Saturday, December 31, 2011

Review: Waiting to Forget by Sheila Kelly Welch

Publisher: Namelos
Number of Pages: 172
How I got this book: Netgalley
My rating: 5/5
Summary from Goodreads:
"T.J. has always looked out for his little sister, Angela. When Momma used to go out and leave them home alone, he'd lock the door so they'd be safe, keep Angela entertained, and get out the cereal and milk for her. When Momma's boyfriend got angry at them, he'd try to protect Angela. Later, at their foster homes, T.J. was the only one who knew how to coax his little sister out of her bad moods. The only one who understood why she made origami paper cranes and threw them out the window.But now T.J. is sitting in the waiting room at the hospital, wondering if Angela, unconscious after a fall, will ever wake up. Wondering, too, if he will ever feel at home with his and Angela's new parents—Marlene, who insists on calling him Timothy, and Dan, who seems to want a different son.Going back and forth between Now and Then, weaving the uncertain present with the painful past, T.J.'s story unfolds, and with the unfolding comes a new understanding of how to move forward."

As T.J. sits in the waiting room, waiting to hear if his sister is even alive, he is reflecting back on his and Angela's difficult life. Their mother neglected them often, at times was physically abusive, and often put them in dangerous situations. As I read this, I had to keep reminding myself that this was a work of fiction, and not a memoir. This was difficult as Welch writes in a way that makes it feel very real. It might seem like a depressing story, and I'll admit, it IS a sad story - the life that T.J. and Angela lived. But, it is also an uplifting story - the love between brother and sister, and the promise of a better life when they are adopted by Marlene and Dan.

I truly enjoyed Welch's writing style - I was pulled into the story from the beginning, and I was emotional through the whole book - heartbroken when these kids were treated so poorly and triumphant when they found a "forever home." In my opinion, it is a sign of an excellent book when I have such strong feelings for characters. I highly recommend this book.

This review can also be found on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Netgalley.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Review: Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

Published by: Del Rey, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group
Number of pages: 480
How I got this book: eARC from Netgalley
My rating: 2.5/5
First, a big thank you to Netgalley and Random House for the opportunity to read this eARC!
Summary on Goodreads:
"Love can never die.Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie?
The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the manners, mores, and fashions of an antique era. A teenager in high society, Nora Dearly is far more interested in military history and her country’s political unrest than in tea parties and debutante balls. But after her beloved parents die, Nora is left at the mercy of her domineering aunt, a social-climbing spendthrift who has squandered the family fortune and now plans to marry her niece off for money. For Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses.
But fate is just getting started with Nora.
Catapulted from her world of drawing-room civility, she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting “The Laz,” a fatal virus that raises the dead—and hell along with them. Hardly ideal circumstances. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and dead. But as is the case with the rest of his special undead unit, luck and modern science have enabled Bram to hold on to his mind, his manners, and his body parts. And when his bond of trust with Nora turns to tenderness, there’s no turning back. Eventually, they know, the disease will win, separating the star-crossed lovers forever. But until then, beating or not, their hearts will have what they desire.
In Dearly, Departed, romance meets walking-dead thriller, spawning a madly imaginative novel of rip-roaring adventure, spine-tingling suspense, and macabre comedy that forever redefines the concept of undying love."
I thought the cover of this book was beautiful, and it made me really excited to read this book. However, I was a bit disappointed. I'll get to that in a minute. First, a little about the characters...
Nora Dearly, the daughter of the man who created a "vaccine" to prolong the "unlife" of the zombies, was really a cool girl. She was petite, but feisty, and pretty good with weapons. I liked her loyalty to her best friend, Pamela, and the fact that she was able to see past Bram', zombieness? who he really was. I loved Bram. He may have looked slightly scary, being a zombie and all, but he was very gentle. He was willing to help rescue Nora's friends simply because it was what she wanted, even if it did put them all in danger.
The story itself was good, and the writing was good. I LOVED the humor that Habel injected into the book. This particular passage made me literally laugh out loud...I think I may even start quoting it - "All of our lives suck right now, okay? You might think yours is an extra special sparkly rainbow unicorn fart type of suck, but it's not." HA!!
Alright, now I have to go on with what I didn't like. Honestly, I thought it was WAY too long. I felt like there was a lot of rambling, and it made me quite bored at times. If it was cut down to about 300 pages, I think it would have been much better. I also thought there were too many perspectives in the story. It kind of got confusing. It would go back and forth between Nora and Bram, and then all of a sudden Victor Dearly's perspective would pop in, then Pamela, and one time even Wolfe...I would have to stop and think - wait, who is this again? I prefer having just 2 perspectives in a story.
I am curious as to how a romance between an undead man and a living girl would work. And I do want it to work, because I loved Nora and Bram together...for this reason, I will probably read the next book.
This review is also posted on Netgalley, Amazon, and Goodreads.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Looking back...Top 10 female characters

Today's topic is my top 10 characters from books that I've read in 2011. Since I posted about the boys yesterday, today I will include my top 10 female characters.
1. Minnie (The Help by Kathryn Stockett) - I loved Skeeter and Abilene too, but Minnie was my favorite, because of her attitude. (chocolate pie anyone?)
2. Sam Kingston (Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver) - At the beginning of the book, she was a "mean girl"...but after dying - over and over - she learns her lesson, and makes drastic changes. She develops empathy, and ends up making the ultimate sacrifice.
3. Tessa (Before I Die by Jenny Downham) - Here is a girl who knows she is dying of leukemia. Instead of just accepting the death sentence, she makes a list of what she wants to do before she dies and sets out to accomplish them. I didn't agree with everything she set out to do (like trying drugs), but admire her determinedness.
4. Annah (Dead Tossed Waves and The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan) - She was so strong and while she did sometimes feel sorry for herself because of her physical defects, ultimately she didn't let it stop her from fighting for her sister and for her true love.
5. - Liesel (The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak) - I so loved her passion for the written word. I saw a little of myself in her.
6. - Tris (Divergent by Veronica Roth) - What can I say? She kicks major boo-tay!
7. Rhine (Wither and Fever by Lauren deStefano) - I admired her for not be willing to just accept what happened to her. Even if I DID like Linden, she didn't love him, so why should she be forced to stay with him? She wanted freedom - freedom to love and freedom to find her brother. And she was strong enough to go after it.
8. Violet (The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting) - Hey, she used her "gift" to get a murderer convicted. Gotta admire that!
9. Janie (the Wake trilogy by Lisa McMann) - another one who uses her powers for good and not evil...
10. Nina (XVI by Julia Karr) - I love how she stood up for what she believed in at the risk of being in trouble with the government.
Who were memorable female characters for you?

Review: Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

Published by: Dutton Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA)
Number of pages: 346
How I got this book: Library
My Rating: 3.5/5

Blurb from inside the book:

"Chloe's older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can't be captured or caged. After a night with Ruby's friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers a dead body floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away - away from home, away from Ruby.

But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns home at last, she finds a precarious and deadly balance waiting for her. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhoood."

This book was so different from what I expected. It was...bizarre. I still don't even quite know what to think about it. Let me start with the characters...

First, there's Ruby, the older sister. She is about 21 in the story, and has pretty much raised Chloe, as their mother was a drunk. At first she is made to appear to be this beautiful, charismatic, free spirit whom EVERYONE adores. Everybody in town knows Ruby, and will do anything for her. However, as the book goes on, I really began to dislike her. She was very narcissistic, and truly used everbody she could to benefit herself. By the end of the book, we kind of see the "powers" Ruby has (I don't quite know how to describe this.) However, I was still confused at the end of the book as to exactly what Ruby was and how she got that way. I don't feel like this was every really explained.

Then there's Chloe. She's more or less the main character, as most is told from her viewpoint. I never really felt a connection with her. She was just kind of blah. She is definitely under Ruby's spell, so I feel like she never had a chance to develop her own personality.

For most of the book, I had no idea what was going to happen - for about 200 pages, it seems like Suma is only giving us an idea of who Ruby and Chloe were. When the action finally started to pick up, I felt confused most of the time. This isn't necessarily a bad kept me wanting to know what the heck was going on! The last 50 or so pages, I was glued to it. Just as I thought I knew what was going to happen, a new twist appeared.

Overall, it was a pretty good story. Slow at first, but it definitely picks up. However, I feel unsettled about the ending. There were unresolved questions, and that bothers me. If you like ghost story/mysteries, you will probably like this book.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Looking Back...Top 10 "book boyfriends" of 2011

Today's Looking Back Top 10 topic is...."book boyfriends" of 2011 - those male characters that made me swoon. My list is not necessarily from books released in 2011, but from books that I read last year. I wish I had pictures to go along with them...instead, I will include a "swoon-worthy", let's get started, shall we?

1. Vincent De la Croix (Die For Me by Amy Plum) - I even told my husband that Vincent was my imaginary boyfriend, lol. His protectiveness, his strength, his accent (well, at least as I imagined it in my head), what he did for Kate for her birthday at the end of the book....le sigh. Plus, Revenants are just so much sexier than vampires. I just loved me some Vincent!

"I can't promise you an ordinary experience, Kate. I wish I could transform myself into a normal man and be there for you, always, without the trauma that defines my life as "the walking dead." Since that isn't possible, I can only reassure you that I will do everything in my power to make it up to you. To give you more than a normal boyfriend could. I have no idea what that will mean, exactly, but I'm looking forward to finding out. With you.”

2. Xander (Crossed by Ally Condie) - I know fans are pretty split between Team Xander or Team Ky...but I am Team Xander!! I typically side with the boy next door/best friend type. He was just so sweet, stable, secure....and he TRULY was in love with Cassia. The fact that he let her go to find Ky, and even HELPED THAT is love.

"Sometimes it seems like everything I've done has been to help you be ready for someone else."

3. Puck (The Iron King by Julie Kagawa) - Here is another example of where I side with the "friend". I'll be honest - I have only read the first in this series, so it is possible that my feelings will change - I'm open to that. But in this book at least, I could NOT stand Ash. I thought he was rude and hateful and arrogant. But Puck was that steady presence in Megan's life. Plus, he won me over with his dry, sarcastic sense of humor!!!

"Oh, we're playing nice now? Shall we have tea first? Brew up a nice pot of kiss-my-a**?"

4. Sam Roth (Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater) - ah, Sam. What can I say about Sam? He is just so sweet, caring, protective, romantic...all those good things. He just made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

"I don't want to do this anymore, Grace. It's not good enough any more to watch you from the woods, not now that I've been with you - the real thing. I can't just watch any more. I'd rather risk whatever could happen."

5. Alex Fuentes (Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles) - ooooh, he was such a bad boy! But, he didn't want to be. Yes, he was a gang banger, but his reason for doing so was to protect his family. He might have initially planned on using Brittany, but he fell in love with her. And he even left the gang for her. I might not have ever gone for a "bad boy" in real life, but if I did, Alex would have a chance, lol.

"I don't belong here. It doesn't matter, because even if I don't belong in this place, she's here and I want to be where she is."

6. Catcher (Dead Tossed Waves and The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan) - There's just something attractive about a man who is immune to zombies, lol. I loved his relationship with Annah, and that he looked past her deformities and loved her anyway.

“I catch my breath but he's not finished. "I love you, Annah. And if you're willing to risk everything to be with me, then I'm willing to risk everything to be with you. I'm going to keep fighting for you, every day of my life. If you'll have me.”

7. Jay Heaton (The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting) - another "friend" who turns into more than a friend, because he is caring and protective.

“I was just waiting for you to want me as much as I wanted you.” His words were quiet but carried one hell of an impact. “I knew we were going to be together; it was just a matter of time. I kept hoping that you would figure it out. But for a smart girl, you’re a little dense, Vi. I kept bringing up Lissie Adams, and showing you the notes she was leaving me, hoping that you’d get pissed enough to finally admit how you felt about me.”

8. Gabriel (Wither and Fever by Lauren deStefano) - I'll admit that in Wither, I kind of wanted Rhine to stay with Linden. But, after reading Fever, I was team Gabriel! He put his life on the line for her - can't help but love that!

Ok....I couldn't find a good quote for Gabriel. Honestly, he wasn't a major character in Wither, and I'm not sure I should quote from Fever yet, as it hasn't been published...just trust me on this one.

9. Four (Divergent by Veronica Roth) - strong, brave, and sensitive - what else could a girl want?

“We've all started to put down the virtues of the other factions in the process of bolstering our own. I don't want to do that. I want to be brave, and selfless, and smart, and kind, and honest." He clears his throat. "I continually struggle with kindness.”

10. Sagan (Throat by R.A. Nelson) - I have a thing for nerdy guys, ok. And this nerdy guy also kicks vampire booty. 'Nuff said.

"You know, probably we would have never met, Sagan said. If - whatever happened to you hadn't happened. So I feel...I feel lucky already.' He tilted my head up to look into his eyes. 'I don't see how somebody could be any more lucky."

So, those are my swoon worthy picks as book boyfriends. Who makes you swoon?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Awesome haul from the bookstore!!!

I could not wait on posting this haul, even though I just did a "Christmas In My Mailbox" post. I was just too excited!!! My in-laws gave me a $50 gift card for my local bookstore...I was thinking about using it sporadically to get a "book fix" here and there. But, this bookstore just HAD to send coupons for 50% off a full price item, and $5 of $25 purchase. PLUS, there were all kinds of BOGO type deals going on. When stores do this, my automatic response is "Game on!" So, I trekked to the store with my hubby and kiddos and piled up a basket, and then I strategized. I sat in the middle of an aisle, spread everything out, and I made up a strategy. I have to get the most bang for my buck (or g/c in this instance!) So, here is what I got, and the deals...

1. Once a Witch - 3.97
2. Bitten - 3.97
3. The Dead and the Gone - FREE (buy 2 bargain books, get one free)
4. City of Ashes - 4.97
5. A Certain Slant of Light - 3.97
6. Vampire Beach - FREE (buy 2, get 1 free)
7. Frozen - 9.99
8. Claire de Lune - 9.99
9. Rot & Ruin - FREE (buy 2, get 1 free special)
10. Shatter Me - 8.50 (used 50% off coupon)
11. Unearthly - 4.50 (used 50% off coupon)

Then on top of that I used a $5 off $25 purchase coupon!!! I am still riding a book buying high!!! :)

Looking Back...Top 10 Book Covers of 2011

The idea for this week of reflection on the books of 2011 was created by Jaime and Patricia from Two Chicks on Books and Rachel from Fiktshun. Each day this week will focus on a different Top 10 topic. Today's topic - pretty book covers of 2011.
We all know the saying "Don't judge a book by its cover." But every book lover I know (myself included) can't help but fall for a beautiful cover! I know that when I am in a bookstore, I will grab any book that looks pretty, THEN I read the's the cover that catches our attention.
So, here are some of the covers that caught my eye this past no particular order...
1. Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma - I am actually reading this right now. I just love the underwater scene with her hair and dress billowing out behind her...and the red ribbon wound around her wrist. It's really fitting with the story too.

2. Hourglass by Myra McEntire - haven't read this yet, but this cover is just so interesting! Did you notice how she's actually standing sideaways, on the wall, facing the floor? It took me awhile to notice that, lol. It's just...different!

3. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin - I don't know why this one sticks out to me, but it does...I seem to like the underwater scenes. How he has his arms around her like he's pulling her up out of the water - it's just a cool pic.

4. Supernaturally by Kierstin White - haven't read this series yet, but I love how each book has a color theme. The next book is even more gorgeous with its purple theme!
5. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand - I just bought this book today and it's prettier in person - it's shiny and has silver in it.
6. Exiled by Rashelle Workman - I actually have not seen this one in person yet...but the butterflies and glittery look is GORGEOUS!!! Love it!
7. Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini - I have this one out from the library right now. It is another that is even prettier in person, it has an almost holographic effect (I don't know how else to describe it...)
8. Abandon by Meg Cabot - I have this one (autographed from when I got to meet her in person!!) - I love the gold lettering and accents.
9. Entwined by Heather Dixon - BEAUTIFUL!! The lettering and leaves in the picture are silver which add to the fairy tale quality, and just look at that dress! and the castle! and the garden!!
10. When I read this book, I frequently would flip to the cover and just look at it (not even kidding!) another metallic accented book, pretty dress, and the Parisian skyline ain't bad either!
So many beautiful covers out there! Looks like there are plenty more coming up in 2012 as well! What book covers catch your eye?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Looking Back...Top 10 Reads of 2011

Happy day after Christmas, everyone! This week is dedicated to looking back - and looking forward. The idea for this week was created by Jaime and Patricia from Two Chicks on Books and Rachel from Fiktshun. Each day this week will focus on a different Top 10 topic. Here is the schedule if you are interested in participating:
Monday 12/26 – Top 10 Books I’ve read in 2011
Tuesday 12/27 –Top 10 Book Covers of 2011
Wednesday 12/28 – Top 10 Book Boyfriends in 2011
Thursday 12/29 – Top 10 Characters in 2011 (This can be anything you’d like to make it for characters. You can post your favorite Villains, etc. Just be sure that this post is character based.)Friday 12/30 – Top 10 Books I’m looking forward to in 2012 (Also on this day, we’ll each be adding some kind of a recap of the total number of books read, pages read, etc. This part of the post is optional. Feel free to add any stats you’d like to share with everyone. So, if you’d like to also include some end of year stats, feel free to join us!)
Be sure to go visit to link up your blog and let them know you are participating!!
So, on to the topic at hand - my top 10 books that I have read in 2011. This will be difficult!
1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett - do I really need to explain this one?? I would also include this on the list of best movies seen. It was one of those life-altering reads. It made me cry; it made me angry; it made me sad; it made me happy. To me, a sign of a fabulous book is one that really makes you experience strong emotions, and this one did.
2. The Forest of Hands and Teeth trilogy by Carrie Ryan - I never would have thought I would read zombie books, much less like them. Much less LOVE them and recommend them to everyone I know. But this series was so awesome. I've got my daughter reading them now.
3. Matched by Ally Condie - I just really loved this book. I loved, loved, loved that it was a "clean" book - no language, no sexuality, nothing...yet, was completely absorbing, exciting, and just...great. To me, this book proved that we don't need vulgarity to make a great book. I have Crossed, but haven't read it yet.
4. Shiver trilogy (Wolves of Mercy Falls) by Maggie Stiefvater - I just thought these were FUN - very light, sweet, and fun to read.
5. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak - This book was so beautifully written. I just loved it.
6. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver - a really fabulous book that opens your eyes to the effects of bullying.
7. Wither and Fevery by Lauren DeStefano - I love how originial the concept for these books are, and they just kept me on the edge of my seat.
8. Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson - totally riveting, nail -biting, eyes wide open psychological thriller.
9. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs - LOVED how the old photos were used in the book - made for such an unusual (in a good way) book. And the story was awesome too.
10. the Crank trilogy by Ellen Hopkins - I can say that Hopkins is the ONLY author I have read EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. of her books this year. All in one year - and never got tired of her writing. I have to say the Crank series was my favorite though. Just really eye opening how meth can ruin so many lives, not just that of the user. Living in one of the "meth capitals" of the U.S. (unfortunately), I see people struggling with this horrible drug on an almost daily basis. These were not light, fun, easy reads, but definitely draws you in emotionally.
It was so hard to narrow my reads down! I'd like to mention a few "runners up" - Divergent by Veronica Roth, Delirium by Lauren Oliver, and Forgotten by Cat Patrick.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

In My Mailbox - Christmas edition!

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope everyone was truly blessed this holiday season!

I did get a few "bookish" gifts this holiday season that I wanted to share...technically not in my mailbox, books are new books, right?

First, Crossed by Ally Condie was actually a gift for my 14 year old daughter...but I plan to read it too, so I included it, lol :) My parents gave me The Maze Runner, Sing You Home, Nightshade, and Clockwork Angel! And my hubby's parents gave me a gift card to Books-a-Million! I can NOT wait to use it either!

Any suggestions on what books to get? If I play my cards right, I should be able to get at least 5 books....

Did YOU get any "bookish" gifts for Christmas?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Review: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

I'm a little late to the game on this series as this was published in 2009. To be honest, I wasn't terribly interested at first - I don't read a lot of contemporary YA romance. But there was so much hype around this series that I finally caved. And I am so glad I did! First, the description from goodreads...

"When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more. In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart."

This book had all the elements of a good romance...bad boy from the wrong side of town vs. good girl from the rich side, initial hatred of each other leading to a passionate love...I loved the characters. I loved bad boy Alex...tough, hardened gang member on the outside, but caring, passionate, and smart on the inside. I loved Brittany too. Superficially, she seemed like she would be a rich snob, but she really wasn't. She didn't care about what was expected of her because of her social class. I especially loved her relationship with her disabled sister - and I loved how Alex treated her sister too.

This was a great romance with a very satisfying conclusion, and it was written beautifully. I would recommend it for older YA readers - 15 and older, due to strong language, violence, drug references, and sexuality.

I will definitely be reading the rest of the series!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Review: Hushed by Kelley York

First of all, thank you to Netgalley and to Entangled Publishing for the chance to read this book for review!
Ok, wow. Just, wow. I JUST finished reading this, and I am speechless! I was absolutely captivated by this book.
Archer is a college student who really doesn't have any friends, except for Vivian, who has been in his life since they were children. At the age of 12, with Archer held down and forced to watch, Vivian is raped by a group of her brother's friends, while her brother watches and laughs. This has left her emotionally broken. Archer has made a vow to himself to always be there for Vivian, to protect her. Vivian uses him. But Archer is still there for her, and willing to do whatever it takes to make her happy. Even murder.
Archer's mission is to make everyone involved in the rape pays for what they did. It starts by accident, when he pushes one guy down the stairs and kills him. Then the idea is born to make a list of everyone involved in the event that left his best friend traumatized and kill them, one by one.
Archer is not the kind to get close to anyone. But then he meets Evan, and for the first time, he experiences a healthy relationship. Evan is there for Archer in the way that Archer was there for Vivian. Even when he finds out what Archer has done.
Archer's love for Evan makes him realize that what he has done is wrong, and he know longer wants to continue with his "mission." However, Vivian starts to lose it...she has just lost her mother, been beaten up yet again by her abusive boyfriend, and is now losing Archer to Evan. She decides she needs to pick up where Archer has left off...and then some. She now realizes what a good thing she had with Archer, and now she wants him all to herself.
This book opens with Archer's murder of Brody, Vivian's brother. So, I started off hating Archer. How the heck can you empathize with a murderer? How can the writer expect this from their reader? Well, I don't know how, but York pulled it off. This, in my opinion, is a sign of a very talented author. She made me really think about whether murder can be justified. While I cannot say that I think Archer did the right thing (at ALL, let's make that clear), I really think he felt like he was doing the right thing.
Also, I was not expecting a homosexual romance in the book. I'll be honest, it caught me off guard. But, Evan was the only healthy relationship Archer had in his life. Their relationship was so sweet. I just really was rooting for things to work out for them.
Overall, this was an amazing read. So very different from anything I've read. Yes, it was a little dark and disturbing, and it deals with a LOT of "difficult" material - rape, domestic violence, murder, homosexuality (not that I consider this difficult material, but some readers may). But, don't let that stop you. It was written so amazingly, that it didn't seem all that disturbing or scary. I look forward to reading more from Kelley York.
Now, go forth and read :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

In My Mailbox - Kindle style - MEGA edition!

So, my 10 year old daughter bought a Kindle Fire this week! Her school has a program for 5th graders where they get money for the books they read. Well, she saved enough to make this big purchase! (and it was HER idea, not mine, to buy the kindle.) She has been gracious enough to allow me space to add books for me as well as her on it, and the chance to play with it - when she is in bed, lol. So....I kinda went a little bit crazy adding books this week. BUT GUESS WHAT? I have not paid a dime for any of this wonderful reading material!!! Thanks to Amazon deals, and Netgalley! Now, the following books don't even include what I have added to my daughter's bookshelf - these are only mine! It is a looooooooong list!
Amazon freebie! Funny thing is I actually had this on hand from the library. So, I put the library book back in my bag to return. One less due date!
Amazon freebie
Another Amazon freebie
Amazon freebie
Amazon freebie
Netgalley - need to hurry up and read the rest of this series!
Netgalley - I'm particularly looking forward to this one.
A special thanks to MacMillan Publishers who gave me special automatic approval on netgalley so that I can have automatic access to any of their titles! Woohoo! I don't think I will be bored this Christmas vacation!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday #3 - Books I Hope Santa Brings Me!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme is "Books I Hope Santa Brings Me".

Well, I did actually make a list of books that I am wanting for parents always want wish lists from us, and about 90% of mine consisted of books! So, here's what I'm hoping to see under the tree...

1. Legend by Marie Lu - read some great reviews for this and it sounds exciting!

2. The Future of Us by Jay Asher - Loved Asher's other novel 13 Reasons Why, so I have to see what else he has to offer! Plus, it takes place in the 90's - so I think it will remind me of my teen years!

3. Swipe by Evan Angler - I hadn't heard anything about this book at all, but I saw it at Wal-Mart and it sounds awesome!!

4. Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare - I'm going to say something a little shocking here...I have not read any of Clare's books yet. I know - blasphemy - how do I call myself a YA blogger? I have City of Bones sitting on my shelf, but haven't started yet. Everyone raves about all her books, so I need to get on the ball here...

5. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi - This one seems to be on everyone's list - so it must be great!!

6. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin - My friend won this book from a blog and said I could borrow it after she's done, but I am not a patient person, and it looks really good!

7. Nightshade by Andrea Cremer - have yet to read this series either, and my best book buddy raves about this series.

8. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor - another pretty cover with great reviews!

9. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater - Loved the Wolves books and this one just sounds so different from her other work. I'm anxious to see what else Stiefvater can write!

10. Fallen by Lauren Kate - I'm beginning to debate if I really want to read this. I've heard such mixed things about it. BUT, I just ordered Torment from randombuzzers, so I need to read the first one!

So, there ya go! The Librarian's top ten wish list....what are YOU asking Santa for this year?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Review - Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon

From inside the book:

"At fourteen, Nick Gautier thinks he knows everything about the world around him. Streetwise, tough, and savvy, Nick and his quick sarcasm are the stuff of legend...until the night when his best friends try to kill him. Saved by a mysterious warrior who has more fighting skills than Chuck Norris, Nick is sucked into the realm of the Dark-Hunters: immortal vampire slayers who risk everything to save humanity.

Nick quickly learns that the human world is only a veil covering a much larger and more dangerous one: a world where the captain of the football team is a werewolf and the girl he has a crush on goes out at night to stake the undead.

But before Nick can even learn the rules of this new world, his fellow students are turning into flesh-eating zombies. And he's next on the menu.

As if starting high school isn't hard Nick has to hide his new friends from his mom, his chain saw from the principal, and keep the zombies and the demon Simi from eating his brains, all without getting grounded or suspended. How in the world is he supposed to do that?"

This book was...different. I'll be honest and say, I really just didn't care much for it. I think it was definitely meant more for the younger set of young adults. I found it to be really...silly, I guess, for lack of a better world. I don't have anything against humor - in fact, I love a book with humor. But I just found it to be TOO silly, if that makes any sense. I mean, it was a video game that turned the zombies in this book into zombies. I guess I'm a zombie purist - whatever happened to zombies being made by getting bit by another zombie (a la The Forest of Hands and Teeth)?

Besides the silliness, I found there to be a lot of holes in the story. First, I thought that Kyrian was going to be a major part of the plot, but he really wasn't. After he was introduced, there really wasn't much of a relationship developed between him and Nick. It seemed like there were a lot of ideas introduced, but not carried out. I know this is meant to be a series, and all of these introduced ideas will probably be covered in more detail in the following books, but it just seemed very scattered and unfinished to me. Honestly, I don't know if I want to continue with the series.

I waffled between giving this book a 2 or a 3 star rating. I decided to go with 3, because I do think the story has potential. And maybe the next book will be better - I've heard good things. I just was not impressed with this start to the series. I may give the rest of the series a second chance, but I'm not in a hurry to do so.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

In My Mailbox

Thanks to Entangled Publishing and Netgalley!
Thanks to Bookmasters and Netgalley!
Thanks to Zondervan and Netgalley!
Thanks to Tundra Books and Netgalley!
Thanks to Harlequin and Netgalley!
Thank you to Namelos and Netgalley

My mailbox has been kind of bare lately, what with not buying books and all...but I did get 2 nice little packages with some ARC's from my friends at Quirk Publishing!
Taft 2012 by Jason Heller - what if President William Howard Taft came back from the dead (or from an extra long nap) just in time to run in the 2012 Presidential election? Find out in this book!
The Thorn and the Blossom by Theodora Goss - oooh, this one looks so neat! It is a double-sided accordian style book. A fairy tale type story told from 2 viewpoints! It's so pretty! Look for a special "co-review" of this book from me and my friend Tristen at Totally Booked Solid!
What books did you get this week?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday #2 - Books I Want to Give as Gifts

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and Bookish. This week's topic - books I would like to give as Christmas gifts and who I would give them to (even if I actually don't). I feel the need to add that disclaimer as, well, the Christmas budget is tight here - you know how that goes. So, let the virtual gift giving begin!!

1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett (to my mom) - Ok, I cheated. I did actually get her this book for her birthday last month. We went and saw the movie together, and she LOVED it, so I had to get her the book. She is already halfway through it. :)

2. Ted Williams: the Biography of an American Hero by Leigh Montville ( to my dad) - my dad LOVES the Sox and Ted, I think he'd like this book.

3. Telling Lies: Clues to Deceipt in the Marketplace, Politics, and Marriage by Paul Ekman (to my husband) - yeah, this sounds boring to me too, but my hubby is a psych grad, and he is interested in anything Paul Ekman writes (little trivia...the TV show "Lie to Me" is based on the work of Paul Ekman...)

4. Crossed by Ally Condie (to my 14 year old daughter) - She LOVED Matched, and has been dying to know what happened with Ky...

5. Dork Diaries: Tales From a Not-so-Talented Pop Star by Rachel Renee Russell (to my 10 year old daughter) - she LOVES this series, and asks for it every time we go to the bookstore.

6. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever by Jeff Kinney (to my 8 year old son) - he has every single Wimpy Kid book and has read them countless times each...'nuff said.

7. Forever by Maggie Stiefvater (my bff and fellow book blogger, Tristen) - She has been waiting patiently for the paperback to come out (because she has the other 2 in PB) and hasn't gotten to read it yet. She's the one that got me hooked on this series in the first place, and I kinda felt guilty when I read the final book before she did. (got from library). So, I would buy it for her...and because I know how she is with wanting the whole series in the same format, I would buy Shiver and Linger in hardback for her too...:)

8. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan (to my daughter's color guard director) - I recently discovered that he and I have similar taste in books, and I told him he HAD to read this series. Like now.

9. I Will Carry You by Angie Smith (to Michelle Duggar) - with Mrs. Duggar's 20th child's recent passing in her 2nd trimester of pregnancy, I would give her this book as I know she must be grieving. I recommend this book to all mothers who have experienced pregnancy or infant loss.

10. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (to all my older daughter's classmates) - junior high kids can be so mean to each other. My daughter is always coming home and telling me about catty things that others say. I would like them all to read this book to see how every "minor" thing that is said or done can impact somebody else in ways we cannot even comprehend.

What books will you be giving out as gifts this Christmas?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Dusty Read #2 - I Don't Want to be Crazy by Samantha Schutz

Dusty Reads is a meme hosted by Xpresso Reads in which we feature a book that has been sitting unread on our bookshelves for more than a couple months.
I got I Don't Want to be Crazy by Samantha Schutz through and have had it for quite awhile. Being a psych student, I am always interested in reading books about psychological disorders. This one not only fits that description, but is also a memoir AND written in free verse - or "Ellen Hopkins style" as I like to call it. Here is the blurb on the back of the book:
"This is a true story of growing up, breaking down, and coming to grips with a psychological disorder. When Samantha Schutz first left home for college, she was excited by the possibilities - freedom from parents, freedom from a boyfriend who was reckless with her affections, freedom from the person she was supposed to be. At first, she reveled in the independence - but as pressures increased, she began to suffer anxiety attacks that would leave her mentally shaken and physically incapacitated. Thus began a hard road of discovery and coping, powerfully rendered in this poetry memoir."
I was immediately drawn to this book because I also have anxiety disorder - however, not to the same extent as the author. I did see a lot of myself reflected in the pages, and it reminded me that I'm not alone in this condition. Samantha is a brave woman to not only write so honestly about herself, but to attempt it in poetry form - this is not an easy thing to do. But she did it wonderfully. I hope she keeps up her writing...she is quite talented! I hope to see more from her in the future!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday #1 - Childhood Favorites

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. I am jumping in on this bandwagon...I love me some lists! :)

This week's Top Ten is Childhood Favorites. This will be hard...I was a MAJOR bookworm (surprise, I know) from about 4 years old! But, I will try my no particular order...

1.) The Ramona and Beezus series by Beverly Cleary - I cannot even tell you how many times I read each one of these books...COUNTLESS! I was obsessed! In the 80's, there was a short lived television series starring Sarah Polly, and I thought I'd died and gone to heaven! It was cute, but of course, the books were better. I think my favorite of the series was Ramona Quimby, Age 8.

2.) Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself by Judy Blume - I think this book is what started my love of reading about the Holocaust era. In this book, Sally was obsessed with Adolph Hitler, thinking she saw him everywhere. I read this many times too.

3.) Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing series by Judy Blume - ok, I'll be honest, ALL of Judy Blume's books would make it on this list...I read all her books multiple times as well. This series was so funny!

4.) Buddies by Barbara Park - I got this through a book of the month club that my mom let me join. It was about a group of girls that became friends at summer camp. Another one for multiple readings.

5.) The Babysitters Club by Ann M. Martin - This series inspired me to start my own babysitting business with my bff. We had 3 families that we babysat for. I LOVED them. We always decided that I was Mary Anne and she was Claudia. :)

6.) Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson - This was such a sad book, but so so good! My bff and I made our own getaway in her playhouse, and for a while we called it Terabithia, but then we made up our own name, but I cannot remember what it was!

7.) The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson - One of my all time favorite Christmas stories! I loved how the rough and tough Herdmans showed that even they could be touched by the Christmas spirit.

8.) Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Maude Montgomery - I was so obsessed with Anne! The movies AND the books. Gilbert was my first crush. :)

9.) In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord - another frequent read. Loved this story of a Chinese immigrant family trying to assimilate to American life.

10.) Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzugh - this book inspired me to "spy" and keep "observations" in a notebook. Just a fun, fun story!

There we go! Top 10 childhood faves...What are yours?