26 February 2012

Important Update!!!

Dear blog followers, readers and blogger friends,

If you're reading this, you're probably interested to know where I've been this past month.  January and February have been two of the hardest months of my life. Although January and 2012 started off well, January ended with my grandma suddenly suffering a stroke.  While she was in surgery having the blood clot removed, my family and I gathered together and shared our favorite memories with our grandparents, hearing stories of my mom and her siblings growing up and praying that grandma would make a full recovery.  She was moved to the ICU later that night and we were informed that she lost her speech and the movement of her right arm.

During the next week, a family member was with her as much as possible.  Doctors commented that she was starting to recover in just the few days they've seen her and were confident that, with some long term rehab, she could live a fairly normal life.  She stayed in the hospital for about a week and during that time I had a whole day with her to myself.  I held her hand, read to her and we watched TV together.  Even though she could not speak, I know she loved my visit.  Two days later she was moved to a rehab facility where she passed away the next night.  I had never lost a loved one before but now I know that the pain is unimaginable.  I felt like the whole world should have stopped.  Even though the rest of the world continued spinning, my world stopped.  I didn't work, didn't read, didn't blog, didn't even turn on my phone.  I can't even remember what I was reading the day she passed.

It's been a few weeks now and I even started reading a book a couple days ago.  I didn't intend for this unexpected hiatus to last into March and I wanted everyone to know that I will be back to my normal blogging schedule soon.  I also wanted to apologize for my complete absence in the blogging community, but I just couldn't write any of it down until today.  I hope you will all understand and continue reading and following my blog.

Yes, I'm the bald baby on the left, haha!

07 February 2012

Review- Lola and the Boy Next Door

Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Dutton
Find it here: Amazon, Goodreads
Source: Purchased

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

My Take:

Stephanie Perkins is brilliant! I feel like she is one of those tennis players like Roger Federer who works really hard but their movement and style seem effortless. They make what they do look easy. Like Roger Federer picked up a racket one day and decided that he was going to win more grand slams than any other man in the world. Like Stephanie Perkins just sat at her computer one day and decided that she was going to write the most amazing YA contemporary novels. I’m sure she put a lot of work into her novels but they flow effortlessly and grab you attention from the first chapter.

Before I picked up Anna and the French Kiss, I didn’t read much YA contemporary. After Lola and the Boy Next Door, I can’t get enough contemporary! Stephanie Perkins changed that for me. As much as I loved Anna and the French Kiss, I love Lola even more!

If I could be Lola, I would! She is the life and breath of the story and I could imagine Lola acting or dressing any other way. She’s one of the most well-written characters that I’ve ever read. I wouldn’t change a thing about her. I love her personality and that Cricket is the only person who truly understands her. Max believes that Lola is hiding who she is by dressing in costumes and wearing wigs. He believes he only sees the real Lola when she is dressed in plain clothes wearing her real hair. But he just doesn’t understand her.

Cricket is the most adorkable character I’ve ever read! And I absolutely loved that little contraption he gave Lola at the end! How could she not fall in love with the boy who gave her the moon and the stars! The relationship between Lola and Cricket is so deep yet so simple. They just fall in line with each other.

If Isla and the Happily Ever After is anything like Perkins’ first two novels, I’m going to fall head over heels in love with the characters!

06 February 2012

Review- Demonglass

Title: Demonglass
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Series: Hex Hall #2
Publisher: Hyperion Children's Books
Find it here: Amazon, Goodreads
Source: Purchased

Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch.

That was the whole reason she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (aka witches, shapeshifters, and fairies). But that was before she discovered the family secret, and that her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping Prodigium off the face of the earth.

Turns out, Sophie’s a demon, one of only two in the world—the other being her father. What’s worse, she has powers that threaten the lives of everyone she loves. Which is precisely why Sophie decides she must go to London for the Removal, a dangerous procedure that will destroy her powers.

But once Sophie arrives she makes a shocking discovery. Her new friends? They’re demons too. Meaning someone is raising them in secret with creepy plans to use their powers, and probably not for good. Meanwhile, The Eye is set on hunting Sophie down, and they’re using Archer to do it. But it’s not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she?

My take:

First of all, Demonglass was so much better than Hex Hall. If I remember correctly, I only gave it a three star review. I felt like Hex Hall served mainly as the set up for the series, an introduction to the character and to build the world for the readers. Demonglass started off with a punch, drawing the readers into the mystery and secrets that are surrounding Sophie’s life and very existence.

There is no such thing as the sophomore slump in this fun and light paranormal series. It’s summer break for Sophie after her first year at Hex Hall where she discovered her serious crush is also a serious threat to her life. Her father takes Sophie, her best friend/vampire Jenna and the gorgeous grounds keeper Cal off to England to spend her vacation in the family mansion. She thinks her father wants her there for some serious father/daughter bonding time but he actually uses her to get his hand on a very powerful book! I was completely surprised! But he also helps her control her crazy strong powers.

Everything we know about Hectate Hall is completely blown out of the water when we learn the truth about Mrs. Casnoff and her sister, who we meet in this book. There were so many plot twists and turns, I was on the edge of my seat!

Even after Demonglass, I’m still torn about Archer. I loved him in Hex Hall but in Demonglass it got a little iffy for me. I feel like he’s hiding so many secrets from Sophie but continually swears that he doesn’t want to hurt her. I believe he doesn’t want to but I don’t think he realizes that he is by not telling her the truth. I’m team Cal! I love him! Even though he’s the strong and silent type, he’s loyal to her and believes she can do whatever she puts her mind to. He supported her even before she met him! And without him, she would have died already. Literally. Because he has healing powers.

And just when I think I’m getting a handle on Sophie being a demon, there’s this crazy cliffhanger! I recommend this book to anyone who has read Hex Hall whether they liked it or not!

04 February 2012

In My Mailbox (34)

In My Mailbox is an awesome way to connect with our blogger and reader friends and share which amazing books we received, bought or borrowed during the week! This weekly meme is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

For Review:

Pieces of Us by Margie Gelbwasser


Graceling by Kristin Cashore

That's it.  Not much this week! What did you get in your mailbox? Let me know!

02 February 2012

Follow Friday (26)

Follow Friday is hosted by Alison Can Read and this week's featured blogger is Omnon Books!

Q: Define what characteristics your favorite books share. Do they all have a kickass heroine or is the hot love interest the Alpha Male?

A: I enjoy books that keep me on the edge of my seat! It doesn't necessarily have to have a lot of action but as long as the story grabs me and keeps my attention then I usually love it.  I also like mystery books when then ending comes from left field and I never saw it coming.  I don't like when I can guess what's going to happen.  I also enjoy well-rounded characters such as Karu from Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Clara from Unearthly and Jessica Darling.  Writing style affects my feelings towards books as well.  I love a beautifully written book.  

Thank you guys for following my blog and please subscribe to my RSS feed if you can! Happy reading!

Review- Always a Witch

Title: Always a Witch
Author: Carolyn MacCullough
Series: Witch #2
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Find it here: Amazon, Goodreads
Source: Purchased

The adventures of Tam and Gabriel continue with more time travel, Talents, spy work, and of course, the evil Knights.

Since the gripping conclusion of Once A Witch, Tamsin Greene has been haunted by her grandmother's prophecy that she will soon be forced to make a crucial decision—one so terrible that it could harm her family forever. When she discovers that her enemy, Alistair Knight, went back in time to Victorian-era New York in order to destroy her family, Tamsin is forced to follow him into the past. Stranded all alone in the nineteenth century, Tamsin soon finds herself disguised as a lady's maid in the terrifying mansion of the evil Knight family, avoiding the watchful eye of the vicious matron, La Spider, and fending off the advances of Liam Knight. As time runs out, both families square off in a thrilling display of magic. And to her horror, Tamsin finally understands the nature of her fateful choice.

My take:

I love this series! Well, at least I hope it’s a series and not just a book one and book two. I really hope there’s more because Tamsin is one of my favorite witchy characters! Not only is it a witch story but there is also time travel, action and a love story. It’s so fun!

Tamsin and Gabriel are such a great couple. They work well together as a team and they have such great chemistry. It’s not like super hot with tons of sexy times, but they’re funny, cute and sweet to each other. They’re powers work well together and without Gabriel, Tamsin would have a lot harder time achieving her goal.

I also love the message that Always a Witch sends out to teenagers. Don’t be afraid to be who you were meant to be. Tamsin soon realizes that she is the one with great power in her family and she has the responsibility to make sure that the Greene family isn’t destroyed. And when she understands what she has to do, she doesn’t let anyone get in her way!

Once a Witch and Always a Witch are both great books! They’re fun, light and super breezy reads! They’re such fun witchy books!

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