Sunday, January 31, 2010

Betraying Season by Marissa Doyle

Genre: YA Fantasy Fiction

Publication Date: September 2009

Author Website: www.marissadoyle.com

One Word Review: Unexpected

First Line: “Saints preserve us!”

Synopsis: Penelope (Pen) Leland has come to Ireland to study magic and prove to herself that she is as good a witch as her twin sister, Persy. But when the dashing Niall Keating begins to pay her court, she can’t help being distracted from her studies. Little does Pen know, Niall is acting upon orders from his sorceress mother. And although it starts as a sham, Niall actually falls deeply in love with Pen, and she with him. But even if he halts his mother’s evil plan, will Pen be able to forgive him for trying to seduce her into a plot? And what of Pen’s magic, which seems to be increasingly powerful? --GoodReads

Kathy’s Review: This was a fun sequel to Bewitching Season; I think in a lot of ways I liked it more than the first. The magic was a lot more prominent in this one, although I still would have liked to see Pen use it more, or seen a little more time with her in attending her classes. I liked that Pen and Niall were given more page-time versus the time Persy and Lochnivar had in Bewitching Season. So, even though I did enjoy their chemistry, it took a slightly different turn then I expected. I liked that they liked each other so much they enjoyed the simple act of holding hands. The last part of the book it quickly turns a little more racy and I guess I wish Niall's would have come up with a better solution for “saving” Pen. I would have liked to see some clever scheme that shows off all those brains he's suppsoed to have, but I guess that was the best he could come up with? I am glad Pen had a head on her shoulders and did the right thing.

I enjoyed the story, although it did seem a little slow or drawn out in part, it was still a entertaining read. If you enjoyed Bewitching Season then you will probably like Betraying season. Oh, and I loved little Corkwobble, a fun new character that I wish we could have seen more of.

Reading Order:
Book One: Bewitching Season
Book Two: Betraying Season
Book Three: The Waterloo Plot

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary by Brandon Mull

Genre: YA Fantasy Fiction

Publication Date: March 2009

Author Website: www.brandonmull.com/blog

One Word Review: Adventurous

First Line: “Kendra Sorenson briskly scraped the head of a wooden match against the rough strip on the side of a rectangular matchbox.”

Synopsis: Brace yourself for a shocking secret. Two hidden artifacts have been found. Three more remain unrecovered. More preserves face destruction as the Society of the Evening Star relentlessly pursues new talismans. Reading in Patton s Journal of Secrets, Kendra learns the location of the key to a vault housing one of the artifacts. In order to retrieve it, the Knights of the Dawn must enter a death trap a dragon sanctuary called Wyrmroost. The mission cannot proceed without stealing a sacred object zealously guarded by the centaurs. Anybody seen Seth? The race is on to acquire all five of the artifact keys to the great demon prison. Will the Knights of the Dawn conquer Wyrmroost? Who can stop the Sphinx? Can Vanessa be trusted to help? What artifact will be found next? --GoodReads

Kathy’s Review: Weighing in at about 527 pages, this book is packed full of adventure, new creatures, new villains, new friends and just about everything else you can imagine. Like always, I’m impressed with all the new creatures he is able to come up with. There are lots of twists and turns and he definitely keeps our heroes Kendra and Seth busy. One of the new “creatures” in this installment was the stingbulb (at least I’d never heard of them before), it was a great idea and fun to read about. Both Kendra and Seth seemed about the same as previous books. Seth continues to get into mischief, which always ends up working out and Kendra is still smart and her goodness seems to help get her out of a lot of scrapes. I think the book is great for its target audience, young kids would really enjoy the story and all the adventures Kendra and Seth get into. Personally, I think the book was a little long, it’s due back at the library so I really had to buckle down and push my way through. I still enjoyed the story though and look forward to reading the series finale in March!

Reading Order:
Book One: Fablehaven
Book Five: Keys to the Demon Prison (March 2010)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"Twilight, What Have You Done To My Wife?"

I read Twilight BEFORE it became the phenomenon that it is today. I love the trilogy (I don't really count the last book) and love the movies. I don't consider myself one of the obsessive fans, but I definitely enjoyed this video. Enjoy!

Waiting on Wednesday + Author Interview

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" selection is:

The Stillburrow Crush
By Linda Kage
Release Date: February 26, 2010

Synopsis: Sixteen year old, Carrie Paxton, isn't the most popular girl in her small town of Stillburrow. But that's never concerned her before. Her life revolves around her writing, and she loves her job as the student editor of the school paper. But when she gets assigned to interview the football team's beloved quarterback, she takes one look into Luke Carter's blue eyes and is a goner. Suddenly, she doesn't like her lowly rank so much. Then her dreamy, popular crush surprises her when he starts to act as if he likes her in return. But there's no way Luke Carter could possibly ever like a nobody like Carrie Paxton. Is there?

Why I’m Waiting: I heard about this one from Susan at Wild Rose Press and I’m glad she brought it to my attention. The story sounds just like the kind I enjoy. I’m not sure why I like high school romances so much, I guess I just think it makes a great setting for a story.

I was also lucky enough to get an interview with Linda Kage! It was fun getting to know her a little better and it makes me more excited to read Stillburrow Crush. Thanks again Linda!

Interview with Linda Kage

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I was born, raised, and still live in Kansas. My parents were dairy farmers, and I was the youngest of eight children. Now, I work in a library, and my husband and I are expecting our first baby in February. Oh, and during my off time, I love to write.

What made you want to write a YA novel, and what inspired Stillburrow Crush?
I've always loved to write, so when I went to college, I couldn't think of anything to major in but English with an emphasis in Creative Fiction Writing. Whenever we had writing assignments, I usually focused on teenager characters because I still didn't know much about being an adult yet. I figured I could create YA a little more realistically since I'd just been there, done that, and bought my senior trip t-shirt to prove it. One of my assignments in college morphed into what became today's version of The Stillburrow Crush.

How did you chose your characters names?
I feel like I need to quote Shakespeare here. What's in a name? Honestly, I have no idea where the names for these characters came from. I think I was mostly trying to make sure I didn't know someone by those names. Usually, I stress and change characters' names a dozen times when I'm working on a manuscript. But I don't recall doing that with this book. I just threw in a name here and there, they seemed to work, so they stayed.

What is the hardest part in writing a book? And what did you learn from writing Stillburrow Crush?
I think the hardest part of writing is trying to find what needs to be fixed. When you write a story, you can see it play out perfectly in your mind. You already know what color everything is, how everything smells, where everything is placed, and what expressions are on all the character's faces when they deliver their lines. What isn't so easy to know is if you're relaying that on paper well enough so EVERYONE else can see what you just saw in your mind. Since The Stillburrow Crush is the first story I liked enough to let other people read, I learned how valuable proofreaders and critique partners are. They really do catch things you just can't because they see your story from a different perspective.

What do you think of the cover? Did you play a role in choosing the cover?
I adore the cover. I was able to fill out a sheet, describing my story, my characters, and the mood and themes of the story. If I had a specific idea of what I wanted, I was able to write that on the sheet too. But the cover artist had the final say-so of how it would end. Since I had no idea what I pictured the cover looking like, I'm very pleased with what Kimberlee Mendoza came up with.

What three words would you use to describe Stillburrow Crush?
High School Romance

Stillburrow Crush will be released in a few weeks (February 26th), do you have any teasers for our readers?
Well, sure. Here you go:

If I'd had any air left in my lungs, I might've been able to continue, but I did a fairly decent job of making a fool out of myself as it was.

"Well. I...I...I mean, is it OK to talk to you, er, ask you a few questions about the game? For the paper, that is."

"Sure." A bead of muddy sweat trickled out of his hairline and down his temple, mixing with blood before moving on. Fascinated, I watched it drool a crooked path down his cheek and neck and then into the collar of his jersey.

As if catching my entranced stare, he lifted the hand that held his helmet and wiped the sweat away with the back of his palm. “What do you want to know?
I cleared my throat and dropped my eyes. “Umm, well…” I yanked a notebook from the inside pocket of my trench coat. The wind caught a few sheets, making the lined pages flail and thrash like they were drowning in the ocean or something. I tried to get a hold of them and rein them in but only succeeded in wrinkling most of the pad.

“Sorry,” I muttered, and dug deep into my outer pocket, frantically searching for my pen. I couldn’t find the irritating thing there, and switched hands on the notebook to search the other pocket. I didn’t dare look up. I could feel him watching and it made my cheeks hot.

He coughed, trying to get my attention, and my head flew up—long bangs falling into my eyes. He motioned toward my right ear with his index finger. I frowned, wondering if there was a twig or something in my hair and reached up, patting the area. And the pen, which had been securely tucked behind my ear, stabbed me.

"Ouch!”

Do you have a particular place to write? Do you like peace & quite, or prefer to have music playing?
I'm blessed to have a room in my house I call the library. All the walls are lined with bookshelves, and all the shelves are stuffed full with books. There's also a desk in there with a computer. And that's where a lot my stories are created. I have written to music before, but when I really get into a story, I just tune the song out, so it might as well be quiet as much as I pay attention to tunes! I've found it's a bit harder to concentrate though when the hubby is yelling through the house, "Hey, dear! Where's the mayonaise?"

Who are your favorite authors? Favorite books?
Since I'm a romance junkie, I love to read books by Catherine Anderson, Cherry Adair, Lara Adrian, Sandra Brown, Suzanne Brockman, Suzanne Enoch, Julie Garwood, Cindy Gerard, Elizabeth Hoyt, Linda Howard, Lisa Kleypas, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Julia Quinn, Karen Robards, Nora Roberts, Gena Showalter, LaVeryle Spencer, Roxanne St. Claire, Anne Stuart, and J. R. Ward...just to name a few. Pretty much anything by them is among my favs.

Can you tell us about any current projects your working on?
I'm always working on something...lots of somethings. Lately, I've been focusing on contemporary adult romance stories, but I have a couple YA ideas I could work on in case The Stillburrow Crush ends up becoming crazy popular (fingers crossed!).

Where can we find you?
You can find me all over the internet! But the best place to start is my website, which I http://www.lindakage.com/. From there, you can find links to my:


Thank you so much for letting me visit and blabber on about myself.

Wednesday, January 20, 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 week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selections are:

The Iron King
By Julie Kagawa
Release Date: February 1, 2010

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.

Why I’m Waiting: Love the cover! I love faery stories and this sounds really good. I’m excited to read it.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mercy Thompson Homecoming by Patricia Briggs

Genre: Graphic Novel-Fantasy Fiction

Publication Date: August 2009

Author Website: www.patrciabriggs.com

Kathy’s Review: This is a prequel to the Mercy Thompson series and tells the story of how Mercy, Adam and the rest of the characters all met and why they settled in the Tri Cities.

I’ve had this on my hold list at the library for ages and I admit I was surprised when I picked it up today and found that it was a graphic novel (I was expecting a regular book). This is my first graphic novel (unless you count some comic books I read as a kid) and I wasn’t sure how to go about reviewing it. It was fun to see the characters visually, it moved along quickly and I liked finding out the back-story of how Adam and Mercy meet. Since it was my first graphic novel it took some getting used to, and although it was fun it kind of rubbed me the wrong way. I didn’t think the writing was that great (but maybe that’s just my lack of experience), I didn’t like the nudity (werewolves/walkers can’t keep their clothes when they change, so obviously it happens that they are nude some of the time), and overall it was just okay for me. If you’re reading the Thompson series then you will probably like this book.

I have a love/hate relationship with the series. Mercy has really grown on me and I have a huge crush on Adam. I think Adam is the only reason why I keep reading the series. It’s kind of dark, pretty violent at times and there is some subject matter that I don’t care for. Definitely a grown-up read and wouldn’t recommend it to teens. Like I said though, I like Adam and can’t wait to see what happens with him and Mercy in Silver Borne, which comes out in March.

Reading Order:
Prequel: Mercy Thompson Homecoming
Book One: Moon Called
Book Two: Blood Bound
Book Three: Iron Kissed
Book Four: Bone Crossed
Book Five: Silver Borne (March 2010)
Book Six: TBD
Book Seven: TBD

Spin-off Series
Book One: Cry Wolf
Book Two: Hunting Ground

Read a Book, See the Movie Challenge


The Read the Book, See the Movie Challenge is based on a simple idea--read a book, see a movie based on the book, include both in your review. Whether yours is a book blog or a movie blog, this could be a way to add some spice to your posts, expand your outlook, and have some fun. Mostly, have some fun. You don't have to write full reviews both the movie and the book. You can write a review of one then add a brief paragraph or just a sentence or two about the other at the end. Visit Ready When You Are to enter the contest.

I’ve decided that since this was a yearlong contest I would go all out and do the “Festival Jury Member: ten books/movie.” Although the contest officially started January 2010, I’m going to count my reading and watching of North & South from December, since it was such an awesome movie. I’ve added links below. I'll add other books/movies as they come up.


1. North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell Movie Review Book Review
2. Dear John by Nicholas Sparks Movie/Book Reivew
3. Persuasion by Jane Austen Movie Review Book Reivew
4. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan Movie/Book Review
5. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine Movie/Book Review


The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks (Movie Release: April 2010)
Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer (Movie Release: June 2010)
Harry Potter Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling (Movie Release: November 2010)
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by CS Lewis (Movie Release: December 2010)


2011 Movie Releases
The Hobbit JRR Tolkein
Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks
Swiss Family Robinson
The Giver by Lois Lowery
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Booking Thru Thursday

Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme hosted at Booking Through Thursday. It asks fun book related questions each week. It’s a fun way to get you thinking about your books and share you're thoughts with other book bloggers. Once you’ve completed your post return to Booking Through Thursday and leave a comment and link. This week's question is:

Do you read the inside flaps that describe a book before or while reading it?

That’s a tricky question. Before I found sites like GoodReads or Amazon I used to always read the inside flap, or back of the book. Now, I usually read reviews or book descriptions online and hardly read the flaps anymore. Sometimes for my blog I will re-type the flap if I like how it’s written, but mostly I already know what the book is about before I buy it or check it out from the library.

Wednesday, January 13, 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 week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selections are:

Incarceron
By Catherine Fisher
Release Date: January 29, 2010

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

Why I’m Waiting: Doesn’t this just sound like an amazing plot? The setting sounds intriguing, and maybe there will be a little love interst between Finn and Claudia, and romance is always a good thing in my book. It looks like this may have been published back in 2007, but is now being re-published in hardcover. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Arabella by Georgette Heyer

Genre: Regency Romance

Publication Date: 1949

One Word Review: Charming

Synopsis: Arabella Tallant, the beautiful daughter of an impoverished clergyman, comes to London for her social debut and almost immediately runs afoul of Robert Beaumaris, a wealthy, eligible aristocrat. Beaumaris suspects that Arabella engineered a carriage accident in order to meet him; Arabella, in a rage, leads him to believe that she is the heiress to a massive fortune and thus quite uninterested in his own riches. -GoodReads

Kathy’s Review: I LOVED this book! It was such a fun read with a very likable heroine, not to mention a very agreeable leading man, Mr. Beaumaris. Arabella is full of spunk and is not afraid of speaking her mind when she feels an injustice has been made, and somehow Mr. Beaumaris is the lucky one she turns to for assistance. I’m getting a little ahead of myself though, when first meeting they don’t care for one another. When Arabella overhears a *shocking* conversation between Mr. Beaumaris and Mr. Fleetwood, Arabella concocts an outrages story that she is an heiress and goes about trying to put Mr. Beaumaris in his place. There are a lot of fun interactions between the two, and like Mr. Beaumaris you can’t help falling in love with Arabella. The story moved along quickly and I was sucked in after the first couple chapters. I liked Mr. Beaumaris from the beginning but really grew to love him as the story went on. I couldn’t help thinking what a fun movie this would make. So far I have loved all three Heyer books I’ve read, I can’t wait to pick up another one!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Damsel Under Stress by Shanna Swendson

Genre: Fiction

Publication Date: May 2007

Author Website: http://www.shannaswendson.com/

One Word Review: Good

First Line: “The last thing I expected to see when I stepped through the door of the coffee shop was a fairy godmother."

Synopsis: At last, Owen Palmer, the dreamboat wizard at Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc., has conjured up the courage to get Katie Chandler under the mistletoe at the office holiday party. But just when it looks like Katie has found her prince, in pops her inept fairy godmother, Ethelinda, to throw a wand into the works. Ethelinda’s timing couldn’t be worse. A plot hatched by MSI’s rogue ex-employees, Idris and his evil fairy gal pal Ari, threatens to expose the company’s secrets–and the very existence of magic itself. Even worse, it could also mean the end of Katie’s happily-ever-after. Now Katie and Owen must work side by side (but alas, not cheek to cheek) to thwart the villains’ plans. Braving black-magic-wielding sorceresses, subway-dwelling dragons, lovelorn frog princes, and even the dreaded trip to meet Owen’s parents at Christmas, Katie and her beau are in a battle to beat Idris at his own sinister game. All mischief and matters of the heart will come to a head at a big New Year’s Eve gala, when the crystal ball will drop, champagne will pour, and Katie will find herself truly spellbound.GoodReads

Kathy’s Review: I have a lot of mixed feelings about this one. I’m still enjoying the series and the book totally ended where I want to run out and grab the next installment. This story had the same feel as the first two books and kept me turning the pages. It had a few twists along the way and even introduced a few new characters that I really liked. There are a few inconsistencies with magic that don’t make sense, and I kind of have to turn off my analytical brain and just enjoy the story (can’t really give any example without giving away spoilers).

I was really frustrated with the relationship of Owen and Katie (which was probably the authors intent). In this installment they are *finally* and item, but you’d hardly tell by the way they act with one another. There disastrous dates make for interesting reading, but did get a little old after awhile. I suppose it’s a good set up for the next book, but I still would have liked a little more romance in their romance. Owen comes across cold and disinterested most of the time, and Katie is always rationalizing his behavior. They just don’t act like a new couple in love, even though they claim to be. And their conversations and dialog really left me wanting for more. I suppose all the mayhem around them could have something to do with that.

They still have enough chemistry to keep me interested and the story is still a lot of fun. I really enjoy the series, its a fun break from reality.

Reading Order:
Book One: Enchanted, Inc.
Book Two: Once Upon Stilettos
Book Three: Damsel Under Stress
Book Four: Don’t Hex with Texas

Once Upon Stilettos by Shanna Swendson

Genre: Fiction

Publication Date: April 2006

Author Website: www.shannaswendson.com

One Word Review: Charming

First Line: “It all began with the red shoes.”

Synopsis: Katie Chandler’s life is pure magic–literally. As an executive assistant at Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc., she’s seen more than her share of fantastical occurrences. A mere Manhattan mortal, Katie is no wizard, but she’s a wiz at exposing “hokum” pocus, cloaked lies, and deceptive enchantments. And she’s fallen under the all-too-human spell of attraction to Owen, a hunky wizard and coworker. Owen, however, is preoccupied. Someone has broken into his office and disrupted top-secret files, and it reeks of an inside job. CEO Merlin (yes, the Merlin) and taps Katie and her special ability to uncover the magical mole. Keeping her feelings in check while sleuthing alongside Owen, Katie is shocked to discover that her immunity to magic is waning, putting her in grave danger. Soon she’s surrendering to the charms and enchantments of everyone and everything around her, including a killer pair of red stilettos. Katie must now conjure up her natural instincts to get to the bottom of the break-in, regain her power, and win the wizard of her dreams.-GoodReads

Kathy’s Review: This is the sequel to Enchanted, Inc. I enjoyed this installment as much as the first. Although the storylines were different, they felt really similar (in a good way). We pick up right where book one ends and Katie has once again found herself in the middle of trouble. I liked both Owen and Katie a lot more in this one, maybe since all the groundwork had already been done I was able to sit back and enjoy their story. Owen still blushes like crazy (not as annoying this time around), but he’s also more confident and I just liked him better. The story was a fun mix of reality and fantasy. There is a tiny bit of swearing and a little talk of sex, but overall a really clean read. I’m looking forward to reading the next book!

Reading Order:
Book One: Enchanted, Inc.
Book Two: Once Upon Stilettos
Book Three: Damsel Under Stress
Book Four: Don’t Hex with Texas

Friday, January 8, 2010

Retro Friday Review: The Convenient Marriage

Retro Friday Review is a weekly meme hosted by Angieville. This focuses on classics, out of print books or just old favorites that don’t get the attention they deserve. This Friday’s review is:

The Convenient Marriage
by Georgette Heyer

Genre: Regency Romance

Publication Date: 1934

One Word Review: Entertaining

Synopsis: Horatia Winwood is a plain girl with a stutter. When she rescues her sister from an undesired marriage to the Earl of Rule by proposing to him herself, he is thoroughly impressed by her spirit and enjoys watching her take the ton by storm. When Rule's archenemy, Sir Robert, tries to kiss Horatia, she spurns his advances, and in the ensuing scuffle loses an heirloom brooch. Horatia's brother's hare-brained scheme to recover the brooch fails, and then the Earl himself must step in, challenging Sir Robert in a swordfight that is Heyer at her most stirring. -GoodReads

Kathy’s Review: It’s been awhile since I’ve done a Retro Friday Review, so I decided that although I just finished this book today I would count it as a “retro read” since it was originally published in 1934.

This was totally different from the first Heyer book I read, and I was pleasantly surprised. A lot of regency romances I read are rather mild in nature, so I was surprised by all the mischief, misunderstandings, and adventure that went on in this story. Our leading lady Horatia is kind of a dim-wit, but I couldn’t help liking her anyway. She says what’s on her mind, is playful, and has a big heart. The Earl of Rule totally won me over, I loved his character! He was smart, confident and loads of fun to read. He caught on to things rather quickly and really enjoyed watching the people around him scurry around to try and make things right. Marcus and Horatia had great chemistry together. You could tell Marcus was smitten with her from the start and was very protective of her. The additional cast of characters were also delightful. It really was a page-turner and I thoroughly enjoyed the story.

The only thing I didn’t like was that Marcus Rule had a mistress, both before and after he was married. Although I don’t think he really had feelings for her, it still rubbed me the wrong way. I can kind of see why Heyer added that element to the story, but overall I could have done without it.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Espressologist by Kristina Springer

Genre: YA Fiction

Publication Date: October 2009

Author Website: www.kristinaspringer.com

One Word Review: Light

First Line: “Excuse me,” the customer says, stepping up to the counter.

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old barista Jane Turner has this theory that you can tell a lot about a person by their regular coffee drink. She scribbles it all down in a notebook and calls it Espressology. So it’s not a totally crazy idea when Jane starts hooking up some of her friends based on their coffee orders. Like her best friend, Em, a medium hot chocolate, and Cam, a toffee nut latte. But when her boss, Derek, gets wind of Jane’s Espressology, he makes it an in-store holiday promotion, promising customers their perfect matches for the price of their favorite coffee. -GoodReads

Kathy’s Review: This was a very quick, lighthearted read. There really isn’t a whole lot of conflict for our leading lady Jane, and everything always seems to work out just right for her. If you’re in the mood for something very light then this is the book for you. It had a cute story idea and the characters were likable enough. I couldn’t really get a good read on Jane. She was technically still in high school but was taking some classes at her local junior college. She acted more like a girl out of high school, so when HS was mentioned it seemed a little out of place. I think the author should have just made her a college freshman. Overall, a pretty cute read!

(There was quite a bit of swearing, but otherwise a really clean read.)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

Genre: YA Fantasy Fiction

Publication Date: December 2009

Author Website: www.breedespain.com

One Word Review: Serious

First Line: “Grace! You have got to see the new guy.”

Synopsis: Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared--the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in his own blood--but she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night held. The memories her family has tried to bury resurface when Daniel returns, three years later, and enrolls in Grace and Jude's high school. Despite promising Jude she'll stay away, Grace cannot deny her attraction to Daniel's shocking artistic abilities, his way of getting her to look at the world from new angles, and the strange, hungry glint in his eyes. The closer Grace gets to Daniel, the more she jeopardizes her life, as her actions stir resentment in Jude and drive him to embrace the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind the boy's dark secret...and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it--her soul. -GoodReads

Kathy’s Review: I’ve been waiting and wanting to read this one for a long time. I was excited to curl up and start reading yesterday and ended up staying up late to finish it. I liked Grace from the beginning and her relationship with her brother Jude reminded me of my relationship with my brother Doug. Doug was a year older than me in school and everyone loved him, so I could definitely relate to Grace in that respect. Anyway, I thought Dark Divine had a very original plot, and the characters were believable. As much as I enjoyed the story, it didn’t quite grab me like I had hoped. It seems like all the problems the characters faced could have easily been solved if they just sat down and talk to each other. Daniel was an okay leading man, he probably won’t be added to my literary crush list, but I enjoyed his character and thought that he had good chemistry with Grace. There were some slow parts and the ending wasn’t my favorite, but overall I enjoyed the story.

One thing that drove me bonkers was the sub-headings scattered throughout the book. I would just get into the story and then bam we’d have another heading (e.g. Five Seconds Later), these were very distracting and pointless. I think, for me anyway, the book would have flowed a lot better without these interruptions. Also, the book is rather serious, a few jokes and light moments would have added a lot as well.

Similar Reads:
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Need by Carrie Jones

Waiting on Wednesday: Double Feature

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:

Freaksville
By Kitty Keswick
Release Date: January 8, 2010

Synopsis: High school is hard enough when you’re normal. There’s peer pressure, book reports, the in crowd and the enormous zit that has a life of its own. Having a family whose skeletons in the closet lean toward the paranormal is not a topper on anyone’s list. Sophomore Kasey Maxwell is busy juggling the typical teen angst. Add visions, ghosts and hairy four-legged monsters into the mix and you get FREAKSVILLE. It’s a wonder Kasey has survived. Every woman in the Maxwell family has the gift of sight. A talent sixteen-year-old Kasey would gladly give up. All she wants is a normal life. Shopping and talking about boys with her best friend and long-time sidekick Gillie Godshall consume her days. Until Kasey has a vision about Josh Johnstone, the foreign exchange student from England. The vision leads her into new waters, a lead in a play, a haunted theater…and into the arms of the Josh. Yet, both Kasey and Josh have secrets lurking in dark corners. Can Kasey’s new romance survive FREAKSVILLE?

Why I’m Waiting: This sounds like just the type book I enjoy, a little fantasy with romance thrown in. I haven’t read any reviews yet, but it sounds like a good one to me. I like the cover as well.

Boys, Girls & Other Hazardous Materials
By Rosalind Wiseman
Release Date: January 12, 2010

Synopsis: Looking for a new beginning after a terrible mean girl past, Charlie Healey realizes there’s no escaping high school drama Charlie Healey thinks Harmony Falls is the beginning of a whole new life. Middle school was brutal. But high school is Charlie’s big chance to start over and stay out of drama, except that on her first day she runs into Will, her ex–best friend, who had moved away. Now a varsity athlete and hotter than Charlie remembered, Will hangs with the crowd running the school. But Charlie doesn’t understand their power until an innocent delivery guy falls victim to a near-deadly hazing prank. Torn between doing what’s right and her secret feelings for Will, Charlie must decide whether to turn in her very best friend or live with the guilt of knowing what he did.

Why I’m Waiting: Sounds a little more serious than most of the teen-lit books I read, but I’m excited anyway. The plot sounds promising and I like the cover, excited for this one to be released next week.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore

Genre: YA Fantasy Fiction

Publication Date: December 2009

Author Website: www.jaclyndolamore.com

One Word Review: Mysterious

First Line: “The audience didn’t understand a word we sang.”

Synopsis: Nimira is a music-hall performer forced to dance for pennies to an audience of leering drunks. When wealthy sorcerer Hollin Parry hires her to do a special act - singing accompaniment to an exquisite piano-playing automaton, Nimira believes it is the start of a new life. In Parry's world, however, buried secrets stir. Unsettling below-stairs rumors abound about ghosts, a mad woman roaming the halls, and of Parry's involvement in a gang of ruthless sorcerers who torture fairies for sport. When Nimira discovers the spirit of a dashing young fairy gentleman is trapped inside the automaton's stiff limbs, waiting for someone to break the curse and set him free, the two fall in love. But it is a love set against a dreadful race against time to save the entire fairy realm, which is in mortal peril.-GoodReads

Kathy’s Review: I was sucked into the story right off the bat. You’re immediately taken into the life of Nimira and the world of Lorinar. I liked learning about Nim’s past and what brought her to Lorinar. I loved the first few chapters where she meets Mr. Hollin Parry and the mystery behind him. I enjoyed the love story of Nim and the automaton (kind of reminded me of Beauty and the Beast). The story really moved along and had a few twists and turns that kept me interested. The ending was a little disappointing, but I think it may be meant as a set up for a sequel (although, I think I would have preferred if this book was a little longer and a standalone). Overall, I really enjoyed the story. I thought things were a bit rushed in places, and when Nim was faced with a new challenge, it sometimes seemed the solution was given a little too quickly. Also, Mr. Parry started off really mysterious and dark, which added a great element to the story. As time went on, he lost a lot of that and kind of fell flat for me towards the end.

A fun read for anyone who enjoys a good fantasy with a few hints of Jane Eyre.

Monday, January 4, 2010

One Lovely Blog Award

I received the One Lovely Blog Award a few weeks back from Justine at A Bookful of Thoughts. Sorry it’s taken me so long to respond, I’ve just made it back into town and finally have time to catch up on everything. Thanks so much Justine, I was excited to receive the award!

The rules are: Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link. Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you've newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

I try and always chose blogs that I haven’t previously given an award. So, in random order the winners are:

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.

Below are the books I had waiting for me after my trip home to Utah. I’ve heard good things about all three and I’m excited to read each one.

The Espressologist by Kristinia Springer
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Rampant by Diana Peterfreund
 
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