Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Borrowed Scot by Karen Ranney

Title/Author: A Borrowed Scot (The Tulloch Sgàthán Trilogy #3) by Karen Ranney
Publisher/Date published: April 1st 2011 by Avon
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Who Is Montgomery Fairfax?
Though she possesses remarkable talents and astonishing insight, Veronica MacLeod knows nothing about the man who appears from nowhere to prevent her from committing the most foolish and desperate act of her life. Recently named Lord Fairfax of Doncaster Hall, the breathtaking, secretive stranger agrees to perform the one act of kindness that can rescue the Scottish beauty from scandal and disgrace — by taking Veronica as his bride.
Journeying with Montgomery Fairfax to his magnificent estate in the Highlands, Veronica knows deep in her heart that this is a man she can truly love — a noble soul, a caring and passionate lover whose touch awakens feelings she's never before known. Yet there are ghosts in Montgomery's shuttered past that haunt him still. Unless Veronica can somehow unlock the enigma that is her new husband, their powerful passion could be undone by the sins and sorrows of yesterday."

This book has one of the pet peeves I should have included on the Top Ten Tuesday list: 'Too Stupid To Live'. In the beginning Veronica seems to fit into this category way too perfectly. We meet her as she's drugged and about to be raped by a group of men part of a secret society. Seriously, how does one get into this kind of situation? And then when she's turned out by her aunt and uncle, she thinks it would be a very good idea to just go around naked looking for someone to take her in.

Yes, this sounds bad. But bear with me and the story. Of course, Montgomery (horrible, horrible first name) saves her and they get married. He is damaged from his past and haunted by the ghosts of said past. He is not a very sociable person, as in he doesn't really talk. When Veronica questions him, he just turns and leaves. The only connection they have is in the marital bed. It was nice to see them grow closer outside of it as well.

Veronica after her moment of brain-loss, is actually a nice, sensible person. She also has the gift of sensing what others are feeling and while for me it wasn't necessary for the storyline, it was interesting.

I'm not really sure why Veronica's family was so nasty to her and it irks me that this wasn't explained. Her cousin was jealous, ok, I can get that. But her aunt and uncle weren't exactly warm and fuzzy either.

There was some wonderful tension and this was an enjoyable read, so I did like it in the end.
My rating: 3 stars

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Top Ten Authors That Deserve More Recognition

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 lists, so hop on over and show us yours!

This week's Top Ten:
Your Top Ten Authors That Deserve More Recognition

1. Jill Mansell: she is the queen of chicklit and very popular in Holland, but noone else seems to have heard of her. Really, she writes the absolute best chicklit and when I read one of her books I always feel like I'm talking to one of my friends and I get that feeling of sitting in the sun in the summer even in the middle of winter. She's really good.

2. Monica Furlong: I absolutely LOVED her MG series with the books Juniper, Wise Child and Colman. The women in her books are very strong and she made me want to be a witch. I practically never come across someone who's also read them.

3. Maria V. Snyder: I absolutely love her books and I put every new release of her automatically on my to-read list. Even when like with Inside Out/Outside In the setting isn't really my thing: I never read anything set in space and I made an exception because I love her writing.

4. Alexandra Potter: read and loved 3 of her books, especially Me & Mr. Darcy, sooo cute!

5. Joanne Harris: loved, loved, LOVED Chocolat and The Girl with No Shadow!

6. Patrick Rothfuss: the first two books in his series are some of the best fantasy I've read in years and I absolutely love his Kvothe.

7. Kristin Cashore: LOVED Graceling!! Katsa is such a kick-ass heroine and Po was just perfect.

8. Sophie Jordan: so, a lot of you have probably heard about/read Firelight (which I haven't yet, bad me!), but did you know she writes amazing historical romance novels as well? They are among the best in the genre.

9. Sarah MacLean: same as for Sophie Jordan, she ranks up there on the best of historical romance as well, SO good!

10. Holly Black: I loved White Cat and Red Glove (which is coming out in a couple of days, put it on your lists!), so I'm so surprised I haven't seen more buzz about these books or her other series.

So, I'm off to check out other people's lists and discover me some new authors :)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Title/Author: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher/Date published: Scholastic, first published in 2009
How I got this book: bought it at a booksale, yay for booksales!
Why I read this book: I heard really good things about it and though werewolves aren't really my thing, I decided to read it anyway.

Goodreads summary: "the cold.
Grace has spent years watching the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf — her wolf — watches back. He feels deeply familiar to her, but she doesn't know why.
the heat.
Sam has lived two lives. As a wolf, he keeps the silent company of the girl he loves. And then, for a short time each year, he is human, never daring to talk to Grace... until now.
the shiver.
For Grace and Sam, love has always been kept at a distance. But once it's spoken, it cannot be denied. Sam must fight to stay human — and Grace must fight to keep him — even if it means taking on the scars of the past, the fragility of the present, and the impossibility of the future."

I'm not really into werewolves. I'm not sure why, I'm just not. So, even though everyone and their aunt has been raving about this book, I've put off reading it. Until I found it at a booksale and couldn't resist buying it (I have a serious book buying addiction and I can't for the life of me resist a bargain).

It seems that around the blogosphere, this is one of those infamous 'hit-or-miss' reads. And it wasn't for me, I think I actually fell right into the middle. While I didn't love it, I didn't dislike it. And the werewolve thing actually didn't bother me that much, so props to the author for that.

I thought the whole taking the werewolve thing literally (in Dutch it's called a weerwolf, which translates literally as weather-wolf) and making it be the cold that changes them instead of the moon was really interesting. I also appreciated the not going crazy killer of the wolves when they transformed. They just went canine, not killing machine. Definite yay for that.

Grace, though she seems like a nice girl, did not make me care for her. She felt a bit disconnected and even though she thought about how much she loved Sam, I just didn't really feel it myself. Her parents aren't very parental and because of this, Grace had to be the grown up in that family and does not appreciate her parents suddenly trying to tell her what to do when it comes to Sam. The only time I felt connected to her was when she let herself be real about the hurt her parents cause her by being so absent.

A rare thing for me, I actually connected more to Sam. I almost never connect very well to boys, it's easier with girls/women. Sam is a beautiful boy/wolf and I loved that he had lyrics in his head for the things that happened around him. He has huge emotional scars from his past and I felt so sad for him for what he went through. And I loved how he was trying to be such a gentleman around Grace, he seemed almost from another time.

It all went a bit slow for my taste, but the ending had a bit of an unput-downable factor, though not really edge-of-my-seat-oh-my-gosh-shut-up-I'm-reading!! quality. But it was an enjoyable read and I will probably read the sequel.

My rating: 3 stars

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Vampire Voss by Colleen Gleason

Title/Author: The Vampire Voss (Regency Draculia #1) by Colleen Gleason
Publisher/Date published: March 29th 2011 by MIRA books
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Regency London - a dizzying whirl of balls and young ladies pursued by charming men. But the Woodmore sisters are hunted by a more sinister breed: Lucifer's own. Voss, also known as Viscount Dewhurst, relishes the sensual pleasures immortality affords. A member of the Dracule - a cabal of powerful, secretive noblemen marked with a talisman that reveals their bartered souls - the mercenary Voss has remained carefully neutral... until Angelica. Angelica Woodmore possesses the Sight, an ability invaluable to both sides of a looming war among the Dracule. Her very scent envelops Voss in a scarlet fog of hunger - for her body and blood. But he is utterly unprepared for the new desire that overcomes him - to protect her."

For some reason, this book just did not do it for me. I don't know what it is exactly, but I really had to push myself to read on and finish the book. I didn't dislike it enough to not finish it, but I didn't really felt the urge to continue it either. Maybe adult paranormal romance is just not for me (I love the YA paranormal romances), the accent for me needs to be more on the paranormal I think.

I've had mixed experiences with books about vampires, Twilight was enjoyable, but the books that came after it were less so and let's just not talk about Breaking Dawn. I did really enjoy Vampire Academy, Rose kicks some serious butt. This one, while not being my thing, had some interesting things to add to common vampire-lore. I really liked that in Gleason's take on it, vampires have something, and it can be anything, that will make them weak. Weak enough to get them killed easily. Even by a mere mortal. I also liked the fact that they have Lucifer's marking on their back and that it hurts when he's displeased with them.

Voss isn't very angsty, which was nice. He's a vampire, he can live forever, what else would he be doing but search for pleasure in any way he sees fit? No remorse whatsoever, until he meets Angelica. This is where things start to change and he goes a bit Angel (you know, from Buffy) on us. I don't even know what to say about Angelica, she was a bit bland to me. The only thing I can say for her is that she seems to be a caring sister. I thought her brother was pretty selfish and I didn't like him very much, he just up and left his sisters with a vampire to look after them. Hardly appropriate.

All in all, this was just not for me, I didn't connect with the characters and that's a big thing for me.
My rating: 2 stars

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Top Ten Bookish Pet Peeves

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 lists, so hop on over and show us yours!

This week's Top Ten:
Your Top Ten Bookish Pet Peeves
All those things that annoy you as a reader.

1. Endings that don't fit the story: I'm all for happy endings, really, I am. But you can't have the main character during the whole book falling from nasty thing into horrifying event and THEN have them doing happy dances and singing songs at the end. Seriously. That's just wrong. Which is exactly why I thought the Hunger Games' ending worked, it fits the series.

2. Instant-love, just add water: I love me some good romance, but instant love is not believable. Instant attraction is, but not love. That's something that grows over time. Sure you can be soulmates, but you can't tell me you know that after seeing someone for 3 seconds.

3. Deus ex machina endings: if the divine are going to come in and save the day, then WHY was the hero/heroine fighting that hard up until that point?? There's really no point and it kind of ruins the story.
For me this can also apply to anything that makes it to easy to defeat the bad guy, as in: evildoer, you're allergic to cauliflower? How CONVENIENT.

4. Plot holes: big gaping holes of DOOM I get confused over.

5. Instant-knowledge/power/ability: this sort of goes hand in hand with instant-love and deus ex machina, I want to know the characters worked for what they can do. Sure you can have some natural ability, but you don't go from little weakling to all-powerful in the blink of an eye. That's just wrong.

6. Being evil for the sake of evil: this can go for the obvious villains like tyrant leaders to the mean girl in high school: no-one is nasty without a reason. I want the arch-enemies to be 3D as well.

7. Stereotypical characters: yes, I read a lot of romance novels and in those this happens a lot, BUT there's no need for the lady in the novel to be always waiting on the dashing lord to save her. She can do a little fending for herself if she feels so inclined instead of simpering in the corner.

8. Whiny/bratty teenagers: well, whiny characters as a whole, but whiny teenagers make my toes curl in a very bad way.

9. Desciptions of things I don't care about that go on and on and on and on (OMG, it's never going to end!!): I love a little detail, but there is such a thing as taking it too far and getting lost in the merits of an ant crawling across a wall or the whole of Russian politics in the 19th century.

10. Waiting sooooo long for the next book in a series: this one doesn't have to do with the story itself, but OMG, the wait for some books nearly kills me! Seriously. And then the publication date gets pushed further back and I'm tearing my hair out in anticipation. Not pretty.

I actually made it to 10! Tell me if you share some of my pet peeves!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Songs for Saturday (2)

I thought it was time to put the spotlight on some of the songs I love again. I've recently fallen in love with Sara Bareilles' new CD 'Kaleidoscope', it's amazing! I loved her first album 'Little Voices' and saw her perform live, which was so, so beautiful.
The one song that keeps playing in my head over and over again:


I also discovered she did a really cool cover of Beyonce's Single Ladies, a completely different interpretation.

And I'm going to see this Dutch band on Wednesday, they're fairly new and I think they'll be amazing live!

Any new songs that have caught your attention? Or older ones that still hold a special place in your heart? Please do share! :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Currently Reading: The Wise Man's Fear


No spoilers, I promise, just me raving about the book so far :)

I'm about halfway through and I'm LOVING it!! Rothfuss is an amazing writer and has managed to make me feel part of this world again. I love Kvothe and all the other characters in the book and some I love to hate (Ambrose anyone?).
The only problem I have is that it's heavy. The book is huge, which I love, cause it means more story-goodness. But I can't take it with me as easily as I would like.
But the hardcover is totally pretty, so it's worth it.

Anyway, I'm gonna go and continue reading, this book makes me want to hole up in my house and ignore all other unimportant things like class/hunger/sleepiness.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Devil's Temptress by Laura Navarre

Title/Author: The Devil's Temptress by Laura Navarre
Publisher/Date published: February 15th 2011 by Dorchester Publishing
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "In the glittering, sumptuous court of Eleanor of Acquitaine, betrayal lurks around every corner. The queen is at odds with her king, and to obey one could mean treason against the other. Even Alienore, considered the most virtuous lady at court, holds secrets; He is called the Raven — his face scarred by a Saracen blade, his voice raspy with the effects of Greek fire. His parentage is unknown, his prowess legendary. And he'll sell his sword to the highest bidder. As his piercing eyes track her every move, Alienore wonders who he's working for now."

So, I've read a lot of historical romances lately. And most of them share a common trait: it's not so much about the historical as the romance, with balls and pretty dresses. This one actually dealt with the history and I've never read anything set in the time of Eleanor of Aquitane before, so that was refreshing as well.

I'm kind of conflicted about how I should review this, because while I really enjoyed most of the book, there were also things I had issues with.
Alienore is a likeable heroine, she is brave and loyal and there's this thing I have for women dressing up like men (this is how we meet her the first time). Though she does it only once in the book, it made me like her right away.

And then there's the Raven, by the way: it totally bothered me not knowing his first name for almost the whole book. And I know, it's mysterious, blah-di-blah, it didn't ring any bells when I finally learned what it was, so it wasn't that important to the storyline. He's conflicted and has good reason to be. I thought the author gave him a good voice, except for the occasion in which he expressed certain sexual desires in his mind, which left me going: wait, WHAT DID HE JUST THINK??? Completely out of context and unnecessary in my opinion.

They did have wonderful chemistry and I cried for them when they were figuring things out, I loved it. I'm also intrigued by Eleanor of Aquitane and feel like I should get to know her better. If I'm correct, her son Richard is Richard Lionheart? He comes across as a total sleazeball in this book, which I have a hard time connecting with the King Richard from Robin Hood...

I was a bit confused by the timelime of Alienore's childhood, but that could be just me. I didn't get how she could have spent 6 years in a convent and raised a wolf at the same time at home. She has a pet wolf, how cool is that?
One other thing I had issues with: the author mentions Raven having 'self-hatred churning in his belly'. Seriously? This is a big strong man, he doesn't have a belly, that sounds so childish. Not manly at all.

Reading this, I sound kind of negative. But I'm not, honestly. It was a really nice story and I liked the main characters, the things mentioned above just stood out to me and made me pause and go HUH?! in an otherwise enjoyable read.

My rating: 3,5 stars

Monday, March 14, 2011

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Title/Author: Wither (Chemical Garden #1) by Lauren DeStefano
Publisher/Date published: March 22nd 2011 by Simon & Schuster
How I got this book: received it from the publisher
Why I read this book: are you kidding me? This book sounds totally awesome. YOU should read it.

Goodreads summary: "What if you knew exactly when you would die?
Thanks to modern science, every human being 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 Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left."

So, the whole blogging world is buzzing about this book. Or at least the ones I've read lately. And with good reason, I might add. This book is a stunning debut. Reading this, I should have been looking for a topic for my evidence-based-medicine paper (while writing this review, I should be finishing said paper). But I just could not force myself away from this book, and not just because I don't like writing EBM-related papers. It was really amazing.

The world DeStefano has created is horrifying. Though cancer is a thing of the past thanks to genetic manipulation, you now only live to see the age of 20 if you're a girl, and 25 is you're a guy. The whole idea of a virus being triggered and killing you (pretty horribly might I add) is definitely scary and not so unimaginable for a med student like me.

A big effect of this, which I hadn't thought of, is that most kids loose their parents when they're 6 years old (if they're lucky, cause that would mean your mother had you at 14). Most kids live on the streets, stealing to make a living. Can you imagine being 5 or 6 and having to look after yourself? I was tucked into bed and read a bedtime story at that age.

The relationship between Rhine and her two sister-wives is very complicated and amazing. I loved how both the other wives had their own voice and were really fleshed out characters. Rhine is a strong girl herself and really just wants to go back to her twin brother, who I hope we'll get to meet in the next book.
Linden, the husband, is a confusing character and so naive I wanted to slap him on the back of the head sometimes. Seriously.
His dad is totally creepy and seems evil, though I get that he wants to do everything in his power to make sure his son will survive.

The romance isn't over the top and while it's there, Rhine doesn't let her universe revolve around it. Which is pretty nice in my opinion. I thought the whole thing was very sweet and would love to see it develop further in the series.

All in all, I thought this book was amazing and it nearly brought me to tears due to something I won't mention, cause I don't want to spoil anything. But in case you want to know, light up the following:
Jenna's death. So, so sad!

Oh, and have I mentioned the cover love I have for this one? The details are incredible (the ring, the bird).
Go read it. Now. I promise it's not overly hyped. It's hyped just right.

My rating: 5 stars

Sunday, March 13, 2011

In My Mailbox (3)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. I LOVE seeing what everybody else got and adding new books to my to-read list because of it!

So, this is not as massive as the last time (but that was due to multiple book sales), I got some amazing books over the last 3 weeks.

The one I'm most excited about, as I've waited a year and half for it to come out, I'm already reading it:

The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss: isn't it PRETTY!! I absolutely love the cover and did happy dances when it got here. It's also huge. I'm still weighing the merit of taking it with me everywhere against shoulder/back troubles. Seriously, my purse would probably tear if I put it in there.

Dutch version of The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco: this is supposed to be a must-read, so I picked it up on sale at my grocery store (I so love it when they have books on sale there).
Entangled by Cat Clarke: I fell in love with the cover, hope the book lives up to it!

OH MY GOSH, I WON BOOKS!!! Seriously, I never win stuff, so I was SOOO excited when I got these!

Hard Times by Charles Dickens: I got this one from Sarah at The Book Bee, thank you so, so much!
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare: got it from Liz at Midnight Bloom, THANK YOU!! I've heard great things about this book and I'm gonna read it soon! Also, this one is SIGNED:

YAY! I've never owned a signed book before, I'm so excited!

eGalleys FOR REVIEW:

Die For Me by Amy Plum: I absolutely love the new cover!!
Mercy by Rebecca Lim
The Devil's Temptress by Laura Navarre
: I've actually already read this, the review will be up soon.

Guarding a Notorious Lady by Olivia Parker
Bumped by Megan McCafferty
: OMG, I got approved for Bumped!! I'm so excited, I've been pining for this book for months.
The Royal Treatment by Linsey Leavitt: sequel to Princess for Hire, which I haven't read yet, but have been trying to get my hands on desperately.

Hereafter by Tara Hudson
The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson
Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
: I've been pining for this one for months as well, really excited to get to it!

A Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine
Girl Wonder by Alexa Martin
The Dark of the Moon by Tracy Barrett

A huge THANK YOU to all publishers!

So this is my 3 weeks worth of books, I'm actually really proud of myself for not buying more than 3 books :) Don't you think YA as a group has the best covers?? They're all so pretty.
What did you get in your mailbox?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

Title/Author: The Vespertine (Vespertine #1) by Saundra Mitchell
Publisher/Date published: March 7th 2011, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "It’s the summer of 1889, and Amelia van den Broek is new to Baltimore and eager to take in all the pleasures the city has to offer. But her gaiety is interrupted by disturbing, dreamlike visions she has only at sunset — visions that offer glimpses of the future. Soon, friends and strangers alike call on Amelia to hear her prophecies. However, a forbidden romance with Nathaniel, an artist, threatens the new life Amelia is building in Baltimore. This enigmatic young man is keeping secrets of his own — still, Amelia finds herself irrepressibly drawn to him.
When one of her darkest visions comes to pass, Amelia’s world is thrown into chaos. And those around her begin to wonder if she’s not the seer of dark portents, but the cause."

I had never read anything by this author before and the whole blogosphere has been raving about this book. Which kinda makes me glad I read it before all the hype, cause I don't know if I would have been disappointed otherwise.

Let me first say that I really liked Amelia (oh, and I love that she has a Dutch last name, I can be patriotic when I want to and I love little things like this). She's a lovely girl and I really enjoyed reading about her friendship with Zora, her cousin, who is a great character as well.

Amelia only gets her preminitions at sunset and while I'm all for characters discovering their abilities on their own, I thought it was a bit soon. After just one she knew she only had them at sunset, which is weird, cause just once could have just been a coincidence. I would have thought she'd struggle a bit more with this before getting the hang of it.

I also had a bit of a hard time believing the 'love' between her and Nathaniel. While he is such an interesting character and I'm sure I would have fallen for him, had it been me instead of Amelia, it was all a bit sudden. I'm not really a big fan of the meant-to-be-at-first-sight that's been showing up a lot in YA. I did think they had wonderful chemistry though, so that redeems this somewhat.

At the beginning of the book, we find Amelia after the major happenings in the story and after and see what happened through flasbacks. I thought it was brilliant and you get a sense of doom because you know what'll happen. Even though I was wishing so hard for it not to. Reading it, I hadn't realized it was the first in a series, so that was a relief after finishing it! I really want to know what'll happen next with Amelia!

All in all, this was an engaging read, I really liked the MC and felt connected to her.
My rating: 4 stars

Friday, March 11, 2011

TGIF at GReads (1)

TGIF is hosted by Ginger at GReads!. And since I loved her question this week, I decided to participate :)

This Friday's Question:
Book Mourning: does this happen to you?
When you finish an amazing book, do you find yourself at a loss to pick up another one? What was the last book that left you feeling so bewildered? & what did you do to overcome it?

In one word: YES!!! Oh my gosh, I sometimes think it's unfair to other books when I've read one I was absolutely going crazy over before I read them. I haven't really checked, but it is likely that it affects the rating they get.
As in book mourning: I MOURNED the Harry Potter series. Seriously, I was so sad for a week after finishing the last one. That was bad. Oh, and the Hunger Games, I mourned the ending of that series as well. And His Dark Materials, that was pretty bad as well. Also, if I love a book, I always hate it when it ends. But I feel the sense of loss more when it's a series and I've invested so much and feel like these characters are my friends/family.

On a side note: I've mourned the ending of TV series as well. I LOVED Ugly Betty and was just staring at the screen in horror when I realised I'd just watched the last ever episode.

So what about you? Any books/series that you mourned after finishing them?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf

Title/Author: These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf
Publisher/Date published: March 1st 2011, MIRA (Harlequin)
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "When teenager Allison Glenn is sent to prison for a heinous crime, she leaves behind her reputation as Linden Falls' golden girl forever. Her parents deny the existence of their once-perfect child. Her former friends exult her downfall. Her sister, Brynn, faces whispered rumors every day in the hallways of their small Iowa high school. It's Brynn — shy, quiet Brynn — who carries the burden of what really happened that night. All she wants is to forget Allison and the past that haunts her.
But then Allison is released to a halfway house, and is more determined than ever to speak with her estranged sister.
Now their legacy of secrets is focused on one little boy. And if the truth is revealed, the consequences will be unimaginable for the adoptive mother who loves him, the girl who tried to protect him and the two sisters who hold the key to all that is hidden."

I think this book will haunt me for some time.

At first, I had a hard time getting into the story. It switches point of view constantly and therefore I didn't connect to the characters like I would have wanted to. After finishing it, I totally get why the author did this, but at the time it was a bit much for me.

We follow 4 different women, all with their own struggles to face. It was a bit hard to see the big picture with these alternate tellings of the story, but I got used to it and enjoyed this slowly unraveling tale.

I was ready to yell at the book (yes, I do that some time), to hurry up and tell me what happened already! Which means I got engaged in the end, which is what matters in my opinion.

I don't want to give anything away, but what really happened that night? It's horrifying and Oh my gosh, I did not see that ending coming! I did have a nagging feeling that there was something I was missing throughout a huge part of the book, props to the author for not giving it away until the last minute! I am horribly accurate at guessing what the plot point will be.

This is far darker than the books I usually read, but I really enjoyed it and like I said at the beginning: it will haunt me for some time to come.

My rating: 4 stars

Monday, March 7, 2011

White Cat by Holly Black

Title/Author: White Cat (Curse Workers #1) by Holly Black
Publisher/Date published: Listening Library (audiobook), first published May 4th 2010.
How I got this book: borrowed it from a friend who had the audiobook.
Why I read this book: I'd been meaning to and since I have the next one as an egalley, I bumped it up.

Goodreads summary: "Cassel comes from a family of curse workers — people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they're all mobsters, or con artists. Except for Cassel. He hasn't got the magic touch, so he's an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail — he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.
Ever since, Cassel has carefully built up a façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade starts crumbling when he starts sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He's noticing other disturbing things, too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him, caught up in a mysterious plot. As Cassel begins to suspect he's part of a huge con game, he also wonders what really happened to Lila. Could she still be alive? To find that out, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen."

I'd never read anything by Holly Black before, but I'd heard really good things about her. I also really liked the covers for both this one and Red Glove (the second book, soon to be out).

This is the first time I tried an audiobook and while it didn't bother me as much as I had thought, the experience was slightly different from reading a book yourself. I got the names mixed up more often and not being able to check back on something was a bit annoying. Other than that, I did really enjoy being read to. It takes longer to 'read' a book this way, but that's not such a bad thing.

Anyway, on to the book itself: LOVED the magic system! "Working" your magic by touching someone with your bare hands has so many implications. Society is changed by it. People are horrified by the idea of shaking hands without gloves on. You don't let someone touch your bare skin, because they just might be Curse Workers and working you without your knowledge. Everyone can only do one thing: you might be a luck worker, memory worker, death worker, dream worker, emotion worker.. The list goes on, but you only have one thing you can do and you're born with it. Working is actually illegal and Cassel's mother was sent to prison for it.

Cassel is troubled by two things: he is the only one in family who's not a worker and he killed his friend Lila 3 years ago. He remembers doing it and doesn't know why he did it, which makes him afraid to be alone with the girl he likes. He's afraid he might do it again. I believe that deep inside Cassel is a good person, he just likes breaking the rules/law a lot while being that person. His whole family has major issues and I think I'm going to love meeting his mother in person in the next book.

I saw a lot of the twists coming pretty early on, but I don't mind that so much. The story flowed really nicely, there weren't dead parts in it and I kept wanting to find out what would happen next.
Let me just say one thing spoilerfree: OMG, that ending! It's horrible! I can't wait to start Red Glove and find out Cassel will figure this one out!

My rating: 5 stars

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Outside In by Maria V. Snyder

Title/Author: Outside In (Inside Out #2) by Maria V. Snyder
Publisher/Date published: February 22nd by Harlequin Teen
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Why I read this book: I really enjoyed the first book in the series.


Goodreads summary: "Me? A Leader? Okay, I did prove that there's more to Inside than we knew. That a whole world exists beyond this cube we live in. And finding that led to a major rebellion - between worker scrubs like me and the snobby uppers who rule our world. Make that ruled. Because of me, we're free. I thought that meant I was off the hook, and could go off on my own again - while still touching base with Riley, of course. He's the one upper I think I can trust. But then we learned that there's outside and then there is Outside. And something from Outside wants in."

I'm not really into aliens and space and everything (which is why I haven't added a recent popular debut book to my to-read list, I can't get past the thing being set in space) and usually I don't try it. But Maria V. Snyder is one of my auto-read authors, as I've loved 2 of her series before, which is why I decided to read Inside Out (the first book in the series). And it didn't creep me out or trigger space-alerts (red flashing lights and all). I really, really enjoyed it.

This one follows Trella after she managed to bring down the 'government' of Inside. Trella hadn't counted on everyone looking to her for guidance after it and doesn't really want the responsibility. She'd rather explore just how much of Inside they haven't seen yet and spend the rest of her free time kissing Riley. Of course the new board has got this down.
It shouldn't be much of a shock that putting people in charge without resolving issues between the uppers and scrubs in any way doesn't really work out. So many books end after the rebellion, or shortly after it succeeded and we never get to find out what happens after. Well, this is what happens: there needs to be done something more than just overthrow the powers that be.

Against the background of this struggle in the community, we also see Trella struggling with the knowledge of who her mother is and her relationship with Riley. She has a really hard time letting people in and that includes him, which of course frustrates him.

And then there's the fact that someone from Outside hacked into the computer system and someone is sabotaging Inside from the inside (yes, I know). But who is it, and what do they want? Trella is desperate to find out before they shut down Inside through the network and has to crawl through the pipes yet again in order to do this.

I enjoyed this one less than I did Inside Out. Which probably has to do with the creepy Outsiders that enter into this one. And the fact that there wasn't a lot of Riley in it. I love that guy, he's sweet and he's mostly right. He truly stands for what he believes in and I just adore him.
Trella herself experiences a lot of character growth and I really enjoyed reading about her journey. She's a good person and a very loyal friend if you manage to actually befriend her.

Towards the ending, the story felt a bit rushed, I was wondering how she would be able to wrap all of it up in the few pages that were left. It wasn't a bad ending, it was just a bit fast and I would have liked it to be a bit longer. It was pretty fast paced all around and while I do enjoy an action packed novel, I could have also used some time to catch my breath for a while.
I must say that I was really glad there wasn't a real love triangle in this book, while it can really work, it seems to turn up in so many stories these days that I'm growing a bit weary of it. Especially if I've fallen in love with the first guy someone dates and feel invested into that relationship, only to be told she may prefer shiny new guy. So yay for that! :)

I do hope that for her next series Snyder returns to the fantasy genre, cause she does that so well. I've actually already added her newest project: Touch of Power, which sounds really interesting, to my to-read list. Goodreads says it will be released January 2012, so it's a long wait, but I bet it'll totally be worth it!

My rating: 4 stars

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Top Ten Books I Just HAD To Buy.. But Are Still Sitting On My Shelf

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 lists, so hop on over and show us yours!

This week's Top Ten:
Books I just HAD to buy... but are still sitting on my shelf aka: the books that stare at me accusingly.

Oh my gosh, I don't even want to make this list. Ok, let's start the meeting:
Hi, I'm Daisy and I am a book-buying-aholic.

1. Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel: or rather the whole series up to book 5.. I went to the store specifically to buy it and it's still sitting on my shelf. Which is pretty embarassing.

2. Chasing Harry Winston by Lauren Weisberger: I really enjoyed The Devil Wears Prada and Everyone Worth Knowing, so when I spotted this one, I immediately bought it. Only to stop about 15 pages in and I haven't picked it up ever since.

3. Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay: seriously, one of my friends got this for her birthday and I thought I wouldn't be able to wait for her to finish it and got a copy myself. It's been 2,5 years and I STILL haven't read it. I don't know if my friend has actually, so I may beat her yet!

4. My Sister's Keeper by Jody Picoult: my boyfriend stared at me funny while I loaded up on books on our trip to London. Yes, I said, I NEED to buy all these books now.

5. Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier: I heard it was out and stopped at the bookstore at the train station to get it. Of course I planned to read it first thing.

6. The Fool's Girl by Celia Rees: the cover looked so pretty and I couldn't resist.

7. All the classics I own: I want to get to them, they're just a bit intimidating is all.

8. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden: I watched the movie, I HAD to read this. I think I've owned it for over 3 years.

9. The Alchemist's Daughter by Katharine McMahon: I'd been looking everywhere for this one and The Rose of Sebastopol and when I found both at a book sale, I just put them on my shelves and haven't really put an effort into reading them yet.

10. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss: yes, I've read it, but that one I borrowed, after that I HAD to own it myself. Haven't reread it since. Oh, and I'm just excited that the second book in the series The Wise Man's Fear is out today and it's on its way here as we speak!! :) I'm seriously promising that one won't make this list in the future.

You know what I feel even more guilty about? Those books I got as presents and haven't read yet. I always try and read them within a year. With the galleys I request from publishers, it's sometimes hard to squeeze in books I actually own. Which is totally my fault, I can't help clicking the button REQUEST when something interesting comes along...

So, what would you recommend I'd get to soonest?