Saturday, November 26, 2011

From the Library - Thanksgiving weekend

1.) Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins - all I know is that it is a "witchy" story and it is on my tbr list, so I grabbed it. Heard good things about it though.
2.) Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey - my friend Tristen said it was really funny.
3.) Devoted by Hilary Duff - sequel to Elixir, which was surprisingly awesome (I just didn't expect Lizzie McGuire to be able to write!)
4.) Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini - been on my list for awhile...sounds like a good story about Greek gods and it has a purty cover!

Review: Forgotten by Cat Patrick

From inside the cover:

"Every night, while sixteen-year-old London Lane is asleep, her memory of that day is erased. In the morning, all she can "remember" are events from her future. London is used to relying on reminder notes and a trusted friend to get through the day, but things get complicated when a new boy at school enters the picture. Luke Henry is not someone you'd easily forget, yet try as she might, London can't find him in her memories of things to come.

When London starts experiencing disturbing flashbacks, or flash-forwards, as the case may be, she realizes it's time to learn about the past she keeps forgetting - before it destroys the future."
Oh my, I don't even know where to start. I don't want to give anything away.

First off, the idea of only remembering the future is such an interesting concept! I don't think I have read anything like that before. The book had elements that reminded me of Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall and S.J.Watson's Before I Go to Sleep - both of which I loved. From page 1, I was intrigued...the puzzle pieces fell into place througout each page. I love it when author's do that. You know how some books have lulls followed by a few pages of intensity, then another lull, etc? Well, this book was so well-paced - no lulls.

Ooooh, I wish I could go into the plot...but, I don't want to spoil it! Just go read it and see for yourself!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dusty Jacket #1 - Life on the Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers

Dusty Jacket is a meme idea I saw another blog (and darn it, if I can't find it now, but when I do, I will give credit where it is due). Basically, it is a challenge to actually READ those books that have been sitting on our shelves gathering dust. I know that I, for one, get caught up in reading library books, or reading newer books, and there are just some on my shelf that have been there for a long time. I will try to start tackling these books, hopefully one a week - maybe every other week...

So, my first book for this challenge is Life on the Refrigerator Door: Notes Between a Mother and Daughter by Alice Kuipers. This was a very quick read (read in about 30 minutes), but it packed an emotional punch. The book was entirely made up of short notes posted on the refrigerator between Claire and her mother. Claire is an active 15 year old girl, busy with normal teen activities, and her mom is an obstetrician who spends a lot of time at work. These notes are the main way they communicate as they don't see each other very often.

I was frustrated and saddened how little time they got to spend together, and how much Claire had to do for herself. When her mother is diagnosed with breast cancer, it is even more frustrating, because we know that they need each other more than ever.
This was a very unique book, and it was very effective at addressing the mother/daughter relationship and presents an unusual way of glimpsing into their every day lives. Kuipers did a good job of expressing emotions into even the shortest notes. I enjoyed this book, and would definitely recommend it.

Review: Perfect by Ellen Hopkins

From inside the cover:

"Everyone has something, someone, somewhere else that they'd rather be. For four high school seniors, their goals of perfection are just as different as the paths they take to get there. Cara's parents' unrealistic expectations have already sent her twin brother, Conner, spiraling toward suicide. For her, "perfect" means rejecting their ideals to take a chance on a new kind of love. Kendra covets the perfect face and body - no matter what surgeries and drugs she needs to get them. To score his perfect home run - on the field and off - Sean will sacrifice more than he can ever win back. And Andre realizes that to follow his heart and achieve his perfect performance, he'll be living a life his ancestors would never have understood.
Everyone wants to be perfect, but when perfection loses its meaning, how far will you go? What would you give up to be perfect?"

Ellen Hopkins is a master at capturing teen angst at its worst, and at writting lyrical free verse poetry that really doesn't read like poetry. I'm the first to admit that I am not a fan of reading poetry, which initially turned me off of Hopkins' books. But, I have been hooked since reading Crank, and I have now read everything she has written. Oh wait, she just released Triangles, her first adult novel. *requesting it from the library right now*. Anyway, don't let the poetry and length of books (between 600-700 pages each) keep you from reading them. This book, a companion to Impulse, did not disappoint.

First, there's Cara. Her twin brother attempted suicide. Her parents are cold, distant, and won't settle for less than perfection from their children. Cara is tired of trying to be something she's not. Meeting Dani, she realizes the truth about herself and her sexuality, and now she has to deal with the aftermath of her revelations. I liked her character. Comparatively speaking, she was one of the teens with the healthiest choices. I liked that once she realized the truth about herself, she didn't try to change herself.

Next, there is Sean. He is a major jock who is obsessed with being the athletic best. He has his sights on playing pro ball, and will stop at nothing to reach his goal. So, he turns to steroids to boost his game. He was in love with Cara, and they dated until she realized that she was gay. What I did like about Sean, was that he was truly in love with her, and was totally committed to her when they were together. He even wanted to marry her. What I did not like, of course, was that he turned to drug use. And the steroids completely changed his personality. He was a good example of how drugs can destroy the mind of an otherwise nice person.

Next, there is Kendra and her sister, Jenna. Kendra is anorexic and obsessed with her dream of being a runway model. Her mother encourages this, choosing to turn a blind eye to her daughter's eating disorder and even allowing plastic surgery. Kendra will stop at nothing to get what she wants, compromising her morality, her health, her life. Jenna, on the other hand, is very happy and confident with her size 10 body, and chooses to flaunt it. Because she grew up without a positive male role model, she now seeks attention from every guy she comes across. She also chooses to drown her bitterness with alcohol and drugs. I really felt bad for Kendra. Her mother is obsessed with physical appearance, she suffered physical abuse at the hand of her father, and her boyfriend (Cara's brother) cheated on her with a woman twice their age and then attempted suicide. I had a hard time feeling sorry for Jenna though. She just was not a likeable character to me. Kendra's behaviors were obviously not good choices, but she was trying to be a good person, just going about it the wrong way. I felt like Jenna knew exactly what she was doing, and...I don't know, I just didn't like her.

Finally, there's Andre. I have to say he was my favorite. And really, he was the most "normal" of the bunch. He didn't drink, do drugs, sleep around, or have mental problems. Despite the fact that his parents were obsessed with money - his mom is a plastic surgeon and his dad is a businessman - and their view of success and forced their ideas on him. But, what he wants to do is dance. The poor guy has to sneak around taking lessons, because when he tried to talk to his dad about it, he accused his own son of being gay (which he's not). Then he meets Jenna, and falls in love with her (why...I don't know). But Jenna is using him. He really tries to take care of her, but he finally realizes that she is just not willing to commit. He also has to deal with racism (especially from Jenna's father, who is one step away from the KKK). He is definitely the strongest character and stays true to himself.

Overall, another great work by Ellen Hopkins. Is it a light, happy read? No. Nor do I think it's appropriate for under the age of 16. Drug use, language, rape, homosexuality, sex, eating disorders, suicide...if you are squeamish about any of these things, this might not be the book for you. Unfortunately, these are things that today's teens are dealing with more and more. It was a great read, and I will definitely keep reading her books. I gave it another 5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Review: The Poison Diaries: Nightshade by Maryrose Wood

From inside the cover:
"Sixteen-year-old Jessamine Luxton is heartbroken. Her true love, Weed, the strange but intriguing young man who came into her life so suddenly, has disappeared. How could he have left her with no farewell, and no word since?

Jessamine may not know why Weed vanished, but she does suspect that her own father, Thomas, may have had something to do with it. Thomas, who was so obsessed with Weed's secret knowledge of dangerous plants that he would do anything to learn it. This suspicion - and her experiences with poisons - has changed her. She is no longer innocent, and now she has her own intimate knowledge of the power of the plants.

So when Jessamine learns that Weed is alive, she will do whatever it takes to be reunited with him. She is, after all, her father's daughter..."

First of all, I want to say a big "thank you" to Ms. Wood's wonderful PR team at who sent me this book for review!

This book picks up a little while after the first one ended. Jessamine has recovered, but finds that Weed has left her. She begins to realize that her father has something to do with his disappearance, and she soon figures out the man that her father truly is - and she can't let him get away with it.

Jessamine has changed drastically from the first book. She grows up quickly once she leaves home. She does things she never imagined she would to try to erase the memory of Weed, and just to make it on her own. She is even accused of being a witch.

The book alternates between her point of view and Weed's. We discover that Weed has wound up at the renowned poison garden at Alnwick Castle where he is taken under the wing of the garden's caretaker. Together they attempt to create the ultimote antidote for poisoning - they have reason to believe that the king may be at risk of being poisoned.
Jessamine and Weed's paths cross in a most unexpected way...

This book was definitely exciting. I really enjoyed all the twists and turns. I was a little bit sad at the path that Jessamine went down, using drugs and sex to make it on her own, but it did definitely add to the story.

My main criticism is that I found it a little confusing how the viewpoints of Jessamine and Weed would change without warning. I would have liked it if the viewpoints alternated by chapter, or at least if they were labeled with their names. Sometimes it took a few sentences to figure out who's viewpoint you were reading.

All in all, a very exciting, interesting read, and I will definitely be interested in reading the next book!

Friday, November 18, 2011

And the winner is.....

I'm pleased to announce that Tristen at Totally Booked Solid wins the personalized signed copy of this awesome book! I just finished reading this last night, and it was wonderful!!! Hopefully, I will be posting a review tonight...Congrats, Tristen! :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Die For Me by Amy Plum

From the cover:
"My life had always been blissfully, wonderfully normal. But it only took one moment to change everything...Suddenly, my sister, Georgia, and I were orphans. We put our lives into storage and moved to Paris to live with my grandparents. And I knew my shattered heart, my shattered life, would never feel normal again. Then I met Vincent.

Mysterious, sexy, and unnervingly charming, Vincent Delacroix appeared out of nowhere and swept me off my feet. Just like that, I was in danger of losing my heart all over again. But I was ready to let it happen.

Of course, nothing is ever that easy. Because Vincent is no normal human. He has a terrifying destiny, one that puts his life at risk every day. He also has enemies...immortal, murderous enemies who are determined to destroy him and all of his kind.

While I'm fighting to piece together the remnants of my life, can I risk putting my heart - as well as my life and my family's - in jeopardy for a chance at love?"

Sigh. Vincent is my new book boyfriend, I've decided. Chiseled body, dashing good looks, devastatingly romantic...sigh....what? Oh, what did I think of the book? It had all the elements I like in a YA paranormal...likeable and interesting characters, evil villains, edge of the seat action, romance, and easy to read style. I think it started a little slow...I would have liked to have seen a bit more action in it (there was really only one MAJOR action scene), but overall, I really liked it. I will definitely read the rest of the series when it comes out. And I would totally go see the movie if it was made into one...especially if they can find someone perfect for the part of Vincent. :)

The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood

From the inside of the book:
"Even the most innocent looking plants can kill, and no one knows that better than Jessamine Luxton. Jessamine has lived all her sixteen years in an isolated cottage near Alnwick Castle with her father, Thomas, a feared and respected apothecary, who has taught her much about the incredible powers of plants. Still, Thomas forbids her from entering the locked garden that is his pride and obsession - a poison garden, which contains exotic and local specimens of the most dangerous plants in the world.

But Jessamine's life changes forever the day a traveler brings an orphan to their cottage, claiming that the young man has special gifts that Thomas might value. Jessamine is intrigued by the stranger, who goes by the name of Weed. His sensitivity to growing things is extraordinary and he seems to have even more rare and specialized knowledge about plants than Thomas does. As Jessamine begins to fall in love with Weed, she learns his extraordinary secret - and is drawn into the dangerous world of the poison garden in a way she never could have imagined..."

I received the sequel to this book for review from Harper Collins, so I checked this book out of the library, as I had not read it yet. The concept behind the book - the poisonous plants - really caught my attention. I haven't seen too many books about that. I'll admit, the book kind of started out slow...and when Weed is first introduced - I was disappointed. I mean, he's supposed to be THE love interest in the book, but when we first "meet" him, he is made out to be, well...feral, I guess. He barely speaks at all, and seems kind of dumb. But, he was raised by a terrible man who ran an insane asylum, so I guess that explains it. Anyway, once he and Jessamine get to know each other, he "blossoms" (hee hee, no pun intended) and I began to fall a little bit in love with him too.

I really liked Jessamine's character too. She definitely has a mind of her own, and is very intelligent. I could not stand her father Thomas, from the beginning though. I just had a bad feeling about him from the beginning...I'll leave it at that.

The book really picks up about halfway through, and I ended up really liking it. Romance, nail-biting suspense, interesting characters...what more could you want? And I liked how the book ended. It definitely leaves you wanting to read the next book to see what happens, but didn't end with a big frustrating cliffhanger (I hate that!). I was satisfied, but still wanting more. That is a good ending in my book!

Go check out the website for these is really cool:

Monday, November 14, 2011

In My Inbox - November edition

I realized that I have not been including galleys in my "In My Mailbox" pictures...shame on me!! I got several approvals in the last couple of weeks that I am excited about. I need that Kindle Fire NOW!!!
The Whole Story of Half a girl by by Veera Hiranandani - This is about a girl, half Indian and half Jewish American who has to adjust to being taken out of private school and changing to a public school, because her father has lost his job. She has to discover who she really is, and what group she "belongs" with in school. And then her father goes missing, and she realizes that she may never have really known who her father really is. Sounds pretty interesting!
The Gathering Storm (Katerina trilogy book 1) by Robin Bridges - a young Russian royal debutante discovers she is able to raise the dead. Is it a curse or a gift? She gets caught up in a world of "intrigue"when she uses her ability to protect a member of the Imperial family.
Red Heart Tattoo by Lurlene McDaniel - A bomb goes off at a high school leaving many dead or severely wounded. Those not affected physically must deal with the emotional devastation left behind. Doesn't exactly sound like a happy read, but it might be good for a nice, cleansing cry!
The Demon Lover by Juliet Dark - pretty cover alert! I'm not sure that this is a YA book when I read the blurb about be honest, I requested it based on the cover, lol! It apparently is about a woman who, nice dreams, ahem, about a man who visits her in the night. Only she realizes they are not dreams, but an incubus visiting her, who will eventually take all the life out of her. She discovers there are many other mythical creatures around the town.
The Unbearable Book Club for Unsinkable Girls by Julie Schumacher - This is about a group of 11th grade AP English girls who are forced into forming a book club for various reasons by their mothers. Sounds funny...
So, that's what I got in my inbox. Have you gotten any good e-books lately?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

In My Mailbox

This is probably over the last 2 weeks or so...

Front row, all purchased from Salvation Army:

Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Mind of an Extraordinary Autistic Savant by Daniel Tammet - autism has always fascinated me, especially savants...I'd seen this book before and wanted to read it.

Blessings by Anna Quindlen - If only I had found this a month ago...Quindlen came to our local library for a signing :( I loved her book Black and Blue.

The Shunning by Beverly Lewis - Love me some Beverly Lewis! It's been a long time since I read her books...

At the very top of the photo:

The Host by Stephenie Meyer - got from paperbackswap. It's hard to tell what it is without a dust jacket. I was very disappointed in the quality it arrived in...besides the lack of dust jacket, it was severely water damaged, warped pages, mold on the cover, blurred ink. Sigh....but it was free, so what can I do?


Fever by Lauren DeStefano - SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! Ok, I have NO idea how I got just arrived today in a nice "delivery confirmation" stamped package from Simon & Schuster with a card inside asking me to e-mail them with my thoughts on the book - totally unexpected...I'm still baffled. I didn't request it, I didn't win anything, and I've never dealt directly with this publishing company before (but I wanted to! It's one of the best!) Just a fabulous surprise that totally made my day! I LOVED Wither, and I cannot wait to read this!!!

The Poison Diaries: Nightshade by Maryrose Wood - received from Wood's PR team at kdotonline for review. If you would like to have a copy of your very own - personalized and signed even! - see my post from earlier today...I am reading the first book in this series right now, and it's quite interesting. Very pretty covers too (I'm a sucker for a pretty cover!)

Now, if only winter break would hurry up and get here so that I can have some time to sit and read all these, I would be a happy girl!

From the Library - first week of November

I've been trying to control myself with the library requests here lately, because I still have quite the pile building up (and let's not even talk about the ones I own. ahem.) I just don't have nearly as much time to read as I would like...been trying to convince the hubby to let me quit my job so I can stay home and read all day. He didn't seem to enthusiastic about it. Something about "mortgage this....electricity blah blah", you know - those pesky things that prevent you from buying MORE books. But, I digress...back to this week's library trip...

The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood - I got a copy of the second book in this series for review, so I have to read the first one before I can review the second!

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles - spur of the moment choice...saw it on the shelf, and heard so many great things about it. Might provide a nice change from all the paranormal/dystopians I have...

Perfect by Ellen Hopkins - I am SUPER excited about this one! I've been on the hold list for this since this summer, way before it was even released - in fact, I was the #1 spot! Yay for being the very first to read a library book! I have devoured every single book by Hopkins, and rated every single one a 5 out of 5.

Infinity: the Chronicles of Nick by Sherrilyn Kenyon - another spur of the moment...eyed it at the bookstore a few times. Don't know if I'll get around to reading it, but it looks like a quick read, so we'll see.
So, that's what the library had for me this week! What are your recent library finds?

GIVEAWAY!!!! Nightshade by MaryRose Wood

MaryRose Wood's fabulour PR team at kdotonline kindly asked me if I would like to host a giveaway of this wonderful book! Well, that was easy to answer! I've got my copies and I will be posting reviews soon. In the meantime, here is YOUR opportunity to win your very own copy of Nightshade (Poison Diaries #2) - personalized and signed by the author!!! There are 3 ways to enter:
#1 - Enter the Poison Diaries website(, find the plant Arum Maculatum, add it to the "My Poison Diary" and share it via Twitter. Here is a sample tweet:
"Come visit the alluring poison garden and discover just how deadly Arum is at via The Once and Future Librarian." - Don't forget to mention my blog! :)

#2 - Like the Poison Diaries Facebook page, and share this on their wall for your chance to win:
"I want to win a signed copy of Nightshade by Maryrose Wood! Thanks to @TheOnceandFutureLibrarian for sending me here!
#3 - Follow @poisondiaries on Twitter and post a similar tweet:
"Follow @poisondiaries to win a signed copy of #Nightshade by #MaryroseWood! Thanks

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Love That Multiplies by Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar

I realize this title really doesn't fit in with the rest of the books that I have reviewed...but that's ok, right? We all like a little variety now and again, right? Right.

So, I am fascinated by this family, like the majority of the world. I have watched them from their very first television special. So, I don't agree 100% with everything that they believe, but I still love them! Personally, I don't feel like I can complain about the number of kids they have - they are not on government assistance, and all of their kids are smart, well-behaved, upstanding people. We can use more people like that in our communities.

So, this book was really interesting to explained a lot about their beliefs, and expanded a lot on many of the more recent episodes. There were also recipes throughout, which I love (one of my family's favorite meals, taco soup, came from their first book).

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is a Duggar fan, or just interested in the inner workings of big families.