Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Soul To Steal by Rachel Vincent

Title/Author: My Soul to Steal (Soul Screamers #4) by Rachel Vincent
Publisher/Date published: December 28th 2010 by Harlequin
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Why I read this book: I really enjoyed the other books in the series and the cover is beautiful (always a bonus).

Goodreads summary: "Trying to work things out with Nash — her maybe boyfriend — is hard enough for Kaylee Cavanaugh. She can't just pretend nothing happened. But "complicated" doesn't even begin to describe their relationship when his ex-girlfriend transfers to their school, determined to take Nash back.
See, Sabine isn't just an ordinary girl. She's a mara, the living personification of a nightmare. She can read people's fears — and craft them into nightmares while her victims sleep. Feeding from human fear is how she survives.
And Sabine isn't above scaring Kaylee and the entire school to death to get whatever — and whoever — she wants."

***WARNING: SPOILERS for the first 3 books in the series likely***

Kaylee doesn't really know how to forgive Nash for using her the way he did while he was addicted to Demon's Breath and the role he played in getting one of their classmates killed and another permanently in the psych ward. But she wants to work on it. Gently, slowly.
They haven't seen each other for the past two weeks of vacation, with Nash detoxing and Kaylee trying to figure everything out. On the first day of school after break, they meet again, but their reunion is brutally interrupted by the appearance of Sabine, Nash's ex-girlfriend. Or rather, the one he technically never broke up with, the relationship ended cause they both moved away.

Sabine is another type of weird altogether. I thought she was really creepy and she would have given me nightmares even if she hadn't been meaning to. And she means to give them to Kaylee. And it is not pretty, she drags her worst fears to the surface and crafts them into a dream that seems so incredibly real.. I was horrified she would do that to someone else! Even if she's trying to scare her away from Nash, not ALL is fair in love and war.

In this book, Kaylee discovers she can after all stand on her own two feet, that she doesn't need to have a boyfriend to rescue her. Though it's always nice to have back-up.

And I loved Tod in this one, he really has become my favourite character. Though his right-from-wrong sensor can sometimes be a bit off, he is a good guy. And I loved how he supported Kaylee, though I thought it was a bit harsh that he wouldn't let Nash see him, he probably needed him really bad during Demon's Breath withdrawal. Dare I say I hope he and Kaylee will end up together? Is that even possible? Could they have children together?

All questions I hope will be answered in the following book(s). I liked this one better than the #3, it was more exciting toward the ending and I really like that a new 'creature' was introduced, the mara, which is totally interesting!

My rating: 4.5 stars

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Top Ten Books of 2010

It is that time of the week again! Time for another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the other blog I participate in: The Broke and The Bookish. Hop on over and join in on the fun!

This week's Top Ten:
Best Books You've Read in 2010

I always love looking back on the year and thinking about what I've been reading. Can you believe I've read 91 books this year?? This is the first year I've kept track of, so I don't know what I usually read, but I think it's been a good year reading-wise.

Anyway, here's the best (at least, in my opinion) what I've read this year:

1. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett: this book totally blew me away, I thought it was amazing. This one has new favourite status. I'd rant about it, but I've already done that here. I also watched the series, while not as amazing as the book, at least my boyfriend got to experience the story, since there's no way I'll ever get him to read a book that long.

2. A Game Of Thrones by George R.R. Martin: I love fantasy and this is just epic! I haven't gotten around to reading the second book in the series, partly because I know it will probably take ages before the series will be finished (Martin hasn't published a book in the series for 5 years and there's no release date yet for the next one) and though I love his writing, waiting kills me.

3. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier: I cannot believe it took me this long to read this book, it was amazing! I'll definitely reread it, if you're interested, check out my review here.

4. Graceling by Kristin Cashore: SOOO good! I loved Katsa so much. And Po, you gotta love Po. I'm really looking forward to reading more of Cashore's work.

5. The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan: I'm gonna group these, cause I like to cheat :) I LOVED these books. I've always loved Greek mythology and this series rekindled that love. READ IT.

6. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss: I've been praising this book all year, since I read it right at the beginning. And have been not so patiently waiting for the sequel to be published. This is fantasy as it's meant to be written. The writing is incredibly engaging and I guarantee you'll love the characters. Again, READ IT.

7. The Mermaid's Mirror by L.K. Madigan: as a kid I used to love The Little Mermaid. I thought I'd gotten over my extreme love for mermaids. But I was wrong, this book took me right back to that amazing world and it was beautiful.

8. You Wish by Mandy Hubbard: read it recently and really enjoyed this book. While it may not be the most life-changing book and it looks like a candy read (the cover is hot pink with a cupcake on it), there's more to it than you'd think. Plus anyone who brings a pink pony with a icecream cone on its butt to life gets browny points.

9. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins: though there's been a lot of criticism, I loved this book. And waiting for it gave such a community feeling to me, almost a bit like what it felt like waiting for the next Harry Potter book.

10. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: again: CANNOT believe it took me this long to get to it. This book was amazing. And I cried. And I'd wanted Rudy to be MY best friend when I was little.

So, that's my list. Any you've read? What's the best book you've read this year?

Monday, December 27, 2010

My Soul To Keep by Rachel Vincent

Title/Author: My Soul To Keep (Soul Screamers #3) by Rachel Vincent
Publisher/Date published: June 1st 2010 by Harlequin
How I got this book: own it
Why I read this book: I've been reading the series and wanted to finish this one before the 4th came out. Which is tomorrow.

First of all: a late MERRY CHRISTMAS to everybody! I've been to my boyfriend's family and my own and if I don't eat again for another 3 days I will still be full I think..

**SPOILERS likely for book 1 and 2**

Summary: After all Kaylee and Nash have been through together, like saving cheerleaders and popstars and almost dying, Kaylee doesn't think there's anything left that can come between them (though her dad tries his hardest to limit their time together). Sure they haven't seen each other much since Kaylee had been grounded for the past month, but that's no reason to doubt their relationship.
Or is it?
With Nash acting weird and some classmates hooked on Demon's Breath, which is quite literally the breath of a hellion and apparantly something you can get high on, Kaylee will probably have to break a couple more curfews yet again.

I liked this one less than the previous two in the series, it was darker than the other ones were. Even though I already knew from the start what was wrong with Nash, I really wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, because he has been such a good guy.

Demon's Breath is totally scary stuff: it can get you killed pretty quickly if you overdose. I've never used any kind of drugs, but I know what it can do to you and Demon's Breath is ten times worse apparantly. I wanted to yell at Kaylee's classmates for being so damn stupid and not realising what they were doing.

And I wanted to kick Sophie, Kaylee's cousin, she's SUCH a pain in the ass. Admittely, she believes Kaylee had something to do with her mother's sudden death, but I don't understand why she doesn't get her facts straight before going bitch queen on her. Or why she hasn't gone to the police if she's THAT convinced of it. But in the end I think her dad should just tell her what's going on, she'll notice eventually he's not human when he doesn't appear to age and Sophie herself does.

I liked the character development for both Kaylee and Nash in this one. Nash always seemed so flawless and I think it's good that changes now, though he does fall kinda hard from the pedestal Kaylee put him on.
Kaylee seems to grow more of a backbone, which is nice and she isn't so blinded by her love for Nash to deny his problem in the end.

But my favourite character has to be Tod, I think he's amazing. Though his actions are sometimes questionable, he is a loyal friend and does what he believes is the right thing. And I love his ability to only be seen and heard by the people he chooses, even if they're standing right next to each other. I would love to be able to do that!

Though I did enjoy this book, my rating is a bit (but just a bit) lower than for the other two:
3.5 stars.

Friday, December 24, 2010

My Soul To Save by Rachel Vincent

Title/Author: My Soul To Save (Soul Screamers #2) by Rachel Vincent
Publisher/Date published: December 29th 2009 by Harlequin Teen
How I got this book: own it
Why I read this book: I really enjoyed the first book in the series

Goodreads summary: "When Kaylee Cavanaugh screams, someone dies.
So when teen pop star Eden croaks onstage and Kaylee doesn't wail, she knows something is dead wrong. She can't cry for someone who has no soul.
The last thing Kaylee needs right now is to be skipping school, breaking her dad's ironclad curfew and putting her too-hot-to-be-real boyfriend's loyalty to the test. But starry-eyed teens are trading their souls: a flickering lifetime of fame and fortune in exchange for eternity in the Netherworld — a consequence they can't possibly understand.
Kaylee can't let that happen, even if trying to save their souls means putting her own at risk…."


So after defeating the a soulstealer and sort of coming to terms with being a bean sidhe (banshee), Kaylee can't seem to get a rest. When she thinks she's having a nice night out with her boyfriend Nash, the teen pop idol they've come to see in concert dies on stage. And Kaylee doesn't feel the urge to sing for her soul, because said teen pop idol literally sold it in turn for fame and fortune. People should really learn to read the fine print BEFORE they sign a contract.

When you sell you soul to a hellion, upon your death your soul is his and you are in fact his to do with as he or she pleases for all eternity. Which means torture in most cases, since hellions aren't exactly known for their pleasant conversation, kissing babies and such.

Nash and Kaylee can't help the dead pop idol anymore, but they discover an old acquaintance of Nash and Tod has done the very same and she's scheduled to die within the week. So they set out to try and save her soul before it's too late.

I really enjoyed the sequel to My Soul to Take. Kaylee seems to come more into her own and is a bit less confused by everything bean sidhe related. Her dad has come to stay and she's living with him, they're trying to work things out together, though it's not always easy. They don't always agree on curfew, boyfriends, dangerous escapades.. And he can't really argue against: "You haven't been around for the last 13 years and now you want to tell me what I can and can't do??"

Nash still suffers from hero-complex, but he manages to be a likeable character even though he does need to lighten up some. We also get to see more of his brother Tod, who I like more and more as a character. Tod doesn't always do the nice-guy thing and he makes no excuses for being the way he is. He does seem to care for his family and develops a friendship with Kaylee. He's a really interesting character.

I liked how we're shown more of Kaylee's world and of the Netherworld and the beings that dwell there. I thought the concept of selling your soul was really interesting and I think it was executed very well. The story again spans a couple of days, and the action at the end had me turning pages like I couldn't stop.
Oh, and the person who designed the covers for the series is a genius, I LOVE them! It's probably the color and the dresses, I am such a sucker for ballgowns.

My rating: 4 stars

Saturday, December 18, 2010

My Soul To Take by Rachel Vincent

Title/Author: My Soul To Take (Soul Screamers #1) by Rachel Vincent
Publisher/Date published: July 29th 2009 by Harlequin
How I got this book: own it.
Why I read this book: besides some serious cover love: I'd requested the fourth book in the series from the publisher because it sounded REALLY interesting and decided to bump it up on my to-read list.

Kaylee desperately wants to be a normal 16-year-old girl, especially after having been committed to the psych ward by her aunt and uncle some time ago. The reason: she started screaming her head off and couldn't stop, convinced a boy she didn't know, but who passed them by, was going to die. She never ever wants to go back there, so when the urge overcomes her again, this time in the local club, she completely freaks out.
The last time, no one had been able to calm her down, but now Nash, the hottest guy in school, somehow doesn't get freaked out and manages to actually get her to relax a bit.
Kaylee is convinced her social reputation is ruined, but Nash hasn't told anyone and seems to really be interested in her, in being her boyfriend.
The only trouble in paradise: girls Kaylee's age are dropping dead one every day.

Kaylee lives with her uncle, aunt and cousin Sophie. Her mom died when she was three years old and her father hasn't been around since. The only friend she has is Emma, a gorgeous girl who doesn't care seem to care about social status.
Her aunt and uncle don't believe her when she tells them something is going on, that the deaths are connected somehow. Then she hears them arguing about calling her dad and letting him explain and Kaylee knows something is wrong with her, why else would she be screaming bloody murder every time someone is about to drop dead?

Funnily enough, her new boyfriend Nash seems to know more about this and he'll have to tell her, because the teenage deathrate is rapidly increasing.

While I really enjoy reading about wizards, witches and everything, I've been getting a bit weary of other paranormal creatures. But this was really refreshing, Kaylee turns out to be a bean sidhe or banshee, as they're referred to in popular culture, which is why she screams when people die, she actually sings for their soul.

The fact that Kaylee upon discovering what she is, doesn't immediately has access to superpower or instantly masters difficult things is a VERY big bonus point for the author. I'm not into instant ability and I'm glad that isn't the case here.

The story spans a couple of days, but a lot happens in those days. Nash and Kaylee make a cute couple and I really like Nash, though he suffer from hero-complex: he feels an overpowering need to protect Kaylee. From everything. But Kaylee is a bit of a damsel in distress, so it fits at this point. There's not much room for character development, but this is a series of at least four books, so I'm hoping this will happen eventually.

Kaylee is a very likeable character and I could really relate to her. Her emotions feel real and not overdone. She has real issues regarding her family and her absent dad and her reaction to all this is very believable.

And have you seen the cover? I LOVE that dress and the color, and it feels like the girl is going to spin around and dance right out of the picture.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book and will go on to read the rest of the series.

My rating: 4 stars.

The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

Title/Author: The Lying Game (The Lying Game #1) by Sara Shepard
Publisher/Date published: HarperTeen, December 7th 2010
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Why I read this book: it sounded interesting.

Goodreads summary: "I had a life anyone would kill for.
Then someone did.

The worst part of being dead is that there’s nothing left to live for. No more kisses. No more secrets. No more gossip. It’s enough to kill a girl all over again. But I’m about to get something no one else does — an encore performance, thanks to Emma, the long-lost twin sister I never even got to meet.
Now Emma’s desperate to know what happened to me. And the only way to figure it out is to be me — to slip into my old life and piece it all together. But can she laugh at inside jokes with my best friends? Convince my boyfriend she’s the girl he fell in love with? Pretend to be a happy, carefree daughter when she hugs my parents good night? And can she keep up the charade, even after she realizes my murderer is watching her every move?
Let the lying game begin."

Emma is the twin who seemingly got the short end of the stick. Dropping her of at a friend's house one day, Emma's mother never returned to pick her up and Emma hasn't seen her since. She's lived in foster homes and at the moment has an evil 'brother' who gets her thrown out yet again. A part of his scheme is a video he shows her fostermom of Emma being strangled as a sort of joke. Only one problem: it's not her. It's a girl who looks exactly like her, named Sutton. Emma didn't know she had a sister, let alone an identical twin. She tracks her down through Facebook and sends her a message to set up a meeting. She gets a message back, telling her where they can together. One minor detail: Sutton is dead, so who's sending the message?

When Emma arrives at the place, she's hauled inside by friends of her sister, no one seems to notice she's not Sutton and in the beginning she decides to play along, figuring Sutton will show up any minute. Except she doesn't. And now Emma's stuck playing the part, cause the one who killed Sutton wants her to keep pretending, or she'll be next.

It didn't sit well with me at first that literally no one noticed something off about 'Sutton', I like to think I would notice if one of my best friends was replaced. Even if it was by her identical twin. But later on we're shown that Sutton's 'friends' aren't what they seem to be and it leaves me wondering how much they really know about all of this.

Emma is shocked when she finds out some stuff about Sutton, The Lying Game for example. Sutton and her friends pull really extreme pranks on other people and even each other, which is ultimately the reason no one believes Emma when she claims to be Suttons long lost twin. Sutton's pulled stuff like that before. And apparently, no one informed Suttons adoptive parents of the fact she had a twin.

The fact you're not sure about any of the characters in the book makes it a great read! I didn't know what to expect, one minute the murderer seems to be one of her friends, then her sister.. It's all very paranoia inducing, which must be what it would be like to actually live it, the author did a really good job of expressing this through her writing.

Sutton herself has a voice in the story, she is forced to follow Emma around in her ghost-like state. She can only see what Emma sees, not remembering what happened herself, this and not being able to communicate with anyone frustrates her to no end. I really liked her, though I didn't like the girl she was alive if that makes sense. She seems to care more than she showed living and is shocked herself at the things she and her friends have done.

I'm looking forward to the next part of the series cause I NEED to find out what really happened!

My rating: 3.5 stars

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wicked Nights With A Lover by Sophie Jordan

Title/Author: Wicked Nights With A Lover (The Penwich School for Virtuous Girls #3) by Sophie Jordan
Publisher/Date published: Avon Books, December 1st 2010
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Why I read this book: did I mention yet that winter makes me want to read romance novels?

Marguerite Laurent has been making a living as a nurse to terminally ill patients. While caring for one of her patients, she runs into a fortuneteller who says she will die before the year is out. At first Marguerite shrugs it off, but after another prediction coming true, she decides she'll make the most of the time she has left. Step one is to take a lover. The night before she and her intended paramour are supposed to leave for Spain, she's summoned to the house of her father, who she's never met before. Leaving, she's abducted by the handsome Ash Courtland, a man who's helped her father build his empire and wants revenge on his business partner for betraying him. Ash is determined to marry one of the daughters, so as to get his hands on a larger part of the company. He wasn't expecting Marguerite to resist so much, even when it's clear she's attracted to him.
What Ash doesn't know is that the prediction foretold her death following her marriage. With mortal fear hanging over her will they find a way to be together after all?

As romance novels go, this was a really good one. I haven't read the other books in the series but I really enjoyed this one. It has the right mix of a likeable heroine, a swoonworthy, handsome man and enough storyline to give their lovestory a nice background.

Sophie Jordan has a way with words, the story flows nicely and I didn't want to put it down. Am I ever glad of owning and e-reader! I love the book, but I couldn't have taken it with me to work if I'd had the real thing, that cover would have been a bit embarassing, especially if patients got a look at it! I'm really not ashamed of reading romance novels, but the covers sometimes make me cringe a bit.

Anyway, let's forget about the cover: the book was great! Even though a voice in the back of my head said that this kind of story always ends well, I was still feeling anxious for Marguerite to be okay, cause everything pointed to her not surviving in the end.

The chemistry between Marguerite and Ash was great and I at least got tears in my eyes at some parts, which is always worth bonus points in my opinion. As villains go, Marguerite's father was a bully, but I was hoping to get a bit more information about him, his reasons and such.

There was one scene I didn't like: towards the end Marguerite uses sex to proove a point to Ash, which felt weird and as an unnecessary addition. Other than that I really enjoyed reading this book.

I was already looking forward to reading Firelight by the same author, but now I know her writing style is so engaging, I have even higher hopes for that one!
My rating: 4 stars

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Top Ten Most Anticipated Books for 2011

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the other blog I participate in: The Broke and the Bookish, check it out and join in on the fun, we'd love to see your list!

This Week's Top Ten:
Your Top Ten Most Anticipated Books for 2011

Like Jamie, I'm only gonna list the books that are published in 2011.

1. The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss: this one NEEDS to be released this year! I've read the Name of the Wind last Christmas and it was AMAZING! And I so want to read this one, I'm crossing my fingers hoping that it will really come out in March 2011 (it does say so on his website, but still).. I'm first in line when it does!

2. Wither by Lauren DeStefano: the cover is beautiful, the story sounds really good, let me have it!

3. The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal: this sounds like a fairytale and I LOVE fairytales.

4. Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton: I've been excited about this one since I first read the summary on Goodreads, it sounds amazing!

5. Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky: I love dystopian novels and this one is set in a world where nobody leaves his house and does everything through the computer.

6. The Betrayal of Maggie Blair by Elizabeth Laird: I don't know why, but I'm always intrigued by witch trials and this one centers around that time in Scotland and it sounds really interesting!

7. The Near Witch by Victoria Schwabb: this one also sounds like a fairy tale.

8. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray: I LOVED her Gemma Doyle series and I'd be excited by anything she's written coming out. And it sounds like a fun read.

9. Delirium by Lauren Oliver: another dystopian, a society where everyone is 'cured' of love. Need I say more?

10. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson: this sounds like my kind of book, it's the first book in a series and I love series.

That was hard! I have so many books I'm eagerly anticipating for 2011, only being able to list ten is.. kind of evil.
Four of the books on the list I already have waiting for me as galleys (where would I be without NetGalley), for the others I'll have to wait like everybody else. It's kind of killing me, patience has never been my forte.

Anyway, what are you all anticipating for 2011?

Monday, December 13, 2010

How To Wed a Baron by Kasey Michaels

Title/Author: How To Wed A Baron by Kasey Michaels
Publisher/Date published: HQN Books, an imprint of Harlequin, November 30th 2010
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Why I read this book: I always feel like reading romance books in when it's cold outside, I don't know why.

Goodreads summary: "He is but a pawn in someone else's game. With no choice but to do the prince regent's bidding, Justin Wilde must marry a woman not of his own choosing. And for the man notoriously referred to as the Bad Baron, marriage is the last thing he wishes to consider. Especially when the bride has the beauty of an angel but the devil's own temper….
Stunned to find herself betrothed to a stranger, Alina vows to uncover the reason behind their forced union. Yet the more time she spends with her roguish husband-to-be, the less the past seems to matter. But when the truth behind their wedding at last emerges, will it strengthen their fragile bond—or shatter their lives forever?"

Justin has a troubled past, he's been exiled by his king for killing a man in a duel, defending the honour of his deceased wife. After 8 years spent across Europe, he gets a message telling him he will be pardoned in exchange for one thing. This one thing turns out to be marriage to Alina. Justin doesn't know why the Prince Regent is forcing this union upon them, but he can't turn down the opportunity to finally be able to come home again. Even though he never wanted to marry again after his first disastrous marriage.

Alina basically had two options: marry Justin or be married off by her aunt to a man of her aunt's choosing. And her aunt doesn't much care for Alina, so there isn't much hope for her there. Besides, she really wants to meet her mother's family in England. Meeting Justin, she's pleasantly surprised he's not some sort of ogre. But of course there's trouble ahead, will it serve to drive them apart of keep them together forever?

I enjoyed reading this book, it started pretty slow and I didn't really like Justin in the beginning. He had a pompous ass air hanging over him, very noticeable in the first part of the book because he was mostly interacting with the Prince Regent and one of his male servants, who he both looked down upon. Later on he turns out to be pretty charming, even though he's still a bit of an ass to his servant. To be fair, the man is portrayed as pretty silly, so maybe he can't help it.

Anyway, I thought Alina was a pretty good heroine, she's free spirited and knows her own mind, she's also pretty optimistic, which was nice. Sometimes I didn't understand her reactions to the things happening, but hey, in real life I also get baffled by choices other women make and it didn't really bother me reading the book.

Normally in romance novels I see the clue coming from miles away and this time I didn't, so props to the author for that!

I have one 'but' to add, one thing I felt was missing: I didn't cry. And I'm a HUGE sap, I almost always cry reading romance novels. Even when it's not sad. The emotion portrayed in the book wasn't enough to trigger my tear ducts, and that's a shame, cause I love it when books make me cry.

My rating: 3 stars

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tyger Tyger by Kersten Hamilton

Title/Author: Tyger Tyger by Kersten Hamilton
Publisher/Date published: Clarion Books (an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), November 15th 2010
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Why I read this book: it sounded interesting.

Goodreads summary: "Teagan Wylltson's best friend, Abby, dreams that horrifying creatures--goblins, shape-shifters, and beings of unearthly beauty but terrible cruelty--are hunting Teagan. Abby is always coming up with crazy stuff, though, so Teagan isn't worried. Her life isn't in danger. In fact, it's perfect. She's on track for a college scholarship. She has a great job. She's focused on school, work, and her future. No boys, no heartaches, no problems.
Until Finn Mac Cumhaill arrives. Finn's a bit on the unearthly beautiful side himself. He has a killer accent and a knee-weakening smile. And either he's crazy or he's been haunting Abby's dreams, because he's talking about goblins, too . . . and about being The Mac Cumhaill, born to fight all goblin-kind. Finn knows a thing or two about fighting. Which is a very good thing, because this time, Abby's right. The goblins are coming."

I thought the summary sounded really interesting and after reading raving reviews about it on more than one blog, I had high hopes for this one. Sadly, this book wasn't for me.

I couldn't warm up to any of the characters, the only one I could relate to somewhat was Finn, the only reason I kept reading was that I expected it to get better, that the story would suck me in somehow. And that never happened.

The story revolves around Teagan and her family: little brother, mom and dad; Finn, who's the incarnation of a legend: the Mac Cumhaill; Abby, who's Teagan's best friend and has family connections to the maffia. Abby dreamt that globins were after Teagan and is convinced her life is in danger. Which is pretty weird, because later on she doesn't seem to believe goblins are real. Abby was a bit weird overall, she's constantly mentioning her connection to the maffia and threathening Finn, thinking he's some kind of criminal for reasons unknown. I'm all for being protective of your friends, but I didn't really understand this.

Teagan is a very serious girl, she plans to get into a good college and doesn't have time for boys, why she's so convinced the two can't be combined, I'm not entirely sure, but she is. Which is why her instant attraction to Finn is a problem for her and she doesn't know how to handle this.

Combine that with goblins attacking and weird family relations and you've got yourself one stressed out girl. And still I found it hard to relate to her angst. I was so disconnected from the storyline and the characters that I didn't even really feel antyhing when one of Teagan's family members died, which is rare for me. To me it also didn't come across as if Teagan was that devastated by it and that made me even less sympathetic.

The story dragged, there wasn't a lot of action and the way the characters reacted to the things that happened were unrealistic in my opinion. I wanted to like this book, but I couldn't. The only character that felt a bit more real to me was Finn, his emotions were more relatable and I was hoping he'd kiss Teagan already (sadly, the romance didn't go further than them feeling sparks and him asking to kiss her once).

My rating: 1 star

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Undeniably Yours by Shannon Stacey

Title/Author: Undeniably Yours by Shannon Stacey
Publisher/Date published: November 1st 2010 by Carina Press
How I got this book: it was sent to me by the publisher through NetGalley
Why I read this book: it was one of those times I felt like reading a romance novel

Goodreads summary: "One-night stand + two percent condom failure rate = happily ever after?
Bar owner Kevin Kowalski is used to women throwing their phone numbers at him, but lately he's more interested in finding a woman to settle down with. A woman like Beth Hansen. If only their first meeting hadn't gone so badly...
Beth's tending bar at a wedding when she comes face-to-face with a tuxedo-clad man she never thought she'd see again. She tries to keep her distance from Kevin but, by last call, she can't say no to his too-blue eyes or the invitation back to his room. Then she slips out before breakfast without leaving a note and, despite their precautions, pregnant.
Kevin quickly warms to the idea of being a dad and to seeing where things go with Beth. After all, he's not the player she thinks he is. But she's not ready for a relationship and, given his reputation, it's going to take a lot to convince her to go on a second date with the father of her child..."

I thought this was a sweet read. I really warmed up to Kevin, not so much to Beth. I did like the storyline, but I thought it dragged a bit in the middle.

Kevin and Beth got off on the wrong foot, which is a problem when you're having a baby together and therefore being around each other a lot. Kevin is a family guy through and through, his whole family is charming with their loud and friendly nature. I could see how the lot of them could be overwhelming to Beth, who is an only child.

Beth wanted to be independant from a very young age and never stays in the same place for too long. Always ready to pack up her stuff and get on the next bus when the mood strikes her. So having to settle down and do the sensible thing for her baby means a big change. She takes Kevin's urge to take care of her as overbearing and tries to push him away, because she's afraid to lean too much on him and then not being able to do it on her own again if he decides to leave.

Kevin has a hard time convincing her he's ready to be in a real relationship, with her. The constant stream of women leaving him their napkins with lipstick kisses on them, inviting him to spend the night, doesn't really help him win her over. But he's determined to keep trying.

I thought Kevin was really sweet, even though I found it a bit hard to believe he had baskets full of before mentioned napkins. He genuinely cared for Beth and thought she was beautiful even after she'd spent 3 sleepless nights looking after the baby.
Beth was harder for me to relate to. I get that she hates the women in the bar throwing themselves at Kevin, but she should have given him the benefit of the doubt in my opinion on discovering he hadn't acted upon it since they slept together the first time. I found her immediate refusal of anything that could possibly help her, provided by someone else, hard to believe. And I really felt sorry for Kevin at her constant refusal of him.

All in all, I did like the story, it was sweet and I loved the sensitive guy Kevin really was.
My rating: 3 stars

Thursday, December 2, 2010

You Wish by Mandy Hubbard

Title/Author: You Wish by Mandy Hubbard
Publisher/Date published: August 5th 2010 by Razorbill (the Penguin Group)
How I got this book: got it from my brother as a birthday present (I have an awesome brother who buys me books :D )
Why I read this book: I wanted to. Best. Reason. Ever!!

I LOVED this book! Reading has been slow the last couple of weeks, I couldn't concentrate on the book I read before and it took me four bloody weeks to finish it! Not that the book wasn't great, cause it was, I just had so much going on it was hard to focus on anything else.
This one read like a dream. The story flowed naturally, I loved the main character and the story line.. I love getting books for my birthday, especially if they turn out to be really good.

Kayla is a snarky 16 year old, who doesn't like to conform to what the popular girls in school think is normal. She dances to her own tune and bleats at people when she thinks they're exuding herd-behaviour. And I loved her for it.
She had some real issues with her parents, her dad left them and moved to Italy and her mom started her own company, is really succesful, but spends less time at home than Kayla would like. Thrown in together with having just one friend, who got a boyfriend and because of that has less time for Kayla and Kayla herself crushing pretty hard on said boyfriend, you've got yourself a very real teenage life. Except for the bright pink life-size My Little Pony with an icecream cone on its butt, of course.

Kayla's not having fun at her Sweet Sixteen party and blowing out the candles wishes for her wishes to come true, because they never freakin' do! And they start to come true after that. Besides a My Little Pony eating up her mother's shrubs, she has to worry about her Raggedy Ann doll coming to life and the guy resembling Barbie's Ken following her around everywhere. All her past wishes come back to bite her in the behind and Kayla tries desperately to stop it, because last year she wished Ben would kiss her and he's her best friend's boyfriend. That would be a serious violation of girl code if there ever was one.

Kayla struggles with trying to keep all of the wishes appearing a secret, not letting Ben and Nicole know she has a crush on Ben and the feeling she's losing her best friend all at the same time, while not getting the support she needs at home with a brother who has his own issues and a mother who cares, but is very busy providing for the family.

I loved how Kayla learns to get to know her old self again and comes to realise a few things about herself and the changes she went through. She learns you should be careful at judging people based on assumptions and to be a bit more openminded.
And I loved the pink My Little Pony with the icecream cone on its butt. I think if my birthday wishes ever came true, I would have one as well. And I would get a letter from Hogwarts. And be a fairytale princess.

Anyway, all in all, this book was amazing and I'm looking forward to reading more by Mandy Hubbard!
Rating: 5 stars.

Looking back, what is the most funny/embarassing/awesome thing you ever wished for on your birthday?