Monday, April 30, 2012

Book Review: The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: May 1, 2012
Publisher: Amulet Books
354 Pages

This dark and thrilling adventure, with an unforgettable heroine, will captivate fans of steampunk, fantasy, and romance. On her 18th birthday, Lena Mattacascar decides to search for her father, who disappeared into the northern wilderness of Scree when Lena was young. Scree is inhabited by Peculiars, people whose unusual characteristics make them unacceptable to modern society. Lena wonders if her father is the source of her own extraordinary characteristics and if she, too, is Peculiar. On the train she meets a young librarian, Jimson Quiggley, who is traveling to a town on the edge of Scree to work in the home and library of the inventor Mr. Beasley. The train is stopped by men being chased by the handsome young marshal Thomas Saltre. When Saltre learns who Lena’s father is, he convinces her to spy on Mr. Beasley and the strange folk who disappear into his home, Zephyr House. A daring escape in an aerocopter leads Lena into the wilds of Scree to confront her deepest fears.


Warning: This review contains girlish squeals, rambling and quite a few capitals. It probably won't make much sense.

I LOVE THIS WRITING. Sorry for the all-caps, but I cannot stress that point enough. Here, let me give you a tidbit:

"Her hands spidered out like daddy-longlegs."

I love creepy bug references. 

"It belched great sighs of steam in satisfaction."

And a little alliteration.

This book has the strangest names for people and places. It's so creative and really intriguing. I knew from the first chapter that I would love it. It's perfect. PERFECT, I TELL YOU.

Jimson is adorable and sweet and I want to hug him. He's quite naïve and always says what is on his mind, even if it's not the right thing to say. And he really grows as a person as the story progresses. Plus, HE WANTS TO BE A LIBRARIAN. He's the perfect man. He really cares for Lena and he's a great, enthusiastic and strange character. Jimson is really awesome. I loved the parts with him best.

I love Lena, too. She reminds me a lot of myself, though she is far less outspoken than I am. She loves to read, loves books in general, much like myself. She tends to shy from company, and though it is for different reasons, I do, too. She's so sweet and gives a observant perspective. Everything is so new to her that her descriptions make sense and aren't annoying.

THERE IS A CAT IN THIS STORY. Mrs. Mumbles. Oh goodness me. Another reason to love this book. Cats are my favorite animals of all time. So the story was made ten times more awesome just by Mrs. Mumbles' presence alone.

The most interesting character in this book is definitely Mr. Tobias Beasley. He is almost completely without hair, this includes eyebrows. He must paint them on. He's clever, smart and very brave, while maintaining a great sense of humor. PLUS, Tobias is one of my favorite names ever because the characters named Tobias are usual completely awesome. i.e. - Tobias Hankel from Season Two of Criminal Minds, and Tobias aka Four from Divergent. Need I say more?

Marshall Thomas Saltre is a character that you love to hate. Lena holds some interest in him, but I think it's mostly her naïvety and that fact that he compliments her. If I was in her position, I'd kick him where the sun doesn't shine and run away. He always seemed very creepy and condescending, in my opinion.

"Jack Sprat could eat no fat; his wife could eat no lean; and so betwixt the two of them they licks their platters clean."  - I love, love, love this little tongue twister that Lena gives us early on in the story.

Why did it take me so long to read this? WHY. Seriously. The writing is just magnificent. I am addicted to the author. I've never really read Steampunk novels before. I think in total, I've read two others, which were Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel and  Kady Cross's series. I enjoyed them, but this one was so much better - no offense, it's in completely different ways.

The writing is slow. I'll admit it, it does do some dragging, but it really works for this novel. There is a huge pick-up in the writing closer to the end of the book, when the real adventure begins. It all fits with the personality of the protagonist. This book has a lot of scientific discovery and discovery of Lena herself. 

The basic idea of this entire review is that I LOVE THIS BOOK. I think it's amazing. I know many others disagree, but if you open your mind and give it a shot, I think steampunk lovers of all kinds would love it, too!

I received an e-copy of this novel from the publisher from Netgalley for my honest opinion and review.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

ARC Review: Halflings (Halflings #1) by Heather Burch

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: January 17, 2012
Publisher: Zondervan Publishing
288 Pages

After being inexplicably targeted by an evil intent on harming her at any cost, seventeen-year-old Nikki finds herself under the watchful guardianship of three mysterious young men who call themselves halflings. Sworn to defend her, misfits Mace, Raven, and Vine battle to keep Nikki safe while hiding their deepest secret—and the wings that come with.

A growing attraction between Nikki and two of her protectors presents a whole other danger. While she risks a broken heart, Mace and Raven could lose everything, including their souls. As the mysteries behind the boys’ powers, as well as her role in a scientist’s dark plan, unfold, Nikki is faced with choices that will affect the future of an entire race of heavenly beings, as well as the precarious equilibrium of the earthly world.


Oh, Halflings… What to say about Halflings

To put it simply: I loathed reading this book.

I had high hopes. Many of my friends on Goodreads and in real life raved about it. I was amazed by how much I disliked it. There were so many issues with the novel for me that I didn't even get half way before skimming. Through the entire book, I questioned whether I should continue or stop before throwing my kindle across the room. My decision to keep reading made finishing the book a slow and unsteady process.

First, let me name the Good Things about this book:
*Raven, Vine and rarely, Mace.
-Raven was the hot bad boy. My favorite and my weakness.
-Vine, the sweet newbie. He's innocent and naïve.
-Mace was okay. I didn't really like him. He had a couple good lines, but he just annoyed me the rest of the time.
*The angst. There is some good angst towards the end that I actually enjoyed. I'm a sucker for angst.
*The last 15% - excluding the heroine.

Now onto the Bad Things:
*The main character, Nikki. She's just… annoying. I couldn't stand her after the first few pages, when she started talking about her recreational activities. Black belt in karate and has work in an art gallery? Please. The author was seriously trying to rush the character development.
*There are way too many metaphors and comparisons. And most of those are repeated… frequently.
*This girl, Nikki, drives a motorcycle. I don't know any girl still in high school that drives a motorcycle. Personally, my parents would've let me pierce my tongue before driving one. I'm in college and they still would throw a fit, if I tried to get a motorcycle license.
*Some words were too grown up for a seventeen year old.
-i.e. Garment instead of Dress
*The best friend. OMG, LIKE, LIKE, BOYS, LIKE, OMG, PUHLEASE, SHOPPING, BOYS, LIKE. Yeah, that's Nikki's best friend, Krissy in a nutshell. So obviously, I wanted to duct tape her mouth shut. 
*I felt like this book tried to shove religion down my throat. Maybe that's just because it's an angel book, but I think it's more the way it's written. There's so much religious talk and Nikki is almost persecuted for being a realist by the Halflings and angels. It was ridiculous.
*Love triangles. ANOTHER ONE. Oh, it's forbidden love, too. What a shocker. Nikki was so mean to both of them at first, too. Dude, if a chick was like that to me, I'd forget about her. MACE, SHE CALLED YOU A FREAK AFTER YOU SAVED HER LIFE AND KISSED THE BOY THAT YOU CALL YOUR BROTHER.
*There is someone named Suzy Carmichael in this book. Dude, this is not Rugrats. Come up with some more original names. Just because you spell the first name differently doesn't mean we won't notice. I, personally, didn't think it was cute, either.
*The names of the Halflings: Mace, Raven, Vine, Vegan, Winter, Glimmer. Really? Those are horrible and none of them make me think the character is a descendant of a fallen angel. 

Overall, I am not a fan. I most likely will not be reading the next book - I'll just scan some spoilers to find out which of the two boys she ends up with.

I received an e-copy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley for my honest opinion and review.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

On My Wishlist (11)

On My Wishlist is a weekly meme hosted by Cosy Books!

On Emily's Wishlist:
The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: August 2, 2011
Publisher: Voyager
384 Pages

"Before the thorns taught me their sharp lessons and bled weakness from me I had but one brother, and I loved him well. But those days are gone and what is left of them lies in my mother's tomb. Now I have many brothers, quick with knife and sword, and as evil as you please. We ride this broken empire and loot its corpse. They say these are violent times, the end of days when the dead roam and monsters haunt the night. All that's true enough, but there's something worse out there, in the dark. Much worse."

Once a privileged royal child, raised by a loving mother, Jorg Ancrath has become the Prince of Thorns, a charming, immoral boy leading a grim band of outlaws in a series of raids and atrocities. The world is in chaos: violence is rife, nightmares everywhere. Jorg's bleak past has set him beyond fear of any man, living or dead, but there is still one thing that puts a chill in him. Returning to his father's castle Jorg must confront horrors from his childhood and carve himself a future with all hands turned against him.

Prince of Thorns is the first volume in a powerful new epic fantasy trilogy, original, absorbing and challenging. Mark Lawrence’s debut novel tells a tale of blood and treachery, magic and brotherhood and paints a compelling and brutal, sometimes beautiful, picture of an exceptional boy on his journey toward manhood and the throne.

This has been on my "to-read" list for a while. I've wanted to own it so badly, but have so many others to read that I just haven't found it a necessary purchase. :( Hopefully, I'll be able to get to it soon!

On Edwin's Wishlist:
Pulp Fiction (1994)

The lives of two mob hit men, a boxer, a gangster's wife, and a pair of diner bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption.

I want to own this one because it's an awesome movie. It has quotable lines and a great cast!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Book Review: An Unsettled Range (Range #3) by Andrew Grey

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: January 9, 2012
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
200 Pages

The last thing Liam Southard expects when he flees his abusive father is to be taken in by a couple of gay ranchers. Soon he has a new job and a new perspective on his sexuality, and his life starts to turn around. Then someone pulls a gun on him.

In Troy Gardener’s defense, the gun thing was a mistake. Between his marriage falling apart and living in his uncle's isolated hunting cabin, he's been a little edgy. He wants to make it up to Liam, and once he discovers how much they have in common, he wants even more. But with Liam's father popping in unexpectedly and a mining company threatening the ranch’s water supply, the only guarantee is that life is never going to be boring.



An Unsettled Range was in a word... cliche.

The characters were cliche. The writing was tacky and cliche. The plot was cliche.

I'm tired of gay cowboys, who don't read like they are actual cowboys. These characters were undeveloped and didn't seem like they could actually handle working on a farm. Even the animals on the farm really didn't feel like they should be a part of the story! I'm sorry, but I have never heard of a farm taking in lions and tigers. Exotic animals don't belong on a farm. They belong in the wild or a zoo.

The characters… I don't know what to say. I didn't like any of them besides Jefferson. What an awesome old man. Many of the books that I have read about gay ranchers and cowboys include fathers who disown and abuse their children for being homosexual. It was great to read a book with a father who loved his son and his son's partner. And that was where the good of this novel ended. Wally was annoying. So very annoying. I couldn't stand him. I never really understood what any of the characters besides Wally, Jefferson, Dakota, Troy and Liam had to do with anything. In fact, I continuously got them all confused.

The novel also progresses too quickly. Why is it that gay men always fall in love in five seconds? I can understand fast attraction, but love? REALLY. The overall message in this story is sweet, but it just wasn't written the right way, at least for my taste. There is barely any angst and it solves itself very quickly. That may be my real issue with it. Everything was over simplistic, from the way the book is written to the way the situations are dealt with.

There were major grammar issues in the book. I have grown up with the title of "grammar Nazi." I was instilled with proper grammar pretty much from the time I learned to talk. So if your novel has bad grammar, I will get annoyed and lose interest. That happened with this book.

An Unsettled Range just wasn't what I was expecting from the blurb. And having heard of only good things about Andrew Grey, I was disappointed that I didn't enjoy this at all. I don't think I'll read anymore of his work. It just wasn't for me.

I received an e-copy of this novel from the publisher from Netgalley for my honest opinion and review.

Book Review: Jessica Rules the Dark Side (Jessica #2) by Beth Fantaskey

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: January 10, 2012
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Book
309 Pages

It’s one thing to find out you’re a vampire princess. It’s a whole other thing to actually rule. Newly married Jessica Packwood is having a hard enough time feeling regal with her husband, Lucius, at her side. But when evidence in the murder of a powerful elder points to Lucius, sending him into solitary confinement, Jessica is suddenly on her own. Determined to clear her husband’s name, Jessica launches into a full-scale investigation, but hallucinations and nightmares of betrayal keep getting in her way. Jessica knows that with no blood to drink, Lucius’s time is running out. Can she figure out who the real killer is—and whom she can trust—before it’s too late?


Jessica Rules the Dark Side is a great sequel to a Beth Fantaskey's debut novel, Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side.

I really enjoyed this book! I absolutely loved the first book. It was so angsty and pretty much ruined my nerves for every other book, ever. This was much less angsty and I'll admit, I didn't love it as much as the first. This one was much less about romance and more about Jessica filling in her role as Princess.

Jessica really develops into a mature woman in this novel. She is an even better character than in the first one. She stands up for what's right and puts her duty as a leader above all. I was very proud of her. Even though her love for Lucius is what makes her strong and keeps her going, she uses that love to rule vampires in a world that she has not been a part of very long. Basically, she's freaking awesome.

Her friend, Mindy, is another matter entirely. Reading from her perspective really annoyed me. She speaks like a valley girl, which is strange since both she and Jessica were from a town in Pennsylvania. I adore her love interest, but not her. Raniero is so sweet. His backstory is horrible, but the way he is able to overcome it makes me happy.

The men in this story tell their point-of-view through letters to each other, which is very interesting, but gets their points across. I thought it was a neat idea pulled off very well through Ms. Fantaskey's writing. She's a great author and I've really enjoyed everything she has written.

I want there to be another book, so that Jessica and Lucius can have babies and be cute and stuff. I seriously love them. They are freaking sweet! They love each other so much and have gone through so much together. It's great that they are able to put their job as rulers above their love though. That is what their people need. 

Overall, this book didn't hold my attention like the first one, but it is still very good and easily enjoyed by those who liked the first one. I will definitely be reading what ever Beth Fantaskey is writing next!

Follow Friday (11)

Feature and Follow Friday is a meme hosted by  Alison Can Read and Parajunkee's View!

Q. Have you had a character that disappointed you? One that you fell in love with and then "broke up" with later on in either the series or a stand-alone book? Tell us about him or her.

A. Hmm... I think there have been a few actually. Right now, I'm out of love with Jace from The Mortal Instruments Series. He was awesome and one of my favorite fictional men, but after the latest installment, I want to punch him. The entire fourth book made me want to bang my head against a wall. The author should've kept it as a trilogy... so I guess you could say for the moment I'm out of love with Cassandra Clare.

I can't really think of anyone else. There are character that I had when I first met, but love now, but that's a whole other story...

Any characters that you've found disappointing?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

In My Mailbox (10)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.

In Emily's Mailbox:

Release Date: December 1, 1999
Release Date: January 1, 1999

From Netgalley:
Release Date: June 12, 2012

Release Date: June 7, 2012

Release Date: June 26, 2012

Release Date: April 24, 2012

My mom was feeling very generous and bought me a book and a movie. The movie is for us to share though. We both loved this one. If you haven't seen it, you should definitely check it out!

Signed Books and Swag:
I'd like to give a special thanks again to my mother, who was kind enough to go to the Dark Days signing for me and get all the book I wanted signed and swag along with them! She's amazing and I love her dearly.

All the Kimberly Derting things. So pretty!

Personalized The Body Finder.

Personalized Desires of the Dead.

Personalized The Last Echo.

Personalized The Pledge.

What's this? Three extras? I guess that means it's almost time for a giveaway!


More Slide bookmarks!

Plus a personalized copy of the book from Jill Hathaway!

Books and Swag from Dan Wells!

Personalized Partials!

More giveaway material! Get pumped!

In Edwin's Mailbox:

Nothing this week and the next two weeks will be very busy with reading week and then finals. Hopefully when I get home there will be some goodies waiting for me!

What's in your mailbox this week?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday (10)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme held on... you guessed it, WEDNESDAY and it's hosted by the wonderful Jill at Breaking the Spine!

Release Date: September 4, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
336 Pages

Deuce’s whole world has changed. Now living topside in a community called Salvation, she has a whole new set of problems. Down below, she was considered an adult, and she contributed to the whole. Now, topside, the people of Salvation think she’s a brat in need of training. She hates school, and she doesn’t fit in with the other girls. They’ve spent their lives learning to cook and sew–suitable woman’s work. Deuce only knows how to fight. To make matters worse, Fade keeps her at a distance, and the band of four has broken into fragments.

Stalker presses for a closer relationship, but Deuce sees him as a training partner, and she’s busy trying to find her place in Salvation. She refuses to accept that she’s wrong for being who she is, but tensions rise as she struggles against the status quo. Her feelings for Fade haven’t changed, but he seems not to want her around anymore. Confused and lonely, she starts looking for a way out.

Once she’s free from school for the year, Deuce pursues a chance to serve in the summer patrols–those responsible for making sure the growers and planters can work the fields without danger of Freak attack. It should have been routine, little fighting, but things have been changing on surface, just as they did below ground. The Freaks are smarter. They’re watching. Waiting. Planning. The monsters don’t intend to let Salvation survive, and it will take a girl like Deuce to turn the tide.

I really enjoyed the first book in this series! I'm very excited for this one to be released! The cover is awesome and matches the first book's cover. And the summary really drew me in!

Lawless (2012)

Set in the Depression-era Franklin County, Virginia, a bootlegging gang is threatened by authorities who want a cut of their profits.

I want to see this mostly because my girlfriend wants to see it. She loves Shia LaBeouf!

Book Review & Giveaway: Bronte & Frank Go To Moscow by Megan Worthy

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:

Release Date: April 4, 2011
Publisher: Worthy Hen Productions LLC
50 Pages

Bronte & Frank go to Moscow™ is a charming children's story that takes you on a fun-filled adventure around the city of Moscow in Russia. The heartwarming story of a little girl and her bear is a hardcover picture book, packed with educational activities, stickers, insider recommendations and a bonus CD. Ages 3+


Bronte & Frank Go To Moscow is a sweet story for young children. It's interactive so it will keep their attention. The drawings are cute and child-like.

When I got an email asking to review this book, I was a bit cautious. I'm by no means a children's book reader. But as soon as I saw the book, I was excited to give it a try. 

This is a great book, especially for family actually traveling to Moscow. The inside cover has emergency numbers and informational websites and medical information for the city. That is a great reference for children and adults alike. It talks a lot about the buildings and culture in Moscow. It even includes the written Russian language. Very informative for a children's book. This is the kind of book that I'd like my children to read. They can learn about the world, while developing reading and writing skills.

I appreciated the glossary at the end of the story.The way the story incorporated the Russian wasn't seamlessly done, but the glossary made it much easier to understand. It is a great way to go over foreign vocabulary with your children and a fun way to learn a new language.

At the end of this book, there are some activities for little kids. There is a place to practice writing phrases in Russian and English. There is a page about the emblems and flags to view and then color in. Plus a page for putting stickers where your children have been! There is a lot of coloring for kids to do and even a place to write about their travels.

Bronte's interactions with Frank were very sweet. I remember having a teddy bear that I was extremely close with when I was a child. 

The book is cute and definitely a good book for kids. I think they will enjoy this, mostly in preparation of a travel themselves.

I received a copy of this book from JKSCommunications for my honest opinion and review.

Giveaway Details:
1 Winner will receive a Hardback Copy of Bronte & Frank Go to Moscow
Open US/CA
Ends 5/5/2012

Book Review: Green Angel (Green Angel #1) by Alice Hoffman

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: March 1, 2003
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
128 Pages

The startling, universally acclaimed breakthrough YA novel from master bestselling author Alice Hoffman, now in paperback.

Left on her own when her family dies in a terrible disaster, fifteen-year-old Green is haunted by loss and by the past. Struggling to survive physically and emotionally in a place where nothing seems to grow and ashes are everywhere, Green retreats into the ruined realm of her garden. But in destroying her feelings, she also begins to destroy herself, erasing the girl she'd once been as she inks darkness into her skin. It is only through a series of mysterious encounters that Green can relearn the lessons of love and begin to heal enough to tell her story.


"I was Green, moody and prideful and angry."

Green Angel has the most interesting writing style. I've never read anything like it before.

The book kept my interest the whole time. It's somewhat of a slow read for such a short book. The author writes the most amazing atmosphere, I was able to visualize everything in the novel from the character, to her family, to the garden she spends her life in.

Green has lost her family and literally shuts down. She blames herself because she was angry at them before they left for the city and since she didn't say goodbye to them, they did not return. This belief isn't true, but she is overcome with grief and has no other explanation than to blame herself. She begins to change from who she was before the incident occurred. She tattoos her body, cuts of her lovely hair and hides in her home away from people and away from light.

It's so sad to read about her desperation to join her family. She is truly broken. Though she is so strong, she might not see it or believe it, but her ability to take of herself and not be thwarted by the actions and deceptions of others makes her very strong.

As I read the novel, I felt like it was more like a fantasy novel based in another world than one that starred on Earth. The way the people acted and the stature of the cities and towns just didn't seem Earthly to me. I really enjoyed it.

This was a great book. A short read great for a relaxing day. It was honest and saddening. You could feel the emotions coming off of the pages. There is no good way to explain this book. It was excellent. I will definitely be reading more of Alice Hoffman's work.

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