Thursday, September 29, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday [Shatter Me]

Yesterday, I got in later from my flight that I thought I would so I didn't get a Waiting On Wednesday post up . . . hope you can forgive me for it showing up on a Thursday!

Somehow I have not made a post about this book yet - I do not know how, though!

My Waiting On Wednesday pick this week is Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days. The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting as The Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.

Ir brings to to mind that girl on 'Angel' that couldn't touch people or she'd electrocute them or something (I forget what exactly it was and Google's not being helpful!). It sounds like so, so much more - little things like the bit about the clouds really have me wanting to read this book now.

This is one book that I am definitely, definitely, super, crazily, obsessively hoping Harper will send me!

(Out November 15 in hardcover from Harper Collins - GoodreadsAmazon pages)

I didn't even address how amazingcakes that cover is. It's forceful while still gorgeous, I love it.


That's what I can't wait to read, what are you looking forward to reading?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sweetly ~ Jackson Pearce review

Sweetly (Fairytale Retellings #2)
Little, Brown
August 23, 2011
320 pages
Amazon/Goodreads

When they were just children, Gretchen and Ansel lost their sister in the woods. Gretchen's twin sister was taken by something, by the Witch.

Their mother never recovered from her grief and Ansel and Gretchen have spent the years wary of the woods, worried something will take them, too. Now, their stepmother has cast them out, happy to finally be rid of them.

On their way across the country from Washington, they find themselves stranded nearly penniless in the tiny South Carolina town of Live Oak. Invited to live with Sophia Kelly who runs - and lives in - the out of the way chocolatier, Gretchen soon finds that strange things don't only happen in her hometown.

Girls disappear every year after Sophia's chocolate festival. Girls that Sophia claims have simply finally found the nerve to leave the nowhere town. Their families - eight in total - blame Sophia, though.

Is Sophia really just a young woman who can make amazing chocolates and candies, things so good you forget your troubles? The girl who's caught Ansel's eye? Or is she something more sinister?

It seems it's going to be up to Gretchen to find out.


More a mash up of several fairy tales than a retelling of just one (even if the siblings' names bring to mind Hansel and Gretel), Sweetly is the companion novel to Pearce's Sisters Red. While knowing that story is definitely not necessary for reading this one, having read that one will give you background on one of the characters who is introduced partway through Sweetly and becomes one of the more central characters.

It's easy to connect with and care about Sweetly's characters. The sibling relationships and the sister/sister relationships (either genetic or not) are especially strong and well written. Ansel and Gretchen have a strong bond - which makes perfect sense after what they experienced with losing their sister and afterwards - and it holds up well throughout the story.

The conflict/resolution part of the book - with the girls missing and what the real explanation was and then the resolution to that/the ending of the book was what wasn't great for me. It was almost predictable so I wanted there to be something more.

I'm still not sure about the ending. I don't know if I think it really makes sense that some of it went as easily, I guess. But, it did leave me thinking about it which I always see as a good sign. And any book that leaves you wanting more and/or wondering when it's over has done something right because you care enough to do that.

7/10


Thank you to Little, Brown for my copy of this book

Monday, September 26, 2011

Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Right now I'm reading and very much enjoying Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor - and hoping either I finish it or have room for it in my suitcase ;-)

and last night, Daughter of Smoke and Bone (on Amazon) was the book I used for my Lucky 7 Mini Challenge post



(If anyone knows if the NetGalley sampler is still active - it was supposed to be until tomorrow - . . . I think it might have been taken down early, though; which means I have to edit this post and it's now kind of pointless, except that you really should check out Daughter of Smoke and Bone.)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Mini Challenge [Lucky 7]

Don't worry, I'm going to link to this later since I'm posting it so late (I got sucked in by the book later when I was supposed to post it and then had to eat dinner, stupid sustenance issues) . . .

Another of the mini challenges brought on by Princess Bookie's Contest Craze is at The Elliot Review here

It all has to do with the (un)lucky number 7


TO ENTER:
  • Open a book you are currently reading.
  • Turn to page 7.
  • Count to the 7th word.
  • If the word is an article (a, an, the, etc), go to the next real word.
  • Type the word into a Google Images search, and select a picture that you can stand.
  • Create a blog post with the following information:
  • Picture of book
  • Book title and author
  • 7th word on 7th page
  • Randomly selected picture
  • Add a link to your post in the linky form at the bottom of this post to enter into to win.
PRIZE:
  • Book of your choice from The Book Depository up to $10.
DETAILS:
  • Open to anywhere The Book Depository ships to.
  • Giveaway Ends September 25th.

The fantabulous book I am currently reading is Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (it's out Tuesday)

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Word: Didn't

photo: (technically a drawing)


Now back to reading . . . until sleep is required. Little, Brown, I love you for my having this book!

Friday, September 23, 2011

My YA OTP [Mini Challenge]

My Cute Bookshelf is having a Mini Challenge as part of Princess Bookie's Contest Craze, the Mini Challenge post is here

What is said Mini Challenge you might be wondering, well it is this:
One True Pairing Mini Challenge
To enter this challenge:
  • You should create a blog post with your OTP (One True Pairing), meaning your favorite couple from young adult books. Explain why they’re your favorite YA couple. If you don't have a blog, you can share your answer in the comments section.
  • To make it fun, add pictures of who you think can portray the characters.
  • Add the link to your blog or comment to the linky tool at the bottom of this post to participate.
Prize:
  • A YA Book of your choice from the Book Depository up to $10.
Rules:
  • Open everywhere, as long as the Book Depository ships to your country.
  • Giveaway ends on September 28.

(info taken from challenge post)

And here is my entry . . .

My YA OTP (one true pairing) is . . .  Lola and Cricket Bell from Lola and the Boy Next Door - I can pick people from a book that comes out in six days, right? (I reviewed it already - link below)

For Lola and Cricket I have picked Dave Franco (though I really wanted to pick whoever the cover model was, honestly) and Mae Whitman



My review of Lola says a lot about why I love them (review) but they are both so real, separately they are characters that could be in any book and you would just have to fall in love with them but then you put them in a book together - with the scenes and dialogue that Stephanie Perkins wrote and BAM! it's hard to image anything ever better. (And I could say other stuff but it's still still not actually out yet so I don't want to be spoilery!)

Plus, one of them has the best fashion sense ever (well maybe both of them, now that I think about it) and the other $#$#$#s stuff (yeah, I don't remember how long it takes till that's all revealed and it's fun so I'm not telling!).

I adore them. Please, please let them be all over the third book.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Iron Knight Trailer Sneak Peek


If you're like me, you love Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series (thanks to Harlequin and NetGalley I'll have an early review of The Iron Knight!) . . .

and instead of just posting The Iron Knight trailer on Julie Kagawa's sites or on Youtube and linking to it, blogs are sharing a special 17-second clip today - and I'm one of those blogs!

Are you ready for the clip?
Here it is:

video

Like the badge says, the full trailer will premier on Harlequin Teen's Facebook page at 9am on September 28th .. . until then, enjoy the little snippet; I know it has me intrigued for the rest :)

Thanks to the super awesome Larissa at Harlequin for allowing me to share this!

After Obsession ~ Carrie Jones & Steven E Wedel (ARC) review

After Obsession
Bloomsbury USA
September 13, 2011
320 pages
Goodreads/Amazon


Both Aimee and Alan have things they might not want everyone to know about them. But when they meet each other after Alan moves to Aimee's Maine town, they can't keep their secrets hidden.

And both believe that the strange things that have been happening in the town are related to something that's haunting them.

They're both wrong, though. It's Courtney, Alan's cousin and Aimee's best friend whose father recently died, who's truly haunted. Alan and Aimee are going to have to work together - and fast - if they want to save Courtney . . . and maybe even the whole town, including themselves.


Carrie Jones is known for her strong female characters that are anything but damsels in distress and rather than needing a male character to save them, often end up saving (or at least aiding) the male characters instead. In After Obsession Aimee, the female lead is definitely no damsel, but the male lead Alan is able to help her without being chauvinistic or thinking she's some sort of helpless female, either. Alan and Aimee really work together as a team (the even chapters are from his point of view, the odd from hers) and it's great  to see (read).

The events of the novel all take place over a pretty short period short period of time, but neither the novel nor the characters' relationships feel rushed. This is likely because so much (all important) is shown. As a reader it feels like we're seeing just about everything happening to Aimee and Alan. Novels that take place over weeks or months have to be more sparing with what they show so that things develop slower.

As we do see so much (from the characters' family life, to their school experiences, to the abilities/secrets and the Big Bad) it's easy to understand how things develop as quickly as they do. And, of course, there's the conflict, which can always speed things along and/or intensify things.

Once again I love Carrie Jones' writing for it's realness (even when some not so real things are involved!) and how easy it is to connect to her characters . . . and now I'm a fan Steven E Wedel's first YA, too.

9/10

huge thank you to Kate at Bloomsbury for letting me participate in this tour :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dark Parties ~ Sara Grant review

Dark Parties
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
August 3, 2011
320 pages
Goodreads/Amazon


Sixteen-year-old Neva along with everyone she knows and lives with, has been trapped since the day she was born. Their society lives under the Protectosphere.

In this isolated nation, they are ruled by fear and taught that everything and everyone (that may or may or may not have managed to survive) outside of the Protectosphere is dangerous and bad. They are safe in the sphere.

With the outside world destroyed by warfare (or so the government says), no one should want out of their safe world, but Neva and her friends are teenagers now . . . and questioning things.

After hosting a 'dark party' and starting an underground rebellion, Neva starts to uncover the truth. And the lies might go even deeper (and closer to home) than she expected.


Dark Parties is sort of an awesome mix of The Simpsons movie (with the dome?) and The Line (with its line). The isolationism and xenophobia that is discussed/addressed in the novel adds a depth to it that would have been missed (because they were such great parts of the book) if they hadn't been there.

While Dark Parties is probably one of the darkest (if not the darkest) stories I have read lately, but it doesn't feel dark when you're reading it. The content is dark, the story is dark, and it really does get into your head, but somehow the tone stays light and doesn't drag you down while reading.

It's definitely a book that pulls you in and one you can't put down easily.

The characters' relationships were well built (and all seemed to keep well with the way the Dark Parties society functioned), the tension was high (sometimes very) and I loved the world/society that was built.

This is a wonderful first YA novel (it's be a wonderful second or third, too!) and I hope Sara Grant has more YA published in the future.


9/10


thanks to the publisher for my copy of this great novel

Monday, September 19, 2011

Spellbound ~ Cara Lynn Shultz (eARC) review

Apologies for the fewer posts last week while I wasn't feeling well, but here's a new review:

Spellbound (Spellbound #1)
Harlequin Teen
June 21, 2011
352 pages
Goodreads/Amazon



What's a girl to do when meeting The One means she's cursed to die a horrible death?

Emma Conner has to move to New York City and start over at a new school after some particularly troubling events happen in her life. Worse yet, she's doing it alone. Moving in with her aunt, Emma is starting over at the fancy Prep school her cousin Ashley, two years younger and a freshman, attends.

Desperate for a true fresh start, Emma decides not to tell everyone the true story behind her move to New York (involving her father's leaving when she was young, her mother and brother's deaths, and her unfortunate step-father). But things don't quite go all that easily for Emma anyway.

The head mean girl in the school immediately has Emma on her radar. And there's more than a bit of trouble possible from Anthony, the guy who says he's dated (or done otherwise) with nearly every girl and now wants Emma . . .

But there's also Jenn, the girl who's sometimes nice to her, Angelique the witch (literally) in her class, Cisco who might be a good friend, and Brendan . . . yes, Brendan. The boy who draws her attention every time he walks in to a room.

If only Emma could focus on figuring out Brendan instead of why the popular crowd has it in for her or why streetlights seem to love exploding over her head or why she hears her dead brother's voice warning her in her dreams.



Spellbound is a supernatural book where you can't reveal a ton of what it's about without being too spoiler-y, it is a lot different from other paranormal books I have read (YA and adult both). A lot of the story does hinge on the romance, though - it's a big part of the story, after all. For what ever reason, I never felt any connection(/spark/anything extra special) between Emma and Brendan. That seemed to prevent me from really getting into and enjoying Spellbound. I liked the premise of the book, but since the romance was carrying said premise, it didn't really work that well for me.

I did really like the relationship between Emma and her cousin, Ashley. Emma had a lot going on - either being the new girl and negotiating that or different things later or - but she always seemed to really care about and love her cousin and watch out for her. It was nice to see a female lead in a novel (especially a YA one) not forget about her friends (even if this one was family) once a guy came along.

The secondary characters were all unique and individual. Each of them added something to the story and I liked that while they did help the main characters' story along, they also were interesting in their own right.

Overall, this one didn't really work for me, but that's because I didn't feel the connection between the two main (romantic) lead characters - the other parts of the story I did like.

6/10


thank you to the publisher and to NetGalley for allowing me to read and review this

Saturday, September 17, 2011

2012 Books

Five 2012 Books I Cannot Wait to Read

(in no particular order)






Article 5 - Kristen Simmons
New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC have been abandoned.

The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.

There are no more police — instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior — instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested don’t usually come back.

17-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren’t always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it’s hard to forget that people weren’t always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. That life in the United States used to be different.

In the three years since the war ended, Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the Federal Bureau of Reformation. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow. That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And what’s worse, one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings…the only boy Ember has ever loved
Doesn't have a real synopsis yet: Isla and the Happily Ever After will be published by Dutton in fall 2012. It's the final companion to Anna and the French Kiss (2010) and Lola and the Boy Next Door (2011).

The Last Echo - Body Finder #3 by Kimberly Derting
In the end, all that’s left is an echo.

Violet kept her morbid ability to sense dead bodies a secret from everyone except her family and her childhood-best-friend-turned-boyfriend, Jay Heaton. That is until forensic psychologist Sara Priest discovered Violet’s talent and invited her to use her gift to track down murderers. Now, as she works with an eclectic group of individuals—including mysterious and dangerously attractive Rafe—it’s Violet’s job to help those who have been murdered by bringing their killers to justice.

When Violet discovers the body of a college girl killed by “the girlfriend collector” she is determined to solve the case. But now the serial killer is on the lookout for a new “relationship” and Violet may have caught his eye...
Lauren Oliver captivated readers with Delirium, the first book in a thrilling dystopian trilogy in which Lena Haloway dared to fall in love with Alex and escape the cure, the government-mandated procedure that renders a person immune to the disease of love. Lena and Alex staked their lives on leaving their oppressive society, but only Lena broke free.

Pandemonium continues Lena’s gripping story. After escaping from Portland, Maine, Lena makes it to the Wilds and becomes part of an Invalid community, where she transforms herself into a warrior for the resistance. A future without Alex is unimaginable, but Lena pushes forward and fights, both for him and for a world in which love is no longer considered a disease. Swept up in a volatile mix of revolutionaries and counterinsurgents, Lena struggles to survive—and wonders if she may be falling in love again.

Full of danger, forbidden romance, and exquisite writing, Lauren Oliver’s sequel to Delirium races forward at a breathtaking pace and is sure to appeal to fans who crave the high-stakes action of The Hunger Games and the bittersweet love story of Romeo & Juliet
Kate Winters has won immortality.

But if she wants a life in the Underworld with Henry, she’ll have to fight for it.

Becoming immortal wasn’t supposed to be the easy part. Though Kate is about to be crowned Queen of the Underworld, she’s as isolated as ever. And despite her growing love for Henry, ruler of the Underworld, he’s becoming ever more distant and secretive. Then, in the midst of Kate’s coronation, Henry is abducted by the only being powerful enough to kill him: the King of the Titans.

As the other gods prepare for a war that could end them all, it is up to Kate to save Henry from the depths of Tartarus. But in order to navigate the endless caverns of the Underworld, Kate must enlist the help of the one person who is the greatest threat to her future.

Henry’s first wife, Persephone.


in response to my constant thirst for new books and Princess Bookie's Contest Craze Mini Challenge


What 2012 books are you looking forward to?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lola and the Boy Next Door ~ Stephanie Perkins (ARC) review

Lola and the Boy Next Door (companion to Anna and the French Kiss)
Dutton Juvenile*
September 29, 2011
384 pages

It should be noted, that I can have the same problem as Anna with reviews: “It’s easy to talk about things we hate, but sometimes it’s hard to explain exactly why we like something. (pg 55 arc)” so this review might turn into “I <3 this book” but I will try to actually say why.


Lola Nolan wants to be a costume designer - and she’s practicing on herself. The more sparkly, outrageous, quirky and wild she can make each day’s outfit, the better.

She’s also a good friend and daughter, though. With some big plans for the future. Plans that include her hot rocker boyfriend, Max.

Everything’s going pretty perfect until the Bell twins move back into the house next door.

The twins, Calliope the talented figure skater . . . and Cricket, the inventor and engineer who just might be ready to step out of his sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life.

That is if she’s ready to let him and figure out years of feelings for the boy next door.


I did not think I would love this book more than I loved Anna and the French Kiss, but I think I love it about seventeen times more (somehow!)!! (Fair warning, there might exclamation points in this review.)

I heart Stephanie Perkins so much. She is able to write romance like crazycakes. Not crazy bodice ripper romance (which does have its merits) but sweet, adorable, sometimes tearjerker-y, bittersweet, awe inspiring, really pretty perfect romance.

Quite a few social issues are covered in this book. But it never feels like either Lola or Stephanie Perkins are trying to force the issue or use Lola as a soapbox. They’re all simply parts of the story and/or the characters’ lives. I truly appreciate an author an author straying away from the cookie cutter norm (or what is usually seen as the norm even if it might not be) and doing it so well.

Lola does, at first, have a boyfriend that is 22-years-old to her 17 which at first sound kind of squicky. But it’s handled in such a way - lack of approval, realistic relationship difficulty, etc - that it loses the ‘really?!’ factor.

And there’s Cricket who you have to love, really. He’s now officially my book boyfriend. Not that I’d steal him away from Lola. Lola is a girl I want to be real because I would absolutely be her friend (or want to be, at least!). Her room is the cooler version of mine, she has, seemingly, the best fashion sense...And the most swoon-worthy neighbor.

Lola is this splendid romance with a great family dynamic that brings back characters from Anna and the French Kiss but underneath it all it's about figuring out who you really are (not who it might be cool to be or everyone expects you to be) and accepting that. Being happy with it, actually. Being happy with yourself. And not in some cheeseball way, either.

Lola and the Boy Next Door is now my favorite book. It’s my book - you know how you might have a song that you say ‘that’s my song!’ when it’s on? Lola is my book. It’s also the book that if anyone ever asks me for a book recommendation I’ll say, “Lola and the Boy Next Door, it’s perfect!!’


(On a side note, I think I want Stephanie Perkins - or Lola as my decorator.)



Rating: 3,742 stars/10



If there’s something I didn’t actually address in this review, feel free to ask in comments or ask me on Twiter @thebookspot



the HUGEST thanks to LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers and Penguin for my ARC - *Dutton/Penguin and LT, you gave me this and Imaginary Girls? I <3 you like mad

Saturday, September 10, 2011

New Giveaway: All These Things I've Done

Didn't win my Hades giveaway? That's okay because I have a new one for a different book! (Already?! I know, I'm not quite sure how that happened either.)



Thanks again to Macmillan and Tara at Zeitghost Media I have the opportunity to host another amazing book giveaway!! I'm currently reading (and very much enjoying) this one right now so I really do think you should enter to win this one:

Gabrielle Zevin, author of Elsewhere and Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac is back with a new book - the first in a series - All These Things I've Done

In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty.think she's to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight--at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family."

Gabrielle's Facebook (where you can also find out about her tour this fall), her Macmillan page for the book, and her website


Details:
Giveaway open to those in the US and Canada, ages 13 and older (anyone under 18, please have parental permission before enterting).
Giveaway open as of this post and closes at 12:01am EST on Friday, the 16th. Winner will be notifed by email and have 24hrs to reply or a new winner will be selected.



Trying out Rafflecopter instead of Google Docs - let me know your thoughts in the comments in the comments if you want (can't promise it will sway which I use next time, though ;-))



Thursday, September 8, 2011

Imaginary Girls ~ Nova Ren Suma (ARC) review

Imaginary Girls
Dutton Juvenile
June 14, 2011
352 pages
Goodreads/Amazon


Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma is worth reading if only to experience the author's way with words. Chloe’s older sister Ruby is the girl everyone knows of, knows about. Ruby is the girl everyone wants to please, wants to be like, wants to be liked by. Boys will drive hours in the middle of the night to buy her the simplest thing; shop girls will give her things practically for free from any store.

She’s also the one who looks out for Chloe, who takes care of her. But one night, while with Ruby and her friends at the reservoir things go horribly wrong for Chloe when she discovers a dead body.

Chloe’s sent to live elsewhere, away from Ruby.

Ruby who will do anything to get Chloe back. Who does do anything to get Chloe back.

When Chloe does return years later, it’s with the lines of life and death redrawn . . . and possibly the one between the sisters redrawn as well.


Imaginary Girls is a haunting story that will stay with you for long after you’ve read the last page. Nova Ren Suma’s writing really is something special. She has the ability to string together seemingly ordinary words and make something extraordinary; phrases that won’t leave your head for days - even after you’ve reread them time and time again. (“...She was a shrill and shrieking fire alarm in a quiet library, and not a single person seemed to hear it.” pg 167 [arc])

Nova Ren Suma has a great ability to capture family dynamics - sure those in Imaginary Girls were twisted and screwed up, but you got the feeling that they were screwed up properly. It just came across that the author really understands how to weave relationships.

I loved Ruby - not an actual I-liked-her love but I loved the character that was created and how more of her was gradually shown.

Imaginary Girls is not contemporary fiction, but there aren’t vampires or demons or other supernatural beings - the best I could think to compare it to would be Nancy Werlin’s Impossible (not for plot or story but for ‘supernatural’ness).

Nova Ren Suma’s first book, the MG Dani Noir was really enjoyable as well and I really hope for more YA fiction from her. I know I’m absolutely thrilled now not to live near a reservoir!

9/10



(received through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer's)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Buffy Season 8 Vol 8 ~ Joss Whedon et al review

Buffy Season 8 Volume 8: The Last Gleaming
Joss Whedon (Author), Jane Espenson (Author), Scott Allie (Author), Georges Jeanty (Author), Karl Moline (Author)
Dark Horse Comics
June 21, 2011
160 pages
Amazon/Goodreads


Buffy Season 8 Volume 8: Last Gleaming is like a big season finale – or a season finale and the couple of episodes that lead up to it and really introduce what’s going to happen.

Spike’s back in the picture and has knowledge of another evil facing the world that Buffy and company will have to deal with. Or face possibly world ending badness. Or maybe even something worse than that.

Of course, he shows up on a ship piloted by bugs . . . Spike’s sort of the insect-y Doctor Who here (especially after you see his arrival on Earth).

It wouldn’t be “Buffy” without some sort of a betrayal and this one’s big. Can Buffy get past it and manage to save both the world and all her friends and Slayers?

You’ll just have to see.


This was a good finale while still leaving quite a few things open for the Season Nine comics that are coming (soon, it seems). It brings Buffy, Angel, and Spike back together for the first time since BtVS Season Three – for better or for worse. Buffy’s reaction to Spike being back in the picture did seem a little strange given where they were at the end of Season Seven. A lot of relationships (especially those involving Buffy) have had their own life in the comics, though. (Her feelings – or even attitude – towards Spike do seem to fluctuate for seemingly no reason. I’m hoping that changes for Season Nine.)

The Xander/Dawn relationship isn’t as squicky as I would have thought. It’s been developed well throughout this season and progressed slowly enough that it doesn’t seem sudden or out of nowhere at all. It will still seem strange to some people, I’m sure, but it’s been done well and I kind of like it. (It’s growing on me.)


I liked the art in this volume. The baddies were really unique and the colors were great. Except for I think two instances the characters were easily discernable (but I figured one out). The main few characters – Buffy, Dawn, Xander, and Spike, especially looked great.




I’m still not sure how much I love this way of doing Buffy, but I still love the characters and the Big Bads. There were seasons of Buffy I didn’t like (not the same ones most people didn’t like!), too, and I still adore the show. I think I’ll still read Season Nine to see where it all goes.


8/10


read thanks to NetGalley and Dark Horse

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Beginning of After ~ Jennifer Castle (ARC) review

The Beginning of After
HarperTeen
September 6, 2011
432 pages
Goodreads/Amazon

Jennifer Castle's debut novel The Beginning of After is one that feels so real, you'll be relieved - and then amazed - to know that the events of the novel did not, in fact, happen to the author herself.

Laurel's life changes completely, forever in one instant: her mother, father, and brother are all killed in a car accident. Behind the wheel is Mr Kaufman, David, her bad-boy neighbor's father. Mrs Kaufman is in the car and dies as well, but Mr Kaufman is left in a coma.

Laurel and David are each, separately, elsewhere.

The Beginning of After is Laurel's attempt to go on with her life after losing her family. It's real, it's visceral, and its painful - but it's something you can't put down, either.


This is a book where I feel giving more of a synopsis - explaining, really, any of what happens to Laurel as she begins her life after her family's death would really do a disservice to potential readers. It's not a love story or a coming of age tale where more can be given away, I think the 'whats' of this novel really build on each other (as do the 'hows' of course) and should be discovered as you read.

I love Jennifer Castle's writing. As already stated, this entire novel feel more like a memoir (fictionalized or not) than it does a straight novel. It really does feel real and like something the writer herself experienced.

I appreciate that it's a longer book (432 pages) and we get to experience Laurel's life over a longer span of time; to really see how she grieves and how she grows.

The Beginning of After is a book that is, at times, most definitely painful, but it's beautiful, too. I am really looking forward to the next book from Ms Castle - it's safe to say I'm already a fan.

10/10


a gigantic thank you to Harper for sending me an ARC copy of this book. . . now what are you waiting for, go out and get your own!

Hades ~ Alexandra Adornetto giveaway & trailer

Halo author Alexandra Adornetto is back with the second book in the trilogy Hades, released August 30!

Want a chance to win a copy of Hades? Sure you do - and thanks to Macmillan, I'm hosting a giveaway (check out the end of the post).

Hades on Goodreads and Hades . . . and here's the book trailer:



(direct youtube link)

Some links you might enjoy:
Alexandra Adornetto is on tour this Fall:
Pen Fatale Tour (I so wish one of the events were closer to me - also includes Gabrielle Zevin, Alyson Noel and more!

Alexandra's Facebook Fan Page & Macmillan page for the book & author



Giveaway Rules:

Must be 13 years or older to enter, have a US or Canadian mailing address. Contest ends 9am Eastern Sept 10th, winner has 24 hours to reply to notification email or a new winner will be selected. Prize copy provided by the publisher.

Enter:
Fill out the form below:





Good luck and thanks for visiting!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Video Veneris meets Waiting On Wednesday



"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again." Is there a more
memorable, more known first line than that of Daphne DuMaurier's Rebecca? I like to think not.
Working as a lady's companion, the heroine of Rebecca learns her place. Life begins to look very bleak until, on a trip to the South of France, she meets Maxim de Winter, a handsome widower whose sudden proposal of marriage takes her by surprise. She accepts, but whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to the ominous and brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is forever kept alive by the forbidding Mrs Danvers.

Not since Jane Eyre has a heroine faced such difficulty with the Other Woman

Rebecca is one of my absolute favorite, favorite books ever (I have a top three -maybe, maybe four books, not a favorite, favorite because I really can't pick just one). I read it for the first time at least ten years ago and I've adored it ever since.

It opens with some foreboding and then moves into what seems like an
innocent tale but soon becomes something darker (after all Hitchcock did the film based on the book and DuMaurier also wrote The Birds). If you haven't read Rebecca you really do need to . . . and then see the Hitchcock movie it's also fantastic (and where my Video Veneris comes into play:

Rebecca on Goodreads & Amazon




and my Waiting On Wednesday (which I did not do Wednesday because I forgot I had a doctor's appointment):

New Girl by Paige Harbison

WHY DID A SPOT OPEN UP AT MANDERLEY ACADEMY?

I hadn't wanted to go, but my parents were so excited…. So here I am, the new girl at Manderley, a true fish out of water. But mine's not the name on everyone's lips. Oh, no.

It's Becca Normandy they can't stop talking about. Perfect, beautiful Becca. She went missing at the end of last year, leaving a spot open at Manderley-the spot that I got. And everyone acts like it's my fault that infallible, beloved Becca is gone and has been replaced by not perfect, completely fallible, unknown Me.

Then, there's the name on my lips-Max Holloway. Becca's ex. The one boy I should avoid, but can't. Thing is, it seems like he wants me, too. But the memory of Becca is always between us. And as much I'm starting to like it at Manderley, I can't help but think she's out there, somewhere, watching me take her place.

Waiting to take it back

New Girl on Goodreads & Amazon (it's out January 31, 2012)


a modern take on Rebecca . . .

I have wanted for so long for them to remake the movie...it never even crossed my mind that someone could do a book that was a modern version!! I need to have a wall calendar or something just so I can circle the date. Oh, how I hope this is seventeen kinds of amazing!!!

Can I somehow compel HarlequinTeen into giving me an advance copy of this? Please?!



(synopses from Goodreads)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Buffy Season 8 Vols 6 & 7 ~ Joss Whedon, et al

Buffy Season 8 Volume 6: Retreat
Jane Espenson, Joss Whedon, Georges Jeanty, Andy Owens, Jo Chen
Dark Horse Comics
March 16, 2010
144 pages

A note on the series as a whole so far: As a girl, I really wish all the Buffy women didn’t suddenly get tiny waists and big busts when they moved to comic form – that and maybe they could find a bra every once in a while? And why does Buffy have wrestler (male WWE type) thighs and arms but look like she got implants? I can understand that this is a comic, but it’s also Buffy, it’s based off a character that for seven years was portrayed by an actress, can’t we draw her? [End rant. Sorry-ish.]

With the Slayers under attack, they have to get away. They barely make their escape to . . . Nepal. Yep, Nepal. And Oz is there. Oz and his wife and baby.

Oz’s wife will teach the Slayers how to hide their powers so that Twilight can’t find and kill them. Buffy and the other Slayers discover what it’s like to be normal girls again. For good and bad. And Willow finds out

if she can give up her magic.

But, magic-less, will they actually be safe from Twilight and his army or will he still find them?


It’s still really hard to tell the characters apart sometimes – and who new ones are. I didn’t know Oz was Oz for a long time. The Twilight plot (and name) is interesting and they’re definitely doing a lot that can be done in print form but not on a television show but it’s missing that oomph.

After all, it does end with the main character (Buffy) in the air saying, “What the hell?”


7/10




Buffy Season 8 Volume 7: Twilight
Brad Meltzer, Joss Whedon, Georges Jeanty, Karl Moline, Andy Owens, Michelle Madsen
Dark Horse Comics
October 19, 2010
160 pages
Goodreads/Amazon


Twilight: Buffy Season 8 Volume 7 was one that I half really, really
enjoyed and one that I half didn’t much like.

What’s pretty fun in this is that Buffy has some super powers – more than her usual Slayer powers. Her exploration of those powers, along with some help from Xander, leads to a lot of fun both for them and the reader. It’s possibly far-fetched (but isn’t Buffy really?) but it’s done well and enjoyable. Plus, the interaction between Buffy and Xander is great and harks back to the old school Buffy days.

The Big Bad is also revealed in this volume, though, not with much explanation. And it does need some explanation.

There’s also a lot of sex. A lot. With Buffy’s super hero-y powers involved. Something else that doesn’t necessarily fit where the seven seasons of television Buffy got us, either, in this reader’s opinion. Maybe I just am not used to the comic medium, but the way things developed and established in the seven seasons of the series seem to not be completely relevant in this eighth season sometimes throw me.

I’m still going to read Volume 8 because of the character that makes an appearance at the end of Volume 7 – I really want to see where that goes. I also want to see if all of these plot points can be pulled together and everything can be resolved to my liking.


6/10
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