Thursday, March 29, 2012

Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe

Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe
Shelley Coriell
299 pages
Publisher: Amulet Books
Source: NetGalley

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Chloe is a junior in high school, which can mean only one thing: it's time to do her junior independent study project (JISP).  After coming back from a tumultuous winter break only to find that her best friends have also ditched her, her guidance counselor nixes her project idea and forces her to do her project with the school's failing radio station.  Soon Chloe is coming up with some new marketing ideas that include her being on the air twice a week!  She makes fast friends (sort of) with the radio crew and Duncan in particular...

So let's talk about Duncan and Chloe - I love their relationship!  Duncan, despite his serious home problems, is the sweetest, most upstanding guy I've read about in contemporary YA.  He was so adorable!  I loved watching his relationship with Chloe process, waiting for them to finally get it together.  Duncan got more and more charming as the book progressed - what a swoon-worthy dude!

Chloe by herself was an amazing character.  I envied her for a few reasons, one of which obviously being her kick-ass shoes, but on a more serious note, I envied her strength.  Chloe's got a world of problems, yet she manages to stay sincerely perky and persevere.  I loved that when her best friends ditched her, she did not wallow in self-pity but instead was able to recognize it was a problem with them, not her.  That's a message all teenage girls should read about.

Four stars!  I loved this book because it had just the right mix of comedy and serious issues.  Chloe was an awesome character.  I highly recommend this one if you're a contemporary YA fan.  It is a standalone, so go check it out when it's released May first.

PS: The girl on the cover looks so familiar!  Does anyone know if she was ever on TV?

3/12 complete!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Gail Carriger
374 pages
Publisher: Orbit

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

A short review for you, which surely contains spoilers from the first novel: Soulless.

I read the first book in The Parasol Protectorate series earlier this year and loved it, so I was a little eager to get on to the second book, Changeless.  In this second installment, we find Alexia married to her beau and off on a new mystery - the werewolves about town are failing to change, which means something paranormally wrong is afoot.  Soon Alexia is off with her strange entourage to Scotland to try and solve the mystery.

This book held all the whimsy of the first novel with some new technological twists.  Alexia's new parasol, a gift from her husband, was my favorite gadget - a Swiss-Army-Parasol of sorts.  Of course, there was also the Dirigibles (the only way to travel ;)) and the aethographor.  Steampunk technology is fascinating.

Three stars!  The book started and ended on high notes, but the middle failed to capture my full attention.  Based on how Changeless ended, however, I'm really looking forward to continuing on with the series to the third book, Blameless.  If you like Steampunk and/or paranormal and/or a good romance, definitely check out this series.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Laurie Halse Anderson
278 pages
Publisher: Viking
Source: purchased

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Read this book.  Let me tell you why.

Lia and Cassie were best friends growing up until they were seniors in high school.  They had a falling out and a few months later Cassie is found alone, dead in a hotel room.  Lia is haunted by this as she continues to fight with her own demons- her family, her school life, and her anorexia, which is getting worse.

That description doesn't even begging to do this book justice.  You must read this book!

The first thing that struck me was the plot.  It was obvious from page one that this was going to be a powerfully emotional novel and it was.  It sucked me in so much, my heart was hurting for Lia.  I wanted to pull her from the pages and just give her a hug, but the only thing I could do for her was just keep reading.  The more into the book I got, the more I was sucked in, the more I wanted to help somehow.  Lia didn't deserve the torment she put herself through.

The second thing that struck me, almost as quickly as the plot, was the writing.  Anderson's writing is gorgeous - it creates such imagery that you can't help but fall in love with the book, no matter how heartbreaking it gets.  The images Anderson shows the reader are just awe-inspiring.  I don't know how anyone could read this book and not feel some sort of connection to it.

Five plus stars.  This book is beautiful, deep, and haunting.  I really don't know what else to say.  I know book blogs often focus on the latest release and Wintergirls was published in 2009, but it's such an important, timeless book.  I'm practically begging you to read this, can't you do me a solid and get yourself a copy?

Grave Mercy

Grave Mercy
R.L. LaFevers
564 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Source: NetGalley

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

I really liked the idea for this YA novel.  A young girl is saved from a sham of a disgusting marriage and sent to the safety of a convent, where she learns that she is actually the daughter of Death.  Ismae learns she has special talents passed down to her from her father and so she starts learning the art of being an assassin.  She is sent out for an assignment in Brittany where soon she must decide between her loyalty to the convent of St. Mortain and her newfound love.

Like I said, I thought the concept for this novel was great.  I was relieved for Isame when she was saved from her "marriage" and thrust into a welcoming community where she felt she could belong and thrive.  I also felt for her when she discovered that community might not be as objective as they claimed and she had to decided between them and her new love, it's obviously a hard decision to make!

Overall, however, this book was up and down for me.  I thought I was going to be hooked after the first couple chapters, but then my interest waned and it wasn't until about halfway through the novel that my interest really picked up again.  I'm not sure why this was the case, except that I can say that I felt like the writing was dry at times.  The plot throughout was wholly interesting, though.  A strange combination.

On a positive note, Grave Mercy is the first in the His Fair Assassin series, but can be read as a standalone. It seems as though the second novel, due out Spring 2013, will focus on Sybella - a secondary character in Grave Mercy.

If I did half stars, Grave Mercy would be a three and half star book for me.  I liked it, but it didn't fall into that category of "really liked" for me.  The concept was awesome, but the book was a little dry at times for me.  Check it out if you like YA paranormal historical fiction; Grave Mercy will be released April 3rd.

In My Mailbox (27)

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

Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Queen of the Dead by Stacey Kade

Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep

Confessions of a Prairie Bitch by Alison Arngrim

Total TBR: 163

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Keeping the Moon

Keeping the Moon
Sarah Dessen
228 pages
Publisher: Speak
Source: mall book sale :-P

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

So, the mall I work in was having a book sale and while there wasn't much to choose from (I only got two fiction books and two cookbooks) I found this one and since I didn't have a copy already, I scooped it up.  Color me surprised when I got it home and found out it was also signed!

Anyway, Keeping the Moon is about fifteen-year-old Colie whose mother has left her with her aunt while she goes on a tour circuit promoting hew new workout system.  Both Colie and her mother used to be very overweight, but thanks to diligent exercise they're both at good weights.  But for Colie, she still can't get past the stigma of once being fat.

This was basically a coming of age novel, where Colie, separated from the comfort of her mother, is left to face the demons of her past (sometimes literally) and develop a sense of self-worth.  That's a great message we need to teach all our daughters and I was glad Colie started that journey, but altogether the plot seemed a little too easy.

I thought this book at a lot of potential with its subject matter, but ultimately it did not deliver for me in the way Dessen's other books have.  Only three stars for this one.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Sophie Littlefield
384 pages
Publisher: Luna (a division of Harlequin)
Source: library

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Zombies - this is the main problem everyone faces now that the gas has run out and government and communication has shut down.  But Cass has an even bigger problem: she was abducted by the zombies and now that she's back, awake, and recovering, she has to find her three-year-old daughter.

Cass's adventure in Aftertime took her to several different places and introduced us to a diverse cast of characters.  When she stumbles upon a community of survivors, she's assigned Smoke, a man who will take her to her daughter, but when her daughter isn't where she should be, Smoke continues on with her and a hint of a romance develops.  Along the way they meet several other people who are trying to survive, everything from one guy holed up in his own house still, to a stadium filled with women.

I appreciated the flashbacks of memories Cass had during the novel - I think it really added that something extra to the story line, allowing us to get a better glimpse of who Cass really is, the events in her past that shaped her and how they are affecting her today.

What I loved about this book: there was no major cliffhanger!  Sure I got the general sense that this story will continue and there's more to it, but it didn't end in that annoying fashion like, "The guard's hand clasped around her neck and... stay tuned for the next book!"  This was a relief because my library doesn't have the second book and there is a wait list at PaperBackSwap.  Rebirth is definitely on my must read as soon as I can list, though.

Four stars!  Book one blew me away and I loved it a lot more than I thought I was going to.  I highly recommend to post-apocolyptic and dystopian fans (there were elements of both in this novel) but be forewarned, this book is not YA - there are graphic sex scenes and a lot of grotesque, flesh-eating violence.  Aftertime is not for the fainthearted but still very enjoyable.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Cover Reveal: The Earthquake Machine

I was contacted to review The Earthquake Machine awhile back and still haven't gotten around to it.  I've heard great things about it in the time since then, so I know I'm going to have to get to it soon.  What I did notice right away was the original cover seemed... I don't know.  Strange?  Today I found out there's a new cover and it really seems to fit the novel's genre a LOT better.  Take a look!

For the record here's the old cover:

What do you think?  Do you like the old or new cover better?  Let me know!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

In My Mailbox (26)

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

Enticed by His Forgotten Lover by Maya Banks (This is part of the miniseries "Pregnancy and Passion"... interesting concept.)

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

The Hunger Pains: A Parody by the Harvard Lampoon

Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen

Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult

Total TBR: 163

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Goddess Interrupted

Goddess Interrupted
Aimee Carter
304 pages
Publisher: HarlequinTeen
Source: NetGalley

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

I loved The Goddess Test, the first book in this series by Aimee Carter.  I read it last year and gave it five stars (you can see my review here) so I was looking forward to reading the second novel in the series.  In the mean time, I read the novella, The Goddess Hunt, which takes place between the two novels and was less than impressed, so I was a little tentative to to read Goddess Interrupted.

Whew - what I relief when I discovered that I was really loving Goddess Interrupted!  The book takes place as Kate returns to Henry after her six months off.  She's ready to see her husband and get crowned "Queen of the Underworld."  But Calliope (remember her from book one?  I don't want to include spoilers in my review!) has other, more sinister plans in mind... including the release of a really powerful and destructive entity.

So yeah, there was drama from the very beginning of this novel.  Almost as soon as Kate arrives at the underworld palace, bloody fights start breaking out - and that's something for an immortal to come home bloodied and bruised!  There's tons of drama and action in this novel, which really kept the pace moving forward.

What really kept me reading throughout this novel, however, was my need to know how things were going to work out between Kate and Henry.  It was like, "Okay, you're married!  Can't you admit you love each other already?!"  The tension between the two is practically palpable and I'm looking forward to seeing how that plays out in the next book in the series.

I'm also hoping we get to see more of how the underworld works and what Henry and Kate's roles are supposed to be there.  I'm all for the drama like we saw in this novel, but I'm really itching to see how "everyday life" will play out.

Four stars!  I really liked this book a lot more than I thought I would.  Since each chapter brought a new thing, the story remained fresh and I remained turning the pages.  If you haven't looked into this series yet, I highly recommend it, especially if you like mythical YA.  Also be sure to check out The Goddess Hunt, an e-exclusive novella that spans the time between the first and second novel.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
Beth Hoffman
306 pages
Publisher: Penguin
Source: purchased

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt was another book I acquired on my trip this past week.  I found it while browsing through the discount books at the grocery store and I feel like I found a diamond in the rough.  Most of those books looked wholly uninteresting, but this one stood out to me and I really and truly enjoyed it!

The plot focuses on twelve-year-old CeeCee whose father has all but abandoned the family and whose mother is slowly going crazy, reliving her days as the 1951 Vidalia Onion Queen over and over.  When her mother is tragically run over by a truck on the way home from Goodwill, CeeCee is sent to live with her great-aunt Tootie in Savannah, GA.

I really felt for CeeCee.  She had it rough up to the age of twelve and when she finally caught a break I was so happy for her.  Despite her new life, which was very well-off, I was proud of her for remaining down-to-earth.  The whole cast of characters really added to this book, there were so many different kinds!  Shady characters, lying characters, wholesome characters, even slutty characters!  Each one added something unique to the story line and propelled it forward.

The plot of this book was sad at times, but also had me laughing and gleefully turning the pages.  I don't know what it was specifically about this book, but I found it adorable.

Four stars!  This was such a charming novel and I was rooting for CeeCee the whole way through.  Fans of southern lit like The Help will probably also enjoy Saving CeeCee Honeycutt.

The Hunger Pains: A Parody

The Hunger Pains: A Parody
The Harvard Lampoon
157 pages
Publisher: Touchstone
Source: Buffalo Airport bookstore

You can read the Goodsreads summary here.

I read the Harvard Lampoon's spoof of Twilight, Nightlight: A Parody, last year and laughed my freaking ass off, so when I found out they had written a parody of The Hunger Games, I was all over that.  Or at least - it was added to my wish list and I finally found a copy at an airport bookstore on my way back to Atlanta after visiting family.

The Hunger Pains is an extremely short book, clocking in at just over one hundred and fifty pages, so I was able to read it all during the actual flight.  Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy it quite as much as Nightlight.  This was probably a relief to the woman sitting next to me, as I was not laughing uncontrollably out loud.  It was more of a "I'm laughing in my head" kind of a funny.

Nonetheless, it was funny and if you're a diehard Hunger Games fan, I recommend giving it a read.  It won't take you more than two hours.  Kantkiss Neverclean was a great character, she was inherently stupid and never had the right idea about what was going on.  Her sister, Prin (short for Princess) was also a hoot.

Three stars!

If I Stay

If I Stay
Gayle Forman
262 pages
Publisher: Speak
Source: Borders Sale

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

It's rare that I love a book this much.  While I was reading I struggled between reading it all at once and gobbling up its goodness, or stretching it out to savor it more.  I opted for the later.  Aside from that, I was so drawn into the storyline that I ordered the sequel, Where She Went, while I was still reading If I Stay.  I actually purchased a book full price - that's rare for me!  And when I got home from my trip a couple days ago, it was waiting for me.

If I Stay starts out on an idyllic morning - Mia and her brother have a snow day, but the day soon turns nice and she and her family start off on a day trip.  Things soon turn tragic when there is a devastating car accident.  Mia's parents are killed instantly.  The rest of the novel follows Mia as she watches over herself in the ICU, trying to decide whether to stay and live without her family, or die.

The concept of the novel is heart wrenching and even I, who rarely sheds a tear at a book (not even TFIOS) teared up during the accident, immediate aftermath, and the very last few pages of the novel.  If I Stay really gripped at my emotions and would not let go - I finished the book days ago and I'm still thinking about it.

But the book wasn't an utter downer.  Mia's past was a happy one and it was nice to relive her some memories with her.  Mia has a great number of supporters throughout her life, not just her parents.  It was awesome to read about such a loving group of family members and friends.  Not everyone gets to experience that kinds of love and support in life and Mia was extremely lucky.

Five stars!  This is a must, must read for all YA fans, particularly those who like contemporary YA.  If I Stay is definitely one of the best books I've read so far this year ever.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

In My Mailbox (25)

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

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Friday, March 9, 2012

Yellow Crocus

Yellow Crocus
Laila Ibrahim
238 pages
Publisher: Flaming Chalice Press
Source: NetGalley

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Lisbeth was born a plantation in the south during the 1830s and was raised by her wet-nurse and nanny, Mattie.  Mattie was more of a mother to Elizabeth than her own mother and has Lisbeth grows, so does her love for Mattie.  Yellow Crocus explores their relationship throughout Lisbeth's youth. 

I wasn't sure I was going to like this book when I started reading, especially after the first few chapters, but I was pleasantly surprised that as the plot went on I was drawn more and more into the story and lives of Lisbeth and Mattie.  They're both strong women and well-written characters, which really added to the richness of the plot.  I don't want to get into the ending of the book because I think that's what holds most of the book's charm, but I will say that I don't think it went far enough in a couple different ways.

Reader beware, however.  This book is being marketed as similar to The Help.  There isn't much to directly compare between the two books and the author's voice are extremely different, as are the settings.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed both books very much, but they are two separate entities.

Four stars!  I really enjoyed this novel even though it didn't go as far as I would have liked.  If you like historical fiction, please give it a look.  At the time of this posting, the eBook is only $3.99.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Fallen in Love

Fallen in Love
Lauren Kate
201 pages
Publisher: Delacorte
Source: purchased

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Fallen in Love, the third and half book in the Fallen series by Lauren Kate, was not at all what I expected it to be.  I knew that it was going to be short stories, but I thought it was going to be short stories about Luce and Daniel's various Valentine's Days throughout time.  Instead, the stories all took place at the same time and were told by different character's points of view.

I can't go into too much without revealing some spoilers, but I will say that the third story - "The Valentine of Arriane" was my favorite.

Fallen in Love was a nice, quick read with a few interesting stories.  For those fans who are eagerly waiting the release of Rapture, the final book in the series, this would be a good way to tide them over until  its release this summer.  Three stars!

PS: The cover of the book is gorgeous, as usual, but you can download an app for your iPhone or Android that brings the cover to life when you point your phone's camera at it.  That was pretty cool to see.

Monday, March 5, 2012


Francisco X. Stork
288 pages
Publisher: Scholastic
Source: library

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Teenagers Kate and Mary are left on their own when their strict father suddenly passes away, leaving them to take care of their mother who has been declared brain dead for two years.  Suddenly they must deal with adult issues, like filing insurance claims, applying for food stamps, and arranging a burial for their father.  Meanwhile, three men vie for their attentions - Kate's long-time boyfriend, Simon, Mary's classmate and gang member, Marcos, and Andy.,, who has romantic feelings for Kate that border on inappropriate.

I was drawn into this book right away because of the strict rules Kate and Mary's father had.  After he passes away, I was drawn further into the plot - hoping Kate and Mary would be able to make the right decisions not only about their father and the rest of the family, but their futures as well.  Irises is a real coming of age story with two strong but different female leads.

I did love the metaphor of the Irises Mary was attempting to paint.  I thought that was a beautiful aspect of the novel and one of the main reasons I ended up enjoying it.

Three stars - the metaphor was beautiful, but the plot was not as detailed as it could have been.  The ending was good, but felt rushed.  If you like contemporary stand-alones, this might be something to consider reading.                    

Sunday, March 4, 2012

In My Mailbox (24)

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

Intangible by J. Meyers

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

Grave Mercy by R.L. LaFevers

Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim

Torn by Amanda Hocking

Portrait of a Starter by Lissa Price

The Goddess Hunt by Aimee Carter

Hana by Lauren Oliver

SWAPPED FOR: (My online book club is doing a rereading of Baby-Sitters Club books!)
Baby-Sitters on Board! by Ann M. Martin

Kristy's Great Idea: A Graphic Novel by Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier

Total TBR: 166

Friday, March 2, 2012

Jane Vows Vengeance

Jane Vows Vengeance
Michael Thomas Ford
275 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Source: Goodreads win!

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

When I entered to win this giveaway on Goodreads I was really intrigued by both the plot summary given and the cover art.  What I didn't realize was that this is the third book in a trilogy...whoops.  But I read it anyway and it was fantastic!

Jane, a vampire, is getting ready to wed her fiancĂ© Walter when he suggests they give up on planning the big wedding and get married in Europe, where he is scheduled to take an architecture tour crossing several countries.  Fed up with planning the wedding with her future mother-in-law (who is, incidentally, a vampire hunter) she agrees.  But soon a secret from Jane's past comes to light and someone is murdered.  Can Jane solve the mystery and get on to wedded bliss?

I was drawn in right away by both the author's voice and the plot.  Jane is a really unique character, modern but also a touch of old fashioned - obviously since she is the Jane Austen!  My favorite character was, strangely enough, Lilith - the little dog.  She has such a little doggy attitude!  And of course who can forget Charlotte Bro- uh, I mean "Our Gloomy Friend."  What a hoot - I'm looking forward to reading the first two novels to figure out what the deal with that is.

Four stars!  I loved the quirky plot and characters as well as the Agatha Christie-esque murder mystery.  I will definitely be checking out the first two books in the series, they're already on my PaperBackSwap wish list.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Lissa Price
368 pages
Publisher: Delacorte
Source: the publisher via NetGalley

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

When the Spore Wars kills off the adults and leaves only the children and the elderly alive, Callie is left alone with her brother, desperate to keep themselves alive during a time when no one has any respect for youth.  In order to get them out of their squalor-like living conditions, Callie signs up with a company that rents out the bodies of teenagers to the elderly who would like a chance to be energetic again.  Callie is promised a great sum of money to do so, but soon nothing is going according to plan when she wakes up and can hear her renters voice inside her own head... and her renter wants to do something a little more devious than party.

What a fabulous book!  I sincerely loved every minute.  Let me throw out a few more adjectives for you - distinctive, enticing, exciting... really I can't even begin tell you how great this book was.  The first thing that drew me in, of course, was the wickedly awesome post-apocalypic plot.  While it's inexplicable for the spores to have killed only people between 20 and 60*, this idea of biological warfare is not unfounded and there's always that slight threat that it could happen to us.  The idea that that kind of warfare could polarize a country - you have your wealthy and your poor with not too much in-between - seems like a realistic outcome.  I had real empathy for Callie in this situation - I genuinely wanted her to find peace for her and her brother.

The action didn't let me down.  Each chapter was something new and exciting, propelling the plot forward to the the fast paced, cliff-hanger ending.  I'm relieved to see the sequel, Enders, is due out in December so it won't be too long of a wait.  I'm dying to see Callie triumph!  I didn't want this book to end at all and I'm also looking forward to reading the three short stories Price has written to go along with the series.

Five stars!  This book did not bore me once and throughout the novel I kept wanting to turn the pages.  Fans of Divergent and The Hunger Games will really enjoy Starters and I think this book is going to do really well.  Starters will be released March 13, so either pre-order it now or add it to your book buying list.

*Pardon my error, it wasn't that the spores killed only those between 20 and 60, it was that the vaccine saved those under 20 and those over 60.  Thanks, Lissa, for the clarification!  I must have missed that fact in my zeal to finish the book.

2/12 Completed!

February Recap

The list of everything I read in February follows, whether I reviewed it on my blog or not.

Soulless by Gail Carriger
The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder
First Date by Krista McGee
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey
Titanic: Voices from the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson
Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony
Seeds of Wither by Lauren DeStefano
Populazzi by Elise Allen
While I'm Still Myself by Jeremy Mark Lane
Murder Past Due by Miranda James
Red Heart Tattoo by Lurlene McDaniel
Some Like it Hot Buttered by Jeffrey Cohen
The Word Gang by Mark McKenna
The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle
Beneath a Meth Moon by Jacqueline Woodson
Old Haunts by E.J. Copperman
Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey
Seriously... I'm Kidding by Ellen Degeneres
Spellcaster by Cara Lynn Shultz
Death by Darjeeling by Laura Childs
Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein

Books read this month: 23
Total books for the year: 46
Total pages for the year: 12,633