Friday, May 29, 2009

An Award

Book Junkie awarded me with the Sisterhood Award. How amazing is that!

And yes, it was a really long time ago, but until just now the computer that's been having internet (and battery power) was the one that wouldn't open a lot of blogger pages--including Book Junkie's so I knew it was there, I just couldn't get the page open to see the post :( None of that stopped me from the 'yay!'s in my head, though.










The rules are:


1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate up to 10 blogs which show great attitude and/or gratitude!
3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have received this award.
5. Remember to link to the person from whom you received your award.
I'd like to give this award to...


Everyone seems to already have this.... so I'm not pick anyone just now because I really want to post this to thank Amelia :D Basically if I follow you or have you on my Google Reader (I'd list everyone but that's a lot), you're awesome!

A Kiss of Ashen Twilight ~ Rae Lori review

A Kiss of Ashen Twilight
Lyrical Press
E-Book
February 2, 2009


So sorry this review is late...I was all set to get it written and posted two weeks ago and then, well I screwed up that day and then we had our Noahesque rain ;-)
In A Kiss of Ashen Twilight, Ariya is a faery, one of the princesses of Aziza the royal family. After an attack on her family drives her out of her realm, seeking safety she looks for protection within the Ashen Twilight House and with Jace Archane.

Jace is the nephew of the vampire leader of the house (the House of Blood, a part of the Ashen Twilght House. A vampire for hundreds of years, Jace has his life-the hunt, the secrecy-figured out...Ariya's the last thing he needs. But when a mysterious attacker, the 'elemental' brings danger to the Lycans, Shifter Elves, and the Nightwalkers, Jace and Ariya just might have to join forces. (Other summary, excerpt and second buy link here.)

I received an arc print book of this and I have to say that I'm really glad I did-it's from a small publisher and published as an e-book so I probably wouldn't have read it otherwise.

I will admit, however, that I did have a little bit of trouble getting into the book and the story. I think at least part of that was due to there being a lot of different characters that would sometimes be gone for a while and then pulled back in and the new mythology. I do think that a lot of that would be helped reading it as an e-book, though, because it would be easier to go back up and find things easier than it is to flip back pages in a print book (and because of how things were going with me, I couldn't read in long stretches so that didn't help).

But once I got into the story, I really idd enjoy it. I liked that there were so many different supernatural characters all involved in the story but none of them suffered for it--it wasn't that there were vampires and then other characters who happened to be lycans but only in name. The whole House aspect was done really well, too, with the different ruling heads for the different creatures; it also made it make sense for them to all be together so often.

With as much story as it sometimes seemed was going on, things were still explained well and the characters' pasts were brought in to explain things (and their actions).

Ashen Twilight is a paranormal romance that does focus a little more, in my opinion, on the paranormal than the romance (or than the sex)--if you're wondering since some paranormal romances are almost UF and some are almost straight romance :)

With two very well developed central characters, secondary characters that are not in the least bit superfluous and a terrific blend of romance and action, Ashen Twilight looks to be a great start to a new series.


A two page prequel to the series can be found here in PDF format. (There's a longer summary, too.)

Book Two in this series comes out August 3, 2009.


7.5/10
(I know I need to stop with the half numbers, but I really think if you don't take so many breaks like I had to due to, well, life then it's 8, otherwise it's 7 because it can be hard to pick right back up sometimes)

A big thank you to Rae Lori for sending me this book :D

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Rain, rain go away! (Really, go away already.)

I'm behind in posts again, I know...BUT I did not know we were going to have 20-whatever inches of rain this week!!

I think it's almost done with so I should be able to sit down and concentrate on posts soon, soon, soon!! (Trust me, it's much more fun than keeping your house from flooding.)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

This Is What I Want to Tell You ~ Heather Duffy Stone review

This Is What I Want to Tell You
Flux
March 1, 2009
240 Pages
Paperback
Amazon

This book has possibly the most appropriate cover of any of the books I've read lately. It's a simple image, but could really apply to any of the three main characters (and the title).

Fifteen-year-old twins Nadio and Noelle and Noelle's best friend Keeley have always been 'three' for as long as they can remember. Nadio, Noelle and their mother live in the gatehoues of Keeley and her parent's house (they're professor's and their mother works at the college bookstore). The three have grown up together, but now for the first time, they've spent the summer apart.

Keeley joins her parents in Oxford, England for the entire summer while Noelle and Nadio stay home, Noelle taking a job at the local ice cream stand.

Things change, new friends are made, new relationships started....and new secrets kept.

When the three finally come back together things are very, very different and they're different. (The Amazon summaries have a lot more information in them but they also give a lot more of the story--some that happens more than half way through--so that's why I'm not including it.)

It's the story of the three of them learning how to be who they are now and how to be that together and not just who they have always been when they were together every second of every day. Then, there are their secrets and the potentially dark roads they can lead the three down.

It's a true, harsh look at teenage life and what happens when we make choices we don't expect we'll ever make...that those that know us best don't expect we'll ever make.

This Is What I Want to Tell You is the story of three best friends seeing if, after one fateful summer and it's events, if they can still be best friends...I think to really say any more than that would take away from potential enjoyment of this fantastic story. It doesn't downplay any of the nasty side effects and the teenagers don't act the way sdults think teenagers act about sex and drugs and school and life but, I think, the way teens actually do---or in a believeable way.

It's a very enjoyable book and I do hope that Heather Duffy Stone writes another of its calibar.



Photobucket~*~
coming soon
~*~


10/10 because I really can't find anything to mark it down for

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

So Super Stylish (& So Super Starry) ~ Rose Wilkins reviews

So Super Stylish
Dial Books
May 16, 2006
288 Pages

&

So Super Starry
Dial Books
October 12, 2004
240 Pages
Amazon


I'd read So Super Starry last summer after picking up a bargain book copy at Books a Million and it was a fast, easy read that I really enjoyed so when I went back to that bookstore (it's out of town but I go there a couple of times a year), I picked up the sequel, So Super Stylish.

In So Super Starry, 15-year-old Octavia Clarirbrook-Cleeve attends an elite British school, Darlinham House, for the children of celebrities. It's fitting for Octavia in that he mother is the star of the US television series Lady Jane and her father (they're divorced) is a film producer. But not fitting in that Octavia couldn't care less about all the glitz and glam and status.

Self described C-List Octavia doesn't fit in (not wanting to be in the tabloids really doesn't help) but then she's invited to Super-It-Girl India's party. Octavia's sure it's so that aspiring actress India can get an 'in' with her father, though.

The two unaffected friends Octavia has are a nice counterpoint to all the 'Darlings' of Darlinham.

And it really made me want to read So Super Stylish. So, if you want to read the Starry before you read Stylish, quit reading now because it will be spoilery galore ;) (Not that you couldn't probably still read it and then read the book, but I personally don't enjoy spoliers....)

...................


So Super Stylish starts the school year after So Super Starry takes place, in it Octavia is no longer attending Darlingham house but is now at public school. But all's not normal and fame free in this second tale. Paparazzi scandal errupts around Octavia's mother's new romance with network executive Bud...or more precisely, around Bud and his soon-to-be-ex-wife. The scandal thrusts the entire family into the spotlight--even Octavia who had thought she'd escaped it all.

And then there's Bud's ever so interesting so Milton who comes to be a part of their new, instant family.

Oh, and of course India who Octavia thought she was rid of when she said goodbye to Darlinham House but who seems to refuse to go away.

Throw in a potential romance, the London setting, some more drama, drunken rock stars, comparisons to The Princess Diaries series and you have a series (albeit a short one) that is too fun not to read.

Review: These books are well written and read quickly--so they're perfect for summer. The characters are interesting and different from each other even when they're all together in a school (they're all distinguishable, which doesn't always hold true). Fom the stuck-up, nearly dying to be famous, can-you-believe-their-names and actions kids of Darlinham in the first book to the glimpses of celebrities and their lifestyle you (and Octavia) get in both books--and the not so famous teenager life that still has its drama, these books never have a dull moment. They're never quite absurd either, sure some of the characters actions are, but other characters recognize those actions for their absurdity and leave you to enjoy them. It's like the scandal and eltitism of Gossip Girl mixed with a YA book with a normal girl at a regular school (or as normal as any girl ever is at as regular as any school ever is).

Really the only complaint I have is that the second book's title really didn't fit much, if at all and it possibly would have made more sense to reverse the titles. (Enough so that I had to go back and fix the titles in the second half of this review because I did reverse them.)

Only the first book is for sale at Amazon right now (BookCloseouts.com does have both, however)...maybe I'll see if they're still for sale where I got them and have a contest or something if I go back this summer (it's like 7/8 hours away so I can't just decide to go back tomorrow).

7.5/10 collectively

Friday, May 8, 2009

All We Know of Heaven ~ Jacquelyn Mtichard review

All We Know of Heaven
Jacquelyn Mitchard
Harper Teen
April 29, 2008
320 Pages
Hardcover
Amazon


All We Know of Heaven is a case of mistaken identity (the mistake bit of which doesn't occur until quite a while into the book) that happens after a tragic car accident involving two lifelong best friends.

Bridget and Maureen--both sixteen-years-old--have been best friends for years, always together they even look almost identical. But when the car accident leaves one girl dead and one girl, horribly injured, in a coma, they're sure they know who it is: Bridget. They even have Maureen's funeral.

To say too much more would, in my opinion, take away the reason for reading it so I'll get to my review: All We Know was not quite Mistaken Identity the story written by the two families who actually went through the tragedy of having their daughters mistaken for each other (I haven't read the book but I've seen them on different shows so it seems there are really some differences--which makes sense, they didn't know each other & in the book the girls were best friends) and it's not quite a love story...but it seems to try to be both. And hooray for run-on sentences!

I think the problem and why All We Know never really..gripped me was that it was trying to do too many things: show Maureen trying to carve out her own identity and figure out how to live her life, be a love story of sorts, tell a tragic tale of two familes (and a town) torn apart by one mistake. To just tell the tale of the familes dealing with the news of the 'mix-up' would have been a lot...as would telling how a girl deals with finding out everyone thought she was dead and the girl lying in the coma was not her but her best friend-and dealing with everyone's reactions...even the 'love story' of that girl and the other character (whom I won't mention) could have been a lot more.

But the way all of those things were included seemed to, not really build on each other, but almost distract from each other. Instead of a supporting b and showing how c was happening so that everything was woven together to simply tell the story, it felt like too much was trying to fit in the story and as a result, nothing quite got its due. (I hope that made sense.) And I wasn't really satisfied with the ending either, but that could be subjective, at this point I'm not really sure.


7/10

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Deadly Little Secret ~ Laurie Faria Stolarz (mini) review

Deadly Little Secret
Hyperion Books, Childrens
256 Pages
December 23, 2008
Hardcover

Summary via Amazon:

Some secrets shouldn't be kept...

Up until three months ago, everything in sixteen-year-old Camelia's
life had been fairly ordinary: decent grades; an okay relationship with her parents; and a pretty cool part-time job at the art studio downtown. But when Ben, the mysterious new guy, starts junior year at her high school, Camelia's life becomes anything but ordinary.

Rumored to be somehow responsible for his ex-girlfriend's accidental death, Ben is immediately ostracized by everyone on campus. Except for Camelia. She's reluctant to believe the rumors, even when her friends try to convince her
otherwise. She's inexplicably drawn to Ben...and to his touch. But soon, Camelia
is receiving eerie phone calls and strange packages with threatening notes. Ben
insists she is in danger, and that he can help--but can he be trusted? She knows
he's hiding something... but he's not the only one with a secret.
Deadly Little Secret did a great job of being a mystery. It played the characters well against each other, always making you curious or suspicious of one character just as soon as you became sure another character was the purpatrator.

Sure, some of the characters were stereotypes (the punk-y best friend, the bad boy who you're just sure is secretly a sweetheart underneath it all...) but they worked into the story well and it didn't detract from the story. Besides, this wasn't really driven by what kind of relationship Camelia had with her best friend. There was a nice (if small) subplot involving Camelia's mother, however.

I don't think Deadly Little Secret is a book that's going to become a classic but it is written well and in such a way that it is a quick and easy read--more of a can't-put-it-down way than a 'is this really YA or is it more MG?' way. It's also a book that I would easily recommend to someone looking for a good mystery or for a more suspensful YA book; some parts of the story might even be scary or horror movie-esque to certain readers.




Photobucket~*~
coming soon
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10/10

Monday, May 4, 2009

In My Mailbox/Mailbox Monday & some RT notes

Half of the blogs on my Google Reader list have 'In My Mailbox' (organized by Story Siren) and half have 'Mailbox Monday' (I can't remember who started/organizes it), so I'm doing both at once :)

Except maybe I'm doing neither because I'm covering two weeks (I was out of town without internet last Monday) and including books from the Romantic Times Book Fair and the library, too.


from literally my mailbox:
Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert (from Stephanie's widget making contest...before Sprout made everyone pay)
Adios to all the Drama by Diana Rodriguez Wallach (from a contest-thanks to Harmony and Diana for this one)
and while I try to get Ms Jen Barnes' LJ to let me comment, I'll add something:
Red Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells (In Bed With Books contest)

from the library:
Beautiful Americans by Lucy Silag
Vibes by Amy Kathleen Ryan
You are So Undead to Me by Stacy Jay
The Girl She Used to Be by David Cristofano
The Noah Confessions by Barabara Hall
I Know What You Did Last Summer by Lois Duncan
This is What I Want to Tell You by Heather Duffy Stone
Love is Hell by Melissa Marr, Scott Westerfeld, etc
plus about seven others...apparently I was busy at the library


from RT Book Fair/Borders signing:
Tattoo by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Fate by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Pride by Rachel Vincent
Because Your Vampire Said So by Michele Bardsley
Fish Out of Water by Maryjanice Davidson
Night Life by Caitlin Kittredge
Hell's Belles by Jackie Kessler
Devil Inside by Jenna Black
Forbidden: The Revolution by Samantha Sommersby


and a note on RT (or the book fair since that was all I went to...): I know it's technically the 'Romantic Times' Convention and book fair but do you see how many 'urban fantasy' and YA books (especially throwing in the Jeanne C Stein, Richelle Mead, Rachel Vincent, Jeaniene Frost, Melissa Marr, Keri Arthur, and Mari Mancusi books I already owned) that I got signed? And it was only $5...Seriously, $5 for I think three hours of book buying and signing and author meeting...

Next year it's in Columbus, Ohio so you should really go if you can.

Two other things: I really should have bought Jen Barnes' Squad book(s) and the world is trying to get me to buy Michele Bardsley's books (my library's buying her series in reverse or something--they have the last two only).


I'm going to write up some reviews now and hopefully I'll be able to get enough written to future post them over enough time that there will actually be some posts for a while...a while enough for my computer issues to be fixed (one hates the internet and working in general, the other's not so big on staying on very long).

There's probably something I'm forgetting to include (besides how amazingly awesome those authors are) but since I'm forgetting it, I can't tell you what it is :)
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