Thursday, September 29, 2011

Abandon by Meg Cabot

Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.

But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.

Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away... especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.

But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.

So, who read it?

This was the September R4R book club pick. What did you think? Will you read the next one in the series? Who was your favorite character? Did you like the ending?

This book took a story from Greek mythology and put a modern spin on it. I would say that it was only *very* loosely based on the story of Hades and Persephone. My problem with this is I read a book earlier this year based on the same story. However, that book just happened to be my favorite book of 2011 (so far). This didn't come even close--it actually kind of tanked.

I have a confession.... This was my first time reading a Meg Cabot book. (Gasp!) And you call yourself a book lover?? I know, I know. While I liked the idea of the subject, I thought her writing style was hard to follow at times. Was it just me, or did some of the sentences seem like they were worded strangely? (Like that sentence! Ha!) Seriously though, I wasn't a fan that she'd hint at stuff CHAPTERS ahead of when we actually find out about what happened. I thought it was odd. Also, the entire book takes place over the course of about a day and a half. Also strange. That'd be one WILD AND CRAZY 36 hours. Really, I just felt like too much was crammed into too short of a timespan. This book was like a rapidly fraying rope--the end was all loose ends. Can't say I loved that either.

Pierce was a very flawed character. The book is centered on how "caring" she is, when in reality she's kind of rotten to the core. Her father is stuck with a 7-figure lawsuit because of Pierce, and she acts like it's no big deal. She causes trouble ("on accident")--people DIE because of her--and her parents are left cleaning up after her. She was actually quite a selfish character, and she acted like the victim the entire book. 

The main guy ("Hades") was named John. Really? JOHN?? Like a toilet? Don't get me wrong, I love the name John--for a grandpa or a baby or even a high-powered "suit". Not for a tall, dark, and handsome (teenage) Ruler of the Underworld. His name was John Hayden, actually, but I really wish the author would have just stuck with Hayden. (Love that name too. Much easier to picture a hot Hayden...) John was a complete jerk for 99% of the book and suddenly they (John and Pierce) realize they are madly in love with each other and hey, let's make out! Snore.

I was really disappointed in my first (and probably only) Meg Cabot experience. However, I am so glad I finally got the chance to read this book, and I'm even more glad I'm *done* reading it. Next month's book, Graceling by Kristin Cashore will be awesome though. I know this because I have very reliable sources. :D So, stick around. And let me know your thoughts on Abandon.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The False Princess by Eilis O' Neal

Princess and heir to the throne of Thorvaldor, Nalia's led a privileged life at court. But everything changes when it's revealed, just after her sixteenth birthday, that she is a false princess, a stand-in for the real Nalia, who has been hidden away for her protection. Cast out with little more than the clothes on her back, the girl now called Sinda must leave behind the city of Vivaskari, her best friend, Keirnan, and the only life she's ever known.

Sinda is sent to live with her only surviving relative, an aunt who is a dyer in a distant village. She is a cold, scornful woman with little patience for her newfound niece, and Sinda proves inept at even the simplest tasks. But when Sinda discovers that magic runs through her veins - long-suppressed, dangerous magic that she must learn to control - she realizes that she can never learn to be a simple village girl. 
Returning to Vivaskari for answers, Sinda finds her purpose as a wizard scribe, rediscovers the boy who saw her all along, and uncovers a secret that could change the course of Thorvaldor's history, forever..

A dazzling first novel, The False Princess is an engrossing fantasy full of mystery, action, and romance.

I actually read this book over Labor Day weekend, but it was the book we were reading for a book club that I'm in--Bookaholics Anonymous. Since we don't meet until the end of the month, I had to wait until now to post my review. I actually really enjoyed this book--which is a good thing since 1) it was my pick, and 2) I've been dying to read it all year. There were moments when the story went a little too fast and others where it dragged. Despite the erratic pacing, I couldn't put this down.
Can you even imagine?? Nalia spent the first sixteen years of her life thinking she was a princess. She was educated, trained, and treated like royalty. Then she found out that everything she ever knew about herself and her life was a lie. Nalia isn't even her real name. It's Sinda. When Sinda is turned out of the castle with next to nothing, she is shipped off to her only real living relative--an aunt who never even knew Sinda existed. Sinda tries to create a normal life for herself in her new town, but everyone only knows her as "the false princess", which ruins any chance she has at making friends. 
Sinda decides to go back to Vivaskari and make a life there on her own. Along the way, she meets an eccentric wizard, rekindles a friendship with Keirnan, and gets in the middle of a deadly plot. Sounds awesome, right? It was! I loved Sinda. I felt so terrible for her, but I thought she came into her own by the end of the book. I thought the suspense and intrigue were great, and the plot was well thought out, with just enough surprise to keep me hooked until the last page. 
Like I said, I really enjoyed this book. Definitely one to add to your To Be Read (TBR) pile. 
Happy Reading!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Cascade by Lisa T. Bergren

Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren.

Mom touched my underdress—a gown made six hundred years before—and her eyes widened as she rubbed the raw silk between thumb and forefinger. She turned and touched Lia’s gown. “Where did you get these clothes?”

Gabi knows she’s left her heart in the fourteenth century and she persuades Lia to help her to return, even though they know doing so will risk their very lives. When they arrive, weeks have passed and all of Siena longs to celebrate the heroines who turned the tide in the battle against Florence—while the Florentines will go to great lengths to see them dead.

But Marcello patiently awaits, and Gabi must decide if she’s willing to leave her family behind for good in order to give her heart to him forever.

As you know, all week I have been seriously struggling. It's not for lack of good reading material. I've just been in a kind of funk. Apparently book club was what I needed to get me back on the wagon. Last night was our monthly book club meeting and talking about the book we read and books to come, something clicked and I got excited about reading again. So, yay for me.

I read the first book in this series, Waterfall, last month and really enjoyed it. It seems like there's not enough YA books set in the time period of knights and chivalry. I fell in love with Gabi and Marcello and even Luca in book one, but I really didn't like Gabi's sister, Lia. That changed in this book for me. She makes much more of an appearance in this book and I got to know (and like) her character more. She's just as fierce and lovable as Gabi--you just don't see much of that side of her in Waterfall.

I really enjoyed the storyline, again. I've been really impressed with Lisa T. Bergren's books so far. I think she's a fabulous storyteller with a particular talent for writing without a lot of fluff or unnecessary description. I was thinking about this last night while discussing our book club pick, The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal and I couldn't help but compare the two books. Lisa T. Bergren does a fantastic job of giving great descriptions without getting wordy, very unlike the writing style in The False Princess. But we'll cross that bridge when we get to it on Tuesday.

If you haven't started this series yet, I recommend you get on it quick. I love this series. My snooze-fest all week was in no way related to my reading material, but more due to my hectic schedule I've been precariously trying to balance. So don't be scared that these books will put you to sleep. They most definitely will not! They'll leave you dying to read the next I am now.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I have reached page 200 in the book I'm reading!!
Sadly, I'm still not even halfway through. :'(

Remember the good old days when page 200 in a book was 90% finished?


Happy Reading!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


This is going to be book reviewer sacrilege.
Just so you know.
So if that kind of thing bothers you, turn away.

You have been warned.

This has been me for almost a week.
I just can't seem to pick up a book without nodding off.
I really don't know what my deal is.
I guess I'm just not feelin' it.

I actually was reading quite a lot, but I can't put up reviews yet for any of the books I read, either due to it's release date (I can't post them until a month or less before the set release date) or because it's a book club pick and I have to wait until the end of the month.

So, now I have quite a few book reviews that will be posted in the coming months, but nothing for right now.
I know.

Anyway, what are you reading?
Is it any good?
Can you stay awake while reading??
Inquiring minds want to know.

Happy Reading!

Or sleeping.
Whichever you prefer.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Let's Roll!: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Courage by Lisa Beamer with Ken Abraham

Lisa Beamer's recounting of her heroic husband's life, and how his sacrifice on September 11th has turned into a source of strength for her, is a tribute that will move and inspire readers all over the world. This bestselling book has also inspired a companion CD, Let's Roll!, filled with powerful, relevant performances. Proceeds from the CD go to the Todd M. Beamer Foundation, which helps children affected by September 11th.

I know my post is late this week (it was supposed to be yesterday), but this was a tough book for me to get through.

My oldest child was born on September 11th (not in 2001), and ever since then I've kind of shied away from anything and everything that has to do with the tragedy of that day. Not because I want to forget, but simply because I don't want sadness to overshadow my child's special day. This year, with it being the 10 year anniversary, there has been a lot of media coverage about "9/11". As I talked with a friend about it, she mentioned this book to me. I've never read books like this. Ever. Even before I got on my "Young Adult kick", I never read "true stories." But then as I debated about whether or not to read this, I had the thought that the better I understand what happened that day, the more prepared I will be to talk about it with my "9/11" child when the time comes. So, I put aside all my reservations and checked it out from the library.

Now, if you are not familiar United Flight 93 (I had actually forgotten about it), it was one of the four planes that was hijacked on September 11, 2001. The hijackers re-routed the flight that had originally been set for San Francisco and headed instead for Washington D.C.. The passengers aboard Flight 93 were able to use their cell phones and the phones available on the plane (Airfones) to contact loved ones. As they began to hear news of hijacked planes hitting the World Trade Center in New York and also one that had hit the Pentagon, the passengers decided to try to overtake the hijackers. The plane crashed in Pennsylvania and disintegrated.

Todd Beamer was on that flight. In the final 20 minutes or so of his life, he was on the phone with an Airfone operator named Lisa Jefferson. He spoke to her about what was happening aboard the plane, and also talked about his family and his faith. As news began to pour in aboard the plane about the other terrorist attacks, Todd Beamer, along with other passengers, was instrumental in formulating and carrying out a plan to overtake the plane from the hijackers. The last words Lisa Jefferson heard Todd Beamer say were, "Are you guys ready? Okay. Let's roll."

This book is by Todd Beamer's widow, Lisa Beamer. The book spans Todd and Lisa's childhoods, when they met, and the few short years they were married. Only, maybe, the last 100 pages or so are about Todd's final flight and the aftermath of that day. It was an inspiring book though. I would be curious to know about Lisa Beamer and her and Todd's children now, 10 years later. I'm kicking myself for not watching ANYTHING on September 11th this year.

One quote from the book that I really thought was inspiring:

"Slowly I began to understand that the plans God has for us don’t just include “good” things, but the whole array of human events … I remember my mom saying that many people look for miracles — things that in their human minds “fix” a difficult situation. Many miracles, however, are not a change to the normal course of human events; they’re found in God’s ability and desire to sustain and nurture people through even the worst situations. Somewhere along the way, I stopped demanding that God fix the problems in my life and started to be thankful for his presence as I endured them." (p. 68, emphasis added)

Anyway, I know that this isn't the type of book that I normally post about on R4R, but it was a great reminder that there were many people on that tragic day who had the choice to do SOMETHING, or do NOTHING. The people on United Flight 93, who are often overlooked or forgotten, chose to ACT and by doing so, most likely prevented an even greater loss of life that day. I am thankful for their courage and thankful for the faith of Lisa Beamer in the wake of a horrifying personal and national tragedy.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Don't Forget!

Just a reminder-- this month's book club pick is:

Here's what it's about:

Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.

But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.

Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away... especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.

But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.

I read this last week. I really hope you all get a chance to read it. My review for it will be up Thursday, September 29th. If you read it, please comment after I post the review so you can let me know what you thought! I'm so excited about this. :)

Happy Reading!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You by Ally Carter

The Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women is a fairly typical all-girls school, that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE, the latest in chemical warfare in science; and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class. So in truth, Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses, but its really a school for spies. Cammie Morgan is a second generation Gallagher Girl, and by her sophomore year she's already fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways (three of which involve a piece of uncooked spaghetti.) But the one thing the Gallagher Academy hasn't prepared her for is what to do when she falls for an ordinary boy who thinks she's an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, and track him through a mall without his ever being the wiser, but can she have a regular relationship with a regular boy who can never know the truth about her? Cammie may be an elite spy in training, but in her sophomore year, shes beginning her most dangerous mission; she's falling in love.

I'm not gonna lie.
I almost shelved this book.
I really liked it, but I got some books from the library that I'd been on the wait list for that I wanted to get into right away and...blah blah blah.
Anyway, moral of the story is: I'm glad I didn't shelf it. I love Ally Carter. I loved Heist Society, I loved this, and I'm sure I'll love the rest of the Gallagher Girls series. Seriously? They are hardcore teenage spies. How could I not  love it??
Poor Cammie. How would it be to grow up with spies for parents and then live in an all-girls school for basically your entire life? Well I can tell you--it would SUCK. (Just FYI.) Cammie, who has been "the chameleon" her whole life--always blending in and going unnoticed--doesn't quite know how to act when she finally gets noticed. Not by just anyone, but by a boy. A very cute boy. A very cute, very normal, very non-spy boy named Josh.
What ensues is a humorous array of antics as Cammie, with the help and advice of her friends, tries to juggle her life as a spy-in-training at Gallagher Academy with her ultimate cover as a "normal girl" when she's with Josh.
I really enjoyed this book, and I can't wait to continue on with the series. I would say that this book is appropriate for any female ages 12 and up, and you should be able to find them at most local and school libraries.
Happy Reading!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

I Got An Award!

So... I've been trucking along at this reading and blogging business for well over a year and a half. Betcha didn't know, eh? Who would have thought, after all that time, I would love it even more now than when I started? For one thing, I have a wonderful little group of "followers". One of those followers in particular is named Jeigh.

Well, Jeigh is awesome. (You can check out her super-cool writing blog, WriterBrained, HERE.) On Friday, while I was out of town, she gave me a blogging award. My very first, to be exact. (I know. I'm freaking out a little on the inside too.) This is it:

This award is specifically for blogs who have less than two hundred followers, so we can share the love and get our networking skills ON! (...says Jeigh)

When I started blogging, it was more to track a goal I had set of reading 100 books in 2010. I thought it would be neat to have something to look back on of what I had accomplished.... and what I thought of all those books! At the end of 2010, after completing my goal, I wasn't quite sure where I wanted to take my "book blog." Did I want to read 100 books again? (Not on purpose!) Did I want to quit blogging about books? (NO!!) So, I did what any sane person would do. Picked up some books and kept on reviewing.

Now, I try to be a purist about this. No funny business-- I read books and then I give honest reviews. I don't always have something nice to say. But I always tell the truth. I don't do interviews (unless asked) or add fluff. 99% of my blog is JUST REVIEWS. That's the way I like it. Sometimes I post about awesome book covers or great book deals, sometimes I get on a soap box and rant. But one thing you can always find on my blog is a good book to read.

Anyway, thank you Jeigh, for thinking of me, and for being such an awesome "follower." I wish I was as cool of a follower as you. ;)

Happy Reading!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

The Other Countess by Eve Edwards

England, 1582

Ellie—Lady Eleanor Rodriguez, Countess of San Jaime—possesses a worthless title, but her feisty spirit captivates the elite of the Queen's court—especially the dashing new Earl of Dorset.

William Lacey, Earl of Dorset, has inherited his father's title—and his financial ruin. Now Will must seek a wealthy bride and restore his family's fortune. If only he hadn't fallen for the beautiful but penniless Ellie . . .

Sparks fly whenever Ellie and Will are together, but circumstances—and the conniving interference of others—threaten to keep them apart.

A couple of weeks ago, a dear friend of mine was visiting from The Middle of Nowhere, USA, and we--sharing a love of reading--ventured to our local bookstore. I *almost* did what I always do, and bought sequels to books that I already know I love. I'm not very good at leaving my "comfort bubble". However, I was feeling a bit adventurous, so I bought this book. I hadn't ever heard of it, didn't know what people were saying about was a big risk for me. (I'm such a wuss.) Anyway, it must have paid off because I mostly really liked it!

Now, about that mostly.... I loved the story, I loved the time period it was set in, but there was just that one thing.... It's silly I even bring it up, but I have high moral standards, and even though times *were different* back then, there are just some things that I think should be kept within a marriage (and no, betrothed is not the same). Argh. That sounded like a giant, run-on, preach-y sentence in my head, and it translated that way too, huh? That's all I'm going to say about it. Just giving you a heads-up because there is a mature-themed undercurrent to some of the book.

Anyway, on to the good stuff---ALL THE REST OF IT. I loved Ellie, even though my heart was breaking for her for the majority of the book. I really liked Will too-even when I wanted to punch him in the face, which was more than once. I love reading books with a strong family background, and Will had that. They may have actually made it on my list of "favorite literary families". However, I highly doubt I'll ever read about a family that'll knock the Weasleys' (from Harry Potter) out of #1. Love them!

Anyway, I quite enjoyed this book and I can't wait to read the next book in the series, The Queen's Lady. This is not a continuing-story series. The books are follow-up stories featuring many of the same characters, but the main story is about a different couple in each book. The whole series has been released (unless more than three books are planned) but this is one I'd recommend getting from the library first, just to make sure it's your "cup of tea".

Happy Reading!