Friday, November 26, 2010

Review: Unearthly (Unearthly #1) by Cynthia Hand

Title:  Unearthly (Unearthly #1)
Author:  Cynthia Hand
Pages:  448 pages; 22 chapters
Release Date:  January 4, 2011

In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees. . .

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what it is, though, isn't easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place--and out of place, at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make--between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Thanks to HarperTeen and NetGalley I was able to get an ebook ARC for review and I'm so glad.  I really enjoyed this book and love the cover. 
Poor Clara.  She goes through so much with the visions of her purpose coming at the worst times, the pressure of success, the tragedy of an unfortunate dye job, the misery of high school, and an equally weighted love triangle.  When I first started reading, I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to get into the story.  However, after I learned how everything works and got past the more informative chapters, things started to get more exciting and confusing.  

There are definitely some good twists and surprises that I never saw coming.  I really liked learning about Clara's mom and getting glimpses of her past (since she's over 100 years old).  The way that angels interact with humans is written as both beautiful and terrifying.  Cynthia definitely portrays both the light and dark aspects of angels and the war in heaven.  While reading about the angels some of them seemed beautiful, graceful and somewhat romantic but others also had a presence of extreme sorrow, anger, regret and danger - I was fascinated by it.      

Now to the love triangle.  This one was tough.  One chapter I would be head over heals for Christian and the next chapter I would be squealing over Tucker.  Of course, they both have to be gorgeous in completely different ways.  
...although his appeal is kind of sexy-rugged whereas Christian's is sexy-broody...
How can you decide?!  Poor Clara.  I felt sorry for her throughout the book even though she's extremely blessed and fortunate.  Despite being torturous and confusing (in a good way), I find love triangles to be interesting turning points for a character.  It signifies the different paths the main character (the one stuck with the difficult decision) can take.  If Clara chooses one guy, she's following her heart, if she chooses the other, she's following her destiny.  Again, how can you decide.  I feel just as torn between the two options as Clara.  What frightens me right now (maybe it's just anxiety) is, even though it seems she's made her decision at the end of the book, there is still an uncertainty weighing heavily in my mind and two more books in the series for Cynthia to throw another curve ball at us.  A part of me wants Clara to choose Christian but another part of me wants her to choose Tucker.  I don't think I've ever been this indecisive with a love triangle before. 

There is no major cliffhanger for this book (and thank goodness for that because I've been reading a lot of those lately) but it is definitely open ended.  The story is just beginning for Clara, her family, Christian, Tucker, etc. and Cynthia has done a wonderful job at making it a captivating one.  I cannot wait to see the consequences of Clara's decisions, more of her mothers past, her brother's purpose and reason for his mysterious behavior towards the end of the book, the continuation of the love triangle (I'm not convinced it's over), more angels, and much more.  Great debut!

This snippet is from the description of the angel language called Angelic:
...I understood the words she said even though she wasn't speaking English, but a strange language like two notes of music played on every syllable, so eerie and alien it made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck.
 You can find Unearthly (Unearthly #1) in stores January 5, 2011.  The second book in the series is still untitled but it will be available in 2012.  The wait is torture but I'm sure it will be worth it!

Coming Soon: Vixen (Flappers #1) by Jillian Larkin

While shopping on the Barnes & Noble website for Black Friday sales, I came across this interesting debut called Vixen (Flappers #1) by Jillian Larking.  It sounds very interesting but as soon as I saw the trailer, I was sold.

Jazz . . . Booze . . . Boys . . . It’s a dangerous combination.

Every girl wants what she can’t have. Seventeen-year-old Gloria Carmody wants the flapper lifestyle—and the bobbed hair, cigarettes, and music-filled nights that go with it. Now that she’s engaged to Sebastian Grey, scion of one of Chicago’s most powerful families, Gloria’s party days are over before they’ve even begun . . . or are they?

Clara Knowles, Gloria’s goody-two-shoes cousin, has arrived to make sure the high-society wedding comes off without a hitch—but Clara isn’t as lily-white as she appears. Seems she has some dirty little secrets of her own that she’ll do anything to keep hidden. . . .

Lorraine Dyer, Gloria’s social-climbing best friend, is tired of living in Gloria’s shadow. When Lorraine’s envy spills over into desperate spite, no one is safe. And someone’s going to be very sorry. . . .

From debut author Jillian Larkin, VIXEN is the first novel in the sexy, dangerous, and ridiculously romantic new series set in the Roaring Twenties . . . when anything goes.

 Vixen will be in stores December 14, 2010!


Monday, November 22, 2010

Review: Torment (Fallen #2) by Lauren Kate

Title:  Torment
Author:  Lauren Kate
Pages:  452 pages; 19 chapters
Release:  September 28, 2010

Hell on earth. That's what it's like for Luce to be apart from her fallen angel boyfriend, Daniel. It took them an eternity to find one another, but now he has told her he must go away. Just long enough to hunt down the Outcasts - immortals who want to kill Luce. Daniel hides Luce at Shoreline, a school on the rocky California coast with unusually gifted students -Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and humans.

At Shoreline, Luce learns what the Shadows are, and how she can use them as windows to her previous lives. Yet the more Luce learns, the more she suspects that Daniel hasn't told her everything. He's hiding something - something dangerous. What if Daniel's version of the past isn't actually true? What if Luce is really meant to be with someone else? The second novel in the addictive FALLEN series . . . where love never dies.


The title of this book can pretty much sum up how I felt while reading it.  It tormented me to no end.  Luce becomes even more confused than she was in Fallen and tries to get Daniel to alleviate the load of questions she's been accumulating since book one.  Daniel, however, still can't answer her questions and continues to keep her in the dark thereby keeping us in the dark.  

At Luce's new school she befriends Shelby, a sarcastic and headstrong nephilim, and Miles, another nephilim who has taken an interest in Luce.  Miles also brings about an uncertainty in Luce regarding her love for Daniel.  With the inclusion of this new love triangle and the never ending questions that never get answered, there are many emotional ups and downs that, dare I say it, torment the hell out of you.  Even though I grew to like and enjoy reading about Miles, I'm a big Daniel supporter.  How can you beat a love that transcends life and mortality?  

I found myself getting a little irritated with Luce and Daniel (you can see my emotional investment in these characters).  I think Luce needs to understand why Daniel can't tell her everything yet but I also think Daniel needs to stop babying Luce (especially when he knows she doesn't like that).  I do however like the fact that Luce is much more headstrong and sure of herself in this book.  Even with the emotional ups and downs, there are still moments that bring a smile to your face and leave you sighing.  

I started reading this book hoping to get some answers to my questions from Fallen but I ended up with even more questions!  Of course, that didn't stop me from reading and enjoying the book.  It was still a great read, with a very interesting story and characters.  Much like Fallen, the end really packs a punch and leaves you yearning for the next book NOW.  There is a cliffhanger that left me yelling (which my puppy didn't appreciate), but I like the way Lauren wrote the last few lines.  It actually made me feel better about the cliffhanger so I could lay off biting my nails a little.     

It was difficult finding a snippet to share because many of them are too spoilery.  So this is what I found:
"Let's keep this evening's happenings between us, shall we?" Cam said.  "And going forward, do us all a favor and stay on campus, where you won't get into trouble."
At the end of Fallen we find out that Daniel and Cam have called a truce so I found it clever that the titles chapters of this book were a countdown of the 18 days. 

I am highly anticipating the third book in the series entitled Passion (Fallen #3) which, I hear, gives us a glimpse of all the past lives Luce and Daniel have shared.  I expect Passion to be the book that begins to answer our questions from Fallen and Torment.  The series will end with the fourth book, Rapture (Fallen #4).

Look for Passion (Fallen #3) where Luce can finally get some answers!  In stores June 14, 2011.

Courtney Allison Moulton's Week#2 Giveaway!

By Becca Fitzpatrick

Week #2's giveaway is a signed copy of Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick.

Enter to win on Courtney's blog and check out the awesome song that inspired the creation of Will from Angelfire! 

Good luck!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

New Shadow Hills Paperback Cover Revealed

Title:  Shadow Hills
Author:  Anastasia Hopcus
Pages:  400
Release Date (hardcover):  July 13, 2010
Release Date (paperback):  May 10, 2011

The new cover for the paperback version of Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus has been revealed!  Ain't it perdy? 

You can enter to win a signed hardcover of Shadow Hills via the Goodreads website here.  The contest ends December 1.

You can also get a sneak peek of the first chapter at Anastasia's website here.

After her sister Athena's tragic death, it's obvious that grief-stricken Persephone "Phe" Archer no longer belongs in Los Angeles. Hoping to make sense of her sister's sudden demise and the cryptic dreams following it, Phe abandons her bubbly LA life to attend an uptight East Coast preparatory school in Shadow Hills, MA — a school which her sister mysteriously mentioned in her last diary entry before she died.

Once there, Phe quickly realizes that something is deeply amiss in her new town. Not only does Shadow Hills' history boast an unexplained epidemic that decimated hundreds of its citizens in the 1700s, but its modern townies also seem eerily psychic, with the bizarre ability to bend metal. Even Zach — the gorgeous stranger Phe meets and immediately begins to lust after — seems as if he is hiding something serious. Phe is determined to get to the bottom of it. The longer she stays there, the more she suspects that her sister's untimely death and her own destiny are intricately linked to those who reside in Shadow Hills.

November Teaser for City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments #4)

Cassandra Clare has posted two teasers for November!

        The Queen’s eyes glittered. “You told me that you did not wish to make a compact with me, for there was nothing I could give you. You said there was nothing in the world you wanted. When you imagine your life without him, do you still feel the same?”
         Why are you doing this to me? Clary wanted to scream, but she said nothing, for the Faerie Queen glanced past her, and smiled, saying: “Wipe your tears, for he returns. It will do you no good for him to see you cry.”


        “That wasn’t fair,” Simon said.
        “Maybe,” said Isabelle. “But I watch my brothers give their hearts away and I think, Don’t you know? Hearts are breakable. And I think even when you heal, you’re never what you were before.”

You can find teasers for City of Fallen Angels from January to November here.  There is also a teaser for Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices #2) there.  December's teaser will be the last one for City of Fallen Angels but monthly teasers for Clockwork Prince will start next year.

City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments #4) will be released April 5, 2011 and is available for preorder now!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Literary Crush-A-Thon

Don't forget to vote for your favorite book crush at Literary Crush-A-Thon.  So far Jace from The Mortal Instruments *sigh* has maintained the lead :D.  I would like to see Will Herondale, Jem Carstairs, and Patch Cipriano stay in for as long as possible too though.

In order to participate in the poll you need to become a member of the bookcrushathon community on LiveJournal.  Voting starts weekly on Sundays and ends on Fridays.  Results for the week are usually posted Friday night or Saturday morning. 

This is all in good fun so no character bashing and no trash talk, please. 

    Review: The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus #1) by Rick Riordan

    Title:  The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus #1)
    Author:  Rick Riordan
    Pages:  557
    Release Date:  October 12, 2010

    Jason has a problem. He doesn’t remember anything before waking up in a bus full of kids on a field trip. Apparently he has a girlfriend named Piper and a best friend named Leo. They’re all students at a boarding school for “bad kids.” What did Jason do to end up here? And where is here, exactly? 

    Piper has a secret. Her father has been missing for three days, ever since she had that terrifying nightmare. Piper doesn’t understand her dream, or why her boyfriend suddenly doesn’t recognize her. When a freak storm hits, unleashing strange creatures and whisking her, Jason, and Leo away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood, she has a feeling she’s going to find out. 

    Leo has a way with tools. When he sees his cabin at Camp Half-Blood, filled with power tools and machine parts, he feels right at home. But there’s weird stuff, too—like the curse everyone keeps talking about. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist that each of them—including Leo—is related to a god. 

    Join new and old friends from Camp Half-Blood in this thrilling first audio book in The Heroes of Olympus series.

    After reading Rick's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series earlier this year I was looking forward to reading this new installment in the same world.  I'm glad he continued the story of Percy Jackson and the gang indirectly with the introduction of new main characters.  We now get to see the Roman side of the mythology and the alternate personas of the gods.  There is even a glossary in the back of the book telling you the gods name, what they're known for, and their Roman counterpart.  In the Percy Jackson series there was a lot of Greek; in this book there is a lot of Latin which is an added bonus for me because I took Latin for my college language requirement.  It's fun being able to translate the Latin sentences before the characters do. 

    When I first started reading the series it took me a little while to get into the story because I'm so used to reading about Percy and Camp Halfblood and now, after the events of The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #5), there are more demigods which means new faces in the story.  After all, we did have five books to get to know Percy, Annabeth, Grover, Tyson, and the rest.  After reading a couple chapters I started realizing that, while this is in the same world with some of the same characters from the first series, it definitely has a slightly different feel to it and a new threat.  Most of the book is spent covering the identity crisis of Jason, our new main guy.  He doesn't have any memories beyond the first chapter of the book but it added to the suspense and mystery of his character.  I was really intrigued with all his abilities and I'm starting to think that I like him more than Percy.
    The book is told in first person from the point of view of the three main characters: Jason who seems to have a bad case of amnesia but is driven by instinct, Piper who has had a rough yet privileged childhood and is on a mission of her own, and Leo with a dark past that weighs heavily on his shoulders.  They are the same age as Percy and Annabeth meaning this series is starting off with older characters (when Percy first started his journey he was only 12) which makes it a little better for me because I think I have a slight crush on Jason. 

    Overall, I enjoyed this book and the non-stop adventure.  I am happy with the new characters and glad that we get to see what happened to the characters from the previous series.  The Lost Hero was an exciting ride and another favorite of 2010.

    The next book, The Son of Neptune (The Heroes of Olympus #2), will be released October of 2011.

    Friday, November 19, 2010

    Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

    Title:  Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1)
    Author:  Cassandra Clare
    Pages:  478 pages; 20 chapters
    Release Date:  August 31, 2010

    Magic is dangerous--but love is more dangerous still.

    When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

    Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

    Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by--and torn between--two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length...everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

    Cassandra Clare has done it again.  In her latest novel she has written a historical fiction that takes place in the same Shadowhunter world as The Mortal Instruments but with a new cast (and some familiar faces).  I love her books because they are full of humor, romance, action, adventure, suspense, major plot twists, and great imagination.  This book kept me guessing and there was never a dull moment.  If your heart isn't racing from all the action or romance, then you're holding on through the twists and turns trying to figure out the plot (which I find extremely difficult with Cassandra's books.  In a good way of course.) and making connections.  The epigraphs at the start of every chapter matched perfectly with the content of the chapters giving you a little insight as to what may happen next.  I found myself reading them numerous times before I even started the chapter.

    I'm really glad she took us into the past because it's exciting to see Shadowhunters in another country and in a different time period before all the technology of cell phones, sensors, and cars.  I even enjoyed reading about the architecture of London and the books that Tessa likes to read.  Tessa's ability of transformation is a different kind of downworlder ability that we haven't seen before and I found it very intriguing.

    There are a lot of sarcastic comments that had me laughing out loud and looking a little crazy in public.  Will is my favorite because he's so mysterious and, frankly, an ass - but I still love him.  I can't help but think that there is more that lies beneath the surface causing him to behave the way he does.  Jem is sweet and secretive and I couldn't help but fall in love with him too.  Unlike The Mortal Instruments, this story contains a real love triangle and I do not envy Tessa for it (okay maybe a little... alright A LOT. Get off my back).
    Tessa saw Jem lean in and whisper something to Will, whose mouth quirked up at the corner in a smile.  "Indeed," Will said.  "How could anyone despise us when we are so charming?"
    I couldn't have said it better myself.  I usually like to mark my favorite pages so I can go back and reread them (especially if I need a pick-me-up) but I can't do that with this book.  I might as well mark every page because I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  The only problem I have with this series is having to wait a year for the next one.  Luckily, I won't have to wait long to read one of Cassandra's new books (even if it is from a different series) i.e. City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments #4) available April 5, 2011.

    There is a slight cliffhanger at the end of Clockwork Angel but it didn't make me want to throw the book across the room (which I wouldn't do anyway because I love this book too much) but it does leave you pondering.

    It was very difficult to pick a snippet for this review since there are so many parts I'd like to share.  I've chosen this one because it shows Will's sarcasm and humor and gives you a sense of one of the issues during the time period.
    "There was a time I thought I was a ferret," Will said, "but that turned out to be the opium haze.  Did you know it had that effect?  Because I didn't."
    This is another book that is getting added to my favorite books of 2010.  Thank you, Cassandra, for giving us another adventure to go on, another guy to drool over, and another torturous wait for the next book.

     You can look for the next book entitled Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices #2) available September 2011.

    Review: Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers

    Title:  Personal Demons (Personal Demons #1)
    Author:  Lisa Desrochers
    Pages:  368 pages; 23 chapters
    Release Date:  September 14, 2010

    Frannie Cavanaugh is a good Catholic girl with a bit of a wicked streak. She's spent years keeping everyone at a distance—even her closest friends—and it seems her senior year will be more of the same...until Luc Cain enrolls in her class. No one knows where he came from, but Frannie can't seem to stay away from him. What she doesn't know is that Luc works in Acquisitions—for Hell—and she possesses a unique skill set that has the King of Hell tingling with anticipation. All Luc has to do is get her to sin, and he’s as tempting as they come. Frannie doesn’t stand a chance.

    Unfortunately for Luc, Heaven has other plans, and the angel, Gabe, is going to do whatever it takes to make sure that Luc doesn’t get what he came for. And it isn't long before they find themselves fighting for more than just her soul.

    But if Luc fails, there will be Hell to pay…for all of them. 

    Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers has quickly become one of my favorite reads of the year.  It had everything I wanted to read about: a good story, suspense, a little mystery, hot guys, a love triangle, action, real dialogue, first person point of views, hot guys, angels, demons, heaven, hell, hot guys.... I could go on.  From the very first line I was hooked.  I loved the personalities of all the characters and the rolls they played in the story.  Lucifer (demon) is dark, mysterious, and sexy and Gabriel (angel) is bright, beautiful, and angelic.  They represent where they come from perfectly and I can understand Frannie's indecision.
    "I'm staring at him. Oh, God. Stop! I shift my gaze to his chest, which turns out to be no less stareworthy."
    Luc needs to tag Frannie's soul for Hell and Gabe needs to tag her for Heaven but, unfortunately for them, things aren't that easy.  Lisa did a great job taking us to the depths of Hell and the uncertainty of Limbo.  Not only could I see the world through Frannie and Luc's eyes, but I could smell it as well.  I really liked the idea of scents portraying human emotions.  I really appreciated the history she brought into the story and other works of art incorporated (such as Dante's inferno) not to mention the awesome music the characters were listening to throughout the book.  Did I happen to mention the Shelby Cobra GT?! *drool* That was all I needed to read to officially turn into putty at the thought of Luc.  I'm glad Lisa wrote Frannie as a strong, independent female character.  Frannie kicks ass...literally.  And her grandpa is adorable! 

    This book had me laughing, squealing, biting my nails, and feeling sympathy for Frannie... but then I remember that she has two sexy celestial beings vying for her attention and I just feel envious (maybe I'll get a sexy demon to come tag me for envy or my lust for Luc.  I won't hold my breath :/). 

    I crack up when I read Lisa's interviews (both from her perspective and that of Luc, Frannie, and Gabe).  She says the story takes place in her mind and she simply takes dictation.  I love her attitude about writing and am very excited for whatever she comes up with next.  I think she may be one of my new favorite writers.  This book definitely makes the list of Favorite Books of 2010.  Congratulations to Lisa Desrochers for a great debut!  You had me from Original Sin (Chapter 1 title).

    To give you a non-spoilery taste, I've chosen this little snippet from Luc to share:
    "The tires squeal as I take the right turn too fast, and I work to hide my grin as she grips her seat to keep from falling on top of me."
     I'll tell you one thing - I'll never think of ginger the same way again.

    Original Sin (Personal Demons #2) will be released July 2011.  I can't wait to read what happens next!

    Thursday, November 18, 2010

    Angelfire ARC Giveaway!

    Courtney Allison Moulton, author of the upcoming book Angelfire, is having weekly giveaways until the release of her book February 15, 2011.  Yes, that means 15 weeks of giveaways! 

    To enter go to her blog here and try your luck!  This weeks contest ends November 21.  I cannot wait to get my hands on this book.

    This debut, the first novel in a trilogy, is achingly romantic, terrifying, and filled with blistering action.

    When seventeen-year-old Ellie starts seeing reapers - monstrous creatures who devour humans and send their souls to Hell - she finds herself on the front lines of a supernatural war between archangels and the Fallen and faced with the possible destruction of her soul.

    A mysterious boy named Will reveals she is the reincarnation of an ancient warrior, the only one capable of wielding swords of angelfire to fight the reapers, and he is an immortal sworn to protect her in battle. Now that Ellie's powers have been awakened, a powerful reaper called Bastian has come forward to challenge her. He has employed a fierce assassin to eliminate her - an assassin who has already killed her once.

    While balancing her dwindling social life and reaper-hunting duties, she and Will discover Bastian is searching for a dormant creature believed to be a true soul reaper. Bastian plans to use this weapon to ignite the End of Days and to destroy Ellie's soul, ending her rebirth cycle forever. Now, she must face an army of Bastian's most frightening reapers, prevent the soul reaper from consuming her soul, and uncover the secrets of her past lives - including truths that may be too frightening to remember.