Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Meridian - Amber Kizer

TITLE: Meridian

AUTHOR: Amber Kizer

SUMMARY: Half-human, half-angel, Meridian Sozu has a dark responsibility.

Sixteen-year-old Meridian has been surrounded by death ever since she can remember. As a child, insects, mice, and salamanders would burrow into her bedclothes and die. At her elementary school, she was blamed for a classmate's tragic accident. And on her sixteenth birthday, a car crashes in front of her family home-and Meridian's body explodes in pain.

Before she can fully recover, Meridian is told that she's a danger to her family and hustled off to her great-aunt's house in Revelation, Colorado. It's there that she learns that she is a Fenestra-the half-angel, half-human link between the living and the dead. But Meridian and her sworn protector and love, Tens, face great danger from the Aternocti, a band of dark forces who capture vulnerable souls on the brink of death and cause chaos. - From Publisher

REVIEW: Enjoyable. A fun, fast paced read that's a good stepping stone for this series to expand and grow.

The plot itself was steady and enjoyable. I liked that we didn't have lots of dry spells; on the flip side I felt like the plot sorta moved a bit too fast in certain areas. I wouldn't have minded some more doubt and reaction from Meridian about the legacy she's from. She seemed to roll with it a bit too easy. Even her relationship with Tens, while it progressed slow I would've been okay if it simmered a bit longer. The simmering is always my favorite part. However, I must praise Kizer for making their relationship actually age appropriate. I liked the way Kizer wrote them, despite my wish for the simmer. I can't wait to find out what all happens in the next book of this series.

I enjoyed the world that Kizer created and how with the beginning of each chapter we got a little bit of history. It really added to the 'verse that's shaped and makes the world even more tangible. I enjoy when a fiction author adds something to make it more realistic.

All around I'm eager to read the second book and anxiously anticipating what's to come!

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The Girl in the Arena - Lise Haines

TITLE: The Girl in the Arena

AUTHOR: Lise Haines

SUMMARY: In Massachusetts, eighteen-year-old Lyn, who has grown up in the public eye as the daughter of seven gladiators, wants nothing less than to follow her mother's path, but her only way of avoiding marriage to the warrior who killed her last stepfather may be to face him in the arena. - From Publisher

REVIEW: This book was such an unexpectedly awesome book. When I'd read the summary online I figured it'd be enjoyable but never was I expecting such a dynamic tale with characters that tugged at my heart.

Before I get to the good I'm going to hit the bad. There wasn't much but a few things. Starting with how I dislike being confused with 'modern' stories. I had no clue what time this was set in, current or future or past. What I'm trying to say is that it took me a bit to figure out where we were and I wish that in summaries they did a bit better job being less vague. Once I realized that it was slightly in the future but not flying cars future I was good.

My other issue was just the dialogue style. Haines didn't use quotation marks for dialogue but instead a dash and it took me while to enjoy the style. Felt like I didn't always know when the person was talking verses thinking. Wish she'd used the standard punctuation because it definitely would've been less confusing.

There was lots I loved about this book. The whole cautionary tale about our society becoming desensitized to violence and our disturbing thirst for it was probably my favorite aspect of the book. It definitely makes you look at the world around you in a different light.

Haines really created some stunning characters and gave them so much to work with. Characters, like Uber, that in most books you would hate you ended up loving. He actually became one of my favorites by the end of the book. We got the unexpected with him and Haines managed to give us the unexpected with all her characters. I loved how fresh and unique these characters were.

The plot itself was engaging and kept you hooked. I loved the twists we got and how as the story progressed we got information about previous events that subtly shaped certain outcomes. However, without the past history you weren't confused. All the finer details just added to the big pictures. Haines definitely has a way of giving us the story and then adding to it in a seamless fashion.

If you haven't picked this one up I highly recommend you do!

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Won this award from both Jessica at A Great Read & JAD at Cafe' Pearl Thank you!

Now as per the instructions on her blog, I pass this onto 15 other bloggers and then they do the same. Then they can go ahead and share 7 things about themselves.

1. Prophecy Girl
2. On The Edge
3. Margaret
4. Melissa
5. Jess
6. Katie
7. Leelou
8. Allison
9. Heidenkin
10. Crystal
11. Linda
12. Nocturn
13. AJ Hampton
14. Dana
15. Jules

Seven Things About Me:
1. I have an endless love for all things Sharks and the JAWS ride almost made me cry, I was in HS.
2. I'm a bit of a homebody.
3. As a child I enjoyed making my closet a place where I'd read.
4. Gene Simmons & Steve Tyler are my not so secret crushes.
5. When I have a bath I make it a huge ritual and a glass of wine is a requirement.
6. I think it'd be so much to be a Bounty Hunter.
7. I've just taken a gel nail course and absolutely love it!

The Hollow - Jessica Verday

TITLE: The Hollow

AUTHOR: Jessica Verday

SUMMARY: When Abbey's best friend, Kristen, vanishes at the bridge near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, everyone else is all too quick to accept that Kristen is dead, and rumors fly that her death was no accident. Abbey goes through the motions of mourning her best friend, but privately, she refuses to believe that Kristen is really gone. Then she meets Caspian, the gorgeous and mysterious boy who shows up out of nowhere at Kristen's funeral, and keeps reappearing in Abbey's life. Caspian clearly has secrets of his own, but he's the only person who makes Abbey feel normal again...but also special.

Just when Abbey starts to feel that she might survive all this, she learns a secret that makes her question everything she thought she knew about her best friend. How could Kristen have kept silent about so much? And could this secret have led to her death? As Abbey struggles to understand Kristen''s betrayal, she uncovers a frightening truth that nearly unravels her, one that will challenge her emerging love for Caspian, as well as her own sanity. - From Publisher

REVIEW: The potential for this book was endless, I impatiently waited for my turn to que up from the library only to be disappointed as I started reading this book.

This was Jessica Verday's debut novel and with debuts I'm always willing to let some stuff go. However, I felt like I had to over look lots of aspect of this book.

I was already 100 pages into the book and nothing had happened. It gave me that same feeling you get when you listen to a speaker that has a really monotone voice and causes a fog of boredom to enter one's brain. I wanted to be intrigued and pulled into the story but nothing was going on. It was a lot of pages filled with life's every-day's activities and it got tedious. By the time some action did happen I had really already checked out and nothing Verday could've done would have cleared that fog.

The style of the writing was choppy and at times juvenile, which yes, I do realize it's a teen/ya book but at one point it was teen and then old-school romance and then here and there. Pick a style and work with it, if you want your characters to grow then give them hurdles that allow that growth. Some of Caspian's dialogue was so off-putting and after finishing the book I feel like perhaps Verday was attempting some tricks. Won't say more than that so I don't spoiler but I wasn't impressed.

I wish I could say that I'd pick up the second book of this trilogy to see if perhaps this was just a whoops and that book 2 would have action and an enjoyable plot that would keep me engaged but... I can't. I was just really disappointed with everything, the plot, the characters, the pace and the book cover. Let me dive into that (as I do love dishing about good and bad covers).

I've mentioned this before. Those that say book covers don't make a difference are most likely fibbing. This book cover was extremely deceiving. I hate that. Make sure your model and cover art matches the character in the book. This book cover while eye catching was so opposite of what's in between the covers. The Abbey on the cover was not the Abbey I read about.

On the plus side. I loved how each chapters started with an excerpt from the original story, it made me want to pick up the book to read. The other thing I adored was learning about perfuming and all the ideas that Abbey had for scents and her future shop.

In the end I wouldn't recommend this book. However, if I do read book 2 and it's fantastic then I may recommend this trilogy, but with a warning.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Choice - Nicholas Sparks

TITLE: The Choice

AUTHOR: Nicholas Sparks

SUMMARY: #1 New York Times bestseller Nicholas Sparks turns his unrivaled talents to a new tale about love found and lost, and the choices we hope we''ll never have to make.

Travis Parker has everything a man could want: a good job, loyal friends, even a waterfront home in small-town North Carolina. In full pursuit of the good life - boating, swimming , and regular barbecues with his good-natured buddies -- he holds the vague conviction that a serious relationship with a woman would only cramp his style. That is, until Gabby Holland moves in next door.

Spanning the eventful years of young love, marriage and family, THE CHOICE ultimately confronts us with the most heartwrenching question of all: how far would you go to keep the hope of love alive? - From Publisher

REVIEW: Now this is a classic Sparks book and just what I love. Happiness before pain and then wondering if he, Sparks, can fix it or not.

I can, at times, be a hard person to please (just ask my husband). I want my characters to talk more like normal people, do some rambling and make assumptions and at times look like a fool, because in real life we do all those things. At the same time when I read that in a book it sounds off and non-book-esque. This is problem I discovered with Travis's sister Stephanie. She rambled and talked like an actual person would and while I loved that I didn't. It didn't take away from story, which was good, but it also read funny. Yeah, hard to please.

The story itself was beautiful. I love the journey and the theme. I feel like Sparks writes a classic romance that never goes near the smutty that most straight romances do. And while you get the romance you also get a few beautiful stories in one book. I never find myself getting bored while reading his works he does well writing real life.

If you enjoy romances or Sparks' movies/books you'll enjoy this. Just be sure to have some Kleenex.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The Lucky One - Nicholas Sparks

TITLE: The Lucky One

AUTHOR: Nicholas Sparks

SUMMARY: In his 14th book, bestselling author Nicholas Sparks tells the unforgettable story of a man whose brushes with death lead him to the love of his life.

Is there really such thing as a lucky charm? The hero of Nicholas Sparks''s new novel believes he''s found one in the form of a photograph of a smiling woman he''s never met, but who he comes to believe holds the key to his destiny. The chain of events that leads to him possessing the photograph and finding the woman pictured in it is the stuff of love stories only a master such as Sparks can write. - From Publisher

REVIEW: When ever I pick up a Sparks book I know I'm in for an enjoyable journey. This was one book that I found to be a bit different from other books I've read of his. I'm always expecting a tragedy and some sort of unhappy pain, with this book I didn't get that. Some would say that's good but I felt like I was missing out and that perhaps Sparks missed the mark, slightly with one character.

Keith Clayton, Elizabeth's ex, was written from the start as someone you weren't suppose to enjoy. I never felt sympathy for him and found his attitude of superiority to be a bit over the top and off from Sparks usual style. As the story unfolded and events happened I felt like Sparks wanted me to possibly have some sympathy for him, yet I never could muster it up. That aspect didn't sit well with me and, like I said, it didn't have that Sparks twist to it.

The rest of the characters were just what I've come to expect for Sparks. They were all well developed with lives that felt realistic and lots of depth and layers to them. That's one thing I love about his writing, is how we get lots of history and people connections in his books. A character is never really wasted or just plopped in for fun. I find this allows you to really focus in on the characters and get to know them.

Logan and his dog Zeus won over my heart instantly. Makes me want to fly to Germany when I eventually get my own German Shepard. The story of Logan's journey was laid out well and I enjoyed the flashbacks we got. I dislike when authors use flashbacks inappropriately but I find Sparks always uses his to the books advantage. You never feel lost nor overwhelmed, he's got a good balance with them.

All around I enjoyed the book. It sat more on the romance side, but was a nice reprieve from some of his more heartbreaking tales.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Kitty's House of Horrors - Carrie Vaughn

TITLE: Kitty's House of Horrors

AUTHOR: Carrie Vaughn


Talk radio host and werewolf Kitty Norville has agreed to appear on TV''s first all-supernatural reality show. She''s expecting cheesy competitions and manufactured drama starring shapeshifters, vampires, and psychics. But what begins as a publicity stunt will turn into a fight for her life.

The cast members, including Kitty, arrive at the remote mountain lodge where the show is set. As soon as filming starts, violence erupts and Kitty suspects that the show is a cover for a nefarious plot. Then the cameras stop rolling, cast members start dying, and Kitty realizes she and her monster housemates are ironically the ultimate prize in a very different game. Stranded with no power, no phones, and no way to know who can be trusted, she must find a way to defeat the evil closing in . . . before it kills them all. - From Publisher

REVIEW: Kitty's adventures just keep getting better and better along with becoming more addicting with each book!

I feel like I often say this about every book when it comes to this series but honestly, this is one of my favorites. I loved the darker aspects of this book; by darker I mean the unleashed violence of being locked in a house of reality terror. Vaughn really struck gold with this plot. I felt like it was a brilliant way to dive deeper into some major players 'end game' that we learned about in Kitty Raises Hell without the book becoming 300 pages of Kitty researching and asking questions.

The plot was fast paced and really put Kitty in a dire situation without her mate. And I think it was another stepping stone in showing how much our beloved wolf has grown. Vaughn has developed her characters so fabulously, never have I read one of her books and thought 'wow, where did this OOC come from?'. She writes in such a way that it just slowly happens; so feel safe in knowing that in no way does this book show Kitty as a hardened veteran battling the baddies but it definitely establishes that push come to shove our girl can push back and hard.

I did miss the lack of Ben in this book. I love Kitty and Ben's interaction and they are among the few couples that were once in a potential love triangle and they actually ended up together. Normally in triangles, the pairing that occurs isn't the one I wanted. So, I love these two even more then normal because they beat the book triangle odds! Thankfully the time we did get between them was full of substance and had me smiling with glee.

This book also brought the return of a beloved character and even if the plot and tease of ones end game wasn't involved I'd still be enthralled with this new addition simply for the return.

If you haven't read any of this series I highly encourage you to pick it up. It's one series that I've loved from the start and will now be impatiently waiting the next book in this series.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The Mark - Jen Nadol

TITLE: The Mark

AUTHOR: Jen Nadol

SUMMARY: While in Kansas living with an aunt she never knew existed and taking a course in philosophy, sixteen-year-old Cass struggles to learn what, if anything, she should do with her ability to see people marked to die within a day's time. - From Publisher

REVIEW: While the premise of this book has been done before I found Nadol's take to be fresh and intriguing. I loved the lore and how not all the pieces were given until the very end. Nadol left it open for this universe to carry on into a series. I like when a book ends with it having both a satisfying ending and leaving it still available to continue.

So, while the plot was enjoyable I found the most irksome aspect of this book was how Cass, a sixteen year-old, lived in such an adult world. The relationships she found herself involved in seemed off and I don't feel like her need meshed with her independence. Of course, my issues with some of the adult content for a teen could also be due to my old-school mentality. Perhaps I'm in the minority with this.

Nadol's take on 'the mark' was fresh, simply because she brought in the philosophy angle. Is it ones right to inform someone of their death even if it can't be changed? I loved how that theme ran through the book and seeing how various paths lead to various endings or beginnings.

All around I found this book to have a nice paced plot along with tidbits of intrigue to keep one reading.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥