Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tyger, Tyger by Kersten Hamilton

Teagan Wylltson's best friend, Abby, dreams that horrifying creatures--goblins, shape-shifters, and beings of unearthly beauty but terrible cruelty--are hunting Teagan. Abby is always coming up with crazy stuff, though, so Teagan isn't worried. Her life isn't in danger. In fact, it's perfect. She's on track for a college scholarship. She has a great job. She's focused on school, work, and her future. No boys, no heartaches, no problems.

Until Finn Mac Cumhaill arrives. Finn's a bit on the unearthly beautiful side himself. He has a killer accent and a knee-weakening smile. And either he's crazy or he's been haunting Abby's dreams, because he's talking about goblins, too . . . and about being The Mac Cumhaill, born to fight all goblin-kind. Finn knows a thing or two about fighting. Which is a very good thing, because this time, Abby's right. The goblins are coming.

I am so mad at myself.  Why?  Because I didn’t read this book sooner, of course!

Here’s the story on this book.  I was looking at contests for book giveaways on Goodreads, because who doesn’t want a free book, right?  So I found Tyger, Tyger on that page and thought it might be interesting.  I entered the contest and what do you know?  I won a book!  So the lovely Kersten Hamilton, author, sent me an autographed copy of her book.  She said she couldn’t wait to get my opinion, especially since I was a high school teacher and studying to be a librarian.

And then I let it sit on my shelf.  For quite some time, actually.

The description on the dust jacket does not in any way, shape or form describe the beauty of this story.  Now, you have to understand that my family is Irish on both sides and I have long had a fascination with Irish mythology and folklore.  I have read as many things as I could find about this subject, in both fiction and non-fiction.  I love, love, love it!

So, imagine how thrilled I was when I realized that this book was based in Irish mythology!  I couldn’t believe my luck!  Ms. Hamilton has done an excellent job of weaving Irish legend into a modern story of the sidhe.  There’s a bountiful amount of Irish legend and magic in the story and even includes Finn Mac Cumhaill himself!  What’s really nice is the seamless way that she is has placed all of this into modern day Chicago.

Once I started reading this book, I had a hard time putting it down.  It was unfortunate that my graduate classes started back up this week.  I can safely say that I would much rather have read this book than attend the class on cataloging!  Of course, I also wanted to read this book instead of eating.  Or sleeping.  I could not stop thinking about these characters.

This book had a little bit of everything.  It was definitely full of danger and adventure.  There were warm moments, humorous moments, sad moments and scary moments.  The plot kept surprising me.  Even though there was definitely a handsome leading man, complete with a lovely Irish brogue and gentlemanly manners to boot, the leading lady didn’t swoon for him right away.  (Although I have to admit that a certain 40 year old might have swooned a little.)  It was nice to see the girl not fall instantly in love with the boy for a change. 

And the plot!  The plot was amazing!  It kept me on my toes the whole time!  And the secret reveal about ¾ of the way through the book is something that I never saw coming!  And what a complication it was!

I was so sad when I reached the end of the book, and I’m really glad that there are more on the way.  The only bad things?  First, I have to wait for the next book.  And second,  I’m worried that, like all good Irish stories, there will never be a happily ever after.  Please, Ms. Hamilton, don’t stay true to that part of Irish tales!

This book is a solid A, especially if you love all things Irish like me!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick

Nora should have known her life was far from perfect. Despite starting a relationship with her guardian angel, Patch (who, title aside, can be described as anything but angelic), and surviving an attempt on her life, things are not looking up. Patch is starting to pull away and Nora can't figure out if it's for her best interest or if his interest has shifted to her arch-enemy, Marcie Millar. Not to mention that Nora is haunted by images of her father and she becomes obsessed with finding out what really happened to him that night he left for Portland and never came home.

The further Nora delves into the mystery of her father's death, the more she comes to question if her Nephilim bloodline has something to do with it as well as why she seems to be in danger more than the average girl. Since Patch isn't answering her questions and seems to be standing in her way, she has to start finding the answers on her own. Relying too heavily on the fact that she has a guardian angel puts Nora at risk again and again. But can she really count on Patch or is he hiding secrets darker than she can even imagine? (cover and description from the author's website at:


Holy cliffhanger, Batman! This book was more of a roller coaster ride than the first book! Then I got to the end and had a “Catching Fire” sort of ending! The next book cannot come out soon enough for me.

Once again, this book had me biting my nails and trying my hardest to figure out what was coming next. And I never saw most of it coming until it hit me smack in the face! I loved the way the author built the mystery and the way she would drop clues in and give just enough information to make you question what you were thinking. This book read a lot like a “Da Vinci Code” sort of novel, just with some added bad angels!

I didn’t know who to believe, who to trust and who to suspect in this book and that was so much fun! I wanted to hate Marcie and hate Patch and I couldn’t decide if I wanted to hate or love Scott. Rixon was the big surprise, though!

I found that I liked Vee much better in this book, but she is still not one of my favorite characters. I think that she is very shallow and she kind of gets on my nerves.

One thing that I didn’t like is the way that Nora was always sneaking to get information from people. That girl is seriously going to be arrested for breaking and entering at this rate! I wished several times that she would just confront people (okay, really just Patch) to get the story on what was going on. Sometimes she was so hard-headed that I just wanted to smack her.

Overall, this book was another real page-turner for me. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next installment and I already have some of my students reading it!

This book definitely earns an A.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch came along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment.

But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure who to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.

For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life. (From the author's website at: )


This book has been sitting in my TBR pile for a while and I’ve read nothing but good reviews of it.  My students kept telling me it was great as well.  So why did I wait so long to read it?  I have NO idea!  Now that I’ve read it, I wish I had read it much sooner!

At the risk of sounding like a cheesy book jacket quote, this book was dark, dangerous, mysterious and sexy, just like Patch!  At first, I thought it was going to be Twilight with a fallen angel, even down to the biology classroom.  It was nowhere close to that!

What really set this book apart for me was the real sense of danger that was constantly lurking around Nora.  The author also made almost everyone capable of being a suspect.  I held my breath through most of the book, I think!  In fact, it wasn’t until about three quarters of the way through the book that the reader even gets a glimpse of the truth behind Patch. (Which, coincidentally, is exactly when my toddler decided that it was time for a Candy Land marathon.  I wanted to read, but instead I got to take numerous trips to Candy Castle!)

I loved the mystery part of this book.  I was on the edge of my seat throughout the book trying to figure out exactly what was going on.  And the ending was like a thrill ride!  The last quarter of the book was full of sharp turns, twists and perpendicular drops to rival the best roller coaster.  I could not put it down!

I liked Nora pretty well as a character.  She was shy and uncertain, but she had a fair amount of spunk as well.  It was nice to see her stand up to Patch and listen to her instincts about him rather than just swoon at the first lopsided grin and smoldering look that he gave her.  Her tenacity was also admirable because she wouldn’t back down until she started finding what she wanted and she even stood up to people that she knew were dangerous.

Of course, Patch was a great character, although I didn’t really like him through much of the book.  He really does come across as dangerous and it was hard to trust him.  Of course, that’s exactly how the author wanted me to feel and it’s exactly how I did feel.

Most fans of Twilight, the Mortal Instruments, Beautiful Creatures and other similar novels will enjoy this book.  For younger readers, just be aware that Patch is rather sexual and there is discussion of the sin of lust and the biology class is conveniently discussing human reproduction. There is some violence in the book and it can be a little intense and scary. 

This book is a solid A.  It’s a must-read for teens and adults who love the paranormal!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

The undead can really screw up your senior year ...

Marrying a vampire definitely doesn’t fit into Jessica Packwood’s senior year “get-a-life” plan. But then a bizarre (and incredibly hot) new exchange student named Lucius Vladescu shows up, claiming that Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess by birth—and he’s her long-lost fiancĂ©. Armed with newfound confidence and a copy of Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire’s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, Jessica makes a dramatic transition from average American teenager to glam European vampire princess. But when a devious cheerleader sets her sights on Lucius, Jess finds herself fighting to win back her wayward prince, stop a global vampire war—and save Lucius’s soul from eternal destruction.(taken from


Ok. I really thought this book would either be a spoof or else just a cute, fun little read. It was a great read, but it wasn’t either one of those things! I really can’t believe how much I loved this book!

The first few chapters were a little tongue-in-cheek, probably because the reader is looking through the eyes of Jessica. Jessica is a rational sort of girl, one who doesn’t believe in vampires or the supernatural or the great mysteries of the world. So when the Romanian Lucius Vladescu shows up at her house, she thinks he’s a lunatic. Her parents know the story, but since she thinks they are slightly off-kilter as well, she dismisses the whole thing. For a while, at least!

It was wonderful to see how this book progressed from tongue-in-cheek, to teen romance and finally ended with political intrigue involving a centuries-long war between vampire families! And the crazy thing is that the plot really worked! I could not put this book down. I read it while cooking dinner, I read it while my toddler watched Thomas and then I read until it was finished. I had to see what was going to happen next!

I loved Lucius! One of the characters refers to him as Luscious Lucius, and that is right on target! He’s mysterious and slightly dangerous but he’s also chivalrous and attentive. The perfect mix for a dream guy, right? But seriously, Lucius really grew on me as a character. I know that he’s the one I’m supposed to like, but in the end, I found that I truly liked him as a person, erm, vampire, and that I was really rooting for him. I liked Jessica as well, and it was nice to watch her develop feelings for Lucius and also learn that the world may not always be a rational, scientific, mathematical place.

The letter that Lucius wrote to his vampire uncle back in Romania were one of my favorite parts of the book.  They were funny and entertaining, but they also started to give the reader a lot of insight into Lucius and his upbringing and how he was changing and growing.  I loved being able to get inside his head like that.

The ending of this book was great. Even though there is a sequel, which I plan to read as soon as it comes out, it was nice to have a book wrap up in a very satisfactory way. I want to know what happens next, but I’m happy with where the first book ended. Most books now leave you with such a cliffhanger that I’m almost afraid to start books that are in a series. It was refreshing to have a book wrap up nicely.

That’s not to say that I don’t want to read more about these characters! In fact, I immediately went to the author’s website at to see if there was another book. I also found a great surprise there! Not only is there another book coming out later this year, but she has an “in-between” book posted in its entirety on her website! I won’t tell you the title since I don’t want to spoil the first book for you, but when you finish this book, you can go read more on her website. I downloaded every chapter as a pdf file and loaded it onto my Nook!

I think this book is a great choice for high school girls. I don't think I would hand it to middle school girls and maybe not even some freshman girls because there is some sexual reference and a little bit of sexual tension tied into blood drinking. Nothing graphic, but it might not be something that a 12 year old girl's parents would want her reading.

This book is definitely an A! It was fun, mysterious and engaging and will be a quick and interesting read for teens and adults, especially vampire lovers.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Torment by Lauren Kate

Hell on earth.

That’s what it’s like for Luce to be apart from her fallen angel boyfriend, Daniel. It took them an eternity to find one another, but now he has told her he must go away. Just long enough to hunt down the Outcasts—immortals who want to kill Luce. Daniel hides Luce at Shoreline, a school on the rocky California coast with unusually gifted students: Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and humans.

At Shoreline, Luce learns what the Shadows are, and how she can use them as windows to her previous lives. Yet the more Luce learns, the more she suspects that Daniel hasn’t told her everything. He’s hiding something—something dangerous.
What if Daniel’s version of the past isn’t actually true? What if Luce is really meant to be with someone else?

The second novel in the addictive FALLEN series . . . where love never dies. (description taken from the book website at


Torment is an excellent name for this book because you will suffer torment when you get to the cliffhanger ending and realize that you have to wait until June to get the next book! If you’ve read The Hunger Games trilogy, you’ll know what I mean when I tell you to prepare yourself for a Catching Fire sort of ending!

But, regardless of my suffering until June, I am so glad that I read this book now! This book was just as good as the first book. The characters were still well-developed and had great personalities and it was wonderful to see Luce stick up for herself and demand to be treated as an equal. Too bad she couldn’t teach Bella that lesson with Edward! I’m not sure how I feel about Shelby. Right now, I don’t trust her so much and I can’t really put my finger on why that is. It was nice to see a little more of Roland and Arriane. Miles is a really nice character and I really like him a lot. I don’t like him as much as Daniel, but I like him. I had a hard time rooting for him, though.  I would definitely be wearing a Team Daniel t-shirt.  Daniel is noticeably absent from this book, but there is so much other stuff going on, that you don’t miss him. Well, not terribly.

I loved finding out about Luce and her past some in this book and it’s nice that the author gave just enough glimpses to set the reader up for the third book. If the blurb for Passion is an indication, it looks like Luce will really explore her past lives in that book, but Ms. Kate gave just enough background information in Torment to really set the stage and make the reader very curious about what sort of missing information there is in Luce’s past. In fact, I’m now very suspect of her origins and I’m dying to find out about where she came from.

This book was a little creepier, in my opinion. There were the Outcasts and the shadows and lots of evenings spent in the woods or in run down areas of town. At times, I wanted to reach into the book and shake Luce and yell at her about the danger she was putting herself into. It was sort of like a Friday the 13th movie, where you know that there’s something waiting in the woods and you don’t understand why the characters can’t see that! It kept me on edge throughout the whole book.

I still like all the angelology in the book and I’ve actually started looking for books to buy on the subject for myself. I hope that more about the history of the angels is revealed as Luce’s past is revealed in the 3rd book.

My grade for this book is also A+. I couldn’t put it down and I can’t wait for the third installment this summer! Thank goodness I’m taking YA lit…..hopefully I can work this book into my reading for that class!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Fallen by Lauren Kate

There's something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price's attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He's the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce--and goes out of his way to make that very clear--she can't let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret... even if it kills her.

Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, Fallen is a page turning thriller and the ultimate love story. (description from the book website at

WOW! Fallen angels may have just replaced vampires in my heart! This book was an incredible read. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the whole story, so I hope this review is not too rambling and all over the place.

What did I love? Besides everything, of course? Hmmmmmm……First of all, there were the characters. And what fabulous characters they were! I love Luce and her back story was so intriguing. Arriane is a lot of fun and really, all the reform school students were so unique and so appealing! They were different and it was hard to know what to think about them because I was always wondering why they were in the reform school, so that fact sort of kept me on my toes in regards to the characters and their motivations.

The other thing that I really loved was the way that the mystery part of the story unfolded. Ms. Kate is constantly feeding you just enough information to hold your interest while she keeps you longing for the next page and the next chapter. I literally tore through this book, both longing for and dreading the end!

The angel mythology that is revealed in bits and pieces throughout the book was very intriguing for me as well. In fact, I plan to do a little online research about angels myself now and also look for some books about angel mythology/folklore. I am finding that I am a little bit obsessive about angels right now! This is definitely one of those books that doesn’t want to leave your brain.

Of course, there’s Daniel and there’s Cam. What a fabulous pair of male protagonists/love interests! It’s hard to know for a long time whom you should be rooting for! I think I may need to go buy a t-shirt that says “I <3 reform school boys” or something along those lines!

I loved this book so much that I immediately opened my Nook and bought the sequel, Torment. I could not pull myself away from the story long enough to even write a review of Fallen because I HAD to know what was happening next. If you read this book, and you really must, do yourself a favor and get the second one at the same time so that you don’t find yourself at 2 am wondering if the 24 hour Walmart has a copy of Torment!

This book is a definite A+ for me! Lauren Kate might just be my new teacher’s pet!

Fallen and Torment by Lauren Kate

Ok, I don't normally do this, but I read Fallen this week, by Lauren Kate, and it was so, so, so good that I immediately downloaded the sequel, Torment, to my Nook and kept reading without stopping to write a review! Needless to say, I now have to go back and sort out the 2 books in order to write reviews of them! But, I thought that I might whet your appetites in the meantime by sharing some of the trailers with you.

First up, the official U.S. trailer for Fallen:

Then the trailer from the U.K.:

And the official Fallen trailer for Australia:

I can't decide which one I like better! Any opinions?

Later, I'll post the trailer for Torment and maybe an interview with the author!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell
It’s the summer of 1889, and Amelia van den Broek is new to Baltimore and eager to take in all the pleasures the city has to offer. But her gaiety is interrupted by disturbing, dreamlike visions she has only at sunset—visions that offer glimpses of the future. Soon, friends and strangers alike call on Amelia to hear her prophecies. However, a forbidden romance with Nathaniel, an artist, threatens the new life Amelia is building in Baltimore. This enigmatic young man is keeping secrets of his own—still, Amelia finds herself irrepressibly drawn to him.
When one of her darkest visions comes to pass, Amelia’s world is thrown into chaos. And those around her begin to wonder if she’s not the seer of dark portents, but the cause.  (Description from
Eventually, I liked this book.  I didn’t love it, but I really liked it.  I especially liked the ending.  It was nice to have a book just finish instead of leaving me there like a gaping fish with my mouth hanging open, waiting for the next book in the series.  It was refreshing actually, to have the book come to an end with enough resolved that I could close it and feel satisfied.

After having said that, I wasn’t really sure that I would get to that point with this book.  The book wasn’t slow to begin, per se, but it took me a while to feel anything for the characters, especially Amelia.  Also, I think the romantic storyline for Amelia was rushed and not really believable.  Yes, I know it was fast in other books (coughtwilightcough) and I not only believed it, I loved it.  Something was different in this book.  I think it was because I never felt as if I knew either character before they are suddenly “in love”.  I think a little more build-up to that would have been nice. 

I loved the supernatural storyline, once it started.  Amelia’s ability to see the future was both mysterious and fun and I found myself wondering what she would see next.  I also liked the other supernatural gift that surfaced in another character and the way it was explained.  That was a lot of fun.

I do think the book did a nice job of capturing the society of the late 1800’s and it was interesting to see the supernatural element play out in an historical setting.  I found that this was so interesting that as the book continued,  I could sort of overlook the author’s oversight in building the relationship part of the story at the beginning.  Sort of.

So, overall, I liked the book and some parts of it I liked a lot.  It’s not a book that I’m going to recommend to perfect strangers in Barnes and Noble (which is something that I’ve been doing with “Unearthly” by Cynthia Hand!) but I enjoyed reading it.

I would have to say that this book is a B- or a B.  I liked it, but I didn’t love it.

Thanks to and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the advance copy.  You can find out more about this book on its website at:

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Delirium by Lauren Oliver GIVEAWAY!!!

Ok, so I made no secret of the fact that I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Delirium. In fact, it will be one of those books that I will buy when it releases even though I have read an ARC.

So, what could make me very happy? The chance to win a signed copy, of course! If you check out Lauren Oliver's website, she is giving away 5 signed copies along with these awesome beaded bookmarks!  Go check it out right away!

Trailer Tuesday

Wow!  I haven't done one of these in a while.  I suppose I should start trying to get on more of a posting schedule, but I don't really "do" schedules very well!

I thought it might be cool to share a movie trailer with you.  This book was one of my favorites in 2010 and in March, the movie version is released.  The trailer looks like the movie has been pretty faithful to the book, so I can't wait to see if it really is.

So, here it is, the trailer for "Beastly"!

Win a free copy of Prom and Prejudice or The Lost Saint!

Lauren, over at Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf (which I love to read, btw) is doing a nice giveaway!

You can win a copy of Elizabeth Eulberg's newest book, "Prom and Prejudice" by visiting this page.


Lauren is also giving away a free copy of Bree Despain's new novel, "The Lost Saint".  Of course, if you read "The Dark Divine", then you'll want to rush over to try and win the sequel!  You can find it here.

And seriously, if you have not checked out Lauren's blog, you need to do so.  She has a great blog!  I love to see teens write critically and intelligently and she does both.  Now if she would only come be one of my high school students........

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Dark Parties by Sara Grant

Dark Parties by Sara Grant

Dark Parties is a dystopian novel about a country that generations ago closed its borders to people and ideas. No one knows what exists outside their protected society. Neva and her best friend secretly plot to force the government to open its borders. Anyone who threatens the government seems to disappear mysteriously. Neva receives a message from her grandma who vanished without a trace 10 years ago, inviting her to escape to the outside. Now she has a choice–stay and save her country or leave and save herself. (from


I liked this book a lot.  I didn’t love it.  Honestly, coming on the heels of two fabulous dystopian reads, this book had a lot to live up to, so it seems almost unfair.  It took me a while to get into the story, but once I did, I really enjoyed it.

I found that the character of Neva had to grow on me.  I wasn’t sure that I liked her a lot to begin with, but as the novel progressed, I realized what a strong young woman she was.  Sanna was set up in the beginning to seem like she was the strong one, but in the end, she just wasn’t.  I found that I really didn’t like Sanna all that much and I never really found a lot in her character that was redeeming.  She actually seemed sort of flat.

The male characters were very interesting.  In spite of everything, I found that I still liked Braydon a lot at the end of the novel. The author really threw in some curve balls with Ethan and Braydon that I just didn’t see coming.  That was really fun!  (For me, but probably not for the characters!)  The best part is that they were curve balls that made sense when it happened even though it may not have been what the reader was looking for at the time.

I felt that the whole idea of the protectosphere was very timely.  The terrorist attack was tied in nicely and gave one pause for reflection.  It was easy to see how the society had moved to the point of building the protectosphere as a way to “preserve their own superior cultural values.”  This, of course, should lead the reader to contemplate how this is reflected in our own society.  I liked the way the author presented these ideas in a way that should cause reflection without being in the reader’s face.

The ending was a bit of a shock for me.  I feel like it wrapped up, but I find myself wondering what happened to lots of the characters.  I can’t find any information on a sequel.  I would definitely not be opposed to one, although it is probably not necessary.  I wonder if perhaps the author has left the possibility open in case she wants to write more in the future.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable book.  It wasn’t quite as strong as some of the other dystopian fiction I’ve read lately, but it was still a good book.  I would probably rate this book A-.

Thanks to Little, Brown for the Advance Reading Copy.  This book will be available for purchase on August, 3, 2011.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky

Maddie lives in a world where everything is done on the computer. Whether it’s to go to school or on a date, people don’t venture out of their home. There’s really no need. For the most part, Maddie’s okay with the solitary, digital life—until she meets Justin. Justin likes being with people. He enjoys the physical closeness of face-to-face interactions. People aren’t meant to be alone, he tells her.

Suddenly, Maddie feels something awakening inside her—a feeling that maybe there is a different, better way to live. But with society and her parents telling her otherwise, Maddie is going to have to learn to stand up for herself if she wants to change the path her life is taking.

In this not-so-brave new world, two young people struggle to carve out their own space. (from

The irony did not escape me that I was reading a book about too many computerized devices on my Nook e-reader!  That philosophical musing aside, I have to say that this was a great book and evidently, hit very close to home.

I love the character of Maddie.  She is strong, yet believable.  I’m not sure how I feel about Justin.  I love him and hate him at the same time.  The supporting cast of characters are interesting as well, with Clare and Noah being my favorites, and just like everyone else, I don’t like Molly and Scott.

The action scenes in this book are riveting and like Maddie, I found myself looking over my shoulder a lot during many scenes in the book.  Another interesting point was the way that the author makes the reader hate all the digital living, but then throws a big whammie into that in the dead center of the book!  When the explanation of how digital school came to be,it gives one pause to reflect for a moment and realize that maybe the "digital side" isn’t so horribly evil.

I think that one of the things that makes this book so compelling is that it is so on-target.  This is a situation that is totally within the realm of possibility.  In fact, I often complain to my teenage daughter and my teenage students alike that they no longer do face to face very well.  They are forgetting how to interact socially.  In fact, I think that as a society we all are forgetting how to be social.  So this book is very timely.  It provided me with a lot of food for thought about my own habits and just how “plugged in” I am.

Was there anything that I didn’t like?  Yes!  The cliffhanger of an ending!!!  That has me hanging on the edge of my seat just waiting for more!

So, with a well-written story with a timely theme, an interesting cast of characters and a cliffhanger ending that will have you begging for the next installment…..what’s not to love?  I give this book a solid A.

This book is available for purchase on May 23, 2011.  Thank you Houghton Mifflin for letting me read the ARC!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

My Top 5 Books for 2010

This was really hard, but here they are.  These are in no particular order because there was really no way to decide that.

I'm sure that I'm making people sick with the way I won't stop talking about this book.  Seriously, I haven't been this obsessed with a book since I read Twilight the first time.  And that, my friends, is obsession!!

I suppose that if I had to choose a number one, this book could be it, but the other 4 books are amazing as well, so I just won't rank them.

What best of list would be complete without a Cassandra Clare book?  This book was an amazing read!  I approached this one with a certain amount of trepidation because honestly, I didn't think she could recapture the magnificence of the Mortal Instruments series.

Boy, was I wrong!  This book took the Shadowhunter world and transported it to Victorian England.  That in itself was fantastic.  But then she gave me a character like Will--such an enigma!  I can't wait for the next installment of the Infernal Devices.

Cassandra Clare-- you own me!

 I can't believe it took me so long to find Kelley Armstrong.  The first book in this series grabbed me and pulled me in and then each book just got better and better.  This, the final book in the trilogy, is everything that a final book should be!

Lucky for me, this YA series introduced me to Kelley Armstrong's adult books as well, so I can still get my KA fix while waiting for the next YA series to start!

And if you can't get enough, go to Kelley Armstrong's website and she has different Darkest Powers novellas to read.  I can get more Derek!  Hooray!

Duh!  Of course the final installment in the Hunger Games trilogy is on my top 5 list.  Now, I know that a lot of people were not really satisfied with this book, but honestly, it's one of the best ending books that I've ever read.  I thought it brought the story to a close perfectly and, more importantly, realistically. 

Suzanne Collins managed to keep Katniss in character throughout the book, which was not an easy thing to do given the plotline.  Also, I think that the whole Katniss/Peeta/Gale issue came to a perfect, and believable, resolution.

I loved it!

Surprised?  No, this book is not a new release, but I just read it this year and it was definitely one of the best books I read this year.  I loved the premise--a modern re-telling of Beauty and the Beast.  I think that Alex Flinn did a beautiful job of reworking that story for a modern audience.  Kyle's growth and transformation were breathtaking.

Then the bonus was that they are releasing the movie in 2011!  I didn't know that when I first picked up the book off the shelf at my school library, but I was so happy to find out once I finished the book.  I just hope that the movie can do the book justice.  I love Alex Pettyfer, but Vanessa Hudgens?  Not so much......::shudders::

So, there you have the top 5 books that I read this year.  What were your top 5 books?  I'd love to know, so leave them for me in the comments!

Delirium by Lauren Oliver (revisited)

Book:  Delirium
Author:  Lauren Oliver
Publisher:  HarperTeen
Year:  2011
Reason I read it:  I received this as an ARC earlier in the year.  I am now re-posting this review because it is required in my YA lit class and I need my professor to see my review.
My grade:  A+

(from goodreads.comBefore scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love - the deliria - blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.


I’m still sitting here reeling from the ending to this book.

I’m not sure exactly how to sum up my feelings about “Delirium”.  It was intense—I was sitting on the edge of my seat through most of it, feeling as nervous as the characters and worried about who was watching!  There were times when I was disappointed by the characters, times when I was so angry at people or the situation and times when I felt heartbroken.

But nothing could have prepared me for the ending.  And that was really dumb, because Ms. Oliver did a nice job of foreshadowing it, but I only saw that at the end.  As soon as I finished the last page, I immediately ran to the internet to see if there is a sequel.  Thank goodness, there is a sequel!  In fact, there are 2!!!  Now I just need to figure out how I will survive until 2012.

The premise of this book is so engaging.  The government is curing humans from the malady of love.  At the beginning of each chapter, there is a quote from some religious text or official government document about the dangers of love and why you need to be cured of it.  I liked seeing that at the beginning of each chapter.  It made everything seem more realistic.  It was also nice the way the author twisted books and documents that we are familiar with to make them fit the story.

It’s an interesting concept and the reasoning is compelling.  After all, think of the problems and tragedies created by love.  The famous literary characters who have suffered immeasurable heartache and tragic destiny because of love:  Romeo and Juliet, Lancelot and Guinevere, Tristan and Isolde, Anthony and Cleopatra, Samson and Delilah, poor, mad Ophelia.  All destroyed by the power of love.  It’s definitely food for thought.  Of course, seeing what people become without love was heartbreaking also.  I really liked the way the author described the reactions of the citizens.  

I loved the characters in the book.  Lena grows so much as a person in this book.  It is beautiful to see how she transforms.  I really like Hana and I am hoping that things turn out ok for her and also for Grace.  Alex is, of course, a magnificent character.  But the "cured" characters are interesting also, if only because they are so not interesting!  The juxtaposition between the cured and the uncured characters was fascinating.

This book was an incredible read and I’ve really started out 2011 with a bang!  If this book is any indication of my reading for the rest of the year, then I’m in for a stellar year of reading!

This book is a solid A+!!  Thanks to Harper Collins for giving me a chance to read it!

This book will be available for purchase on February 1, 2011.

Wither Giveaway

Pure Imagination is giving away a copy of Wither by Lauren Destefano!  Check out the contest details here.  This book looks really interesting. 


What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left.

This book releases in March.