Thursday, October 28, 2010

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . .

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

I know, I know... Vampires. WAY overdone. But, I have been watching The Vampire Diaries (thanks a lot for getting me hooked, Chaleese and Brittany...) and I liked that this vampire series was actually fairly close in theory. I like that it's a little less "Twilight" and a little more hardcore vampire.

I liked Rose more than I liked Lissa. Probably because Lissa was more the damsel in distress that I don't care for, and Rose was... fierce. Who knew someone with a gentle name like "Rose" would be so quick to beat you to a pulp, huh?

It was a bit slow-going at first, but once you get past Vampire 101, it picks up. And there is a pretty big twist at the end-- I usually can figure them out, but not this one. I love little surprises like that. :)

Dimitri--yum. Christian--yum. What would a vampire series be without devastatingly-hot-sounding guys?

There was some language in it, but it wasn't so much that it was very distracting. These are definitely worth checking out if you aren't vampired-out.

Happy Reading!

Matched by Ally Condie

In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.

Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s barely any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one . . . until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion.

I probably never would have heard of this book if it hadn't been for my friend Chantele. She is the one who recommends almost all of the books I read. :) Amazingly, I got my hands on a copy...This book isn't actually released yet, but I have connections. (haha) A family friend, Donja, is the manager of a bookstore, and when she came to visit me and my new little bambino, she surprised me and brought this (and a few other ARCs) for me. I was SO EXCITED.

Matched is up there of my list of favorite books I've read all year-- maybe ever. I LOVED this book. But the whole time I read, I was thinking how incredibly sad it all was. This Society that controls their entire lives-and most of them are so grateful. It makes me sick. Every decision, every move you make, every word you say, every expression on your face is monitored your whole life. Based on these things, Officials tell you what you can and cannot do, who your "perfect" match is, what line of work you are supposed to do. And then, when you turn 80, you die. Just like that. They schedule your entire life for you-- map it out. There are no accidents, no disease, no free-thinking. This Society took 100 of the "best" of everything and got rid of everything else. 100 poems, 100 songs, 100 art pieces. They believe that if you have too many choices, then it overwhelms you and you can't appreciate it. So, they tell you what to like. They monitor meals to ensure no obesity. You can't share food. Ever. Anyone who questions the Society, disappears. Only no one will remember that they ever existed. They make sure of that too.

I really liked Cassia. I loved to see her change throughout the book. Her thought processes shifted and she became more and more independent. She was a strong female character, and you all know that I love those. :) No damsels in distress here.

I loved Ky too. As his story unfolded, it broke my heart. What a horrible existence. I don't want to give anything away about him, but he reminded me of the saying, "In the world, but not of the world." He existed in the Society, but he didn't live like the rest of them. He did not "go quietly." (That will make more sense to you after you read it-- which you should do on November 30th when it comes out. Drop everything!)

And then there's poor Xander... I really liked his character too. I was torn. :( He was just so genuinely GOOD. I am curious to see what happens in the next book with his part in the story...

Read this book!! I really can't do it justice. I am dying for a sequel and this one hasn't even been released yet... That's how much I loved it. It's one of those books that will stay on your mind long after you read it. So, everyone go get yourselves a copy first thing on November 30th! (And then let me know what you think! This is a "discussion book".) 

Happy Reading! 

The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott

Everyone knows the unwritten rule: You don't like your best friend's boyfriend.

Sarah has had a crush on Ryan for years. He's easy to talk to, supersmart, and totally gets her. Lately it even seems like he's paying extra attention to her. Everything would be perfect except for two things: Ryan is Brianna's boyfriend, and Brianna is Sarah's best friend.

Sarah forces herself to avoid Ryan and tries to convince herself not to like him. She feels so guilty for wanting him, and the last thing she wants is to hurt her best friend. But when she's thrown together with Ryan one night, something happens. It's wonderful...and awful.

Sarah is torn apart by guilt, but what she feels is nothing short of addiction, and she can't stop herself from wanting more...

Let me start out by saying that just because everyone KNOWS the "unwritten rule", doesn't mean people FOLLOW that rule...


Everyone has had a friend like Brianna (and if you haven't, consider yourself LUCKY!--unless YOU were the "Brianna"...). She's a beast. Seriously. (I hate that name too, by the way. It just adds to my dislike of her.)

Sarah has been Brianna's shadow for most of her life. Brianna is beautiful. She's the super popular, curves-in-all-the-right-places kind of girl that all the guys want. Sarah's not. Brianna is the kind of friend that thinks her friends NEED her and she treats Sarah that way. Like she's doing her a favor by being her friend. And poor, stupid Sarah puts up with it.

Granted, Brianna's home-life is REALLY awful. Her parents treat her so badly, and it almost made me feel bad for her. Except the whole "beast" thing. She really just isn't a nice person, so it was hard to find sympathy for her.

Ryan seems like a sweet little doormat. I do actually pity him, but I am a glad he and Sarah are "thrown together one night," as the blurb puts it.

All in all, this book was kind of a dud, but I could relate to Sarah. I had friends like Brianna when I was in school and I applaud Sarah's decision at the end of the book. I think she made the right choice.

I wouldn't recommend this book on purpose. :) It's rind of a last-resort book. I'm a little bummed I paid 10 dollars for it and am wasting space on my Kindle for it... Oh well.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima

You can't always run from danger...
Haunted by the loss of his mother and sister, Han Alister journeys south to begin his schooling at Mystwerk House in Oden’s Ford. But leaving the Fells doesn’t mean danger isn’t far behind. Han is hunted every step of the way by the Bayars, a powerful wizarding family set on reclaiming the amulet Han stole from them. And Mystwerk House has dangers of its own. There, Han meets Crow, a mysterious wizard who agrees to tutor Han in the darker parts of sorcery—but the bargain they make is one Han may regret.

Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna runs from a forced marriage in the Fells, accompanied by her friend Amon and his triple of cadets. Now, the safest place for Raisa is Wein House, the military academy at Oden's Ford. If Raisa can pass as a regular student, Wein House will offer both sanctuary and the education Raisa needs o succeed as the next Gray Wolf queen.

Whatever I said about the first book in this series, The Demon King, forget it. You HAVE TO read these books. I still think that The Demon King was slow-moving but I loved this book, the second in the series. You get to know some of the other charcters more in this book and they all interact more with each other.

I am still so in love with Amon but my heart is broken for him and Raisa. I won't give away what happens, but I really hope for a happy ending for everyone. I just can't figure how that's possible. At first I had mixed feelings about Raisa aka "Rebecca" and Han's relationship because I really just couldn't see them as friends. But I think Raisa tutoring him was the perfect way to throw them together and stir things up.

Also, I WANT TO KNOW WHO CROW IS! I knew there was it, but now I'm really curious. I have my guesses but I will just have to wait and see. And since this just came out, it's likely that I'll have to wait another year, at least, for some answers. STUPID SERIES! :) I think stand-alone books went out around the same time as stand-alone movies. I hate that everything has sequels!

Anyway, read these, read these, read these. They are long and wordy and sometimes a bit slow, but so worth every minute. :)

Happy Reading!!

The Prairie Prince by Marcia Lynn McClure

For Katie Matthews life held no promise of true happiness. Life on the prairie was filled with hard labor, a brutal father, and the knowledge she would need to marry a man incapable of truly loving a woman. Men didn't have time to dote on women-so Katie's father told her. To Katie, it seemed life would forever remain mundane and disappointing-until the day Stover Steele bought her father's south acreage. Handsome, rugged and fiercely protective of four orphaned sisters, Stover Steele seemed to have stepped from the pages of some romantic novel. Yet, his heroic character and alluring charm only served to remind Katie of what she would never have-true love and happiness the likes found only in fairytales. Furthermore, evil seemed to lurk in the shadows, threatening Katie's brightness, hope, and even her life! Would Katie Matthews fall prey to disappointment, heartache and harm? Or could she win the attentions of the handsome Stover Steele long enough to be rescued?

I love Marcia Lynn McClure because she writes clean romance novels. When I am in the mood for a feel-good, slightly cheesy love story, she delivers. I liked this book, but it wasn't my favorite. I thought the "southern" language was distracting, to say the least. And the name Stover (Stove for short) was lost on me. Do people really name their kids things like "Stove"??

Anyway, it was really predictable, but I love getting to the happy ending. Even knowing that her books will always end happily. I think that's why I like reading them. :)

I wouldn't necessarily reccomend this particular book, but with most of her books, you can't really go wrong. Like I said, they are just good, clean romances. Happy Reading!

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Samantha Kingston has it all—looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12th should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it’s her last. The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. In fact, she re-lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she had ever imagined.

This book sounds really good, right?? I thought so. But really it's just about some trashy girl who is a really black-hearted person. As I was reading, I kept thinking, it's a good thing you die because you are a really awful human being, but then-- what does that make me for thinking that?? :)

 I was really disappointed that it didn't live up to it's description and I'm surprised at how much I truly just hated this book. Don't bother with this one...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Forgive Me!

Yes, I have been slacking on book reviews... but for good reason! My little guy made it here safe and sound on October 12th. Since then, I HAVE been reading, I just haven't had time to be on the computer much. So far, I am behind on reviewing 4 books, but I will do them ASAP. :) Bear with me. I have an adorable little baby taking up my time.

On another note, I just had a birthday (Shout hooray??)... I'm still 20-something... and I got a KINDLE! Which, when you have a baby asleep on your shoulder, makes it REALLY EASY to read, because I only need one hand to hold it/turn the pages. It's been so much fun and when I have to haul the baby, my 3 year old, and a diaper bag around town, it's nice to not have an extra 10 pounds from a book. Love, love, love it! Thanks to my family and my sweet husband for such a wonderful birthday gift!

Lastly, I just recieved FIVE "ARCs" (Advance Reading Copies) of some really awesome sounding books. Some of the books have been released just barely and some won't be out until the end of the year. I can't wait to read them and let you know what I think. Thanks Donja! I'm so excited to kick my butt in gear and finish this goal!!