Friday, December 30, 2011

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

Title/Author: Hallowed (Unearthly #2) by Cynthia Hand
Publisher/Date published: HarperTeen, January 17th 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose — the task she was put on earth to accomplish — is not as straightforward as she thought. Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning."

**WARNING: spoilers for Unearthly are very much possible!**

Let me give a hooray for the first 2012 release I have read! I totally went off-schedule for this one because I'd been reading some 'meh' books and decided I needed to get out of my reading slump. And I'm so glad I made the time to read this already!!

As you may know, I LOVED Unearthly! I gushed about it in my review and I think it will make my favourites of 2011 list. It was THAT good. So I was really excited to read more about Clara and Tucker and everyone.

Other bloggers who already read this told me there wasn't a lot of Tucker in this one and I'm kind of glad I knew beforehand, because I love Tucker and would have been very disappointed otherwise. So be warned!

In Unearthly there was a sense of hope and excitement about the upcoming moment for Clara to face her purpose, this one is a lot darker and has more sorrow in it. And I FELT the sadness, I hate it when a story is all 'sad things are happening, be sad', this one made me feel it without seeming like I got pushed into it. If you get what I mean. I'm not sure I'm being coherent about this...

Anyway, I think Clara very much grew stronger in this one and while I'm thinking book 3 will give us some real action, this didn't feel as a filler. I'm glad we got to know more about the whole angel-lore and got to meet Clara's father, cause I'd been wondering about him.

The only thing I didn't like was that there's a definite love triangle going on here and while it is well done, I feel like I'm rooting for the underdog. And while I do get what's happening and how things could end up like this, it's got me feeling sad and a bit brokenhearted. I am however glad that Clara feels the same way. She's not really fine with the triangle either and this makes me like her even more.

I warmed up to Christian as we got to know him more, I liked him in Unearthly and in this one discovered he has some really nice qualities and I'm not talking about his hotness, even though that never hurt anyone ;)

And yes, I'm going to say it: TEAM TUCKER! Most mostly team Clara! Because I love her and am looking forward to the untitled third book in this series!

My rating: 5 stars

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

All the Pleasures of the Season by Lecia Cornwall

Title/Author: All the Pleasures of the Season
Publisher/Date published: Avon Impulse, December 1st 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "On the first day of Christmas:
Lady Miranda Archer accepts a marriage proposal.
On the first day of Christmas, fifteen minutes later:
Miranda realizes she’s made a huge mistake.
For the next twelve days:
Miranda must find a way out of her engagement — which is harder than it looks, especially since her fiancé is pompous, mean, and desperate for her family’s jewels — and convince her true love that all she wants for Christmas is him."

I almost never read Christmassy books. But I REALLY liked this one!

So Lady Miranda is a girl who has a big sense of duty and wants to please her grandfather and all. Which is why she seems like a total pushover when we first meet her. Cause seriously, getting engaged to a man she hardly knows well enough to share a dance with, let alone a life? That's just a recipe for disaster. Well except for the romance novels where said gentleman is actually the hero of the novel. But that is definitely not the case here!

Cause seriously, her fiancé is as ass!! And how naive can you be to hand over your very expensive earrings, cause he says they need 'new casing'? I mean, really?

I really liked the hero and I loved how Miranda's sister was cornering him after Miranda left for her grandfather's, her sister basically cowed him into riding aft her immediately! :)

There was also the first chapter of another novel of the author included, centering around Miranda's brother and his wife and it was wonderful! It's called Secrets of a Proper Countess and I'm dying to get my hands on it, cause it's a full length novel, this one was a novella and I'm anticipating sexytimes and wonderful tension and intrigue and everything!

My rating: 4 stars

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Top Ten Books of 2011

Look at me being all featured on The Broke and the Bookish!!

But just in case you missed it ;) I'll crosspost my list here.

I hope you have all recovered from the food-induced sleepiness that is always sure to hit me at Christmas and have had a wonderful time with your loved ones!

On to the business part of this Top Ten Tuesday, this week's topic:
The Top Ten books you read in 2011

This is gonna be hard for me, cause I want to list so many, but here goes.

1. The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss: I have waited SO LONG for this book!! And it was AMAZING! If you haven't read the first book in this series, the Name of the Wind, and you enjoy fantasy, you should read it, cause it's awesome! Also, I need the next book, like yesterday!

2. The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab: this book! THIS BOOK! It was so insanely amazing I wrote a gushing review about it! This book made me believe in fairytales again and it was wonderfully beautiful!

3. Witchlanders by Lena Coakley: EPIC FANTASY! I love fantasy, as you can probably guess from my list and this one was fabulous! I wonder how this has not gotten a lot of buzz, cause it's amazing! This is a book I want to shove at everyone and make them read it, and bonus: this book works for boys as well as girls. Virtually no romance, but lots of amazing storytelling.

4. Delirium by Lauren Oliver: I was a bit hesitant to read this at first, but OMG, this was SO GOOD! I didn't want to stop reading this and the ending left me needing cuddles and wishing I already had the next one waiting for me, cause this wait is SLOWLY KILLING ME! I am so pre-ordering Pandemonium...

5. The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley: this book took me by surprise, as I hadn't expected to love it so much! It is a pretty clean historical and contemporary romance novel as the main character travels back and forth in time and it is simply wonderful! I felt shocked, I cried, I was yelling for them to KISS ALREADY!! And I didn't care it got me funny looks!

6. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson: another fantasy, this was a good fantasy year it seems ;) I LOVED this book! It has a strong female lead and I'm dying to find out what happens next for Elisa! The Godstone is fascinating!

7. The Demon King, The Exiled Queen and the Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima: I am naming the whole series, because it was fabulous! And another series I would give to a boy (I'm making my boyfriend read them right now). I love the main characters Han and Raisa! They are both so beyond amazing! And I love to hate the 'bad guys' in this one, which is always fun :)

8. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand: so, confession: angel books haven't really been working so well for me, but THIS ONE DID!! Seriously, there's virtually no preaching and Clara is wonderful and I am so Team Tucker with his amazing boy-ness being swoonworthy and all! I have been lucky enough to have already read Hallowed, and it is also amazing!

9. The Kingdom of Gods by N.K. Jemisin: I have fallen in love with this whole series and I think I can safely say this one is my favourite of the trilogy! It focuses on Sieh and is just wonderful. I read this during the Dewey 24-hour Read-a-Thon and didn't once feel the inclination to sleep. It was THAT good.

10. Die For Me by Amy Plum: REVENANTS! They are SO cool! Seriously, I loved this book! I am also so pre-ordering Until I Die :)

And, cause you really didn't think I could narrow it down to just 10 (you didn't right?:

11. Princess for Hire and The Royal Treatment by Lindsey Leavitt: SO EXTREMELY CUTE! These are the first 2 books in a MG series and it is fabulous! I love the whole idea of substituting for princesses! I wish I had a little girl in my life I could give these books to!

12. Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George: another MG and ADORABLE! I had a huge grin on my face while I was reading this and I loved every minute of it! As the abovementioned Princess for Hire series, I would love to have a little girl I could give this to!

So, that's my list. How does yours compare? There are lots of books I think I'll see on all of your lists that have not made mine for the simple fact that I have not read them yet (I am thinking Divergent, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Shatter Me, Lola and the Boy Next Door, The Night Circus...). Let's hope they're on next year's list :)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays!!

I wanted to wish you all a very merry Christmas if you celebrate it and I hope you will all get to spend time with your loved ones!

I am going to my parents' house in a couple of hours and on the second day of Christmas we will be at my boyfriend's parents' house. Probably eating lots of food and just having a good time :)
Every year I try to make it a rule to not be on the internet during Christmas, but to just spend time with my family. I sometimes make an exception, but mostly I won't be around. So see you on the 27th! Best wishes to you everyone!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George

Title/Author: Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George
Publisher/Date published: Bloomsbury Children's Books, October 25th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Tuesdays at Castle Glower are Princess Celie's favorite days. That's because on Tuesdays the castle adds a new room, a turret, or sometimes even an entire wing. No one ever knows what the castle will do next, and no one - other than Celie, that is - takes the time to map out the new additions. But when King and Queen Glower are ambushed and their fate is unknown, it's up to Celie, with her secret knowledge of the castle's never-ending twists and turns, to protect their home and save their kingdom."

THIS BOOK! Seriously, THIS BOOK! It was so extremely CUTE and awesome! If I had a little sister or cousin or any little girl in my life right now, I would give it to her. You want the little girls you know to read this book. Little boys too, though this feels to me more like something a girl would enjoy.

Almost the whole time I was reading this, I had a big smile on my face! It was adorable and funny and I loved how strong Celie and her brother and sister were, faced with everything! I mean, I don't know if I could have done all that if I was supposed to run a castle without my parents suddenly.

And the castle, seriously, the castle is AWESOME! I mean, really, living in something that is alive and thinking and adding rooms! And especially changing them so the luxury of your room showed how much it liked you! AMAZING! I LOVED the castle! And I loved that the castle loved Celie and vice versa.

And if you have a faded stuffed toy that changed into a real lion? You've got me! I so recognized the being teased about the faded, loved, old toy. And really, I just loved Celie, our main character. She was fabulous and such a caring, intelligent girl. I love smart girls!

I had never read a book by Jessica Day George before, but after this, I'll be sure to again. And you should all as well!

My rating: 5+ stars

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Maid by Kimberly Cutter

Title/Author: The Maid by Kimberly Cutter
Publisher/Date published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, October 18th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "It is the fifteenth century and the tumultuous Hundred Years War rages on. France is under siege, English soldiers tear through the countryside destroying all who cross their path, and Charles VII, the uncrowned king, has neither the strength nor the will to rally his army. And in the quiet of her parents’ garden in Lorraine, a peasant girl sees a spangle of light and hears a powerful voice speak her name. Jehanne.
The story of Jehanne d'Arc, the visionary and saint who believed she had been chosen by God, who led an army and saved her country, has captivated our imagination for centuries. But the story of Jeanne - the girl - whose sister was murdered by the English, who sought an escape from a violent father and a forced marriage, who taught herself to ride and fight, and who somehow found the courage and tenacity to convince first one, then two, then thousands to follow her, is at once thrilling, unexpected and heart-breaking. Rich with unspoken love and battlefield valor, The Maid is a novel about the power and uncertainty of faith, and the exhilarating and devastating consequences of fame."

I REALLY wanted to love this book. Really, I did. Because I am fascinated by the tragic story of Joan of Arc and had learned a little about her in another historical romance novel I read (The Lady of the Rivers, which was awesome by the way!). But something was missing for me.

I think it was the fact that I never connected with Jehanne. I felt so disconnected that I didn't feel her joy or her fear or really anything. I didn't really get why everyone was so impressed with her either based on this book. I mean, if someone where to come up to me and tell me she was send by voices to take back France, I'd say 'U-huh, forgot to take your cray-cray pills?'. But I know one person can convince a LOT of people even if you go 'wait, what?' at what they're saying, I mean we've seen it often enough in history. But I just didn't believe from this novel Jehanne was the person to do this. The only thing the author mentioned what happened that made people follow her was that she put her 'godvoice' on. This was not convincing to me.

I did think that we followed Jehanne through it all and I think that the added bit of her telling it when she is in prison gave it a little extra something. I also liked that Cutter gave Jehanne feeling I would expect from a girl her age, especially about boys. I mean, sure divine coaching is amazing, but how about the earthly needs?

I did like learning more about this amazing historical figure and wondering if she indeed actually heard the voice of god and his angels or if she was what we nowadays would lable as schizofrenic. I do believe that Jehanne is a tragic figure and a great crime has been done against her.

My rating: 2,5 stars

Sunday, December 18, 2011

IMM Vlog (5)

As always, IMM is hosted by the wonderful Kristi from The Story Siren!

The Queen's Mistake by Diane Haeger
THANK YOU to Diane Haeger and the hosts of Dewey's Readathon!

This Is Not Forgiveness by Celia Rees
Thank you Vickie @ Coma Calm's Corner!

Hunted by Cheryl Rainfield
Dark Lake by Louise Gaylord

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

I don't have a lot of time, so I know I said I would list all my NetGalley books, but I'm just gonna highlight a few:

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Sisters of Glass by Stephanie Hemphill
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
New Girl by Paige Harbison
Slide by Jill Hathaway
Shadows on the Moon by Zoë Marriott
A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean (Her Love By Numbers series is FABULOUS! If you like historical romance at all, you should read her books!)

This is about 3-4 weeks worth of books :) I'm excited to read all and excited to re-read Unearthly, cause it's wonderful!

What did you get in your mailbox? Happy reading!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Between the Sea and Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore

Title/Author: Between the Sea and Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore
Publisher/Date published: Bloomsbury Children's Books, October 25th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "For as long as Esmerine can remember, she has longed to join her older sister, Dosinia, as a siren - the highest calling a mermaid can have. When Dosinia runs away to the mainland, Esmerine is sent to retrieve her. Using magic to transform her tail into legs, she makes her way unsteadily to the capital city. There she comes upon a friend she hasn't seen since childhood - a dashing young man named Alander, who belongs to a winged race of people. As Esmerine and Alander band together to search for Dosinia, they rekindle a friendship... and ignite the emotions for a love so great, it cannot be bound by sea, land, or air."

Let me just start of by saying this was such a lovely read! I mean, really, I just flew through it and got lost in this amazing world! I love the mermaid trend going around in YA, as I was a fan of Ariel's at a young age and the author's voice was so fresh and lovely it just made me want to keep on reading!

Esmerine is a wonderful main character! She loves her family and has always been the odd one out in their village because she played with the boy with wings when she was younger. Upon meeting said boy, now a man, again, she has to deal with some disappointment, but she doesn't simper in the corner, instead she confronts him about it. And she loved books, which is always an endearing quality to me :)

And I LOVED Alander! Seriously, he was awesome! All troubled boyness of him! I was so rooting for him and Esmerine! And seriously, he had WINGS! How awesome is that?

The only I though was odd was Dosia, Esmerine's sister. She just up and leaves without telling anybody where she's going or why and then she acts surprised when Esmerine comes looking for her cause her family is worried. Gee, I wonder why that could possibly be. So the sister annoyed me, but otherwise this book was amazing!

And the ending was just perfect! I just wished it didn't have to end there. I could have gladly spent more time with Esmerine and Alander and the whole world and different kinds of paranormal beings in it! This was such a fun read and read like a fairytale, which I loved!

My rating: 5 stars

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Blacksmith's Daughter by Arley Cole

Title/Author: The Blacksmith's Daughter by Arley Cole
Publisher/Date published: Musa Publishing, October 21st 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

Goodreads summary: "She believes she is only a blacksmith's daughter, but he must discover the truth or risk losing his land - and his life.
Acwellen Lex'Magen rules as liege lord of a small country bounded by forbidding mountains and powerful neighbors. When the neighboring baron, allied with a powerful wizard, attempts to take over his land, first by political, then by covert means, Acwellen finds an ally of his own in Enith Roweson, an unassuming blacksmith who possesses powers he's only known of in legends. As he attempts to unravel both the plots against him - including the nature of the monsters sent to assassinate him - and the mysterious powers Enith is only beginning to understand she has, he also finds himself falling in love with the blacksmith's daughter."

Be honest with me, when you read the summary and you know this is a YA publishing imprint, would you think the main characters would be 28 and 32?
I sure didn't.

And I really don't mind them to be a bit older, it was just unexpected and I didn't really feel their actions fit their age. I mean, you're 28 and you've never known you had strange powers before? Seriously? This put me a bit off, as did the quick mastering of said powers. I like my characters to struggle and fainting cause you're using them wrong but still accomplishing everything you want doesn't count.

And another thing: at one point they're wondering which wizard is behind the attacks and they have not even the slightest clue as to who it could be. Even though Acwellen and his right hand managed to royally piss off one wizard together some years ago when they infiltrated his castle and defeat him. Really? I mean, seriously? Why does his name not come up instantly?

So I sound negative, but I'm really not! I really enjoyed this book! I just felt that it didn't know if it wanted to be YA or adult and was both and neither at times as a result. BUT: the magic is really intriguing and I really liked Acwellen, even if I don't like his name. Acwellen seemed like a charming, handsome, smart man and I like those things in my men ;) I'm also curious about his right hand, who is so sceptic towards Enith's powers, I'm wondering what made him so.

I thought the romance was sweet, though it was a bit weird that they married two seconds after meeting and though she never acted like it, Enith admitted to having had a crush on him since she was 12. But they were really cute together and I liked that Enith wasn't some helpless maiden, but knew how to fight and has kickass powers! I'm thinking this is part of a series, but I can't find information about this anywhere. If you know more about it, let me know!

My rating: 3 stars

Monday, December 12, 2011

Jane Austen Made Me Do It by Laurel Ann Nattress

Title/Author: Jane Austen Made Me Do It by Laurel Ann Nattress
Publisher/Date published: Ballantine Books, October 11th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Stories by: Lauren Willig • Adriana Trigiani • Jo Beverley • Alexandra Potter • Laurie Viera Rigler • Frank Delaney & Diane Meier • Syrie James • Stephanie Barron • Amanda Grange • Pamela Aidan • Elizabeth Aston • Carrie Bebris • Diana Birchall • Monica Fairview • Janet Mullany • Jane Odiwe • Beth Pattillo • Myretta Robens • Jane Rubino and Caitlen Rubino-Bradway • Maya Slater • Margaret C. Sullivan • and Brenna Aubrey, the winner of a story contest hosted by the Republic of Pemberley
“My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” If you just heaved a contented sigh at Mr. Darcy’s heartfelt words, then you, dear reader, are in good company. Here is a delightful collection of never-before-published stories inspired by Jane Austen — her novels, her life, her wit, her world."

If you have been reading this blog or knowing me for some time, you will perhaps already know this, but I LOVE Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice is my all-time favourite novel and I try to reread it at least once a year. Which is in fact due around Christmas I think :)

So I was really excited to read this book, as it contains a collection of short stories based on Austen's novels. I must admit that I pretty much never read short stories and they are not really my cup of tea, because I like to stay with my characters for some time after meeting them. But how could I resist reading this?

And there were some stories that were wonderful! I really liked the one by Alexandra Potter, which is a continuation of Mr. Darcy and Me, a book by her I really enjoyed. Also special mentions to Laurie Vera Riegler's (in which Mr. Darcy brings the authors of continuations/adaptations of P&P up on charges) and Jo Beverley's (in which a widowed woman has a sweet encounter through some meddling by Miss Austen herself and there's mistletoe involved!)! Especially the last one was heartwarmingly sweet and made me want to read another historical romance, cause I love those!

There were also some stories that didn't really work for me, but well, I could either skip those or they ended soon enough for it not to bother me. And while this did not make me want to read more short stories, it did make me want to read and watch P&P again (both the BBC version and the one with Keira Knightley)! And my little Austen-loving hard was glad I read this :) It really featured every single one of her novels and made me appreciate her genius anew!

My rating: 3,5 stars

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Daisy Update

I am feeling kind of lazy today, so instead of recording the IMM I had planned, I am doing this again :)

So, I had a pretty good week! I had an unexpected extra day off from work, cause there wasn't enough to do, which on one hand sucks cause I need the money, on the other hand: it's cold and I don't really want to go outside when it's cold. So I got to sleep in a bit on Thursday and then stay snuggled up beneath my blanket with my tea and book. This made me ridiculously happy.

Another exciting thing: Tuesday I watched 2 of my best friends graduate and become doctors! It was amazing, one of them I've known since the very beginning of college, she was in my introductin group and the other I've known about a half year less. But we've done this whole thing together and it makes me proud to see them looking all pretty in their dresses, accepting their diplomas!

Friday I had a high tea at a restaurant with one of my best friends, who used to be my roommate, we lived together in the apartment I now live in with my boyfriend for 3 years and we don't see enough of each other now. So I was really glad we could do this and it was so much fun! We ate LOTS of delicious food and drank so much tea, it was wonderful :) I also discovered where they get their pina colada tea, which is SO GOOD! Am probably ordering it soon.

I have also officially started my Christmas shopping! I got my blog/Twitter buddy Alexa something, I'm not telling what cause she hasn't gotten it yet. And got my mom a bathrobe to wear when we go to the spa together and I also got myself a little something:

FLEECE PJ PANTS!!! I didn't get the jacket that matched it. But it was the last one and I was so happy when they had it in my size! And they are totally as comfortable as they look (am wearing them now) and very soft :)

The boyfriend and me went to a concert on Friday and a party near his parents' yesterday night, which explains the laziness today. You know what I hate? How they smoke in the bar we went to and then the next morning everything smells so bad! I really dislike smoking, especially in bars when they're not paying attention and accidentally stab you in the hand/arm with a cigarette. Yeah, that also happened yesterday night...

On bookish aspects: I have managed to read 4 books this week and will start another one later tonight, I only loved 1: Between the Sea and Sky, which is adorable! But the others were enjoyable as well.

That's all for me this week, hope you had a good week as well! :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Variant by Robison Wells

Title/Author: Variant (Variant #1) by Robison Wells
Publisher/Date published: HarperTeen, October 4th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher thought NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Benson Fisher thought that a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life.
He was wrong.
Now he’s trapped in a school that’s surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive.
Where breaking the rules equals death.
But when Benson stumbles upon the school’s real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape — his only real hope for survival — may be impossible."

This is gonna be a hard review to write, because I had such mixed feelings while reading this book! I almost pulled a DNF on this one, but slowly it got slightly better and the last part I really enjoyed. But I think it took about 250 pages before I started enjoying it and I'm kinda proud of myself I didn't stop before then.

The main problem I had was the narrator's voice. I didn't really like Benson and it took until the very end for me to warm up to him. He'd been to a lot of stuff, but I didn't feel the least bit inclined to feel sorry for him. And a huge part of it is that he kept complaining A LOT about being in the school.

I mean, I get it sucked when you had expected something completely different, BUT I felt all he did was complain about it and not really being constructive in his wanting out. And the whole thing with there being 3 different gangs at a sort of war with each other didn't really work for me either, though I'm not really sure why.

I did like the ending scenes, it got really tense there and exciting! I think this book was a bit too much build-up for me, because once we got to the part about what was really going on, I found myself eagerly turning the pages! It ended at a huge cliffhange rand I'm wondering how we'll go from there and what exactly is up with that school!

Rating this is kinda hard, but as it was an almost DNF and I didn't end up loving it in the end...
My rating: 2,5 stars

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley

Title/Author: The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley
Publisher/Date published: Sourcebooks Landmark, October 4th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "When Eva's film star sister Katrina dies, she leaves California and returns to Cornwall, where they spent their childhood summers, to scatter Katrina's ashes and in doing so return her to the place where she belongs. But Eva must also confront the ghosts from her own past, as well as those from a time long before her own. For the house where she so often stayed as a child is home not only to her old friends the Halletts, but also to the people who had lived there in the eighteenth century. When Eva finally accepts that she is able to slip between centuries and see and talk to the inhabitants from hundreds of years ago, she soon finds herself falling for Daniel Butler, a man who lived - and died - long before she herself was born. Eva begins to question her place in the present, and in laying her sister to rest, comes to realise that she too must decide where she really belongs, choosing between the life she knows and the past she feels so drawn towards."

This book went BEYOND my expectations! Seriously, on starting it, I thought I would enjoy this book. Instead, I ended up LOVING it! It was so amazing, so prepare for a gushing review :)

This is a time travel story and this makes it a historical romance mixed with a contemporary romance novel and I really enjoyed this part of it! I loved how there's such an emphasis on the importance of the house, to the point it almost felt like a character itself. I also loved that Eva had such a connection to it from her childhood!

Eva as a main character is wonderful! I'm all about the strong family bonds, mostly with close family (parents, siblings) and Eva genuinely loved her sister very much. Her sister was a famous actress and I didn't sensed only a little jealousy because of this, which I can totally understand. She is sensitive and strong and I loved how this balanced out for her.

And I loved the guy! Daniel is SO amazing! If I was transported back in time and met him, I would totally fall for him! Because really, who in their right mind wouldn't? He's understanding and generous, not to mention HANDSOME and charming! *sigh* I loved the chemistry between them and I was just going AAAH! KISS ALREADY! So yeah, good romance :)

I also loved some of the other characters, which is always a huge bonus! And I love how everytime tied together in the end and how I kept thinking 'OH, so THAT's why that detail was mentioned before!' I love it when that happens and seriously!

This story left me feeling a mix of happy and sad at the ending, happy because the ending was SO FREAKING GOOD and sad because it ended. I didn't want it to stop yet and this for me is the sign of a good book!

My rating: 5+ stars

Monday, December 5, 2011

Eve by Anna Carey

Title/Author: Eve (Eve #1) by Anna Carey
Publisher/Date published: HarperTeen, October 4th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "The year is 2032, sixteen years after a deadly virus — and the vaccine intended to protect against it — wiped out most of the earth’s population. The night before eighteen-year-old Eve’s graduation from her all-girls school she discovers what really happens to new graduates, and the horrifying fate that awaits her.
Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust... and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life."

This was an amazingly fast-paced book! I just flew right through it and really enjoyed every minute of reading it!

I've mentioned it before, but I am obsessed with things like this: a virus or some other disease wiping out a big part of the population. Because I believe this is what will eventually happen. Hopefully not in 2016, as it did here, cause that's a little too close for comfort.

I really liked the way the author envisioned the impact of such a thing happening and was horrified by what people would quite believably be capable of doing to others! I mean, what they do to the girls is horrible, but so is what is happening to the boys! Gosh, it was awful!

I really liked Eve, I mean, she is obviously brainwashed, but you can't really blame her, because it's the way she was raised. And it provided some pretty funny moments, like when she tells Caleb when they meet that he 'wants to have intercourse with her', cause she's taught that's all guys want.

And let's talk about Caleb, because really, SWOON! I LOVED the boy! He was amazingly patient and such a good guy! I mean, that thing he does near the end? You know what I mean if you've read it, but it's just such a loving thing and so selfless!
And can I just say the two little boys at the cave where Caleb lived broke my heart? I just wanted to hug them!

And the ending! OMG! The ending killed me and I am sort of glad I read the summary for Once (the sequel) already and I am really looking forward to reading it! Fair warning: this is not a bloodless book, as most dystopians aren't, it's not overly graphic or something, but it's not for the faint of heart I think.

My rating: 4,5 stars

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Daisy Update

I finally took the leap and decided to make this blog a little more personal. Cause, you know, I'm so interesting and all ;)

You may know I'm a med student and now I can officially say I'm in the final stages of this part of my education. I am having a little break right now from interning, because the scientific research internship I had ended 4 weeks ago and I won't start the next one until January. Which means that right now I'm working 20 hours a week as an administrative assistant (which is a fancy name for typing out letters the doctors record on a tape ;) ), cause I need to somehow pay for important things like food, clothes and books!

I am kind of enjoying working part time! But, as of January I will again be interning 50-60 hours a week for another 3 months and then I'm DONE! Which is very exciting, cause then I get to WORK and be all grown-up and all that. Basically I'm tired of having to constantly ask someone else to prescribe the meds for my patients and fun things like that.

Some Dutch culture added in: in Holland we celebrate 'Sinterklaas', which is basically like Santa Claus, but with politically incorrect helpers/minions (whichever you prefer) as pictured above. We always have a sort of Secret Santa for this with my boyfriend's family and that will be this afternoon. I already got the presents, now all I need to do is write the poem to go with it. And then there'll be lots of food :D

While shopping for the presents for this, I bought WAY too much stuff for myself: 3 dvds, A Discovery of Witches, 2 necklaces (cause I can really wear them at the same time..), new black boots, jeans, grey pumps and two belts. That is on top of the four dresses, cardigan and sparkly grey top I bought in the last two weeks. And ALL the books I bought.

As for a bookish update: I read and loved Hallowed by Cynthia Hand, it was full of sadness, but amazing. And if you're into clean romance/historical romance, you should DEFINITELY read The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley, it was AMAZING! I think my review will be up somewhere this or next week.
Right now, I'm reading Jane Austen Made Me Do It, which is a collection of short stories and I'm loving some and not so loving others, but it makes my romantic little heart happy :)

I hope you all have a great week!

Friday, December 2, 2011

In Pursuit of Miss Eliza Cynster by Stephanie Laurens

Title/Author: In Pursuit of Miss Eliza Cynster (The Cynster Sisters Trilogy #2) by Stephanie Laurens
Publisher/Date published: Avon Books, October 1st 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Three heroes, three rescues, three weddings.
The pleasure of your company is requested
at the wedding of Miss Eliza Cynster
...but not until she's rescued from a daring abduction by the most unexpected of heros!
Brazenly kidnapped from her sister Heather's engagement ball, Eliza Cynster is spirited north to Edinburgh. Desperate and determined to escape, she seizes upon the first possible champion who happens along - gentleman scholar Jeremy Carling.
Villains and rescues are a far cry from Jeremy's expertise, yet he cannot abandon a damsel in distress. But danger lurks and hurdles abound in their race to escape the mysterious laird, until a final confrontation on a windswept cliff reveals what their future life could hold - if both are bold enough to seize and own the unexpected love they now share."

I remember reading at least one of the previous books in the Cynster series, as I recognized a lot of names while reading this one, I just can't remember which one I read... Because, let's be honest, a lot of titles of romance novels resemble each other and I read it before I kept track of my books on Goodreads (I can barely remember such a time...).

I am sad to say I struggled a bit with this book. And for once I know exactly why that is: there was no tension. None. I LIVE for the tension in romance novels and I KNOW Stephanie Laurens can do this, because I remember really enjoying one of her other novels, but there was just nothing in this one. I did think Eliza and Jeremy suited each other, but it lacked the stomach clenchiness that makes me such a fan of this genre!

Also, I took a bit of offense at the constant mention of how unexpected it was that Jeremy pulled the rescue off, because he was a SCHOLAR. I mean, seriously? My boyfriend goes to university and I am telling you he is very strong and could have pulled it off as well. Being smart does not make you less manly! I get that things were different back then, but still.

Anyway, I am one of those girls who lives for the moments in historical romance when there are things that drive the two lovers apart of when they believe the other one doesn't love them and such, because: DRAMA! TENSION! And in this one they just sort of mutually fell in love and were chased around and I didn't really feel it.

But, there is some major foreshadowing for the third book in the series and as I am anticipating the two main characters in that one will clash some more in their personalities, I am really looking forward to reading it! Also, of course knowing there's a third book, I guessed who the mysterious captor was and he sounds really interesting! :)

My rating: 2 stars

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Picture Perfect by Lanie Kincaid

Title/Author: Picture Perfect by Lanie Kincaid
Publisher/Date published: Griffyn Ink, February 1st 2010
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Rae Madison is the other woman.
She didn’t mean to be. She’s been waiting for her big break – a show for her art photography – and paying the bills doing surveillance for a PI. The only problem is the last cheating husband that came across her desk is her boyfriend. Not only does he have a wife and kids, she isn’t even his only girlfriend!
Colby Williams is the right man.
He’s been biding his time, straightening out his own mess of a life. He can handle waiting while Rae’s heart heals . . . he’s already waited this long. But just as things are finally coming together for them, everything goes wrong – and right.
Rae has finally landed her art gallery showing, and just like Colby always knew she would be, she’s suddenly very popular. Will her dream take her away from the love they have found?"

Okay, so I had some different expectations going into this book than what it turned out to be. I thought it'd be about Rae being hurt by her boyfriend and being distrustful towards men, as I imagine you'd be if it turned out your boyfriend was married and had other girlfriends beside you as the cherry on top. I imagined that she'd slowly open her eyes to what'd been in front of her all along: Colby.

And let's just start of by saying that I do not like that name. It sounds girly to me and from the description, Colby is anything but.

Anyway, it turns out my expectations were pretty much wrong. And this turned out to be one of those books in which I wanted to whack both main characters in the back of the head and tell them to 'stop being a whiny little boy' and 'COMMUNICATE!'. Seriously. COMMUNICATE for the love of chocolate!!

Deep breaths, I'm okay.

I thought it was SO stupid for Colby to be upset by Rae's taking care of him when he was sick and he could have DIED if she hadn't all because she saw him as being less than big man-much power (insert caveman-like grunt). I mean, seriously? Instead of ignoring her, a simple thank you would have sufficed.

BUT: they did have wonderful chemistry and I really liked the tension that was there. And this was a pretty fast read for me. I did think in the end there stumbling block got resolved a bit too easily, but well, I'm happy for them. It left me with warm fuzzies and that is what I want from this kind of story!

My rating: 3 stars

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Top Ten Books on my Winter TBR List!

Look at me being all featured on The Broke and the Bookish!!

But just in case you missed it ;) I'll crosspost my list here.

1. Hallowed by Cynthia Hand: Well OBVIOUSLY this one would be on the list! I LOVED Unearthly and have pre-ordered this one, I'm avoiding reviews until I've read it myself, but TEAM TUCKER!

2. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi: 2012 debut author, I have heard many, many good things about this book and have also pre-ordered this one :) And it especially makes me happy to hear one blogger describe it as a 'dystopian meets high fantasy' because I LOVE dystopians AND fantasy!

3. Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver: I am betting this one will be on a lot of lists doing new releases ;) I thought Delirium was amazing and that ending killed me! So yes, I am insanely jealous of those lucky bloggers who got an ARC! I am so reading this one the second it gets out!

4. Fever by Lauren DeStefano: another one probably featured on more lists than just mine ;) I absolutely loved Wither and this have another jealous moment, the same as for Pandemonium. If you haven't read Wither, you should! It's amazing!

5. Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale: me and Jana are fans of Austenland, she reviewed it on this blog, so when I saw this one coming out I KNEW I had to read it! Fans of Jane Austen and P&P: Austenland was such a cute read and I'm betting this one will be as well!

6. Everneath by Brodi Ashton: another 2012 debut author! This book sounds insanely amazing and I can't wait to read it! Oh, and I have some serious cover love for this one!

7. Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen: this one sounds fabulous as well, with Scarlet (I'm thinking Will Scarlet in the original story) actually being a girl instead of a boy! I LOVE the tale of Robin Hood, so I think this will be just the book for me.

8. New Girl by Paige Harbison: a YA retelling of Rebecca, you better believe I'm gonna be reading this!!

9. Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood: I love witches! This book sounds like all kinds of awesome! It's described as A Great and Terrible Beauty meets Cassandra Clare, and while I haven't read any of Ms. Clare's books (I know, I suck), I loved the Gemma Doyle books, so I think this will be good :)

10. Incarnate by Jodi Meadows: you could read this book for the fabulous cover alone. Seriously, it's so pretty! Another 2012 debut author :)

10+1. Tempest by Julie Cross: Yes, I cheat, it's what I do ;) (but really, I will be reading a lot more than just 10 books, so I'm allowed) Time travel is hard to do well and I'm looking forward to see Ms. Cross' take on it! And can you say cover love? ;)

So, that's my list, there are a lot of 2012 debut authors on them and some sequels and such. Let me know if I missed any! And leave your link below so I can check yours out!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mistress by Midnight by Nicola Cornick

Title/Author: Mistress by Midnight by Nicola Cornick
Publisher/Date published: Harlequin UK, August 19th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Merryn Fenner is on a mission to ruin the Duke of Farne. A beautiful bluestocking with a penchant for justice, Merryn has waited ten years to satisfy her revenge against sensual, mysterious Garrick Northesk. Her family name had been tarnished at his hands, her life destroyed. And now she intends to return the favor — by finding the true heir to the duke's title and disinheriting Garrick.
Yet when a disaster traps Merryn and Garrick together, white-hot desire stirs between the two sworn enemies. Her reputation utterly compromised, Merryn is forced to do the one thing she cannot bear: accept the scandalous marriage proposal of the man she has vowed to ruin."

I liked that in this romance novel there was actually a real reason for the two main characters to have problems. Because, really, if you believed a man killed your brother, you wouldn't be all over him either.

And Merryn isn't, she just can't seem to help herself, though if this were the real world I'd imagine it would give her many a worry-wrinkle ;) And I just loved Garrick. He was so noble and manly and just swoonworthy. I love when the men are swoonworthy.

I'd guessed what the secret Garrick was working so hard to protect was pretty early on, but it's a genuine secret and I loved him all the more for his being so loyal and trustworthy in this. But if I'd been Merryn, I would have made a MUCH bigger scene about it when I found out, I mean, hello! Not cool to hide that from her and her sisters! But I'd have forgiven him in the end, cause he's too handsome to stay mad at.

There was some wonderful tension between them, but I don't remember actually crying, but especially Merryn struggling with her feelings was wonderful and real and I really, really enjoyed this book!

My rating: 4 stars

Sunday, November 27, 2011

IMM Vlog (4)

It's that time again: In My Mailbox! Hosted, as always, by the lovely Kristi from the Story Siren!

Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
To the Moon and Back by Jill Mansell
Inheritance by Christopher Paolini (thank you to The Book Depository for sending me a hardcover even though I ordered a paperback! Definitely not complaining!)
Girls in Pants by Ann Brashares
Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
Portrait of an Unknown Woman by Vanora Bennett
Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
Child of the Phoenix by Barbara Erskine
Behaving Like Adults by Anne Maxted

The Demon King & The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima
THANK YOU Harper Voyager!!
Radiant Desire by Inara Scott
HUGE thank you to the author for sending it to me!
If I Die by Rachel Vincent
THANK YOU RACHEL! Check out her blog!

The Guardian Duke by Jamie Carie
The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges
Spirit's Princess by Esther M. Friesner
Cross My Heart by Sasaha Gould
Rogue Pirate's Bride by Shana Galen
Tempest by Julie Cross
Don't You Wish by Roxanne St. Claire
The Unbearable Book for Unsinkable Girls by Julie Schumacher
At the Mercy of the Queen by Anne Clinard Barnhill
The Capture of the Earl of Glencrae by Stephanie Laurens
Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Hallowed by Cynthia Hand (you can see me do my happy dance for this one ;) )
Hades by George O'Connor
Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
The Orchid House by Lucinda Riley
Enchanted Again by Robin D. Owens
Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig

So, this is pretty much about a month worth of books I think, which makes it less bad (yes? no? maybe?)...
What did you get in your mailbox? Leave me a link in the comments!

Friday, November 25, 2011

H10N1 by M.R. Cornelius

Title/Author: H10N1 by M.R. Cornelius
Publisher/Date published: self-published, April 12th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the author for review

Goodreads summary: "A deadly influenza virus rages out of control. There is no easy-fix vaccine. No eleventh-hour containment. Only death.
With no workforce, power plants are unmanned so there’s no means of communication; police and fire departments have collapsed so no one is safe; looters are scavenging everything from big-screen TVs to canned peas.
When Dr. Taeya Sanchez finds herself unceremoniously dismissed from an emergency medical facility in New York, she decides to steal the hospital’s armored van for a midnight escape.
Unfortunately, Rick DeAngelo, a driver for the hospital, has already stocked the van for his own getaway.
Thrown into an unfriendly alliance, these two must pick their way across the dangerous wasteland of America in search of a safe haven. And as the miles roll by, they discover that the living should be feared much more than the festering corpses out there."

I LOVED the first chapter. It was shocking, in your face and I thought wow, I'm gonna love this book. And then I read the rest of it.

And I am sad to say I was disappointed. As a med student I'm fascinated by things dealing with virus outbreaks or super bacteria and all that stuff wiping out the human race. Because seriously, that is what scares me. That is exactly what I'm scared of happening in the future and it isn't an unrealistic fear unfortunately. But enough of that.

I wasn't really sure what the point of the plot was. I felt like there was stuff happening, but I didn't really know why. I also thought it would have been about the virus spreading and all that, but it was actually after the initial wave and about the survivors of that. I also didn't really feel the romance, I didn't get it and I didn't think it was realistic.

Another thing I had a problem with: the main character is an epidemiologist, which is basically someone who studies things like patterns and risk factors and such. There are those who work 'in the field' so to speak, but it's usually only about infection control then, not so much the other areas of medicine. And I believed an epidemiologist knows how to stitch someone up, I do, because it's basic medical training. But you CANNOT tell me they also know how to perform complicated surgeries after someone is shot and there was also an inconsistency where for her to be able to do something she did, she'd have to have opened the patient up in two places and there was only one operating wound.

Yes I am ranting, but this really bothers me because this is what I know. Because I see this kind of stuff every day and I don't get how people think that being a doctor means you can do ALL THE THINGS. You can't. That's why we have all those different kinds of doctors.

Ok, stopping the rant.

I did like the whole idea behind the book with the virus outbreak and everything and seriously you guys, I loved the first chapter. If the book had continued in that way, it would have been amazing. But after that things went downhill for me.

My rating: 1,5 stars

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Kingdom of Gods by N.K. Jemisin

Title/Author: The Kingdom of Gods (The Inheritance Trilogy #3) by N.K. Jemisin
Publisher/Date published: Orbit, October 11th 2011
How I got this book: pre-ordered it!

Goodreads summary: "For two thousand years the Arameri family has ruled the world by enslaving the very gods that created mortalkind. Now the gods are free, and the Arameri’s ruthless grip is slipping. Yet they are all that stands between peace and world-spanning, unending war.
Shahar, last scion of the family, must choose her loyalties. She yearns to trust Sieh, the godling she loves. Yet her duty as Arameri heir is to uphold the family’s interests, even if that means using and destroying everyone she cares for.
As long-suppressed rage and terrible new magics consume the world, the Maelstrom — which even gods fear — is summoned forth. Shahar and Sieh: mortal and god, lovers and enemies. Can they stand together against the chaos that threatens the Kingdom of the Gods?"

Warning: this will probably be more me gushing about this book and series than actual review.

Of course I had to have this book after loving the first two books in the trilogy!! I can't get over the fact that these books are so amazing, yet there is so little buzz about them... But I pre-ordered it, which means that I only had to wait a few days after the release date for it to get here, hooray!

If you haven't read the other books in the series yet: you should. They are AMAZING.

And this one is about Sieh, one of my favourite characters from the previous books. He is a trickster god and just plain awesome. In this book, Sieh goes through some major changes and I so felt for him throughout everything! I don't want to spoil anything, but seriously, he has a rough time in this book. I absolutely loved Deka and Shahar as well, though slightly less. They were all such well-developed characters and I really felt like I got to know them and that they were all real people (and a god) instead of fictional characters. I love it when that happens!

The ending had me on the edge of my seat, and this is a pretty big accomplishment, seeing as I'd read it during the read-a-thon and had probably only gotten about 3 hours of sleep.

The whole world-building in this series is so amazing and wonderful and I loved every minute of it! I don't think I'm doing Jemisin's writing justice with this review, but I just want to push this series at everyone who loves fantasy and tell them to read it right away. I'm kinda sad the trilogy has now come to a conclusion and can't wait to see what else Jemisin will have in store for us! She is definitely on my auto-buy list.

And look at that cover, isn't it PRETTY?

My rating: 5+ stars

Monday, November 21, 2011

Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore by Stella Duffy

Title/Author: Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore by Stella Duffy
Publisher/Date published: Penguin Group USA, September 27th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Roman historian Procopius publicly praised Theodora of Constantinople for her piety-while secretly detailing her salacious stage act and maligning her as ruthless and power hungry. So who was this woman who rose from humble beginnings as a dancer to become the empress of Rome and a saint in the Orthodox Church? Award-winning novelist Stella Duffy vividly recreates the life and times of a woman who left her mark on one of the ancient world's most powerful empires. Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore is a sexy, captivating novel that resurrects an extraordinary, little-known figure from the dusty pages of history."

I'm always excited to learn about an influential historical figure that I had not heard of before and seriously, this title draws attention. You can't argue with that.

So, obviously, I don't know all the Roman emperors. In fact, I'd never heard of Justinian before and thus had never wondered about his wife, Theodora. But seriously, she is one interesting character! Or at least in the way Stella Duffy portrayed her!

I never knew there was a rule in that time that actresses coudln't marry. And while I knew about the stereotype of actresses having loose morals, I never knew they were sort of required to be a courtesan as well as perform in theater! And I never realised there were that many eunuchs! Or maybe that's just that we came across them a lot in this one?

ANYWAY, I really enjoyed this look into the society of ancient Rome and while Theodora is certainly not a character without serious flaws, I liked her. She did unexpected things and sometimes I wondered about her decisions, but this didn't detract from her appeal to me. I felt that she knew her talents and flaws herself and also knew how to use and hide them to her best benefit! And seriously, if you can make a man who doesn't show interest in anything other than work fall for you and make him change the law just so he can marry you? You are kind of awesome.

This was a slow read for me and some parts were a bit boring, and then there were parts that were a bit too vague in my opinion, especially about the 'growth' Theodora had. But maybe that's just the medstudent in me talking ;)

My rating: 3 stars

Friday, November 18, 2011

Gone for the Weekend!

Hi all!

I just wanted to let you know I'll be leaving for a weekend away with my friends from high school in about an hour, which means you won't hear anything from me until Sunday or maybe even not until Monday, because there'll be lots of this:

Because seriously, what we do together is EAT LOTS OF FOOD.
And this:

And probably this as well:

And there will be virtually no:


I hope you all have a great weekend while I'm out with the girls!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies

Title/Author: A Beautiful Dark (A Beautiful Dark #1) by Jocelyn Davies
Publisher/Date published: HarperTeen, September 27th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "On the night of Skye's seventeenth birthday, she meets two enigmatic strangers. Complete opposites; like fire and ice, Asher is dark and wild, while Devin is fair and aloof. Their sudden appearance sends Skye's life into a tailspin. She has no idea what they want, or why they seem to follow her every move only that their presence coincides with a flurry of strange events. Soon she begins to doubt not just the identity of the two boys, but also the truth about her own past.
In the dead of a bitingly cold Colorado winter, Skye finds herself coming to terms with the impossible secret that threatens to shatter her world. Torn between Asher, who she can't help falling for, and Devin, who she can't stay away from, the consequences of Skye's choice will reach further than the three of them could ever imagine."

I have been pining for this book for a LONG time, seriously, I added it in June 2010 to my TBR list! And the cover is just gorgeous! So I was really excited to finally get to it! And this book didn't disappoint.

I have read several angel books in the last year and some of them I LOVED and then there were those who just weren't for me. I thought this book had a really intersting take on angel lore and I loved how non-preachy it was, which is one of my main problems with this subgenre.

I really liked Skye, she was just a regular girl (or at least she thought she was), with real friends and a caring parental figure, her mom's best friend who took her in after her parents died. Though she is frequently absent, and that is one of my bookish pet peeves, in this case there turned out to be a very good explanation for this, so props to the author for that!

So, at first everything was a bit confusing with Devin and Asher and their secretiveness, but that you didn't know if these boys meant well or not and what their real agenda was made it all the more a pageturner! I flew through this book, it was so good!

And the boys, let's talk about the boys. While I'm one of those who don't really like love triangles, in this one it worked, but I'm not gonna tell you why, because that would spoil things. BUT, let me just say that while each boy had his charms, I am partial to Devin. I think it's the calm and the troubledness he exudes. And yes, for those of you who read it: even after the ending. I know, I have a serious Devin crush.

But OMG, the ending! Can you say cliffhanger? Seriously! I need the next book right now! I'm also dying to know how this whole thing will play out besides the ending, because I think there's a lot we still don't know about Skye and what it is she can do and well, ALL OF IT!

My rating: 4,5 stars

Monday, November 14, 2011

Remembrance by Michelle Madow

Title/Author: Remembrance (Transcend Time Saga #1) by Michelle Madow
Publisher/Date published: Dreamscape Publishing, July 27th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the author for review

Goodreads summary: "New Hampshire high school junior Lizzie Davenport has been reincarnated from Regency Era, England... but she doesn't know it yet.
Then Drew Carmichael transfers into Lizzie's school at the beginning of the year, and she feels a connection to him, almost like she knows him. She can't stop thinking about him, but whenever she tries talking with him about the mysteries behind her feelings, he makes it clear that he wants nothing to do with her. Reaching him is even more difficult because she has a boyfriend, Jeremy, who has started to become full of himself after being elected co-captain of the varsity soccer team, and her flirtatious best friend Chelsea starts dating Drew soon after his arrival. So why can't she seem to get him out of her mind?
Even though Lizzie knows she should let go of her fascination with Drew, the pair of them soon find that fighting fate isn't going to be easy."

Okay, so I struggled a bit with this book. I really liked the whole idea of reincarnation and their love transcending time, but there were some things that bothered me.

I know that Lizzie was supposed to be meant for Drew and not Jeremy, but for all that she's been with him for a couple of years, they don't seem to really suit each other and the way they interacted I couldn't even picture them as friends.

Then there was the thing with Lizzie and Drew, and I'm sorry to say I didn't really get why Lizzie was so attracted to him. I mean, I know that with the reincarnation their feelings are somehow kept intact, but he was NOT nice to her! Really! And his reasoning of dating her best friend? Not cool. Seriously. I thought they both made some bad decisions and I blame Drew for this more than Lizzie, since he seemed to know a whole lot more about their past lives! I thought Lizzie was really naive when she thought Chelsea wouldn't have a problem with her and Drew. I mean, really?

I did really like the similarity of their situation now and how it all happened in their past lives and I thought the whole thing of their love transcending time was fascinating, I just wished the book had been a bit longer, so the storyline and characters could have been a bit more developed.

By all the things mentioned above, I don't want to give you the wrong impression: I DID like this book, it was a very enjoyable read, just not without flaws. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series and finding out how this story continues. Which should be fun, since it's from Chelsea's POV and is called Vengeance... Someone's angry!! Should be good :)
Oh, and one thing I forgot to mention: this story was inspired by the song Love Story by Taylor Swift! I really like that song and this is a sweet story that goes with it really well.

My rating: 3 stars

Sunday, November 13, 2011

2012 Debut Author Challenge!!

So, I had a blast this year participating in the Debut Author Challenge! So OF COURSE I'm gonna do it again this year! I've already spent some time lusting over the books and gorgeous covers :)

To read & review a minimum of twelve young adult or middle grade debut novels between the dates of January 1, 2012 - January 31, 2013.

More information can be found here.

My tentative list:
Queen of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
I am so running out to the store/pre-ordering this one!! Because seriously, I'm DYING to read it! I have loved this story since the author posted it on FictionPress a LONG time ago and I'm really looking forward to seeing how it's turned out!
Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Tempest by Julie Cross
Ditched by Robin Mellom
Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
The Wicked and the Just by J. Anderson Coats
Under the Never Sky by Veronice Rossi
Already pre-ordered it!
Candlewax by C. Bailey Sims
Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel
Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig
Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen
Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood
Fractured by Megan Miranda
Love & Leftovers by Sarah Tregay
A Breath of Eyre by Eve Marie Mont

And pretty much everything else that catches my attention ;)
So now the plotting as to how I will get my hands on all these can begin! 2012 will be the year I graduate and thus start making money, which means I will not have to budgetize so much, hooray!

So: are you guys planning to participate? Excited about some of these debuts as well? Or ALL of them? Let me know!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik

Title/Author: Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik
Publisher/Date published: HarperTeen, August 2nd 2011
How I got this book: got it from my brother as a birthday present, yay!

Goodreads summary: "Will Elise’s love life be an epic win or an epic fail?
At Coral Tree Prep in Los Angeles, who your parents are can make or break you. Case in point:
As the son of Hollywood royalty, Derek Edwards is pretty much prince of the school—not that he deigns to acknowledge many of his loyal subjects.
As the daughter of the new principal, Elise Benton isn’t exactly on everyone’s must-sit-next-to-at-lunch list.
When Elise’s beautiful sister catches the eye of the prince’s best friend, Elise gets to spend a lot of time with Derek, making her the envy of every girl on campus. Except she refuses to fall for any of his rare smiles and instead warms up to his enemy, the surprisingly charming social outcast Webster Grant. But in this hilarious tale of fitting in and flirting, not all snubs are undeserved, not all celebrity brats are bratty, and pride and prejudice can get in the way of true love for only so long."

I'd been hearing so many good things about this book before I started reading it, my hopes were pretty high. And sadly, they were probably so high the book didn't live up to it. By that I don't mean it was bad, just not as amazing as I had expected.

BUT: this was a really cute read. I mean, I love P&P, it's my all-time favourite novel and I really enjoyed this modern adaptation of it. I could just picture it happening like that in high school, all the misunderstandings!

Elise is a great character and I loved how witty she was! She really cares about her sisters and family, which was great. I really enjoyed the interaction between her and Derek, they were very good together!

There were some things I didn't really like: all the weird rules Elise's parents had! I mean, no mobile phones at home? Huh? I didn't really get that. I get you're not allowed to text at dinner or other set family time, but not at all? Weird! Also: where was Mary? There were only 4 sisters in this book instead of 5...

All in all, this was a cute, quick read and even if you don't know P&P, it will be an enjoyable read!

My rating: 3,5 stars

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Unclaimed by Courtney Milan

Title/Author: Unclaimed by Courtney Milan
Publisher/Date published: HQN Books, September 20th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Her only hope for survival...
Handsome, wealthy and respected, Sir Mark Turner is the most sought-after bachelor in all of London — and he's known far and wide for his irreproachable character. But behind his virtuous reputation lies a passionate nature he keeps carefully in check... until he meets the beautiful Jessica Farleigh, the woman he's waited for all his life.
Is to ruin the man she loves...
But Jessica is a courtesan, not the genteel lady Sir Mark believes. Desperate to be free of a life she despises, she seizes her chance when Mark's enemies make her an offer she can't refuse: seduce Mark and tarnish his good name, and a princely sum will be hers. Yet as she comes to know the man she's sworn to destroy, Jessica will be forced to choose between the future she needs…and the love she knows is impossible."

With this book, I had to adjust a bit to the setting, because usually the historical romances I read revolve around London's society and the balls and everything that goes along with them. But I ended up really enjoying this book.

Throughout the novel there are a lot of hints regarding Jessica's past and an 'illness' she went through not too long ago, but we're not given the answers until pretty much the end. And though I guessed what it had to do with, the revelation left me openmouthed with horror. It was so barbaric! Really, I wanted to shoot that guy! GAH!

I really enjoyed the chemistry between Mark and Jessica and thought it was really refreshing that for once the very male main character was a virgin and the heroine had all this experience, instead of the other way around, as it usually is. I did think Mark was very arrogant, but well, he had enough charm to pull it off.

And towards the ending this book brought tears to my eyes and I love it when that happens! I did think the ending was a bit drawn out, but it didn't matter much, because I really enjoyed it anyway!

I really liked that the two got to know eachother before jumping in bed together and proclaiming they're in love. I liked that it's not the only thing they did together, they spend time together and I loved reading about their moments together.

My rating: 4 stars

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Juliet Spell by Douglas Rees

Title/Author: The Juliet Spell by Douglas Rees
Publisher/Date published: Harlequin Teen, September 27th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "I wanted the role of Juliet more than anything. I studied hard. I gave a great reading for it — even with Bobby checking me out the whole time. I deserved the part.
I didn't get it. So I decided to level the playing field, though I actually might have leveled the whole play. You see, since there aren't any Success in Getting to Be Juliet in Your High School Play spells, I thought I'd cast the next best — a Fame spell. Good idea, right?
Yeah. Instead of bringing me a little fame, it brought me someone a little famous. Shakespeare. Well, Edmund Shakespeare. William's younger brother.
Good thing he's sweet and enthusiastic about helping me with the play... and — ahem — maybe a little bit hot. But he's from the past. Way past. Cars amaze him — cars! And cell phones? Ugh.
Still, there's something about him that's making my eyes go star-crossed..."

Okay, so I'd heard some less than stellar things about this book before I started it. And it ended up surprising me, because I really liked it. Well, the first part that is. About 50 pages before the end I went WTF???

I mean, the story was funny and cute and I liked Edmund, even though he was basically just a horny teenage boy. And though Miranda doesn't always have her priorities straight, I liked her as a character as well. She's extremely passionate about acting and well, I like a character who works to achieve his or her dream.

So we were doing good, we had the main character making goo-goo eyes at the horny teenage boy, while conveniently not seeing the other, much nicer, non-medieval guy who was silently pining for her. And we had a cute story. And then things got messed up. There was Miranda's dad returning out of nowhere, just being accepted back, despite being gone for years and years without any contact except paychecks. There was a whole weird almost shooting incident and the entrance of William Shakespeare himself.

And this is where the story lost its cuteness and made me go WTF?? instead.

And I'm sad that happened! Because it had such potential! But I felt the story got resolved in a way too convenient way and it all felt a bit rushed. Seriously, I was really wondering during the last 15 pages how they were going to send Edmund and William back, because they obviously had to. And then all of a sudden it all was resolved and it left me feeling slightly cheated.

All in all, this book had a really cute and fun start and I just wished it could have held on to that. The starred rating is mostly based on the first part, if the last part had been as good, it would surely have gotten a higher rating.

My rating: 3 stars

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Broken Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

Title/Author: The Broken Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin (The Inheritance Trilogy #2)
Publisher/Date published: Orbit, November 3rd 2010
How I got this book: got it from my parents as a Christmas present, yay!
Why I read this book: I LOVED The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, which is the first book in this series. Besides, look at the pretty cover!

Goodreads summary: "The gods have broken free after centuries of slavery, and the world holds its breath, fearing their vengeance. The saga of mortals and immortals continues in THE BROKEN KINGDOMS. In the city of Shadow, beneath the World Tree, alleyways shimmer with magic and godlings live hidden among mortalkind. Oree Shoth, a blind artist, takes in a homeless man who glows like a living sun to her strange sight. This act of kindness engulfs Oree in a nightmarish conspiracy. Someone, somehow, is murdering godlings, leaving their desecrated bodies all over the city. Oree's peculiar guest is at the heart of it, his presence putting her in mortal danger -- but is it him the killers want, or Oree? And is the earthly power of the Arameri king their ultimate goal, or have they set their sights on the gods themselves?"

I first fell in love with this series when I saw the cover of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, it's absolutely beautiful and I so hoped the writing was as good as the cover promised. And it was! I devoured that one and then had to wait 6 agonizing months for the sequel to come out. And was rewarded for my patience with both another pretty cover and an amazing story.

Set 10 years after the happenings in The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, we see the story through Oree's eyes, or more acurately: through her eyes, ears, smell and touch. Oree is blind, with the strange ability to see magic. This means she can see the godlings (children of the gods) and any other magic, which leaves a kind of residu sometimes. And as Shadow is a city godlings frequent, she still gets to see a huge amount of the place she lives in. It was so interesting to experience the world through someone who can't see and who doesn't take it for granted the times she can. I also thought it was a nice touch Oree's eyes make people uncomfortable, as in they're repelled by them. It's a change from the different but beautiful eyes. And being able to see magic is just really cool.

Oree interacts with the godlings frequently and one, Madding, used to be her lover. Their interaction is heartbreaking, they didn't break it off because they stopped loving each other, but because he is immortal and fears the pain of loosing her when she dies.

Recently there has been an addition to her house: a strange man who glows magic every morning, who she found in the trash one day. He doesn't talk and since Oree wants to address him somehow, she names him Shiny. The godlings don't like Shiny, but none will tell Oree why. Slowly she figures it out and though I remembered what happened in the first book, I was still slow to grasp the concept. If information about who this man really is gets out, the whole world as Oree knows it would stand on his head.

There's also the problem of people murdering godlings, who aren't supposed to be able to die at the hands of mortals. So who's behind this? And what does he want? Oree's thrown right into the middle of it all and doesn't know how she'll make it out of this alive.

This book was so incredibly amazing! Oree is such a real character, her reactions to things are relateable, though I wouldn't necessarily make the same choices she did, I completely supported her througout the book. She's a strong woman and doesn't like to rely on other people for things. She's learned to cope with being blind and I really enjoyed her story.
I think I developed a little crush on Madding, he is a beautiful person and cares about Oree very much. Godlings have a complex nature and I though Madding and the other were very interesting. Shiny (OMG, how much do I love the author/Oree for coming up with this one! Too funny!) is mysterious and at first, I did not like him very much, but he shows real growth and he has earned a special spot in my heart all for himself. We'd already met him in the first book and I loved how Jemisin explored his character in this one.

The storytelling is beautiful, I could picture everything the author mentions and I loved how I just wanted to keep on reading and at the same time not wanting the book to end. Jemisin has created a wonderful world with perhaps a more mythical than fantasy feeling to it and I absolutely loved it. Now I'll have to wait another agonizing 6 months for the next one! (Wrote this review in February, totally already read the third book and it was AWESOME! Review to come!)

My rating: 5+ stars

Friday, November 4, 2011

Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey

Title/Author: Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey
Publisher/Date published: HarperTeen, September 20th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "It was a beautiful, warm summer day, the day Danny died.
Suddenly Wren was alone and shattered. In a heartbroken fury, armed with dark incantations and a secret power, Wren decides that what she wants — what she must do — is to bring Danny back.
But the Danny who returns is just a shell of the boy Wren fell in love with. His touch is icy; his skin, smooth and stiff as marble; his chest, cruelly silent when Wren rests her head against it.
Wren must keep Danny a secret, hiding him away, visiting him at night, while her life slowly unravels around her. Then Gabriel DeMarnes transfers to her school, and Wren realizes that somehow, inexplicably, he can sense the powers that lie within her — and that he knows what she has done. And now Gabriel wants to help make things right.
But Wren alone has to undo what she has wrought — even if it means breaking her heart all over again."

Ok, so I had some doubts about this book, but I'd heard really good things about it, so I requested it, because you know, I have skipped on books many times, only to hear EVERYONE raving about it and then loving it myself and regretting not getting to it sooner. But this time, I should have trusted my instincts.

I'm not big on zombies. I'm totally fine with undead beings: vampires, revenants, ghosts. But zombies... They don't do it for me (mostly because they're creepy and want to eat my brains). And Danny was pretty much like a zombie to me. So we were not off to a good start.

But in the beginning I thought, well, seems like Wren (which is an AWESOME name) has gotten herself into a sticky situation (always wanted to say that), let's see how she'll manage to get out of it. Wren seemed cool at first, she had been dealing with the consequences on her own and because of this she had pretty much lost her friends and you know, her LIFE.

Enter Gabriel, who for some reason I can't figure out, is attracted to Wren. And seriously, there was too much insta-love for me here. I do not understand WHY he would like her.

This is probably the main issue: I did not like Wren. She treats a lot of people badly. REALLY badly! Her mom, her friends, her sister, Gabriel and yes, her dead boyfriend too. She's shutting them out and I can get she has to keep the undeadness of Danny a secret, but still. You can still be a decent person. But she's not. She doesn't appreciate help when it's offered, especially by Gabriel. And she has issues with her mom that I did not get at all and she's generally not a good person. There, I said it.

Also, she's constantly crying about the situation with Danny WITHOUT actually DOING something about it! I mean, really, it's been like that for 3 MONTHS. Not days, months. And she knew it wasn't right pretty much from the start. What is wrong with her that she didn't do something about it sooner! This annoyed me.

So yeah, this book wasn't for me. I finished it because it was a pretty quick read and I was thinking it would get better. I think this is a stand-alone, but there's a lot of issues left unresolved. There's a whole lot going on between Wren and her mother I couldn't really make sense of, also stuff about her father, but this never gets explained further. To me, this was the most interesting part of the novel, so I'm sad that it wasn't explored further.

My rating: 1,5 stars