Friday, August 31, 2012

Blog Tour: A Bad Day for Voodoo Review

A Bad Day for Voodoo
Jeff Strand
251 pages
Released: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Source: Sourcebooks in exchange for an honest review

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Tyler was falsely accused of cheating on his history exam and thusly a little ticked at Mr. Click, his teacher.  But his best friend, Adam, has a plan and within a few days shows up at school with a voodoo doll of Mr. Click.  Of course, they were both pretty shocked to discover the little burlap doll actually worked when Mr. Click's leg just flew off his body during class.  When Adam has a second doll made of Tyler, all hell breaks loose and soon, Adam, Tyler, and Tyler's girlfriend Kelly are on a mission to find the doll after it's stolen.

Okay, so there's not too much to get into here.  I can't do a literary analyisis on A Bad Day for Voodoo  because, as the author states explicitly within the novel itself, it has no literary value.  But what a hoot!  What A Bad Day for Voodoo lacks in literary value, it more than makes up for in entertainment value.  Author Jeff Strand really knows to how write a novel that will make you laugh, giggle, and snort orange juice through your nose.  And turn the pages, of course.

A Bad Day for Voodoo didn't have one boring moment.  From exploding limbs, zombies, car chases, to crazy "baser" families who practice Aztec sacrifice in their living room, this book really does have it all.    I really enjoyed Jeff Strand's humor - it was so entirely random and out there, just my kind of thing.  I didn't want to put the book down, so thankfully it was a quick read I was able to gobble up like a turkey [simile] within a twenty-four period.

Four stars!  If you need more laughs in your life (and who doesn't?) this is the book for you.  If you don't read it, I might have to contact Esmerelda and get a little doll made of you.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Betrayal (Empty Coffin, #2)

Gregg Olsen
288 pages
Release: September 4, 2012
Publisher: Splinter
Source: ARC from publisher

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

It's Halloween in Port Gamble and the place to be is at Brianna's party.  But after the party, Brianna discovers foreign exchange student Olivia gruesomely murdered in her bed.  Soon Brianna and her boyfriend are both suspects in the murder, but twins Hayley and Taylor have a sense that something more is afoot.  While they're trying to solve the murder using their own special abilities, the local police department is botching up the investigation.

Like its predecessor Envy, Betrayal was such an interesting murder mystery and I absolutely loved every minute.  Gregg Olsen has a way to weave a mystery that makes it almost impossible to guess the truth.  Sure when you read a mystery, you know it's probably not who you think it is, but when the end comes and you learn the truth, the Empty Coffin series will leave you surprised.  I know I was!

The twins Hayley and Taylor really are the stars of this novel.  Their special abilities to see the future and past are such an asset to solving crimes and when the victims are classmates, it's understandable they would want to use their ability to help.  But that's not the start and end of their plot; their family makes for an interesting mystery itself.  Their mother is obviously hiding something about her past and the twins are also itching to know what happened to her.  Their father writes mysteries and I can't help but wonder if Olsen put a little of himself in that character.  We did finally learn more about the twins' mother in Betrayal, but I have a feeling there's a lot more this family that we'll learn about in subsequent novels.

As strange as it sounds, I found the afterword of the novel to be extremely interesting.  Olsen seems to be basing the crimes in his Empty Coffin series off real events.  In Envy, the plot was loosely based off a real case of bullying.  In Betrayal, the plot is loosely based off the story of Amanda Knox.  She accused of murdering her roommate while studying-aborad in Italy.  I didn't follow that news piece at all, so when Olsen explained the parallels I was quite surprised and intrigued.  The fact that the Empty Coffin novels are based off real events makes the books that much more exciting to read.  I'm eagerly anticipating the third novel, Guilty, to see what real-life drama will show up in its pages.

The only thing I didn't like in Betrayal was the product placement.  For example, instead of simply saying the character sipped from a cup of coffee, it was Starbucks coffee.  If a character changed her outfit, we learned she changed out of something from Macy's and into something from L.L.Bean.  I could go on and on, but really the brand-name name-dropping got a bit annoying after awhile.  Still, I think the plot and action itself made up for it.

Four stars!  I loved the mystery in this novel and I think this is a great fall read as Halloween approaches.  While you could potentially read Betrayal as a stand-alone, I highly recommend you read the first book in the series, Envy, first since it will give a lot of the background information on the twin's ability and family life.  References to Envy are pretty frequent throughout Betrayal.  I think it's a little unfortunate these books haven't made more of a splash in the YA world, when I think they're definitely worth reading.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fathomless (Fairytale Retellings, #3)

Jackson Pearce
291 pages
Release date: September 4, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown
Source: Southern ARC Tours

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Celia and her triplet sisters have a certain ability between the three of them to tell the past, present, and future of those they touch.  While her sisters can use their powers to see the present and future to their advantage, Celia doesn't feel like her gift to see the past is all that useful. That is until she meets Lo, a girl who lives in the ocean who used to be a girl who lived on the land named Naida.  Lo doesn't want to forget what it was like to be Naida, and with Celia's help she begins to see her forgotten past more clearly.  They work together to save Jude, a handsome local boy, when he falls into the ocean and soon they are competing for his love, for very different reasons...

This is not your Disney movie retelling of The Little Mermaid.  There are no friendly crab and fish sidekicks in this retelling, which gets decidedly darker as the novel goes on.  I loved the way Celia, Jude, and Lo's lives became instantly intertwined in that one moment.  This created a delicious plot that at times was more devious than innocent.

I really enjoyed the alternating points of view in this novel.  I feel like I really got to know Celia and Lo/Naida.  I really felt for Celia.  I'm a twin and I know what it's like to grow and to not have your own identity - you're always thought of as a group.  So I knew where Celia was coming from, wanting to do things apart from her sister and have her own friends.  But it was Lo/Naida's character that really had me invested in the story - it was like two characters in one person and they kept dueling with each other to see who would be the more dominant one.  It was a little bit of a split personality type of thing, and that was extremely interesting to read about, particularly as the novel reached its climax and it was clear only one could win.

All of Jackson Pearce's fairy tale retellings are extremely enjoyable and I highly recommend them all.  They all have a delightful cast of characters and brilliantly thought-up plots that take the fairy tales you knew as a child and upgrade them into charming YA novels.  I really hope Pearce continues on with the series, I would love to read more.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Such a Rush

Such a Rush
Jennifer Echols
325 pages
Released: July 10, 2012
Publisher: MTV Books
Source: Southern ARC Tours

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Leah Jones has moved around from trailer park to trailer park her whole life, but when she's fourteen she decides to take her life into her own hands and lands herself a job at the airplane hangar next door.  She soon procures flying lessons from the owner, Mr. Hall.  When Mr. Hall dies, his two sons are suddenly in charge of the whole operation.  Soon Grayson blackmails Leah into dating his brother, Alec, but won't tell her why it's so important.

The first thing that got me interested in Such a Rush was the plot itself.  How many YA novels have you read that include a teenage pilot... or three?  None!  The setting of the airplane hangar and the plot involving these three teenage pilots were wholly unique to the YA world, which skyrockets this contemporary novel over its counterparts.  Such a Rush does have a few moments of humor, but it's a serious novel taking on a few real life issues and I really appreciated it.  Maybe not too many teens fly planes like Leah and her friends, but the novel still felt realistic to me.

I'm not going to lie, Such a Rush started out as a slow read to me.  While the plot had me interested, it didn't really have me turning the pages.  But things started to get interesting about a third of the way through the novel, when Grayson starts blackmailing Leah into dating his brother, Alec.  I was really interested to know why.  Of course, there were other things that made this book interesting as well; cat-fights, plane crashes, death, to name a few.

The more I read Such a Rush, the more I was impressed with Leah's character.  Leah Jones has had a hard-knock life from the get-go.  Her mother had her when she was only sixteen and they move frequently from one trailer park to the next.  Leah hasn't always made the best choices in life, doing some drugs and having sex when she was only fourteen herself, but the more I got to know Leah the more I learned the truth - she's a great girl with good morals, even if everyone else thinks she's trash.  I really admired her for overcoming her personal adversity and I have no doubt that as Leah continues into adulthood, she's going to continue to be a fantastic person.

Four stars!  Such a Rush started off a little slow to me, but as the book continued on I really became aware of what a great writer Jennifer Echols is and I loved her ability to weave a plot with diverse, complicated characters.  Of course, the wholly unique setting for this YA novel was great, too!  I definitely think you need to check this one out.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

In My Mailbox (48)

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

This week's IMM features a blurry picture of my haul!

Rosebush by Michele Jaffe - this was on my PaperBackSwap wish list for awhile, but now it's finally mine!  Muhaha!  The plot is what drove me to request this one; Jane wakes up paralyzed in a rosebush and can't figure out how she got there.  Her friends claim hit and run, but she thinks it's something more sinister.  I'm willing to bet Jane is right, otherwise this book is going to be super dull.

Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols - got this through Southern ARC Tours!  I started it a couple days ago and it's got a really unique plot (teenage girl flying airplanes, what?) but said plot is dragging a tiny bit.  I'll let you know when I review it next week.

Fathomless by Jackson Pearce - wouldn't you know, two Southern ARC Tour books in a week.  I am super duper excited to read this because I loved Pearce's first two retellings (Sisters Red and Sweetly) and I'm betting Fathomless is going to rock my socks off just as much.

Eve & Adam by Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant - I tried to get this one through Edelweiss, but they were all like, "You have to have the secret BEA code," and I was all, "Noooo, I didn't go to BEA!"  Happily for me, the ARC showed up in my mail box this week.  Thanks Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends, you get to be my new BFF.

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron -  Go to Goodreads and check this one out.  Ouuuu, pretty cover.  And this book sounds like it's going to have lots of steampunk-y goodness in it.  Bonus points: the book description on Goodreads mentions asylums and there's almost nothing I love more in books than asylums.  Thanks Scholastic, you get to be my new BFF!  (Shh, don't tell Macmillan!)

The Map of the Sky by Felix J. Palma - more steampunk-y goodness and another gorgeous cover.  Thanks so much, Atria Galley Alley, I was happy to participate this year.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Rise of Nine (Lorien Legacies, #3)

The Rise of Nine
Pittacus Lore
416 pages
Released: August 21, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Won on Goodreads (this didn't affect my review)

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

The Rise of Nine is the third installment of the Lorien Legacies.  I mistakenly thought it was the third in a trilogy, but the end of the novel and a little Googling told me otherwise.  Anyhoo, The Rise of Nine continues pretty much on the same path The Power of Six was on - the remaining Lorien kiddos are still learning about their powers and trying to come together to train to defeat the Mogs and Setrakus Ra.

I had pretty high hopes for The Rise of Nine after finishing The Power of Six last week and I wasn't entirely disappointed.  I enjoyed reading more about the six remaining and their interactions with each other.  Even though they have a common goal, they don't always get along well together.  As a result, the action scenes in the novel aren't all fighting Mogs, but also fighting each other at times.  It made for an interesting read.

In my review of The Power of Six, I mentioned that I was looking forward to seeing what the truth about Sarah was.  I was a little disappointed with that part of the plot because the love triangle wasn't as evident as it was in the previous novel, but we do learn what the deal with Sarah is and now I can sleep at night.

And here's what I'm hoping will happen in the next book - Number Five.  Need I say more?  

Four stars - The Rise of Nine is action packed and while it moves the story along a little bit, I couldn't help but feel like it was something of a bridge.  Nevertheless, I will definitely be continuing on with the series.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I Hunt Killers (Jasper Dent, #1)

I Hunt Killers
Barry Lyga
361 pages
Released: April 3, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown
Source: purchased

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Jasper (Jazz) Dent's father was a notorious serial-killer now serving over twenty life sentences.  Left in the care of (or rather, caring for) his senile grandmother in the small town of Lobo's Nod, Jazz struggles with everyday life; trying to tell himself that the public is wrong, he is not destined to be like his father.  So when a new serial killer shows up in town, Jazz is determined to prove himself innocent before he can be proven guilty by solving the crimes before the police.

I Hunt Killers was my book club's pick for August.  Unfortunately, I had to miss the meeting for the second month in a row due to an out-of-town funeral, but I read I Hunt Killers on the plane on the way home and was blown away.  I don't know how the book club meeting went, but I would be surprised to hear the book got less than stellar reviews.  I Hunt Killers was an absolutely fabulous novel on so many levels.  I'll just tell you now to go get yourself a copy, I'll wait...

Need more convincing?  The plot intrigued me from the get-go.  What would you do if your father was a notorious serial killer?  I can't even imagine, but there are children out there who have to face this fact.  Jazz's father committed well over one hundred murders and the fact that the community knew Jazz was involved, however minimally or involuntarily, tainted their view of Jazz.  They believed he would undoubtedly grow up to be like "Dear Old Dad," and that's a lot of pressure for a seventeen year old boy who should be struggling with normal teenage problems.

Not only is Jazz trying to do an adult job at solving murders, but he's also struggling with his own coming-of-age, two plot lines that Lyga weaved together expertly.  The fact that Jazz is a teenager really brought a interesting perspective into the novel.  Instead of worrying about sex in general, Jazz was worried about in what way would be enjoy it, could it lead to something more sinister?  Despite the fact I have no idea what it would be like to be in his position, I believe Lyga portrayed Jazz to the t.  He was a perfectly complex character and I'm looking forward to seeing him continue to grow as a person in future novels.

Before I started reading, I read somewhere that I Hunt Killers was like an episode of CSI, but in reality it was so much more interesting to me.  We we really got to know about the psychology of serial killers.  I learned so much about how they think, but I also learned a bit about how to kill and dispose of a body.  It makes me shudder a bit to think about it, actually, but I found it to be grotesquely fascinating.  The psychology of the novel reminded me of Stephen King's work.

Five stars!  Read this book if you like those television crime dramas or if you like psychological thrillers or if you like Stephen King or even if you just have two eyeballs (hell, you could probably even read it with just one.)  I Hunt Killers was so entertaining to me, I cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel coming out in March.

In My Mailbox (47)

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

Very short this week since I'm typing this Thursday morning, about to head out of town for the weekend...

Every Day by David Levithan

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Power of Six (Lorien Legacies, #2)

The Power of Six
Pittacus Lore
406 pages
Released: August 2011
Publisher: Harper
Source: library

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

I read I Am Number Four last December and it didn't exactly blow me away, but recently I picked up The Power of Six from the library and I'm happy to report I enjoyed it a lot more the original.  In The Power of Six, we read the story from the point of view of Four and Seven while they try to find others on their mission.

I really enjoyed the alternating points of view in The Power of Six.  I thought it really added to the plot, allowing us to see what was going on in multiple spots at the same time.  Four was the same old Four from the first novel (not that there's anything wrong with that) but I really enjoyed getting to know Seven.  I found the fact that she was at a convent to be very interesting and I felt for her in her want to get out and move on when she was being held back.

The one thing in the story that really surprised me was the whole thing with Sarah.  I'm being ominous here on purpose because I don't want to give it away, but I'm really interested to see how that's treated in the next novel.  Four's love triangle is more interesting to me than most YA love triangles, and that's all I'm going to say about.  You'll just have to read for yourself ;)

I really did enjoy this novel - it has a fast paced plot and I read the whole thing a lot more quickly than I thought I would.  It left me wanting more - which is why I'm happy to be reading The Rise of Nine sooner rather than later - but I did feel like The Power of Six was a bit of a bridge between the first and third novels, which is where it loses a star from me.

Four stars!  I enjoyed The Power of Six so much more than I Am Number Four, so I have great hopes for The Rise of Nine, which I should be starting soon.  If you haven't started this series yet, I would suggest hopping on the bandwagon, especially if you're a fan of sci-fi.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Gwenda Bond
320 pages
Release: September 4, 2012
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Source: Southern ARC Tours

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Occasionally in real life, it drives me a little nuts to not know what happened to the 114 original settlers of Roanoke Island.  The just up and disappeared without a trace and I need to know why, but I never will.  (I'm a history major, this is why it drives me a little nuts.  I'm sure the average person can sleep at night not knowing.)  Anyhoo, that's why I was excited to get my hands on Blackwood, a new novel about Roanoke Island and what happens when 114 of its citizens just up and disappear one night... and then return.

Miranda is a bit of a misfit in the town who doesn't have many friends because her ancestors were a little infamous.  Meanwhile, Phillips is from one of the most prestigious families in town, but since he developed the ability to hear the spirits of the island in his head - and they won't shut up - he exiled himself... until now.  Now he's paired up with Miranda trying to figure out why people have disappeared.

I really felt for Miranda.  She's such a sweet girl, but no one wants anything to do with her, including her father it seems who's the town drunk.  I was happy for her when Phillips came into her life - she finally had a friend who didn't care about her supposed ancestors, and she didn't really care about his either.  They worked great together and made a cute little couple, even though there wasn't much of a romance to be had in Blackwood.

While overall I really did enjoy Blackwood, there were a couple things that held me back.  I found the authors writing style to be unique.  I can't put my finger on it, but it took a bit longer with the text to grasp the plot than it usually does.  And by the end of the book I was ready for it to be over, although I really did enjoy the first two-thirds or so of the book.

Three stars!  While I found the majority of the book interesting and it held my attention, but the end I found my attention waning, just waiting to see what really happened.  That didn't affect my overall enjoyment of the book, though, so if you're a big historical fiction fan I think you'll really enjoy Blackwood.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

In My Mailbox (46)

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

In true cat lady form, this week's IMM features my cat, Mittens.

Mittens spots books...

These smell yummy...

So yeah, anyway, I received The Orphan King to review and Blackwood for a Southern ARC Tour.  I purchased So Much Closer and won The Rise of Nine on Goodreads.  Finally, I picked up The Power of Six and The Faerie Ring at the library earlier this week.  There ya have it!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Incarnate (Newsoul, #1)

Jodi Meadows
374 pages
Released: January 31, 2012
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: library

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

I remember in the two months before this book came it it was all abuzz around the Internet.  It seemed like so many people had ARCs and it seemed like it was going to be such a fantastic novel, I was dismayed that I couldn't get my hands on an early copy.  Then I forgot about it until it came up on my library's RSS feed last month.

I hate to say it was a lot of hype for nothing, but I do have conflicted feelings about Incarnate, which is why it's taken me two days to actually sit down and write this review... because, not gonna lie, I don't really know what to say and I don't know what to rate it.  It probably would fall at a two and a half for me if I did half stars.

Why, you ask?  Well, let's start out with  the positive - this was a quick read for me and I wasn't bogged down with unnecessary plot or characters.  The plot description really drew me in - a world where souls are continuously reincarnated, Ana was born as a newsoul, she had never existed before and she wants to know why, especially since most of the community seems to discriminate against her.

I did enjoy the little romance Ana had with Sam, especially since in past lives Sam was hesitant to fall in love with anybody.  That made Ana seem a little more special and made me root for her even more.

On the other hand, Incarnate seemed very basic to me.  The plot and characters were basic and so was the reading level.  Those three things left me feeling pretty blah about the whole thing in general.  The plot seemed to happen one event after another and I failed to see motivation from several characters; I wish the characters had been written more in depth.

I'm giving it three stars.  Really, I still don't know about this one.  Incarnate wasn't amazing, but if you're a middle or high school teacher, I think this would be a great book for reluctant readers.

What's Next? (8)

What's Next? is a weekly meme hosted by IceyBooks.  It's a chance for you to choose what I read/review next!  Here are this week's options (all images are linked to Goodreads):

*looks at calendar to see what I have to read this week*  Nothing self-proclaimed-mandatory!  I can read whatever I want!  Pick for me!

It's up to you!  Leave me a comment and tell me which you'd like me to read/review next!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Masque of the Red Death (Masque of the Red Death, #1)

Masque of the Red Death
Bethany Griffin
319 pages
Released: April 24, 2012
Publisher: Greenwillow
Source: library

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

A little post-apocalipitc and a little steampunk (a super combination in my opinion), Masque of the Red Death drew me in right away.  It's another one of those faced paced YA novels that I didn't want to put down for so many reasons...

First, I was massively curious about the disease in this book.  The first sounded pretty much like your traditional plague - fever, pustules that ooze nastiness, you know what I'm talking about, but the fact that it could be prevented by a masque that only the rich can afford - well, that brings up all sorts of social issues, doesn't it?  That was probably more interesting to me than the disease itself.  The second disease involved suddenly bleeding from the eyes and instant death.  That one made me even more curious - what's causing it?  How does it work?  Did someone create it and release it into the public?  All questions I hope will be answered in the sequel.

Second, Araby.  She's got a tough life.  Sure she's wealthy now, but it wasn't always that way (though I wish that had been explored more).  But despite her wealth, she still has problems - she has friends she wants to help, she finds out terrible secrets about her mother, and she keeps an even worse secret from her father about her brother's death.  Of course, in addition to that is something of a love triangle, though it didn't read like your stereotypical YA love triangle.  It really added to the plot.

Third, the battle between science and religion.  I found this aspect of the novel to be interesting as well. It seemed there were two camps - those who were religious minded, who felt science had failed humanity, who wanted to pray to god for a cure.  Then there were those who were science minded, who, like Araby, had never read the bible or given god a second thought.  Sometimes I feel our real world is becoming more polarized in this way, but I don't think it has to be so.  When plague hits, perhaps the best solution is a little of both worlds, but I don't want to get all philosophical on you.

Four stars!  Fictional diseases are so interesting to me, so I adored this book.  Bottom line, this book was fantastic and I'm eagerly anticipating its sequel due out in April and I urge to you read this soon.   In the meantime, I'm going to have to read the Edgar Allen Poe short story that inspired this novel because I've heard it makes you appreciate Griffin's work even more.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

In My Mailbox (45)

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

Brightest Kind of Darkness by P.T. Michelle

Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead

City of Women by David R. Gillham

Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross

Article 5 by Kristen Simmons

A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young

Tempest in the Tea Leaves by Kari Lee Townsend

Jane Bites Back by Michael Thomas Ford

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Blue Asylum

Blue Asylum
Kathy Hepinstall
271 pages
Released: April 2012
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Source: library

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Iris is the wife of a plantation owner during the Civil War when her values get in the way of real life- her husband has her convicted of a crime based on insanity and is sent to Sanibel Asylum in Florida.  Her husband paid good money for the best asylum in the country so staying there isn't necessarily horrible until Iris hears of the dreaded "water treatment" and experiences it herself for the first time.  Feeling trapped by the asylum and finding herself falling in love with another patient, Iris struggles with the idea of escaping... but can she do it and can she take her love with her?

This book was pretty much the bees-knees to me, it had everything I could want - a great historical setting, a solid feminist main character, a little bit of falling in love, and to top all that - an insane asylum.  I was immediately drawn into Blue Asylum by its well-thought-out plot and the great writing style of Kathy Hepinstall.  I found Sanibel Asylum to be the most intriguing setting and learning about mental institutions during the Civil War era, no matter how informally, was very interesting to me.  In addition, I loved the way that Iris's "crime" was revealed throughout the novel.  We know she's innocent from the beginning, we just don't know what she's innocent of.  By the end of the book I was speechless - how could anyone consider that a crime in the first place?  But that's the era they lived in.

Iris's doctor and his family were very interesting characters to me.  At times it seemed like they had more cause to be patients than the actual patients themselves.  I know the doctor meant well, but his ideas about women's mental health were so primitive that his treatment actually hindered progress.  Of course, it's not entirely his fault.  Like I said before, that's the era they were living in.  When he writes a paper showing a correlation between the women's rights movement and the growing numbers of hysteria cases among women, he's convinced they're related.  Thankfully today we know that to be false.

The only thing I felt was lacking from this book were more treatments.  I'm sure at the time they must have had more than one, and after Iris experiences the water treatment herself, that's the last we really hear of it.  I'm very interested by early medicine, particularly in the area of mental health, so I would have liked to have seen more there, but its absence didn't detract from the book.

Five stars!  There are so many positive things I could say about Blue Asylum, but I can't sit here all day.  This book was so interesting and well-written, I couldn't help but sneak in a few pages at work.  I highly recommend this one to historical fiction fans.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

What's Next? (7)

What's Next? is a weekly meme hosted by IceyBooks.  It's a chance for you to choose what I read/review next!  Here are this week's options (all images are linked to Goodreads):

I really need to get through some of these library books before they're due...

It's up to you!  Leave me a comment and tell me which you'd like me to read next!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
Catherynne M. Valente
247 pages
Released: May 2011
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Source: library

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

You're going to have to take my (admittedly short) review of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making with a grain of salt because even though I didn't like it, there are thousands of others who have absolutely loved it.  I wouldn't be mentioning it all with this rating if it weren't for the fact that it was voted for in my "What's Next" segment last Thursday... I figured maybe some of you would want to know how I felt about this book.

I think what surprised me the most about the book was the actual "ship of her own making."  The title kind of implies that September would be circumnavigating fairyland in her ship throughout the novel and while she does travel, the ship itself doesn't show up until near the end of the book.  I was beginning to wonder if it would show up at all!  I did think it was clever how she made her own ship, though.  It was probably my favorite moment in the book.

Catherynne M. Valente is a good writer, her language is very imaginative and fantastical, but my problem with the book was that I felt like the flowery language overshadowed the plot of the book.  Very simply, this is the reason I didn't entirely enjoy this book.

Two stars.  Like I said, take this with a grain of salt.  Everyone and their brother on Goodreads has really enjoyed this novel, but ultimately it wasn't for me.  I do think the odds of you liking it, however, are pretty good, so go give it a look.

July Recap

Well, it's the first day of August and that means my head is filled of images of fall.  I can't wait for those kiddies to go back to school and for the weather to cool down... although that will take at least two more months here in Georgia.  It's still hot as balls outside, so let's stay inside in the air conditioning and recap everything I read in July, whether it was reviewed on my blog or not.  I only got through seventeen books because I spent the first two weeks of July on vacation in Alaska, where it was not even close to hot as balls... when can I go back?

Mind Over Murder by Allison Kingsly
A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan
Torn by Amanda Hocking
The Possession of Cassie Quinn by Kathryn Knutson
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
The Secret Sense of Wildflower by Susan Gabriel
The Fledgling Handbook by P.C. Cast
Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind: A Bestseller's Odyssey from Atlanta to Hollywood by Ellen F. Brown
Starring Me by Krista McGee
Belles by Jen Calonita
Bras, Boys, and Blunders by Vidya Samson
Bewitching by Alex Flinn
Six Degrees of Lost by Linda Benson
Then by Morris Gleitzman
Illuminate by Aimee Agresti
A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner
Blood Fever by Veronica Wolff

Total books read in 2012: 140
Total pages read in 2012: 40,934

Blood Fever (The Watchers, #3)

Blood Fever 
Veronica Wolff
290 pages
Release: August 7, 2012
Publisher: NAL
Source: finished copy sent for review

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

I was intrigued when I received this book for review because the description seemed so kick-ass.  In this third installment of The Watchers series, Drew has bonded with the Scottish vampire, Carden and their bond is getting pretty serious. Meanwhile, Drew is roommate-less until new girl Mei-Ling shows up, having been kidnapped and forced into the Isle of Night.  Drew becomes her protector when things start getting out of hand on the island - people are being murdered and drained and plenty of people suspect Drew herself.

I was right, there are so many intense things about Blood Fever to love.  First and most obvious is the relationship, or rather bond, between Drew and Carden.  The chemistry between the two becomes almost palpable as the novel goes on and if this had been an adult novel rather than YA, I feel like it could have become very, very steamy indeed.  But even without the act of sex on the table, their chemistry is just plain off the charts.  Who doesn't love a little Scottish leading man, anyway?

Second, of course, is the plot involving mysterious murders.  When Drew is informally accused by others at the school, she feels she must find the killer and absolve herself, all while keeping her friends safe.  This culminates in some very intense scenes involving Drew searching through the wilderness and some pretty epic battle scenes.  Trust me, the action in this book will have you turning the pages as fast as you can!  I know the ending was pretty climatic for me and while I knew it wouldn't go the way I wanted it, too, I was surprised at what really happened.  It set things up for the next book in the series extremely well.

Three stars!  I was admittedly a little lost having not read the first two books in the series, but it wasn't anything I couldn't overcome.  If you're a fan of YA vampire books, or books that take place at training academies, or books about vampires at training academies, this series is definitely something you should check out.  There's still a week before Blood Fever comes out, so plenty of time to catch up on the first two books in the series!

Plain Fear: Forbidden

Plain Fear: Forbidden
Leanna Ellis
400 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Source: NetGalley

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Rachel is about to give birth but is still reeling from her husband's untimely death, which she blames herself for.  She spends her time on her Amish farm, waiting to give birth, when a stranger appears and tells her he can take her away and has a way he can save her husband.  Desperate, Rachel goes with him but soon realizes that Akiva is a vampire who wants to use her baby for an unfortunate vampire ritual...

I'd been wanting to read this book a long time.  What an interesting and promising concept, I thought, combining the simple Amish lifestyle with the paranormal.  It's obvious that the Amish would afraid of vampires and against them as a lifestyle choice, so I thought it would be interesting to see how an Amish community would deal with vampire outsiders.  What I didn't realize, however, was that Plain Fear: Forbidden is actually second in a series after Plain Fear: Forsaken.  I still do not know how much of these books overlap, but I feel like I would have done better to read Forsaken first.

At least for me, it felt like there was a lot of filler information surrounding Akiva that detracted from the plot I was really interested in: Rachel, the survival of her and her baby, and her relationship with Roc.  Ultimately that's what I was looking for here, an old-fashioned Amish romance where the Amish woman falls in love with the Englisher with a little paranormal thriller thrown in for fun.  I wanted to see Roc save Rachel from the vampires and while some saving did happen, it wasn't enough of the focus of the novel for me.  I'll admit, I skimmed the parts toward the ending that focused on Akiva just to get back to Rachel's story.  I will say, the last couple chapters were fantastic.

And I really did like that part of the book.  If the idea of vampires mixed with the Amish appeals to you at all (and why on earth wouldn't it!?) I recommend this book, but I highly suggest you read Plain Fear: Forsaken first, which incidentally is one sale for Kindle for only $2.99.*  I wish I had and be sure to let me know what you think of it!

*Price is correct at the time the post was written.