Sunday, January 30, 2011

Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder

Title/Author: Inside Out (Inside Out #1) by Maria V. Snyder
Publisher/Date published: April 1st 2010 by Harlequin
How I got this book: own it.
Why I read this book: I've loved every book of the author I've read, so of course I'm gonna read her new series!

Goodreads summary: "Keep your head down. Don't get noticed. Or else. I'm Trella. I'm a scrub. A nobody. One of thousands who work the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I've got one friend, do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? Not like it's all that dangerous - the only neck at risk is my own. Until I accidentally start a rebellion and become the go-to girl to lead a revolution..."

Snyder has done it again! She's created a really interesting world that I enjoy exploring and learning its secrets. As always with different classes, there's a lot of prejudice going on between them. The scrubs believe the uppers look down on them and have a much easier life than they do. Why would you trust someone like that? You wouldn't, unless you'd absolutely have to. And when you're trying to start a revolution, you kind of have no other choice.

Trella has never known her parents, most scrubs don't. She had a care-mother, a job, that like every other job in Inside, is assigned to you. There is no such thing as birth control, so the number of scrubs keeps growing, while their space to live remains the same. They have 100-hour weeks, everyone works 10-hour shift, after which you have 10 hours off to eat/sleep. There's not much time to have fun.

Trella is a bit of a loner, she only has one real friend: Cog, one of the boys who was in the same care group as she was. She's known as Queen of the Pipes, because she not only cleans them, but uses them to travel between the levels and even sleeps in them to get away from all the people crowding everywhere.

Every once in a while a Prophet comes along, someone who claims to know a way out of Inside. Because of her reputation the latest one contacts Trella: he needs her help retrieving something from the Upper levels. Before she knows it she's in way over her head and suddenly everyone seems to be counting on her to lead the revolution.

I loved Trella, she is extremely loyal to Cogon, and this is what gets her into the whole mess to begin with, because he asked her to. She's courageous and curious and I love her for it. She's a well-rounded character, like I've come to expect of Snyder. She's suspicious of other people, but once you've gained her trust you've got a friend for life. She's a reluctant heroine, but starts to believe in herself along the way.

And Riley is perfection! I've always loved the love-interest in Snyder's books and Riley is no exception to this. He's an upper and is just such a nice boy. I enjoyed the chemistry between him and Trella. And I LOVED Sheepy, that was just adorable.

It's actually pretty scary that I can imagine this kind of thing happening in the future and the society Snyder created is complex and interesting in all its different workings. Instead of the magic she normally has in her books, there's really cool technology, which I loved.

The ending leaves me wanting to start the next book (Outside In) soon! It's coming out February 15th, and I'm really excited to get to it.

My rating: 4,5 stars

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Review AND *Giveaway* of Mystify by Artist Arthur

Title/Author: Mystify (Mystyx #2) by Artist Arthur
Publisher/Date published: January 25th by Kimani Tru
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Why I read this book: I enjoyed Manifest, the first book in the series.

Yes that's right, I'm having my very first giveaway! (Hooray!) Thanks to wonderful Lisa Roe, who represents Artist Arthur, I can give one lucky person a copy of Mystify. See at the end of the post for details.

Goodreads summary: "Sometimes being an outsider is the best way to fit in…
Sasha Carrington has grown up feeling like an outsider, and her parents are too concerned with scaling the Lincoln, Connecticut, social ladder to even notice her. They’d be really horrified to know about the supernatural abilities Sasha and her friends Krystal and Jake possess. But as part of the Mystyx, Sasha has found her place.
Now her parents have suddenly taken an interest in everything she does, and their timing couldn’t be worse. Sasha’s father wants her to become BFFs with snooty Alyssa Turner, who hates Krystal for stealing her boyfriend. Then there’s Antoine Watson, the boy Sasha has liked forever, the boy her parents would never approve of. But with the dark side getting more dangerous by the day, and the Mystyx’s own powers growing in unexpected ways, Sasha is facing choices that could affect her friends, her love life — and even her destiny…"

In the previous book you had Krystal as the MC. Admittedly, she was a bit of a whiny brat at first, but she redeemed herself in the end in my opinion and I could sympathize with her. I thought it was interesting that they discovered their powers and was looking forward to knowing more about them and seeing them developing said powers.

In this one, we focus on Sasha, who seems somewhat clueless. Her parents are forcing her to team up with a girl she doesn't like at all for something that's not that important and she doesn't know how to say no, even though she is completely against it. She doesn't know how to really stand up for herself to them and is slowly realizing that not making up your mind can be a decision as well. And that it does have consequences. Like Krystal, she redeems herself and becomes a stronger character because of it.

One thing I noticed in both books: these kids have some seriously messed up parents! I already had issues with Krystal's mom and dad, but Sasha's are equally strange. Makes me feel even more grateful for the family I have myself. I mean, it's pretty harsh for your parents to force you into a friendship with someone you absolutely do not like because they want to get ahead in business. Her dad especially is not a warm, cuddly sort of person. In the town, there's a lot of focus on social status based on where you live and how much money you make and Sasha's parents are among the elitists. Their viewpoints make me sad and angry, it reflects such ignorance!

There is a lot of teen angst in the book and the Darkness is not to be ignored. There's actual evil laughter involved and this time it's actively trying to mess up their lives. I won't give away what happens, but this thing/person/power (I really want to find out what it is exactly) is seriously disturbed and needs to be beaten!

I enjoyed learning more about their powers and where they came from. And Sasha's powers expand in a very logical way, which I liked. There's not a really great amount of action in the book, it feels as a build-up towards the real thing that's bound to come in the next book (fingers crossed!).
And I just have to say I'm still rooting for Jake (this will make sense if you've read the book). He seems like a really great guy.

My rating: 3,5 stars

And now for the giveaway details:

*Open *International!* (YAY! Thanks again to Lisa for being willing to ship internationally!)
*The only thing I ask is that you're a follower of my blog
*To enter: leave a comment with a way to contact you
*Open until February 9th, after which I will contact the winner

So, what are you waiting for? Enter already :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

In My Mailbox (1)

This will be my first time participating in In My Mailbox, a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. I always enjoy seeing what everybody else got that week and I figured since I had a great week bookwise, I'd share it with all of you :)

Here's what I got:

As belated Christmas gifts from my parents:

The Broken Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
Sleepless by Cyn Balog
The Candidates by Inara Scott

Secondhand Charm by Julie Berry
The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier

Thanks mom and dad! I loved getting these in the mail, each came in a separate package. And they're all really pretty and 3 of them are hardcovers! I almost never buy hardcovers for myself, so they will look really nice on my shelves. And I'm so excited to get to The Broken Kingdoms after loving The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, which is the first book in the series.

From publisher for review:

The Vampire Voss by Colleen Gleason
Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson

So, that's what I got this week. How about you? Any good books drop on your doorstep this week?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern

Title/Author: The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern
Publisher/Date published: January 25th 2011 by HarperCollins
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Why I read this book: I enjoyed P.S. I Love You.

Goodreads summary: "Tamara Goodwin has always got everything she's ever wanted. Born into a family of wealth, she grew up in a mansion with its own private beach, a wardrobe full of designer clothes and all that a girl could ever wish for. She's always lived in the here and now, never giving a second thought to tomorrow. But then suddenly her dad is gone and life for Tamara and her mother changes forever. Left with a mountain of debt, they have no choice but to sell everything they own and move to the country. Nestled next to Kilsaney Castle, their gatehouse is a world away from Tamara's childhood. With her mother shut away with grief, and her aunt busy tending to her, Tamara is lonely and bored and longs to return to Dublin. When a travelling library passes through Kilsaney Demesne, Tamara is intrigued. Her eyes rest on a mysterious large leather bound tome locked with a gold clasp and padlock. What she discovers within the pages takes her breath away and shakes her world to its core."

I didn't like this book as much as I thought I would. I really wanted to, but it fell short somehow.

Tamara is not a very likeable character, I can understand her behaviour, seeing what she's been through, but it's not endearing. But on the other hand, she's completely aware of this and comments on it. I did think it was rather weird that people she didn't know and who had no idea of what happened to her father, somehow thought she was charming and wanted to spend more time with her. For all of her being obnoxious, she was too well-liked in my opinion.

And I don't get how her aunt managed to controll everything the way she did, it was weird and annoying. I didn't really connect with the characters, the only one I liked was one of the nuns who lived nearby, she was spunky!

I did like the idea of the diary, the entries (written in Tamara's own handwriting, to make it extra creepy) each day tell her what will happen the next day. I liked how Tamara reacted to it and tried to right the things she's done wrong according to the diary.

**Possible SPOILER**
I did not appreciate her sacrificing her mother's health in order to prove she was right about the diary. If it had been my mom, I would have rather been not believed by a possible friend than risk my mom not being ok.
**end of possible spoiler**

In the end, there was a whole lot of intrigue that I sort of had seen coming. Not the whole thing, but I guessed a lot of it. And I thought it was rather unrealistic and a bit weird.

In all honesty, I expected more of it and it gets 2 stars because I did like the idea of the diary and one of the nuns.

My rating: 2 stars

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Countess by Lynsay Sands

Title/Author: The Countess by Lynsay Sands
Publisher/Date published: January 25th 2011 by HarperCollins
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Why I read this book: I love historical romances.

Married life hasn't been what Christiana expected of it. Her husband, Dicky, was really sweet during their short courtship but after the vowels were exchanged that all went away. So after he drops dead, Christiana doesn't really mind and since one of her sisters needs to find a husband, the sisters decide to put him on ice and go to the ball that evening as planned. The only problem: Dicky shows up at the ball, all alive and well. Only this time it's the real Dicky, or rather Richard as he prefers being called. Christiana's husband was his twin and impersonated him after trying to murder him, to get at Richard's name and title.
Now these two are stuck together and must try and work it out or risk causing a huge scandal.

The whole idea of this novel is a bit outrageous. I mean, who would put their husband on ice in one of the rooms of his own home and hope for the best? And the whole towing around with a dead body, which happens more than one time, is a bit absurd. But after getting over this, I really enjoyed the book.

Christiana is a likeable character, in the past she wasn't one to be quiet and do as she was told and be a proper lady. But Dicky has managed to lower her selfconfidence so much with his remarks and behaviour that she starts to believe the things he says. I think this goes to show that verbal abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse. I really enjoyed seeing her starting to get back to her former self.

I did however have a 'oh COME ON!' moment when she didn't figure out that Richard was not the man she married. I mean, sure, twins can look scarily alike, but when you've lived with someone for a whole year, you should be able to tell the difference. Especially with the completely different personalities.
And it shocks me again how clueless women were of the goings on in the marital bed, I don't know it it's an accurate portrayal of this, but imagine not knowing what's going to happen!

Richard was a good male main character and seemed really sweet and caring, though he doesn't necessarily make the right choices when faced with a problem. I also really liked Christiana's sisters and look forward to reading about them in the other books in the series.

All in all, this was an enjoyable read, though I think the 3 or 4 days the book spans is an awfully short time to fall deeply in love with someone.

My rating: 3.5 stars

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman

Title/Author: Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman
Publisher/Date published: Harper Perennial, first published in 1998
How I got this book: it was a present from my brother for my birthday :D
Why I read this book: I've been really curious about Georgiana ever since I watched the movie adaptation based on this book.

Goodreads summary: "Georgiana Spencer was, in a sense, an 18th-century It Girl. She came from one of England's richest and most landed families (the late Princess Diana was a Spencer too) and married into another. She was beautiful, sensitive, and extravagant - drugs, drink, high-profile love affairs, and even gambling counted among her favorite leisure-time activities. Nonetheless, she quickly moved from a world dominated by social parties to one focused on political parties. The duchess was an intimate of ministers and princes, and she canvassed assiduously for the Whig cause, most famously in the Westminster election of 1784. By turns she was caricatured and fawned on by the press, and she provided the inspiration for the character of Lady Teazle in Richard Sheridan's famous play The School for Scandal. But her weaknesses marked the last part of her life. By 1784, for one, Georgiana owed "many, many, many thousands," and her creditors dogged her until her death."

Foreman takes us into the world that is the ton of English society in the 18th century. It is a world where men can be a great many of things and women can support them in this, but not too much or they're accused of being vulgar and improper. Enter the highly spirited and opinionated Georgiana Spencer. At 16 she senses her parents want her to marry the Duke of Devonshire (though they don't push her into this) and as she's always eager to please them, she fancies herself in love with him and accepts his hand.

Georgiana soon becomes a favourite in society and is regularly featured in the newspapers. Everything seems to be going well for her, except the one thing that I would think most important: her home life. As is mentioned in the book: the Duke of Devonshire must be the only one NOT in love with his wife. He seems to want nothing of Georgiana except an heir. And in this lies trouble, her first two children are girls. After long years of marriage and scorn from his relatives, she finally does have a son. But not before there is an addition to the marriage: Lady Elizabeth Foster finds a way into their home by befriending Georgiana and somewhat later becoming mistress to the Duke and even having 1 or 2 children by him.

Georgiana is no saint, having an affair of her own with Charles Grey and having his child. She's also very active in politics, which is sort of frowned upon by the general public. She holds a lot of both social and political influence.
And then there's her gambling problem. Georgiana loses vast amounts of money on a regular base and with their less then warm marriage, she is afraid to ask the Duke for money, so the debts keep piling up.

Georgiana seems to have been a loveable person, touching all but her husband. I think it's so tragic that their marriage was like this, perhaps the both of them would have been happier had they been with different people. I can't imagine what she must have gone through having 3 people in her marriage, though she seems to have genuinely loved Bess herself.

I was a bit shocked at all the affairs going on! Everybody was going around sleeping with everyone, married or not, having illigitemate children. Georgiana was the older woman in her relationship with Charles Grey and she gave him up when the Duke threathened to take her children away. As it was, she was exiled for 2 years to Europe, in this timeperiod she also gave birth to Grey's daughter. I think she made a good mother, though she was really busy with politics.

I almost never read non-fiction. I love getting lost in a story and most of the time with non-fiction you don't get that. But I did get a bit lost in Georgiana's world. And though I probably won't read this book as a whole again anytime soon, I really did enjoy it. Foreman's writing is engaging and not just textbook information. Though I won't say I remember all of the political goings on, it was interesting to learn a bit more about this as well. Georgiana is a fascinating historical character and I enjoyed reading about her life.

My rating: 4 stars

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Title/Author: Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1) by Richelle Mead
Publisher/Date published: August 16th 2007 by Razorbill
How I got this book: own it.
Why I read this book: people were raving abou it, saying they love Rose and Dimitri, so I thought I should meet them.

Goodreads summary: "St. Vladimir's Academy isn't just any boarding school — it's a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They've been on the run, but now they're being dragged back to St. Vladimir's — the very place where they're most in danger...
Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy's ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi — the world's fiercest and most dangerous vampires — make Lissa one of them forever."

While I did enjoy Twilight and read the whole series, it kind of went downhill for me after the first book. After this I've been wary of reading books about vampires, because I wasn't really looking for a repitition of what I've already read. And I have to say this book was a breath of fresh air and not the 'meh' I was expecting.

The characters of this book and the books itself appear on 'favourite' and 'best' lists around the blogosphere and I must say that I was not disappointed. There were not glittering vampires (I have issues with that) and I loved the fresh look Mead had on the whole mythology surrounding them.

Let me just say that I love Rose! She's just kickass, she is extremely loyal and when her best friend needs her, she doesn't back down for anything or anyone. She has a sense of duty that is not very common in someone her age. And she's passionate, I always love that in a character. Of course she has her faults, but they make her a wellrounded character.

And Dimitri... If ever a guy was swoonworthy... I go a bit crazy fangirl over him. I loved the chemistry between him and Rose, even though I had some issues with the age difference. I mean, 7 years might not be a lot when you're both 50-something, but 16 and 23? That's big. I'm just glad Rose seems to be a really mature 16-year-old.

I also loved the magic system and the whole feel of the book. I'm definitely reading the sequel! I'm thinking Rose will upset the whole order of things and start a revolution.

My rating: 4.5 stars

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Title/Author: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Publisher/Date published: Penguin Classics, first published in 1813
How I got this book: how can I call myself a booklover if I don't even have a copy of my favourite book in the house? I bought it.
Why I read this book: I felt like revisiting my old friends of Longbourn, Netherfield and Pemberley, it's been a while.

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."

With this line starts my favourite book of all time. I'm sure all of you are familiar with the story one way or the other, even if you haven't read the book. But still, a short summary:
The Bennets are a family with 5 daughters, living at the family estate Longbourn. With 5 girls, Mrs. Bennet has a considerable amount of anxiety about seeing them all married to a respectable (and hopefully a wealthy) man. When an amiable young man named Mr. Bingley rents the house near them, she has high hopes of marrying one of her daughters off to him. But Mr. Bingley doesn't come to the neighbourhood by himself, he brings with him a friend, Mr. Darcy, who has a less pleasing disposition than his friend does. Elizabeth, the second eldest daughter, clashes with him on more than one occasion and in this lies the true lovestory.

I rant about this book every chance I get and since I reread it last week, I thought it would be as good a time as any to do it again.
This book has been my favourite since I first read it when I was 14 or 15. And it gets better every time I read it. I love reading new books, but revisiting this one that I already knew I'd love again is so relaxing and I was glad to find that I hadn't prettied it up in my head, it really is THAT good.

Miss Austen tells the story of a family of 7 with such detail and wit, I really feel I know all of them intimately. And everyone has their own fleshed out character, which I really love. She has a lot of humour and the story flows brilliantly. Sure, I live for the scenes with both Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, but the rest of the story is beautiful as well.

I have talked again and again of how I love Elizabeth, she is an intelligent, strong woman. Mr. Darcy is my ultimate bookcrush, he's so noble and handsome and just dreamy. I also love Mr. Bennet, he's sarcastic and I love his humour.

I have always thought that classics such as this and for example Jane Eyre have had so much influence on romance in novels and especially in romantic comedies. A lot of times you can lead the relationship of the characters back to a couple of patterns and I'm always looking for a fresh spin on these in stories.

I've seen both the BBC series and the movie adaptation from 2005 and personally, while the BBC version is more true to the book, I enjoy watching the more recent movie more (though of course, the plot is not affected by the changes). I enjoy the whole feeling of it more somehow.
This may or may not also be influenced by my finding Matthew MacFadyen more attractive...

My rating: there is no rating for my favourite book ever, the stars are off the chart for this one.

I'm going ahead and assuming a lot of you have read this book, if so, what did you think? Loved it/not so impressed/think it's overrated? And for those who have seen the movie/tv series: how do you think it compares to the book?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey

Title/Author:The Fairy Godmother (Five Hundred Kingdoms #1) by Mercedes Lackey
Publisher/Date published: Harlequin, published May 1st 2010
How I got this book: it was sent to me by the publisher through NetGalley
Why I read this book: I LOVE fairytale retellings

This is a totally refreshing take on fairytales: everything is part of The Tradition (imagine scary music entering).
And I'm not kidding when I say the Tradition can be scary. There are people who are sort of chosen, around which the Tradition gathers potential, a power that drives them to follow a certain character type and storyline. And sure that can be nice, but not all fairytales end well. And not all ways of getting to the happy ending are without casualties. For example, you've probably all heard of the tale of Rapunzel (the one where the girl is locked in a tower and lets down her hair for the prince to climb up and save her), but do you remember the prince falling into a bush with thorns, blinding him and almost killing him, wandering the land without sight?

This is where the Godmothers come in (only the first in history were real fairies). They monitor the people the Tradition seems to be pushing towards a certain path and try to either bend the Tradition into accepting another role for the person in case or try to make it cause the least amount of harm. Sometimes the role of a Godmother is to test the prince on kindheartedness on his quest and sometimes it takes a bit of matchmaking to distract an Evil Sorceress from cursing a princess at birth.

Elena Klovis was supposed to be her Kingdom's Cinderella, sadly the prince wasn't suitable and she got stuck playing housemaid to her stepmother without a chance of rescue. That is, until her Godmother showed up and offered her a job: to train as her apprentice and become the next Godmother. And all goes smoothly for a while with Elena being a fast learner and handling matters after becoming Godmother herself. But the Tradition isn't done with Elena.

When Elena turns one questing prince into a donkey for his rude behaviour, she doesn't know what's she gotten herself into. Because she was meant to be a Cinderella, the Tradition tries to get her together with any prince within reasonable distance. But since she's a Godmother as well, the Tradition will force this prince into a nasty role in which he will most likely betray her and break her heart. What will they do when they find themselves drawn to each other?

I absolutely loved this book! I love fairytales and now I realise some were rather gruesome, which kids somehow don't pick up on most of the time. I'd never thought about the possibility of other princes attempting to rescue the princess and failing and sometimes also dying because they failed.

Elena is a really likeable character and the prince she turned into a donkey is as well after learning his lesson. I also loved reconnecting with all the fairytales I loved as a kid, a lot of them appear in the book.

It was a very smooth read, I'd never read anything by Mercedes Lackey before and was pleasantly surprised. I thought it was really original and I'm always looking for a nice new twist to the fairytales I know and love. I'm looking forward to reading the other books in the series!

My rating: 5 stars

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Once Upon A Scandal by Delilah Marvelle

Title/Author: Once Upon A Scandal by Delilah Marvelle
Publisher/Date published: Janary 25th 2011 by HQN Books
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Why I read this book: guilty pleasure.

Goodreads summary: "Lady Victoria Jane Emerson left behind her girlish notions of romance when Jonathan deserted her without a backward glance. Now the time has come when she must finally choose a husband, and she has vowed to marry someone who will never break her heart.
Jonathan Pierce Thatcher, Viscount Remington, has returned home, free of all his family's debts. Only to discover that by some miracle he has been chosen to vie for the hand of his beloved Victoria. To convince his only love to once again believe in the magic of love and the promise of desire will be his greatest challenge yet. And one he cannot fail!"

The author herself explained in the book (and in the first book in the series Prelude to a Scandal) that it was her intention to introduce new ideas into the romance novel, which she herself found interesting concepts. I don't really read this kind of book to get new ideas, but I'm openminded. And while I didn't think it really necessary for the storyline, this one turned out better than Prelude to a Scandal, which I didn't really enjoy.

Jonathan's pursuit of Victoria in their younger years is really sweet and I was so rooting for him and her to get it right, while I knew from the summary that they would be forced apart. Victoria is a sweet girl and both are yet unspoiled by the cruel reality of society. To be young and clueless again..

Anyway, 5 years of separation have hardened Victoria and left Jonathan with more knowledge of the ways of the world than he would have liked. They apparantly used to have this custom in Venice of married women having a man as a companion, and sometimes (or perhaps often) performing all the husband-duties. Jonathan doesn't want Victoria to know about his past. When he returns to her and her father forces her to marry someone or else bye-bye inheritance, how will they work things out?

I did enjoy the chemistry between the two, I'm glad I decided to read it, because I'd been a bit wary after not enjoying the first book. The idea Marvelle introduced is a bit appalling and I had never heard of it being common practice back in the day in Venice before.

My rating: 3.5 stars

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Title/Author: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Publisher/Date published: January 4th 2011 by HarperTeen
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Why I read this book: it's only one of the most anticipated books of 2011. And need I say cover-love?

So I finished this in one day and the last part in one go (well, I had to stop and eat at one time..). It was SOO GOOD! Yay for my first 5 star read this year! :)

Clara is a quarter angel, having a half-angel mother and a human father. The only real trouble she's had up until now was her father leaving them, everything else has always come to her easily. But it was a bit of an adjustment learning that she was in fact not human. And could sprout wings, which is pretty awesome and scary at the same time.

When she gets her purpose in a vision she, her mother and her brother move town because the boy she sees in her vision lives there. Every angel-blood gets a purpose at some point in life, a sort of test. But her mother is sort of Fight Club about the whole angel-blood thing: she doesn't like to talk about it and because of this Clara feels a bit clueless about everything.

The boy in her vision turns out to be a boy at her school: Christian, and Clara develops a major crush on him. Too bad he already has a girlfriend. And then there's Tucker, her new friend's twin brother. A boy who calls her names and teases her mercilessly. When the moment comes to fulfill her purpose, what will Clara do and will she be ready for it?

Clara is such a relatable 16-year-old. She's really struggling with being angel-blood and not having all the information is frustrating to her. She's also used to fitting in at school and has a hard time adjusting to her new environment, where things don't go as smoothly for her as before. She hates having to dye her hair because of her angelness shining through it, and worse when it turns out orange.

Which earns her the nickname of 'Carrots' from Tucker, who is just adorable. I mean, I totally liked Christian, but Tucker stole my heart. He's that boy from highschool you either know or used to know, who may not be the most beautiful boy around, but has a great heart. Christian is the perfect guy, except that he has a girlfriend he genuinely seems to care about. Which is fine, but not if you're rooting for Clara.

And I was rooting for Clara, I wanted good things to happen for her. I really connected with her and cried over the romance parts. She's actually a pretty strong girl, even if she doesn't know it herself.

The concept of people who are partly angel walking around everywhere is really interesting and I thought it was really well played out by the author. There are rules, of course, and not everything comes instantly to them, which was nice. I hope that in the next book we'll learn more about the whole system and I'd love to meet a fullblooded angel.

I really enjoyed this book, I was a bit wary of a story about angels, since Halo was such a disappointment for me, but I'm so glad I didn't let it put me off this one! The writing was really engaging and I found myself gaping at the end: I have to wait until 2012 for the next book??? That is going to be a LOOONG wait..

My rating: 5 stars

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Top Ten Books I Resolve To Read in 2011

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the other blog I participate in: The Broke and the Bookish. We are particularly fond of list, so hop on over and show us yours!

This week's Top Ten:
Top Ten Book I Resolve To Read in 2011

Or rather: me trying to narrow down a to-read list of 591 books to just 10..

1. The Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman: I got it from my brother for my birthday (YAY!!) after having complained again and again that I couldn't get my hand on it and I vow to read it before my next birthday.

2. The Millenium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson: or maybe at least the first book..

3. The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel: I've been putting it off cause I'm afraid I won't love it as much as my grandma did and I really want to love it. But I'm getting to it this year!

4. Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay: this one has been staring at me accusingly from my shelf for the last year and a half. I really need to read it.

5. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: it's totally huge, but I'm reading it this year.

6. Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier: I've loved 2 of her books and this one has been sitting on my shelf for forever.

7. If I Stay by Gayle Forman: people whose opinions I book I completely trust have been saying it's amazing, so I should give it a try.

8. Matched by Ally Condie: I've heard such good things about this book!

9. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins: same goes for this one.

10. The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss: well, given that it is actually published this year. I've been waiting for it forever and promise to read it when it comes out! (it would actually be harder to try and make me promise NOT to read it)

Some of those are guilting me into getting to them, while with others I keep finding myself saying that I need to get to them. I'll check back at the end of this year to see what I actually did read of the list.

What do you resolve to read in 2011?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Wish by Alexandra Bullen

Title/Author: Wish by Alexandra Bullen
Publisher/Date published: January 1st 2010 by Point
How I got this book: got it for free from the Sony reader store
Why I read this book: I love the idea of wishing on a beautiful dress

First of all: HAPPY NEW YEAR!! I hope you all had a lovely time with family/friends/loved ones.

Olivia Larsen is heartbroken after losing her twinsister Violet last summer. Her parents decide it would be best to up and leave in the middle of the schoolyear and move to San Francisco, where her mother was from originally, to live in her late aunt's house. Which is pretty much falling apart.
Olivia feels her parents' absence, both physically and emotionally. At school, she doesn't really try to make friends, in the past she always had Violet to help her with that and without her she just feels lost.
One day she stumbles upon a sewing shop, dropping off a dress to be mended for a party, only to receive another beautiful dress back for it. Feeling particularly alone on the ride back from the party, she wishes for her sister back.. and is shocked to discover her actually inside her bedroom the next morning.

Going back to the dressmaker's, they discover Olivia has two more dresses and thus two more wishes waiting for her. With Violet by her side as her personal coach, Olivia makes an effort to fit in at her new school and start to enjoy herself, making new friends and crushing on a drumming, skateboarding guy in her class.
But magic can't fix everything, with her messed up familylife, keeping secrets from everyone and generally trying not to appear crazy while talkig to a ghost, how will Olivia keep this up?

I really loved this book! Right at the beginning it had me laughing out loud at some of Olivia's thoughts at a party watching a band:

"He stood on the tips of his sneakers for one last earsplitting wail, before dropping dramatically to his knees and bowing toward the back of the stage, in a gesture that said either (A) I'm praying to Mecca; please don't interrupt, or (B) It's time for a drum solo. I'm spent."

Too funny!

Anyway, I thought this would just be a candy read, and while I love those, this book was way better than I expected. Olivia is a realistic 16-year-old, who doesn't know how to handle her twinsister being gone and isn't a natural social butterfly. She's angry at her parents for not being around and I cried when they finally did have a family moment together, it was beautiful.

The guy Olivia has a crush on, Soren, is swoonworthy. He drums and he's a skateboarder and all around sensitive guy with adorable green eyes.. Brings me right back to the time I used to have crushes on guys like that. I even tried skateboarding myself for a while, before I realised I would never manage anything else than going straight forward with it.

All in all, this was a lovely read, if you like YA and a bit of a fairytale mixed in, GO READ IT!
My rating: 5 stars

What would you wish for if you could have anything (excepting world peace and such, you can't wish for that on a dress according to the rules)?