Friday, September 30, 2011

Leepike Ridge (Quotes)

"In the history of the world there have been lots of onces and lots of times, and every time has had a once upon it.  Most people will tell you that the once upon a time happened in a land far, far away, but it really depends on where you are.  The once upon a time may have been just outside your back door.  It may have been beneath your very feet.  It might not have been in a land at all but deep in the sea's belly or bobbing around on its back."

- Chapter 1, page 1, paragraph 1

Yes.  I love this paragraph so much.  At any time and in any place, it would be amazing.  But at the beginning of a book?  The first paragraph to a story?  Genius.  Epic.  LOVE.

Review on Monday!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Ella of Frell has never really known her father.  She and her mother are best friends living a happy life with their Cook, Mandy, for company.  But Ella is not your typical girl.  She was given the gift of obedience as a baby from a fairy who never gives good gifts, even when she has the best of intentions.  This gift means Ella must obey any and all orders - whether it be to sweep the floor, hop like a rabbit, or cut off her own head!
After Ella's mother dies, Ella must deal with her grief alone - for not only is her mother gone, but her father is sending her to finishing school with the two most horrid girls in the world - Hattie and Olive.  She wishes she could stay in Frell, enjoying the menagerie and her new friend Prince Charmont, but her father, who knows nothing of her curse, has ordered her to go.
But Ella is not one to shy from adventure, or to bend the rules of her obedience charm.  Ogres, elves, stepsisters, and possible true love wait in her future.  If only she could find the fairy who gave her the curse in the first place...

My thoughts -
At first, it was hard not to compare this book to the movie, which I've seen about ten times.  I still watch it every so often with my sisters to laugh and relive childhood memories, as silly as the movie is.  I wanted the book to be different but...the same.  Same characters, same order of events, same climax and turnout.

I got something completely different, and was at first surprised by this.  I wasn't sure how much I liked it - it lacked the action and intensity I was expecting.
But I soon got over this and found myself in a fluffy, light, floating fairy-tale that involves more silly magic and character development than action.  And then I was hit with the climax - and I went to my sister, who had already read the book, laughing and giggling and bursting about the story with her, while she tried to get me to stop hugging her with joy... ;)

In any case, I was so happy, by the end, to find how different and how much better this was from the movie, which I don't know if I'll ever watch again.  How could they have ruined such a beautiful story?!

Character notes -
I really loved all these characters.  They were three-dimensional and full of life and so different from each other.  I admired Ella (even though I thought she cried a lot), despised Hattie, and said, "Poar Olive" every once in a while to get a good laugh.  (Yes, I meant "poar".)

Prince Char, where to begin?  He started as a boy, and grew into a man, lovable, tender, and loving.  He lived up to my standards and definitely deserved this story's heroine!

Story notes -
Like I said before, I wasn't too happy with the lack of action and suspense...but it was hard to stay disappointed.  I found myself enjoying the story just as much as I'd been hoping, just in a different way.  It focused on Ella and how she came to be a woman, so whether this involved taming ogres or sewing for finishing school, it became an adventure.  A few of the scenes weren't as well written or executed as the others, but the turnout of those scenes always made up for it.

My favorite scenes involved the love letters.  Love letters always add the most touching and tender side to a story.  I'm so glad this story had many!!

Summing it up -
Lively - like skipping by a lake in the cool spring breeze.  I'm so glad to have gotten to know Ella, her friends, and even her enemies.  I want to read more of Levine's novels now!

Nothing for the parents - 11+

Read my other reviews!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Buys 9/9-23/11

This Friday Buy is all about fantasy...four out of the six are fantasy books that I've been eyeing for a while.  The other two are random, but so fun, and I can't wait to read them!

Wren to the Rescue by Sherwood Smith - $1.00 brand new
Yes, this is my first Sherwood Smith purchase!  I'm very interested because I've heard great things about her.

Green Rider by Kristen Britain - $.50, flat but creased spine
I have the second book in hardcover...which kind of irks my book OCD but that's ok.  I don't think they'll be favorites anyway. ;)

Faerie Wars and The Purple Emperor by Herbie Brennan - $2.50 for all 3
I've been so fascinated by the idea of these books for a long time...  And guess what I found?  First it was the Tor copy...which I dislike but it was $.50 so why even think twice?
Then...I found both Faeries Wars and The Purple Emperor at the paperback book exchange.  With tax and handling fee on their used prices (I used my credit there, so I didn't pay their price), I got them for about $1.50.  For both.  So.  I'm going to take back the Tor copy and get a credit at the exchange store so I can buy something else! :)

October Sky by Homer H. Hickam, Jr. - $.50, brand new
I've wanted this book for a long time.  I kept going back and forth about buying it on Amazon for $11.  So glad I didn't!  The movie was great, too.  Definitely a keeper. :)

Tigerheart by Peter David - $2.00, brand new hardcover
I'd never heard of this book before I found it for brand new at the used bookstore.  I love the writing from what I've read and I'm fascinated by the story line - a retelling of Peter Pan.  It should be...interesting, if nothing else.

The Four Feathers by A. E. W. Mason - $1.00, used but flat and very readable
I keep hearing this is a great classic.  We shall see!

Matched by Ally Condie - $1.00, the spine is loose like it's been read; almost perfect
I just read this, and I really liked it, so I was SO excited to find this almost perfect hardcover at the paperback book exchange!!  Using my credit, I only had to pay $1 for tax and handling.  Oh, happy day!

Here they are - eight books for a total of $1.50! :)  I'm looking forward to some epic fantasy now. Ha!

Happy reading!  What books have you bought recently or gotten from the library?  Leave your links if you have them! :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dormia by Jake Halpern and Peter Kujawinski

Alfonso has never really fit in at his hometown of World's End, Minnesota.  While other kids are nestled in bed, sleeping soundly, Alfonso is asleep, but, well...he sleep-walks.  He could walk a tight-rope in his sleep, or climb the tallest tree in hundreds of miles, or fix a broken clock.  Or randomly put together a complicated concoction to grow a plant that has color changing leaves.  He's done all of these things, including the last one.  And that seems to be the problem.  A big problem.  Alfonso learns from his long-lost uncle how important this little plant is - it's a rare Dormian Bloom - and Alfonso is to take it to the hidden land of Dormia to save the last standing city.  Can he do it in time, or will traitors and wicked men stand in his way?

My thoughts -
This is one of those books that I can totally see being a great action film.  While I was reading it, I got all these crazy cool ideas of how it could be filmed or who could be in it and the like.  It was really cool.  Definitely a movie I'd like to see.

I didn't really think I'd like the book when I started it (I was coming out of a 4-5 day reading funk) and I had a hard time easing into it.  The writing wasn't (and isn't) the best, but it's clear and gets across a nice picture.  The story was good enough and already packed with interesting stuff and some action in the twenty pages, but I was skeptical.  I almost gave up.  I don't know why, because I was enjoying it at that time.

In any case...I'm happy I pushed through.  And while it's not a great book, it was definitely good.

Character notes -
The first thing that struck me about Alfonso was how cautious he is about everything.  A bit afraid at first, but he grows and becomes wise.  I didn't totally get where or how this change happened, but I wasn't confused. I just...knew.  Alfonso isn't the most consistent MC (none of the characters really were consistent), but he was likable all the same.

The characters are constantly caught in a game of deception in which no one knows who's good or who's bad.  I guessed wrong.  I couldn't believe it.  Neither will you.  That was probably the best twist in the whole story.

General Loxoc of Somnos and Spack of Barish-yin-Binder stand out to me as the strongest, most consistent characters.  And Spack made me laugh - SO. HARD.

Story notes -
This story takes you from the US, to Canada, across the Atlantic Ocean, into the depths of an iceberg, to the worst city Russia, and up into the Urals.  It was a fascinating journey, to say the least, with tons of action, deadlines, company, and clear descriptions.  Sometimes I couldn't believe what was happened or what I was seeing.  Intense, fun, or hilarious, it was all good.

What more can I say?  This was some good story-telling, with some major twists and unsurities that will have you guessing until the end.  And the Strazsydlo Forest - Spooky!  I'm telling you!  Spooooooky!  I read part of this part at night and had to slam the book shut and quietly force my breathing back to normal...

Summing it up -
D. J. MacHale said it best - “It’s an imaginative quest through strange and exotic lands with an assortment of quirky, fun characters. Just when you think you know where it’s going, it goes somewhere else.”  So I guess my one word would have to be quirky.  Everything was unique and kept me interested even when I wanted to put it down.  It's a great read for ages 10+, and while it's not a timeless classic that all adults will love, I'm sure a lot of people will enjoy reading about Alfonso and his journey with the Dormian Bloom!

For the parents -
Nothing!  Ages 10+

Read my other reviews!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Little Women and Me by Lauren Baratz-Logsted (ARC review)

Pick a favorite book.  Then write a paper about your three favorite parts, and one thing you would change.
So goes Emily March's English assignment.  And after a hard day of drama with boys, she is more than happy to work on it.  When she picks up Little Women and realizes how much she'd want to change, she doesn't expect to be swept into the story - or to become one of the March sisters, either!  But that is exactly what happens.  Emily's life - and the story of Little Women, is about to change drastically.

My thoughts -
Some things I liked.  Some things I did not.  I tried terribly hard to enjoy the book with effortless ease, not prying into random details and picking at the story too much.  Btu I just couldn't do it.  There were quite a few things that just would not stop bugging me, and I feel compelled, as an honest reviewer, to share them with you.  Yes, the story was cute; yes, I laughed, smiled, and even got caught up in emotion (although, only toward the end); yes, I was once more inspired by the characters, mostly Beth and Jo.  But there are issues to be addressed.

Character notes -
The characters in Little Women have always made me fall in love with them every time I watch the movie or read the book.  And while she didn't do it exactly, Lauren Baratz-Logsted did do a good job portraying the characters well, the sisters especially.  Marmee, not so much.  And Laurie was adorable, but, of course, I'm biased to the Christian Bale version.  (Mr. Bale, you have defeated everyone's chances of being as good as the original - even you!)  Aunt March cracked me up, as did her parrot.

What about Emily March?  Well, she's not exactly the most likable character.  She drove me crazy with her really really bad logic.  She made decisions that had me wanting to rip out my hair.  I personally didn't like her at all until the end of the middle (if that makes sense).  Another problem I had was at the beginning - I had a hard time seeing the connection between the author's voice/style and Emily's voice/character.  I could sense Lauren's style, which I like, and then suddenly I was reading from Emily's perspective.  The two were discernible, and I found this annoying.  I wanted them to mesh and be one voice; it's something I find incredibly important.  However, toward the middle, I felt the two voices come easier and go together better.

One of my favorite things about the book - Emily and Beth's relationship.  I mean, SO sweet.  So tender and adorable.  They had nothing in common, and yet they just had this sweet, sisterly love.  It made me grin and get emotional over Beth (and the change in Emily...finally!) on more than one occasion.

So, in the end, I liked Emily March.  The changes she made were for the better and worth going through the crap for.

Story notes -
While I didn't know where this story was headed in the beginning, I loved the turnout and the really cool twist at the end.  The way everything played out made me happy.  It went through all my favorite scenes from Little Women and added some great ones.
I loved the dialogue but wished there was more of it.  I felt like there was a lot of telling about the conversations between the characters, and not enough actual dialogue.  It would have added more meat to the story...
I really liked how circumstances made the book itself magic.  I loved Emily's perspective on the 1860's, all her likes and dislikes...

But while I liked the story, there were things I just couldn't ignore.  Like, the story amnesia.  Emily couldn't remember who John Brooke was, and when certain events would happen or what certain events would happen.  And then, all of a sudden, with no transition of thoughts, half-way through the book, Emily was like, "That must be my story amnesia..."  It was weird.  One moment I'm confused by the lack of explanation for her lack of memory of a book she'd read many times.  Then, there's a sudden diagnoses.

In the end I still had some unanswered questions, and the end seemed short, but I was satisfied and happy that I had read the book.

Summing it up -
Flawed but likable.  This story isn't exactly solid, but it is clean, funny, and it ended well.  I'm satisfied and can't wait to read more from the author!  Thank you, Lauren, for sending me the ARC copy to review! :)

For the parents -
A quick reference to, what if Emily March scandalized the family by becoming a lesbian?  Emily also tries to kiss Laura...and awkward scene.  He pushes her away and accuses her of having a fever.  Over all, clean.  Recommended 14+.

This ARC copy was provided by the author in return for an honest review.  I was in no way compensated; all thoughts and feelings expressed are my own.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Little Women and Me (Quotes)

Oh, what I wouldn't give for some LOL Cats right around now.
In the wake of the me-kissing-Laurie disaster, I realized that I had finally found my place among the March sisters.  If Meg was the wise older sister, Jo the rebel tomboy, Beth the gentle spirit and Amy the vain and pretty one, I was...I was...I was...
The family skank?
Great, I thought.  That was just great.

- Chapter 7, page 93

(From the ARC; the final product may vary slightly.)

Review coming on Monday!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Libraries VS. Bookstores

 My childhood was idyllic.  The most idyllic part being the books.  Finances were quite a bit easier on everyone back in 1996 when I started reading, when mortgage payments were less than $1,000 and there were only two children to care for.  It was in those days that every book was at my very fingertips.

What I mean is, my mom took me to Barnes and Noble twice a week (at least, she says), and pretty much whenever I wanted a new book, I got one.

Because of this, I have grown extremely fond of my many trips to a store piled and stacked and filled with books.  These trips have caused me to love bookstores and buying books.  Particularly at Barnes and Noble.

Ever since I got a job, and especially since last year when I started this blog, I've been buying books like crazy.  I admit, it's somewhat of an addiction.  My TBR that I own is ridiculously large, extending to over 100 books.  But I love it.  It means that the stories I love most are mixed with the stories, worlds, ideas, and inspirations I have yet to read and love.  For some reason, this is wonderful.  Comforting, even.

But, like most people, I have a budget.  I've learned (from buying too many books) that going over my budget has consequences.
This, my friends, is where the library comes in.

Free books, all the time.  Any time.  They usually have what I want when I want it, and when they don't the books I want are usually worth the wait.  Either way, it's a way to spend less (or none at all, actually) and get more.  And I still get to read, more even than before, which is the most important thing.

Lately I've been thinking about the vast differences between libraries and bookstores, in cost, feel, memories, and enjoyability in general.  (I know, "enjoyability" is not a word.  But I'm making it one.  Today.  Now.)  I know people who step into a bookstore maybe three times a year.  Others (like me until two years ago) who don't have a library card.

I still prefer the bookstore.  The memories and being able to take a book home for keeps are what draw me.  (At the library,you have to take it back.)  But I've been wondering - what are your preferences?  What do you enjoy most?  What gives you giggles of anticipation and makes you jump with joy?  Well...maybe not that dramatic.  That's probably just me. ;)

So.  Leave comments.  Tell me your thoughts, though they be short-or-long-winded.  How did you spend your childhood with books?  Was it a library or a bookstore that helped you to love reading?  Do you prefer to clutter (ok, organizing works, too) your house with bought books, old or new, or do you prefer to return them?  Thoughts thoughts thoughts! :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Queen's Daughter by Susan Coventry

Joan's parents, Eleanor of Aquitaine and King Henry of England, are each trying to win the princess over.  After years and years of fighting, Eleanor and Henry carry an animosity towards one another that no one can miss.  They discover what a useful pawn their seven-year-old daughter Joan is, and frequently use her to their advantage.  But when circumstances make it convenient for Joan to marry King William of Sicily, a man ten years her senior, Joan's life is about to become the hardest it's ever been.

My thoughts -
I found this story surprisingly dark.  The kind of dark that involves heartbreak, illness, death, war, and suffering.  No matter which way you look at it, Joan's life was sad.  I also found this book surprisingly good. No the greatest book ever, just solid and secure.  I don't often read historical fiction, and usually when I do it's for the story, not the history.  But this one was different; I came in with no expectations and enjoyed everything about it, including the history parts, even when I felt a bit confused by so many quick historical facts, details and updates.  I started reading this book at a faster pace than I'd recommend.  I'd like to read it again, slower, to get all the details I may have missed.

The writing was excellent (after finishing it I went and wrote 3,000 words of my own story on a high), and the characters were so well done it was like I knew them...had known them for years.

Character notes -
For one, Joan had my attention with the first words she spoke.  She was immediately alive and real.  As the story continued on, I watched as Joan grew from a 7-year-old playing with dolls to a 10-year-old engaged to a 22-year-old.  Then she became a woman at 14 and a widow at 25.  The rest, I won't say.  You'll have to see for yourself.  But in any case, Joan became like a life-long friend.  I had lived life for 25 years through her eyes.  Her bravery and courage alone were enough to like her, and her kind heart made me love her.  I also pitied her, knowing she could do nothing about her situation.  But she forged on, making the best, even when things were hard.

My favorite character had a small role throughout the story, and had his main role toward the end.  Lord Raymond...  While there is no Perfect Prince Charming in this story, there is a Count, and he is charming, despite his imperfections.  The end scenes with him in it made me giggle - he's so wonderful.

That's one thing I greatly appreciated about this book.  There was no romanticizing things.  Down to the last character, everyone had a flaw, and most of them affected the story greatly.  Lord Raymond liked to throw his good looks and charms around too much, and William neglected his duties.  Constance had a dirty secret.  Eleanor was a heartless woman, despite her beauty.  Richard made brash decisions.  Real people were not downplayed and made into perfect, selfless people without a care in the world.  That is probably the best thing about this book.

Story notes -
Just like the characters, the real life in this story is not dumbed down into fairy tale wonderland.  Not in the slightest.  In a world with meager medical assistance, warlords wanting to be king of all, and stupid and sad marriage customs, this story can times.  It weighed on my heart most of the time; I found myself sickened by Joan's parents' willingness to marry her off.  "He'll probably wait till your courses come before trying for an heir, but if he comes to your bed before then it wont be a sin," was basically the theme for young girls handed over into marriage.  Sick.  Sick sick sick.  This is real life, though, and while our society's problems are much different, we still have them, all the same.

Still, in the midst of all of Joan's hardships and shames and struggles, there is happiness.  And while her happy moments are few, they were perfect for the story, without a question.  And then end.  The end was perfect in every single way.  I couldn't have asked for anything better.  What a great way to show how hard work and courage pay off.  (And I must say, while I sometimes like tragic endings, I felt like this book needed a somewhat happy ending for all its hardships...I can't say I was disappointed.)

Summing it up -
The word trust is what comes to mind as I think back on the story.  This book is about Joan's journey to trust.  She was abused her whole life, and finally finding a friend or two to trust was a miracle to Joan.  Every which way she looked, someone would do something terrible, making it hard for Joan to look to anyone for help.  But in the end, she was rewarded for her perseverance, as she should be.  It was a sat story with a touching end, satisfying and beautiful in every way.

For the parents -
Recommended to ages 16+.  Two quick uses of GD.  Sexual content, while not graphic or even detailed, is still there, just like every other nitty-gritty detail of Joan's life.  This book doesn't just reference to her husband's visits to her bed, but they're not full sex scenes either.  The details are sparing, but you get that she's either in pain or annoyed or just plain unhappy.  Later, when she marries a man who truly loves her, he makes a comment as to how he can't wait to undress her.  He is gentle with her and doesn't force her when she claims it will hurt, since she's only ever been hurt.  Quick references to the night before.  Aside from Joan, men's young lovers are often mentioned, and one male character is having a passionate affair with his aunt! :/

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday Buys 8/26/11 - 9/9/11

These last two weeks were the weeks of deals.  Like, superb deals.  Deals unheard of.  Deals you only find in magical places like the World of Cupboards.  And I'm here to share them with you.  To get you to understand the vast incredibleness of my savings in the last two weeks, here are some statistics.

If I had bought all of these books brand new, I would have paid nearly $150.
Since I bought them used (and still, they're mostly in great condition), I paid less than $40.
Are you seeing what I mean?  Are you jumping up and down with excitement and/or rushing to the nearest used bookstore to find your own treasures?  You should.  They're worth hours of your time.

Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen - $2.00
This is indeed my first Dessen purchase.  It is in really good condition.  I read it in almost one sitting and found it highly enjoyable.  Review to come. :)

The Goblin Wood by Hilari Bell - $0.50
I hear good things about Miss Bell and am interested in this story...  We shall see!

Slathbog's Gold by M. L. Forman - $1.00
I saw this at a bookstore three weeks before I found this and thought it looked interesting.  Good buy.  A pretty stubborn bend in the front from being bent back (OH, the horrors!), but oh well.  I doubt it'll be a favorite anyways.

Geek Magnet by Kieran Scott - $1.00
Looks sister and I have plans to read it together once a second copy comes in from the library. :)

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke - $3.00
So.  I did it.  After asking around and researching and having this giant 800-paged book glare at me EVERY time I stepped into the library bookstore, I purchased it.  Its a hardcover in perfect (and I mean perfect) condition.  $3.00 is a genius price ($24.00 off).  I don't know why it took me so long...

Stowaway by Karen Hesse - $2.00
I'm a big fan of Karen Hesse's Out of the Dust and Witness, so this should be a treat.  Told in journal format.  I'm excited!  Almost brand new condition.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling - $2.00
No, your eyes are NOT deceiving you.  Yes, you read CORRECTLY.  I purchased this almost completely brand new (I see nothing wrong with it) copy of HP7 for TWO. FREAKING. DOLLARS.  I know, I know, it's insanity.  That's what I mean when I say out of this world deals.  I saved $33.00 on a brand new book.  It's insanity at it's best.

Someone Like You by Sara Dessen - $2.00
My 2nd Sarah Dessen.  According to a lovely book blogging friend, my "Sarah Stash" is growing.  ;)

Daisy Miller and Washington Square by Henry James - $1.25
It's got a weird bend in the binding but it was worth it.  I'm looking forward to diving in.

Wildwood by Colin Meloy - $13.00 (from B&N)
I have no words for how excited I am to read this book.  SERIOUSLY.  NO. WORDS.

My favorite author, my hero, the guy who writes the best books and the most amazing stories and characters and who makes me laugh and mourn when his books are over, who makes me love life more and appreciate the joys and beauties of this world.  Give it up for his NEW BOOK!!  And...not only is it a new book, but it's a NEW SERIES!!!!!!!  AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH my heart can't take's too much happiness and joy and love and awesomeness.
I'm currently reading this book and am finding it incredibly amazing, as is expected, and can't wait to share my review with you all!!!!!!! :D

Here's the stash.  Amazing.  I know.  Really epic.  :)

Hope you all are having an amazing September! :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Final Warning by James Patterson (Maximum Ride book 4)

The Flock has just said goodbye to Ari, Max's half brother...the one who tried to kill them all in the past, but changed his ways and got killed.  Now the Flock has to move on without him.  They're all developing new, crazy powers on their own, all getting stronger and ready to take on the world.  When Mrs. Martinez, Ella and Max's mom, recommends the Flock to a team headed toward Antarctica, the Flock are hoping to use their new skills to help save the world.  But what is this new mission in this freezing cold place?  Will they be safe like the scientists claim?

My thoughts -
Once again, these books are great.  I loved the action and the connection between characters, as well as the outstanding scenery.  But there are two things I didn't love...or even like.
1.  The new bad guys.
2.  The sudden, cheese-ball homage to global warming.  BAM!  Out of nowhere?  Maybe if the series had led up to this, it would've made more sense.

Character notes -
I'll start with the bad guys.  Ok...what?  Where did THAT come from?  It was strange.  And choppy.  And just plain weird.  I wanted to to snort in disbelief.  Definitely cheesy...not the cheesy I love about the Flock, but "Are you freaking kidding me?!" cheesy.

However, despite the stupidity of James Patterson's newest destroy-the-world freaks, the good guys were great.  Max continues to be amazing, along with the rest of the Flock.  The crew of the ship was a great addition, especially Brigid.  She caused tension between Max...and FANG!

Ok, so Fang grows up a little bit with each book.  It's seriously super attractive.  Like, him lacing up his manly snow boots while giving Max this business...or uncoiling rope to save someone's life.  Or the way he works so well with Max.  He's becoming a man and it's extremely appealing and worthy of the butterflies that float around inside of me whenever I read or hear his name.

Story notes -
Like I sad.  Global warming.  Outta nowhere.  Like the bad guys or the weird random hurricane at the end.  There wasn't enough intro to it, any of it.  Maybe if the last book had somehow led up to it, I would have found it enjoyable.  But as far as I know, this is a one-book thing.  Which kind of irked me.

Besides that, I liked the story.  The new setting of Antarctica, complete with blinding snow and penguins, was really fascinating and held my interest.  It was a great way to add originality to the series.  The fight scenes and rescue scenes were good, written well.  And, my favorite, the romance.  It's blossoming, another reason why I love Fang and how stinking manly he is.

Summing it up -
A cool ride.  Like, if Disney gave the Matterhorn real snow and some penguins to waddling about, and maybe a few bird kids to fly around it, that's what it'd be like.  Despite the random holes and sudden appearances in the story, I was highly entertained and am looking forward to book #5, Max.
Extremely clean, nothing for the parents.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Cascade by Lisa T. Bergren (River of Time #2)

This review does not contain spoilers, for Waterfall or Cascade.  But if you would like, you can read my review for the first book in the River of Time Series!

Gabi and Lia are back in their own time - and boy, do they have stories to tell!  But in order to get their mom to believe them, they must return to 1300's Italy to prove it.  When they arrive, their  archaeologist mother just can't get enough of the artifacts; Fortino is healed, based on Gabi's remedies; Lady Romana Rossi is squirming her way into things - just in a different way than before; and Gabi and Marcello's love is blossoming into something greater than they'd imagined.  But when Gabi, the she-wolf, is forced to make some tough (ok, really really really hard) decisions, and some very wicked plots are discovered, will the Castello Forelli be able to hold?  Will Gabi and Lia have the strength and courage to live the lives of the She-Wolves of Siena?  Or will Firenze crush them all?

My thoughts -
OMGEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I kind of liked this book a, a ton...I loved it!!!  To be completely honest...I mean, seriously!  This book held so much more than the first book.  I came in with lower expectations than I had with the first - and suddenly I was shocked!  Cascade became a favorite about half-way through.  The battle scenes, the escapes, the characters - they were much more real and memorable.  I look back at my favorite scenes and I realize that they amount to pretty much the entire book.  And now I'm thinking the release of Torrent can't come fast enough!

Character notes -
Oh, Gabi.  She inspires me.  Lia, too, and Mom.  But Gabi is by far one of my favorite heroines.  Humor, strength, and courage.  Beauty - inside and out.  And love.  So much genuine love for everyone.  Her growing relationship wiht God totally inspired me - her small prayers that meant so much.

And Marcello - phew!  Someone get me a fan and a fainting couch!  That man became so much clearer to me in Cascade.  His face, his personality.  He gave me chills most the time...Gabi is one heck of a blessed girl!  He's the ultimate stronghold, the kind of man any girl would want to spend forever with.  The way he loves Gabi is gut-wrenching.  It's not a summer fling - on either side.  It's a forever kind of love.

But those are the good guys.  What about the bad?  The wicked men in this book are...wicked.  Super wicked.  They gave me chills...different kind of chills than Marcello, of course.  Chills, like I want to cower in fear and hide from them.  New enemies are formed, raising the old, already high stakes a level or two or three higher.  No kidding.

And Lord Greco...who ARE you?

Story notes -
YES YES YES YES!  With action, fast and furious, danger, escape, and a love story that will melt your heart - there is no reason why you should not pick up this book this very second.  Begin our journey into a world of old, where battles are fought with a sword and bow, feuds are extremely common, almost getting killed is a common pastime, and true love really comes in the form of a knight in shining armor.  The escapes will have you dying to turn the page; the battles will have your blood pumping; the sweet, stolen moments between Gabi and her man (and Lia and hers...?) will sweep you off your feet.  Oh, yes.  This is epic story-telling at its finest.  And the way it was written...  I mean, must I still go on? ;)

Summing it up -
Memorable, from first word to last.  I want to relive it over and over again, like a good song.  Let it play, again and again...

For the parents -
A few kisses.  Nothing inappropriate.  Good for young teens. :)

Read my other reviews!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

August Summary

So, August has come and gone, taking with it the Summer.  Really, has time gone by so fast that seemingly just yesterday I was publishing my May Summary?  WOW.  Fast.  Really fast.

This summer I graduated high school, got my driver's license, and moved 10 miles up the freeway.  I got a new room and therefore, my bookshelf situation is a little different.  Well, it's a lot different, actually.  I plan on doing a post about it later on, once everything's put together... But let me just say this - I don't actually have a bookshelf anymore!  Crazy, huh?

Moving on...  This summer I also found the most ridiculously amazing paperback book exchange store...  Seriously, amazing.  The books are almost all in great condition, for half off.  If you have a book that has a list price of $14.99, you could trade it in and get approximately $4.00 in credit to their store.  The credit lasts for a year unless you renew it.  Then they put the book on their shelves and will probably sell it for around $8.00.  Everyone's happy, you have money toward a new book, and they are making money.  I bought a ton of stuff there this last month and am loving it.  Too bad I now live 15 minutes from it, whereas before I was only 3 minutes.  Oh, well.  I'll still make the effort. ;)

So, what have I reviewed this month?  Here's the list!

Read the full review here!

Because the 6th book in this series, Darke, has recently come out, I've been thinking an awfully lot about this series lately. Why I like it. Why it's so freaking adorable. Why it makes me giggle and excited. Why you all should give it a go.
Things like that.
 And so here I am, doing a little something to change up the atmosphere, and giving you six reasons - one for each book - why you should read this series....

Read the full review here!
Dear Lauren,
Your books make me bawl.
Sincerely, Sierra
It's ridiculous.  You should have seen me.  Sitting on the ground, head in my hands, bawling.
My thoughts?  Want to hear them?  How about, "How in the heck am I ever going to find the words to write this review?!"
So, as my brain is in a fuzz of "I love this book so flipping much!", I sit here with my notepad, and the book for reference, and I start my review....

Read the full review here!
I would have killed him, too.
I've never felt that way about a murder mystery before, but it's true.  You would have.  Your mother would have.  Almost anyone would have.
I guess you'll just have to read the book. ;)
Basically, this book made me cry.  If I hadn't been so dehydrated from my stupid sunburn, I would have sobbed.  I never thought a trial could be so moving....

Read my full review here!
November better get its butt over here, and fast, because I need more of the Tiger Saga!  (Insert interesting fact:  Book 3, Tiger's Voyage, is released November 1st, 2011, which happens to be my 18th birthday!  Happy dance!)
I seriously love this series.  I loved the first book, and Tiger's Quest just added  to that love.  Golly, I was so sad it was over!  I need to know what happens, and FAST!  It's like...a medical emergency or something.  Just kidding...sort of. ;)...

Read my full review here!
Yeeeee!!!  Fast fast fast fast!!  That’s how I feel every time I read these books, and this one is no exception.  So much actions, all the time, and yet there are still so many personal aspects that draw in the readers and connect them to the characters.  Saving the World was still not as good as the first book, but it was definitely better than the second.  Thoroughly enjoyable!...

Read my full review here!
Everything about this book caught me by surprise, swept me off my feet, and I fell in love...  Kind of Prince-Charming-Disney-Style.  Except, this much much more serious stuff than Disney.
And you know, while this book was so freaking amazing and I would like to tell everyone about it and have them go read it asap, I don't really feel like I have to write a "SQUEEEEEE" kind of review.  This book has a startling confidence about it.  Like, "So what?  You don't want to read me?  You don't like alien stories?  Well think again."  I know that me talking from a book's perspective marks my downfall into insanity, but it's so true.  If this book could talk, that's what it would say....

Read my full review here!
I love Kat Falls.  I love the way she writes.  I love how she creates her stories and shapes her characters and makes me shiver with anticipation or giggle with delight.  So, basically, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  It was everything I was hoping for and more.  I pre-ordered it and started it the day after it arrived, I was so stoked....
Read my full review here!
If this book hadn't been so short, I would have put it down half way through.  Or maybe, if it had been longer, it would have been better, with more meat and substance and intrigue.  But the fact of the matter is: it was short, underdeveloped, and even stupid....


Now onto the little things! :)

I was only able to post one Friday Buys this month (click on the picture to go to the post):

Quotes -

Before I Fall

I Am Number Four

Rip Tide

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Happy reading and I'm looking forward to September! :)