Thursday, March 29, 2012

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees . . . . 

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy. 

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place—and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side. 

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make—between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.

This post was supposed to be up Tuesday, and it would have been, had Blogger cooperated, so I am sorry! Have any of you other bloggers having trouble with your sites this week, or it is just mine that's infuriatingly "special"?

Anyway, this was our book club pick for this month. (?? Or maybe it was last month?... We haven't met in a while because everyone in my book club is getting knocked up and becoming toilet huggers. Sorry ladies--I hope you get over the all-day-sickness soon!) I was, as I always am, a little leery to read another angel book--Hello? I've read about a million mediocre angel books-- but I was very pleasantly surprised with this one.

I suppose I shouldn't be so shocked that I liked it so much (even though parts of it were pretty cheesy) because quite a few friends have told me that this was a really fantastic book. Truthfully, I've owned it since before Christmas and just finally got around to reading it. I know, shame on me. It seems like that's always the case with books that I end up loving.

I think what set this book apart for me was the fact that, in a VERY overdone and unimpressive sea of angel-related books, this book was a mellowed down and better-thought-out-and-executed version of an "typical" angel book . It wasn't "in my face" which I really enjoyed. There is one character who is more hyperactive about all things ethereal and I sometimes wanted to slap her, but she's not in the book very much, and Clara- the main character- is exactly the opposite which was refreshing. 

The love interests in this book killed me. In a good way. I hate it (and by hate I mean love) when both guys in a literary love triangle are genuinely good guys. Who do you root for??? I can say that I am firmly planted in a specific corner and there is no way I'll budge. Truthfully, I am surprised which guy I want for Clara, but I can't help it! :)

Anyway, this is one that should be added to your "To Read" list, if you haven't read it already. And for those of you that hate to wait for a sequel, have no fear! The second book in this series, Hallowed was released in mid-January of this year. That means- no wait! Until you finish it and have to wait all year for the third that is... Bummer. Anyway...

Happy Reading!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

This is the THIRD (and final) book in the Hex Hall series.
Please do not spoil it for yourself by reading this review before reading:
#1: Hex Hall
#2: Demonglass

Hailed as “impossible to put down,” the Hex Hall series has both critics and teens cheering. With a winning combination of romance, action, magic and humor, this third volume will leave readers enchanted.

Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.

Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?

I won't lie-- I was crying like a little girl by the time I finished this book.

I have absolutely loved this series, and it had such a bittersweet ending. As I was reading, I kept thinking, How could this ever end well?? and I have to say that Rachel Hawkins gave it the most fitting ending I think she could have, even as I broke down in tears.

I remember last March when I finished Demonglass I was so anxious to get my hands on this, the final book. It was THAT BIG of a cliffhanger. Really though, all the books are wonderfully written and the characters are all amazing-even more so in this book than the former ones. Sophie was sassy as ever, Cal was so sweet, Archer was still smokin' hot, Jenna was the best vampire sidekick ever, and Elodie even grew on me. I wish the series wasn't over with! :'(

Don't ask me for spoilers though-- I'm not giving any! You have to experience it for yourself. You'll thank me for it, I promise. Just know that I loved it!

For those of you who haven't read this series (and read on despite my urgings not to), you seriously HAVE to get your hands on all three of them. These books are definitely on my "Top 10 Favorite Series Ever" list, and while I'm sad they are done, I am very excited to see what Rachel Hawkins has in store for us next!

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Boys, Girls, and Other Hazardous Materials by Rosalind Wiseman

Charlie Healy just wants a drama-free year, but it doesn't seem like she's going to get it. After surviving a middle school packed with mean girls, Charlie is ready to leave all that behind in high school. But then, on her very first day, she runs into her former best friend, Will, who moved away years ago. Now he's back, he's HOT, and he's popular. And he takes Charlie back into the danger zone of the popular crowd. But when a hazing prank goes wrong, Charlie has to decide where her loyalties lie.

I'll be honest. (Aren't I always?) I didn't love this book. There wasn't anything wrong with it, it just wasn't my cup of tea. Sometimes that happens, and it's okay. 

When I was in high school, my best friend's parents bought her the book Queen Bees and Wannabes by this same author. It's the book that the movie Mean Girls is based on. Anyway, it was just a book about the high school hierarchy, basically. It wasn't a novel--more like a pathetic self help book. My friend and I would flip through it and laugh for hours. I didn't realize this book was by the same author until I read the teeny, tiny blurb underneath the author name on the front, at which point I was already past the "point of no return" in the book. It sure explained a lot though. Like I said, there really wasn't anything wrong with the story itself , it was just boring. Like, gouge my eyes out with a spoon boring. 

Anyway, don't bother. Unless you need something to help put you to sleep. ;)

Happy Reading!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg

Dying of a broken heart is just the beginning.... Welcome to forever.

BRIE'S LIFE ENDS AT SIXTEEN: Her boyfriend tells her he doesn't love her, and the news breaks her heart—literally.

But now that she's D&G (dead and gone), Brie is about to discover that love is way more complicated than she ever imagined. Back in Half Moon Bay, her family has begun to unravel. Her best friend has been keeping a secret about Jacob, the boy she loved and lost—and the truth behind his shattering betrayal. And then there's Patrick, Brie's mysterious new guide and resident Lost Soul . . . who just might hold the key to her forever after.

With Patrick's help, Brie will have to pass through the five stages of grief before she's ready to move on. But how do you begin again, when your heart is still in pieces?

This was on my list of books I wanted to read in 2012-- if you missed the list, you can find it HERE. I don't recall how I first heard about this book, but it sounded so different than anything I've read in a while. And, it was. It was like a breath of fresh air. Very sad, make-you-think-about-love-and-life kind of fresh air.

This was a heartbreaking book in so many ways, but it was also a great story about forgiveness and acceptance and dealing with grief. I liked Brie-- she was such a real character. I felt for her. I felt for her when she went (in spirit) to her own funeral, when she saw her family crumbling, as she discovered the secrets of the people she loved most, as she worked her way through the stages of grief. I've never really thought about it before-- a dead person going through stages of grief, but I guess it makes sense. I think if I had died of a broken heart right before my sixteenth birthday, I'd probably have gone through denial and anger and sadness and all that. If we're being really honest, I'd be really upset about it, much like Brie was. I'd probably have the same "Are you freaking kidding me???" moment she does too. 

While some of this book was very predictable, other parts of it were not, and either way, it didn't take away from the overall story. I enjoyed this book quite a bit more that I expected, and I'm happy it's one that I purchased. Word of warning: If you decide to read this, just make sure you have a box of tissues handy!

Happy Reading! 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Goddess Interrupted by Aimée Carter

This is the SECOND book in a series.
Book One: The Goddess Test (read my review of it HERE)
Release Date: March 27, 2012 

Kate Winters has won immortality.

But if she wants a life in the Underworld with Henry, she’ll have to fight for it.

Becoming immortal wasn’t supposed to be the easy part. Though Kate is about to be crowned Queen of the Underworld, she’s as isolated as ever. And despite her growing love for Henry, ruler of the Underworld, he’s becoming ever more distant and secretive. Then, in the midst of Kate’s coronation, Henry is abducted by the only being powerful enough to kill him: the King of the Titans.

As the other gods prepare for a war that could end them all, it is up to Kate to save Henry from the depths of Tartarus. But in order to navigate the endless caverns of the Underworld, Kate must enlist the help of the one person who is the greatest threat to her future.

Henry’s first wife, Persephone.

I loved this book, but not as much as I was hoping.

Would it make any sense if I said that I think there is a second book curse? In general, it seems like--for me anyway-- when I read a really awesome "series opener", the second book always falls a little flat. Even it I still love the second book, it's just never as good. Am I the only one that feels this way?

This book was that way. Although I loved it, Kate was a little too whiny and insecure, Henry was a little too distant, James was a little too broody, and Ava was a little too... Ava. Maybe I'm just too invested in these characters...

**I feel the need to insert a comment right now-- Keep in mind I read this the day AFTER my wisdom teeth extravaganza and I was heavily sedated. So it's highly possible I am being a bit over-dramatic (^^) during this review. 

I liked the story quite a bit, although it seemed a little uneventful at times. I was surprised, when I started reading this, that the story picks up after Kate's six-months-away-with-James. I thought there would be at least a chapter or two about her vacation. I liked where the story went from there though. And I have to tell you, there is a cliff hanger at the end that is going to kill you. Literally. You will die. But you must revive yourself before October when Goddess Inheritance is released. So you can die again. (I'm sure I will.) 

Overall, this was a typical fill-in-the-middle-of-the-series-as-fast-as-you-can-to-get-to-the-AMAZING-ending type second book. (Did you catch all that??) The only major difference between this series and other series is that this one is flippin' awesome. So click HERE to pre-order your copy. It comes out two weeks from today!

Happy Reading!

*I received this egalley from the publisher for the purpose of review.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Where is your regularly scheduled post?!?

Some of you might have noticed that I did not post a review yesterday for my regular Tues/Thurs posts. If not, RUDE. If so, here's why.

Last Thursday, I officially got a little bit dumber. It's true-- I had my wisdom teeth removed. All four of them. Yikes!

I was planning on taking some time off this month to recover. I didn't know how I'd handle it and how long I would need to heal, and let's face it: I've only ever heard horror stories about all the things that have gone wrong when getting teeth removed. I was totally freaked out, but I desperately needed it done. My jaw was hurting all the time and giving me headaches. It was just bad news. So anyway, I scheduled my appointment 3 weeks in advance so I could have time to prepare myself (mostly mentally. ha.). Last Thursday, when it was my turn to go back and meet with the doctor ( I had to go to an oral surgeon.) I was actually pretty calm....until they were about to put me out. Then I had a panic attack. I started crying and asked if I could kiss my husband before they knocked me out. That's the last thing I remember. Then I woke up and got the giggles, which I hear is good news since most people who go under crying, wake up crying. My husband said I was completely looney. Apparently I even called him a doofus. True story. (So I'm told.)

Anyway, it wasn't nearly as bad as I prepared myself for. It's been 6 days, and I haven't really been in any pain. I've mostly been worn out--which my two young children may or may not have contributed to. :)

Anyway, I've been reading, and I will have posts up starting again next Tuesday, but this week I'm just going to sit back and relax and re-learn how to a doofus.

Happy Reading! 

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Unraveling Isobel by Eileen Cook

Isobel’s life is falling apart. Her mom just married some guy she met on the internet only three months before, and is moving them to his sprawling, gothic mansion off the coast of nowhere. Goodbye, best friend. Goodbye, social life. Hello, icky new stepfather, crunchy granola town, and unbelievably good-looking, officially off-limits stepbrother.

But on her first night in her new home, Isobel starts to fear that it isn’t only her life that’s unraveling—her sanity might be giving way too. Because either Isobel is losing her mind, just like her artist father did before her, or she’s seeing ghosts. Either way, Isobel’s fast on her way to being the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons.

I love creepy books. I don't know what it is about them, I've just always been drawn to them. When I heard about this book, I thought it had potential to be great. It had off limits (if not slightly odd) romance, twisted humor, and ghosts trying to make contact from beyond the (watery) grave.

However... this book seriously sucked.

I feel like I say this all the time, but I really wanted to like it. At first, I thought Isobel's quirky "lists" and bad attitude were endearing, but it quickly turned into downright obnoxious beastliness. (Or that other choice word, which would be most accurate.) If my whole life had been turned upside down, I'd probably be unhappy about it too, but seriously? Enough is enough. 

Then there was the romance. You know, I've read The Mortal Instruments series and other books or series, where there was a brother/sister romance (although they weren't really related, and they found out that they were "supposedly related" after the romance had already started up) and even though Isobel and Nathaniel were only related because of their parents' shotgun wedding, it was still just so awkward for me to read about them feeling each other up and spooning. Gross.

Lastly, can we talk about LOOSE ENDS? While the book actually started out okay, it rapidly unraveled from there. (No pun intended.) There were about 18 different side stories going on, and the only thing that wrapped up (kind of) was the one story that got way overshadowed by all the other crap. I know that probably doesn't make sense to you, but I am seriously appalled at what a horribly poorly thought out story this was. Don't waste your time.

Happy Reading!