Synopsis (from Goodreads): Theia Alderson has always led a sheltered life in the small California town of Serendipity Falls. But when a devastatingly handsome boy appears in the halls of her school, Theia knows she's seen Haden before- not around town, but in her dreams.
As the Haden of both the night and the day beckons her closer one moment and pushes her away the next, the only thing Theia knows for sure is that the incredible pull she feels towards him is stronger than her fear.
And when she discovers what Haden truly is, Theia's not sure if she wants to resist him, even if the cost is her soul.
My Thoughts: Let me start off by saying I love books on vampires and werewolves. That being said, I am SO glad this book was a paranormal book about something other than vampires and werewolves. It was refreshing and a nice little break.
The Under realm was very creepy for me and I loved it! The descriptions of the castle in Under were spooky and so real. I felt like I was walking down the halls with Theia. The descriptions of the ladies that helped Theai get dressed reminded me somewhat of Coraline. Again, very creepy!
I really liked Theia for the most part. She was very quiet, withdrawn and mature at the beginning of the book. She didn't go against her very strict father and it took reading half the book before you figured out her father (somewhat). I was a little disappointed in the fact that after Theia and her father finally talked about Theai's mother, he seemed to pretty much drop out of the picture. Not that he was really in the picture a lot anyways but after the talk he just sorta disappeared.
Haden was your typical hot high school boy but with a twist that didn't center around being a vampire or werewolf. I was annoyed with him for flirting so much with other girls without explaining to Theia what the deal was and I really didn't like him towards the end when he became a little weak but there was a reason for it that I can't disclose here.
Theia's friends were awesome! I loved Amelia and Donatella (Donny for short) but my favorite characters were Varnie and Gabe. Gabe was the sort of boy you would love to have around. He was protective, caring, funny and persistent. I was annoyed with Donny's attitude around Gabe but it wasn't too big of an issue. Varnie was just awesome all around. I mean, what you can say about a cross-dressing psychic who loves to surf? I was a little sad when he disappeared after a couple of scenes at the beginning of the book but was extremely happy when the author brought him back towards the end of the book.
The ending of the book was unpredictable and I really liked that. Again, this is not your typical vampire/werewolf YA read.
Now, for a few small gripes with the book. It only took me 2 days to read this book but at times I felt like I was reading two separate books. There were times when I would think "did that happen in this book or another book I recently read"? Some parts just didn't seem to really fit or even need to be in the book. I wasn't crazy for Theia's dad or the explanation for why he was so distant. I also didn't really like the character Mike. He seemed to not really have any specific part in the book and he could have been taken out without messing up the story in any way. The only other thing I didn't like was at the end, Mara (Haden's mother) just kinda left the story. Maybe it is leading up to a second book and then it would make more sense but it left me feeling like I missed something.
Other than that, I completely enjoyed this book and would recommend it. It grabbed my attention from the first sentence and kept my attention (for the most part) through to the end.
Yes, I know I said "no more challenges" but this is not a reading challenge. My friend Marie, over at Just A Mom has started a challenge to get organized, get healthier, be a better mom and so on. She is going to post both a daily challenge (something like clean off the magnets from the fridge, wipe it down and only put what is necessary back up) and weekly challenges (like pick your messiest drawer and clean it out on Saturday, next messiest and clean out on Sunday, etc.).
The great thing is, every time you do a weekly and/or daily challenge, you head over to her blog on the following Saturday and leave a comment on what challenges you did or tried to do and you get entered into a monthly drawing for a great giveaway! That means you can get up to 8 entries a week which means between 32 to 40 entries a month (depending on how many weeks there are in that month). And like Marie says, even if you don't win the prize, you still win because you are that much more organized, healthier, etc.
Bonus! If you head over there now and let her know that you are going to join her you get an extra entry! If you blog about it, another entry! Cool huh? So, head on over to Just a Mom and sign up! Oh yeah, if you sign up, remember to mention that I sent you!
Heroine, Bridget Duke, rules her high school, but when she crashes her car and ends up in limbo, she must confront the people she has wronged, all of whom want her to go to hell. The outcome of these meetings will decide her final destination.
My thoughts: This was a cute book that reminded me a lot of A Christmas Carol. While there were no ghosts of the past, present or future per se, Bridget did have to step into 5 other peoples' shoes (literally step into their shoes) and see how she made them feel.
Bridget was mean, inconsiderate, selfish and I could go on and on with all her faults. I really hated this character through most of the book. She was awful! However, this is the point of the story. I loved the other characters like her step-mom, her friends and her ex-boyfriend and even her teacher. I didn't care for the fact that her dad was pretty much non-existent in the story, although, again, I suppose that is part of the story.
I thought the background part of the book dragged a little. The prologue starts out with Bridget recklessly driving her car and then the story takes you back so you know why she is feeling the way she is feeling. However, this is only a 208 page book and by the time I got to page 100, I was wondering if we were going to see how Bridget changes. As it was, the ending felt a little rushed to me and while I felt that Bridget did really feel remorse for her actions, the story didn't portray it so well. I would have liked to have seen her work a little harder for the forgiveness she received. I also would have liked to have learned more about Anna. Where did she come from? How was she going to explain her appearance and disappearance to the students at the school?
So, I did like this book. It was cute and fun but a little rushed at the end. I would recommend it to teen readers because I think it would make them stop and think of how they treat people and how their words and actions can hurt others even if they don't mean it too.
Oh yeah, by the end of the book I really did like Bridget after all!
Synopsis (from Goodreads): the cold.
Grace has spent years watching the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—watches back. He feels deeply familiar to her, but she doesn't know why.
Sam has lived two lives. As a wolf, he keeps the silent company of the girl he loves. And then, for a short time each year, he is human, never daring to talk to Grace...until now.
For Grace and Sam, love has always been kept at a distance. But once it's spoken, it cannot be denied. Sam must fight to stay human—and Grace must fight to keep him—even if it means taking on the scars of the past, the fragility of the present, and the impossibility of the future.
My Thoughts: Okay, please my friends, don't hate me here but I was not in love with this book like everyone else has been. Don't get me wrong, it was a good book but after reading The Hunger Games, which Shiver had the unfortunate luck of following, it just didn't grab me.
I enjoy the story being told from Grace and Sam's point of views. It always makes it more interesting to have both sides tell a story plus I feel like I can really connect with each character. I loved Sam. He was sweet and honest and good. Sometimes he was a little too good and I found myself sharing Grace's frusterations (I mean come on...kiss her already!).
Grace was a great character too however I found her a little strange at the beginning of the book. She is obsessed with these wolves and already almost loves Sam (as a wolf) in a romantic way and that's just a little strange to me. I hated her parents and found some parts of the story a little unbelievable here. Sam pratically lives with Grace, in her parents house, for months without them ever knowing. They never check on her when the get in late or before the leave in the morning. They are never home. I mean, poor Grace has almost died twice and they pay no attention her. Then there is a crazy incident that happens in the middle of the book and Grace's mom takes her and Sam to the hospital and then just leaves them. It was like "well, you're not going to die so I'm outta here". I have kids....there is NO way I would leave them in a hospital by themselves. So yeah, wasn't crazy about her parents.
This book did remind me a lot of Twilight only with Werewolves instead of Vampires. The way Grace wanted to be physical and Sam held back, especially but it was different enough (for me) to still enjoy it. I both liked and disliked the total change in beliefs on werewolves. They don't change with the phases of the moon, it is the temperature (noted at the beginning of each chapter). This is a little off for me only because there are too many questions. Why don't they just stay inside during the winter? Why don't they move to S. America where it never gets cold? I mean, why on earth would they choose to live in MN? Hello....it's COLD there a lot! I didn't like the so-called "cure" and the quick way Jack was dealt with in the end. Why does it work for some and not others? There were just a lot of questions that weren't answered.
However, the ending was amazing and totally left me hanging and dying to read Linger. So, I am ordering it from the library with high hopes of getting it soon just to see what happens now.
Synopsis (from Goodreads):Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with every one out to make sure you don't live to see the morning?
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
**Warning - spoilers ahead**
My thoughts: I don't even know where to begin or how to describe this book. I picked it up because everyone said how good it was but I was hestitant because I did not want to be let down by my high expectations. Well, I shouldn't have even been worried about that! It met my expectations and then still went higher! It was, in one word, AMAZING!
I have never read a book that brought out so many different emotions in me. I was just telling a couple friends about it yesterday, when I was only 50 pages in, that I wasn't sure I was going to be able to finish it as it was so incredibly disturbing and I wasn't sure I could handle it. However, at the same time, I absolutely could not put it down. I stayed up until 1:30 this morning reading it and then had violent nightmares where I was the tribute or one of my kids was.
I loved Katniss and Peeta! I don't know how you people out there choose teams because I love them both. I also loved Rue. I almost cried when she died and I don't cry at books. It was so heart-wrenching and I actually felt the despair that Katniss felt as she was once again left alone to fight for her life. At the same time, you are glad someone else took Rue out because how would Katniss have done it?
I was surprised but happy that it wasn't too violent. The implication is there but there isn't a ton of gory details and I'm very glad about that. There is also no sex and very little, if any, swearing. This was nice as it is a YA book. However, that being said, I would not let my kids read this book until high school age. Only because of the content and implied violence and how deeply it disturbed me. This will be one of those books that stays with me for a long time.
I will be recommending this book to all my family and friends. It was so intense that you cannot put the thing down. I walked around with my Nook in front of my face all day (I have the piled up laundry and dishes to prove it). It is on the top of my favorites list and I can't wait to dive into the second in the series!
I know that I cannot give this book the review that it deserves. It would be so long if I talked about everything I loved about this book so you will just have to pick it up and read it for yourself. You won't be sorry!
I was so impressed with how many entries I had for my first giveaway and how many new followers I got! So, thank you to all who entered and my new (and old) followers! Without further ado, here are the winners, picked via Random.org...
Jessica @ A Great Read
I will be emailing the winners shortly and they have 48 hours to respond. Thank you all again and stay tuned as I have more giveaways in store for after Christmas!
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
A strange imprisonment
Beauty has never liked her nickname. She is thin and awkward; it is her two sisters who are the beautiful ones. But what she lacks in looks, she can perhaps make up for in courage.
When her father comes home with the tale of an enchanted castle in the forest and the terrible promise he had to make to the Beast who lives there, Beauty knows she must go to the castle, a prisoner of her own free will. Her father protests that he will not let her go, but she answers, "Cannot a Beast be tamed?"
Robin McKinley's beloved telling illuminates the unusual love story of a most unlikely couple: Beauty and the Beast.
My Thoughts: I picked up this book because it was the selection for the online book club I am a part of. I love the Beauty and the Beast fairytale (who wouldn't) so I was very excited to read this one.
It started out a little slow for me. In fact, it took all of Part One before I really got into it. The first part was all the background which is, of course, important but I was slightly bored with it. After Papa comes back and tells his story and Beauty decides to go to the Beast, it was hard to put down. I loved the enchantments and, while I found myself imagining the helpers as a teapot and cup (courtesy of Disney), I found that they were still very fun and I loved that it was a clean read. It is suitable for young readers as well as older readers.
I do wish that the ending had a little more to it. It felt a little rushed and crammed into a couple of pages. I would have liked another couple of chapters on the transformation of Beauty, her family and the castle and Beast. When Beauty left her family, they were not big fans of the Beast and then, after the transformation, all was wonderful and her family was at the castle in loving, happy moods. I would have liked to have known how that happened, how the family knew, how Robbie got there so quickly and so on. Did the transformation take months and Beauty just fell asleep or what? Last we heard, it would take 12 weeks for Robbie to get back to the family and then they all magically appear within minutes. Maybe I just missed a key point (it was late when I finished it) but I just felt that something was missing there.
All in all, I think it was a very sweet retelling of one of my favorite fairytales. I would recommend it to my friends and students at my school!
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Here is my teaser: "I could see something pale among the trees. In another minute I recognized it: It was the road leading to the heart of the forest, and the castle." pg. 123, Beauty by Robin McKinley
Debbie over at Debbie's Book Bag is hosting her first challenge. She is hosting a Cozy Mysteries Challenge and I cannot wait to start! I have never read a Cozy Mystery but love any mystery, especially fun and easy reading ones!
I am signing up as an Amateur (1-5) due to the number of challenges I have signed up for this year. I am going to head over to http://www.cozy-mystery.com/ to pick out my fun reads! I will post the titles here soon and as I read them I will link the review here as well!
So, head on over to Debbie's Book Bag and sign up for this fun challenge!
1. A Taste for Murder by Claudia Bishop (Hemlock Falls Series #1)
2. Homicide in Hardcover by Kate Carlisle (Bibliophile Mystery #1)
3. Don of the Dead by Casey Daniels (Pepper Martin Mystery #1)
4. Keepsake Crimes by Laura Childs (Scrapbooking Mystery #1...I'm a scrapbooker so this is a no-brainer!)
5. On What Grounds by Cleo Coyle (Coffeehouse Series #1)
There is only one week left for you to enter my 100 Follower Giveaway! I am up to 127 wonderful followers so I will be giving away at least 2 brand new copies of Losing Faith by Denise Jaden!
To enter, go to my orignial post here and sign up! You must be a follower (it is a 100 follower giveaway after all) through GFC. If I get 150 followers by 11:59 PM (Pacific Time) on December 19, I will give away another copy of this book (for a total of 3 winners)!
Synopsis(from Goodreads):A gay teenage Mormon growing up in western Oregon in 2003. His straight best friend. Their parents. A typical LDS ward, a high-school club about tolerance for gays, and a proposed anti-gay-marriage amendment to the state constitution. In NO GOING BACK, these elements combine in a coming-of-age story about faithfulness and friendship, temptation and redemption, tough choices and conflicting loyalties.
My Thoughts: I was very hesitant to read this book when the author first asked me as it really isn't the kind of book I read a lot. I am so glad I took the chance! This was an emotional book! My heart broke for Paul so many times as he put up with hate for being gay, for being Mormon, for being both. After Paul tells his best friend, Chad, that he is gay, Chad is angry and stays away from Paul. I hurt for him whilel he tried to find his way without his best friend for a litttle while.
I really liked how the story was told in different views. I really enjoyed reading it from Paul's point of view but my favorite was reading from the Bishop's point of view. His point of view was obviously more grown up and flowed better but Paul's point of view telling was also very direct and honest. It was very real-to-life for a teenage boy.
My only complaint was that I didn't really like Sandy's (the Bishop's wife) little sub-story. I felt that it was not at all necessary and just added to bogging down Paul's story a little. The book could have totally gotten rid of that part and it would have been great.
I am not Mormon myself (although I have a lot of Mormon friends) but I did not feel that this in any way made a difference. I do not know a lot about the Mormon religion but didn't find anything to be confusing or hard to read however I cannot say how accurately it portray the Mormon religion. I do think anyone could pick up this book and learn from it. It was a very direct and honest view of how people treat others who we deem "different".
I think this is a book every adult should read. It is not an easy read or even a fast read but a very emotional and honest read.
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can't seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse: Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. Percy's mom decides it's time that he knew the truth about where he came from. She sends Percy to Camp Half-Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends, one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena, Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.
My thoughts: Well, I absolutely love Greek Mythology so I was really hoping I would like this book. It did not disappoint! What is even better is that my kids (who are homeschooled) and I are learning about Greek Mythology right now in their curriculum so it was easy for me to follow along with all the myths and the Gods.
Riordan does a great job incorporating the Greek myths into our world. I love that it has history in it but with all the action and monster fighting, it stayed entertaining through the whole book. There were twists through the book that made for fast reading!
The other thing I loved was the chapter titles! The first chapter, "I Accidentally Vaporize My Pre-Algebra Teacher" had me laughing from the start. Each chapter had an equally entertaining title that made me want to keep reading to see the meaning behind them.
I think this is going to be one of my favorite series (alongside Harry Potter and the Mortal Instruments). I am going to have my son read this next as I know he is going to love it!
This is a fun mini-challenge hosted by Lazy Girl Reads and since it's a mini-challenge, I figure I can sign up for it even though I said no more challenges. It's just a little one, right?
So, here are the rules:
This challenge goes from Jan. 1st 2011- Apr. 1st 2011
Rules: Choose 4 books according to the following guidelines:
You don't have to pick the books ahead of time! Be creative! While the other categories are self explanatory, 'Something blue' can mean a book with a blue cover, a book with the word 'blue' in the title, a book that takes place at sea...anything you want!
This challenge will actually be pretty easy for me! The books I am reading for this are as follows (I will list them as I find them):
Synopsis (from Amazon.com): At the start of this steamy woman's novel from Hilderbrand (The Castaways), recently divorced Birdie Cousins is busy planning the September wedding of her older daughter, Chess, at the family house on Tuckernuck, a privately owned island near Nantucket. Birdie hopes to spend some quality time with Chess on Tuckernuck in July, but then Chess breaks her engagement to her consummate Ivy League golden boy fiancé, Michael Morgan. Michael fatally plunges off a Utah crag just when Birdie acquires her own new beau--a married man with a wife stricken with Alzheimer's. Birdie, Chess, and their support team--Birdie's computer-guru younger daughter, Tate, and Birdie's bohemian widowed sister, India--hare off to Tuckernuck. There hunky handyman Barrett Lee flutters hearts and dampens underwear in a breathless month of supercharged estrogenic imbalances. This never-never land portrait of the rich and randy will please those looking for a satisfying beach read. My thoughts: At first I thought that I would put this book away unfinished. I wasn't totally into it and I really didn't care for the characters. After about 75 pages though, I couldn't put it down! The author makes you love and hate each of the characters.
Birdie was not my favorite character at all. There were times when I thought she was pathetic, boring and just let people walk all over her. Then, halfway through the book, she changed and I liked her more. She still wasn't my favorite in the book but she was a little more manageable.
I had a complete love/hate relationship with Chess. I got so tired of her self-pity (yes, those who have read this book will probably think I am heartless) and depression. I mean, after all, she is the one who broke off the engagement. After reading more, you understand why Chess was feeling so guilty but it took awhile to get the whole story (which is the point, I am sure). At the end of the book, I loved her! She was probably one of my favorites!
I thought Tate would be my favorite character at the beginning! She was so fun and happy and optimistic! I really enjoyed her at the beginning until she got to Tuckernuck Island. Then I found her to be a little too self-conscious. She would be thinking "I want to do this but Chess wouldn't do it that way". Who cares? Be your own person. Then, more towards the end, I found her to be childish. However, at the end of the book, I loved her again!
Barrett and India were by far my favorite characters throughout the book. India was amazing! She was so confident, independent, sexy and I found no flaws with her whatsoever! Barrett was great too!
I loved how the book went from all four women's point of views. The author would get you caught up in one woman's problems and life and then the chapter would end and I would be so disappointed to be leaving her and then in no time I would get caught up in the next woman's story and it would happen all over again.
All in all, I would recommend this book. It was a little slow to start but then you feel a kinship with all four women. The author makes you want to live "simply", as they live on Tuckernuck and I actually found myself craving to spend a couple of weeks with no electricity, only cold water and absolute privacy. I finished the book feeling like I had four new friends.