Monday, September 27, 2010

Forever Cover Revealed!!!!

Gorgeous, right?? I was just wondering last week what color Forever was going to be. (I love that each book is a different color - and that the type inside MATCHES!! It's so fun!) Believe it or not, I was actually thinking that red would look fabulous with the blue and green of the previous books. The other one I was contemplating was purple, but now that it's out, red definitely looks fantastic! It comes out July 2011, which seems forever away! (Haha!) But there are so many other good books that will come out to keep me company until I can finish the series and find out what happens to Grace, Sam, Isabelle, and Cole.

Are you excited? Don't you just LOVE the cover??

Friday, September 24, 2010

Clockwork Angel - Cassandra Clare

Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still.

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by—and torn between—two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length . . . everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world. . . . and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

I finished this book about 4 days ago and I have to say, I'm still blown away by this fabulous book. Like her other series - The Mortal Instruments - it's richly detailed and the story is excellent and always leaves you guessing. And yes, side by side with the fighting and the killing, there is a fair amount of romantic tension in there as well. (The glove scene! *swoon*) And while there are still 2 more books in this series, and now 3 more books for TMI, I'm currently liking this series better. It's characters, in my opinion, are more intriguing to me, as is the story line. And there's no possibilities of incest (that I know of) that will make me question my romantic sensibilities and sanity. ; )

Let's start with the story. (I'll try my best to remain spoiler free.) It took me a couple chapters to really get into it, but once it had me, I was completely hooked. It killed me to have to put it down to attend to such things as eating, sleeping, and making sure my kids were in bed on time. It was constantly taking me by surprise and when the villian's identity (and that of his partner) was revealed, I audibly gasped "No WAY!!" I have no idea what's going to happen next, which I love and hate at the same time. And there's so much room for the characters to grow that I'm excited to see what happens to them and to see how they change. And while I'm in no way familiar with London - Victorian era or otherwise - her descriptions of the city and the aura it had were so well described that while I had no idea if what I was picturing was geographically correct, the atmosphere came through to me crystal clear.

Now, for the characters. They were fantastic, and even the smaller characters felt very fleshed out and real, so my feelings towards them are fairly strong - which I love. It makes the story feel that much more of an alternate reality to me. Anyway, as a strong minded female myself, I loved reading about Charlotte and her ability and determination to work with what she had and rock her position at the Institute. I honestly think she loves Henry, and it's so bittersweet to see the way their relationship plays out. I'm hoping Henry will emerge from his own world a little more in the future books and see the amazing woman he has in his life. (Does he love her? I don't know.) And maybe have an invention or two finally work the way he wants. Jessamine, however, made me nothing but angry/annoyed. I can understand her feelings to a point, but she seems so shallow and self-centered while those around her are able to see the bigger was very frustrating. But I'm holding off on truly disliking her until I'm done with the series. I'm sure there's more to her than what is currently being shown. And she's shown her brave side a couple times, which I'm hoping she embraces more. She could be a pretty wife and still be a badass if she wanted to.

And, of course, there's the love triangle - although I don't think it's quite a triangle yet. But the potential is definitely there. Tessa is an excellent heroine. I love her ability to think quickly and be brave even when it would be easier to run and hide. Her verbal sparring with Will was always fun to read, since I always wish I was someone who was clever and quick like that. And through it all, there's an innocent vulnerability there, a longing to not only find herself, but her place in the world around her; since it no longer seems to be the world she knew. She doesn't have to choose Jessamine's path, she could choose Charlotte's, or a mixture of both - and in that era, the possibility of options is truly tantalizing. I'm excited to see what path she ends up making for herself. The boys - oh, my night and day boys - are honestly hard to choose between. I hate to think that she'll have to choose one, since that will leave one without her. (And just to rant for a second, why are the good boys always overshadowed by the bad ones? Sigh...) Will, with his dark and brooding good looks and sharp wit - he's the bad boy that every girl feels drawn to and wants to tame. They always have this passion about them that is so magnetic, it's hard not to be drawn in. And while it might end well with many in the fictional world, I don't know how it will end with Will. He's so throroughly self-destructive that I don't know if he has it in him to love Tessa completely. That remains to be seen I guess. And then there's Jem. Ah, Jem. The nice boy. The boy who can look beyond his own emotions and have amazing empathy for others. (And he plays the violin! *double swoon*) His story is so sad, and yet his strong character amazes me. He is the boy you want to keep forever, because you know his love will never fade, even if it doesn't seem to burn as brightly as the bad boy's. And his relationship with Will, his ability to take him for who and what he is, is very admirable. While I'm definitely leaning towards Jem as the ultimate love interest, I'm really hoping that this triangle doesn't ruin Jem and Will's friendship. They understand each other so well, it would be a shame to see that ruined because they both love the same woman.

I love that Magnus Bane made an appearance, and I hope to see more of him in future books, especially from his perspective. I would love to see the world through his eyes for a few pages. I'm intrigued to see how Sophie plays into things, and how much I'll come to dislike Benedict and Gabriel Lightwood. And definitely, what is the Magister up to, and why is Tessa so important??? Next September can't get here fast enough!! (At least I'll have City of Fallen Angels to hold me over in April.)


*This is the first of 3 books in the Infernal Devices series. Clockwork Prince is set to be released September of 2011, and Clockwork Princess in November 2012.

Clockwork Angel
Cassandra Clare
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
479 pages
$19.99 (hardcover)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12.

This review DOES contain spoilers. Sorry. I tried, but I couldn't help it.

I was a little worried when I started this book. I broke my own rule and read a few non-spoilery reviews beforehand. I didn't want to know what happened, but I was intensely curious about what other people had thought about it. The basic idea I got was that while they loved it, there were a few things that drove them crazy or they didn't like. So that made me super curious when I started the book myself. What would these random things be that had bothered people? Would I pick up on them or not even notice them?

Anyway, I took my time reading Mockingjay. I didn't want to miss anything in my haste to find out what happens next. And while there were many things that, while I was reading, did bother me (Gale. Peeta. Plutarch.) I was actually extremely satisfied with how she ended the series. And after a couple days to...reflect, I don't think it could have ended any other way. Gale was too changed by the war, and while his attitude didn't make me happy, it definitely fit his character. He and Katniss never stood a chance. The whole Peeta situation had me very worried for most of the book, but he and Katniss are absolutely perfect for each other, even with the way the war changed and damaged them. They helped heal the wounds and smooth out the rough edges. And when she shot Coin instead of Snow I shouted "YES!" I knew that Coin would just be another version of Snow, so I was glad that it hadn't ended with another, differently corrupt leader. Overall I really, really enjoyed Mockingjay. I was saddened by many of the deaths (Prim. Finnick.) but it really had a satifying end. I wasn't disappointed at all.


Suzanne Collins
390 pages
$17.99 (hardcover)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Far From You - Lisa Schroeder

Lost and alone...Down the rabbit hole.

Alice thought she knew
what solitude was:
Her mother—gone.
Her father—remarried with a newborn

in the icy embrace
of a deadly snowstorm,
Alice faces the true meaning of loneliness.

But hope
may not be as far away
as she thinks....

I absolutely loved this book. As someone who has had a stepmother (or two) in her life, I can completely relate to Ali's emotions in almost every way. I love that she lost herself in her music and her boyfriend, and felt so alienated from her family even though it was partly her fault. It's so true of how teenagers are. But the best part, in my opinion was just her overall growth. It was tense reading about her stuck in the snowstorm with her stepmother and baby sister, and I was constantly worrying if they would all make it through ok. But seeing Ali's perspective change, letting her guard down enough to allow her to see things differently was such a tender thing to read. By the end of the book I was crying my eyes out. I really liked I Love You, You Haunt Me, but this book has officially made Lisa Schroeder a must read author for me. Loved. It.


Far From You
Lisa Schroeder
Simon & Schuster Children's
368 pages
$15.99 (hardcover)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Before Midnight - Cameron Dokey

Etienne de Brabant is brokenhearted. His wife has died in childbirth, leaving him alone with an infant daughter he cannot bear to name. But before he abandons her for king and court, he brings a second child to be raised alongside her, a boy whose identity he does not reveal.

The girl, La Cendrillon, and the boy, Raoul, pass sixteen years in the servants' care until one day a very fine lady arrives with her two daughters. The lady has married La Cendrillon's father, and her arrival changes their lives.

When an invitation to a great ball reaches the family, La Cendrillon's new stepmother will make a decision with far-reaching effects. Her choice will lead La Cendrillon and Raoul toward their destiny — a choice that will challenge their understanding of family, test their loyalty and courage, and, ultimately, teach them who they are.

I love all things Cinderella. Almost every rendition of the story I have loved to some extent. And this version is extremely satisfying. It's definitely a quick and easy read, but her version of a story that's been told a million times felt very fresh. While I pretty much knew how it was going to end, there were a fair amount of times where she took me pleasantly by surprise with the plot. La Cendrillion (Rilla) is a very likable character, and her interactions with the other characters were always fun and interesting to read. I loved the new angle on her relationship with her step family, and the fact that her father never ends up dying in this version. I felt it gave her more depth in her character because of the fact that he lives but is absent from her life. And while there are no fairy godmothers in this book, magic definitely has a presence, and it's fun to see how it becomes its own character in a way. The writing was good and the pacing was great and only lagged for a couple pages here and there. I have to say, I liked it more than I expected.


Before Midnight
Cameron Dokey
Simon & Schuster Childrens
208 pages
$6.29 (paperback)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Follow Friday and Blog Hop - Sept. 3rd

Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee's View. Head on over there to check out this week's featured blog. This week's question is:

What is your favorite brick and mortar bookstore?

I'll admit, I'm a Barnes and Noble girl. There are a few other little bookstores around where I live, but there's a huge B&N 20 minutes from my house that has a cafe in it and I love going there. The smell of coffee, pastries, and's fabulous. I could disappear in there for hours.
Book Blogger Hop

The Blog Hop is hosted by Crazy for Books. This week's question is:

Do you judge a book by its cover?

My answer is yes, I do, but it's mostly when I'm looking around online or in a bookstore for something new. If I hear about the book first, then I like to see how the cover looks compared to what I've heard about the story, but it's not as...influential. But I love book covers, so they definitely play a part in what books catch my attention and which ones I want to know more about. But, I will say that I've read plenty of books that were fabulous that had lack luster covers, so I know to not let it sway me too much.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Which do you prefer?

Alright, time for something new. A discussion. Are you ready?

What's better - real books or ebooks?

That's right, I want to know what you think. Ebooks are becoming more and more popular, with more and more titles available every day. Most of the time, they are cheaper than the paper copy - hardback or paperback - and the ability to carry hundreds or thousands of books in your bag is positively lovely. But, for those hardcore book addicts, there's just something about holding a new book in your hands, knowing you will be the first to crack the binding and turn the pages. And the smell of the ink on the pages....

But I'm getting carried away.

I'll put in my two cents and then I would love to hear your thoughts. I am currently stuck between a rock and a hard place in my love for books. I love going to the store (or waiting for the UPS man) and getting beautiful new books with beautiful covers to arrange on my (limited) bookshelves at home. And I'll be honest, I have a bit of a thing for book covers. So many of them are so beautiful that I love to just have them on my shelves, looking pretty for me. Some are dramatic, some almost glow, others are bright and inviting. It makes my bookshelves look like a giant jewelery box and each book is a sparkling gem waiting for some attention from me.

But, I have been lured into the ebook world. This past Christmas I recieved a Nook and I absolutely love it. It's a great size, I love that I can get sample chapters of books that look interesting to see if it's worth buying, and I can cart around a bunch of books in my purse wherever I go in a small(ish) device. It's excellent. And since I'm not made of money, the fact that many of the ebooks I want are fairly cheap is also a big plus. The only downfall - the pretty covers are black and white. Sigh...

So here's my problem. If I find a book I love, I really love to have it on my shelf in book form - preferably hardback since they are more durable to the many times I end up reading them over and over. So, I may buy an ebook, read it, end up loving it, and then want to buy it in hardback form. So I end up buying it twice. Crazy, I know, but I have actually done this, and I'm planning on doing it again. So I'm fighting between the new love of ebooks and the old love of real books. So in my opinion, they both have their merits and flaws, and I'm intrigued to see the way things sway in the future. 

So, where do you fall? Real book purist? Ebook convert? Or, like me, somewhere in between?