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Through the Looking Glass: November 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

2012 Standalone Reading Challenge

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Next year, being my first year as a book blogger, I will be participating in the 2012 Standalone Reading Challenge! The challenge is hosted by Icey Books and I Like These Books. It was such a great idea for a challenge! Half the time, I begin reading a book and then five months later the author announces the sequel, which is normally a pleasant surprise, but it is refreshing to know I am reading standalones. A lot, if not most, of the books on the list are contemporary. This is greatly convenient for me because I need to start branching out and reading more books in that genre. Keep in mind that only 15 books are required for the challenge, I just made mine a bit longer.

Here is my list for the challenge (may change as the year progresses):

Fracture by: Megan Miranda
Don’t Breathe a Word by: Holly Cupala
The Catastrophic History of You and Me by: Jess Rothenberg
Struck by: Jennifer Bosworth
The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight by: Jennifer E. Smith
When the Sea is Rising Red by: Cat Helissen
This Is Not a Test by: Courtney Summers
Harbinger by: Sara Wilson Etienne
Someone Else’s Life by: Katie Dale
Life Is But a Dream by: Brian James
My Life Next Door by: Huntley Fitzpatrick
The Vicious Deep by: Zoraido Cordova
Tokyo Heist by: Diana Renn
The Book of Blood and Shadow by; Robin Wasserman
Ripper by: Stefan Petrucha
Dark Eyes by: William Richter
Above by: Leah Bobet
In Too Deep by: Amanda Grace
The Glimpse by: Claire Merle
Second Chance Summer by: Morgan Matson
Irises by: Francisco X. Stork
Dark Companion by: Marta Acosta
First Comes Love by: Katie Kacvinsky
For Darkness Shows the Stars by: Diana Peterfreund
Time Between Us by: Tamara Stone
Wanderlove by: Kirsten Hubbard
Partials by: Dan Wells
Valkryrie Rising by: Ingrid Paulson

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Catching Fire by: Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)Catching Fire by: Suzanne Collins
Published: September 1, 2009
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Page Count: 391
Format: Hardcover
Series: Hunger Games #2

Summary from Amazon:

Every year in Panem, the dystopic nation that exists where the U.S. used to be, the Capitol holds a televised tournament in which two teen "tributes" from each of the surrounding districts fight a gruesome battle to the death. In The Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, the tributes from impoverished District Twelve, thwarted the Gamemakers, forcing them to let both teens survive. In this rabidly anticipated sequel, Katniss, again the narrator, returns home to find herself more the center of attention than ever. The sinister President Snow surprises her with a visit, and Katniss’s fear when Snow meets with her alone is both palpable and justified. Catching Fire is divided into three parts: Katniss and Peeta’s mandatory Victory Tour through the districts, preparations for the 75th Annual Hunger Games, and a truncated version of the Games themselves. Slower paced than its predecessor, this sequel explores the nation of Panem: its power structure, rumors of a secret district, and a spreading rebellion, ignited by Katniss and Peeta’s subversive victory. Katniss also deepens as a character. Though initially bewildered by the attention paid to her, she comes almost to embrace her status as the rebels’ symbolic leader. Though more of the story takes place outside the arena than within, this sequel has enough action to please Hunger Games fans and leaves enough questions tantalizingly unanswered for readers to be desperate for the next installment.
My Review:

   I don't know what possessed me to procrastinate in reading this book! It had been sitting on my shelf for like a year. Perhaps I just didn't want the series to be over so fast. At least now I can get right into Mockingjay, because boy, that was some cliffhanger!
  Catching Fire started off a bit slow for me but at about the second or third chapter, it abrubtly caught me on and wouldn't let me go til the end. There is definitely a lot more mystery and wonder in this book than the first. The Capital just seems relentless and  won't let Katniss have the moment of peace she so rightly deserves. She thought that maybe the publicity would die down after the Victory Tour, but President Snow always has some evil plan up his sleeves, it seems.
  There wasn't much Gale in this book, possibly even less than the first, which kind of upset me at first but then I got so wrapped up in the action that Gale didn't even cross my mind much. Just by the ending, I could tell that he is going to be in Mockingjay a fair amount, which made me feel better.
  We meet a lot of the previous Hunger Games victors in this book and that was exciting for me. Some of them were on drugs or drinking like Haymitch and that made me further understand the toll that the Games take on the tributes. But a lot of them like Finnick Odair and Johanna Mason are still young and strong.
  Katniss makes the transition in this book from fighting her own survival as she did in the Games to fighting for everyone elses. She thinks that no one else should suffer from the repurcussions of both Peeta and her winning the previous year. I admire the way she thinks so selflessly like that. I wonder if she would have known what an effect her and Peeta's winning would be on Panem, if she would have let herself survive. I hope so. Because the ending was so plain and simple yet so dangerously hinting at the plot for the last book.


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"Waiting On" Wednesday (4)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Here, we talk about books that we are highly anticipating the release of!
Still WatersStill Waters by: Emma Carlson Berne
Published: December 20, 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Page Count: 240
Series: None
Pre-order: Amazon

Summary from Goodreads:

Hannah can't wait to sneak off for a romantic weekend with her boyfriend, Colin. He’s leaving for college soon, and Hannah wants their trip to the lake house to be one they’ll never forget.
But once Hannah and Colin get there, things start to seem a They can't find the town on any map. The house they are staying in looks as if someone's been living there, even though it's been deserted for years. And Colin doesn’t seem quite himself. As he grows more unstable, Hannah worries about Colin’s dark side, and her own safety.
Nothing is as perfect as it seems, and what lies beneath may haunt her forever.
What could be better? I love books with a bunch of people trapped in a house. There is always some huge amount of tension building and they are usually fairly unpredictable. This book looks so mysterious, I can hardly wait! 21 days people!



Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Releases This Week

Kiss of Frost (Mythos Academy, #2)    The Merchant's Daughter    Legend (Legend, #1)

  Kiss of Frost (Mythos Academy #2) by: Jennifer Estep - 11/29
The Merchant's Daughter by: Melanie Dickerson - 11/29
Legend (Legend #1) by: Marie Lu - 11/29

Untraceable   Catching Jordan

Untraceable (The Nature of Grace #1) by: S.R. Johannes - 11/29
Catching Jordan by: Miranda Kenneally - 12/1


Top Ten Tuesday: Series I Need To Catch Up On NOW!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, where we share our top-ten lists!

Silence (Hush, Hush, #3)Silence by: Becca Fitzpatrick
Series; #3 in Hush, Hush series
This book has been out for  favorites and this cover is the best in the series. There is a constant little bookish monster in my brain telling me to read this one ASAP!

Demonglass (Hex Hall, #2)                                    Demonglass by: Rachel Hawkins
                                    Series: #2 in Hex Hall series
 I loved Hex Hall and the whole mirror effect on the covers is what attracted me initially, but the summary was the icing on the cake. There have been so many other books that I needed to read, but this one is no exception!

Supernaturally (Paranormalcy, #2)Supernaturally by: Kiersten White
Series: #2 in Paranormalcy series
Paranormalcy was so witty, with drama and paranormal romance too! Was thinking about getting this in ebook format but since I have the hardcover of the first book and the series is sooo darn good, that I have to buy the print cover of Supernaturally, which I plan to do soon.

Ink Exchange (Wicked Lovely, #2)                                       Ink Exchange by: Melissa Marr
                                       Series: #2 in Wicked Lovely series
 I just recently posted my review of Wicked Lovely here and it was nothing short of amazing. Ink Exchage is on my shelf along with Fragile Eternity so I will surely be getting to it soon!

Twisted (Pretty Little Liars, #9)Twisted by: Sara Shepard
Series: #9 in Pretty Little Liars series

This series is so suspenseful and full of sassy characters and people who won't take no for an answer. While I like the TV series, It doesn't relate to the book at all, in my opinion. Many people hesitate to read this series because they think it is too girly or preppy for them (that's why I hesitated, anyway), but really, It is packed with mysetery and lurking suspense that had me going all jittery several times!
Never Have I Ever (The Lying Game #2)
                                     Never Have I Ever by: Sara Shepard
                                     Series: #2 in The Lying Game series
The Lying Game might have been even more suspenseful and creepy in parts than Pretty Little Liars was. The whole thing about Sutton's ghost narrarating the story adds a paranormal-ish element that I love! Should be reading this soon.

Crossed (Matched, #2)Crossed by: Ally Condie
Series: Crossed #2

I finished Matched a few weeks ago and should be posting a review soon, hopefully. I am a lover of dystopian books and this one ranked high with me. Crossed looks even better. I have heard mixed things about it but I will see for myself!

Guardian of the Gate (Prophecy of the Sisters, #2)
 Guardian of the Gate by: Michelle Zink
                                       Series: Prophecy of the Sisters #2
A long time ago I read Prophecy of the Sisters and don't get me wrong, I loved it. It was one of those books that just left my mind in the midst of all the new releases but now I remember and will read it hopefully in the next few months.

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)Mockingjay by: Suzanne Collins
Series: Hunger Games #3

I am just a few mere pages from finishing Catching Fire, so this one will be in front of me fairly soon. Also, in the hype that the movie will surely generate, I will probably shove everything aside and read this.

Wolfsbane (Nightshade, #2)                                    Wolfsbane by: Andrea Cremer
                                    Series: Nightshade #2
This is the first and only werewolf themed series that I am reading. I loved Nightshade more than I thought I would. As the release of Bloodrose is right around the corner, I will be reading this asap!


Monday, November 28, 2011

Open Minds by: Susan Kaye Quinn

Open Minds (Mindjack Trilogy, #1)Open Minds by: Susan Kaye Quinn
Published: November 1, 2011
Publisher: Self-Published
Page Count: 326
Format: Signed paperback
Series: #1 in Mindjack series
Buy the Book: Amazon

Summary from Goodreads:
 When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep.

Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can’t read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can’t be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf’s mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she’s dragged deep into a hidden world of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.

“Quinn has created an intensely dangerous world both inside the minds of her characters and outside–a world that left me asking myself questions I would never have asked before. When you can literally control the thoughts of others, how far will you go?” — Michelle Davidson Argyle, Author of Monarch and Cinders

My Review:

      Before I begin, let me thank Susan Quinn for giving away a copy of her book and Amanda at Letters Inside Out for hosting the giveaway. It was the first giveaway I won as a book blogger!
      This book was probably one of the most impressive displays of world building I have ever experienced. The book was set in Chicago New Metro, which seemed to me to be the futuristic version of the Chicago we know now. There were a lot of elements that had been changed, which,  being a lover of dystopian, I enjoyed reading a lot. For example, people drove hydro cars that had to be charged instead of gassed. All of that futuristic stuff really helped me visualize this new version of the world we know.
     I've read a couple books about people who can read minds being separated from society for that, so a book about everyone who can read minds except for one girl, Kira, was quite an amazing new take on things.
    As Kira goes through the process of realizing she is a jacker, I began to really admire her character because once she finds out about the Clan and their plans, she instantly thinks about all the people she would be hurting if she told anyone that she is a jacker. She has limitless care for everyone she cares about and sometimes people she hardly knows.
   Kira goes through such a transformation in such a short time, I had to wonder if her head would just explode right there! She discovers so many things about herself and uncovers truths about her family. Beyond being a dystopian story, it was kind of contemporary in the sense that she grew to become not neccesarily the person she wanted to, but a person her parents and she can be proud of. She shows remarkable courage at the end, however, and with the great first person point of view, I was really able to get into her head and connect with her as a reader.


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Friday, November 25, 2011

City of Ashes by: Cassandra Clare

City of Ashes by: Cassandra Clare
Published: March 25th 2008
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Format: Hardcover/soft cover/eBook
Page count: 464
Series: #2 in Mortal Instruments Series
Buy the book:

Summary from Goodreads:

Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what's normal when you're a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who's becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn't ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary's only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father. To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father? In this breathtaking sequel to City of Bones, Cassandra Clare lures her readers back into the dark grip of New York City's Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation.

My Review:

For anyone who has read City of Ashes, this review probably isn't needed--you'll already be running toward the nearest bookstore looking for it, dying to have some answers. Although this book presents just as many questions as it does answers (if not more so), its complex storyline, characters, and concepts are enough to keep readers coming back for more every time, and City of Ashes is no exception to the series so far.

I don't feel compelled to retell the summary (above), so let me tell you this much: the constant mystery, suspense, and curveballs of the plot will leave readers gasping for breath by the end; and trust me, Cassandra never lets up. As innovative as the series is in and of itself, it's hard to believe she could take anyone by surprise, but she does so. How difficult it is not to include any spoilers! Anyhow, the development of the characters is amazing, and continues to leave me falling in love with each and every one of them. Clary is still struggling with her romance, and it takes several dark turns throughout Cassandra's breathtaking tale. Still, she does not overdo it as she takes us dozens of places, each drawing us in more in its intrigue, fantasy, and yet touch of realism than the last.

In all, it's an incredible story of mystery, fantasy, darkness, demons, and Hope that comes recommended to every reader. And for those who have not yet read City of Bones: What are you waiting for??

Note: It has been rated 4 stars instead of 5 only for its length--as difficult as I know it is for an author to cut out any word, page, or scene, I think it could've used a *bit* more editing. However, this can be overlooked for its amazing plot and characters, and does not affect my recommendation whatsoever.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wicked Lovely by: Melissa Marr

Wicked Lovely (Wicked Lovely, #1)Wicked Lovely by: Melissa Marr
Published: June 17, 2007
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count: 328
Format: Paperback
Series: Wicked Lovely Series #1
Buy the Book: Amazon

Summary from HarperTeen:

Rule #3: Don't stare at invisible faeries.
Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in mortal world. Aislinn fears their cruelty—especially if they learn of her Sight—and wishes she were as blind to their presence as other teens.
Rule #2: Don't speak to invisible faeries.
Now faeries are stalking her. One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer.
Rule #1: Don't ever attract their attention.
But it's too late. Keenan is the Summer King who has sought his queen for nine centuries. Without her, summer itself will perish. He is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost—regardless of her plans or desires.
Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; her life; everything.
Faerie intrigue, mortal love, and the clash of ancient rules and modern expectations swirl together in Melissa Marr's stunning 21st century faery tale.
My Review:

      I was excited about starting this series from the get-go. After finishing the Iron Fey series by: Julie Kagawa, I needed to get started on some more faery stuff! This seemed like the perfect solution, and I had heard lots of marvelous things about this series beforehand. And now I have my own marvelous things to say about it!
    Aislinn's ability to see faeries is apparent on the first pages of the book, which I liked. It automatically hooked me onto something unique about Aislinn's character. She seemed pretty smart about avoiding the faeries, until she met Keenan.
    It seems like Keenan has real feelings for Aislinn, but he also talks about courting her like it is a duty he has to fulfill, all business. It confused me a bit at first as to where his true feelings lay. As for Aislinn, she seemed to be constantly swallowing her feelings for him, no matter that they always came back up eventually. This definitely qualifies as an potential love triangle because of her blossoming relationship with Seth, that she isn't ashamed of.
     Seth was one of those eccentric people who seemed a bit off to me at first but I came to love him a lot. His eccentricity, I found, was what really made him different and compatible with Aislinn and her Sight. The fact that he lives in train cars was so cool and mystic to me!
    My favorite character that I really connected with and understood was Donia. She was in so much pain all the time and she brushed it off knowing that she must fulfill the vow she took when she took on the Winter Queen's chill, all because she loved Keenan that much. She seemed to be just hanging on all through the book until the end, not recognized or credited enough for the risks she took and the love she still secretly held for Keenan.

    The book in all was awesome. It was paranormal fantasy but there was a lot of interpersonal things going on too that would be found in a contemporary novel. The perfect balance. Now my desire to read Ink Exchange has peaked again writing this review!

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Releases This Week

Unleashed (Wolf Springs Chronicles, #1)         The Future of Us         Belle's Song

Unleashed (Wolf Springs Series #1) by: Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie - 11/22    Goodreads
Thr Future of Us by: Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler  - 11/21   Goodreads
Belle's Song by: K.M. Grant - 11/22    Goodreads

Saving June        Soul Screamers, Vol. 1: My Soul to Lose, My Soul to Take, My Soul to Save         In the Forests of the Night (Goblin Wars, #2)

Saving June by: Hannah Harrington - 11/22   Goodreads
Soul Screamers Volume One: My Soul to Lose\My Soul to Take\My Soul to Save by: Rachel Vincent  - 11/22  Goodreads
In the Forests of the Night (Goblin Wars #2) by: Kersten Hamilton - 11/22  Goodreads



"Waiting On" Wednesday (3)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Here, we talk about books that we are highly anticipating the release of !

BalthazarBalthazar by: Claudia Gray
Publisher: HarperColinns
Published: March 6, 2012
Page Count: 384
Series: Prequel/spinoff of Evernight Series
Pre-order: Amazon

Summary from Goodreads:

Haunted by memories from his first days as a vampire, Balthazar has spent hundreds of years alone—without allies, without love. When he emerges from his isolation to help Skye Tierney, a human girl who once attended Evernight Academy, Balthazar has no idea how dangerous it will be. Skye’s psychic powers have caught the attention of Redgrave, the cruel master vampire responsible for murdering Balthazar and his family four centuries ago. Having learned of Skye’s powers and the remarkable effect her blood has on vampires, he plans to use her for his own evil purposes. As they stand together to fight the evil vampire, Balthazar realizes his lonely world could finally be changed by Skye...just as Redgrave realizes that he can destroy Balthazar once and for all by taking her for his own.

In a story filled with forbidden love and dark suspense, one of the most beloved characters in Claudia Gray’s New York Times bestselling Evernight series will captivate readers with his battle to overcome his past and follow his heart.

I read the Evernight Series and it was amazing! I love Balthazar. He is probably my favorite character of the series. And now there is going to be a book all about him! What could be better?


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Breaking Dawn Movie Review

      For a while before this movie came into theatres, I honestly kind of stopped caring about all the Twlilight Saga hype that was constantly circulating. It was just old news. I had read the series a few years ago and it was great and so were the movies, I just lost interest for some reason.

    Now that it came out just a few days ago, I was planning on seeing it (of course), just not immediately. So, yesterday, someone asked if I wanted to go with them to see it and I said sure, why not?

     There is so much I have to say about this movie, and I have to say it all without any spoilers! Let me start with my overall opinion of this movie. It was far better than any of the previous films and was so full of emotion, I could really feel a connection with each of the characters.

       The movie was pretty dead-on comparable to the book, which is something I always love to see! The acting was a lot better too, I think. Especially with Kristen Stewart. I really thought she absorbed Bella fully and whole-heartedly this time.
     As with the book, Bella gains a sense of independence when she decides to go through with her pregnancy, knowing the grave repercussions that would ensue. Her character strengthens a lot and shows ultimate sacrifice and bravery. I must give kudos to the makeup artists and camera people for this movie. The way they made Bella look shrunken in and emaciated was creepy and amazing.
     By the halfway point of the movie, I was so wrapped up in all of the tension and emotion that I forgot to drink my soda or reach for popcorn!
     The whole dillemma with the wolf pack was a huge element that they incorporated pretty much all of from the book. I don't know how to say more there without spoiling!
            Rosalie and Bella find common ground in the baby to build a sort of positive relationship (friendship?) off of. Rosalie helps her do the things that would only further everyone elses hatred for the baby but most of all, she supports her and defends her.
            Jacob plays a big part in the movie, that I can say. I was a bit concerned that they would focus everything on Edward and Bella, but they had a pretty steady balance of both.

     Oh! I almost forgot! During the wedding scene, they show Stephenie Meyer in the audience, looking at Bella proudly. As a writer, I almost teared up a bit watching that. It was as if she was watching Bella walk down the aisle, knowing that her character had grown up and become a stronger person than she anticipated, who could make her own decisions. It is how I imagine I would look if it were time to let my character grow up or just get married, even.

    Now its time for me to force myself to become frustrated and excited all over again. The ending literally had me about to stamp my feet on the ground right there in front of the entire audience, and demand to see another minute more! Ever since I heard that this movie was going to be split into two parts, I knew how part one was going to end. All of you who read the book can probably guess pretty well too. This movie's ending is the mother of all cliffhanger endings! UGH! It is so frustrating that I have to wait another YEAR before I see what happens. I mean, all I asked for was another minute or so, is that so much?!



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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday (2)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This event highlights upcoming books that we are highly anticipating the release of!
Shattered Souls
Shattered Souls by: Mary Lindsey
Published: Decmber 8, 2011
Publisher: Philomel/Penguin
Page Count: 336
Buy the Book:

Summary from Goodreads:

Lenzi hears voices and has visions - gravestones, floods, a boy with steel gray eyes. Her boyfriend, Zak, can't help, and everything keeps getting louder and more intense. Then Lenzi meets Alden, the boy from her dreams, who reveals that she's a reincarnated Speaker - someone who can talk to and help lost souls - and that he has been her Protector for centuries.

Now Lenzi must choose between her life with Zak and the life she is destined to lead with Alden. But time is running out: a malevolent spirit is out to destroy Lenzi, and he will kill her if she doesn't make a decision soon.

My Thoughts:

      This book looks like a new spin on the classic reincarnation/love story . The cover is gorgeous and I'm sure it will dazzle on bookstore shelves and on mine!


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Hidden by: Jessica Verday

The Hidden (The Hollow, #3)
The Hidden by: Jessica Verday
Published: September 6, 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Format: Ebook
Page Count: 389
Series: #3 in The Hollow Trilogy
Buy the Book: Amazon

Summary from Goodreads:
A love that knows no bounds.

Abbey knows that Caspian is her destiny. Theirs is a bond that transcends even death. But as Abbey finally learns the full truth about the dark fate that links her to Caspian and ties them both to the town of Sleepy Hollow, she suddenly has some very hard choices to make. Caspian may be the love of her life, but is that love worth dying for?

Beautifully spun, emotionally gripping, and irresistibly romantic, The Hidden will leave you breathless.

My Review:

*****MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS (for those who haven't read The Haunted)*****
      Almost an entire year, I was waiting for this book to come out. Already, the Hollow Trilogy was one of my favorite series' ever, but after reading The Hidden, I know that the last book was just delightful icing on the cake.
      This installment of the trilogy contained a lot more mystery and intrigue and overall tension. The one question was finally answered that we all had been waiting for since the first book. I came to admire and connect with Caspian a lot more in this book. He was clearly going through a lot of mixed emotions about Abbey being his other half. He accepted that she should to live her life and tried, as much as it pained him, to get her to go on living, despite the fact that he would slip away if she did.
      The plot always managed to spark lots of new questions in  my head, moreso than with previous books. The lengths that Abbey is willing to go to to be with Caspian forever and the things she is willing to give up is amazing and heartbreaking all at once.
       So many emotions coursed through me while reading The Hidden. It was a perfect concoction of all bad and good feelings. Ultimately, the ending to the series was more than I could have ever expected. I always dread the ending of a series, concerned that it will not end in a comfortable place for me but this series smoothly ended in a peaceful place and left me satisfied and overjoyed at the conclusion of Abbey and Caspian's story.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

The Help by: Kathryn Stockett

The Help by: Kathryn Stockett
Publisher: Penguin
Published: February 10, 2009
Series: None
Format: Print/eBook
Page count: 522
Buy the book:

Summary from Amazon:

A modern classic, The Help has been a cultural touchstone for the millions of readers who have cheered on Skeeter, laughed with Minny, and hissed at Hilly. The noble and strong Aibileen has become a heroine for countless fans whose letters have poured in from all over the world.

My Review:

          I'm not the first person to review this book, but it's too good to resist reviewing. Arguably better than the movie, the book gave me goosebumps and more than its share of laughs and tears. Switching between the three main characters' perspectives, Skeeter, Minny, and Aibileen, the only confusing aspects of the book may be the bombardament of names and nothing indicating the passage of time. However, the characters--frustrating, loveable, and hysterical as they are--are the driving force of the story, from Minny's stubborn, tell-it-like-it-is personality, to Skeeter's compassion and lessening naivete, to the ridiculous employers across town that arouse shock, hate, and empathy. The book is a little slow, but the thickening tension never lets up, dragging you through the social, financial, and racial affairs of a small Southern town in 1962. Warning: The book will not fail to suck you into its pages, so make sure you've got a huge chunk of time and a box of tissues to plunk down somewhere and read it. Even if you've seen the movie before you read the book, go for it--I did, and I was NOT disappointed.

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Lost Letters of Brother Gabriel by: Bree Despain

The Lost Letters of Brother Gabriel (A Dark Divine Original)The Lost Letters of Brother Gabriel (A Dark Divine Origial Story) by: Bree Despain
Published: November 10, 2011
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Page Count: 20
Series: A Dark Divine Original Story
Format: Ebook (only available in ebook)
Buy the Ebook:

Summary in Letter from author from Goodreads:

Brother Gabriel, Daniel’s mentor and an ancient Urbat, plays an important role in The Lost Saint as well as the upcoming conclusion to the Dark Divine trilogy, The Savage Grace. We were first introduced to Gabriel in The Dark Divine when Grace recieves a book of ancient letters that Gabriel (a young monk at the time) wrote to his sister during the Crusades, detailing his search to know more about the Urbat. The book of letters ends just before Gabriel falls to the Urbat curse, leaving us to wonder what happened to him in the following years to turn him into the man he is today.

Most of Gabriel’s letters were written during the thirteenth century, and later translated and compiled by an Orthodox priest in the eighteenth century. For whatever reason, some of Gabriel’s letters were lost after translation and did not make it into that original book. But good news! A few of these “lost letters,” detailing Gabriel’s fall to the Urbat curse and his quest to seek revenge on the man responsible for his demise, have recently been “discovered” by the indomitable crew at Egmont USA, and are compiled here for your reading pleasure.

I hope you enjoy The Lost Letters of Brother Gabriel. I think they give a lot more depth to Brother Gabriel’s character and the mythology of the Dark Divine trilogy.


Bree Despain

My Review:

        I am so thankful to Bree Despain and everyone who decided to publish this series of letters. Up until now, I had connected with Gabriel's character, but only barely. Now, after hearing from his own words, the history of the Urbat, it is really heartwrenching and I can absorb his point of view more clearly.
      Even though this was only twenty pages, they were all sapped with enough emotion to fill a novel. Gabriel is writing to his dear sister, Katherine in all of the letters, even after she is killed by his wolf side. She must've been a really understanding person to still have faith in her brother after everything he admits to, which makes her am admirable character even though we never see her directly.
      All he wants is redemption after killing all of those people, innocent or not. He was helpless and not strong enough to resist succumbing to the wolf's heading desires.
      I became more aware in this story about his dire need for a cure. I am beginning to think he will do anything necessary to get it. Although, since he didn't succumb to his wolf nature and kill Miguel, it is hard to say where he will draw the line. The things mentioned about Grace in one of the letters sparked again my curiosity about the wolf cure. I hope this is one of the main plot points to the next book because it has been one of the lingering anomalies since the last book.
      This story makes the Dark Divine upcoming book in the trilogy even more unpredictable. I will be keeping my eye out for the Savage Grace, coming to bookstores March 13, 2012!

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

2012 Debut Author Challenge

      This year, we are participating in the 2012 Debut Author Challenge! I am so excited to say that there are some really fabulous books in the works for this year. This is our first year doing the blog and we decided to dive in! Twelve debut books in one year? That sounds like the best challenge ever to me!
That might mean twelve per person which may or may not be twenty four at the end of the challenge. Chances are, some of the books we read will be the same. Still, cannot wait to get started on this!

This is the link to the list of books for the challenge on Goodreads:

Click the picture above where it appears on the sidebar for even more info!

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Anna Dressed in Blood by: Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna, #1)Anna Dressed in Blood by: Kendare Blake
Publisher: Tor Books
Published: August 30, 2011
Series: Anna #1
Format: Ebook
Page Count: 211
Buy the Book:

Summary from Amazon:

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside of the ordinary: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.
But she, for whatever reason, spares Cas's life.

My Review:

      Anna Dressed in Blood blew me away. There wasn't a point when I wasn't totally wrapped up in it.
      Cas starts out as this guy who moves around everywhere with his mom, always seeking out one ghost or another. He takes his job seriously and doesn't let anything get in the way of it. The less human interaction he faces, the more he can interact with the dead. That's the way he prefers it. Until he moves to Thunder Bay, Ontario and things start to spin out of control.
     The chemistry between Anna and Cas was so tender and forbidden at the same time. All the while, it seemed as if they were meant to be together. Cas, being human but spending all of his time caring about the dead more than the living. And Anna, dead and yearning to find her humanity and redeem herself.
     The book takes place in a seemingly normal town, except for, you know, the dead girl living in the creepy house who murders whoever dare trespass. Underneath it all lies a world that is full of ghosts and ghosthunters, witches and voodoo priests.
      I loved the two female protagonists, Anna and Carmel. Carmel was the prom queen, popular girl that everyone expected to know all the right things to say and how to get what she wants. We see throughout the story that Carmel is not to be judged by her social status. She takes on the world of the supernatural wholeheartedly and isn't afraid to get her hands dirty while doing it. In the beginning of the book, Anna is portrayed as this goddess of death that doesn't take remorse on the dozens of victims she has rotting in her basement. Later on, Anna shows her more human side and that she can't help the monster living inside her. All she wants is to be free of that house where so many terrible things happened. Along the way she meets Cas and they immediately share an undeniable bond, making it impossible for him to kill her as he planned, no matter how much she may want him to.
        Of all the ghosts Cas talks about slaying throughout the book, Anna seemed to be the most unique yet. Not only does she know quite well that she is dead, but she doesn't have many complaints or depression about the way she died, as horrid as it was. She embraces the chance to redeem herself with Cas and his friends. They all make for a wonderfully strange bunch of misfits.

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