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Through the Looking Glass: December 2011

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Unearthly by: Cynthia Hand

Unearthly (Unearthly #1)
Unearthly by: Cynthia Hand
Publication Date: January 4, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count: 435
Format: Hardcover
Series: Unearthly #1
Buy the Book: Amazon

Summary from Goodreads:
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 that 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?

My Review:

I read this book in the span of one day, which is a bit rare for me. It was that good. However, I feel stupid because I bought this book a long time ago and for some reason never got around to it until now.

It started out a little bit slow for me but I enjoyed getting to know Clara and her angelic origins. This is the first angel book that I've read where the main character/angel is a girl. I loved the fresh perspective! It was very unique and different from the pool of angel books already out there.

I thought it was so cool that the setting is in the Tetons in Wyoming, because my mom went there and said it was so beautiful. That type of thing always makes stories seem more realistic. The scenery plays a huge part in the book as well, and Cynthia does a fantastic job at describing Clara's world to us.

Tucker and Christian. This really set me off a bit. See, I like Tucker, I do, but I've never really been fond of the whole cowboy thing. But, that being said, his personality was really charming and I liked that. While I am still kind of torn on who I think Clara should chose, I am leaning towards Christian. I always thought there was something unique about him and that there was so much more to him than the popular, brooding boy at school. I certainly hope to see much more of him in the next book.

Unearthly left a lot of questions unanswered. It didn't end abruptly or anything, there was just a lot of things I wasn't sure about or had no clue about at all. Nevertheless, this didn't bother me so much because the next book, Hallowed, comes out in a couple months, I think.

Official Rating:
Four Un-Birthday Cakes!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Book Haul!

This Christmas, my list consisted entirely of books. Its the first year I did this and I cannot say how happy I was to receive all of these awesome bookish goodies for Christmas. I am very thankful to my family for being so fantastic this year!

Fateful by: Claudia Gray
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by: Michelle Hodkin
Silence (Hush, Hush #3) by: Becca Fitzpatrick

Darker Still (Magic Most Foul #1) by: Leanna Renee Hieber
Dear Bully: Seventy Authors Tell Their Stories edited by: Megan Kelley Hall, edited by: Carrie Jones


 Saving June by: Hannah Harrington
Terrier (Beka Cooper #1) by: Tamora Pierce

Here's them from the spine:

What books did you get for Christmas?

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Releases This Week

Living Violet (The Cambion Chronicles, #1)   Blood Sun (Danger Zone)   Magic of the Moonlight (Full Moon, #2)

Blood Sun (Danger Zone #3) by: David Gilman - 12/27
Magic in the Moonlight (Full Moon #2) by: Ellen Schreiber - 12/27

Why We Broke Up  Every Other Day  Kiss Crush Collide

Why We Broke Up by: Daniel Handler - 12/27
Every Other Day by: Jennifer Lynn Barnes - 12/27
Kiss Crush Collide by: Christina Meredith - 12/27

Love & Leftovers  Replication: The Jason Experiment  The Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers

Love and Leftovers by: Sarah Tregay - 12/27
Replication: The Jason Experiment by: Jill Williamson - 12/27
The Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers by: Lynn Weingarten - 12/27

The Amanda Project: Book 3: Shattered

The Amanda Project: Book 3: Shattered by: Laurie Faria Stolarz and Amanda Valentino - 12/27

What releases are you excited for?


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Ink Exchange by: Melissa Marr

Ink Exchange (Wicked Lovely, #2)Ink Exchange by: Melissa Marr
Publication Date: May 1, 2008
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count: 325
Format: Paperback
Series: Wicked Lovely #2
Buy the Book: Amazon

Summary from Goodreads:
 Unbeknownst to mortals, a power struggle is unfolding in a world of shadows and danger. After centuries of stability, the balance among the Faery Courts has altered, and Irial, ruler of the Dark Court, is battling to hold his rebellious and newly vulnerable fey together. If he fails, bloodshed and brutality will follow.
Seventeen-year-old Leslie knows nothing of faeries or their intrigues. When she is attracted to an eerily beautiful tattoo of eyes and wings, all she knows is that she has to have it, convinced it is a tangible symbol of changes she desperately craves for her own life.

The tattoo does bring changes—not the kind Leslie has dreamed of, but sinister, compelling changes that are more than symbolic. Those changes will bind Leslie and Irial together, drawing Leslie deeper and deeper into the faery world, unable to resist its allures, and helpless to withstand its perils. . . .
My Review:

This book was not at all what I initially expected. After reading Wicked Lovely, I thought this would be a continuation of that story, as I am sure a lot of other people thought too. However, Leslie's story was a pleasant surprise once I began reading.

What bothered me, starting off, was that I only got to see Aislinn whenever and however the other characters saw her. This disappointed me a little because I was really looking forward to seeing how she adjusted to being the Summer Queen and being more involved with the Faerie world.

Leslie's life was hard and lots of bad things had happened to her, thus making her stronger and a perfect target for Irial, especially because she thought that getting a tattoo would make things better for her. She was a pretty amazing and resilient character, I think. A lot of times she was kept in the dark about certain matters and even though I know her friends didn't want her involved in Faerie politics, I think she should've been more in the know.

Niall is probably my favorite character in the series so far.  Maybe it was the way he fought his nature or maybe it was the way he would do anything in the world for Leslie, but either way, the complexity of him was so enticing. I loved it.  He was in the first book a tiny bit, and more in this one, and I hope to see more of him later in the series.

The end was kind of heartbreaking to me, but still a proper ending. One of the characters began to gain some serious humanity, thanks to Leslie, and one took on a role that he never intended to play.

This all makes me even more eager to dive into Fragile Eternity!

Official Rating:
Three and a half Un-Birthday Cakes!

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Merry Christmas!

This year seems to have gone by so fast! At least for me, it has. Being my first Christmas as a blogger, it is really amazing to see how much the holidays influence the blogosphere. Everybody is so generous and nice all the time! I am very excited about getting more involved with all of us bloggers out there.
Without further adieu, I wish every person, every reader, every blogger, a merry Christmas! I hope everyone gets lots of beautiful books and other goodies under the tree!



Friday, December 23, 2011

Desires of the Dead by: Kimberly Derting

Desires of the Dead (The Body Finder, #2)Desires of the Dead by: Kimberly Derting
Publication Date: February 15, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count: 368
Format: Hardcover
Series: The Body Finder #2
Buy the Book: Amazon

Summary from Goodreads:
The missing dead call to Violet. They want to be found.
Violet can sense the echoes of those who've been murdered—and the matching imprint that clings to their killers. Only those closest to her know what she is capable of, but when she discovers the body of a young boy she also draws the attention of the FBI, threatening her entire way of life.

As Violet works to keep her morbid ability a secret, she unwittingly becomes the object of a dangerous obsession. Normally she'd turn to her best friend, Jay, except now that they are officially a couple, the rules of their relationship seem to have changed. And with Jay spending more and more time with his new friend Mike, Violet is left with too much time on her hands as she wonders where things went wrong. But when she fills the void by digging into Mike's tragic family history, she stumbles upon a dark truth that could put everyone in danger.

My Review:

The first book in this series, The Body Finder, was spectacular. It was an entirely new story and I had never heard anything like it before. The second book, however, didn't wow me as much as the first.

It started off a little slow to me, but every so often, there was something mysterious that happened, making me get goosebumps. There were a lot of morbid things that happened in this book, which made it seem a bit more indie in parts to me. This wasn't necessarily a good thing or a bad thing, it just was.

The manner in which Violet heard the echoes was really creatively done and I liked that. Her relationship with Jay grew to a point that was really heartwarming to read. Jay is one of those boyfriends who is really protective and is worried about how Violet will protect herself. Personally, I think he should have kept her on less of a leash. But, then again, his protectiveness proved to be extremely important at the end.

Desires of the Dead certainly showed a lot of promise for the next book though, and I have a feeling that it will be better than any of the others. So far it's just been two different stories kind of revolving around a killer with some other stuff mixed in. The plot for the next book , The Last Echo looks to be a lot more personal and suspenseful and I am looking forward to it.

Official Rating:
Three Un-Birthday Cakes

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Across the Universe by: Beth Revis

Across the Universe by: Beth Revis
Publication Date: January 11, 2011
Publisher: Razorbill
Page count: 398
Format: Hardcover
Series: Across the Universe #1
Buy the book: Amazon

 Summary from Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.
Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone - one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship - tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now, Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

My Review:

I will admit that going into the book I had not been expecting a whole lot. I’d picked it up at the library on a random excursion a few weeks ago, although when I finally got around to reading it, I couldn’t put it down.

Beginning with Amy’s boarding Godspeed, a spaceship set to land on a planet 300 years into the future, the story was an enticing and very original one. A brilliant mixture of sci-fi, dystopian, romance, and mystery, I was blown away by Beth Revis’s emotion, suspense, and terrifying plot twists. Trust me, once you start reading the book, there’s no way you’ll ever be able to stop wondering about this crazy spaceship Godspeed, its murderer, and what secrets hide within its conveniently forgotten history.

I think one of the driving factors of the book, alongside its heart-stopping aforementioned plot, is its characters. Amy and Elder (the soon-to-be ruler and love interest) tell the story in alternating point of view, leaving me screaming in several instances, “NO! Go back to Amy/Elder! What’s going on?!” Their perspectives are consistent and believable, and they are definitely dynamic as we watch them unravel Godspeed’s secrets and learn a lot about themselves and each other along the way. Then there are the other residents of the ship, mysterious and fascinating, adding depth to Amy, Elder, and Elder’s world.

And Elder’s world! There’s so much to say about it—there is the Eldest, a tyrannical leader who divides the society up into three distinguished classes; there are the strange animals and the bizarre majority of the population; also notable is the technology, which Beth did an excellent job making believable and utterly sci-fi.

All in all, it was an exceptional and unforgettable read that I would recommend to anyone and everyone. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I’m sure you will too.

Official Rating:
Five Un-Birthday Cakes!

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hourglass by: Myra McEntire

Hourglass Hourglass by: Myra McEntire
Publication Date: June 14, 2011
Publisher: Egmont USA
Page Count: 400
Format: Hardcover
Series: Hourglass #1
Buy the Book: Amazon

Summary from Goodreads:

For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.
So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?
Full of atmosphere, mystery, and romance, Hourglass merges the very best of the paranormal and science-fiction genres in a seductive, remarkable young adult debut.
My Review:

This was the first YA book I have read about time travel. I read The Time Trilogy by: Madeleine L'Engle a few years ago and loved it, so I thought I would give another shot to the subject. I am so very glad I did!

First of all, let me say how much I love Emerson's name. I have never before heard it used as a female name and I love it! Her character kind of reflects it too. She is not girly in the slightest and one of those edgy girls who knows how to protect herself in dangerous situations. Definitely a heroine.

Emerson and Michael meet seemingly by chance. Their relationship and his involvement with the Hourglass organization prove otherwise, however. The two of them have such incredible chemistry, probably one of the most electrifying (pun intended) relationships I have read about in a book.

All of the characters in this book had a good story to themselves, I think. Thomas and Dru had a really cute relationship. Emerson and Michael's brought goosebumps to my skin on occasion. Kaleb, Michael, and Emerson kind of have a potential love triangle, I think. Kaleb reminded me a lot of Jace Wayland from the Mortal Instruments series. He had a great sense of humor and kind of brooded around, but was also alarmingly strong and handsome. So, ya, Emerson definitely has a lot to think about.

This book was altogether charming and funny, yet the conflict was literally a life-or-death situation, and not in the way you might think.

                                                Official Rating:
Four and a half Unbirthday Cakes!


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Delirium by: Lauren Oliver

Delirium Delirium by: Lauren Oliver
Publication Date: February 1, 2011, Special Edition - August 1, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count: 441
Format: Hardcover 1st Edition
Series: Delirium #1
Buy the Book: Amazon

Summary from Goodreads:

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.
But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

My Review:

Disclaimer: The cover above is the Special Edition cover, just because I love it so much. The one I own is the first edition, though.

I read Delirium shortly after the release date. I just decided it was so amazing that it deserved a review. It dragged me in, hook, line, and sinker! The writing style of Lauren Oliver is officially one of my all-time favorites.  She described the dystopian version of Portland, Maine, so majestically and really captured all of the drastically transformed elements of society that come with dystopia.

The setting of Portland in itself is something I really enjoyed in itself. Even though it was a fenced town and an overall dystopian environment, I loved all of the coves and beaches mentioned and visited in the book.

Lena is an incredibly strong character. Sure, she complies with all of the terms of the procedure and the laws at first and she had all of her life up until the events of the book, but still, she has the spirit of a fighter. I love female characters like that. 

As far as the genre goes, this was on of the heaviest dystopian books I've read, and I love the genre.  It was a lot more graphic in certian parts about the consequences of the law being broken. I think that when Lena realized the true nature of the government and their intentions, she was more eager to rebel, and then when she met Alex, it was the domino effect from there.

Alex and Lena's relationship gradually came into being, which I appreciated. I feel like, too many times in YA books that the relationships happen too fast, but this one was perfectly paced. 

The ending was a moderately large cliffhanger. I think, when I finished it, I literally slammed shut the book and scrambled to the computer to find the release date of the next book, foolishly hoping it would be the next day. This book comes highly recommended, just in case you are some uncivilized person who hasn't read this yet.

Official Rating:

Five Un-Birthday Cakes!


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"Waiting On" Wednesday (7)

"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!

Fallen in Love (Fallen, #3.5)jFallen in Love by: Lauren Kate
Publication Date: January 24, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 160
Series: Fallen 3.5
Pre-Order: Amazon

Summary from Goodreads:

What makes your heart race a little faster? Just in time for Valentine's Day, it's FALLEN IN LOVE, four wholly original new stories collected in a new novel set in the Middle Ages by Lauren Kate. FALLEN IN LOVE gives fans the much-talked about but never-revealed stories of FALLEN characters as they intertwine with the epic love story of Luce and Daniel. The stories include: Love Where You Least Expect It: The Valentine of Shelby and Miles , Love Lessons: The Valentine of Roland; Burning Love: The Valentine of Arriane; and Endless Love: The Valentine of Daniel and Lucinda.
My Thoughts:
Ever since the first book in this series, I have loved every word of it. The devotion that Daniel has to Luce is stunning and heartbreaking at the same time. The idea of reading about some of the other, less apparent, characters is so cool! I am especially looking forward to reading the story about Arriane.

Tempest (Tempest #1)Tempest by: Julie Cross
Publication Date: January 17, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Page Count: 352
Series: Tempest #1

Summary from Goodreads:
The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.
That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.
Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.
But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler. Recruit… or kill him.

Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.
 This book pretty much had me at the words 'time travel'. I love all the books I've read that incorporate that in some way. The cover also lured me in. It looks so awesome with the two of them kind of suspended in the clouds.

What books are you looking forward to the release of?



Monday, December 19, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Childhood Favorites

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

Percy Jackson and the Olympians
The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #5)This series is probably one of the best I had the luck of experiencing at a young age. This is how I recognized my love of mythology and books based on it. The whole world of Mount Olympus and Camp Half-Blood enchanted me and I got so easily lost in the pages, even if I was reading in a class full of chattering kids.
Harry Potter
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3) There are countless ways I can say that this series has affected my life, good ways. The trials that Harry went through as well as the loyalty of Hermione, Ron, and eventually the entire Gryfinndor House, really inspired me to be a better person. When I was younger, I found myself asking, what would Hermione do? This applies to my life still, as I admire every character in one way or another.
                                                             Nancy Drew

Nancy Drew wThe Clue of the Broken Locket (Nancy Drew, #11)as like my best friend in elementary school. While I had other friends, I always wanted to spend my time deeply investigating the mysteries of amateur detective, Nancy Drew. She was the picture-perfect aspiration of what I wanted to be when I grew up. The adventures she went on and her insatiable appetite for solving hidden riddles/mysteries fueled my intense love for reading and brought it to a new level.
Carnival at Candlelight (Magic Tree House, #33)      Magic Tree House

When I first started being able to read chapter books, I chose the Magic Tree House books to start. They were so magical and entrancing to the younger me. Every book had the same basic sequence of events, but somehow I loved every minute of every page, and the illustrations too. The whole involvement with Merlin really made me read more and more of them, just to see what missions he would send Jack and Annie on, and they would always be back before dinner.

           Hank Zipzer

Hank Zipzer #11: The Curtain Went Up, My Pants Fell Down
My fourth grade teacher first introduced this book series to us. She would spend thirty minutes a day reading from it and we would be laughing so hard, it was my favorite part of the day. I eventually read some on my own and would get the stink-eye from my teacher when I started trying to stifle my laughter.

The Seeing Stone (The Spiderwick Chronicles, #2)The Spiderwick Chronicles

My second grade teacher began reading the first book in this series to us shortly after it arrived at the library. I loved it! Fantasy really wasn’t defined well for me until I listened to the first and read the rest on my own. Old houses always attract me to read more for some reason.

A Series of Unfortunate Events

The Wide Window (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #3)

This series is so imaginative and ironic. My love of irony, I think, sprouted from the absurd paradoxes laced throughout this series. I remember that the Wide Window was the first book more than a hundred pages that I completed on my own. It was a very important milestone for me!

Meet Kit: An American Girl : 1934 (American Girls Collection)

American Girl Books

I first read an American Girl book a while after I got Molly, my first AG. The books I almost liked better than the dolls, especially the more historical ones. They had illustrations, which, funnily, made me feel like I was reading faster.

The Chronicles of Narnia (#1-7)The Chronicles of   Narnia

This book series was so beloved to me. The whole idea of escaping through a wardrobe into an amazing world with fauns and talking beavers made my child imagination soar to new heights. The symbolism used was quite fascinating as well.

Junie B., First Grader: Toothless Wonder (Junie B. Jones, #20)
Junie B. Jones

At school, I was part of a reading group that would sit at a table and read out of class for an hour every day, and these were the books we would read. Junie was the perfect book character, I thought back then.

What books did you enjoy as a child?


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Sunday, December 18, 2011

2012 YA Contemporary Challenge

 It's that time again! Well, actually, it's the first time for me, being a fairly new blogger and all. In 2012 I am participating in three challenges, one of them being the fabulous YA Contemporary Challenge! This challenge is hosted by Katie at Katie's Book Blog and Angela at Reading Angel. I usually only read books that involve fantasy somehow, and I have been wanting to branch out and explore the contemporary genre more, as I have heard great things about several books in it. A lot of them for 2012 look amazing and cute and also, a good break from all the heavy paranormal/dystopian/fantasy I always find myself reading. The minimum amount of books you can read for the challenge is five, but my list is way over that amount, so I may or may not get around to reading/reviewing some of these titles.
Here is my list for the challenge:
(This list is subject to change as the year progresses)

Don’t Breathe a Word by: Holly Cupala
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by: Jennifer E. Smith
Never Eighteen by: Megan Bostic
Try Not to Breathe by: Jennifer R. Hubbard
Fracture by: Megan Miranda
The Fault in Our Stars by: John Green
This One Time with Julia by: David Lampson
Dead to You by: Lisa McMann
In Too Deep by: Amanda Grace
The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by: Melissa Jensen
Someone Else’s Life by: Katie Dale
Where It Began by: Amy Redisch Stampler
First Comes Love by: Katie Kacvinsky
My Life Next Door by: Huntley Fitzpatrick

What Contemporary books are you
looking forward to in 2012?

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