Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wren Journeymage by Sherwood Smith


Wren Journeymage
by Sherwood Smith
Nook e-book
2010
579 pages

Summary
The first summer of peace brings Wren on her weekly visit to the young Queen Teressa, where she encounters the derisive, upsetting Hawk Rhiscarlan riding in! Wren races to warn Teressa, to discover he’s expected, which causes the girls’ first argument. Tyron gives Wren a chance to leave Meldreth by sending her on a new journeymage project —to find Connor, who had wandered off to the Summer Isles.

When Wren vanishes, her scry stone abandoned, Teressa veers between regret over the argument, worry about Wren, and the beguilement of attraction as Hawk skillfully upsets her court. Wren has just made friends with some young sailors when they are captured and forced on board a shady smuggler, where Wren learns all about the sea. When pirates attack, Wren does magic, which leads her straight to another confrontation with the villain she hates most, aided by the boy she... what do you call these feelings? Once again the four — Wren, Teressa, Connor, and Tyron — find themselves deep in adventure, as they try to navigate the treacherous waters of growing up.

My Thoughts
Okay, you will have to bare with me as I gush here for a while. I am about to be reminiscing over how much I loved this series as a teen and how excited I am that Smith was able to finally publish this book in any format. With that out of the way, on to the book.

The for main characters of the Wren series (Wren to the Rescue, Wren's Quest, Wren's War) are back but Wren, Tessa, Connor, and Tyron are separated for most the book but that is okay because they are finding their way into adulthood. Tessa must become a queen that can rule her country but also deal with politics and falling in love with someone who may only be after her crown. Tyron is running the magic school as Halfrid (head mage) is off dealing with some tricky situations. He must also help Tessa with the magical concerns and protect her from Hawk. I am glad they brought Hawk back. He was such an interesting teen villain and I'm glad they are having him grow up but be just as hard to read. Connor is running around in the Summer Ises but not really doing anything. It takes Wren showing up to really motivate him to get home. Wren does what Wren does best- run headlong into trouble and never look back. She is off on her Journeymage Project but is really looking for Connor. Do I sense a blossoming romance? Why yes I do! Yay!

I loved this book but I am also tapping into the tween in me that read these books over and over again. I love the spunky Wren who runs off into danger to save her friends. It is not the best book ever and I know people just reading this book will not love it as much as those of us who were waiting years for its release. I just loved returning to this world and all the characters are dear old friends who I grew up with and I love the series for that. Thanks for listening to me gush!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Glimmerglass by Jenna Black


Glimmerglass
by Jenna Black
Nook e-book
2010
233 pages

Dana Hathaway doesn't know it yet, but she's in big trouble. When her alcoholic mom shows up at her voice recital drunk, again, Dana decides she’s had enough and runs away to find her mysterious father in Avalon: the only place on Earth where the regular, everyday world and the captivating, magical world of Faerie intersect. But from the moment Dana sets foot in Avalon, everything goes wrong, for it turns out she isn't just an ordinary teenage girl—she's a Faeriewalker, a rare individual who can travel between both worlds, and the only person who can bring magic into the human world and technology into Faerie.
Soon, Dana finds herself tangled up in a cutthroat game of Fae politics. Someone's trying to kill her, and everyone seems to want something from her, from her newfound friends and family to Ethan, the hot Fae guy Dana figures she’ll never have a chance with… until she does. Caught between two worlds, Dana isn’t sure where she’ll ever fit in and who can be trusted, not to mention if her world will ever be normal again…
My Thoughts
Dana is tired of taking care of her alcoholic mother. She shows up drunk to her singing concert, forgets to pay the bills, and Dana is tired of cleaning up the mess. She contacts the father she never knew and runs away to Avalon. Her adventure starts the moment she sets foot there and does not know who to trust! Who is trust worthy? Ethan, the handsome fae who may be after her for her power? Kimber, the first real friend she may have? Her Dad, whose political ambition may mean more than her?

I liked this book and Dana, who grows stronger throughout the book. She also sticks to her guns about a situation where someone uses magic to subtly influence her and she compares it to being roofied. I think that sometimes using magic on people in these types of books are like that too but no one ever calls them out on it. In this book it leads to some serious trust issues.

I also really liked the side characters! Kimber is alone like Dana and they could be great friends once the craziness lulls. Finn is her bodyguard and I just love his attitude! Keane is also awesome and I hope he is in the next book. He uses the façade of the uncaring “bad boy” but there is more there than you think.

However, Ethan. Oh, Ethan. How I do not like you. He is just a complete show off and just all round ass. There really is no other word to describe him. He gets slightly better as the books progresses but not enough for me to ever like him. He is gorgeous but… that is about it. Not boyfriend material, unless he really shapes up in the next book.

Overall, I liked the book and just downloaded the sequel. There is a world here that I would like to know more about…
A good read on a lazy Saturday.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma


Imaginary Girls 
by Nova Ren Suma
348 pages
ARC
2011


Book Jacket Summary
Chloe’s older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can’t be captured or caged. After a night with Ruby’s friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers a dead body floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away—away from home, away from Ruby.
But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns home at last, she finds a precarious and deadly balance waiting for her. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood.
Imaginary Girls is a masterfully distorted vision of family with twists that beg for their secrets to be kept.

My Thoughts
This Review is based on an ARC (Advanced Reading Copy). The final text may be different.
Caught in a dream like state I read this book in one sitting.
I am still not exactly sure what just happened but I know that it was beautiful, haunting, and melancholy. I would say sad but it is more the wisp of melancholy that haunts you after reading a good book and knowing it is ending before you are ready to let go. I really do not want to spoil anything about this book, for those you who have not read it yet so I will keep this brief. 
Check out this book if you like more of a Gothic taste is books. I was glued to the pages because of the way Suma kept you guessing and wondering how much of it was Chloe's imagination and how much control Ruby really had over the town. I will be looking forward to more books by Suma adn going back and reading Dani Noir.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Book Blogger Hop: 6/24-6/27

Book Blogger Hop
As Crazy For Books says:
Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books!
This week's question is:
When did you realize reading was your passion and a truly important part of your life?

I would have to say I knew I wanted to be a librarian when I was in Middle School because I wanted to be surrounded by books for the rest of my life. Books have always been a passion for me because my parents constantly read to me as a child! I could find and explore new worlds, people, and escape the mundane.
Still get that feeling today!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Remedial Magic by Jenna Black

Remedial Magic
by Jenna Black
A Faeriewalker Bonus Story
Nook E-book
2010

Summary
Delve deeper into the world of the fae with a Faeriewalker bonus story.
Having a prodigy for an older brother is not so fun…especially one who is magic wiz-kid. But Kimber has a plan to finally step out of his shadow.

My Quick Thoughts
This short story is a look into the early years of Kimber from the Faeriewalker book Glimmerglass. I actually read this bonus story first since it was free and I wanted a taste of Black's writing before I committed to a whole book. I would recommend reading it first because it does give an interesting look into Kimber's mindset and her relationship with her brother. When I started Glimmerglass I could not wait for Kimber to show up because she is a complex character that would be a great friend to the main character Dana. I would download this one right away because it is free for your Nook or Kindle! Next week is Glimmerglass!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Recovering from Capstone

Still recovering from Capstone! So here is the newest trailer for Harry Potter!
I cannot wait for this to come out!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon

Silver Phoenix
by Cindy Pon
Book Jacket Summary
No one wanted Ai Ling. And deep down she is relieved—despite the dishonor she has brought upon her family—to be unbetrothed and free, not some stranger's subservient bride banished to the inner quarters.
But now, something is after her. Something terrifying—a force she cannot comprehend. And as pieces of the puzzle start to fit together, Ai Ling begins to understand that her journey to the Palace of Fragrant Dreams isn't only a quest to find her beloved father but a venture with stakes larger than she could have imagined.
Bravery, intelligence, the will to fight and fight hard . . . she will need all of these things. Just as she will need the new and mysterious power growing within her. She will also need help.
It is Chen Yong who finds her partly submerged and barely breathing at the edge of a deep lake. There is something of unspeakable evil trying to drag her under. On a quest of his own, Chen Yong offers that help . . . and perhaps more.


My Thoughts
I read this when it first came out and I remembered that I liked but nothing else. The sequel came out last month but I wanted to reread Silver Phoenix first. It also helped that I was taking a multicultural literature class and that just helps me analyze it even better.
Ai Ling is quite the heroine! She faces danger after danger but still stays resolved. She runs away from home to find her father and to get away from a blackmailing merchant who wants her for his fourth wife! She meets Chen Yong after being dragged into a lake by a water demon and they travel together. I really like Chen Yong. He is only half Xian, his father coming from the more European Jiang Doa. He faces a lot of racism from hos fellow country men because of it. His adopted brother Li Rong is a flirt and boy do I love him too!
Cindy Pon really creates a core cast that you care about. Ai Ling is a strong female character that, although lives in a society that thinks women should only be good for child making, carves out her own destiny. I also really want to check out The Inner Quarter's: Marriage and Lives of Chinese Women in the Sung Period by Patricia Buckley Ebrey and A Chinese Beastiary: Strange Creatures from the Guideways Through Mountains and Seas edited and translated by Richard E. Strassberg. Pon did a lot of research from them and I would love to know more about the creatures she describes. 
Overall, I loved this book even more the second time around and cannot wait to read the sequel. (Started it and so far it is awesome!)
This is absolutely stunning and can be found at Cindy Pon's website! It is a artistic rendering of Ai Ling and Chen Yong.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

WoW: Across the Great Barrier

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:
 Across the Great Barrier 
by Patricia C. Wrede
Release Date: Aug. 1, 2011

Summary
From New York Times #1 bestselling author Patricia C. Wrede, the second in the series of magic on the western frontier.
Eff is an unlucky thirteenth child - her twin brother, Lan, is a powerful seventh son of a seventh son. And yet, Eff is the one who saved the day for the settlements west of the Great Barrier. Her unique ways of doing magic and seeing the world, and her fascination with the magical creatures and land in the Great Plains push Eff to work toward joining an expedition heading west. But things are changing on the frontier.
There are new professors of magic for Eff and Lan to learn to work with. There's tension between William and his father. And there are new threats on the frontier and at home. To help, Eff must travel beyond the Barrier, and come to terms with her magical abilities—and those of her brother, to stop the newest threat encroaching on the settlers.
With wit, magic, and a touch of good pioneer sense, Patricia C. Wrede weaves a fantastic tale of the very wild west.

The second book is finally out! The first one started out slow but built up to a very interesting story. I love Patricia C. Wrede and her Enchanted Forrest Chronicles would probably end up in my favorite series list (towards the very top) and I am excited for this next installment. :D

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Finding My Voice by Marie G. Lee

Finding My Voice
by Marie G. Lee
Public Library
1992

Book Jacket Summary
Ellen Sung is taken unawares by Tamper Sandel, and when he kisses her, her whole world shifts. She doesn't have time for a boyfriend, especially one who's probably not going to college. She's completely absorbed in keeping her grades up to please her strict immigrant parents, who will freak out if she doesn't get into Harvard. Even an evening with her best friend, Jessie, feels like guilty time away from her studies. She can't tell her parents about Tomper, or about the racist slurs she receives in school. These days, Ellen's not sure whom to please. And what about what she wants: does that matter at all? 

My Thoughts
Although a little dated, this is a good look into the life of a Korean girl who is in a predominantly white school. Ellen Sung must deal with racism on all sides of the board- from your typical bullies, mean girls and teachers! One teacher makes a joke about "Woking your dog" in front of the entire class to Ellen's mortification. There were times that I wanted to shout at Ellen to start standing up for herself and to tell off the bullies.
However, this ties into such a universal theme- a teen trying to find her place in the world. Ellen just happens to be a Korean-American looking to fit into a world that is predominantly white. I think that Lee used so much of her own life in Ellen's experience that it felt so real and how a teen would react when people insulted her or an authority figure makes a rotten joke. I know that is how I would have reacted. That is how I reacted...As a girl who was chubby and extremely tall (I was 5'11'' by the time I was a Sophomore) I was the butt of many jokes by my peers and several teachers would constantly ask if "the weather was changing yet". They probably thought they were being funny but like Ellen it mortified me because it was drawing attention to the fact that I was different than my peers. To me that is a universal truth because trying to fit in while a teen transcends all racial, sexual, and religious boundaries.
I also liked that it did not have the typical happy-ever-after ending that teens come to expect in novels. This feels real and organinc. This could happen today, along with cyber bullying. Ellen did have a good support system in her friends Jessie and Beth. Both refused to put up with the name calling. Ellen also dealt with the realities of relationships and living in the show of a "perfect" sister but she also blossoms into a stronger person who can stand up for herself.
It is a great book to spark discussion! Look for it!

I love multiple covers! These two show Ellen as the hopeful person she grows into! I think the bottom one is a bit more timeless though and would speak to the modern generation.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Uncle Peter's Amazing Chinese Wedding by Lenore Look


Uncle Peter's Amazing Chinese Wedding
by Lenore Look
illustrated by Yumi Heo
Public Library
2006

Book Jacket Summary
Jenny's favorite uncle, Peter, is getting married, and everyone is happy happy — everyone, that is, except Jenny. While her family runs about getting ready for the traditional Chinese wedding — preparing for the tea ceremony, exchanging good-luck money called hungbau, helping the bride with her many dresses — Jenny is crying on the inside. How is she supposed to still be Uncle Peter's number-one girl, with her new aunt Stella around? Maybe if she can stop the day's events from happening, he won't get married at all...
Mischievous kids will love following Lenore Look and Yumi Heo's feisty heroine from Henry's First-Moon Birthday in this charming story that also illuminates the many traditions of the Chinese wedding.

My Thoughts
My multicultural class might be over but I have tons of information that I should use from it! Especially some of these great picture books! One of my favorites was Uncle Peter's Amazing Chinese Wedding by Lenore Look! It is a sweet look at a little girl whose uncle is getting married and she is scared that she will no longer be his number one girl. This a look not only inside Chinese wedding customs but into the familiar fears that every child has when there is a big change in their life.
I think that showing Chinese wedding traditions through the eyes of Jenny was a great way of teaching without preaching. It included a lot of information but breaks it down into something that children can understand. Jenny is a child everyone can relate to, especially when you think you are losing someone you love. This really helps break down barriers when someone is relateable on so many levels. The bright colors and funny illustrations will keep the children engaged as they read/hear the story. I never knew that a Chinese bride would go through so many wedding costume changes (I did know about the red dress and how it brings good luck). I love how even now I can learn from picture books!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Good Neighbors: Book Three Kind by Holly Black


The Good Neighbors: Book Three:Kind 
by Holly Black
and Ted Naifeh
Public Library
2010

Book Summary
The faerie world has been unleashed on Rue's city. The big question is: Will she stop it and save the world she's always known? Or will she take her place as the rightful faerie heir?
Another fantastic concoction of fantasy and suspense from Eisner-award nominees Holly Black and Ted Naifeh.

My Quick Thoughts
The third and final part of Holly Black's graphic novel series. Rue must take a side on the fight of humans versus fae. I like this series but I also don't. It will be an interesting review because I still do not know where I fall on liking this one. I am a fan of Holly Black but sometimes it just makes me uncomfortable and I'm not really sure why. I have read darker stuff but her characters just are always one step beyond the morality line. Rue is like that too. She is such a complex character that knows that sacrifices must be made to get the world back to normal after the faerie world has taken over the our modern city. Plus it is in black and white with very realistic drawings, although I think I read to much manga to appreciate most American drawings. People look like people and this could translate very well into a miniseries. The story plot would work well on a HBO or Showtime channel. It is not one of my favorite graphic novels but if you love the urban folklore of Holly Black and Charles De Lint than this is more for you.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

WoW: Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:
 
Sweetly
by Jackson Pearce
Release Date: August 23, 2011
 
Summary
As a child, Gretchen's twin sister was taken by a witch in the woods. Ever since, Gretchen and her brother, Ansel, have felt the long branches of the witch's forest threatening to make them disappear, too.
Years later, when their stepmother casts Gretchen and Ansel out, they find themselves in sleepy Live Oak, South Carolina. They're invited to stay with Sophia Kelly, a beautiful candy maker who molds sugary magic: coveted treats that create confidence, bravery, and passion.
Life seems idyllic and Gretchen and Ansel gradually forget their haunted past-- until Gretchen meets handsome local outcast Samuel. He tells her the witch isn't gone-- it's lurking in the forest, preying on girls every year after Live Oak's infamous chocolate festival, and looking to make Gretchen it's next victim. Gretchen is determined to stop running and start fighting back. Yet the further she investigates the mystery of what the witch is and how it chooses its victims, the more she wonders who the real monster is. Gretchen is certain of only one thing: a monster is coming, and it will never go away hungry. 
 
Love fairy tales (if you haven't already guessed)! Hansel and Gretel is not one of my favorites but this sounds amazing. Just the right amount of fairy tale and original material. Plus the cover has that creepy vibe- did you see the face? Shudder! Love it!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The King's Equal by Katherine Paterson

The King's Equal 
by Katherine Paterson
Academic Library
1992

Book Jacket Summary
Long ago, in a country far away, a dying king makes his son, the selfish prince Raphael, ruler of the kingdom. But there is one condition: Raphael cannot wear the crown until he marries a woman who equals him in beauty, intelligence, and wealth. Where will such a woman be found? Raphael believes that no one is as smart or beautiful as he, and his greed soon makes him the wealthiest person in the land. But there is one thing he does not have: the crown to the kingdom.
Raphael demands that his councilors search the world over for the perfect princess. At last, through the powers of a magical wolf, a poor and clever young woman named Rosamund is chosen to be the king's equal. But the story is not as simple as that. For not only must Rosamund be Raphael's equal, but Raphael must also be hers.

My Quick Thoughts
I love fairy tales! Old, new, and fracture. I love the old tales that taught morals to the youth and entertained everyone. This particular fiary tale follows the themes of an arrogant prince that needs to be taught a lesson to rule properly. Prince Raphael needs to find a princess as beautiful, wise, and rich as him. Rosamund is a poor farmer's daughter who proves herself to the wise wolf spirit that lives in the mountains. I found Rosamund to be so much more than your typical "fair maiden" because she actually accomplishes something and is not afraid to get her hands dirty once she is a princess. It is an oldy but a goody (as my family says).
This book would be a great addition to a storytelling session. The motifs are familiar but it is contained within an original story. A very good find while digging through our fairy tale collection.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mercy by Rebecca Lim


Mercy 
by Rebecca Lim
2011
Net Galley

Book Jacket Summary
An electric combination of angels, mystery and romance, MERCY is the first book in a major new paranormal series.

There's something very wrong with me. I can't remember who I am or how old I am, or even how I got here. All I know is that when I wake up, I could be any one. It is always this way. There's nothing I can keep with me that will stay. It's made me adaptable. I must always re-establish ties. I must tread carefully or give myself away. I must survive.

Mercy doesn't realise it yet, but as she journeys into the darkest places of the human soul, she discovers that she is one of the celestial host exiled with fallen angel, Lucifer. Now she must atone for taking his side. To find her own way back to heaven, Mercy must help a series of humans in crisis and keep the unwary from getting caught up in the games that angels play. Ultimately she must choose between her immortal companion, Lucifer, and a human boy who risks everything for her love.

My Thoughts
Okay, if you are going to write a book about fallen angels this is how you do it! I was riveted to my Nook screen, desperate to flip forward a few pages. This story is told very well with an over arching plot that will easily last three books. You get a glimpse at the back story but it is a mystery that is slowly unraveling. I let out a NO! when I got to the last page. I do not usually do that, so I know I am going to enjoy this series.
Mercy is an excellently thought out character because she has "high jacked" Carmen's life and must navigate her life without make to many mistakes. She goes through the motions trying to figure out the life of her host and this is not the first time. Each time she tries to make their lives a little bit better, even though she is asked to do nothing by her love.
I really liked how there was a bit of a mystery involved, even though I knew who the bad guy was half way through. I am eagerly awaiting the next book and it should be coming out soon!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Book Blogger Hop: 6/3-6/6

 Okay, my Maymester is over but Capstone is about to begin. Sorry about not posting regularly but it has been a tough two weeks! Things might be short these next few weeks but I will try to keep posting. :)
As Crazy For Books says:
Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books!

This week's question is:

“Share your favorite post from the last month and tell us why it’s close to your heart!”

I would say my What Happened to Goodbye post. I was so excited when I got the ARC and I gobbled it up. Dessen always writes such great books and this one was no exception. Plus it was nice to write about realistic fiction rather than the usual paranormal stuff I really love to read.



Wednesday, June 1, 2011

WoW: Overbite by Meg Cabot

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:


Overbite
by Meg Cabot
Release Date: July 5, 2011
 
Summary
Meena Harper has a special gift, but it’s only now that anyone’s ever appreciated it. The Palatine Guard—a powerful secret demon-hunting unit of the Vatican—has hired her to work at their new branch in Lower Manhattan. With Meena’s ability to predict how everyone she meets will die, the Palatine finally has a chance against the undead.
Sure, her ex-boyfriend was Lucien Anton­escu, son of Dracula, the prince of darkness. But that was before he (and their relationship) went up in flames. Now Meena’s sworn off vampires for good . . . at least until she can prove her theory that just because they’ve lost their souls doesn’t mean demons have lost the ability to love.
Meena knows convincing her co-workers—including her partner, Über-demon-hunter Alaric Wulf—that vampires can be redeemed won’t be easy . . . especially when a deadly new threat seems to be endangering not just lives of the Palatine, but Meena’s friends and family as well.
But Meena isn’t the Palatine’s only hope. Father Henrique—aka Padre Caliente—New York City’s youngest, most charming priest, has also been assigned to the case.
So why doesn’t Meena—or Alaric—trust him?
As she begins unraveling the truth, Meena finds her loyalties tested, her true feelings laid bare . . . and temptations she never even imagined existed impossible to resist.
This time, Meena may finally have bitten off more than she can chew.

Need I say anything more then- New Meg Cabot Book!!!! Whoohoo!
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