Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Firespell ~ Chloe Neill review

Firespell: A Novel of the Dark Elite (Book 1)
256 Pages
January 5, 2010

Firespell is the start of Chloe Neill's young adult series (her adult series is the Chicagoland Vampire Series). Being the start of a series it does do a fair bit of setting up the characters and the setting and getting to the actual paranormal activity (and yes, I do sound like Ghost Hunters or something) but none of that takes away from the story--just makes it hard to summarize.

Sent to fancy, well to do St Sophia's boarding school in Chicago (from upstate New York) when her parents leave for work in Germany, Lily feels more than a little bit out of place. The old stone building is cold and full of girls she doesn't know in blue plaid uniforms. And it's not home.

Scout, one of her suite mates, is about the only thing keeping her from going completely over the edge of homesickness. Except Scout disappears to strange places in the middle of the night.

And that's where the fun-ness begins and my summarizing ends.

Firespell is a book that gets you from page one. While it is true that it doesn't jump right into the action, I actually prefer that because you know who the characters are and where they are and why and then the spooky makes sense. (And really, really makes me want to read other Dark Elite books to see where it goes.)

The things that literally go bump in the night for Lily and Co also aren't things that are in twenty other books out at the moment so it's a fresh take on things and a nice change of pace to read something new but still in the otherworldly area.

All of that is not to mention Chloe Neill's writing and her characters (and especially their language/what they say-slash-think) which I just love. Like truly, madly, deeply in the way of the song ;)

When authors who write 'adult' books or series then write YA series, I always wonder if their teens are going to seem like teens r just twenty-somethings who are attending high school, but these teens were teens. Super fun, evil fighting teens, but still teens.

Being the first in a series it leaves some things open for future books, but not so many that you feel like this, the first book, is left unresolved.

And it's in Chicago which I miss and love so that's points there, too. Oh, and it's $6,99 so honestly where do you go wrong?

Read Firespell and you'l probably be looking for Some Girls Bite the first book in the Chicagoland Vampires series (it comes up whenever I search Some Girls Are so you can ust buy both),


soundtrack: really coming soon, I didn't forget about this thing

and an extra large, humongous thank you to Chloe Neill and the publisher for sending me this book!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Some Girls Are ~ Courtney Summers review

Some Girls Are
St Martin's Griffin
256 Pages
January 5, 2010

I was lucky enough to get a copy of Courtney Summers' Some Girls Are through Library Thing's Early Reviewer's program--and I'm so glad that I did.

Some Girls Are is a tale of high school bullying (among girls) at, possibly, its worst. Regina Afton is one of the 'Fearsome Fivesome'-the It Girls of her school, but after a rumor starts circulating around school and she's 'frozen out' she sees that as up as she was, she's about to be down.

Reading almost like a Lifetime movie about just how terrible high school girls can be (with plot and depth added in and melodrama taken out), Some Girls Are has possibly the evilest character of any book I've read (supernatural or contemporary). The character I mean (and I'm not mentioning by name on purpose) brought to mind the quote which I think is from Supernatural, "Demons I get, people are crazy," because it was hard to believe she could really be that uncaring and truly mean. And yet, with the story, it wasn't out of place or unbelievable.

The teenagers in the book certainly aren't squeaky clean in the slightest but they also felt not like some out of touch person's view of 'teens today' rather they seemed like real teens at parties, etc.

Regina was a great central character because she really was one of the mean girls and developed from that through the story. She didn't lose her friends and suddenly see the wrongs of her ways and love the 'little people' of high school, she was still a mean girl--just a lonely one. Showing Regina's progression and giving her a past aside from 'she made other people's lives horrible' was what really made this book work, I think.

After reading Courtney Summers' first book Cracked Up to Be and loving it as much as I did, I expected a lot out of Some Girls Are but it delivered.


thank you to Library Thing Early Reviewers & St Martin's Griffin for the book

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Video Veneris

When a vampire has reviews saying it "out-Buffys Buffy..." (Rene Kirkpatrick, Third Place Books, Seattle, WA.) and has trailer that actually makes me want to read it more, you just know I have to share that with you, right?

(and this weeks Video Veneris is on Thursday because Friday's Christmas.)

Hearts at Stake: The Drake Chronicles by Alyxandra Harvey

Book Website with a second trailer

Hearts at Stake was just released this past Tuesday

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Ex Games~Jennifer Echols review

The Ex Games
Simon Pulse
336 Pages
September 8, 2009

Now if you read my last review and thought, but I don't have snow and I want it, I want it bad! (Hey, that's what's going on in my head so trust me it's very possible) or you just don't like to read summer books in the winter, then I also have a great book for you.

The Ex Games by Jennifer Echols is a fun romance set in Colorado over winter break. It's two main characters, Nick and Hayden are not the tocken Young Adult Romance or Romantic Comdedy characters, either. Nick's rich because his family has Krieger Meats and Meat Products so they live in the big house, have the great cars and he has the girls fawning over him and Hayden (a vegetarian, by the way) moved to Colorado with her hippieish parents in junior high and loves, loves, loves snowboarding. But not the jumps. She doesn't do jumps.

And, oh yeah, Nick and Hayden went on one date in seventh grade but since then they've been enemies of a sort--the sort who hate each other but also sort of secretly lust after each other.

Throw in a boys vs girls snowboarding competition (with jumps!) for all the marbles, some sexual tension, Hayden's two girl best friends who date Nicks two guy best friends, and they're complicated history and there's a great story that has the romance but also some depth.

While I didn't love The Ex Games as much as I loved Going too Far, it's definitely a great book and has me looking forward to Jennifer Echols' next books. I really liked that Nick and Hayden had a past (both of their own and as a couple) but then didn't just fall all over each other once the book got going. Echols characters really are actual characters that are well developed and stay true to themselves throughout the story and have enough of a history for their present and future to make sense and for you to care about them without it weighing the story down.
There were seperate plot lines and they all progressed very well without detracting from any of the other parts of the story, something not all books can manage.

I also really, really appreciate that there's--so far--always a character that's not caucasian but isn't the token something or another character but just another character.

I had a great time reading about the progression of Nick and Hayden's relationship as well as that of the individual characters themselves.
If you're looking for a book to read over break or on the way to a vacation or flying somewhere--or really just anytime, this is a good choice for sure.


huge, huge thanks to Jennifer Echols for the book and sorry the review didn't get up earlier like it should have

Lovestruck Summer ~ Melissa Walker review

More than likely you're one of the lucky ones living somewhere full of snow and wishing it were summer now, if you are there's a perfect book to read: Lovestruck Summer.

Priscilla (see, right there, how can a book with main character named Priscilla-she goes by her middle name Quinn-not be worth reading for that reason alone?) has her perfect summer all set-up. As an intern at indie Amalgam records in Austin, Quinn's going to stay with her cousin Penny and meet the perfect indie guy in music loving Austin. He'll love the perfect music, have the perfect hair and the perfect indie guy glasses. It's okay, Quinn has a type--but Austin's just the place for her.

Or is it?

Studious Penny that she remembers spending all her time isn't quite the same and her summer (from the internship all the way down to the boys she meets) isn't at all what she expected it to be. But somehow, it's still just might be perfect.

The idea of what you think you want not really being what you want, might not exactly be original, but it's a fun summer (or wishing-it-were-summer) romance so it doesn't need to be. And the characters are well developed, the actual events of the story are unique and are what make it so much fun to read. Austin is actually a part of the story and not just somewhere that the story happens to be set instead of Georgia or New York or Tennessee... And the two leads actually make a lot of sense as a couple in a romance.

And the ending was true to both the characters and the story--and the readers, I think.

If anything, the only problem would be that the cover makes the whole story seem a lot fluffier than it is....Quinn does really like music and she does have the internship so music and concerts are a part of the story, not just hanging out at the beach. While Lovestruck Summer is still a fun, easy read, it is less fluff with the characters than the other $5.99 YA romances if that matters to anyone.

9/10 (and I hope sometime Melissa Walker will write more of these types of books)

In My Mailbox Monday

Last week was, well it was like Christmas in regards to my mailbox (and front door) and the book receiving....

from Library Thing's Early Reviewers (from whom I haven't gotten any books before, actually):

Truly, Madly: A Novel ARC-Heather Weber
Some Girls Are ARC-Courtney Summers

for review:

Bad Blood (Blood Coven) -Mari Mancusi
Split ARC-Stefan Petrucha
Firespell: A Novel of the Dark Elite -Chloe Neill

(at least I think Bad Blood's for review, I know why/where the others were from, Bad Blood surprised me! But I just bought the first three very recently so that's good.)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Scavenger Hunt link

Bree Despian, Rhonda Stapelton & Lindsay Eland are having a scavenger hunt in celebration of their books all coming out Tuesday. Each blog has two questions about each other (six questions total per blog)...

It's something to do and you find out interesting things (like Bree Despain likes some awesome TV shows!)

Winner's announced Tuesday, so hurry up!


I think I finally, fully know what being homesick means--because I am it, I am homesick. And when that home is Chicago, lots of things can remind you of it*, so after reading lots of Chicago set books and finally finding a deep dish pizza to eat (but so far no snow to play in), I decided a post was in order :)

So, find yourself a great deep dish pizza (Giordano's ships--seriously) or Chicago style hot dog (though I'm still not exactly clear on what all that entails) and check out (or buy!) one of these great Chicago-y books for reading while you warm up from the snow:

Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert (my review here)
Firespell: A Novel of the Dark Elite by Chloe Neill (on my IMM tomorrow and review soon)
Wherever Nina Lies by Lynn Weingarten (review soon)
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles (and I think Leaving Paradise is set there, too) (also reviewed soon)
I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone by Stephanie Kuehnert (my review here)

*Or, maybe everything because when I tried to do something mindless and watch a movie on TV, it was The Ruins and one of the characters ended up being from Winnetka which is by where I used to live and then Cheaper by the Dozen was on and they movie to Evanston :P

Friday, December 4, 2009

I don't know what's with all these hotels and they're not free internet...but I should be home (with my own computer, not just email & email posting) in day or two and then not going anywhere for a day or two so updatey time then :)
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