Monday, June 28, 2010

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?

Stephenie Meyer has a way of building empathy for her characters. Through Bree Tanner is a newbie vampire she doesn't have the same 'no brain' instincts. Bree has human instincts and qualities.
I found myself skimming many paragraphs that felt like a lot of info dumping and TONS of internal dialogue.
There was a lot of violence due to newbie vampires wanting to 'feed' all the time and they enjoyed tearing each other apart.
If I were to rate Stephenie's books, my favorites would be Twilight and The Host with Bree's story last.

Rating: PG 16
V: yes
L: yes
S: no

The 'page 69' test:
"I kept my movements as small as possible, hoping that the bending of the boughs under my weight would just look like wind. It was a breezy night, which would help It was cold for summer, not that the temperature bothered me.
Diego caught Riley's scent outside the house without trouble and then loped after it quickly while I trailed several yards back and about a hundred yards north, higher on the slope than he was. When the trees were really thick, he'd rustle a trunk now and again so I wouldn't lose him.
WE kept on, with him running and me impersonating a flying squirrel, for only fifteen minutes or so before I saw Diego slow down. We must have been getting close. I moved higher in the branches looking for a tree with a good view. I scaled one that towered over its neighbors, and scanned the scene."

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Princess in Glass by Jessica Day George

The engrossing companion novel to Princess of the Midnight Ball, with a wicked twist on Cinderella.

Hoping to escape the troubles in her kingdom, Princess Poppy reluctantly agrees to take part in a royal exchange program, whereby young princes and princesses travel to each other’s countries in the name of better political alliances—and potential marriages. It’s got the makings of a fairy tale—until a hapless servant named Eleanor is tricked by a vengeful fairy godmother into competing with Poppy for the eligible prince. Ballgowns, cinders, and enchanted glass slippers fly in this romantic and action-packed happily-ever-after quest from an author with a flair for embroidering tales in her own delightful way.

How does Jessica Day George write great stories over and over again? True, she's writing stories that all children know and are told as fairy tales, but Ms. George does it with great imagination and carefully plotted twists. Her characters jump off the page as real people and their lives are believable even if fantasy.
Princess in Glass is no exception.
Poppy is a princess that lived through a terrible fate of dancing every night in an enchanted castle. After a servant set her and her sisters free, Poppy, now 16, leaves her kingdom for another in a political attempt to being all the kingdoms together.
While there, Poppy finds a mystery, handsome prince, friends and her own inner strength. Plus, she has to dance though she vowed never to do so again.
I loved Poppy! She's spirited, flawed, funny and kind. She curses like a warrior thanks to her brothers-in-law (but the book never has the swear words), she can fight and shot a gun plus dance gracefully.
Every character has their own story and are believable. They only character that didn't get enough page time is the godmother. I would've liked to see more of her personality she I could be taken in by her.
Ms. George weaves a new story of Cinderella, cinders and glass slippers. Or Eleanora as she was known in the castles she was hired to work. Poor Eleanora can't cook, clean, wash or iron without catastrophe.
The story line of Poppy and Eleanora twists seamlessly together and both must show their strengths.
And in the end, the handsome prince must slip the glass shoe on his true love.
This book is one of my new favorite fairy tale retelling. I recommend it as a summer read-outloud book for your family.
Good job, Jessica! I'm waiting for your next book!

Rating: PG
V: Evil godmother
L: None
S: None

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Chocolate Roses by Joan Sowards

Janie Rose Whitaker's world revolved around her chocolate shop until Roger Wentworth and his young daughter moved into the apartment across from Janie's. Anyone would think Roger fit the mold of the "perfect" guy, but soon Janie discovers secrets that could keep them apart forever. Though she resists getting involved in Roger's complicated life, they are drawn further into a bittersweet relationship.

You will laugh, cry, and crave chocolate as you read this LDS paraody of the classic novel Jane Eyre.

Good, clean LDS romance with intrigue, humor and chocolate.

Janie and her sister own and run a high end chocolate store. Every Tuesday, a very handsome and mysterious man enters the shop and orders a chocolate rose to be delivered. Janie has a crush (obsession) on the man. Events take an interesting turn when he and his daughter moves in next door to Janie. Add the mystery of who the rose goes to, quirky characters and a crime and you have the mixture of a good story.
The only problem I had was in my own head. I kept trying to compare it to Jane Eyre and that aspect of the book didn't work for me. The similarities were: reclusive older man with daughter; the main character is older; a crazy wife and fire.
I did like the Jane Eyre quotes at the beginning of each chapter. I didn't recognize quite a few of them so now I really want to reread Jane Eyre.
This story is a quick, witty read.
You know what would be cool with this book? A Kara's chocolate :)

Rating: PG
L: None
S: None
V: Kidnapping scene

I've been wanting to try the 'page 69' test on my reviews. Supposedly, if you turn to page 69, you can tell right away if it's a book you want to read. Or at the very least, it will entice you.
Let's try it and you tell me what you think.

"Please excuse us Brother Toone," I said and pulled on Roger's arm for him to follow.
All heads turned to watch us leave the chapel We didn't walk into the foyer-just far enough into the hall to see the girl/
"That woman," i said, pointing guardedly toward the door, "Came into the shop looking for you about two weeks ago. She claimed she was your sister."
The ward busybody, sister Lilly, passed us at that moment, looking at me with raised eyebrows.Roger watched the woman who stood outside. "I don't know who she is, and she is not my sister. "--" As the woman turned, he stopped mid-sentence, took my arm, and hurried me back into the chapel.
"What is it?" I asked, noticing that the color had drained from his handsome face. I pulled him over to sit on the back pew. "Who is she?"
""She's--" He rubbed his forehead. "I can't let her see me, but if she does..." e looked around the chapel. "Will you please take Emily hoe?" He pulled out his cell phone and and opened a new contact window, then pushed the phone into my hand. "Put your number in here so I can call you."
This wasn't quite the moment i had always dreamed of when he would finally ask me for my phone number. But in an odd way, the previously fantasized Relief Society/priesthood unity had just clicked for Roger and me.
"I'll be glad to keep Emily," I declared as I punched in my cell number. "I'll need to take her with me to my sister's for dinner. But pleas tell me what's going on!"
He stood and took his phone, then took hold of my hand. "I'll have to explain later. Thanks for helping me out again."
He turned, left the chapel, and quickly headed out the foyer on the opposite side of the chapel.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

My Double life by Janette Rallison

Her whole life, Alexia Garcia has been told that she looks just like pop star Kari Kingsley, and one day when Alexia’s photo filters through the Internet, she’s offered a job to be Kari’s double. This would seem like the opportunity of a lifetime, but Alexia’s mother has always warned her against celebrities.

Rebelliously, Alexia flies off to L.A. and gets immersed in a celebrity life. Not only does she have to get used to getting anything she wants, she romances the hottest lead singer on the charts, and finds out that her own father is a singing legend. Through it all, Alexia must stay true to herself, which is hard to do when you are pretending to be somebody else!

If you ever need a funny, clean, romantic story all you have to do is fine 'Rallison, Janette' on your library shelf or at the book store.
Alexia wants to met her father and for just one day, make money for college and see what it's like to be famous.
But a celebrities life is not as glamorous as it seems.
She's pushed around, threatened, trained like a show dog and hurt.
And she falls for a hot superstar who thinks she is someone she isn't. And her lies are about to catch up with her.
I love the way Janette weaves her stories and characters. Her stories are uplifting, clean, genuine, intriguing and funny. She is one of my favorite authors.

Rating PG
S: None
V: Things thrown, someone slapped, scary mean lady
L: None

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Courting Miss Lancaster by Sarah Eden

Harry Windover adores blonde, green-eyed Athena Lancaster, but alas, a penniless man like himself has no hope of winning a young noblewoman's hand. To add insult to injury, Athena's brother-in-law and guardian, the Duke of Kielder, has asked Harry to assist Athena in finding the gentleman of her dreams. But the lovesick Harry is cunning as well: as the weeks pass, he introduces Athena to suitors who are horrifically boring, alarmingly self-absorbed, and utterly ridiculous.

Athena can't comprehend why she is having so little success meeting eliglble and acceptable gentlemen. Indeed, her circle of admirers couldn't be less admirable-nothing like the loyal, gentle friend she's found in Harry. But how long can Harry's scheme be hidden before it is discovered? And what will Athena do when she uncovers Harry's deception? Escape into a charming regency world in this delightfully romantic comedy of manners that will entertain you to the very last word.

Sarah Eden has a great way with humor and romance. And she does both so well in a Regency Romance setting.
Miss Athena Lancaster has come to her sisters house to find a husband. Her protector and sisters husband, Duke Kielder, is wary of gold diggers seeking her hand so he asks Harry Windover to help whittle down the competition.
The only problem is Harry likes Athena but knows he can't marry her because he is poor. So he wants to make sure she marries the perfect man if it can't be him.
What ensues is comedic encounters, unworthy suitors and eventually, love.
Athena, after being introduced to many unsavory matches, finds her heart belongs to another. but will the Duke approve?
Sarah has written another great, clean, fun and funny romantic story.
Keep 'em coming!

Rating G
S: None
V: None
L: None

I've been wanting to try the 'page 69' test on my reviews. Supposedly, if you turn to page 69, you can tell right away if it's a book you want to read. Or at the very least, it will entice you.
Let's try it and you tell me what you think.

Mrs. Langely was as shriveled as a prune. And her winkles were not the sort borne of a lifetime of laughter. She had the appearance of one who spent hours on end sucking on lemons.
Mr. Langely continued fussing over his mother as they approached the entrance to Hyde Park, not a glance or word spared for Athena's benefit.
"Do you require many hours in curling papers to create such a riotous amount of curls, Miss Lancaster?" Mrs. Langley asked.
"No," Athena answered, dumbfounded.
"No doubt, your impatience leaves you with flat hair before the end of an evening," Mrs. Langely sniffed.
"My curls are not created with curling papers," Athena answered, realizing she'd been misunderstood. "They are natural."
"of course they are." The comment was not merely dripping with sarcasm, it was saturated with it. "Your father. Who are his people? What sort of family connections does he have?"
Athena clasped her hands in her lap, doing her best to maintain a clam and civil demeanor. "His grandfather was Lord Henley, though the title now belongs to a somewhat distant cousin of mine."
"That is not a barony of great significance," Mrs. Langley said with another audible sniff.
:The baronies in your family are, then, I assume," Athena shot back.
Mrs. Langely's mouth tightened, but she didn't reply. Athena strongly suspected there were no titles, significant or otherwise, in Mrs. Langley''s family only a moment passed before Mrs. Langley continued her picking. "And what kind of person is your mother?" she asked, her tone indicating she expected to hear something to disapprove of.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Queen In Exile by Donna Hatch

Rumors of war hang over Princess Jeniah's peaceful country of Arden, a land that shuns both magic and warfare. Following a lifelong dream, Jeniah forms a telpathic bond with a revered creature called a chayim, who is prophesied to save her kingdom. But when a Darborian knight comes upon Jeniah with her chayim, he sees only a vicious monster about to devour a maiden, and he slays the beast.

Devastated by the loss of her chayim, and fearing that her own magic is evil, Jeniah doubts her destiny. When an enemy invades Arden City, they slaughter the people, storm the castle, and execute the entire royal family except the princess. Rescued by the knight who slew her chayim, Jeniah is now heir to the throne of Arden and the only hope for freeing her people from tyranny.

On the run and hunted by enemy soldiers, Jeniah must place her life and the fate of her kingdom in the hands of this trained killer. Torn between embracing her destiny as queen of Arden, and her love for a mere knight, she must ultimately rely on her magic to save herself and her people from death and tyranny.

Jeniah is a pampered Princess (which ones aren't?) who must learn to trust her magic and relearn to trust those around her. She wasn't allowed to participate in kingdom affairs because a woman doesn't have the smarts. No one believed she was capable, not even Jeniah.
Kai, a handsome and skillful warrior vows to become her protector, must learn to reopen his heart. Together they must save Jeniah's kingdom and trust their emotions and each other.
And fall in love. Of course, they are wrong for each other. Jeniah is royalty and Kai a commoner.
I enjoyed watching Jeniah and Kai growing throughout the story. I really, really wanted them to find a way to be together by the end of story.
I was a tad disappointed that Jeniah's magic didn't grow with her. I understand the reasoning behind making her go through hardships to become stronger, but still! I wanted to see her bust a few bad guys.

I didn't get hooked from the start probably because the place is magical and I was introduced to the world. But this story is character driven so I didn't notice as much.
This story is a good, clean, romance with a strong female character, handsome, strong warrior and intrigue.

Rating PG
S: None
L: None
V: war

I've been wanting to try the 'page 69' test on my reviews. Supposedly, if you turn to page 69, you can tell right away if it's a book you want to read. Or at the very least, it will entice you.
Let's try it and you tell me what you think.

Something was wrong. Danger lurked nearby. He realized that he hadn't seen her guards in several minutes. His muscles bunched, screaming for action.
"Get back inside the cave," he ordered tersely. "Here." He handed her one of is daggers hilt first. "Use this on anyone who comes near you."
She accepted the dagger, holding it with her thumb and forefinger as if it were some sort of filthy rodent. He resisted the urge to reposition her hand on the hilt. The weapon was purely precautionary; he would ensure that no one would get close enough for her o need it.
He waited until she was inside the cave before moving to the line of trees. The forest sounds around him noticeably absent, Kai reached out with all of his senses.
There. A furtive movement. not a guard. Kai soundlessly withdrew a dagger and let it fly. A strangled groan sounded. Kai glanced back at the cave but no one came near the princess's hiding place.
He crept into the woods, searching for additional threats. All the forest sounds had hushed. Kai moved forward and discovered Breneg's lifeless body, pierced by darts. Controlling his anger, Kai slowed, moving more cautiously into the trees. The rustling of leaves led him to a dark young man with Hanoran features, writhing on the ground the hilt of Kai's dagger protruded from his chest and his face twisted in pain.
Kai leaned over him. "Are you part of a strike team, or are you a spy?"
Hatred glittered in the boy's eyes and he clamped his mouth shut.
"How many more of you are there here?" Kai pressed.
As the Hanoran struggled for a last breath, he spit at Kai. Then he was dead.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

Hex Hall is a juvenile detention school for trouble making 'freaks' like vamps, witches and fae. Sophie is going to Hex hall because she is a witch who can't control her magic. But she doesn't hurt anyone, well, intentionally.

Sophie has trouble from the beginning. Her roommate is a gay vampire (that was a first for me!), she's developing a crush on a handsome warlock who happens to be the boyfirend of her nemisis.

And to top it all off, someone is trying to kill the withces at Hex Hall. Is she next?

Sophie's character grew throughout the story as did her magic but she was blinded by her own desires or she might have seen the answers that seemed to be right in front of her. It's all about perception, right?

There was an intersting twist I would have seen if I wasn't distracted by some editing mistakes. One whole sentence ran together, no spaces. How did the spell check miss that?

Rating: PG-13

S: Kissing,

V: Some fighting, witches hurt

L: Light