Monday, December 16, 2013

Fav books of 2013 and thoughts

Favorite 2013 reads
In no particular order:

Pivot Point by Kacie West
Sky Jumpers by Peggy Eddleman
Jelicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Ester the Queen by Heather Moore
Countdown by Michelle Rowan
Friends and Traitors by CJ Hill
A Return to Virtue by Elaine S Dalton
Outpost by Ann Aguirre
Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson
The Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Going on hiatus:

I love reading.
I love being a book whisperer and helping others find good books to read that fit their personalities.
That's why I made this blog. I've toyed with the idea of incorporating the reviews back in with my writing blog. I'm afraid the reviews will take over; I read about 75 books a year.
Alas, this blog is getting behind in reviews. I'm so busy lately I haven't been able to give it the full attention I like and it makes me sad. I have a manuscript out on request. I am editing my NaNo project from this year and I'm in the middle of writing another story. Keeping up with my blogs is harder and harder. So with a sad heart, I'm going to stop writing up my reviews and catch up on them later. Like in six months or so.
I'll still add my reads to goodreads but not with an extensive review for a little while. But I'll be back when I can.
And I'll still do blog tours/reviews/blasts.

Keep reading!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


The world's first publication of a previously unknown work by J.R.R. Tolkien, which tells the extraordinary story of the final days of England’s legendary hero, King Arthur.

The Fall of Arthur recounts in verse the last campaign of King Arthur who, even as he stands at the threshold of Mirkwood, is summoned back to Britain by news of the treachery of Mordred. Already weakened in spirit by Guinevere's infidelity with the now-exiled Lancelot, Arthur must rouse his knights to battle one last time against Mordred's rebels and foreign mercenaries.

Powerful, passionate and filled with vivid imagery, The Fall of Arthur reveals Tolkien's gift for storytelling at its brilliant best. Originally composed by J.R.R. Tolkien in the 1930s, this work was set aside for The Hobbit and lay untouched for 80 years.

Now it has been edited for publication by Tolkien's son, Christopher, who contributes three illuminating essays that explore the literary world of King Arthur, reveal the deeper meaning of the verses and the painstaking work that his father applied to bring it to a finished form, and the intriguing links between The Fall of Arthur and his greatest creation, Middle-earth.

Hardcover, 233 pages
Published May 23rd 2013 by HarperCollins

 First line:
"Arthur eastward in arms purposed
his war to wage on the wilde marches,
over seas sailing to Sacon lands,
from the roman realm ruin defending."

Wow. Loved this poem.


SIEGE AND STORM (GRISHA #2) by Leigh Barduco

Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her--or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

First line:
"The boy and the girl had once dreamed of ships, long ago, before they ever seen the True Sea." 

Totally love this series.

Rating: PG 13
V: Fighting, killing
L: No
S: Kissing


Having to wait for the third book! 

4 1/2 STARS

GUARDIANS by Heather Frost

A vision of Kate's death causes Patrick to intensify his duties as Guardian. The Demon Lord is especially relentless now that Kate is the only Seer to ever escape his grasp. When Patrick discovers that Kate is the key to defeating their greatest enemy, he must choose between sacrificing the girl he loves or letting the Demon Lord win. You won't be able to put this final installment in the Seers trilogy down.

First line:
"I stood at my mother's side, listening to her soft laughter."

And this trilogy comes to a close and what an ending!
Kate and Patrick are the love interests and the main characters. Kate is a Seer and Patrick, her Guardian. Kate must defeat the Demon Lord but Patrick has foreseen her death and he doesn't want to sacrifice her. But she knows her responsibilities and is determined to save the world, even if it means dying.
I thought the book was paced well and kept me interested and turning the pages. I wanted to finish and see how love would win in the end.
I will admit here that my favorite book of the series was the first one, SEERS. I picked up this book once before and I put it down without reading more than a couple of chapters. But this time around I finished. There were some quick fixes and I was surprised a couple of times how someone changed their attitude/personality/life.
This is a good, clean young adult book.

Rating: PG 14
V: Fighting, demons, shooting, stabbing
L: No
S: Kissing


Wrapped up neatly, though was moving

3 1/2 STARS

Thanks netgalley

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

SHADOW AND BONE (Grisha #1) by Leigh Barduco

The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfill her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

Glorious. Epic. Irresistible. Romance.

Hardcover, 358 pages
Published June 5th 2012 by Henry Holt and Co.

First line:
"The servants called them malenchki, little ghosts, because they were the smallest and the youngest, and because they haunted the Duke's house like giggling phantoms, dating in and out of rooms, hiding in cupboards to eavesdrop, sneaking into the kitchen to steal the last of the summer peaches."

Why did I wait to read this series until now???

Rating: PG 13
S: Kissing, making out,
L: A few words
V: Fighting, magical battles


Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Connie has sprinkled her trademark humor throughout this insightful, and much needed, book. She helps lead the reader through an easy 3-step plan that will simplify the holidays and yet keep what is dear to your family close. This book helps remind the reader to stop, breath and wonder at the holiday magic.

Her four step plan using PADE: Plan, Abbreviate, Delegate and Eliminate is a life savor! And worksheets are included in the book.

Connie also included touching stories and quotes that will melt your heart, make you smile, and help all of us enjoy the holidays a little bit better.
This book is a must read for the holidays. And every other day that we need to simplify. 


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

THE 5TH WAVE (The 5th Wave #1) by Rick Yancy

The Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

First line: "There will be no awakening."

I started this book but didn't really want to finish it though I was hooked from the beginning. I thought I had picked up another zombie book. But nope! I was pleasantly surprised by this book, just like I was pleasantly surprised by HOST. 

"Sometimes in my tent, late at night, I think I can hear the stars scraping against the sky."

"Something takes over when you're facing death. The front part of your brain lets go, gives up control tot he oldest part of you, the part that takes care of your heartbeat and breathing and the blinking of your eyes."

"What doesn't kill us sharpens us. hardens us. Schools us.
You're beathing plowshares into swords, Vosch. You are remaking us.
We are the clay, and you are Michelangel.
And we will be your masterpiece."

Rating: PG 15
V: Fighting, shooting
L: Yes and a couple of "F" bombs
S: Kissing


Thursday, November 14, 2013

THE SIREN'S SECRET by Heather Ostler

Julia’s life has gone from complicated to nearly impossible! When Julia loses her shapeshifting powers and her appearance changes in alarming ways, she flees to Sirenity, where she learns an incredible secret about her mother. In this thrilling sequel, Julia must take greater risks and make bigger sacrifices as she discovers who she really is and what she can really become.

First line:
"Julie sat down at the dinner table across from several other soldiers, who were busy conversting about Ossai, Lockham Castle, and the Guild.

Interesting tale of a girl who can shape shift but also is a siren. Which path will she choose?
This good, clean read will take you to two different, magical worlds.

Rating: PG
V: Fighting
L: No
S: No

Unique story

Quick resolve at the end


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

SIX MONTHS LATER by Natalie Richards

Chloe didn't think about it much when she nodded off in study hall on that sleepy summer day. But when she wakes up, snow is on the ground and she can't remember the last six months of her life. Before, she'd been a mediocre student. Now, she's on track for valedictorian and being recruited by Ivy League schools. Before, she never had a chance with super jock Blake. Now he's her boyfriend. Before, she and Maggie were inseparable. Now her best friend won't speak to her.

What happened to her?
And why can't she remember

Paperback, 326 pages
Published October 1st 2013 by Sourcebooks Fire 
First line:
"I'm sitting next to the fire alarm, and my best friend is going down in flames."

FORGOTTEN meets STEPFORD WIVES. That's what I thought of this young adult mystery. There's not many mysteries where I can't figure out the bad guy. This one stumped me for a little bit. I liked the intrigue and the mystery.
The romance was okay. Blake was creepy (as were many of the characters after Chloe woke up). Adam was mad a lot. Chloe was great at not being annoying.
So much goes on in this book. It wasn't hard at all to root for poor Chloe. how would it be to fall asleep then wake up n a totally different room and season? She has no idea why her BFF hates her now or why the unattainable boy she's had a crush on forever is now her boyfriend. And why is that creepy bad boy, Adam, so familiar to her now?
Plus, Chloe has perfect grades and is on track for scholarships at big name colleges. That wasn't her reality six months ago.
The mystery of her memory loss keeps the pace moving along and I found it hard to put the book, or Kindle, down.

Rating: PG 17
V: No
L: Yes, "hell" is used often as is "God"
S: Kissing

The mystery of six months lost


Thanks, netgalley!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

THE SILENT SWAN by Lex Keating

Once upon a time – better known as “now” - Gabriel Pritz reigns as king of his high school. Easy grades, perfect baseball season, a pretty date for prom—he's coasting into a golden future. Until his parents demand he cook dinner once a week. Caught between kitchen fires and ballpark withdrawal, Gabe is thrown into Tam Swann's orbit. Hostile, friendless, and stubborn, she's exactly the sort of person he'd prefer to avoid.

Tam's sphere of influence expands beyond Gabe's sad domestic skills, rapidly invading everything from his favorite game to parts of his soul he didn't know existed. It's uncomfortable, it's hard work, it's...making him a better man. And that's just what she does to people she doesn't like. The better he gets to know her, the more he has to face the truth: this sharp, heart-breaking outcast is worth fighting for. How many families, fairy tales, and felons will he go through to ride to the rescue of the bravest person he's ever met?

Paperback, 422 pages
Published August 26th 2013 by AltWit Press 
First line:
"Gabe Pritz drove through the Callahan High parking lot without waving at any of his friends."

Maybe someone will enjoy this book. I didn't and I tried, I really did. I liked the Swan clan. I liked how they stuck together and loved each other. Tam is their big sister and really looks after them even though they are in different foster homes. Tam is smart and working on bringing the family together again once she's of age. Her dad was a famous baseball person and very respected.
Gabe is a popular jock (I think I read about that in one chapter?) who begs Tam to help him cook. Gabe falls for Tam, hard. Tam? She doesn't care.
And there you have it. That's what I got out of the story. I couldn't follow the story sometimes, either. If you like baseball, you might like this story.

Rating: PG 16
L: No
V: No
S: No

Tam Swan and her siblings

Meandering storyline


Thanks, netgalley

Thursday, October 31, 2013


Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she'd claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.

A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly's wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.

Hardcover, 181 pages

Published June 18th 2013 by William Morrow Books 
Neil Gaiman's stories always surprise me. I have no idea where they are taking me and by the end I'm breathless with wonder. His writing and storytelling are amazing. But the stories are, well, weird. Unusual. Different. Strange. Unrelatable.
That's the word. Unrelatable. I don't relate to the characters in his books. That's not a bad thing. Storytelling doesn't necessarily mean we have to understand the main people in the story. I do not relate to a princess who talks to animals but I still like the romance. I totally don't understand being raised in a cemetery by ghosts, who are my family and friends, but the idea is intriguing. 
I wasn't expecting certain aspects of this story and they didn't really appeal to me. But it was interesting. I listened to the whole book, wanting to know how this mystery would end. 
There really wasn't much I remember about the book though. If you asked me what it was about, I would say, "a couple of witches fighting something evil while a young boy watched." Seriously. I don't remember the name of the evil or the witches or the boy.

Rating: PG 13
V: Fighting
L: Not that I remember
S: No

The storytelling
The writing

thanks, Audbile!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

INEVITABLE by Tamara Heiner

Visions of death plague Jayne, who thinks watching her boyfriend and sister die is the worst that could happen to her. But when she witnesses a murder, Jayne finds herself caught up in a dangerous world of intrigue and suspense.

As it turns out, she is not the only one doing the stalking. The killer is on to her, and all of her visions of the dying don't reveal how her life will end. Somehow, she must stop the murderer before he arranges Jayne's own inevitable death.

Paperback, 245 pages
Published March 8th 2013 by Tamark Books  
 (first published January 30th 2013) 
First line:
"The smell always hit me first."

I loved the idea of smelling death as lemony in this book. Jayne has the gift, or curse, of 'smelling' death on someone and if she looks into their eyes, she will have a vision of their death. With this gift/curse, one would think they could stop the death but Jayne doesn't have that power, so really, she's powerless.
She hasn't been able to look her sister in the eye since a lemony smell showed up on her not too long ago. How can Jayne know her sisters death when she can't stop it?
Then a cute boy with an accent shows up smelling like lemons. And he's attracted to her. But once she sees his death she doesn't know if she should pursue him or leave him alone because he will die tragically.
And on top of all this angst, Jayne 'sees' a young woman die, who is the victim of a serial killer. When Jayne helps the police sketch a profile of the killer, the killer starts stalking Jayne.
Jayne's relationship with her sister drove me crazy for more than half the book as she chose to avoid and actually snub her. I understood she didn't want to see how her sister died because she couldn't stop the future, but still! Maybe Jayne could lessen any pain? Fear?
And I couldn't figure out why the cute boy kept trying to be friends with Jayne when she kept avoiding his eyes and blowing him off. I think after a couple of times a normal boy would have said forget it.
I had a hard time putting down this book! The story and flow and tension kept me reading, wanting to know if Jayne would be able to save the boy or her sister.  Overall, I'd say this is a book worth reading.

Rating: PG 15
V: Fighting, death
L: No
S: Kissing

The smell of death

The cover

3 1/2 STARS

Friday, October 25, 2013

CURSE OF THE BROOMSTAFF (Janitors #3) by Tyler Whitesides

A secret society of Janitors with wizard-like powers continue their battle, and now, the stakes are even higher. The Bureau of Educational Maintenance is after Alan Zumbro and this time they mean business - deadly business. Spencer, Daisy, and their little team of rebels must find the source of all magical Glop and destroy it before it can destroy the world as we know it. No small task with the BEM and their monster toxites at their heels. It's a wild and dangerous ride as they follow the trail of clues all the way to the hiding place of the mysterious aurans: guardians of a secret landfill. What they discover there will change the way

Spencer sees himself, not to mention the fate of the rebels.

First line:
"Mrs. Natcher's chalk squeaked against the board, and Spencer shuddered at the sound." 

Tyler's writing and books keep getting better and better. Poor Spencer. He's a germaphobe and yet his special abilities take him through garbage and filth and dirt. The characters grow and stretch in this book as they meet more bad guys and few more good ones.

 I loved the beginning:

"Dear Readers,
Here it is: the third installment in the JANITORS series. And I must admit, this is definitely the trashiest book I've ever written. No, literally. This book is full of garbage."

This is a good, clean, fun read. Teachers, librarians? Need a MG book for boys? Janitors! Need a MG book for girls? Janitors!

Rating: PG
V: Fighting 
L: No
S: No

The story
The cover, again!

Am I hearing rumors that there are two more books?? Not that I won't read them...



Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, epic urban fantasy set in a richly imagined world of shadowhunters, vampires, werewolves, fairies, and more, has captured the imaginations and loyalty of hundreds of thousands of YA readers. Originally a trilogy (City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass), the series has extended to six titles, plus a prequel trilogy, the Infernal Devices, and a planned sequel series, the Dark Artifices. A feature film is planned for 2013.

Shadowhunters and Downworlders, edited by Clare (who provides an introduction to the book and to each piece), is a collection of YA authors writing about the series and its world.

Authors Who Contributed:
Holly Black / Kendare Blake / Gwenda Bond / Sarah Rees Brennan / Rachel Caine / Sarah Cross / Kami Garcia / Michelle Hodkin / Kelly Link / Kate Milford / Diana Peterfreund / Sara Ryan / Scott Tracey / Robin Wasserman

Paperback, 198 pages
Published January 29th 2013 by SmartPop 
First line:
"There's a question that every writer both is intimately familiar with and dreads having to answer."
I am one who has really enjoyed the Mortal Instruments series. Therefore, I enjoyed this book with insights and creativity all centered around this book. There were many clever short stories.

Thanks, netgalley

THE LOST PRINCE by Julie Kagawa

  Don’t look at Them. Never let Them know you can see Them.

That is Ethan Chase’s unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he’d dare to fall for.

Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister’s world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.

The last line:

"And for the first time, I wasn't afraid."

The Iron Queen's brother, Ethan, has the Sight and can see the fey. But he knows if they know he can see them they will bother him and his family, even hurt them. But when a friend goes missing, thanks to a ghostly fey, he knows he has to enter their world. And see his sister again even though he's mad at her for leaving his family. But when he has to take someone else with him, the plot thickens. Mackenzie is a friend from school who was being threatened by the ghostly fey so Ethan had no choice but to bring her with him.

But Kenize wasn't friends with him at first. She tried to be but Ethan kept shutting her. He was mean! I'm not sure why she kept coming back to him to talk.

New fairies in this book. New characters and a few old but loved ones too. Ash and Puck have a cameo in this book!

There is one swear word that the main character uses a ton in the beginning then hardly any at all until the end.

And Kenzie uses "tough guy" too much! It was starting to annoy me. It got old.

While I enjoyed this book, this isn't a favorite in the series for me.

Rating: PG13

V: Fighting

L: Swearing

S: Kissing


Another book in one of my favorite series



Poor me! (from Ethan)


Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Publisher’s Weekly says Steve Westover’s “A Nothing Named Silas” falls “somewhere between ‘The Hunger Games’ and Ayn Rand’s ‘Anthem,’” which means it is sure to appeal to Young Adult readers.

The book is Westover’s fifth novel.
Silas doesn’t exist…not really. But neither does anyone else he knows. Bred for a life of Command, Silas’ life is thrown into crisis when he’s drafted into a menial life of Labor instead. Everything he knows about himself is about to be challenged.

When he steps through the entrance of the domed Labor shield and see’s prisoners hanging in cages overhead, Silas’ worst fears are confirmed. What he can’t see is that insurrection is brewing under the shield and the insurgents have devised a role for him to play. Silas must determine which side he will fight for as he learns the truth about who he is and why he was drafted into a life of Labor.

“I think at some point every teenager questions his or her value and wonders about who they really are,” said Westover. “In Silas’ case, the answers are both enlightening and disturbing. I wanted to write an exciting adventure full of political intrigue and self-discovery to show everyone that there is something special in them.”

Readers of all ages are sure to enjoy this dystopian adventure.

Hardcover, 304 pages

Published September 10th 2013 by Sweetwater Books

First line:
"Silas, you know what you've got to do."

This book is like DIVERGENT meets PARTIALS meets POSSESSION.
What a ride.
Sixteen year old Silas has been trained to be strong and win at any cost. In the most important race of his life, the one that will place him in the best 'dome', he loses. Now, instead of living his life in commander, he starts out his life as an abused slave.
Leaders, government, even Silas are not what they appear to be. There are some great twists in this book, twists I did not see coming.
Mr. Westover did a great job with his world building. I liked how Silas was so enthralled with trees and birds because he'd never seen anything outside the dome where he was raised.
This is a dark dystopian read.  I'm actually surprised Cedar Fort published it. This book would fit in nationally.

Rating: PG 16
V: Yes, + one graphic murder scene
L: No
S: Kissing



3 1/2 STARS
Thanks, Netgalley!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

DODGER by Terry Pratchett

A storm. Rain-lashed city streets. A flash of lightning. A scruffy lad sees a girl leap desperately from a horse-drawn carriage in a vain attempt to escape her captors. Can the lad stand by and let her be caught again? Of course not, because he's...Dodger.

Seventeen-year-old Dodger may be a street urchin, but he gleans a living from London's sewers, and he knows a jewel when he sees one. He's not about to let anything happen to the unknown girl--not even if her fate impacts some of the most powerful people in England.

From Dodger's encounter with the mad barber Sweeney Todd to his meetings with the great writer Charles Dickens and the calculating politician Benjamin Disraeli, history and fantasy intertwine in a breathtaking account of adventure and mystery.

Beloved and bestselling author Sir Terry Pratchett combines high comedy with deep wisdom in this tale of an unexpected coming-of-age and one remarkable boy's rise in a complex and fascinating world.

Hardcover, First Edition, 360 pages

Published September 13th 2012 by HarperCollins Publishers 
First line:
"The rain poured down on London so hard that it seemed that it was dancing spray, every raindrop contending with its fellows for supremacy in the air and waiting to splash down."

Three things I loved about DODGER:
1. Dodger
2. Literary characters
3. Words, words, words

We all know the Artful Dodger, friend of Oliver Twist. That sly, cunning boy who can steal anything and can slip through any hole or fingers. In this book we get to read about his life, history and reasoning. Plus, Dodger is a hero! Well, mostly by accident but still.
On a cold and rainy night, a young woman gets pushed into the gutter, where Dodger rescues her. Throughout the book, he tries to solve the mystery of why anyone would kill her. And he gets help from the likes of Charles (of Charlie) Dickens.

Dodger knows many individuals who run the gutter side of London, like toshers (those who scavenge in the sewers). As the story progresses, we meet them too and how this underworld links together. One such being is old Soft Mary who goes to the cemetries at night, collect floral wreaths and carefully unravel them to make nosegays to sell the next day. Dodger thinks it's not very nice of her but this way of life is keeping Soft Mary alive and the dead won't get to smell those flowers anyway.
Dodger also meets Sweeny Todd, the Barber of Seville, who sees the ghosts of soldiers. Dodger actually feels bad for the barber:
"He wasn't a demon, mister, although I reckon he may have seen Hell, and I ain't a hero, sir, I really ain't. He wasn't bad, he was mad, and sad, and lost in his 'ead. That's all of it sir, the up and the down of it, sir."

And the chapter headings were great. Here is Chapter One:
"In which we meet our hero and the hero meets an orphan of the storm and comes face to face with Mister Charlie, a gentleman known as a bit of a scribbler."
Clever, right?

BEFORE you start this book, you need to suspend your disbelief and just enjoy the literary ride.
That being said, I recommend this book but be warned! Be careful if you listen to this book because you might have random outbursts of laughter while say, on a treadmill or stationary bike. Not that I would know...

Rating: PG
V: Some fighting,
L: No
S: No

Chapter headings



Monday, October 14, 2013

FRIENDS AND TRAITORS (Slayers #2) by C.J. Hill

The Slayers – teens who have powers to fight dragons—are back by popular demand in this high-octane sequel, now with a new cover package!

Tori is at a White House dinner party when she hears a horrifying sound: dragon eggs hatching. It means in less than a year, the dragons will be mature and dangerous. The Slayers are well-trained, but their group is not yet complete, and Tori is determined to track down Ryker Davis, the mysterious Slayer who has yet to surface.

What Tori doesn’t bargain for, however, is the surprising truth about her powers: she isn’t a Slayer after all, but a Dragon Lord, with a built-in predisposition to protect dragons, not kill them.
How will she overcome this to save the lives of her friends?

Hardcover, 400 pages

Expected publication: October 15th 2013 by Feiwel & Friends 

First line:
"It would be ironic, Brant Overdrake thought as he paced around the cabin of his jet, for a man who could fly to be killed in a plane crash."

I think I enjoyed this book more than the first, if it's possible to enjoy a second book in a series.
Tori learns she is a dragon slayer and spends the summer training to be one. She falls for Jesse and they seem to hit it off but by the end of the summer, he wants to end it so he doesn't get distracted. So, Tori turns to her counterpart, Dirk, for comfort.
 BUT a crisis interrupts the love triangle in the shape of baby dragons, who will be fully grown in about two years. The Slayers have to learn to work together for the good of the team and America. Unfortunately, there is Dragon Lord and his off spring involved who are determined to kill all the Slayers so the Dragon Lord can take over the world. Who will win? Who will die? And who will Tori end up with??
Hopefully, all questions that will be answered in the next book.

Rating: PG 13
F: Fighting with bad guys and dragons
L: No
S: No


Have to wait for the next book


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

COUNTDOWN by Michelle Rowen

3 seconds left to live.

Once the countdown starts, it cannot be stopped.

2 pawns thrown into a brutal underground reality game.

Kira Jordan survived her family's murder and months on plague-devastated city streets with hard-won savvy and a low-level psi ability. She figures she can handle anything. Until she wakes up in a barren room, chained next to the notorious Rogan Ellis.

1 reason Kira will never, ever trust Rogan. Even though both their lives depend on it.

Their every move is controlled and televised for a vicious exclusive audience. And as Kira's psi skill unexpectedly grows and Rogan's secrets prove ever more deadly, Kira's only chance of survival is to risk trusting him as much as her instincts. Even if that means running head-on into the one trap she can't escape.


First line:
"The lights began to flash and an alarm sounded, so loud that I instinctively clamped my hands over my ears."

Maze Runner meet Hunger Games meet Running Man.
Wow. This book gets going and doesn't stop until the end. There are a few spots where the action slows down but you just know it won't stay down.
Kira and Rogan are the newest contestants on a horrible show called Countdown. There are six levels to get through before dying. Along the way, they get help from unlikely objects and people, some put in their path on purpose, others not so much.
Who is the mastermind behind Countdown? What will it take for him to stop killing people on the show? And why did Kira fall for accused murder Rogan? Those questions will all be answered in the book, so go read it!

Rating: PG 15
V: fighting, deaths, fight-to-the-death game
L: Yes, sprinkled throughout
S: Almost, kissing,


The game
reality TV

Thanks, netgalley!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

CLOCKWORK PRINCESS (The Infernal Devices #3) by Cassandra Clare

A net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute. Mortmain plans to use his Infernal Devices, an army of pitiless automatons, to destroy the Shadowhunters. He needs only one last item to complete his plan: he needs Tessa Gray.

Charlotte Branwell, head of the London Institute, is desperate to find Mortmain before he strikes. But when Mortmain abducts Tessa, the boys who lay equal claim to her heart, Jem and Will, will do anything to save her. For though Tessa and Jem are now engaged, Will is as much in love with her as ever.

As those who love Tessa rally to rescue her from Mortmain’s clutches, Tessa realizes that the only person who can save her is herself. But can a single girl, even one who can command the power of angels, face down an entire army?

Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment, and the tangled threads of love and loss intertwine as the Shadowhunters are pushed to the very brink of destruction in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy.

Hardcover, First Edition, 570 pages

Published March 19th 2013 by Margaret K. McElderry Books (first published 2013)

First line:
"York, 1847
"I'm afraid," said the little girl sitting on the bed."

Three things I liked about this book:
1. Twists
2. Will
3. Surprises

Where does Ms. Clare get all her stories and words? How can she write sooo much and still keep us readers hooked?
My daughter and I read this series rather quickly. I had to wait for her to read this book first! I liked this book the second best with the first one being my favorite.

Why does Mortmain need Tessa? Why diabolical scheme will he use her in? oh. Interesting. ok.
What will happen to Jem? He is dying. Who or what will save him? OH. Really? Hm. Didn't see that one coming. Kinda makes me want to reread Mortal Instruments again.
How will Herondale live without his one true love? Sweet.
Who will save the day? Wow. Cool. Happened quicker than I thought but cool.
Will Cecily get her own story some day?

My daughter loved the series and loved the ending.

Rating: PG 16
L: No
S: Kissing, lusting,

Trying to figure out the different twists

Um, don't hate me, the ending ending


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

CLOCKWORK PRINCE by Cassandra Clare

In magical Victorian London, orphan Tessa found safety with the Shadowhunters, until traitors betray her to the Magister. He wants to marry her, but so do self-destructive Will and fiercely devoted Jem. Mage Magnus Bane returns to help them. Secrets to her parentage lie with the mist-shrouded Yorkshire Institute's aged manager Alyosius Starkweather.

Hardcover, Collector's First Edition, 502 pages

Published 2011 by Simon & Schuster, Margaret K. McElderry

Ms. Clare has quite a way with writing. Scenes, characters, plots, etc. It's hard to put her books down. Even though sometimes I don't enjoy some of the sappy stuff and I tend to skim it. 
About 3/4 of the way into the book I wondered if I would ever read about Mortmain, the bad guy. Where is he? And when oh when will we finally find out what Tessa really is??
Poor Will finally free to tell Tessa he loves her and... then he can't because. 
Jem. Sweet, silver-haired, drug addict Jem. How will Ms. Clare keep him alive? 
And Tessa. Choose.
This book felt more like a bridge book. I have to admit I was disappointed in the way the love triangle played out. We will see what happens in the next book because, yes, I have to finish this series.

Rating: PG 16
V: Fighting, demons
L: Not much
S: Kissing, making out

Love triangle
Not a lot of plot that moves the story along

Listened to this book on audible

3 1/2 STARS

Thursday, September 26, 2013

WONDER by R.J. Palacio

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?

R. J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels.

Hardcover, Books for Young Readers, 315 pages
Published February 14th 2012 by Knopf

First line:
"I know I'm not an ordinary ten-year-old kid."

This is a story that grade school children should read or have read to them. It teaches tolerance, kindness and inclusiveness.
August, or Auggie, was born with a cleft palate and or facial deformities. His mom homeschooled him but in this 5th grade year, they (parents and son) decided to mainstream him. Of course they are all worried. The principal asks a few students to be Auggie's friends and show him around school.  The kids are typical in their reactions and responses to him: shock, surprise, bullying, meanness, ignorance. For the most part, they try to help him and soon Auggie finds he has a couple of good friends.
Through most of the book I was having a hard time sympathizing with Auggie. Perspectives and characters were on the extreme ends, it seemed. Maybe to help middle graders really grasp what is being taught?  As I read I felt talked down to a bit but I think I understood better why as I read.
My favorite scene was the camp scene.
I also enjoyed the chapters that were told from a different perspective.

Rating: PG
V: No
L: No
S: No

The Journey
Teaching without preaching

The beginning

3 1/2 STARS

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

ALL OUR YESTERDAYS (Cassandra Chronicles #1) by Cristin Terrill

You have to kill him." Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.

Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was.

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

Hardcover, 368 pages

Expected publication: September 3rd 2013 by Disney Hyperion

First line:
"I stare at the drain in the center of the concrete floor."

3 things about this book:

1. Time travel
2. List
3. Triangles

Time travel blows my mind. This book wasn't too much over the top trying to explain what time travel is all about. James is smart, talented and driven. He has lost too many people in his life and wants to find a way to change the past. Time travel is the answer since he has come up with a formula.
Marina and James have been neighbors, and friends, since they were young. Marina wonders how long she's been in love with him. And what she will do to protect and help him. Even going back in time to save him. Armed with a list of... I can't tell you because it would spoil the story. :)
Finn is a friend of James. Marina doesn't like Finn because he makes James attention divided between the two of them.
But the past can change a person and the future isn't always kind. Some say a monster and a saint lurks inside of us all, but it's the one we feed that thrives. This story shows clearly how greed and love and pain can change what we were because of the beast we feed. Love triangles, futuristic triangles, and plot triangles weave throughout the book. I liked how it didn't take until the end of the book to figure out the bad guy.
It was hard to put this book down. This book is not a standalone but it wasn't a cliffhanger. I felt the ending was solid.

Rating: PG 15
V: Fighting, someone getting tazed, threatening to kill,
S: kissing
L: Some swearing, a couple of "F" bombs

Interesting storyline

*sigh* it's a trilogy

Thanks, Netgalley

Monday, September 23, 2013

THE ORIGINALS by Cat Patrick

17-year-olds Lizzie, Ella, and Betsey Best grew up as identical triplets... until they discovered a shocking family secret. They're actually closer than sisters, they're clones. Hiding from a government agency that would expose them, the Best family appears to consist of a single mother with one daughter named Elizabeth. Lizzie, Ella, and Betsey take turns going to school, attending social engagements, and a group mindset has always been a de facto part of life...

Then Lizzie meets Sean Kelly, a guy who seems to see into her very soul. As their relationship develops, Lizzie realizes that she's not a carbon copy of her sisters; she's an individual with unique dreams and desires, and digging deeper into her background, Lizzie begins to dismantle the delicate balance of an unusual family that only science could have created.

First line:
"My part is first half."

How would you like to be a set of triplets who were identical but you really weren't triplets but three different people who had to act/dress/date like one person and really you were a clone?
That's what I thought.
The mind reels with the possibilities and implications of illegal human cloning. In this story, many lives are touched, and torn, by this science.
There are three girls whose mom have taken them deep into hiding to get away from "them" meaning the government. In order to protect the girls, they have to act like one person. One person doesn't stand out but three do, obviously. One girl takes the morning shift and goes to school for a few periods, the next finish school and the third goes to night school.
Then there is the mystery of how or who created them. And why?

V: No
L: No
S: Kissing

Unique story

Hurried or let down ending? I can't decide.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


From the After Life, ten-year-old Andy Smithson’s relatives initiated a curse 500 years ago. Now they no longer agree it should continue and one is willing to sacrifice Andy’s life to end it. Unaware of the disagreement and with no say in the matter, Andy is unexpectedly and magically transported from his home. He finds himself in the Land of Oomaldee, facing mortal danger at every turn as he seeks to find a scale from a rare red dragon, the most ferocious of dragon species, to break the curse and save his life.

First line:
As soon as Imogenia died, the spirits that manage new arrivals escorted her to the terminal just inside the cemetery grounds in the land of Oomaldee."

 Dragons, magic and time travel. This book has everything a middle grade reader, especially a boy, will love!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

OUTPOST (Razorland #2) by Ann Aguirre

Deuce’s whole world has changed.

Down below, she was considered an adult. Now, topside in a town called Salvation, she’s a brat in need of training in the eyes of the townsfolk. She doesn't fit in with the other girls: Deuce only knows how to fight.

To make matters worse, her Hunter partner, Fade, keeps Deuce at a distance. Her feelings for Fade haven’t changed, but he seems not to want her around anymore. Confused and lonely, she starts looking for a way out.

Deuce signs up to serve in the summer patrols—those who make sure the planters can work the fields without danger. It should be routine, but things have been changing on the surface, just as they did below ground. The Freaks have grown smarter. They’re watching. Waiting. Planning. The monsters don’t intend to let Salvation survive, and it may take a girl like Deuce to turn back the tide.

Hardcover, 317 pages

Published September 4th 2012 by Feiwel & Friends

First line:
"I woke to the cold kiss of steel on my throat."

I'm not sure why I picked this series up. I'm not really a zombie person. I haven't really enjoyed the zombie books or movies. I think I'm drawn to the worlds in Ms. Aguirre's stories and how each place functions and survives, their rules and order.
Deuce was born underground in tunnels. It was a harsh environment. In order to survive you had to be able to literally look death in the face. You had to be able to kill. Deuce became a Huntress at fifteen. Her job was to patrol for Freaks (zombies) and kill them.
Something happened and Deuce and her hunting partner, Fade, had to leave the Enclave and go Topside. They had obstacles and adventures and almost died and were saved and in OUPOST, they live in a town called Salvation.
In Salvation you don't have to fight to live. Everyone has a house and plenty of food. Behind their wood walls, they feel safe from the Muties (zombies). Deuce tries to fit in. She's given dresses to wear and her foster mom, Momma Oaks, braids her hair. And Deuce is expected to go to school. But Deuce isn't cut out to be a girlie girl or sit quietly in a school room. She is trained to fight and that is what she wants to do. BUT their are townspeople who think Deuce is trouble and bringing sin and punishment on their town. 
Deuce grows and changes and becomes better throughout the story, especially in matters of the heart. She has a lot of hard choices to make too but she stays true to her character. There was some parts that she kept going over and over how she's an outcast and she's trying to fit in; it got a little annoying but nothing major.
Fade and Stalker are interesting characters and it was intriguing to read about them and their choices.
And the zombies! Interesting, interesting. I really can't wait to see how this series ends with HORDE this October.

Rating: PG 15
V: fighting zombies, blood and gore, brutal killings
L: No
S: lots of kissing

World building
Momma Oaks
A good second book in trilogy

Constantly reminding reader of her being outcast


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

JELLICOE ROAD by Melina Marchetta

Abandoned by her mother on Jellicoe Road when she was eleven, Taylor Markham 17, finally confronts her past. Hannah, the closest adult she has to family, disappears. Jonah Griggs, moody stares and all, is back in town. If Taylor can put together the pieces of her past, she might just be able to change her future.

First line:
"My father took one hundred and thirty-two minutes to die."

Three things I liked about this book:
1. Relationships
2. Jonah Griggs
3. Ending

Told in two narratives: one earlier, one twenty-two years later,  I was emotionally drawn into the story of five kids tied by tragedy and of Taylor Markham. I was also confused in the beginning trying to figure out where everyone fit in but it worked. I loved it.
First person was a good choice for this story. Taylor had a strong voice and emotions. I loved her tough girl persona and her weaknesses. All the characters were strong and weak. Ben, Raffy, Santangelo, Jessa, they are in our schools and neighborhoods. And best friends. After reading this I wanted a group of best friends, like Tate and Narnie and Jude had. Jude. Love that name and character (Jude Law might be influencing my love of the name). 
Jonah was not the typical boy with a dark past character. He does have a dark past but he is also vulnerable and sweet. I liked the way he took care of Taylor.
So many books feel rushed at the end but this one built up and finished well--all loose ends tied up, almost all the stories were told and finished up.

I have to admit I was moved to tears a couple of times reading this book. This doesn't happen to me often. There were also plenty of times that I giggled.

Rating: PG 16
V: No
L: Swearing
S: Kissing, reference to sex

Generational mystery
Cover significance 
Jonah Griggs
Solid ending


4 1/2 STARS

Saturday, September 7, 2013

JACOB OF AVONDALE by P. Craig Packer

 The king’s servant, Jacob, makes a shocking discovery in a secret room. What he finds could change his life forever. Witness the transformation of a commoner into a conqueror in Jacob of Avondale.
As Jacob reached the top of the staircase with the tray of soiled food still in hand, he heard a strange whispering coming from the room near the far end of the hall. In all of the years that Jacob had been a servant in the castle, he had never seen the inside of that room. He saw the court jester standing near the far wall with his back to the door. The little man seemed to be profoundly captivated by something and was whispering in an eerie, monotone voice.

The tyrannical reign of King Humphrey and Queen Millicent has inspired growing discontent among the people of Avondale. Few hold out hope for any change.

The king’s servant Jacob, an orphan who’s seen little beyond the castle walls, makes a shocking discovery in a secret room. What he finds could change his life and the future of Avondale forever. Jacob’s newly acquired treasure launches an epic journey for him and his friends, Princess Catherine, Raoul, and Elizabeth.

To restore the kingdom to its former glory, he’ll need to locate the five missing components of an ancient artifact. Along the way, he must defeat ferocious beasts, summit mountains, and journey to the depths of a vast and frigid lake if his expedition is to be successful.

But is a lowly servant up to such a task? Witness the transformation of a commoner into a conqueror in Jacob of Avondale

First line:
“You pick that up right now!” echoed the queen’s voice from down the long, dimly lit hallway as she disappeared around the corner.

V:Some fighting



CLOCKWORK ANGEL(The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare

Orphan Tessa Gray, sixteen, crosses the ocean from New York to find her brother Nate in Victorian London, her only possession a clockwork angel necklace from her mother. She is ignorant of her power to transform; the Dark sisters are not. They kidnap her for the Magister, who wants to marry Tessa and claim her power.

Shadowhunters, warriors of angel blood, battle demons and keep the peace in the Downworld of vampires, warlocks and other supernaturals. Orphan teen Shadowhunters Jem, Will, and Jess rescue Tessa and agree to help save Nate. Vengeful vampire Lady Camille Belcourt and her current lover, warlock Magnus Bane provide entrée to the Magister's secret Pandemonium Club.

First line:
"London, April 1878. The demon exploded in an shower of and guts."

How? How does Ms. Clare keep me reading her books? Sigh.

Rating: PG 13
S: No. Tensions
L: No
V: Fighting, intense images of death and paranormals




Tuesday, September 3, 2013

THE ROSE THRONE by Mette Ivie Harrison

Richly-imagined fantasy romance from the author of Princess and the Hound, a tale of two princesses--one with magic, one with none--who dare seek love in a world where real choice can never be theirs. For fans of Megan Whalen Turner, Catherine Fisher, and Cassandra Clare.

Ailsbet loves nothing more than music; tall and red-haired, she's impatient with the artifice and ceremony of her father's court. Marissa adores the world of her island home and feels she has much to offer when she finally inherits the throne from her wise, good-tempered father. The trouble is that neither princess has the power--or the magic--to rule alone, and if the kingdoms can be united, which princess will end up ruling the joint land? For both, the only goal would seem to be a strategic marriage to a man who can bring his own brand of power to the throne. But will either girl be able to marry for love? And can either of these two princesses, rivals though they have never met, afford to let the other live?

First line:
""Princess Ailsbet, you father demands you attendance at court this morning," said Duke Kellin of Falcorn, bowing."

This is a story of magic and romance and palace intrigue. Two princesses, from two different kingdoms might be the only chance the countries have of uniting, both in their magic and their lands. Both are betrothed and one falls in love with the wrong man. 
The story is told from two different view points: Ailsbet and Marissa. One has the appropriate magic and one supposedly has none. How will this affect relationships?
This is a quick, clean read. The characters were pretty well written. I wanted to slap the prince or at least put him in time out; the king is a bully; both princesses are strong and weak in their own ways. Kellin could have been fleshed out.
I could not understand the magic system for a long time. I wish that would have been explained a little more.

Rated: PG
V: Poisonings 
L: No
S: Kissing

Duke Kellin




Thursday, August 29, 2013


Max Starling's theatrical father likes to say that at twelve a boy is independent. He also likes to boast (about his acting skills, his wife's acting skills, a fortune only his family knows is metaphorical), but more than anything he likes to have adventures. Max Starling's equally theatrical mother is not a boaster but she enjoys a good adventure as much as her husband. When these two disappear, what can sort-of-theatrical Max and his not-at-all theatrical grandmother do? They have to wait to find out something, anything, and to worry, and, in Max's case, to figure out how to earn a living at the same time as he maintains his independence. This is the first of three books, all featuring the mysterious Mister Max.
Hardcover, 1st ed, 400 pages
Expected publication: September 10th 2013 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

First line:
"On a bright Sunday morning in the early years of the last century, a bellhop from the Hotel Excelsior knocked at the front door of 5 Thieves Alley, the home of William and Mary Starling of the Starling Theatrical Company, and their son, Maximilian."

A rollicking good story with mystery and solutions.
Max's parents left him while they went to live in a palace and perform. Well, Max was left accidentally. Luckily, Max's grandma lived just behind the Starling's home and was there to help Max not be a loner at the age of twelve.
Middle grade readers will enjoy this book with Max as the main character. His partner later in the book is Pia and she's a fun and fast-talking partner to Max who isn't a detective but finds solutions to problems.
Max's parents are well-known actors and own their own company and theater. When Max is left to almost live on his own, he has access to his father's costumes and acts the parts that he has seen so many times. When he needs to be a detective, he wears a certain costume or when he needs to look the part of a teacher, he wears those clothes that suit the situation.
And Max is able to solve several mysteries with his quick thinking and smarts. It was fun to try and guess the outcome of the mysteries. This is why I know middle grade readers and up will enjoy this book. It might also be fun as a book to read out loud.
This is the first book in the series and has a cliffhanger.

Rating: G
V: No
S: No
L: No


Adults who couldn't see past Max's costumes (I do realize this is MG and will appeal to MG readers)

Thanks, netgalley!


Monday, August 26, 2013

MRS. POE by Lynn Cullen

A vivid and compelling novel about a woman who becomes entangled in an affair with Edgar Allan Poe—at the same time she becomes the unwilling confidante of his much-younger wife.

It is 1845, and Frances Osgood is desperately trying to make a living as a writer in New York; not an easy task for a woman—especially one with two children and a philandering portrait painter as her husband. As Frances tries to sell her work, she finds that editors are only interested in writing similar to that of the new renegade literary sensation Edgar Allan Poe, whose poem, “The Raven” has struck a public nerve.

She meets the handsome and mysterious Poe at a literary party, and the two have an immediate connection. Poe wants Frances to meet with his wife since she claims to be an admirer of her poems, and Frances is curious to see the woman whom Edgar married.

As Frances spends more and more time with the intriguing couple, her intense attraction for Edgar brings her into dangerous territory. And Mrs. Poe, who acts like an innocent child, is actually more manipulative and threatening than she appears. As Frances and Edgar’s passionate affair escalates, Frances must decide whether she can walk away before it’s too late...

Set amidst the fascinating world of New York’s literati, this smart and sexy novel offers a unique view into the life of one of history’s most unforgettable literary figures.

Hardcover, 336 pages

Expected publication: October 1st 2013 by Gallery Books (first published September 10th 2013)

First line
"When given bad news, most women of my station can afford to slump onto their divans, their china cups slipping from their fingers to the carpet, their hair falling prettily from its pins, their fourteen starched petticoats compacting with a plush crunch."

Three things about this book:
1. Depressing
2. Bleak
3. Edgar Allen Poe

Franny's husband has left her alone in the world with no money and two children. A dear friend invites Franny's little family to live with them. Someone in society has decided to put on artistic gatherings where rich and poor alike can mingle and enjoy educational presentations. Franny goes and there she meets the mystery author of "THE RAVEN" whom everyone raves about.
Franny soon falls in love with "Eddie" who happens to be married. It seems he shares her affections. And while they try to be discreet with their outward demonstrations, many see through their hidings, even Poe's wife. 
Ms. Cullen had a good way of keeping the reader wondering about the sanity of the main three characters. I was also pulled in by the literary scene in New York 1845. Franny drops names through out the story from this era (like Louisa May Alcott), which I thought was fun. But overall, this book is a bit depressing. No one really gets what they want.
The ending was sad but justified.
Readers have to remember that this story is fiction, so take it all with a grain of salt.

Rating: PG 17
L: No
S: Kissing, affair
V: No

Interesting story


31/2 STARS

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

NOWHERE GIRL by A.J. Paquette

Luchi Ann only knows a few things about herself: she was born in a prison in Thailand. Her American mother was an inmate there. And now that her mother has died, Luchi must leave the only place she's ever known and set out into the world. Neither at home as a Thai, because of her fair skin and blond hair, nor as a foreigner, because of her knowledge of Thai life and traditions, Luchi feels as though she belongs nowhere. But as she embarks on an amazing adventure-a journey spanning continents and customs, harrowing danger and exhilarating experiences-she will find the family, and the home, she's always dreamed of. Weaving intricate elements of traditional Thailand into a modern-day fairy tale unique unto itself, Nowhere Girl is a beautifully rendered story of courage, resilience, and finding the one place where you truly belong.

First line:
"For the first time in days, I hear voices."

Luchi is born in a Thai prison to an American mother who is hiding from her past. Her mother dies and Luchi has to go into the world, by herself (that was disturbing to me. A little girl, alone in Thailand??). But the warden's son takes her to Bankock, where Luchi claims her family lives. There are obstacles along the way, which are sometimes conventiently taken care of.
People also showed up who helped and hindered Luchi. And sometimes that help was convenient too.
The ending felt too quick and, uh, well, convenient. It was a happy ending.
BUT this is a good book! Ms. Paquette has a beautiful writing style. I did enjoy it and I know middle grade readers would enjoy it as well.

Rated: PG
V: No
S: No
L: No

Book Cover
Luchi's growth

Last confrontation

Monday, August 19, 2013

HOW TO DELIVER A TED TALK by Jeremey Donovan

How To Deliver A TED Talk" is a complete guide for creating presentations that inspire others through your story. Based on intensive study of the most popular TEDTalks, this step-by-step playbook shows you how to select your topic, craft your narrative, master your delivery, and refine your design.

First line:
"Spread your ideas"

Good book with tips to help anyone deliver a good and motivating talk. A quick read.

Thanks to netgalley


Wednesday, August 14, 2013


For Charli Blake, being seventeen is a tough gig.
She's been branded a troublemaker, her reputation is in tatters and she's stuck in Pipers Cove, a speck of a town on the coast of Tasmania.
Thankfully, it's temporary. Her lifelong dream of travelling the world is just months away from becoming reality. All she has to do is ride out the last few months of high school, which is easier said than done thanks to a trio of mean girls known as The Beautifuls.
When Adam Décarie arrives in town, all the way from New York, life takes an unexpected turn. His arrival sets off a chain of events that alters her life forever, convincing her of one thing. Fate brought him to her.
Saving Wishes is the story of a girl who doesn't quite fit the life she's living, and the boy who helps her realise why.

First line: 
"Alex, my brother, sometimes calls me wicked."

Charli wants to leave her home as soon as she graduates. The island she lives on is too small for her adventurous soul. She doesn't see herself as talented and yet, one of her pictures brings a stunning man, Adam, to the island.
Adam and Charli hit it off quick and hard and fast. Too fast for me. Adam seemed to stablize Charli even as you tried to resist the pull.
Charli's brother has taken care of her since their mother died. He owns a diner where Charli and her friend work. 
Charli made a big mistake when she was younger and some of her peers won't let her forget it. And they are jealous of the attention Adam is giving to her. 
All of these plots weave in and out of the story as we read about Charli, her actions and decisions. And her best choice comes at the end of the book. She makes an unselfish/selfish decision. 

Rating: PG 16
S: innuendos, kissing, making out,
V: bullies
L: A few words

Charli's spunk
Book cover

love at first sight
Weird familial twist

Thanks to netgalley for the copy