Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Review - Bloom by Elizabeth Scott

Bloom by Elizabeth Scott
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: April 2007
Source: From publisher for review
Rating: 4 bookcases

Summary can be found on author's website.

A lot of people would call Lauren’s life perfect. Her boyfriend, Dave, is lusted after by most of the females at their high school, and she’s popular (by association, at least); in high school that makes you practically royal. But look a little deeper and you soon realize that Lauren is just really good at fitting into everyone else’s expectations for her. Once the shiny exterior is pulled off, it’s easy to see that her mom left when she was six and she hasn’t gotten over hoping she’ll come back, her dad practically lives at the office, her best friend, Katie, is really only her best friend because their boyfriends are friends. And her super popular, besides having a family that is almost too perfect, isn’t exactly who he pretends to be either. Then Evan comes back into her life and he’s everything Dave isn’t. Around him, Lauren feels she can be more herself, more the person she wants to be. So what’s a girl to do: follow everyone else’s plan or decide to be true to herself?

Bloom came very highly recommended, so I had very high expectations when I started reading. I’m happy to say that I really enjoyed Bloom and found it to be a well written story about trying to figure out what you want out of life. Lauren was instantly relatable because who hasn’t been unhappy with how their life was going or wanted something other than what they had. She started out going along with everyone else until she gained some confidence in herself. Her relationship with Evan had a lot to with this.

Lauren and Evan knew each other when they were young, actually Lauren’s father and Evan’s mother dated and were serious for awhile, so there is a connection there that Lauren just doesn’t have with Dave. An example of this was when Lauren and Evan talk about their career goals. Lauren says that she wants to be a librarian, but admits that she’s never actually told her father, Dave or Katie this. Instead she tells them she wants to be a lawyer or a pediatrician because she knows that fits how they see her. I didn’t agree with all of Lauren’s decisions, she definitely could have been more upfront with both Dave and Katie about her feelings for Evan. But, at the same time I can appreciate that she found herself in a hard place trying to decide between what was safe and routine with Dave or the possibly exciting unknown with Evan.

The contrast between Dave and Evan was really well done. Dave had this almost too perfect aura about him: he had the ideal family, he was a caring and devoted older brother, he was planning his life with Lauren, including what college they would attend. Evan, on the other hand, was rough around the edges, he didn’t care about popularity or friends and it was just him and his mom. Of the two, Evan felt more real, more like someone you could meet in real life. Where Dave was the shiny fantasy (remember all the girls and possibly some of the boys wanted to date him), Evan was gritty reality.

The supporting characters added overall depth to the story. I especially liked the small side plot of Lauren’s growing friendship with Gail, a fellow jazz band member. It was obvious that Lauren’s relationship with her dad needed a lot of work and it was nice to see that the two of them got to a better place by the end of the book. Not everything was worked out but, it was obvious that the mending had begun. For most of the book, my least favorite relationship was Lauren and Katie’s friendship. Lauren is very upfront with the reader that the two of them were only best friends because of specific circumstances. Out of all the people in Lauren’s life, Katie is the most concerned with outward appearance and maintaining an aura of perfection. There was a small side plot with Katie’s family that I wish had been explored a little more. In the end, Katie surprised me by being much more perceptive than I thought she could be. And the fact that Lauren had both Katie and Gail as friends at the end of the story, shows just how much she had grown.

Bloom is one of those books that engaged me right away and kept my attention straight through to the end. Ms. Scott writes in such a way that you care about her characters from the first page and want the best for them, even if they might not know exactly what that might be. Even after I had read the last sentence, I was still thinking about the characters, especially Lauren and Evan. I still had lots of questions, like: were they still together, were they happy, did they end up achieving their career goals? I love when an author makes me wonder about the characters’ lives beyond the story, beyond the ending. Bloom was a book that stayed with me for a long time, weeks after I had finished it I was still thinking about it and all the choices that Lauren made. It is definitely a book that I will reread.

Overall, a book with a strong message about being yourself and finding what makes you happy.

For more information on Elizabeth Scott and her books visit her website at: http://elizabethwrites.com/

Friday, August 27, 2010

Book Blogger Hop & Friday Follow

Happy Friday!!! It's time to blog hop :)
The Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Jennifer at Crazy-For-Books
Friday Follow is hosted by Parajunkee


In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs to read! So, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start HOPPING through the list of blogs that are posted in the Linky at Crazy-For-Books!!

The Super Duper Easy Rules of the Hop:
1. Grab the logo
2. Enter your blog in the Linky at Crazy-For-Books
3. Post about it on your blog and answer the weekly question

This week's question is:
Do you use a rating system for your reviews and if so, what is it and why?

I do use a rating system for my reviews because I like to give a quick snapshot of my feelings about each book.  I try to rate every book I review between 1 and 5, with 5 being as close to perfect as a book can be and a definite own and reread and 1 meaning I couldn't finish (the complete explanation is in the left sidebar).  I use bookcases instead of stars, because I wanted to be a little different and as a librarian I'm surrounded by them everyday at woek.  My rating system is definitely not perfect and sometimes I find it hard to rate each book, so I do use half bookcases  as well. Eventually I would love to get a visual rating system. 


To join the fun and make now book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:

1. Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Host { Parajunkee.com } and any one else you want to follow on the list
2. Follow our Featured Bloggers - http://bookge3k.blogspot.com/
3. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing.
4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments
5. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can
6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love...and the followers

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Shadow Hills Now Available as an E-Book

One of my favorite books of this summer was Shadow Hills by debut author Anastasia Hopcus. If you haven't read it yet...what are you waiting for?

Even better, Shadow Hills is available as an e-book!  So all you people with Kindles, Nooks, Sony E-Readers, or Kobos can make your e-readers extra happy by getting a Shadow Hills e-book ;-)

The official release date for the e-book was August 24th - the same day as another YA book, you know the one...now that Mockingjay fever is starting to subside, you should definitely pick up Shadow Hills.

It's available at both Barnes and Noble and Amazon

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - Fixing Delilah

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: December 15, 2010

Summary from author's website: “We all long for what could have been.”

Things in Delilah Hannaford’s life have a tendency to fall apart. She used to be a good student, but she can’t seem to keep it together anymore. Her “boyfriend” isn’t much of a boyfriend. And her mother refuses to discuss the fight that divided their family eight years ago. Falling apart, it seems, is a Hannaford tradition.

Over a summer of new friendships, unexpected romance, and moments that test the complex bonds between mothers and daughters, Delilah must face her family’s painful past. Can even her most shattered relationships be pieced together again?

Rich with emotion, Fixing Delilah is a powerful story of family, love, and self-discovery.

I loved Sarah Ockler's Twenty Boy Summer, it was one of my favorite reads of last summer.  It made me cry and laugh and feel so many emotions in between the two. It's a book that stays with you and really makes you think about death and hiw everyone grieves differently.  When I heard about Fixing Delilah, I was excited that I would get to read another book by Ms. Ockler.  Lately, I've been reading a lot more contemporary fiction and can't wait to add Fixing Delilah to the list.

For more information about Fixing Delilah visit Sarah Ockler's website

For more information about upcoming 2010 and 2011 YA contemporary releases visit The Contemps.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Review - Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers

Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: September 14, 2010
ARC Received from Book It Forward ARC Tours
Rating: 4.5 Bookcases

Summary found on Goodreads

WOW! So much smexy hotness in one book, I’m surprised the book didn’t burst into flame!

Frannie is the "rebel" middle sister in a Catholic family. By rebel I mean, she doesn’t go to Catholic school (actually she was asked to leave) and she definitely doesn’t believe in God. After a tragic loss when she was a child, Frannie keeps everyone at a distance and doesn’t believe in love…until Luc Cain enrolls at Haden (Hades) High that is. Luc is as tempting as they come, and Frannie, well she can’t stay away. Then there’s Gabe, a blue eyed, golden boy, who also shows up out of nowhere. Let’s just say there’s a bit more at stake than who Frannie should date.

Personal Demons has a lot going for it: a smart, strong, take no nonsense leading lady, parents that are present and involved in their children’s lives, two awesome love interests, angels, demons, snarky best friends, action, and romance. The story sucked me in from the beginning with Luc’s commentary about going back to another high school and kept me hooked right until the last sentence. The basic premise of good verses evil isn’t new, but Ms. Desrochers put such a unique spin on it that it felt like an entirely new concept.

One of the best parts of Personal Demons is the characters. Frannie is a great example of a girl that has brains and strength, both physical and emotional. But she wasn’t intimidating as a character; you know those characters that are just too perfect, that if they were real people, you might be too intimidated to talk to, totally the opposite of Frannie. She was instantly relatable and it felt like she could be a really great friend (I went to Catholic school all the way through high school, so to me Frannie felt like a long lost school mate). Luc was a tough guy to really pin down. It was clear from the start that he was more than just a demon doing a job and his character arc was the most fun to witness. Gabe, what can I say about Gabe, except that I wish there was more of him. But, seriously, it was easy to see that he was the good guy, who maybe didn’t always want to go by the rules. The secondary characters were just as fascinating as the main three and really helped to fill out the story.

I have to take a moment and talk about Frannie’s family. I love that Ms. Desrochers included a family where the parents are present and seen more than once. Even though they did not have big parts in the story, it was clear that they loved their children and cared what happened to them. Their suspicions about Luc and overwhelming pro-Gabe feelings let the reader know that they were more perceptive than Frannie would have liked them to be. And Frannie’s grandfather was possibly my favorite character in the whole book. His relationship with Frannie was wonderful and it really made her a more complete character.

Throughout the book, Frannie had a few tough decisions to make, one of which was of course the choice between Luc and Gabe. This choice really was more than just the choice of which boy to date. By choosing between the, Frannie was really choosing a side, good or evil. For most of the book she’s pretty much set on one guy (um, yeah not going to tell you who) but the other guy, she still had feelings for him too. She does make a decision at the end of the book, but it will be interesting to see what happens in the rest of the series.

Normally, I’m not crazy about books that have more than one point of view, but having both Frannie and Luc’s points of view really works in Personal Demons. You get to see certain high stakes situations from both sides, plus it’s fun to see into both Frannie and Luc’s heads. But, it also makes me wonder about Gabe and his thoughts, especially towards the end.

Overall, Personal Demons was an excellent book.  I really enjoyed reading it and can't wait for the next book in the series! If you're into paranormal books or like books with lots of action with some romance, definitely read Personal Demons.  Even if you're not, you should read Personal Demons anyway. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Review - Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel

Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: August 3, 2010
Review based on ARC from Traveling ARC Tours
Rating: 4 Bookcases

Summary found on Goodreads

I was a bit worried about reading Infinite Days. After reading so many vampire books, I questioned whether this one would make an impression? The publisher’s summary piqued my interest. The premise was unique – a vampire that wants to be human and actually gets the chance to be. Overall, I really liked Rebecca’s take on vampires and how she structured Lenah’s story.

Lenah Beaudonte had been one of the oldest and most powerful vampires in the world but she wasn’t happy. Lenah wanted to be human and everything that goes along with it; being able to taste more than blood, to actually feel a loved one’s touch, to grow and change. With the help of Rhode, (her soul mate, lover, and best friend) Lenah is able to become human again. Now, she is a sixteen year old girl having to adjust to life in the 21st Century. Not only is life completely different than she remembers, Lenah must also try to fit in at boarding school in Massachusetts. Of course, school comes with the requisite mean girls, odd best friends and cute boys.

Not only do you get to see how Lenah adjusts to life at school, you also get to flashback to Lenah’s life as a vampire. And while reading about Lenah’s friendship with Tony, the animosity between her and the popular girls and her feelings for Justin was okay, it was the flashbacks where Infinite Days really shined. Meeting Lenah’s coven and getting to know Rhode were my favorite parts of the book. These scenes were crisp and vivid and so easy to visualize, it really felt like I was at Lenah’s manor house in England, outside a pub in Scotland or in an apple orchard at night. The juxtaposition of the past with the present showed just how much Lenah had changed not only physically, but emotionally as well.

I really wanted more of the coven and more of Rhode in particular. Rhode was in the book for such short periods of time, but he made the biggest impression on me. After reading about Lenah and her coven, it was a bit hard for me to accept who she ended up dating. Justin is the stereotypical “big man” on campus; rich, popular, a lacrosse star, the guy all the girls want to date, etc. And while, he did seem like a great guy, he just wasn’t in any way Lenah’s equal in the same way as Rhode. I think that part of the reason for this was because there was so much history between Lenah and Rhode, close to five hundred years of it, that it felt very rushed for Lenah to have such a strong attachment and feelings for Justin so fast. But at the same time, she was experiencing adolescent hormones and human attraction for the first time in almost 600 years, so it was easy to why she would fall for Justin. And I have to admit that by the end, Justin had grown on me.

The first part of Infinite Days covered Lenah’s acclimation to human life. Ms. Maizel did a wonderful job of showing just how much Lenah had changed and how she dealt with being human again. In the second part however, she threw the reader a curve ball that changed the tone of the story. Where the beginning felt like a calm walk through campus with punctuations of action, the second part felt like a sprint to the ending. And what an ending! Part of me wanted the story to end very differently, but once I got to the end I realized that there really wasn’t any other way for it to end. Now, I can’t wait to read the sequel to see what comes next.

Infinite Days had a different take on vampires that kept my attention from start to finish. If you like reading about vampires, but are looking for a story that is distinctive and different then you should definitely pick up Infinite Days.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - A Touch Mortal

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: February 22, 2011

Summary from author's website: Death isn't what Eden expected. Where the hell is her release? Her quiet ending? Not that Eden remembers the details of her final hours, but one thing is for sure--becoming a sider, trapped between life and death, was definitely not part of the plan...

For Eden, nothing seems to be coming easy. There's no way of telling what will happen when her fingertips graze human skin. The power that builds inside her, Touch, strips away morals and logic.

Some people only feel a high; others are overcome by their darkest thoughts.

But honestly there's not much time for her to worry about her effect on mere mortals. She's got her own drama. Somehow, word's gotten around that her Touch can kill her own kind. With desperate siders already camping out on her doorstep, the last thing Eden needs is the rumor to spread. Especially since it's true...

I thought the summary on Leah Clifford's website sounded fantastic and then I saw this summary on Goodreads:
Eden didn’t expect Az.
Not his saunter down the beach toward her. Not his unbelievable pick up line. Not the instant, undeniable connection. And not his wings.
So long happily-ever-after.
Now trapped between life and death, cursed to spread chaos with her every touch, Eden could be the key in the eternal struggle between heaven and hell. All because she gave her heart to one of the Fallen, an angel cast out of heaven.
She may lose everything she ever had. She may be betrayed by those she loves most. But Eden will not be a pawn in anyone else’s game. Her heart is her own.

And that’s only the beginning of the end.

Umm, yeah...it's definitely going on my 2011 Wishlist.

What are you "Waiting On" this Wednesday?

Review - Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon

Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon
Publisher: Hyperion (Disney Book Group)
Publication Date: September 21, 2010
Review Based on ARC received from Book It Forward ARC Tours
Rating: 3 Bookcases

Summary found on Goodreads

Dead Beautiful is one of those books that had all of the right ingredients, but didn’t deliver to the fullness I was expecting.

On her sixteenth birthday Renee Winters makes an awful discovery: she finds her parents dead in the Redwood Forest near her home. What looks like a possible double murder is explained away by the police as heart attacks. Renee doesn’t believe this explanation and wants answers, but before she can find any her grandfather moves her across the country. In addition, Renee is enrolled in Gottfried Academy a somewhat isolated boarding school in Maine. With its dress code, strict curfew and odd selection of classes, Gottfried is not what Renee is used to. Soon she also learns about the mystery surrounding a student’s death the year before. And then there is Dante, the gorgeous but distant boy who is most definitely hiding something.

Dead Beautiful has a lot of things going for it. There’s a boarding school setting with a creepy town, classes that are weird enough that they’re interesting, odd professors, a fun roommate, and a beautiful but mysterious love interest whose eye the main character catches. And speaking of the main character, Renee is strong, intelligent and inquisitive and follows her instincts. But, it all felt very familiar, like a bunch of books had been mashed together with a few unique details (such as the discussion about Rene Descartes and his Meditations on First Philosophy) and the end result was Dead Beautiful.  Maybe I was expecting more unique details from such an interesting summary or maybe I'm being too critical, but Dead Beautiful just wasn't what I was expecting.

In addition, the story takes quite awhile to really pick up. It took me about 200 pages to really get into the story; I almost gave up on it several times before I really got hooked. But, I persevered and found that the mystery behind the student’s death and Renee’s questions about her parents’ death and what she and Dante do to find out about both lead the reader on a twisty ride to a very great ending. The ending, in fact, is the best part of Dead Beautiful. I found myself glued to the book in those last fifty pages. I had to know the final outcome. And when I got to the last page, the ending was the perfect conclusion. There is enough left unresolved that there could be a sequel, but at the same time it really stops on such a great note that it would be a shame to answer every single unanswered question.
Dead Beautiful would appeal to fans of paranormal, as well as school stories that have mystery and a bit of romance. It’s worth reading just to get to the last few chapters.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - Clarity

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

Clarity by Kim Harrington
Publisher: Scholastic/Point
Publication Date: March 1, 2011

Summary from author's website:  Clarity "Clare" Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch an object and the visions come to her. It's a gift.

And a curse.

When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare's ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case — but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare's brother — who has supernatural gifts of his own — becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most?

Just from the summary, Clarity seem like it will be a mystery with a dash of paranormal and maybe romance.  That combination sounds like it has the making of a great read! 

You can find more information about Clarity and Kim Harrington at:

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?


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