Saturday, May 29, 2010


by Jackie Morse Kessler

Full disclosure: ARC received at BEA 2010 from Publisher
Publication date: October 18, 2010

"Thou art the Black Rider. Go thee out unto the world."

Lisabeth Lewis has a black steed, a set of scales, and a new job: she’s been appointed Famine. How will an anorexic seventeen-year-old girl from the suburbs fare as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

Traveling the world on her steed gives Lisa freedom from her troubles at home—her constant battle with hunger, and her struggle to hide it from the people who care about her. But being Famine forces her to go places where hunger is a painful part of everyday life, and to face the horrifying effects of her phenomenal power. Can Lisa find a way to harness that power—and the courage to fight her own inner demons? (description taken from

Lisabeth, or Lisa, battles herself every day. She hears the Thin Voice that tells her she will never be thin enough, never pretty enough. Lisa is anorexic. She has become so sick that she might die...unless she becomes Famine instead.

When Lisa accepts she never imagines what she will be required to face as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. She never expected to meet Death (pretty cool), Pestilence (nicer than she would have thought, but icky) and War (a total B-word that wants to kill her). She never thought she would learn to master her own actions...

I don't want to spoil this for anyone so I won't give away any more of the plot. This was an excellent book. It does deal with an eating disorder, which always grosses me out and I generally avoid books like this, but it's only part of the focus of the book so the icky parts are fairly minimal. It's handled VERY well.

The idea of a teen girl becoming one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse...awesome!! The plot works out really well and Lisa is an emotionally complex character that I wanted to shake and hug at the same time.

Keep an eye out for this one!

Waiting For Normal

Waiting for Normal
by Leslie Connor

Addie is waiting for normal. But Addie's mother has an all-or-nothing approach to life: a food fiesta or an empty pantry, her way or no way. All-or-nothing never adds up to normal, and it can't bring Addie all to home, where she wants to be with her half sisters. But Addie never stops hoping that one day, maybe, she'll find normal. (description taken from

This book touched my heart. I really loved it and highly recommend it to everyone. Addie is one of those characters that you just root wholeheartedly for, and just cannot wait to see finally succeed. I laughed, I cried, I hooted with joy...I went through the emotional wringer and came out the other side amazingly happy.

Addie is left to take care of herself all too often. She has mastered the art of "toast meals." Concoctions that often involved toast with heated soup poured over the top because that was all that could be found in the pantry. (As much as it pained me to think of this little girl making toast dinners, as she described them I would find my mouth watering...) She misses her mother when she goes out to "job interviews," she misses her step-father and half sisters who now live without her, but what's amazing about Addie is even through her realistic life view...she shines with hope.

This is a girl that just will not let life get her down. Sure, she has her moments, I, for one could hardly blame her!, but she never stays upset for long. She has learned to take in the good in every situation and not only keeps plugging along, but draws others into her happy circle.

Without a doubt, Addie is one of my favorite characters ever.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Prophecy of the Sisters

Prophecy of the Sisters
by Michelle Zink

An ancient prophecy divides two sisters - one evil...who will prevail?

Twin sisters Lia and Alice Milthorpe have just become orphans. They have also become enemies. As they discover their roles in a prophecy that has turned generations of sisters against each other, the girls find themselves entangled in a mystery that involves a tattoo-like mark, their parents' deaths, a boy, a book, and a lifetime of secrets.

Lia and Alice don't know whom they can trust.

They just know they can't trust each other.
(Description taken from

I actually listened to this book on CD after reading Greenbeanteenqueen's review. I had heard a lot about this book, but knowing it was "gothic" had temporarily put me off. It's really funny, I tend to love gothic books once I get past the first few chapters; I just never seem to want to pick them up in the first place.

Let me tell you, with this one, I am SO glad I finally read it. Partially it was listening to Eliza Dushku (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Bring it On, Dollhouse) read the book in her very even-toned, no nonsense way that helped to really carry across Lia's voice, but it was also just the perfection in the vocabulary and tone of the book.

Zink does a fabulous job utilising beautiful vocabulary that, yes I know but never remember to use!, to bring us mentally back to a time when society behaved altogether differently and a girl's life should not be devoted to trying to fulfill a prophecy without ending the world!

The mystery and otherworldly-ness of this book is utterly compelling. I found Lia to be a wonderful main character, and I loved to hate, and sometimes feel sorry for, her sister Alice, right alongside her as the plot developed.

I cannot wait to read Guardian of the Gate to see what else is revealed before the final showdown in book three!! I really hope, too, that they get Eliza Dushku to narrate the next book...I couldn't stop driving around!

Demon Princess - Books One and Two

Demon Princess: Reign or Shine
Demon Princess: Reign Check
by Michelle Rowen

As if trying to fit in at a new school isn't stressful enough, sixteen-year-old Nikki Donovan just found out that her long-lost father is, in fact, the demon King of the Shadowlands - the world that separates and protects us from the Underworld. When she is brought there by the mysterious - and surprisingly cute - messenger Michael, she learns that her father is dying, and wants her to assume the throne.

*potential spoilers* Fresh from finding out she is a demon Princess and meeting her father for the first time, Nikki Donovan is looking forward to getting back to her regular high school life. But then Rhys, the handsome teenage King of the Faery realm, enrolls at her school as a foreign exchange student. This, coupled with a new prophecy stating that Nikki could destroy the entire world, means that Nikki won't be getting back to "normal" anytime soon.
(Descriptions taken from

When I first received book two from SLJ, I inwardly groaned. I did not really expect this series to be all that good. There are just SOOO many paranormal romance series in YA lit right now. I was pleasantly surprised!

I found Nikki to be an honest and likeable character. Her best friend is a surprisingly complex character, and a girl who really pushes to stay BFFs with Nikki. Her parents are even great, even if her Dad is the Demon King.

Nikki handles the discovery of her familial obligations with grace, after the initial shock and mild horror. The setting and premise are surprisingly believable. There is humor, there is love, there is friendship...

All in all a good new series, and I will definitely read book three when it eventually comes out!

PS - I posted two different covers for book two, Demon Princess: Reign Check, because the first one is the one that I got as an ARC and really matches the tone of the first book. The second is the final cover and I don't really see the correlation or why they chose to make this change...any thoughts?

Full disclosure: Book one borrowed from Library, Book two ARC sent from SLJ for Review.

Destiny's Path

Destiny's Path
by Frewin Jones
Warrior Princess, book two

Her destiny must be fulfilled...
Branwen refuses to take orders from anyone - even the Shining Ones, the ancient gods whose power is feared throughout the land. They want her as their Chosen one, destined to save her country from the Saxons. But Branwen doubts she's truly ready to be a leader.

Then a messenger from the skies shows her a vision of a bleak and violent future - a future in which Branwen has abandoned her destiny, and those most dear to her suffer unspeakable horrors. There's a blurry line between good and evil, and those Branwen trusts the most are capable of the greatest betrayal. The Shining Ones have spoken. Will Branwen answer their call?
(Description taken from

It had been awhile since I read the first book, Destiny's Princess, and I was concerned I would be lost right away. I wasn't. Though there were a few details I had to scour my memory for, Jones did a great job bringing readers subtly up to speed while moving the plot immediately forward.

I really loved how Branwen became more and more confident in her own decisions during her travels and battles. She had doubts, but if she didn't, she wouldn't be human. That the gods were constantly pushing her did not truly sway her to action, it was the suffering of her fellow countrymen. It really humanized the fantasy.

I love the medieval setting of this series and have always been interested in the history of the British Isles since my family originates there, so the historical picture built for readers is really great for me personally.

I am excited to read book three!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Reading Meme Questionnaire

Reading Habits is a meme going around the blogosphere right now. One of my friend bloggers, Jen at yabooknerd just did this and our answers were similar (fun!), so I thought I would try it out, too.

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack:
In the evenings or on weekends, sometimes, though I'm trying to quit that habit because it's usually some kind of candy or chips...not so good finger foods! My fave = skittles!

What is your favorite drink while reading?

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
Absolutely not! I even hesitated to do that in college, instead buying those little pointer sticky note things to mark where on a page I was looking, but making the actual note to myself in a notebook.

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open?
I have done all of the above in the past...sadly! I used to dog-ear the pages when I was a teen, but now I use bookmarks. I LOVE the magnetic ones that just clip onto the page so they don't fall out. If I'm just getting up for a sec, though, sometimes I'll lay the book open flat til I get right back to it!

Fiction, non-fiction, or both?
Almost always fiction, though I will stray to non-fiction on certain topics (shoes, shopping, food, etc.)

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of a chapter, or can you stop anywhere?
Usually I try to stop at the end of a chapter or if I can't, at least at the end of a section where there is a visual break on the page. Sometimes at work, though, I just have to stop wherever, but I hate coming back and having to figure out where I left off.

Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or on the floor if the author irritates you?
NO. I do shut the book and huff and have to tell my husband about things I really hate sometimes, though. (or blog about it!)

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away?
No. Usually I can pick up the meaning from the context of the writing around it. If it really bothers me I will look it up later...

What are you currently reading?
The Strawberry Picker by Monika Feth, Startled by His Furry Shorts by Louise Rennison, and Groosham Grange by Anthony Horowitz.

What is the last book you bought?
For me: Silvertongue by Charlie Fletcher
For work: Replacement copy of Starlet by Randi Reisfeld

Are you the type of person that reads one book at a time, or can you read more than one?
I have one I read in print at home, one I listen to on audio in the car, and one I read for work at any given time.

Do you have a favorite time/place to read?
I always carry a book with me in case of unplanned reading time, but my favorite place to read is in bed. I read for about an hour every night before I go to sleep.

Do you prefer series books or stand alones?
Either, although I love series books because there are characters I simply NEED to spend me time with. (stolen directly from Jen b/c I loved her answer!!)

Is there a specific book or author you find yourself recommending over and over?
Maria V. Snyder, The Hunger Games, The Host, Tamora Pierce, Ender's Game, The Wednesday Wars, The House of Night series, The Morganville Vampires series, The Chicagoland Vampires series, and a lot more.

How do you organize your books? (by genre, title, author's last name, etc.)
My bookshelves at home used to be organized by size of book (i.e. mass paperback, trade paperback, hardcover), then series genres (romance, YA, mystery, sci-fi, etc.), then series author, then within the series by order, or if not part of a series the books would be alphabetized by title within author section...don't forget I'm a Librarian, so all my books were alphabetized/organized so that I could find them immediately...until the shelves began to overflow!! Now, they are stuck in wherever they will fit that would be closest to where I would put them if they could fit. Sigh.

What about you?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Leap Year

Just had to mention this movie...
Loved it so much!

I love Amy Adams and she is cute and OCD-ish and quirky is this movie. Her wardrobe - fantastic! So pretty. I just kept thinking that I wanted to steal her outfits. *sigh*

I have a new crush...Matthew Goode is YUMMY!! That face, that voice, the gruffness...*double sigh*

Anyway, to continue drooling...Ireland. Great scenery...need I say more?

If you haven't seen this yet, GO RENT IT NOW! So good.

The Dead-Tossed Waves

The Dead-Tossed Waves
by Carrie Ryan
The Forest of Hands and Teeth companion book
Gabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She's content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry's mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious zealots who worship the dead. Like the stranger from the forest who seems to know Gabry. And suddenly, everything is changing. One reckless moment, and half of Gabry's generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mother's past in order to save herself and the one she loves.
When I read The Forest of Hands and Teeth, I was impressed, really impressed by Carrie Ryan's zombie apocalypse and the realism of her world. What struck the deepest chord with me was that it did not have the happy frou-frou, "oh, the world is ending, but we all fall in love and live happily ever after...laa laa laa" ending that most YA paranormals have. This was a true ending. There was hope, yes, and happiness, but it was REAL.
I was stoked when I found out that Ryan was putting out a companion book. I had hoped, but it would have been fine if The Forest of Hands and Teeth was a stand-alone. I was so happy when I finished The Dead-Tossed Waves. As pleased as I was finishing the first, I was ecstatic devouring the second!
Again, the main character was real...flawed, scared, questioning, but also brave, moral, and full of love. Gabry is not brave like her mother, Mary (mc of book 1). She does not feel a pull to leave the safety of her sheltered life...until she is drawn out by the boy she's admired from afar. Once she has broken beyond the barrier, though, she may be continually terrified, but she pulls through for the ones she loves. Her adventures again just felt ultimately real to me.
I love the tone of these books. I love the Mudo and the Breakers. I love the way that Ryan effortlessly questions religion, morality, love, family relationships, government...essentially all of society. In The Forest of Hands and Teeth, the book was about strength, questioning, and because of Mary's background, the book's tone was somber, quiet, but resilient. In The Dead-Tossed Waves, action reigns, passion abounds, and horomones sometimes rule. As the younger generation, raised in a non-religious environment, become the focus of the story, more of the world comes into focus.
Having seen the government structure that this society was able to build, becoming attached to Gabry and her love (trying not to give spoilers here!!), and learning some very important things about Mary's past, I cannot wait to jump back into this world whenever Ryan puts out book 3!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Lord Sunday

Lord Sunday
by Garth Nix
Keys to the Kingdom, book 7

Seven days.
Seven keys.
Seven virtues.
Seven sins.

In this thrilling conclusion to Garth Nix's Keys to the Kingdom series, Arthur Penhaligon must complete his quest to save the Kingdom he is heir to...and Arthur's world. (taken from

This is the final book of the series and took quite a while to come out. Since it is the final book, I do not want to give anything away...but I will say simply that I was very pleased. There was a great deal of action. Though this is such a fantastically conceptual series, the things that happen to Arthur and his choices are actually very realistic and authentic feeling. Without giving anything away, I can say that what I loved best about the book is that Arthur is able to become the supernatural being that he has to be in order to get things done, yet never loses his inner humanity and moral compass. A well done end to the series.

Kiss of Death

Kiss of Death
by Rachel Caine
Morganville Vampires, book 8

Vampire musician, Michael Glass, has attracted the attention of a big-time producer who wants to cut a demo and play some gigs - which means Michael will have to enter the human world. For this, he's been assigned escorts that include both a dangerous immortal as well as Michaels all-too-human friends. And with that mix of personalities, this is going to be a roadtrip from hell... (taken from

First off, I had not realized how much it had unconsciously begun to bother me that every book in this series took place in one town. I know, I know! That's the whole point of the series, but I ended up feeling the same way when I used to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer on TV. I always wondered how one town was able to contain all that "mess" without just spontaneously combusting?! It helped a little when Buffy went to made a slightly new scene, but I always wondered how no one else in California ever wondered at the huge body count in one small town. the topic a little, I know. I loved that show, but back to the book! I loved that Caine took the gang out of Morganville. Again, I hadn't realized I needed that until she delivered. It was a great choice to move the action to a new location. It put what was going on in the last two books in Morganville into a more worldly perspective.

I loved, also, how each of the characters really grew again in this book. Each, even the one I really disliked earlier in the series, showed new facets to their personalities and Claire especially grew in leaps and bounds in terms of her own self awareness. There was action and revelations galore, but this book was really about character growth, I think.

An excellent addition to the series...I can't wait for Ghost Town!

PS - When I found out who the girl was on the cover, I was "tickled pink!"