Monday, August 29, 2011

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Title: The Help
Author: Kathryn Stockett
Published By: Putnam (Feb. 10, 2009)
Genre: Realistic Fiction
My Rating: 5 Stars

Goodreads Description:
Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody's business, but she can't mind her tongue, so she's lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women - mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends - view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don't.

My Review:
It is very rare these days that a book lives up to all the hype that it has been getting, which is why I am always apprehensive about starting a book that has such glowing reviews and that everyone has just loved. I hate being disappointed by a book that I have been excited about reading and really looking forward to. 
So it was with great apprehension that I started The Help. I wasn't expected it to be fabulous and I most certainly wasn't holding my breath.
I so love it when I am very pleasantly surprised that a book can and does live up to the hype, from the first page I loved this story. 
I fell in love with the three main characters, their stories, their hardships, their joys, their strength, their sense of humor and just the wonderful woman that they were.
This book had me laughing, it had me crying, smiling and all those other emotions in between.
This truly was just an amazing book. 
I even loved the authors dedication and acknowledgements at the end of the book. This book has definitely made my top 10 list of books I have loved reading this year, heck, that I have loved reading ever.
This book opens your eyes and makes you take a good look around you. I won't say it has changed my life but it certainly has made me a better person from reading it.
One of my favorite lines in this book is this:
"We are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I'd thought." 
I love that line because I think that it is sometimes easy to forget that we are all just people. We have differences and we even look different but when it comes down to is simply that we are people, all of us.
This is a beautiful story about strength and doing what it right and standing up for what you believe in no matter what may happen. I truly think it is a story for everyone.

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

Title: The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend)
Author: Kody Keplinger
Published By: Little Brown/Poppy (Sept. 7, 2010)
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
My Rating: 4 Stars

Goodreads Description:
Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.
Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

My Review: 
This book so wasn't what I was expecting.
It was edgy and a little raw and very much real. I think a lot of teenagers today could relate to some of the problems Bianca and her friends were going through.
While this had a lot of swearing in it and some very adult issues I think it was well written and the characters were awesome.
I like books that surprise me and can take on topics that not everyone is comfortable with and come out handling it beautifully and still give you that HEA that you are looking for in a good story. 
I don't however think this is a story for everyone and definitely not for the younger audience. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Bloodshot (The Cheshire Red Reports #1) by Cherie Preist

Title: Bloodshot (The Cheshire Red Reports #1)
Author: Cherie Preist
Published By: Spectra (Jan. 25, 2011)
Genre: Urban Fantasy
My Rating: 3 Stars

Goodreads Description:

Raylene Pendle (AKA Cheshire Red), a vampire and world-renowned thief, doesn’t usually hang with her own kind. She’s too busy stealing priceless art and rare jewels. But when the infuriatingly charming Ian Stott asks for help, Raylene finds him impossible to resist—even though Ian doesn’t want precious artifacts. He wants her to retrieve missing government files—documents that deal with the secret biological experiments that left Ian blind. What Raylene doesn’t bargain for is a case that takes her from the wilds of Minneapolis to the mean streets of Atlanta. And with a psychotic, power-hungry scientist on her trail, a kick-ass drag queen on her side, and Men in Black popping up at the most inconvenient moments, the case proves to be one hell of a ride.

My Review:
Okay so I will admit, I wasn't sure how to rate this book after I got done reading it. I mean I liked it, it was different than other UF out there right now, way different in fact but yet I couldn't decide if that was a good thing.
I mean, I enjoyed the writing, Preist is a good writer, I just wasn't sure if I felt like I connected with any of the characters. I didn't really feel like I became invested in what happened to them. Did I like them? Sort of.
Raylene has a very dry sense of humor, which was kind of nice but she was kind of a butt too.
Adrian was funny and a great character but yet, I still didn't feel like I got enough glimpse of him to love him and care a whole lot about what happened to him in the end.
Ian was also a really interesting character and again, I liked him but I'm not sure I loved him. I wanted to feel sorry for his situation but instead I think I was more fascinated with it and just wanted to learn what he was hiding.
All in all, the series is an interesting one and something new out there in the world of UF and I definitely wouldn't mind reading the next book, in fact I plan on reading the next book because I really really want to feel that connection with the characters and I want to learn more about them. I want to like the series as much as I like the concept of the series.
I am hoping the next one will be better and will get a little more personal.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dance With a Vampire (Vampires Kisses #4) by Ellen Schreiber

Title: Dance With a Vampire (Vampire Kisses #4)
Author: Ellen Schreiber
Published By: Harper Teen (July 1, 2007)
Genre: YA
My Rating: 4 Stars

Goodreads Description:
There's a new vampire in town. His name is Valentine Maxwell. Goth-girl Raven knows this latest intruder can only mean trouble—he's the younger sibling of two vampires she fought to drive out of Dullsville. But when her brother, Billy, befriends this dangerous tween night prowler, the stakes are suddenly higher. Though torn by the excitement of every teen girl's fantasy—attending the prom with her boyfriend—Raven must do everything she can to protect Billy.
Valentine's appearance may pose even further threats. Could he somehow know Raven's innermost feelings about becoming immortal for her true love, Alexander? The far-from-ordinary romance of these two teen outsiders takes another surprise-filled spin in the fourth book of Ellen Schreiber's applauded Vampire Kisses series. 

My Review:
Once in awhile it is just great to read something for fun. Something that is light and funny. Something that doesn't have any bad language or violence or sex. A fluff read. 
Something that lets you get away for just an hour or two and not think about anything but what you are reading.
Something that brings a smile to your face with its sweetness and great characters.
This series is one of those reads.
It really is a fun series with even better characters.
Raven, Alexander, Billy Boy, Matt, Trevor, Becky, Jameson, they are all great.
I just adore this series and love reading about their adventures and wishes and dreams and heartaches.
If you haven't tried this series yet you really should. Schreiber does an amazing job with it.

Shattered Dreams: A Midnight Dragonfly Novel by Ellie James

Title: Shattered Dreams: A Midnight Dragonfly Novel
Author: Ellie James
Published By: St. Martin's Griffin (Dec. 6, 2011)
Genre: YA Paranormal
Source: ARC Copy e-galley
My Rating: 4 Stars

Goodreads Description:
Sixteen-year-old Trinity Monsour wants nothing more than to live a normal life. But that isn’t as easy as it seems. Trinity is different. She is special. She sees visions, and for those she’s seen, it’s already too late.
Trinity arrives on her aunt’s doorstep in New Orleans with virtually no knowledge of her mysterious heritage. She begins settling into life at a new school and even starts making friends. But all too quickly her dreams accelerate; twisted, terrifying visions of a girl locked in a dark room. And when the head cheerleader, Jessica, goes missing, Trinity knows she has no choice but to step forward with what she’s seen.
But people believe that Trinity has information about Jessica’s disappearance not because of a dream, but because she is involved. She is kind-of dating Jessica’s ex-boyfriend, Chase, and Jessica did pull a nasty prank on Trinity. Revenge seems like the likeliest scenario.
Nothing prepares Trinity for the dark odyssey that ensues while searching for Jessica, including the surprising romance she finds with Chase, or the shocking truths she learns, not just about the girl who has gone missing, but the past that has been hidden from her.

My Review:
I see this book has gotten quite a few mixed reviews. Some seem to hate it while others love it.
Honestly, I really enjoyed this book. I had a hard time putting it down in fact. I read it every spare moment I could yesterday and even times when I probably should have been doing something else.
Is this story perfect? No.
But like so many other new books in a series (I hope this will be a series!!) there is some world building and some unanswered questions. Some things that aren't quite perfect. But really, this was a fun read.
I like that it didn't necessarily start at the beginning of the story, but rather some weeks after Trinity came to New Orleans.
I like that it started with a game. Truth or Dare, a group of people, some friends, some not. And a creepy old mansion long deserted.
I really enjoyed Trinity's journey to discovering more about her parents, their past and her future.
Like all new books (in a series or otherwise) this book wasn't perfect. It left some things unanswered and unexplained but it was a fun read and it left me wanting more. There was a lot of character building and world setting like any first book.
I am hoping that this was just the first book in a new series and we will get to see more of Trinity, Chase and Dylan, because I would really love to read more about them and see where they all go from here.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Second-Guessing Fate by Claire Robyns

Title: Second-Guessing Fate
Author: Claire Robyns
Published By: Carina Press (Sept. 26, 2011)
Source: ARC Copy E-Galley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
My Rating: 4 Stars

Goodreads Description:
Can She Outwit Fate?

Gemma is on a collision course with heartbreak. At least, according to the fortune-teller her best friend drags her to see. Gemma doesn't believe a word of it, but when other predictions start to come true, she begins to suspect that gorgeous, gray-eyed Nick is the man foretold to break her heart before she can find her soul mate. Too bad she's never met a man she's wanted more, because now she has to get him to dump her before she falls too hard.

Nick has plans of his own. He's ready to settle down with Ms. Right, and everything points to the beautiful Gemma. He's determined to prove to her that he's the perfect boyfriend—even if she does seem to be trying her best to scare him off…

My Review:
This book reminded me so much of the movie How to Lost a Guy in 10 Days, only better.
Instead of two people making ridiculous bets with their friends and co-workers we have the formidable Madame Hooch and her unpredictable predictions and mysterious ways.
I really loved the characters in this story. I liked Gemma and thought she was a great character. I liked watching her grow through out the story and I loved her antics with Nicholas. Some of them were out right crazy and funny.
And Nick, well Nick was just swoon worthy and such a great guy. It was hard not to love him and feel bad for him and sometimes even want to slap him.
This was such a fun book that was hard to put down and read well quickly. It was definitely a great story and I will be looking for more from the author in the future.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Heist Society by Ally Carter

Title: Heist Society (Heist Society #1)
Author: Ally Carter 
Published By: Hyperion Books (Feb. 9, 2010)
Genre: YA
My Rating: 4 Stars

Goodreads Description:
When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria…to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own—scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving “the life” for a normal life proves harder than she’d expected.

Soon, Kat's friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring Kat back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has a good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat's father isn't just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.

For Kat, there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it's a spectacularly impossible job? She's got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family's history--and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.

My Review:
What first drew me to this book was the cover, if you aren't looking close enough you may not noticed the details in her glasses. Clever huh? 
Of course the next thing that drew me in was the story line. Teenage thieves and one girl that wants out and turned her back from the only life she knew to be normal only to be drawn back in to clear her dad of the life she doesn't want by doing the life she was trained and maybe even born to do...steal and lead an impossible heist to do the impossible and get away with it.
This story was great. I loved the characters and how brilliant they were. I love that this story was never dull but completely action packed and always keeping you on the edge of your seat.
I really enjoyed the slight love triangle it had, heck, I even loved the bad guys.
The ending was a surprise without being a surprise and just plain left you wanting to pick up the next book in the series and dive right in. 
This was a really fun easy read that seemed to take no time at all to finish even though there was always a lot going on.
I really look forward to reading the next in the series.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Looking for Trouble by Erin Kern

Title: Looking for Trouble
Author: Erin Kern
Published By: Self Published (Oct. 12. 2010)
Genre: Chick Lit/Contemporary Romance
My Rating: 4 Stars

Goodreads Description:
When Noah McDermott, owner of McDermott Construction, walks out into the bright morning sunshine, the last thing he expects is to get run over by a careless woman in a yellow Mercedes. His anger quickly fades into curiosity when the driver turns out to have endless legs and bottomless brown eyes.
Avery Price, daughter of a publishing millionaire, should have followed her instinct and kept driving instead of stopping at a dot on the map. But Trouble, Wyoming is growing on her and she needs a job – fast. So what is she thinking by accepting a job from the man she knocked over with her back bumper?
As the two of them work together, the sparks fly. Surely they can be professional and keep from acting on their impulses. Sometimes Noah gets the feeling Avery isn’t who she says she is. Is she just a girl looking for a change or is there more going on than she’s telling him?
Avery quickly adapts to her new life in the middle of nowhere. She has a job for the first time in her life and a boss who turns her on more than her ex-fiancé ever did. But did she make the right choice by leaving home or is she falling deeper into trouble?

My Review:
I am not going to sugar coat this, this book has a lot of editing errors and inconsistencies. Some were even a little distracting at times, which normally puts me off a book but thankfully the writing and characters were so good that I was able to move past the errors and really enjoy the story.
The story managed to hold my attention and make me not want to stop reading, in fact, I would have finished this in one day if I hadn't had such a busy schedule at the time I was reading it.
I loved the characters and even the secondary characters were fun to read about and completely loveable. In fact, I am really hoping we will get to see some of the side characters in another book, I liked them that much.
And while it did have some distracting editing errors like I mentioned before, this book is so worth the read. It was fun and hot and had great dialog between the characters and definitely left me wanting to read another book by the author. 
In fact I was told that there will be another book out in September and I will definitely be buying it. 

Blue is for Nightmares by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Title: Blue is for Nightmares (Blue is for Nightmares #1)
Author: Laurie Faria Stolarz
Published By: Llewellyn Publications (Nov.8, 2003)
Genre: YA
My Rating: 3 Stars

Goodreads Description:
"I Know Your Secret . . ."

Stacey's junior year at boarding school isn't easy. She's not the most popular girl at school, or the smartest, or the prettiest. She's got a crush on her best friend's boyfriend, and an even darker secret that threatens to ruin her friendships for good. And now she's having nightmares again. Not just any nightmares – these dreams are too real to ignore, like she did three years ago. The last time she ignored them, a little girl died. This time they're about Drea, her best friend who's become the target of one seriously psycho stalker. It started with weird e-mails and freaky phone calls. Now someone's leaving Drea white lilies – the same death lilies that have been showing up in Stacey's dreams. Everybody thinks it's just a twisted game . . . until another girl at school is brutally murdered. There are no witnesses. Worst of all, no one has a perfect alibi. With everyone as a potential suspect, Stacey turns to the one secret weapon she can trust – the folk magic taught to her by her grandmother. Will Stacey's magic be strong enough to expose the true killer, or will the killer make her darkest nightmares come true? 

My Review:
I liked this book, it was a fun read but it just didn't completely capture me like some of her other books have.
I did like the story line and the characters so I would be willing to try the next book in the series. I know that sometimes first books in series can be rough so I am hoping the series gets better as it goes.

Friday, August 19, 2011

First Frost (Mythos Academy #0.5) by Jennifer Estep

Title: First Frost (Mythos Academy #0.5)
Author: Jennifer Estep
Published By: Kensington Books (July 1, 2011)
Genre: YA 
My Rating: 4 Stars

Goodreads Description:
I am Gwen Frost, and I have a Gypsy gift.  It's called psychometry - that's a fancy way of saying that I see images in my head and get flashes of other people's memories off almost everything I touch, even guys.  My gift makes me kind of nosy. Okay, okay, maybe a lot nosy--to the point of obsession sometimes. I want to know everything about everyone around me. But even I don't want to know the secrets my friend Paige is hiding or the terrible loss that will send me to a new school - Mythos Academy, where the teachers aren't preparing us for the SATs, but to battle Reapers of Chaos.  Now I have no friends and no idea how my gift fits in with all these warrior whiz kids.  The only thing I do know is that my life is never, ever going to be the same.  .  .

My Review:
Okay so normally I don't bother with writing reviews for novellas or for prequels to series but this one was so good that I thought it deserved it.
I just loved reading it and I really didn't want it to end. I wanted to know more about Gwen and the school and what her powers were going to reveal and of course who doesn't want to read more about the mysterious Logan?
I am so glad that I bought the first book in the series because I can't wait to read more!
This completely captured my attention and left me wanting more.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Stolen (The Nine Lives of Chloe King #2) by Celia Thomson

Title: The Stolen (The Nine Lives of Chloe King #2)
Author: Celia Thomson
Published By: Simon Pulse (Aug. 31, 2004)
Genre: YA
My Rating: 2 Stars

Goodreads Description:
She argues with her mother. She occasionally skips class. And she alternately crushes on two totally different boys.
But Chloe King is by no means your typical teenager. The girl can scale buildings and see in the dark. Sometimes, at night, she even likes to leap from rooftop to rooftop. Yes, Chloe has the instincts and ability of a cat. And that makes her unique indeed.
It also makes her a wanted woman.
Because the Order of the Tenth Blade does not deal kindly with people like Chloe. It stalks them. Preys upon them. And wants many of them -- like Chloe, for instance -- dead.

My Review:
I really wanted to like this series and I wish I could say that I liked this book but I just can't get into it which is odd because I really like the TV series.
The Chloe in the books is nothing like the one in the TV series, in fact none of the characters are. Maybe if I hadn't watched the TV series first I would have like these books more. As it is, I doubt I will be starting the last book anytime soon.

Dark Heart Forever by Lee Monroe

Title: Dark Heart Forever (Dark Heart Forever #1)
Author: Lee Monroe
Published By: Hodder Children's Books (Oct. 7, 2010)
Genre: YA Paranormal
My Rating: 4 Stars

Goodreads Description:
Jane Jonas is nearing her 16th birthday and troubled by unsettling recurring dreams where the same mysterious boy her age comes to her, telling Jane that they are each other's destiny. Her mother is increasingly anxious about Jane's disruptive sleepwalking episodes, but for Jane her dream world and reality are about to collide ...When she develops a friendship with an enigmatic stranger in town, the blond, uber-cool Evan, it's exciting, it's new, and Jane wants him more than she's ever wanted anybody - until her mystery dream boy gets in the way. Now Jane is caught between two worlds: one familiar, but tinged with romance and excitement; the other dark and dangerous, where angels, werewolves, and an irresistible stranger are trying to seduce her ...

My Review:
I love the cover on this book, there is just something so beautiful and mysterious about it.
And surprisingly, the story was much the same. It was different and imaginative. A whole new take on weres and vampires and witches that was refreshing.
There are a lot of paranormal books out there right now and it was nice to see something completely different yet still good. 
This probably wasn't the best story I have ever read but it was nice and because it was so imaginative and such a nice change of pace I think it earns the 4 stars I am giving it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Indie Author of the Week, Maria E. Schneider and Catch an Honest Thief

Okay, so I am featuring the Indie Author of the Week a little early this week but I read catch an Honest Thief by Maria E. Schneider and I didn't want to wait another few days to leave my review.

Let me start off by saying that I am really not sure how to classify this book. Is it a mystery? Is it Sci-Fi? Well, I think it is a little bit of both but mostly, I would say it is a mystery and anyone who knows me very well knows I love a good mystery.

I was really looking forward to reading this book, I have never read anything by the author before and when she graciously offered me one of her books I took her up on the offer and dove right in.

I had a hard time at first getting into the story, for some reason I felt a little lost. I didn't feel like I understood exactly where Haven (the town the story takes place) was or why it was so different from the other places and why was a psychiatrist acting as a thief? What was the purpose behind it? Is this story set in the future?

Thankfully it didn't take long for these questions to be answered and for the story to pick up. In fact once it did I had a hard time putting it down. I wanted to learn more about Alexia and how her mind worked and why she did the things she does and of course, I loved trying to figure out who the real thief was. I have to admit, I didn't see who the culprit was coming. I love a book that can stump me.

Overall I really enjoyed reading this and thought it was very well written. It flowed together nicely and I really enjoyed Schneider's writing style. I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.

I would give this book 4 Stars out of 5.

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Title: Perfect Chemistry (Perfect Chemistry #1)
Author: Simone Elkeles
Published By: Walker Books for Young Readers (Dec. 23, 2008)
Genre: YA Chick Lit
My Rating: 5 Stars

Goodreads Description:
A fresh, urban twist on the classic tale of star-crossed lovers. When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more.  In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.

My Review:
This is the first book I have read by Simone Elkeles and while I heard great things about it I still didn't quite know what to expect from it. You just never know if something will live up to its hype.
Let me tell you that this book certainly lived up to all the hype and then some. I had such a hard time putting it down, in fact I devoured it! I stayed up to read it because I was so close to finishing it that I just had to know how it ended. I wanted Brittany and Alex to have a happily ever after so badly.
I love how each chapter  fluctuated between Alex's POV and Brittany's. Some books can't pull that off but this one was beautifully done. It was seamless and I loved getting both of their  perspectives to the story.
I am a sucker for reading about star crossed lovers and I love how this one made their situations so real. I loved the diversity in it. Different races, status and circumstances but ultimately two very similar people that have a connection that can't be denied but both must overcome some very real, very hard obstacles in their lives if they want to be together and take a chance on love. 
This story was beautifully written and I would recommend it to anyone who is an Echols or Dessen fan.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Love Story by Jennifer Echols

Title: Love Story
Author: Jennifer Echols
Published By: MTV Books (June 19, 2011)
Genre: YA Chick Lit
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Goodreads Description:
She's writing about him. he's writing about her. And everybody is reading between the lines..

For Erin Blackwell, majoring in creative writing at the New York City college of her dreams is more than a chance to fulfill her ambitions--it's her ticket away from the tragic memories that shadow her family's racehorse farm in Kentucky. But when she refuses to major in business and take over the farm herself someday, her grandmother gives Erin's college tuition and promised inheritance to their maddeningly handsome stable boy, Hunter Allen. Now Erin has to win an internship and work late nights at a coffee shop to make her own dreams a reality. She should despise Hunter . . . so why does he sneak into her thoughts as the hero of her latest writing assignment?

Then, on the day she's sharing that assignment with her class, Hunter walks in. He's joining her class. And after he reads about himself in her story, her private fantasies about him must be painfully clear. She only hopes to persuade him not to reveal her secret to everyone else. But Hunter devises his own creative revenge, writing sexy stories that drive the whole class wild with curiosity and fill Erin's heart with longing. Now she's not just imagining what might have been. She's writing a whole new ending for her romance with Hunter . . . except this story could come true.

My Review:
I have to say, I am really really surprised by all the 3 stars rating on this book, I thought it was awesome. I loved Hunter and Erin. And their story, well their story, was like no other. 
I love how well they knew each other without really knowing each other. 
I love their self discovery, their discovery of themselves and what they wanted in life and how they stood up for what they wanted. I love that Erin didn't let family or friends or money dictate who she was and I love that she was strong and secure in herself enough to know that she could do it on her own or at least go down fighting.
I love a strong female character but also one that is still soft enough to know and let love in.
While the ending made sense, I do wish it would have been a little longer. That we would have gotten just a little more of the glimpse into Erin's conversation with her grandmother and into the story that Hunter wrote about the universe and space. But overall I think this book was great and I look forward to reading more of Echols' work.

Sophie & Carter by Chelsea Fine

Title: Sophie & Carter
Author: Chelsea Fine
Published By: Acacia Publishing (June 20, 2011)
Genre: YA Chick Lit
My Rating: 5 Solid Stars

Goodreads Description:
While other high school seniors are dreaming about their futures, Sophie and Carter are just trying to make it through each day. Carter is overwhelmed by issues at home as he struggles to support his mother. Meanwhile, next door neighbor Sophie is left to care for her three younger siblings in place of their absent and troubled mother. All that holds these two best friends together is each other, and knowing that each night they'll sit together on Sophie's front porch swing and escape from reality, if just for awhile. But as their relationship reaches a turning point and high school graduation nears, will their friendship become something more?

Reader Review: "I couldn't put it down! I read it cover to cover in one night. I was so fascinated with the lives of Sophie and Carter I just had to see how their stories ended.

My Review:
Sophie and Carter have to be two of the best characters I have read this year. They were so real and raw and just amazing. In fact, this book is amazing. The story about broke my heart in places and even though this book is only a little over 100 pages long, I became so attached to the characters. To their well being, to the life that lay ahead of them. To their love and friendship, everything. 
I wanted to reach into the pages and give them both a great big hug and help them anyway that I could.
Their story was just incredible. I wish this book could have lasted forever.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Legend of Witchtrot Road (Spirit Guide #3) by E.J. Stevens

Title: Legend of Witchtrot Road (Spirit Guide #3)
Author: E.J. Stevens
Published By: Sacred Oaks Press (Oct. 4, 2011)
Source: ARC copy from the author
Genre: YA Paranormal
My Rating: 5 Stars

Goodreads Description:
Surviving agitated ghosts, irritated witches, angry werewolves, and the horrors of high school has never been so hard.

The night of Samhain may be behind them, but Yuki and her friends have only begun to face the challenges of their paranormal gifts. Tensions are rising--in the pack, at school, and within their tightly knit group of friends.

The tragic death of Wakefield High student Dylan Jacobs has emotions boiling over. The J-Team, Yuki's arch nemesis, have turned the entire football team against her. They claim that Yuki is a witch and blame her for the death of their fellow teammate. Will Yuki be able to solve the mystery of Dylan's death, and the legend of Witchtrot Road, before tempers flare and things turn violent?

Emma is the friend that Yuki turns to when things get tough, but she's been behaving strangely. Emma has been acting distant and seems to be coming down with a mysterious illness. What will Yuki and her friends do if their healer is truly sick?

Calvin has become Alpha and wants the best for his pack. He is a dedicated and compassionate leader willing to do anything for the good of his people, but will Cal be able to hold the pack together when a fiery, young werewolf comes seeking revenge?

Simon may still be a roguish playboy, but he is taking his role as Calvin's second in command deadly serious. Will Simon be able to focus on his pack duties when he is forced to face his dark, emotional past?

My Review: 
I know I have gushed about this series before but I just can't help it. I just adore this series. It is so much fun to read and the characters are just so unique and unlike any others out there.
I loved the first two books and this one was no different. I love Yuki, Cal, Simon and Emma. Their friendship and loyalty to one another is just so refreshing to read. I love how they all ban together to get the job done regardless of what that job may be or how dangerous it is. The love they all share for one another is just awesome.
I love the sense of humor Yuki has about herself and life and her situation. She takes everything in stride and doesn't let anyone get her down or tell her who she needs to be. She is strong and confident but still a sweetheart and truly good at heart, I just love that. And her friends are no different.
I think each time I read about Cal I fall more in love with him, he has to win the boyfriend of the year award.
The ending to this one left me wanting more. I can't believe how it ended!! And while I did see it coming, I am just so excited to read more about it. I don't want to give anything way so I'm not going to say anymore other than if you haven't tried this series yet you are missing out! 

Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink by Stephanie Kate Strohm

Title: Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink
Author: Stephanie Kate Strohm
Published By: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (May 8, 2012)
Source: ARC e-galley
Genre: YA
My Rating: 4 Stars

Goodreads Description:
Libby Kelting had always felt herself born out of time. No wonder the historical romance-reading, Jane Austen-adaptation-watching, all-around history nerd jumped at the chance to intern at Camden Harbor, Maine’s Oldest Living History Museum. But at Camden Harbor Libby’s just plain out of place, no matter how cute she looks in a corset. Her cat-loving coworker wants her dead, the too-smart-for-his-own-good local reporter keeps pushing her buttons, her gorgeous sailor may be more shipwreck than dreamboat — plus Camden Harbor’s haunted. Over the course of one unforgettable summer, Libby learns that boys, like ghosts, aren’t always what they seem.

My Review:
This was a really fun unexpected read. I really enjoyed the characters and the slight paranormal underlining mystery thing it had going for it.
Libby was a very real likeable character. Garret was fun and Cam was drool worthy (well, for awhile anyways. ;) ) and her friend Dev was such a riot.
I love the Jane Austen period and could totally relate to the whole falling in love with chivalry and poetry and the time period. When a man was a real gentleman and love ruled all.
I just loved Libby's character and loved watching her grow and learn as the story progressed.
I would recommend this to anyone who just wants a light fun read with a happily ever after.

Bloody Little Secrets by Karly Kirkpatrick

Title: Bloody Little Secrets
Author: Karly Kirkpatrick
Published By: Self Published/Dark Side Publishing (April 28. 2011)
Genre: YA Paranormal
My Rating: 4 Stars

Goodreads Description:
17-year-old Vicky Hernandez has a big problem. She's dead. Or not quite. After discovering she's been turned into a vampire, she tries to settle into a quiet suburb of Chicago and return to a normal life.
If only she could stop wanting to bite her boyfriend. Not to mention she is dying to find out who turned her, and why. She doesn't have to wait long before they come to her.

My Review:
I just love the way this book started, a girl trapped in a coffin with no idea why or how she got there.
And while the story was pretty predictable as to the why she was there and maybe even what she was, the who put her there and for what reason she was turned was still a mystery and a fun one to discover along the way.
I actually had a lot of fun reading this. It was a fast read and everything just flowed really well together. I would definitely read more from the author in the future. I really liked the characters and world that she created and would love to read a sequel if one was written.
I enjoyed everyone's bond and love for one another, even if it was a little fast paced.
I think Kirkpatrick is a great writer and anyone that loves paranormal should try this book.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Fairy Bad Day by Amanda Ashby

Title: Fairy Bad Day
Author: Amanda Ashby
Published By: Speak (June 9, 2011)
Genre: YA
My Rating: 4 Stars

Goodreads Description:
While most students at Burtonwood Academy get to kill demons and goblins, fifteen-year-old Emma gets to rid the world of little annoying fairies with glittery wings and a hipster fashion sense. She was destined to be a dragon slayer, but cute and charming Curtis stole her spot. Then she sees a giant killer fairy - and it's invisible to everyone but her! If Emma has any chance of stopping this evil fairy, she's going to need help. Unfortunately, the only person who can help is Curtis. And now, not only has he stolen her dragon-slayer spot, but maybe her heart as well! Why does she think it's going to be a fairy bad day?

My Review:
This really was a cute read. I didn't have too high expectations because it just looked like a cutsey kind of read but really, it was great. The plot was thought out and the characters were fun and loveable. I really truly had fun reading this and in fact read it pretty quickly, in a matter of hours. 
I look forward to reading more of Ashby's work.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Opal Fire by Barbra Annino

Title: Opal Fire (Stacy Justice Mystery #1)
Author: Barbra Annino
Published By: Self Published (March 2, 2011)
Genre: Paranormal Mystery
My Rating: 4 Stars

Goodreads Description:
Opal Fire is a paranormal mystery with a splash of romance and a helping of humor. 

Stacy Justice did not expect to be set on fire that night, but being raised by witches prepares one for life's little surprises. In fact, she isn't the least bit shocked when her cousin is accused of arson, or when her divorced grandparents sign up for a marriage retreat, or even when her own boyfriend hauls her off to jail. But when a decades-old secret is discovered within the walls of her cousin's bar, even Stacy is rattled. Now, someone wants her dead and she finds herself dodging angry motorists, exploding chickens and a very creepy man who lurks around every corner. As she begins to dig up the past, Stacy learns that even those closest to her have something to hide--and she's about to discover a destiny she never imagined

My Review:
I wasn't sure what to expect from this series but it looked really good and had read some really good reviews about it so I thought I would give it a chance and I am so glad that I did.
Let me start off by saying that I love mysteries and I love reading paranormal so to have them combined is just perfect for me and then to throw in a little bit of romance with two great guys to choose from and well, that is heaven!
This was such a fun read. It had me laughing out loud quite a few times, in fact my husband spent most of the night giving me strange looks since I would simultaneously burst out into laughter through out it.
I adored every single character from her crazy grandma and aunts to her adorable dog Thor and the ending, well that one shocked me. I didn't see it coming at all and I can't wait to see what happens next.
This was a great first book in a new series, which doesn't always happen with new series but Annino pulled it off beautifully. I think anyone who loves the humor of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series and H.P. Mallory's Jolie Wilkin series will really love this book as well.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Spirit Storm by E.J. Stevens

Title: Spirit Storm (Spirit Guide #2)
Author: E.J. Stevens
Published By: Sacred Oaks Press (Jan. 1, 2011)
Genre: YA Paranormal
My Rating: 5 Stars

Goodreads Description:
"Let the spirits guide you, but never let them take you."

Spirits of the Dead are coming...

Yuki is about to face an army of lost souls on Samhain, the night of Halloween, when the spirits of the dead roam free. Yuki will need all the help she can get from her friends, but will Calvin be there for her when she needs him the most? 

My Review:
First off, isn't this cover gorgeous? It completely drew me in, if I didn't already love this series, the cover would have made me want to pick it up and give it a try and I do love this series.
I love Yuki's personality. She is such a fun character, in fact I would go as far to say she is one of the best characters I have read in a YA series. Not only is she funny but she is fierce. She is strong and loyal  and doesn't care what others think about her. She knows how to get the job done and would do anything for those she loves.
Her friends are all amazing, it is hard not to love them just as much as I do Yuki. Cal is beyond the perfect boyfriend, Emma is loyal and true and even crazy Simon is completely loveable.  
I love the bond that they all have together. I love that they don't fight with each other(well except for the yummy tension between Emma and Simon), that they stick together and are all different enough that they compliment each other in unexpected ways.
E.J. Stevens is an amazing writer and I can't wait to read the next book in the series.
If you haven't tried this series yet, please do, you won't be disappointed!

Beautifully Broken by Sherry Soule

Title: Beautifully Broken
Author: Sherry Soule
Published By: Moonlight Publishing (June 30, 2011)
Genre: YA Paranormal
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Goodreads Description:
Thirteenth daughter. Heritage witch. Demon slayer.

They say every town has its secrets, but that doesn’t even begin to describe Whispering Pines. The townsfolk are a superstitious lot and the mystical disappearance of a local teen has everyone murmuring about a centuries old witch’s curse.

Sixteen-year-old Shiloh Ravenwolf is a heritage witch from the Broussard family, a family both destined and cursed. When she takes a summer job at Ravenhurst Manor, she discovers a ghost with an agenda. That’s where she meets the new town hottie, Trent Donovan, and immediately becomes spellbound by his charms. Yet she is determined to discover the connection between them before it’s too late.

Finally, Shiloh's met someone who is supercute and totally into her, but Trent may be the next victim on the supernatural hit list. And Shiloh is the only person with the power to save him. Complicated much?

It sucks to have a destiny, especially since Shiloh would rather spend her summer being a normal girl who worries about clothes and boys, not the supernatural. But she’s never been
normal and the stranger things become the more her own magical senses awaken.

With cryptic messages from a pesky wraith, she will begin to understand the mysterious significance of the strange mark branded on her wrist, and decide how much she's willing to sacrifice to protect the other teenagers in town.

Unfortunately, for Shiloh, not all ghosts want help crossing over. Some want vengeance.

My Review:
This is one of those few books that I am just not sure how to rate. I liked it but the story did have some issues. Manly things that could have been taken care of with a good editor, some slight inconsistencies but nothing really horrible.
I did like the story line though, it was creepy and suspenseful but I didn't really feel myself loving it until probably the last 50 or so pages left when the action picked up and stuff really started to happen.
Trent and Shiloh's relationship bothered me a little bit. It was very hot and cold. It felt forced sometimes, like the author was trying to make it seem like there was all this passion when really there wasn't. Things would heat up and then go cold again. It didn't seem like either trusted the other or wanted to open up at all. They sometimes acted like they might love each other and then other times like they didn't want anything to do with the other. I just didn't feel that chemistry there with them and I was a little sad about that. I wanted them to grow close and love one another and to stop being idiots.
I know first books in a series can sometimes be tough with all the character and world building and I really do see potential for the series so I will definitely be checking out the next book. Over all I think I would give this one about a 3.5 Stars.