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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Review: Follow the Drinking Gourd by Cari Meister

Title: Follow the Drinking Gourd
Author: Retold by Cari Meister
Publication: August 1, 2012
Publisher: Picture Window Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Children’s
Audience: 4 and up

Summary:Follow the Drinking Gourd is an American folk song from the 1920s. Legend has it that a man called Peg Leg Joe taught slaves the song to help them escape to freedom, and they used the Big Dipper and the North Star to guide the way.

My Thoughts: My 6 year old daughter, Jessie, and I read this together. We both loved it. This is a quick educational read. This is the retelling to the story that is the basis for the folk song. The illustrations are fabulous. I like that this book included a glossary to help young readers. I used this story as a tool to talk about slavery and our family’s role in slavery. Jessie’s comment was “the slave part was bad, but it was good when they followed the gourd to get free.”  My daughter and I made up our own tune to the lyrics, as I couldn't remember the tune, and we sang. Jessie and I even went outside in an attempt to find the drinking gourd and the north star. I am by no means an astrologist, needless to say we didn't find it.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Review: Seriously, Just Go to Sleep by Adam Mansbach

Title: Seriously, Just Go to Sleep
Author: Adam Mansbach
Publication: April 3, 2012
Publisher: Akashic Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Children’s
Audience: 4 and up

Critical success for the original Go the F*** to Sleep, a #1 best seller at: New York Times,, Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, and many more! Seriously, Just Go to Sleep is the G-rated, traditional-sized, children's version of the book every parent has been talking about. Go the F*** to Sleep, the picture book for adults, became a cultural sensation by striking a universal chord for parents. Now, Adam Mansbach and Ricardo Cortd do a companion volume that lets kids in on the fun."

My Thoughts:  Jessie and I were reading a couple of other books together and I decided we would give this one a try. I had read the first book and watched the Youtube video where Samuel L. Jackson is reading it. I absolutely loved the adult version. This version is still a book for adults it just doesn’t have all the cursing and bad language. This did bring back memories of those long nights where I couldn’t get Jessie to sleep. It’s reassuring to read what I had been feeling when I was going through this. Jessie didn’t get the story at all. She kept asking me while wouldn’t the little girl go to sleep. That said I personally don’t recommend this for children. I think that either book would be a great for a baby shower gift.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop!

It's your choice! Free to choose whatever book your heart desires up to $12! So enjoy....

I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
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Kiss & Hell by Dakota Cassidy

Author: Dakota Cassidy
Title: Kiss & Hell
Publication: June 2nd, 2009
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Genre: Romance
Rating: 4 out 5
Delaney Markham doesn't just see dead people, she hears them too. And FYI-communicating with tortured souls all day can really wreak havoc on your love life. Sans boyfriend, Delaney makes the best of her gift by holding sĂ©ances to make ends meet—that is until one incredibly annoying ghost just won't go away.

Besides being sinfully hot-in a college professor sort of way-all signs point to Clyde Atwell being much more than the ordinary spirit. In fact, he's a newbie demon whose first assignment is to take Delaney back down to hell with him. Yeah, like that's going to happen on the first date.

Thoughts: Delaney has had one hell of a life. She can see spirits that always want things from her, and there isn't an off switch. Instead of having a family she's always wanted, she adopts unwanted dogs and treats them like children. Now, let's meet Clyde. Mr. sexy, nice, caring, and all around good person demon that wants to drag her to Lucifer. This wacky adventure leads these two characters learning about life that they haven't found pleasure in. Delaney always had to live with her demons, and Clyde... you have to read that part. They feed off each others energy, and it's super cute. The characters definitely have spark, and they're addicting to read. Clyde is super adorable, and Delaney is just like "Yeah, sure, you're cute, but you'll be cuter if you don't try to bring me down to hell." (which is completely understandable).

The only part that bothers me -- and why I'm taking away one star -- is the language Delaney uses. In almost every sentence she throws the f-bomb, or swears for no reason but to just be crude. Now, I'm all for swear words... you can use them. Whatever, right? This book overuses it, and I felt like I had to skip some parts when she got off on rants. I understand she's pissed off sometimes, but it would be nice if the author toned it down.

Otherwise it's a very nice storyline. If you're a big reader it can definitely be finished in a few hours. You're also introduced to a few other characters that bring comic relief, which balances out the book. The adult content is more steamy than sweet, so be aware of that.

Wanted Reads

Wanted Reads is our list of "bookies" that we will be reading/reviewing in the coming weeks. 

What are you reading? Do you have any suggestions for us?

The Sandman Collected Library 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dragon Actually by G.A. Aiken

Author: G.A. Aiken
Title: Dragon Actually
Publication: September 1st, 2008
Publisher: Zebra
Genre: Romance
Rating: 5 out 5
Website | Goodreads | Amazon | BN
Synopsis: It's not always easy being a female warrior with a nickname like Annwyl the Bloody. Men tend to either cower in fear-a lot-or else salute. It's true that Annwyl has a knack for decapitating legions of her ruthless brother's soldiers without pausing for breath. But just once it would be nice to be able to really talk to a man, the way she can talk to Fearghus the Destroyer. Too bad that Fearghus is a dragon, of the large, scaly, and deadly type. With him, Annwyl feels safe-a far cry from the feelings aroused by the hard-bodied, arrogant knight Fearghus has arranged to help train her for battle. With her days spent fighting a man who fills her with fierce, heady desire, and her nights spent in the company of a magical creature who could smite a village just by exhaling, Annwyl is sure life couldn't get any stranger. She's wrong. And just wait until you meet the rest of the family?

Thoughts: This story is different than most romance novels. Lets start with the female lead, Annwyl. She is one of the most kick-ass characters you'll ever read. Nothing gets past her... she's a warrior, and would like to die as one. In other romance novels, the women can be independent and say "I don't need men", then fall in love with one (plot for every book), but Annwyl is a serious "If I find a man I'm going to battle him first." This might turn people off, but don't get your undies in a bunch just yet. Her hard personality has some humor factors in it as well. She makes friends with a dragon, who saves her from battle. He becomes her best friend, and he's one of the few she trusts.

The male lead -- Fearghus -- is the grumpiest out of his siblings. The day he met Annwyl his life was turned around. He's a straight forward male who doesn't know how to handle women. He disguises himself as a human in order to train her for the biggest battle of her life. She doesn't realize that the dragon and human are the same person, so she bitches to her "knight" (the name she deemed him with) by day, then bitches about Knight to Fearghus at night.

Both of them together become humorous and addicting to read. What makes it interesting is the play fighting. They get along best when they're arguing, which is something people aren't used to. It has a charm, and you'll understand the humor once you get into the book. Yes, they're both hard-asses, but that's what makes them bread and butter. You should read for the storyline, which moves at a great pace. I definitely recommend it.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Review: Dead to You by Lisa McMann

Title: Dead to You
Author: Lisa McMann
Publication: February 7, 2012
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult
Audience: 14 and up

Ethan was abducted from his front yard when he was just seven years old. Now, at sixteen, he has returned to his family. It's a miracle... at first. Then the tensions start to build. His reintroduction to his old life isn't going smoothly, and his family is tearing apart all over again. If only Ethan could remember something, anything, about his life before, he'd be able to put the pieces back together. But there's something that keeping his memory blocked. Something unspeakable...

My Thoughts: I decided to read this story because I read Lisa McMann's Wake Trillogy and loved it. I thought, Lisa McMann is an awesome author so this book is going to be great. I was so right. This is a powerful and shocking story. I was drawn into Ethan's story. Ethan's parents and his sister embraced him with open arms. On the other hand, Blake, Ethan's brother, appeared to hate him.  The entire time I was reading this I found myself cheering for Ethan to remember something about his past so that his relationship with his brother could begin to develop. Blake went out of his way to make things hard for Ethan; from ignoring him, deliberately picking fights, to claiming that Ethan is not the real Ethan. Ethan's parents are overprotective and want to know where he is every second of the day. I was so excited when Ethan and Cami, childhood best-friend, reconnect and become love interest. Ethan's relationship with his sister Gracie is just precious and everything I would expect a relationship between a big brother and little sister to be like. The ending was shocking. I didn't want things to end like they did. I was faced with so many emotions and find myself trying to figure ways to change things for this family. I hope there is another book for this as I have a lot of questions. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter

Author:Gena Showalter
Title: The Darkest Night
Publication: May 1st, 2008
Publisher: HQN Books
Genre: Romance
Rating: 5 out 5
Website | Goodreads | Amazon | BN

His powers -- Inhuman...
His passion -- Beyond immortal . . .
All her life, Ashlyn Darrow has been tormented by voices from the past. To end the nightmare, she has come to Budapest seeking help from men rumored to have supernatural abilities, not knowing she'll be swept into the arms of Maddox, their most dangerous member--a man trapped in a hell of his own.Neither can resist the instant hunger that calms their torments...and ignites an irresistible passion. But every heated touch and burning kiss will edge them closer to destruction--and a soul-shattering test of love. Though they carry an eternal curse, the Lords of the Underworld are irresistibly seductive -- and unimaginably powerful.

Gena Showalter is my favorite Romance author (apart from P.C. Cast). The first romance book I've read was written by her -- which I'm going to review soon of course -- and I've been hooked ever since! It starts out with the Lords of the Underworld. They're each cursed with a demon as punishment for killing Pandora. The demons are everyday tormants we sometimes go through such as lies, pain, death, wrath, nightmares, secrets, defeat. These demons control their life. The punishment is horrible if they don't cave into their demons. If the lord is "lies", he'll be in incredible pain if he tells the truth, or if one of the lords is "defeat" he'll go insane if he didn't win, and "pain"... well, he just likes to be in pain. This book is about the keeper of Violence. He's the badass of the group, and the most dangerous.

Ashlyn is troubled with sercrets herself. When they both meet, passion flares. She's sweet and innocent, which makes Maddox very protective and loyal. Both of them fight their demons together. The book is your normal romance story: big macho man, sweet innocent girl, KLABAM sex.

What makes this story different is the personalities of all the lords. Each of them are different and you end up wanting their story too. It's about having a hard life, but finding someone who can balance out that harshness with love. It's a good read if you want something steamy. She explains sex in detail, so if you want something descret or toned down this isn't for you.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return

Author: Marjane Satrapi
Title:Persepolis: The Story of Return
Publication: August 22, 2005
Publisher: Pantheon
Genre:  Memoir, Historical, Graphic Novel
Audience: 13 and up
Rating: 3 out 5
Source: College Library
Goodreads Synopsis:
Marjane Satrapi dazzled us with her heartrending memoir-in-comic-strips about growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. Here is the continuation of her fascinating story. In 1984, Marjane flees fundamentalism and the war with Iraq to begin a new life in Vienna. Once there, she faces the trials of adolescence far from her friends and family, and while she soon carves out a place for herself among a group of fellow outsiders, she continues to struggle for a sense of belonging.Finding that she misses her home more than she can stand, Marjane returns to Iran after graduation. Her difficult homecoming forces her to confront the changes both she and her country have undergone in her absence and her shame at what she perceives as her failure in Austria. Marjane allows her past to weigh heavily on her until she finds some like-minded friends, falls in love, and begins studying art at a university. However, the repression and state-sanctioned chauvinism eventually lead her to question whether she can have a future in Iran.
As funny and poignant as its predecessor, Persepolis 2 is another clear-eyed and searing condemnation of the human cost of fundamentalism. In its depiction of the struggles of growing up—here compounded by Marjane’s status as an outsider both abroad and at home—it is raw, honest, and incredibly illuminating.

My thoughts:
I did not read the second book right away, but it was easy to remember where the last book left me hanging. This book picks up, but not where you think it would. Time has passed and Satrapi is doing her best to catch the reader up to speed. Life in Europe was not what she expected it to be. Also, he parents unfortunately are not there to help her develop in a teen or young adult. She is sent from one place to another due to limited space, behavior issues, and her happiness. Due to her homesickness and other various reasons, Satrapi reaches rock bottom, to the point that it almost kills her. She had her freedom in Europe, but when she comes home it is taken away from her. I enjoyed this book, but it seemed more predictable because of foreshadowing and you come to know Satrapi. I understand this was what her life was like and it wasn't a happy time for her, but I felt like there was a lot of pent of teenage/young adult angst. It drove me nuts. I wanted her to get over her situation and make the best of it. When she returns to Iran she has to learn the ways of life to which she was not exposed to. When her freedom is taken from her, that's when I truly started pitying her. Overall, I recommend it. If for anything, it is a very fascinating first hand account on the Islamic Revolution and what it did to the country of Iran. Plus, Satrapi's rebellious nature is enough to keep anyone from putting the book down. It is a great novel and completes the storyline. If you enjoy the books, there is a movie based on the graphic novels. I have not seen the movie, but I have heard it is good.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Review: Night Hawk by Beverly Jenkins

Author: Beverly Jenkins
Title: Night Hawk
Publication: October 25, 2011
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Historical Romance
Audience: Adult
Format: Paperback
Length: 384 pp.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Source: Purchased
Goodreads |Facebook | Website
Amazon | BN | Book Depository
Outlaw.Preacher. Night Hawk. He's had many names, but he can't escape the past.
Since Ian Vance's beloved wife was murdered years ago, the hardened bounty hunter knows he'll never feel love or tenderness again, so he's made it his mission to ensure others get their justice. But when he's charged with delivering a sharp-eyed beauty to the law, Ian can't help but feel he may still have something left to lose.
Orphaned at twelve, Maggie Freeman has always found her way out of trouble. But now there's a vigilante mob at her back who would like nothing more than to see her hang for a crime she didn't commit. Maggie may have to accept help for the first time in her life . . . even if it's from the one man standing between her and freedom.
As the past closes in, the sassy prisoner and toughened lawman may just find a passion between them that could bring blinding happiness . . . if they'll let it.


In the moment that her surprised eyes met his, he was already wading the horse into the water. Maggie ran. Bolting up the bank, she grabbed her pack and fled back into the trees. The retrieval cost her a few precious seconds of escape time but she couldn’t afford to leave it behind. How had he found her so quickly! ….She let out an involuntary moan of distress and ran faster. Next she was off her feet and held tight by an iron arm snaked around her waist. She fought fiercely as she could, but when you’re being carried like a rug under someone’s arm, you look comical at best.
Review:Night Hawk by Beverly Jenkins was beautifully written and a well researched historical romance, set in 19th century western Kansas, and Wyoming in the year 1889. Jenkins describes the setting so well that you get the sense, the feeling of being these places.
The fluidity of the story made it so easy to become lost in the love story of Maggie and Ian, who were such rich, lively and memorable characters. Ian is a former outlaw turned bounty hunter and U.S. Marshall, who on a trip back from Scotland visiting the grave of his mother; he encounters Maggie Freeman, the beautiful fearless rebel. Maggie has just been arrested for defending herself against an unwanted advance from an affiliate of her boss, she basically took a rolling pin to his head, which just so happened caused her assailant to accidentally hit his head and die. Now, falsely accused for his death, the sheriff is fearful that she will not make it in one piece due to the riots each night, decides to transport Maggie to Kansas City, but his efforts are halted as he is cut off and demanded to hand her over by the father of the man she supposedly killed. Ian, or as he is known as the legendary “Preacher” Vance Bigelow, steps in and gets charged with taking her to Kansas City jail to await trial. However, no matter how hard he tries every step of the way it get harder to do his job, especially since trouble follows Maggie everywhere they stop. The more he learns about her, and she him, we get a better understanding of who they are, and why they should be together. Though, Ian doesn’t realize Maggie just may be the key to mending his broken heart, after the murder of his wife. This woman stirs feelings in him like no other; no one else can quench the burn that consumes him when he thinks of Maggie. The problem, he has a duty to the law, to uphold justice and she is his prisoner and once the charges against her are either dropped or upheld, they both must part ways, and may never see each other again. Both haunted by the past can they let go and find solace in each other and heal?

I absolutely loved this book, the characters interaction with each other was so fun to read. Maggie was such a firecracker; it was nice to see a female lead with such heart, and passion, a force to be reckoned with. Ian realizes this when his efforts to do his job become hindered as every town they enter, they encounter a ghost from Maggie’s past that just happens to have a bone to pick with her. It will make you think that she is a trouble maker but once the details of each incident is brought to light, it is easy to understand and relate to this tough character that doesn’t back down, especially when faced with an opponent that is much stronger than her. Maggie commands respect and that is something lovable about her as a character. Ian was strong, fearsome and courageous but it something about a man in love that is so touching, just beautiful. Just seeing him fall in love and struggle to come to terms with his feeling for Maggie, that everyone notices but him, will make your heart melt and yearn for them to be together. It was also great to read about the heritage that they came from; Maggie was part Kaw Indian and African-American and Ian, Scottish and his father was Black in the British Navy when his mother met him. They both had hard lives that defined them, not letting circumstances hold them down but using it to fuel the strength, the fire that burns within them. Jenkins is an incredible writer, whose ability to intricately weave fascinating historical facts within a love story without losing the romance. Not only do her novels make you swoon for more but on an intellectual level to research and find out more about the historical aspects as well. One historical fact from Night Hawk was about a Dr. John Osbourne, who took the skin of outlaw Big Nose George Parrot and made it into a pair of shoes and medical bag, which was intriguingly disgusting. The author also gives insight into the Hop Alley Race Riot, the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act and how in 1889 Wyoming allowed women to vote to attract more of them to the area. Jenkins does an excellent job of providing enough detail to spark the readers’ curiosity and desire to delve deeper into in the historical aspect. Needless to say I couldn’t put it down and didn’t want the story to end. Night Hawk is full of surprises; you will find yourself struggling to contain a giggle at Maggie’s reactions and antics. Outstanding and heartwarming this is a lovely story of courage, loss and love.
Originally featured here!

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Author: Simone Elkeles
Title: Perfect Chemistry
Publication: December 23rd, 2008
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 5 out 5
Website | Goodreads | Amazon | BN

When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created 'perfect' life is about to unravel before her eyes. She's forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for: her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. 

Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more.

In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.

Thoughts:  Simone brings out the bad boy verses good girl plot. Alex is a part of the latino gang in Chicago, and is stuck if he wants to provide for his family. Brittany is a popular blonde who's life is "perfect". When you dig deeper into their lives, you'll see they put on some sort of act for their friends and schoolmates. Alex is smart and wants more than gang life, and Brittanys family is far from perfect. You see both of them going through adolescent changes. They help move each other forward, and learn about themselves during the journey. Simone has a nice balance between the two stories.

It has very different writing than other YA books. The point of view changes in each chapter. First we get to read Brittanys side, then Alex, and it rotates through out the whole book. You don't just read about the characters actions... you understand in depth why they made certain decisions, what they're feeling about each other and the world, and how it all comes together. If you want to read a feel-good book, this is for you. It's very sweet, and the characters are very loveable. It's about love, loss, hardship, honor, and unity.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Warrior Rising by P.C. Cast

Author: P.C. Cast
Title: Warrior Rising
Publication: May 6th, 2008
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Genre: Romance
Rating: 5 out 5
Synopsis:  The Goddesses have had it with the Trojan War. So much devastation all because of some silly male egos. The worst of the bunch is that cocky, handsome brute Achilles. But the only way to stop a man like Achilles is to distract him with something far more pleasurable than combat?

Enter Kat, a modern girl from Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Goddesses transform her into a Trojan princess, having no doubt that she?ll capture Achilles?s attention. But can her independent spirit match the unquenchable fire of his epic rage? Goddess only knows?

Thoughts: P.C. Cast steals my breath away. I have not started her YA series, but her adult writings... *shivers*. One of my favorite book of hers is Warrior Rising. It's based on the famous Greek Trojan War. It's the 6th book to the Goddess Summoning series -- which you don't have to read in order, they're all separate stories -- and in my opinion of the hottest. You follow 31 year old Kat who gets sucked into an 18 year old body. She's supposed to stop Achilles from advancing the war. This is where my personal preference comes in: Hard, moody, sexy, troubled man who's actually sweet and innocent. You see a different side to him, and he's someone you'll grow feelings for too. I seriously want to lick him from head to toe. (Is that a little much? Maybe.) The cover I provided you with is an alternative cover. There are two, but I find this one to have more abs and he's carrying a big sword, which shows the masculinity of him. Thus, this cover is chosen and I'll come back to oogle as many times as I can.

Kat is independent, fierce, smart, and extremely caring. She's the type of person you want to have as a friend. Both of them together are a perfect match. He's the big testosterone warrior, and she softens him. The plot has a good pace, it's not slow or boring. It's definitely a book for someone who wants a step above YA, so please don't read if you're not ready for romance to go in depth.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Review: No-Name Baby by Nancy Bo Flood

Publication: March 1, 2012
Publisher: namelos
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Young Adult
Audience: 14 and up

Goodreads Summery
Sophie remembered last night's dream and the gray stones-a whole row of them like the ones under the trees. Each stone was etched with letters that she couldn't quite read. When her pregnant mother falls, Sophie blames herself for the accident. Premature labor begins, and everyone worries the infant might join the others under the gray stones. Aunt Rae has come to help care for the baby and mother, but her presence only increases the tension in the family. Then Aunt Rae finds her niece talking with the young man from a neighboring farm and confronts her, revealing something that shakes Sophie's world.No-Name Baby is an intimate portrait of a young girl as she discovers the truth about herself and her family.

My Thoughts: This is the story of Sophie. She is an Italian-American teenager living in post WWI Illinois.Sophie lives on a farm with her parents and maternal grandmother. Sophie's Aunt Rae has come from Chicago to help before and after the baby is born. The family has it's secrets. Sophie is not allowed to see the family bible, which is kept under lock and key. Sophie's mother is pregnant and everyone is concerned that she will have this baby early and lose it, as has happened with 3 other babies. When Sophie's mother falls and begins laboring early Sophie blames herself. Everyone in the home is on edge, especially Aunt Rae. Sophie and her Aunt already have a tense relationship and things become worse when her Aunt sees her with Karl, a young man Sophie's father has hired to help with the farm and attends school with Sophie. I never quite understood why Aunt Rae dislikes Karl so much. She does all she can to keep Sophie from seeing Karl. It didn't take me very long to figure out the family secret I just didn't get why Sophie couldn't know.  It was just a matter of time before Sophie found out. I was glad that Sophie got to find out the family secret on her own terms. This is the first book I have read by Nancy Bo Flood and I'm sure I will be reading more of her in the future. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Underworld by Meg Cabot

Author: Meg Cabot
Title: Underworld
Publication: May 8th, 2012
Publisher: Point
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 5 out 5
Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Amazon | BN
Synopsis: Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.
Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera isn’t dead.
Not this time.
But she is being held against her will in the dim, twilit world between heaven and hell, where the spirits of the deceased wait before embarking upon their final journey.
Her captor, John Hayden, claims it’s for her own safety. Because not all the departed are dear. Some are so unhappy with where they ended up after leaving the Underworld, they’ve come back as Furies, intent on vengeance…on the one who sent them there and on the one whom he loves.
But while Pierce might be safe from the Furies in the Underworld, far worse dangers could be lurking for her there…and they might have more to do with its ruler than with his enemies.
And unless Pierce is careful, this time there’ll be no escape.

Thoughts:  Meg Cabot is one of my favorite authors. Her humor, strong characters and interesting storylines is what makes her a thrilling writer. This trilogy is based on the greek myth featuring Hades, lord of the underworld, and his queen Persephone, goddess of spring. In the first book -- Abandoned -- Pierce (aka Persephone) died and was brought back to life by John (Hades). He has a big-boy crush on her, and doesn't want to let her go. He wants Pierce to live in the Underworld with him. The second book starts where the first left off. She's in the Underworld and wants to get out and back to the living. The plot is about Pierce finding a way to stay out of Johns reach, even though it's stated in the first book she loves him. John is such a sweet guy. He's done things in the past that brought him to the Underworld, and your heart squeezes when he tries hard to omit the truth because he loves Pierce. Just like the first book, you're going to root for the heroine. She's smart, doesn't take crap, cares for her family, and has a strong heart. This is a good read if you want something that makes you feel happy. It definitely ends with a cliffhanger, so watch out for that! Five stars.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Persepolis: A Story of Childhood

Author: Marjane Satrapi
Title:Persepolis: A Story of Childhood
Publication: June 1, 2004
Genre:  Memoir, Historical, Graphic Novel
Audience: 13 and up
Rating: 4 out 5
Source: Public Library
Purchase:Amazon Barnes and Noble Books A Million  Goodreads 

Goodreads Synopsis:
Wise, funny, and heartbreaking, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran’s last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country.

Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life. Marjane’s child’s-eye view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned whippings, and heroes of the revolution allows us to learn as she does the history of this fascinating country and of her own extraordinary family. Intensely personal, profoundly political, and wholly original, Persepolis is at once a story of growing up and a reminder of the human cost of war and political repression. It shows how we carry on, with laughter and tears, in the face of absurdity. And, finally, it introduces us to an irresistible little girl with whom we cannot help but fall in love.

My thoughts:
I first heard about Persepolis during a presentation in one of my classes. I was intrigued. I'll be honest and admit to be ignorant. I was not a huge fan of graphic novels, but my boyfriend loves them so I thought I would give this one a try. I got Persepolis confused with Persephone from Greek myths. So when, I checked the book out from the public library, I had no idea about what I was getting myself into. The storyline is the main focus of the graphic novel. The artwork is in black and white, and even though I fail at even making stick figures, the art is very simple.  The image is there to just help convey the message Satrapi is wanting to convey. I didn't know much about Iran until reading this book. It was very eye opening in how Iran was before The Islamic Revolution. The book chronicles the life of Satrapi and the sacrifices she and her family have to make just to survive. At first, her family fights against the revolution, but eventually they have to give in. Her parents educate Satrapi on a variety of topics. I personally felt she was maybe 10-14 in the books, and I'm not sure she would have understood Marx or any of the other revolutionists. However, she mentions reading them and it being a bit overwhelming, but learning something from them. Some of the material seems dense for a 10-14 year old to read and much less comprehend. The books are a great start to a true historical story. Satrapi draws you in and makes you feel the story. I cried when I reached the end. It was a sad ending, but I had no clue there was a second book. I recently checked it out and read it. Next week, I'll review it!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Review: Starters by Lissa Price

Title: Starters
Author: Lissa Price
Publication: March 13, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Young Adult/Dystopian
Audience: 12 and up
Raiting: 5 out 5

Goodreads Summery
Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie. Callie's only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man.

He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders- seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie's head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, and going out with a senator's grandson. It feels almost like a fairy tale, until Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party- and that Prime Destinations' plans are more evil than Callie could ever have imagined.

My Thoughts:Starters is the fascinating story of Callie, a 16 y/o left orphaned after the post apocalyptic sport war. She is caring for her sick brother and struggling daily to live. Callie is given a job opportunity that can change her life for the better. Is this job to good to be true? I found this to be a great story. The author had me from the first sentence and I could not put this down. I really like Callie as she is strong and will do anything for her family. I can relate to her in that way. As for the starters, in general, I feel empathy for them. They are left all alone to fend for themselves. They trust no one including other starters. As for the enders I am angered by them. Many of them have the ability to make things easier for the starters and they choose not to. This book is full of mystery and leaves you wanting more. I'm anxiously waiting for the next installment Enders to answer the questions I was left with after reading Starters.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Review:Omega Child By G.S. Anderson

Title: Omega Child
Author: G.S. Anderson
Publication: October 29, 2011
Publisher: CreateSpace
Source: Purchased
Genre: Science Fiction
Audience: 10 and up

Amazon Summary In the summer of 2012 an alien from the Alpha Centauries star system came to visit earth. Her people were the most powerful of aliens known to earth's governments; the Omega class. She befriended Jennifer and her friends and showed them many wonders. They visited the planets of our solar system and the different countries of our world, but she made the mistake of showing them the part of our world that no one was supposed to see. Now they must fight together, a battle they must win or have their eyes closed forever.

My Thoughts: This is a very quick read; perfect for children. This is the story of an Alien that comes to earth and befriends a group of girls. Jennifer and her friends (Nicole, Tiffany, Amanda, Thao) are enjoying their summer together. While at a sleepover Jennifer is woken up by a thunderstorm and then sees what she believes is a ghost outside. The next day, Jennifer notices a puppy following her. It doesn't have a collar so she takes him home and names him Mikoe. Strange things begin to happen immediately after this new puppy comes into the family. As Jennifer is preparing for bed one night Mikoe changes from a cute little puppy into the little girl she had seen outside during the sleepover. After the initial shock Jennifer befriends the alien and decides to call her Angelica. Angelica has broken the laws of her land by revealing herself. A chase and battle ensue. You must read this to find out how everything pans out but I'm sure you will enjoy it. My only complaint is that the story left me confused at times (where are they now, and how did they get there). I would love to see more detail in future editions. I do love this story and I am looking forward to reading more from this author.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Black Orchid Deluxe Edition

Author: Neil Gaiman
Illustrator: Dave McKean
Title: Black Orchid Deluxe Edition
Publication: May 1, 2012
Publisher: Vertigo
Genre: Comic Book, Graphic Novel, Fantasy
Pages: 176
Audience: 16 and up
Rating: 2 out 5
Source: Purchased

Goodreads Synopsis:
Before introducing the modern version of The Sandman, Neil Gaiman wrote this dark tale that reinvented a strange DC Comics super hero in the Vertigo mold. Featuring spectacular art by Gaiman's frequent collaborator, Dave McKean, BLACK ORCHID is now collected in hardcover for the first time.After being viciously murdered, Susan Linden is reborn fully grown as the Black Orchid, a hybrid of plant and human, destined to avenge her own death. Now, as this demigoddess attempts to reconcile human memory and botanical origins, she must untangle the webs of deception and secrets that led to her death. Beginning in the cold streets of a heartless metropolis and ending in the Amazon rainforest, this book takes the reader on a journey through secrets, suffering and self-rediscovery.

My thoughts:
I am a huge fan of Neil Gaiman's. I have been reading The Sandman saga, which I love. When I heard the re-release of Black Orchid, I was excited. I went to the local comic book shop and bought a copy of it. The art is gorgeous and is worth looking at. The storyline, however, was lacking. I can't go into much detail without giving away the whole story because there isn't much to it. The graphic novel explains how Susan becomes the Black Orchid, but it raises new questions that have not been answered. I felt confused while reading and was very confused and unhappy when I finished. I was trying to piece information about Susan together, figure out who all these other people are and why they were important, and it ended up being a tangled mess of a story. One part of the storyline made no sense, I was wondering why it was even included. It could have been left out completely. I did like the cross-over of DC characters into the Vertigo world. Batman, Poison Ivy, Mad Hatter, the Joker, Swamp Thing, etc. are all intertwined in the story. That was the only plus side to the story. Another plus was the artwork. If you purchase it or read it, do it for the artwork. The book is very beautiful. Overall, I was disappointed in the book, but the artwork made it worth it. I had bought the book,and in the end I gave it to someone else who also loves graphic novels.