Monday, October 31, 2011

Daughter of Smoke and Bone- Laini Taylor

First off Happy Halloween!! I hope everyone is doing something fun tonight. I unfortunately have to work but the boyfriend and I decorated the outside and bought some candy so hopefully we get some trick or treaters.   

Title: Daughter of Smoke & Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed from the library
Rating: 4/5

Goodreads Summary:
Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grow out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

My review does not do this book justice but I am going to try my hardest to because this is a book that takes a used idea and twist it into this hauntingly beautiful story.
This book takes forbidden love and twists it and makes it into this amazing story.  The back of the book really describes the tone of the book “She had been innocent once, a little girl playing with feathers on the floor of a devil’s lair. She wasn’t innocent now....”
I now understand what the cover is referring to. I thought it was just a pretty cover but after reading the book I see how it ties into the story.  I had a now I understand moment near the end of the book where the relevance of the mask is revealed.
 We meet Karou who is a student at n art school in Prague. She is a normal teenager with a best friend and an ex boyfriend who her best friend Zuzana has given a delightful nickname.  The thing that makes Karou stand out from the crowd is her blue hair which she tells her friends grows that color and her notebooks filled with sketches of otherworldly creatures that she claims are real. Karou is a strong female role which I always love in books, she can protect herself and is very independent.
Brimstone is one of my favourite characters in this book. He takes such good care of Karou.  He is a father to her in his own ruff way and makes sure she will always have enough to live off of.
Akiva is a Seraphim who battles against the Chimaera.  He feels this connection with Karou that he cannot explain and does not understand as she is of course his enemy.  
 I love the back story about his life and the myths about how the Seraphim and Chimaera came to be and why they have always been in conflict with each other.
I really enjoyed this book and cannot wait to read Taylor’s other books. I have never read a book set in Prague. It was unique and fast paced. The descriptions of the surroundings were amazing.  It made me feel like I was in the story watching it unfold.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Shade- Jeri Smith-Ready

Title: Shade
Author: Jeri Smith-Readt
Format: Soft cover
Source: Bought new at Chapter's
Rating: 4/5

Goodreads Summary:
Love ties them together. Death can't tear them apart.
Best. Birthday. Ever. At least, it was supposed to be. With Logan's band playing a critical gig and Aura's plans for an intimate after-party, Aura knows it will be the most memorable night of her boyfriend's life. She never thought it would be his last.
Logan's sudden death leaves Aura devastated. He's gone.

Well, sort of.

Like everyone born after the Shift, Aura can see and hear ghosts. This mysterious ability has always been annoying, and Aura had wanted nothing more than to figure out why the Shift happened so she can undo it. But not with Logan's violet-hued spirit still hanging around. Because dead Logan is almost as real as ever. Almost.

It doesn't help that Aura's new friend Zachary is so understanding—and so very alive. His support means more to Aura than she cares to admit.

As Aura's relationships with the dead and the living grow ever complicated, so do her feelings for Logan and Zachary. Each holds a piece of Aura's heart...and clues to the secret of the Shift.

This is an amazing debut book I recommend it to YA lovers. It includes all the great things I love in books, love, romance, paranormal and a love triangle that makes it hard to decide who side to be on. Usually I can choose a side but between Logan and Zach? It’s hard. I still cannot decide. I read this in one sitting. I don’t think I would have been able to put it down.  This was a book that I for awhile due to the cover.   I finally did though after read so many reviews raving about it.

Aura has the ability to see ghosts. Pre-Shifters are people unable to see ghost because they were born before the shift which there is no explanation to. Scientist and others are trying to find the answer as to why the shift actually happened and why only people born after the shift can see the ghosts. Aura has to deal with the loss of her boyfriend Logan. The grief she feels is haunting and sad. As I was reading the story I felt Aura’s pain because of how beautifully this book is written. Aura and Logan try to keep their relationship as it was before Logan died.  Aura is unable to touch Logan and as she becomes closer to Zach her relationship with Logan becomes strained.

Oh Logan why did you need to make such a terrible decision. Logan wants to still be a part of Aura’s life but is struggling to keep in touch with the world he left and the one he is in now. He starts to slip as Zach and Aura become closer. Aura is trying to keep him from becoming a shade but his temper is pulling him towards becoming a shade.

Zachary has a Scottish accent. I don’t think I have to say anymore. He is paired up with Aura for a project which she is not overly pleased about. He is smart, funny and insightful. I cannot decide if I like him or Logan more. I find Logan is selfish were Zach is more giving but Logan’s love for Aura is keeping me from being able to choose a side.

I must read the sequel as soon as possible. What are your thoughts on this book?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Unbecoming Of Mara Dyer- Michelle Hopkin

Title: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Author: Michelle Hopkin
Format: Hard cover
Source: Library
Library: 5/5

Goodreads Summary:
Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
There is.
She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.
She's wrong.

This is one of my favourite books of 2011 without a doubt. It is a psychological thriller that I finished in two sittings. I could have easily finished it in one. It was so good that I didn’t want to put it down. The pages flew by. At first I was thinking it was just another cover with a girl in a dress which seems to be a popular trend but once I actually had a physical copy to look at, I discovered how wrong I was with my first assumption of this book. The cover shows Mara who appears to be drowning but we see someone’s arms around her, is he saving her and keeping her head above water or is he trying to pull her under....
Where to start with Mara, she is an amazing character. She wakes up in a hospital with no recollection of what happened the night of the accident where she lost her three friends. She tries to make the night come back to her but her memory refuses to cooperate. Her family starts over in a new town in a new school. Her family is so supportive and sweet. They all pitch in to help and try to make Mara feel as normal as possible as she feels like she is drowning then she meets Noah who is amazing. He brings out her sarcastic side and makes her smile when none else seems to be able to.
I loved every character in this novel but I have to extend credit to Daniel. I notice that siblings and other secondary characters often do not appear often but with Daniel and the other people in Mara’s family I was impressed by the amount they were incorporated into the story. Hodkin made the book more realistic, she gave Mara’s family plenty of page space which made this book much creepier in an amazing way.
Oh Noah. Such an amazing character, he made me have a slight book crush on him. He saves Mara from herself. Noah has his own secrets which he shares with Mara is his own funny and sarcastic way. Mara and Noah played off each other so well; they balanced each other out and the banter between them having me reading as fast as possible so I could find out what happened next.
I could gush about this book forever. I cannot wait for a sequel. What did you think? Who was your favourite character and why? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, October 28, 2011

In My Mailbox (1)

IMM is hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren.

Since this is my first IMM I will show you my collection from the last two weeks. I normally do not have this many new books but my order from Book Close Outs arrived the same week where there was a large used book sale in my area AND the library was extremely generous. I decided to post it in three parts since the pile of books was quite large.

Bought New
Halo- Alexandra Adornetto
The Last Little Blue Envelope-
Wings- Aprilynne Pike
Spells- Aprilynne Pike
Perfect Chemistry- Simone Elkeles
Audrey, Wait!- Robin Benway
Love you Hate You Miss You- Elizabeth Scott

Beautiful Creatures (Signed by the authors!)- Kami Garcia  & Margaret Stohl
Bought Used
Violet In Private- Melissa C. Walker
Violet By Design- Melissa C. Walker
The 6th Target- James Patterson
Captivate- Carrie Jones
Ford Country- John Grisham
Saturday- Ian McEwan
The Time In Between- David Bergen
Swimming in the Monsoon Sea- Shyam Selvadurai
The Weed That Strings The Hangman's Bag- Alan Bradley

Borrowed from the Library
Porzac Nation- Elizabeth Wurtzel
13 To Life- Shannon Delany
Daughter of Smoke & Bone- Laini Taylor
Tiger's Curse- Colleen Houck
Wuthering Tights- Louise Rennison
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer- Michelle Hodkin

What did you get this week? And where do you get your books from?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Divergent- Veronica Roth

Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Format: Hard Cover
Source: Borrowed from the library
Rating: 5/5

Goodreads Summary:
Beatrice "Tris" Prior has reached the fateful age of sixteen, the stage at which teenagers in Veronica Roth's dystopian Chicago must select which of five factions to join for life. Each faction represents a virtue: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. To the surprise of herself and her selfless Abnegation family, she chooses Dauntless, the path of courage. Her choice exposes her to the demanding, violent initiation rites of this group, but it also threatens to expose a personal secret that could place in mortal danger. Veronica Roth's young adult Divergent trilogy launches with a captivating adventure about love and loyalty playing out under most extreme circumstances.

This a sort of follow up to my rant about Insurgent. Since I have to wait for the sequel I decided to post a review of the first book in the series.
It is amazing. I cannot even put into words how amazing this book was. I wish I read it sooner. I put it off and I am sad I did. If you have not read this find a way to get a copy, borrow it, buy it. Read it immediately. The phenomenon that was The Hunger Games it is hard to find a book that stands out as dystopian have found a second wind.  Divergent in many ways is similar to other dystopians on the market and what the dystopian genre has been offering since it became a genre but what makes it stand out in the crowed is how amazing the story line is and the characters.
It starts by showing us what society has become. It shows the government suppression on society, making sure none knows what is going on outside of the government’s control.  Even with the suppression there are still fractions who belittle others.  It is set in the future but no dates given; the world has been divided into fractions including Candor who are honest, Abnegation who are selflessness, Dauntless who are daring, Erudite who are knowledgeable, and Amity who are peaceful.  At the age of 16 you are given the choice of which fraction you would like to become.  Tris the main character comes from the fraction abnegation. She must choose if she wants to stay with her family or choose another fraction at only sixteen.   Her decision will change her life forever
Four was awesome.   It took me a while to warm up to him.  I wanted to jump in the book a few times to shake him but I am glad I kept my patience and found his good side.  He pushed Tris when she needed it. At times it seemed like he was pushing her too hard but she kicked butt so it make up for his crummy behaviour when she showed him up.
The other characters we see such as Trish’s family and friends also have a huge impact.  Normally I find these minor characters do help with the flow but don’t have as much impact as they did in this story. It was amazing.  All the characters were great. They all had their own way of tying into the main story.
The last part of the book was so fast pace. I could not put it down until I finished it and now I have to wait until Insurgent comes out.  So sad. I know I said this before but if you have not read this get a copy asap and read it.

Let me know what your thoughts about Divergent. Did you like it? Dislike it?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, that spotlights upcoming releases that I am eagerly anticipating.
 This week's can't-wait-to-read is:
Title: Insurgent
Author: Veronica Roth
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: May 1, 2012
Series: Yes

Goodreads Summary:
One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth's much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.
This is the second book in the Divergent series. I cannot wait to see where this story is going to go and what is going to happen with Tris. I wish this would come out already. I am not always patient, especially when it comes to waiting for new books to come out. Sigh.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Lying Game- Sara Shepard

 Tile: The Lying Game
Author: Sara Shepard
Format: Hard Cover
Source: Bought used
Rating: 3/5

Goodreads Summary:

I had a life anyone would kill for.
Then someone did.
The worst part of being dead is that there’s nothing left to live for. No more kisses. No more secrets. No more gossip. It’s enough to kill a girl all over again. But I’m about to get something no one else does—an encore performance, thanks to Emma, the long-lost twin sister I never even got to meet.
Now Emma’s desperate to know what happened to me. And the only way to figure it out is to be me—to slip into my old life and piece it all together. But can she laugh at inside jokes with my best friends? Convince my boyfriend she’s the girl he fell in love with? Pretend to be a happy, carefree daughter when she hugs my parents good night? And can she keep up the charade, even after she realizes my murderer is watching her every move?
From Sara Shepard, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Pretty Little Liars books, comes a riveting new series about secrets, lies, and killer consequences.

Let the lying game begin.

This is very similar to the Pretty Little Liars series. Since it is by the same author I assumed the writing style would be somewhat but I also found the story line to be very similar also.  I actually preferred the Pretty Little Liars series to this one.
This story is about Emma and Sutton who are identical twins who have never met. Sutton was adopted by a rich family while Emma has been though the foster care system without ever finding a place in the world to call home. She finds out about Sutton through a video online of her appearing to be murdered.  As Emma prepares to meet Sutton she finds out Sutton has been murdered and the person who committed it wants Emma to pretend to be her sister. We see flashes of Sutton and find out more back story but it is Emma who is doing the more investigative work.
I enjoyed the first book but found it very similar to her other writings. I would read the sequel and see if I enjoy it further. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Skipping A Beat- Sarah Pekkanen

 Title: Skipping A Beat
 Author: Sarah Pekkanen
Format: Soft cover
Source: Bought new
Rating: 4/5

Goodreads summary:
Julia and Michael meet in high school in their small, poverty-stricken West Virginia hometown. Both products of difficult childhoods -- Julia’s father is a compulsive gambler and Michael’s mother abandoned his family when he was a young boy – they find a sense of safety and mutual understanding in each other. Shortly after graduation they flee West Virginia to start afresh. Now thirty-something’s, they are living a rarified life in their multi-million-dollar, Washington D.C. home. From the outside it all looks perfect – Julia has become a highly sought-after party planner, while Michael has launched a wildly successful flavoured water company that he sold for $70 million.
But one day Michael stands up at the head of the table in his company's boardroom -- then silently crashes to the floor. More than four minutes later, a portable defibrillator manages to jump-start his heart. Yet what happened to Michael during those lost minutes forever changes him. Money is meaningless to him now - and he wants to give it all away to charity. A prenuptial agreement that Julia insisted upon back when Michael's company was still struggling means she has no claim to his fortune, and now she must decide: should she walk away from the man she once adored, but who truthfully became a stranger to her long before his near-death experience - or should she give in to her husband's pleas for a second chance and a promise of a poorer but happier life.
Do not judge this book by its cover. When I seen this book on the shelf i was a little sceptical about it. The cover was plain and it did not help me with the story.  I choose it however because I had read her other book with a similar plain cover but a good story.  I’m glad I did.
This is the story of Julia and Michael who are high school sweethearts.  The story begins after Michael collapses in the boardroom and starts to change his life. He decides that he will donate everything to charity and start over a new man.  He expects Julia, his wife to follow but Julia’s baggage from her childhood makes this hard and she does not agree with him.  This story shows the struggle they both face trying to reconnect after being distant for so long. Julie must decide between the money and comfort she is used to or choosing Michael and his new way of looking at the world.
At first I did not like Julia, I thought she was stuck up and she needed to understand life is not about the things you own but the people in it. Further into the book the secrets of their lives and the baggage they both carry becomes more apparent and I understood a little better where Julia was coming from and why this decision was so hard.  I really enjoyed the book.  I thought it was thought provoking because you like to think you would know what you would do in a similar situation but I don’t think we can fully understand until we are put there. The ending was sad.  I recommend it if you’re looking for a quick read.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Wildefire- Karsten Knight


Author: Karsten Knight

Format: Hardcover
Source:  Bought new
Rating: 3/5

Goodreads summary:
Every flame begins with a spark.
Ashline Wilde is having a rough sophomore year. She’s struggling to find her place as the only Polynesian girl in school, her boyfriend just cheated on her, and now her runaway sister, Eve, has decided to barge back into her life. When Eve’s violent behavior escalates and she does the unthinkable, Ash transfers to a remote private school nestled in California’s redwoods, hoping to put the tragedy behind her. But her fresh start at Blackwood Academy doesn’t go as planned. Just as Ash is beginning to enjoy the perks of her new school—being captain of the tennis team, a steamy romance with a hot, local park ranger—Ash discovers that a group of gods and goddesses have mysteriously enrolled at Blackwood…and she’s one of them. To make matters worse, Eve has resurfaced to haunt Ash, and she’s got some strange abilities of her own. With a war between the gods looming over campus, Ash must master the new fire smoldering within before she clashes with her sister one more time… And when warm and cold fronts collide, there’s guaranteed to be a storm.
I just finished this yesterday and I am still collecting my thoughts on this book. The cover itself also complete applies to the story.  I did not notice the connection between the title and the main character Ashline Wilde until after I read the book and my brain had some time to process it. I have read some mixed reviews about this book but decided to give it a try.
Wildefire starts out with an intense first chapter where we are introduced to main character, Ashline Wilde and her sister Eve .Ashline has to deal with Eve showing back up and losing her temper which causes her to transfer to a remote private school surrounded by forrest. The story continues eight months later after Ashline has been transferred.  At first I did not like Ashline. I thought she was a temperamental snob but as the story progresses and we see the other side  of her especially when she finds out what is going on with her and her friends I liked her a lot more.  I found that she was not the heroine I expected which I liked. She did not show what she could do until the end of the book. I am glad I got to see a transition in her.
The book was action packed with a bit of everything. It had mythology, romance and action. I had my suspicions about Colt but the twist makes me want to find out if he knew the groups secrets the whole time and how Eve and Colt are connected and if we will see Eve again.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Taking the plunge

I contemplated a book blog for a long time. I originally created this blog in 2010 but never did anything with it. I posted reviews on Goodreads but never could work up the nerve to actually get out there and put my thoughts down into a blog of my own. I started to read more and more book blogs and finally decided to take the plunge and try it out.

I read a mix of everything. I have been reading a lot of YA lately but I do enjoy adult fiction and nonfiction as well. Historical fiction and dystopian novels are my two favourite genres. My TBR pile is enormous and I continue to add to it.

If you have any suggestions let me know. I am always looking for something new to read.