Friday, August 31, 2012

Goodreads Recs LOL

Well... it seems like goodreads is not all that great at giving recommendations. ;) My "Challenge Rhfl 2012" shelf is my shelf for the books I've read for the Romantic Historical Fiction Lovers Group challenge this year. I'm not sure what it is, but none of these books scream romance to me. Well, maybe the third one does but that cover is... not very pretty.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sweet Evil Review

Title: Sweet Evil
Author: Wendy Higgins

In Sweet Evil, Anna is a high school student who seems to have a normal, average teenage girl life, but her life is anything but normal and it is about to get even stranger. Anna has always had unusual abilities, like being able to see a person's mood or feelings in the form of colors, but she didn't know why or where they came from until she met bad boy Kaidan.

Summary from Goodreads:

What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?
This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.
Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She's aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but Anna, the ultimate good girl, has always had the advantage of her angel side to balance the darkness within. It isn't until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He's the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.
Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns? 

I loved this book. The writing flowed well, the characters were fun, and the story was original. I am so glad that I liked this book as much as I did because I was a little hesitant to pick it up. Being a story about demons and angels, Sweet Evil could have easily become a cliche and predictable story. Instead, I found myself not know what was going to happen next and wanting to know what was going to happen.

The story flowed very nicely throughout the book. The trip to California with Kaidan and Anna might have been the only time when there was not a whole lot of action - it was mostly Kaidan and Anna having hot make-out sessions, Anna figuring out her feelings for Kaidan, and a way to tell the reader more about the fallen angels and how Anna fits in with everything - but I still enjoyed reading that part of the book. Kaidan and Anna are both children of Dukes - the fallen angels who work for Lucifer and are in charge of sins. Kaidan's father, the Duke of Lust, has the job of tempting humans into giving into their lust. Kaidan, like all children of Dukes, has to work for his father by seducing women himself.

Anna is such a sweet girl, but she is also pretty naive. It makes sense that she is a bit naive though. She was raised by Patti instead of her father so she never knew what it meant to be the daughter of a Duke. I think her character has a lot of room for potential growth though.

Kaidan or Kopano? I don't know who to love! Usually, in a love triangle, I have a favorite, but with Kaidan and Kopano, I love them both for different reasons. They are both different characters with their own charms. I really hope Kopano is not just there to create a love triangle and be a love interest to Anna. I did not get that vibe from this book though, so hopefully that doesn't change in the next book of the series. Kopano feels like too well written of a character to just be there for the romantic plot. Kopano, like the other children of fallen angels, has a duty to lure humans into dark things however he refused to continue to do his duty. Normally he would be killed but his father let him live. I want to know more about him just from the little bit that was revealed in this book.

I think Anna's father, the Duke of drinking and drug abuse, is one of my favorite characters in Sweet Evil. He went against Lucifer by waiting for his love and only having a child with her, and by not being as aggressive with his duties of tempting humans compared to the other Dukes. In fact, he says that he has given Lucifer false reports on occasions.

Overall, Sweet Evil takes an old idea and gives it a new and original twist. Higgins creates an intriguing world of demons, angels, and their children.

I'll be picking up the second book when it comes out next year.

Rating: 5/5 Chocolate Bars

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Origin Mad Lib

I love Mad Libs! I just completed the Mad Lib challenge for the Origin Olympics giveaway. The author of Origin is giving away some amazing prizes at her blog. It is worth checking out, plus there are some fun challenges to do.

Here's my Mad Lib story. If you want to participate in this challenge if have not done so yet, you might not want to look at the following picture unless you don't mind spoilers.

No! Not the telephones!

TBR Intervention 8/25

 The TBR (To-Be-Read) Intervention is a weekly challenge to help readers tackle their TBR piles. It is hosted by by Dani@RefractedLight , Ayanami@Whatever you Can Still Betray,  and April@Books4Juliet 

My TBR pile is huge! Hopefully this will help me mark some books off of the list and get me to write more reviews for this blog. So, for this week I hope to finish reading Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson and Bend Sinister by Vladimir Nabokov.

This is my first time participating in the TBR Intervention! Here's to a good week of reading!

Flukes by Nichole Chase Cover Reveal

While checking out various book blogs today, I came across a cover reveal of Flukes by Nichole Chase at A Tale of Many Reviews. I really like this cover so I wanted to share it on my blog as well.

The cover was designed by Stephanie Mooney at Mooney Designs. I really like this cover! First of off, I love the colors. I think the greens and yellows really go well together. I also love the two different font choices for the title and the author's name. The water doesn't look fake either. I'm happy about that because I really love water themed covers.

About Flukes:
Meena has a secret guarded closely by her family—a secret as dangerous as the sea, and buried just as deep. When court appointed community service workers are assigned to Flukes, the family-owned animal sanctuary, everyone is on high alert. It doesn’t help that Meena finds herself attracted to sexy-as-sin Blake Weathering, one of the new workers. If he wasn’t so distracting, she might be able to land Flukes a much-needed cruise line contract.
Blake Weathering, the first in his family to attend public school, has developed a tough image. Unfortunately it lands him in trouble. Now banned from his high school graduation ceremony, getting his diploma is dependent upon a community service gig cleaning fish crap. No diploma, no trust fund fortune—and no way to escape his overbearing father. The last thing he needs is the distraction of a mysterious girl with teal eyes who pulls at his heart strings.
When Blake discovers Meena’s secret, they are both thrown into a desperate search for information about her past. Two worlds pull them in opposite directions, and they will have to fight to hold onto all that really matters.
Between the summary and the nice cover design, I'm looking forward to getting this book when it comes out. Flukes will be out on October 8th 2012.
There is also a book tour for Flukes happening in December. Just click the image below to learn more about the tour!

For more information about Flukes, including  teaser, you can check out the author's blog here.

Friday, August 24, 2012

8 Books Book Haul

I decided to treat myself with a new book or two since I've now completed the Summer Wrap Up and Back to School read-a-thons. What was supposed to be just two new books turned into eight books! The thing is though, I won one in a giveaway, and I got five for about two or three dollars each.

I am considering making a youtube video of my book haul once my giveaway book arrives. If not, then I'll just make a blog post.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

WWII Book Recs?

Earlier this week I watched WWII in HD on the History Channel. I learned a lot about the war too. Now I am craving some books that take place during that time period. The only one I have that I'm currently reading is the children's book "A Place Where Sunflowers Grow"

Does anyone have any World War II themed book recommendations?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Back to School Read-A-Thon Finale

Total Books Read: 1
Total Pages Read: 1483

Yesterday was the last day of the read-a-thon hosted by Katie's Blog.

I feel pretty happy with what I've accomplished. I managed to finish one book and start on the other three. I also might have found a new favorite book: Sweet Evil. I was a little hesitant to pick up Sweet Evil because it could have easily turned into a cliche and predictable good girl meets and falls in love with the bad boy + she's an angel and he's a demon omg forbidden love! However, I'm at page 163 right now and so far the story is very original and not really a cliche.

I'm only on page twenty of Flirting In Italian, but it starts off with the main character finding a painting of a girl who looks just like her. I am a sucker for art references in books so I'm excited to read more now.

A Place Where Sunflowers Grow is such a beautifully illustrated and written children's book. I love picking it up and just staring at the illustrations. It is also very good with how the story deals with the subject of the Japanese American Internment Camps.

And as for Colibri, I wrote a review on this blog. If you're interested it should be a post or two below this entry.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Melodious Songs Review

Title: Melodious Songs / 悠扬的歌声
Author: Zhang Jingyu

Melodious Songs is a bilingual children's book written in Mandarin Chinese (simplified characters) and English. The book also has pinyin written over the characters. 

I brought this book at China Sprout. China Sprout sells books mainly in Chinese and other related goods. Most of their books and other products are aimed at children. The site is perfect for parents whose children can speak or are learning Chinese and for older people learning Chinese who want to start reading in Chinese.

The story is about a group of frogs making noise late at night so the small animals, who cannot sleep now, ask the Fairy Maiden for help. This is such an adorable and cute children's book. 

The book is short. There are only about 15 pages with one or two sentences per page, but the story is very cute and fun. The illustrations are also very cute, soft and fun.

Rating: 5/5 Moons

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Book Blogger Hop 
Book Blogger Hop sounds like such an awesome idea, and since I'm new to the book blogging world I've decided to participate!

What is the one genre you will NEVER read?

I don't know if there is a genre that I would never read. I don't usually read science fiction novels though. I usually would not pick-up a science fiction book unless it was recommended to me by a friend or someone whose book reviews I really like. 

Colibri Review

Title: Colibri
Author: Ann Cameron

Colibri is the story of "a young Mayan girl's quest for the family she was stolen from".

Rosa isn't her real name. She was given the name by a man she calls Uncle. Colibrí, meaning Hummingbird in Spanish, is a nickname her mother gave her. When she was only four years old, Colibrí was kidnapped from her parents in Guatemala City and forced to travel with "Uncle" who renamed her Rosa and told her that he tried to search for her parents but never found them. Uncle had kidnapped Colibrí believing what he was told by fortune-tellers - that she would bring him good luck and a huge treasure.

Colibrí is twelve years old when the book starts. She doesn't remember much about her parents but she still longs for them.

I read this book in Spanish. I got it from Better World Books along with two other young reader's/children's books as part of a deal. As someone who is not a native speaker of Spanish, I found this book pretty easy to read and enjoyable.

I really liked the glossary in the back of the book. Since the book takes place in Guatemala and since Colibri is Mayan, some words that are specific to the country or Mayans are used in the book. So, the glossary of words and their meanings was nice.

Colibrí is an inspirational young girl. She tries to stay honest and true to her own values even when Uncle is busy trying to scam people or rob a Church. It is very touching to read about the many people along the way who try to to help Colibrí escape from Uncle and find her parents.

I felt like the ending was a little bit rushed. The story itself is generally fast paced so a fast ending isn't completely out of place. I am glad that the book leaves the reader with a happy ending though because all throughout the book I was hoping that Colibrí would find a way to escape from Uncle..

Although there are some darker elements in Colibri, it is still a good and inspirational read. I would say that this is a good book for preteens.

Rating: 4/5 Strawberry Milks

Back To School Read-A-Thon Updates

I am pretty happy with myself right now. Yesterday I managed to finish reading Colibri by Ann Cameron. That's one book down, three more to go. I will write a review for this book soon.

I also started reading Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins last night. I am only about 100 pages into the book right now, but I love it already. I will have to review this book too once I finish reading it. Since I have the e-book version of this book, and I usually read nook books at night, most of my reading for this and Flirting in Italian will probably be done at night.

Day One
Books Read Today: 0
Pages Read Today: 53
Total Books Read: 0
Total Pages Read: 53

Day Two
Books Read Today: 0
Pages Read Today: 108

Total Books Read: 0
Total Pages Read: 161
Day Three
Books Read Today:1
Pages Read Today: 161

Total Books Read:1
Total Pages Read: 322

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Shatter Me Review

Title: Shatter Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me is Tahereh Mafi's debut novel.

Juliette is a young girl with an extraordinary ability (or is it a curse?) making it impossible for anyone to touch her. Anyone except Adam that is. Feared by everyone for something she has no control over, Juliette is locked away from society. She spent years of her life living alone in darkness until Adam once again enters her life.

Now, in a destroyed world, The Reestablishment plans to use her as a weapon to strike fear into those who are still resisting.

I was not expecting to like this book at all. In fact, I really did not like the beginning, but I was enjoying the story and characters by the end.

I still do not understand why the author used the strike-through text option so many times. I can see what Mafi was going for when she used the option when she had Juliette wrtie in her diary, but she also used the strike-through option in other places in the book. I guess it might have been to show Juliette's conflicting feelings about things but instead it just felt annoying and unnecessary. The other problem I had with the writing was how Mafi would repeat random words, again to show Juliette's thought process but it also got annoying fast.

Despite what I just wrote about the writing, I did enjoy the book. Shatter Me starts to get interesting about half way through the book when the action starts to pick up. Juliette is not just sitting around feeling alone and writing about her thoughts. Now, she has to deal with Adam's sexy self, Warner trying to convince her to join him (and being a complete creep while doing so), and running away from the evil Warner and The Reestablishment.

I have conflicted feelings about the relationship between Adam and Juliette. Their relationship moved a little fast for me. It felt like at one moment Juliette was questioning what Adam's motives were and the next they were making out and everything was fine.

I adored Adam's little brother and I really liked Kenji though from what I read of them in the book. I hope Kenji has an important role in the next book and is not just here to be the second love interest for Juliette. Every book does not need a love triangle.

By the end of the book I started to wonder if this story was at one point in time X-Men fanfiction because of all the young people with special powers. Luckily I love the X-Men.

I feel like this book was largely a set up for the second book in the series. A lot of events that could have happened did not happen, and Shatter Me ends right when things were starting to get interesting. I am curious to find out what happens next so I will be picking up the second book probably in e-book format.

Rating: 3/5 Chocolate Bars

Friday, August 17, 2012

Back To School Read-A-Thon TBR

I cannot believe that school is almost here. Of course, I still have a huge stack of unread books in my Summer Reads pile so that is why I am participating in this read-a-thons this month.

Currently, I am participating in the Back To School Read-A-Thon. You can check out Katie's Book Blog for more information.

Since the name of this read-a-thon is Back to School, I am going to choose only books for elementary school aged kids or young adult books for this challenge.

Here is my TBR pile:
Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins
Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson
Colibri by Ann Cameron
A Place Where Sunflowers Grow by Amy Lee-Tai

So, my TBR pile only has four books but that's because I only have four days counting today. The read-a-thon ends August the 20th!

The Glass Case: A Short Story Review

Title: The Glass Case: A Short Story
Author: Kristin Hannah

This short story is about April, a woman who got pregnant as a teen, married her High School sweetheart at 17 and now lives in the small town she grew up in with two more children. Her mom had always wanted better for her which April always took to mean that her mom wanted her to get out of this town and have a better life. Throughout the short story April reflects on her, now deceased, mother's words and wonders if her mother would be disappointed in her and if she could have had a better life if things were different.

The conflict in this short story comes when April realizes that one of her sons did not get off the school bus. She starts to worry and is afraid that something horrible has happened to him.

I have never read anything by Kristin Hannah before. I normally wouldn't pick this kind of a book up, but it was a free short story for the nook so I decided to give it a try. The author has a very nice style of writing that keeps the story flowing together. There are no awkward moments when the sense shifts back and forth between April's thoughts about her mother and her worries over her son.

The reason that I don't normally pick up these types of stories is because I can't completely relate to the main character. I, and probably many people in this world, can relate to feeling like you've disappointed your parents. Those who have children as a teen will probably be able to relate more to April and her feelings not just of disappointing her mother but also when it comes to settling down in a small town at a young age and wondering if this was the right choice.

I liked this book all the way up until the end. I know that the ending was met to be very touching and sentimental, but I just don't like how things were tied together at the end.

The Glass Case is a good short story for anyone who can relate to April's life as a young mother. 

Rating: 4/5 Caffè Lattes