Passion - Lauren Kate

Passion (Fallen, #3)Passion by Lauren Kate

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

GENRE: Young Adult – Fantasy
SERIES: Fallen Series
FORM: Audiobook
NARRATOR: Justine Eyre

SYNOPSIS: Luce is unsure about this ‘soulmate’ business between her and Daniel; does Daniel love her because of her, or does he love her as a result of the curse? On a quest to find answers, Luce begins back and forth in her own past selves to get the answers she is looking for. Along the way she is helped by a curious gargoyle looking creature calling himself Bill. Bill, who has a knack for disappearing at the climax of each past self’s life, seems to have his own agenda at times. Daniel, and all of Luce’s friends are also bouncing through time, trying to find her. All are on a mission to find out how to break the dreaded curse.

REVIEW: I did not review Fallen, and I think it was because it was in one of those brief moments where I had decided to take a break from blogging and just read and move on. What I remember from the book, it was well told, but somehow left me feeling a little disappointed. I’m going to state for the record right now, this was my favorite book of the series so far. I did review Torment, and while I expressed my dislike in the review, I did say that I was hooked, and had to know what was going to happen. Unfortunately, Passion has not turned this story for the better, at all. I would say I don’t know what I was expecting, but truth be told, I wasn’t expecting anything, I was just reading (er, listening) to a story. I think all the bouncing around in time didn’t do it for me. I got tired of seeing how “passionately in love” Daniel and Luce were in each and every life, and how Daniel has been able to look past her faults and come to her rescue and cry in anguish and despair every time she was ripped from him again and again. (Boy, at this point I really hope you’ve read the other books…because if not, I’ve just ruined a BUNCH of stuff here…and I’m going to continue to do so…so beware). To be honest, I actually reached a point where I didn’t want to see or hear about it anymore. I get it, move on. So that being said, the book felt lacking in the whole “story” department of a story. In away, the entire book felt a little bit like the blank month pages in New Moon, only in that book it was effective, here it was just like the story was on pause and we were watching the same scenes play out in different ways over and over and over again. Could you imagine this as a movie? Me either.

In my review of Torment, I mentioned that I was tired of the love triangle stuff. Well, thankfully, this has seemingly disappeared. However, it seems like it would have been at least appropriate for there to of been some sort of resolution between Miles and Luce. But no, in the short time they were even together in this book, there seemed to be absolutely no hint of anything having happened between them at all.

I feel really, really bad writing this review, but this is how I feel. I know there are others out there who love these books, and really enjoyed this one. I just feel like the entire book was a placeholder. I’m not sure why, but I also thought there were only 3 books to this series. In reality, there probably should have only been three books to this series. I don’t know if I’ll stick around to find out what happens next or not, only what’s going on in my life when the book comes out, and if I even remember it exists, will determine how I make my decision.

WHAT I LOVED: The covers are beautiful. My favorite is Torment’s cover. The covers are what drew me to these novels to begin with.

NOT SO MUCH: I think I’ve covered this enough, I’m not going to keep going on.

   Rapture, to be released in 2012


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Seth Baumgartner's Love Manifest - Eric Luper

Seth Baumgartner's Love ManifestoSeth Baumgartner's Love Manifesto by Eric Luper
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

GENRE: Young Adult – Fiction
FORM: Book (Library)

SYNOPSIS: After suffering the worst day of his life; girlfriend dumps him, sees his dad with another woman, Seth starts on a journey of exploring love, it’s meaning, it’s purpose, if it’s even worth it. He hashes is out on a podcast, in which he calls himself The Love Manifesto. In his explorations, Seth learns about the chemical ins and outs of love, some lessons in being a good friend and person, and the benefits to eating the world’s worst chicken salad sandwich, ever!

REVIEW: Some of my favorite types of books include 1. Girls who kick butt, and 2. Books told from the male perspective. Considering the title, it’s pretty obvious this book is definitely not an option number 1. It’s a double bonus when the book is written by a male author too, because it makes me feel like it’s a more legit perspective. So here we have two for two! I’m not sure what draws me to male perspective books, except maybe because I’m female? I think had I been smart enough to have actually read books other than the ones assigned to me while I was in High School, and discovered said books, I may have at least had a little more understanding about guys. Or at least could assume that despite what the book may say, men are not from Mars and women are not from Venus. In many ways, it seems as though guys and girls have many of the same doubts and fears, and even expectations of others. It’s just how the sexes react that seems to be different. But then again, I’m basing my analysis on a few fiction novels. Anyhow…on with the review, right?

I felt like I could be friends with Seth Baumgartner. He was the slightly put off, a little sarcastic guy who was dealing with a large load, and in typical teenage fashion, was dealing with it on his own, even if he did have his friends right there with him. He makes honest mistakes and whole heartedly tries to correct them. His best friend, Dimitri, was the slightly overweight, comic relief of the book. Actually, he had some very insightful remarks, thrown in among some that were extremely gross, or mostly ignorant. Dimitri could have a book all on his own, I suspect he has a little bit to learn about self confidence, and perhaps when it’s best NOT to say exactly what is on his mind. The relationship between Dimitri and Audrey was classic brother and sister, I honestly have never seen a more true representation in any book. It seems that all of the books I’ve read recently, the siblings are almost like best friends, but here the relationship is more of an “I’m going to get on your nerves as much as possible, but in the end I’ve always got your back,” kind of understanding.

While I love music incorporated into books, the “music” in this book was very part and partial to the story in my opinion. Yeah, Seth creates this “anonymous” personality and hashes things out while whining, complaining, and coming to some honest revelations via podcasts, and pairs up his findings with music. I was just not feeling the music, on my end. I was too wrapped up in the other parts of the story I think.

WHAT I LOVED: This is not a make your heart race, stomach clench love story. I did not fall in love with Seth, I couldn’t care less who he ended up with in the end. I think it was Seth’s love discoveries that really kept me going in this story. Each new thing he learned seemed to take its place within the confusion that already existed in his brain. He would attempt to apply it, or make sense of it, but in the end, it all seems to seep through the cracks and out the window. There are things in life that are more important than a chemical high that you get when you meet an attractive person.

I also loved the many, many references to current events in the book. That is not something you find all the time, but even if in the media and public eye it dies down; in this book it will be forever remembered that Tiger Woods cheated on his wife. That’s just awesome!

NOT SO MUCH: I think I actually missed the heart racing, stomach clenching…which is something I have never gotten from male perspective book. Is it okay to love and not love a book for the same exact reason? Oh well, doesn’t matter, this is my blog after all!


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Book Covers that Make You Want to Read

Someone just recently added this book to their TBR list on Goodreads...I was sucked in by the cover....

So in case you're curious, this book releases January 3, 2012 (and something tells me, we'll be hearing more about it.)  Below is the goodreads synopsis:

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever.

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there's a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.


Eon; Dragoneye Reborn - Alison Goodman

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn (Eon, #1)Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman

RATING: 4 of 5 stars

GENRE:  Young Adult Fantasy
FORM:  Audio Book

SYNOPSIS:   Eon is a girl pretending to be a boy, training to be a candidate to be chosen by the Rat Dragon as an apprentice Dragoneye. (All of this is explained very well within the first couple chapters of the book..so if you’re confused, don’t worry.)  During the ceremony, s/he is not chosen by the Rat Dragon, but just as the ceremony is coming to an end, the Mirror Dragon, the dragon that has been missing for over 500 years, suddenly appears and chooses Eon as it’s Dragoneye.  Eon is taken from the status of a servant boy and moved straight up to a Lord, second only to royalty, and also into the fragile state of affairs.  There are uprisings, and a prince who has his sights set on the throne.  Now that the Mirror Dragon has come back, everyone has their hopes resting on it and on Eon.

REVIEW:  Wow.  There is just so much wrapped up into this book!  I loved Eon (Eona’s) character, even if every now and though I thought she was blind to what was staring her right in the face.  The characters were very strong, and for once there was no doubt about who was whom, no one suddenly switching sides or saying they were someone they weren’t.  Those who were bad and evil were obvious, and those who were good stayed that way.  I’m very excited to get the next book, Eona,  oddly enough this was the book that caught my eye and started me into the series.  Something about the cover just drawled me to it.  While this is not a romance book at all, there were some semi-sensual parts in it (although, you had to be paying attention).  Part of me hopes for a little bit more in the future.

Nancy Wu did pretty well as the narrator.  While not the best I’ve ever heard, the story was told very well and it was easy to distinguish between characters.

WHAT I LOVED:   I think I enjoyed the mythology and culture blended into this book, and then the twist and irony of the female getting the honor of the Mirror Dragon.  Scandalous!  And of course, I always love some butt-kicking girl books!  In this case, Eon/a had a lot of self confidence and physical issues to fight against as well, but I think in the end I liked her more for it.

NOT SO MUCH:   At points, especially in the beginning, the book seemed to drag on.  As mentioned, there are a lot of details, and they were important to the book, thus necessary.  It's just, I really wanted to get to some action, and it just wasn’t happening.



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Beauty Queens - Libba Bray

Beauty QueensTITLE:  Beauty Queens
AUTHOR:  Libba Bray
MY RATING: 4 of 5 stars
GENRE: Young Adult – Fiction (Older YA’s)
FORM: Audiobook
NARRATOR: Libba Bray

SYNOPSIS: A plane full of “Miss Teen Dream” beauty contestants are on their way to the Teen Dream pageant, when their plane crashes, leaving the 15 of the 50 contestants alive and stranded on a seemingly deserted island. While trying to figure out ways continue practicing their pageant skills, eat and survive while waiting to be rescued, the teens beauties somewhat reluctantly band together, and begin to forge friendships with those who would be their competition. The tasks and trials ahead will not only strengthen the girls, but will also reveal abilities and truths about each other that go far beyond the surface of a beauty queen.

REVIEW: So, what we’ve got going on here is a book that has practically everything. People from all kinds of races, walks of life, status. You’ve got Valley Girls, Emo-Girls, Lesbians, Bi-Sexuals, there are Pirates, Terrorists, stupid teenage (or young adult) boys, disgruntled government officials, and extremely business-savvy corporation mumbo-jumbo. You’ve got people who are happy, mad, sad, people who are obsessed, and people who are fed up with life or their circumstances. You’ve got extreme sarcasm.

I sort of wonder what we’ve really got here is an author who got fed up one day. Maybe she became completely disenchanted with government, politics, consumerism, fakeness, stupidity – and then she sat down and began to flesh it out on paper…and just kept going. Now I do not know Mrs. Libba Bray, and I do not pretend to know her mind, I’m just trying to figure out, why?

Am I saying that this is a bad book? Absolutely not! That is probably the last thing I would ever say. Go read some other reviews, everyone seems to love it, as do I. It’s funny and cleaver, and (my favorite) sarcastic. I love that the whole thing is done so extremely sarcastically, every aspect of American life, only looking through the reflection of a make-up mirror – you know, everything is so large and noticeable, and hideous looking. It’s like looking at the faults of an individual, of body of believers, of a country and seeing all the gross imperfections laid out before you and thinking, “what have we done?” On the other hand, if you just read the book, look at it only on the surface; and it’s just a silly, funny book. How can you not love a book that has commercial interruptions, foot notes and detailed descriptions that would put a romance novel to shame? The characters are great, and they do each have internal growth in one way or another. I had actually written down names and respective states, but listing them out here is going to do you no good. There are not two main characters (as a typical book would have) there are many individuals you get to know and really enjoy. Telling you about them would, in my opinion, take away part of the fun of this book.

WHAT I LOVED: Libba Bray’s narration. I have heard other authors narrate their own books, and none of them can absolutely hold a candle to Libba’s production. She seriously should win an award. I was so impressed with the fact that each of the characters had their own specific voice, tone and attitude, and it was very distinguishable. I always knew who was talking. I LOVED the details during the commercial interruptions! I cannot imagine having read this in book form and enjoying the book nearly as much as I did listening to it.

NOT SO MUCH: I do not exactly agree with the degree of acceptance that this book seemed to be promoting. While I believe everyone has to make choices in their lives, and they must live with those choices and their lifestyles, I do not believe this makes the choices “right,” or “good.” I do not, and would not discriminate against people because of their choices. I don’t judge, that is not my job. I don’t know…there were just some things that surprised me. While I do not agree with everything said or portrayed – I still think that this book was excellent and well done.

**please note, this book really is meant for young adults! Young Adults are still Adults (in other words, not teenagers.)

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A Map of the Known World - Lisa Ann Sandell

A Map of the Known WorldTITLE:  A Map of the Known World
AUTHOR:  Lisa Ann Sandell
MY RATING: 4 of 5 stars
GENRE: Teenage – Fiction
FORM: Book (library)

SYNOPSIS: It has been less than a year since Cora’s brother, Nate wrapped his car around a tree and died. Since that time, her family has been falling apart. Her mother keeps her trapped in the house, she’s not allowed to go anywhere or do anything. Her father doesn’t even speak to her, he just sits in his den watching TV, drinking. The only escape Cora has is in her drawings. Cora draws maps, maps of other countries, countries that she hopes to be able to visit one day.

As Cora’s mother starts getting more unreasonable and strict, Cora gets more defiant and starts breaking the rules. Not coming home right after school, sneaking out, hanging out with Damian; Nate’s best friend and the one person that her parents blame for Nate’s death, since he survived and Nate did not. It is Damian, however, that helps Cora to learn more about Nate, and leads her down a path of recovery and also of possible escape.

REVIEW: Map of the Known World has a very lyrical feel about it, making it a very enjoyable read. I was caught up in the story within the first chapter and really enjoyed Cora’s voice. She was very typical teenager-y to me, a little one sided, not really looking at the situation from anyone’s point of view but her own. I loved her “art” as told through words, and actually wished I could see some of her work in real life.

Everything about this book felt very real to me. Even the friendship between Cora and Rachel, the crumbling relationship due to High School and differences of interest; this is something that happens all the time, and is always a little earth shattering to the participants. Growing up is hard to do, growing up due to tragedy is even harder, I can only guess. I think Cora’s rebellion was even natural and normal, and necessary for her as a person. She was breaking free from her restraints in her own way, and I felt that it has she not done it, she really would not have made any progress in her life, and recovery.

WHAT I LOVED: This was a tragic and sad book without being overwhelming. The book was also left a little up in the air, there was no pretty red bow wrap up, which is good because it left the reader knowing (hoping) for more growth and healing, and just knowing that life continues.

NOT SO MUCH: Hmm. Nothing stands out to me. I didn’t absolutely love the book. I did not fall in love with Damian like I like to do with the male leads. The book was just good. It told a story, and did it well.


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Wedding Season - Katie Fforde

Wedding SeasonWedding Season by Katie Fforde
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

GENRE: Adult - Romance or ChickLit
FORM: Book (Library)

SYNOPSIS: Sarah is a wedding planner who does not believe in marriage. After catching her first love in bed with another women, and the fact that more often than not, the marriage ends up splitting, she figures she's better off single. That does not stop her from throwing everything's she's got into the wedding that she's planning. This becomes more obvious as she agrees to organize her younger sister's wedding, and get's her first big name client on the same day. What's worse is, both of their weddings are rushed and are happening on the same day as well, in two months time. It's a good thing she enlists her best crew, and fast growing friends; Bron, the hair and make-up artist, and Else, a dress maker, and then there's Hugo, the fabulous and charming photographer.

REVIEW: Wedding Season is a great, happy, summer read. What's better than a romance novel about weddings, anyway? All of the characters were fun and likeable. Even though the story was extremely predictable, it was fun to watch as each of the girls unfolded as people and grew into their new relationships and lives.

WHAT I LOVED: I really just loved the story in general. Like I said, it was just a fun, light read. Nothing heavy or hard to deal with. No surprises or anything of that sort. Just a lovely romance with a triple dose happily ever after.

NOT SO MUCH: I sort of felt like the book took a long time to get to any action. Especially for Sarah and Hugo. I was hoping on another steamy moment or two before Sarah snapped into place and got her head straight on her shoulders. Instead she just did a lot of thinking and trying not to think about Hugo. It kind of had me thinking, "just go GET him already!"

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The Last Little Blue Envelope - Maureen Johnson

The Last Little Blue Envelope (Little Blue Envelope, #2)The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson

GENRE: Young Adult-Fiction
FORM: Audiobook
NARRATOR: Emily Durante
SERIES: 13 Little Blue Envelopes Series

SYNOPSIS: Ginny is in the process of applying for college, writing the typical “One thing that changed your life,” essay, and is stuck. She has experienced many things, specifically a trip through Europe with no outside communications, just letters left to her by her dead aunt guiding her way. The problem is putting this into words, especially when the adventure was left uncompleted due to the letters being stolen. Then Ginny receives a mysterious e-mail containing a partial copy of the last letter – the letter left unresolved – which leads her to immediately packing her bags and off to London for her Christmas vacation. While there, she is paired up with Oliver, (the holder of the last letter,) and Keith and his new girlfriend, on a mission to compile one last piece of art by Ginny’s crazy Aunt Peg.

REVIEW: I really do love these travel adventure books. Could you imagine getting to just jump in an airplane, cross the ocean and on a crazy adventure across Europe? Sounds wonderful to me. This time around, Ginny is being blackmailed into completing the last leg of her previous journey, completing another piece of art work and selling only to split the proceeds. Oliver, the blackmailer, is tall, dark, handsome, and mysterious. He screams Jane Austen character! However, at first, I’m on the same page as Ginny – and hoping for a happily ever after with Keith. But as the book progressed, I became extremely irritated with Keith, LOOOONG before Ginny. He was rude, and mean and all kinds of nasty. He became completely un-redeemable in my eyes.

As mentioned above, I love the adventure of this book. All off the twist and turns and situations that causes the characters to brainstorm how best to proceed. It’s extremely fun. I would have loved a little more romantic movement, and felt just a little let down by the lack, only because Oliver seemed very dark and brooding, which can really make for some fun romantic opportunities.

The narration was pretty good. I always love hearing books done in a foreign accent, and while this book wasn’t the best narration ever, it was still very good. I could hear the American, English, and Irish accents come out pretty distinctly, so you got the idea.

WHAT I LOVED: The simplicity of the book. While there were obstacles to overcome, there was not so many twist and turns in the story that your head was spinning. It’s a nice simple easy read, perfect summer reading for sure!

NOT SO MUCH: I really hated that Keith’s character seemed to change so much from one book to the next. He seemed more light hearted, and witty in the first book. Now he’s just mean and irritating. He treated Ginny poorly, and I think that his anger in the end is completely unjustified, and he never seems to really realize it.



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Back to the [Reading] Grind

I've been on vacation this past week. (You can check down a brief "what I learned" post on my review at the link.)  That's not to say that I haven't been reading, however I did a lot less than I thought I would.  But I most certainly haven't been blogging, or reviewing.  In fact, I truly hope to get a semi-concise review out of at least one of the books I completed over the course of the week.  The thing is - I was so busy and tired.  For me, my best thoughts on a book are written right after I finish reading it.  You get a really good idea of how I felt about it that way.  Reviewing a week or more later means my mind has moved on to a new story/characters/idea.

Anyhow, I'm back, and here's what's on tap for the next couple of weeks:

I'm currently reading:

And the following books are downloaded and ready on my iPod for my listening pleasure:


and finally,

So, lots of fun stuff coming up!!  Stay tuned! :)


Everlasting - Angie Frazier

Everlasting (Everlasting, #1)Everlasting by Angie Frazier

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

GENRE: Young Adult – Mildly Paranormal
FORM: Book
SERIES: Everlasting – Book 1

SYNOPSIS: Camille is the daughter of a sea captain. She was raised, by her father alone, at sea and has not had to endure the “society” as other ladies her age have, and has no interest in such a boring life. However, because her father wishes her to be a proper lady and at the hope that she will eventually feel a spark of romance, Camille has agreed to marry Randall Jackson.

But before the wedding and the new life, Camille is taking one last trip with her father aboard the Christina. A trip where, not only does she learn that her mother, whom she has though dead since her birth is actually a life and has sent for her, but a storm sinks the ship and takes her father with it. Camille also learns of a legend of a stone that will a person of your choosing back from the dead, and that supposedly her mother owns the only map to this stone. Camille, desperate to get her father back and to meet the mother she didn’t know was still alive, sets off on an adventure to get the map and the stone. She is helped by her father’s first mate, and Camille’s long-time friend, Oscar Kildare, the one man who causes Camille’s heart to beat faster and knees go weak.

REVIEW: One thing that I know, and always seem to forget; I love books aboard ships. The only other books I’ve read like this were by Lindsay Johanna, but there is just something about the setting that I find a bit romantic. Not that this book’s romance took place primarily on a ship, in fact the time on the ship was actually less than I would have liked, but I enjoyed it while it lasted none the less.

Everlasting was an adventure, to say the least. It reminded me of a mild Indiana Jones actually. There was action, adventure, romance, large hairy goons looking to kill them, selfish and witty, whistling guides, and large spiders (shudders!!). I loved Camille, she was so different from who she was suppose to be, but was actually very comfortable in her skin. She loved her father, and was very obedient to him, almost to a fault. It was this obedience that had her longing any kind of feelings of romance or love with Randall, when she had the simmering fire of Oscar just waiting on her.

The book was very easy to read and to follow, but was entertaining enough to keep me reading. A book appropriate for a 13 year old, but also good enough for an adult (who enjoys YA books), in my opinion.

WHAT I LOVED: That Oscar was a very worthy guy. He was not overly manly, over protective, or over perfect. In many ways, he was not flat out, drop dead geogious. He was inappropriate for a lady of society. But he was a great friend, and he had passion, and he wanted to protect Camille. He was angry when he should have been, and handed out forgiveness easily as well. In a book-world of overly-perfect guys, Oscar stands out as very real to me.

NOT SO MUCH: 1. The name of the book. “Everlasting” didn’t really seem to apply to anything except the stones and the people made by the stones? Maybe there will be more revealed in the next book about this? 2. The cover. There was no scene like the one on the cover. I wanted there to be, but there just wasn’t. And I’m finding a lot of books like that lately. Why??

Just Released June 1, 2011

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