Sunday, January 30, 2011

In My Mailbox (5)

Everyone better be having an excellent weekend to make up for my sucky one, lol! I've been sick for a couple of days, and while it's a great time to catch up on blog posts and read, I'd really just like to be able to breathe out of my nose. So, everyone else go crazy for me for what's left of the weekend!

(I'm starting to wish my shelves were white instead of black. Having to use the flash so much is bothering me!)

{For Review/Filched:}
So my mum actually received this one a couple of days ago in the mail as an ARC, and I totally filched it from her. I've been really, really wanting to read this series. Now I just need to get my hands on the first two.

I also checked out a couple of books from the library this week. Matched because I meant to read it last year, and never did. Not to mention all the amazing reviews out there, and that a coworker read it and loved it. Timless is for the 2011 DAC, and because I totally love time travel novels. And Anna and the French Kiss because I couldn't resist it anymore! I feel like the only person in the world who hasn't read it yet!


So that's what I got this week. What's in your mailbox?

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Review: Fragments

Title: Fragments
Author: Marilyn Monroe (edited by Stanley Buchthal & Bernard Comment)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Category: adult non-fiction
Page Count: 256 
Release Date: October 2010
Source: Library
Challenge: none
Quick Rating: n/a

Fragments is an event - an unforgettable book that will redefine one of the greatest icons of the twentieth century and that, nearly fifty years after her death, will definitively reveal Marilyn Monroe’s humanity.

I want to start off by saying that I’m not giving this book any kind of rating. There are hardly words to describe this book, much less a handful of stars.

It’s a rare thing when I pick up a non-fiction title, but when it contains Marilyn Monroe, I have to make an exception. Fragments is a beautiful book, full of her original thoughts, poems, and letters. It’s unlike any Marilyn biography out there, because it is her. From the minute you see the first letter, you can just feel her coming off the page. She’s there in every misspelled word and scratched out sentence.

If you like your Marilyn as the picture of blonde perfection, this is definitely not for you. There’s a real pain and humanity in her words, the overwhelming need to be loved and accepted. She was witty, shy, vulnerable, innocent, and remarkable. This is essential for any fan of the true Marilyn Monroe.

In lieu of an analysis of the book (since there really are no words), here are a few of my favorite passages:

I am both of your directions
somehow remaining hanging downward
the most
but strong as a cobweb in the
wind - I exist more with the gold glistening frost.
But my beaded rays have the colors I’ve
seen in a painting - an life they
have cheated you
(pg. 17)
 Oh damn I wish that I were
dead - absolutely nonexistent -
gone away from here - from
(pg. 19)
 Stones on the walk
every color there is
I stare down at you
like a horizon -
the space/ the air is between us beckoning
and I am many stories up
my feet frightened
as I grasp towards you
(pg. 21)
Why do I feel
this torture?
or why do I feel less
of a human being than others
(always so of felt in
a way that I’m sub-human
in other words
I’m the worst
(pg. 96, 97)
Oh silence
you stillness hurt me head - and
pierce ears
jars my head with the stillness of
sounds unbearable/durable -
on the screen of pitch blackness
comes/reappears the shapes of monsters
my most steadfast companions
my blood throbbing with unrest
turns it route in another direction
and the world is sleeping
ah peace I need you - even a
peaceful monster
(pg. 111)
I guess I have always been
deeply terrified to really be someone’s
since I know from life
one cannot love another
ever, really
(pg. 115)
Where his eyes rest with pleasure - I
want to still be - but time has changed
the hold of that glance.
Alas how will I cope when I am
even less youthful -
(pg. 119)
Help Help
I feel life coming closer
when all I want
is to die.
(pg. 139)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Book Hop & Follow Friday (4)

Happy Friday! This week I'm participating in a few memes. Book Blogger Hop is hosted over at Crazy for Books. Follow My Book Blog Friday is hosted by Parajunkee's View.

Book Blogger Hop

What book are you most looking forward to seeing published in 2011? Why are you anticipating that book?

Easy peasy. ;D Hands down, the top books I'm waiting for this year are City of Fallen Angels and Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare. I actually owe a lot to this series. While I had been occasionally delving into the YA section, the Mortal Instruments series really catapulted me into the genre. I hadn't had such an obsessive read since Harry Potter. I also owe the Infernal Devices series for getting me back into reading. I won a writing contest revolving around the release of Clockwork Angel, and it's gotten me to start writing more often. I had lost my spark, and Ms. Clare gave it back.  

What is/was your favorite subject in school?

Just one? While I was never really school's biggest fan, I enjoyed a lot of classes in high school. English, obviously, being my favorite, closely followed by History, Art, and Theater. Journalism and Psychology were also really, really fun.

I grew up in a small area, though, so I'm totally jealous of some the classes students in bigger cities get to take today. Don't we all wish we could go back to high school?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Review: Envy

Title: Envy
Author: Anna Godbersen
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Category: Young Adult
Page Count: 416 
Release Date: January 2009
Series: Luxe, Rumors
Source: Library
Challenge: none 
Quick Rating: 3/5
Two months after Elizabeth Holland’s dramatic homecoming, Manhattan eagerly awaits her return to the pinnacle of society. When Elizabeth refuses to rejoin her sister Diana’s side, however, those watching New York’s favorite family begin to suspect that all is not as it seems behind the stately doors of No. 17 Gramercy Park South.

Farther uptown, Henry and Penelope Schoonmaker are the city’s most celebrated couple. But despite the glittering diamond ring on Penelope’s finger, the newlyweds share little more than scorn for each other. And while the newspapers call Penelope’s social-climbing best friend, Carolina Broad, an heiress, her fortune - and her fame - are anything but secure, especially now that one of society’s darlings is slipping tales to the eager press.

In this next thrilling installment of Anna Godbersen’s bestselling Luxe series, Manhattan’s most envied residents appear to have everything they desire. Wealth. Beauty. Happiness. But sometimes the most practiced smiles hide the most scandalous secrets…

: If you haven’t read any of the previous installments of the Luxe series, I suggest you skip this review. I’ve tried to keep things mostly spoiler-free for Envy, but details of the first two books are unavoidable.

I was really left on a low note at the end of Rumors. When we last saw the ‘Fabulous Five’, absolutely no one was happy, and there was no glimmer of hope. I about had a fit of rage after the end of Rumors, and I am thrilled to say I got to at least let out a sigh of relief at the end of Envy. There is, finally, after so much heartache and depression, the tiniest flame of hope.

As always, Ms. Godbersen knows how to write an intriguing, confusing, wonderful prologue. I don’t want to be, but I start reading, and I’m just swept right back up into the lives of Diana, Henry, Elizabeth, Penelope, and Lina. And the clothes - oh! The clothes! There’s probably a few spots of drool on my book from dreaming about all those lovely dresses.

That being said, these books still annoy the crap out of me.

Follow the jump for more!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (3)

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

I'm really excited to read A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. I saw a bit about this on Shelf-Awarness, and instantly fell in love. And who isn't waiting for Delirium?

A Discovery of Witches
by Deborah Harkness
(February 8th, 2011)
Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

by Lauren Oliver
(February 1st, 2011)
Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love - the deliria - blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

In My Mailbox (4)

I hope everyone is having a great weekend so far! Here's what I got this week in my mailbox.

{For Review:}
 I was so excited to receive this is the mail this week! This is on two of my challenge lists for the year, and I've been waiting to read this one for forever. It's due out on April 5th, 2011.

I cannot wait to read this! I've heard so many good reviews that I couldn't resist buying my own copy. The reversible cover is gorgeous!

I also just wanted to mention that I got my awesome little swag pack in the mail from Steph @ The Thoughts of a Book Junky for participating in the A-Z Reading Challenge this year. I received a postcard, and a couple of signed bookmarks. So awesome! You should definitely check out the challenge if you haven't already. 

And now for a special vlog segment of this week's IMM. I went to my local booksale, and bought a lot of books. I apologize in advance for how many times I say 'um'. ;D Oh, and the really bad lighting. I tried to get it as bright as possible.

And sorry for all the mispronunciations! I'm so bad with getting names right.

Interesting note, I found a note in Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy that said it was the "worst book I've ever read", and a torn out magazine article about Twilight in The Host. It's funny what you can find in used books.


So that's what I got this week. What's in your mailbox?

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Review: Unearthly

Title: Unearthly
Author: Cynthia Hand
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Category: Young Adult
Page Count: 329 
Release Date: January 2011
Source: Bought
Challenge: 2011 DAC
Quick Rating: 5/5
In the beginning, there’s a boy standing in the trees…

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she’s part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn’t easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place - and out of place at the same time. Because there’s another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara’s less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she’d have to make - between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

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

Another angel book? Yeah. That’s exactly what I thought at first. I was initially drawn in by that oh-so-pretty cover (internet pictures really don’t do it justice), but it became so much more than a beautiful face. It’s been hard trying to collect my thoughts for a review, because all I want to do is just gush!

First, like I said, that cover just blew me away when I finally saw it in real life. Design counts a lot with me, and Unearthly hit the nail on the head. Not only is the jacket lovely, but the hard cover underneath is beautiful, and the graphic at the beginning of each chapter is so pretty! I have a total weakness for swirls.

Beyond the superficial though, a lot of things really impressed me about Unearthly. Number one being the strong presence of secondary characters, specially her mom. How many times in YA fiction is the parental figure almost totally absent? I was almost as intrigued by Clara’s mom as Clara herself. Clara’s obvious adoration of her mother is a relief from the typical resentful teen. Not that Clara doesn’t have her moments, but you can just tell what a loving family she has. I cannot wait to find out more about the mystery of her mother’s purpose, as well as her brother, Jeffrey’s.

Follow the jump for more!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Book Hop & Follow Friday (3)

Happy Friday! This week I'm participating in a few memes. Book Blogger Hop is hosted over at Crazy for Books. Follow My Book Blog Friday is hosted by Parajunkee's View.

Book Blogger Hop

No question this week!

Book Blogger Hop should be back next week!

Who do you cheer for?

Really? Sports? Does TV count, lol? I definitely cheer while watching Ninja Warrior, or Unbeatable Banzuke. I get super excited watching Chopped, or Cupcake Wars. Sure competitive cooking counts as a sport! Otherwise, I tend to just cheer the boyfriend on whatever game he happens to be playing at the time. 
(Sports are just really, really not my thing!)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (2)

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I have three titles I'm really eager to read, all coming out next week.

The Book of Tomorrow
by Cecelia Ahern
(January 2011)
Tamara Goodwin has always got everything she's ever wanted. Born into a family of wealth, she grew up in a mansion with its own private beach, a wardrobe full of designer clothes and all that a girl could ever wish for. She's always lived in the here and now, never giving a second thought to tomorrow. But then suddenly her dad is gone and life for Tamara and her mother changes forever... (click for more).

by Jeff Sampson
January 2011
Emily Webb is a geek. And she’s happy that way. Content hiding under hoodies and curling up to watch old horror flicks, she’s never been the kind of girl who sneaks out for midnight parties. And she’s definitely not the kind of girl who starts fights or flirts with other girls’ boyfriends. Until one night Emily finds herself doing exactly that . . . the same night one of her classmates—also named Emily—is found mysteriously murdered... (click for more).

The False Princess
by Eilis O'Neal
January 2011
Princess and heir to the throne of Thorvaldor, Nalia's led a privileged life at court.  But everything changes when it's revealed, just after her sixteenth birthday, that she is a false princess, a stand-in for the real Nalia, who has been hidden away for her protection.  Cast out with little more than the clothes on her back, the girl now called Sinda must leave behind the city of Vivaskari, her best friend, Keirnan, and the only life she's ever known... (click for more).

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Review: Rumors

Title: Rumors
Author: Anna Godbersen
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Category: Young Adult
Page Count: 432
Release Date: February 2010
Series: The Luxe
Source: Library
Quick Rating: 3/5

As rumors fly about the untimely demise of New York’s brightest star, Elizabeth Holland, all eyes are on those closest to the dearly departed: her sister, Diana, the family’s only hope for redemption; Henry Schoonmaker, the flame Elizabeth never extinguished; Penelope Hayes, poised to claim all that her best friend left behind; even Elizabeth’s former maid, Lina Broud, who discovers that while money matters and breeding counts, gossip is the new currency. In this delicious sequel to the New York Times bestselling The Luxe, nothing is more dangerous than a scandal…or more precious than a secret.
So I’m really having a love/hate relationship with this series right now. Maybe it was the lack of sleep and the fact that it was 2 am when I finished it, but as soon as I turned the last page, I had the deepest urge to just rip the book to shreds and throw it in the garbage. But, it’s a library copy, so I can’t. I cried instead.

But let’s start with the positive. Anna Godbersen really knows how to write a prologue that hooks you, but is so vague it’s almost maddening. I get sucked right back in, and there’s no stopping it. I stay up way later than I should reading these books. The flow is perfect, and it’s sososo hard to put them down! Not to mention all the lovely descriptions of all the dresses. I would want to see these made into movies just for the costumes.

Follow the jump for more character-specific details!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

In My Mailbox (3)

Another late IMM. This week was kinda slow for me - only two books. However, next week should be borderline ridiculous. It's my library's annual booksale. $2 hardbacks, and $1 paperbacks. My plan is to spend way more than I rightfully should. ;D

One of the benefits of working in my library is all the donations for the book sale come to us first. We can go through them and go ahead and buy a few things in advance it we want. I saw this and absolutely could not resist. It has full-color foldouts of the unicorn tapestries, and tons of other unicorn artwork. For $2, how could I not?

I finally received my copy of  Revolution I won from Novel Novice back in November. I'm so excited to finally be able to read this!


So that's what I got this week. What's in your mailbox?

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A-Z Reading Challenge 2011

So, yeah, I'm adding yet another challenge for this year. I've seen this one floating around a couple of different blogs, and it seemed awesome. It at least gives me a way to narrow down some books I definitely want to read this year. Hosted by the lovely Book Junky, this challenge is pretty straightforward and easy. Just read 26 books, one for each letter of the alphabet. Not only are you automatically entered to win two books just for participating, you can get a really cool swag pack just for joining! Head over to the challenge page for all the full details! Feel free to grab the button I made to the left as well!

I actually had a really, really hard time narrowing down one book for each letter. I could almost do two per!

{A} Ash by Malinda Lo
{B} The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
{C} The Clockwork Three by Matthew J. Kirby
{D} Delirium by Lauren Oliver
{E} Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon
{F} Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
{G} Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by by Stieg Larsson
{H} Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
{I} Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
{J} Jane by April Lindner
{K} Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis
{L} The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
{M} Matched by Ally Condie
{N} Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
{O} Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal
{P} Pegasus by Robin McKinley
{Q} The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
{R} Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
{S} A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee
{T} The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
{U} Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
{V} Virals by Kathy Reichs
{W} Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
{X} XVI by Julia Karr
{Y} You Are Not Here by Samantha Schutz
{Z} Zombies vs. Unicorns by Holly Black

Friday, January 14, 2011

Book Hop & Follow Friday (2)

Happy Friday! This week I'm participating in a few memes. Book Blogger Hop is hosted over at Crazy for Books. Follow My Book Blog Friday is hosted by Parajunkee's View.

Book Blogger Hop

Why do you read the genre that you do?  What draws you to it?

Hmm, there are several ways to answer this, since I read several genres. Honestly, I don't like to limit myself to anything particular. I'm an eclectic reader, and I'll enjoy practically anything if it's written well. Admittedly, a pretty cover is what will usually draw me in, but what seals the deal is the synopsis on the book jacket. If I get intrigued, even slightly, there's a good chance I'm going to try to read it at some point.

What makes up your non-human family?

Do you know how hard it is to get a picture with both of them standing still? I live with my darling 3-year-old Inde, a terrier/lab/pitt bull mutt. She is, literally, the sweetest dog ever. People who don't even like dogs like her. Her "brother" is my boyfriend's 2-year-old Border Collie mix, Orion. He's big and doofy, and has the most amazing eyes: one brown, and one icy blue. 

I couldn't live without my babies. <3 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Review: Choker

Title: Choker
Author: Elizabeth Woods
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
Category: Young Adult
Page Count:  240
Release Date: January 2011
Source: Bought
Challenge: 2011 DAC
Quick Rating: 3/5

Sixteen-year-old Cara Lange has been a loner ever since she moved away from her best and only friend, Zoe, years ago. She eats lunch with the other girls from the track team and tries to avoid the popular girls who, after an embarrassing incident in the cafeteria, endlessly torture her, calling her Choker. But mostly she spends her time watching Ethan Gray from a distance, wishing he would finally notice her.

Then one day Cara comes home to find Zoe waiting for her. Zoe’s on the run from problems at home, and Cara agrees to help her hide. With her best friend back, Cara’s life changes overnight. Zoe gives her a new look and new confidence, and the next thing she knows, she’s getting invited to parties and flirting with Ethan. Best of all, she can talk about everything with her BFF.

But just as quickly as Cara’s life came together, it starts to unravel. A girl goes missing in her town, and everyone is a suspect - including Ethan. Worse still, Zoe starts behaving strangely, and Cara begins to wonder what exactly her friend does all day while Cara’s at school. You’re supposed to trust your best friend no matter what…but what if she turns into a total stranger?
 Maybe I’ve watched too many horror movies, but I predicted the ending to Choker within the first couple of pages. It particularly reminded me of one of my favorite Japanese horror movies, A Tale of Two Sisters. Just replace a sister with a best friend, add in a love interest, and some school, and bam! You’ve got Choker. Just not as creepy or gruesome. If only the movie cover looked like the book. I’m such a sucker for a pretty cover and some chapter art.

Did that mean I enjoyed the book any less? Not really, surprisingly. Elizabeth Woods does a wonderful job capturing the feel of being the high school loner, and the tension is almost palpable at times. I had a hard time putting this down once I finally started reading it. The characters all fulfill the roles they need to perfectly. Ethan, the love interest, draws your sympathy for just being such a good guy. Alexis is the total high school prom queen bitch everyone runs into. Zoe is, of course, creepy. And Cara. Well, Cara is a little difficult to understand on one read through.

One small thing that annoyed me in Choker were specific references, such as “iTunes” and “Kristen Stewart” and “Oprah”. Unless I’m reading historical fiction and it’s all about specific details, I really tend to feel like it dates a book like this, and adds in some unnecessary things. It’s like me saying I’m sitting here writing this in my Hello Kitty nerd pj’s, listening to the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows soundtrack, and watching the newest episode of What Not to Wear. When, instead, I could just say I’m sitting here in my pj’s, listening to some music with the tv on in the background. Maybe it doesn’t bother other people, but I personally don’t like reading about brand names and current celebrities in my books.

After this point, things get spoiler-y. Follow the jump if you dare, and read the rest. Otherwise, just skip down to my ‘Final Word’.

Waiting On Wednesday (1)

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 

The Iron Witch
by Karen Mahoney
(February 2011)

Freak. That's what her classmates call seventeen-year-old Donna Underwood. When she was seven, a horrific fey attack killed her father and drove her mother mad. Donna's own nearly fatal injuries from the assault were fixed by magic—the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. The child of alchemists, Donna feels cursed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a normal life. The only thing that keeps her sane and grounded is her relationship with her best friend, Navin Sharma.

When the darkest outcasts of Faerie—the vicious wood elves—abduct Navin, Donna finally has to accept her role in the centuries old war between the humans and the fey. Assisted by Xan, a gorgeous half-fey dropout with secrets of his own, Donna races to save her friend—even if it means betraying everything her parents and the alchemist community fought to the death to protect.

 For my first WOW, I'm picking The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney. Really, I need to let covers not sway me so much. But just look at it! This was one of the first books I picked to read for the 2011 DAC, and I cannot wait to get my hands on it. Alchemy, faeries, and fantasy? It sounds absolutely divine.

What are you waiting on? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

In My Mailbox (2)

So there isn't much for me this week - just a few belated Christmas presents, and buying up some challenge books. 

 (Both box sets are late Christmas presents to myself. So excited to get box sets of these series - I've never had my own copies.)

 (All bought for challenges I'm participating in.)

(So freakin' excited to read this finally! I'm a total Marilyn fangirl.)


So that's what I got this week. What's in your mailbox?

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren

Friday, January 7, 2011

Book Hop & Follow Friday (1)

Participating in a couple memes to spread the blogging love this wonderful Friday afternoon. Book Blogger Hop is hosted over at Crazy for Books. Follow My Book Blog Friday is hosted by Parajunkee's View

Book Blogger Hop

What book influenced or changed your life? How did it influence/change you?

This one is so easy. Harry Potter, hands down. Harry Potter made me believe in the power the written word can have, how to love characters who aren't even real, and to believe in magic. J.K. Rowling is a veritable saint in my book.

What book(s) have you discovered lately from someone's book blog?

So many! Definitely the two that are sticking out right now are "The Iron Thorn" by Kaitlin Kittredge and "Mercy" by Rebecca Lim.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Review: The Luxe

Title: The Luxe
Author: Anna Godbersen
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Category: Young Adult
Page Count: 464 
Release Date: September 2008
Source: Library
Quick Rating: 4/5

Pretty girls in pretty dresses, partying until dawn.

Irresistible boys with sly smiles and dangerous intentions.

White lies, dark secrets, and scandalous hookups.

This is Manhattan, 1899...

Beautiful sisters Elizabeth and Diana Holland rule Manhattan’s social scene. Or so it appears. When the girls discover their status among New York City’s elite is far from secure, suddenly everyone - from the backstabbing socialite Penelope Hayes, to the debonair bachelor Henry Schoonmaker, to the spiteful maid Lina Broud - threatens Elizabeth’s and Diana’s golden future.

With the fate of the Hollands resting on her shoulders, Elizabeth must choose between family duty and true love. But when her carriage overturns near the East River, the girl whose glittering life lit up the city’s gossip pages is swallowed by the rough current. As all of New York grieves, some begin to wonder whether life at the top proved too much for this ethereal beauty, or it, perhaps, someone wanted to see Manhattan’s most celebrated daughter disappear.

In a world of luxury and deception, where appearance matters above everything and breaking the social code means running the risk of being ostracized forever, five teenagers lead dangerously scandalous lives. This thrilling trip to the age of innocence is anything but innocent.
 The first thing that drew me to the Luxe series was, of course, the absolutely stunning covers. What girl can resist those kinds of beautiful dresses?

As much as I really loved the book, I’m actually finding it kind of hard to write a review for it. My thoughts are kind of all over the place in regards to The Luxe. One thing I really liked was the flow. I’m a big fan of alternating chapters, and I found I just could not put this book down. I devoured it in two nights before bed, staying up way later than I should on a work night. I also loved all the little notes and “newspaper” clips at the beginning of each chapter. Little details like that win big points in my book.

(Follow the jump for more!)

Spreading the Word

So Pam at is hosting this absolutely amazing contest! Not only are there toooons of prize packs, she's giving away a Nook Color for a grand prize! How freakin' awesome is that? Hurry on over to the site and get your entries in:!

Happy Anniversary,!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Wordsworth Classics Reading Challenge 2011

Hosted by: The Deranged Book Lovers
So, one of my blogging resolutions was to read more classics. Lucky me, I stumbled upon an actual challenge asking me to do just that. I have tons of classics sitting on my shelves at home, and working at a library gives me access to practically any classic I could ever want. I'm still setting my sights kind of low this year, with a plan to read one classic every two months (hopefully - cross your fingers!). Here's my list so far:

  •  Lady Chatterly's Lover by D.H. Lawrence (Jan/Feb)
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (Mar/Apr)
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (May/Jun)
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (Jul/Aug)
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker (Sep/Oct)
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Nov/Dec)

So, I am a "Bourgeois" with a target of 6 books.

    Sunday, January 2, 2011

    In My Mailbox (1)

    So please forgive my very late, very first IMM. I'm doing this right before dinner, and I'm rushing, because it literally just hit me that today was Sunday. Go-go holidays for throwing off my week! I promise, one day, this will have a spiffy little image and will look way less craptastic. One day. 




    So that's what I got this week. What's in your mailbox?

    In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren

    Review: Dead Until Dark

    Title: Dead Until Dark
    Author: Charlaine Harris
    Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
    Category: Adult Fiction
    Page Count: 320
    Release Date: January 2008
    Source: Bought
    Quick Rating: 4/5

    Sookie Stackhouse is a small-time cocktail waitress in Bon Temps, Louisiana. She’s quiet, keeps to herself, and doesn’t get out much. Not because she’s not pretty. She is. It’s just that, well, Sookie has this sort of “disability”. She can read minds. And that doesn’t make her too datable. Then along comes Bill. He’s tall, dark, handsome - and Sookie can’t hear a word he’s thinking. He’s exactly the type of guy she’s been waiting for all her life…

    But Bill has a disability of his own: he’s a vampire with a bad reputation. But he is an interesting addition to the town, and Sookie can’t help but listen to what everyone else thinks about Bill…especially since she’s starting to fall for the buff blooksucker. But when a string of murders hits town - along with a gang of truly nasty vampires looking for Bill - Sookie wonders if having an undead boyfriend is such a bright idea.

    And when one of her coworkers is killed, Sookie realizes that Bill and his friends may have some specials plans for a woman who can read minds…

    First off, I’ll admit, I never would have actually picked up any of the Sookie Stackhouse books if I hadn’t happened to catch one random episode of True Blood. There was this gorgeous, buff werewolf, and I’m such a sucker for werewolves. So, I just had to start reading!

    Dead Until Dark
    is the first in the series, and for me, it’s a little bit of a slow start. I can tell a lot of groundwork is being laid, and I can tell there’s a lot we’re going to learn about vampires in later novels, but it still felt a little slow on the build-up. This book never actually hooked me - as in, I never had that I-can’t-put-it-down feeling. I found I could drop the book in the middle of a sentence and be fine with it. However, one thing that kept me reading way just how conversational the book felt. I felt like I was sitting down with Sookie over coffee and she was telling me an amazing story. I also quite liked the mixing of genres. It’s like a strange paranormal/romance/vampire/detective novel, and I love it! The constant dabbles of humor were wonderful, and the…ah…”romantic” scenes were delightfully steamy without being overtly vulgar. Nothing turns me off a book more than vulgar, uber-descriptive sex scenes.

    As for the main characters, I found I liked Sookie in the sense that she was strong and willful, and could obviously take care of herself, but I oftentimes found her a little annoying when it came to Bill and vampires in general. I get the obsessed-with-vampire vibe from her, and I get that they’re fascinating and a new race and all, but when you’re so willing to defend them to your fellow humans, even the unquestionably bad ones, it’s just a little weird. I did like that she was a virgin, instead of some backwater hussy, especially when you compare her to Jason Stackhouse, her brother. As for Bill…well…he kinda rubbed me the wrong way. I found him manipulative and possessive and a little creepy. The love and trust between Bill and Sookie came out of no where for me. I felt it wasn’t developed enough. She loves him because she can’t hear his thoughts? She loves him because he was her first? She loves him because he’s a vampire? None of this was made exactly clear, and I just hope there’s more development on their feelings for one another in later books. For me, it was like Edward from Twilight all over again. I just don’t get these vampire-obsessed girls! There’s perfectly good men right in front of you, and they aren’t undead!

    Speaking of perfectly good men, that brings me to secondary characters. Can I just please have a Team Sam button? Hot, owns a bar, is a shape shifter - what more do you need? But besides my love for Sam, I really appreciated how much all the characters, even minors, felt like they had such depth. While it was a lot to keep track of at times, it gave a sense of depth to the book, like these were real people in a real town. Even the other vampires were very well done. I really hope to see more of Eric in the future as well - Viking vampire? Yes please! And I really want to figure out exactly who Bubba really is. I have an idea or two, but I want it said!

    As for originality, Charlaine Harris really made her own vampire world, and it’s fantastic! Legal citizens, synthetic blood, hotels just for vampires? Totally unique! I can’t wait to read more and find out more about the whole political aspect to their culture. I also really liked that all the vampires were a little sinister and creepy, even the “good” ones. No pansy vamps to be found in these books.

    On a final note, I did feel the main murder plot was very well done. I totally did not figure out who it could be until almost right when Sookie did, and those last few scenes were intense and powerful. I really think the last third of the book was the best.

    The Final Word: Slow start, but a lot of potential. The world is unique, and I love the take on legal vampires. Bill is a little creeptastic right now, but we’ll see if he grows on me.


    Tea: Something rich and dark! Obviously quite a few black teas would do, but from my own shelf, I would pick Chai Spice Black Tea from Stash premium teas.

    *Special Note: I rated the cover so low because I’ve just really, really never been a fan. The covers have made me pass over these books for a couple years, and while it’s totally the wrong thing to do, we all judge books by their covers. I’m a total book-cover junkie. I thought they were juvenile fiction when they first starting coming out, from the cartoon-y art style. :-P

    Saturday, January 1, 2011

    2011 Debut Author Challenge

     So the blog isn't even complete yet, and I'm signing up for my first challenge! It was on my resolutions list for 2011, and I thought I'd wait until everything was up and running, but I'm just so excited about it I couldn't hold off! I only recently found out about this fabulous challenge hosted by The Story Siren at the end of last year, and I'm stoked to be a part of it this year. I'm setting my goal at the minimum this year - only 12 books! Since I'm new at this, I don't want to overwhelm myself right off the bat. However, I'm totally up for surpassing my goal. ;D Below are some of the titles I'm interested in getting my hands on this year:

    • Warped by Maurissa Gui Bord
    • Unearthly by Cynthia Hand *
    • Timeless by Alexandra Monir
    • Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren
    • Across the Universe by Beth Revis *
    • Vesper by Jeff Sampson
    • Choker by Elizabeth Woods *
    • Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
    • Haven by Kristi Cook
    • The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
    • Wither by Lauren Destefano *
    • Entwined by Heather Dixon
    • Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys*
    • Enclave by Ann Aguirre
    • Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis*
    • The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens *
    • Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
    • Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

    * Indicates I already have a copy of the book, being either an ARC edition or a bought copy, and that these are definite picks for my list.

    So, yeah, obviously way more than twelve, and I'll probably end up updating this list a lot. There are a lot of fabulous books coming out that I want to read - I just hope I'll have time to get through even half of them!