Monday, November 28, 2011

Review: A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford

Published: Greenwillow Books (February 22, 2011)
Pages: 432
Format: Hardcover
Series: Book 1 of 3
Source: I purchased this book.
GoodReads Summary: 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.

My Thoughts: My whirlwind affair with A Touch Mortal had its ups and downs. At first, I was all, "oh, this is dangerous and I feel naughty reading it... but I'm gonna do it anyway." But then I was all "I don't understand what you're talking about so I'm just going to turn the pages and nod." But NOW I'm all "Wow. That WAS dangerous and I think we finally get each other, Mortal. I think I see this going somewhere." You guys, I was Michelle Pfieffer and I eagerly hopped on the back of Sandy's masked cousin's groovy motorcycle for a sunset ride. (Are you singing "Cool Rider" from Grease 2 in your head yet? GOOD.)

A Touch Mortal, for me, was reminiscent of Wicked Lovely (more specifically Ink Exchange, my favorite of the books.) It was DARK. Not dusk dark, I'm talking black hole dark. There's a lot of f-bombs and talk of sadness and suicide, which I can imagine may be difficult for sensitive readers. This is not a light and fluffy read and it's one of those books where I had to read sentences/paragraphs over and again to try and understand what exactly was going on. But it was good.

There was all sorts of instalove in the beginning. But Leah Clifford pulled a fast one. Indeed, there was instalove but then there's a rapid separation and the characters spend the large portion of the book NOT together. Instalove feels a whole lot different when you actually like what's being presented to you, but then it gets ripped away. It was intriguing and different. The plot and the lore? ALSO intriguing and different. The whole idea of Siders and Touch and dosing was fresh and made my head spin trying to understand it. But it was good.

If you're looking for something different with diverse characters and personalities, and you're not afraid of things getting a little dim, I definitely recommend A Touch Mortal. If you find yourself unable to get a solid grasp on what is going on, fear not. It comes together. And it is good.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

In My Mailbox (42)

IMM is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

Well, I haven't been posting lately AND I haven't been buying books, so this here blog is a pretty boring place to be. I'm sorry, guys. Life happens, you know?

This here is 2 weeks worth.

For Review
Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough
Always a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough
Frost by Wendy Delsol
Withering Tights by Louise Rennison (not pictured)
Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Wintertown by Stephen Emond

And from my amazing friend/book fairy Lynn (I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU!)

Fever by Lauren DeStefano
Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han (SIGNED!)
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (SIGNED!)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

10 Authors With Whom I'd Partake in Mass Amounts of Tryptophan and Wine

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the awesome Broke and Bookish peeps and thought up by list-loving mastermind, Jamie.

1. Stephenie Meyer
(Author of The Twilight Saga and The Host)
I'll just get this out of the way: I will have Thanksgiving catered by HEAVEN if SM will finish writing Midnight Sun. Also, because Breaking Dawn (the movie, NOT the book) was fabulous and I'd like to get her thoughts on it. Also, Midnight Sun.

2. Jeri Smith-Ready
(Author of the Shade series)
You'd be hard-pressed to find an author as bitchin' as JSR. She was one of the first authors who made me feel totally at home in the blogging community. Plus, not many people can write words that pretty much force tears from my eyes and cause my jaw to drop. Love her and her books.

3. Melissa Marr
(Author of the Wicked Lovely series)
Pretty much I would probably just giggle and fangirl for the majority of the dinner. She wrote one of the most beautiful and complex series in YA, and I am in love with her words. I'd share my most favorite wine with Melissa.

4. Michelle Hodkin
(Author of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer)
So you KNOW that with a brain that produced Mara Dyer, Michelle Hodkin has to be the most interesting woman in the world. I'd have Dos Equis on hand for her.

5. Kelly Creagh
(Author of Nevermore)
So I've met Kelly and she is ridiculously nice. She had warned me that Enshadowed may not come out until 2012 and I appreciate that she told me that, even if it hurt. But I would like to lament to Kelly about how sad I am that it's LATE 2012 and not EARLY. Plus, she's sweet and can draw pretty pictures.

6. Rachel Caine
(Authors of the Morganville Vampires series)
Together, we would come up with a diabolical plan on how to really and truly make the Morganville Vampires series NEVER EVER END. Or at least devise a Myrnin spinoff. And when I say "devise," I really just mean her throwing out genius ideas and me agreeing with every single one.

7. JK Rowling
(Author of the Harry Potter series)
I wouldn't even have the ability to speak to her, so I'd have the other authors pass her notes on how much I love her and she's brilliant and pretty and WOW, how did she come up with all of this and for her to sign all my books please and hey, do you think she could introduce me to Emma Watson? Because I want to know what it was like playing Hermione.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Review: The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton

Published: Tor Teen (September 27, 2011)
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Series: Book 1 of 4
Source: finished copy from publisher.
GoodReads Summary: Debut novelist Kiki Hamilton takes readers from the gritty slums and glittering ballrooms of Victorian London to the beguiling but menacing Otherworld of the Fey in this spellbinding tale of romance, suspense, and danger.

The year is 1871, and Tiki has been making a home for herself and her family of orphans in a deserted hideaway adjoining Charing Cross Station in central London. Their only means of survival is by picking pockets. One December night, Tiki steals a ring, and sets off a chain of events that could lead to all-out war with the Fey. For the ring belongs to Queen Victoria, and it binds the rulers of England and the realm of Faerie to peace. With the ring missing, a rebel group of faeries hopes to break the treaty with dark magic and blood—Tiki’s blood.

Unbeknownst to Tiki, she is being watched—and protected—by Rieker, a fellow thief who suspects she is involved in the disappearance of the ring. Rieker has secrets of his own, and Tiki is not all that she appears to be. Her very existence haunts Prince Leopold, the Queen’s son, who is driven to know more about the mysterious mark that encircles her wrist.

Prince, pauper, and thief—all must work together to secure the treaty…

My Thoughts: I've been looking forward to reading The Faerie Ring FOREVER, so you can imagine my delight in delivering this message to you: it is MORE than just a breathtakingly stunning cover. I think I have found a new favorite author in Kiki Hamilton. Her writing style is pretty and flowy and she perfectly depicts 19th century England. Or at least what I'd imagine it to be.

Tiki is a lovable, frustrating MC. Sometimes I wanted to wring her neck a little for being stupid, but I'd rather dislike her SOMETIMES than end up hating her because she always makes the right move.

The lore that surrounds the book's namesake, The Faerie Ring, is pretty frickin' fabulous. Anyone who knows me knows I would marry faerie books. I want to BE a faerie, but perhaps not in this world because these faerie are ten kinds of scary. Like, slice you up a little and steal-your-children-then-laugh-at-you scary. I can only hope we get a further glimpse into the Otherworld with book two. Where art thou, book two?!

If you love faerie books, do yourself a favor (and me, so we can talk about it!) and check this out. I mean hey, if nothing else, you can always just snuggle up with the cover and tell it how beautiful it looks tonight. If you're going to romance a book, this is the one to woo. Because it has a boy named Rieker. And he's kind of stunning.

There is SO MUCH more to be told in this series and I am cuckoo bananas waiting for more.

Monday, November 14, 2011

In My Mailbox (41)

IMM is hosted by the ever-classy Kristi at The Story Siren.

A little late, but HEY. It's all good. Because yesterday was my last day of clinicals. I have only one obstacle left until I graduate: the final. And I need a 39% on it to pass the class altogether. So I can only hope that I know 39% of 160 questions by now. If I don't, I have no business doing what I'm doing :P

Onto the books!

For Review
Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton
A Touch Morbid by Leah Clifford

Dreamland by Sarah Dessen
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery (never read it! For 50 cents, I figure maybe I should.)
Intertwined by Gena Showalter
That Summer by Sarah Dessen
Voices of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Audiobook Review: Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick

Published: Simon & Schuster (October 4, 2011)
Narrator: Caitlin Greer
Source: audiobook provided by publisher
Series: Book 3
GoodReads Summary: The noise between Patch and Nora is gone. They've overcome the secrets riddled in Patch's dark past...bridged two irreconcilable worlds...faced heart-wrenching tests of betrayal, loyalty and trust...and all for a love that will transcend the boundary between heaven and earth. Armed with nothing but their absolute faith in one another, Patch and Nora enter a desperate fight to stop a villain who holds the power to shatter everything they've worked for—and their love—forever.

My Thoughts: After the Nora whine fest that was Crescendo, I was definitely expecting Nora to continue along that same pattern in Silence. Luckily, I was able to listen to Silence instead of read it, so the narrator made Nora 10x less whiny and more stomach-able.

I wasn't expecting to enjoy Silence as much as I did and I do believe that I can attribute that to the narrator, Caitlin Greer. Nora's voice was fresh and assertive and I wish I could literally bow to Caitlin for that. Her interpretation of Silence, I believe, actually made B book out of what would've been a C book, had I read it. My only complaint is that Ms. Greer made Hank Miller sound like The Count. You know, the one from Sesame Street? And Hank plays a very large part in this book, so that was slightly off-putting. In fact, she over-enunciated on pretty much every "bad guy" voice, which was interesting.

While I wish there would've been way more Patch in this book, the moments where he was present were pretty stellar. I do miss the dark and mysterious Patch with a wicked amount of snark, but he's a fallen angel who's realized the error of his ways. I suppose I can't fault him too much for that. (But SERIOUSLY. Bring dangerous Patch back. He was kind of my favorite.)

Toward the middle, the plot got really twisty. There was so much Hank Miller, so much Nephilim and fallen angel business that it was hard to keep straight whose drama was whose. But the crazy mindscrew that happened at the end has piqued my interest for yet another book in the Hush, Hush series. Can't Nora and Patch ever just be happy? EVER? JEEZ.

That cover is really, really hot. Just FYI.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

In My Mailbox (40)

IMM is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. YAY KRISTI!

For Review
Pure by Julianna Baggott (thanks, Julianna!)

Last Breath by Rachel Caine

(Do you like the alphabet? Do you like vampires? Are you looking for someone to give you a list of reasons to read this series? LOOK NO FURTHER.)

Friday, November 4, 2011

The ABCs of the Morganville Vampires

Anna and I were talking the other day about how we feel like we're the only legit fangirls of the Morganville Vampires series. THIS WILL NOT DO. I have a goal: to convert more people to this awesome, long-running series. So I decided to incorporate my persuasion into one of the most basic forms: The ABCs.

HUGE thanks to Anna from Anna Reads for helping me come up with some of the letters and for assuring me this wasn't a stupid idea!

A - Addict
Hi. I'm Jen and I have an addiction. These books are my crack. I'd like to slang them to you.

B - Bind Ups
The first 8 books are available in omnibus form. Two for one. You cannot lose.

C - Claire Danvers
Enter the fearless protag. She gets more kickass with every book.

D - Drama
You cannot trust anyone. It's a constant mystery. There is so much action encapsulated within this series that I can't even... I CANNOT EVEN. This is no petting zoo, this is a drama llama RODEO.

E - Every 6 Months
Tired of waiting a whole frickin' year for the release of the next book in a beloved series? PSHH. You don't have to do that with these books.

F - Fanged Bunny Slippers
Because vampires have a sense of humor, too.

G - Goth Girl Barista
Claire's roomie/BFF Eve wears some wicked skull apparel. She'll also make you a mean mocha. No seriously, she scowls.

H - Humor
Rachel Caine is awesome and hilarious. She writes things that spawn chuckles. And I'm not talking pity laughter, either. I'm talking "holy crap, I would be the coolest person in the universe and possibly President if I were that clever."

I - Insubordination
Claire, Eve, Shane, and Michael? They have stage 4 stickittothemaneosis.

J - Joint Persuasion
If you don't believe MY reasons for reading this series, just ask Anna.

K - Killing
Because everyone loves a good murder now and then.

L - Learning, Higher
Claire is in COLLEGE. She's 15! This still counts as college students and I bow to college students in YA books.

M - Myrnin
Vampire inventor extraordinaire and resident crazypants. Hands down my favorite character in this series. He's completely cuckoo bananas and.....super cute. But also crazy. Mostly crazy.

N - Never Knowing Who's on the Cover
It's a friggin' mystery. I like it.

O - OMG 15 BOOKS!!!!
Yes, there are 15 books in the series. 11 are out currently. Don't let this deter you, because they're quick reads. You've got time to catch up before book 12. OFF WITH YOU.

P - Police
They won't save your ass either. They're on the payroll.

Q - Queen B
Monica Morrell is the Regina George of Regina Georges.

R - Romance
A LOT. And it's the good kind. The slow burn. And there are a lot of meaningful glances exchanged between many parties.
And honestly, after 11 books, I THINK there's a love triangle, but I'm not sure. Read it so we can discuss the many possibilities.

S - Spider, Bob the
The only spider I'll ever love.

T - Taxes (but not the kind you're thinking)
They have a Bloodmobile.

U - UNF. Sexy Times
They're there. And they're steamy.

V - Vampires
Obviously. They run the town. They have laws and history and maybe they'll be nice to you today, but probably not. One of them is a hippie with a salt & pepper ponytail. And he's one of the scariest.

W - Warm Fuzzies
My favorite moments within these books are the banter between the roomies. They have such chemistry and I just want to hug them all and buy them beer. (Vampires don't care about underage drinking laws.

X - XTREME Character Development
You know how you hate it when the main character makes dumb decisions and is weak? Well, Claire does that. BUT gets more and more independent with each book and more kickass and I love her so much. This goes for ALL the characters. Caine has busted her ass making these characters gradually more awesome and I bow to her for this.

Y - You Can't Leave Town
They will break you.

Z - Zey Get Better With Time
You'd think after 11 books, Rachel Caine would be running out of tomfooleries for the foursome to get into. You are so wrong, my friend. With every book, I fall more in love.


So there you have it. 26 reasons to succumb to one of my favorite series of all time. Are you convinced yet? And for those of you who are fangirls but have yet to squee with me about it, PLEASE leave YOUR reasons why you think those poor unconverted souls should read this series.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Review: A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies

Published: HarperTeen (9.27.11)
Pages: 390
Format: Hardcover
Series: Book 1
Source: ARC from publisher
GoodReads Summary: On the night of Skye's seventeenth birthday, she meets two enigmatic strangers. Complete opposites;like fire and ice;Asher is dark and wild, while Devin is fair and aloof. Their sudden appearance sends Skye's life into a tailspin. She has no idea what they want, or why they seem to follow her every move only that their presence coincides with a flurry of strange events. Soon she begins to doubt not just the identity of the two boys, but also the truth about her own past.

In the dead of a bitingly cold Colorado winter, Skye finds herself coming to terms with the impossible secret that threatens to shatter her world. Torn between Asher, who she can't help falling for, and Devin, who she can't stay away from, the consequences of Skye's choice will reach further than the three of them could ever imagine.

My Thoughts: I prematurely lost faith in A Beautiful Dark. I won't lie. It was before I even picked up the book. I thought it would be the exact same set-up as Personal Demons (which I DNFed after 75 pages.) I'm delighted and resplendent to admit that I was wrong. GOOD NEWS: this is not your typical good vs. bad love-triangular book. Well, it is. But it isn't.

Skye is a cool chick. She's not totally immune to dumb decisions, but when you're torn between light & dark? IT HAPPENS.

By far the best aspect of this book was the distinct personalities amongst Skye's circle of friends. Her best friend is awesome. She's spunky and supportive and actually cares about Skye. I love reading about functional friendships.

My thoughts on the book changed from: "meh, formulaic love triangle, ahoy!" to "wait. WAIT. Hold on. This is awesome." about 100 pages in. DO NOT GIVE UP ON THIS BOOK. It's more than just good and bad boys. It's not rocket science, but it's absolutely more complex and Davies' boys, Asher and Devin, are neck & neck in the "which guy would I buy a t-shirt for" race.

If you're expecting deep emotional epiphanies and complex plot lines, look elsewhere. But if you're looking for a frantic page-turner that is flat out fun (past page 100), STEP RIGHT UP.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Review: The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart

Published: Delacorte Press (2005)
Pages: 229
Format: Paperback
Series: Book 1 of 4
Source: I purchased this book
GoodReads Summary: Ruby Oliver is 15 and has a shrink. She knows it's unusual, but give her a break—she's had a rough 10 days. In the past 10 days she:
* lost her boyfriend (#13 on the list)
* lost her best friend (Kim)
* lost all her other friends (Nora, Cricket)
* did something suspicious with a boy (#10)
* did something advanced with a boy (#15)
* had an argument with a boy (#14)
* drank her first beer (someone handed it to her)
* got caught by her mom (ag!)
* had a panic attack (scary)
* lost a lacrosse game (she's the goalie)
* failed a math test (she'll make it up)
* hurt Meghan's feelings (even though they aren't really friends)
* became a social outcast (no one to sit with at lunch)
* and had graffiti written about her in the girls' bathroom (who knows what was in the boys'!?!).
But don't worry—Ruby lives to tell the tale. And make more lists.

My Thoughts: You, you, and you were right. Ruby Oliver is MY GIRL. She knows the inner workings of high school (and let's not even lie: ADULT) girls everywhere. She fully encompasses the crippling insecurities, the paranoia, the overanalyzing, the curiosity, and pretty much regurgitates them all over The Boyfriend List.

I am so much in love with this book and Ruby that it's ridiculous. If there's one thing I love, it's when I form a deep bond with a book character. I wanted to threaten the lives of everyone who upset Ruby. At one point, I actually had to put the book down because the daggers that were shooting out of my eyes might have torn the pages. That's how emotionally invested in this series I am.

Ruby's struggles with friendships, boyfriends, her social life, and her family life felt like my own. This is one protagonist with whom women and girls everywhere can identify. Her overbearing parents are hilarious, if not excessive. I love her journey to self-discovery through her shrink, Dr. Z. And her interactions with her many, many boys are SO entertaining. If not infuriating. Because boys are jerkfaces.

This is a quick read that I think everyone should fall deeply in love. The writing and the voice are probably one of the best in YA. The characters become so real that I feel they could jump straight out of the book, materialize next to me, and ask me if I'd like to go for coffee. And it's FUNNY. Dear sweet baby Jesus, this book is funny.

Jessica Darling, you've met your match in Ruby Oliver.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Top Ten Books That Made This Grown Woman Cry

....or feel something equally strong.

Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish.

1. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
I'm talking 3am, shaking the bed, trying desperately not to wake my husband SOBBING. I've never cried harder at a book before.

2. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
This book caused such a reaction in me that I can really only describe it by this here keysmash: l;sja;O*R :Q OIAj89P A: sfpasd !#? Yep. My mind: blown.

3. House of Night Series by P.C. and Kristen Cast
I hate saying that I hate books, but I really hated these books. Really, I shouldn't even blame the books. I should hate myself for reading up to the 6th book after knowing that I disliked the first one so much. This was back when it was a physical impossibility for me to NOT finish a series. I've learned the error of my ways.

4. The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart
THIS BOOK MADE ME SO FLIPPIN ANGRY. Don't get me wrong, I loved it. But the BACKSTABBING? Ruby O. is one of my favorite protags and for her to be betrayed as she was made me all sorts of homicidal towards some characters in this book. But also? I had that "omg this is something amazing" feeling running through me the entire time I was reading. Hands down one of the best, most consistently GOOD YA series.

5. The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer

6. Shadow Kiss/Blood Promise by Richelle Mead
Definitely the best in the series. Definitely the most painful and emotional.

7. Jessica Darling Series by Megan McCafferty
No book, to this date, has ever made me laugh out loud more than once. This one? The LOL-count is probably up in the 50s or 60s.

8. Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
SO many tears. SO many emotions.

9. Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr
Again with the tears and the mass amounts of emotions.

10. Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready