Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"Waiting On" Wednesday #2

Wednesday, February 24, 2010
"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

The Returners
by Gemma Malley

Publication Date: March 2nd 2010

London teenager Will Hodge is miserable. His mother is dead, his father’s political leanings have grown radical, and his friends barely talk to him. To top it off, he’s having nightmares about things like concentration camps. Then Will notices he's being followed by a group of people who claim to know him from another time in history. It turns out they are Returners, reincarnated people who carry with them the memory of atrocities they have witnessed in the past. Will realizes that he, too, is a Returner. But something about his memories is different, and with dawning horror, Will suspects that he wasn’t just a witness to the events, he was instrumental in making them happen. Set in the near future, with the world on the verge of a new wave of ethnic cleansing, Will must choose to confront the cruelty he's known in his past lives, or be doomed to repeat it . . . again.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Blue is for Nightmares by Laurie Faria Stolarz - Book Review #5

Friday, February 19, 2010
Blue is for Nightmares
by Laurie Faria Stolarz

"I Know Your Secret . . ."

It started with weird e-mails and freaky phone calls. Now someone's leaving Drea white lilies-the same death lilies that have been showing up in Stacy's dreams. Everybody thinks it's just a twisted game . . . until another girl at school is brutally murdered.

There are no witnesses. Worst of all, no one has a perfect alibi. With everyone as a potential suspect, Stacy turns to the one secret weapon she can trust-the folk magic taught to her by her grandmother. Will Stacy's magic be strong enough to expose the true killer, or will the killer make her darkest nightmares come true?

While I didn’t find this book to be horrible, I would really love to see some meat on those bones. It just didn’t live up to its potential. Blue is for Nightmares is one of those books that if properly written – could be great.

I think that plot was interesting, but rushed up. Also, constant repetitions were very annoying: first, Stacy is having a nightmare and we are told everything that she is dreaming about; second, she is retelling this nightmare to her friends and she goes through every detail of her dream again; and finally, she is thinking about her nightmare, remembering everything that happened in the dream. But the most dreadful thing is – it is all happening one after another, without anything in between.

Most of the characters were two-dimensional and undeveloped. I didn’t like Drea. She was obnoxious and self-involved, and I couldn’t see why Stacy is friends with her. Only characters that at least had some personality are Amber and P.J. The way they talked to each other and their sarcasm amused me a lot.

I also liked how dialogs were written. Blue is for Nightmares is one of not many YA books here you can actually hear teens speaking, not only know that it was a teenager who said something, because you’ve been told so.

I enjoyed how witch part and spells were represented in the book - no dark rooms, no cauldrons, no pointy hats or brooms. Every spell ingredient comes from your grocery store or garden.

I would probably never pick up the second book, if I didn’t buy all four at once. However, since I had them already, I decided to get over with this series as quickly as possible and started to read the second book – White is for Magic…

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Great Linger Giveaway!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Linger Cover LargeIn Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other.  Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack.  And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love -- the light and the dark, the warm and the cold -- in a way you will never forget.

Comes out in stores everywhere July 20th. Pre-order here.

Enter to win an advanced review copies of LINGER, Sisters Red, The Dead-Tossed Waves, and The Replacement on Maggie's blog.

"Waiting On" Wednesday #1

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Hex Hall 
by Rachel Hawkins

Publication Date: March 2nd 2010

When Sophie Mercer turned thirteen, she 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 Hecate Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward prodigium, a.k.a. witches, fae, and shapeshifters. By the end of 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, tag-along ghost; and a new roommate, who happens to be the most-hated person and only vampire on campus. Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her friend Jenna is the number one suspect. Meanwhile, Sophie has a more personal shock to grapple with. Not only is her father the head of the prodigium council, he's the most powerful warlock in the world, and Sophie is his heir. 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.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare - Book review #4

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

City of Ashes
By Cassandra Clare

Welcome back to the exotic world beyond the shadows...

Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what's normal when you're a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma,  and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who's becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn't ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary's only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace.How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

This is the second book from the Mortal instruments series. I generally liked the book, though it was slow at the beginning. It was interesting, but every time I had to put the book down, I didn’t have any desire to pick it up again. After initial fifty or so pages of straggling, story started to pick up and with such a momentum that nothing could drag me away from the book.

In the second book we are finding out more about main characters, about their story; and we finally can see a somewhat clear motives under their behavior and actions. We are witnessing a relationships development, but unfortunately, at the end of the book we are back from where we started.

City of Ashes is packed with action. The”final battle” is amazing. It was moving so fast, pulling me with the story that sometimes I was realizing that I didn’t quite get something and had to come back. Despite that, I loved the crescendo and I kept flipping through the pages.

Plot turns were fun and entertaining, though outcome was quite predictable. I appreciated Cassandra Clare’s try to add some suspense to the story. The ending gives you a pick of what the third book will start with and I found it to be a good cliffhanger.

Mortal Instruments is probably one of the best YA series so far that I read and I can’t wait to start the third and the final book – City of Glass, luckily for me, it is out already.

Under the Dome by Stephen King - Book Review #3

Under the Dome
by Stephen King

On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester's Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener's hand is severed as "the dome" comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when -- or if -- it will go away.

Dale Barbara, Iraq vet and now a short-order cook, finds himself teamed with a few intrepid citizens -- town newspaper owner Julia Shumway, a physician's assistant at the hospital, a select-woman, and three brave kids. Against them stands Big Jim Rennie, a politician who will stop at nothing -- even murder -- to hold the reins of power, and his son, who is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry. But their main adversary is the Dome itself. Because time isn't just short. It's running out.

It was really hard for me to write this review, because after I finished Stephen King’s Under the Dome, all I had was WOW and a *gasp*. But anyway, here it goes…

I loved this book, it is definitely a masterpiece, a page turner – fascinating project on how society might act when it was closed out. Under the Dome is a very complex read with huge characters cast, but despite that fact, all characters masterfully developed and flashed out, in a best Stephen King’s tradition.

The world of Under the Dome, as usually in all Stephen King’s books, is so vivid and real that you can fully dive into it. It is amazing how King can create and develop his worlds without any annoying, boring and unnecessary descriptions.

I found characters to be a bit too much stereotypical for my liking. However, may be it is the way it supposed to be, as per Stephen King himself, this is a fiction novel, not literate, and fiction novels are “about ordinary people in the extraordinary circumstances”, despite literate novels that are “about extraordinary people in the ordinary situations”.

Even though it is a complex read, it was built and structured very professionally, so reader can easily follow all plot and sub-plot lines. It is amazing how all the characters and events that at first seems not to be connected to each other are linking and coming together.

I wasn’t disappointed with the ending, unlike some people. I thought that the ending was the most appropriate and definitely in King’s style.

Under the Dome was one of those books that made me want to pick on what’s going to happen at the end so much that I almost had to tie myself down. It is definitely worth spending time to read this over a thousand page long epic.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My Life in France By Julia Child with Alex Prud'homme - Book Review #2

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My Life in France

by Julia Child with Alex Prud'homme

On one level, it's the story of how a "6-foot-2-inch, 36-year-old, rather loud and unserious Californian" — her words — discovered the fullness of life in France. On another, it recounts the making of "Julia Child," America's grande dame of French cooking. Inevitably, the stories overlap.

My Life in France is a beautiful memoir of Julia Child – women that changed American cooking forever - filled with gorgeous black-and-white pictures, her husband made during their stay in France. This book captures Julia’s love of France, cooking, friends and, of cause, her husband.

Julia wrote like she spoke, so you can actually hear Julia Child telling you her story. It makes book even more realistic and cozy. Her loving descriptions of after war Europe is so captivating that it make you want to travel back in time to experience everything first hand.

In this book Julia shares how she unexpectedly and, in her opinion, very late in her life, discovered her life passion and how she shared it with people. We are witnessing her classes in Cordon Bleu, her teaching after the graduation and, of cause, a long and difficult creating and publishing process of Mastering the Art of French Cooking masterpiece.

I loved the book, loved Julia’s humor and non-stop energy with which she did everything, with which she lived. I would recommend this book first of all to Julia Child’s fans and to the cooking lovers. I would also recommend it to anyone who is up to light, humorous and honest reading.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Julie & Julia by Julie Powell - Book Review #1

Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Julie & Julia
by Julie Powell

With the humor of Bridget Jones and the vitality of Augusten Burroughs, Julie Powell recounts how she conquered every recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking and saved her soul.

Julie Powell is 30 years old, living in a tiny apartment in Queens and working at a soul-sucking secretarial job that's going nowhere. She needs something to break the monotony of her life, and she invents a deranged assignment. She will take her mother's worn, dog-eared copy of Julia Child's 1961 classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and she will cook all 524 recipes -- in the span of one year.

At first she thinks it will be easy. But as she moves from the simple Potage Parmentier (potato soup) into the more complicated realm of aspics and crepes, she realizes there's more to Mastering the Art of French Cooking than meets the eye.

And somewhere along the line she realizes she has turned her outer-borough kitchen into a miracle of creation and cuisine. She has eclipsed her life's ordinariness through spectacular humor, hysteria, and perseverance.

I picked up this book after I saw Julie & Julia movie. I loved movie so much, that I just needed more inside information that you can only get from the book. I never heard about either Julie Powell or Julia Child before the movie, and after a quick research online, I was so fascinated with the both those ladies that I ran to the nearest B&N store.

I usually don’t like non-fiction books, such as biographies or autobiographies. So I spent some time in the store flipping through the pages to understand if this book was really for me. And I got so carried away that my husband almost had to tear the book off my hands, so the store clerk could check-out it.

Julie & Julia definitely didn’t read like an autobiography and if didn’t know who Julie Powell was and about her blog, I would never guess that this book was something else then a fiction – a chick-lit. It was such a light and lovely book that I red it in almost a day.

I heard from some people that they found Julie Powell writing to be hysterical sometimes, but I would have to disagree with this statement. Her book was not hysterical, it was alive and Julie Powell herself was alive in her book. I guess it might be because her writing is honest, vivid and funny. She was not trying to act like someone she really wasn’t. She also was not trying to hide her weak points and add to herself characteristics that she didn’t possessed.

In general, I must say that I loved the book and I’m enormously grateful to the movie makers who introduced me to Julie Powell and Julia Child, both incredible women. I would recommend this book not only to those who likes autobiographies and cooking, but also to those who likes chick-lit.

Post-it Note Tuesday #2

I found it on Rebecca :) blog, Lost in Books. It looked like fun, so I'm joining in.

If you would like to know more, go to Supah Mommy for the instructions.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Booking Through Thursday #1

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The northern hemisphere, at least, is socked in by winter right now… So, on a cold, wintry day, when you want nothing more than to curl up with a good book on the couch … what kind of reading do you want to do?
I don't think that my reading habits change because of the weather; or maybe I lived too long in Florida to actually remember what cold, wintry day is like. However, I know for sure that more nastier weather outside - more I want to read and I’m getting just a bit more satisfaction from the book.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Book List Meme #1

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Meme from Rebecca :), head out to Lost in Books for the details.

This Week's Topic is:

3 Books I Read When I Need a Good Cry:
in no particular order

1. What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson - it is a beautifully sad story.

2. The Dawns Here Are Quiet... by Boris Vasilyev - It is a Russian book. I could not find the link to the book translated to English (if it ever was), but I found a link to the movie that was based on it. The book is set in Russia, in 1941, during WWII. It tells the story about Sergeant Vaskov and five young women on military training. One day they discover a group of Nazi paratroopers trying to pass unnoticed beyond the front-line, deeper into Russian territory. Sergeant knows that there would be no reinforcement for them and the only ones that he can relay on are those girls barely off the high school. So they must stop Nazi paratroopers themselves, no matter what...because the freedom of their country depends on them...

3. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare - yes, I cry every time i read it.

"For never was a story of more woe
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo."

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Post-it Note Tuesday #1

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I found it on Rebecca :) blog, Lost in Books. It looked like fun, so I'm joining in.

If you would like to know more, go to Supah Mommy for the instructions.