Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dark of the Moon by Rachel Hawthorne


If you plan on reading Book 2: Full Moon by Rachel Hawthorne, do not read this!
**Even if you read the book description on this one, it'll spoil book two, so have WILLPOWER! :)

I've loved him forever, but he can never be mine.

Brittany is determined to prove herself to the Dark Guardians. And yet she's been keeping a devastating secret: She hasn't experienced any of the intense, early signs of change that mark a Dark Guardian's transformation. The only intense feelings she has are for Connor—and she's kept that a secret, too. But she knows she'll never truly have Connor's love if she's not a Shifter like him.

At the first full moon after her birthday, her greatest fear is realized: She doesn't transform. Brittany is so desperate to become a wolf that she'll go to extremes she never thought possible . . . and put all the Dark Guardians in incredible danger.

This is the last book in the Dark Guardian trilogy, and I thought it was a good ending. I liked Brittany, although she wasn't my favorite female character ever written. I liked that she was tough. She had a men-don't-define-me attitude that seemed fitting for her, but she still WANTED to have someone that loved her, which I admired.

I think it would be incredibly difficult to expect something your whole life, to grow up thinking you belonged and discover that it was all a lie. It would be devastating, which is exactly what she experiences.

I liked the love story in this one since it wasn't a "you're my mate because my gut tells me so" story. They actually have to fall in love. There was still plenty of lust-- but can that really be avoided in a chick-lit book?

Anyway, like I said before, I think this book tied everything up nicely. It was a good ending to a good triolgy--but it did leave the possiblity of a story with one other very minor character, if the author ever feels like it. It would be a stand-alone book though. These were definitely finished. Same comments on this one as the last two regarding language and "sexual" content and appropriateness for teens. You read it first and be the judge.

Happy Reading!!

Full Moon by Rachel Hawthorne

If you plan on reading Book 1: Moonlight by Rachel Hawthorne, do not read this!

I figured I'd do something a little different this time and post part of Chapter One, instead of reviewing it, since I already said in my Moonlight review that I liked them all. This was a quick read, and I think this one was actually my favorite. Here's a blurb. Enjoy!

Chapter One

Supposedly, dreams reflect our hidden fears and secret desires, all clamoring for attention. The one I’d had last night had been so vivid that even now, as evening drew near, it still made me squirm in my chair. I sat against a wall in the counsel room where the elders and the Dark Guardians—protectors of our society—were discussing how best to ensure our survival. Because I hadn’t yet experienced my first transformation, I was considered a novice and was not allowed to sit at the large, round table with the others. This was okay by me, because it gave me the freedom to let my mind wander—without anyone noticing that I wasn't paying attention.

In my dream, I'd been standing in a clearing with my declared mate, Connor, our arms wrapped around each other so tightly that we could barely breathe. The full moon served as a spotlight.

Then dark clouds drifted over the moon, and everything went black. Still holding him near, I was acutely aware of the muscles and bones in his body undulating against me. He grew taller and broader. My fingers were in his hair, and I felt the strands thicken and lengthen. His mouth covered mine, but his lips were fuller than before. The kiss was hungrier than any he'd ever given me. It heated me from head to toe, and I thought I knew what it was to be a candle, melting from the scorching flame. I knew I should move away, but I clung to him as though I'd drown in a sea of doubts if I let go.

The hovering clouds floated away, and the moonlight illuminated us once again—only I was no longer in Connor's arms. Instead I was pressing my body against Rafe's, kissing him, yearning for his touch. . . .

I shifted uncomfortably in my chair with the memory of how desperately I'd wanted Rafe. It was Connor I was supposed to long for. But I'd woken up in a tangle of sheets, clamoring for another of Rafe's touches—even if it were only in a dream.

Squirming again, I felt a sharp elbow in my ribs.

"Be still, will you?" Brittany Reed whispered harshly beside me. Like me, she would soon be turning seventeen and would experience her first transformation with the next full moon.

I'd known Brittany since kindergarten. We were friends, but I'd never felt as close to her as I did to Kayla—whom I'd met only last summer, when her adoptive parents had brought her to the park to face her past. We'd connected on a deep level almost as soon as we met. We'd spent the past year sharing our lives through emails, text messages, and phone calls.

During the last full moon she'd discovered that she was one of us and that Lucas Wilde was her destined mate. I can't imagine how frightening it would be to have so little time to prepare. We Shifters can't control the first transformation. When the full moon rises, our bodies react to its call. But now Kayla sat at the table with the others.

The summer solstice, the longest day of the year, is usually a time when as many of our kind as possible come together to celebrate our existence. But this year a pall hung over us as we gathered at Wolford, a village hidden deep within a huge national forest near the Canadian border. All that remained there of what had once been a vibrant community were a few small buildings and the massive, mansionlike structure that serves as the home of the elders who rule over us. The residence also houses most of us when we're here for the solstice celebration.

We've always been a secret society. Even though we have lived among the rest of the world, we show our true selves only to each other. But recently, we discovered that Lucas's older brother had betrayed us by telling someone in the outside world about our existence. Now some scientists who work for a medical research company called Bio-Chrome were determined to capture us and discover what makes us tick—or more important, what makes us transform. They wanted to patent this ability, develop it, and use it for their own financial gain. But being dissected and studied wasn't how any of us wanted to spend our summer vacation.

Although we hadn't seen any signs of Bio-Chrome scientists since Lucas and Kayla had escaped from their clutches, none of us believed they'd given up their quest so easily. We were all on edge because we could sense an impending confrontation—the way animals sense a coming storm. Nature had made us attuned to danger. It was the reason we hadn't gone the way of the dinosaur.

Moonlight by Rachel Hawthorne

I see him and know what this turmoil inside of me means: He's the one. My forever.

Kayla is the nature lover, the all-American beauty who can't understand why she's so drawn to distant, brooding Lucas. Adopted as a young child, she has no way of knowing that she's inherited a terrifying—and thrilling—gene that will change her life forever.

Lucas is dangerous, gorgeous . . . and a werewolf. As leader of the Dark Guardians, shape-shifters who gather deep within the state park, he has sworn to protect his pack. But when Lucas finds his true soul mate, his love could put them all in harm's way.

As Lucas and Kayla struggle with their feelings for each other, a greater danger lurks: Humans have discovered the Dark Guardians and are planning their destruction. Kayla must choose between the life she knows and the love she feels certain is her destiny.

I think I read this, the Dark Guardian trilogy, faster than any other series this year. I read this Monday night, read book two on Tuesday morning and book three Tuesday afternoon. All of them were fun little feel-good reads. There was a little bit of conflict, and a whole lot of lovey-dovey.

Kayla's friend Lindsey talks her into becoming a wilderness guide the summer of her 17th birthday. Little did she know, everything was going to change that summer. Kayla's parents were killed twelve years earlier in the very forest she's now working in. As she struggles to remember what really happened that night, she finds that the woods that had been the scene of all her nightmares are becoming more like home. Kayla is also finding herself drawn to Lucas, the leader of the wilderness guides, even though he's hardly said a word to her. As they journey into the wilderness with their group of college students and a professor, events unfold that endanger the lives of all the guides.

This was a fun little chick-lit book. There were a few swear words here and there, in all three books, but it wasn't overly distracting. I wouldn't recommend these to anyone under sixteen-- there is some making out, and teenagers sleeping together (JUST sleeping--but I wouldn't want kids to get any ideas). If you have a teen that you want to recommend these to, maybe read them for yourself first and be the judge of the appropriateness for the teen.

Happy Reading!

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien

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

A friend of mine has been raving about this book for weeks now. I was really disappointed to discover that it was not available in my local library. So what did I do? Went to the neighboring county library and got a card there! I was quite surprised to find that there wasn't a wait for this book since it is fairly new.

This book has been compared many times to the Hunger Games (which if you haven't discovered yet, shame on you!), but I can't say that I'd lump them together. Ever. I really enjoyed this book, but comparing the two is as unrealistic as sticking a little-leauger in the World Series. Granted, if you liked the Hunger Games, you may be drawn to this book as well.

The book opens on the night of Gaia's first solo delivery as a midwife. I've never delivered a baby, but I've had one, and can I just say--I sure do love hospitals and medicine and medical doctors. If I lived in a time when a sixteen-year-old girl was delivering children, I wouldn't have any.

That said, I do think Gaia was incredibly courageous and determined. Once she decided something needed to be done, there was no stopping her (well, hardly any...). She did all she could to get to her parents and free them--even up to getting imprisoned herself. But that didn't stop her, and with the help of a very handsome sounding Leon, she made discoveries that made the Enclave look even more horrific than they already seemed.

The concept of this book was just appalling to me. The first three healthy, "perfect" babies born outside the wall each month were forced from their mothers at birth to be taken to the city to be raised and thus never seen or heard from again outside of Enclave. As a mother, and being seven months pregnant right now, it was just awful to think about.

I did like this book very much though. It was kind of like a car crash. You want to look away, but you just can't. It was so well-written, and though a bit disturbing, it was such an interesting concept. (Who thinks of these things?!?) Definitely put this one in your "to-read" pile!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Once Upon A Marigold by Jean Ferris

Christian is gaga for Princess Marigold. But he's just a commoner, and no match for royalty. Heck, he lives in a cave with a troll! And now he's discovered another reason to put his love-soggy heart on ice: Queen Olympia is scheming to take over the kingdom--and she'll bump off her own daughter to do it. Can Christian foil her diabolical plans?

I have heard mixed reviews of this book, so don't mind me if I add one more the pile. Although this book was absurdly predictable, I really enjoyed it. I thought Ed was hysterical with his goofy, mixed-up sayings. I thought Christian was sweet and very likable. I liked Marigold's character, if only because she reminded me of, well, me. And I am pretty likable myself. ;) Marigold is quiet but strong when she has to be and she is always taking care of things. She always has AT LEAST one book with her (this is the part that made me chuckle at the thought of the 3 books weighing down my purse right now). And she'd do just about anything to make the people that she loves happy.

Like I said, it's predictable. I figured out where the storyline would go within a few pages. And I was right. But that didn't matter to me because it was just such a "feel good" story. I'd recommend this to anyone. It's clean for young girls and will give you (ahem) older (cough, cough) women like me a warm, fuzzy feeling in your heart. :) Happy Reading!

The Bar Code Rebellion by Suzanne Weyn

Kayla has resisted getting the bar code tattoo, even though it's meant forfeiting any chance she'd had at having a normal life. Without the tattoo, she's an exile. But when someone very important sets about to bring her back in again -- WITH a tattoo -- Kayla finds herself a part of the resistence, where her unexpected allies and even more unexpected enemies include three clones of hers.

After my STELLAR (sarcasm...) review of The Bar Code Tattoo, I bet you won't be surprised to find next-to-no-review of this one. I don't know why I bothered. It was just more bizarre. Better luck next time.

The Bar Code Tattoo by Suzanne Weyn

The bar code tattoo. Everybody's getting it. It will make your life easier, they say. It will hook you in. It will become your identity. But what if you say no? What if you don't want to become a code? For Kayla, this one choice changes everything. She becomes an outcast in her high school. Dangerous things happen to her family. There's no option but to run . . . for her life. Indivuality vs. conformity. Identity vs. access. Freedom vs. control. The bar code tattoo.

I have to start off by saying that I hate, hate, hate this book cover. I think the girl looks a little deformed and it's not how I pictured Kayla at all.

That said, I can't remember how I heard about this book, but the idea of it was so intriguing to me. I guess because it seems like we're really not far off from this becoming the "norm." (Which freaks me out a little, to tell you the truth.)

This book, although not awful, just never really quite "got there" for me. It was a really interesting concept-- until you get to the telepathy and telekenesis stuff. That was a bit too bizarre for me.

If you don't have anything else to read, pick this one up. But only if you REALLY have nothing else to read. :)

Friday, July 09, 2010

An Exciting Giveaway!

Enna Isilee over at Squeaky Books is having a contest giving away Bree Despain's The Dark Divine! Head on over to Ennalee's blog (Click Here) to find out how to win. In the meantime, check out this awesome trailer for the book!

Originally from:
( You may have to copy and paste this link to go to the site. When I tried the "click here", it didn't work. Just an FYI.)
I have been DYING to read this book! Check it out!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress by Tina Ferraro

Sophomore year, Nicolette Antonovich was dumped two days before prom by the hottest guy at school. As a result, she became the proud owner of one unworn, perfectly magical pink vintage dress. But Nic is determined to put that night behind her for good. She's a junior now— older, wiser, and completely overwhelmed by a new set of problems: (1) The bank's ready to foreclose on her childhood home. (2) Her father's too busy with his "replacement" daughter to care. (3) Her best friend's brother is an eternal thorn in her side. (4) Her best friend isn't exactly the rose attached to that thorn. (5) Rumors are flying around school that could get her kicked off the volleyball team, which would (6) ruin all chances of a college scholarship. (7) She still likes the boy who dumped her in the first place. (8) And what in the world do you do with an unworn prom dress, anyway? Strangely, it's getting to the bottom of this last dilemma that just might hold the answer to all Nic's problems. (Book Description from Good Reads)

Last night around 11, I was laying in bed, unable to sleep. So I picked up this book and started reading. Two hours, a few tissues, and a lot of chuckles later, I finished it. I loved this book. It was the perfect feel-good, fluff book. Sometimes a girl just needs a sappy love story. I don't remember how I heard about this book, but I'm so glad I did.

Poor little Nicolette (and yes, she IS little-- under 5'2" by description) just runs into one problem after another and for every one good deed she does, about 10 bad things follow it. The major thing
I really loved about this book was that it was so real. It reminded me in some ways of my high school experiences- from misunderstandings with friends, to dating and guys, to just trying to make it through every stressful, drama-filled day.

I loved Jared. I loved his role in the book and I loved that while he was fiercely protective, he was spunky and a little hot-headed (for all the perfect reasons). He is constantly described as just a really good guy. Oh yeah, and he's hot, hot, hot. What is a good book without some manly stud?

I had mixed feelings about Alison, Nic's best friend and Jared's younger sister. She wasn't my favorite  character, but let's be real-- I've read about worse. She was a good friend that did some dumb things and occasionally reacted badly. If you try to tell me that you've never been guilty of that, you can add "liar" to your list of faults. ;) I know I've done it a time or two.

Overall another great read... I'm on a roll! Enjoy!

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

Fans of The Twilight Saga will be enthralled by this riveting story of Bree Tanner, a character first introduced in Eclipse, and the darker side of the newborn vampire world she inhabits.
In another irresistible combination of danger, mystery, and romance, Stephenie Meyer tells the devastating story of Bree and the newborn army as they prepare to close in on Bella Swan and the Cullens, following their encounter to its unforgettable conclusion.
Bree Tanner can barely remember life before she had uncannily powerful senses, superhuman reflexes and unstoppable physical strength. Life before she had a relentless thirst for blood... life before she became a vampire.
All Bree knows is that living with her fellow newborns has few certainties and even fewer rules: watch your back, don't draw attention to yourself and, above all, make it home by sunrise or die. What she doesn't know: her time as an immortal is quickly running out.
Then Bree finds an unexpected friend in Diego, a newborn just as curious as Bree about their mysterious creator, whom they know only as "her". As they come to realize that the newborns are pawns in a game larger than anything they could have imagined, Bree and Diego must choose sides and decide whom to trust. But when everything you know about vampires is based on a lie, how do you find the truth? (Book Description from Good Reads)

Over Independence Day weekend, this novella was available to read for free online, and of course I took advantage of the opportunity. Eclipse being my favorite in the Twilight Saga, how could I not?

I am surprised to say that I mostly really enjoyed this book, even knowing the way the story ends. We all know Bree's fate, but what I really liked was seeing life through her eyes--not as a "vegetarian", but how vampires were meant to be. It was sad to me that, given the chance, she could have been a decent vampire, if she had been taught the REAL rules. She was one of the few that didn't completely lose her mind and her identity when she became a newborn, and it really is too bad that the story couldn't have ended differently.

I really liked Diego, but really disliked where his story went. I felt like their story was building and progressing and then it just ended. I guess the whole book is ultimately like that, but I still didn't like it in this particular instance. I understand why the author did what she did, and why the story took the direction it did--it makes perfect sense to me. It just makes me angry! Bree and Diego's relationship reminded me a lot of Breaking Dawn in that there is so much build-up and then....nothing. They never even had a chance.

I really did like the end of the book for a few reasons. First, I liked that Bree had a little spunk in her. Enough to rat out the Volturi to Edward. You learn a bit about the Volturi-- they're more shady than even the Twilight Saga lets on. The second thing I liked with the ending was that it didn't describe her death. I think the last line was simply, "She closed her eyes." or something similar. I thought it was the perfect way to end it since you know going into the book that it ends badly for her.

Anyway, overall, I would definitely recommend this. It was a fairly clean book so it would be suitable for preteens as well as teenagers. It is also under 200 pages so it's a quick read. A good book for summer that you won't have to invest much time in. If you've liked Stephenie Meyer's other books this one won't disappoint. Other than the dying part, of course.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

The Golden Spiral by Lisa Mangum

This is a review of the sequel to The Hourglass Door. If you haven't read it yet (You want to read it!), do so before reading this review. Thanks!

His eyes. His touch. His kiss. Dante was unlike anyone Abby had ever met. Now he’s gone, and Abby will do anything to get him back…

The hourglass door has closed behind Dante, sending him back in time to hunt down Zo, Tony, and V. Abby knows that Dante, as a Master of Time, is the only one who can stop them from destroying time itself. She also knows that he will need her help. But almost immediately, things start to change and Abby’s worst fears are realized when Zo begins targeting her past specifically.

With each new change that ripples into her present, Abby’s life continues to spiral out of control. Her relationships with Jason, Natalie, and even her family, are threatened to the breaking point – and beyond. Zo’s power is greater than Abby ever imagined, and as she struggles to free Dante, she receives help from an unexpected – and unlikely – ally.

As Abby’s world fractures around her, she must face a terrible truth: either Dante didn’t make it through the door, or he is lost forever. So with Dante’s blueprints in hand, she begins construction on a new door, a new time machine that will either save Dante – or doom him.

The river of time is running wild, churning up secrets and betrayals, revelations and promises. With each new turn of the river, Abby faces a new challenge. Who can she trust? And how many more changes can she survive?

The bank is eroding, the barriers are thinning. And time is running out.
(Book Description from Good Reads)

I have to let you know, this is the second book in this series, the first being The Hourglass Door. I read The Hourglass Door last fall and enjoyed it. I really liked the beginning, the middle was a bit slow, and the ending-wow. I was bummed that I had to wait so long for this book to come out. Without the ending of book one--the way it was written and the events that happened-- I probably would have skipped this book. I am SO glad that I didn't. I really liked this book. A lot. :)

This entire book was fast paced, which I loved. I hate when books drag on and on... I liked Abby's character even more in this book. She was a lot tougher-- even though she was probably constantly freaking out on the inside, she kind of kicked butt. Everyone who's been following my blog this year knows my feelings on helpless women- "damsels in distress"- and Abby definitely didn't fall into that category.

Dante is just... Dante. I think my crush on him is about as huge as my crush on Edward. I have this picture of him in my mind... I will be so mad if they make this into a movie and cast someone really awful as Dante. Like Zac Efron. With a wig. It would be catastrophic. I'm just putting that out there right now. Please don't do a movie!

Anyways, on to the book now. I loved so much about it. I liked it a million times better than the first one, which for me is rare. Usually books go downhill after the first one. Not in this series. And of course, what is a good series without a major cliffhanger ending? The ending of this book was even better than the first book. Now I am dying to read the final book (I think there will only be three). Thanks a lot, Lisa Mangum. Thanks alot. ;)

P.S. READ THIS!! But read The Hourglass Door first!

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

Inside little blue envelope 1 are $1000 and instructions to buy a plane ticket. In envelope 2 are directions to a specific London flat. The note in envelope 3 tells Ginny: Find a starving artist. Because of envelope 4, Ginny and her artist, a playwright/thief/bloke-about-town called Keith, go to Scotland together, with somewhat disastrous–though utterly romantic–results. Ginny isn’t sure she’ll see Keith again, and definitely doesn’t know what to think about him. Could the answer be in the envelopes? Ginny doesn’t know it, but adventures in Rome and Paris are in envelopes 6 and 8. The rules are that she has to open one at a time, in order, so perhaps it isn’t surprising that she discovers things about her life and love one by one. Everything about Ginny will change this summer, and it’s all because of the 13 little blue envelopes.

When I heard about this book, I thought it was such a cute idea. Beloved Aunt Peg gives Ginny an adventure for the summer via 13 little blue envelopes. Ginny becomes a whole new woman in a few short weeks because of said adventure. So, here are my thoughts after reading it...


This is seriously the recurring thought I had. As I am reading about a TEENAGE girl traipsing around Europe BY HERSELF (and occasionally with a strange criminal college kid) with just a wussy little backpack because some nutcase dead aunt tells her to.... really?? I was waiting for it to turn into some rape/murder/body-buried-somewhere-in-some-unknown-location-never-to-be-found psycho novel. It never did, but with the "adventures" she had, it's a wonder it ended somewhat well at all. Maybe it's because I am a mother now, maybe it's simply because I have common sense, but heaven help the girl that reads this and thinks, "What a fabulous idea!!"

Don't read this. It will annoy you too.