What I'm Reading: Get Even by Gretchen McNeil

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (19)

Did everyone have a good Thanksgiving? I did! Mine was crazy, though it went pretty much the way I said it would in my post last Thursday. Got some great deals on Black Friday, including some books at Barnes and Noble. I've also got all my Christmas decorations done, so maybe I'll post some pics later of all the Christmas fun!

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

This week's WoW pick is the fourth and final book of a series that I grew slowly to love. I had to read the first book twice to get into it, but now that we are waiting for the story's end, I'm really into it, and can't wait to learn how it turns out. My WoW pick is...........

Rapture by Lauren Kate
Release Date: June 12th, 2012

As excited as I am for this book, I am also sad that the series is coming to an end. Something else I'm looking forward to though is that in February, is Fallen in Love, which is a book with 4 Valentine stories from our favorite characters in the Fallen series. This one comes out January 24th, 2012, and I'm excited to read it! You can check it out here on Goodreads!

So what books are you waiting on?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

It took me waaaaay too long to get to Lola and the Boy Next Door! I was so excited when it came out, and then I just had so many other things on the TBR that needed reviewing, that I am just now getting to it. I also partly blame my sister, who took it hostage, and just now returned it. I loved Stephanie Perkins' Anna and the French Kiss, so I was anxious to get into another love story. Plus, I met Stephanie at Austin Teen Book Fest, and I swear, she is the most adorable person ever. You just want to be her best friend when you meet her.
Anyway, here is the summary of Lola and the Boy Next Door from Goodreads: Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

What I Liked: 1) In a world of female main characters, Lola is a complete breath of fresh air. She's unique and comfortable being so. She makes a great role model for girls her age. I thought she was refreshing and fun, and she was definitely someone I'd have loved to be friends with. 2) The creativity. On every page you'd find something different and interesting that your imagination can take and run with. Lola is a creative girl and is always dressing up in costume, and her different outfits are so creative and described so vividly that you can see them so clearly in your mind. 3) I loved Lola's dads. They complemented each other so well, and made such a great parental unit. They were the most normal family in the book! Plus, Andy made pies for a living, which makes me hungry just thinking about. 4) Continuity from Anna and the French Kiss. Anna and Etienne were great characters and I was glad to see them in Lola and the Boy Next Door. I may have even said, "awe, yay!" out loud as I was reading. 5) The cover. Isn't it so cute?

What I Didn't Like: 1) The only thing I wanted that I didn't get from Lola was to get to know Cricket better. I thought that he was an interesting character, but I never got the sense that we just knew him very well. He wasn't as developed as I'd have liked. But seriously, that's all. Maybe Lola is just so vivid that she overshadows everyone else.

Overall thoughts: Lola and the Boy Next Door is a sweet romance story for young adults with a great main character, and a fantastic plotline. The romance will win over your heart as you follow Lola and her confusing love for the boy next door.

My rating: 4 shots

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to my friends who are celebrating today! And if you are not in the US, and/or not celebrating Thanksgiving today, then...Happy Thursday!

My Thanksgivings are, well....full of tradition. That's the best way to describe it. I'm incredibly blessed and thankful that my family (extended and otherwise) lives very near. It takes me about 35 minutes to drive to my parents' house, and my grandparents (my mom's parents and my dad's mom) both live about 20 minutes further. So around the holidays, I get to spend time with both sides of my family. Most of my aunts, uncles, and cousins live close too, so the GPs houses become sort of central meeting locations. This year, we are spending Thanksgiving Day at my mom's parents' house (Nana and Gran) and therefore we celebrated Thanksgiving with my dad's family last night. Our Wednesday night version of Thanksgiving involved all 20-something of us meeting at this italian food restaurant called Angelo's that we've been going to for years. My parents had their rehearsal dinner at Angelo's for their wedding - this place is a staple for our family. Then after we run the waiters and waitresses ragged (no, they love us over there), we head back over to my Nanny's house for dessert, and hanging out. There will be a discussion of Christmas and what everyone is doing, and when my cousins and I are planning on invading Nanny's house to help her with her Christmas decorations. It happens. And I love it.

So, today, Thursday, I'll spend with my mom's side of the family. Not as big, and much quieter. I've made pies to take over there, one coconut, and one chocolate. We have so many pies, it's practically a half a pie a person. Not to mention all the other food. The traditional Thanksgiving stuffs like turkey, dressing, sweet potato casserole, green beans, cranberry sauce...this is what I'll be eating today. YUM! I'll head over to their house early, because I like to watch the parade in the morning, so I either have to wait until it's over (which makes me late), or get there before it starts (the optimal option). I'll help setting the table and getting the rest of the food prepared (as will my mother and my sister the chef). We'll eat around 1pm (traditionally) and watch the Dallas Cowboys play football.

Friday is for the five of us. My immediate five person family. Every year, for as long as I can remember, we've battled the Black Friday crowds and gone shopping. It's an important shopping day for us, because it's rare that all five of us are together at the same time. And that's one of the few days that my Dad has any time to get any of his shopping done. My siblings and I always go see a movie on the Friday after Thanksgiving. We've done that since I was old enough to take them to the movies myself. The first movie I remember seeing as a part of this tradition was 101 Dalmations - remember the live-action one with Glenn Close? That was 1996. We've been doing that for a long time. Also, we put the Christmas tree up on Friday night.

Those are my plans for the Thanksgiving holiday. What do you guys do?

Finally, since Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks, I wanted to say that I'm thankful for my family, and that we're all happy and healthy, and also for my friends who are all blessings in my life. I'm thankful for the new friends I've made as a product of this book blog, and the wonderful authors who continue to write such marvelous stories that keep us all entertained. I'm thankful that my little sister has found a passion that she enjoys and that she can do every day. I'm thankful for the awesome football season the Oklahoma State Cowboys have had this year, and can't wait to see more! I'm thankful that my little brother is enjoying his final year at Texas A&M University and is finishing up his law school applications with an excellent background that is going to assure him a great future. I'm thankful that my parents have a loving and happy marriage. I'm thankful that I'm able to keep in touch with friends who live far away, and still have great friendships with them. I'm thankful that I'll be an Aunt (again!) in April! I'm thankful for my adorable nephew Jayson, who turned one a few months ago. I consider each one of these wonderful gifts that I've been blessed with, and I am humbled by my good fortune to have them.

Cheers, and Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (18)

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

My WoW this week is one that's on my list to read for the 2012 DAC!

Fracture by Megan Miranda
Release Date: January 17th, 2012

Here's the summary from Goodreads: Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine

-despite the scans that showed significant brain damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?

Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she's reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy's motives aren't quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening?

Doesn't it sound interesting? What books are you waiting on?

Cheers and Happy Reading!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

In October, I reviewed Jackson Pearce's Sisters Red for Werewolf Week. I'm a big fan of modernized fairy tale retellings, so I knew I'd be reading Sweetly, which is a companion novel to Sisters Red. Here's the summary from Goodreads: Twelve years ago, Gretchen, her twin sister, and her brother went looking for a witch in the forest. They found something. Maybe it was a witch, maybe a monster, they aren’t sure—they were running too fast to tell. Either way, Gretchen’s twin sister was never seen again.

Years later, after being thrown out of their house, Gretchen and Ansel find themselves in Live Oak, South Carolina, a place on the verge of becoming a ghost town. They move in with Sophia Kelly, a young and beautiful chocolatier owner who opens not only her home, but her heart to Gretchen and Ansel.

Yet the witch isn’t gone—it’s here, lurking in the forests of Live Oak, preying on Live Oak girls every year after Sophia Kelly’s infamous chocolate festival. But Gretchen is determined to stop running from witches in the forest, and start fighting back. Alongside Samuel Reynolds, a boy as quick with a gun as he is a sarcastic remark, Gretchen digs deeper into the mystery of not only what the witch is, but how it chooses its victims. Yet the further she investigates, the more she finds herself wondering who the real monster is, and if love can be as deadly as it is beautiful.

What I Liked: 1) I loved the descriptions of all of the candy. It made me hungry and was not good for my sweet tooth! They were very vivid and fun descriptions. 2) Gretchen and Ansel. I thought these characters were written well. Their relationship as brother and sister was sweet, and their emotions were real and raw. 3) Samuel. I love the name Samuel. I liked him as a character too, he was the typical, moody, bad boy. I like those. :)

What I Didn't: 1) The story. That sounds too, all-encompassing. But I just didn't get into it. I try, when I read, to go in not having any expectations. It's a bit hard though, when the story is a re-telling of a classic like Hansel and Gretel. I felt like there was very little in Sweetly reminiscent of the old story by The Brothers' Grimm. It was disappointing. 2) There were many twists and turns in the story, which I normally like, but so many of them seemed out of left field. When I have to go back and re-read a few pages because something doesn't seem to make sense, it interrupts the flow of the story for me, and I find it hard to get back into it. This happened quite often during Sweetly. To the point of causing frustration. It's almost like, pausing a movie, and not coming back to it for a few days.

Overall thoughts: I was surprised by my reaction when I sat down to write this review. I think Miz Pearce is a talented writer, and I look forward to reading more of her stories. But I just wasn't excited about Sweetly. I never felt a part of the story, which is key for me to really get into it. Missed the mark for me.

My rating: 2 shots

Monday, November 21, 2011

Brightest Kind of Darkness by P.T. Michelle

My interest was piqued as soon as Miz Michelle contacted me regarding a review. Just read this summary from Goodreads: Nara Collins is an average sixteen-year-old, with one exception: every night she dreams the events of the following day. Due to an incident in her past, Nara avoids using her special gift to change fate…until she dreams a future she can’t ignore.

After Nara prevents a bombing at Blue Ridge High, her ability to see the future starts to fade, while people at school are suddenly being injured at an unusually high rate.

Grappling with her diminishing powers and the need to prevent another disaster, Nara meets Ethan Harris, a mysterious loner who seems to understand her better than anyone. Ethan and Nara forge an irresistible connection, but as their relationship heats up, so do her questions about his dark past.

Well, I'm hear to tell ya, the book is as awesome as that summary makes it sound!

What I liked: 1) Nara. As MCs go, Nara was great. She was well-rounded, personable, and super interesting. And as a reader, I appreciated the way that she handled the bumps in the road that life was throwing at her. She became very real that at one point when her life was going haywire and some people were being not very nice, I wanted to jump in and defend her. 2) Ethan. Love swoon-worthy boys? Ethan get top marks in my book! He's so caring and sweet with Nara, but has this dark, bad boy side that I really enjoyed. 3) The storyline. It was a unique and creative story with a plot that keeps readers engaged and interested. The flow (something I talk about a lot!) was perfect! There were no confusing skips or jumps, and the pace didn't slow down or speed up too much. 4) The mystery. The mystery is what really got me hooked on the story. There was something new to discover on every page and each twist drew me in even more. 5) The love story. I love watching (reading) people fall for each other. And the romance that blossoms between Ethan and Nara is sweet and seems completely natural. Not like some of those stories where suddenly they're in love, and you're just like....wait, when did that happen? No, Nara and Ethan's romance is sweet and simple, and many times I found myself thinking, oh, I wish I was Nara!

What I Didn't Like: Not a thing! I loved it all!

Overall thoughts: With personable characters and an engaging plot, this story captivated me from the moment I read the first page. Miz Michelle's writing is charming and lovely, and Brightest Kind of Darkness is a creative and unique story that will capture and hold the attention of any paranormal romance fans! I can't wait until the next Nara and Ethan book!

Overall rating: 5 shots

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone was a long anticipated book for me, and for a lot of people, I know. The cover of the book was entrancing, and the short summary left me wondering. Here's the summary from Goodreads: Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

What I Liked: 1) Karou. First of all I love the name. It's beautiful. Karou is an interesting character to get to know. She's strong and confident, and very smart. But the story is told in such a way that kept me wondering about her the whole time. It's brilliant really, the way I was curious about Karou the whole time. A lot of questions come up about her life and the answers are given to you in miniscule pieces throughout the 418 pages. 2) The beginning of the story was my favorite. It was so easy to just tumble headlong into the story alongside Karou, running her errands for Brimstone, dealing with Kaz, meeting Akiva. Everything became very real in that part of the story. 3) Questions. Be prepared for questions when you read this book. Every page practically presents a new question for the reader to ponder as you read. But thankfully, we are getting almost as many answers as questions as we go along. I really liked the pacing. 4) The epilogue. The epilogue set us up for the next book and gives you a lot to think about. There is a gap between the end of the story and where the epilogue picks up, so I'm definitely wondering what happened between the two to set up the epilogue. 5) The theme. There is a whole underlying theme about wishes and hopes, and I felt like that was a great message. I don't want to ruin it for anyone who is going to go looking for it, but I really, really liked that whole plotline.

What I Didn't Like: Around page 300, the story changes from Karou's present to her reliving someone's past, a chimeara named Madrigal. And this switch for me was like crashing back down to earth. I'd spent so much time just immersed in the story and that part I just couldn't get into. The best way I can come up with to describe it is like hearing a story two or three times removed. One of those things where "you just had to be there." And so much of the rest of the ending of the book was that way. I didn't feel like I got into it again until we were back in the present with Karou.

Overall thoughts: I'm definitely looking forward to reading the next book in the series. I really liked Karou and the whole "being caught between two worlds" aspect of the story. I just hope next time we get to spend more time in the present than having to relive the past. That part was just a little boring to me. Laini Taylor is a talented writer, and I think it's going to be really interesting to see where Karou and Akiva's story goes.

My rating: 4 shots

Cheers and Happy Reading!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

2012 Debut Author Challenge

I've decided to participate in the 2012 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren! I'm really excited about it because this is the first challenge I've decided to participate in here on Fuzzy.Coffee.Books, and because there are so many great debuts coming out next year! If you'd like to join the challenge, head on over to The Story Siren and check out all the details.

Challenge: To read a minimum of 12 YA or MG 2012 debut novels between January 1, 2012 and January 31, 2013.

You must either have a blog or be a member on Goodreads (to post your reviews!).

Challenge Accepted!

I've started compiling my list of 2012 Debuts that I'm going to read. I've got a list of 12 so far, but I expect I'll be adding to it! So in lieu of my WoW post today, I'm sharing my DAC challenge books, since obviously I am waiting on all of them! (links take you to their goodreads page incase you want to add these books to your TBR!)

Anyone else doing DAC next year? Maybe we can compare notes!
Oh, and big thanks to Kristi for hosting this challenge every year!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Secret of Lies by Barbara Forte Abate

Summary from Goodreads: Propelled by an insurmountable sense of desperation, Stevie Burke is recklessly abandoning home, husband, and outwardly contented life under cover of night; at last resigned to defeat in her long battle against the tortured memories of her past.
Days later, lost and floundering in a dreary motel room without plan or destination, it is a long ago song playing on the radio that gently tugs Stevie back through the dust of remembrance. 1957 - The last summer spent at the ancient house overlooking the North Atlantic. A season which had unfolded with abundant promise, but then spiraled horribly out of control - torn apart by a shattering tragedy that remains splintered in fragments upon her soul. And it is only now, when Stevie at last lifts her eyes to stare deep into the heart of her long sequestered memories, that the long held secrets of past and future are at last unveiled.

The Secret of Lies is a bit outside my wheelhouse when it comes to the genres that I read. But I decided to read it because the plot sounded interesting, and I thought the writing style was lovely.

What I Liked: 1) I really loved the writing style. Because I spend so much of my reading time in paranormal words with modern teenagers as the main characters, it seems like I get my fair share of teenspeak. But this one was written with an air of elegance that I really enjoyed. 2) Stevie (Stephanie). As the main character, Stevie was one of the most relateable characters I've read in a long time. I don't know if that's because she and I had some things in common, or what, but I understood her emotions so clearly, that she became a very real person. 3) The setting. The story begins in the Summer of 1957 (pauses to sing 'Summer of '69'). I loved reading a story set in that time period. It really made the story unique. 4) The descriptions. This is part of the reason I enjoyed the setting so much. There were such vivid descriptions that I was able to sink into the story completely.

What I Didn't Like: 1) The beginning was a little off for me. I had a hard time getting involved with it. It wasn't until page 50 or so that I really just lost myself in what was happening. What was different about the first 50 pages? I think that Stevie was so young in the beginning that it threw me off a little. Once she aged up a bit, it was easier for me to understand her thinking. 2) Some of the events, or people that are a big part of Stevie's life, seem to disappear and then we never hear from them again. I was curious about those people (particularly Jake) when the book finished. What purpose did he serve in her life? (not really a dislike, more like a general pondering)

Overall thoughts: This was a good coming of age novel with a unique setting, a main character that is easy to relate to, and an interesting plot line. Sinking into this story is like wrapping a fuzzy blanket around yourself. Miz Abate has done an excellent job with The Secret of Lies, and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.

My rating: 3.5 shots

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Maureen Johnson is one of my favorite authors to read (and to twitterstalk). She's kind of hilarious. When I found out that The Name of the Star had a Jack the Ripper slant, I was definitely interested in reading it. I have a sort of perverse fascination with serial killer stories. I blame television. Anyway, here is the summary from Goodreads: The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it's the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.

Soon "Rippermania" takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn't notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.

Ghost police? Wha...? I think I'd like to have that job.

What I Liked: 1) The setting. London seems like the perfect location for a ghost story, because it has such a great history. I can't wait to explore more of it in the next books of the Shades of London series. (I've never been to London, so I get to use my imagination to fill in the blanks!) 2) Rory. I honestly can't tell if it's Rory herself, or Miz Johnson's sense of humor that I enjoyed so much. I was laughing so much that my sister, who was in the room, reading Julie Kagawa's Iron Knight, kept asking me what was so funny. Finally, she was like, "I have to read that one!" Rory is a character that I think a lot of people will be able to relate to. She's funny, she's quirky, and she's got her own way of solving problems that make her feel very real. 3) Jack the Ripper. Bringing this well-known story into a modern setting was an awesome concept. I'm not sure how many people know much about the story of this serial killer, but the facts are all there in the book, without getting too technical or gross. It made the book kind of, haunting and historical. Definitely fun. 4) The friendship between Jazza, Boo, and Rory. Jazza and Rory get along really well. And Boo and Rory become pretty good friends. But the three of them together sounds like a recipe for disaster, because Boo and Jazza really couldn't be more different. I hope that we see more of that in coming Shades of London books! 5) The suspense. Miz Johnson was able to surprise me at several points along the plotline, which was awesome. 6) Of course, the ending. The ending resolved one of the big plotlines, so I am curious to see where the story is going to go next.

What I Didn't Like: There was some disconnect between the two worlds that Rory finds herself in. The world at school, with Jazza and their friends. And then this other world with Callem and Stephen and Boo. But I have faith that that is going to be resolved in the coming books. Heh.

Overall thoughts: This is a must-read for anyone who loves paranormal stories with a big helping of humor. The suspense will hold your attention, and the storyline will keep you reading late into the night. Pick up this one and be prepared to be haunted and still laughing!

My rating: 5 shots

Cheers and Happy Reading!

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

I wavered on whether or not I wanted to read this book. Primarily it was because of this summary from Goodreads: Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.

She's wrong.

This summary...it's not good. Reading that alone wouldn't convince me to read the book. Luckily, I got to read other reviews from awesome book bloggers.

What I Liked: 1) I really liked Mara. Her sense of humor, particularly. It reminded me a lot of mine. So I automatically identified with her because of that. I also liked her brother Daniel. 2) Noah Shaw. Um, Michelle, where can I find a Noah Shaw? I mean, does he really exist? I would like that. Noah Shaw is the reason I read books. One of the reasons anyway. I love to believe that guys like him exist. His relationship with Mara is really sweet, but also fun. I love their smart and sarcastic banter. This may have been my favorite part of the book. 3) This is a much different story than the summary leads you to believe. If you want a better, or more accurate idea of what it's about, read the opening letter that Mara writes. It's much more revealing (but not in a spoiler-y way) and my interest was immediately piqued when I read that. 4) This is a unique story. I've never read anything like it (though when I read the summary I thought it was going to be very...un-unique. Not a word...very...standard. But it was anything but. A great mix of romance and mystery, with a dash of paranormal thrown in. I actually wasn't expecting the paranormal aspect, so that was a nice surprise. 5) The ending. It left me wondering, and I'm definitely anxious for the next book!!

What I Didn't Like: There was very little that I didn't like. (Other than the summary, which is the dust cover summary). I didn't really feel like much was answered in this book. One of the big questions was answered, but I'm like...why was it that way? But, that's what the next book is for, right?

Overall thoughts: Don't be turned off by the lack of summary!! This was a great book with a really great romance, and some interesting and new paranormal aspects. Mara Dyer is very compelling character, and I think Noah is easy to fall for. Miz Hodkin releases the tiniest pieces of information at a time, giving the reader just enough to keep the pages turning late into the night. Add this one to your TBR!

My rating: 5 shots

Cheers and Happy Reading!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hereafter by Tara Hudson

The cover of this book is what drew me to it in the first place. It's definitely ghostly, isn't it? Then I read the summary from Goodreads: Can there truly be love after death?

Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.

Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.

I was looking forward to getting into this story, but with all my other reading I was doing, I decided to download the audiobook. So this review will be based only on the audiobook.

What I Liked: 1) I loved the way it started. We were eased into the story with Amelia, almost like waking up from a long nap, when you have to reorient yourself to what's going on. Instead of feeling like the characters know what's going on, we caught up with her. 2) I liked the story being from Amelia's perspective. I don't read a whole lot of ghost stories, but in October I was reading more, because it seemed appropriate. But they all seem to be from the perspective of the living. This was from Amelia's (the ghost) perspective, and I liked what different challenges that presented. 3) The mystery. There were several ongoing mysteries in the book, and it seemed like every time we got one question answered, we were presented with another question. 4) Amelia's lifestory. Where she was from, particularly the time period, made things more interesting.

What I Didn't Like: The end of the novel got too predictable for me. There just wasn't enough happening that kept me interested. I am going to blame part of this on the audiobook. I didn't like the girl who was reading the book, and that made it hard for me to feel very connected to Amelia and Joshua. I was ready to be done listening to her talk when it was over.

Overall thoughts: The story is definitely well written with an interesting plot and a good mystery. I don't recommend the audiobook just because I felt like it honestly detracted from the story. I plan on picking up a physical copy of the book myself pretty soon. Maybe I'll make some updates when I do!

My rating: 3.5 shots

Cheers and Happy Reading!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (17)

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

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

Scheduled Release Date: March 6th, 2012

What books are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Don't Fear the Reaper by Michelle Muto

Michelle Muto has become one of my favorite authors to read. No joke, her books suck you in, and you don't realize that you are reading a book instead of actually living the story until you hit the last page. During my Halloween Event, I reviewed her story The Book of Lost Souls here, and I was very excited to get into her YA horror story, Don't Fear the Reaper. So here is the summary of Don't Fear the Reaper from Goodreads: Grief-stricken by the murder of her twin, Keely Morrison is convinced suicide is her ticket to eternal peace and a chance to reunite with her sister. When Keely succeeds in taking her own life, she discovers death isn’t at all what she expected. Instead, she’s trapped in a netherworld on Earth and her only hope for reconnecting with her sister and navigating the afterlife is a bounty-hunting reaper and a sardonic, possibly unscrupulous, demon. But when the demon offers Keely her greatest temptation—revenge on her sister's murderer—she must uncover his motives and determine who she can trust. Because, as Keely soon learns, both reaper and demon are keeping secrets and she fears the worst is true—that her every decision will change how, and with whom, she spends eternity.

What I Liked: 1) All of the characters. It seems strange to say that I liked all f the characters in the book, especially when none of them belong to the land of the living. Keely is an earthbound (ghost), Banning is a Reaper (as in Grim), and Daniel is a demon. But they all have such lively personalities that I couldn't help but be drawn to them. Especially Banning. He made me think of, like a big brother, or maybe like a father-figure. I liked him a lot. 2) The themes. I don't talk a lot about themes, mostly because when I read for pleasure, finding themes is not one of the major things I think about. But this one stands out. It's all about making sacrifices for those that you love, and how love can transcend death. I have big sister syndrome in a big way, and would sacrifice anything for my siblings, which is what we see happening in Don't Fear the Reaper. Except, they are twins, not older/younger siblings. 3) Keely and Jordan's relationship. It reminded me of mine and my sisters. We're very close as well, and I could empathize with their feelings. It always makes a book better when you can relate to the emotions characters are feeling, I think. 4) One heck of a final battle. Seriously, for those of you who like a lot of action in your books, this one has a fantastically written final battle scene. It's not just, blink and it's over, either, which I find happens a lot. Battle scenes have a tendency to run short, and this one didn't. 5) Hard topics. Topics like teen suicide are always hard to discuss. And this one certainly didn't make light of that, or gloss over any of the side effects of it. Instead, it really explored emotions of people affected, and even the emotions of Keely, after her death. It was an interesting take on the hard topic, and I give props to any author who ventures out into that field.

What I Didn't Like: It's hard to say that there was nothing I didn't like about this book when there were things going on like death and suicide. No one likes death or suicide. But those were big topics of the book and I felt they were well written and handled with care as sensitive subjects should be. So, no, there was nothing that I didn't like.

Overall thoughts: This book wasn't the scary story I thought it was going to be. I found it more intriguing and suspenseful than out and out scary. But there are great characters, a plot that keeps the reader interested, and a truly fabulous writing style. I've already said that I'm a big fan of Miz Muto's, and I'd recommend this book to anyone!

My rating: 5 shots

Cheers and Happy Reading!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

This was probably one of my most anticipated books of the year. Ethan Wate is my favorite book boyfriend. I wish he was real. Lena and Ethan's story is so magical and unique that I am completely hooked on the world in Gatlin. Beautiful Chaos is book three in the Caster Chronicles series. Here is the summary from Goodreads: Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange, impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small Southern town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home, strange and impossible have taken on new meanings. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena's Claiming. Even Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals is affected - and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear: What - or who - will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin?

For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He's being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it isn't by Lena - and whatever is haunting him is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Even worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself - forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn't know why, and most days he's too afraid to ask.

Sometimes there isn't just one answer or one choice. Sometimes there's no going back. And this time there won't be a happy ending.

Fair Warning: Be prepared for many I loves and OMGs in this review. I can't help it.

What I Liked: 1) The way Ethan treats Lena. I'm a sucker for southern gentlemen. Seriously, I am. And Ethan, wow. He's just the epitome of what good ol' southern boys should be. Bravo to Kami and Margaret for that one. Amma taught that boy well. 2) John Breed. Whoa, didn't see that one coming. If you've read Beautiful Darkness (book 2), you'll be surprised to see this guy again, and especially to find out what role he is playing now. 3) Lena's back story. We learned so much more about where Lena comes from in this story, and it really brought the story into a new perspective to me. Especially with regarding who the true villains of the story are. 4) Link. Oh, Link. Does anyone watch Chuck? Ethan and Link remind me of Chuck and Morgan. I love that Link's got more of a story line on his own now, and it isn't all about Ethan and Lena, but we've got this whole Ridley and Link plotline going on too. Ridley confuses me as to who she really wants to be, but I think it's just her way of finding a way to live as a mortal instead of a siren, and I love it all! 5) I have love/hate for the ending. I sobbed through the last twenty minutes of the book (I actually listened to it on audiobook). The authors have this ability to pull very real emotions from me with their writing, and that is one of the highest compliments I can pay an author.

What I Didn't Like: I WANNA KNOW LENA'S "true name"!! Seriously. (not a dislike, I just feel the need to shout that loudly and at frequent intervals. Also, I am just...sad (not nearly a strong enough word) at what the end of the book hinted at and I don't even know if I can stand it long enough to wait for the next book.

*Additional: I have listened to the audiobooks of all three of the Caster Chronicles books that are currently available. Kevin T. Collins is one of the best readers I have ever listened too, and honestly, having him put a voice to Ethan really just helped me get into the story even more. If you haven't listened to any audiobooks before and are looking for a good one to start with, this one is it.

Overall thoughts: I love this story. End of story. I love the characters, I love the magic, I love how I'm able to connect to it emotionally, I love the story, the creativity, everything about it. It truly is one of the best YA paranormal stories, and I will continue to read these books over and over again.

My rating: 5 shots

Friday, November 4, 2011

Eve by Anna Carey

I picked up Eve on a whim. The dust cover summary sounded interesting, and I'd seen it on a few other book blogs, so on one of my many trips to the bookstore, I picked it up. Here is the summary from Goodreads: The year is 2032, sixteen years after a deadly virus—and the vaccine intended to protect against it—wiped out most of the earth’s population. The night before eighteen-year-old Eve’s graduation from her all-girls school she discovers what really happens to new graduates, and the horrifying fate that awaits her.

Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust...and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life.

What I Liked: 1) Arden. She was strong and confident, and wasn't afraid of going after what she wanted. She's was very resourceful, the kind of person I'd want along with me if I was on a journey like this, out in the unknown. 2) The concept of the story definitely appealed to me. Mysteries about the future, and what's become of the world, and what would happen if...those always intrigue me. 3) Eve and Arden have been raised to fear men. That in itself was interesting, but then when they decide to trust Caleb and the rest of the guys in his adopted family. I liked that evolution, especially on Eve's part. 4) How all of the characters, not just Eve and Caleb, are learning how to love, and what love is, in a place where love has become obsolete.

What I Didn't Like: 1) Things were happening very fast. About the time you had settled into the storyline, we had to bounce around again. I don't think I ever felt as invested in the book because of that. The changes weren't smooth, so I felt like I was ripped out of the story when we changed. 2) I didn't like the ending at all. It made me very sad. 3) I wanted to know more about Eve. She was just kind of...blah for most of the book. Finally she got a personality towards the end, and I liked that, but in the next book I'll be looking for a more well-rounded character in her.

Overall thoughts: Interesting concept, a few relatable characters, and some really well-written action scenes come together for this dystopian book. I am interested to see where this series will go, and if my heart can be won over after the ending that just really broke it. Anna Carey's Eve is worth a read, but be prepared for a somewhat unhappy ending.

My rating: 3 shots

Cheers and Happy Reading!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

Son of Neptune was one of my most anticipated books this year. I've read all the Percy Jackson books, the Kane Chronicles, and of course The Lost Hero. So naturally I was looking forward to Son of Neptune. Here's the summary from Goodreads:
Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,
To storm or fire the world must fall.
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.

Percy is confused. When he awoke from his long sleep, he didn't know much more than his name. His brain fuzz is lingering, even after the wolf Lupa told him he is a demigod and trained him to fight with the pen/sword in his pocket. Somehow Percy manages to make it to a camp for half-bloods, despite the fact that he has to keep killing monsters along the way. But the camp doesn't ring and bells with him. The only thing he can recall from his past is another name: Annabeth

Hazel is supposed to be dead. When she lived before, she didn't do a very good job of it. Sure, she was an obedient daughter, even when her mother was possessed by greed. But that was the problem - when the Voice took over he mother and commanded Hazel to use her "gift" for and evil purpose, Hazel couldn't say no. Now because of her mistake, the future of the world is at risk. Hazel wished she could ride away from it all on the stallion that appears in her dreams.

Frank is a klutz. His grandmother says he is descended from heroes and can be anything he wants to be, but he doesn't see it. He doesn't even know who his father is. He keeps hoping Apollo will claim him, because the only thing he is good at is archery - although not good enough to win camp war games. His bulky physique makes him feel like an ox, especially infront of Hazel, his closest friend at camp. He trusts her completely - enough to share the secret he holds close to his heart.

What I Liked: 1) Percy! I've liked him as a character ever since I read The Lightening Thief. I get really attached to characters with a long story, especially when I feel like I can see them growing and maturing and learning from their mistakes. That's something that Mr. Riordan has done really well. 2) The introduction of Camp Jupiter. Through six books now, we've focused on a central setting, or home base of Camp Half-Blood, where the Greek demi-gods learn to...stay alive. (Stayin' alive, stayin' alive!) Camp Jupiter, on the other hand, is something very different than Camp Half-Blood. And you'll just have to read it to find out what that is. 3) We also got some new characters in Hazel and Frank. I liked them...but I'm still partial to Annabeth and Grover. I even liked Piper and Leo I think better than Hazel and Frank. I'm really hoping that in the next book we get to see all these characters coming together! That would be awesome. 4) The Roman Gods. The Roman version of some of the gods we've already met were very interesting. And I always like it when there are new mythical creatures they have to fight, and meeting new gods. It had to have taken a lot of research to write all these different books, between the Greek and Romans. And a lot of talent, which Mr. Riordan definitely has, to make sure that they seem so different between books. 5) In Riordan fashion, there is of course a quest for the heros to follow. But Camp Jupiter has a completely different way of determining the quests, and who goes. It brings a lot of Roman history into the story, and everything melds really well into the story. I loved it.

What I Didn't Like: It made me curious that Poseidon/Neptune never made an appearance. It didn't detract from the book, but I did wonder about it once I was finished. This was also the first book that I didn't feel like had a main character. The Percy Jackson books were so much about Percy, but even The Lost Hero was a lot about Jason. It almost felt like in this one, the author was so worried about it becoming another Percy Jackson book, that he didn't spend as much time with Percy, who had a really interesting story line trying to discover who he was. I wish there had been a bit more on that. It seemed a little easy.

Overall thoughts: Another phenomenal book from this fantastic author. Rick Riordan is probably in my top five favorite authors, and I'm thrilled to find out where he's going with the Heros of Olympus next. There was an interesting little twist at the very end that made me so curious that I can't believe we have almost a year to wait until we get The Mark of Athena. If you haven't ever read a Rick Riordan book, make sure you add some to your list. Best start with the Percy Jackson books before you move into the Heros of Olympus (it just makes more sense that way). And the Kane Chronicles are absolutely fabulous too!

My rating: 5 shots

Cheers, and happy reading!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Off Leash by Jenna Anderson

I love a good romance story, and when Jenna Anderson approached me about reviewing her novella, Off Leash, I thought it sounded like it would be a cute idea. Here's the summary from Goodreads: Candice Gunderson and her purebred pooch, Phoebe, are driving through the Indiana countryside on their way to an appointment with a dog breeder. If all goes as planned, the “meeting” with Charles the Conqueror will result in a lovely litter of puppies.

Unfortunately, Candice is hopelessly lost, the GPS in her car has gone haywire, and she needs to find a bathroom in the worst way. The pair pulls up alongside a little house in hopes of finding some helpful inhabitants.

What she finds is Bull Ramsey, a cute farmer, and his mutt, Jack, who is more than happy to have a “meeting” of his own with Phoebe.

Candice is determined to maintain control of the situation and prove she is an independent woman. A few unexpected events and mischievous farm animals won’t interfere with her plans. She can handle this, right?

What I Liked: 1) Candice. She reminded me so much of myself. Hopelessly lost is a perpetual state for me! Okay, I'm not that bad, but I am directionally challenged. This kind of thing would definitely happen to me, and so I really was able to connect with Candice. 2) The plotline. I'm a sucker for a good love story, and this one was really fun to get into. I feel like it's always a challenge to fit a love story into a novella, but this one was excellently written, and did not feel forced at all. 3) An uncomplicated setting. A majority of the story was spent at Bull's farm, and it was a fun place to be. We didn't have to worry too much about where we were, and where we were going as far as setting was concerned, and could focus more on where the story itself was going. And in addition to having the farm as a setting, the farm is in this small town in Indiana, and Candice, as a city girl is all caught up in it. Has a sort of, Sweet Home Alabama feel to it, in some places. 4) The Dogs! This whole part of the plot was just too stinkin' cute for words. I am an animal lover, I have my sweet Sophie girl, so I loved that it was kind of like, the dogs brought these two together.

What I Didn't Like: 1) I did NOT like Candice's "best friends." In fact, at one point, I was so fed up with them that I said out loud to my mother (I was reading at her house) that "this girl's friends seriously are awful to her." Then on basically the next page, Candice was talking about how she wasn't sure her friends were really friends at all. She gets points for figuring that out, cause I was getting seriously irritated by them. 2) I would have liked to get to know Bull a little better. There were times that his character, while sometimes charming, also sometimes fell a little flat.

Overall thoughts: This was a great novella if you are looking for a light read. It was perfect timing for me, because I was reading all these paranormals for Halloween, and was definitely ready for something different when my Halloween reads were done! Candice is a completely relatable character and the scrapes she's gotten herself into are both comical and understandable. I found it very enjoyable and look forward to reading more from Jenna Anderson.

My rating: 4 shots

Waiting on Wednesday (16)

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

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

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Release Date: January 2nd, 2012

I have been seeing this all over the blogs recently, and think it sounds really cute. I can't wait to read it!

What books are you waiting on?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

October Wrap-Up

I can hardly believe it's November already! I had so much fun during October celebrating Halloween, and now it's time to turn around and get ready for Thanksgiving and then Christmas. Here's a quick wrap-up of what all went on here on Fuzzy.Coffee.Books during October.

5 Shots
Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
The Book of Lost Souls by Michelle Muto
Rot and Ruin by Jonathon Maberry
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris

4 Shots
Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
The Witches of East End by Melissa De La Cruz
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

3 Shots
Fateful by Claudia Gray

2 Shots
Awakened by PC and Kristin Cast

Lots of great stuff! If you missed any of the reviews, make sure you go back and check them out!

The other stuff I read this month - most of which have reviews coming up are:
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Hereafter by Tara Hudson
The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Off Leash by Jenna Anderson
Windchaser by Krissi Dallas
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Eve by Anna Carey

With all the fun stuff that went on at Fuzzy.Coffee.Books, I have some people I really need to thank for all their work!
First, I'd like to thank the authors who participated in my Trick or Treat Tuesdays!

Nichole Chase, author of the Dark Betrayal Trilogy
Derrolyn Anderson, author of Marina's Tales
Cameo Renae, author of In My Dreams, and
Michelle Muto, author of The Book of Lost Souls
Thank you to all of these wonderfully talented authors for sharing their writing tips with us this month, and for offering up some of their books for the Trick or Treat giveaways. If you haven't had a chance to check out their writing, please make sure you do!

Also, I'd like to thank Blogovation Design for her support and offering the custom design as a part of the Big Bad Halloween Giveaway.

Finally, thanks to my awesome readers! Y'all are so great, and I just love being able to talk to you all about what it is you're reading and your thoughts on books we are all checking out. There is going to be plenty more fun stuff coming up here on Fuzzy.Coffee.Books so be sure and stay tuned!

Big Bad Halloween Giveaway Winners!

After my month long Big Bad Halloween Giveaway, I finally have some winners to announce! As you know, the giveaway was in two parts, so I have two winners!

The first part of the giveaway was for a brand new, custom blog design by my awesome designer, Blogovation Design.

And the winner is.............
Georgina from Chick Litaholic!

Congrats, Georgina! I can't wait to see what y'all come up with for your site!

And the second part of the Giveaway was the entire Hollow Trilogy by Jessica Verday, as well as the book that inspired it, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving.

And the winner is.............
Melissa from Just One Opinion!

Congrats to my winners, I hope you both enjoy your prizes! Thanks to all my loverly friends and followers who entered and participated in all the goingson over here during my Halloween Celebration. Y'all realy helped make my favorite holiday super fun! And a big thanks to my friends over at Blogovation Design for making that possible. You rock!

And don't fear, everyone! Plenty of other fun things to come here on Fuzzy.Coffee.Books, so stay tuned!