Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Replacement

The Replacement
by Brenna Yovanoff

Mackie Doyle is a replacement - a fairy child left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago, to replace the baby when it was stolen away by the fey. So though he lives in the small town of Gentry, Mackie's real home is the fey world of tunnels and black, murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. Now, because his fey blood gives him fatal allergies to iron, blood and consecrated ground, Mackie is slowly dying in the human world. Mackie would give anything just to be normal, to live quietly amongst humans, practice his bass guitar and spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate's baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably back home to the fey underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem, where he must face down the dark creatures, rescue the child, and find his rightful place - in our world, or theirs. (description taken from

Oooh. I was salivating over this book for months, and months, and months...ever since I first glimpsed this awesomely creepy cover. (Not a huge fan of the new paperback cover, btw...) I was only slightly disappointed when I finally finished it.

The premise of this book is not wholly original, but the execution is almost flawless. Mackie's hometown of Gentry is a deliciously dark place full of secrets and people more than willing to keep them...

I love dark, creepy faerie stories and this one is amazing. I love the idea that the main character is actually a changeling and the obstacles that Mackie has to face as he gets older and cannot survive in the human world gave this book a clever twist. My only (and I mean only) problem with this book was that I just couldn't really connect with Mackie.

I've read tons of reviews...and almost everyone loves Mackie. He is a very interesting character. His progression from sickly "freak" to reluctant hero is believable and fun to read...but he just didn't...reach out and grab me.

Whereas...many of the other characters practically leapt off the pages at me. For one, Mackie's love interest, Tate. She is one of my new favorite heroines. This is a girl that doesn't buy the local bull...this is a girl that faces down ridicule, stands up to the mean girl, fights (literally) for what she knows is true...she will do ANYTHING to save her sister. She is in a word, awesome!

I also really loved Mackie's best friend, Roswell. His loyalty knows no bounds. He and the twins were awesome comic relief and back up when needed. Not to mention Mackie's sister...

Lastly one cannot ignore the "Old Ones." The Morrigan was unlike I'd ever seen her before and I truly adored the way that Yovanoff wrote her... Her blue girls and Janice and the others from the House of Mayhem struck that perfect balance between dark and dangerous and good. The Lady and her Cutter were the ultimate nemeses and I was creeped out in ways I can't even describe.

Other than feeling a slight disconnect from Mackie, which I actually felt was an advantage...since he's supposed to be "other" and I wouldn't want to be able to wholly relate to him...the writing was amazing...the characters were deep, twisted, and compelling...the setting was phenomenal....

This is definitely going to the top of my personal list for the dark fae/horror genre!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It's Not Summer Without You

It's Not Summer Without You
by Jenny Han
Summer Novels, book two

Can summer be truly summer without Cousins Beach?

It used to be that Belly counted the days until summer, until she was back at Cousins Beach with Conrad and Jeremiah. But not this year. Not after Susannah got sick again and Conrad stopped caring. Everything that was right and good has fallen apart, leaving Belly wishing summer would never come.

But when Jeremiah calls saying Conrad has disappeared, Belly knows what she must do to make things right again. And it can only happen back at the beach house, the three of them together, the way things used to be. If this summer really and truly is the last summer, it should end the way it started--at Cousins Beach. (description taken from

The first book in this series, The Summer I Turned Pretty, was achingly beautiful and left me hoping beyond hope for a sequel. I was soooooo excited when I knew It's Not Summer Without You was coming out...and now that I've read it, I CANNOT wait for this coming summer and the final book, We'll Always Have Summer.

These are the best realistic fiction books! Belly is a great protagonist. Unsure of herself, yet true to her instincts. Her life is enriched by her two longest friends...brothers, Jeremiah and Conrad. Her life is also...well, her relationship with each brother.

What I loved about this second book was getting to see portions from Jeremiah's perspective. I have to be honest and say that I LOVE Jeremiah...have from the start. That being said, I totally understood what happened at the end of the first book, but I also understood why things went the way they did in this book...cryptic, no? :P

This book made me laugh, it made me broke my heart and sewed it up again. Well worth reading...again and again and again...

Monday, December 27, 2010


by Margaret Peterson Haddix
The Missing, book two

Jonah, Katherine, Chip, and another boy, Alex, have no preparation before they are sent back to 1483 at the Tower of London, with the promise that they can return to the present if they can repair history. They quickly discover that Chip and Alex’s true identities are the 13-year-old King Edward V and his 10-year-old brother, Richard, Duke of York. But before Chip can enjoy being the king of England, they discover that they are virtually prisoners—and that their uncle wants them dead. How can the kids repair time and return home when according to history, Chip and Alex were murdered? (description taken from

Haddix does another great job melding historical fact with fantasy in this time-travel mystery thriller. Full of danger, confusion, and interesting revelations, this will be a sure hit with middle grade readers.

I was a history major in college, but even I learned some new theories about the disappearances of King Edward V and his younger brother, Prince Richard, from the Tower of London. Haddix also sprinkles in information about life in the fifteenth century into the plotline seamlessly.

More information is revealed about JB and the time travelers trying to save history, but plenty of secrets are still unresolved. I am very curious to see what time period Jonah and his sister Katherine will travel to next!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Rage - Blog Tour

by Jackie Morse Kessler
Publication date: April 4, 2011

Missy didn’t mean to cut so deep. But after the party where she was humiliated in front of practically everyone in school, who could blame her for wanting some comfort? Sure, most people don’t find comfort in the touch of a razor blade, but Missy always was . . . different.

That’s why she was chosen to become one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: War. Now Missy wields a new kind of blade—a big, brutal sword that can cut down anyone and anything in her path. But it’s with this weapon in her hand that Missy learns something that could help her triumph over her own pain: control.

A unique approach to the topic of self-mutilation, Rage is the story of a young woman who discovers her own power and refuses to be defeated by the world.(description from back of book)

Wow. I had been blown away by the first book in this series, Hunger, and I am even more impressed with this addition. This book was not easy to read by any means...cutting is a very hard topic to address...but Kessler is a master. Truly.

This book was raw, gripping...I'm having trouble describing exactly how it made me feel. I have always had issues dealing with blood, gore, that type of books like this, about cutting, have always kind of been a pass for me. The melding of self-mutilation with the fantasy aspect of becoming War, one of the four Horsemen of th Apocalypse...not passable!

Don't get me wrong. There are descriptive passages in this book that I basically had to skim - and not always just because it was graphic. Sometimes the emotions behind the cutting urge were so dominant and...heartwrending...that I needed to take a step back.

Then, as Missy begins to take control. I became more and more emotionally vested in her success and her triumphs became mine as a reader! When I closed this book, there were tears in my eyes, my throat felt tight...but I was satisfied. As tough as this was to read, I would do it again, and again. I cannot wait to see how Kessler tackles Pestilence in book three!

Definitely a must read for 2011.

Full disclosure: ARC received as part of Book It Forward ARC Tours for review

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Lauren Conrad Style

Lauren Conrad Style
by Lauren Conrad

You've seen Lauren Conrad on TV and red carpets, looking fabulous whether she's going casual for a day with friends or dressed for a night out. Now Lauren reveals how you can adapt her classic, understated style for yourself.

In her first-ever style guide, Lauren offers tips on how to create your own unique look, shares her favorite sources of inspiration, and identifies the absolute must-haves for any fashionista's wardrobe. Along the way, she examines her fashion evolution, from California-casual teen to camera-ready style icon and clothing designer.

From beauty advice and hair secrets to how to shop vintage or find the perfect T-shirt, Lauren Conrad Style unlocks the mysteries of being effortlessly chic. With Lauren's guidance, you'll look and feel stylish every day. (description taken from

As much as Lauren Conrad gets on my nerves and I don't really care about her personal style...I did think there were a LOT of good tips in this book. I'm not much of a non-fiction reader, but I find myself consistently drawn to fashion type books (not that it's reflected that much in my wardrobe... :P).

This one has a nice layout. There are different sections for clothing, makeup, care, etc. and they are all easy to read and full of helpful tips. There are some nice shots of things like how to wear one LBD eight different ways and things like that...

If you like fashion, this one's worth at least a quick flip-through.

Selkie Girl

Selkie Girl
by Laurie Brooks

Elin Jean has always known she was different from the others on their remote island home. She is a gentle soul, and can’t stand the annual tradition of killing seal babies to thin the population. Even Tam McCodron, the gypsy boy to whom she is strangely drawn, seems to belong more than she does.

It’s just a matter of time until Elin Jean discovers the secret of her past: her mother, Margaret, is a selkie, held captive by her smitten father, who has kept Margaret’s precious seal pelt hostage for 16 years. Soon Elin Jean faces a choice about whether to free her mother from her island prison. And, as the child of this unusual union, she must make another decision. Part land, part sea, she must explore both worlds and dig deep inside herself to figure out where she belongs, and where her future lies. (description taken from

This a well-written, haunting folk tale based book. I loved the imagery of the selkies shedding their skins, their underwater culture, stories told through song...I was so sad at the descriptions of the culling, a brutal practice.

What struck me the most every time I picked this book up, though, was how awful this cover choice was for this particular story. The art team that created this cover obviously had no inkling of what the story was about... it literally made me cringe every time I looked at it. A. There are NO mermaids in this story. B. The coloring, wavy lines, etc. makes it look like a frothy fantasy...ummm. No.

Thankfully, they redid the cover for the paperback and now, though still not fantastic it is a much, MUCH better fit! The darker tones are much more fitting to the somberness of the story (it really reminds me of the moody feel that I always got from "The Secret of Roan Inish") and the girl suspended in the water perfectly matches a description of Elin Jean in the book.

A much better choice!

I highly recommend this book. It's very similar to Donna Jo Napoli's Hush: An Irish Princess' Tale in tone. It has excellent themes (self-acceptance, love, belonging, morality) and is well told.

Winner - Hollywood Ending Giveaway


The official winner of the Hollywood Ending giveaway was determined to be...


Congrats again! I have emailed you directly, so as soon as you get back to me with an address I will have the book mailed out directly to you!!

Thank you again to Lucie Simone 's Hollywood Ending Blog Tour for letting me have this great giveaway!


by Alyson Noel

Riley has crossed the bridge into the afterlife—a place called Here, where time is always Now. She has picked up life where she left off when she was alive, living with her parents and dog in a nice house in a nice neighborhood. When she’s summoned before The Council, she learns that the afterlife isn’t just an eternity of leisure. She’s been assigned a job, Soul Catcher, and a teacher, Bodhi, a possibly cute, seemingly nerdy boy who’s definitely hiding something. They return to earth together for Riley’s first assignment, a Radiant Boy who’s been haunting a castle in England for centuries. Many Soul Catchers have tried to get him to cross the bridge and failed. But all of that was before he met Riley . . .

Can I just say that I loved reading Riley's scenes in the Immortals series and I was super excited to find out that Ever's "bratty" ghost sister would be getting her own series?! Riley is a little spit-fire and I love her. Her stubbornness no longer gets her into to trouble, but in fact helps her in her new job as "Soul Catcher" in the Here and Now. :)

Speaking of the Here and Now...Noel has created a really interesting and multi-layered version of Heaven that I can't wait to explore further. As Riley learns more about what she'll be doing in the afterlife, so do readers. It is absolutely captivating. I had such fun imagining the scenes in Radiance!

Though this new spin off series is geared to a middle grade audience instead of YA, I actually think that I like this new series better than the Immortals...sorry Ever!! It drew me right in from the opening lines:

Most people think that death is the end.
The end of life - of good times - the end of, well, pretty much everything.
But those people are wrong.
Dead wrong.
And I should know. I died almost a year ago.

How much better can a series opener be??

Definitely a must read for those who enjoy the Immortals series or books like Everlost by Neal Shusterman and Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin.

Full disclosure: Copy received from publisher for review

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ramona and Beezus

Ramona and Beezus
Movie Review

I saw this several weeks ago and I just have to pass on how cute it was! I honestly cannot remember reading the Ramona Quimby books, so I have no idea how different the movie is from the books.

I thought it was very well done. I loved the casting. I haven't seen the girl who played Ramona before, but I loved Selena Gomez' performance as Beezus, John Corbett as their father, and Gennifer Goodwin as the kooky aunt. They were all perfect.

I also really loved how the movie makers blended the fantasy elements into the real Quimby daily lives. What they can do with movies blows my mind. The way that they could play out what Ramona daydreamed...awesome!

For a feel good movie that will make you tear up a little, but then end with happy smiles, definitely check out Ramona and Beezus!! :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Body at the Tower

The Body at the Tower
by Y.S. Lee
The Agency, book two

Mary Quinn is back, now a trusted member of the Agency, the all-female detective unit operating out of Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls. Her new assignment sends her into the grimy underbelly of Victorian London dressed as a poor boy, evoking her own childhood memories of fear, hunger, and constant want. As she insinuates herself into the confidence of several persons of interest, she encounters others in desperate situations and struggles to make a difference without exposing —or losing —her identity. (description taken from

A second great undercover adventure! Lee peppers this series with such wonderful detail that readers can't help but be drawn into the possible world of a secret women's spy agency. Mary's foray into the "man's world" in construction not only yeilds fabulous detail about gender identity in this period, but also gives readers info on how the Houses of Parlaiment and Big Ben were constructed and became the icons we know today.

This was a great read, full of adventure and mystery. I am curious to see how this trilogy is going to be wrapped up in the final book. I'm honestly not quite sure what the final story arc is supposed to be...other than finding out if James and Mary can finally be together, that is!!!

Oddly Enough

Oddly Enough
by Bruce Coville

Welcome to the weird world of Bruce Coville, a world populated by aliens and unicorns, willing werewolves and tender vampires, monsters and… more. A world where nothing is every quite what it seems—nor quite what you expect.

Come on in and take a walk on the odd side.

A fun romp into the odd parts of Bruce Coville's imagination. Nine stories take readers on a wild ride. My favorite was "The Language of Blood" - a really interesting asian-flavored take on vampires. I also really enjoyed a dystopian tale called "Old Glory" about a future where Americans vote to lose all their freedoms...very subtly creepy.

Full disclosure: Audio book received to review for AudioFile

Book Trailer - Tempestuous

OMG. *squee!!* Haven't quite gotten my hands on this one yet, but I soon will. I LOVE this series.

Tempestuous by Lesley Livingston (in stores now)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Cover Craving(s)...

City of Fallen Angels
by Cassandra Clare
The Mortal Instruments, book four

Publication date: April 5, 2011

by Jenna Black
Faeriewalker, book two

Publication date: Jan. 4, 2011

Circle of Fire
by Michelle Zink
Prophecy of the Sisters, book three

Publication date: Aug. 3, 2011

*Michelle Zink has stated that this is not the final cover for the book, but I do like this one, so I'll be interested to see what the final one looks like...

The Hidden
by Jessica Verday
The Hollow, book three
Publication date: Sept. 6, 2011

The End of Time - Book Trailer

The End of Time
by P. W. Catanese
Books of Umber, book three

I am SO excited for this book. This is the final book in one of the BEST middle grade fantasy series I've read in a long time. Check out my review for book two, Dragon Games.

2010 Wrap Up

Total Books Read in 2010: 234

Favorite Book Covers in 2010: (in no particular order)

Best Books of 2010: (again, in no particular order)
Museum of Thieves by Lian Tanner
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
Ascendant by Diana Peterfreund
The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Firelight by Sophie Jordan
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan
This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
Mistwood by Leah Cypess

Favorite Non-Fiction Books of 2010:

Zombie Felties by Nicola Tedman
Zombies Vs. Unicorns ed. by Justine Larbaleister and Holly Black

Most Disappointing Books of 2010:
(I hate to list these...)
Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen
Melting Stones by Tamora Pierce

Most Surprising (In A Good Way!) Books of 2010:
The Duff by Kody Keplinger
Library Wars: Love and War: Vol. 1
Going Bovine by Libba Bray

Most Recommended-to-Others Books of 2010:
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Virgin Queen's Daughter by Ella March Chase

Best Series You Discovered in 2010:
The Books of Bayern by Shannon Hale
The Giver by Lois Lowry
The Confessions of Georgia Nicolson by Louise Rennison

Favorite New Authors Discovered in 2010:
Lauren Oliver
Kiersten White
Jenny Han
Gail Carriger

Most Hilarious Reads of 2010:
Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich (adult)

Most Anticipated Book of 2010:
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Books That I Could Not Stop Thinking About in 2010:
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
Slant by Laura E. Williams
Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler
Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor

Books I Can't Believe I Waited Until 2010 to Read:
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
The Giver by Lois Lowry

Book Challenges I Participated In:
2010 Debut Author Challenge,
2010 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge, 2010 Audio Book Challenge, 2010 Royals Fantasy Reading Challenge, and the 2010 Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge

Sunday, December 19, 2010


The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend
by Kody Keplinger

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn't think she's the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She's also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her "Duffy," she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren't so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that Wesley isn't such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she's falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.(description taken from

I initially resisted reading this book because the subject just hit home a little too hard for me. Until I was almost done with college, I wasn't really comfortable in my own skin and I always felt like the "DUFF." I heard great things about this book, though, so when AudioFile was looking for a reviewer, I figured I would give it a shot.

As a Librarian, I'm really glad I read this. It is a great book to recommend to high school girls looking for a quick, realistic read. It does have foul language, violence, and fairly graphic sex scenes, but it is also compelling and almost brutally honest at points. There are some great discussions about self worth, self confidence, societal expectations, abuse, alcoholism, family issues, birth control, and actually a ton of other issues...the best part? These issues are brought up in such a natural way the reader will not feel lectured at all.

Personally, I really related to parts of this book. Having the crush on the hot guy who's mean to you...but you just can't help but like him...I mean, come on - these were high school horomone days! Alternating between feeling good about your accomplishments and never feeling like you will be good enough...pretty enough...just...enough. Been there. Wishing my friends in high school had been as great as Bianca's (my college friends were...btw!).

Though this is not my favorite book this year, it was good. Unexpectedly good for me. I recommend it gets read...for a variety of reasons. Seriously, check it out. You can't help but both root for Bianca and alternately want to smack her around sometimes...but no matter won't put the book down until you've read the last page!

Full disclosure: Audio book received for AudioFile review

In My Mailbox - December 19, 2010

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme, hosted by Kristi at the Story Siren, inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. Every week bloggers can share what they received in the mail or at the bookstore or at the library. The goal is that everyone can be exposed to more books this way!

From the Library:

Legacies by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill
The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade
Black Wings by Christina Henry

Won Online!!:

Never Cry Werewolf and The Clearing both by Heather Davis. Won directly from Heather at Books, Boys, Buzz during Thanksgiving Week. Thank you so much!!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

NEW winner - The Mischief of the Mistletoe - giveaway

Since the previous winner never responded to my email, I am picking a new winner of The Mischief of the Mistletoe giveaway!


Using a random generator (, the new official winner of "The Mischief of the Mistletoe" and the matching ornament giveaway was determined to be...


Congrats again! I have emailed you directly, so as soon as you get back to me with an address I will get your goodies into the mail to you!

Thank you again to Dutton Books for letting me have this great giveaway!

Hollywood Ending (with a giveaway!!!)

Hollywood Ending
by Lucie Simone

Trina Stewart is desperate to find a proper Hollywood job and finally quit teaching ESL, but after ten years in Tinsel Town, things are looking grim. That is, until she sets her sights on sexy new neighbor, Matiu Wulf, a New Zealander of Maori origin who is only in Los Angeles to get some scene design experience to beef up his resume, and then he's headed back home to Auckland. He manages to thwart Trina's advances, but when she falls under the spell of toothy-grinned thespian, he's desperate to win back her heart. But when Hollywood gets in the way, these two soon discover that life in Tinsel Town isn't all red carpet, after parties and celebrity gossip. In fact, Hollywood can be a downright bitch! (description taken from

This was one of those fun, guilty-pleasure type of adult reads! There were parts that made me snort out loud as I read them. :) I really enjoyed um, well, Matiu's New Zealand-y'll see, and how loyal Trina's BFF was to her throughout the story. There was also a really interesting twist with identity theft, which though common these days, hasn't really seemed to make it into literature yet. I also loved the setting. There was the perfect mix of Hollywood glitz and glamour balanced with the day to day realities of actual life in's not all parties and cocktails! This really was a fast, enjoyable read and I found myself totally routing for Trina and Matiu right from the beginning!

Check out Lucie Simone's website for more info on the author and her books! part of the Hollywood Ending blog tour, I get to giveaway a copy of the book! YAY! To enter the giveaway (you must be in the continental US), leave a comment before midnight on Wed., December 22nd. I'll randomly draw one winner from the comments on Thurs., December 23rd and contact them directly for their mailing address. If the winner does not respond by Monday, Dec. 27th, a new winner will be chosen and contacted. Good luck!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Mischief of the Mistletoe - Winner!


Using a random generator (, the official winner of "The Mischief of the Mistletoe" and the matching ornament giveaway was determined to be...


Congrats again! I have emailed you directly, so as soon as you get back to me with an address I will get your goodies into the mail to you!

*If jhitomi does not contact me with an address by Friday, Dec. 17th, I will choose a new winner.

Thank you again to Dutton Books for letting me have this great giveaway!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Low Red Moon

Low Red Moon
by Ivy Devlin

The only thing Avery Hood can remember about the night her parents died is that she saw silver—deadly silver, moving inhumanly fast. As much as she wants to remember who killed them, she can't, and there's nothing left to do but try to piece her life back together. Then Avery meets the new boy in school—Ben, mysterious and beautiful, with whom she feels a connection like nothing she's ever experienced. When Ben reveals he's a werewolf, Avery still trusts him—at first. Then she sees that sometimes his eyes flash inhuman silver. And she learns that she's not the only one who can't remember the night her parents died. (description taken from

This is another book about which I can't quite decide how I feel.

Though it was compelling...I started to read it last night and did not want to put it down to sleep, then finished it this afternoon (in about two hours total reading time) wasn't anything new or particularly special in the paranormal romance field.

I think what kept drawing me in was the sheer horror of what happened to Avery's parents and then others in the small town, the way that Devlin very carefully never outright spells out for readers exactly what is going on, and the fact that the forest was its own entity. To be perhaps more specific...there was a lot of suspenseful mystery in this book. Too many other books in the genre right now just say, well here...he's a vampire...or, Oh look! That evil werewolf is attacking people. Then it's up to the reader to just follow along as the hero/ine figures things out, defeats the bad guy, falls in love...

Another thing I really enjoyed were the subtle nods to "Little Red Riding Hood." Going off to Grandma's House. Avery's last name being Hood. The ax. This is not really a rewrite of the fairy tale...but it is...

Some of the things I wasn't as fond of were the use of the red lettering every time the word "moon" showed up in the text (I found it really distracting) and the fact that some of the characters felt very one-dimensional...almost like place holders in the story.

Overall, though, I think I liked this book more than disliked it, but it has not earned the right to be called a new favorite.

The Mischief of the Mistletoe

The Mischief of the Mistletoe: A Pink Carnation Christmas
by Lauren Willig

Arabella Dempsey's dear friend Jane Austen warned her against teaching. But Miss Climpson's Select Seminary for Young Ladies seems the perfect place for Arabella to claim her independence while keeping an eye on her younger sisters nearby. Just before Christmas, she accepts a position at the quiet girls' school in Bath, expecting to face nothing more exciting than conducting the annual Christmas recital. She hardly imagines coming face to face with French aristocrats and international spies...

Reginald "Turnip"Fitzhugh-often mistaken for the elusive spy known as the Pink Carnation- has blundered into danger before. But when he blunders into Miss Arabella Dempsey, it never occurs to him that she might be trouble. When Turnip and Arabella stumble upon a beautifully wrapped Christmas pudding with a cryptic message written in French, "Meet me at Farley Castle," the unlikely vehicle for intrigue launches the pair on a Yuletide adventure that ranges from the Austens'modest drawing room to the awe-inspiring estate of the Dukes of Dovedale, where the Dowager Duchess is hosting the most anticipated event of the year: an elaborate twelve-day Christmas celebration. Will they find poinsettias or peril, dancing or danger? Is it possible that the fate of the British Empire rests in Arabella's and Turnip's hands, in the form of a festive Christmas pudding?
(description from

I believe this is now officially my favorite book in the Pink Carnation series! Since the earliest part of the series, I have been one of those readers that loved Turnip Fitzhugh's bumblingness and I was so happy when I found he was featured in this Christmas book.

This book was funny, charming, heartwarming, and my perfect idea of a holiday read. I finished with a giant grin on my face. Arabella is used to being ignored...Turnip is literally struck somewhat stupid when he starts to fall in love. What happens when the two come together? Foiling of a scheme to sell goverment secrets, regaining face after being rejected by a fortune hunter, inspiring one of Jane Austen's books, a riotous Christmas play...oh, yes, and true love!

I really, truly loved this book and would highly recommend it!
This would make a great Christmas/holiday gift... *wink, wink*...and don't forget that someone will win a copy!

Full disclosure: Review copy sent by Dutton.

(Belated) In My Mailbox - December 12, 2010

My internet was down yesterday, so here is my belated In My Mailbox:

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme, hosted by Kristi at the Story Siren, inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. Every week bloggers can share what they received in the mail or at the bookstore or at the library. The goal is that everyone can be exposed to more books this way!

For Review:

Shadowspell by Jenna Black
The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

From the Library:

Sent by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Kiss Me Deadly edited by Trisha Telep

Won Online:

Faithful by Janet Fox
*Thank you to Number One Novels!!!*

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Dark Deeps

The Dark Deeps
by Arthur Slade
The Hunchback Assignments, book two

A fantastic Steampunk adventure in the deeps

Transforming his appearance and stealing secret documents from the French is all in a day’s work for fourteen-year-old Modo, a British secret agent. But his latest mission—to uncover the underwater mystery of something called the Ictíneo—seems impossible. There are rumors of a sea monster and a fish as big as a ship. French spies are after it, and Mr. Socrates, Modo’s master, wants to find it first. Modo and his fellow secret agent, Octavia, begin their mission in New York City, then take a steamship across the North Atlantic. During the voyage, Modo uncovers an astounding secret. (description from

This was a very cool and exciting middle grade steampunk adventure. I loved "Modo" as a character. He is well-intentioned, brave, kind, and fiercely loyal. His shape-shifting ability, which makes for some fantastic disguises btw..., is really well considered and written out. I also loved how Modo was not the only classic horror character in the series. There are appearances by Dr. Hyde which made me smile, even as what he was doing made me squirm.

I loved the fact that this was an underwater adventure. I love submarines (ummm... in books - I don't think I could handle actually being IN one) and the early imagined versions here were just, well...COOL! The scientific advances were awesome.

I definitely plan to read the next book in this series! I love the spies, friendships, secrets, and adventure! Plus, the audio version is great.

Full disclosure: Audio book received for SLJ review

Library Wars: Love and War Vol. 1

Library Wars: Love and War - volume 1
by Kiiro Yumi
illustrated by Hiro Arikawa

Fight for your right to read!

In the near future, the federal government creates a committee to rid society of books it deems unsuitable. The libraries vow to protect their collections, and with the help of local governments, form a military group to defend themselves---the Library Forces! Iku Kasahara has dreamed of joining the Library Defense Force ever since one of its soldiers stepped in to protect her favorite book from being confiscated in a bookstore when she was younger. But now that she’s finally a recruit, she’s finding her dream job to be a bit of a nightmare. Especially since her hard-hearted drill instructor seems to have it out for her! (description taken from

I am not much of a graphic novel reader. I find that I am just not interested in a lot of the story lines OR when there is a lot going on I sometimes have trouble following the order of the panels and I get confused. So, I tend to shy away from reading them personally, though I order a ton for the Library based on reviews and requests from the teens.

When I saw the plot for this new series, though, I was immediately intrigued enough to pick it up. The idea that the whole story is based around the Freedom of Information act that Libraries uphold...that Librarians have gone militant to fight for peoples' right to read...AWESOME! This is what I fantasize about sometimes when I get asked questions like "What kind of superhero would you want to be?" (HUGE GRIN)

Bonus - the characters are cool and their interactions are downright funny. The drawing was good and the panels were pretty easy to follow. (There were a few spots where I started to go the wrong way, but I figured it out quickly.)

Now, I really just want to go out and read volumes 2-4, but I have to wait until we get them into the Library, since no one else owns them... :(

Yay! I found a manga series that I like. :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

It Came! It Came! (My Book Blogger Holiday Swap package!!!)

It Came! It Came!
Last night, I got home from work to find a package waiting for me...
It was my Book Blogger Holiday Swap gift from a "secret latke." :)

When I ripped open the wrapping paper (because though I try to save wrapping paper sometimes, I was way too excited to wait this time! :P) I found plenty of awesome stuff!

I got a beautiful hardcover copy of Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, an ARC of Once in a Full Moon by Ellen Schreiber, some really funny dog notecards, and a really scrumptious looking French Vanilla hot chocolate packet. (yum!)

My "secret latke" also left me this cryptic note...which I know is a clue to their identity, but for the life of me, I can't figure it out...

Well. To whoever you are, my "secret latke," you are awesome! I love my gifts and I hope that your swap package is just as awesome. What a great way to share the book love this holiday season!