Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Synopsis: Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.

Review: I guess because I’ve seen so many positive reviews of this book I didn’t think I’d like it. I wasn’t sure it’d live up to the hype. I was wrong! I totally enjoyed this book and was sucked in from the beginning and had a hard time putting it down.

I liked Anna and Etienne a lot. They are really cute together and have great chemistry. I really liked that their relationship moved at a believable pace. I liked that it wasn’t this “insta-love” that seems to be happening a lot in YA fiction, but they were friends first. I loved that we were a part of their relationship, we were there for their dates and conversations, it wasn’t just a given that they spent time together, we actually get to experience it. And because of that I totally fell for Etienne as well!

What kept me from giving this a higher rating was the fact that Etienne has a girlfriend. I don’t care for cheating stories, and most would probably say that Etienne and Anna never cheated. However, somewhere along the way their friendship became more and at that point he should have ended things with his girlfriend. I would have had a lot more respect for him if he had done that. I’m sure it was used as a plot device to keep Anna and Etienne apart, but it ends up taking away from the charm of their relationship. Another reason for the low rating is because of some crude stuff scattered here and there, drinking and for some bad language.

Aside from those things, I really enjoyed the story and relationship between Anna and Etienne and probably would have given it a five star rating.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Birthmarked by Caragh M O'Brien

Synopsis: In the future, in a world baked dry by the harsh sun, there are those who live inside the wall and those, like sixteen-year-old midwife, Gaia Stone, who live outside. Gaia has always believed it is her duty, with her mother, to hand over a small quota of babies to the Enclave. But when Gaia’s mother and father are arrested by the very people they so dutifully serve, Gaia is forced to question everything she has been taught to believe. Gaia’s choice is now simple: enter the world of the Enclave to rescue her parents, or die trying.

Review: I was pleasantly surprised by this dystopian novel. I thought the story was original and enjoyed the setting. I also thought the premise was believable, something that I could see happening. I mean, don’t we currently have CPS, a government agency that steps in and takes kids away from their family if they feel the child is being abused/neglected. Is it really that farfetched to see the way a system like that could spiral out of control?

Anyway, I liked our main character Gaia a lot. While she was somewhat ignorant of what was going on around her at first, she was intelligent and was quick to see the flaws in the system. Not only that but she saw the flaws and wanted to make a change. I like that she doesn’t give up, no matter what situation she finds herself in. She’s a fighter. I admit, I was a little disappointed on the romance front. It was really subtle and I’m still not sure what motivated our leading man. I would have liked more time with them together and even though they are in some pretty serious situations maybe a little more light-heartedness. They were both so serious, it was hard to feel them falling in love, if that’s even what happened.

Definitely a fun read, I look forward to reading the rest of the series. I hope Gaia is able to find her brothers!

Reading Order:
Book One: Birthmarked
Book 1.5: Tortured
Book Two: Prized
Book Three: Promised

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

Synopsis: What girl doesn't want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn't just surrounded by hot guys, though - she leads them as the captain and quarterback on her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys, and that's just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university. But now there's a new guy in town who threatens her starring position on the team... and has her suddenly wishing to be seen as more than just a teammate.

Review: I was skimming through all the positive reviews of this book and kept wondering if I read the same book. I loved the cover, it totally drew me to the book and even though I thought the premise sounded a little silly I wanted to read it.

I think guys should be guys and girls should be girls. I’m all for girl’s being strong, independent, playing sports, etc. But, I think girls should also be feminine, should be respected and treated like ladies.

I wish I could have liked Jordan more, which is one of the reasons I kept reading. Jordan was just such a boy. Not a tomboy, but a boy. She acted like a guy, cussed like a guy, and did just about everything like a guy. Sure, when hot Ty comes around she wants to be a little more girly, and even makes a couple girl friends, but at the end of the day she was still pretty boyish. I was really disappointed that she started sleeping with Ty. Her attitude (and everyone else’s) about sex was WAY too casual. It was kind of gross actually. What I also thought was sad was that no one actually respected Jordan. Yes, they appreciated her football skills and treated her like one of the guys. Which was part of my problem; they treated her like a guy not a girl. They didn’t treat her with respect, course they didn’t treat any girl with respect, so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised.

In fact, I didn’t care for any of the guys in this book. Her brother’s friend Jake was a creep; there is NO WAY my brothers would EVER let a guy talk to me the way Jake talked to Jordan. Even if he was just kidding. Ty was okay, but I never really felt like I got to know him. Once they hooked up he kind of disappears from the story, even though they were still sleeping together…I mean dating. I know Henry was supposed to be our hero, but I thought he was a creep to. To help sooth his broken heart he sleeps with every girl that looks his way. Are we supposed to feel bad for him in his unrequited love and so it’s okay if he uses girls he has no feelings for? Whatever.

I thought the writing was okay. I liked that there was more conversation than inner dialog, even if the dialog felt unnatural at times. I liked that Jordan had a goal and was doing all she could to achieve it. Leave out all the swearing and sex and I probably would have given this a 4 star rating.

I’m just left wondering what the moral of the story is. Is it to be a strong girl you have to give up all feminine qualities and act like a guy? Is it that it’s okay to sleep around and it’s not a big deal? I’m sure the author meant it to be something about achieving goals or whatever, but at what cost?

Content: LOTS of swearing. Lots of casual sex (although no details).

Bookworm Rating: 1

Vanish by Sophie Jordan

Synopsis: To save the life of the boy she loves, Jacinda did the unthinkable: She betrayed the most closely-guarded secret of her kind. Now she must return to the protection of her pride knowing she might never see Will again—and worse, that because his mind has been shaded, Will’s memories of that fateful night and why she had to flee are gone. Back home, Jacinda is greeted with hostility and must work to prove her loyalty for both her sake and her family’s. Among the few who will even talk to her are Cassian, the pride’s heir apparent who has always wanted her, and her sister, Tamra, who has been forever changed by a twist of fate. Jacinda knows that she should forget Will and move on—that if he managed to remember and keep his promise to find her, it would only endanger them both. Yet she clings to the hope that someday they will be together again. When the chance arrives to follow her heart, will she risk everything for love?

Review: I think I may have enjoyed this one more than the first. I wasn’t sure where the story was going to go and there were a few twists that I didn’t see coming. I thought, because of the cover, there would be more of a focus on Tamra in this one, but there wasn't. I’m not sure what to think of our main character Jacinda. While I really like her, I’m also frustrated with her. She sure makes some hasty decisions that end up causing a lot of problems, but deep down I think she’s just trying to do the right thing. Anyway, this story of course contains a love-triangle. I have to say, I am really torn on this one, I keep going back and forth, normally I can chose a “team” and stick with it. I really really like Cassian, I find myself leaning towards him, but then I really like Will and suspect that in the end Jacinda will end up with Will, so Cassian is there just to provide some nice tension. Which is probably why I don’t like love-triangles. I also like Tamra. I wish we could get to know her more, I don’t think her character is used enough. I want to see her happy. I think the last book I wanted Tamra and Cassian to somehow end up together, but, I don’t think Cassian deserves Tamra. She deserves to be someone’s first choice.

One thing that I’ve had a hard time doing is picturing these characters in their dragon forms. I keep picturing BIG dragons, but then the descriptions don’t make them out to be all that bigger than their human forms. I would love a sketch or something of what they look like so I could imagine it a little better.

The book ends on a pretty big cliff hanger and I’m excited for the next book, Hidden.

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Maya is just an ordinary teen in an ordinary town. Sure, she doesn't know much about her background - the only thing she really has to cling to is an odd paw-print birthmark on her hip - but she never really put much thought into who her parents were or how she ended up with her adopted parents in this tiny medical-research community on Vancouver Island. Until now. Strange things have been happening in this claustrophobic town - from the mountain lions that have been approaching Maya to her best friend's hidden talent for "feeling" out people and situations, to the sexy new bad boy who makes Maya feel . . . . different. Combine that with a few unexplained deaths and a mystery involving Maya's biological parents and it's easy to suspect that this town might have more than its share of skeletons in its closet.

Review: I enjoyed Armstrong’s Darkest Powers trilogy (Summoning, Awakening, and Reckoning) and really looked forward to this spinoff Darkness Rising trilogy. A part of me wishes I had re-read Darkest Powers so I could refresh myself on characters and history, but another part is glad that I went into the Gathering somewhat fresh.

While I totally enjoyed the story, I was also a little disappointed. Not much happened and Maya took FOREVER to figure out what was going on. Since I could guess at least a little of what was going to happen from the beginning, I was frustrated that it was taking so long for the characters to catch up. I did like Maya. She was a good lead, very independent, strong and yet pretty nice too. I liked her relationship with her parents. It was refreshing to see a healthy family unit for a change. I also really liked Maya’s best friend Daniel. In fact I think I’m on Team Daniel, even though they didn’t have any romantic chemistry together, I was hoping he’d win out. I liked Rafe too actually, I thought he had good chemistry with Maya, but I just didn’t like him as much as Daniel. It was actually nice that there wasn’t the typical love-triangle going on. Maya knew her feelings and wasn’t leading anyone on, such a refreshing change! By the end though, I felt like nothing was answered and the cliffhanger was kind of lackluster. It felt more like an end to a chapter, not the end of a book.

I guess I felt like the book was kind of filler, we got to know the characters (which I liked), the setting (which I liked) and a tiny bit of Maya’s history. There wasn’t enough mystery/action, and if I hadn’t read the first trilogy I wouldn’t have enjoyed The Gathering as much as I did. I still really look forward to the next book, I love the story and writing and I know I’ll probably end up liking this trilogy as much as the first.

Content: A little swearing, underage drinking, and a bit of making out.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Breakup Artist by Shannen Crane Camp

Synopsis: Breaking up with someone is a major pain—-unless you can hire someone else to do it for you! And Amelia demands top dollar for her professional break-up services. Everything's business as usual until David, one of the boys she's been hired to dump, throws her for a loop. Now she must decide if David's intentions are genuine, or if there's something sinister behind his flirting.

Review: This is probably more like a four star read, if you don’t overanalyze it like I did.

Overall, it’s a cute story. I liked our heroine Amelia. To earn a little extra college money she helps girls breakup with their boyfriends. Because of her “profession” she doesn’t have any friends, mainly because she changes personality depending on who she is breaking up with. She goes through multiple hair colors, clothes and names to get the job done and keep her identity a secret. Then one day she stumbles upon a guy who just may be onto her little secret. Which brings us to David, who seems to be the perfect guy for Amelia. He was a likable lead, although by the end I still felt like I knew very little about him. I also thought that their feelings for each other moved WAY too fast to be believable. His change from being “out-to-get-her” to “I’m-so-in-love” was too quick. I thought it was fun to see Amelia at work. Amelia goes through a lot of changes and starts to really want a normal high school life. So, if you just want a quick escape and not dwell too much on the details then this is a fun read. I look forward to seeing what Shannen Crane Camp comes up with next!

If you want to read my over-analyzed review (contains spoilers), then read below.

I guess I had a hard time buying Amelia’s job. People would recognize her, even if she changes hair/clothes and schools frequently. Sure, if there are 2000+ kids in the student body most wouldn’t notice, but the kids she takes daily classes with totally would. If her teachers can see past her daily changes then of course her fellow classmates would. Also, if she is as pretty as she claims why aren’t more guys talking to her? It’s hard to believe that the only guys who are interested in her are the one’s she approaches to breakup with. I have a hard time buying that she is so pretty guys are willing to dumb their girlfriends after one meeting, but not pretty enough that no one will talk to her and no other guy is hitting on her.

I like David, but I felt he somehow got lost along the way. He was so against her job at the beginning, claiming that some of his friends had been hurt (I would have liked Amelia to acknowledge them, like “oh, yeah, I remember dumping him”). But, by the end he was on Team Amelia and wanting to be her accomplice. I liked him when he was wanting people to fight their own battles and wanting Amelia to stop and have a normal life. My other problem with the David storyline is how he was writing an article about her and nothing came of it. Amelia finds it and after reading only half (yeah right, like anyone would stop reading after half) decides to still beg him to forgive her and not even bring it up? I wanted a confrontation! He wrote some pretty mean stuff and I think she let him off the hook way to easily. In fact, I think it may have been a better story if he had published an article about her in the school paper and then had them hash things out, fight a bit and eventually get a HEA after he then got to know her, IMO.

Amelia has a LOT of inner dialog. I would have liked more conversations to propel the story. The general idea is interesting, but a lot of the time I just didn’t think things made sense. Why was her mom willing to move around all the time so Amelia could go to different school? Anyway, David lost a lot of his appeal once he became Amelia’s puppy and I wanted a big event for Amelia to open her eyes and see how she’d closed herself off and really want to make a change. But, she doesn’t and instead is going to keep doing what she’s doing, only this time David will do a “background check” to make sure her victims are worthy of their girlfriends cowardly breakups. Would he really be okay with her flirting with other guys? Changing her hair, name and personality constantly? Wouldn’t he want her to finally take the time to figure out who she is?

There were just too many things that didn’t make sense for me to love this story. Again, if I just read it without thinking then I really did think it was fun. I liked the idea and the writing was well done, I do look forward to seeing what else Shannen Crane Camp will come up with next.

Bookworm Rating: 3

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Synopsis: umans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . . Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Review: The good thing about getting a book early is you get to read it early (obviously), but the bad thing is that now I have to wait extra long before the next book comes out! I really enjoyed this book! I wasn’t sure I’d like it, I mean a cyborg Cinderella? But, Cinder really won me over. I actually really liked her character. I wasn’t sure how the whole love-affair would play out with a human and a cyborg, but it worked. I actually thought more of her as a human than then anything else. I liked Cinders personality and spunk. I also liked Prince Kai (Kaito), especially when he was around Cinder. I wish there had been a few more interactions between them. But mostly I loved how original the story was, yet at the same time kept to the traditional Cinderella storyline. It definitely has a sci-fy feel to it, but was also really charming. I loved some of the side characters, like Dr. XXX, Peony and especially the endearing android Iko. The book does end on a cliffhanger, I kind of wish there had been a little more resolution, but it was still a good ending.

There will be three more books in the series (yay!), and I hear they will incorporate other fairy tales like Repunzel, Red Riding Hood and Snow White. I’m definitely curious to see where this series will go.

Release Date: January 3, 2012

Welcome to Salt Lake City by Sheralyn Pratt

Synopsis: Deciding to go "off grid" for a while, Rhea Jensen can think of no better place to disappear than Utah. She settles into a quiet Mormon lifestyle—unless you count the skydiving, racecar driving, mountain climbing, and overly obsessive workouts. But when her best friend, Kay, tips her off to a stalking case, Rhea takes the job out of sheer boredom. Only then does Rhea realize two things—first, being good is hard; and second, she knows way too much to get out of the PI game. Everyone's favorite private investigator is back in this second installment of the Rhea Jensen Series by Sheralyn Pratt. Packed full of new mysteries, new relationships, and all of Rhea's old habits, Stalk Lake City will hold you hostage from the very first page.

Review: This is the second book in the Rhea Jensen series. While I still loved the book, I don’t know if I liked it as much as the first. I think I want a tad more romance. Other than that, it was great. Pratt writes a fun, engaging mystery. I liked that it was about stalkers (which is what my thesis was on in college). I thought Pratt did a good job in that regard, very realistic. I liked Rhea a lot, she is a great heroine. I didn’t fall for her new love interest right way, but he really grew on me. I would have liked a little more interaction between the two. I’m not sure I bought their ending, there needed to be a little more time spent with the two characters to build up more chemistry, IMO. I want to know more about how they met and what their relationship was like before the story picks up in the book (why was Rhea in a bar if she is a new convert? Why did he kiss her? Why did he decide to stop drinking and sleeping around?). I was just left with too many questions when it came to him.

I'm glad in this book that we find out a lot more about Ben, I like how things were handled, but at the same time would have liked Rhea to be a little more upset about their situation. She was too understanding. I would have been pretty mad and hurt if I had been in her place and I wanted to see more of that. Maybe she wasn’t mad because she wasn’t as in love with him as she thought? Anyway, the story moves along well, the culprit isn’t who I thought it would be. Actually, I wanted a little more explanation where that went. More of a motivation, how they got some of their information, etc. There are at least two more books in the series and I can’t wait to jump in!

City Limits by Sheralyn Pratt

Synopsis: In the third installment of the Rhea Jensen series, Rhea's best friend Kay McCoy moves to Salt Lake City to keep a closer eye on Rhea, and Rhea worries that Kay wants things to go back to the way they were in Los Angeles - clubbing, dancing, and men. But when Rhea agrees to do a simple, harmless favor for Kay, she unwittingly sets off a series of events that ends up with a secret society appearing right at her door. The stakes are higher than ever - solving the case means more than just collecting her weekly paycheck. This time, it's a matter of life and death.

Review: I really enjoy this series. I really like Rhea and Kay. I like that they help each other out and enjoy their close friendship. This installment has plenty of action and not a dull moment. It moves along quickly and you have to keep turning the pages to find out what will happen next. I do wish we had a little more background on Rhea. The first couple of books she’s just a cool PI, but this time around she is like a Super-PI. Maybe her background will be brought up in the next book, but at times I felt a little lost in this one. The bad guy seemed to come out of the blue and seems it will take the series in a totally different angle than just a cool PI solving mysteries. So, while I totally enjoyed the story and will keep reading the series I’m only giving this one three stars because I was just a little lost in this one. Besides not knowing more about Rhea’s past, there are a couple other reasons holding me back from really loving this one.

First, the relationship with Ty and Rhea, I just don’t buy it. I don’t really know who Ty is and what purpose he has besides being Rhea’s “trophy-boy” who looks good and is there occasionally to lend moral support. I think their relationship is just too private. I didn’t get to be there for when they first met, or the three months leading up to them dating. I missed the four weeks they are dating and any important conversations they might have had. I think Ty’s past is brushed over too much and it’s too easily accepted that he’s “changed”. I don’t really know what he was like before and I just have a vague idea of who he is now. In my mind, they don’t know each other near well enough (or long enough) to be making the kind of commitments they are talking about making. And, he just seems kind of useless compared to Rhea, almost pathetic. Like he’s the old-fashioned wife who is told to stay at home while the “man” takes care of business. I’m all for a kick-butt heroine that is smart and can take care of herself. But, at the same time I’m kind of traditional and like my men to be men and women to be feminine. I wouldn’t mind Rhea being a little more feminine and actually have Ty be more manly and maybe help her out a bit more, instead of being the obedient and disapear into the background when trouble comes knocking.

Secondly, the first couple of books there is a nice side story of Rhea joining the LDS church. I was a little lost in this book, and I guess so was Rhea. I was left wondering why she even bothered to join? It seems like she is kind of negative about the church and even the members, especially poor Andy (why are they so mean to Andy? Making fun of his clothes, car, etc. They think he is judgmental, but really I think Ty, Kay and Rhea are the ones being judgmental). There wasn’t as much of the church stuff in this book, it seems like it was just pushed to the back burner. I’m left wondering why she joined if she is going to be so blasé about it and not really commit.

The Rhea Jensen Series:
Book One: City of Angels
Book Two: Welcome to Salt Lake City
Book Three: City Limits
Book Four: Kay'sVille

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Accidental Bride by Denise Hunter

Bookworm Rating: 4

Synopsis: Shay Brandenberger is a survivor. She's lived through a crazy childhood, a failed marriage, and single parenthood-with her confidence intact. But not for long. Because when Shay participates in her town's Founder's Day wedding reenactment, she finds herself face-to-face with the one man who takes her breath away and leaves her weak in the knees: Travis McCoy. Travis is back in town after years way on the rodeo circuit. His one regret in life is breaking Shay's heart when they were high-school sweethearts. He's determined to get it right this time.So when their Founder's Day "marriage" is accidentally made official, Travis seizes the day. Can Shay put aside her pride to let Travis help her, or will their accidental marriage be dissolved before it can begin?

Review: This is the first book I’ve read by Denise Hunter, and it won’t be the last. I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed reading Travis & Shay’s story. Travis ditched Shay on their wedding day, and now fourteen years later he shows up wanting to win her back. I admit, sometimes I was pretty mad at Travis. Why are guys so dense? But, he really won me over. I thought he and Shay had great chemistry together. I could totally understand why Shay had some pretty thick walls up and I’m glad she made Travis work for it. This has two of my favorite kinds of plots, lost-love and marriage-of-convenience, what could be better? I thought the accidental wedding storyline was very believable. I really enjoyed how everything played out.

I didn’t realize that there had been a book before this, A Cowboy’s Touch, about Wade and Abigail who show up in this story. The Accidental Bride stands on its own, but I’m excited to go back and read Wade and Abigail’s story.

Release Date: January 3, 2012

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Legend by Marie Lu

Synopsis: Born into the slums of Los Angeles, fifteen-year old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. A mysterious boy with no recorded image or fingerprints. A boy who should no longer exist. A boy who watches over his family until one evening, when the plague patrols mark his family's door with an X--the sign of plague infection. A death sentence for any family too poor to afford the antidote. Desperate, Day has no choice; he must steal it. Born to an elite family in Los Angeles' wealthy Ruby sector, fifteen-year old June is the Republic's most promising prodigy. A superintelligent girl destined for great things in the country's highest military circles. Obedient, passionate, and committed to her country--until the day her brother Metias is murdered while on patrol during a break-in at the plague hospital. Only one person could be responsible. Day. And now it's June's mission to hunt him down. The truth they'll uncover will become legend

Review: I’m surprised by how much I enjoyed this one. I enjoy dystopia novels and thought Lu did a good job with this one. I liked that she mixes in places from our time (like Las Angeles and Vegas), but the story is in the future and our way of living is almost a myth. But, mostly I really liked June and Day. They are great characters and I really enjoyed that the story was told from both their perspectives. While there is still a lot of inner-dialog, this not overdone and its doesn’t feel slow like some of the other dystopian books I’ve read lately. There is plenty of action and the story moves along quickly. I downloaded the sample for my Kindle and by time I finished I had to buy the book to see what would happen next. I’m really curious to see where the story goes and I can’t wait to read more about June and Day! A really fun read!

Crossed by Ally Condie

Synopsis: In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander - who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart - change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

Review: It’s been awhile since I read the first book and I found that while I remembered a lot, I also forgot a lot. I really like Ky and Cassia.I wonder about Xander, for those who know me you know I’m not a big fan of love-triangles, but I think it has been well done here. It seems like it more up in the air of who Cassia will end up with, I’m on Team Ky this time around (I think I was leaning towards Xander the first book), so I’m curious to see what will happen in the next book. Ky really won me over this time around. I like the world and I like the story. To be honest, I was a little disappointed in this one. It just moves a little too slowly for me, I just kept expecting something to happen. There are a lot of little things that happen, but not a lot of action. I guess that’s how the series is though, more of a story and less action. I think it’s a good series and I look forward to the next book.

Reading Order:
Book One: Matched
Book Two: Crossed
Book Three:

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Synopsis: Beatrice "Tris" Prior has reached the fateful age of sixteen, the stage at which teenagers in Veronica Roth's dystopian Chicago must select which of five factions to join for life. Each faction represents a virtue: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. To the surprise of herself and her selfless Abnegation family, she chooses Dauntless, the path of courage. Her choice exposes her to the demanding, violent initiation rites of this group, but it also threatens to expose a personal secret that could place her in mortal danger. Veronica Roth's young adult Divergent trilogy launches with a captivating adventure about love and loyalty playing out under most extreme circumstances.

Review: I really enjoy a good dystopian novel and Divergent was definitely that. I love the world that Roth has created, with the five different factions and how differently they are and how they interact with each other. I liked our heroine Tris, for the most part. It did seem like she was trying really hard to be a Dauntless and I would have liked to see her try and hang out to her Abnegation background…just a little bit. I liked that she was tough and could control her fears and the situations around her. I liked Four as well, and their relationship. I normally complain when a relationship moves too quickly, but theirs moved a little slowly for me. I would have liked to see a little more bonding. Overall, a very fun dystopian novel. I got sucked in and couldn’t put it down. I liked the characters and setting and am very curious to see what happens next.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Marcia Lynn McClure

It was probably about two years ago that my friend Chantele wrote a review for The Prairie Prince by Marcia Lynn McClure on her book review blog. Chantele and I have pretty similar tastes in books and I thought if she liked it I probably would to. For some reason I ended up reading Weathered Too Young first. I really enjoyed it at the time and started to read whatever books of hers I could get my hands on. Eventually, I just broke down and bought them all. I bought the e-versions for my Kindle and I’m thinking of talking my husband into getting me the paperbacks for Christmas.

One of the things I really like about her books is that she doesn’t stick to just one genre. She writes westerns, contemporary, regency-ish and even a pirate adventure. What is consistent throughout is how good they all are. You really get sucked into the story and setting and wish there was some cowboy or pirate to whisk you away.

Marcia can sure write a kiss! All of her books are very clean; the leading characters all have high morals. In fact, that is one of the reasons why I like her books so much. She’s not afraid to write a guy who actually stands for something. I love that her male leads all have respect for the women they love and respect for marriage and intimacy. It’s really refreshing. And, she shows that just because they have high morals doesn’t mean they have to sacrifice the passion and enjoyment of a good kiss. It proves how wonderful just kissing can be. I love that her stories all have a “happily ever after” and you always walk away feeling good.

But, I think the reason why I find her books so addicting is because I can tell she loves to write. She loves her characters and loves to tell their story. I think a lot of her books were written for friends and maybe because of that she really puts her heart into the stories. She puts personal experiences into her stories, which really helps bring the book to life. You can also tell that she loves love (oh, and autumn and pumpkins) and romance. She really captures those first moments in a relationship when you are consumed with those new giddy feelings and can’t stop thinking about that special someone.

In one of Marcia’s author notes in referring to her book, she states “I hope it entertained you, made you laugh – that your day was just a little less stress-filled because of it.” That is exactly why I love Marcia’s books, they brighten my day. To say that I am stressed is a bit of an understatement. Taking care of three little ones (a 17 mo-old, and twin 9 mo-olds) on my own away from family and friends in Japan, while getting ready to move the family back to Utah while my husband is deployed for a year in military service, stress has become my middle name. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids and husband more than anything. But, reading is a nice escape. Marcia’s books are especially great because they are so positive and filled with love and I’d rather read happy books so when I’m with my kids and husband I’m happy.

Marcia has written almost 40 books. I recently finished reading all of her published books. I love them so much that as soon as I finished I started re-reading them, at least until her new books come out. I know she has two planned for early next year (Untethered and Midnight Masquerade). As I’ve started re-reading them I’ve realized they are even better the second time around. Anyway, below are my top five favorite Marcia books. It’s so hard to narrow it down.

1. The Light of the Lover’s Moon
2. The Pirate Ruse
3. Love Me
4. Daydreams
5. The Highwayman of Tanglewood

I highly recommend reading Marcia McClure books. They are entertaining, clean and addicting. Once you read one you’ll want to read them all.

Thanks Marcia for writing such great stories. I can’t wait to read more of your books, so keep it up!

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Kissing Tree by Prudence Bice

This was a really sweet read. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Georgie was forced to move away from her childhood home and always longed to return. After five long years she is finally able to return to her Grandfather in Colorado. Once back she immediately runs into her childhood crush and the fun really begins. Georgie is a really likable character. She speaks her mind and yet is very sweet and loving. She cares deeply for her family and friends. Our leading man, Ridge, is also very likable. They have nice chemistry together. The supporting characters are also enjoyable. I loved Georgie’s Irish grandfather and the loveable cowhands. Samantha and Dawson were also great.

I really enjoyed the story, the setting was nice. There is even a little adventure thrown in at the end which added a fun element to the story. It was a fun escape. The story did remind me of a book called The Touch of the Lover’s Moon by Marcia McClure, which is also about childhood sweethearts who are torn apart and then reunited years later.

Release Date: December 6, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale

I was excited to receive an advanced copy of Midnight in Austenland. I enjoyed the first book and have looked forward to reading this companion novel. I really liked our heroine Charlotte. She was very easy to relate to. Her back story is sad, and it was nice to see the growth she goes through and by the end and the confidence she gained. Charlotte enjoys mystery novels and tends to let her imagination get away from her. As it turns out not all is what it seems at the park and Charlotte ends up right in the middle of her very own mystery. I liked the mystery elements in the story, it was fun. My only problem with the book is that it’s hard to tell what “reality” is. Since the people she interacts with at the park are mostly actors, I had a hard time telling what was real and what was fake, I guess that’s the point. But, even towards the end I still wasn’t sure. So, it’s hard for me to fall for the romance because I don’t know if it’s the actor or the “real person”. I really enjoyed the book though, it kept me going and again I really liked Charlotte and our hero. There were some fun swoon-worthy moments as well. I hope there are more books in the Austenland series!

Book One: Austenland
Book Two: Midnight in Austenland (January 3, 2012)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Tiger's Voyage by Collen Houck

It’s been awhile since I’ve gotten into a series, one where the characters follow you around even when you’re not reading. For some reason Ren, Kelsey and Kishan keep popping into my head when I’m doing other things. When I heard B&N shipped Tiger’s Voyage out early (the scheduled release date is November 1) I hurried and placed my order. I was so excited to receive my copy and start reading. The end of Tiger’s Quest had such a cliff hanger I had to know what was going to happen next.

Tiger’s Voyage was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed the setting; the whole crew sets off on a mega yacht. I enjoyed how all of them were crammed together and we get a lot of Kishan-Kelsey-Ren time. They once again have a lot of challenges and new obstacles to over come. There are a few new characters as well that added a lot to the story. I would like to know more about Nilima. She seems like she could be an awesome character, if we could just get to know her. Since her and Kelsey are the only girls around I would have liked to see them doing more together. The story once again ends with a cliff hanger, but in my opinion it wasn’t as shocking as the last book.

I did feel that this book suffered a little from Middle Book Syndrom, kind of dragged a little. I’m not a fan of love-triangles, especially ones that get drawn out and beat to death. I felt like it’s a little over done in this book and too much of a plot device. The book probably gets four stars, but because I don’t like love-triangles I’m giving the whole thing three. I just didn’t believe in the love-triangle. There really isn’t a choice; we all know who Kelsey ends up with in the very end. It just makes her look bad, in my opinion. If you want to hear my ratings, read below, but I caution it does contain spoilers.

I have no idea where Houck is going to take these characters. I honestly hope we don’t have to read two more books of Kelsey jumping from brother to brother. Five books of that is just over kill and a part of me just doesn’t want to read it anymore. I’m curious to keep going, but if it’s dragged on and on in the next book I may not finish the series.

This section contains spoilers, and lots of venting.

For the most part I really like Kelsey. I like that she’s become a lot more self confident, can kick butt, is courageous and a lot of other good things. This silly love-triangle really weakens her character in my opinion. I have lost a LOT of respect for her because of it. It’s hard to have respect and like a character when she is being so selfish and using two great guys. For where we are in the story I can understand why Kelsey is hesitant and even angry with Ren. There are a lot better ways for her to deal with that without involving Kishan. It was fine for the first couple books, but she knows she is not in love with Kishan so she should not lead him on. She is keeping him around because she doesn’t want to end up alone. Sure she cares for Kishan and even loves him, I mean what’s not to love? But, she is not IN love with him. She owes it to both guys to choose NEITHER. Don’t commit to Ren until her concerns are overcome. And don’t commit to Kishan when you know you are not in love with him. Instead of feeling sorry for Kelsey, it makes me dislike her. Because when it all comes down to it, everyone already knows who she is going to “choose” so it just makes her look bad. If it was a situation where you really didn’t know who she would end up with then it would be a different story, but it’s so obvious that she ends up with Ren and is just using Kishan. I just don’t want to read TWO more books of her flitting between brothers. It’s boring and lost its tension at book two.

One more thing that makes me irritated with Kelsey is the double standard she has for Ren. She is mad at Ren for leaving her, purposefully forgetting her and for flaunting other women in front of her. Which I totally understand, I would be mad, hurt, and scared also. But come on, she left Ren and broke his heart in the first book. If she had been in Ren’s position she would have chosen amnesia as well. And, she is constantly flaunting her relationship with Kishan in front of him. If she doesn’t want to risk being with Ren, then don’t.

Kishan lost himself in this book. Where was the snarky, flirty Kishan that I fell for in the first two books? He becomes a total doormat in this installment. Sure he’s suppose to be “understanding” and “patient” as he waits for Kelsey to make up her mind. But, to me it came across as boring and kind of pathetic. Dude, you know she is completely in love with your brother and will NEVER feel the same way about you…move on! Stop letting her use you to make herself feel better. Personally, I think he should have gone for Nilima. But, she deserves to be someone’s first choice not consolation prize.

Ren is just awesome. I really like his character. He’s hot, he’s romantic, he’s brave and he’s perfect for Kelsey. He understands her and really knows her. I love that while she is constantly pushing him away, he doesn’t stop fighting for her. He knows her fears and knows that together they can overcome them.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Tiger's Quest by Collen Houck

GoodReads Synopsis: Kelsey Hayes is no ordinary college freshman. In fact, the eighteen-year-old girl has just returned from India, where she risked her life—and her heart—to rescue a handsome Indian prince from a terrible curse. Back home in Oregon, Kelsey is determined to move on, despite the lingering feelings she has for the man she left behind. She meets Li, a completely average guy who offers the promise of an ordinary, curse-free life. But just when Kelsey is ready to move on, Ren reenters her life, on a quest to reclaim her heart. Danger threatens their newly rekindled love and to save him, Kelsey must journey with someone else—a man who wants her for himself.

Kathy’s Review: Ahhh, what a cliffhanger ending! But, before I get to the ending I’ll talk about the rest of the book. I enjoyed this one as much as the first. It felt like there was a lot less “data-dumping” than the first book, although there is still some. The story picks up right where the first book leaves off and I liked that the first part of the book was more normal. Kelsey is trying to live with her decision, but secretly hoping Ren will come after her. When the whole gang is all back together the adventure really begins. Kishan plays a much bigger role this time around. Here’s my thing with Kishan, I like him. He’s hot, charming and brave. What I don’t like is how he is constantly going after his brother’s girl. The storyline kind of reminds me too much of Vampire Diaries, without the vampires. I do like Kishan and I totally feel for him, but dude, go get your own girl. I just hope that Houck doesn’t drag out this little love-triangle for the rest of the series. The whole will-they-won’t-they will get a little old after awhile. I will say that I was pleased that Kelsey wasn’t wishy-washy, but with how the book ends I’m really curious to see what happens and who ends up with whom. Anyway, Ren is awesome. I totally love him and the ending really hurt my heart. I didn’t realize that the book had a sneak peak for book three until the next morning. I ran and grabbed my copy to read it and now I really can’t wait for November 1 when the next book comes out. This is a really fun series with a unique story and fun characters.

Bookworm Rating: 4

Genre: Fantasy
Publication Date: June 2011
One Word Review: Enjoyable
Author Website:

Reading Order:

Book One: Tiger’s Curse

Book Two: Tiger’s Quest

Book Three: Tiger’s Voyage

Book Four: Tiger’s Destiny

Book Five: Tiger’s Dream

Friday, September 23, 2011

Legend of Shannonderry by Carol Warburton

GoodReads Synopsis: Gwyneth Beddows, a young woman of nineteenth-century England, has often felt lonely and unloved by her father, who believes the rumors that his pretty daughter might not actually be his child. The one place the young woman can find consolation is in the saddle of her spirited stallion. The magnificent horse shows promise as a racehorse and has drawn the attention of Irish horse master Cormac D'Arcy, who is visiting England on business. The handsome young man also brings a lifechanging message from Gwyneth's grandmother—a frail yet feisty Irish woman Gwyneth has never met. Events orchestrated by her father force Gwyneth to flee England, and with the help of D'Arcy, she arrives at Shannonderry, her maternal family's ancestral home, where Gwyneth learns of a legend that will have a profound impact on her life and the lives of those around her. Touched by the promise of destiny, Gwyneth seeks to save the family estate from certain ruin. But with fierce rivals on the scene and her embittered father in the periphery, Gwyneth faces grave danger that may place her far beyond the reach of D'Arcy's rescuing hand—and she must call on the strength of her heart if the historic legend of Shannonderry will ever be fulfilled.

Kathy’s Review: I really enjoyed this one. It was a fun escape. I liked Gwyneth, she had a lot of spunk. Cormac was also a great leading man, he supported Gwyneth, but was also a great protector. Their relationship was fun to watch evolve. The setting is fun, it makes me want to travel to Ireland. There is a bit of a mystery and some adventure. The ending was great. Overall, a fun story, great setting and a romantic love story.

Bookworm Rating: 4

Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: September 2010
One Word Review: Enjoyable
Author Website:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Everblue by Brenda Pandos

GoodReads Synopsis: Best friends share everything with each other. Or do they? Seventeen-year-old Ashlyn Frances Lanski is tired of her boring, single life. Spending time with her best friend Tatiana, dreaming about kissing Tatiana's twin brother Fin, and swimming competitively are her only sanctuary. The girls plan to leave their drab lakeside town far behind for college. But when Tatchi fails to return home after a family emergency, and no one knows where the family has gone, Ash chooses to do something drastic to find them. Ashlyn is about to discover what she thought to be true her whole life, wasn’t, and the truth, too fantastical to imagine. Secrets lurk beneath the deep blue waters of Lake Tahoe, secrets that will change Ashlyn's life forever.

Kathy’s Review: I really enjoyed this. It was a fun escape and a really fun mermaid story. I haven’t read too many mermaid books, but this one is probably my favorite. I really liked Fin, he was a fun character and the mer world he lives in was fun to read about. Ashlyn was also a good character. I also really liked the supporting characters, especially Fin’s sister Tatiana. I kind of hope the next book is from her perspective, she was feisty and with how this book ends it will be interesting to see what happens next. I thought this was a really fun read.

Bookworm Rating: 4

Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: July 2011
One Word Review: Fun
Author Website:

Reading Order:
Book One: Everblue
Book Two:
Book Three:

Entwined by Heather Dixon

GoodReads Synopsis: Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it's taken away. All of it. The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation. Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest. But there is a cost. The Keeper likes to keep things. Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

Kathy’s Review: Don’t you just love this cover? I try not to judge a book by their cover, but it’s really hard not to. When I saw this book, I really wanted to jump into the picture and follow her to the castle. As much as I wanted to like this book, it ended up falling a little flat for me. It seemed long and very slow in parts. The story was interesting enough that I wanted to keep reading to see what would happen, but I didn’t feel sucked in. I liked our main character Azalea, she was sweet and really wanted to do what was right for her sisters. I found following 12 princesses to be a little confusing at times. I didn’t really care for Princess Bramble, she was too moody and kind of mean. The others sisters were okay. I actually kind of liked the King and felt bad for him. He was obviously heartbroken and was really trying to win the girls over. I had a hard time getting over the fact that the even though they were royalty they were practically poor. Not sure why or why they being poor would be good for the story, just didn’t make sense. The last few chapters were good though, I really enjoyed how everything worked out. It’s an interesting retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses and worth reading if you enjoy fairy tales.

Bookworm Rating: 3

Genre: Fairytale Retelling
Publication Date: March 2011
One Word Review: Alright
Author Website:

Similar Reads:
The Night Dance by Suzanne Weyn
Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck

GoodReads Synopsis: The last thing teenager Kelsey Hayes thought she'd be doing over the summer was meeting Ren, a mysterious white tiger and cursed Indian prince! When she learns she alone can break the Tiger's curse, Kelsey's life is turned upside-down. The unlikely duo journeys halfway around the world to piece together an Indian prophecy, find a way to free the man trapped by a centuries-old spell, and discover the path to their true destiny.

Kathy’s Review: I actually really enjoyed this, for the most part. It took a little while to get into and to get accustomed to the cadence of the writing. There were a few cheesy things like when she’d referred to Ren as “mister” or “buster”, who talks like that? There was also a lot of Indian mythology and history, the author obviously did a lot of research. It was easy to get bogged down by the details. But, the story was quite original and I really liked Ren and his story. Kelsey was okay, I like her. The last third of the book she was a little negative and full of insecurities. I’m hoping as the story progresses that she will grow more confident and self-assured and not so worried about looks. The ended was kind of a cliff hanger, I’m actually glad things worked out as they did. If the story is going to go on for five books then it’s good to have a little spacing for our characters. I think it will be a fun series to get into.

Bookworm Rating: 4

Genre: YA Fantasy/Mythology
Publication Date: September 2009
One Word Review: Good
Author Website:

Reading Order:
Book One: Tiger’s Curse
Book Two: Tiger’s Quest
Book Three: Tiger’s Voyage
Book Four: Tiger’s Destiny
Book Five: Tiger’s Dream

The Sapphire Talisman by Brenda Pandos

GoodReads Synopsis: With the local vampire coven decimated, Julia and Nicholas try to begin a somewhat normal life together. Bound by secrecy from a shape shifter determined to see Julia’s world-saving prediction come to fruition, Julia isn’t allowed to tell Nicholas the leader survived, ransacking her happiness with guilt. When Alora returns, bent on revenge, the reunion forces Nicholas and Julia to choose what they are willing to live and die for.

Kathy’s Review: I enjoyed this one much more than the first. The relationship between Julia and Nicholas is a lot more believable, maybe because going into it their already in an established relationship. A love triangle does develop during the story, which ended up making Julia seem kind of fickle. But there is a fun twist in their relationship that keeps them apart and makes you wonder what their future will hold. There is a lot more action and a few new characters as well as some old favorites. I’m glad I decided to keep with the series, it’s a fun break.

I also really like how clean these books are, and especially that Julia makes a point of “waiting for marriage”, it’s refreshing to see a YA character have morals. While there is vampire violence the books are pretty clean.

Bookworm Rating: 4

Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: December 2010
One Word Review: Good
Author Website:

Reading Order:
Book One: The Emerald Talisman
Book Two: The Sapphire Talisman
Book Three: The Onyx Talisman

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Emerald Talisman by Brenda Pandos

GoodReads Synopsis: To be normal, sixteen-year-old Julia Parker would shed her empathic gift in a second. Life has been difficult since her mother's mysterious disappearance ten years earlier - an event she witnessed, but can't remember. Julia's situation becomes more complicated after a near death experience from a blood thirsty stalker. As high school students go missing it is clear there is a connection to her own experience--past and present. Someone has to stop the madness and a chance encounter with a creepy psychic foretells that only Julia is the key to stopping the madness, but it may require the life of the one she loves.

Kathy’s Review: I guess I enjoyed this one. I’m still wavering between my rating. I really wanted to like it, and for the most part I did. I guess the one thing that bothered me most was the relationship between Julia and Nicholas. It just wasn’t that believable for me. I just can’t believe Julie would be so into a guy that she only interacted with for about an hour. They kind of had a conversation and the rest of the book we hear about how much she wants to be with him and only him. Even with her special abilities it was hard to believe. But, if I overlook the “love-at-first-sight” angle, I did enjoy the story. I liked the different take on vampires and their origins. After reading reviews for the next two books I’m actually pretty curious to see what happens. I thought it was pretty well written, but felt the dialog at times was a little lacking. I guess any vampire book nowadays is really going to remind me of Twilight. If you like vampire stories then you will probably enjoy this one.

Bookworm Rating: 3.5

Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: March 2010
One Word Review: Good
Author Website:

Reading Order:
Book One: The Emerald Talisman
Book Two: The Sapphire Talisman
Book Three: The Onyx Talisman

Thursday, September 15, 2011

GoodReads Synopsis: When a shocking accident forces Tory to demonstrate her despised skill, the secret she’s fought so hard to hide is revealed for all to see. She is immediately exiled to Lackland Abbey, a reform school for young men and women in her position. There she will learn to suppress her deplorable talents and maybe, if she’s one of the lucky ones, be able to return to society. But Tory’s life is about to change forever. All that she’s ever known or considered important will be challenged. What lies ahead is only the beginning of a strange and wonderful journey into a world where destiny and magic come together, where true love and friendship find her, and where courage and strength of character are the only things that determine a young girl’s worth.

Kathy’s Review: This started out so good. I loved the beginning, poor Tory is shunned by her family when it is discovered she has magical abilities. As a last resort to cure her they send her away to a boarding school devoted to riding students of their magic. Tory is all for getting rid of her magic and as quickly as possible. Once there she meets others like herself and begins to see magic in a different light. She even discovers a secret group of students who actively use magic and actually like it. Unfortunately, the story loses its steam and Tory loses her voice once the whole time-travel aspect is introduced. The setting was already perfect, they already have a war coming for them, so there was really no need to add the time-travel element to the story. Personally, I think Putney should have written a trilogy that takes place in 1803, and then write a spin-off series with their descendants that takes place in 1940. That would have been better, in my opinion.

The 1803 characters didn’t act or talk like they were from 1803, the dialog and attitudes did not match with that time period. Their situation was too easily accepted from both the 1803 cast and the 1940 cast. Also, all the problems they faced were all easily overcome, except for maybe the slight headache and need for a nap. I also took a little offense when one character compared what they were doing to real soldiers. Certainly they were tired and drained from there weather manipulations and there was a certain amount of stress. But, nothing they did remotely compares to what real soldiers go through. Lastly, I thought the names “Irregulars” and “Weather Brigade” were too cheesy.

The majority of the book takes place in 1940, so I would not consider this a Regency story at all. I do think a younger audience would probably enjoy the story, especially going into it knowing it takes place during WWII and not Regency times.

Bookworm Rating: 2
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: March 2011
One Word Review: Disappointing
Author Website:

Reading Order:
Book One: Dark Mirror
Bonus Book: Fallen From Grace
Book Two: Dark Passage
Book Three: Dark Destiney

The Pharaoh's Daughter by N C Allen

GoodReads Synopsis: After her gripping escapade in India, former Pinkerton spy Isabelle Webb launches a new adventure as she pursues a steamship en route to Egypt carrying two young stowaways: her teenaged ward Sally Rhodes, and an unlucky girl named Alice Bilbey. Arrive in Suez, Isabelle and her companions recover the girls and unexpectedly encounter Isabelle’s own guardian from her youth, Genevieve Montgomery. Isabelle and her friends decide to join up with Genevieve upon discovering that she is funding an expedition to a burial site near Luxor with an entourage of Egyptology experts.

Unaware that Thaddeus Sparks, is also in Egypt as part of a jewel-hunting cadre, Isabelle’s group joins the expedition under ominous signs: A prophetic warning from a stranger, threats along the Nile River, and birthmarks that burn when the rare Jewel of Zeus is nearby. At the excavation site—a cave rumored to be the tomb of a pharaoh’s disgraced daughter—tension builds when several newcomers arrive. And as circumstances shift with the sands, Isabelle finds that some of the royal treasure in the ruthless Pharaoh’s desert was buried for lethal reasons.

Kathy’s Review: This story picks up right where we left of in book one; well I guess it’s a little later. It picks up when Isabelle reaches Egypt in search of the girls. Once reunited they join up on an expedition with Isabelle’s former guardian Genevieve. I enjoyed this installment, it reminded me a bit of the move The Mummy. I love the setting and imagining digging through old pyramids. Isabelle was her usual adventurous self. I really like her character and how she is independent and yet also really loyal to those around her. I did wish we had a little more James time; he seems to be a little out of the picture this time around. The book ends with quite the cliff hanger and I can’t wait to see what happens next! Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long for the third book to come out. This is a fun series, one I would recommend to anyone who enjoys History and Romance with a lot of Adventure!

Bookworm Rating: 4

Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: January 2011
One Word Review: Fun
Author Website:

Reading Order:
Book One: Legend of the Jewel
Book Two: Pharaoh’s Daughter
Book Three:

Friday, September 9, 2011

Torrent by Lisa T Bergren

GoodReads Synopsis: Gabi and Lia Betarrini have learned to control their time travel, and they return from medieval Italy to save their father from his tragic death in modern times. But love calls across the centuries, and the girls are determined to return forever—even though they know the Black Plague is advancing across Europe, claiming the lives of one-third of the population.

Kathy’s Review: Have I mentioned how much I love this series? It is so good. I can’t remember the last time I read a series where each book was equally awesome. I love all the characters in this book. Gabi is a great leading lady and you can see why everyone around her loves her as well. Marcello is dreamy and you can’t help but love him. Luca and Lia are also amazing and I hope that we get another trilogy with their story. There is once again a lot of adventure in this story, Bergren weaves the historical elements in so nicely that you hardly realize your learning something as you’re reading. While the story takes place in 1344 Italy, you don’t really feel like you’re reading a historical novel. Bergren really brings everything to life. The plot is great and executed well, you have to keep reading to find out what is going to happen and how Gabi is every going to get out of the trouble she finds herself in. There is even a bit of a love triangle in this one, which added a lot to the story.

The series is awesome and keeps you reading; you love the characters and setting and any series that is this good deserves five stars. My only complaint is that I wanted a tiny bit more at the end, and epilog or something. I wanted to know what happened with certain characters. I also wanted to see more of Lia and Luca in the story, they both were awesome in book two and I missed seeing them in this book. I really do hope that Bergren writes a series about them.

If you haven’t read these books…DO IT. It’s such a fun series that anyone would enjoy.

Bookworm Rating: 5

Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Publication Date: September 2011
One Word Review: Excellent
Author Website:

Reading Order:
Book One: Waterfall
Book Two: Cascade
Book Three: Torrent

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Mercenary's Marriage by Rachel Rossano

GoodReads Synopsis: Trained as a mercenary soldier, Darius Laris was a man of decisive action. He was also a man of compassion. Seeing a young slave woman about to become the spoils of war, he claimed her for his own. Marrying her before God and king, he made her a free and respectable soldier's wife. Brice Ashlyn was born a slave. Abused and beaten, she learned quickly to avoid being noticed and to stay away from men. When her master's walls fell to enemy forces, she ran, but not fast enough. In Darius' offer she found deliverance, but experience had taught her to fear power such as his. Could she trust in his protection, or had she traded one form of slavery for another?

Kathy’s Review: This was an okay read. I enjoyed the story and it kept me reading and wanting to know what was going to happen next. It lost a little of its steam towards the end and things wrapped up a little too quickly. Brice’s attitude towards Darius changed rather quickly, I think the book needed to be 200 pages longer to really develop the story and characters. Brice and Darius had barely spoken to each other and we’re to believe they fell in love? Like maybe, but certainly not love. I just didn’t feel a lot of chemistry between the two to justify her sudden change in attitude towards the end. There were also a lot of loose ends that needed tying up. But, it is only 100 pages and is a fun read if you’re looking for a quick escape.

Bookworm Rating: 3

Genre: Fantasy/Historical Fiction
Publication Date: May 2006
One Word Review: Good

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Seeking Persephone by Sarah M Eden

GoodReads Synopsis: The Duke of Kielder has more influence than Parliament, higher social standing than the Royal Family. No gentleman dares face him on the dueling field, nor risks testing his infamous temper. But His Grace is in need of a wife. Combine his fearsome reputation with a terribly scarred countenance and finding a lady willing to accept his hand becomes all-but impossible. When the Duke manages to secure a bride through a bit of trickery and an obscene amount of money, he is certain his problems are behind him. Except his purchased bride proves to be nothing like he expected. What is a man like the Duke to do with a bride who is gentle, loving and absolutely impossible to live without?

Kathy’s Review: I really enjoyed this book! Sarah is one of my favorite authors and I had to buy Seeking Persephone as soon as it was released. I was not disappointed. The story was great, had a marriage-of-convenience storyline which I’m always a sucker for. It was a bit like Beauty and the Beast, but also the Greek myth of Persephone and Hedes was mixed in. I really liked our main characters Adam and Persephone. They don’t meet until the day of their wedding and they couldn’t be more opposite. Persephone really wants to get to know her husband and has hope that maybe one day theirs will be a love match. Adam has had it pretty rough and has put up some pretty thick walls around his heart. They have good interactions together and it was fun to watch their story unfold. I especially loved Adam’s best friend Harry. He is really light-hearted and totally loyal to Adam, even though Adam is kind of mean to him. I guess Harry can see through the mean and knows that deep down Adam is just a softy. I enjoyed the book so much I went and re-read Courting Miss Lancaster, which follows Harry and Persephone’s little sister Athena. Both are great regency read and I would recommend reading them both!

Bookworm Rating: 5

Genre: Regency
Publication Date: September 2011
One Word Review: Great
Author Website:

Reading Order:
Seeking Persephone
Courting Miss Lancaster

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Movie Review: Jane Eyre

I just got done watching the new Jane Eyre movie. I loved it. I didn’t have the highest expectations going into it. I’ve seen a couple other adaptations and wasn’t that impressed. I knew from the beginning that I would like this one though. The filming was better as well as the casting. I thought Mr. Rochester was perfect, I really liked him. I also liked Jane, although she still comes across a little more dreary than I imagine her in my mind. I thought Mr. Rochester and Jane had great chemistry together. The movie reminded me a little of North and South, which I also loved. Overall, very enjoyable and one I will soon be adding to my permanent collection.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Minor Adjustments by Rachael Renee Anderson

GoodReads Synopsis: Chicago businessman and bachelor Devon Pierce doesn't want to be appointed guardian of Australian four-year-old Ryan Caldwell - but Ryan's solicitor, Stella Walker, won't take no for an answer. Little does Devon know that this "minor" adjustment will grant him a future he never expected to have. Told in a fast-paced, poignant, and witty style, Minor Adjustments will take you on a journey filled with humor, growth, romance, and love.

Kathy’s Review: I really enjoyed this book! Since I don’t have as much time to read as I used to, I have to be a little more picky about the books that I read. Minor Adjustments was definitely worth the time. It was a fun story and great escape. I loved our characters Stella, Devon and little Ryan. The quickly work their way into your heart and you have to keep reading to see how things are going to end up. There are a few twists along the way and I was hoping everything would work out. I loved Stella’s random facts, which reminded me so much of my husband and his Fact of the Day. I’ve enjoyed all of Rachael’s books and can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

Bookworm Rating: 5

Genre: Chick Lit Romance
Publication Date: August 2011
One Word Review: Great
Author Website:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cascade by Lisa T Bergren

GoodReads Synopsis: Gabi knows she’s left her heart in the fourteenth century and she persuades Lia to help her to return, even though they know doing so will risk their very lives. When they arrive, weeks have passed and all of Siena longs to celebrate the heroines who turned the tide in the battle against Florence—while the Florentines will go to great lengths to see them dead. But Marcello patiently awaits, and Gabi must decide if she’s willing to leave her family behind for good in order to give her heart to him forever.

Kathy’s Review: Wow. I can’t remember the last time a sequel was as good as its predecessor. I loved this book! Once I got going I couldn’t put it down. Once again it ends with an amazing cliff hanger that has been antsy to read the next book!

This book starts off right were the last one ended. I was a little surprised by that, and for some odd reason I did have a little bit of a hard time getting into this one. However, once I had the chance to really sit down and read I was totally hooked. I HAD to know what was going to happen next. Gabi is a great heroine. She is easy to relate to and very easy to like. I like that her toughness is believable, I like her courage and loyalty. When everything seems overwhelming and futile, she is still brave and speaks her mind. She uses her wits and I just loved being along for the ride. Her sister Lia is equally cool. I liked that they were together a lot during this book. Marcello and Luca were awesome as usual. Both are very dreamy, and all-male. Their individual relationships were fun to read. Lia and Luca have a fun banter between them. I also liked our bad guy Lord Greco. He’s very mysterious and I’m very curious to see what happens with him in the next book. I hope there is more of him.

While I totally loved this book, I think I liked Waterfall a touch more. It’s still an awesome book though and definitely holds its own. I have no idea what’s coming in the last book, but I can’t wait to find out!

Bookworm Rating: 4.5

Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Publication Date: June 2011
One Word Review: Awesome
Author Website:

Reading Order:
Book One: Waterfall
Book Two: Cascade
Book Three: Torrent

Friday, June 24, 2011

Cinder and Ella by Melissa Lemon

Cinder and Ella
By Melissa Lemon
Release Date: November 8, 2011

Synopsis: After their father’s disappearance, Cinder leaves home for a servant job at the castle. But it isn’t long before her sister Ella is brought to the castle herself—the most dangerous place in all the kingdom for both her and Cinder. Cinder and Ella is a Cinderella story like no other and one you'll never forget.

My Thoughts: For those of you who follow my blog you know how much I love fairy tales, and Cinderella happens to be my favorite. I was first drawn to this book because of the title and cool cover. I was excited to see what Melissa did with my favorite fairytale. I thought it was really unique to have two characters named Cinder and Ella instead of just Cinderella. Ella is our main character and she has to go through many obstacles throughout the book to find her happy ending. I’m looking forward to reading this with my little girl when she gets old enough.

Interview with Melissa Lemon:

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am married and have three beautiful girls. I play three musical instruments—the piano, cello and guitar—and I am so grateful for that ability because music is a huge calming influence in my life. I do have a secret wish, however, to learn two more: the violin and the Native American flute. I like to read, but I LOVE to write. I also love gray, cloudy, stormy, rainy days.

What made you want to write a YA novel, and what inspired Cinder and Ella?
I prefer to read YA novels myself, but I also just love that age group. I really enjoyed that period of my life—even with its challenges—and it is fun to go back once in a while through a character or story. Cinderella was always a character that I related to because she is just a regular girl who is trying to do her best despite everything. I think that when I got older, though, and saw first hand how difficult it is to make it in the real world, my favorite fairy tale began to feel flawed.

What is the hardest part in writing a book? And what did you learn from writing Cinder and Ella?
The hardest part of writing a book for me is rewriting, especially when you get to the tenth draft or so. One of the things I learned from writing Cinder and Ella is that I can write a book in three weeks if I have a good outline and have thought out the plot well. Then I learned it takes me a year and a half to do rewrites.

What do you think of the cover? Did you play a role in choosing the cover?
I love the cover! My publishing company asked for ideas and input. My first idea was to do the main characters and my second idea was to do something with the trees. I am glad that they went with the trees because, along with the title, it gives a clue that there is something different about this Cinderella story.

What three words would you use to describe Cinder and Ella?
Different, fun, meaningful

Cinder and Ella will be released November 8, do you have any teasers for our readers?
“For a time, the family was happy. The father and mother found joy in their daughters, played with them while they were still small, took the time to tuck them in at night, and treated them all as precious jewels. The sisters played together well and grew in friendship and love, with only the occasional sisterly squabble, like when the eldest would rip the youngest daughter’s favorite toy from her hands merely to see her wail. But, as we all know, happiness does not always last. As the sisters grew older, an evil came upon the kingdom. And while they did not know it, the prince who had started the works of darkness would change the fate of their entire lives.”

If Cinder and Ella were to be made into a movie, who would you cast as your characters?
I think I would like to see some new faces, but Claire Danes would make a great Cinder.

Do you have a particular place to write? Do you like peace & quite, or prefer to have music playing?
Peace and quiet! The location doesn’t matter that much, but I do prefer to be alone. Another thing that helps is for my work area and surrounding space to be clean. Writing out in nature is probably my favorite, though; it is more peaceful, helps me clear my head, and is optimal for inspiration.

Who are your favorite authors? Favorite books?
AUTHORS: Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Lois Lowry, Shannon Hale BOOKS: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, At the Back of the North Wind by George McDonald, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Can you tell us about any current projects you’re working on?
One of my favorite projects I’m working on is a YA science fiction about a boy who finds a portal to a very strange place.

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