What I'm Reading: Get Even by Gretchen McNeil

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (7)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine that highlights the books we are anxiously awaiting!

This week my WoW pick is.......................(drum roll)......................

Fateful by Claudia Gray
Release Date: September 13th, 2011

I really enjoyed the Evernight series, so I am anxious to see what she does with this paranormal story set against a backdrop of the Titanic. I wonder if Leonardo DiCaprio will make an appearance?!?!

Here's the summary from Goodreads: In Fateful, eighteen-year-old maid Tess Davies is determined to escape the wealthy, overbearing family she works for. Once the ship they’re sailing on reaches the United States, she’ll strike out on her own. Then she meets Alec, a handsome first-class passenger who captivates her instantly. But Alec has secrets....

Soon Tess will learn just how dark Alec’s past truly is. The danger they face is no ordinary enemy: werewolves are real and they’re stalking him—and now Tess, too. Her growing love for Alec will put Tess in mortal peril, and fate will do the same before their journey on the Titanic is over.

Featuring the opulent backdrop of the Titanic, Fateful’s publication is poised to coincide with the 100-year anniversary of the ship’s doomed maiden voyage. It is sure to be a hit among Titanic buffs and fans of paranormal romance alike.

And it comes out in just a few weeks! Yay!

So what books are you waiting on?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien

Summary from Goodreads: IN THE ENCLAVE, YOUR SCARS SET YOU APART, and the newly born will change the future.
Sixteen-year-old Gaia Stone and her mother faithfully deliver their quota of three infants every month. But when Gaia’s mother is brutally taken away by the very people she serves, Gaia must question whether the Enclave deserves such loyalty. A stunning adventure brought to life by a memorable heroine, this dystopian debut will have readers racing all the way to the dramatic finish.

This was definitely different than the other books on my shelf. It was actually an Amazon recommendation - I've said it before, but I love Amazon recommendations! The Amazon summary is way better than the Goodreads one.

What I liked: 1) Gaia. She was a strong main character, very personable, and I felt like she was easy to relate to. 2) The story. I've been on a dystopian kick recently, and this was a new twist on the concept. 3) There were a lot of intricate plot details that really made the story. Those details really made the difference. 4) The plot twist. I've found that because I read a lot, some stories tend to become predictable. But at this plot twist, I honestly did not see that coming. Even looking back on it, I can't see how I would have gotten there. 5) Leon. I always like heros. Blame it on Disney, but I have a serious White Knight complex. And Leon definitely fits the bill. :)

What I didn't like: Nothing.

Overall thoughts: This was a clever and creative new dystopian that I was sucked into from the very first page. This was one of those books that when you close it, you have to bring yourself back to reality. It is going to have a permanent home on my re-read shelf, and I plan on enjoying Gaia's story over and over again. And luckily, book two of the series, Prized is set to come out November 8th, 2011 and I'm really excited to dig into it!

My rating: 5 shots

Monday, August 29, 2011

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

I decided to read this book purely on the recommendations from other book bloggers. That's something I love about this community. I find so many great recs just by following and reading everyone's blogs. Here's the summary from Goodreads: Obviously, something went terribly wrong. Genetic mutations have festered, reducing human longevity to twenty-five, even less for most women. To prevent extinction, young girls are kidnapped, mated in polygamous marriages with men eager to procreate. Sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery, a recent victim of this breeding farm mentality, has vowed to break loose from its fetters; but finding allies and a safe way out is a challenge she can only hope she will survive. A dystopian fantasy series starter with wings.

I'll admit I was a little hesitant going into this book. I'm all for dystopian books, but I wasn't sure how the whole polygamous marriage thing would play out.

What I liked: 1) This was a gloss free book. Ya know what I mean, some books imply that a lot of tough things will happen, but then don't deliver? They just gloss over them? That's not the case at all in Wither. Every issue was met directly, and was very raw. 2) Gabriel. I enjoyed his presence in Rhine's life, and overall he was just an enjoyable character. I can't wait to learn more about him in the Book 2, Fever. 3) The idea of the virus. It was complete, and well explained. There is this virus that has been killing off people at the tender age of 20 for women, 25 for me. But luckily the origin, or the reason at least, is partially explained. You aren't left wondering why all of a sudden, this virus is killing off young adults. 4) Rhine. Actually I liked Rhine and Jenna both very well. And I liked Linden also, even though he's supposed to be villain-esque. Or, villain-lite. What's so unique about these characters is that they are mature. Very mature for their age. Which, when their life-span is 20-25 years, is a necessity.

What I didn't like: 1) The ending moved very fast. A fast pace isn't usually a downfall. But there were a few places I had to go back and re-read, because I felt a little confused. It just interrupted the flow, which was great otherwise.

Overall thoughts: I could not put this book down. When I finished it, I was immediately ready to read it again. Everything about it had me completely drawn into the story. Any confusion that may have occurred near the end for me was monumentally overshadowed by the creativity, the writing and the idea. Somehow, despite the fact that I've never encountered any of the issues that Rhine and the other characters face in the book, Miz DeStefano wove a tale so real that I could feel myself empathizing. It really was fantastic, and I'm now counting the days until Fever is released!

My rating: 5 shots

Friday, August 26, 2011

Public Service Announcement

To all my friends and followers on the East Coast -

I hope you guys and your friends and family are all safe as Hurricane Irene has made it's way up the coast. Stay safe, stay dry, and try not to go stir crazy if ya have to stay inside!

Love y'all!

Never Have I Ever by Sara Shepard

Book two of Sara Shepard's new series The Lying Game picks up right where we left in book 1. Here is the summary from Goodreads: My perfect life was a lie.

Now I’d do anything to uncover the truth.

Not long ago, I had everything a girl could wish for: amazing friends, an adorable boyfriend, a loving family. But none of them know that I’m gone—that I’m dead. To solve my murder, my long-lost twin sister, Emma, has taken my place. She sleeps in my room, wears my clothes, and calls my parents Mom and Dad.

And my killer is watching her every move.

I remember little from my life, just flashes and flickers, so all I can do is follow along as Emma tries to solve the mystery of my disappearance. But the deeper she digs, the more suspects she uncovers. It turns out my friends and I played a lot of games—games that ruined people’s lives. Anyone could want revenge . . . anyone could want me—and now Emma—dead.

Much like the first, Never Have I Ever (yes, named after the popular sleepover game!)is told from the perspective of Sutton Mercer. Or, the ghost of Sutton Mercer, as she follows around the long-lost identical twin sister Emma who she never knew she had.

What I liked: Okay, first of all, Sara Shepard's books are like...catnip for me. I'm addicted to them. 1) The characters (save for Emma who walks around wondering if these people can actually be real) are all unapologetically shallow and mean, and I love them for it. How can you not appreciate an author who creates characters like that and just expects her readers to like them? 2) The mystery. Before the series is over, I have a feeling every single person will be suspected of Sutton's murder. This is similar to Pretty Little Liars in which at one point everyone has been suspected of being "A." But instead of clearing someone with a simple alibi, in NHIE, Miz Shepard has taken it to the very last second to prove someone's innocence or guilt. 3) Ethan and Emma - FINALLY!

What I didn't like: 1) It can get hard at some points to differentiate between Ghost Sutton and Real Emma being Live Sutton. There were a couple of times I'd have to re-read a paragraph or two to make sure I knew who it was that was speaking. 2) Come on, how can no one realize that she's not Sutton? I mean, seriously? Not even any comments about her acting strange!

Overall thoughts: Light and quick read, I finished it in a matter of hours. It's definitely fun and interesting, sparking some lols, some eye-rolls, and a few gasps from me while I was reading. I was really excited about the way it ended, and can't wait for the next book (Two Truths and a Lie) to come out (Feb. 2012)!

My rating: 4 shots

Oh, just a few thoughts on The Lying Game (the tv show)
It premiered on Monday August 15th on ABC Family. It has already started off seeming way different that the book(s), but I know I'm going to get into it. The girl who plays Sutton/Emma is really great at distinguishing between the two roles, and I can't wait to see where the show takes us.

Cheers, and happy reading!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz

This has been a very popular book around the YA blogs since it came out, so I was eager to get my hands on it. See here, the summary from Goodreads: What's a girl to do when meeting The One means she's cursed to die a horrible death?

Life hasn't been easy on sixteen-year-old Emma Connor, so a new start in New York may be just the change she needs. But the posh Upper East Side prep school she has to attend? Not so much. Friendly faces are few and far between, except for one that she's irresistibly drawn to—Brendan Salinger, the guy with the rock-star good looks and the richest kid in school, who might just be her very own white knight.

But even when Brendan inexplicably turns cold, Emma can't stop staring. Ever since she laid eyes on him, strange things have been happening. Streetlamps go out wherever she walks, and Emma's been having the oddest dreams: visions of herself in past lives—visions that warn her to stay away from Brendan. Or else.

What I liked: 1) Emma's protectiveness of her younger cousin Ashley. Distracted though she may be, Emma took good care of Ashley when the evil Anthony Caruso was, well, evil. 2) The pendant. I thought connecting Emma and Brendon by the use of this family heirloom was a clever and new concept. 3) Angelique and Cisco. Is it really any surprise? I always like the snarky best friends. And different than a lot of stories I've read recently, it wasn't so much Emma and her two best friends. Cisco and Angelique didn't run in the same circles, or have really anything in common, so it wasn't this little group of three that was running around trying to figure out this mystery.

What I didn't like: 1) I can't decide if this is supposed to be paranormal fantasy, or just good old-fashioned YA. There's the curse, which I guess makes it paranormal. And then there is this whole other story revolving around Angelique and Emma that implies something I don't want to give away, but that whole plot line just felt paper thin to me. I would have liked more substance!

Overall thoughts: So maybe I wasn't spellbound by Spellbound. It was a good story, and Miz Schultz is clearly a talented writer, but there just wasn't anything memorable about it. The plot was okay, the characters were okay, the setting was okay...but it didn't make me want to pick up my phone and call my best friends to say "read this now!" I do plan on reading the sequel when it comes out next spring, but for now this book was just ok for me.

My rating: 3 shots

Monday, August 22, 2011

Siren by Tricia Rayburn

Don't ya just love Amazon Recommendations? I do, though my wallet doesn't...that's where I found this book. I'd never read a book about Sirens before, so I was excited to dig into it. Summary from Goodreads: Vacationing in Winter Harbor, Maine, is a tradition for Vanessa and Justine Sands, and that means spending time with the Carmichael boys. This summer, Vanessa is determined to channel some of her older sister’s boldness, get over her fear of the ocean, and maybe turn her friendship with Simon Carmichael into something much more.

But when Justine goes cliff-diving after a big family argument, and her body washes ashore the next day, Vanessa is sure that it was more than an accident. She is more certain of this, when she discovers that her sister was keeping some big secrets and Caleb Carmichael’s gone missing. Suddenly, the entire oceanfront town is abuzz when a series of grim, water-related accidents occur, with the male victims washed ashore grinning from ear to ear.

Vanessa and Simon team up to figure out if these creepy deaths have anything to do with Justine and Caleb. But will what Vanessa discovers mean the end of her summer romance, or even life as she knows it?

What I liked: 1) Simon. I adore geeky, studious guys. 2) The location - imagining myself in Maine, where the summer weather is maybe 70 degrees was quite a change from the 110 degrees we're having here in Texas. I loved how vivid and lively the scenery was in the story. 3) Sirens. I'm enjoying branching out on my paranormal creatures. It's not all vampires and wizards anymore. I don't know much folklore about sirens, mostly what you get from The Odyssey, so I found this very enjoyable. 4) Light and easy to read. The book was 344 pages, and I read it in a matter of hours. It was interesting enough that one I dove in, I didn't look up again until I'd finished.

What I didn't like: 1) The plot felt a little choppy. There could have been more flow to the overall story. Sometimes I felt like there were just little holes, or skips, and it interrupted the plot. 2) I understood what was going on, but it just seemed like the main characters, Vanessa, Simon and Caleb weren't fully understanding what they were learning at some points. Like in a B movie, you know who the killer is, but the "hero" just walks right into a trap?

Overall thoughts: If you love paranormal stories, but want something new, this is the book for you. It's not the general wizards, vampires, faeries, but has thrown a new breed into the mix with the Sirens. There are some fun characters, and it's definitely an intriguing plotline. I have book 2, Undercurrent in my TBR pile, and I'm excited to dig into it.

My rating: 4 shots

Friday, August 19, 2011

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Anyone watched Charmed when it was on tv? Or in reruns now, or on dvd? I loved Charmed (still watch it on dvd sometimes) and that was why I think I was drawn to the Hex Hall series in the first place. Check out the summary from Goodreads and you can see why: Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

Cool, huh?

What I liked: 1) This book was pure entertainment! How else to describe it...there was so much humor in it that it was just a fun, light read. It's not so angst-riddled as so many YA books seem to be these days. At least the ones that find their way onto my bookshelves. 2) Sophie was a great character, one of those characters that I'd like to be friends with in real life. She was funny, personable, and had real (well...semi-real) problems that people can relate to. And her snark was great. 3) Archer. I'm pretty sure that any guy named Archer is automatically going to be hot. And quite possibly bad news (my favorite kind!)4) I absolutely love the cover of this book, and the other Hex Hall books as well. 5) Jenna - the pink loving vampire. Pink. Love. Vampire. Yep. Be prepared. She's awesome. 5) The biggest enjoyment I got out of this book was that it put me in a good mood. Not that I was in a bad mood to begin with, but when I finished it, I felt like I'd just been on a fun field trip, or seen a really great movie. High marks from me.

What I didn't like: 1) It was a tad predictable. 2) Where are all the grown-ups? 3) The mystery of the story is almost overshadowed by the humor.

Overall thoughts: If you want something light and fun with the added bonus of magic thrown in, this is the book for you. There is some mystery and suspense, but like I said, it's overshadowed by the comedy of Sophie and her antics. But I really loved the book, so much so that when I finished it, I immediately picked up Demonglass. And now I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of Spell Bound, book 3 of this awesome series.

My rating: 5 shots

Follow Friday (5)

Happy Friday everyone! Follow Friday is a blog hop hosted by Parajunkee and Alison of Alison Can Read. Every week we answer another question so we can all get to know our blogger friends a little better.

This Week's Question:
If you could write yourself a part in a book, what book would it be and what role would you play in that book?

A. Ha ha, this is a great question. I'd write myself as the snarky best friend of the book's heroine. I'd want to be the comic relief, who comes up with the most off the wall, out of left field answer to the unsolvable problem that leads to the heroine saving the day. Actually, someone kind of like Stevie Rae from the House of Night series. She's not really snarky, but she's who I'd want my character to be like.

This week's feature blogger is Emma from BelleBooks! Head on over and show her some love, eh?

Cheers and happy reading!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Perception by Heather Cashman

"What made one man choose to do right and another man evil?" p. 47
Summary from Goodreads: Your perception will sharpen once you see through a tiger's eyes.
More than five hundred years after the apocalypse, the survivors of off-grid genetic experimentation have refined their mixed DNA to the point that humans and their animal counterparts share physical and mental links. Varying species have divided into districts, living in a tenuous peace under the President of Calem.
Ardana and her tiger ingenium Rijan leave their life of exile and abuse in the Outskirts, setting out with their twin brothers to redeem themselves and become citizens of the Center. But shedding their past isn't as easy as they had hoped. When the system that shunned them becomes embroiled in political conflict and treachery, their unique abilities and experiences from the Outskirts make them invaluable to every faction. The runaways become pawns to friends as well as enemies, and with every step it becomes more difficult to tell which is which.

What I liked: 1) The entire plot. It was so fresh and new that I was just completely surprised and drawn in to the story from the very beginning. 2) The descriptions of the settings. I could completely immerse myself in these settings. It was so described that I could almost smell the Passion Vine flowers, or taste the nectar. 3) Kade and Ana's relationship. There's a lot of stuff that you learn about from their past that would lead you to believe their relationship would be strained if existent at all. But they are very close, and seem to balance each other very well. 4) The title - I cannot imagine a more aptly named book than this. The meaning of the title made clear on p. 48 - it's all about our (their) perception of what is good and what is evil - Ana cherishes her ingenium (Rijan's) ability to only perceive things in black and white. There is no gray. 5) There is a love story, in the middle of this action novel.

What I didn't like: 1) Post-apocalyptic names are strange. Not really a complaint so much as an observation. 2) I really would have liked to get to know Kade better. I thought he was a very interesting character, and we got to know him from Ana's opinions of him, but I would have liked to understand his choices more.

Overall Opinion: I was completely drawn into Perception from the very beginning. One of the things about it that really speaks to Miz Cashman's talent as a writer was her ability to only reveal so much, as to keep you wondering the whole time. Additionally, it was a new and fresh plot, with interesting characters that are very real, without the "boxy" constrains of typecasting that you find in some books. Loved it, and can't wait for book 2!

My rating: 5 shots

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday (6)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine which highlights the books we are eagerly anticipating!

My WoW this week is.................................

Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins (Hex Hall Book 3)
Release Date: 3/13/2012

I read Hex Hall and Demonglass in two or three days because I got pulled into the story. Now I can't wait til' Spell Bound comes out so I can find out what happens next!

What books are you waiting on?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore

Texas ghost stories, magic, and hot cowboys...? Be still my beating heart! Here's the summary of Texas Gothic from Goodreads: Amy Goodnight's family is far from normal. She comes from a line of witches, but tries her best to stay far outside the family business. Her summer gig? Ranch-sitting for her aunt with her wacky but beautiful sister. Only the Goodnight Ranch is even less normal than it normally is. Bodies are being discovered, a ghost is on the prowl, and everywhere she turns, the hot neighbor cowboy is in her face.

I knew I was going to love this book. I love southern gothic superstitions and stories, the ones that are passed down over generations. And, well, it's set in Texas.

What I liked: 1) Phin - Amy's sister Delphinium was my absolute favorite character. She reminded me of...Bones (Brennan from Bones). Everything is about science to Phin, she's brilliantly book smart, but hopeless when it comes to social norms. She had me cracking up. 2) The setting - I'm a little bias, since I live here and all. But Miz Clement-Moore has described it kind of perfectly. 3) Historical accuracy - so it's a ghost and magic story, right? But that doesn't mean that that we can't have some historical accuracy. 3) Amy's desire to not participate in the family crazies. 4) The ghost story! Southern gothic at its finest! 5) I wasn't sure I expected humor, but it's great. It sneaks up on you and makes you laugh out loud. 6) Hot cowboys. 7) Hot cowboys. 8) Hot cowboys.

What I didn't like: 1) I love Big 12 football, but the only time I'm gonna root for the Longhorns is when they are playing the Sooners....meh. Go Oklahoma State Cowboys! Ha ha, so that's not really a dislike, I just wanted to say Go Pokes!

Overall thoughts: This is a cleverly and well written story. The characters are all developed really well, the plot is substantial and complete, and the setting is full of southern Texas charm. I absolutely loved it. It has found a new home on my 're-read' shelf! And can someone please tell me where I can get some of Aunt Hy's cool soap and shampoo and stuff?

My rating: 5 shots

Monday, August 15, 2011

Why I *heart* Authors

This post was actually inspired by an author that I LIKE on Facebook. Over the weekend, she posted a comment about a first-time meeting with some folks from her publishing team and compared it to a first date, hoping they like her. I opened the comment box to reply and my first thought was to reply, "well, if they've read your book, then obviously they're going to like you!" But I stopped before I hit enter and I stopped to think about what I was going to say.

For me, it's honestly true. When I enjoy a book, I automatically like that author. I read their bios to find out more about their life, and what other books they've written. But I feel like when I read a book, the story itself gives insight into the author. Not like, oh, Stephenie Meyer wrote books about vampires, so she must believe in vampires. Not like that, more like, what they find amusing, what problems they think people have, how to solve those problems. I think you can learn a lot about a person when you read their writing, from how they see people, even how they describe the settings. And when I say a book or an author is a favorite of mine, I'm pretty sure it's because I (sometimes subconsciously) recognize some sort of commonality between myself and the author - I see people this way too, which I find them relateable, or yes, I understand why that's the answer to this problem.

I always think of writing as a personal activity. I know the things I've written have a lot of me in them. And I've always assumed it's like that for everyone who writes. And because of this, I feel like I do learn alot about my favorite authors by reading their books. They become sort of like friends, like their characters are to me. And the fact that they share that part of them with us, that's why I *heart* them.

So to all my author friends, I *heart* you, you're awesome! Keep on rocking and writing! And I truly, honestly believe that if people read your books, then they'll like you. ;)

Why do you guys *heart* your favorite authors?

Cheers and happy reading!


I was super excited when Fuzzy.Coffee.Books hit 100 Followers, because it meant that I could have a giveaway. I did NOT expect that you guys would triple by the time the contest was over!! My followers are gold, y'all really are! So I decided that since we topped 300 before the giveaway was over, I chose 3 Winners instead of just one.

So congrats to my three winners:

Nikki @ Close Encounters of the Night Kind who won a copy of Divergent by Veronica Roth

Tiffany @ Perfectly Inked who won a copy of Fins are Forever by Tera Lynn Childs

Jacque @ Good Family Reads who won a copy of Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

All three winners have been notified and have confirmed. Thanks to everyone who entered, and I'll have some more great giveaways coming up so stick around!

Cheers and Happy Reading!

Friday, August 12, 2011

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

I absolutely love to travel. So when I stumbled across this book about a teenage girl making her way through Europe following the whims of her fanciful Aunt, I was hooked. Here's the summary from Goodreads: When Ginny receives thirteen little blue envelopes and instructions to buy a plane ticket to London, she knows something exciting is going to happen. What Ginny doesn't know is that she will have the adventure of her life and it will change her in more ways than one. Life and love are waiting for her across the Atlantic, and the thirteen little blue envelopes are the key to finding them in this funny, romantic, heartbreaking novel.

What I liked: 1) The premise - who wouldn't want someone to give them an all expenses paid scavenger hunt around Europe? 2) Ginny was meeting different people all along her trip, and even though these characters were only around for a little while, they were still memorable and well-developed. 3) Aunt Peg's letters. These letters were thoughtful and explained a lot about why Ginny was traveling to the places she was. 4) The descriptions - Ginny traveled to several places I've never been, but it was easy for me to imagine myself being there because everything was described so well. 5) Ginny learns a lot about herself over the course of her trip, including how to trust herself and have more confidence.

What I didn't like: 1) Some of it seemed a little...unbelievable. Ginny is a high school girl, not even a senior. Her parents seem to believe that her Aunt Peg was rather flighty, yet they agree to let Ginny follow this wild-goose chase around Europe without any cell phone or email communications with anyone stateside. I'm fairly certain that at age 26, my parents would still expect me to check in a few times.

Overall thoughts: This was a fun read that takes you on a scavenger hunt around Europe alongside Ginny and the friends she meets along the way. It's a pretty short read, but throughout the story you'll laugh, you'll be surprised, and you'll end up rooting for Ginny and Keith. It has a great message about learning who you are.

My rating: 3.5 shots

Cheers and happy reading!
And don't forget to enter in my 100 Followers Giveaway! It's only open for a few more hours!

Follow Me Friday (4)

Follow Friday is a blog hop hosted by Parajunkee and Alison of Alison Can Read! Each week we answer a new question so you can get to know your blogger friends a little better!

This Week's Question
Q. How has your reading habits changed since you were a teen? or If you are still a teen what new genres are you in love with currently?

My Answer
A. When I was a teen, the series that I read most often was Sweet Valley High, Sweet Valley High Senior Year, and Sweet Valley University. I didn't read any paranormal or fantasy, unless you count Harry Potter. Towards the end of my high school years is when I started reading some of the romance novels by authors that I still love today. I also loved classics when I was a teen, and I still do. But right now, my bookshelves consist of about 70% paranormal and fantasy which is definitely different from when I was a teen. Now, I also really like to read biographies and memoirs, and you wouldn't have caught me dead in that section when I was a teen.

This week's feature blogger is Steph Likes Books

Hop on over and show 'em some love, eh?

And don't forget, today is the LAST DAY to enter the Fuzzy.Coffee.Books 100 Followers Giveaway! The contest closes at 11:59pm (central time) tonight, so make sure you get entered!

Cheers, Happy Reading, and Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Eye of the Crystal Ball by T.P. Boje

Summary from Goodreads: When Sara was newborn her parents left her at the doorstep at Mr. and Mrs. Schneider's house.

When Sara was ten she discovered she was telekinetic. She began to move stuff around when she got angry just by her will alone.

When Sara was twelve her real parents came for her and took her with them to live like the Gypsy that she was - or Romani as they like to call themselves. They told her she was going to fulfill a prophesy. That it was once said that out of the Romani people the greatest sorceress who had ever lived would be born.
When Sara was thirteen she had a baby brother and when she was fourteen he got very sick with a strange illness.
To save her baby-brother Sara sets off on a quest to find his cure - well knowing that it will cost her dearly.
Soon Sara finds herself going through the Singing Cave, crossing Wild Witches Valley, talking to a ten foot giant snail, rescuing the Beads of Souls from the Hell-hounds, escaping a spell in Vamila, the Forest of Vanity, visiting the king at the City of Lights before she finally reaches the Black Castle where she is told the Eye of the Crystal Ball can tell her how to cure her brother's strange illness.

But nothing is free in this world - and as Sara soon will know - everything has a price.

The summary is what drew me to the book in the first place. I thought it sounded like it had all the right elements of magic, and suspense, and myths!

What I liked: 1) The creative locations that Sara and Manolo travel to. The descriptions are very well done and puts the reader right there alongside the characters. 2) I liked Manolo. He was a good guy, and helped Sara a lot on her travels. 3) How dedicated Sara was to her brother, journeying out into the unknown world, facing a lot of danger to save him. 4) There was a unicorn! Who doesn't like unicorns. 5) I've always thought that the Romani (or gypsy) lifestyle sounds fascinating.

What I didn't like: 1) I felt like the first 30 pages or so moved a little too fast. A lot happened, and it was hard to catch everything because of the speed. 2) So Sara was raised by the Schneiders for the first 12 years of her life. She knows them as her parents. But then suddenly, this Romani tribe shows up and claims to be Sara's family. And the Schneiders just let her go without a fight. I thought that was a little strange. And Sara doesn't seem to put up a fight when they take her either. It's like, "okay, you've been our daughter for 12 years, but see ya later. Okay, bye fake parents! I'm gonna go love these other parents now!" 3) Sara is telekinetic, but I felt like that was more of an afterthought. She didn't use these powers very much.

Overall thoughts: I was on the fence when I read this book, so much so that I decided to reread it before reviewing it. It has a good plot, and and many interesting settings. Sara was pretty well developed as a character, though I would have liked to get to know a little more about her powers as a sorceress. She never really learned to develop them. I wonder if this is going to be explored further in another book, because the ending certainly gave a great opening for another story.

My rating: 3 shots

Cheers and happy reading! Make sure you enter in my 100 Followers Giveaway for the chance to win one of five great books or an Amazon Giftcard! Only a few more days to enter!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

OMG! An ARC of Clockwork Prince??!!

This just in, Cassandra Clare is having a contest for one of the few ARCs of Clockwork Prince (YES, my Waiting on Wednesday from this week!) What you have to do is go here and vote for Jace in the YA Crush tourney! Then post about this contest somewhere (in a linkable fashion!) and head over to Miz Clare's live journal and leave her a comment including the link!! Here's her live journal post about the contest!
(your post must be timestamped between 8pm and 8am Central time)


Waiting On Wednesday (5)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine which highlights the books that we can't wait to be released!

My WoW this week is............................

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
Release date: December 6th, 2011

I loved Clockwork Angel, and can't wait for more Will!

What books are you waiting on?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Entwined by Heather Dixon

This is a positively enchanting re-telling of the Brothers Grimm's 12 Dancing Princesses. I love fairy-tales retold, so I knew I was going to love this immediately.

Summary from Goodreads: Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it's taken away. All of it.

The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.

But there is a cost.

The Keeper likes to keep things.

Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

I wasn't that familiar with the story of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, but I knew enough to know that all of the key elements are there. This book was magical, and beautifully written, and an excellent retelling of the original German story.

What I liked: 1) The girls' names. I don't know if they're original, but they seriously cracked me up. 2) The writing. It was so...refreshing to read a book with this refined language. I thought that the wording was so perfect and beautiful. 3) The symbolism. There is so much symbolism woven into this story and it works so well that I was just in awe. 4) The imagery. I keep describing this book as beautiful, but that is really what it was. I would love to live this story.

What I didn't like: Really, there was nothing I didn't like. How do you find problems with a story like the 12 Dancing Princesses by the Brothers? For the reason that I rate it the way I do, I think I'd have to say that I wasn't as emotionally connected by the characters as I generally like to be. Instead, I as entranced by the beauty of the story.

Overall thoughts: This was an enchanting retelling of a classic story. The language was so different than the books I usually read, it was elegant and refined. If you are a fan of fairy tales, I'd suggest checking this one out!

My rating: 4 shots

The Great Book Swap

Do your friends like to read and/or have the same taste in books as you? My best friends really seem to, or else they just love me enough to indulge me by listening to me talk about what I'm reading. My best friends from college were in town this weekend, which means YAY! We are all pretty spread out now, and don't really get to see each other very often. So one of my girls, Kelly, and I decided that we'd swap some books, since we're always making suggestions to each other and have similar tastes. Lacy was coming in on a plane so lugging a bunch of books wasn't really feasible, and CPotts doesn't really have reading time recently, so Kelly and I just decided to swap. I was so excited, because I always love getting new books to read. We didn't discuss what we were bringing, just that we'd load up some books and trade them. So when Kelly got in town on Thursday, this is what we swapped!

This is the stack of books she brought for me:

Some Mary Higgins Clark, some James Patterson, Tori Spelling's Mommywood, and The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo

This is the stack I sent with her:

Some Nora Roberts, the first Mortal Instruments book, some Fallen, a Danielle Steele book that I loved, and a few memoirs (Kell's fav).

It's funny, because looking at these stacks of books that we pulled from our respective bookshelves, it looks like we don't have the same taste in books at all. I swear we do. We didn't even talk about what books we'd swap. We just said, hey, I'll give you some, you bring me some. I'm really excited to dig into my new acquisitions! You'll be seeing some new reviews pretty soon!

Don't forget to enter in my 100 Followers Giveaway! The giveaway closes at 11:59pm on August 12th!

Cheers and Happy Reading!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Twisted by Sara Shepard

I love Pretty Little Liars (here by known as PLL). I actually started watching the tv show before I read started reading the books. Now usually, I have an issue with movies or shows deviating from the books, but in this case, the show is so blatantly different from the books, it might as well be two different things. So it doesn't bother me so much. And I was completely satisfied with the ending of PLL Book 8 (Wanted). Needless to say, when I found out that author Sara Shepard was writing a 9th book (and 10th, 11th, and 12th) I was curious and excited about what had been going on with the Liars a year after the end of book 8. Summary from Goodreads: It’s been a year since the torturous notes from A stopped and the mystery of Alison DiLaurentis’s disappearance was finally put to rest. Now seniors in high school, Aria, Spencer, Hanna and Emily are older, but they’re not any wiser. The Pretty Little Liars have more secrets than ever - twisted secrets that could destroy the perfect lives they’ve worked so hard to rebuild.

Aria’s jealous of her boyfriend’s new exchange student. Spencer’s getting a little too cozy with her soon-to-be-stepbrother. Hanna’s one scandalous photo away from ruining her dad’s Senate campaign. And Emily will do anything to get a swim scholarship.

Worst of all: Last spring break in Jamaica, they did something unforgivable. The girls are desperate to forget that fateful night, but they should know better than anyone that all secrets wash ashore … eventually.

This is kind of a fantastic summary, because if you haven't read books 1-8, it still doesn't give anything away! You could theoretically start here with book 9 without having read the others, and feel mostly caught up. (Though I'd still recommend reading PLL 1-8, it's almost like reading a tabloid!)

What I liked: 1) I loved that it was one year after the mystery of A had been unraveled. 2) Our favorite Little Liars are at it again! Obviously the girls didn't learn from all the mistakes they'd made the year before when they were dealing with "A." That should be a bad thing, but it really just made me laugh. 3) There are more and more questions. That's really what has kept me hooked on the PLL storyline, that every time you turn around, there is another question that needs to be answered.

What I didn't like: It's hard to say. I knew what to expect, so I liked it all!

Overall thoughts: Like I said, I knew what I was getting into. Shallow, snobby, petty girls who don't learn their lessons and have a knack for getting themselves in serious trouble. But the PLL series is addicting, partially because of the characters, who are so unbelievable, yet so real at the same time. And partially because of the unending string of questions, twisting plot lines, and mysterious goingson. I know a lot of people were skeptical when Ms. Shepard decided to do a 4 book story arc that began the year after the whole "A" thing was over. But I'm glad she did! It's a quick and easy read that will keep you guessing through the whole book.

My rating: 5 shots

Cheers and Happy Reading!
And don't forget to enter in my 100 Followers Giveaway! It's open until August 12th!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Keeping Grace Alive by Annie Lee

Summary from Goodreads: Rudy Talbot, head of one of America's largest organized crime rings, hires his main hit man, Jessie Conners, to kill his step-daughter Grace. Jessie Conners is a seasoned hitman who has never missed a hit before. That is, until he met "Gracie" five years ago and fell in love with her. Gracie is a rebellious socialite in her mid-twenties. Refusing to marry the current Senator's son, Phillip Proctor, Gracie stands in the way of Rudy Talbot and his political dreams. Rudy knows both Jessie and Phillip have feelings for Gracie. Attempting to play the two men off of each other, Rudy's plan backfires when Jessie stages an abduction to whisk Gracie to safety. But Conner's had no idea that falling in love with Gracie would lead to the seemingly impossible task of keeping Gracie alive as her own medical conditions and step-father threaten her every move. Hiding her in his Pocono Mountain cabin, it soon becomes apparent that the only person who can keep Gracie alive is herself. And the only thing that guarantees her safety, going back and facing her past, will most likely get her killed. Jessie Conners goes against everything he knows in a struggle to save the love of his life. Suspense, mystery, and romance await readers of Keeping Grace Alive.

Two words come to mind when I think about Keeping Grace Alive. Fun, and HOT! Seriously, I'm fanning myself off after reading this book. I love some suspense, foxy guys, and a hot romance, and this book had it all!

What I liked: 1) Big bad Jessie the hitman, harboring this 5 year crush. He's so cute, turning into a softy over Gracie. 2) The bad guys. These are some seriously bad guys. Okay, technically, you aren't supposed to like the bad guys, but I liked hating them. 3) The setting - a giant snow-covered log cabin in the Poconos? Yes please. This was described so beautifully that I was right there in the middle of it all. Until I walked outside and was blasted by the 111 degree temps in the middle of Texas. 4) The ending. I had a big ol' goofy smile on my face when I closed this ebook's proverbial pages!

What I didn't like: 1) Gracie was a bit of an enigma to me at first. She was very contradictory, and I felt like I didn't get to know her until well into the book. 2) That leads into my second, of character development. Now, this is only a half-dislike, because the characters were well developed, but it came later. I wish I'd gotten to know the characters sooner.

Overall thoughts: Like I said, this book is hot! Heat, hunky boys, and enough firepower to arm a militia. The cover image is gorgeous. If you're a fan of a fairytale romance where the White Knight saves the Damsel in Distress...well, in this case it's the hitman saving the socialite, you'll love this book.

My rating: 4 shots

Cheers and Happy Reading!

And don't forget to enter in my 100 Followers Giveaway!

Follow Me Friday (3)

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison of Alison Can Read. Every week we answer a different question to help you get to know your blogger friends a little better!

This week's Question:

Talk about the book that most changed or influenced your life (was it a book that turned you from an average to avid reader, did it help you deal with a particularly difficult situation, does it bring you comfort every time you read it?).

My Answer:

Wow, it's hard to pick just one. The Giver by Lois Lowry has been on my list of favorite books for the longest. I don't even remember how old I was when I first read it, 3rd or 4th grade, I think. When I read that one, I remember being a little kid and really discovering that books can take you to different places. But as for what book really piqued my interest in reading, it was Shel Silverstein's poetry. The Giving Tree, the Light in the Attic, all those books I remember loving. I don't read a lot of poetry nowadays, but I remember climbing up in my Grandma's big orange (this is where she'd correct me and say peach) rocker and reading his stuff over and over again.

This week's Featured Blogger is Bonnie @ Hands and Home! So head on over and show her some love, eh?

And don't forget to enter in my 100 Followers Giveaway! Cheers, happy reading, and Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

Isn't that cover beautiful? I'll admit it was the first thing that drew me to this book.

And as if that wasn't enough, here's the summary from Goodreads: It’s the dubious distinction of thirty-year-old Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago. The Blue Ridge Madam—built by Willa’s great-great-grandfather during Walls of Water’s heyday, and once the town’s grandest home—has stood for years as a lonely monument to misfortune and scandal. And Willa herself has long strived to build a life beyond the brooding Jackson family shadow. No easy task in a town shaped by years of tradition and the well-marked boundaries of the haves and have-nots.

But Willa has lately learned that an old classmate—socialite do-gooder Paxton Osgood—of the very prominent Osgood family, has restored the Blue Ridge Madam to her former glory, with plans to open a top-flight inn. Maybe, at last, the troubled past can be laid to rest while something new and wonderful rises from its ashes. But what rises instead is a skeleton, found buried beneath the property’s lone peach tree, and certain to drag up dire consequences along with it.

For the bones—those of charismatic traveling salesman Tucker Devlin, who worked his dark charms on Walls of Water seventy-five years ago—are not all that lay hidden out of sight and mind. Long-kept secrets surrounding the troubling remains have also come to light, seemingly heralded by a spate of sudden strange occurrences throughout the town.

Now, thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa and Paxton must confront the dangerous passions and tragic betrayals that once bound their families—and uncover truths of the long-dead that have transcended time and defied the grave to touch the hearts and souls of the living.

Spooky...! Actually, the spook factor of this book was very low, considering there is a ghost story that ties Willa and Paxton's families together. Every piece of this story is wrapped up in a nice little package. It's just...peachy. (heh, you know, sometimes I just can't resist!)

What I liked: 1) Sebastian - I don't know what it was about him that I liked so much, but I just really did. He also has a supercool name. Plus there is a whole mystery surrounding him, and that alone would have kept me turning the pages. 2) Seeing Colin and Willa's relationship develop. 3) Paxton - I felt a special kinship with Paxton. Do you ever read a book and then think, well, that's me, in a book? Well, minus the rich southern family, Paxton and I have a lot in common, especially personality-wise. All of the characters were very relatable and really came alive in the pages. 4) The town. Walls of Water is this small little town with old-school southern ideals, as much as they are trying to bring themselves to the present. I love novels with southern ideals.

What I didn't like: 1) The ghost story was a little...meh. For being such a big part of the story, I felt like there needed to be more explanation.

Overall thoughts: Good old fashioned southern fried fiction. This makes for a sweet summer read, easily read in one sitting. It's easy to get hooked from the very beginning, and it'll keep you guessing until the very satisfying ending. In addition to the great plot, the relatable characters, and the wonderful setting, these little southern superstitions and traditions sneak up without you even noticing. This is my first Sarah Addison Allen book, but I'll definitely be looking for more from her!

My rating: 5 shots

Cheers and Happy Reading!
And don't forget to enter in my 100 Followers Giveaway, live until August 12th!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (4)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine that highlights the books that we are anxiously awaiting!

This week my WoW is...............

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand (book 2 of the Unearthly series)
Publication date: January 24th, 2012

I just read and reviewed Unearthly (read my review here) and I loved it, and now I just can't wait to get my hands on Hallowed, the next part of Clara's story. Who can refuse a good angel story??

So what books are you waiting on?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Do you ever buy a book and then leave it on your shelf for so long you've forgotten what it's supposed to be about? That's what happened for me with Unearthly. I had no idea what kind of world I was stepping into when I finally cracked the spine and began to read.
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?

Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.

Whoa! That's all I have to say. This summary does not do this book justice. Remember those cakes that said Eat Me in Alice in Wonderland? This book should have a tag that says Read Me.

What I liked: 1) I liked Clara. She was a totally relateable teenage girl, struggling with normal teen problems even as she struggles with her angelic problems too. 2) The writing. *close eyes, you're there* Ms. Hand's writing is so good, with vivid descriptions that put you right there next to Clara, Tucker and Christian and their friends. But at the same time, it's not so descriptive that it leaves nothing to your imagination. 3) The storyline. I found myself gasping, laughing out loud, and sighing throughout the whole story. 4) Christian's plot. I knew it. And I announced that out loud to my house, perhaps with an accompanying fist pump. Yep.

What I didn't like: 1) I didn't really like Angela or Wendy. They both bugged me for some reason. Angela more so than Wendy. 2) The timeline. I can't really say that I didn't like it, but I felt awkward myself at the progression of time. It's like, school then summer, and school is about to start again. It's completely necessary in the book, but it just took me a minute to adjust to it.

Overall thoughts: More Tucker please! I didn't want to put the book down once I'd found myself in Clara's world. It's a compelling, vivid and emotional story that will leave you wanting more. And luckily, book 2 (Hallowed) is set to come out January 24th, 2012!

My rating: 5 shots

And don't forget to enter in my 100 Followers Giveaway! You have until August 12th!

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Economics of Ego Surplus by Paul McDonnold

I'll admit, I was a little skeptical about this book when I first received my copy. But a read over the first chapter left me wanting to delve deeper, so I anxiously drifted into the pages. First, the summary from Goodreads: Part action novel, part literary novel, part guidebook to economics, The Economics of Ego Surplus is the story of college instructor Kyle Linwood. Anticipating a relaxing summer with his girlfriend and his PhD dissertation, he gets recruited by the FBI to help with an obscure case of terrorist internet "chatter," which explodes into a shocking, mysterious assault on U.S. financial markets. As the economy melts down and a nation panics, Kyle follows a trail of clues from Dallas to New York City to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. In his quest to discover the truth, he will be forced to confront the assumptions underlying his education as well as his life. But will it be enough to save America from the most brilliant terrorist plot ever conceived?

Somewhere inside the mushy, love-struck girl who loves her YA books, is a piece of me who is fascinated by the world of business and politics, and was driven to get first a bachelor's degree in business, and then a master's degree in political science. That piece of me loves to read James Patterson and David Baldacci. Paul McDonnold's The Economics of Ego Surplus is along the same lines of their stories, so it pulled me into the story.

What I liked: 1) The plot - the mystery and suspense of the story kept me curious from the very beginning 2) The writing - I thought that this book was in danger of becoming too clinical, have too many terms that only economists would understand. But I was happy to find that that was not the case. I felt that the terms that were used were defined in layman's terms. 3) The fact that I got involved emotionally. There were several times when I was reading that I gasped out loud, then went back and re-read it, to make sure *yes, that really happened!*

What I didn't like: 1) The title - I hate to say it, but it's true. If I hadn't read the synopsis, I would have thought that this was some sort of textbook. 2) The character development - of which there was little. You get to know Kyle some, because the story is mostly told from his point of view. But I did find several times that I would have to go back and see who it was that was speaking. I would have felt more emotionally connected had I gotten to know the characters better.

Overall thoughts: If you like suspense thrillers like David Baldacci, then you'll get a kick out of this book. Look past the title and the cover, which are the biggest shortcomings of the novel, and you'll be involved in an intricate and completely new kind of story that as a lowly college student (not so lowly really) gets swept up in an FBI investigation that leads him halfway around the world.

My rating: 4 shots

Cheers and Happy Reading!

And don't forget to enter in my 100 Followers Giveaway! It's open until August 12th!