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Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Guardian of Eden: Leslie Dubois

This book was gifted to me by Leslie Dubois :)

The book begins with immediate action,Garrett's sister, Eden, is in the hospital.  Garrett and Maddie, his girlfriend, are rushing around trying to help Eden receive the best possible care.  The reader will be immediately intrigued as to what occurred to cause this wild scene. 

The book then returns to the beginning of Garrett's story.  The reader follows his journey through a rough childhood through his teens.  A very bright child, a prodigy, Garrett succeeds even without the help a child in a different situation may have received.  His mother, Holly, is a woman who can't seem to find a decent boyfriend and neglects her children in the process.   Garrett is left in charge of his younger sister; he attempts to shelter her from the realities of their lives throughout the novel.  He helps her with homework, feeds her, and ultimately seeks revenge for her.  He also acts as caregiver to his "mother", even defending her against a man trying to rape her.   His defense of his mother results in visits to a psychologist, who claims Garrett has anger issues.  This "diagnosis" hits Garrett hard, his own father is doing jail time for the murder of Holly's father. 

Life isn't always so hard on poor Garrett, in school he meets Maddie.  Maddie is the daughter of a senator and becomes Garrett's love interest in the novel.  His relationship with Maddie begins its early stages with Garrett's  need to help and protect, Maddie is to do an interview of him, however, she is sick and Garrett immediately wants to take care of her.  The reader learns through Maddie and Eden that Garrett is kind and loving, his past and his parents don't necessarily guarantee he will turn out like them. 

Garrett gets the opportunity to meet his jailed father and meets with him periodically throughout the book, developing a fairly strong relationship with him even though Garrett was wary at first.  Garrett is well-developed both as a character in the book and his natural character and personality.  He learns quickly that not everything is as it seems, that his father may have been in the right.  Violence is prevalent is his life, from defending his mother against her boyfriends and Eden's father to understanding why violence may be necessary in some situations. 

The book continues with ups and downs and some curve balls.  I have to say I really enjoyed reading Garrett's story, I felt like I knew him personally even after the book had ended.  I liked to read about his strength and determination to make his sister's life as good and happy as he could.  His idea of learning a new word a day, suggested to him by his grandmother, made me want to do learn a new word a day also.  The story flowed perfectly, with no awkward pauses or scenes that appeared out-of-place.  I think it is important for readers to see the reality of some children's lives, as hard as it may be to read about them.  The other side of the story is important and informative.  I was very happy I had the opportunity to read this book. 

Another Giveaway courtest of 21pages :)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Nocturne Reads Contest!

A Myriad of Books Giveaway :)

Cindy Pon Giveaway :)

Amber In Blue Underland Giveaway :)

Paranormal Romance Giveaway :)

Amethyst Daydreams Giveaway!!!

Unloved: A Suicide Prevention Novel

The first thing I noticed and liked about this book was that it had a thank you for reading page; I stopped to read it and liked the book a little bit more because the writers had acknowledge the reader. 
The first story, about two boys, take the reader back to the schooldays.  The two main characters are Brandon, a boy with a bad home life, and Eric, Brandon's supposed best friend who receives regular beatings from Brandon.   The author makes the situation so much more real than just an event occurring in a book, the phrase "home grown ass whoppin'" is used, the nasty expressions on the bullies' (Brandon and his father) faces, and the hurt and terror reflected in Eric's actions and facial expressions/emotions. 
The second story concerns a boy named Meech and the bully that encouraged him to end his life much too soon.  Meech was potentially gay-at least that's what the students believe.  The bullying occurred mainly at school, from being shoved into a vat of sour cream to having tobacco spit on Meech's clothing.  The very sad part of the short story occurs when the bully acknowledges Meech's kindness in welcoming the bully to the school, his hopeful eyes,  and how Meech gathered up the bully's homework when he was home sick.  The trouble lies in Meech and the bully kissing, as much as the bully enjoyed the kissing, he couldn't handle the potential affects it would have on his life. The author creates this story by allowing the reader to see into the bully's head and experience as well as potentially understand what happened. 
 In the next short story, an innocent sleepover goes very wrong.  Greer, the main character, hated his nickname in school "Greer the Queer", his main desire in life is to fit in.  During the sleepover, Greer comforts a boy named Randy who was picked on to the point of tears.  Greer wakes up with his head on Randy's chest and his hand in Randy's hand as well as to cell phone cameras flashing and the jeering of the other teens.  As Greer shoves away from Randy, Randy is badly hurt (physically as well as probably emotionally).  A few horrible pictures later, Randy brings a gun to school to hurt his tormentors.  The author show one possible consequence of bullying vividly and effectively.
The anthology continues, accentuating the results of bullying from suicide to re-bullying to violence at school.  The characters in each anthology vary from their viewpoints, some are friends of the bully or the bullies themselves while others are the victims.  No detail is spared, the emotions of the main characters are high intensity and the characters themselves become very real to the reader.  I would recommend this book to teens/young adults/adults in general, everyone should be educated about the effects and harm of bullying. 

New Excellent Giveaway!

Supernaturally ARC contest :)

Night Road: Kristin Hannah

Wednesday, April 27, 2011
I picked up this book after seeing it on a Good Reads giveaway.  The plot seemed good, the characters all conflicting, and the idea innovative.

The characters are all very different and have very dissimilar views on how to cope with loss.  There is Jude, silent and stubborn, I was very annoyed with her character.  Jude did have a reason to mourn, yes, but to take it out on her grandchild?  There is Mia and Zach, Jude's twins, one whose life is cut short at a very early age and another who is more insipid in his treatment of his oldest and best friend-Lexi.  Lexi, an orphan and the twins' best friend, is the root of all of the trouble.  Though I would venture to say her part in the trouble was but a part, not the whole. 

The climax of the book comes quickly, when Mia is killed in a drunk driving car accident, the driver-Lexi.  The reader should not be so quick to judge though, Lexi was not the designated driver.  The designated driver, Zach, had gotten drunk; Lexi believed she was doing the right thing in taking over the driving because she was the least drunk of the trio.  After a drunk driving accident comes the trial, wherein against the advice of her lawyer Lexi pleads guilty.  The novel carries on from there with surprises, one of them being Lexi pregnant by Zach. 

I was surprised at the selflessness of Lexi's sacrifices in admitting her guilt (I don't think entirely deserved) and in giving her child to Zach rather than exposing the baby to jail.  She makes the best of her situation by striking up an unlikely friendship with her cell mate, who encourages her to rekindle her relationships with Zach and her baby.  Zach, off to medical school, feels some guilty, but not enough to admit his place in the trouble.  Jude continues to hold the baby at arms length and her husband works around all four of them, a doctor himself.  When Lexi leaves her jail cell the novel really takes off, addressing questions that the reader cannot truly answer and bringing about actions (mostly Lexi's) that the reader will find him/herself unable to judge. 

This novel was actually much better than I though it would be, I was able to really make a connection to Lexi and her child.  I like that drunk driving awareness blared loudly in the book, a problem that is not considered enough in society.  The author kept the novel's pace even and tempered.  I would recommend this book to young adults and adults. 

The Qwillery Giveaway!

Another Wonderful Giveaway!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Awesome Giveaway!

Easter Hop Giveaway Winner:

dakotagirl16!  Thank you all for commenting and I hope you continue to follow this blog :)

Another Giveaway courtesy the Reading Teen

Another Giveaway!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Wither: Lauren DeStefano

I loved the cover of this book; ironically, the cover is indicative of the books contents.  The girl on the cover is the main character, Rhine, who Linden enslaved to be his bride. 
Rhine is a survivor, her parents died fairly long ago leaving only her twin brother to support her.  I admired Rhine's perseverance in escaping Linden and her determination to help her friends aka sister wives.    I was surprised by how well I knew Rhine at the end of the novel, I also enjoyed the author's other two sister wives.  With distinct personalities, one is somber and accepting of her fate while the other is childlike and demanding.  Rhine balances these two out with her will to live and her maturity in formulating her plan.  The reader also meets Linden, Rhine's oblivious husband, and Gabriel, Rhine's helpful love interest.  These characters are all well-developed and made to elicit certain emotions in the reader. 

The story begins with Rhine realizing she had been taken to become a bride.  In this dystopian society, due to scientific attempts to perfect the human race women die around their twentieth birthdays and men die on their twenty-fifth birthdays.  The result of these lives cut short: women are taken off the streets at random to become the brides of wealthy men to produce children.  Rhine is realistic about her situation after a mourning period, she adjusts to the finery of her new home and slowly begins to befriend her sister wives.  In the first few chapters of the book, Rhine begins to hatch an escape plan.  It is in the house that Rhine meets Gabriel, during one of her escapes from the confines of the wives' floor.  She also befriends Rose, Linden's first love and wife, who dies shortly after.  The book continues with exciting scenes and constant action. 

The author keeps the readers attention throughout the novel, I was able to finish the book in a day.  The words and actions flow, the events are exciting, and characters are well-known to the reader.  I would recommend this book to young adults (female). 

The Guardian Angel's Journal: Carolyn Jess-Cooke

Admittedly, when I picked this book up I was afraid it was going to be about calling people to believe in angels...and not much else content. However, I was pleasantly surprised.

The main character, Margot, has just died. Her life was not particularly well-spent; one may even consider her life "bad". She has a chance to redeem herself; she can become a guardian angel. This is where the novel gets interesting. She becomes a guardian angel to herself, seeing herself being born (bad memory), watching through her orphanage years (more bad memories) and so on. I liked how the author handled the other guardian angels in the book, they could have been "holier than thou", but instead they were humble and reminded me a little of Mother Teresa. The interaction between a guardian angel and his/her ward is intriguing, the guardian angel allows for free will, but still attempts to guide. Throughout the novel, Margot re-experiences all of her bad memories interspersed with some good ones. She has the opportunity to make several different choices and, I believe, feel as if her life is fuller.

The ending was both shocking and expected. I was glad this novel didn't leave a cliff-hanger, but I wanted to read more about Margot's story. This book brings awareness of how some foster children and orphaned children are treated-not to say all experience certain atrocities, but that some do and those children should not have to experience them at all. The way the book was written flowed quite well, the vocabulary was easy to understand, and the reader really knows Margot and her living self at the end of the story. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to young adults/adults who like reading about the possibilities of the after-life.

Playing Hurt: Holly Schindler

Thursday, April 21, 2011
I wasn't entirely sure about this book after the first 2 chapters.  I thought the whole novel could center around teen romance and "leaning to live after a major life event", and I still think that that idea was a large part of the novel. 

The main character, Chelsea, was maimed in a basketball game (she loses the ability to play her favorite game).  Chelsea struck me as a flawed character-I think it is impressive when an author creates a flawed character as it is not easy to do-Chelsea was self-centered, morose, and unwilling to push the limits.  The other main character, Clint, is a young adult who lost his girlfriend in a foolish car accident; as a result, he refuses to live life like he used to or play hockey (she was driving to see one of his games).  Both characters are a little silly in that Clint should be able to move on from his first love within 2 years, Chelsea is more understandable (if I tore my tendons I'd be complaining too), but she should come to terms with the accident-she's more than talented enough to find another love.  However, the fact that they both need to "heal" is the factor that makes this novel work so well.

Chelsea goes to a vacation in the country with her family and is sent off to join Clint's "boot camp".  They don't hit it off right away at all, but they do fight an attraction to each other.  Using small, but significant events, the author manipulates Clint and Chelsea closer together until they both decide to throw caution to the wind and admit that they like each other.  Chelsea stumbles into the very same copse of trees where Clint's girlfriend's body was found, Clint pushes Chelsea to canoe...  I was a little disappointed that it took them 200 pages to come to this conclusion.

The end left me with a bit of a cliff hanger, which drives me off my nut, but the end was fairly satisfying if not conclusive.  I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy novels where people overcome obstacles in their life with a bit of romance involved. 

Cindy Pon giveaway :)

Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easter Hop

Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Blog Hop
April 20th to 25th

Hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
& Once Upon a Twilight

What is a giveaway hop?
Simple - Each participating blog hosts a giveaway and then we link up together allowing our followers to hop easily from one giveaway to another.
For followers this means lots of chances to win free books.
For blogs hosting a giveaway it means lots of new visitors and followers.
It's a win-win!

The Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop is scheduled from 12:01 AM April 20th until 11:59 PM April 25th.

^There's the linky to the other blogs who are involved, over 200+! 
As for me, I will be giving away a $15.00 Amazon card.  To enter need to be a follower on this blog (which gives the few of you a terrific chance at wining since this is a new blog), leave a comment on this post as well.  Good Luck!

The Qwillery Giveaway!

Giveaway from Confessions and Rambling!

Here's the link, take a look :)

Pink Boots and a Machete: Mireya Mayor

Tuesday, April 19, 2011
When I was a little kid I always dreamed of being a great Explorer.  Mireya Mayor actually lives that dream!  Her first novel demonstrates to the reader how an NFL cheerleader rises to the level of National Geographic Explorer. 

The novel opens with Mireya describing her family's background.  From her mother's difficult escape from Cuba (eviction, really) to Mireya's fascination with all things lizard, this book will pull the reader in from the start.  The book quickly moved to a death-defying experience that will leave the reader wondering what the point of exploring is when it is so dangerous.  Mireya answers this question rapidly and without even a hint of hesitation.  To be an explorer is an amazing experience, to see what almost no one has seen before and go where no one has gone before, and to experience all of the world's wonders is a gift that should be treasured. 

I don't feel as if I would do the book justice if I attempted to describe all of Mireya's experiences and problems in Guyana, Africa, and Madagascar.  The feelings of desperation, euphoria, and calm are pervasive throughout the book.  When Mireya stands on the edge of Kaieteur Waterfall and knows that she is seeing an amazingly beautiful work of nature is indescribable.  Luckily, the reader can imagine some of these events in the pictures included with the book.  Mireya's love of lemurs and gorillas are a fun part of the book, but the reader feels sadness when Mireya finds cut-off gorilla hands and feet (sold to tourists).   In the same way, the elation Mireya feels as she discovers a previously undiscovered lemur brings the same happiness to the reader.  In just a few hundred pages, Mireya manages to tell her life story with many fun facts and details.  I loved the ending and would recommend this book to anyone, it was easily that good. 

House of Borgia Giveaway!

Check it out!

Dark Goddess: A Devil's Kiss Novel by Sarwat Chadda

Once again it was the cover that drew my eye, a beautiful girl holding a sword...unfortunately not a common cover.  I had already read Devil's Kiss, which was terrific and written-well.  I finished this book in two days and never had to go back to remember the events of the book-it was memorable by itself. 

The novel opens with Billi sorrowful over the death of her friend aka her believed-to-be-soul mate.  Immediately the reader is drawn into a world where a young girl is trained to chase after werewolves and fight Baba Yaga.  The events are fast-paced and not long after the first chapter the reader is introduced to the "Spring Child", a girl who has the power to end the world.  The Knights Templar must protect or kill the Spring Child to prevent this from occurring, her falling into the wrong hands (the Polenitsy) would be deadly.  The Polenitsy are a group of ancient warrior women of Eastern Europe who are known as Man-Killers.  They, too, want the Spring Child; their purposes are much more devious than the Knights Templar, they want to feed the Spring Child to Baba Yaga so that she would renew her power and "start over" the world, removing the evil humans. 

Billi quickly rubs shoulders with several other powerful societies of the world, including the son of a past leader.  Ivan Romanov trusts no one, yet Billi must work with him to ensure the continuing survival of Earth and humans.  He becomes the potential love interest of the novel. 

The reader is never disappointed with Sarwat Chadda, the novel contains action, intrigue, horror, and a bit of romance.  The atmosphere is magical, the descriptions are vivid, and the dialogue contains enough foreshadowing to keep the reader guessing.  I would recommend this book to young adults who enjoy reading about ancient societies and action-packed novels.

The Qwillery giveaway!

Among Thieves will be given away to a commenter at the Qwillery's website, check it out!

Divergent ARC giveaway!

Monday, April 18, 2011

If you want a shot at winning this ARC go to this blog!  This is a great book and worth a try at winning!

The Vespertine: Saundra Mitchell

I heard about this book on Good Reads and decided to place a hold on it.  I read the book in about 2 days, meandering over a few other books as well.  I can't say I loved it, but I enjoyed the novel. 
The book is written in the flavor of 1889, the words and actions are flowery and overdone.  The setting varies from Broken Tooth, Maine to Baltimore, Maryland.  The main character, Amelia, is sent to live with her relatives in Baltimore as a kind of "coming out" to society and a chance to snag a husband.  Amelia is dramatic and incessantly curious of the new events and environment surrounding her.
The reader finds Amelia in a depressed state back at her familial home with her brother and his wife.  From there the novel progresses through the events that led up to Amelia's morose.  At her relatives' house, Amelia becomes friends with her stylish cousin, Zora.  It is at that house that Amelia discovers her strange gift: she can see futures in the "vespers"/as the sun is setting.  With Zora, Amelia begins regularly using her gift for her friends and classmates.  She thinks highly of her gift and impresses even high members of society (mostly young females she meets).  Throughout this eventful discovery, Amelia finds herself falling in love with Nathaniel.  Nathaniel is a mysterious character, unfortunately, he doesn't have the money or status necessary to truly court Amelia, rendering their meetings and "dates" secret.  For a few chapters the book follows Amelia pushing the limits of her gift and even hosting "seance" type activities. 
Happiness never lasts forever, Amelia fails to predict the demise of someone very important to both her and Zora, leaving a certain character (not Zora) very mad at her and out to kill.  This is where the action heats up and the reader, who has been skimming along, really gets drawn into the novel. 
The ending is satisfactory with a slight cliff hanger.  I would recommend this book to young teens/adults (female), who enjoy fantasy and romance.  For me, the book was too flowery, but I know that some readers enjoy the true "flavor" of a book and will like the writer's dialogue. 

Timeless: Alexandra Monir

Sunday, April 17, 2011
I'll admit it, the first thing that drew me to this book was the face of a beautiful girl looking wonderingly from the cover. However, what drew me into this book isn't the pretty cover. The description on the inside of the book is really intriguing and gives just enough information for the unassuming reader to buy the book or check it out from the local library.
Michele Windsor, the protagonist of the novel, loses her mother in a drunk driving incident. Devastated, she is sent to live with her ridiculously wealthy grandparents who had previously "disowned" her mother. Her mother was, in part, disowned because of Michele; when she was just a young adult, her mother had fallen in love with a mysterious young man by the name of Henry Irving. As Henry Irving was not especially rich or famous, the Windsors disapproved. In order to marry her first love, Michele's mother runs away with Henry Irving only to be seemingly abandoned by him before Michele's birth. Michele and her mom live along with each other for company.
After the aforementioned terrible car accident, Michele is sent to live with her wealthy grandparents, the Windsors. Unable to get comfortable in her new extravagant home and unwelcoming school, Michele looks through boxes brought from her California home and finds an interesting key. When the key draws her to a lock containing Clara's (an ancestor) diary, Michele is miraculously transported back to 1910. There she meets her ethereal ancestor Clara, as well as her love interest, Philip. Can a relationship survive the gap of time?
I liked this book from the start, the writing is descriptive, but not to the point of annoyance, the main character's feelings and anxieties are tangible throughout the novel, and the reader gets a sense of the pervading atmosphere of the novel. This book is great for readers who enjoy fantasy/magic, romance, and intrigue. I was so happy to reach the end of the book and find a "To Be Continued".