What I'm Reading: Get Even by Gretchen McNeil

Monday, April 30, 2012

Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

I danced around this book for a while before sitting down to read it. That cover is so interesting, that it definitely made me wonder what this book was going to be all about.
Here's the summary from Goodreads: When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, everything in her life seems to fall into place. After growing up in America, she's surprised to find herself feeling at home in her new school. She connects with a group of friends, and she is instantly drawn to darkly handsome Adam DeRÍs. But Megan is about to discover that her feelings for Adam are tied to a fate that was sealed long ago—and that the passion and power that brought them together could be their ultimate destruction.
This summary really doesn't do the book justice because there is so much more going on than just this.

What I Liked: 1) I am always a big fan of elemental magic. There are a lot of books out there that explore that as a subgenre of fantasy, and it's definitely one of my favorites. It was never alluded to in the summary on Goodreads, so I was excited to see that aspect pop up in this book. There was a new, fresh spin on it (actually, I've never read two books that use the idea the same) so it made everything really interesting. 2) Ireland! I have never been to Ireland, but I love reading books that are set there. Megan seems to take to Ireland pretty quickly when she moves out there with her father. The setting was written in such a way that as a reader it felt like I was able to explore this new place right along with Megan and her friends. 3) Adam. Now this is one of those guys who draws you in. Their relationship doesn't just happen all at once, it grows gradually (although Megan's attraction to him is instantaneous). 4) Fast-paced and very detailed. There are some great details in The Carrier of the Mark, and they drive this fast paced novel and kept me interested as a reader. It was kind of like making a new discovery with every page turn. 5) Big shout out to Miz Fallon for explaining how some of the uniquely Irish words and names were pronounced. Nothing is more distracting to me than to not understand how certain words or names are pronounced, so I really appreciated her working that into the story.

What I Didn't Like: This book was good. It was well written, had some good characters, and the plot moved along the way it should but for me, nothing just jumped out and grabbed me like my favorites always do. It WAS good, I have no specific complaints, but it just didn't come alive for me like I usually want.

Overall thoughts: For fans of fantasy stories, Leigh Fallon's The Carrier of the Mark is a fun read that centers around Irish folklore and elemental magic. A sweet romance blossoms amid a busy plot with danger and intrigue. It could use a little more character development, but overall it is an interesting story that many will enjoy.

My rating: 3.5 shots

Don't forget today is the last day to enter my Birthday Giveaway! Cheers and Happy Reading!

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

I read the first two books of Miz Stiefvater's Wolves of Mercy Falls series. I wasn't a big fan. I figured maybe I just didn't click with those books, so when The Scorpio Races came out, I thought I'd give it another shot.
Here's the summary from Goodreads: It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die. At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them. Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

What I Liked: 1) I liked the story of the water horses. That was something that was completely new to me. I hadn't ever read anything about this legend, and so I thought that aspect was unique.

What I Didn't Like: 1) I rarely come across a book where I just have to force myself to keep reading. Unfortunately, this was the case with this book. I just didn't find it that engaging. It was a chore to get to the end. (I've yet to come across something that was a did not finish - I'm too type A to leave something unfinished). It was just boring. I hate that I have to say that, but it was. 2) Alternating POV. I flip-flop on this literary tool. Sometimes I like it, but most of the time, I don't. When characters don't have a clear, definitive voice, then I really don't like it. I get confused and often can't tell which character is speaking. Nothing interrupts the flow of a book than having to flip back a few pages to see what character's POV you're reading in. 3) Confusion. Now, I can blame this on my own disinterest than the writing. But I was confused about the antagonist. There were several, but which one was going to be the true antagonist, the one who stays through the whole series. 4) Probably my biggest pet peeve was the lack of character development. Miz Stiefvater is a best-selling author for a reason. People like her books. I fully expect to be in the minority in my opinion of this book. But I thought that the characters were lacking depth. The supporting characters were for sure, but that's something I can forgive. In a book like this, where there are intricate story lines that weave throughout the book, the characters need to have some depth. Otherwise, how can you tell which issues are important?

 Overall Thoughts: I hate writing a review like this. I went over it and over it in my head trying to figure out why this book didn't click with me. But when it comes down to it, The Scorpio Races just wasn't for me. I missed complex characters and an interesting plotline. It just didn't work for me. I'm sure a lot of people out there will appreciate and love the story, and I sincerely hope they do. But I was just bored.

My Rating: One shot

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs

The first book I ever read by Tera Lynn Childs was Forgive My Fins, which was the first of her mermaid series. I also read the second book, and I'm now waiting on the third book to be released. But after loving the writing of the first two mermaid books, I decided to check out her new series, The Medusa Girls. Well, Sweet Venom is the first book in this new series.
Here's the summary from Goodreads: Grace just moved to San Francisco and is excited to start over at a new school. The change is full of fresh possibilities, but it’s also a tiny bit scary. It gets scarier when a minotaur walks in the door. And even more shocking when a girl who looks just like her shows up to fight the monster. Gretchen is tired of monsters pulling her out into the wee hours, especially on a school night, but what can she do? Sending the minotaur back to his bleak home is just another notch on her combat belt. She never expected to run into this girl who could be her double, though. Greer has her life pretty well put together, thank you very much. But that all tilts sideways when two girls who look eerily like her appear on her doorstep and claim they're triplets, supernatural descendants of some hideous creature from Greek myth, destined to spend their lives hunting monsters. These three teenage descendants of Medusa, the once-beautiful gorgon maligned by myth, must reunite and embrace their fates in this unique paranormal world where monsters lurk in plain sight.
What I Liked: 1) I generally love anything that has to do with mythology. But this one was just such a fresh concept, new characters, new ideas and new twists that it was a completely new and unique experience. 2) Something for everyone. Okay, not something, as much as someone. There are three MCs in this book, the three sisters. And they all have such different personalities that I can't imagine anyone not being able to find someone to relate to. They are well-developed with unique personalities, so you never have to wonder who is speaking. Their personalities shine through not only in their dialogue but in their actions, so it was really easy to connect and get involved with their story. 3) There is a lot of fun, monster-killing action in this book. I don't read a whole lot of books with monster-killing. Or, if I do, they are all so different that I never think of them as being the same. But the action in this one is taken lightly, almost comically. Almost like these girls are superheros! Which I suppose they kind of are. 4) Fluffy! That may not sound like a compliment, but lighter books are super important to me. Especially one like this, because it is able to make you think, but doesn't leave you searching for deeper meanings. They are completely fun and exciting from the very first page, which is exactly how I'd describe Sweet Venom. 5) The way it ended. I'm not going to say anything else about it, cause I'm mean like that, but talk about getting ramped up for the next book!!

What I Didn't Like: Nada!

Overall thoughts: Sweet Venom is a must-read for anyone with an interest in mythology. Miz Childs has written a unique, engaging story with some kick butt characters that will drag you along with them as they battle monsters! It's a light with some great comedic timing and enough action to keep anyone interested. I'm a self-professed fan of Tera Lynn, and am anxiously awaiting the next book in this series!

My Rating: 5 shots

Don't forget to enter in the two giveaways that are going on right now. And because this one was rated 5 shots, it's been added to the options of the Birthday Giveaway! Cheers and Happy Reading!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (33)

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, my WoW is....... 

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter 
Expected Release Date: September 25th, 2012 

I've never read anything by Gena Showalter (gasp!) I know, crazy. But this one just sounds too interesting to pass up! Here's the summary from Goodreads: She won’t resist until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever. Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone. Her father was right. The monsters are real…. To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies…

Seriously. Alice in Wonderland and Zombies? Dude. Add this one to your TBRs immediately!

What are you waiting on this lovely Wednesday?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

I bought this book for my Sis, because it sounded like something she'd enjoy. She reads more contemporary fiction than I do. But she was reading it at my house, and kept laughing, so I couldn't help but be curious, so after she finished, I borrowed it to read. This was the first book I've read by either of these two authors so I had no idea what to expect.
Here's the summary from Goodreads: It's 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They've been best friends almost as long - at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh's family gets a free AOL CD in the mail,his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they're automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn't been invented yet. And they're looking at themselves fifteen years in the future. By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they're forced to confront what they're doing right - and wrong - in the present.
What I Liked: 1) This book was like one big trip down memory lane for me. In 1996, I was in 6th/7th grade and I remember those AOL cds being everywhere. In the mail, at the checkout counter, at the dry cleaners. Seriously, you never had to be without AOL. I can remember spending hours at the computer, instant messaging with my friends! Ah, good times. Plus everything else they were talking about, the music they were listening to at the time, the way they wore their hair...that was really fun. 2) The humor. There was a lot of funny stuff going on in the book. A lot of what was funny to me was the way that Josh and Emma were reacting to their future selves, and how their lives are in the future. And of course it amused me remembering all of the things that were important in 1996. Can't go anywhere without my discman. My sister, on the other hand, who is 7 years younger than me and therefore wouldn't remember a lot about 1996, found the whole book to be really funny too. So don't think that you have to have some sort of nostalgic reaction to this time period to enjoy the book. 3) The premise. The main idea (as I interpreted it) was that even small decisions we make during the day can have big effects on the rest of our lives. Josh and Emma (Emma in particular) would race through her day to get home and see how her future had changed. It was a nice message to be reminded of. 4) The ending. I frustratingly loved the ending. It was the best way that the story could have ended, but I still wanted to hit my head with the book, because there was so much more that I wanted to know. I think this was another little subliminal message that we take away from the book. As much as we may want to, we aren't supposed to know the future. Can I just bargain with Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler? Okay, I don't have to know my future, but can I know Emma and Josh's?? Please!?!

What I Didn't Like: I didn't really connect with the characters in the way that I really like to in order to sink deep into a story. But for me this book was more about the differences between 1996 and 2011. So it really wasn't that big of a deal. But I did have to put that out there, since I always comment on the characters and their personalities. It's way more plot-driven.

Overall thoughts: The Future of Us is a funny story of two teens who accidentally stumble upon their future while browsing this new-fangled thing called the internet. The plot drives the story forward, and readers will constantly be guessing what's happening next. You'll laugh at the comparison of 1996 to 2011, and take away a great message. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone who likes contemporary fiction with a humorous slant.

My rating: 4 shots

Don't forget there are TWO great giveaways going on right now! Make sure you enter! Cheers and Happy Reading!

The Immortal Rules Giveaway

As promised yesterday, here is the giveaway of Julie Kagawa's new book, The Immortal Rules. If you missed the review, make sure you check it out! Julie has really outdone herself with this new series, and I'm excited to share it with you!

A few things - the contest ends on the 17th, and the book will be shipped (from Harlequin) on the day of publication (April 24th).

Per the publisher's request, this contest is US/Canada only.

Enter below!

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

When I started Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series, the first three books were already out. Well, I read them all three in one weekend. Julie's ability to create a world so unique and fascinating just amazed me. Well, then we learned that she was working on a new series, the Blood of Eden series, and I was so excited to find out what new awesome world she'd come up with for us.

Here's the summary from Goodreads: In a future world, Vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity. Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die… or become one of the monsters. Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad. Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike. But it isn't easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.

I was positively ecstatic when I received an ARC of The Immortal Rules and eagerly dove into it. What I Liked: 1) The setting. This world is familiar, yet new at the same time, if that makes sense. It's like, everywhere you turn, there is something new that you're walking into, but there is this imprint of how the world used to be lying underneath everything. I definitely love how Miz Kagawa is able to build this world that can startle you around every corner, without making you feel completely and utterly lost. 2) Allie. Allie is a really complex character. She's got this strong moral compass guiding her, even though she knows the kind of things she has to do to survive in the Fringe. But then, when she's faced with the choice of dying or becoming a Vampire, she doesn't choose what would be the honorable thing, according to her own beliefs. But even as she is, she still despises the vampires, and herself a little for making the decision she did. There is so much more to her than all of this, but because I don't want to give anything away, I'm going to leave it at that. I love the complexity that Miz Kagawa brought to this character and I'm sure it'll just get better and better as the series continues. 3) Kanin. My favorite character!! And I am fully prepared to argue this point with anyone, because I have a feeling I'll be in the minority here. I think most people will like Zeke the best but I loved Kanin. He is Allie's...vampire sire, creator, whatever. But you can tell right off the bat that he isn't like the other vampires you meet in the book. And at the end of the book you aren't sure what's happened with him, or what he is doing!? He's the most mysterious character in the book, and I definitely viewed him as Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome. 4) Zeke. Kanin is a sharp contrast to Zeke, who was more of an open book. And of course, that intrigued Allie more than anything, I think. I don't think she's ever had anyone in her life, at least that she can remember that is as open and honest, and as...genuine as he is. In this world when everyone is kinda screwed up, secretive, and scared, Zeke isn't that way, despite the life he's had to live. He's so trusting when everything in the world screams that he shouldn't. Even with his openness, it doesn't make him less dimensional than the others. All of the characters (like in all of her writing) have a lot of depth. 5) Vampires! I haven't read many vampire books recently, though it did seem that the YA market was getting a little saturated with them. But this was a fresh spin on that particular subgenre. Instead of being the creatures that hide in the dark from the rest of the world and try to keep their existence hidden, the roles have almost been reversed. The humans are in hiding, both from the Rabids and the Vampires, and the vamps are the ones in charge. Who isn't intrigued about a world run by Vampires??

What I Didn't Like: Nothing!

Overall thoughts: Well, Julie Kagawa has outdone herself! The Immortal Rules is a completely new and enigmatic story that brings an exciting world to life within it's pages. A fast-paced and action-packed plot, coupled with rich, three dimensional characters makes this book unique and exciting. It's a darker story than her last series, but equally as engaging and fascinating. The Immortal Rules hits shelves on April 24th, so make sure to add it to your list, and get excited!

My rating: 5 shots

Harlequin has also offered me a finished hard cover of The Immortal Rules to giveaway to one of y'all! The entry form for this giveaway will go up tomorrow, so make sure you stop back by and enter to win a copy of this exciting new release! 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Birthday Bash Giveaway!

In honor of my birthday month, I thought it would be fun to host a giveaway! April 21st is the actual day, but I've decided to have the giveaway go on all month!

Since it is my birthday month and I'm spending some time reading some of my old favorites, I thought it might be fun to give one of those away. So the winner will win a copy of either Lois Lowry's The Giver (which I'm told is going to be made into a movie sometime in the next few years) or Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None. Additionally, the winner will win their choice of any book I've reviewed as 5 espresso shots in 2012. Here's the list (links to my review):

Illuminate by Aimee Agresti
Legend by Marie Lu
Tempest by Julie Cross
Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
Bone Dressing by Michelle Brooks
Windfall by Krissi Dallas
Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker

Anything I rate as 5 espresso shots before now and the end of this giveaway will be up for grabs as well. And last but not least, you'll win a $27 amazon giftcard! (Why $27? Because it's my 27th Birthday!)

So just to recap, here's the giveaway:

*One of my old favorites
*One of my new favorites
*$27 Amazon giftcard

So fill out the form below to enter!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

After the first book, Delirium, I was hesitant to pick up Pandemonium. It's not that I disliked Delirium, I just...didn't really get into it. The story was interesting enough, but it was so similar to another book that I had just read that I simply didn't couldn't connect. None the less, the ending of the book left me wondering, so I did end up picking up Pandemonium to read.

Here's the summary from Goodreads: I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare, pushing aside thoughts of Alex, pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school, push, push, push, like Raven taught me to do. The old life is dead. But the old Lena is dead too. I buried her. I left her beyond a fence, behind a wall of smoke and flame.

What I Liked: 1) I liked Lena much more in this book than I did in Delirium. She had more of a personality, and was more strong-willed. I always prefer strong female MCs. She starts to think more for herself and not need to be taken care of. It's a gradual type of growth that starts in the beginning of the book and happens over time. This made Lena much more realistic and relatable than I found her in the first book. 2) The new characters. So much of Delirium was Hana, Lena, and Alex (which was okay), but the addition of the new characters brought a whole new level to the story. 3) Specifically, I think the element of family was added to this story (though I can't tell you if they ever came out and referred to their group as a 'family'). It's funny, they talk about family so much in Delirium, it's an important part of how you grow up, and Lena's lack of real family kind of defines who she is, and all of her fears about 'the disease.' But in this book, they rarely talk about family, however the group of people that Lena is living with becomes more of a family than anything she's ever had. 4) Julian. I loved Julian. He was a little naive, and lets Lena guide him through the tangled issue they are caught up in. But there is a lot more to him, and I hope that we get to learn more about him in the next book. He grows in the book too, from a close-minded snob to a more open-minded and understanding character. Miz Oliver has done a really great job with all of her characters in letting them grow into well-rounded and interesting people. 5) The action. I realized after reading Pandemonium that this rebellion was a much bigger movement than a few people trying to escape a tyrannical rule. There was so much action going on, and so many people who disagree with the practice of "curing the disease," it really opened my eyes to the real story here. It was also great to see Lena's eyes opening to the cure, and what it was really doing to people.

What I Didn't Like: I didn't like it jumping from Then and Now. It's like I wanted to read all of the chapters from Then, and then go back and read all the chapters for now. Unfortunately the flow was disrupted every time we went back and forth. Blame my linear brain, but that kind of pacing just isn't for me.

Overall Thoughts: I definitely liked Pandemonium better than Delirium. There was more action, and a lot of things that were up in the air for me in the first were answered. The plotline came into it's own, and became a unique and interesting story. Pandemonium was a great extension of the first book, and added so much dimension to the series. And then, there was a twist at the end that will keep every reader aching for the next installment.

 My rating: 4 shots
Cheers and Happy Reading!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (32)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine! It highlights the book that we absolutely can't wait to read!

This week, my WoW is........... 

TEN by Gretchen McNeil
Expected Release Date: September 18th, 2012  

Here is the summary from Goodreads: And their doom comes swiftly. It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury. But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine. Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off the from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

This story reminds me a little of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, which is one of my all-time favorite stories. I'm definitely looking forward to getting the chance to read this one! What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Illuminate by Aimee Agresti

Doesn't that cover look beautiful? Aimee Agresti's Illuminate got me through the painful waiting for The Hunger Games midnight premier movie to start, and I'm ready to throw some love on this book!
Here's the summary from Goodreads: Haven Terra is a brainy, shy high school outcast. But everything begins to change when she turns sixteen. Along with her best friend Dante and their quiet and brilliant classmate Lance, she is awarded a prestigious internship in the big city— Chicago—and is sent to live and work at a swanky and stylish hotel under the watchful eyes of a group of gorgeous and shockingly young-looking strangers: powerful and alluring hotel owner Aurelia Brown; her second-in-command, the dashing Lucian Grove; and their stunning but aloof staff of glamazons called The Outfit. As Haven begins falling for Lucian, she discovers that these beautiful people are not quite what they seem. With the help of a mysterious book, she uncovers a network of secret passageways from the hotel’s jazz-age past that leads her to the heart of the evil agenda of Aurelia and company: they’re in the business of buying souls. Will they succeed in wooing Haven to join them in their recruitment efforts, or will she be able to thwart this devilish set’s plans to take the souls of her classmates on prom night at the hotel?

So if the cover wasn't enough for you, how about that summary?

What I Liked: 1) The Lexington Hotel. I'd stay there in an instant. The details that Miz Agresti has put into her descriptions make the place come alive in all of it's luxurious glory. A majority of the story happens within the walls of this fancy-pants hotel, and this setting is wrought with it's own secrets and mysteries. I was so pulled into the story that I could have been in the plush lobby myself. 2) Plot. This was one of the most unique stories I've ever read. Every twist and turn brought something new into play that kept me engaged and interested from the very first page. I loved the Faustian slant, and I wasn't expecting it. I know the summary says "soul-buying" but whatever I was expecting, the book blew those expectations out of the water. There are many levels to the story that I really appreciated. 3) Names. Aimee definitely has a flair for naming her characters! The names are unique without being unpronounceable! And they all fit the characters of the personalities very well! I'm always curious when it comes to how authors name characters, and I wonder if these are the names she started with when she was writing, or if there was a process to get to these oh-so-prefect names. 4) Dante. The best friend. I wish I could explain him better than I pictured him dramatic kind of like Kurt Hummel (from Glee!). Seriously. Maybe more artsy. But definitely dramatic like Kurt. He was the quintessential gay best friend. 5) Lance. Oh, Sir Lancelot...how sweet are you? Lance made me think of those characters in movies who appear at first to be quiet and kind of nerdy, but then they whip off their glasses (and maybe their shirt!?) and are totally ripped and hot? Yeah, that's how I saw Lance. Lance was different than Dante in that he was...harder to get to know. With Dante, everything was right there out in the open. Lance was quieter, and you have to dig deeper to learn more about him. I loved the depth of all of these characters, and how they had lives and personalities that drew you to them like they were friends. 6) The mystery. The mystery is really what drives the plot of Illuminate. And Miz Agresti gives us little snippets as we go along. But just when you get the answer to one of your many questions, two more pop up! 7) The comedy! There are some really funny parts of the story, particularly in some of the dialogue. It's nice that when you get really deep into a mystery, there is some humor to lighten it up!

What I Didn't Like: I have thought and thought about this, trying to figure out if there was anything about this book that I didn't like. But I couldn't come up with anything. Everything about Illuminate just clicked for me!

 Overall thoughts: Illuminate is an intriguing book with a setting shrouded in mystery and characters that jump off the page. From the luxurious public areas of the Lexington Hotel to the dank and mysterious underground, readers who love getting wrapped up in a great story will love to join Dante, Lance and Haven as they unravel the paradox of The Outfit! Make sure to add Illuminate to your TBR lists!

My rating: 5 shots
This was read as a part of my Debut Author Challenge 2012!

Cheers and Happy Reading!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross

I've been anxious for this one for a while now. I used it as my WoW a few weeks ago. But then, low and behold, I discovered it on Net Galley and was approved! Happiness! I'm an avid Once Upon A Time fan, and a huge fairy tale fan just in general. So try and keep me away from this one! I'm excited to pick up a copy of this one when it comes out! Expected release date is April 10th, 2012!
Here's the summary from Goodreads: Mirabelle's past is shrouded in secrecy, from her parents' tragic deaths to her guardians' half-truths about why she can't return to her birthplace, Beau Rivage. Desperate to see the town, Mira runs away a week before her sixteenth birthday—and discovers a world she never could have imagined. In Beau Rivage, nothing is what it seems—the strangely pale girl with a morbid interest in apples, the obnoxious playboy who's a beast to everyone he meets, and the chivalrous guy who has a thing for damsels in distress. Here, fairy tales come to life, curses are awakened, and ancient stories are played out again and again. But fairy tales aren't pretty things, and they don't always end in happily ever after. Mira has a role to play, a fairy tale destiny to embrace or resist. As she struggles to take control of her fate, Mira is drawn into the lives of two brothers with fairy tale curses of their own . . . brothers who share a dark secret. And she'll find that love, just like fairy tales, can have sharp edges and hidden thorns.

What I Liked: 1) The nods to the classic fairy tales. I'm not talking the Disney fairy tales, but the hard core Grimm fairy tales. I think sometimes we forget that fairy tales can be dark and scary places, but they're really brought to life in this one. I spent the whole book reading and wondering who everyone was supposed to be (some of them are rather obvious, but some they don't just come out and tell you) and where they were in their stories. 2) I loved that fact that they knew who they were. I mean, so-and-so knows she's Snow White, or Belle, or Cinderella. They know that someday, they'll be swept away by a beast, or their stepmother will ask someone (known or unknown) to kill her. Mostly they just seemed resigned to the fact that that is their fate! But it's interesting seeing how they all come together. Okay, if you were Snow White, and you knew the guy that someday your Stepmother was going to ask to kill you...could you be friends with him? 3) Mira. Okay, I didn't figure it out, but then at some point it becomes, so, so, obvious as to who she is. But the hints all along the way are subtle. What I really like about Mira is her curiosity and her determination. She can be a little naive at times, but she overcomes it to fight for what she wants. 4) And then there's Blue. Blue is the main male character. Don't be confused and think it's Felix. Felix is a smooth talker, and Blue really just comes off as a jerk at the beginning, but he's a lot deeper than that. 5) Surprising more than anything, I adored Freddie. I'd be his damsel in distress any day. He's more my speed than either Felix or Blue. All of these characters and multi-dimensional and realistic.

What I Didn't Like: 1) Things at the end happened very fast. One minute Mira is all into Felix, and then two seconds later, she loved Blue? That bothered me a little. It was like, the love triangle that wasn't a love triangle. It made Mira kind of wishy-washy. And when you coupled that with the naivete, it weakened her as a character. I liked her overall, but she does have a tendency to sway between strong, determined and confident girl, to wishy-washy little wimp. If it had seemed that she grew into a stronger character, it would have been okay. But she pendulated too much for it to really seem like growth.

Overall Thoughts: If you like fairy tales, do not miss Sarah Cross's Kill Me Softly. It'll take you to a place that you never dreamed, and show the dark side of fairy tales. The rich characters bring this story alive, and the plot will keep you curious until the very end. First love and heartbreak, along with all the beauty and mystery that fairy tales promise make Kill Me Softly a winner for any fairy tale fan!

 My rating: 4 shots
Cheers and Happy Reading!