Monday, January 31, 2011

Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss

By: Stephanie Perkins

Published by: Dutton Juvenile

Publication Date: December 2, 2010

384 pages

I bought this book (because everyone said it was amazing =)

5 stars (It was =)


From Goodreads...

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets √Čtienne St. Claire: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.

As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss Anna—and readers—have long awaited?


What a sweet little breath of fresh air this was! No paranormal activity, no curses, no slaying to be done (not that I don't love that stuff.) Just a lovely tale of romance in the most romantic city in the world. Man, I am dying to go to Paris now =) Anna, for me at least, was such a true to life teen. I was one once (yes, I can remember that far back) and I happen to own one (she would KILL me for saying that lol) so I have a pretty good idea what they are like, and this book gets it right. It actually brought back memories of my first crushes and that whole questioning phase...does he like me? Did he mean to brush his hand against mine? WILL HE EVER KISS ME???

The pacing of the book was spot on. Anna and Etienne get to know each other and they are friends so you believe in the emotion. Love that. Vital part of romance that a lot of authors seem to forget in favor of getting to the so-called good parts if you know what I mean. I like the build-up and anticipation. It makes you more invested in the characters and caring whether or not they end up together.

There were some great laugh out loud moments. I am convinced Anna's father was Nicholas Sparks...did you feel that way too lol?? Oh, and there was a great scene where Anna said something that could be SO misinterpreted and was inwardly horrified. We've all done that, no? Said something innocently that ends up sounding so wrong! I must also commend the character for her love of Nutella. The girl has got taste =)

Besides the charming romance and the beautiful setting, Anna was also faced with some opportunities to learn a lot about herself and others, so it was great to see her grow as a person. I think that's another thing that sometimes gets ignored...when a character goes through a life changing event you expect them to learn something from it and be a little wiser than they were when you first met them. Perkins pulls this off beautifully and it made for a very rewarding experience to witness Anna come to the realizations she did.

If you are looking for a sweet romance with a cast of likable characters, look no further, this is the book for you. Prepare to be swept away...ooh la la!!

(Typed on a borrowed computer...the blog must go on!!!)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

CRISIS!

The charger for my laptop isn't working and I have exactly 32 minutes of battery life left. It's been kind of wonky since last night and I have had to twist it around and fiddle with it to get it to work but as of now I am having no luck. Gonna run around today and see if I can find a replacement but until I do I won't be be able to post or respond to your posts....

Wish me luck!!!

I miss you guys already =(

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches
By: Deborah Harkness
Published by: Viking Adult
Publication date: February 8, 2011
592 pages

I'm VERY excited for this one!!!

From the author's website....

When historian Diana Bishop opens a bewitched alchemical manuscript in Oxford’s Bodleian Library it represents an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordinary life. Though descended from a long line of witches, she is determined to remain untouched by her family’s legacy. She banishes the manuscript to the stacks, but Diana finds it impossible to hold the world of magic at bay any longer.

For witches are not the only otherworldly creatures living alongside humans. There are also creative, destructive daemons and long-lived vampires who become interested in the witch’s discovery. They believe that the manuscript contains important clues about the past and the future, and want to know how Diana Bishop has been able to get her hands on the elusive volume.

Chief among the creatures who gather around Diana is vampire Matthew Clairmont, a geneticist with a passion for Darwin. Together, Diana and Matthew embark on a journey to understand the manuscript’s secrets. But the relationship that develops between the ages-old vampire and the spellbound witch threatens to unravel the fragile peace that has long existed between creatures and humans—and will certainly transform Diana’s world as well.


Visit the author's website here

She put a lot of research into this one, if you go to the book's page on Amazon you can read about many of the books that inspired A Discovery of Witches.


Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Across the Universe
By: Beth Revis
Published by: Razorbill
Publication Date: January 11, 2011
416 pages
I bought this book
5 stars!!!!

From Goodreads...

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

"Great people talk about ideas.
Average people talk about things.
Small people talk about other people."
Author: Unknown

Beth Revis is obviously a great person because Across the Universe isn't just a book about people and things, it's a book about ideas and it goes deep. Can I gush a little here?? I freakin' loved this book. Devoured it in two days and didn't want it to end. The world of Godspeed was fully realized, I could picture everything in my mind vividly while I was reading. And it was a fascinating world. Described as being the size of the island of Iwo Jima, the ship was divided into levels, each with a specific function and was capable of carrying 3000 people, again, each with a specific function. Leading them all was Eldest, a title passed on to each generation's leader.

Amy was accompanying her parents on Godspeed. They were part of mission headed to a planet 300 years from our Earth to establish a new civilization. Cryogenically frozen prior to departure, they were supposed to be awakened when the ship finally landed, however SOMETHING happened to wake Amy up 50 years ahead of time. What she awakens to is unlike life on earth. No, life on Godspeed for the over 2000 people aboard ship is very different and Amy starts to wonder just what is going on and who exactly is responsible.

The book raises a lot of questions that I found very interesting to think about. Eldest is training his successor, Elder, and teaches him things such as the three causes of discord. The first thing he mentions is differences among people. There ARE no physical differences among the people on Godspeed. They all have the same color skin, the same color hair, the same color eyes. Eldest brings up the problems on earth related to how people treat others who are different. This is just one example of the ideas that fuel life aboard the ship. Is Eldest power hungry? Or is he doing what he truly thinks is best for the survival of "his" people? Is ignorance bliss? Or is it better to face the truth, no matter how difficult that truth may be to live with? Lots of questions are asked, and while the mysteries do finally get solved, I don't think there are really any easy answers for the moral questions pertaining to life on the ship.

The cover of the book looks all romantic and dreamy, but this isn't a love story (that's a good thing by the way.) The story and the characters are strong enough to not have to rely on romance to be compelling. I could have done without the romantic aspects all together to be completely honest. And I do have to add there were a couple of scenes near the end that felt a bit forced, but it really wasn't enough to make me love this book any less. Across the Universe stands head and shoulders above a lot of what is out there. Beth Revis has stepped outside of the box, left formulaic YA in the dust and has boldly gone where...well, you get the picture=)

Visit Beth's website here


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Free Book for Your Kindle!

From Goodreads...

The seventh son of the seventh son, aptly named Septimus Heap, is stolen the night he is born by a midwife who pronounces him dead. That same night, the baby's father, Silas Heap, comes across a bundle in the snow containing a new born girl with violet eyes. The Heaps take this helpless newborn into their home, name her Jenna, and raise her as their own. But who is this mysterious baby girl, and what really happened to their beloved son Septimus?
The first book in this enthralling new series by Angie Sage leads readers on a fantastic journey filled with quirky characters and magykal charms, potions, and spells. Magyk is an original story of lost and rediscovered identities, rich with humor and heart.


Download it for free here

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: In the Arms of Stone Angels by Jordan Dane

Coming from Harlequin Teen in April 2011

Two years ago, Brenna did the unthinkable. She witnessed the aftermath of a murder and accused her only true friend—the first boy she ever loved—of being a killer.

Now sixteen, Brenna returns to Oklahoma only to discover that Isaac "White Bird" Henry isn't in juvie. The half-breed outcast is in a mental hospital, frozen in time, locked in his mind at the worst moment of his life. And when Brenna touches him, she's pulled into his hellish vision quest, seeing terrifying demons and illusions she doesn't understand.

Feeling isolated and alone, she's up against the whole town, targeted by bullying former classmates, a bigoted small town sheriff, and a tribe who refuses to help one of their own. But when Brenna realizes she's as trapped by the past as White Bird is, this time she won't turn her back on him. She's the only one who can free them both.

Even if she has to expose her secret—a "gift" she's kept hidden her whole life.




***This book is currently available on Netgalley for review***

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Does it get any better????

I've heard all kinds of good things about Kresley Cole's books, so I signed up for The Immortals After Dark reading challenge. The first book on the list was Playing Easy to Get which includes a story by Cole called The Warlord Wants Forever.

Dude.

It was so awful I couldn't get past chapter 5. I gave the book away at work today.

It was really bad porn. No plot and characters that I couldn't care about in the least. Seriously, it was baaaaaad. Now I'm willing to entertain the idea that this was just a really poor start to an otherwise brilliant body of work...and that's where YOU come in. Have you guys read the Immortals After Dark series? Is it good or is it just more porn and flat characters??? I don't mind some smexiness, but damn...gimme a chance to care about these characters before they're naked. And please give them some kind of story other than them just wanting to hook up. I could watch Jersey Shore for that kind of thing.

Do tell.....should I stick with the challenge and give A Hunger Like No Other a chance or should I expect more of the same and just drop out now??? Your thoughts please!!!!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

New On My Shelf: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Attachments
By: Rainbow Rowell
Published by: Dutton Adult
Coming April 14, 2011
336 pages

From Amazon...

Beth and Jennifer know their company monitors their office e-mail. But the women still spend all day sending each other messages, gossiping about their coworkers at the newspaper and baring their personal lives like an open book. Jennifer tells Beth everything she can't seem to tell her husband about her anxieties over starting a family. And Beth tells Jennifer everything, period.

When Lincoln applied to be an Internet security officer, he hardly imagined he'd be sifting through other people's inboxes like some sort of electronic Peeping Tom. Lincoln is supposed to turn people in for misusing company e-mail, but he can't quite bring himself to crack down on Beth and Jennifer. He can't help but be entertained-and captivated- by their stories.

But by the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late for him to ever introduce himself. What would he say to her? "Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you." After a series of close encounters and missed connections, Lincoln decides it's time to muster the courage to follow his heart . . . even if he can't see exactly where it's leading him.

Written with whip-smart precision and charm, Attachments is a strikingly clever and deeply romantic debut about falling in love with the person who makes you feel like the best version of yourself. Even if it's someone you've never met.

Sounds cute, doesn't it???

Saturday, January 15, 2011

ARC Review: These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf

These Things Hidden
By: Heather Gudenkauf
Published by: Mira
Publication Date: January 18, 2011
352 pages
Recommended by: Reading Without Restraint

5 stars

I received this e-book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

From Amazon....

When teenager Allison Glenn is sent to prison for a heinous crime, she leaves behind her reputation as Linden Falls' golden girl forever. Her parents deny the existence of their once-perfect child. Her former friends exult her downfall. Her sister, Brynn, faces whispered rumors every day in the hallways of their small Iowa high school. It's Brynn—shy, quiet Brynn—who carries the burden of what really happened that night. All she wants is to forget Allison and the past that haunts her.

But then Allison is released to a halfway house, and is more determined than ever to speak with her estranged sister.

Now their legacy of secrets is focused on one little boy. And if the truth is revealed, the consequences will be unimaginable for the adoptive mother who loves him, the girl who tried to protect him and the two sisters who hold the key to all that is hidden.

All I can say is wow...

These Things Hidden starts off with Allison's story. After 5 years in prison, she is being released early and getting sent to live in a halfway house for six months. We don't find out right away what she was incarcerated for and this works out really well because we have a chance to like her and feel sympathy for her before finding out the truly awful (and I mean AWFUL) thing she was arrested for. We also meet her sister Brynn, a young woman named Charm and a local bookshop owner and adoptive mom, Claire. The story is told alternately between their points of view, however it is not in the least confusing as each woman's story and the way their lives intertwine is fascinating and compelling. Every time I thought I had the connections all figured out, the author was only a page or so away from revealing what I thought I had so brilliantly surmised, leaving me to realize Gudenkauf was in control of the story every step of the way and only allowing me to figure things out when she wanted me to. By telling the story from each woman's point of view, I found I had sympathy for all the characters. I love when an author is able to do that and doesn't just make everything black and white. People are multidimensional and characters should be too. There was no clear cut "good guy bad guy" scenario here. Instead, we are forced to think about what makes a good person do bad things.

The theme of what makes a person a parent was also explored. Sometimes it's not just the biology, but rather the heart and the feelings that make you family. Many different types of relationships are represented in These Things Hidden... biological parents, sisters, adoptive and foster parents, step-parents and friends.

With a compelling and thoughtful plot, fleshed out characters that make you care, and a mystery that keeps you guessing until the climax, These Things Hidden has earned a place at the top of my "You Gotta Read This!" list.





Heather Gudenkauf is also the author of The Weight of Silence, which I just ordered.

Gudenkauf's tightly plotted debut packs a lot of unsavory doings into a few unfortunate summer days in Willow Creek, Iowa. Seven-year-old Calli Clark hasn't spoken a word in the three years since a particularly nasty run-in with her violent, wife-beating father, Griff. During a bender, Griff suddenly decides to haul his mute daughter into the nearby forest, where they get lost. At the same time, Calli's best friend Petra goes missing, and a manhunt is launched, led by deputy sheriff Loras Louis, who still carries a torch for Calli's mother. Gudenkauf moves the story forward at a fast clip and is adept at building tension. There's a particular darkness to her heartland, rife as it is with predators and the walking wounded, and her unsentimental take on the milieu manages to find some hope without being maudlin.

Visit the author's website here. If you do a "real-life" bookclub, she has some excellent ideas and discussion questions for her books.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

ARC Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Unearthly

By: Cynthia Hand

Published by: HarperTeen

Publication date: January 4, 2011

448 pages

4 stars

* I received this ARC via Netgalley for Kindle*

From Goodreads....

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.


Great characters? Check.
Gorgeous setting? Check.
One of the most realistic romances I have read in a YA paranormal? Check.
Teenager's mom is actually a part of teenager's life? Check.


LOTS to love about this one and from what I have seen so far, everyone HAS loved it. However I can't say I'm as passionate about this one as everyone else although I did really like it. My main problem with it is the whole vision/purpose thing. The way it was interpreted and why it would even be her purpose just never made any sense to me. And since it was kind of the plot device that was supposed to drive the whole book and the characters actions, I had to ding it a star. In all honesty, reading this was a bit like watching a season two episode of Lost....where are the answers???? Nothing was really resolved and that left me feeling like I had read an extended prologue instead of a complete story. I think perhaps not every story is meant to be a trilogy. Had things been better explained and had there actually been some resolution, Unearthly would have easily earned 5 stars. Hand has done a marvelous job of crafting believable and likable characters in Clara, Tucker, Wendy and Christian (let's face it....Angela is a bit creepy and I don't trust her as far as I can throw her.) And the romance...I have to say "loved it!" Hand chose the road less travelled and I was more than happy to go along for the ride. Truly one of the best YA romances I have read.

All in all, a solid, promising debut. I'll definitely be picking up book 2!

(**I wish THIS was the cover here...SO much prettier than the plain purple one. **)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Reading Resolutions Giveaway Winner

The winner is.....

JENNIFER

from

Book Noise


Jennifer has been contacted and chose Unearthly (great choice, I just finished reading this one!)

Thanks to all of you who entered and a big welcome to my new followers =)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

2011 Reading Challenges and Weekend Update

Hi everybody, hope you all had a wonderful weekend! I am officially on vacation until Sunday (yay!!) and just got back from Vegas where I got to go to my grandson's Baptism and birthday party. Here's a pic of my little guy in his suit. I had SO much fun with him...he can operate a cell phone better than a lot of adults I know (he knows exactly how to get to the Spongebob apps) and he sings along with the songs on the radio. He is a big Bruno Mars fan, it is the cutest thing in the world to hear him singing "Billionaire" (he skips the word "frickin" and just sings "sooo bad.) I miss him so much already!!!!!

And here's a pic of me with my beautiful girls...we went out dancing til 3 AM at the Aliante where my son-in-law and his band Vol.1 were celebrating their one year anniversary of playing there. Such a busy weekend and so many things to celebrate!!!



Anyway, on to bookish news....I think I am all finished choosing which challenges I want to take part in this year. Two are hosted by Book City Chick. I would have signed up for the Horror and Urban Fantasy one even if I wasn't a fan just so I could put that gorgeous button on my blog! And I had already decided I wanted to read 100 books this year so might as well make it official with the challenge =)



I'm also signed up for The Story Siren's 2011 Debut Author Challenge. I signed up for this one last year and didn't quite finish it, but I most definitely plan to this year.
Photobucket

I have also signed up for a Steampunk challenge

Steampunk challenge


and last but not least, an Immortals After Dark challenge





Ok....I think that covers it!!! What reading challenges have you all signed up for?? Any other ones I should include on my list??

**I will announce the winner of the Reading Resolutions giveaway tomorrow!**

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Review: Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Dash and Lily's Book of Dares

By: Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Published by: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Publication date: October 26, 2010

240 pages

I received this book as a Christmas gift

3 stars

Recommended for: Fans of indie teenage flicks, quirky romance, and sarcasm

From Booklist:

In their third collaboration, Cohn and Levithan present another clever New York romance. Levithan writes the chapters narrated by Dash, a “bookish” 16-year-old spending Christmas break alone. He finds a red moleskin notebook amid the shelves of the Strand bookstore. “Are you going to be playing for the pure thrill of unreluctant desire?” asks Cohn’s Lily in the first coded message of the notebook, with an invitation to respond. Lily is aglow with the yuletide and devastated that her parents are spending the holidays in Fiji. Armed with anonymity, Dash and Lily exchange the notebook in various locations around the Big Apple, filling it with their greatest hopes and deepest fears, and ultimately find themselves falling in love. Not surprisingly, the young pair’s perceptions of each other don’t entirely reflect reality; Dash’s ex asks if he is in love with the girl writing in the book or the girl he is picturing in his head. The spirit of the season amplifies Dash and Lily’s loneliness and heightens the connection between them, in another surefire hit from the creators of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2006). Grades 9-12.

I'm fairly certain I'm in the minority here, but this book just didn't do it for me. While it did offer up a lot of wise observations on the nature of falling in love and expectations, I found it wanting in several key areas. First of all the characters. I thought Lily (referred to as "Shrilly" due to her habit of high pitched freak-outs) could have benefited from some quality meds. While she is a sweet girl, she often came across as being a little on the unstable side. Witness: while at a movie theater, 2 moms tell Lily her boots and hat are adorable and she replies by shrieking "I AM NOT ADORABLE! I'M JUST LILY!" Who does this????? No one I want to know. There is also a scene in the book where Lily runs around town wearing one sneaker and one boot. While it's supposed to be cute and quirky it just came across as really weird to me. I'm all for being yourself and not trying to fit the mold. But please wear matching shoes.

Dash. Oh Dash. So much sarcasm and pretentiousness. Nearly everything he said was overly verbose and again, I know no one who talks like that ALL the time. Not to mention I thought he was kind of rude. Witness: while at Macy's, he sees a middle aged woman select some christmas themed mittens and actually says this to her, "Really? Aesthetic and utilitarian considerations aside, those mittens don't particularly make sense. Why would you want to hitchhike to the North Pole? Isn't the whole gimmick of Christmas that there's home delivery? You get up there, all you're going to find is a bunch of exhausted grumpy elves. Assuming, of course, that you accept the mythical presence of a workshop up there, when we all know there isn't even a pole at the North Pole, and if global warming continues, there won't be any ice either."

WTF? I get that it's supposed to be witty, but all his little rants managed to do was make me not really like him very much. Two characters I don't care for=me not really caring if they end up with each other or not. Now add to that some incredibly unrealistic situations and you have a book that just never grabbed me emotionally.

There WERE some moments that worked for me....mostly when the characters were reflecting on love and how our expectations can color our feelings. Here are a couple of my favorite quotes....

"We had never lied to each other. But we had never gone out of our way to reveal ourselves either."

"You think fairy tales are only for girls? Here's a hint-ask yourself who wrote them. I assure you it wasn't just the women. It's the great male fantasy-all it takes is one dance to know that she's the one.All it takes is the sound of her song from the tower, or a look at her sleeping face. And right away you know-this is the girl in your head, sleeping or dancing or singing in front of you. Yes, girls want their princes, but boys want their princesses just as much."

Moments like that were where I thought the book really shined. It just wasn't enough to make up for the unrealistic characters, dialogue and situations for me.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Reading Resolutions Giveaway!

New Year's Reading Resolutions

Oh man, I almost forgot about this one, must have missed the reminder email!! Anyway, I see everyone else's posts going up so here goes mine. The first books I'm reading this year are



and the winner of this giveaway will get their pick of those! (Wither won't be out until March, so if you choose that one, it will be a pre-order.)

All you have to do is be a follower and leave your email in the comments. If you're international, I'll pass on a $10 GC to Book Depository, so everyone is welcome to enter.

Contest ends on the 9th...good luck!!


To continue the hop and enter more great contests...

Review: The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Daughter

By: Julie Kagawa

Published by: Harlequin Teen

Publication date: August 1, 2010

304 pages

I bought this book


From Goodreads...

Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey—ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.

Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.


Julie Kagawa, I'm on to you, so you may as well 'fess up....

You're a Faery aren't you?? Because there is just no way you would be able to describe the Nevernever in so much detail unless you had actually been there. I will be expecting an email shortly on how to get to the nearest trod so I can visit the land of Fae myself....

(*WARNING* This review will be slightly spoilerish so if you want to be completely surprised, come back and let me know what you thought after you have read the book. But by all means, read this series!!!!)

I read The Iron King not too long ago and fell in love with the world and the characters Julie Kagawa created (visited? met?) and guess what? I loved The Iron Daughter even more. While all the magic of the first book is present and accounted for here, what I really enjoyed this time around was getting to know the cast of characters even better. I love Meghan's sense of right and wrong and how she is bound and determined to always do the right thing, even when the right thing isn't the easy thing to do (and isn't that really true to life a lot of the time?) She's finding her voice and isn't afraid to use it.

And Ash...I have to say, the one teeny tiny thing that bothered me a little in the first book was how easily he seemed to have put his first love out of his mind for Meghan, but here we find that that is not the case at all. She is still very much in his thoughts and not forgotten and this did a lot to bring me closer to Team Ash. Closer. Not there. Yes, I am still Team Puck y'all. Maybe it's because I am 42 and the thought of all the drama and angst associated with forbidden love just makes me...well...tired. I want solid, dependable, knows what he wants Puck (not saying I wouldn't be open to a little royal dalliance before pledging my hand to the Puckster...Ash IS pretty hot =)

Speaking of Puck, he eventually makes his return (with some of THE most romantic lines ever...I may have swooned a lil) and Meghan realizes she has two really amazing guys in her life. Who will she choose? Who does she love? Will she follow her heart and just where will that take her?

The rest of the action in The Iron Daughter revolves around our trio trying to retrieve (say that three times fast) the Scepter of the Seasons, which has been stolen from the Winter Court. Blaming Oberon, Queen Mab declares war on the Summer Court. Meghan knows the truth behind the Scepter's disappearance however and realizes that it is up to her to get it back if she wants to prevent Winter and Summer from destroying each other and leaving The Nevernever vulnerable to the Iron fey. Along the way, we meet the Dark Muse, Leanansidhe, bringer of creative inspiration at a very high cost. She's not someone you would wanna make deals with, but she makes one heck of a Faery Godmother. And we certainly can't forget Grimalkin...oh how I adore that cat. When questioned how he is able to do the things he does, he simply replies "I'm a cat." 'Nuff said.

I've had some fun with this review because I had so much fun reading the book. But in all seriousness, I have to say Julie Kagawa is a writer of immense, incredible talent. I've never had an author make me cry with a single word. A single non-cap-locked word. That's storytelling genius. That's The Iron Daughter.