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February 29, 2012

When the Sea is Rising Red by Cat Hellisen

imageTitle: When the Sea is Rising Red
Author: Cat Hellisen
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Release Date: February 28, 2012
Received From: Publisher in return for a honest review

Summary: After seventeen-year-old Felicita’s dearest friend, Ilven, kills herself to escape an arranged marriage, Felicita chooses freedom over privilege. She fakes her own death and leaves her sheltered life as one of Pelimburg’s magical elite behind. Living in the slums, scrubbing dishes for a living, she falls for charismatic Dash while also becoming fascinated with vampire Jannik. Then something shocking washes up on the beach: Ilven's death has called out of the sea a dangerous, wild magic. Felicita must decide whether her loyalties lie with the family she abandoned . . . or with those who would twist this dark power to destroy Pelimburg's caste system, and the whole city along with it. 
When I first read the summary for When the Sea is Rising Red I knew I had to read it. I mean, first of all it’s fantasy, and we all know my weakness for fantasy. And it looked to be dark, creepy fantasy, which hooked me in even more.
When the Sea is Rising Red did not disappoint. It was dark, creepy, and surprising. When I first read the synopsis I was bummed because it looked like it gave everything away but it doesn’t. Each new page was filled with magic, and surprises. Keeping me interested and longing to find out more.
I’m not going to lie, Felicita kind of annoyed me. She seemed to have no plan and was just wandering around willy-nilly waiting for things to fall into place. Now granted toward the end she started taking control over her life and surroundings but in the beginning she made the decision to run away and then just kind of floated. The good thing about her being this way was the fact that it let other characters shine.
Cat Hellisen did magic with her integration of Vampires. They were a part of the story without being overly vampireish and they provided a fabulous foil to Felicita’s family.
Like Felicita I never knew who was good, who was trying ruin Pelimburg, and who was caught in the middle. every time I thought I had figured it out something would happen to change my point of view.
The ending of When the Sea is Rising Red was interesting and kind of confusing. While I really enjoyed the way in which it was written I wish it had been a bit more clear, or that it had been more drawn out so I could fully understand what was happening. But I guess that was part of the intrigue of the ending.
Overall I enjoyed this book though I wish the ending had been a little clearer.
Oh, and I need a sequel.
P.S. Do you see that cover? SO GORGEOUS!

February 21, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I would Save

So I have decided to start participating in Top Ten Tuesdays hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.
This week’s topic is:
 Top Ten Books I'd Quickly Save If My House Was Going To Be Abducted By Aliens
1. Graceling by Kristin Cashore. This is one of my favorite books and so I would have to grab it.
2. Fire by Kristin Cashore. Same as above. This is a book I read when I get lonely or upset. So I think having this book would be vital.
3. Beauty by Robin McKinley I have had my copy of this book for about 7 years and I really love it. I cannot imagine not having a copy availbale.
4. Oh the Places You’ll go by Dr. Suess
5. One Fish Two Fish by Dr. Suess both of these books had a large impact on my childhood.
6-10. Random books from my favorites shelf. There are so many books that I would want to take with me that I would just grab randomly and hope for the best.
What would you save?

February 19, 2012

The Traitor in the Tunnel Review

imageTitle: The Traitor in the Tunnel
Author: Y.S. Lee
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: February 28th 2012
Received From: Netgalley


Get steeped in suspense, romance, and high Victorian intrigue as Mary goes undercover at Buckingham Palace - and learns a startling secret at the Tower of London.
Queen Victoria has a little problem: there's a petty thief at work in Buckingham Palace. Charged with discretion, the Agency puts quick-witted Mary Quinn on the case, where she must pose as a domestic while fending off the attentions of a feckless Prince of Wales. But when the prince witnesses the murder of one of his friends in an opium den, the potential for scandal looms large. And Mary faces an even more unsettling possibility: the accused killer, a Chinese sailor imprisoned in the Tower of London, shares a name with her long-lost father. Meanwhile, engineer James Easton, Mary's onetime paramour, is at work shoring up the sewers beneath the palace, where an unexpected tunnel seems to be very much in use. Can Mary and James trust each other (and put their simmering feelings aside) long enough to solve the mystery and protect the Royal Family? Hoist on your waders for Mary's most personal case yet, where the stakes couldn't be higher - and she has everything to lose.

First of all if you haven't read this series and you even kind of like historical fiction or mystery. RUN don’t WALK to pick up the first two books before this one comes out on February 28th! Here is my review for the second book The Body at the Tower if you need more convincing.
The Traitor in the Tunnel is the third book in this series and trust me when I say I was DYING to read it. And while it was really, really good it wasn’t my favorite book of this series.
Mary as usual was strong, smart, and resourceful. These are some of my favorite qualities in a heroine which is one of the reasons I like these books so much.
James. Oh, James. I love James, but he was very different in this book than in the others and I don’t really know how I felt about that. Toward the end he started to act like the James I love and so I hope he will be the same in the next book.
There were a lot of twists in this story which I really appreciate in mysteries. I also liked how the case started off really tame and then became more sinister. Something that was really different from this book and the others was the fact that Mary got to dive deeper into her heritage which I really enjoyed.
Overall, not my favorite book of the series but I still definitely recommend it for any fans of historical fiction, mysteries, or just plain good books.





February 14, 2012

Here by Denise Grover Swank

imageTitle: Here
Author: Denise Grover Swank
Publisher: Createspace
Release Date: November 11, 2011
Received From: Author via Teen {Book} Scene


Sixteen year old Julia Phillips buries herself in guilt after killing her best friend Monica in a car accident. Julia awoke in the hospital with a broken leg, a new talent for drawing and false memories of the accident, in which she dies and Monica lives. The doctors attribute this to her head injury, but no one can explain how a bracelet engraved with her name ended up at the scene of the accident. A bracelet no one has ever seen before.
Classmate Evan Whittaker paid Julia no attention before the accident, let alone after. Now suddenly he’s volunteering to tutor her and offering to drive her home. She can't ignore that his new obsession started after his two-day disappearance last week and that he wears a pendant she’s been drawing for months. When the police show up one night looking for Evan, he begs Julia to run with him, convincing her that Monica is still alive. Julia agrees to go, never guessing where he’s really from.

This book was not what I expected. From reading the first chapter/prologue I was unsure what to expect, but once I got into the meat of the book I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would.
Here is a science fiction book. But it also seemed to lean into the paranormal feel. After the accident Julia has new abilities and she has memories that did not actually happen, that combined with the popular boy suddenly paying more attention to her made me think that it was a paranormal book all the way up to when it becomes clear that it is a sci-fi novel.
The fact that Evan all of a sudden starts paying attention to her, and the fact that she all of a sudden starts being motivated was really odd and unfounded. Until I got into the story and started to understand why Evan was acting that way it was driving me nuts.
The other thing that didn’t make very much sense how all of a sudden everything started happening. Evan paid attention to her bracelet and then all hell broke loose. It was very strange and I wish it had been paced a little better.
The ending also seemed a little rushed but since it is a series I guess that is okay.
Even though the pacing could have been better I kept wanting to know what was going to happen. I was drawn in and did not want to stop until the end. This helped me to enjoy this book more, despite the pacing issues.
Overall this was an okay book, I would recommend it to fans of paranormal romances because the feeling was the same even though it wasn’t




February 6, 2012

The International Kissing Club Review

imageTitle: The International Kissing Club
Author: Ivy Adams
Publisher: Walker & Company (Bloomsbury)
Release Date: January 3, 2012
Received From: Publisher via Teen {Book} Scene

Summary:  Piper, Cassidy, Mei, and Izzy have been best friends their whole lives. And they've always agreed on one goal: to get out of tiny Paris, Texas, and see the world. The school's foreign exchange program seems like the perfect escape: Piper will go to the original Paris; Mei will go to China; Cassidy will go to Australia; and Izzy, unable to afford the program, will stay at home. To add spice to their semester away, and to stay connected to their best friends, the girls start The International Kissing Club, a Facebook page where they can anonymously update one another and brag about all the amazing guys they're meeting. After all, these girls are traveling abroad: amazing guys abound at every turn! But sometimes fun, flirty vacation flings turn into more serious romances, and sometimes you don't return from abroad the same person you were. Will the girls' relationships-and their friendships-be able to survive?
This was a very cute book, and an interesting subject. Books that take place in different countries are always very interesting to me.
Now, this book started off interesting but then sort of petered off before they left on their adventures. I feel like some of the build up to them leaving could have been left out. But it was not that big of a deal.
One thing I really appreciated about this book was the fact that their adventures in the different countries were not perfect and wonderful. I felt that that was more indicative of what it would actually be like, the homesickness and doubt made it more realistic.
I also liked how one of the girls stayed home. The feeling of being left and having to deal with that was one of the most relatable parts of the story. But it was the most boring to me.
The blog was a fun way to see their different thoughts as well as getting to see new people chime in.
The best thing about this book was their friendships after they came back. They would have all changed so much during the time away, and I was glad to see that the author addressed that issue.
Overall this was a good book. A little slow at times but an interesting look into friendship.

February 3, 2012

White Cat by Holly Black (Audio Review)

imageTitle: White Cat (Curse Workers #1)
Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Release Date: May 4, 2010
Received From: Library

Summary:  The first in a trilogy, this gritty, fast-paced fantasy is rife with the unexpected. Cassel comes from a shady, magical family of con artists and grifters. He doesn't fit in at home or at school, so he's used to feeling like an outsider. He's also used to feeling guilty--he killed his best friend, Lila, years ago. But when Cassel begins to have strange dreams about a white cat, and people around him are losing their memories, he starts to wonder what really happened to Lila. In his search for answers, he discovers a wicked plot for power that seems certain to succeed. But Cassel has other ideas-- and a plan to con the conmen.

I listened to this book on audio so this review will have two components; my review of the book and my review of the audio itself.
Ok, so I know I’m like one of the last people to read this book. But even though I saw it everywhere I just never picked it up. But boy am I glad I finally did!
I am a huge fan of fantasy and that word describes this book perfectly. White Cat had most of the elements that I look for in a book, a strong relatable main character, something that makes me feel for him, and a relatively fast moving plot.
Cassel was a great main character! Black made me feel bad for him, I mean, how could I not! The book starts with him waking up on a roof in the middle of the night!! But even though I felt for him, he was no pansy. Cassel was determined to not get pushed under the sofa when it came to his family. And even though he was not a Worker like the rest of them, he still attempted to make a place for himself through his minor cons.
There are numerous twists in White Cat and while I saw the major one coming knowing didn’t make it any less exciting to find it out. I think this was because Black made me feel like I was discovering it along with Cassel even though I had already guessed. But there were some more minor twists that I was totally not expecting.
Now with most series nowadays there was sort of a cliffhanger, but not really. I mean, I wanted to know what was going to happen next. But the overall storyline of White Cat was resolved for me, which I really appreciated.
Overall a great read, perfect for boys and girls!
Now I normally am not a huge fan of single reader audiobooks. I love full cast audio books but I am always let down by single reader audiobooks. But I actually enjoyed this one. I think it might have something to do with the fact that the book had a male protagonist, because one of the things that bugs me is having a girl read the hot boy’s voice.
Besides that I thought Jessie Eisenburg did a good job. (Yes, the guy from The Social Network) I was engaged and his voices were good for the story.
I would recommend this audio to even reluctant audiobook listeners!