Friday, December 30, 2011

Never Sit Down in a Hoop Skirt

Never Sit Down in a Hoop Skirt and Other Things I Learned in Southern Belle Hell
Crickett Rumley
296 pages
Publisher: Egmont
Source: library

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

I first became aware of this book at the Decatur Book Festival this past September, but it didn't make it to the top of my TBR list.  When the local library acquired a copy, however, I put myself on the wait list and decided to give it a try.  It was short, cute novel about Jane who, having been expelled from countless boarding schools, returns to her wealthy Southern town and finds herself seemingly accidentally elected to be part of the Magnolia Maids - a group of well-bred young women who are choose every year to be an "ambassador" to the town they live in.

Despite being heavy on the stereotypes, this book was entertaining, to be sure.  There were several moments I was laughing out loud at the Magnolia Maids and their antics.  I also particularly enjoyed the part of the plot that explored "modernizing" the court of the Magnolia Maids - for the first time in its history an African-American and a non-wealthy girl were elected to the court.  I would have liked to have seen these aspects explored more, that might have given the book some substance.

I don't mean to make it sound like a a terrible book - I did enjoy Never Sit Down in a Hoop Skirt.  Jane's character was particularly unique and I admired most of her viewpoints on life. 

Three stars.  While the book was entertaining, it was one hundred percent fluff and I didn't feel like any of the characters had real substance.  I didn't feel any chemistry between any of the love interests, either.  If you liked the movie Legally Blonde, you will probably also enjoy this book.  And if you're looking for some pure fluff to read in between heavier books, this might be a great way to go if you enjoy stereotypically Southern tales.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Beautiful Creatures

Beautiful Creatures
Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
563 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown
Source: library

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

The small Southern town of Gatlin is all a-stir when a new resident arrives in town: Lena Duchannes, the mysterious niece of the town's most mysterious resident.  Yes, she different than everyone else but the townspeople don't know that and they start a modern day witch-hunt against Lena.  Meanwhile, she can only muster up one friend - a boyfriend - Ethan.  Soon he, too, is pulled into her mysterious family history and a curse that haunts her female bloodline.

At first glance, it seemed like I would fall in love with this book; it had several appealing aspects to me: it takes place in the South on giant plantations, a guy and a gal fall in love but there are extenuating circumstances keeping them apart, and there's a somewhat unique paranormal aspect as well.  But, due in part to the busy holiday season and due in part to what I interpreted as a very slow start to the book, Beautiful Creatures failed to hold my attention until the last 250 pages or so.  That leaves a big chunk of the book that didn't hold my attention.

The last portion of the book was fantastic though.  It was fast paced and really drew me in.  For once, I actually felt invested in the story of Lena and Ethan and how her claiming was going to affect their relationship.  I was genuinely concerned about what was going to happen to them.

This is a trilogy, of course, so we can't know for sure what will really happen until the very end.  My library has the rest of the series and eventually I will be getting to them, but I can honestly say it's not at the top of my list right now.  The writing was great, as was the plot, but most of the book just dragged on too much for me.

If you have the time to devote to over 500 pages of paranormal romance, you might consider giving Beautiful Creatures a look.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Becca Fitzpatrick
438 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: library

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Ah, finally time after the holidays to sit down and get some reading in.  And what a great start!  After stalling out on three books during the holiday rush, I started Silence simply because it's due back to the library in a couple days.  Thankfully, it drew me in right away and got me back into that reading groove.

It had been awhile since I'd read the first two books in the Hush, Hush series so I couldn't quite recall what was going on with the plot.  That turned out to be an okay thing because the book starts with Nora having acquired amnesia.  I got to refigure out the plot with her, which was actually pretty cool.  Nora spends a good chunk of the book trying to refigure out her place with the fallen angels and nephilim.

The only thing missing from the book was the homecoming dance.  (MINOR PLOT SPOILER ALERT!) Nora got nominated for the homecoming court and she even gets a dress for the dance, but we never read any more about the dance and whether or not Nora won a spot on the homecoming court.  A trivial detail in the plot, I'm sure, but I still would have liked to have known.

Four stars!  This was definitely a great, easy read - something I needed to sink my teeth into.  If you haven't started the Hush, Hush series now would be a good time to start.  The fourth and final book in the series is due out October 2012.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

*shakes a fist at the holidays*

I'm too busy to read!  This is awful!  I haven't finished a book in days!  *flails around*  I'm actually going to have to return some of my library holds because I can't read them before they're due.

But I hope all my followers out there are finding the time to relax with a good book this holiday season.  I hope you all have a happy and healthy one!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

In My Mailbox (14)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.

HarlequinTeen sent New Girl by Paige Harbison

Atria Books sent The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose

The author sent Sprits of Glory by Emily Devenport


PURCHASED (my fav used book store was having a super awesome sale; got all three for under $15): 
Abandon by Meg Cabot

Crank by Ellen Hopkins

Feed by Mira Grant

Total TBR: 140

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Lola and the Boy Next Door

Lola and the Boy Next Door
Stephanie Perkins
338 pages
Publisher: Dutton
Source: purchased

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

LOLA!  I couldn't put it off anymore and I had to start this book last night.  Anna and the French Kiss was probably the best book I read in 2011 and I was dying to read Perkins sophomore novel.  So I shoved the library holds and review requests aside and dove in.  And loved every second.

Lola lives with her two dads and attends Harvey Milk Memorial High School, dating her rock star boyfriend, all while creating new costumes and outfits to wear everyday with the goal of becoming a costume designer.  Suddenly the Bell twins, the bane of her childhood existence, move back in next door.

I knew that Anna and St.Clair from the first book were going to make a cameo, but I was surprised to see the way in which they did.  I thought it would be a passing moment and it wasn't.  I don't want to ruin it, but I was surprised and not necessarily in a good way.  They didn't seem like themselves to me.  It will be interesting to how the cameos work out in the third book.

Anyway, I loved Lola and the Boy Next Door.  Lola was such a unique character, but definitely realistic.  I didn't know a girl like this when I was in high school, but I know she existed out there, somewhere.  Max, on the other hand, Lola's rock star boyfriend, left a little something to be desired.  He was a really well-written character, don't get me wrong, but he was pretty loathable.  And then there's Cricket - the boy next door.  What an adorable guy.

I really enjoyed all the references in the book, references from everything from the LGBT movement (Harvey Milk HS!) to the book Lolita bVladimir Nabokov.  Having read Lolita earlier this year, I was able to see a couple parallels.  Nothing too heavy, but the reference wasn't lost on me.

I can't wait to get my hands on Ilsa and the Happily Ever After!  I'm sure it's going to be just as amazing as Anna and Lola were, how can it not be?  If you haven't started this series yet, what the heck are you waiting for?  Seriously, go now!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Feyland: The Dark Realm
Anthea Sharp
159 pages
Publisher: the author
Source: the author

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Feyland is an intensely creative novel.  In the technologically advanced future, Jennet is an avid sim gamer who comes upon an alpha version of a new game her father's company is making.  But as she starts playing Feyland, she realizes there is a lot more to the game than meets the eye.  When the evil queen steals part of her soul, she needs to find another gamer, a really talented gamer, who can help her battle the queen for her soul.

This book was so interesting to me!  I've never been into gaming, but I know other people who are so I understood the concept.  What I thought was really interesting, though, was the concept that the line between the game and reality could be so blurred.

I also really enjoyed reading about the other futuristic technology in the book.  An ID chip in your wrist?  Sounds convenient if not a bit big-brother-ish.  The book wasn't lacking for action either - Jennet and Tam had to fight many an action-packed battle throughout the book.

What I found out at the end of the novel was that it was actually based on "The Ballad of Tam Lin," which is a real Scottish ballad.  For more information on that, check out the Wikipedia page.  The ballad itself is included at the end of the book and is really beautiful to read.

Feyland: The Dark Realm is out now so go check it out!  It's on sale for 99 cents through the 18th for both Kindle and Nook.  It was quick, light read filled with action and it's definitely worth a read for both fairy lovers and gamers out there.  You can't beat the price!

Monday, December 12, 2011


Marissa Meyer
387 pages
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends (a division of Macmillan)
Source: NetGalley

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

If you know me at all, you know I don't normally go in for Sci-Fi, even if it is YA Sci-Fi.  But something about this book's description caught my attention - the fairytale retelling.  I had to give it a try and I'm glad I did!

Cinder is a compelling tale about a young cyborg named Cinder who spends her time as ward under her step-mother doing mechanical repairs.  All of her profits go to her guardian and she's treated like a house servant when she's at home.  When the handsome Price Kai drops off his bot to be repaired, their lives become intertwined.  Meanwhile, a deadly plague is attacking the population and both Cinder and Kai are desperate to find  cure.

I actually didn't mind that this book was Sci-Fi - in fact, I kind of liked it!  Cinder is human but has cyborg limbs due to an accident.  She has special features that help her detect if the person talking to her is lying, how cool is that?  That's something I think would come in very handy in real life.  But despite being part robot, Cinder still has human emotions and I would classify her as a human as opposed to a full-on robot.  That made it easier for me to understand that she was falling in love with Prince Kai.

I could definitely see the Cinderella influences in Cinder, but the book didn't draw from Cinderella as much as I would have liked, particularly in the end.  Where was the fairy-godmother or happy little mice to help Cinder get ready for the ball?  Perhaps as the series goes on we'll see more parallels.

There was another part of the plot too, which really drew me in.  The Lunar people want to come to earth and take over, and they're watching.  Their Queen, in fact, wants to marry the king and she shows up on Earth during the novel.  The end of the book really set us up for book two - something big is going to go down between Earth and the Lunar people.  Whew!  What a plot!

I really enjoyed this book and I think if you like science fiction and YA, you will, too.  Cinder is due out January 3rd, so add it to your list of things to buy with your holiday gift cards.  Then when that big snowstorm hits, you'll be all set to entertain yourself when your'e stuck inside.

Can't wait?  If you click the link below, you can download the first five chapters for free!  Free!  It doesn't get any better than that.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Google+ Me

Is that the correct sentiment?  Either way, I'm trying to get out there more, so I've made a Google+ page where you can follow and interact with my blog.  Click below to plus one me!

PS: If you're a book blogger, leave a comment with your blog's Google+ page and I follow you back!

Crops and Robbers

Crops and Robbers
Paige Shelton
286 pages
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Goodreads win!

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

When the South Carolina Restaurant Association visits the farmer's market Becca works at, she's excited.  But when the head of the organization shoots down her jams and then is found murdered at Becca's house, suddenly she's at the helm of yet another murder investigation - only this time her mother is suspect number one!

Crops and Robbers is the third book in the Farmer's Market series and even though I had not read the first two books in the series when I started this one, I was able to jump right in and I had no trouble following the plot.  Love that!

Paige Shelton writes a great mystery - Crops and Robbers was very well thought out.  Near the end of the book it seemed obvious who'd dunnit, but I knew from my cozy mystery experience that it's never who it seems to be.  And it certainly wasn't!  I really enjoyed the love triangle aspect of the novel - I don't come across love triangles too often in my cozy reading.

A must read for cozy lovers, especially those who like cozies about food.  Crops and Robbers includes some delicious sounding recipes at the back of the book.

In My Mailbox (13)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

Another large week this week, let's hope I've remembered it all!

FOR REVIEW (all sent by their respective authors):
The Word Gang by Mark McKenna

Happy Birthday to You by Brian Rowe

All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin

The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller

Current TBR: 135

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Michael Mullin
7 pages
Publisher: the author
Source: the author

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

8 is a very short story written in rhyming verse that details the story of the eight dwarf, Creepy, from the Snow White fairy tale.  Creepy really is a creepy dwarf and the other dwarfs see it and do something about it!  It was definitely interesting to see Snow White through Creepy's eyes.  I can't tell you much more without giving away the whole thing, but I will say this - I really enjoyed reading this little story and if you're into the YA fairy tale retellings that are becoming all the rage these days, I think you'll really enjoy 8.  It's only 99 cents on Amazon!


Caragh M. O'Brien
356 pages
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Source: library

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

In this sequel to Birthmarked, we find Gaia pretty much where we left, her.  She's just escaped with her baby sister when she is found and picked up by a settlement.  But she soon finds that the settlement she's come across is even worse than the Enclave she left.

If you thought the Enclave was bad, whooooboy, wait until you read about the community of Sylum.  The women rule but the men are treated like second class citizens.  The ratio of girl to boy births is 1:9 and getting worse with each passing generation.  And it's considered attempted rape for a boy to kiss a girl.  As you can imagine, independent Gaia was not good with the rules of the community she found herself in and I loved how she took command of her situation.  Even when she was being held captive, she was still charge of the situation and how she handled herself throughout the book was pretty admirable.

And forget YA love triangles.  This book has a YA love... rhombus.  It was awesome.

Too often these days I read trilogies where the second book is simply a bridge between the first book and the third book; it doesn't contain much plot or forward movement.  But Prized was so much more than that!  It had it's own plot and purpose.  Only the last two chapters really set the storyline up for the third book, which I will definitely be picking up when it comes out.

Four stars!  It didn't completely hold my attention, but I was still drawn in by the plot.  If you haven't started this trilogy yet, it might be worth a look for you if you're big on dystopians.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Book Lover's Holiday Hop Winner!

Thank you all so much for entering my Book Lover's Holiday Hop Giveaway!  It's great to have so many new and enthusiastic followers both on here and on Twitter.  It was Becca who snagged the copy of The Wilder Life and the Be Enchanted Products.  The winner has already been contacted.

Please stay tuned for future giveaways - I really liked how that Rafflecopter worked out and I can't wait to use it again! ;)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Goddess Test

The Goddess Test
Aimee Carter
293 pages
Publisher: HarlequinTeen
Source: library

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Kate's mother is about to die, so they move back to her mother's childhood home so she can die in peace.  While there Kate meets some mysterious people, in particular a man named Henry who can bring people back from the dead - for a price.  Now Kate has to pay that price in an attempt to save her mother's life.

I was drawn in right away by the plot of the book, how could I not be when so much seemed to be on the line for so many different people.  Once Kate arrives at the manner, I was really drawn in.  For some reasons I love books where the heroine is forced into living situation with the male protagonist (Wither by Lauren DeStefano comes to mind, as well as several adult romance novels.)  I liked the concept of the tests Kate has to pass and I really liked that she didn't know what they were or when they were happening.  That's a true test - when you don't even know it's happening.

Of course, the Greek mythology aspect of the book was great.  It's not something you see every day in this YA world filled with vampires and fallen angels, and that was greatly appreciated.  I took a course on mythology when I was in college, so this really brought some great myths back to mind as I was reading.

I'll just add one more thing: I should have seen the ending coming, even though I didn't.  I can't say any more than that!

I really loved this book!  I thought it wrapped up really well, but I'm still excited to see what happens next in Goddess Interrupted when it comes out in March.  Maybe there will be an advanced copy on NetGalley for me to check out when the time comes ;)  Read this book!

Monday, December 5, 2011

I Am Number Four

I Am Number Four
Pittacus Lore
440 pages
Publisher: Harper
Source: library

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Number Four, or in the case of this novel, "John Smith" is one of the nine who fled the planet Lorien to escape the Mogadorians, who were taking over the planet to gain resources for themselves after trashing their own planet.  Now the nine are hiding out on Earth, being killed one-by-one in order by the Mogadorain's who are hoping to take over this planet, too.

I don't normally go in for science-fiction, but I actually liked that aspect of this book.  I found the concept of other planets with living beings intriguing and hey, who knows?  That could really exist out there!  Anyway, the author presents those other places really well and I was drawn in by that aspect of the book.

What I would have liked the most was more background information on the other numbers, who they were, where they were living.  Particularly one through three who were already dead when the book started; where were they and how were they so easy to find?  I'm hoping more of that information comes to light in subsequent books.

Three stars.  I have to admit, I wasn't immediately drawn into this book; it seemed like most of the book was set up for the climatic ending.  The book really picked up for me in the last one hundred pages or so, enough to convince me that I need to put the sequel on my library hold list.  I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next.

And now that I've finally read the book, I can rent the movie!  Have you read the book and/or seen the movie?  What did you think?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

In My Mailbox (12)

Before we get into this, don't forget to enter my giveaway HERE!

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Julie at the Story Siren.

Some weeks I feel like I should rename In My Mailbox to "OMG TOO MANY BOOKS!"  This week is one of those weeks.

HarlequinTeen sent Allegiance by Cayla Kluver

The author sent Ugly to Start With by John Michael Cummings

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (already read/reviewed - 5 stars!)

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

Prized by Caragh M. O'Brien

James Madison by Garry Wills (to continue on my quest to read a biography of every president, in order)

A Christmas Story by Jean Sheperd (because I freakin' love the movie)

PURCHASED:  My brother sent me a belated cash birthday present, so naturally I headed off to my favorite used book store (Eagle Eye, woot woot!) and picked up these four books with change to spare:

Splendor by Anna Godbersen (I really have to actually start this series)

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Twilight Companion by Lois Gresh (I started it and it's AWFUL.  I don't know if I'll finish it)

Total TBR: 129 - Dear Lord, save us all.  This number needs to go down not up!

Leave me a comment!  Have you read any of these and did you like them?  Did you get any great books this week in your mailbox?  Let me know!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Book Lover's Holiday Hop!

Recently I reviewed The Wilder Life and it really spawned a re-interest in the Little House books for me.  So much so that I've challenged myself to read all the Little House books and all their spin-offs by the end of next year.  I gave this book five stars and now I'm giving away a copy to a lucky follower!

But wait, there's more!  It's the holidays and you know you want to smell good when you hit up all those holiday parties.  That's why I'm also giving away two Be Enchanted products from Bath & Body Works.  It's their new scent and it's very holiday-ish to me.  Enter and you can win a 2 oz lotion and a 3 oz shimmer spray.  Shimmer spray!  Perfect for holiday parties and New Year's Eve, of course.

Enter below and below the entry form you'll find more than 200 other giveaways to enter!  Good luck!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Ransom Riggs
348 pages
Publisher: Quirk
Source: library

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

In this novel, supplemented with dozens of creepy photographs, we follow the journey of Jacob, whose grandfather has just passed away.  As a child, Jacob had listened the stories of his grandfather's youth, passing them off as myth but, tormented with the grief, Jacob travels overseas to find the orphanage his grandfather lived in for a bit as a child in an effort to learn more about his grandfather's life and in the hopes of figuring out the cause of his death.

I don't want to ruin the story for you, so the following will be pretty vague and gushy:  This was a stunning novel in every way.  It was beautifully written, the plot was unique and fresh, and it was supplemented with the most amazing pictures ever.  Some were great to look at while others were creepy and left me turning the page without really looking at them (page 260 scared me the most).  What an imagination the author has.  I absolutely loved the world he created, as well as the unique characters and mystery surrounding them.

I really this is a book everyone should read, no matter age or what genres you normally gravitate towards.  This book is simply amazing and I enjoyed reading every single page.  Five stars!  According to Goodreads, there will be a sequel sometime in 2013.  I guarantee you I will be devouring that book the minute I can get my hands on it.

November Recap

Can you believe it's the holiday season already!?  I can't believe it's been another year since last year (that sounds ridiculous, but I'm sure you know what I mean.)  Anyway, I managed to read twenty-three books in November and here's what they were:

Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber
Cane River by Lalita Tademy
The Book Thief by Mark Zusak
The Doctor's Family by Lenora Worth
Gideon's Gift by Karen Kingsbury
Fading Into Magic by Vone Savan
Little Women and Me by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Hourglass by Myra McEntire
Abby and Bachelor Cop by Marion Lennox
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua
If I Tell by Janet Gurtler
The Start-Up by Sadie Hayes
The Anti-Social Network by Sadie Hayes
Curiosity Thrilled the Cat by Sofie Kelly
The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
Holiday Hideout by Vicki Lewis Thompson
Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien
Crave by Melissa Darnell
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilider
Crossed by Ally Condie

YTD Books: 241
YTD Pages: 78,310

PS:  Stay tuned for tomorrow's giveaway!