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Friday, April 29, 2011

Follow Me friday (4)

I seriously can never believe how fast the week has gone until I write up my next FF post! Follow Me Friday is a weekly book-blogger meme hosted by Parajunkee over at Parajunkee's View (easily one of the sweetest book blogs I've ever seen by the way). Have a book blog? You can join in the fun too! Just visit Parajunkee's site at the pink link above, be sure you are a follower of her blog and the blog she is featuring for the week, put your name in the Linky, create your own FF post on your blog, and then start commenting and following whomever you wish!

This Week's Question:

Keeping with the dystopian and apocalypse theme that seems to be running rampant on, I have one very hard question for you: If you were stocking your bomb shelter, what books would you HAVE to include if you only had space for ten?

Well I am definitely a classics kind of girl through and through, so even though I do love my YA fiction to death, most of my books would probably be a bit more on the heavy side- I'm guessing I'll have a lot of time in my bomb shelter to get through these :)

1.) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
2.) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
3.) Confessions by Saint Augustine
4.) Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
5.) The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
6.) Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
7.) Utopia by Sir Thomas More
8.) Middlemarch by George Eliot
9.) Dracula by Bram Stoker
10.) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

While I have read some of these already, there are just so many classics I want to get through at some point in life, but a lot of them are just really tough! So I figure, if I am stuck in a bomb shelter I'll have no choice but to concentrate and make my way through them... However, I have read Pride and Prejudice at least 8 times, it is my fave book ever, and I've read Jane Eyre probably about 3-4 times. Some classics are just readable no matter what time period you're in :)

Happy happy Friday to you all and thank-you for stopping on by my blog!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Book Review: Bright Young Things

Author: Anna Godbersen
Release Date: October 12, 2010
Pages: 400
Read it in: 1 week

The Hook: The year is 1929. New York is ruled by the Bright Young Things: flappers and socialites seeking thrills and chasing dreams in the anything-goes era of the Roaring Twenties.

Summary: Letty Larkspur and Cordelia Grey escaped their small Midwestern town for New York's glittering metropolis. All Letty wants is to see her name in lights, but she quickly discovers Manhattan is filled with pretty girls who will do anything to be a star. . . .

Cordelia is searching for the father she's never known, a man as infamous for his wild parties as he is for his shadowy schemes. Overnight, she enters a world more thrilling and glamorous than she ever could have imagined—and more dangerous. It's a life anyone would kill for . . . and someone will.

The only person Cordelia can trust is ­Astrid Donal, a flapper who seems to have it all: money, looks, and the love of Cordelia's brother, Charlie. But Astrid's perfect veneer hides a score of family secrets.

Across the vast lawns of Long Island, in the ­illicit speakeasies of Manhattan, and on the blindingly lit stages of Broadway, the three girls' fortunes will rise and fall—together and apart. From the New York Times bestselling author of The Luxe comes an epic new series set in the dizzying last summer of the Jazz Age.

LC's Take: 

So unfortunately I have been MIA for most of this week due to some things that came up this past weekend, but I am now getting back into the swing of things!

Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen was another great historical fiction novel that draws you back in time to the sparkling, rowdy life of the Roaring Twenties. The author once again delivers an energetic cast of characters whose lives are all interwoven into a story that has you completely engaged from beginning to end. This book was really fun and keeps you guessing about what will happen to the three main characters until the last few pages (well, actually it keeps you guessing even after that, because this is a series, so I am still wondering!)

The main gist of the plot centers around two girls, Letty and Cordelia, who run away from their boring, ho-hum country town in Ohio to make it big in New York City. Letty is convinced she will become a singing sensation as soon as she is discovered and Cordelia is secretly in search of her long-lost father, who just happens to be one of the richest liquor-smugglers on the East Coast. The story follows the ups and downs of living precariously in an age of danger and decadence. The third main character is Astrid, a girl born into wealth and privilege, but who finds out that even her position is not secure. Intrigue and scandal abound as one by one, each girl becomes entangled in the sins and wrecklessness of life in the fast lane.

Once again, I love Anna Godbersen's ability to create historic worlds that are both vivid and believable. If you've read The Luxe, you know how desciptive Godbersen's writing is and how the details are key to re-creating long-lost times and places. As I read this book I could actually picture what New York City would have been like in the 1920's-- where people lived, what they ate, how they dressed-- no element is left out and this made it possible to step into their world. You can see the differences in how girls would have lived back then, but you also realize that not much has changed and people then probably weren't much different from people now...

The only major thing that bothered me about this book was that some of the characters' actions didn't always make sense to me. For example, Cordelia's whole reason for leaving home and everything she has ever known is to find her father and never have to return to the small-town life she feels trapped in. But then, when she gets everything that she has dreamed of, she meets some guy and basically throws it all away. Maybe if she had been born into wealth and luxery and if she hadn't been dreaming about meeting her father her whole life, I could see her gambling everything on a guy she's only known for a couple weeks, but her position is so precarious that it didn't make sense for her to be so wreckless. She knew exactly what she had to lose and I felt like she just treated things way too lightly. Letty also makes some bad decisions, but in her case she really couldn't have known just how bad they were.

Bright Young Things was a great historical fiction-- if you like this genre you will probably love Anna Godbersen's writing. There was drama, intrigue and mystery as well, with many characters involved. If you like a plot told through multiple perspectives with uncertain outcomes that keep you guessing, I would recommend this book to you too! I am definitely looking forward to reading the next book in this series.

LC's Rating: 
Another fun, colorful, and intriguing look at the lives of women living in another time period-- Anna Godbersen will have you completely caught up in the short-lived world of glamour, danger, and decadence of the Roaring Twenties!


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Follow Me Friday (3)

Happy Friday everyone!

Follow me Friday is a weekly book meme hosted by Parajunkee, and it is a great opportunity to find new blogs, meet new people, make new friends, and learn more about the book blogging community (oh yeah, and get new followers, yea!).

Here is what I have been up to this week:

This week's question is: What is on your current playlist?

My answer: I realize that this is definitely not at all sophisticated listening but hey, whatev, I love my driving tunes :) I have no shame in admitting that they currently include:  

Till the World Ends by Britney Spears
Automatic by Aubrey O'Day
E.T. by Katy Perry ft. Kanye West
Written in the Stars by Tinie Tempah ft. Eric Turner
Feel Your Love by Kim Sozzi
On the Floor by J. Lo ft. Pitbull
Stereo Love by Edward Maya ft. Vika Jigulina
Down by Jay Sean ft. Lil Wayne
Move for Me by Kaskade and Deadmau5
If I Had You by Adam Lambert 

OK, and there may be one or two more Britney songs in the mix too- I love Britney haha... I do have a pretty eclectic taste in music, but right now I am especially loving anything that makes me want to get up and dance :) If I want something a little more mellow I'll usually go for Coldplay or Late Night Alumni. I also really love Sarah Brightman-- she has been my idol ever since I got The Phantom of the Opera album back in 8th grade, and I have been to 4 of her concerts, all of them an unforgettable experience :) Red Hot Chili Peppers and Poe are a couple other favorites!

What are you listening to lately?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (3)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, where we have the chance to share what upcoming releases we are on the edge of our seats in anticipation for. This week, based on all of the raving ARC reviews I have been seeing for it, I am choosing Divergent by Veronica Roth-- apparently this is one killer dystopian novel, and I am definitely looking forward to getting my hands on it when it comes out!

Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Release date: May 3, 2011
Pages: 496

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.

Sounds pretty darn good, huh?? What new or upcoming releases are you all waiting for on this wonderful Wednesday?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (3)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

    OK, so here's my teaser for this week! It is from Anna Godbersen's Bright Young Things, and I just started it today:


    "They were all marching towards their own secret fates, and long before the next decade rolled around, each would escape in her own way-- one would be famous, one would be married, and one would be dead.

    That is what I want to tell you about: the girls with their short skirts and bright eyes and big-city dreams.

    The girls of 1929."


    Ah! I LOVE it!! OK, I know that's technically 3 sentences, but honestly, this was like the best Prologue to a book I've ever read. After reading and loving The Luxe I had to pick up another historical fiction drama by Anna Godbersen-- this time it is set in the Roaring 20's New York City, and I cannot wait to get into this book!

    So what teasers do the rest of my lovely readers have? Leave a link for me below!

    Sunday, April 17, 2011

    Book Review: Wither

    Author: Lauren DeStefano
    Release Date: March 22, 2011
    Pages: 368
    Read it in: 1 day

    The Hook: What if you knew exactly when you would die?

    Summary: Thanks to modern medicine, every newborn has become a ticking genetic time bomb-- males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

    When sixteen-year old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape-- to find her twin brother and go home.

    But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant she is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.

    LC's Take:  

    OMG, I don't even know where to begin. This book was INCREDIBLE! I read Wither in one day, I just could not put it down. Lauren DeStafano's ability to create a dystopian world and tell the story of a young girl trapped in that world was absolutely mind-blowing.

    From the opening quote by T.S. Eliot to the disturbingly nightmarish first chapter to the last pages that bring you some glimmer of hope, this was one of those books you just can't help but be consumed by. Sometime in the not too distant future, Rhine Ellery is a 16 year old girl who lives in a world where females only make it to age 20 and males to age 25. A few generations back, geneticists had tried to create embryos that were immune to all disease and practically immortal, but in the process they introduced some kind of DNA into the genetic make-up that turns humans into ticking time bombs-- everyone now knows the age they will die. In an attempt to save the human race, girls as young as 13 are kidnapped by Gatherers to either be sold into polygamous marriages in order to breed more offspring, or to be killed. Rhine ends up being one of the "lucky" ones and enters into a world of wealth and privilege as one of the the three wives of Linden Ashby. Now she is surrounded by beauty, parties, and luxury-- but right under the surface, they are all closely followed by inevitable death and decay.

    I listened to the interview Lauren DeStefano gave after reading Wither, and she says that the main theme of this book is uncertainty. She tells the story in present-tense because Rhine herself has no idea from one day to the next what is going to happen to her, or even if she'll be alive by the last page. It was this sense of uncertainty that had me totally captivated from beginning to end.

    For me, Wither was not only completely engrossing, giving me a beautifully tragic story of a dystopian world, but it was intelligent as well. First, the author actually takes the time to tell you how the world got to be where it is, which I think is essential for any dystopian novel  if it's going to be believable for the reader. Given the background, I could actually imagine this world. Second, the novel brings up some really deep questions. For me, I found myself thinking: is it better to be free and live in grinding poverty, or is it better to be held captive in the lap of luxury? Rhine finds herself in a "gilded cage," and only wants to get out to go back home to her brother, but even she sometimes questions: is it really so bad being enslaved when you're given almost everything you could possible want? What if you only had 4 years left to live? Is it really worth fighting for the things you value the most?

    My recommendation? Go out and get this book immediately! I was absolutely blown away. The writing is  beautiful. The plot balances both light and dark elements, and you can't help but be sucked into the dark eeriness that pervades Rhine's world where beauty and decay, and youth and death are so closely linked. Finally, the ending leaves you with some hope that life is going to be restored to the way it was, and you can't help but want more. I give Lauren DeStefano a standing ovation for this debut novel, and can't wait for the next book in her Chemical Garden Trilogy!! 

    LC's Rating: 
    AMAZING. Beautifully tragic, dark and suspenseful, I could not put Wither down. If you are looking for a book that is both well-written and intelligent, this is one book you are going to LOVE!


    I also wanted to include here the trailer for the book and the short interview with Lauren DeStefano, just to entice you a little bit more into reading this book ;)

    Happy reading everyone!!


    Saturday, April 16, 2011

    Book Review: Paranormalcy

    Author: Kiersten White
    Release Date: August 31, 2010
    Pages: 352
    Read it in: 3 days

    The Hook: I see things you can't see. I find things that hunt you. I am your protector. But even I can't protect you now.

    Summary: Weird as it is working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, Evie's always thought of herself as normal. Sure, her best friend is a mermaid, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she's falling for a shape-shifter, and she's the only person who can see through paranormals' glamours, but still. Normal.

    Only now paranormals are dying, and Evie's dreams are filled with haunting voices and mysterious prophesies. She soon realizes that there may be a link between her abilities and the sudden rash of deaths. Not only that, but she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophesy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures. 

    So much for normal.

    LC's Take: 

    Oh wow, I really liked this book! I am one of those readers who has to read everything word-for-word in my head in order to follow the story (definitely not a speed reader!) so it takes me longer to get through a book, but even I whipped through Paranormalcy in about 3 days (and that was on top of work, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc.). Not too shabby! Paranormalcy kept me interested the whole way through-- the writing style was smart, witty and made me laugh to myself on almost every page.

    The main character is Evie, a normal teenage girl despite her ability to see paranormals, and the story is told through her point of view. I swear it was scary how much Evie and I think alike! She is intelligent and ditzy at the same time, which I can totally relate to-- she has a head on her shoulders but she struggles with all the insecurities and embarrassments that go along with being a 16-year old. And for Evie it's even tougher because, you know, her job is to "bag-and-tag" paranormals like vampires, werewolves and hags with a pink taser and bring them back to headquarters for containment. I loved Evie and I'm really glad Kiersten told the story though her eyes-- her sense of humor and ability to make fun of herself were a welcome change from the angsty, emo-types that seem so prevalent in a lot of YA.

    The supporting characters added to the lighthearted feel of the book-- Lend is the shape-shifting hottie Evie has a crush on and who really cares about her. Reth is Evie's ex-boyfriend who is also a faerie and takes on the possessive, won't-take-no-for-an-answer stalker-type role. Lish is Evie's best friend (and a mermaid) who works for IPCA and continually gets censored for swearing though the computer that translates her "Mermish" language (hard to explain but it's pretty darn funny).

    My opinion? Definitely check this book out! The plot was clever and fast-paced with lots of action. Evie's sense of humor balances the darker parts of the story, and besides she is an awesome kick-butt kind of heroine. There were only two issues I had with this book: one was the secondary characters. They weren't quite as fleshed-out as I would've liked, and Evie's relationships with them were kind of wishy-washy, so it was hard to feel emotional when something happened to them. The other is that I found the cover/back description to be kind of misleading-- if you think this is some dark, Gothic read with lots of serious writing, it's not-- quite the opposite, it's goofy/campy-- in a good way. Other than that, I thought this was a fun and entertaining read. I really haven't seen a bad review for this book yet and am happy to add on with another happy-reader review!

    LC's Rating:
    A fast-paced, fun read that combines all of your fave paranormal creatures into one clever and creative story-- you won't regret reading this one!!

    Thursday, April 14, 2011

    Follow Me Friday (2)

    Wow, can you even believe it's almost Friday? Awesomeness :)

    Follow me Friday is a book meme hosted by Parajunkee, and it is a great opportunity to find new blogs, meet new people, make new friends, and learn more about the book blogging community (oh yeah, and get new followers, yea!).

    This week has been pretty hectic, busy with work and all, so I was slow with the reviews (Paranormalcy is gonna be up soon, I swear!) Here is what I've been up to this week:

    I hope all of you have been having a great week! OK, so here is this Friday's question:

    Do you have anyone that you can discuss books with in real life? 

    Well, as I am a librarian who works in about 10 different libraries, I would have to say that, yes, there are plenty of people to discuss books with! I think that's one of the best parts about being a librarian, is always being around people who share my love for books. My fam isn't big into reading (I am pretty much the only hard-core book worm) but my mom did just start reading Pride and Prejudice which is my fave book of all time (I've read it at least 8 times) so I am loving having the opportunity to talk to her about what she thinks about it. And then this weekend we're going to go see the new Jane Eyre movie together because that's her favorite book :)

    Nice seeing/hearing from all of you guys again, and hello and welcome to all newcomers here at LC's Adventures in Libraryland! Check out my About Me for more, and have a fun weekend!

    Happy reading :)

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Who is Saint Giovanni? (Part 1)

    OK, so I really can't say just how much I am LOVING this blogging event, hosted over at The Lit Express. Basically, every week there will be a new installment of an all new book written by author Rane Anderson to debut her novel, Who Is Saint Giovanni? With each installment, there are illustrations, behind-the-scenes looks at how the author wrote the book, links to hear the installments read, etc. This is definitely going to be a reading experience like no other, and I am totally stoked to have found it! Below is a synopsis for Rane's book, and you can check out her blog through the links above :)

    Book Synopsis: The morning after a near-death experience, seventeen-year-old Emily Edwards discovers an X carved between her eyes. It’s painless, bloodless, and she has no clue how it got there. No one else seems to see it. As if that’s not bad enough, Emily’s senses are freakishly sharper, like she has been living, until then, a little deaf, a little blind, and without taste buds.

    Desperate for answers, Emily turns to Giovanni, the only person in Italy she promised herself she would avoid. He’s everything she hates in guys. Impulsive, secretive, and reckless, just like her father. What kind of guy grabs a girl he doesn’t know and kisses her? But Giovanni may be the only one who can see the mark. Though he denies it, Emily swears she’s caught him staring at it. 

    Before long, Emily learns she’s a pawn in a deadly game that has existed for centuries. The only one she trusts has stolen her soul, and she doesn’t even know it. Although some call Giovanni a saint, others call him a devil. Emily must determine whose side he’s on by finding the answer to a single question. Who is Saint Giovanni?
    I think that giving your readers such an in-depth and close-up look at your work is very ambitious and creative. I just read Part I, the first installment, and I am already hooked by the author's writing style and ability to draw in the reader, making them want to see what happens next. I am definitely looking forward to next week's installment. Just wanted to let you guys all know about this really awesome reader's event! Happy reading everyone :)

    Monday, April 11, 2011

    Teaser Tuesday (2)

    Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
    • Grab your current read
    • Open to a random page
    • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
    • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
    • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

      OK, so here's my teaser for this week:

      "Faeries are unaffected by alcohol, but much to her surprise-- and the faeries' undoing-- they get very, very drunk on carbonation. Using copious amounts of Coke, she was able to discover a single faerie's true name."

      ~p.70, Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

      Hehe, fairies getting drunk on Coke :) Yep, I am really enjoying this book-- the writing style is just so much fun, and very light-hearted, which makes for an easy  and entertaining read... Hope everyone else is having a great week while enjoying some great books!

      Sunday, April 10, 2011

      Book Review: Graceling

      Author: Kristin Cashore
      Release Date: September 7, 2009
      Pages: 480
      Read it in: 5 days

      The Hook: With elegant, evocative prose and a cast of unforgettable characters, debut author Kristin Cashore creates a mesmerizing world, a death-defying adventure, and a heart-racing romance that will consume you, hold you captive, and leave you wanting more.

      Summary: Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.

      When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change. She never expects to become Po’s friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace—or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away... a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

      LC's Take:  
      NOTE: There may be one or two spoilers here!

      OK, so, first let me start off by saying that yes, overall, I did like this book, and it definitely satisfied my love of fantasy-adventure type stories (oh yeah, I am an LOTR nut). However, if you are basing it on "The Hook" above, which is also on the back cover of the book, prepare to be a little under-whelmed.

      We all know that one of the key elements to an amazing fantasy novel is the ability of the author to create another world. The world created by Cashore, while slightly unimaginative and under-developed, was still believable and it does serve to form the backdrop to Graceling's fast-moving plot and engaging characters. However, I was left with a lot of questions about Katsa's world, since a lot of it seemed pretty vague and fuzzy. (What is the culture like? Is there a religion? What are the differences between the kingdoms? They all kind of seemed the same to me... What time period is this? It seems vaguely medieval, but then there are modern elements too...) Altogether, I thought that the structure of the world created by Cashore was kind of weak, so it is good that there is an intriguing plot and memorable characters to make up for this.

      At first, this book was a little difficult to get into-- here I was, being introduced to a whole other world that includes SEVEN kingdoms-- that's a lot of names and places to remember! I actually kept a piece of paper with all the major kingdoms and characters written down so that I could keep tract of everything. And this leads me to another issue I had with Cashore's world-creation: she made up waayyy to many kingdoms, for a plot that only takes place in three of them-- it seemed pointless to have so many other places and names to remember when they didn't even have any significance to the plot. Luckily, once I got into the story the four "extra" kingdoms sort of disappear into the background, so it became a little easier to keep tract.

      For the most part, I enjoyed the characters in Graceling. The main character is Katsa, a girl who is both strong to the point of being almost invincible, but also highly vulnerable and insecure with who she is. It's clear that Cashore wanted to have Katsa be a female protagonist who was fiercely independent while still having certain weaknesses that she has to confront throughout the story. In the beginning, I thought Katsa could be annoyingly immature at times, but it becomes clear as you read on that this is part of the story, and how she becomes just as strong in character as she is in physical power. By the end of the book, you can see that Katsa has matured to some extent- she isn't as selfish or stubborn. Her character is multi-dimensional and dynamic so that she ends up a different person from the one she starts at-- I always like to see this kind of character development in a story.

      Po, the other main character, who becomes Katsa's good friend (and lover) is definitely a likable character, but I didn't completely understand his attraction to- or ability to so quickly tolerate- Katsa at first. Also, I think their relationship was a bit confusing, and the ending didn't bring me much further clarity-- do they wind up together? Do they just go their separate ways because Katsa is so free-spirited and independent? I was a little frustrated because I felt like their relationship never became something definite, and neither Katsa nor Po change enough by the end to have that relationship become something strong by the last few pages.

      And call me old-fashioned, but I really wasn't a fan of Katsa being so against marriage. In the end, Katsa and Po are free to do whatever they want and one can leave the other if they want-- this kind of open relationship didn't really make true and lasting romance seem believable. I figured that after everything that they went through together, they would have reconsidered the idea of being together for good, but nope, I didn't get the satisfaction of seeing them live "happily ever after," darn it. Honestly, this level of "independence" verging on selfishness bothered me a lot as I was reading (And the aggressive strength of Katsa compared to the almost pathetic, laid-back weakness of Po came across as a bit "feminazi-ish"). Coincidentally, after I finished the book, I read one review on Amazon that actually put into words what I had been thinking all along- which is that the author seems to have a really delusional idea about feminism, relationships with men, and what it means to be a "strong and independent" female. I am a 26-year old woman, and in no way did I relate to Katsa's inability to form a committed relationship with Po.

      While it is true that Cashore knows how to tell a story and engage her readers, the writing style got to be a little bland at certain points (SO MANY pages of trekking through the woods!) Don't get me wrong, I was definitely able to get caught up in the intrigue and mystery surrounding the kidnapping of Po's grandfather and the trail leading to the villain, but  there were parts that dragged. And while there was an element of surprise that caught me off guard towards the end, I found the ending to be pretty anti-climactic-- the demise of the villain happens in like 2 paragraphs-- it's so quick, you almost miss it.

      Cashore does her best to wrap up all the loose ends by the last few pages, but I am not sure I really liked how certain things turned out (Especially how Katsa and Po's relationship is sort of just left up in the air). After nearly 500 pages, I kind of hoped to feel a bit more satisfied with how things turned out. 

      LC's Rating:
      If I was going to sum-up this book in one impression, I would say that it wasn't exactly mind-blowing but it was definitely entertaining. Graceling was a really good fantasy-adventure-- it wasn't a Tolkein or a C.S. Lewis, but I could recommend it to someone who likes this genre.

      In My Mailbox (2)

      In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely Kristi over at The Story Siren, where we get to share with our readers the books that we've gotten recently. So here is what I got this week!

      Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
      Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
      The Frenzy by Francesca Lia Block

      Matched by Ally Condie
      Ravenwild by Peter J. Plasse
      Heist Society by Ally Carter

      Whew! That's a lot of books! And I am still working through my first batch haha. I chose Speak because it won an ALA award for Young Adult Literature. The Frenzy, Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood, and Matched were chosen pretty much exclusively because I loved the covers. I want to read Heist Society because I will be seeing Ally Carter at an upcoming Teen Book Festival in May. Ravenwild was sent to me by the author, and Wicked Lovely just seemed like a cool series to go through. I don't have any particular order in which I'll be reading these, especially since I still have my last stack to get through, but I wanted to share with all of you what I picked up this week and hopefully will get to review sometime in the near future!

      Happy reading everyone!

      Thursday, April 7, 2011

      Follow Me Friday (1)

      OK, so I am totally new to the getting-to-know-each-other weekend memes and I thought it was high time I check them out! So this evening I visited one of my fave spots at Parajunkee's View aaaand... well now I am hoping to meet and greet some new bloggers! Woohoo!! If you are new to my site, I humbly welcome you to my new book blog (it's been here, like, 15 days haha) and if you are returning, it is so good to see you again! I am definitely looking forward to chatting and getting to know all of you this weekend :)

      Soooo... this week's question is: Do you judge a book by it's cover?

      Answer: Absolutely! I am pretty new to the YA genre (before this I was pretty much strictly an English historical biography kind of girl) so the cover for me is a major determining factor for whether or not I will pick a book up off the shelf.

      However, this isn't the only way I'll read a book: If I come across a really good review for something, or if it seems to have a different perspective/point of view, I have been known to look it up at the library, too. And sometimes I am really pleasantly surprised: Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi was an amazing book, even though its cover wasn't all that memorable.

      Hope all of you have an awesome weekend! Happy reading :)

      Wednesday, April 6, 2011

      Waiting on Wednesday (2)

      Today has been pretty quiet-- it's really gray and windy outside so I've just been wrapped up in reading Graceling by Kristin Cashore, and decided to do a little book meme-ing this afternoon :) Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by the lovely Jill at Breaking the Spine.

      So, I am sure that some of you have already seen this book and that it probably caught your eye by the absolutely beautiful and romantic cover-- well, it sounds like the story will be just as good! Here is a summary of Illuminated by Erica Orloff:

      Some loves are not made to last . . . Like Romeo and Juliet, Heloise and Abelard were doomed from the start, and their romance was destined to pass into history. Yet when sixteen-year-old Callie Martin discovers a diary hidden within an antique book, their story-and hers-takes on another life. For the diary leads Callie to the brilliant and handsome August, who is just as mysterious as the secret the diary hides. Their attraction is undeniable. As the two hunt down the truth behind the diary-and that of Heloise and Abelard's ancient romance-their romance becomes all-consuming. But Callie knows it can't last . . . love never does. Will their love that burns as bright as a shooting star flame out, or will these star-crossed lovers be able to defy history? 

      Illuminated is set to be released December 8, 2011 and it is one that I am definitely looking forward to!

      Tuesday, April 5, 2011

      Book Review: You

      Author: Charles Benoit
      Release Date: August 24, 2010
      Pages: 240
      Read it in: 1 day

      The Hook:You're surprised at all the blood. He looks over at you, eyes wide, mouth dropping open, his face almost as white as his shirt. He's surprised, too...

      Praise: "You is authentic, ambitious, and gripping. A serious book that reads like a suspense novel, the story it tells—of the ways in which we become imprisoned by our own choices, big and small—is both frightening and frighteningly real."  ~Lauren Oliver, author of Before I Fall and Delirium

      Summary: This wasn't the way it was supposed to go.

      You're just a typical fifteen-year-old sophomore, an average guy named Kyle Chase. This can't be happening to you. But then, how do you explain all the blood? How do you explain how you got here in the first place?
      There had to have been signs, had to have been some clues it was coming. Did you miss them, or ignore them? Maybe if you can figure out where it all went wrong, you can still make it right. Or is it already too late? Think fast, Kyle. Time's running out. How did this happen?

      You is the riveting story of fifteen-year-old Kyle and the small choices he does and doesn't make that lead to his own destruction.

      In his stunning young-adult debut, Charles Benoit mixes riveting tension with an insightful—and unsettling—portrait of an ordinary teen in a tale that is taut, powerful, and shattering.

      LC's Take:  

      As a reader and a reviewer, one thing that I really try to do is step outside of the genres that I would typically choose-- even if I think I may not like them-- in the hopes that I might be pleasantly surprised.(Side note: I do this with new foods too- I once tried raw, ground horse when I was an exchange student in France. Not a fave.) Hence, while I love the gorgeous covers and female perspectives from many of the books I pick out, I also try to choose some titles that offer something a little different. By stepping outside my "box" every now and then I encounter a broader range of writing styles, characters, and points of view that I might otherwise miss out on...

      Well, You was definitely one of those "different" books, and not the kind that I would typically jump to pull off the library shelf. But I did stumble across it and after reading some reviews, I wanted to give it a chance. I ended up spending about three and a half hours reading it from start to finish (it's a really quick read, and as I've said, I'm kind of a slow reader).

      Unfortunately, this book was not really my cup of tea. But before I get into why I didn't like You, (You the book- not like, you personally, haha) I do have to give credit to the author for taking such a gutsy leap with his writing style. Benoit chose to write this book exclusively in second-person, which I think helps to bring the reader right into the story and put you quite literally in the main characters shoes. I can only assume that this use of second-person is the reason for the book's title-- Benoit wanted to put "You" in the place of Kyle, the story's protagonist. It's a risky style to use for an entire book, so I have to admire his daring.

      The main problem I had with this book was that I just could not relate-- and ultimately sympathize with-- the main character Kyle. Maybe it's because I'm 26 years old, married and busily working at a job I love; but I just couldn't get myself to connect with an apathetic, woe-is-me, slacker-type teen whose goal seems to be to complain about everything and under-achieve as much as possible. Kyle doesn't do well in school, he refuses to get a part-time job, and his observations of the world around him were just so depressing it kind of put me in a bad mood. It's not that I don't "get" what it's like to be an awkward and angst-ridden teenager trying to fit in somewhere, but personally I liked high school and I had a job, so I just don't understand why Kyle was so... well, lazy. Also, while I did make some crappy decisions growing up, my world was not this dark and disturbing. I don't know; maybe I'm just lucky.

      The other issue I had was with the character Zack-- I'm sorry, but is anyone really this calculating and sadistic? It just didn't seem realistic to me that anyone would spend this much time and energy trying to ruin people's lives just for the heck of it.  Once again, maybe I'm just being naive-- but out of all the jerks from high school, I don't remember any of them being this bad.

      Finally, I didn't like the ending to You, for two reasons. 1.) It was too obvious in trying to get you to understand an (equally obvious) moral about the impact of the decisions you make, which just seemed preachy, and 2.) it was too vague. Everything concluded so abruptly that I actually said "Huh?" under my breath and then turned back to the first page to make sure I hadn't missed something. (I hadn't.) I think that Benoit just tries a little too hard to make his message clear about the consequences of bad choices, and then leaves the story completely unresolved-- I guess this could be some kind of plot device, but I didn't really understand it. Plus, the "moral" came across to me as sort of insulting to the intelligence of the reader-- I didn't need to have it spelled out for me like that.

      With all that being said, You did have some redeeming points. As I mentioned before, the use of second-person was a creative and daring way to interact with the reader. The writing style was gritty and hard-hitting. While I didn't really identify with Kyle, he did in some ways remind me of Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye, which is an awesome classic that in a similar way is a hit-or-miss kind of book for many readers.

      LC's Rating:
      Benoit's You was a quick and intense read that you could probably finish pretty easily in one sitting-- personally, I did not connect with it, but if you are looking for something written from a completely different perspective, you might enjoy this book.

      Monday, April 4, 2011

      Book Review: The Luxe

      Author: Anna Godberson
      Publisher: HarperCollins
      Series: The Luxe #1
      Release Date: November 20, 2007
      Pages: 448
      Read it in: 2 days

      The Hook: Pretty girls in pretty dresses, partying until dawn. Irresistible boys with mischievous smiles and dangerous intentions. White lies, dark secrets, and scandalous hookups. This is Manhattan, 1899.

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

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

      In a world of luxury and deception, where appearance matters above everything and breaking the social code means running the risk of being ostracized forever, five teenagers lead dangerously scandalous lives. This thrilling trip to the age of innocence is anything but innocent.

      LC's Take: 

      Reading this book was like devouring a giant, heavily-frosted piece of dark-chocolate cake with a big glass of golden, bubbly champagne—it was just a wonderfully decadent and guilty pleasure from beginning to end.

      The year is 1899, and sisters Elizabeth and Diana Holland are caught up in all the opulent wealth and scandalous intrigue of New York City’s Gilded Age. Anna Godberson does an incredible job of bringing this world to life in all its vibrant color—I absolutely loved it! From the witty dialogue to the luxurious descriptions of upper-class life, to the dynamics that unfold between the characters, this book had me hooked within the first couple pages.

      The cast of characters really stood out for me. From Elizabeth Holland, the elder sister who is pulled along by her sense of duty to her family and outwardly conforms to all the etiquette of her class (while secretly harboring a love affair with the family’s coachman), to Diana Holland, the younger sister who is calculating, unconventional and rebellious towards everything having to do with “high society.”

      And the side characters are just as engaging: Penelope Hayes is Elizabeth’s “best friend” who ruthlessly tries to bring her down at all costs as revenge for taking the eligible but hopeless playboy Henry Schoonmaker away from her. Henry Schoonmaker is pompous and vain, chasing after as many skirts as he can. Mrs. Holland is consumed by the fortunes of her family and the need to maintain their wealth and luxury at all costs after the death of her husband. Lina the maid is jealous and spiteful of her old friend Elizabeth, who has not only stolen Will, the man she’s secretly in-love with, but who was once her best friend and now uses her as her servant. If this all sounds like some crazy Italian-operetta with a bunch of different POVs and intrigues, well you wouldn’t be far off! The entire cast of characters work together so well and are all woven perfectly into this story of playing high-stake games in late 19th-century New York City.

      The Luxe has totally turned my opinion and restored all my faith in the brilliance of historical fiction (which I have said I’m not a fan of). I absolutely adored this book and thought that its portrayal was not only accurate but vividly real in its descriptions of high society at the end of the 19th century. (The only thing I might point out is that, if you don’t like lots of descriptive language that takes the time to paint every little thing in a room or setting, you might get slightly annoyed with The Luxe, because there is a lot of description!) I for one love these little details so for me they were almost as fun to read as all the tantalizing secrets and scandals, but that’s just my own preference…

      If, on the other hand, you like the idea of getting pulled into a 19th century soap opera where everyone is beautiful and no one can be trusted with their dirty secrets and two-faced games, then The Luxe is for you. Honestly, I haven’t had this much fun reading a book in a long time and could NOT put it down. LOVED it and can’t wait to read the sequels!!

      LC’s Rating:
      The Luxe is one big indulgent treat that you can’t help but find absolutely delicious!

      Sunday, April 3, 2011

      Interview with Anna Godbersen

      Don't you just looooove slow days when you don't have to work and can just sit and read? Today has been such a nice, quiet and relaxing Sunday-- I spent pretty much all day reading The Luxe by Anna Godbersen and let me just say, what an incredible book! I absolutely adored it and cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel, Rumors. I am not a very fast reader so even I was impressed that I finished this 448-page book in less than 2 days :)

      Tomorrow I'll be posting my review of The Luxe so stay tuned!

      In anticipation of my review for The Luxe by Anna Godbersen, I wanted to first post this interview that I watched earlier today while finishing up the book. Anna really gives some great insight into what went into writing and creating this series. One aspect that really struck me was the laborious and pain-staking process of research and fact-checking that she went through in order to create an historical fiction series that is not only incredibly fun and exciting to read but is also as accurately based on historic fact as possible. This, to me, is so impressive and I really cannot praise her talent enough :) I have definitely found a new favorite series after reading The Luxe!

      So I hope that you all enjoy this interview, and I am looking forward to talking about The Luxe with you tomorrow!

      Lots of love to my followers and have a great night everyone!! :)

      Friday, April 1, 2011

      Book Review: Delirium

      Author: Lauren Oliver
      Release Date: February 1, 2011
      Pages: 448
      Read it in: 5 days

      The Hook: Love, the deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don’t. 

      Summary: There was a time when love was the most important thing in the world. People would go to the end of the earth to find it. They would tell lies for it. Even kill for it. Then, at last, they found the cure. Now, everything is different. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Haloway has always looked forward to the day when she'll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy. But then, with only ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable…

      LC’s Take:  

      Before I go any further, let me first say that Lauren Oliver is such an incredible writer. Her words are just like poetry and there were points in this book where I literally just broke into tears, because what she has to write is so beautiful and poignant. As I read Delirium, I became totally wrapped up within the story, with the characters—the entire world that Oliver creates is absolutely spectacular. I was able to feel every bit as much as Lena (the protagonist) does, as she reacts to the dystopian society she seems so inextricably a part of.

      Lena is a teenager that you can absolutely relate to, despite the fact that at the beginning she is completely brainwashed. Little by little, Lena begins to question things that she has always believed and held to be true-- and this is what makes her such a real character. It’s not like she walks along all happy and oblivious, then meets Alex the guy of her dreams and says, “OK! I guess I’ll believe whatever you tell me, heehee, because I love you and can’t live without you.” No, she actually has a brain of her own and she does go through a painstaking process of shifting back and forth between what’s right and what’s wrong, what’s real and what’s a lie-- it takes her some time to figure it out but that internal struggle gives her character both depth and complexity.

      Alex is such a lovable character- from the very first time you meet him, you can’t help but fall in love with him too, I mean he just makes you smile. He’s fun, full of life, mischievous, and represents everything good that stands up against the dark, twisted world Lena lives in. Also, he truly loves her-- that is undeniable by the last pages of the story.

      That being said, I did have a few issues with this book. First of all, I just didn’t understand the concept of a world where love is considered to be a disease. Where did this come from? I’ve heard the point made before that dystopian worlds need to have an origin— there needs to be some logical string of events that connects the world we live in to the dystopian world the characters live in. But I couldn’t draw any parallels between our current society and Lena’s that would put love, of all things, in trouble of being destroyed.

      Other things that puzzled me: What exactly is the point of making everyone immune to love? Yes, I understand it turns them into dull, listless zombies to be controlled by the government, but love just doesn’t seem to be the most logical or stable thing to target if you are trying to maintain complete control over people. Also, I couldn’t figure out-- are the raiders/regulators/government people in Lena’s world all “cured” as well? How could they be and still stay in control? There were just a lot of open-ended questions I still have that were never answered.

      I wasn’t crazy about the ending to Delirium—I don’t want to give anything away, but after 400+ pages I just ended up feeling kind of depressed, let-down, and slightly jipped. (Note: this is not because the ending is boring, it's definitely not!) Maybe I should’ve seen it coming or maybe I’m too idealistic, but I was so convinced the story would end one way and then it ended completely different. I wonder if anyone else who has read this book had the same reaction?

      On the upside, Oliver’s story is definitely unpredictable with many plot twists. Most importantly, it was original. **Sigh...** I just wished things had turned out differently! But this is going to be a trilogy, right? So maybe I will be pleasantly surprised with the books to come-- I will definitely be reading them.

      LC’s Rating:
      Captivating and beautiful writing with an unexpected ending—love it or hate it, you won’t forget this book.
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