From that time on, the world was hers for the reading....

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Alyson Noel: Blue Moon

I really needed to know what happened next in the Immortals Series, so I found myself heading back to my grocery store to pick up a copy of Blue Moon by Alyson Noel.

Just as Ever is learning everything she can about her new abilities as an immortal, initiated into the dark, seductive world by her beloved Damen, something terrible is happening to him. As Ever’s powers are increasing, Damen’s are fading--stricken by a mysterious illness that threatens his memory, his identity, his life.

Desperate to save him, Ever travels to the mystical dimension of Summerland, uncovering not only the secrets of Damen’s past--the brutal, tortured history he hoped to keep hidden--but also an ancient text revealing the workings of time. With the approaching blue moon heralding her only window for travel, Ever is forced to decide between turning back the clock and saving her family from the accident that claimed them--or staying in the present and saving Damen, who grows weaker each day...

This is one of those rare cases where the sequel far surpassed the original.

Damen's mystery illness and the Stepford-like behavior of Ever's friends and classmates was creepy and enough to keep me interested until the surprising ending.

I enjoyed visiting Summerland and learning more about the location and the people who reside there. Alyson Noel did a great job of creating a magical place, right down to the twin girls Romy and Rayne, who felt like they stepped right off the pages of Stephen King's The Shining; I never knew if I should trust them and wondered if they were sweet or sinister.

Again, the talk of potions and chakras completely flew over my head, but I was glad to finally have a few answers to the many questions I had about Ever's previous lives and Damen's background.

Blue Moon was a fun, easy read filled with romance, suspense, sacrifice, and heartbreak from beginning to end. I liked it so much better than Evermore and am really curious to see what happens in Shadowland.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Alyson Noel: Evermore

My grocery store has an impressive book collection. While shopping one Saturday afternoon, my attention was drawn to an end cap featuring best-selling YA books. Evermore (Immortals Series #1) by Alyson Noel soon found its way into my shopping cart and came home with me.

Since a horrible accident claimed the lives of her family, sixteen-year-old Ever can see auras, hear people’s thoughts, and know a person’s life story by touch. Going out of her way to shield herself from human contact to suppress her abilities has branded her as a freak at her new high school--but everything changes when she meets Damen Auguste...

Ever sees Damen and feels an instant recognition. He is gorgeous, exotic and wealthy, and he holds many secrets. Damen is able to make things appear and disappear, he always seems to know what she’s thinking--and he’s the only one who can silence the noise and the random energy in her head. She doesn't know who he really is--or what he is. Damen equal parts light and darkness, and he belongs to an enchanted new world where no one ever dies.

I've been mulling over this review for days. Every time my fingers would hover over the keyboard, massive comparisons to Twilight would fill my head. I mean, Evermore was so much like Twilight--outsider in a new school, unexplained happenings, an enemy who wants the heroine dead, and a gorgeous boy who inhabits the girl's every thought, shapes how she makes decisions, and ultimately saves the day--that I can't help it. But that's not fair to Alyson Noel, who worked hard to create a magical world.

I thought the idea of immortals and the folklore behind them was unique, though I did find myself zoning out during the scientific explanations. Having a character read auras and hear thoughts was intriguing and added an extra layer to Ever.

Damen wasn't very appealing to me. He seemed controlling and manipulative, and I'll never understand why teenage girls flock to these boys and view them as soulmates.

What kept me reading was the storyline revolving around the ghost of Ever's little sister Riley. She was feisty and fun. Her journey through the afterlife tugged at my heartstrings.

Because I know the purpose of this book was to set up a series, I'm going to cut it a bit of slack. So far, the sequel, Blue Moon, has more excitement and an interesting plot.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lauren Kate: Fallen

Stories about fallen angels fascinate me, so of course I had to use my Barnes & Noble gift card to pick up Fallen by Lauren Kate!

There's something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price's attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He's the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce--and goes out of his way to make that very clear--she can't let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.

Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, Fallen is a page turning thriller and the ultimate love story.

Lauren Kate has a gift. She can take a reader on a walking tour of marshes, crumbling graveyards, and dilapidated buildings without leaving the comfort of their own homes. That's what I liked best about this book--the descriptions. I felt like I was actually in Savannah, Georgia. She painted such a unique, realistic, Gothic picture and took me on an amazing journey.

Fallen took awhile to get going, but that's okay. As with any book that is introducing a series, I want to get a feel for the characters, where they're from, and what motivates them. There was a steady build to the action. And, let me tell you, once things picked up, they picked up at a rapid, heart-stopping speed.

I was left with a lot of questions, which frustrated me at first. But the more I thought abut it, the more excited I became for the sequel (Torment, currently scheduled for publication in September), which I hope will answer some questions that I simply cannot stop thinking about.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Must Read: Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood

Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood by Eileen Cook looks like a fun book! Are you sensing a theme today? =)

Popularity is the best revenge.

In the final weeks of eighth grade, Lauren Wood made a choice. She betrayed her best friend, Helen, in a manner so publicly humiliating that Helen had to move to a new town just to save face. Ditching Helen was worth it, though, because Lauren started high school as one of the It Girls—and now, at the start of her senior year, she's the cheerleading captain, the quarterback's girlfriend, and the undisputed queen bee. Lauren has everything she's ever wanted, and she has forgotten all about her ex-best friend.

But Helen could never forget Lauren. After three years of obsessing, she's moving back to her old town. She has a new name and a new look, but she hasn't dropped her old grudges. She has a detailed plan to bring down her former BFF by taking away everything that's ever been important to Lauren—starting with her boyfriend.

Watch out, Lauren Wood. Things are about to get bitchy.

Must Read: Jenny Green's Killer Junior Year

How did Jenny Green's Killer Junior Year by Amy Belasen & Jacob Osborn get past me? It looks like an interesting book!

Hell hath no fury...

Jenny Green is a spoiled teen "princess" and the newest junior at Montreal's Molson Academy. Jenny wants a fresh start in her new school, and she's curious to see what Montreal has to offer, most especially in the boy department. Beautiful, charming, and sharp-witted, Jenny has no trouble getting the boys to fall for her.

But when she discovers just how despicable the male gender can be — with the lying, the cheating, and the utter disrespect — she decides to make them pay...with their lives.

Trailer: The Body Finder

One of the books I selected to read for the 2010 Debut Author Challenge is The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting (March 16 / HarperCollins). It looks so good!

Check out the trailer below:

For more information on Kimberly Derting, check her out at:

Her official website (Click Here)
Twitter (Click Here)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Bree Despain: The Dark Divine

This year is all about book challenges. The second challenge I signed up for is the 10 in '10 Teen Chick Lit Challenge. One of the books I included on my list was The Dark Divine by Bree Despain.

Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared--the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in his own blood--but she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night held.

The memories her family has tried to bury resurface when Daniel returns, three years later, and enrolls in Grace and Jude's high school. Despite promising Jude she'll stay away, Grace cannot deny her attraction to Daniel's shocking artistic abilities, his way of getting her to look at the world from new angles, and the strange, hungry glint in his eyes.

The closer Grace gets to Daniel, the more she jeopardizes her life, as her actions stir resentment in Jude and drive him to embrace the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind the boy's dark secret...and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it--her soul.

I hadn't read a single review of this book and really didn't know what to expect. A few days after Christmas, I was armed with a Barnes and Noble gift card and ready to splurge on new books by new authors. While browsing the YA Fiction section, The Dark Divine caught my attention because of its intriguing cover art. My favorite color is purple, so that's another reason I was drawn to it. I know you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but it's worked out for me the few times I've given in to cover art. This time was no exception!

Not knowing what was going to happen and discovering the secrets as Grace did made the adventure all the more exciting. I really liked the way Bree Despain created suspense and tension, taking the characters (and this reader) on a captivating, seductive journey where the outcome wasn't predictable.

Even better, Grace was a strong, feisty, loyal female character. A true heroine. I often find those traits lacking in YA Fiction characters.

No matter what you enjoy--forbidden love, mythology, religion, horror, family secrets, the paranormal--there's a little bit of everything in this book. With a debut novel this good, I cannot wait to see what Bree Despain comes up with next!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Kay Cassidy: The Cinderella Society

This year, I'm participating in the 2010 Debut Author Challenge. One of the books on my list was The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy (April 13 / EgmontUSA), so I was beyond excited that I won a copy at Kay's awesome blog!

Sixteen-year-old Jess Parker survives by staying invisible. After nine schools in ten years, she's come to terms with life as a perpetual new girl, neither popular nor outcast. At Mt. Sterling High, Jess gets the chance of a lifetime: an invitation to join The Cinderella Society, a secret club of the most popular girls in school, where makeovers are the first order of official business. But there's more to being a Cindy than just reinventing yourself from the outside, a concept lost on Jess as she dives tiara-first into creating a hot new look.

With a date with her popular crush and a chance to finally fit in, Jess's life seems to be a perfect fairy tale. That is until the Wickeds--led by Jess's archenemy--begin targeting innocent girls in their war against the Cindys, and Jess discovers her new sisterhood is about much more than who rules Mt. Sterling High School. It's a centuries-old battle of good vs. evil, and the Cindys need Jess on special assignment. But when the mission threatens to destroy her new dream life, Jess is forced to choose between this dream realized and honoring the Sisterhood.

What's a girl to do when the glass slipper fits, but she doesn't want to wear it anymore?

Confession time: I went to three different high schools. And it sucked. So relating to Jess was easy. How could I not love the down-to-earth underdog? Watching her rise above the pettiness of Lexy and the Wickeds, find her voice and a place where she fit in, make friends, and strive to do good no matter what was inspiring.

I loved the Cindys! They were positive role models who broke the stereotype--you CAN be a pretty, popular cheerleader with a heart. I wish they could have swooped in and saved me from the Wickeds at the various high schools I attended.

The Cinderella Society explored friendship, kindness, discovering your full potential, self-confidence, and inner-strength without feeling preachy and unrealistic. It was a nice start to a series (the next installment is scheduled for publication in 2011) and a great debut novel for Kay Cassidy.

I can describe this book in two words: girl power!
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