Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Torn from her native New York City and dumped in the land of cookie-cutter preps, Candice is resigned to accept her posh, dull fate. Nothing even happens in Swoon, Connecticut...until Dice's perfect, privileged cousin Penelope nearly dies in a fall from an old tree and her spirit intertwines with that of a ghost. His name? Sinclair Youngblood Powers. His mission? Revenge and while Pen is obvious to the possession, Dice is all too aware of Sin. She's intensely drawn to him—but not at all crazy about the havoc he's wreaking.

Determined to exorcise the demon, Dice accidentally sets Sin loose, gives him flesh, makes him formidable. Now she must destroy an even more potent—and irresistible—adversary before the whole town succumbs to Sin's will. Only trouble is, she's in love with him.

What do you do when the boy of your dreams is too bad to be true?

Beth says 3 Stars...
I was really excited about reading this book. I'd heard it was a little trashy, and that was just what I thought I needed after finals. Alas, it was not. The trash came in heaps, but it wasn't very good. The premise was very interesting (spirit possession and psychic powers) but didn't come across stunningly. The book still held my attention, and Malkin's writing worked very well with how she wanted to tell the story. The amount of sex in the book was flat out ridiculous, though. I don't mind it as long as it serves a purpose, but a great deal of it was just gratuitous. The plot could have moved along using some other device. At times I felt myself skipping over parts because I didn't feel like reading about another orgy. Also, some major points were left until the end for a grand reveal, but that knowledge would have made reading the book much more interesting.

The characters were fun, but not much more. The short nicknames could border on stupid, but weren't terrible. Dice was amusing with her constant sarcastic quips. However, I was never able to relate to her and only began to form a connection with her at the end of the book. Sin was delightfully bad, but Pen got rather annoying quite quickly. Pen seemed to just be there to take up space in the plot and be a foil for Dice. Unfortunately, nothing really sustained her character and made her grow in any compelling direction.

If massive quantities of sex in novels bother you, skip
Swoon. This is one that parents should be careful with and make sure their child can deal with the content before reading. The story wasn't compelling, but it was trashy to the extreme. If you want a tawdry no-brain book it isn't too bad, just know what you're getting into.
book from Library

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Hollow

When Abbey's best friend, Kristen, vanishes at the bridge near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, everyone else is all too quick to accept that Kristen is dead?and rumors fly that her death was no accident. Abbey goes through the motions of mourning her best friend, but privately, she refuses to believe that Kristen is really gone. Then she meets Caspian, the gorgeous and mysterious boy who shows up out of nowhere at Kristen's funeral, and keeps reappearing in Abbey's life. Caspian clearly has secrets of his own, but he's the only person who makes Abbey feel normal again...but also special.

Just when Abbey starts to feel that she might survive all this, she learns a secret that makes her question everything she thought she knew about her best friend. How could Kristen have kept silent about so much? And could this secret have led to her death? As Abbey struggles to understand Kristen's betrayal, she uncovers a frightening truth that nearly unravels her—one that will challenge her emerging love for Caspian, as well as her own sanity.


Beth says 3.5 Stars...

This was a fun book, and by fun I mean rather sad and creepy. As a general rule I liked it, but I had a few issues. The writing was good, but didn't really stand out. It did use changes in language very well to differentiate between characters. Despite that one sterling quality, it was nothing special. I felt like it was average. The plot was interesting, though. From the cover of the book and the description I expected it to be different, and have more of a paranormal feel. Instead there was quite a bit of angst, but in measured doses that I could deal with. It was rather creepy, though.

The characters were a bit harder to describe. I felt like I connected with them sometimes, but then at others I could have cared less. It was very strange, and I'm not sure what to think in that regard. The romance was delightful in its ups and downs. I sometimes get tired of the perfect true love deal where everyone's always happy all the time. Frankly, it gets annoying.

The place that the book lost me was the ending. It was terrible. I didn't feel that anything really got resolved. It was so confusing and made very little sense. It didn't fit with the rest of the book. Maybe I'm harping too much, but it felt that strange. Overall the book was fun, but the ending really ruined it for me. If you're bored over the holidays and see it at the library grab it, but it isn't worth the price of a hardcover.

Book from Library

Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Holidays Contest

Hi all! We're feeling ultra-nice because we've finished with school until 2010, so we're holding a contest! After all, the holidays are all about giving. What are we giving you may ask, well...

It's Freaks and Revelations by Davida Wills Hurwin. This books looks utterly fantastic, and thanks to the lovely people at Little, Brown we have three copies to give away.
So, here are the details.

+1 entry for leaving a comment below that includes the best gift you've ever received
+1 entry for becoming a follower
+2 entries for already being a follower
+1 entry for any tweet, you can get up to 5 (send us links)
+3 entries for making a blog post (send us a link)

The contest will end January 10, 2010. Open to residents of the US and Canada only, sorry.

Have a lovely holiday!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Explorer X - Alpha

For most kids, a trip to space camp is a trip of a lifetime, for Aadi it was life altering. After receiving a camp immunization needed for travel to Mars, Aadi finds that the immunization is the catalyst of an insidious experiment. Lucky for him, he was engineered to survive, thrive, and dominate. Without realizing he is being trained to conquer worlds, and manipulated under the guise of a camp, he unfolds the plot too late for a change of fate. Aadi’s world is shaken upon the revelation that life before camp was not what it appeared. This solidifies his plan to save them all from the company that seeks to control him, only for his rescue to end abruptly due to a freak accident on a field trip to Mars. The full experiment is set in motion when he and his co-pilot, Eirena, crash in a distant galaxy called Shrenas, where they change and realize the full extent of their power. Holding onto his humanity, in the midst of turning into a god is Aadi's biggest battle yet. This turn of events causes him to put his childish thoughts away, forcing him to accept his change, and to decide to save a world, or to do what he was trained to do, dominate it. In the midst his struggles with his changes, his power is coveted by the warring leaders of Shrenas, and he is forced to choose sides to save a life, or to save himself. A decision that may prove just how much humanity he has left.

Beth says 1.5 Stars...
I hate writing this review. I really wanted to like this book, but I couldn't. The issue that ran throughout the book was the writing. It was in want of a good editor. The way it was written distracted from everything else in the book. It had almost no flow from sentence to sentence. There wasn't a consistency in the tense and formality of the language. At one point it would be informal and full of contractions, yet a short while later it would be very proper. This was done without a major change in context. I have no problem with formal or stilted language, but it has to serve a purpose. In this case it did not, and the constant change made it very hard to follow. Additionally, the sentence structure was often strange. There were things that made very little sense the way they were said. I was often left to puzzle out what was happening and what the implications were for a particular moment.

The issue with the writing makes me really sad, because the plot of the book really had potential. The idea isn't amazingly original, but it was worked in an interesting way. Again, my involvement in the plot was severely hampered by the writing. The same happened with the characters. I couldn't connect with them because I was to busy examining the writing. It took me a very long time to feel anything for them, and by that time it was just too little too late.

I wouldn't really recommend this book. Perhaps you know an avid sci-fi fan who just wants something new, and this might be fun for them. If you have a lot to read and have to be really picky with your books, don't pick this one up.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday

Young wizards Kit Rodriguez and Nita Callahan become part of an elite team investigating the mysterious, long-sought "message in a bottle" that holds the first clues to the secrets of the long-lost inhabitants of Mars. But not even wizardry is enough to cope with the strange events that start to unfold when the "bottle" is uncorked and life emerges once more to shake the Red Planet with its own perilous and baffling brand of magic.

The good news is that the Martians seem friendly. The bad news is that now they're free to pick up where they left off on a long-dormant plan that could change the shape of more than one world… and they don't mind using their well-intentioned rescuers to achieve their goals. Kit’s long-standing fascination with all things Martian unexpectedly enmeshes him in a terrible, age-old conflict -- turning him into both a possible key to its solution, and a tool that in the wrong hands shortly threatens the whole human race.

Only Kit has a shot at defusing the threat. But when he vanishes unexpectedly from the Mars of here and now, his fellow wizards are left uncertain of where his true loyalties lie. Nita’s determination to find the truth – and Kit – soon sends her into battle against an implacable enemy who may not be conquerable except by violating wizardry’s most basic tenets. As the shadow of interplanetary war stretches ever more darkly over both worlds, Kit and Nita must fight to understand and master the strange and ancient synergy binding them to Mars and its last inhabitants… or the history that left Mars lifeless will repeat itself on Earth.

Diane Duane is such a fun writer and after a long gap the next So You Want To Be A Wizard book is finally coming out. Nita and Kit are on yet another adventure, and we can't wait to tag a long.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Song of the Lioness

Well first things first-we're back! We have both survived finals, and now we are looking forward to a nice, long break. We will back to reading and blogging with a vengeance, so watch out world. Without further ado, the post-finals post.

Nathan says 5 stars...
I'm reviewing this series as my post-finals choice because they are the ink and paper equivalent of a hug and hot chocolate. Tamora Pierce is the Santa Clause of YA literature-she brings joy and cheer wherever she chooses to fly.
The Song of the Lioness was Pierce's first quartet and in it we meet Alanna, the tough, young girl who wants to be a knight. So Alanna disguises herself and trades places with her twin brother and sets off to the kingdom's capitol to become a knight. There you have it. That's where the story begins. Sure, it sounds simple enough, but Pierce is a master of story. She takes that already intriguing plot and turns it into an imaginative, effortless, and engaging masterpiece.
The story goes far beyond Alanna's quest for knighthood and into her other adventures, but the story is always fascinating. Pierce uses her strong female protagonist in a non-preachy way, while still making a point.
Her prose is often times lyrical, but its strength lies in its dialogue. The give-and-take between characters is natural and lovely.
All I can say about these books is that they are an absolute must for any fan of fantasy or YA literature. If you've had a bad day, pick these up, they're sure to make you feel better. In fact, I'm going to work off the rest of my exams with Lioness Rampant right now.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Some Fun News (& Then Some Not Quite So Fun News)!

First for the exciting news. We're featured on The Story Siren's blog in her Fresh Face Friday post! We're so super-excited and honored. We both love Kristi's blog and always check it. If you want to go check out the cute little write-up the link is below (We're the last blog mentioned!).

Now to the news that isn't quite so fun. Both of us are in college, and that means the end of the semester and finals. We might be a little absent for the next week or so, but we promise we won't be gone forever! Trust us, we'd rather be reading YA and writing reviews than studying multivariable calculus and writing 8 page papers. We'll try to post whenever we can, but don't get worried if we don't! Now back to that paper...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


She is the last of her kind...
It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. In King City, the young King Nash is clinging to the throne, while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. War is coming. And the mountains and forest are filled with spies and thieves. This is where Fire lives, a girl whose beauty is impossibly irresistible and who can control the minds of everyone around her.
Exquisitely romantic, this companion to the highly praised Graceling has an entirely new cast of characters, save for one person who plays a pivotal role in both books. You don't need to have read Graceling to love Fire. But if you haven't, you'll be dying to read it next.

Beth says 5 Stars...

I loved Graceling and was really excited to read Fire. When I picked up the book I was thrown for a loop at first. It wasn't what I was expecting because it didn't seem to relate to Graceling at all, and it really didn't. This feels more like a stand alone novel then a part of a series. It almost reminds me of the relationship between Terrier by Tamora Pierce and her other Tortall novels. Reading the other books adds richness to both stories, but you don't have to have read one to enjoy the other. Once I got over my preconceived notions, the book was fantastic. I think that I might love this one more than Graceling. The concept of monsters was so interesting, and treated in a unique way. The plot was just great. I wasn't expecting the direction that it went, and I appreciated that. It moved without lagging and integrated so much into a seamless whole. There wasn't just one layer of anything; Cashore wove multiple story lines together beautifully. There was always something going on with one of the characters, but it never got to the point of feeling confusing or contrived. My attention was held rapt for the entire course of the book without wandering.

The characters were lovely as well. Fire developed so well over the course of the book; I for one was impressed. She matured in what felt like a very natural way, and the situations that forced her to grow up were believable. She became someone that I felt connected to and that I could admire. Then we have the boys. Oh goodness, they were so much fun. Brigan and Archer served perfectly for comparison in their relationships with Fire. Those relationships were so different, yet similar enough. They also both underwent radical changes throughout the course of the novel. I also thought that Arch and the other royals were great characters. They served their purposes perfectly, but they didn't overshadow the main characters unlike in so many other books that I've read.

Overall this book was a fantastic read. I think that after this and Graceling, Cashore has set herself up as a talent in YA fantasy to be both watched and reckoned with. Whether or not you've read Graceling you have to grab Fire right now. You won't be disappointed.
Book from Publisher