Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spellcaster (Spellbound #2) by Cara Lynn Shultz

Book:  Spellcaster
Author:  Cara Lynn Shultz
Publisher:  Harlequin Teen
Date:  March 27, 2012
Source:  publisher via Netgalley
My grade:  B+

Finding your eternal soulmate - easy.

Stopping a true-love-hungry evil - not so much…

After breaking a centuries-old romantic curse, Emma Connor is (almost) glad to get back to normal problems.'s not easy dealing with the jealous cliques and gossip that rule her exclusive Upper East Side prep, even for a sixteen-year-old newbie witch. Having the most-wanted boy in school as her eternal soul mate sure helps ease the pain-especially since wealthy, rocker-hot Brendan Salinger is very good at staying irresistibly close....

But something dark and hungry is using Emma and Brendan's deepest fears to reveal damaging secrets and destroy their trust in each other. And Emma's crash course in ├╝ber-spells may not be enough to keep them safe…or to stop an inhuman force bent on making their unsuspected power its own.

My Review

I ended up really liking this book.  However, for some reason, I found it harder to read at the beginning than Spellbound.  I flew through that first book like my life depended on it.  This one, I could put down and play on Facebook or check my e-mail.  Up to a certain point, at least.

Once it hit its stride, though, this novel was fantastic.  I loved seeing Emma learning to use her magic.  Also, there was a good dose of mystery in this one, although there were some plot points that were so obvious I was yelling at the characters because they didn’t see them.  All in all though, once the book picked up, it was a non-stop run to the end with lots of action, twists and turns.  Oh, and evil.  Don’t forget there was a lot of evil sorcery as well.  With Brendan, Emma and Angelique fighting against it, of course.

I still like the characters a lot in this book.  The students at Vince A are very much like typical high school students, just wealthier!  I really liked Brendan in this novel.  He was so sweet and too bad he’s fictional!  I liked Angelique also and Emma’s cousin, Ashley.  I did not really like Angelique’s cousin Randi, however. She totally violated the girlfriend rule by openly lusting after Brendan.  That is so not cool, chica!

I am also digging the cover on this book.  Not sure why, but the black background with the archways and the girl running is a little different from the "girl in a fancy dress" covers that seem to be running rampant.  

I’m guessing that the series ends now, which is unusual.  It wrapped up rather nicely, but she has left it open enough that another book could be written.  Right now, there is no sequel listed on GoodReads, so perhaps this is a two-book series.  I would not be opposed to reading another book in the series, but it’s not necessary.  At a certain point in time, I think she just needs to let Emma and Brendan be happily ever after soul mates, right?

My grade for this book is a B+.  It’s slow to start, but if you liked the first book, you will probably be satisfied with this one also.  Just stick with it until it picks up and you’ll enjoy the ride!

Thank you to Harlequin Teen and Netgalley for allowing me to read and review this book.  I received no compensation for this review.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's topic is:

The Top Ten Books I’d Play Hooky With!

To me, playing hooky is when you forget about something you have to do for something you want to do.  Now, I love reading all books, but right now I’m sort of bogged down in books that I “have” to read because of publication dates and getting them up on the blog.  This means that I’m ignoring some that I really WANT to read, so here they are.  I hope I can plan a senior skip day with them really soon!

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong
    I am dying, dying, dying to read this book.  I love Kelley Armstrong and it just     keeps getting pushed to the bottom!  Kelley, I would totes skip school with you and go drink beer at the lake.

    A Beautiful Evil by Kelly Keaton

    I couldn’t get enough of “Darkness Becomes Her” and I’ve been recommending to random people on the street.  Now that the second book has come out, I’m     dying to read it.

      A Weekend with Mr. Darcy by Victoria Connelly

      I have been soooooo craving a chick-lit book lately.  One that is just light and fluffy and starring Mr. Darcy, the original girl heartthrob.  This book definitely  fits that bill.

        Jessica Rules the Darkside by Beth Fantaskey

        I have wanted to read this one since I closed the cover on Jessica's Guide and now I have it and it just keeps staring at me.  Sort of like Lucius.

          Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay
            I have wanted to read this book for a while now.  Of course, this really needs to  go on my have-to list since I just got a copy of the sequel.  I love Shakespeare in  modern day stories.

            The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
              Two things here, peeps.  First, that title is amazing.  Second, there is a hot boy with an English accent.  That explains everything.

              All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevon
                 Two words people:  illegal chocolate

                Besides, the awesomeness of  The Hunger Games has me craving a good dystopian.  And this is a futuristic mafia novel!

                Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star by Heather Rigaud
                  Do I even need to explain why I want to read this one???

                  Ok, I will......Mr. Darcy and black leather.

                  Insatiable by Meg Cabot
                     I will never get enough of vampires.  Ever.  Especially when they are well-written vampires.  My guess would be that Meg Cabot’s are well-written.

                    The Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

                    This book has Ireland in it.  I love Ireland and all things Irish.  Thus, I really,        really, really want to read it.  Erin Go Bragh!

                    So these are the books that would totally convince me to ditch school for the day, even though I'm the teacher!  What books are you going to ditch for?

                    Monday, March 26, 2012

                    The Hunger Games Movie Review

                    I went to go see the movie at the midnight release on Thursday, and I’m going again today! I needed some time to think though, before writing a review.  Skip this review if you don't want any spoilers!!!!!!

                    My feelings
                    I LOVED this movie. I feel that they captured every single facet of the book that was important. Did they leave out some stuff? Yes. Was some of it stuff I liked? Yes. But the important thing is that what they left out did not in any way take away from the feel or message of the book. I think it may be one of the best movie adaptations of a book I’ve ever seen. It certainly beat the pants off of the Twilight series and a good number of the Harry Potter ones as well. I left the theatre in awe, thoroughly satisfied that the book had been re-created in film as well as possible.

                    The cast
                    Every member of this cast nailed the characters. This movie was as well-cast as the Harry Potter movies. For me, Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson BECAME Katniss and Peeta. Proof? I felt the need to go back and re-read the book and now I picture the 2 of them in my head while I read, the same way that I pictured Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint.

                    Jennifer Lawrence was impeccable. She portrayed the grittiness, strength and instinct to survive that Katniss embodies in the book. There was not one moment that I questioned her character.

                    Josh Hutcherson was incredible as well. He captured Peeta’s quiet strength and his kindness and vulnerability. I think I fell in love with him by the time the movie was over. The chemistry between Peeta and Katniss was just crackling by the end of the movie! I felt like one of the silly capitol citizens, giddy over the star-crossed lovers.

                    The other characters were also wonderful. Rue immediately captured my sympathy and Donald Sutherland embodied the evil President Snow. The most surprising cast member for me was Woody Harrelson. I had doubts about him, but he played a perfect Haymitch. He was drunk and rude, but tough and able when push came to shove.

                    Whoever did the casting for this movie needs to get a big bonus!!!

                    The Story

                    This is one of the most faithful adaptations of a book that I have every seen. Even down to descriptions of fight scenes, the book was recreated faithfully. There were changes, but they were not changes that made a difference in major plot points of the story. I read a review somewhere where the reviewer said that Gary Ross had made a movie that was at once both epic and intimate. I totally agree with that. Even though the story was not narrated by Katniss as it is in the book, there was still that feeling of intimacy with her throughout the film.
                    The setting

                    Almost all of the District 12 sections were filmed about 10 minutes from my house. No, I’m not lying. Yes, I teach students who were extras in the movie. It was really weird to see this place that I’ve known all my life up on the big screen like that, but wow! Did they ever capture the feel of Appalachia. I think that they did a fabulous job showing the poverty and despair of District 12 and the Capitol was amazing! The arena was just as I imagined it to be.

                    What I wish had been different

                    This is a nitpicky little list here…..really, the movie was so good. These are just my own little things that I would have liked to see.

                    1. I wish they would have shown District 11 sending the bread to Katniss.
                    2. I wish they would have explained the muttations at the end of the movie and how they are the fallen tributes.
                    3. I wish they would have made it clear that for Peeta, it’s all the real thing.
                    4. I wish they would have shown that Peeta and Katniss were separated for days after they won and reunited on stage with Caesar Flickerman.

                    Yes, these are petty little things and in no way took away from my enjoyment of this movie. I cannot wait until Catching Fire!

                    (and I’m going to try and be cast as an extra since they’ll be filming 10 minutes from my house again!!!)

                    What did you think of the movie?  I'd love to hear other people's thoughts!

                    Tuesday, March 20, 2012

                    Top Ten Tuesday

                    Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's topic is:

                    The Top Ten Books on My Spring TBR List

                    Oh my!  This could probably be the top 50 books on my TBR list, but I managed to whittle it down to 10 books and one series. : )  So here they are!  The books I want to read ASAP this spring!

                    Yes, I realize there is something wrong with me that I have not yet read this.  I LOVE Kelley Armstrong.  I loved the Darkest Powers series.  I don't know why I haven't gotten to this one yet, but this is a priority for the spring.


                    I fell in love with Nightshade.  And I fell in love with Ren.  Herein lies the problem.  I am so afraid to finish this series.  Somehow, I know that she won't end up with Ren and I don't know if I'll be able to handle that.  I finally have sympathy for Team Jacob.


                    I think my friend Mary might shoot me if I don't have this one read before summer.  She keeps telling me I will love it and I know that she is right.  I just haven't gotten to it yet.  It taunts me on my Nook.  (Yes, Tara, I know that you might beat me alive as well for not reading this one yet!)


                    This book is number 139 on my to-read list on Goodreads.  Out if 1100 books.  Yes, that is embarrassing.  I loved the first book, so I'm not sure why it's taking me so long to get to the second one.


                    I've heard such wonderful things about this book.  Also, I've been craving a book like Amy & Roger's Epic Detour and I think this book might just fit the bill.  Plus, David Levithan wrote it.  Enough said.....

                    This is one of those books that everyone seems to have read except for me.  I know this book must be wonderful and I am totally loving dystopians right now, but I just haven't gotten to it yet.


                    This one is almost as shameful as the Kelley Armstrong book.  Why have I not read this one yet?  This one and Beautiful Chaos are sitting on my bookshelf, nicely autographed by the authors even!  And besides, I have to finish this series just because Kami and Margaret did such a great job hosting YALLFest in Charleston in November!

                    This book has been sitting on my shelf since Decatur Book Festival, 2010.  ::hangs head in shame::  This one 's autographed too and I've even loaned it out to other people and still haven't read it!  Geez!


                    Well, at least this one is fairly new and hasn't been sitting on the shelf for 2 years, right?  I still love this series.  I thought I might get tired of it, but so far, so good.


                    Oh Stephanie!  How I adored Anna and the French Kiss!  I am so sorry that I have not read this one yet.  And we share a state and I only live an hour away from you!  I should be ashamed and I am, but I am also afraid.  How can you ever write another book that will compare to Anna??

                    Those are my top ten books, but I had to add an eleventh.  But this is not one book, it's a series of books.  I must finish......

                    So, these are my Spring TBR books.  What are yours?

                    Also, what are your plans for The Hunger Games this week?  I am going to hang out at Barnes and Noble on Thursday and then head to the theatre at midnight!!!

                    Sunday, March 18, 2012

                    Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter

                    Book:  Goddess Interrupted
                    Author:  Aimee Carter
                    Publisher:  Harlequin Teen
                    Date:  March 27, 2012
                    Source:  publisher via Netgalley
                    My grade:  A freaking +!!

                    Kate Winters has won immortality. But if she wants a life with Henry in the Underworld, she'll have to fight for it.Becoming immortal wasn't supposed to be the easy part. Though Kate is about to be crowned Queen of the Underworld, she's as isolated as ever. And despite her growing love for Henry, ruler of the Underworld, he's becoming ever more distant and secretive. Then, in the midst of Kate's coronation, Henry is abducted by the only being powerful enough to kill him: the King of the Titans.As the other gods prepare for a war that could end them all, it is up to Kate to save Henry from the depths of Tartarus. But in order to navigate the endless caverns of the Underworld, Kate must enlist the help of the one person who is the greatest threat to her future.Henry's first wife, Persephone.

                    My Review

                    Holy cliffhanger from hell, Batman! (yeah, I went there!)  Aimee Carter, are you trying to kill me with that?

                    I just, and I do mean just, finished Goddess Interrupted, the fantabulous sequel to The Goddess Test.  And what did she do?

                    First, Aimee Carter takes us on this incredible, nail-biting on the edge of your seat journey around the Underworld.  Then, just when things start to settle a bit, even though nothing is really concluded, she throws this giant I-maybe-should-have-seen-it-coming-and-it-made-perfect-sense-once-it-was-revealed wrench right into the ending.  The ending, I tell you!  And now, I have to wait who knows how long because I haven’t bothered to look in order to see what will happen next.


                    And that, my friends, is this entire book in a nutshell!  At first, I was a little upset about the goings-on in the novel.  I was mad at Henry for the way he was acting and I wanted to kick Kate in the butt and tell her to do something.  That lasted for maybe 2 chapters and then this book was unputdownable.  And as you can see, it has inspired me to totally butcher the English language in order to describe it to you. 

                    There are so many things I love about this series.  First of all, I love the way that Aimee Carter has captured the essence of each of these Greek gods while still maintaining their modernity.  I used to spend HOURS reading these myths in my little illustrated D’aulaire’s Greek Mythology book and it’s nice to see the spirit of those original myths being honored.  I love the way the characters all have flaws but you can still learn to love them.  Based on my knowledge of Greek mythology and my knowledge of human nature, these characters are totally believable.

                    Also, if you start to get confused with all the modern-day name changes of the gods, there’s a nifty chart in the back of the book that tells you which god is which.  I wish I had known that about halfway through the book……..

                    There's only one thing about this book that I don't like.  That is the cover.  Yuck!  For some reason, this cover does nothing for me.  It looks like one of my students made this for a project in Publisher or something.  Really, Harlequin Teen?  You couldn't do any better than that?  Of course, I hated the Iron Fey covers too.  Someone at Harlequin Teen should really talk to that cover design team, just sayin'........

                    You are in for quite a ride when you pick this book up.  There’s a major crisis in the Greek immortal world and it is non-stop action until the end.  Then, the almost-end with Henry and Kate is just wonderful!!!  And then the betrayal that I never saw coming……….

                    ………and I’ll stop there!  I want to talk about this so much, but I will never spoil this for you, my lovely readers.  If you haven’t read The Goddess Test, do that now.  Then, on March 27, wait at your local bookstore for them to put this book on the shelf.  Then come back here and talk to me about it.

                    My grade for this book is obviously an A+.  I’m just not sure how in Hades I will ever make it until the next book comes out.

                    Saturday, March 17, 2012

                    Guest post from author Elizabeth Marx

                    Hooray!  The lovely Elizabeth Marx agreed to do a guest post today for St. Patrick's Day!  Her book, All's Fair in Vanity's War, is based in Celtic myth.  We thought it would be a perfect tie-in for today.  You can check out her book on smashwords.  She also has a new book, The Seer's 7 Deadly Fairy Tales, A Compendium.  It's a companion to Vanity's War and best of all, it's free!!!  It is also available on smashwords.

                    Here is a description of Vanity's War:

                    Salem’s always had sinister secrets. No one comes to understand this better than a sixteen-year-old girl who dies on Halloween night and is reborn a Seer.

                    The Seer can’t imagine anything worse than being an invisible teenager with enormous black wings. Until she finds out she’s been sacrificed to watch over Locke’s new flame.

                    Locke Cavanaugh is a Druid and part of the Order, a clandestine organization entrusted with keeping its members cloaked in the Ordinary world. Physically scarred from the accident that took his girlfriend’s life, Locke is searching for the OtherWorldly magic that damaged him because only those without blemish can rule the Order. And once at the helm of the Order, he has every intention of finding those responsible for her death.

                    On the West Coast, Keleigh Flaherty witnesses her parents’ murder by beasts that should only exist in nightmares. She is whisked off to the safety of Salem, where she learns how potent and dangerous her concealed Vate talents are. Keleigh wants to be Ordinary, but when her mother reaches out from the OtherWorld, and implores her to find a forgotten relic she’ll have to use all her ExtraOrdinary powers to locate it.

                    As Locke and Keleigh join forces, they unravel the Order’s involvement in the witch hysteria and murmurs of a Celtic prophecy. While Locke’s affection for Keleigh blooms, The Seer is torn between her duty to protect Keleigh, and her desire to stop Locke from making the ultimate sacrifice in order to earn Keleigh’s love . . .

                    But if they don’t find the witches bottle before the ShiningOnes do, someone stalking Keleigh from the shadows will take her instead and plunge all worlds into chaos.

                    Now on to Elizabeth's special post!

                    Celtic Spring 
                     “Buttercups and daisies,
                    Oh, the pretty flowers;
                     Coming ere the Springtime,
                     To tell of sunny hours.”

                    Spring is definitely in the air with the warming temperatures. Here are some of the Celtic symbols of Spring and their meanings.

                    Four Leaf Clovers

                    "Lucky clover" and "lucky leaf" is wood-sorrel or Oxalis tetraphylla.
                    The four-leaf clover is an uncommon variation of the common, three-leaved clover. According to tradition, such leaves bring good fortune to their finders, especially if found accidentally. According to Celtic legend, each leaf represents something: the first is for faith, the second is for hope, the third is for love, and the fourth is for luck. The four leaf clover is known to be magical because it alone can break through the glamour that fairies use to disguise themselves and the reality of their surroundings.


                    The cluricaune is related to the leprechaun and the far darrig in that he is a solitary creature. Some writers even go as far as to substitute the two less well-known spirits for the leprechaun in stories or tales to reach a wider audience. The cluricaune is considered by some to be merely a leprechaun on a drinking spree. He is a solitary fairy who prefers to lounge around and dress fashionably in a red suit and his shoes have silver buckles. The Cluricaune is knows for dropping stray sods which will make you forget whatever business you were about and they never do anything for anyone without calculating what their reward will be.

                    Vernal Equinox

                    The vernal equinox called Ostara, is celebrated in the Northern hemisphere in mid-March. Among the Celtic Sabbaths, it is preceded by Imbolc and followed by Beltane. This year it falls on March 20th which is very close to St. Patrick’s Day.
                    The name Ostara may be related to the word for "east". It has been connected to the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre. This festival is characterized by the rejoining of the Mother Goddess and her lover-consort-son, who spent the winter months in death. It is the first day of Spring and the actual Vernal or Spring Equinox is when night and day stand equal. It is considered a rare day of magic due to the balance of light and dark. Ostara is the time of planting.

                    The Goddess Ostara

                    According to the Venerable Bede, Eostre was the Saxon version of the Germanic goddess Ostara. Her feast day was held on the full moon following the vernal equinox -- almost the identical calculation for the Christian Easter in the west. There is very little documented evidence to prove this, but one popular legend is that Eostre found a bird, wounded, on the ground late in winter. To save its life, she transformed it into a hare. But the transformation was not a complete one. The bird took the appearance of a hare but continued to lay eggs. Many pagan traditions are transferred onto Christian holidays so this might be where the bunny and eggs come from at Easter.

                    Mad as a March Hare
                    The Spring equinox is a time for fertility and sowing seeds. So nature's fertility goes a little crazy. In medieval societies in Europe, the March hare was viewed as a major fertility symbol -- this is a species of rabbit that is nocturnal most of the year, but in March when mating season begins, there are bunnies everywhere all day long. The female of the species can conceive a second litter while still pregnant with a first. As if that wasn't enough, the males tend to get frustrated when rebuffed by their mates, and bounce around erratically when discouraged.

                    I hope you all enjoyed this special bit of Celtic knowledge as much as I did.  Go to and check out Elizabeth's books.  

                    Friday, March 16, 2012

                    Why I am experiencing blog posting fail......

                    In case you haven't noticed, I haven't been posting many reviews lately or even doing the Top Ten Tuesday this week.  I am still working on that dreaded data analysis for my class.  I am completing my last semester of graduate school and this semester is my product of learning.  That's essentially a thesis for an education degree.  I had to conduct my own research and now I am working on the data analysis of the survey questions I gave.  I am currently on page 46 of said analysis and I'm still not finished!!!!

                    So, once I get some of this under control, I will be back to my somewhat regular posting schedule.  In the meantime, bear with me and send me thoughts of chocolate. : )

                    Saturday, March 10, 2012

                    A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink

                    Book:  A Temptation of Angels
                    Author:  Michelle Zink
                    Publisher:  Dial Books for Young Readers
                    Date:  March 20, 2012
                    Source:  Publisher via Netgalley
                    My grade:  A

                    Even angels make mistakes in this page-turning epic romance...

                    When her parents are murdered before her eyes, sixteen-year-old Helen Cartwright finds herself launched into an underground London where a mysterious organization called the Dictata controls the balance of good and evil. Helen learns that she is one of three remaining angelic descendants charged with protecting the world's past, present, and future. Unbeknownst to her, she has been trained her whole life to accept this responsibility. Now, as she finds herself torn between the angelic brothers protecting her and the devastatingly handsome childhood friend who wants to destroy her, she must prepare to be brave, to be hunted, and above all to be strong, because temptation will be hard to resist, even for an angel.

                    Michelle Zink masterfully weaves historical fantasy with paranormal romance to create a gripping tale of love and betrayal.

                    My Review

                    I’m going to admit that Prophecy of the Sisters if one of those books that’s been sitting on my TBR list for a long time.  It’s also one of those books that I just never seem to pick up.  I don’t know why, but it is.  After reading this book from Michelle Zink, however, I think it just moved WAY up on my list!

                    This book was very engaging.  It is paranormal but takes place in 19th century London.  So that means that are hot guys with cool powers and great accents!  Already good, right?  But, the story starts in the middle of the action, with Helen being hidden away by her mother in a secret room and being told to escape.  As she realizes her home is burning to the ground around her, she flees into the streets of London in the middle of the night and shows up at the home of 2 mysterious brothers using a name and address that her mother shoved into her hand.  What a way to start a book!

                    This was an interesting twist on angel stuff.  Lately, it seems most of the books about angels have focused on fallen angels and watchers and the myth of the Nephilim.  This book is different.  There are 20 Keepers in the world who are descended from the angels and it is their job to protect the world.  One of them holds a key that will open up the past, present and future.  But, the Keepers are being murdered and, you guessed it, only Helen and the 2 Channing brothers are left!

                    I really felt like I could understand Helen and her emotions in this book.  I felt that they author did a great job with all of the characters, really.  I grew to love and care for all of them, even Raum!  The only thing that didn’t sit well with me was the almost insta-love between two of the characters.  But I could sort of see that happening given the horrific circumstances and also understanding the historical period, so I let that one go and just went with the story.  I felt ok about that by the end.

                    I don’t know if Michelle Zink plans to make this a series, but I liked the way it ended.  It could easily stand on its own, but there is also room for her to write more if she chooses.  I hope she chooses!

                    My grade for this book is an A.  It was an action-packed story that grabbed me from the beginning and had very believable characters that I could empathize with.  And hot boys with accents who are fighting the powers of hell, which is always a good think in my book!

                    Thank you to Dial Books and Netgalley for allowing me to read and review this book.  I received no compensation for my honest review.

                    Wednesday, March 7, 2012

                    Top Ten Tuesday......on Wednesday

                    I am totally fail this week.  I had graduate school on Tuesday night until 9:30 and I had spent the whole weekend writing a preliminary data analysis that was 22 pages long.  Just so my professor could tear it to shreds in class on Tuesday.  Needless to say, I didn't feel much like posting on the blog after that. : (   I'll be on time next week! 

                    So, without further ado, I present............................................................................

                    Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's topic is:

                    Top Ten Best Covers Ever

                    This week was so hard!  I LOVE book covers and these books with all the girls in beautiful dresses.....they are wonderful for me!  I know some people don't like them, but I think they're great.  But, I tried to mix things up a little bit here.  So these are some of my favs.

                    Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

                    Haters are gonna hate, no matter what.........

                    I have always loved this cover.  It's so simple, yet it sums up so much.  The whole Eve and temptation and just--gah!  This cover is gorgeous and meaningful and I will always love it.  

                    The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

                    This cover is gorgeous.  I love the flowing purple on the black background and the cream colored skin is stunning next to the two dark colors.

                     Everneath by Brodi Ashton

                    Yes, it's another gown.  But I love the way the red curls out and turns into smoke.  That is such a cool effect.

                    Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink

                    They changed this cover later and put two faces on it, but I love this original cover.  It's pretty creepy and immediately grabbed my attention.

                    Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

                    This cover made me laugh out loud when I saw it!  Of course, any book with a cover like this one is just screaming "READ ME!!!!  I'M SNARKY AND FUNNY!!!"

                     Lady of the Forest by Jennifer Roberson

                    What I loved about this cover is the way that it captured the medieval style, yet it was still soft and inviting.  Later, they put some horrible Fabio like cover on this novel.  I was so glad that my copy had this cover.

                    Beastly by Alex Flinn

                     Often, simplicity is best.  The white rose on the black background is so starkly beautiful and then add the script with thorns and you have perfection for a book cover.

                    Fallen by Lauren Kate

                    This is one of my favorite covers of all time.  I love the darkness of it and how mysterious it seems.  It's simply gorgeous.

                    The Darkest Powers series by Kelley Armstrong

                    I love all the covers in this series, but this second one is my favorite.  I love the way the jewel is being held in her hands.  Of course, the running theme of the jewel on each cover is pretty awesome!

                     Wildefire by Karsten Knight

                    This cover is breathtaking.  I love the way they use the black orchids to create the background and have the one orchid in the middle with the smoke and almost fire.  You know, since it's a book about a tropical location and the Hawaiian volcano goddess........
                    Also, the black orchids sort of create the illusion of more smoke.  Awesome!

                    So there are my favorite covers.  Or at least some of them.  Which of these are on your list?  Which ones do you think I left out?

                    Friday, March 2, 2012

                    Starters by Lissa Price

                    Book : Starters
                    Author : Lissa Price
                    Date : March 13, 2012
                    Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young People
                    Source: Netgalley
                    My grade: A

                    HER WORLD IS CHANGED FOREVER

                    Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie. Callie's only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man.

                    He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie's head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, and going out with a senator's grandson. It feels almost like a fairy tale, until Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations' plans are more evil than Callie could ever have imagined. . . .

                    My Review

                    Holy dystopian books, Batman! This was a great read!

                    Now, I admit that I’m starting to get skeptical about dystopians. I mean, I knew there would be a ton of them after the success of the Hunger Games. Just like with Twilight, when a whole bunch of mediocre vampire books managed to get published. Some of those vampire books were sooooooo bad, I don’t know what the publishers were thinking!

                    I’ve been waiting for that to happen with dystopian novels. And so far, so good! I haven’t really read that many that were just bad. Now, most of them don’t reach the level of the Hunger Games, but they are still darn good books!

                    This book is one of the better ones, in my opinion.

                    At first, it felt a little bit like The Host by Stephenie Meyer with that whole person within a person sort of thing with the host and other person communicating. But it didn’t take long before I just got over that feeling all together.

                    This is one of those books that you don’t want to put down. It is non-stop action and totally unpredictable. Down to the very last part. Yeah, she totally threw me a curve ball at the end. Several curve balls, in fact. Also, I think the premise of this book is so unusual. What would it be like in a society where only teens and senior citizens lived? And where life could be extended to seemingly unattainable lengths? Just thinking about that is mind-boggling, so seeing that experience put into a book is just incredible.

                    I loved the character of Callie. I was really able to empathize with her. She was a wonderful sister and friend, caring so much for her brother. I really felt for her when she ended up making the decision to go with Prime Destination. Even though I knew it was a bad decision, and she probably did too, I totally understood her motivation.

                    I think this may be the first time I’ve ever grown to love a character that I never even met really. Even though Helena is never really shown as a “person”, I grew to think a lot of her, sort of the way Callie grew to trust her and like her.

                    This is a dystopian that also deals with a lot of ethical issues. I think it would be a fun book to read with Unwind by Neal Shusterman. I could totally see my students discussing the many moral and ethical implications of these books. It really provides a lot of food for thought on many different topics.

                    I will admit that the cover, for me, was a little off-putting. Of course, after reading the book, I understand the cover. But the girl looks a lot younger than a 16 year old and it was sort of creepy to look at. I’m glad I didn’t judge the book by its cover in this case.

                    My grade for this book is an A. I loved it! I’m so glad that I read it. I can’t wait to read the second book, Enders.

                    Thank you to Delacorte Books and Netgalley for allowing me to read and review this book.  I received no compensation for this review.