Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week’s waiting on Wednesday is:

My Invisible Boyfriend
By Susie Day
Release Date: April 1, 2010

Synopsis: Heidi has the perfect solution to her popularity problems - a fake boyfriend. She's even made him an Internet profile that makes him look like a motorcycle-riding, poetry reading bad boy. *swoon* Heidi's friends are so impressed they start emailing Heidi's fake boyfriend with their problems . . . including their problems with Heidi. As if that weren't bad enough, a delicious and possibly single person called "A Real Boy" emails Heidi to say he knows the truth. Can Heidi escape from her world wide web of lies? Or will her chance at romance disappear faster than you can type gtg?

Why I’m Waiting: Doesn’t this just sound cute? The story idea seems kind of unique and the high school setting should be a lot of fun. I haven’t read any of this author’s other works, but I’m looking forward to giving this a try.

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publication Date: March 2010

One Word Review: Enjoyable

Author Website:

First Line: “The day the rains finally came was like any other, with blistering air coating the canyon in a heavy stillness.”

GoodReads Synopsis: Sydelle Mirabil is living proof that, with a single drop of rain, a life can be changed forever. Tucked away in the farthest reaches of the kingdom, her dusty village has suffered under the weight of a strangely persistent drought. That is, of course, until a wizard wanders into town and brings the rain with him. In return for this gift, Wayland North is offered any reward he desires—and no one is more surprised than Sydelle when, without any explanation, he chooses her. Taken from her home, Sydelle hardly needs encouragement to find reasons to dislike North. He drinks too much and bathes too little, and if that isn’t enough to drive her to madness, North rarely even uses the magic he takes such pride in possessing. Yet, it’s not long before she realizes there’s something strange about the wizard, who is as fiercely protective of her as he is secretive about a curse that turns his limbs a sinister shade of black and leaves him breathless with agony. Unfortunately, there is never a chance for her to seek answers.

Kathy’s Review: I was so excited when I won this book in a contest hosted over at Angieville. The book description sounded just like the kind of story that I enjoy, and I was not disappointed. I really enjoyed the world that Bracken created, including all the fun characters and a new twist on magic and wizards. I also enjoyed the fact that I didn’t know where the story was going, there were some interesting twists along the way and I ended up enjoying the story very much. Sydelle was a very likable heroine. I thought she was easy to relate to and I enjoyed following her journey. She is not one to sit by and let others have all the fun, she jumps in and can take care of herself. I also enjoyed North’s character, and thought he and Syd had good chemistry together. I did think the love-triangle was a little weak and really didn’t play a huge part in the story. I thought the writing was well done and would recommend the book to anyone who enjoys a good adventure, romance, magic and fun.

I’m curious if this is going to be a series, I felt like everything was wrapped up nicely and the book could really stand on its own. I do like the characters though and would be happy if it turned out to be a trilogy or something.

Book Source: A big thanks to Angie for hosting her fun contest, Alexandra for sending me the book (along with some fun bookmarks), and of course the random-number generator for choosing my name!!

Bookworm Rating: 3.8

Who is your favorite magician?

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Genre: Adult Fiction

Publication Date: Feb 2009

One Word Review: Enlightening

GoodReads Synopsis
: Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

Jess's Review: The book that stands out most in my mind as the first book that I realized that books have something to say and not just a story to tell was To Kill a Mockingbird. I read it for the first time in the 9th grade and it has never been dethroned as one of my all time favorite books. As a result of reading that book I have since become fascinated with The South. All aspects of The South interest me; the Civil War, Civil Rights, and some of my heroes are Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. For these reasons it isn't shocking that I adored reading The Help. This book will be with me for a very long time. From the beginning the book drew me in. At first I had reservations about a modern white woman writing a first person narrative of a black maid. However, I found that Stockett was up to the task. The book trades off from 3 different voices; Aibileen, (black maid) Skeeter, (White) and Minny. (black maid) Stockett was able to create 3 distinct voices that I fell in love with. Aibileen was my favorite and it must have been very difficult to write the way a Aibileen spoke . The story had so many layers that it can hardly be categorized as a straightforward story of white on black prejudice. I found that prejudice is maybe the only thing that is color-blind. As people we find all sorts of reasons to hate another person and I feel like she explored this aspect of prejudice. Stockett created touching friendships that looked at the heart and made me appreciate my own girlfriends. It truly was a touching story and by the end I felt like I was friends with Aibileen, Minny and Skeeter. Two things prevented me from giving this book 5 stars. First, there is a part where a naked man threatens one of the characters and it felt superfluous. Although neither was used in excess, my own personal taste prevents me from enjoying course language and taking the Lord's name in vain.

p.s. I just realized my one word review was enlightening. I felt that way because I didn't realize how whites viewed the black maids that served them. I believe there was a very small portion who loved their maids like human beings. I came to realize that some viewed them almost like beloved pets, some simply viewed them necessary, while a few, simply saw them as dirty. In the book it says the line was drawn and people stayed inside the line. Man I hope that has changed!

Bookworm Rating: 4.8

Monday, March 29, 2010

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Genre: YA Fiction/Fantasy

Publication Date: October 2009

One Word Review: Okay

Author Website:

First Line: “I walked into biology and my jaw fell open.”

GoodReads Synopsis: 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...until Patch comes 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 whom 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 far 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.

Kathy’s Review (Spoiler Warning): Hmm, so I admit I was a little nervous to start this one. I had a lot of friends who totally loved it, and a lot who totally hated it. I fell somewhere in the middle. I thought the story idea was just okay, reminded me of a few other books (which won’t be named). The writing was okay, but kind of moved along slowly. I didn’t really feel like things picked up until about 300 pages in, but it could be because of the reviews I read that I was really expecting a lot more action (no innuendo intended…well, maybe a little) than what was presented. The relationship (if you can call it that) between Patch and Nora was totally unbelievable. It was completely based on lust and little else. From previous reviews I was really expecting a villain with Patch, and aside from Nora constantly telling us he is bad, I didn’t really get that from him. I got more of the lusty-teenager vibe. Based on the very few interactions we actually have with them, there wasn’t enough “real” connection for Patch to make the choices that he did; at least I didn’t see it. Nora was just okay for me; I kind of got tired of the rollercoaster emotions. One minute she says she will stay away from Patch, and the very next second she is purposefully looking for him. If they had built up a friendship which eventually led to true romantic feelings, than the whole story and Nora’s and Patch's actions would have been more believable. As for Nora’s sidekick Vee, not really a fan. She gave horrible advice, which was all over the place and I wish there would have been a little more consistency. None of the characters reactions seemed that authentic, but its fantasy-fiction so I guess it’s not supposed to be realistic. Overall, the book was a little bit of a let-down, but I still think I’ll read the sequel (even though I think this could really stand on its own).

Bookworm Rating: 3

Reading Order:
Book One: Hush, Hush
Book Two: Crescendo
Book Three:

Do you prefer the “good-guy” or the “bad-boy”?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Book Blog Hop

While surfing around on book blogs today I came acrossed an awesome idea over at Crazy for Books that can help network your blog! You just enter your blog link into the McLinky and then hop around the book blogosphere to discover other people's blogs!

Go HERE to join!!

Shadow of the Moon by Rachel Hawthorne

Genre: YA Fiction

Publication Date: March 2010

One Word Review: Entertaining

Author Website:

First Line: “Fear sliced through me, jolting me awake.”

GoodReads Synopsis: Hayden was born a werewolf, a Dark Guardian. But her ability to sense the feelings of fellow werewolves has made her life unbearable. She runs away, only to be tracked by charming, mysterious Daniel, a newcomer to the pack and the one Shifter immune to her powers. As she reluctantly follows him home, Hayden finds herself falling dangerously in love. But even as her feelings for Daniel deepen, Hayden begins to wonder if he is who he claims to be. Where did he come from and why has no one ever seen him transform? When they stumble upon the body of a Shifter still in wolf form, her worries grow. Someone is killing her kind. Is her handsome tracker really a hunter? And is Hayden now his prey?

Kathy’s Review: This is the fourth book in the Dark Guardian series, and for me totally different than the first three. While it takes place in the same setting, the main characters, Hayden and Daniel, are different from our previous friends. Normally I don’t really believe in the whole “love-at-first-sight” thing, but Hawthorne makes it very believable. I really felt the chemistry between Hayden and Daniel and enjoyed watching their relationship develop. The plot idea was just okay for me though, I think if the “villain” had been mentioned in the previous books I would have found it a little more believable, but as it was it seemed a little contrived and just thrown in there so another story could be told. Not that I’m complaining, because I love Wolford and all the characters throughout the series. Anyway, this was a fun read and would recommend it to anyone looking for a romantic, light-hearted adventure.

I’m thinking Hawthorne end the book with hints for another book in the series, possibly following Seth, I’ll be keeping my eyes open!

Bookworm Rating: 3.8
Reading Order:
Book One: Moonlight
Book Two: Full Moon
Book Three: Dark of the Moon
Book Four: Shadow of the Moon

If You Could Shift Into Any Form, What Would You Choose?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Waiting to Score by J.E. McLeod

Genre: Teen Lit

Publication Date: February 2009

One Word Review: Pass

Author Website:

First Line: “I didn’t want to look up.”

Synopsis: Quirky, smart, and good looking, Zack Chase is a book-loving, talented hockey player. New in town, Zack’s pitted against obnoxious Mac, the hockey team captain with something against Jane, the alluring Goth-girl who’s caught Zack’s eye. As he copes with sore losers, other people’s drinking problems, and the consequences of making out with too many girls, Zack discovers other ways he wants to score in lofe, especially as a 15-year-old guy with spiking hormones. Soon Zack finds out the hard way that people have secrets and burdens all their own, and that some actions have tragic, far-reaching consequences.

Kathy’s Review (Spoiler Warning): I really don't like writing negative reveiws, and you may read this and love it. This is the kind of YA book that I don’t like and I ended up skimming the last half just to get it over with. I could tell from the first chapter, maybe even the first page that I wasn’t really going to like this one. I prefer uplifting books, even when there are tough topics, I like books that make you feel better while teaching a lesson. For me, this was just a downer. In one review I read they said that the author tried to take on too many issues, and I have to agree considering the plot consisted of all your typical teen stereotypes: underage drinking, bullies, date rape, hook-ups, parties, suicide, mean parents, and absent parents…just to name a few. I also didn’t really care for Zack and by the third chapter I was tired of hearing how different he was from all the other guys. I personally thought he was a little arrogant, and while he did do some good things most of the time I did not like the perspective of a horny teenage boy. I also didn’t feel any real chemistry between Zack and Jane; I know I skimmed the second half so maybe I missed something later on. I don't think Zack was feeling the chemistry either since he cheats on her with his best friend Sheila, just another issue I guess the author wanted to tackle. In a nutshell, I wouldn’t recommend this one.

It does contain a lot of underage drinking and a lot of sexual content.

Bookworm Rating: 1

What was the last "underwhelming" book you read?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This weeks waiting on Wednesday is:

By Leah Cypess
Release Date: April 27, 2010

Synopsis: The Shifter is an immortal creature bound by an ancient spell to protect the kings of Samorna. When the realm is peaceful, she retreats to the Mistwod. But when she is needed she always comes. Isabel remembers nothing. Nothing before the prince rode into her forest to take her back to the castle. Nothing about who she is supposed to be, or the powers she is supposed to have. Prince Rokan needs Isabel to be his Shifter. He needs her ability to shift to animal form, to wind, to mist. He needs her lethal speed and superhuman strength. And he needs her loyalty--because without it, she may be his greatest threat. Isabel knows that her prince is lying to her, but she can't help wanting to protect him from the dangers and intrigues of the court . . . until a deadly truth shatters the bond between them. Now Isabel faces a choice that threatens her loyalty, her heart . . . and everything she thought she knew.

Why I’m Waiting: There are a lot of great books coming out in April, in fact 2010 is packed full of great upcoming novels, its going to be a great year. Mistwood sounds like a great fantasy novel, full of adventure and mystery. Angieville has a great preview review up on her site, if that doesn’t get you excited for this book I don’t know what will.

The Debutante by Kathryn Williams

Genre: Teen Lit

Publication Date: May 2008

One Word Review: Charming

Author Website:

First Line: “The overwhelming scent of magnolia wafted through my bedroom on a humid breeze.”

Synopsis: Annie MacRae’s senior year just went south. Specifically, to Beaufort . . . Alabama. Mere weeks before the start of what’s supposed to be the best year of her high school career, Annie’s parents inform her they are moving to the land of deep fryers,“debs,” and worst of all, her grandmother. But before she can say “No way, y’all,” Annie finds herself living among the “others” and biding her time till she can head to college and get back on the right side of the Mason-Dixon. The only problem? To get that ticket to college, Annie will have to trade in her jeans for a white debutante dress and learn the true meaning of being a lady.

Kathy’s Review: So this was a fun read that totally sucks you into the Southern charm of Alabama. Annie goes through quite the change as the book progresses. At first she is very upset with her parents for dragging her away from her friends and life in Connecticut to the slower paced lifestyle and demanding Grandmother in Alabama. I imagine it would be rather hard to move your senior year in high school and I felt bad for Annie when I put myself in her shoes. I’m glad she made friends and started to make the best of the situation. There were a couple lose ends I wish would have been tied up. First, at the beginning of the story Annie receives a box from her best-friend Jamie, to open in a time of crisis. The box is soon forgotten and I’m curious what was inside! Second, I wanted there to be some resolution between Annie and her Connecticut friends, maybe open the box and bring back old memories and reconciliation ensues? Anyway, it was a cute read and I enjoyed learning a little etiquette along the way (something I’m probably in need of). It reminded me of a Tina Ferraro or Janette Rallison novel, with a little less romantic comedy.

It does contain underage smoking/drinking, but otherwise very clean.

Bookworm Rating: 3.5
What Is Your Favorite Teen Lit Book?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dragonfly by Julia Golding

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publication Date: October 2009

One Word Review: Adventurous

Author Website:

First Line: “The Fourth Crown Princess of the Blue Crescent Islands had sixteen rituals to observe from the moment of waking to when she broke her fast.”

Synopsis: Princess Taoshira of the Blue Crescent Islands is appalled when she is ordered to marry Prince Ramil of Gerfal. And he's not too pleased, either. She is used to a life of discipline, ritual, and splendor. He is used to hunting and carousing. They hate each other on sight. But both of their countries are under threat from a fearsome warlord, and the only chance of peace is to form an alliance. When Tashi and Ram are kidnapped, they fear there’s no escape--from their kidnappers or from each other. Can they put aside their differences long enough to survive ambush, unarmed combat, brainwashing, and imprisonment? And will the people they meet on their adventure--including a circus strongman, a daring rebel leader, a sinister master of spies, and the best female fighter they have ever seen--help them or betray them to the enemy?

Kathy’s Review: I’m not sure why this one was listed as a fantasy novel, maybe because the whole thing takes place in a fictional land, but it doesn’t have the usual fantasy elements like magic, elves, etc. I still really enjoyed this book, even though at times it felt a little long. This book stands well on its own, there is a companion novel coming out this summer which will be following different characters. Tashi and Ram’s story was full of adventure and love. It did seem like they were getting into one problem after another, but that’s part of the fun. The story rotates from their respective points of view, which was a fun way to see how they viewed one another and when they weren’t together you could see how the story was moving along. I admit, after awhile I got a little bored with the religious aspects of the story but they were an important part to Tashi’s character, and it was nice to see her grow throughout the book. It was a fun read and I look forward to reading the companion novel this June. This reminded me of The Demon King and Incarceron.

Bookworm Rating
: 4
Reading Order:
Book One: Dragonfly
Book Two: The Glass Swallow

Exes and Ohs by Beth Kendrick

Genre: Chick-Lit

Publication Date: March 2005

One Word Review: Fluffy-Fun

Author Website:

Synopsis: Child psychologist Gwen Traynor has learned the hard way that "perfect" men aren't always what they seem. After being dumped the night before her wedding, she's understandably wary of diving back into the dating pool. But when she meets Alex Coughlin, she's convinced her luck is changing. Just as things are heating up with Alex, Gwen meets her newest patient -- a precocious preschooler whose chaotic soap opera-actress of a mother, Harmony, sounds an awful lot like one of Alex's crazy ex-girlfriends. Mostly because she is one of Alex's crazy ex-girlfriends.

Kathy’s Review: This was a fun read; it was a nice distraction at the end of a long day. I enjoyed the story, even though I wouldn’t agree with all the choices our characters made, it was still entertaining. Gwen was a good heroine, I liked her personality and that she stood up for herself. I also liked Alex and how deep down he was more of a traditional guy who knew the importance of marriage and family. He kind of makes a few mistakes along the way, but he does have good intentions. I thought Alex and Gwen had good chemistry and it was fun watching their story unfold. Her best friend Cesca drove me a little crazy, but she was a good friend to Gwen. I was a surprised with where Cesca’s story ended up, but glad things turned out the way they did. Overall, this is a fun fluff book that was well written and I will definitely be checking out what else Kendrick has to offer.

It does contain a bit of swearing scattered here and there (including a few "f" words), as well as some mild sexual content.

Bookworm Rating: 3.5

Monday, March 22, 2010

Library Loot

Library Loot is a weekly meme that is hosted by A Striped Arm Chair. It gives book bloggers an opportunity to share what fun books we have checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate visit A Striped Arm Chair and add your post link to their site. It’s a fun way to check out what other bloggers are reading.

The Line by Teri Hall
Life as we Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Dragonfly byJulia Golding

The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan
Devil's Kiss by Sarwat Chadda
The Splendor Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore

Captivate by Carrie Jones

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publication Date: January 2010

One Word Review: Disappointing

Author Website:

First Line: “There are these bizarre people who actually like physical education class.”

Synopsis: Zara and her friends knew they hadn't solved the pixie problem for good. Far from it. The king's needs grow deeper every day he's stuck in captivity, while his control over his people gets weaker. It's made him vulnerable. And now there's a new king in town. A turf war is imminent, since the new pixie king, Astley, is moving in quickly. Nick nearly killed him in the woods on day one, but Zara came to his rescue. Astley swears that he and Zara are destined to be together, that he's one of the good guys. Nick isn't buying it, though Zara isn't as sure -- despite herself, she wants to trust the new king. But it's a lot more than her relationship with Nick that is at stake. It's her life -- and his.

Kathy’s Review: I hate to write negative reviews and I really think if you enjoyed the first book, Need, then you will probably enjoy Captivate as well. Having said that, I just didn’t enjoy this book. It definitely fell in the “middle book syndrome” where not a lot happens and is more of a filler until the final book comes out. The writing was choppy, the dialog was unbelievable and I just can't relate to Zara. I didn’t really feel any real chemistry between Nick and Zara, even though it’s being shoved in our face. Like the first book, I just don’t like all of Zara’s political ideas and don’t see how any of them are relevant in a story about killer pixies. Zara's character is just okay for me, she is too wishy-washy. The ending was a joke as well; I don’t want to give spoilers so I’ll leave it at that. Again, if you enjoyed the first book you’ll probably like this one, it just wasn’t for me. I do like the covers though.

Bookworm Rating: 2
Reading Order:
Book One: Need
Book Two: Captivate

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Give Up The Ghost by Megan Crewe

Genre: Teen Lit (with ghosts)

Publication Date: September 2009

One Word Review: Somber

Author Website:

First Line: “You would think it’d be easy to get along with a person after she’s dead.”

Synopsis: Cass McKenna much prefers ghosts over "breathers". Ghosts are uncomplicated and dependable, and they know the dirt on everybody... and Cass loves dirt. She's on a mission to expose the dirty secrets of the poseurs in her school. But when the vice president of the student council discovers her secret, Cass's whole scheme hangs in the balance. Tim wants her to help him contact his recently deceased mother, and Cass reluctantly agrees. As Cass becomes increasingly entwined in Tim's life, she's surprised to realize he's not so bad — and he needs help more desperately than anyone else suspects. Maybe it’s time to give the living another chance... -GoodReads

Kathy’s Review: So, this was not at all what I was expecting. I guess I thought it was going to be a light-hearted ghost story, about a girl who used her ghost friends to get the dirt on all the jerks in her school. While she does do that, it’s more out of bitter-revenge and was more mean-spirited, then good intentions. If that makes sense. The story was also a little deeper than I was expecting, and I know this will sound bad, but I kind of got bored halfway through. It was somewhat predictable and while I felt bad for the characters, it was just…blah. I guess I liked Cassie; she grows a lot throughout the book and does lose the chip on her shoulder. While I understand why she hates the world, it’s kind of hard to listen to so much negativity. So, I’m glad she figures things out and unfortunately the book ends right when she’s getting interesting. I kind of felt like the book needed some editing throughout and maybe added a few lighter moments, and definitely show more progress with Cassie. IMO.

There is underage drinking, smoking and sexual content.

Bookworm Rating: 2.5

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publication Date: March 2010

One Word Review: Quick-n-fun

Author Website:

First Line: “Felicia Miller was crying in the bathroom.”

Synopsis: When Sophie Mercer turned thirteen, she discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-Gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hecate Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward prodigium, a.k.a. witches, fae, and shapeshifters. By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard. Three powerful enemies who look like supermodels; a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock; a creepy, tag-along ghost; and a new roommate, who happens to be the most-hated person and only vampire on campus. -GoodReads

Kathy’s Review: Hmm, so I ended up not liking this one as much as I hoped. It still ended with enough cliffhangers that I’m definitely curious to pick up the second book. For some reason though, it didn’t grab me and maybe that’s because it reminded me so much of The Summoning, Vampire Academy and of course Harry Potter. While it has a lot of similarities to these books, it does stand on its own. There were a few twists here and there and I did like Sophie’s character. The writing was well done, although there were a few cliffhanger chapter endings and when the next chapter would start it would pick up somewhere else, so that was sometimes a letdown. There were a couple storylines that I didn’t care for, but overall it was an enjoyable read and I did appreciate all the magic (sometimes “magic” books are a little light on the magic) and I think if you’re into magic/fantasy stories then you’ll probably enjoy the book.
Bookworm Rating: 3.4

Reading Order:
Book One: Hex Hall
Book Two: (March 2011)
Book Three:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How to Get a Date for the Prom by Denise Gwen

Genre: Teen Lit

One Word Review: Cute

First Line: “If you must know the truth, it was all my big sister’s doing.”

Kathy’s Review: In this short story we find out how Catherine gets a date to her very first prom. Her sister’s wedding is coming up and of course she is a bridesmaid. Her sister is marrying a man who came from the same town, but since their high schools were rivals they never met. Anyway, since it is so short I’ll stop there, otherwise I’ll give the whole thing away. It was a cute story; I think it had the bones for a really cute full-length novel. It was worth the few minutes it took to read. To read this short story click here. Also, Denise Gwen has a full-length novel out called House of Wacks.

Bookworm Rating: 3

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. Brightly Woven sounds awesome! I've read a few reviews (of those lucky enough to get an ARC) which sound very promising. The story sounds like the kind of magical adventure that I enjoy. So, this weeks selection is:

Brightly Woven
By Alexandra Bracken
Release Date: March 23, 2010

Synopsis: Sydelle Mirabil is living proof that, with a single drop of rain, a life can be changed forever. Tucked away in the farthest reaches of the kingdom, her dusty village has suffered under the weight of a strangely persistent drought. That is, of course, until a wizard wanders into town and brings the rain with him. In return for this gift, Wayland North is offered any reward he desires—and no one is more surprised than Sydelle when, without any explanation, he chooses her. Taken from her home, Sydelle hardly needs encouragement to find reasons to dislike North. He drinks too much and bathes too little, and if that isn’t enough to drive her to madness, North rarely even uses the magic he takes such pride in possessing. Yet, it’s not long before she realizes there’s something strange about the wizard, who is as fiercely protective of her as he is secretive about a curse that turns his limbs a sinister shade of black and leaves him breathless with agony. Unfortunately, there is never a chance for her to seek answers. Along with the strangely powerful quakes and storms that trace their path across the kingdom, other wizards begin to take an inexplicable interest in her as well, resulting in a series of deadly duels. Against a backdrop of war and uncertainty, Sydelle is faced with the growing awareness that these events aren’t as random as she had believed—that no curse, not even that of Wayland North, is quite as terrible as the one she herself may carry.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Genre: Faerie/Fantasy

Publication Date: February 1, 2010

One Word Review: Awesome

Author Website:

First Line: “Ten years ago, on my sixth birthday, my father disappeared.”

Synopsis: Meghan Chase has never fit in at her small-town high school, and now, on the eve of her 16th birthday, she discovers why. When her half brother is kidnapped, Meghan is drawn into a fantastical world she never imagined--the world of Faery, where anything you see may try to eat you, and Meghan is the daughter of the summer faery king. Now she will journey into the depths of Faery to face an unknown enemy . . . and beg the help of a winter prince who might as soon kill her as let her touch his icy heart. The Iron King is the first book in the Iron Fey series. --GoodReads

Kathy’s Review: Loved it from the first sentence to the last. I was actually sad when it ended. So many series lately always end with huge cliffhangers, and I’m so glad that this one did not. It does leave it where you’re wanting more, and there is plenty of story left for Meghan, but it also wraps everything up nicely providing a little closure up to this point. I thought Meghan’s character was perfect, very realistic. I liked that she was strong, clever and still easy to relate to. The supporting cast was also enjoyable, I loved Puck, Grimalkin and of course Ash. I also loved the Fey world that Kagawa created, she is able to stick to a lot of the traditional fairy elements while introducing some very new ideas. It's also a good reminder that the Fey are not the nicest creatures as Kagawa shows some of the darker sides of faeries, but also the good as well. It’s probably one of the better stories I’ve read lately. Kagawa is a great writer and I can’t wait to read The Iron Daughter in August!

My only complaint was that there is a little swearing here and there. The story was so good though that it was easy to overlook.

Bookworm Rating: 4.8
(because of language)
Reading Order:
Book One: The Iron King
Book Two: The Iron Daughter (August 2010)
Book Three: The Iron Queen (2011)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pen-Names, Comments and Other Random Thoughts

A few months ago I found out that one of my favorite authors, Janette Rallison, had started out her writing career under the pen-name of Sierra St. James. At that point I had read all of Rallison’s books and was a little sad that I had to wait until May 2010 for her next book to come out (My Double Life), so I was extra excited to find out she had written four books under the name St. James. I quickly ordered them (well, I’m still waiting on one) off Amazon Marketplace and they definitely helped pass the time until her May release, and I enjoyed them as much as her Rallison books. Soon after, I found another author, Rachel Hawthorne, had also written under the pen-name Jade Parker. I had actually read books under both names not realizing they were the same person. I’ve thought about it off and on and wonder how many other authors have written under pen-names that I have no clue about. So, I’m hoping some of you can leave comments of authors you know and love who have written under pen-names.

Next, although I have been blogging for awhile now I’m still a little unsure about the whole comment etiquette. Before I explain, I just want to say how much BWN loves getting comments, its fun to hear what others think of our reviews or the books we’re writing about. So, what is the proper comment etiquette? When someone leaves a comment on your post, do you respond on the same post or go to their blog and leave a comment? Is it necessary to respond to every comment or maybe just ones where they’ve left a question? When you leave a comment, do you go back and check if there is a response, or like me do you forget and not really think about it again? There are times where I will go back and check, I know Angieville for example is awesome at responding to comments left on her blog. So, again I’m hoping you can help educate me on what the proper comment etiquette is so I don’t continue to insult people by doing it wrong.

I love blogs that provide an archive of previous reviews. Sometimes I’m curious if they have read the same book and what their thoughts were, and it’s hard to locate past posts without an archive or previous review section. So, for those of you who haven’t created an archive list...please do!

Lastly, I just want to say thanks to all our loyal followers…we finally reached 50 followers this week and we’re so excited! I am even thinking of hosting a giveaway to celebrate the occasion!


Waiting on...Thursday

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selections are:

Keys to the Dragon Prison (Book 5)
By Brandon Mull
Release Date: March 23, 2010

Synopsis: Since ancient times, the great demon prison Zzyzx has protected the world from the most dangerous servants of darkness, including Gorgrog, the Demon King. After centuries of plotting, the Sphinx is on the verge of recovering the five artifacts necessary to open the legendary prison. Facing the potential of a world-ending calamity, all friends of light must unite in a final effort to thwart the Sphinx s designs and find a safe home for the five artifacts. To this end, Kendra, Seth, and the Knights of the Dawn will venture far beyond the walls of Fablehaven to strange and exotic magical preserves across the globe, where the end of every quest becomes the beginning of another. In this explosive series finale, allegiances will be confirmed and secrets revealed as the forces of light and darkness collide in a desperate struggle to control the keys to the demon prison.

Shadow of the Moon (Book 4)
By Rachel Hawthorne
Release Date: March 23, 2010

Synopsis: Hayden was born a werewolf, a Dark Guardian. But her ability to sense the feelings of fellow werewolves has made her life unbearable. She runs away, only to be tracked by charming, mysterious Daniel, a newcomer to the pack and the one Shifter immune to her powers. As she reluctantly follows him home, Hayden finds herself falling dangerously in love. . . . But even as her feelings for Daniel deepen, Hayden begins to wonder if he is who he claims to be. Where did he come from and why has no one ever seen him transform? When they stumble upon the body of a Shifter still in wolf form, her worries grow. Someone is killing her kind. Is her handsome tracker really a hunter? And is Hayden now his prey?

Silver Borne (Book 5)
By Patricia Briggs
Release Date: March 30, 2010

Synopsis: Being a mechanic is hard work. Mercy Thompson, for instance, just spent the last couple of months trying to evade the murderous queen of the local vampire seethe, and now the leader of the werewolf pack - who's maybe-more-than-just-a-friend - has asked for her help. A book of fae secrets has come to light and they're all about to find out how implacable - and dangerous - the fae can be. OK, so maybe her troubles have nothing to do with the job. But she sure could use a holiday.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Publication Date: January 2010 (May 2007)

One Word Review: Awesome

Author Website:

First Line: “Finn had been flung on his face and chained to the stone slabs of the transitway.”

Synopsis: Incarceron -- a futuristic prison, sealed from view, where the descendants of the original prisoners live in a dark world torn by rivalry and savagery. It is a terrifying mix of high technology -- a living building which pervades the novel as an ever-watchful, ever-vengeful character, and a typical medieval torture chamber -- chains, great halls, dungeons. A young prisoner, Finn, has haunting visions of an earlier life, and cannot believe he was born here and has always been here. In the outer world, Claudia, daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, is trapped in her own form of prison -- a futuristic world constructed beautifully to look like a past era, an imminent marriage she dreads. She knows nothing of Incarceron, except that it exists. But there comes a moment when Finn, inside Incarceron, and Claudia, outside, simultaneously find a device -- a crystal key, through which they can talk to each other. And so the plan for Finn's escape is born ... -GoodReads

Kathy’s Review: This is definitely a sci-fi/fantasy novel that focuses more on plot and characters than it does on romantic relationships or easy storylines, so if you’re not into that kind of book then you probably wouldn’t enjoy this.

I admit, a lot of times I was confused and had to re-read passages, but overall I was totally sucked into the story and had a hard time putting it down. I’m still confused over a few things, one of which is whether this world is completely fictional, or supposed to take place on Earth. There are a few random mentions of China or the Roman Empire, which threw me off when I was reading. I would get involved in the story and then some random slang or place was mentioned that would throw me off.

Fisher does a great job creating two different worlds though, the Outside and the Prison. Claudia lives in the Outside, although in a lot of ways she is in a prison herself. Claudia is a very likeable character, strong willed, clever and caring. I really enjoyed getting to know her and was rooting for her from the beginning. Finn lives in the Prison (Incarceron), at least he has for the past three years with no memory of his life before. I liked him as well, although since he is so unsure of himself it made me a little unsure as well. I was hoping for a little romance (and I guess it is kind of hinted at) but I was left wanting a little more. The other characters were all well developed from Claudies’s tutor Jared to Finn’s friends Attia, Keiro, and Gildas. The villains in the story were a lot of fun as well, if you can call villains “fun”. The book starts out exciting and stays that way throughout (well, there might have been a couple slow parts here and there), but there definitely was a lot of twists and turns and while the book ended on a cliffhanger I felt like I understood what was going on and can’t wait to read the sequel, Sapphique.

Bookworm Rating: 4.5
(because of confusion & lack of romance)
Reading Order:
Book One: Incarceron
Book Two: Sapphique

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Publication Date: December 2008

One Word Review: Creepy (in a good way?)

Author Website:

First Line: “I could have died three months ago.”

Synopsis: Up until three months ago, everything in sixteen-year-old Camelia's life had been fairly ordinary: decent grades; an okay relationship with her parents; and a pretty cool part-time job at the art studio downtown. But when Ben, the mysterious new guy, starts junior year at her high school, Camelia's life becomes anything but ordinary. Rumored to be somehow responsible for his ex-girlfriend's accidental death, Ben is immediately ostracized by everyone on campus. Except for Camelia. She's reluctant to believe the rumors, even when her friends try to convince her otherwise. She's inexplicably drawn to Ben...and to his touch. But soon, Camelia is receiving eerie phone calls and strange packages with threatening notes. Ben insists she is in danger, and that he can help--but can he be trusted? She knows he's hiding something... but he's not the only one with a secret. -GoodReads

Kathy’s Review: I didn’t know what I was getting into when I started this book, it seems like I have been drawn to stalker stories lately. Maybe it’s because I just finished my senior thesis on stalkers, but they seem to be popping up wherever I go (no pun intended). I thought Stolarz handled the stalker side of the story very well, it was very believable and I think was in tune with how a lot of stalkers operate. Anyway, the story draws you in right away and you have to keep reading to figure out what is going on with Camelia and who is stalking her. I liked Camelia’s character and thought she was easy to relate to. She is a good heroine that doesn’t drive you crazy and you understand why she reacts to things the way she does. I liked her friends Kimmie and Wes, and of course the mysterious Ben. I do wish we could have gotten to know Ben a little more, or seen a little more personality, but he was still fun to read about and you never quite know whose side he’s on. The story has a good mysterious element to it. I kind of suspected what was going on throughout but, you’re still surprised when everything comes out.

Bookworm Rating: 4
Reading Order:
Book One: Deadly Little Secret
Book Two: Deadly Little Lies

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading. It is open to anyone and is a fun way to get a taste of different books. The rules are simple and everyone is welcome to participate.

1. Grab your current read.
2. Open to a random page.
3. Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
4. Be careful NOT to include spoilers (you don’t want to ruin the book for others.)
5. Share the title and author so that other TT participants can add the book to the TBR lists if they like your teaser.
6. After completing your post, return to Should Be Reading and add a link in their “comment” section.

Deadly Little Secret
By Laurie Faria Stolarz
Page 148

“My mind races. I glance back at the window. Both the pane and screen have been pulled up. Like someone climbed through.”

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Genre: Regency Romance

Publication Date: 1814

Synopsis: Mansfield Park is a study of three families-the Bertrams, the Crawfords, and the Prices-with the isolated figure of the heroine, Fanny Price, at its center. Fanny's quiet passivity, her steadfast loyalty and love for the son of the family who regard her as the poor relation, and who have taken her under their roof, are not appreciated until they are tried against the brilliant and witty Mary and Henry Crawford, the unfortunate consequences of whose influence are felt by everyone. -GoodReads

Jessica’s Review: I was shocked to learn that Fanny Price was Jane Austen's own favorite heroine. At first I could detect nothing that could make her mine. However, as the book progressed I must confess that I fell in love with Fanny. For all her timidity she had an inner strength and she refused to compromise her morals. It reminded me that although someone may be shy or quiet it in no means makes them stupid or weak.

Austen took me on a journey that had me questioning myself of whether I would compromise and marry Mr. Crawford if my alternative would be living with my family in squalor. Of course, Fanny did not and she reaped the reward of being valued by the people that she valued the most.

My one disappointment was that I thought Fanny deserved a better romance and a better hero than Edmund. His was all brotherly feelings until one paragraph summed up that he fell in love for Fanny. I wish that I could have been a witness as he came to realize his feelings for her and act upon them. With that said I do not think that was the point that Austen was going for. It really was an exercise of selfishness contrasted with virtue. A great read that drew me in like only Austen can.

On a side note: I don’t know if it was just my version or if Austen intended to write so many words in italics. It really grated on me. I thought if I had to read one more “she” in italics I was going to barf.

Bookworm Rating: 4

Always a Bridesmaid by Elaine Hopper (author interview)

Genre: Romance

Publication Date: March 2010

One Word Review: Good

First Line: ““Well, well…Hell finally froze over,” Troy Youngwolf drawled as he blocked Breanna’s way.”

Synopsis: Hell has finally frozen over. After nine long years, Breanna Parker has come home to be her sister's maid of honor. Just her luck that the first person she runs into is her ex-fiance, Troy Youngwolf—the man who eloped with her ex-best friend and broke her heart. Now a widowed father and sheriff of their Florida home town, sexy bad boy Troy wants another chance and won't take no for an answer. However, every time Breanna looks at Troy or his little girl, her heart breaks anew. She can hardly wait for her sister to get hitched so she can escape back to her urban family in Ft. Lauderdale. The risk is too high that Troy may discover her most closely held secret, one with the potential to destroy them both…perhaps this time forever. –The Wild Rose Press

Kathy’s Review: My only complaint…it was too short! I would have loved if the book was a little longer and we could really get to know Breanna and Troy a little better, and have a little more detail into their past relationship and what went wrong, having said that I still really enjoyed the story. In some ways it almost reminded me of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, where our leading characters were young and madly in love, and because of outside influences they are separated. After the disastrous end to their engagement, Breanna leaves town and doesn’t return until eight years later, for her sister’s wedding. She is thrown back into Troy’s company and both have to figure out their feelings and uncover some deep secrets. I thought Breanna and Troy had great chemistry together. I had started out not liking Troy, but as you start to see things from his perspective you can’t help but feel sorry for him and I ended up rooting for him by the end. I still wasn’t happy with his choices and think things could have been handled a little better. Anyway, it was a fun quick read and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a little romance.

Bookworm Rating: 3.8

Book Source: The Wild Rose Press, a huge thanks to Elaine for contacting me and sending me her book!

Author Interview

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I love to write, read, and watch movies. In short, I love stories, in particular romances. When I'm not reading or writing, I blog and Twitter, I walk, swim, and hang out with my kids. I also work full-time as a customer service manager for a charity. I also absolutely love cats. If I had to come back as anything other than a human I would be a cat. One of my books even features a talking cat. I'm also a Trekkie and Star Wars fan and I'm ex-Air Force, so I'd love to be a crewmember on a starship in some futuristic universe.

I’m always curious where an author comes up with her characters names, how did you choose Breanna and Troy?
My daughter has a friend named Breanna who's a really cute young woman. As per Troy, I always liked Troy Donahue, especially in "A Summer Place".

What is the hardest part in writing a book? Where do you get your inspiration?
I don't know which is worse - the sagging middle or edits. I used to HATE edits.

Inspiration comes from everywhere. Once my oldest child got into a lot of trouble at school - hacking into the computer and changing the Vice Principal's password to "Jack Ass". The VP was ready to chew nails and ready to kill us. I was scared but everyone else found it hilarious and I ended up plotting a story around it. Also, the school wound up hiring my child to work on their computers. I keep my ears and eyes open and I take lots of notes that I might not use on the current story, but probably will use in a future story.

What do you think of the cover? Did you play a role in choosing the cover?
I love the cover. The artist holds my highest regard. And I definitely helped in designing the cover. By that I mean I filled out a cover art request form. I let the artist know the story is set in South Florida on a ranch and should probably depict a Floridian flavor which she did by adding a palm tree or two. So far, all my publishers ask me to fill out cover art request forms for each of my book.

What three words would you use to describe Always a Bridesmaid?
Angsty. Emotional. Fun. (not necessarily in the same parts of the book)

The book is based on Breanna and Troy’s somewhat messed-up relationship, and it seems everyone likes to give them advice on what they should do. What’s the best advice you’ve received about dating or marriage? And the worst?
I think the best advice I had was to follow my heart. The second best was to stay away from DD. (Don't ask. :) )

Since I love movies almost as much as books, I often picture the book a movie while I’m reading. If Always a Bridesmaid were to be made into a movie, who would you cast as your leading characters?
Maybe Lou Diamond Philips as Troy. Breanna? Let me think. Usually I have my books cast into movies from the beginning. Can you tell I'd love to have my books made into movies? This time, I have to think about the cast. Patsy would be played by Amy Adams. Mandy Moore would probably make a good Breanna if she wore her hair long and dark brown.

Do you have a particular place to write? Do you like peace & quiet, or prefer to have music playing?
I write a lot at Borders and Barnes & Nobles. Talking disturbs me when writing. Strangely enough, singing doesn't. So I plus into my MP3 player to songs I know very well that block out other noise but doesn't get in the way of my creativity.

Who are your favorite authors? Favorite books?
I like Stephen King, Stephen White, Karen Robards, Sheryl Woods, Tawny Weber, Holly Jacobs, Merline Lovelace, Brynn Paulin...

My favorite book is "The Stand" by King.

Can you tell us about any current projects your working on?
I'm working on a sweet contemporary romance about another couple getting a second chance. The hero's young son is in dire need of a bone marrow transplant and the heroine just happens to have a perfect match - her daughter, his half-sister whom she never told the hero about after he married someone else without warning.

Where can we find you?
Elaine Hopper
Twitter: @elaine_hopper
To read an exceprt or purchase the book click here.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Stuck In The Middle by Virginia Smith

Genre: Christian Lit

Publication Date: February 2008

One Word Review: Okay

Author Website:

First Line: “Brrring. Brrring.”

Synopsis: Joan Sanderson’s life is stuck. Her older sister, Allie, is starting a family and her younger sister, Tori, has a budding career. Meanwhile, Joan is living at home with Mom and looking after her aging grandmother. Not exactly a recipe for excitement. That is, until a hunky young doctor moves in next door. Suddenly Joan has a goal—to get a date. But it won’t be easy. Pretty Tori flirts relentlessly with him and Joan is sure that she can’t compete. But with a little help from God, Allie, and an enormous mutt with bad manners, maybe Joan can find her way out of this rut.

Kathy’s Review: Hmm, this one was just okay for me. There were some parts that were good and even had been laughing, but overall it was kind of…boring. The more I got to know Ken the less I liked him (which, I’m sure wasn’t supposed to happen), he just came across as really judgmental to me. Joan was okay; I liked her and was glad she was able to find some peace in her life. So, the romance fell a little flat as well as the story. I liked Allie and Tori and how all three sisters interacted together, especially the parts where Tori and Joan were both going after Ken. I ended up skimming the last 100 pages or so, and don’t think I will be reading the rest of the series.

Reading Order:
Book One: Stuck in the Middle
Book Two: Age Before Beauty
Book Three: Third Times A Charm

Bookworm Rating: 2.5

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday Triple Feature

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. March is packed full of amazing new releases, and once again I'm doing a triple feature to make suer I get in as many WOW books as I can. The below three all sound amazing to me, I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of each.

The Line
By Teri Hall
Release Date: March 4, 2010

Synopsis: An invisible, uncrossable physical barrier encloses the Unified States. The Line is the part of the border that lopped off part of the country, dooming the inhabitants to an unknown fate when the enemy used a banned weapon. It’s said that bizarre creatures and superhumans live on the other side, in Away. Nobody except tough old Ms. Moore would ever live next to the Line. Nobody but Rachel and her mother, who went to live there after Rachel’s dad died in the last war. It’s a safe, quiet life. Until Rachel finds a mysterious recorded message that can only have come from Away. The voice is asking for help. Who sent the message? Why is her mother so protective? And to what lengths is Rachel willing to go in order to do what she thinks is right?

Knightley Academy
By Violet Haberdasher
Release Date: March 9, 2010

Synopsis: Henry Grim has never been in trouble for borrowing a sword from the headmaster;s private stores. He has never discovered a forbidden room in a foreign castle, or received a death threat over breakfast. All Henry knows is life as an orphaned servant boy at the Midsummer School, bullied by the privileged sons of aristocracy. But all that changes when Henry is the first commoner to pass the entrance exam for the prestigious Knightley Academy, where he will be trained as a modern-day knight alongside the cleverest and bravest fourteen-year-olds in the country. Henry and his roommates, two other students from decidedly un-Knightley backgrounds, are not exactly greeted with open arms by their classmates. In fact, it soon becomes apparent that someone is going to great lengths to sabotage the trioƕs chances at becoming knights. But Henry soon learns that there is more at stake than his future at Knightley, and only he can sound the alarm. Is anyone going to believe a former servant on the brink of expulsion?

A Spy in the House
By Y.S. Lee
Release Date: March 9, 2010

Synopsis: Rescued from the gallows in 1850s London, young orphan (and thief) Mary Quinn is surprised to be offered a singular education, instruction in fine manners — and an unusual vocation. Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls is a cover for an all-female investigative unit called The Agency, and at seventeen, Mary is about to put her training to the test. Assuming the guise of a lady’s companion, she must infiltrate a rich merchant’s home in hopes of tracing his missing cargo ships. But the household is full of dangerous deceptions, and there is no one to trust — or is there? Packed with action and suspense, banter and romance, and evoking the gritty backstreets of Victorian London, this breezy mystery debuts a daring young detective who lives by her wits while uncovering secrets — including those of her own past.

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