Friday, July 29, 2011

Bargain Books....Oh, how I love thee

Right now they have all kinds of YA book steals on Amazon. Some I found (and some I ordered for myself) are:
  • The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima-- $3.60 ( Read my review HERE )  Note: The other 2 books in the series, The Wizard Heir and The Dragon Heir are also available for $3.60 each.
  • The Everafter by Amy Huntley-- $4.64  ( Read my review HERE )
  • Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Faria Stolarz-- $3.60  ( Read my review HERE )
  • Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble-- $4.00  ( Read my review HERE )
  • Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston-- $3.60  ( Read my review HERE )
  • The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong-- $3.60  ( Read my review HERE )  Note: The second book in the series, The Awakening is also available for $3.60. Read my review of it HERE.
  • Moonlight by Rachel Hawthorne-- $3.60  (Read my review HERE )  Note: The second book in this series, Full Moon is also available for $3.60. Read my review of it HERE. Also, the third book, Dark of the Moon was great, but it's not at bargain price right now. If you read this series, completely skip the final book--it sucked. (Just FYI.)
Books that I also bought, but haven't read:
  • The Juliet Club by Suzanne Harper-- $4.03
  • Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock-- $3.60
  • Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George-- $3.60

Now go get some books! And as always...

Happy Reading!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston

17 year-old Kelley Winslow doesn’t believe in Faeries. Not unless they’re the kind that you find in a theatre, spouting Shakespeare—the kind that Kelley so desperately wishes she could be: onstage, under lights, with a pair of sparkly wings strapped to her shoulders. But as the understudy in a two-bit, hopelessly off-off-Broadway production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, wishing is probably the closest she’s going to get to becoming a Faerie Queen. At least, that’s what she thinks... In this fun, urban fantasy, Kelley's off-stage life suddenly becomes as complicated as one of Shakespeare’s plot twists when a nighttime trip to Central Park holds more than meets the mortal eye.

My how the days get away from me...luckily the reading doesn't!

I added a new "search" option to Reading for Refuge a few weeks ago. As I was playing around with it to make sure it worked, I came across a comment that recommended this book. (I really do read all of my comments and try to respond to them, I must have just forgotten about this book! Sorry Chan.) Anyway, I thought it was high time I picked it up.

I thought this was a well-written book but the story fell a bit short for me. The concept was interesting enough, but at times it was bordering on cheesy. I liked that Kelley was a stage actress doing Shakespeare. It took me back to my theater days. :) I also liked Sonny, even if I wasn't a big fan of his name. I thought the two of them had good chemistry.

Overall, I liked this book and I'd recommend it. That said, I would say this is a pick-up-from-the-library book. It wouldn't be my first choice of books about fairies, but it was still a good one. :)

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.
As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near - misses end with the French kiss Anna - and readers - have long awaited?

I apologize. I meant to have this review up this morning, but then life happened. Sorry for the wait!

This book has been all over the world of book blogging lately. It seems like everyone has read it, and everyone has an opinion about it. I figured I may as well add my "two cents" too. I actually really liked most of this book. Yes, most.

I'll get everything not included in that "most" out of the way first. First, I didn't think being shipped off to Paris for Anna's senior year of high school "just because" was very believeable. I thought the whole idea of her in Paris wasn't very well thought out. Second, "St. Clair" (who I loved) was a bit pompous at times. He would randomly spout off a bunch of useless information about art or historical points of interest, or...the weather. Pretentious much? I think so. Finally, Anna is described as having a gap in her front teeth. Not that that's bad, it was just distracting. From that point on, not only did she have a "Paula Deen accent, y'all" in my head, but she also whistled out every little Southern word like the gopher on Winnie the Pooh. Honestly, it would have been distracting to you too!

I'm making this book a hard sell, aren't I? I really and truly did like it. I loved Anna and St. Clair's group of friends. I loved that Anna was a movie buff and that they tried to see each film in a different theater when they went. I loved that Anna was a clean freak (but maybe that's because I related to that quirk a little too well...). I thought the actual love story in this book was believeable, even if it was all a tad dramatic. Oh yeah, and I thought St. Clair's phobia was hilarious. I could totally picture him screaming like a girl with his cute little British accent right before a very feminine fainting spell. :)

I do think this is a book worth reading. Where I've read so many mixed reviews on it, I'd recommend picking it up from your local library, reading it, and then deciding if it's one you want to add to your bookshelf at home.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan

Here Comes the Bride — If She Can Pass Chemistry.

Eighteen-year-old Bronwen Oliver has a secret: She's really Phoebe, the lost daughter of the loving Lilywhite family. That's the only way to explain her image-obsessed mother; a kind but distant stepfather; and a brother with a small personality complex. Bronwen knows she must have been switched at birth, and she can't wait to get away from her "family" for good.

Then she meets Jared Sondervan. He's sweet, funny, everything she wants — and he has the family Bronwen has always wanted too. She falls head over heels in love, and when he proposes marriage, she joyfully accepts. But is Jared truly what she needs? And if he's not, she has to ask: What would Phoebe Lilywhite do?

I'm not going to lie-- I miss these characters already.

I don't recall how I heard about this book, but I am so glad I did.

Much like Bronwen, I have always felt there was something "off" about my life. She happened to think she was born into the wrong family, while I felt I was born into the wrong era. We all have our quirks. Bronwen was just so darn likable. The book opens during the end of her junior year of high school. Bronwen and her family just don't relate to each other. Especially her mother, who constanly wonders aloud where Bronwen came from. Bronwen wonders too. They are completely different, like night and day... which may be what made the entire family, including her stepfather, her brother, and even her crazy extended family, endearing-- in a totally dysfunctional way. Let me tell you, I have been there. (Sigh.)

Then Jared came along. Sweet, wonderful Jared. I loved that his relationship with Bronwen was so real. It wasn't supernaturally fake or outrageous. It was everything you hope for with your first real love. I did a lot of soul-searching when I was in high school. Trying to figure out who I was and what I was doing and how I was going to spend my life. Like Bronwen, I had a plan. A plan to go to college, live on my own, have a successful career, and maybe somewhere down the line get married and see how I felt about having a family. And also like Bronwen, those plans changed. I was engaged right after my 19th birthday (November), married seven months later in May, and had a baby on the way by Christmas. So, I related to this story in a very personal way.

There were so many times I laughed out loud while reading this. At Jared, at Bronwen, or at something one of their friends or family members said or did. It's a rare thing to find a book that you can laugh out loud to. This was it, though. Don't worry, it'll have you in tears one or more times as well. I was. I really can't recommed this book ENOUGH. I loved it. Really loved it. As in, it's going on my Buy Worthy List. And then I'm heading out to buy it for myself. It was the first real book I feel like I've read in a long time. Don't get me wrong, I love my fantasy and dystopian and paranormal, etc. But every once in awhile it's so nice to read something that's just...not. Something, well, real. (Like I said.) Go get this now, and then cancel all of your plans for the next few hours so you can just sit and enjoy. You won't regret it.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

Do not read this review until you've read City of Bones, City of Ashes, and City of Glass.
City of Fallen Angels takes place two months after the events of City of Glass. In it, a mysterious someone’s killing the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle and displaying their bodies around New York City in a manner designed to provoke hostility between Downworlders and Shadowhunters, leaving tensions running high in the city and disrupting Clary’s plan to lead as normal a life as she can — training to be a Shadowhunter, and pursuing her relationship with Jace. As Jace and Clary delve into the issue of the murdered Shadowhunters, they discover a mystery that has deeply personal consequences for them — consequences that may strengthen their relationship, or rip it apart forever.

Meanwhile, internecine warfare among vampires is tearing the Downworld community apart, and only Simon — the Daylighter who everyone wants on their side — can decide the outcome; too bad he wants nothing to do with Downworld politics. Love, blood, betrayal and revenge: the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels.

I heard a lot about this book before I ever actually picked it up. And most of it wasn't good. I have a friend who bought it the day it came out and she still won't pick it up because someone leaked spoilers to her... Which she in turn told me...which made me not want to read it. As much. I actually started reading this over Memorial Day weekend, read a few chapters, and put it aside. Not because it wasn't good, I'll have you know. More because of the "The Monster at the End of this Book" problem. Have you ever read that? Do you even know what I'm talking about?

When I was a kid, my parents read us a book about "lovable, furry, old Grover" called The Monster at the End of this Book. Now, I apologize for the spoilers, but the book goes on about how Grover is afraid of monsters and he tries tying and nailing the pages of the book together, and even builds a brick wall so no more pages can be turned, which in turn keeps you from getting to the monster at the end of the book, in theory. When all else fails, he resorts to begging you not to turn the page, which, of course you do. Come to find out, the monster at the end of the book is Grover. Ha-ha, right. It ends with an "Oh, I am so embarrassed." from Grover.

The point is, with some of the things I heard about this book, City of Fallen Angels, I kind of didn't want to turn the pages and get to the end of the book, for fear of what I'd find there. Well, I did it. I kept turning pages, got to the end, and....

Holy. Crap.

I am speechless. (Or at least as speechless as I get...)

This book wasn't at all what I expected--in a good way, and it wasn't anything like what I heard it was like. (Thank goodness!) It was quite a bit darker than I thought it would be. There were some things that actually truly disturbed me, and at times I had a hard time reading it. But it was in that rubber-necking, you-don't-want-to-look-but-can't-look-away... kind of way. (Am I making sense?)

In a nutshell, loved it. Can't wait for the next one, because HOLY-MOTHER-OF-PEARL, it's going to be amazing. And I swear to you, if someone gives me or Chaleese (my friend who won't read this book) false spoilers about it (Book 5), I'm going to channel my inner-Isabelle and punch them in the face. Just sayin'. :)

Happy Reading!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin

Fans of romance don't need to look any further than the fauxmance brewing between teen idols Charlie Tracker and Fielding Withers—known on their hit TV show as Jenna and Jonah, next-door neighbors flush with the excitement of first love. But it's their off-screen relationship that has helped cement their fame, as passionate fans follow their every PDA. They grace the covers of magazines week after week. Their fan club has chapters all over the country. The only problem is their off-screen romance is one big publicity stunt, and Charlie and Fielding can't stand to be in the same room. Still, it's a great gig, so even when the cameras stop rolling, the show must go on, and on, and on. . . . Until the pesky paparazzi blow their cover, and Charlie and Fielding must disappear to weather the media storm. It's not until they're far off the grid of the Hollywood circuit that they realize that there's more to each of them than shiny hair and a winning smile.

At the beginning of June, I read a book called Between the Lines by Tammara Webber. I didn't love it, but if you read my not-so-stellar review, you already know that. I had a couple of comments from people who liked it, which I thought was awesome-- I love to hear from people who have different reactions to books than I do. I know that sometimes I give great reviews to books that you may end up hating. And I think that's just fine. That's actually what I love most about reviewing books-- hearing feedback from other people about the books I read.

One of the comments I received was from Mary at A Book a Day and she recommended this book to me. It is similar to Between the Lines in that they both are about celebrities, but this one had much less sex, drugs, and drinking. Well, really it had none, which I think makes for better reading material for young adults. (***EDIT: Between the Lines is recommended to MATURE YOUNG ADULTS by the author.)

This book was fairly predictable, but it was also exactly what Mary said it was, "a light, summery read." I loved the time Charlie and Fielding spent together in the beach house. I wish there had been more of it in the book. I thought the verbal sparring got old after a bit, but I did like when they actually had real conversations and got to know one another. I think it's crazy that they worked together for so long and kept up a fake romance and didn't know anything basic about each other. You'd think if you had to make out with someone on a daily basis for the cameras, you'd make an effort to learn their real name. Hence, the secluded beach house.

This book wasn't anything spectacular, but it's a great summer read. If you are in the mood for some "fluff" reading (I'm in the mood for this more than I care to admit...) then this is your book. Thanks for the recommendation, Mary! And be sure to check out her blog for some more great YA book reviews. (Click HERE)

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz

What's a girl to do when meeting The One means she's cursed to die a horrible death?

Life hasn't been easy on sixteen-year-old Emma Conner, so a new start in New York may be just the change she needs. But the posh Upper East Side prep school she has to attend? Not so much. Friendly faces are few and far between, except for one that she's irresistibly drawn to—Brendan Salinger, the guy with the rock-star good looks and the richest kid in school, who might just be her very own white knight.

But even when Brendan inexplicably turns cold, Emma can't stop staring. Ever since she laid eyes on him, strange things have been happening. Streetlamps go out wherever she walks, and Emma's been having the oddest dreams: visions of herself in past lives—visions that warn her to stay away from Brendan. Or else.

You are probably thinking that I fell off the face of the earth. I, in fact, have not.
I actually have had six consecutive days off work and I haven't even been near a computer. It's been lovely.
I have been reading though.

I really liked this book. As I said a few posts ago, reincarnation is a popular theme right now. Spellbound is centered around this exact theme. I loved both Brendan and Emma. I also thought Angelique was a great character. For some reason, I'm drawn to the offbeat, quirky characters. I don't know why... Maybe we're kindred spirits.

Anyway, overall, I loved the story. Girl has crap life, girl meets boy, boy likes girl, hates girl, likes girl again, girl and boy have near death experiences... you know the drill. It was maybe a little predictable in some parts, but sometimes predictable is a good thing. In this case it was, at least.

I am excited for more books to come. While this could most certainly be a stand alone novel, there are also aspects of the story that could be continued. This is definitely one you'll want to check out!

Hope you all had an enjoyable holiday!
Happy Reading!