Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Spellcaster by Cara Lynn Shultz and Author Interview!

I was lucky enough to get this as an egalley from Harlequin Teen through Netgalley.  I got to read the first book, Spellbound, this same way.  Although I got denied the first time I requested it.  So glad that whole bit is over, I love Harlequin Teen, and hope they will always grant me access to their egalleys. 
So, I went back and re-read my review of Spellbound.  It's so funny that one of the things I said after I finished reading the first one, was how much I wanted back into that world.  And that the bonus material at the end said there was going to be a book from Angelique's point of view next, and I decided I'd have to just settle for that.  Well, you can guess just how pleased I was when I met the author herself this past November, and got to read the prologue to the new book, and found out I was getting to go back into Emma and Brendan's world!  And I was not disappointed by the sequel at all!
Some of what I really loved about the first book was the whole cursed love thing.  And that carries through to Spellcaster, only the curse has been broken as we saw in the first book.  Now, Emma and Brendan are "happily ever after".  But of course, the fact that Emma is a witch, and that Brendan used to be quite the player, that does have to come back around and mess up their happiness.  This something from the past is something that wants to use their blood, with the true love, to make itself powerful and invincible, if the stories in the books her friend Angelique has are true. 
Again I call to mind my connections with Twilight and my love of that book.  It makes me feel the same way.  I love the dynamic between Brendan and Emma.  I love when Emma makes a joke, Brendan says something about getting a milkshake because she puts so much milk and sugar in her cappuccino, and Emma says "You're a milkshake!"  That is so the kind of thing I say all the time when I'm wanting to say something back to someone who has said something like that to me.  I did kind of figure out who the person doing all this was as soon as I heard a hint about someone in the past, or Angelique's past I should say.  And I think that was a great way to get this going.  The only thing I wonder, if there was the evil spirit that she was appeasing, I wonder if there could be another book, because we still have the true love, and surely other witches out there would want the power from their blood.  Especially if this evil spirit/god wants this tribute.  So does that mean good news could be around some day, for fans of Emma and Brendan like me?  Or maybe we do get a book that is told from Angelique's point of view, I'm still up for one of those as well! 
Final thoughts.  I really love all the pointing out and remarking about the real locations in New York City where this takes place.  On my very first trip ever to NYC last November, I made sure to go to the Belvedere castle in Central Park.  I plan to go back to NYC this summer for BEA and so I am going to try to go to the Cloisters as they played a part in this book.

This also counts as the "S" in my A-Z Reading Challenge.

And now, my very first author interview!  Not only did I make sure to go to the castle when I was in NYC, I also got to meet Cara Lynn Shultz!  And let me tell you, she is one of the sweetest people I've ever met!  I asked her at the time if she would possibly be my first author interview, and she agreed.  So, without further ado, here are the questions I asked her, using my own ideas, as well as getting some ideas from other author interviews of blogs I follow, and her answers:

How long have you been writing?

I used to write plays with a friend when I was a little kid, and we would act them out on my grandparents' porch. And I wrote short stories, plays, all the time.

Do you have a certain routine for writing, like outlining ahead, or do you just write as you go?

I don't really work with concrete outline. I have a rough idea of what I want to happen, but then when I write, I let the characters drive the action—particularly with dialogue. I love writing dialogue, especially Emma's banter with Ashley and Angelique. I do have a place though—I write on the couch, with my cat by my side (I call him my "mews"), a giant glass of iced tea (Wawa lemonade iced tea if I can get it—when I'm in Jersey or Philly I buy it by the gallon. Seriously, that stuff is fantastic.), my headphones and music on, and I write into the night. I'm a better night writer than day writer.

What tips do you have for someone who is an aspiring writer?

Just keep writing. Even if you're feeling blocked—write about being blocked. The worst thing you can do is start over. And save everything, because you never know what your stories could someday become. After all, Spellbound started out as little stories I wrote my friend Vanessa to keep her entertained while she was commuting from Manhattan to The Bronx, back when we both graduated from college.

How much of your book is based on real life experiences or is it all purely made up?

A lot of it is based on real-life experiences. For example, when I was in high school, we really did hang out on the rocks at Belvedere Castle—only back then, there wasn't a fence, so you could stroll all the way to the edge of the cliff. Vince A is based slightly on my high school, which was a prep school on the Upper East Side. I grew up in Hell's Kitchen, so that's why Angelique lives there. And we did, indeed, hang out at the Met and use fake ID to get into shows/bars. But the more tragic parts of Emma's story are (thankfully) pure fiction—although one time in college, a bunch of streetlights went out over my head as I walked, and it truly freaked me out.

What is your favorite movie or TV show?

Warning: this is a long list. I'll list my current favorite shows: The Walking Dead, Dexter, Game of Thrones, How I Met Your Mother, Up All Night, The Secret Circle, Family Guy, Tosh. 0, South Park, RuPaul's Drag Race, The Daily Show, Modern Family, Suburgatory. If it wasn't for DVR I'd be in a lot of trouble.

If they were going to turn Spellbound into a movie, is there anyone that you think of as a dream cast?

I had a few people in mind for Brendan (Nicholas Hoult, Logan Lerman), but more than a few readers have reached out to me and said Munro Chambers would be an excellent Brendan, so I'd have to say him, due to popular demand. I like Lucy Hale for Emma, and Allison Janney for Aunt Christine.

I know you've had to deal with this issue, but what do you think could be done to prevent people posting your book online for free?

I wish people realized how much book piracy truly hurts authors. It's not the same as getting the book from a library—where there's a record kept of how many people have checked out the book. When you download a book for free, there's no record of it. The sales/library figures won't reflect how many people are interested in that author or in that book. It makes it harder for your favorite books to be made into movies, and makes it tougher for your favorite authors to continue writing. 

I got to talk and kind of meet you through Twitter, where else can your readers stalk you?   

I'm on Twitter (@caralynnshultz), Facebook (Facebook.com/caralshultz), Tumblr (caralynnshultz.tumblr.com) and Instagram. Come chat with me—and thanks, Lisa, for hosting me on your site!

Cara Lynn Shultz’s love of supernatural writing began when she was 7 and wrote a play about ghosts, which she and her friends acted out on her grandparents’ porch. Since then, her work has appeared in Teen People, Alternative Press, Stuff, InStyle, Us Weekly, The Guardian UK and countless posts on Facebook and Twitter. She is a proud graduate of Fordham University and is currently a senior editor at PEOPLE.com. Cara lives in her native New York City with her husband, tuxedo cat and 8 million other people. Spellbound is her first novel.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

In My Mailbox (1)

So, I've seen so many blogs that I follow do this, and I've never taken part.  Well, I actually got a book in my mailbox this week, and decided to participate.  I notice that it doesn't have to be something you actually received in the mail, it could be something you purchased or check out at the library, and I'm going to hope/assume that egalleys work as well?  Because I'm going to list the ones I got this week.  Like Kristi at The Story Siren, who hosts this says, I don't always get around to reviewing all the books I get, so this is a way to share some that maybe others will be interested in.  So here goes.  This week, I'll just share the photos of the covers if possible.  So let's start with the book I actually got in the mailbox: 

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

The Weepers:  The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker (egalley)

Swipe by Evan Angler (egalley)

The Raft by S.A. Bodeen (egalley)

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne (egalley)

Now to go link up my very first In My Mailbox blog post at The Story Siren!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

My Soul to Take (Soul Screamers #1) by Rachel Vincent

My Soul to Take (Soul Screamers, #1)My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

All I can say is, why has it taken me so long to read this book? And I'm guessing, any book by Rachel Vincent is going to be this good! Reading this book reminds me of when I found Mara Purnhagenand her ghost series. I fell right into it, in love with it, and can't wait to read the rest of the series! First off, not sure why I didn't guess right from the series name: Soul Screamers, that this was about banshees. But what a cool new supernatural creature to develop into a story! The main character is Kaylee. Kaylee gets this uncontrollable urge to scream when she sees this black cloud surrounding people, and somehow she just knows that they're about to die. She had an episode in a mall,and I guess I have to get the prequel novella to read about that, but her aunt and uncle, who she lives with because her mother died when she was little and her father has moved back to Ireland, well, they put her in a psych ward and get her on meds to try to help with these "episodes". Only it happens again when she's snuck into a local club for 18 and older with her best friend Emma. The night starts off good, as one of the hottest guys in school, Nash, seems to have eyes for only her, and really be into her. But then this happens again, and she has to hold back the scream, and doing so makes her look like she's having a fit. Only, Nash doesn't seem to be too freaked out or scared off by this. In fact, he seems to know what's going on, and he does, he lets Kaylee in on what her heritage is. The cool thing, banshees aren't quite what we think of them as. In fact they have a cool Irish name that is interpreted as banshees, bean sidhe. The females scream/sing because they can tell when the soul leaves the body. And they are able to hold it and keep it from leaving the body, so that the deceased can see his family say their goodbyes, etc. The males don't do the screaming, but they can get the soul to move, back into the body, towards where it should be going, etc. But you're not supposed to bring someone back to life this way, because it means someone else will take their place. And what Kaylee soon learns, is that this rash of deaths of young people isn't supposed to be happening. They aren't on death's "list" to die. Someone is taking their souls for a nefarious purpose. And we do find out who, and Kaylee's father does come back, and we learn a lot about her family, but I won't tell you that, you'll have to read it for yourself.
I just have to say I love the connection between Nash and Kaylee. Can't wait to read on and find out where it goes. I do also like the character Tod, a grim reaper, which reminds me of one of my favorite shows, Dead Like Me. I can't wait to keep up with him too. I got this book as a strip cover that was going to be thrown away at the bookstore where I work. Now I have to go back and buy the compilation that has this, as well as the prequel novella: My Soul to Lose, and the 2nd book in the series: My Soul to Save. I'm hoping that they'll put the next 3 in a compilation as well.
This counts as my "M" in my A-Z Reading Challenge.

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Revealing Eden by Victoria Foyt

Revealing EdenRevealing Eden by Victoria Foyt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is another time when I wish Goodreads would let us give half stars. This was good. Not quite a 4 for me, but really not as low as a 3 either. I did enjoy this book. When I had to put it down, I was eager to pick it back up, and that is a good sign for me. I have really been into dystopian stories, and this was a good one. I could tell that there was something more to the relationship between the main character Eden and her boss Bramford from the first time they had an interaction in the book. The relationship between them was so much like the few real romance novels I've read. Even though we never really got the story from his viewpoint, it was always from Eden's, I could tell by the things he said, and the things Eden saw him do, that he had feelings for her. And I'm okay with that. She felt attracted to him, and so even though she fought her feelings for him, she really wanted him too. Which, kind of textbook romance novel. But again, the rest of the story was okay enough for that to work.
In this future world, it seems as if something like global warming has occurred, because anyone with light skin, or most people with light skin, died because of the heat and the sun's rays. Those who were left, even the darker skinned people, had to move below ground. Now the white people, or "Pearls" are the minority, and treated that way. The darker skinned people are called "Coals" and are considered the superior race. It is so bad that the Pearls even color their skin to look like Coals. People are given mating ratings, based on their skin color, skills, etc. Pearl is pretty low. Now the reason this is so bad, is that if by the time you reach a certain age you aren't married, you are no longer allowed to live in society and use their rations and supplies. They take you to the surface and leave you to fend for yourself. Which usually means death. Eden's father is a scientist that works for Bramford, where he also got Eden a job. Eden knows only one Coal who treats her fairly and makes her feel attractive, his name is Jamal. She finds out that Bramford is having her father work on a genetic cure for the light colored skin. A way to make it darker. But when they are attacked by a very prejudiced group, her father's work is compromised, Bramford agrees to be the test subject, and they must leave and run into a rainforest to hide. Bramford begins to change, because part of the cure contains the genes of a jaguar to start with, and he changes physically into almost a beast. But he is still human enough to use his resources to get them free, into a village. Pearl finds out Bramford once was mated, and this leads to some interesting discoveries of what kind of a man he really is.
This is going to be a series I guess, which is good, because while this ends on a pretty good note, we're also kind of left wondering what will happen next, with Bramford, and how will Eden be able to be with him, now that he is not really a man anymore.
I'd like to say thanks to Netgalley and Bookmaster for letting me read the egalley of this book.  I will count this as the "E" for Eden on my A-Z Reading Challenge.

View all my reviews

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Linky Follower Party Hop 2/19/12

Many of you have probably already heard that GOOGLE Friend Connect will go away on Feb 29 for any one that is not with blogspot, and rumor has it that it is being completely phased out for everyone soon.  BUT there is good news:

There is a NEW awesome tool–Linky Followers

It has so many amazing features (that GFC never had). If you have not signed up you should. (yes you can have both.) I love the new tool so much and want everyone to enjoy all the new features.
…and did I tell you it's super easy and FREE!

What better way to celebrate a fun new blogging tool than to have a party, so break out your poodle skirt and saddle back shoes cuz’ we’re having a LINKY FOLLOWER PARTY HOP

1. You MUST have the LINKY FOLLOWERS tool on your site to participate.
If you see that your link has been deleted you need to add the LINKY FOLLOWER tool to your site and then come back over and re-enter your link
{You can have both the LINKY FOLLOWERS & GFC on your site but you must have the LINKY FOLLOWERS tool to participate in this party hop.}
2. You MUST follow the person who has the party on their site as a thank you.
3. Just add your blog button to the LINKY PARTY below.
4.Then grab the BLOG HOP code
You will find the code right under the Linky Party where it says CLICK HERE TO ENTER–
just under that it says: WHAT IS A BLOG HOP? GET THE CODE HERE
Click on GET THE CODE HERE and enter it into a post on your site.
You can grab the party button code in the FOOTER at Its So Very Cheri
You can grab info from my post if it helps you with your post.
5. Then you follow other bloggers–(as many as you want)
–leave each one of the blogs that you follow a comment letting them know you are following them and ask them to follow you back.
If you want to add the BLOG HOP to your own site you will get lots of new followers–(see rule #2)

Its So Very Cheri has and will continue to visit every entry-I try to leave comments but this party has had so many entries and in order to get to everyone I had to change things around. I will come by to make sure you have the Linky Follower tool and follow you. If I mess up and forget to come over and follow you please leave me a comment and I will come back over to do so. You will see my button in your list of followers.
(I got this post info from It's Time To Read Mamaw)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Rebirth: An Aftertime novel by Sophie Littlefield

Rebirth (Aftertime, #2)Rebirth by Sophie Littlefield
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book kept up with the first in the series. Although I found it a little slow to get into. There was a big event at the beginning that got you hooked though, you found out that the library Cass had first arrived at in the first book had been burned and people killed by the Rebuilders. Which meant that Dor's daughter had been kidnapped. Cass thinks she could just stay at the Box with Smoke, but Smoke is so angry about the Rebuilders that he goes to infiltrate them for Dor. It's basically a suicide mission. And Dor is going to go too, it is his daughter. Cass wants to go as well to find Smoke, although she feels that Smoke has betrayed her and her daughter Ruthie by just leaving like that. Cass really just wants to find a safe, normal place for her daughter Ruthie to have a chance to grow. So after a trip filled with danger to the Rebuilders, Cass feels she might have found a good place. As an Outlier, someone who has the immunity to the disease that has caused the zombies, she is highly valued, and would live a life of "comfort" in the Rebuilders' colony. However, it turns out all is not as great as it seems. What the scientist in charge of the rebuilders wants the Outliers for is a bit creepy, and Smoke has gotten himself into a situation that must be saved, and then they do find Dor's daughter Sammi, and she also is in a precarious situation, although being Dor's daughter, she feels she can take care of herself. It definitely leaves off on a huge cliffhanger, and I know the 3rd book is out. I may have to actually buy that one, as I got the other two as an ARC and the first came with the 2nd ARC to introduce to the series. I got both from the Barnes and Noble store I work at.
Personally, some of Cass's decisions I don't quite know that I would be like that, so at times it is hard for me to connect to her. But the story is one that is interesting and keeps you reading on. I just think it'd be nice to have a little more zombies in it.  Although, we do learn that the zombies seem to be evolving.  So that could make for some interesting events in the 3rd book.
To count this in my A-Z Challenge I'll have to go with it as the "L" book for the author's last name.  It also counts on my TBR Pile Challenge.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

BBRAW 2012 Inspire Me!

Now I'm back on track! Although I wish I had more time, because I'd love to do an interview like one like one of the choices today, but oh well, I'll just have to choose one of my readers to spotlight!  Here is today's prompt:
Today I have two spectacular choices for you! You could do a reader interview with a reader of your choice OR (if you're not the interview type) you could highlight a blog that you enjoy reading. What is it about this blog that you enjoy, what is it about the reviews, the blogger, the style, the look, etc? If you don't feel comfortable highlighting one blog, be general in regards to a few blogs you enjoy and what you enjoy about them.
So this is another hard one! But I am going to choose Molli at Once Upon A Prologue.  First I want to thank Mollie for reading my blog and giving me lots of comments.  I like her blog because she reads so many of the same types of books as I do, and I can go read her reviews and learn about ones I've never even heard of.  I wish I had more time to go through and mention a bunch of my awesome readers!  But just know that if you're following me, I try to keep up with you too because I appreciate my readers, and know that I can learn so much from all of you!  Who would you feature if you were doing this?

BBRAW 2012 A Memorable Reader/Moment

So, I'm already a day behind, and I did actually have time yesterday I could have blogged.  I'll blame it on the snuggly puppy that was on my lap that I didn't want to disturb.  So I'm going to do two posts today, starting with yesterday's prompt:
Today commemorate a specific reader or moment in your blogging career that has made a significant difference in your IRL or blogging life. It might be that first comment you ever received, the first follower, the first interaction with a reader of your blog on Twitter, the first time an author commented on a review, etc.
This is kind of a hard one for me.  I appreciate all my readers, and I'd have to go back and look at who were the specific ones, but I know it is the readers who come and comment on my blog, whether it is a review, or maybe a Waiting on Wednesday, or Follow Friday.  The idea of meeting other people through that was great.  I would say I really enjoy talking to my readers, of whom I am also probably their reader, on Twitter.  I know I've had a couple authors comment on my reviews, and that is really exciting.  Again, readers, I'm so glad you're there, and I do LOVE all your comments.  I'm trying to figure out how to use the reply that is finally here on Blogger, so that I can reply to your comments easier, but haven't quite got it figured out.
What do you appreciate about your readers, or do you have any readers that specifically stand out for you?  Please leave a comment and share!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo

Okay, first, I want to let everyone know that my opinions on this may not be yours.  And I appreciate that, I am the first person to say everyone should be allowed to have and express their own opinion.  I just hope that if you are offended in any way by what I say, you will choose not to criticize me or tell me I'm wrong.  I definitely don't mind hearing what you think if you've read this book though, even if your opinion is completely opposite of mine!  I'm only choosing to review this on my blog, as opposed to Goodreads, because I feel that my followers are all readers who feel the same as I do about opinions, and I know there are some people on Goodreads who don't value or respect others' opinions.  So here goes.
I first picked this book up one night last month when I was standing bored on a very slow night at the bookstore where I work.  I was working at the cash register, where you're kind of stuck there when you work, especially when you're the only one working.  We're not really supposed to read, but it was a week or so after I'd put my dog Sydney to sleep, and it was hard for me to not have something to occupy my mind without getting all teary eyed.  I picked this up, and was sucked right in. 
The story is very easy to read, in that it's told very straight forward, and in an every day person way.  It is told by Todd Burpo, who is a pastor, but how he learned this was from his 4 year old son named Colton.  When Colton was almost 4, he had been to the hospital for a burst appendix.  The story of how that all happened is scary in itself, of how the doctors kept saying there was nothing they could do, until they got him somewhere a different doctor realized what had happened.  Scary to think it had burst, and then for a while he'd felt better, so his family had thought it was just a flu bug and gone on vacation.  Todd tells us how he had gone through so many health scares right before all this just for himself, and how Colton being this sick had been the last straw.  How he'd felt like Paster Job.  He'd railed at God when he was alone in the chapel at the church.  Then calmed himself down and gone out to be there for his family.  A year later, after all had been over and seemed to be fine, Colton spoke up with a very unusual statement.  He remembered the hospital where he'd been because that was where the angels had sung to him.  And he'd sat on Jesus's lap, and he'd seen relatives. 
Now, you'd be thinking, as many naysayers on Goodreads said in their reviews, of course Colton had heard all this stuff somewhere, his dad was a preacher!  But some of the stuff was very remote, and it would be interesting to know how he'd heard it.  And what was kind of the kicker, and really hard for me to read after recent tragedies in my own family, was that he met a girl who claimed to be his sister.  And it turns out his parents had a girl that was miscarried before he was born.  Something he would not have known about. 
Okay, I don't know if this convinces me about heaven, or worshiping God, which is currently the issue I have.  But it does give hope.  I currently don't attend church, or know what or how I believe.  I grew up at a Lutheran school from 1st through 8th grade.  Every other weekend I was either there, or with my dad and stepmom at a Catholic church.  So my mind is pretty much trained that there is a god.  I just have felt myself a lot like Job, everything going wrong, seeming like my life is pointless.  I even tried going back to church two years ago, hoping to be inspired or something.  At first, I fell in love with my brother's church, and if I do go back, I'll go back there, but nothing came about, no feeling of peacefullness, nothing that helped me.  So I'm still in a state of wondering.  I think this is a good book to read though.  I liked what Colton had to say.  I liked that it even seemed like God/Jesus had a bit of a sense of a humor, that is what I'm kind of looking for.  I liked how it seemed heaven would be.  Some people who didn't like it commented on how the "wings" was ridiculous.  But what do we know?  If there is a heaven, we don't know. 
I guess I just have to say this was an interesting book that made me think, and I think could give hope to my brother and sister in law in their loss.  I will probably pass it on to them at some point.
I'd love to hear any thoughts you have if you've read this.

BBRAW 2012: An Introduction and Thanks!

I got this idea from Miss Remmer's Reviews.  I think it is a great idea, especially as I'm working to build my following.  I know that it makes me feel good when I reply or respond to another blogger's post, and I get even more excited when I get a comment on a review that I've posted.  It has been so great following people, and I learn so much from those bloggers.  And I have really appreciated all of you who have stopped by and read my posts and shared your opinions on those books.  So, I'm going to do my very best to keep up with all the prompts this week.  The first one is: 
Introduce yourself for new readers that will be stopping by. Take today to explain what BBRAW means to you. This is the ideal time to thank your readers for their comments, support, and post a giveaway if you plan on having one. Remember, as BBRAW is supposed to celebrate readers, requiring a "follow" for the giveaway would be in relatively poor taste.
Well, again, taking my lead from Miss Remmer, I began this blog back on August 9th, 2009.  I had blogged on and off, but without any real theme.  Then as you can read in the blog link, a movie inspired me to blog more regularly. I didn't quite keep up with my goal of blogging every day, especially once I established the main theme of book blogging.  I got my first comment about a month later, September 5th, 2009. What helped me really get into blogging all my books was that I was helping my state library association pick the award nominees for the following year, so as I read them, I blogged about them, and helped myself keep track of what I thought. 
I am a middle school science teacher, and I have a library science master's degree, and hope one day soon to get a school library job.  I love inspiring my students to read.  In fact this year I've had two separate parents thank me for getting their students to read, and that is what makes my heart happy.  I've loved reading my whole life, and want others to feel some of the joy I feel when reading.  I want to thank all of my readers for making this more worthwhile.  Yeah, I would keep doing it with no one reading, but it wouldn't feel as important.  So thanks to all of you, and I hope you'll stay with me as I continue to read and review and improve my blog.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Torn (Trylle Trilogy #2) by Amanda Hocking

Torn (Trylle Trilogy, #2)Torn by Amanda Hocking
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I actually read this as an ebook just like the first one in the series, Switched. When I enjoyed the first one as much as I did, I went ahead and purchased the 2nd and 3rd as ebooks, I believe for only about $2.99 at the time. Like with the first one, I read this on my iPhone Nook app whenever I was somewhere and didn't have a book with me. After I finished my last book, I decided to go ahead and finish this book. These are now coming out in actual "books" so I thought I'd go ahead and get my reviews done on them.
At the beginning of this Wendy has run away, back to her human family, to get away from having to be the Trylle princess. She just wants her normal life back, and believes she can actually do that if she leaves. She brings home Rhys, the child that she replaced as a changeling. So her human brother Matt gets to meet his "read" brother. But of course, she can't just go home, as it turns out there are other trolls out there, the Vittra, who come back to try to kidnap her, and do succeed. They take her to their king, who turns out to be her father. But while she is being held there, she learns about why the Vittra want her, and meets her stepmother. She learns the Vittra can't have children, and hope that she can come in and help them, as she is a mix between them and the Trylle. Finn comes in as a Tracker to rescue her, along with her brothers Matt and Rhys. They all are taken back to be safe in her mother Elora's home. Wendy learns that she must become the princess in order to save her people, and must even become betrothed to help. But there are some mysteries she must solve while she's there, like why did it end up being so easy to escape the Vittra, it was like one of them just let her walk out, a Markis named Lucas. And why then does he show up at her mother's home?
I enjoyed this book, and will probably read the 3rd one in the next month or two. I look forward to seeing how it will end. As I mentioned in my review of the first one, I'm glad we still don't really have a love triangle, at least not to the point of other stories these days.
This goes in my A-Z Challenge as my "T" book.  And because I've had it so long on my ereader, I'm counting it as part of my TBR pile challenge as well.  And the 3rd one, Ascend, will count towards that challenge as well when I get to it, as I've had these books probably for close to a year downloaded to read.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Another Jekyll, Another Hyde by Daniel and Dina Nayeri

Another Jekyll, Another HydeAnother Jekyll, Another Hyde by Daniel Nayeri
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First I want to thank both Netgalley and Candlewick Press for the chance to read this egalley. I don't think I reviewed either of the first two books on Goodreads, you'll have to go to my blog at http://misclisa.blogspot.com/ to find those reviews. But I really enjoyed the first two: Another Faust and Another Pan by Daniel and Dina Nayeri. And so, I was so excited when I saw this 3rd one on Netgalley, I immediately requested it. It seems like it was forever before they accepted my request, I began to get worried I wouldn't be approved, but I was, and I'm so happy, because I was NOT disappointed in any way, shape, or form!
Let me say this was a perfect ending to a great series! The books are modern day versions of some classic tales, which you can tell from the titles: Faust, an old German tale about a man who is unsatisfied with his life, so he sells his soul to the devil; Peter Pan, a boy who stays a boy forever, and has a band of boys who follow him, and then there is Wendy too; and finally, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the story of the man with the mild doctor personality by day, and the monstrous personality at night. All stories are well updated in this series. They are also some of the most original teen stories out there.  They're not the usual paranormal romance, I believe they could get teens inspired to go back and read the actual original stories they were based on. 
We started in the first book meeting Madame Vileroy, the beautiful and mysterious governess/guardian of 5 teens, all who have in a way sold their soul to her for what they want, beauty, success, smarts, athleticism, etc. However, she is basically like the devil, in that their wishes don't quite turn out the way they want, and she is almost defeated in the end, and three of the teens escape. Oh, and this story takes place at the prestigious Marlowe school in NYC.
In the 2nd book we meet the Darlings, Lucy and John, who go to Marlowe because their father is a history professor, and researches into ancient Egypt. Because of some ancient artifacts that are loaned to the school for a special exhibit, the underworld is let out to take over the basement of the school. The new mousy school nurse seems to be a part of it, and we learn that she is Madame Vileroy, back to seek bone dust, the stuff that makes her immortal and beautiful. Peter is a new kid at school, there because he follows these artifacts, because he too has an interest in the bone dust, and the mousy nurse.
And finally, the 3rd, and what seems to be the final installment. Thomas, who used to date Belle, one of Madame Vileroy's charges, before she dumped him, now has to deal with Vileroy and his father getting married. Of course she isn't who you'd want for a stepmother, one reason for Thomas is that he is heartbroken and confused at Belle leaving, and what he thinks he saw before she left, and part of the reason is that she needs her son to be "re-born" in order for her to regain what she needs to be her normal, beautiful, immortal self. And she has chosen Thomas to be the "vessel" I guess you would say. Which leads to a whole Jekyll and Hyde scenario, and Thomas begins to have blacked out times that he cannot remember.
(Spoiler alert!!!)
In the end, I think there is no way you can say that the evil isn't destroyed. I believe this villain is gone, they defeated her. And that is the way that I want some stories to end. I want there to be an end to the evil. Kind of like Harry Potter destroyed Voldemort. Sometimes it is okay for evil to really go. And this is the perfect way it was done.
This goes in on my A-Z Challenge as my "A" entry.

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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Pandemonium (Delirium #2) by Lauren Oliver

Pandemonium (Delirium, #2)Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First, I have to say thanks to my employer, Barnes and Noble, and also Harper Collins Children's Books for giving me the chance to read this as an Advanced Readers Copy.
Okay, once again, I think that I give this a 4 instead of a 5 because I didn't like the ending! Not that it wasn't a good ending, don't get me wrong. In fact I wish I could rate 4.5 instead of just 4 or 5, but the ending irritated me. I'm really a bit tired of love triangles. I won't say who the love triangle is with, I'll let you read the book itself and see who the 2 boys are, but I don't feel it was needed with this series. To me, the 3rd book could have been about the search for Lena's mother, who she glimpses and comes in contact with briefly in this book. And trying to help the guy she now has feelings for survive the "deliria" she now knows well.
I was so happy when I found out that there was a second book in this series as I was so mad with the way the first one, Delirium, ended. It sucked that she lost her love, Alex at the end. In a way it made me as mad as the first and only Nicholas Sparks book I ever read, in that it made me feel all good inside and like the system could be overcome and people could be happy, but then BAM! true love is gone because one of them dies.
Pandemonimum is a really good second book. As many sophomore books have been lately, they've just kind of moved the series along, didn't necessarily quite live up to the original, but were necessary to keep the series going. This one blows that all away. It moves the story along with enough action and plot to keep up with the original in my opinion.
Lena is now living in the Wilds. We are told her story through flashbacks in between what is happening when she must re-enter the Society to help with furthering the fight for those who want their own choice to love or not. When she first gets to the Wilds she is in bad shape, she has been on the run, by herself, and without Alex, she doesn't know how to survive, and so barely manages to stay alive, until she is found by members of the resistance, or Invalids, as they are called in the cities. They nurse her back to health, and soon require her to start contributing to their camp in a way that everyone else does. And as soon as she does start feeling better, Lena goes back to what we know she loved best in Delirium, running. Every winter they must move their camp south in order to survive. And they must send scouts out to make sure their way is safe. Well, as they move along, sooner than planned due to a message from their contacts on the inside that things have gone wrong, they end up losing a few of their group. This sends them in to the city to try to help further the resistance. Lena must go in undercover, and join into the opposition as a member. At a big rally, things go wrong. Lena is following Julian, the leader of the DFA - Deliria Free America's son. And she gets kidnapped at the same time he does. They must fight their way out to freedom, and find that there may have been some betrayal by someone they wouldn't have suspected.
Often books that jump back and forth like this can be confusing, but the way the author does this really worked for me. I really liked this book, except for the ending, mind you.
One other thing I have to point out that amused me so much I had to tweet about it as I read it. The vans that are used kind of as police type vehicles, they have the name of the department, the City of New York, Department of Correction, Reform, and Purification as an acronym which reads: CRAP. Funny? Or is it just me?

I will be counting this as the "O" in my A-Z Book Challenge for the author's last name.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

300 Followers in January Giveaway Winner!

First I want to say thank you to all of you who were already followers that tweeted about my giveaway to help, as well as all my new followers who helped me reach that and go one more than 300!.  I really appreciate having new followers, and I will try to go back and follow all of you as well.  Just give me a bit of time.  January has been a more busy month than planned, and so I wasn't able to participate in all the blog hops to help get my numbers up, so I'm glad I made.

Anyway, what you all want to know is who is the winner, right?  Well, congratulations go to Erin Kate!  I have emailed you today to get your mailing address so I can get that $15 gift card to Barnes and Noble out as soon as possible.

And those of you who didn't win, don't go anywhere!  This month I'm going to have some giveaways of some ARCs I have.  Now, they aren't brand new ones, they're mostly a year or two old, but I think they're some pretty good ones, so we'll see about those.  I haven't quite decided how I want to do this, but once I figure it out I'll get it posted.

Well, another busy night, so I won't be doing Waiting on Wednesday this week.  I do plan to do Follow Friday for sure!