Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Review: Heavenly by Jennifer Laurens

From Goodreads..

Photobucket I met someone who changed everything. Matthias. My autistic sister's guardian angel. Honest. Inspiring. Funny. Hot. And immortal. That was the problem. What could I do? I did what any other girl would do-I fell in love with him. Zoë's sister darts in front of cars. Her brother's a pothead. Her parents are so overwhelmed; they don't see Zoë lost in her broken life. Zoë escapes the only way she knows how: partying. Matthias, a guardian sent from Heaven, watches over Zoë's autistic sister. After Zoë is convinced he's legit, angel and lost girl come together in a love that changes destiny. But Heaven on Earth can't last forever.

This book was so much more than I expected! I started reading thinking it was going to be another formulaic teen paranormal romance (as much as I love 'em ya gotta admit, some of them ARE pretty predictable.) And yes, there is romance but, more importantly, this is the story of a family struggling to cope with a difficult situation. Zoe's five year old sister, Abria, has been diagnosed with autism and that has changed things for everyone in the family. Laurens doesn't take the Hallmark greeting card approach here which I thought was a brave and honest writing decision. The strain of taking care of Abria affects everyone in the family, Zoe turns to drinking and hooking up to deal with the stress while her younger brother has turned to drugs.

Enter Matthias, guardian angel to Abria. Zoe is the only one who can see him but even more importantly, he turns out to be the only one who can REALLY see ZOE...see past the drinking and the partying to the girl she is inside. After years of her parents not really giving her much attention (they're good people just so overwhelmed with Abria,) and friends seeing her as a party partner and boys seeing her as an easy hookup...well, it's no wonder she starts to fall for Matthias.

The romance in Heavenly develops naturally and believably (yes, even though he is an angel =) which I loved. They actually spent time together and talked to each other and had REASONS to develop feelings. Not just the old cliched "she couldn't explain her feelings but she saw him and was in love." I liked that the romance made sense. It's not all smooth sailing for Zoe and Matthias though, there are rules guardian angels have to follow, rules that make things difficult to say the least!

There's more I would LOVE to discuss here, but I don't wanna give any spoilers so I'm just gonna go ahead and say give this one a try, I don't think you will be disappointed. As a matter of fact, there's a good chance you'll find yourself shedding a tear or two before it's over (I did.)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

It's the Weekend and That Means It's Time to....Check Out My Booty!!

As fellow book lovers, you all know how exciting it is to find new packages on your doorstep. "Check Out My Booty" is where I share just what goodies I got in the previous week and give a preview of reviews to come! Check Out My Booty is of course inspired by the In My Mailbox meme hosted by The Story Siren
First up are the books I bought...

(Click on the TITLE to go to Goodreads for a synopsis =)

1. The Passage by Justin Cronin
2. One Day by David Nicholls
3. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
4. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Then, as a complete surprise to me, I received THREE awesome titles from Carolrhoda YA for review! These all look like they are going to be great, very original reads...check them out cause I'm really excited about all of them!!

5. Draw the Dark by Ilsa Bick
6. The Absolute Value of -1 by Steve Brezenoff
7. Freak Observer by Blythe Woolston

I also got incredibly lucky and won a prize pack from Chelsea over at The Page Flipper. Check out her blog, she has great content and contests!

8. Clockwork Angel ARC by Cassandra Clare (!)
9. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
10. How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford
11. WTF by Peter Larangis
12. The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg
13. Hush, Hush (signed!) by Becca Fitzpatrick

And rounding it out is...
14. Heavenly (signed!) for review by Jennifer Laurens, which is very cool since I had previously received book #2, Penitence from a Goodreads giveaway. I read this one this week and the review will be up shortly!

Last, but not least is
15. Dangerous by Diana Palmer which I won in a giveaway over at Book Lovers Inc. Be sure and visit this blog too!

So tell me, have you read any of these?? Which ones should I sink my teeth into first???

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Review: The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

From Goodreads...

"A serial killer on the loose. A girl with a morbid ability. And the boy who would never let anything happen to her.

Violet Ambrose can find the dead. Or at least, those who have been murdered. She can sense the echoes they leave behind... and the imprints they leave on their killers. As if that weren't enough to deal with during junior year, she also has a sudden, inexplicable, and consuming crush on her best friend since childhood, Jay Heaton.

Now a serial killer has begun terrorizing Violet's small town... and she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him."

I finished this one a couple of days ago and when friends ask me how it was, I find myself saying "It was good, but...."

I expected this to be a lot more suspenseful than it was. The majority of the book was dedicated to the romance between Violet and Jay, which I'm sure will appeal to fans of romance novels but I was looking for a little more excitement. Granted, it's a nice believable romance and the guy for once isn't your typical YA bad boy. That was a nice change. I just wish a little more meat had been been devoted to the part of the story which gave the book its name.

There were some moments of suspense and a couple of twists, but they were kind of easy to spot a couple of chapters before they were revealed. There are two kinds of books for me, at least as far as being compelled to read them goes. Some you just have to read because you have absolutely no idea what's going to happen and you put your life on hold to read because you just have to find out. Others you know pretty much exactly what's going to happen and you read to see those scenes play out. The Body Finder was the second kind of story for me. Derting does do a great job of telling that story, her writing is sharp and polished, but I would definitely classify this as a light read.

Pick this one up if you are looking for a predominantly relationship centered story with a bit of suspense thrown in.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Awards time!!!!

How cool!! I got my first blog award from Vatche
at The Student Writer's Mind! Thank you so much =)


Apparently there are very serious consequences involved if I don't follow the rules or I will be attacked by several ninjas, pirates, robots, zombies or a ninja-pirate-robot that happened to turn into a zombie.And while I wouldn't mind pirates if that included Captain Jack Sparrow, I would prefer to avoid the rest of that motley crew so here goes....

The Rules:

1) Thank and link back to the person (or people, in my case) that gave you the award.

2) Share seven things about myself.

3) Pass the award to fifteen bloggers, who I have recently discovered and who I think are fantastic for whatever reason. (In no particular order...)

4) Lastly, contact the bloggers that I've picked for the award.

So without further adieu...here we go....

1. I didn't know how to hyperlink before getting this award so thanks Vatche for forcing me to learn a very necessary blogging skill!

2. I have been a vegetarian for over 4 years and contrary to popular belief vegetarians (at least THIS vegetarian) don't eat any more veggies than meat-a-vores =) Since there are so many great meat substitute products out now, I eat pretty much the same stuff as everybody else...burgers, tacos, burritos, spaghetti...

3. I have 2 daughters...16 and 23 and they are AWESOME. I would think they're amazing people even if they weren't my kiddos. I also have a one and a half year old grandson who, I must say, is the cutest baby boy EVER =) Here he is with Daddy...


And here I am with my girls and the baby at Disneyland...

4. My boyfriend of a year and a half is 26 which I guess TECHNICALLY makes me a cougar (even though I cringe at that label!) But lemme be the first to tell you it's not all Samantha-Sex-in-the-City glamorous...there have been some truly hilarious moments that I'm thinking just might be the inspiration for a book...

5. I eat jalapenos with almost everything.

6. When I was growing up I wanted to be a Solid Gold dancer. Needless to say, this did not work out.

7. I collect action figures...like Freddy, Pinhead, and Chatterer and have a whole wall in my living room dedicated to them. Which has been known to creep people out the first time they come over =)

And now to pass on the award....

First off, some of my fave book related blogs

1. Wastepaper Prose

2. Tales of a Teenage Book Lover

3. A Good Addiction

4. Daisy Chain Book Reviews

5. Flipping Pages for all Ages

6. Spohistikatied Reviews.

7. All Things Urban Fantasy

8. Valkyrian Sanctum

9. Not-Really-Southern Vamp Chick

10. the uncommon nonsense

And some other blogs I enjoy...

11. Cafe Fashionista

12. gala darling

13. yes and yes

14. Chicken Soup for the Dorky Soul

15. Books, Beauty and Bane

Thank you everyone for everything. Now, share the award and follow the rules or pirates, ninjas, robots, and zombies will attack!


Friday, June 18, 2010

Horns by Joe Hill

"Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?"

Ignatius Perrish, the main character in Joe Hill's "Horns" does. After a night of drinking far too much, Ig wakes up to discover he has grown horns in the night. And he slowly discovers these horns have given him a new ability. When in his presence, people feel compelled to tell him their darkest deepest thoughts and desires and if he touches them he can see all the awful things they have done in their lives. His presence brings out the worst already in people. In short, Ig has awoken as the devil.

While this supernatural element plays a large role in the story, it is SO much more than that. At its heart is the mystery surrounding his girlfriends rape and murder the year before. The whole town blames him but he maintains his innocence and the truth about what really happened that night is where the true horror of this story comes into play. There are many horror novels devoted to monsters and the supernatural, but what's really and truly scary are the horrors that are real. The poeple in this world who are "evil" and do acts of unthinkable violence and cruelty.

Much more than compelling storytelling is going on here. Horns examines the nature of evil and is one of those books that make you think long after you have closed the covers on its final pages.

Hill's characters are complex and multi-layered, just like this book. They are human (even when they're evil incarnate) and they make their fair share of mistakes. I can't stand reading books where the characters are one-dimensional. You know the ones....where the good guys never do anything bad and they come across as "perfect people." Not only are they boring to read about, their voices don't ring true.

Hill also has a knack for dark humor. There are some decidedly laugh out loud moments in this book, where he plays on some devilish stereotypes and creates some deliciously campy scenes to play out on the movie screen of your mind.

I highly recommend this book to mature readers (definitely not YA here!) It is without a doubt one of the best books I've read this year.

Link to Joe Hill's website...


Here's an interview where Joe Hill discusses Horns and what it has in common with Hitchcock and a little "sympathy for the devil..."

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Personal Demons Teaser!!

From Amazon...

If you had to choose between Heaven and Hell, which would it be?

Are you sure about that...?

Frannie Cavanaugh is a good Catholic girl with a wicked streak. She's spent years keeping everyone at a distance--even her closest friends--and it seems her senior year will be more of the same...until Luc Cain enrolls in her class. No one knows where he came from, but Frannie can't seem to stay away from him. What she doesn't know is that Luc works in Acquisitions--for Hell--and she possesses a unique skill set that has the king of Hell tingling with anticipation. All Luc has to do is get her to sin, and he's as tempting as they come. Frannie doesn't stand a chance.

Unfortunately for Luc, Heaven has other plans, and the angel, Gabe, is going to do whatever it takes to make sure that Luc doesn't get what he came for. And it isn't long before they find themselves fighting for more than just her soul.

But if Luc fails, there will be Hell to pay...for all of them. (added by author)

Guess what?!?! Author Lisa Desrochers has posted the first five pages of this book on her blog and it's AWESOME! It's safe to say this is number one on my "can't wait to read it" list. Follow the link and you will see why. Her writing is wickedly fun and there's lots to love here!


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Horns (in progress)

I'm reading Horns by Joe Hill and...wow...what a crazy interesting story! Ig, the main character in the book, wakes up after a drinking spree the night before to find he has sprouted horns on the top of his head. At first he thinks maybe he has lost it and they're not really there but everyone confirms that they can see the horns also...even though they act like it's really not a big deal. Now, suddenly, everyone he comes in contact with starts telling him their most secret and darkest thoughts. The kinds of things a person would never really act on, much less speak out loud. And they are pretty much asking for his permission to act on these things. He also finds that if he touches a person he can see the dark secrets they are hiding from the world, things from the past they would probably like to leave buried.

We learn early on that his girlfriend had been raped and murdered and the whole town is convinced he did it but got off due to his parent's money. I'm currently in the second part of the book which flashes us back to the time before he grew horns, before his girlfriend was murdered, when events were happening that would shape the man he was to become.

Joe Hill can tell a story, lemme tell you. I can't wait to see where this story goes and since it is such an original idea, I can't even BEGIN to predict where it's gonna take me!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

So....do you??

I just read a book that I really can't find anything good to say about and I'm curious...do you do negative reviews on your blog? Why or why not? Part of me feels like I should have the guts to give an honest opinion if I think a book sucks, but another part of me can't stand the idea of publicly criticizing something that someone put so much work into and obviously cares deeply about.

Does the popularity of the author have anything to do with your decision? I know I would be more comfortable panning a Nicholas Sparks book (huge following and I doubt I will hurt his sales) than I would be someone self publishing and trying to establish himself.

Tell me your thoughts on this please, I'm curious to hear your opinions...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Tempest Rising

tempest rising | jane true book 1 Pictures, Images and Photos

Wow, I really loved this book!!!

First things first, yes, cutest cover EVER. It's the reason I bought the book (and ok, I felt an immediate bond cause we share the same hairstyle, I admit it.) But I was oh, so pleasantly surprised cause the inside of the book exceeded my expectations. Jane True, the heroine of this story, rocks. She is a pure delight and a joy to read. Humor is a hard thing to pull off in a book, but I can't tell you how many times I really laughed out loud while reading. Jane's inner monologue is hilarious. I mean, she actually refers to someone as "barnacle crotch." What's not to love? Plus she is a dork which I could totally relate to.

There were also some really unique supernatural characters to add to the mix. This book goes way beyond your everyday werewolves and vampires and THAT was fun too. The story was great and I care about Jane and what happens to her. Luckily, the next book in the series is due out at the end of the month and I can't wait to see what happens next!

Here's the book description from Amazon...

Living in small town Rockabill, Maine, Jane True always knew she didn't quite fit in with so-called normal society. During her nightly, clandestine swim in the freezing winter ocean, a grisly find leads Jane to startling revelations about her heritage: she is only half-human.

Now, Jane must enter a world filled with supernatural creatures alternatively terrifying, beautiful, and deadly- all of which perfectly describe her new "friend," Ryu, a gorgeous and powerful vampire.

It is a world where nothing can be taken for granted: a dog can heal with a lick; spirits bag your groceries; and whatever you do, never-ever-rub the genie's lamp.

Here also is a link to the author's blog...check her out, she's fun and outrageous and for a good time, check out Tempest Rising!!