Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hex Hall

Author: Rachel Hawkins

Source: Library

Summary: (goodreads) Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment:exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

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

Review: Sophie Mercer has quite the voice. Her personality is sarcastic, spontaneous, smart. Actually, all of the characters rock. This book combines so many different personalities and types of monsters that it makes for a pretty funny and interesting read. The bff is Jenna. And she is a vampire obsessed with the color pink. Jenna is really nice, but also supports Sophie when she needs it. She can be strong.

The "gorgeous warlock" is also full of spunk although I imagine he is very swoon-worthy. His snarky comments are what spark the relationship between him and Sophie and ultimately make both characters very alive. Except I kind of felt a lack of connection between the two romantically which I suspect will develop more in the next books.

I absolutely loved all of the characters and the story and everything. Hope you guys enjoyed it or will enjoy it as much as I have :)

Rating: 1 2 3 4 4.5 5

Monday, November 21, 2011

Five Flavors of Dumb

Author: Antony John

Source: Library

Summary: (inside cover) Eighteen-year-old Piper has gotten herself into a mess. Because of her big mouth, she has one month to get a paying gig for her high school's hottest new rock band, called Dumb. In Piper's mind, the band couldn't have a more perfect name. Just look at the members: one egomaniacal pretty boy, one silent rocker, one talentless piece of eye-candy, one angry girl, and one nerd-boy drummer--five discordant personalities who, when put together, seem ready to self-destruct at any moment. Getting them an actual gig seems impossible. Add to that fact that Piper doesn't know if their music is good or not, because well, she's deaf.

But Piper is determined to get the band a gig to show her classmates that being deaf doesn't mean she's invisible. And as she gets to know the five flavors of Dumb, some hidden talents, secret crushes, and crazy rock music emerge. She doesn't need to hear the music to sell it, but Piper wants the chance to feel the music too.Does she have what it takes to manage Dumb and discover her own inner rock star?

Review: Reading books from a deaf person's point of view have been unique experiences. Although I haven't read many (two total), this book just seems to be so wonderful! It is about music. It is about discovering hidden talents. It is about bonding with the unlikeliest of people. And is in executed in a fast-paced, quirky story.

Piper is definitely a great character. I loved her voice and sarcastic remarks. The dialogue gave me a good idea of Piper's personality. Her growth as a person is realistic and the ending was awesome! Although she is strong, her flaws are very human. I loved reading about her deafness and how that made her feel. The interactions with her baby sister, her bouncy brother, her parents and the band members all provide insight into that aspect of the story. But it isn't the bulk of it. I think this book centers more on self-discovery than on being deaf. The vessel is just a super unique backdrop.

The story progresses really quickly. There isn't a slow moment and it builds up to the show which was detailed and very vivid. I liked that the love interest was not completely obvious from the very beginning and the development is gradual being very sweet and cute and just awesome. There were some things that I was not expecting from this book. The villain turns out to be someone kind of unexpected, so that kept this fresh and interesting.

The side characters were good. I know Piper and Flinn really well. Piper's dad is familiar by the end of book as is Ed from the band. The other members though were really hazy and flat for me though. Even though I really liked this book, they play a big role, but I just didn't connect, so that is why this isn't a 5 for me.

It is highly recommended if you are looking for something different, or something fun that will leave you with a warm, fuzzy feeling.

Rating: 1 2 3 4 4.5 5

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

Author: Carrie Ryan

Source: Library

Summary: (goodreads) In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

Review: I don't know for sure what I was expecting from this book, but from what other bloggers had said about it, I was thinking it was going to be super duper mind-blowing.

It is a good book, but it left me feeling desolate and helpless. The story drained me while the bleakness of Mary's situation settled into my mind. The way she is written to pull through is incredible. In the face of the obstacles Mary overcame, I would have just wanted to end it all.

As strong as her character is, I felt her to be lacking as well. She was stubborn and very selfish. Even if she felt she knew the correct path, Mary could have been more careful, more tactful about presenting her views to others, but her grief overshadowed the feelings of those around her. This incessant need for more also made it a little difficult to read Mary's mind. I couldn't really connect to any of the characters of this book. I'm not completely sure if this is due to the emotions they were experiencing were it would make sense they would be withdrawn or if it was just that the characters lacked more depth.

Thankfully there is a sequel where I can ponder these questions and wallow in despair once again. The tiny glimmer of hope that keeps me looking forward to the next book is not nearly enough to let me think that Mary's choices were worth it. But because this book made me feel, I know the writing must be good and the images are very vivid. This world full of zombies is sketched to perfection allowing me, as the reader, to see it clearly. And it is scary. Very scary.

Rating: 1 2 3 4 5

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday 22

Oh my! I think I've participated for three weeks in a row now. Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme invented by Jill at BreakingTheSpine to showcase the titles we are eagerly awaiting the release of. Visit her blog to link up your own WoW post and check out what others are waiting for.

Here is my WoW-

Title: Cursed

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Release Day: September 28th, 2012

Summary: (goodreads) Dying sucks--and high school senior Ember McWilliams knows firsthand. After a fatal car accident, her gifted little sister brought her back. Now anything Ember touches dies. And that, well, really blows.

Ember operates on a no-touch policy with all living things--including boys. When Hayden Cromwell shows up, quoting Oscar Wilde and claiming her curse is a gift, she thinks he’s a crazed cutie. But when he tells her he can help control it, she’s more than interested. There’s just one catch: Ember has to trust Hayden's adopted father, a man she's sure has sinister reasons for collecting children whose abilities even weird her out. However, she’s willing to do anything to hold her sister's hand again. And hell, she'd also like to be able to kiss Hayden. Who wouldn't?

But when Ember learns the accident that turned her into a freak may not've been an accident at all, she’s not sure who to trust. Someone wanted her dead, and the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she is to losing not only her heart, but her life. For real this time.

My Thoughts: For one, I am enthralled by the font and color scheme and just overall awesome cover. The story itself sounds very reminiscent of Midas, but worse. I want to see how the characters deal with this ability and possibly regret of being saved? Looks really cool.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Bronze and the Brimstone

Author: Lory Kaufman

Source: Publisher

Summary: (goodreads) What could go wrong in the 14th-century
for three time-traveling teens?
How about – EVERYTHING!

Hansum, Shamira and Lincoln, three teens from the 24th-century, are trapped in 14th-century Verona, Italy. They’ve survived many deadly experiences by keeping their wits about them and by introducing futuristic technology into the past. Principal among these inventions is the telescope, which brought them to the attention to the rich and powerful.

But standing out can get you into unexpected and dangerous situations. The nobles of Verona now believe Hansum is a savant, a genius inventor, especially after he brings them plans for advanced cannons and black powder. Being the center of attention is great, but the potential for trouble is now exponentially greater because people are watching Hansum’s every move.

Meanwhile, artistic genius Shamira has fallen for a Florentine artist with bloody and disasterous consequences. Lincoln, considered an incompetent back home in the 24th-century, has blossomed – at least until he’s shot in the head with an arrow. And Hansum, after secretly marrying his new master’s beautiful daughter, Guilietta, is offered the hand in marriage of lady Beatrice, daughter of the ruler of Verona. To refuse could mean calamity for all the teens.

Amazingly, none of this is their biggest challenge. Because a rash illness is spreading across Verona – and it is threatening to consume everyone.

Do they have a future in this past?

Review: While this is YA, I found that it would be more appealing towards older teens. The center protagonist is married after all and he is very serious in his dealings with those of the upper class. There is also a sense of descriptiveness in the novel which vividly details the setting. This can also be a con as the images can be overwhelming.

There is a very detailed explanation of the processes used to make the saltpeter for gun powder as well as other things. There is lots of action and the only slow parts are the descriptions, but those actually offer a respite after an adventure. Sometimes I put down the book and just soaked in the information. So many things happen quickly and there are several characters to keep track of that it can be difficult to keep the story together without going over some of the smaller details.

The writing was wonderful. The never-ending action made this a thoroughly enjoyable read and I definitely felt a connection to the characters although they were in 14th century Verona. The setting was well done and I felt that the three main characters acted as they would after spending that much time there.

The concept of Pan, the Artificial Intelligence, was explained realistically! I shy away from sci-fi and especially time travel, but this is a more historical type book with details of their future world. Everything fit into place, the setting was see-able, the characters were three-dimensional, and the adventure was endless.

I was very worried when I started it though, because I realized it was part of a series. The second book in the series to be precise. And I had not read the first book, so thought I may get lost in this one. But there was just enough back story that I was perfectly able to connect the pieces right away and works well even as a stand alone.

This book could span several sub-genres and I think any older Young Adult book lover would find it a great read.

Rating: 1 2 3 4 5

Other Books In This Series:

3. The Loved and the Lost

Friday, November 11, 2011

Mini-drama Reviews

I haven't reviewed or updated on dramas I've watched mostly because I finish one and then immediately start another one to rid myself of that empty zombie feeling you get when you finish reading a book or watching a super awesome show.

Since I have watched a plethora of them since my last post, I'll list the ones of watched and provide a mini-review for my most favorite ones while loosely rating them all on a scale of 5.

Korean Dramas are (k)
Taiwanese Dramas are in (t)
Japanese Dramas are in (j)

1. Secret Garden 5 (k)

Episodes: 20

Typical tale of rich guy falling for a working girl...except for a lot of things. While on a hike in the woods, the two main leads come across a weird establishment, drink something they were given by the patron and end up switching bodies when it rains. The girl is a stunt woman, so it is hilarious when the switch happens. This is an amazing drama and Hyun Bin is a wonderful main male lead. If you like Korean dramas then you
must watch this one.

2. Mary Stayed Out All Night 4 (k)
3. Playful Kiss 5 (k)
4. My Princess 5 (k)

Episodes: 16

A college student, Lee Seol, has a massive crush on her history professor. He in turn is still fostering feelings for the curator of the Royal history museum. And that curator takes for granted that she is to marry Park Hae Young. Park Hae Young is the grandson of the man that was friends with Lee Seol's deceased father. Her dad happened to be the runaway prince and Park Hae Young's grandfather vows to bring back the Royal Family. Park Hae Young is put in charge of making Lee Seol into the people's princess, but falling in love with her can put the restitution of the Royal Family into danger because of public opinion and a conflict of interests.

I wasn't really expecting to love this drama because there was going to be lots of politics and lessons on the Korean royals and such. But no. Lee Seol is hilarious and with a guy like Park Hae Young, it is hard not to keep watching. The romance really takes center stage and develops wonderfully.

5. Paradise Ranch 5 (k)
6. Sunny Happiness 4 (t)
7. Can You Hear My Heart? 4 (k)
8. Lie To Me 4 (k)
9. Heartstrings 4 (k)
10. Goong 3 (k)
11. Ouran High School Host Club 3 (j)
12. City Hunter 5 (k)

Episodes: 20

THIS may be my new all-time favorite drama, possibly even surpassing Secret Garden. The two leads were dating in real life, so that could be an explanation of why they had such unbelievable chemistry.

The story line is about a man that grows up in the Triangle of Thailand training to take revenge for soldiers killed by their own nation. The reason for that betrayal is to cover up a secret mission in North Korea in order to keep a good image internationally and the five authorities involved to protect their positions. Only one of the 21 soldiers sent survives and he takes the son of his best friend that died in the mission to hunt down the five. Their means of achieving their purpose differ.

This drama is actually based on a book by Tsukasa Hojo.

I'm not a huge action fan preferring rom-coms to blood and melo-dramas. City Hunter is mind-blowing though! Doesn't hurt that Lee Min Ho is the lead. The way the drama starts is powerful and action-packed. There aren't any lulls in the evolution of the story and all of the characters are strongly portrayed. The female lead is a kick-ass government bodyguard! Love. Love. Love!

13. Protect the Boss 4 (k)

Episodes: 18

As the son of a Chaebol family, Cha Ji Heon is expected to take over the family business while competing with his ambitious cousin. Unfortunately, Cha Ji Heon has agoraphobia, so he in misunderstood as incompetent. But then he finds a secretary that changes his perspective on life. No Eun Sol is from the working class, but her enthusiastic perseverance lands her that awesome job, except it may be too difficult to keep when her boss and his cousin both fall for her.

You can't hate any of the characters even if there are supposed to be many villains. You will end up liking all of them and especially the Cha Ji Heon's childish relationship with his cousin. Really funny!

14. The Greatest Love 4 (k)

I keep a notebook of the dramas I watch in case I want to re-watch something, but can't remember the name off the top of my head. They are in chronological order with no. 14 as the most recent drama I watched. Hope you find something new to watch! Make a wish its 11/11/11 today hahaha.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday 21

Here is another episode of Waiting on Wednesday brought to you by Jill at BreakingTheSpine. It is a weekly meme dedicated to highlighting the books we are most anxiously awaiting to get our hands on.

What I am waiting for this week:

Title: Green Heart

Author: Alice Hoffman

Release Day: February 1st, 2012

Summary: (goodreads) A two-fold tale of grief and hope, loss and love, told as only Alice Hoffman can.

When her family is lost in a terrible disaster, 15-year-old Green is haunted by loss and the past. Struggling to survive in a place where nothing seems to grow and ashes are everywhere, Green retreats into the ruined realm of her garden. But in destroying her feelings, she also begins to destroy herself. It is only through a series of mysterious encounters that Green relearns the lessons of love and begins to heal as she tells her own story.

As she heals, Green lives every day with feelings of loss. Her family is gone, the boy she loves is missing, and the world she once knew has been transformed by tragedy. In order to rediscover the truth about love, hope, and magic, she must venture away from her home, collecting the stories of a group of women who have been branded witches for their mysterious powers. Only through their stories will Green find her own heart's desire.

My Thoughts: I loved Green Angel and I loved Green Witch. These books are really unique and reach me at my core. Hoffman's writing is magically spell-binding...and I also kind of have a thing for nature/magic books. Can't wait for this one!

What are you waiting for this week?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

150 Follower Giveaway

Uh yeah...I've reached 150 awesome followers! *Squeals happily* What does this mean for you? Why, a giveaway of course! Unfortunately it will only be open to US/Canada addresses. I'm very apologetic to my international followers, but shipping costs are ghastly! I wanted to give you a variety of books to choose from, so I made a list. There will be one winner. Thanks to all my followers :)

Prize: One winner will get to choose ONE book from the following list of titles. Although they have been read once, they are all in pristine condition! Links to Goodreads page.


Waking Up in the Land of Glitter by Kathy Cano-Murillo (Adult) (Paperback)

Logic of Demons by H. A. Goodman (Adult) (Paperback)

Passing Strange by Daniel Waters (YA) (Paperback)

Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink (YA) (ARC)

Runaway by Meg Cabot (YA) (Paperback)

Middleworld by J&P Voelkel (MG) (ARC)

Ends: December 3rd, 2011

Must be a follower to enter. Please fill out the form below and the best of luck to all! :D

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Author: Tara Kelly

Release Day: October 25th, 2011

Source: Publisher

Summary: (goodreads) When privileged 17-year-old Jasmine gets kicked out of her house, she takes what is left of her savings and flees to Santa Cruz to pursue her dream of becoming a musician. Jasmine finds the ideal room in an oceanfront house, but she needs to convince the three guys living there that she's the perfect roommate and lead guitarist for their band, C-Side. Too bad she has major stage fright and the cute bassist doesn't think a spoiled girl from over the hill can hack it. . .

Review: Want a wild ride? Parties. Music. Spunky characters. That is what Amplified can offer you! I sound like a salesman (or woman). But in all seriousness, it was good.

Jasmine's personality is very vividly written. She holds back a lot, guarding and keeping mostly to herself. Her love interest, Sean, is the epitome of calm and collected. I enjoyed the development of their relationship because things did not go exactly as I had expected.

Sean was dealing with getting over his ex-girlfriend while Jasmine was trying to build self-confidence. The guys and Sean's sister liked girls, so it made it hard for Jasmine to convince the band of letting her stay with them because she was a minor and therefore "jailbait". She really had to prove herself.

When Jasmine played, or when someone else was, the scenes were well-written. I did not know reading about how a song sounds could be so real! Although there is guitar jargon that I would have no knowledge about, it still felt like I could hear the music. And let me tell you, Jasmine has loads of talent. Every song was uniquely described and it didn't feel boring or repetitive or nonsensical.

I would have liked to learn more about where Jasmine came from. Her home life is a big part of the baggage she carries. Her relationship with her father is clearly defined, but it was difficult to come up with that contrast of her "privileged" life versus living with C-Side. The book starts off with Jasmine already out on the streets looking for a place, so that is why the contrast is missing.

Jasmine's character and interactions as well as back story were sufficient though, so this is just a question on my part. Otherwise, it was an interesting book on achieving dreams, fixing relationships and finding a place to belong.

Rating: 1 2 3 4 5

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday 20

Welcome to another edition of WoW hosted by Jill at BreakingtheSpine. Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme in which you share what book you are anxiously awaiting the release of. Check out Jill's site link up your pick and browse others' selections. Look at what I am waiting for:

Title: Undeadly

Author: Michele Vail

Release Day: February 28th, 2012

Summary: (goodreads)

The day I turned 16, my boyfriend-to-be died. I brought him back to life. Then things got a little weird...

Molly Bartolucci wants to blend in, date hottie Rick and keep her zombie-raising abilities on the down-low. Then the god Anubis chooses her to become a reaper—and she accidentally undoes the work of another reaper, Rath.

Within days, she’s shipped off to the Nekyia Academy, an elite school that trains the best necromancers in the world. And her personal reaping tutor? Rath. Who seems to hate her guts.

Rath will be watching closely to be sure she completes her first assignment-reaping Rick, the boy who should have died. The boy she still wants to be with.

To make matters worse, students at the academy start turning up catatonic, and accusations fly—against Molly. The only way out of this mess? To go through hell. Literally.

My Thoughts: This is the first book in what is supposed to be The Reaper Diaries. Apparently the next hit thing is going to be tales about hell. That cover is very pretty. I love books on elite training. And then a mystery so reminiscent of the cases of petrified kids in the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets? Sounds AWESOME!

What are you waiting for?