Saturday, December 31, 2011

Review: Goliath


Title: Goliath
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Published: 2011 by Simon & Schuster
Version: Hardcover
Obtained: Bought

Alek and Deryn are aboard the Leviathan when the ship is ordered to pick up an unusual passenger. This brilliant/maniacal inventor claims to have a weapon called Goliath that can end the war. But whose side is he really on?

While on their top-secret mission, Alek finally discovers Deryn’s deeply kept secret. Two, actually. Not only is Deryn a girl disguised as a guy . . . she has feelings for Alek.

The crown, true love with a commoner, and the destruction of a great city all hang on Alek’s next – and final – move.

First Sentence:
"'Siberia,’ Alek said. The word slipped cold and hard from his tongue, as forbidding as the landscape passing below."


WARNING!!! THIS BE THE THIRD/LAST IN A TRILOGY. THEREFORE, IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE OTHER TWO, THIS REVIEW WILL PROBABLY RUIN SOME THINGS FOR YOU. IT MIGHT NOT. BUT I’M WARNING YOU REGARDLESS.

Amazing. I just love this series.

The storyline in this book was a bit more complicated, but it was just as exciting and compelling as the previous two installments. I don’t want to get too much into the plot, because it’s very intricate and hard to summarize, but basically, Alek struggles with deciding who to support and what to do about the war. Deryn continues to try and keep her secret, but wants to tell Alek. Yet they are both doing their part to end the war, everything they can.

When the inevitable moment of Alek learning about Deryn’s true identity came, I was worried it would happen in a oh-you’re-a-girl-well-i-guess-that’s-okay way or in a YOU’RE-A-GIRL?-I-HATE-YOU-DON’T-TALK-TO-ME-AGAIN way. But it wasn’t either. I thought it was incredibly realistic (not that it’s something that happens often in reality).

Throughout this series, the reader becomes very attached to the characters. Especially to Deryn and Alek, as we live in their world, face their issues, and become friends with them. Alek has matured from a snobby annoying prince into a well-rounded young man who is figuring out his life. Deryn has become more smart and confident throughout her journey as a boy. She’s come to figure herself out more. Together they are completely perfect. Best friends, and they like each other.

One thing I have immensely enjoyed about the Leviathan Trilogy is the artwork. Keith Thompson’s drawings are a fantastic addition to the story, and I love that Westerfeld decided to include actual imagery in his series.

It’s always hard to see an incredible book series come to a close. It’s very difficult to accept that Deryn and Alek’s story is over.

But wait!

Scott Westerfeld wrote a little “author-fic” on his blog: http://scottwesterfeld.com/blog/2011/12/bonus-goliath-chapter-and-art/
He realized we needed more than the ending he gave us. So if you’ve read Goliath, go read the bonus chapter! It’s great.

I have simply loved this series. Scott Westerfeld is incredible. The Uglies series is amazing, and so is this series. If you haven’t read these yet, you need to. Now. :)


Content Warning: Nothing I can think of.

Rating:

5 Pigs

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Monday, December 26, 2011

In My Mailbox (3)

Hey, I had too many to make a simple post about, so I did another video “In My Mailbox”.
Enjoy!


Here is the list of books:

In the Mail:
First Date - Krista McGee

Library:
Torrent - Lisa T. Bergren
The Name of the Star - Maureen Johnson
Variant - Robison Wells
The Agency: A Spy in the House - Y.S. Lee

December Scholastic Book Fair:
The Waterless Sea - Kate Constable
The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
Devastation - Gloria Skurzynski
Unwind - Neal Shusterman
Birthmarked - Caragh M. O'Brien
A Crack in the Sky - Mark Peter Hughes
Dark Life - Kat Falls
Ship Breaker - Paolo Bacigalupi
Thirteenth Child - Patricia C. Wrede

Christmas Gifts:
Journey to the River Sea - Eva Ibbotson
Ruined - Paula Morris
Fever Crumb - Philip Reeve
Between Shades of Gray - Ruta Sepetys
The Lost Hero - Rick Riordan


- Sorry for continually repeating "I've heard good things about this book" and "I'm really excited about this book". I TRULY am excited about ALL of them....and I couldn't think of any other ways of saying that. :)

Thanks for watching!!
You can subscribe to my youtube channel:
http://www.youtube.com/user/pinkapig?feature=watch

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Review: Pride & Popularity


Title: Pride & Popularity
Author: Jenni James
Published: 2011 by Inkberry Press
Version Read: Paperback
Obtained: Won in Goodreads Giveaway

Chloe Elizabeth Hart despises the conceited antics of the popular crowd, or more importantly, one very annoying self-possessed guy, Taylor Anderson, who seems determined to make her the president of his fan club! As if! Every girl in the whole city of Farmington, New Mexico, is in love with him, but he seems to be only interested in Chloe. This modern high school adaptation of Pride and Prejudice is a battle of wits as Chloe desperately tries to remain the only girl who can avoid the inevitable falling for Taylor.

First Sentence:
"'Taylor Anderson is the hottest guy ever!' Madison said as she leaned in closer to me to catch a better view of him moving across the concrete basketball court in our local park."


Reading this book was like sipping lemonade in hammock on a lovely, not-sweltering, summer day. It was just so refreshingly sweet. Also it’s a modern adaption of Pride & Prejudice,  so it wins.

Chloe has been avoiding Taylor Anderson since she moved to town. Their first encounter was slightly embarrassing, causing her to realize that he was a no-good, vain, overly flirtatious, popular boy. As for Taylor, well he feels pressured to maintain his status as most-desirable by constantly having a girlfriend and being the stereotypical popular kid. Taylor flirts with Chloe, assuming he’ll get the same results as with everyone else, but she surprises him by ignoring and basically loathing him. All in all, we have the two main characters from Pride & Prejudice, including Charlotte, Mr. Collins, Jane, Mr. Bingley, Mr. Wickham, Lydia, Georgiana, Miss Bingley, Lady Catherine, etc, who all are represented in the amazing side characters.

Aside from my love-hate relationship with the cover (the picture is too close up for me…), I adored this book. I loved Taylor and Chloe, who so perfectly embodied the famous characters of Darcy and Elizabeth. One of my absolutely favorite things when reading an adaption is trying to figure out who stands for whom, and this book kept me guessing. I LOVED the way Mr. Collins was depicted! PERFECT modern version of him!

You should definitely go read this, as it is entertaining, adorable, and just CUTE. Therefore, go forth and find it. :)


Content Warnings: Kissing, possibly some mild language (I can’t remember).

Rating:

4 Pigs

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Review: Dark Mirror


Title:
Dark Mirror
Author: M. J. Putney
Published: 2011 by St. Martin’s Press
Version Read: Paperback
Obtained: Bought

At sixteen, Lady Victoria Mansfield, youngest daughter of the earl and countess of Fairmount, is destined for a charmed life and her choice of mates worthy of her status. Then she makes a terrifying discovery that will ruin her life and disgrace her family forever. Tory’s blood is tainted . . . by magic.

When a shocking accident forces Tory to reveal her despised skill, she is immediately exiled to Lackland Abbey, a reform school for young men and women in her position. Tory’s greatest wish is to be cured so she can return home and perhaps recover some of her shattered life.

Instead, curiosity and the lure of magic lead Tory to rebel students who have pledged their talents to protect England. As she joins them in their secret studies, she discovers her full powers – and is drawn to the handsome, enigmatic young Marquis of Allarde. But Allarde’s reserve and haunting secret keep him away, though she can see equal longing in his eyes.

Then Tory’s pledge sweeps her and her friends into a perilous world of danger, challenge, and a triumph that saves Britain from conquest. Can danger also bring Tory and Allarde together, despite all that stands between them?

First Sentence:
"Lady Victoria Mansfield flew high, high over her family’s estate."


I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Let me count the ways!
  1. Tory was an amazing protagonist. She’s smart, strong, and yet still vulnerable. In the beginning she was so brainwashed by her society, that she didn’t even consider the idea that magic could be good.
  2. The main idea of high society considering magic as disgraceful was very creative. I loved the short prologue that revealed why magic was decided to be a lower class thing. In most any book concerning magic, it is usually the coveted thing. If people get grumpy about magic, it’s usually because they’re jealous or something, but here, magic was looked down upon. It was considered a complete curse, even though the kid couldn’t help having the different talents.
  3. The time-traveling aspect. I loved that the mirror wasn’t considered something “cool”, it was scary and frustrating, but sadly needed. Time-travel is always fun, and I loved watching the characters have to get used to the clothing styles, the technology, and everything. :)
  4. Cynthia, Elspeth, Nick, Polly, Miss Wheaton, Mrs. Rainford and all the supporting characters were each unique and fascinating. Cynthia was a bit annoying, but you got used to her. Elspeth has this amazing quiet strength, Nick and Polly are so darn brave, and the two women are so loving towards these kids they love.

There is one little-itty-bitty thing I didn’t completely love: Allarde.
Before you freak out on me, let me explain myself.
I think the synopsis thingy sets up their relationship very differently than it truly is. It’s more of a “oh that guy is hot” thing on her side, and then for him, he’s just distant, aside from showing more interest in her than any other girl (when I say “interest”, I mean talking to her like twice). Then later on he reveals his “secret” to her. I don’t really know what I’m trying to say about this except that I feel the last couple sentences of the synopsis set their relationship up like a star-crossed lovers thing, and it isn’t. I like him, I like her, I like them together. But it isn’t some CRAZY romance. It’s just normal.

All in all, it was rather great, and I hope to get the sequel, Dark Passage, soon.


Content Warnings: Mild language, kissing.

Rating:

4 Pigs

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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Review: Cascade


Title: Cascade
Author: Lisa T. Bergren
Published: 2011 by David C. Cook
Obtained: Library

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

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

First Sentence:
"Mom freaked out when she saw us, of course."


WARNING, IF YOU HAVEN’T READ WATERFALL YET, DON’T READ THIS, AS THIS IS A REVIEW OF A SECOND BOOK IN A SERIES!!
Here is my review of the first book:
Waterfall Review

This series just keeps getting better and better.
I have yet to read the last book, Torrent, but if this one is any indication, the third one should be stunningly amazing.

Continuing exactly where the first one left off, Gabi and Lia convince their mother to return to the past with them. Showing up months later, they realize the battles are still far from over, and there is betrayal in the ranks. Also, Gabi and Marcello work out their relationship, which has some issues that should be obvious: they are from completely different time periods.

If I could pick one aspect of this series that I adore, it would be the “epic” adventures. They start so innocently. “Let’s go watch a soldier get reunited with his family!” Complications arise, they rush off to one place, more complications, leave that place, split up, run away, hide out, get caught, run away, split up, get caught, rescued, fight to escape, run back . . . and what? MORE COMPLICATIONS! Before you realize it, almost the entire book has gone by and the entire adventure was based off of one little expedition. IT’S CRAZY! But completely awesome. This chain reaction style adventure is addicting, you can’t stop reading because from that one moment, everything changes and everything is at stake.

My one issue with this series is the Lia-Luca thread. I love her. I love Luca. I love her and Luca together. I probably love them more than Gabi and Marcello. The author is obviously trying to continue their relationship and make it’s developments of interest to the reader, but it’s difficult with the first-person narrative of Gabi. As a reader, I want to enjoy the moments in Luca and Lia’s relationship, but it’s impossible when we’re just with Gabi. Gabi and Marcello step out on Lia and Luca “to give them some time alone.” WELL DARN. Because I wanted to see what happened there.
I’m thinking that the way to fix this little problem would have been to either have multiple narrators, both girls narrate alternating chapters, or have switched up the narrators each book. But at the same time, I wouldn’t have liked that too much because Gabi does all the interesting stuff.
If I’m remembering correctly, I do believe that Lia and Luca will have their own little book series soon, and that makes me extremely happy. Finish up this Marcello/Gabi thing and move on to the other couple.

All in all, this was a completely fantastic book, even better than the first one. I can’t wait to get the third one from the library.


Content Warnings: Kissing

Rating:

4 Pigs

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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Review: One Night That Changes Everything


Title: One Night That Changes Everything
Author: Lauren Barnholdt
Published: 2010 by Simon & Schuster
Obtained: Library

Eliza is in a full-blown panic. Her notebook has been stolen – the one that lists everything she wants but is afraid to go after. And the absolute worst person in the world has it: her ex-boyfriend, Cooper.

Like it’s not bad enough that Cooper was lying to Eliza for their entire relationship – now he and his friends are blackmailing her. They’re giving her just one night to complete the most humiliating tasks on her list or they’ll post her secrets online – including the ones that aren’t just about her.

Eliza’s sure of only one thing: she isn’t going down without a fight. Cooper may have what’s left of her dignity, but she’s not the only one with something to hide . . .

First Sentence:
"I lose everything. Keys, my wallet, money, library books."


I’m actually surprised that I enjoyed this book. I picked it up because I heard a couple good things about it, the front flap description sounded interesting, and it was short.

This book was my Halloween night. Reluctantly, I decided that 17 is too old to trick-or-treat, so my evening consisted of me reading this book in a living room chair and getting up every 2 seconds to give candy to un-costumed teenagers with backpacks. (What do they think this is? Free-candy-hand-out-day? And yeah, my neighborhood might be a little ghetto, but can they not just put a dumb sports jersey on or something? It’s not that difficult to make a little effort and actually be deserving of getting candy. I love questioning the obviously un – costumed ones: “And what are you dressed as?” “Uhh, you know, myself!” “Fine. HAVE some candy.”) There were some cute costumed kids also.
Anywho, I finished this book in that one night.

The tale of Eliza is an inspiring and meaningful tale of reaching deep inside and facing your fears. Eliza has one crazy night, during which she must accomplish brave feats such as karaoke, swimsuit pictures, kissing boys, and the like. *gasp* During her perilous adventures she learns a lot about her friends, her ex-boyfriend, and herself.

That sounded so sarcastic, but I didn’t hate it. I enjoyed it for what it essentially is: a fluffy, contemporary, fast-paced novel with some cheese.

Eliza was pretty annoying. It wasn’t just her character flaws, which she had to rise above, it was her strange personality. She was just … a weird person. I mean, she was relatable on occasion, but usually I was confused by her choices.

I loved that her two friends, Clarice and Marissa, were well-rounded side-characters. We learn about their personal issues, and I was very interested in seeing their outcome would in the story.
It’s almost like there are three main characters and that you just have the first person narrative of one of them. I cared just as much about Marissa and Clarice doing the right things, as I did about Eliza.

As for Cooper, I could totally tell he was nice from the beginning-ish, but Eliza was blinded by her hate. Shame.

This is a great one-night-read, because well, the story is all in one night, so that’s appropriate. Also the fast pace and short size make it easy to read in one night. Don’t go in expecting a mind-blowing plot, but it’s a cute story.


Content Warning: Language, kissing, mention of sex, etc.

Rating:

3 Pigs

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

In My Mailbox (2)

What I Received (all written out for easy reference):

Giveaway Prizes:
Life on Hold – Karen McQuestion
Favorite – Karen McQuestion

Older Library Trip:
Ripple – Mandy  Hubbard
Birthmarked – Caragh M. O’Brien
Boston Jane – Jennifer L. Holm

Monday (11/28/11) Library Trip:
Girl of Fire and Thorns – Rae Carson
Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
Miss Match – Erynn Mangum
Wisdom’s Kiss – Catherine Gilbert Murdock

What did you get this week? :)

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door


Title:
Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Published:
Obtained: Library

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood. 
When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

First Sentence:
"I have three simple wishes. They’re really not too much to ask."


Even though I didn’t like Anna and the French Kiss all that much, I took a chance and went ahead and read Lola and the Boy Next Door. It completely exceeded my expectations. I was expecting something more similar to Anna, and instead got something more similar to a lot of YA “chick lit” . . .  and actually liked it more for that!

Lola is a good kid. She doesn’t get in trouble, doesn’t do drugs or alcohol, etc. Her only “rebellion” is her boyfriend, Max, who’s 5 years older than her. Her two dads (yep, gay parents, who reminded me of Cameron and Mitchell from Modern Family) do not like him. LONG STORY SHORT, the boy she’s liked since forever, Cricket Bell, has come back to town and now she’s got to figure out how to handle the situation.

Honestly, I just loved that this story wasn’t as complicated, long, and difficult, as Anna’s. I loved that I could predict the ending. I loved Lola’s fashion sense. I loved Cricket for everything. I loved Anna and Etienne’s little side character roles. I loved her detective-story-obsessed best friend.

I wish I grew up with a friend living in a room right across from me. How cool would that have been? VERY.

So although this was predictable and sugary sweet, I loved many aspects of this story. With her talent for unique, realistic, amazing characters, Perkins can make any story a great read, and I just appreciated this one more than her last one. Keep writing!


Content Warnings: Language, kissing, sexual situations/comments

Rating:

4 Pigs

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Review: All These Things I’ve Done


Title:
All These Things I’ve Done
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Series: Birthright #1
Published: 2011 by Farrar Straus Giroux
Obtained: Library

In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city's most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.'s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidently poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she's to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight--at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family.

First Sentence:
"The night before junior year – I was sixteen, barely – Gable Arsley said he wanted to sleep with me."


What a beginning, huh? From the first sentence I was hooked. Is this girl a bit … loose? Does she say yes? What kind of guy is this Gable? Where is this going? What will this reveal? Such a fascinating opener. I quickly devoured this book.

The story of Anya is pretty straightforward. Her father was in the mafiya, but now he’s dead. She’s trying to get through school, keep her siblings safe, and take care of her dying Grandma. Also she has a good supply of chocolate, which is essentially illegal. Oh, and her relatives keep shouting the word “birthright” at her. When her ex-boyfriend gets poisoned from her family’s chocolate, she finds herself on an ugly stage. Suddenly she has to deal with more issues than usual.

I’ll be the first to admit that the plotline of this story was slack. There wasn’t any obvious over-arching story plan except the character’s relationships with each other, and her relatives being pushy. But despite this, I was completely hooked. I’m not sure what made it so addicting, but I had to find out what happened next. It’s almost like a TV show, in the sense that things keep happening, but not all of them add to the overall plot direction.

Anya was complex. I’m not sure if her character was just written poorly, or if she was supposed to have so many different sides to her, but it was intriguing regardless. She was tough when she needed to be, and caring when that was appropriate. But mostly she was strangely jaded for such a young person, world-weary and blunt. UGH, I can’t seem to express what I’m trying to say, but basically she’d toughened up a lot in her years. It was difficult for her to handle all that she had on her plate. She’d lived through SO MUCH CRAP (her dad shot right next to her, her mom dying, her brother becoming mentally injured, etc.). No wonder she was the way she was.

Win and Scarlett are my favorite characters. Win is so charming, lovely, and awesome, he’s one of my new favorite fictional YA guys. Scarlett WAS winning the award for most awesome best friend, until she did that thing (if you’ve read it, you know what I’m talking about). But I still like her.

I’ve seen some negative reviews for this book, I think mostly about Anya and the plotline, but even with those slight hiccups, I really loved this book! I enjoyed the world Ms. Zevin created, and I adored the side characters. It was very addicting, and I can’t wait for the sequel! :)


Content Warning: Kissing, pressure to have sex, language.

Rating:

4 Pigs

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Just Bought - Inheritance

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Inheritance (Eragon Series (informal name)) by Christopher Paolini


OH YES. I scored this for $16.79 from Kroger instead of the list price of $27.99!!!

Now all I have to do is read Brisingr again. When it takes 3 years to get the next book out, I tend to forget everything from the previous book.

But now I have them all!!! It’s always so lovely knowing that I have an entire series. Especially when it’s a series that’s taken 12 years to be complete. That’s three years a book. INSANE.

But I’m very thankful that he finally published the last one.

849 pages. BRING IT ON. (as soon as I’m caught up with where the last one left off, haha)
I’m so ready to close this series. I hope it’s a satisfying end.

Have you made any exciting purchases lately?
What series are you eagerly waiting to finish?
Do you read the Eragon series? If so, have you gotten your hands on Inheritance yet?

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Review: Waterfall


Title:
Waterfall
Author: Lisa T. Bergren
Published: 2011 by David C. Cook
Obtained: Library

Most American teenagers want a vacation in Italy, but the Bentarrini sisters have spent every summer of their lives with their parents, famed Etruscan scholars, among the romantic hills. Stuck among the rubble of medieval castles in rural Tuscany on yet another hot, dusty archeological site, Gabi and Lia are bored out of their minds… until Gabi places her hand atop a handprint in an ancient tomb and finds herself in fourteenth-century Italy. And worse yet, in the middle of a fierce battle between knights of two opposing forces.

            And thus does she come to be rescued by the knight-prince Marcello Falassi, who takes her back to his father’s castle—a castle Gabi has seen in ruins in another life. Suddenly Gabi’s summer in Italy is much, much more interesting. But what do you do when your knight in shining armor lives, literally, in a different world?

First Sentence:
"We paused on our hike, panting and wiping our upper lips as our guide – the old Italian farmer who owned this land – chopped down a small sapling, clearing the overgrown trail."


I was hesitant to read this series. I’m not going to lie, it was mostly based on the cheesy covers. But after seeing some very good reviews (BookChewer’s was extremely positive) I gave it a shot.

I’M REALLY GLAD I DID.

Gabi and her younger sister Lia have spent their lives being dragged around to their parents’ new evacuation sites. There’s only so much of that a girl can take. So at one particular dig site, the girls go inside a tomb and find a strange painting that can take them back  in time. When Gabi comes to, she doesn’t see Lia, and she emerges from the tomb straight into a battle. Luckily, the “good guys” rescue her. As she tries to create a story that explains her appearance, she desperately tries to find her sister. This brings her into direct confrontation with the “bad guys.” Also, she tries to ignore the way she feels about Marcello, a handsome … engaged … knight.

I love all time-travel stories, despite their typical explanations which never fully make sense. In this one, they have that one “portal” to get back, and it’s all about how long you leave your hands on the painted handprints. Gabi needs Lia if she wants to go back, because there are two sets of handprints, perfectly fitting their hands.

One thing I really like about time-travel stories is the adjustment the character has to go through. Usually it’s pretty funny. Gabi knew a lot about other time periods, but she had to really stretch her mind to remember the things she’d picked up from her parents’ work. She adjusted remarkably well, but still faced some issues, even near the end. Mostly it was hard work keeping her story straight.

Gabi was a very admirable protagonist. She had the independence and boldness of a modern day woman, and she didn’t try TOO hard to change that. She knew who she was and she knew what she wanted (her sister) and she wasn’t going to let anyone tell her she couldn’t help. Naturally this meant quite a few standoffs with Marcello, who wanted her to be safe at all costs. While she appreciated his concern, she wasn’t helpless and desperately wanted to be out finding her sister.

Marcello was hot. And strong, brave, smart, chivalrous, and respectful. I actually really liked him for more than just the way he complemented the main character. He’s a really decent guy. But there’s another guy I love even more than Marcello. His right-hand man, Luca. Maybe I’m just like Lia and I love the “funny guys,” but Luca was seriously awesome. He had all the great qualities of Marcello, but instead of being “tall, dark, and handsome,” he was blond, funny, and more relaxed.

Gabi’s main problem to get over is her indecision about staying in the past, or going back to her real time. To me, it was a no-brainer. STAY WITH YOUR HOT, TRUE LOVE. But I guess college and computers have sway. Nah, by the end of this book she still hasn’t made her decision. That’ll come in the third and last book, Torrent, which I have yet to read.

Anywho, I recommend this book for the adventure, action, humor, and romance involved. Is it predictable? Yeah, kinda. Is it a bit on the cheesy side? Um, yes.
But it’s totally worth getting past all of that and jumping into the story.
(side note: it gets EVEN better in the second book, you’ll have to wait for my official review of Cascade to know all the details, but trust me, it’s still great.)


Content Warning: Nothing.

Rating:

4 Pigs

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Hunger Games Trailer!!!

Oh yesssss!!!!

New Information Overload!!!!! So many beautiful scenes and people! If you weren’t a believer in this movie, you HAVE TO BE NOW!!!

I’m so stinking excited for this movie!!! Only 129 more days!!!

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Vacationing and Reading/Winning/Goodreads

When I travel, I bring lots of reading material. There’s always down time, and I seem to plow through books easily when I’m away from home (don’t have internet).
Case in point, this weekend I went camping upstate. Now, I am NOT a big fan of camping AT ALL, but usually I deal with it because I can read so many books, completely undistracted (except for the endless dirt and bugs). However, this particular camping trip happened because I was touring two colleges in the upstate.
Can I just say that camping and trying to look presentable to your peers is completely the worst combination in the world? Not only did I barely have any time at the campsite (to read), but I had to spend a lot of time trying to look decent. This made me feel like “one of those girls,” the kind that brings 1343 bags of makeup and 3 straighteners just to look fantastic so the bugs can admire them (trust me, there are NEVER cute boys at campgrounds….I have no clue why not).

That aside, I’m back home and ready to start reviewing books! But first a few updates.

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These are the books I took with me on my camping trip. I finished Pride & Popularity. I have been so miserable at reading lately, hence me still having not finished Goliath. I’M WORKING ON IT.

 

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This is completely random, BUT OHMYGOODNESSGRACIOUS. I have never seen a road named “after me” before!!! This was/is extremely exciting and required me forcing my dad to stop so I could take a picture.

 

I also won the book mentioned above, Pride and Popularity, through a Goodreads giveaway. That also has me freaking out, because winning stuff is incredibly awesome. :) So thank you to the people responsible for that. Iloveyou.

Related to Goodreads, I do have a profile there. I don’t update it very often, but I was thinking about posting my book reviews there as well, maybe bringing in more readers. So you can find me here: http://www.goodreads.com/pinkapig94 
And I’ll put a link up somewhere on the blog itself.
Please friend me! I love seeing other peoples updates and recommendations and reviews.

Thanks so much for sticking with me! As always, feel free to comment or to shoot me an email! I promise more reviews will be up soon. :)

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Monday, October 24, 2011

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week? This is a weekly event to list the books completed last week, the books currently being reading, and the books to be finish this week. It is hosted by Sheila from One Person’s Journey Through a World of Books.


Books Finished Last Week:
Nothing, because I was obsessing over TV shows. I’m all caught up now!!

Currently Reading:
Gone with the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
Goliath – Scott Westerfeld
Son of Neptune – Rick Riordan
Tiger’s Quest – Colleen Houck
Dark Mirror – M. J. Putney
Glow – Amy Kathleen Ryan

Books I Hope to Start Reading This Week:
Lola and the Boy Next Door – Stephanie Perkins
Cascade – Lisa T. Bergren


Well, I am officially addicted to Castle. Today I picked up the second season from the library, and I will eagerly devour that at night when I am supposed to be sleeping. Probably.

I’ve been in a real reading funk lately…I just can’t get myself to read. This is the result of school and TV shows starting back up again at the same time.

However, Gone With The Wind is so much better than I thought it would be! I love it! I’m reading it for English Honors this year.

Alright. How’s your week looking??

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Review: A Need So Beautiful


Title:
A Need So Beautiful
Author: Suzanne Young
Published: 2011 by HarperCollins
Obtained: Library

We all want to be remembered. Charlotte's destiny is to be Forgotten... 
Charlotte’s best friend thinks Charlotte might be psychic. Her boyfriend thinks she’s cheating on him. But Charlotte knows what’s really wrong: She is one of the Forgotten, a kind of angel on earth, who feels the Need—a powerful, uncontrollable draw to help someone, usually a stranger. 
But Charlotte never wanted this responsibility. What she wants is to help her best friend, whose life is spiraling out of control. She wants to lie in her boyfriend's arms forever. But as the Need grows stronger, it begins to take a dangerous toll on Charlotte. And who she was, is, and will become--her mark on this earth, her very existence--is in jeopardy of disappearing completely. 
Charlotte will be forced to choose: Should she embrace her fate as a Forgotten, a fate that promises to rip her from the lives of those she loves forever? Or is she willing to fight against her destiny--no matter how dark the consequences.

First Sentence:
"I sit on the front steps of St. Vincent’s Cathedral and pick at the moss nestled in the cracks of the concrete."


It took me forever to finish this book mostly because while it looked interesting, I had other stuff to read. However, it is a quite good book.

This is the story of Charlotte who has started having these “needs” which compel her to find strangers, see their life story, and help them. Obviously it’s a little strange that she keeps leaving at random times, and her friends are a bit suspicious. Suddenly she sees a patch of gold on her shoulder, and freaks out. With the help of a doctor friend, she finds out that she is a kind of angel, sent to help people, turn completely gold, and then leave in a burst of light, making everybody feel happy for a little bit. However, this also means her friends and family are going to forget everything about her, pictures will fade, memories will change, everything will be gone. So why in the world would she want to accept her fate?

I give major creative credit to Suzanne Young because this concept is incredibly different. Also, her writing is stunning, I was right there with Charlotte, cringing and mourning her fate. Young’s skill at expressing emotion is spectacular especially near the end when Charlotte’s  friends and family lose memory of her slowly. I was quite depressed by this, and really felt Charlotte’s pain.

One problem I had was the relationship between Harlin and Charlotte. They were portrayed as being totally perfect for each other, and just completely in love, no doubts. However, it seemed to me that their relationship was more lust than love. Every time they were together it was physical. Charlotte mostly just thought about how hot he was, and he just checked her out constantly. Yes, a lot of times he was worried for her health, he went with her to special events, and at the end it was really apparent he loved her, but I couldn’t help feeling that their relationship was more based on how hot they both were, than on their actual LOVE for each other.

Anywho, this is a nice, short, book with fantastic writing and a creative concept.


Content Warnings: Kissing/Making-out/Sex (fade-out), and language.

Rating:

3 Pigs

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Review: There You’ll Find Me


Title:
There You’ll Find Me
Author: Jenny B. Jones
Published: 2011 by Thomas Nelson
Obtained: Free from Booksneeze.com

Finley Sinclair is not your typical eighteen-year-old. She's witty, tough, and driven. With an upcoming interview at the Manhattan music conservatory, Finley needs to compose her audition piece. But her creativity disappeared with the death of her older brother, Will.

She decides to study abroad in Ireland so she can follow Will's travel journal. It's the place he felt closest to God, and she's hopeful being there will help her make peace over losing him. So she agrees to an exchange program and boards the plane.

Beckett Rush, teen heartthrob and Hollywood bad boy, is flying to Ireland to finish filming his latest vampire movie. On the flight, he meets Finley. She's the one girl who seems immune to his charm. Undeterred, Beckett convinces her to be his assistant in exchange for his help as a tour guide.

Once in Ireland, Finley starts to break down. The loss of her brother and the pressure of school, her audition, and whatever it is that is happening between her and Beckett, leads her to a new and dangerous vice. When is God going to show up for her in this emerald paradise?

Then she experiences something that radically changes her perspective on life. Could it be God convincing her that everything she's been looking for has been with her all along?

First Sentences:
"'Miss?'
I pulled out an earbud as the flight attendant leaned over me. ‘Yes?’
'We have a few seats available in first class. Would you like to have one of them?’”


So, the lovely people at Booksneeze.com sent me this, and I absolutely adored it. I’ll read most Christian fiction, because not only are there great messages, but it’s usually a great (albeit, super cheesy) romance. But not many that I read, or that I have heard are good, are for the YA crowd. Usually they’re stories about adults going through life, and none about the trials teens face.

And that is what I loved about this book: it’s realism.

So many Christian fiction novels are all either historical or just unbelievably happy, and so I just fell in love with this story about teens going through extremely typical life issues.

Finley is struggling to get over her brother Will’s death. It’s been two years since he was killed in a bombing, but she’s still completely torn up over it. When she found his travel journal from his trip to Ireland, she decides that going there will inspire her creativity and help her be closer to the memory of her brother. On the plane trip over, she ends up sitting next to Beckett Rush, the most famous young movie star, known for his vampire movies. She really doesn’t care, and he’s used to every girl falling all over him, so he’s intrigued. Throughout her time in Ireland, Finley tries to control so many aspects of her life and other’s lives, just to escape actually thinking about what she REALLY needs.

Things I loved about this book:
1. Finley is from South Carolina (LIKE ME)
2. It takes place in Ireland.
3. It’s realistic Christian fiction for teens with a real teenage voice.
4. For Christian fiction, it doesn’t scream a message in your face, it’s more subtle.
5. Beckett is totally amazing.
6. The romance is a love-hate relationship, which I adore.
7. Finley’s sarcasm + Beckett’s complimenting humor = witty banter.

Any book set in Ireland, I will read. I’ve never been there, but from what I’ve seen/heard/read it’s a completely gorgeous place. Jones really captures the small-town world of Abbeyglen. All the places Finley went to to try and see what Will saw, are painted vividly. My interest in going to Ireland is now doubled.

Finley had some issues. This is a girl who tried to make it look like she had it all together when she was really falling apart. Since we’re inside her head, we know what she’s thinking and how she’s making everybody else thing she’s okay. It’s truly frightening to think that someone could be hiding that much from everybody. Her various problems were so real, I was getting sick when she felt sick, and I was mad at her for being too obsessed with things that didn’t matter. Her devotion to Mrs. Sweeney, the old lady who Finley is assigned to as a school project, was admirable due to the circumstances.

Beckett’s life was also equally insane. While we were concentrated on Finley’s problems, she was more concentrated on Beckett’s issues with his dad. But through all of it, us readers can tell that Beckett is a good example for Finley, with his quiet, new-found faith, and his understanding of her life. He just has some work-related problems to clear first.

As a Christian, I love reading Christian fiction for several reasons. First, I know it’s going to be clean (unless it’s Francine Rivers, in which case it’s too REAL to be truly “clean”). Second, it provides an inspiring message. Third, I love that those blessed with the spiritual gift of creativity can honor God through writing.
What I loved about THIS Christian fiction piece, was that while, yes it was a bit cheesy (most books are at some level), it dealt with such real issues and had such a legit teen voice and teen characters, that it was so much better than half the other stuff out there. Also the message wasn’t preached to you. It was more added in slowly and subtly, something that would appeal to non-Christian readers as well.

I urge you to give this book a chance, if anything to experience Beckett and Finley’s awesome relationship, and watch their lives get transformed from horrible messes to beautiful existences.


Content Warnings: Kissing

Rating:

4 Pigs

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Review: The Magnolia League


Title:
The Magnolia League
Author: Katie Crouch
Published: 2011 by Poppy, an imprint of Little, Brown and Company
Obtained: Library

After the death of her free-spirited mother, sixteen-year-old Alex Lee must leave her home in northern California to live with her wealthy grandmother in Savannah, Georgia. By birth, Alex is a rightful, if unwilling, member of the Magnolia League, Savannah's long-standing debutante society. She quickly discovers that the Magnolias have made a pact with a legendary hoodoo family, the Buzzards. The Magnolias enjoy youth, beauty and power. But at what price?

First Sentence:
"You know what I hate? Sweet tea."



You know what I hate? Lame books.

Well. I didn’t hate this book. But it was pretty bad.

It took me like five years (exaggeration) to get through this book because I kept hating it, then being slightly interesting in what would happen so I picked it back up. Then hated it again for being stupid, then picked it back up because I hate not finishing books.

In a nutshell, this was the story: Alex gets kicked off the good ole California pot farm to go live with her grandmother after her mother dies. She desperately wants to go back to being a hippie and having a disgusting boyfriend, but alas! It can not be so. The hippies do not want her back (she finds out later), and her Grandmother is quite insistent that she stay in Savannah, GA. But why? Well, turns out Grammy is in a secret society of wealthy women and their daughters and granddaughters. These women constantly look perfect, even the old people look like they’re 30. Well, with her dreadlocks, dislike of showers, and desperate love for nasty clothes, Alex DOES NOT WANT this life. But she gets it anyways. They basically kidnap her. Turns out, they’re using hoodoo magic to keep themselves young and wealthy, but is there something else going on, a secret Alex doesn’t know? (OBVIOUSLY.)

That was my sarcastic rendition of The Magnolia League. And it was pretty accurate.

First on my dislike list, I have… ALEX. Because let’s face it, this character is not consistent. She makes the weirdest decisions, and does the strangest, seemingly out-of-character things, that I was never sure exactly what she thought/who she was/what she wanted. So confusing.

This whole “league” thingy. It was so clichéd. I’m sorry, but a group of wealthy white Southern women using hoodoo magic from their black neighbors to keep themselves young and rich? PREDICTABLE. Maybe not used too many times, but very predictable.

Hayes and Madison are two granddaughters of some Magnolia Leaguers and it’s their job to get Alex “ready” by shopping with her and generally trying to get her not to be a hippie. They are also insanely two-faced (everyone in this book is) and always seemed to have another agenda.

The Buzzard family confused me. Why didn’t they just make up their mind about life? Which of them actually were nice? Who wasn’t? I honestly don’t know.

The hoodoo performed by the Buzzard family was strange. I think it was difficult for the author to write out the initiation scene, because that was a blur of randomness. Also, they made Alex all pretty by using magic on her. Isn’t that a little cheap? I mean, no effort whatsoever. Even for her to lose weight she just had some spell connecting her to a bird. It worked by making her ravenous and then the bird consumed the calories or something. Ugh. Talk about a character transformation requiring zero effort on the part of the character.

Hayes’ brother Thaddeus was the worst character, and all the plot revolving around him was the worst as well. He’s this super “movie-star hot” guy who’s also a snob, but he does talk to Alex a little. However, let me point out that he NEVER seemed like he’d be her romantic other. And I mean NEVER. I might have guessed because there was no one else possible and it seemed like it might go that way, but character-wise, there was seriously nothing that seemed to make them a good couple. But, obviously, as soon as she’s not dreadlocked and fat, he kisses her and they have a few make-out sessions and become “a couple”. He claimed to like her before she was transformed, and I think he might have, but it’s a little shallow of him to only approach her afterward. Now here is where we find drama. It looks as though Madison put a love spell on Thaddeus a while ago for about a week and he went crazy in love with her. Once it was off and he figured out what happened, he swore never to date a Magnolia again. Until, lo and behold, he falls for Alex (who knows why, she’s so … lame.). So randomly, completely out-of-the-blue, Alex gets really jealous of Madison, who has said many times that it’s over and that Thaddeus likes Alex now, and Alex tries to remedy the situation. (can’t say more without spoiling)

The pacing is super slow, until the end when it’s all “BAMBAMBAM – end” and you’re left wondering what just happened. Alex is basically stupid the whole book until one of the last scenes, in which I actually respected her personality, and then again at the VERY end, I disliked her again.

Let’s see if I can say anything good. . .
The setting was really lovely. I’ve never been to Savannah, but I’ve heard that it’s gorgeous, and this really showed that.

I also liked Alex’s friend Dexter. Alex’s mom seems like she was really cool too, but she died before the book started.

I got nothing else.

My last word: I would not recommend this book to anyone, but if it seems like you would like it, go read it! Maybe from your perspective it would be a glorious novel.


Content Warnings: LOTS OF LANGUAGE. Like. Seriously. Lots of it and strong, too. Descriptive making-out.

Rating:

1 Pig

 

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Review: Wither

Title: Wither
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Published: 2011 by Simon & Schuster
Obtained: Bought

Thanks to modern science, every newborn has become a ticking genetic time bomb – males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden’s genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape – to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden’s eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant she is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.

First Sentence: “I wait. They keep us in the dark for so long that we lose sense of our eyelids.”


I am still beating myself up over not reading this earlier. I bought this very soon after it came out in March, and I hadn’t read it at all until this September. I WAS INSANE. I cannot believe I didn’t read it sooner. THIS BOOK IS FANTABULOUS! I think I kept hearing about how creepy it was and how mature the themes were and so that scared me off or something. DO NOT LET YOURSELF BE SCARED OFF. While it is indeed creepy (but not in the way I thought it was going to be) and the themes are mature (but not explicit, it’s handled well), it is in no way a bad read.

Modern science created the perfect generation, immune to disease and with long life spans, and everyone thought the world was permanently changed for the better. Then problems arose with the children of this “first generation.” All males die at 25 and all women at 20. This has created millions of orphans and also business opportunities for the unscrupulous types. In order to have offspring, rich men get many wives from Gatherers who’ve taken these girls from their homes under false pretenses. Wither is the story of Rhine, who is kidnapped and “sold” with two other girls to be brides for a man named Linden. Even though Linden genuinely likes her, Rhine just wants to get back to her brother in New York. She starts planning her escape with a servant, Gabriel.

Rhine is a pretty awesome heroine. She starts out hating everyone, then begins to relax around her sister wives, Jenna and Cecily. This girl goes through heck. Being separated from her only family, trapped in a van, picked out of all the others because of her exquisite eyes (two different colors), hearing the other girls get shot, waking up in a strange place, being forced to marry someone she doesn’t know, living with a super creepy father-in-law and two sister wives (which is awkward), and all the while trying to fend off her new husband’s advances. Oh, also trying to have a secret relationship with Gabriel. Geez. Yet she manages and still tries to escape through all of it. And even as she becomes fonder of Linden, she’s smart enough to know that she doesn’t love him at all, she just feels pity for him.

Linden’s father is a total creep. He acts all “fatherly” with the girls, while he’s really scaring the bejeebers out of them. Also, he’s so dead set on saving his son from dying that he’ll do anything to find a cure. He is definitely the antagonist in this story. He is so horribly in control of everything, that it just kills you! I just wanted to toss him out to sea, he was so creepy. And Rhine’s descriptions of him don’t help. She thinks the first generation older people are kind of gross, even though her parents were first generation, and so she describes him in unpleasant terms.

Linden himself however was one complicated character! In the beginning I didn’t like him at all, but the as Rhine let herself not hate him, I didn’t hate him as much and saw how he could have been a nice guy if he’d been willing to be strong and insistent instead of so quiet and passive. His frailty was honestly really irritating as well. I just wanted him to man up!

Jenna was the best character ever. I loved her. From her obsession with the library, to her cavalier attitude about everything, I just kind of loved how she realized that this was a fantastic place to die, seeing as she only had a little over a year left, and nothing to get back to.

Cecily was annoying!! She was a little brat most of the time, but she thought of Rhine as an older sister/mother figure and always wanted to talk to her. This aspect made me like her more, and also as the novel progresses, a more vulnerable side of her is apparent, which made me like her a little more.

Gabriel was pretty cool. He was a bit flat as characters go, but maybe that was because we didn’t have much time to get to know him. I still liked him though, and thought that he and Rhine were good together, as she inspires him to be more than he is, and not settle with anything.

Little character love thrown in here! I ADORED the little helper’s the girls got. Deirdre, Adair, and Elle were so cute and lovable, and they just cared so much about their work, making the girls look amazing.

Let’s talk about what everyone is wondering. Just how explicit/mature is this book? Looking at the entire point behind the plot, forcing young girls in polygamous marriages to provide children for their husband, you know it’s going to be a little…awkward, shall I say? Well, it was much classier than I anticipated. Jenna just accepts that Linden is going to sleep with her, she was a prostitute before getting kidnapped, so to her it’s no big deal. She loves tacky paperback romance novels and lame soap operas, probably because they romanticize physical love, while she’s never experienced that. Linden’s relationship with Cecily is more gross because she’s  about 13. However, all she wants is to be in this life of being Linden’s devoted wife and mother of his children. Hence, her getting pregnant. With Rhine, Linden makes advances but since she reminds him so much of his last wife who just died, he respects her more, and doesn’t push her.

To get back on the subject of Linden, he is very unaware of his wives’ feelings. When they are feeling sad, he acts like he doesn’t know what sadness is like, and almost doesn’t get why they’re sad at all. Which is strange considering he just lost his first wife, Rose, who he truly loved. I think sometimes he just doesn’t see his wives as people, he sees them as something lower. He is so naïve that he thinks that they all wanted to be wives, and were trained to be wives.

One little aspect I noticed was interesting was that if you think about the ages at which they die, 25 and 20, those are considered by most people to be the prime ages, the times you look and feel your best. The irony here is that in this story, those are the ages of death.

This is my longest review ever, but I loved everything about Wither. Some stuff was a bit far-fetched, like the rest of the world being little uninhabitable islands except for America. But overall I enjoyed the story DeStefano set up, and I CANNOT WAIT for the sequel, Fever, to come out (go check out Fever’s cover, if you haven’t!).

Sidenote: The cover is so completely gorgeous, this picture does not do it justice. In person it’s so stunning. Also, all throughout the book the beautiful borders and lines pattern like on the cover continues. The title page, chapter numbers, etc. SO PRETTY!!!


Content Warnings: I pretty much discussed everything, but sex is kind of a main theme in this book, it’s not explicit at all, but it’s discussed and implied.

Rating:

5 Pigs

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Review: Always a Witch


Title:
Always a Witch
Author: Carolyn MacCullough
Series: Once A Witch #2
Published: 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing
Obtained: Library

Since the gripping conclusion of Once A Witch, Tamsin Greene has been haunted by her grandmother's prophecy that she will soon be forced to make a crucial decision—one so terrible that it could harm her family forever. When she discovers that her enemy, Alistair Knight, went back in time to Victorian-era New York in order to destroy her family, Tamsin is forced to follow him into the past. Stranded all alone in the nineteenth century, Tamsin soon finds herself disguised as a lady's maid in the terrifying mansion of the evil Knight family, avoiding the watchful eye of the vicious matron, La Spider, and fending off the advances of Liam Knight. As time runs out, both families square off in a thrilling display of magic. And to her horror, Tamsin finally understands the nature of her fateful choice.

First Sentence: “‘I look awful,’ I say, staring at myself in front of the dressing room mirror.”


This is sequel to Once A Witch, my review of which is here. THEREFORE, SPOILERS MIGHT BE AHEAD. HERE BE SPOILERS. You’ve been warned. Mmk?

Alright, so I liked Once A Witch. I thought it was an interesting and unique story of magic. The sequel wasn’t as good, I thought, but was still needed to wind up the series (I’m assuming no more are coming…).

… I feel really lame, but I can’t remember some of the plot (note to self: review books QUICKLY after reading them..). So this review will be a quick skim of the surface, because obviously the little I remember made some kind of impact on me, so that’s the important stuff.

In this one Tamsin goes back in time to try and stop Alistair from ruining the Greene family’s future. She gets a job as a maid in the household of the Knights and it’s there that she does her snooping and waits for Alistair. What she finds out is that Liam Knight (a real creeper) is performing dark magic and the maid before Tamsin was a victim of this magic. Eventually she has to figure out how to stop Alistair and get the Greene family from the past to listen to her warnings about him.

I really enjoyed seeing the past Greene family and how they were contrasted to the current Greene family. Also, Gabriel and Tamsin’s relationship bloomed further. . .although mostly that meant they had “power” struggles and made out. BUT STILL.

Liam was a total CREEPER FACE. First he shows up from the past at the Greene’s house and KISSES Tamsin like only a CREEPER could. Then when Tamsin was back in time at his house, he flirted nonstop with this other maid, who was assisting him with his “experiments.”

However, his sister was a completely different story, she was really struggling with the whole “no, we’re not GOOD witches, we’re EVIL” part. Being forced to break up with the guy you love because your mother forced you to is pretty rough. I still feel like she could have rebelled a bit more if she was truly uncomfortable. However, her mother was pretty intimidating “La Spider” (I keep saying it the MegaMind way….haha).

I probably mentioned this is my review of Once A Witch, but I love how their magic is a “talent” thing. Different people have different “talents” AKA magic skills. It’s a pretty cool concept.

This series is really good if you enjoy stories regarding magic and witches. I enjoyed reading it and distinctly remember getting distracted from my schoolwork because I had to finish reading!


Content Warnings: Making-out (kissing.), creeper-ness, and mind language.

Rating:

4 Pigs

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Review: Steel


Title:
Steel
Author: Carrie Vaughn
Published: 2011 by HarperCollins
Obtained: Library

It was a slender length of rusted steel, tapered to a point at one end and jagged at the other, as if it had broken. A thousand people would step over it and think it trash, but not her.

This was the tip of a rapier.

Sixteen-year-old Jill has fought in dozens of fencing tournaments, but she has never held a sharpened blade. When she finds a corroded sword piece on a Caribbean beach, she is instantly intrigued and pockets it as her own personal treasure.

The broken tip holds secrets, though, and it transports Jill through time to the deck of a pirate ship. Stranded in the past and surrounded by strangers, she is forced to sign on as crew. But a pirate's life is bloody and brief, and as Jill learns about the dark magic that brought her there, she forms a desperate scheme to get home—one that risks everything in a duel to the death with a villainous pirate captain.

First Sentence: “Jill shook her legs out one at a time.”


I picked this up at the library for a couple reasons. Books in which time travel is involved, is something I love, and it also involves pirates. Two awesome ingredients. The result? Not so fantastic.

Jill just lost a fencing tournament and is still beating herself up about it, even on vacation. Then she finds this fragment of a blade which she keeps as a souvenir. However, this blade piece is “enchanted” and takes her back in time. Rescued by a pirate ship, she is forced to sign the code and become a member of the crew (women crewmates weren’t all that rare apparently, and the captain of this particular ship is a woman). While trying to figure out how to get home, she learns of the captain’s on-going battle with another pirate captain, learns better sword-fighting techniques, and figures out more about the magic blade that brought her there. Also, she likes this one dude.

Okay, so picking this book up I was excited, but I knew it was going to be more “meh” then anything else, and I was right. It’s too short to have a major, highly interesting plotline or very well-developed characters, so it’s a good short read, but nothing majorly amazing.

The whole “what does this magic piece of blade do and how can it get me home?” plot aspect got highly confusing to me. That entire aspect, the main point, was so complicated and entangled that by the end, I barely knew what was going on.

Also, as much as I love romance (it’s hard for me to read a book that doesn’t have romance in it), I wish she’d left it out of the story. While the dude (I forget his name, he’s THAT memorable) is hot and a fun sidekick kind of guy, you just know they're romance is going to be for only about 2 days because she’s got to go back to her time.

I DID enjoy the way the author showed the pirate culture. While pirates should never be looked upon as heroes, the author explains the miserable conditions on the merchant/soldier ships and then contrasts that with the fair, lawful, and democratic ways of the pirate ships. The pirates also voted on all decisions and their punishments were fair. Overall it was a much better deal for a sea-loving man to be a pirate (of course, there’s the whole “it’s illegal” part of piracy) then a sailor on a merchant ship where whipping and brutal treatment were commonplace. When they found castaways, they made them either sign a code, joining the crew, or they were kept in the brig until the next port where they were released.

I don’t know. This book is a quick, interesting read, but it isn’t ground-breaking or a new recommendation of mine. If you don’t mind the whole “underdeveloped everything” aspect, go for it.


Content Warnings: Honestly, I can’t remember. I know there is one kissing scene.

Rating:
3 Pigs

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