her to join their group. She was loyal to her friend and roommate Jenna, and helped her out, even when no one else would. She wasn't flimsy in her decisions, but she was also kind and understanding. Sophie is the kind of girl you'd either want to be, or have as a best friend, and I think she'd be a lot of fun to hang out with.

There was a romance, which I didn't connect with as much as I would've liked, but it wasn't like what the heck?!? either. It made sense, even though I would've liked to see more growing tension and interactions between Sophie and Archer, and seen her grow to like him a little more, instead of it being an instant thing.

This is a light, humorous paranormal story that reminded me a lot of other 2010 debut, Paranormalcy. Completely different plot, but similar feel and humor. I read it mostly in one sitting, I didn't want to put it down. Best word to describe it: Fun. But serious at the same time, with a great murder mystery plot. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys fun paranormal/fantasy stories like Paranormalcy. This is a awesome debut and beginning of a trilogy. I'm really looking forward to seeing where this goes!

4.5 out of 5 stars

Sunday, January 23, 2011

In My Mailbox (17)

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren.

Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Fall For Anything by Courtney Summers
The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard
Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan

From the Library:
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Choker by Elizabeth Woods
Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr (audio book)

Thanks to:
Alisia Leavitt
DeRaps Reads

Week In Review

Reviews Published:
From the Dead by John Herrick
The Van Alen Legacy by Melissa de la Cruz

Currently Reading:
Mieradome by Kate O'Hegarty

Upcoming Reviews:
Misguided Angel by Melissa de la Cruz
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Book Review: From the Dead by John Herrick

Title: From The Dead
Author: John Herrick
Series: None
Publisher: Segue Blue
Release Date: August 31, 2010
My Source: Accepted from author

Goodreads Summary:
A preacher's son, a father in hiding, a guilty heart filled with secrets: When Jesse Barlow escaped to Hollywood, he hungered for fame--but eleven years of failure result in a drug-induced suicide attempt. Revived at death's doorstep, Jesse returns to his Ohio hometown to make amends with his preacher father, a former love, and Jesse's own secret son. But Jesse's renewed commitment becomes a baptism by fire when his son's advanced illness calls for a sacrifice--one that could cost Jesse the very life he regained. A story of mercy, hope, and second chances, From The Dead captures the human spirit with tragedy and joy.

My Review:

This is not the type of book I typically read. It's not Young Adult, but when I recieved a pitch to review it from the author, I was immediately drawn in by the summary. I felt like I just had to read it. And I am so glad I did! This book was so good, I think more people should know about it and read it.

The first third of the book focuses around Jesse's life in California that slowly spirals into awful desolation. He left home at 18, eleven years ago, but has failed to make it as an actor. The Hollywood section of the book was my least favorite part- I understand it was needed to set the stage of Jesse's life, but it was very long, and sort of boring and hard to get through.

Once I got to the part where Jesse returns home, I started tearing through the pages, unable to stop, it was so good. The relationships were so well built, characters fleshed out, and tensions very real. It's the story of the prodigal son, returning to his preacher father, and comfronting trials he never knew he left behind- namely, the son he never knew he had.

I was really surprised by the relationship between Jesse and his son Drew. So many moments made me smile, and the whole thing was so genuine. I loved the parts where they were together, it was just beautiful. Jesse's sister Eden was another great character who I really could connect with, and I loved their sibling relationship. And Chuck, Jesse's father, was pretty cool too.

I could analyze this book from a Christian fiction perspective, but I wouldn't classify From the Dead as Christian fiction. Sure, there were Christian themes, but this book wasn't preachy, and author John Herrick was certainly not afraid to portray the world as it is- in all the very awful detail. There is plenty of language and some situations that would not be portrayed in the same way in typical Christian fiction, paticularly in the Hollywood section of the book. For this reason, I would only recommend this book to older teens and adults. Having said that, even though this was an adult book, I think older teenagers would enjoy it, as I certainly did.

The writing itself wasn't anything spectacular, but it was fairly what I was expected. But the ending had me hanging on the edge the whole time. Very nice suspense.

Overall, if you're into books with great characters, realistic life portrayals, and adult contemporary fiction, this is a book you have to read. The only other book I've read that it reminded me of was My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult- if you liked that, you'll probably like this one; there were similar themes. Not 5 stars because of the slow first part and excessive strong language with I'm not a huge fan of, but still 4 stars because of the fantastic second part.

4 out of 5 stars

Friday, January 21, 2011

New Button and Other Minor Changes

I'm super excited about this, so I wanted to share it with all my followers...

FINALLY I made a new button that matches my blog!

I've had the old one since I had my old blog design back in November (it was brown and blue). That one didn't match my new design at all, but I haven't had time to create a new one that does. Now it actually matches my design! Feel free to add it to your sidebar. :)

I've also changed my logo on Goodreads and Twitter also, to match the new design.

In addition... In the past month, I've also added quite a few new pages to the top of my blog, along with a new navigation bar last week. I have a 2011 Challenges page, which I update frequently whenever I finish a book. There's also a new About Me/Contact page, where I list a bunch of my favorite books, movies, music, and stuff to do, if you want to get to know the person behind this blog a little better.

I didn't have anything else to post about today, so I figured I'd share this with y'all. :)

P.S. My finals are over! Sooo happy! I also finished Misguided Angel today and will also have Hex Hall finished and reviewed soon.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Book Review: The Van Alen Legacy

Title: The Van Alen Legacy
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Series: Blue Bloods #4
Publisher: Disney/Hyperion
Release Date: October 6, 2009
My Source: Library
Other Books In Series:
Blue Bloods

Warning: May contain mild spoilers for those who haven't read the books 1-3 of the series.

Goodreads Summary:

With the stunning revelation surrounding Bliss's true identity comes the growing threat of the sinister Silver Bloods. Once left to live the glamorous life in New York City, the Blue Bloods now find themselves in an epic battle for survival. Not to worry, love is still in the air for the young vampires of the Upper East Side. Or is it? Jack and Schuyler are over. Oliver's brokenhearted. And only the cunning Mimi seems to be happily engaged.

Young, fanged, and fabulous, Melissa de la Cruz's vampires unite in this highly anticipated fourth installment of the Blue Bloods series.

My Review:
The fourth book in the addicting Blue Bloods series, The Van Alen Legacy continues in the format of it's predecessors, in telling the story switching between 3 teenage vampire girls- Schuyler, Bliss, and Mimi. It takes place a year after the 3rd book, a time gap which makes the beginning hard to get into. Schuyler and her best friend Oliver have been on the run from the Conclave for over a year. Bliss can't remember much of the past year- she's being possessed and used by a mysterious Visitor who inhabits her mind. And Mimi has been traveling the world with Kingsley to investigate what happened in Rio.

The first half of this book felt like a let down to me- probably because of the year that passed, it was hard to get back into the characters. It was just so slow moving. Bliss, Schuyler, and Mimi were all in completely different parts of the world on different missions. It took me awhile to read through this part.

It picked up once all the characters returned to their home of New York City. It became addicting and interesting. The plot was as crazy good as ever again, and tension of the Silver Bloods, the sinister evil vampires who are trying to pretty much destory the world, was there again. The plot was so intrinsic that it was a little difficult to follow at times. I'm still not sure if I got it all, because I read too quickly sometimes. So much is going on though, and that's a good thing.

My new favorite character is Mimi- her story is easily the most interesting and I love her romantic relationships with a certain person I won't mention, I don't want to give anything away! Schuyler is torn between her best friend Oliver and her forbidden love Jack, and I felt SO bad for Oliver the whole time. I really hope something good happens to him at the end of the series.

This book is getting a slightly lower rating than the previous two because the first half was so much less entertaining than the previous books, but thankfully it picked up and turned out much better by the second half.

Out of all the vampire series I've read, I think plot-wise Blue Bloods is definitely the winner. I'll definitely be reading more of this series, besides the plot, I need to see Mimi end up with the person I really, really, really think she's going to. ;)

3.5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (5)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Today's teaser comes from one of my current reads, Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins. (I currently have 3 books I'm reading right now- Hex Hall, From the Dead, and Misguided Angel- I keep switching back and forth for no reason, they're all really good!)

"When someone tells you somebody's been murdered, laughing is probably not the best response. You know, for future reference."
-pg 54 of Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Random Blogging Update: I want to apologize for the lack of regular posting the last couple of days, and want to warn you guys that my postings might continue to be sparse in the next week or so because it's finals week for me. (Yeah, our school is kinda lame, we have finals after Christmas break.) Anyway, I hope to get back in the full swing of blogging after Friday is over.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

In My Mailbox (16)

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

These are all the book I've recieved in the past two weeks.

From the Library:

The Van Alen Legacy by Melissa de la Cruz

Should be posting a review of this one sometime this week, along with the 5th one in the series Misguided Angel.

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

I've heard great things about this book- looks like a great dystopian!


The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I've been wanting to read this for about FOREVER.

Rampant by Diana Peterfreund

Two words: Killer. Unicorns.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Another one I've heard so much great stuff about, I can't wait to read it.

I bought these last 3 books with a Barnes and Nobles giftcard I got for Christmas. They're all books I've been wanting to read since before I started blogging, so now that I own them hopefully I'll get around to it soon.

Happy reading everyone!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Book Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Title: Delirium
Author: Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium #1
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: Feb. 1 2011
My Source: Netgalley
My Rating: 4/5

Goodreads Summary:

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love - the deliria - blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

My Review:

This is a dystopian novel that takes place in a world where love is a disease. It's called the deliria- when you turn 18 the citizens have a procedure that "cures" them. Put simply, it deprives them of almost all emotion in order to spare them from pain. Lena has always believed fullheartedly in the cure, until she meets a rebellious boy named Alex from "The Wilds", the lands outside the cities, who teaches her the truth.

Lauren Oliver, whose debut novel Before I Fall I absolutely LOVED, has done a fantastic job of creating a perfect dystopian society. The concept of erradicating love was interesting- and terrifying. It reminded me alot of another great series- the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld, where people have a procedure when they turn 16 to make them Pretty, except this time they cure them of love.

I was so eager to read this novel, but halfway through I started thinking this book wasn't quite as good as I expected. While I loved Lauren Oliver's writing, the plot was so slow moving, almost nonexistant, that I found myself getting a bit bored. Lena and Alex were good characters, but it's hard to be extremeyl invested in a book with only good characters and not much of a driving plot. You'd like with Lena's operation coming up, there would be a bit more urgency, but instead, half of the book is just her deciding whether she wants to conform to society and have the operation or not. At least, that was my feeling for the first 3/4 of the book. I liked, but didn't love it.

Towards the end, it started to pick up, as Lena's operation got closer and she started to feel the urgency. And then, right when I didn't expect it- BAM! Huge shocking ending. This book brought me to tears. My visualization of the last two pages are still burned clearly in my mind every time I think about this book. When I was done, I set it down and thought, wow, that ending was the Lauren Oliver I loved.

Though I really liked it, a large majority of this book was slow moving, and didn't hook me at first. I understand that was neccesary - it developed Lena's character. I did appreciate seeing a real change in her through the course of the book- it was believable and real.

This book I was reminded of another recent release- "Matched" by Ally Condie (which was good too). The writing style was different, but the pacing was similar. The difference between Delirium and Matched was that I connected much more with the characters so much more in Delirium, especially towards the end. (I loved the ending of Delirium much more than Matched.)

If you like dystopian stories like Matched or Uglies, you have to read Delirium. And if you're a fan of Lauren Oliver's first novel- while I didn't like this one quite as much, she still has the same great writing style that I love. Definitely a book to look for in this new year.

4 out of 5 stars

Cover: 3.5/5 The title/author fonts are beautiful, and I like the face behind the words, I'm just not a fan of the color. Light blue doesn't really go with the book in my opinion, not to mention I personally don't find it a very aesthetically appealing color either. Maybe that's just me, though! I've seen black versions (other country releases) that I like much better.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Old Favorite Review: Gregor the Overlander Series

Title: Gregor the Overlander (and series)
Author: Suzanne Collins
Series: Underland Chronicles
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Dates: 2003-2007

Titles in Series:
Gregor The Overlander
Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane
Gregor And The Curse Of The Warmbloods
Gregor And The Marks Of Secret
Gregor and the Code of Claw

Goodreads Summary for Gregor the Overlander:

When eleven-year-old Gregor follows his little sister through a grate in the laundry room of their New York apartment, he hurtles into the dark Underland beneath the city. There, humans live uneasily beside giant spiders, bats, cockroaches, and rats—but the fragile peace is about to fall apart.

Gregor wants no part of a conflict between these creepy creatures. He just wants to find his way home. But when he discovers that a strange prophecy foretells a role for him in the Underland's uncertain future, he realizes it might be the only way to solve the biggest mystery of his life. Little does he know his quest will change him and the Underland forever.

Rich in suspense and brimming with adventure, Suzanne Collins's debut marked a thrilling new talent, and introduced a character no young reader will ever forget.

My Review:

I read the Gregor the Overlander series back in 6th grade, and back then it was one of my all-time favorites. I still own all of them, and it's only appropriate that I write the first "Old Favorite" Review based on this series. Gregor the Overlander was Suzanne Collins debut novel, and we all know her as the amazing writer of The Hunger Games. I was a fan of hers long before the HG came out because of the Gregor series (and that's why I read the HG in the first place before all the buzz!).

These books focus around Gregor, who is eleven years old at the beginning of the series. Through falling down a vent in his apartment's laundry room, he discovers a land underneath New York City- where humans with pale skin who have never seen the sun live, along with gigantic, talking versions of rats, beetles, bats and other creatures, some friendly, some vicious.

He discovers he is the warrior predicted in an ancient prophecy, and in each book fulfills another prophecy written about him, perhaps not in the way he originally thought it would be fulfilled. He find

The plot style reminds me a lot of JK Rowling, where each book is full of truly shocking twists that generally conclude each book, but still leaving some connections between the sequels. It's a lot like Harry Potter also with a seemingly ordinary boy who discovers he's not-so-ordinary, and he has to become a hero he didn't know he could be.

There's a fair amount of everything- action, tension, tragedy (be prepared for awful, tearful deaths!), and a bit of romance, though not a ton since it is primarily for middle schoolers.

I remember loving this series so much, and I wonder if I went back and read them if I'd love them all the same. I remember my favorite books was the 3rd- Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods. It had the most mind bending twist for me. I read the prophecy section over and over, even long after I finished the book, even turning it into a song in my head (because yes, I was that strange kid). This was one of the first urban fantasies I'd ever read, and it definitely made me love reading!

I'd recommend this book to fans of series such as Harry Potter, and especially younger readers, since I enjoyed it when I was younger, but I think I would still enjoy it very much if I read it again now. And even better that it was written by Suzanne Collins, who we all know is a fantasticly brilliant writer!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Giveaway Hop/Create-A-Sequel Winners

Thanks so much to everyone who entered the Giveaway Hop giveaway! I had a ton of entries, and ended up breaking 400 followers! I can't believe I have that many. I will have a HUGE giveaway event planned for when I get 500 followers, though that may be in a while.

The winner for the Reading Resolutions Giveaway Hop is:

Kailia Sage

I also had another fun challenge going on, called the "Create-A-Sequel" Challenge, where you had a come up with a simple sequel idea to be entered for a giveaway. Though I didn't have as many entries as the previous giveaway, it was a lot of fun to read what answers people gave. Due to the fact that they almost certainly contain spoilers for any book you choose to write about, I decided I won't be posting the results.

The randomly chosen winner of the Create-A-Sequel Challenge is:


Thank you all for entering/following on twitter/friending on Goodreads! I really appreciate it and happy reading!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

"Old Favorite" Reviews

I'm going to start posting a feature occasionally called "Old Favorite Reviews", which is the same thing as a regular book review, except it will be of a book I read in Elementary/Middle School that I loved to death.

I won't be rereading them (usually), the reviews will just be based on my memory from way back when, and therefore they'll probably be a lot shorter. I just want to spread the word about some awesome books I used to love.

Sharing these books are important to me because without them, I never would've loved reading nearly as much as I do now! Most of these books fall into the category of Middle Grade- something I don't read often anymore, but I think is still a very important category to be discussed.

I know a lot of my followers are YA fiction fans, but I also want to encourage younger readers to pick up MG books, and who knows, maybe some older people would like these books too (I know I still love them!).

I hope this is a worthwhile feature. I know I've been wanting to find a way to spread the word about some of my favorite books growing up that still hold a special place in my heart. (Not to be too cheesy or anything!)

It won't be a regular thing- just whenever I feel like posting one. Look for the first review coming soon.

And I even designed a nifty little button to go along with it! This will be posted on every "Old Favorite" Review.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Book Review: Dash and Lily's Book of Dares

Title: Dash & Lily's Book of Dares
Authors: Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Series: None
Publisher: Knopf Books For Young Readers
Release Date: October 26 2010
My Source: Library

My Rating: 4/5

Goodreads Summary:

“I’ve left some clues for you. If you want them, turn the page. If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.” So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the New York Times bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions? Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.

My Review:

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares is a fun story about two teenagers who leave clues for each other across New York City and get to know each other by writing in a read notebook. The story switches between the two characters perspectives, each which was written by a different author- Rachel Cohn wrote Lily's chapters and David Levithan wrote Dash's. These two authors have two books they've collaborated on in the past, but based on reviews I've read I wasn't interested in either (though Nick and Norah has been made into a movie). This one sounded different though, so I gave it a try since I'm sort of on a contemporary kick right now.

This book takes place at Christmastime, which I didn't even realize when I started the book. Even though it's Holiday-themed, it could easily be read any time of year (I read it in January, and still loved it!).

Dash and Lily were two very quirky characters, but I loved both of them. They were intelligent, cynical at times, and very unique. Not what you might typically find in a book, and they had their own similaries and differences between them that complemented really nicely. Lily is a misfit who doesn't fit in with other girls, loves her family and Christmastime, and has a really fun personality. Dash is bookish and snarky, but a loyal friend (and he hates Christmastime). Lily is very innocent and immature at times, but it didn't annoy me. Dash is more experienced in life in general. I really loved the characterization (if you can't tell). I think the real magic why the characters worked so well was Cohn and Levithan's writing. It flowed seamlessly, though the characters were different. Reading a book written by two different authors was a neat experience.

My biggest complaint- There isn't a whole lot of plot going on at all, except the dares in the notebook, which don't actually take up the whole book. A lot revolves around the dares, but I think most of Lily's parts were about her family, and Dash's more about his friends. (This was okay, though) A few of those times it felt like it was dragging a bit, so some readers who prefer action and plot might feel bored. I also wish the ending might've been a little better wrapped up... we never really figure out some things. I would've liked to see what their relationship turned into once the notebook adventures were over (we saw the beginning, but I'd love to see more). It was still a very cute and ending that fit the book well.

My only caution for younger readers would be that there was a fair amount of strong cursing, which, though it wasn't used often, the few times it popped up was very strong. Like I said, there wasn't very much though. Other than that it was generally appropriate for all ages.

If you like cute, contemporary (Holiday) stories, this is a book you have to look for. If you like romances told from both perspectives, this book is a superb example of that too.

4 out of 5 stars

Cover: 5/5 I LOVE this cover! I think I picked this book up because of the cover. It's so colorful and happy looking, and I think it's one of my favorites.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Giveaway Updates!

I have a lot of giveaways going on right now, and the purpose of this post is to sum them up!

Create-A-Sequel Challenge- ends TODAY AT MIDNIGHT
Go enter this!!! It's simple- you just make up your own idea for a sequel to any book that doesn't have one and tell me about it. It doesn't have to be long or complicated, just a sentence or two (or more if you'd like). You can win your choice from a list of books on that post.

Misguided Angel Giveaway- ends 1/15
This is an awesome giveaway of the 5th Blue Bloods book! So enter it!

Reading Resolutions Giveaway Hop: Personal Demons- ends 1/9
This is a cool giveaway because it's part of a blog hop... enter my giveaway, then check out all the other blogs on the linky list too!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (4)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading . Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"Nobody ever checks out Godfather III. Especially when it's misfiled. Do you want another clue? If so, find Clueless. Also misfiled, where sorrow meets pity."

- pg. 25 Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan.

This sentence (or sentences, I guess I broke the rules with more than 2 sentences), is one of the clues from the Dares in this book! I just started this book, but I'm loving the creativity in the clues! It's really good so far.

Reading Resolutions Giveaway Hop

This giveaway is now closed!

Are there any books you wished you could've read in 2010? Debut authors, maybe, who you never got around to reading their debut? I have some good news for you... you can still read them in 2011! Ok, lame joke, I know. But I know in 2011 I plan on reading a lot of books I never got around to in 2010, along with a bunch more new releases, of course.

I figured an appropriate way to begin the new year would be to give away a book that made my Top 10 of 2010 List. Number 9 on the list was Personal Demons by debut author Lisa Desrochers. I highly enjoyed this book and would recommend adding it to your 2011 reading list if you haven't read it already! To give one person that opportunity, I'm giving away 1 ARC copy as part of the Reading Resolutions Giveaway hop.

See my review of Personal Demons before you enter!

Goodreads Summary:
Frannie Cavanaugh is a good Catholic girl with a bit of a wicked streak. She has spent years keeping everyone at a distance—-even her closest friends—-and it seems as if her senior year is going to be more of the same . . . until Luc Cain enrolls in her class. No one knows where he came from, but Frannie can’t seem to stay away from him.

What she doesn’t know is that Luc is on a mission. He’s been sent from Hell itself to claim Frannie’s soul. It should be easy—-all he has to do is get her to sin, and Luc is as tempting as they come. Frannie doesn’t stand a chance. But he has to work fast, because if the infernals are after her, the celestials can’t be far behind. And sure enough, it’s not long before the angel Gabriel shows up, willing to do anything to keep Luc from getting what he came for. It isn’t long before they find themselves fighting for more than just Frannie’s soul.

But if Luc fails, there will be Hell to pay . . . for all of them.

Giveaway rules:

  • You must be at least 13 years old
  • Please only fill out the form ONCE.
  • You can have a total of 4 entries (all on the one form).
  • US only
  • Deadline: January 9

Note: This is a used, ARC copy that's been sitting on my shelves for awhile, but still in great condition!

Enter Here

And once you've entered, stop by all the other blogs in the hop!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

In My Mailbox (15)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, showcasing all the books recieved in the previous week.

I recieved a few books via NetGalley, but with the amount of library books/hard review copies I recieved, I'm not going to share them here.

For Review:

Mystify by Artist Arthur

I've already had this one from Netgalley for awhile, but I finally got a hard copy! :)

Thanks Artist Arthur!

Bloody Valentine by Melissa de la Cruz

The latest Blue Bloods novella. I originally thought it was the next book in the series and am slightly disappointed to find it's only a novella, but I'm still very excited to read it.

Thanks to the publicity dept of Hyperion!

From the Library:

The Twin's Daughter by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

An interesting sounding story with what sounds like an amazing plot, and it's historical fiction. I can't wait to read it!

Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Already read and loved it, see my review.

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

This is one of those books I "wished I'd read" in 2010. I look foward to reading it in 2011!

Ice by Sarah Beth Durst

This is a retelling of one of my favorite fairy tells ever (East of the Sun and West of the Moon). While I don't expect it to live up to East by Edith Pattou, I'm anxious to read it!

What did you get in your mailbox this week?