Saturday, April 17, 2010

In My Mailbox (7)

In My Mailbox
Week Seven

Seeing how I was taking a break last Sunday, this week's In My Mailbox will include both weeks so it's a larger than normal.

Heist Society
Ally Carter

When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her to the case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own - scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving "the life" for a normal life proves harder than she'd expected.

Soon, Kat's friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring her back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has good reason: a powerful mobster's priceless art collection has been stolen and he wants it returned. Only a master thief could have pulled off this job, and Kat's father isn't just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly encounter, Kat's dad needs her help.

For Kat there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it's a spectacularly impossible job? She's got two weeks a teenage crew, and, hopefully, just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family's (very crooked) history - and with any luck, steal her life back along the way.

First thoughts: I've picked this book up off the shelf a dozen times, debating whether or not I wanted to get it. So when I saw the library had a copy in I couldn't help myself. It sounds like an interesting plotline plus art! I'm planning on starting it this afternoon.

Scott Westerfeld

Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. Not for her license - for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there.

But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world - and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes change her world forever.

First Thoughts: I'm honestly not sure, at this point, whether Uglies is going to get read or not. I've heard mixed things about it and I had picked it up on a whim during my last trip to the library. If you've read it (and I'm sure some of you have) let me know what you think.

A Match Made in High School
Kristin Walker

When a mandatory course forces Fiona to "try the knot" with super-jock Todd Harding, she's convinced life couldn't get any worse. Until her crush is paired with her arch-enemy (otherwise known as Todd's obscenely hot, slightly sadistic girlfriend). But that's nothing compared to her best friend's fate - a year with the very goofy, very big Johnny Mercer

A series of hilarious pranks leaves Fiona wondering: Is there something her "best friend" hasn't told her? Could there be more to Johnny Mercer than an awesome music collection? And most intriguing, could Todd Harding have a heart beneath his pretty-boy-exterior?

First Thoughts: Another library grab (I'm broke, ok?) but one I am super excited about. I heard about this book about a month ago and I've wanted to read it ever since. It sounds cute and light and fun. After reading The Forest of Hands and Teeth earlier this week, I want something more fluffy for a change. Plus the cover is really, really cute!

Moonlight Falls
Vincent Zandri

Albany, New York, is the setting of Zandri's paranoid thriller (in the Hitchcock tradition) about Richard "Dick" Moonlight, former APD detective turned private investigator/massage therapist, who believes he killed Scarlet Montana - his illicit lover and wife of his ex-boss, Chief of Detectives Jake Montana. The problem is ... Moonlight doesn't remember what happened because he’s got a small fragment of a .22 hollow point round buried inside his brain, lodge directly up against his cerebral cortex. It's the result of a botched suicide attempt four years prior to the novel’s start, and an operation to remove the bullet fragment would be too dangerous.

But the bullet causes Moonlight lots of problems, the least of which are the occasional memory loss and his rational ability to tell right from wrong...

First Thoughts: This book came in the mail this week, which I'm excited about. I won an autographed copy from Goodreads and while the book isn't what I normally go for I think it sounds ridiculously good. I'll probably bump it up on my reading list because my best friend is already trying to steal the thing from me (she had entered the contest but didn't win a copy, so now she's trying to snag mine).

Poor Little Bitch Girl
Jackie Collins

Denver Jones is a hotshot twenty-something attorney working in L.A. Carolyn Henderson is personal assistant to a powerful and very married senator in Washington with whom she is having an affair. And Annabelle Maestro - the daughter of two movie stars - has carved out a career for herself in New York as the madam of choice for discerning famous men. The three of them went to high school together in Beverly Hills, and although Denver and Carolyn have kept in touch, Annabelle is out on her own with her cocaine-addicted boyfriend, Frankie.

Then there is Bobby Santangelo Stanislopolous, the Kennedy-esque son of Lucky Santangelo and deceased Greek shipping billionaire Dimitri Stanislopolous. Bobby owns Mood, the hottest club in New York. Back in the day, he went to high school with Denver, Carolyn, and Annabelle. And he connected with all three of them. Plus, Frankie is his best friend.

When Annabelle's beautiful movie-star mother is found shot to death in the bedroom of her Beverly Hills mansion, the five of them find themselves thrown together...and secrets from the past have a way of coming back to haunt everyone.

First Thoughts: Another library book...I know, I have a problem but I've had a hold on this forever and it finally came in. Not going to lie, it was the awesome cover that attracted me to the book but the plot sounds like the perfect guilty pleasure. And as much as I love YA, sometimes I want to step away into something that's a bit more trashy.

Seeing how I was on a break, I didn't actually get much done in the world of blogging since my last post. I put up my first return review yesterday for Hex Hall. You can check it out here.

I've finished two other books: The Forest of Hands and Teeth and the third book in the Morganville Vampire series, Midnight Alley. The reviews for those should hopefully be up later this weekend.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Review: Hex Hall by Rachel Hakwins

Hex Hall
Rachel Hawkins

My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Back of the Book:

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father - an elusive European warlock - only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of the her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all; an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

My Review:

Due to the drama of my real life since the end of last month it's been about two weeks since I've done one of these reviews, and finished Hex Hall, so bare with me as I find my sea legs again. The waters may be a bit choppy at first.

Hex Hall was one of those books that I was excited about the moment I heard of it. It's a magical school with witches, faeries and werewolves and I was a crazy Harry Potter fan back in the day. I had high expectations going into this book, especially after all the amazing reviews for it surfaced.

And this book didn't disappoint. The story revolves around Sophie, a teenage witch being raised by her muggle....sorry, human (old habits die hard)...mother. Between her mother's job and Sophie's tendency to expose her powers to humans she's been bounced from one part of the country to the next. Finally, after doing a love spell for another student that goes horribly wrong, she's sent to Hex Hall.

Which is kinda like a reform school for magical beings.

While most of the students have been sentenced there since they came into their power, Sophie is new and works well as our introduction to this world (because, despite her own powers, she had never known anyone else who wasn't human due to her warlock father's estrangement).

Hijinx, in the form of witches being drained of all their blood, occurs and it's up to Sophie to clear her vampire roommate of the charges.

There's also a subplot where Sophie learns about her own history and place in this new world, which ties in nicely.

Overall, the story works well and Sophie is an excellent character. She's not perfect, a trait I'm sure you've all figured out I look for in leads, but she has a good heart and is likable. Even when she is making a decision or two which leave you with the overwhelming urge to shake her and shock her back to her senses.

Despite the five star rating I gave it, Hex Hall isn't completely perfect. The pacing isn't even, the last 1/3 of the book feels slightly rushed in the amount of time and events occur opposed to the first 2/3's which kept a steady rhythm. I think the book would have benefited with a few extra chapters to flesh out the ending more.

But I am very much looking forward to the second in this series.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


So I am really sorry that I haven't been posting (or commenting) all week.

I have a Hex Hall review I need to write, plus a few others I'm almost done with. However, due to some real life situations I'm in right now, I haven't really had a chance to read this week.

Things should start going back to normal by Tuesday or Wednesday so I'll be back then with updates and posts.

I just wanted to let you all know that I'm still here and didn't abandon the blog. I just needed to take a short break while I figured some things out.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

Hex Hall
Rachel Hawkins

"They found her in the upstairs bathroom." Elodie's voice was almost a whisper. "She was in the tub, with two holes in her neck, and almost no blood left in her body."

p. 56

Teaser Tuesday is an awesome meme brought to you should be reading. Check it out.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

In My Mailbox (6)

In My Mailbox
Week Six

So this week, real-life wise, was not the most stellar for me but I did manage to get some awesome books despite everything. And nothing works better at cheering me up than a good book to snuggle up with...well okay except maybe winning the lotto. That would be pretty sweet.

But enough about me, onto the books:

Beautiful Dead
(Book 1 - Jonas)
Eden Maguire

Not alive. Not dead.
Somewhere in between lie the Beautiful Dead.

Something strange is happening in Ellerton High. Jonas, Arizona, Summer, Phoenix. All dead within a year.

Jonas Jonson is the first to die, in a motorcycle accident. But there are many unanswered questions, and the three deaths that follow are equally mysterious.

Grief-stricken Darina can't escape her heartache or visions of her dead boyfriend, Phoenix, and the others who died. And all the while, the sound of beating wings echoes inside her head...

Are the visions real? Or do the Beautiful Dead only exist in Darina's traumatized imagination?

First Thoughts: This purchase was made on a whim last weekend when I needed a book to read for a bit and wasn't able to make it back home to grab one. It had a pretty cover and the back sounds good. I did end up reading the first chapter and it's interesting so far.

Every Last One
Anna Quindlen

Mary Beth Latham is first and foremost a mother whose three teenage children come first, before her career as a landscape gardener or even her life as the wife of a doctor. Caring for her family and preserving their everyday life is paramount. An d so when one of her sons, Max, becomes depressed, Mary Beth becomes focused on him, only to be blindsided by a shocking act of violence. What happens afterward is a testament to the power of a woman's love and determination and to the invisible line of hope and healing that connects one human to another.

First Thoughts: I got this in the mail this week after winning it from goodreads. It's my first ARC and I'm a bit to excited about that. This one comes out on the 13th and I'm going to attempt to get this read and reviewed before than.

The Agency
A Spy in the House
Y.S. Lee

Orphan Mary Quinn lives on the edge. Sentenced as a thief at the age of twelve, she's rescued from the gallows by a woman posing as a prison warden. In her new home, Miss Scrimshaw's Academy for Girls, Mary acquires a singular education, fine manners and a surprising opportunity. The school is a cover for the Agency - an elite, top secret corps of female investigators with a reputation for results - and at seventeen, Mary's about to join their ranks.

With London all but paralyzed by a noxious heat wave, Mary must work fast in the guise of a lady's companion to infiltrate a rich merchant's home with hopes of tracing his missing cargo ships. But the Thorold household is full of dangerous secrets, and people are not what they seem - least of all Mary.

First Thoughts: I'm excited to read this and was thrilled to hear my hold had finally come in at the library (figuring out how to work the hold/request system at my library was the best thing to ever happen to me).

I also bought new glasses this week that I think are super cute:

Week in Review
(click cover for review)

Finally, I put up my first Month in Review. It's crazy to think I just completed my first full month blogging. :D

This awesome meme is brought to you the story siren. Check her out.

Review: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Dead Until Dark
(A Sookie Stackhouse Novel, #1)
Charlaine Harris

My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Back of the Book:

Sookie Stackhouse is a small-time cocktail waitress in a small-town Louisiana. She's quiet, keeps to herself, and doesn't get out much. Not because she's not pretty. She is. It's just that, well, Sookie has this sort of "disability." She can read minds. And that doesn't make her too dateable. And then along comes Bill. He's tall, dark, handsome - and Sookie can't hear a word he's thinking. He's exactly the type of guy she's been waiting for all her life...

But Bill has a disability of his own: He's a vampire with a bad reputation. He hangs with a seriously creepy crowd, all suspected of - big surprise - murder. And when one of Sookie's coworkers is killed, she fears she's next...

My Review:

I am sure all of you have figured out now that the vampire genre is one of my favorites and makes up a huge percentage of what I do read. So when I say that Dead Until Dark is one of my all time favorite vampire novels ever? You know I'm not messing around.

This book pretty much has everything that I want and expect from the genre: vampire politics and social structure, lots of smutty sex scenes and proper mythology of vampires not being able to come out during the day.

On top of all that it takes place in the backwoods of the South and the setting is fabulous. Charlaine Harris has this ability to just make the entire town of Bon Temps come alive and seem real in every aspect. Even the smallest characters have personalities to them and are definable. Plus I'm a little bit in love with her style of writing.

I don't want to go to much into the plot details because it is a mystery, a well-down one at that involving girl's who get "friendly" with vampires being strangled to death and raped (disturbingly in that order). The murderer isn't obvious but makes sense upon being revealed.

Finally, I used the original cover for the series here for this review and normally I am not a fan at all of TV/Movie cover changes but True Blood cover is also beautiful, imo:

If we're being completely honest here, Dead Until Dark was a book I started almost a year ago and it took an irrationally long time for me to finish it. I had originally picked it up to read on my flight out to San Diego for Comic-Con because I was a fan of True Blood and had learned that Charlaine Harris was going to be at the panel. I managed to get probably 80% of the book finished by the time I arrived in California however it got thrown into my bag and forgotten in the chaos that followed. By the time I got back home, it was lost in my bag of swag and not necessarily forgotten as much as it was misplaced. I finally ended up buying the box set of the first eight books during last year's Day After Thanksgiving Sale.

Seeing how it had been so long since I read the book, I started over (it's a bit to easy for me to confuse certain events on the show with the book because the show actually runs parallel to book in a number of cases) and it did take me a bit longer cause re-reading is never quite as quick for me as reading for the first time. But honestly? The only thing this proved to me was how much this book is worth a second read through.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Month in Review: March 2010

A Month in Review:
March 2010

Happy April 1st, everyone! It's a shiny new month and I have a nice stack of books to the left of me that I'll be reading and reviewing. But before I get to that I figured I'd do a recap of all the reviews I did for my first full month blogging!