Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"Tithe" by Holly Black [3 1/2]

Sixteen year old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother's rock band until an ominous attack forces Kaye back to her childhood home. There, amid the industrial, blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye soon finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms - a struggle that could very well mean her death.
I've had this series sitting in my book self for about one year now, and kept saying I'll get around to reading it. Well with the four month challenge I thought I'd start and use the last novel in the series as part of that challenge.
I came into reading 'Tithe' with an open mind as I thought I won't compare it too the 'Wicked Lovely' series which I think is fantastic ... but I have been a little disappointed and I cannot help comparing to the other series. First of all it has quite a bit of bad language in it and it definitely is only suitable for young adults. The basic story is interesting, but again I like the 'Wicked Lovely' series better. I couldn't really gel to any of the main characters and I guess the constant swearing put me off.
The story reads well, it flows and you read it quiet quickly, it's dark and edgy and if you don't mind bad language you'll probably quite enjoy it. Wouldn't recommend to those under 16 at least. Next in the series is 'Valiant'.
I rate this book 3 1/2 stars.

In The Woods by Tana French (2)

As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers, and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.

Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a twelve-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox—his partner and closest friend—find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery. Now, with only snippets of long-buried memories to guide him, Ryan has the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him and that of his own shadowy past.

Warning this review does have spoilers in it ...... So read at your own peril ........

Well I was sooooo excited for this book and boy was I disappointed ... I got totally hooked when I read the back cover and couldn't wait to dive in ........ Then all I can say is GRRRRRRRR .... I hate to give a bad review especially when it is from my home country of Ireland but seriously ........ GRRRRRRRRRRR ..................

I felt the book was seriously two long ......... With about 200 pages too long ....... I honestly didn't have to know every single detail of Ryan's Day from what he had for breakfast to when he took his smoke breaks ........ I felt that the title of the book was misleading as it touches on Ryan's story to be only left high and dry ..... It should have been called "The Stone Alter" or something .... Something that had to do with the recent murder and not about Ryan ....

I know that some authors like not to wrap every storyline up with a pretty bow but come on ... I felt like Tana French came up with a good situation and just either couldn't be bothered telling us what actually happened or she can't really explain it herself ..... The whole purpose of this novel is what happened to the three kids 'In the Woods" and do we ever find out ....... NO ..... again with the GRRRRRRRRRR .................

Although the other murder gets solved you are left with a empty feeling at the end abit like Homer Simpson 'Duh' .......... When you realise you have finished the book and nothing is explained ..... And I hasten to add over 500 pages worth of small print .... I even thought I had missed something when I was reading and went over some of the pages again ...... But sadly know ...... I then thought maybe it may be explained in the second novel but reading the reviews of that I found it is not explained there either but if anything it leaves you wondering about Ryan's Partner Cassie with yet more questions ....

There has been mixed views about this book it seems you either love it or hate it .... And unfortunately I am leaning towards the dislike end ........ Which is a real shame because it had sooo much potential ..... And be warned there is alot of swearing throughout the novel ...

So if you don't mind a good mystery as in you never find out what is going on ..... This book is for you ........ The first 1/3 of the book is really good and then it sort of fizzles out ...... A shame .....

I rate this book 2 **

Books in order to read
In the Woods
The Likeness

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers

"There have been a number of pet-fighting games over the years, Pokemon was the most popular of many," the Phoenix said. She grinned. " Yeah, one of the Dragon's Kids in Japan invented the concept, based on elementals. Made a fortune."

Pg 181 Earth to Hell by Kylie Chan

Monday, June 28, 2010

"The Secret Mandarin" by Sara Sheridan [3]

London, 1842
Actress Mary Penney has brought disgrace on her respectable family.
Desperate to avoid scandal, Mary's brother-in-law, the ambitious botanist Robert Fortune, forces her to accompany him on a mission to China to steal tea plants for the East India Company. But Robert conceals a secret - he is a spy for the British forces, newly victorious in the recent Opium War.
His task is dangerous - the British are still regarded as enemies by the Chinese and exporting tea bushes carries the death sentence. In these harsh conditions Mary grieves for her London life and the baby she has been forced to leave behind, while her fury at Robert intensifies.
As their quest becomes increasingly treacherous, Robert and Mary disguise themselves as a mandarin and man-servant. Thousands of miles from home, Mary revels in her new freedom and the Chinese way of life - and when danger strikes, finds unexpected reserves of courage.
I love historical romance novels and when I saw the cover of this book and then read the back cover I was totally intrigued, only to be sorely disappointed. This book turned out to be very slow going even though it is only 370 pgs. Mary tells the story and it reads like a diary but not in diary form. It takes so long to get onto the story as the author is telling you everything and describing everything and I must admit ... which I hate to do, I actually did skip pages without losing the plot of the novel. I just couldn't warm up to either Mary or Robert as I found them both very selfish people for various reasons. I did admire Mary for her courage and the adventure she does embrace eventually, as women in that time really weren't able to do much. It's a pity she was a fictitious character. Robert Fortune is a real person who was a famous Botanist and he was married to a Jane Penney. The author has taken licence with the story, but has stayed historically true as possible.
It was an interesting read for just once, I won't be picking it up again soon.
I rate this book 3 stars.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Going Postal ...

A few of the books that I have ordered ... looking forward to reading ..

Perfume by Patrick Suskind
Survivor, genius, perfumer, killer: this is Jean-Baptiste Grenouille. He is abandoned on the filthy streets of Paris as a child, but grows up to discover he has an extraordinary gift: a sense of smell more powerful than any other human's. Soon, he is creating the most sublime fragrances in all the city. Yet there is one odour he cannot capture. It is exquisite, magical: the scent of a young virgin. And to get it he must kill. And kill. And kill...
Really looking forward to this one and lovin the cover .... This will be one of my pics of bookclub next year !! Roll on ....

The Windup Girl by Paolo Baciqalupi

Anderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen's Calorie Man in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, Anderson combs Bangkok's street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct, hoping to reap the bounty of history's lost calories. There, he encounters Emiko. Emiko is the Windup Girl, a strange and beautiful creature. One of the New People, Emiko is not human; instead, she is an engineered being, creche-grown and programmed to satisfy the decadent whims of a Kyoto businessman, but now abandoned to the streets of Bangkok. Regarded as soulless beings by some, devils by others, New People are slaves, soldiers, and toys of the rich in a chilling near future in which calorie companies rule the world, the oil age has passed, and the side effects of bio-engineered plagues run rampant across the globe. What happens when calories become currency? What happens when bio-terrorism becomes a tool for corporate profits, when said bio-terrorism's genetic drift forces mankind to the cusp of post-human evolution?
Ok I have been after this one for a while now and excited about reading it ...

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
While clearing out her grandmother's cottage for sale, Connie Goodwin finds a hidden parchment inscribed with the name Deliverance Dane. And so begins the hunt to uncover the woman behind the name, a hunt that takes her back to Salem in 1692 ...and the infamous witchcraft trials. But nothing is entirely as it seems and when Connie unearths the existence of Deliverance's spell book, the Physick Book, the situation takes on a menacing edge as interested parties reveal their desperation to find this precious artefact at any cost. What secrets does the Physick Book contain? What magic is scrawled across its parchment pages? Connie must race to answer these questions - and reveal the truth about Salem's women - before an ancient family curse once more fulfils its dark and devastating prophecy ...
I just love love love the cover of this book and I am really into witches at the moment so I am looking forward to reading it ..

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
Alyss, born in Wonderland, is destined to be a warrior queen. After a bloody coup topples the Heart regime, Alyss is exiled to another world entirely, where she is adopted into a new family, renamed Alice and befriended by Lewis Carroll. At age 20 she returns to Wonderland to battle Redd and lead Wonderland into its next golden age of imagination.
This is the first in the series of the Alice series and I am loving the covers ...

Seeing Redd by Frank Beddor
Alyss of Wonderland's rule has only just begun, but the Queendom and her White Imagination are already under threat. Someone has resurrected the brutal Glass Eyes, and they are attacking Wonderland on all sides. Has renegade Redd Heart freed herself and her assassin Cat from the prism of the Heart Crystal?
The second installment of the Looking Glass Wars

Discussion Questions for Austenland by Shannon Hale

1. Austenland opens, "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a thirtysomething woman in possession of a satisfying career and fabulous hairdo must be in want of very little, and Jane Hayes, pretty enough and clever enough, was certainly thought to have little to distress her" (1). How does this sentence set the stage for the novel? Compare it to the famous first sentence of Pride and Prejudice: "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." Which of these universal "truths" is actually true, if either?

2. Austenland, besides chronicling Jane's stay at Pembrook Park, lists all thirteen "boyfriends" she's had in her lifetime. How well does the reader get to know Jane's past? How much has she changed from her first relationship at age twelve to the one that is now just beginning?

3. Jane observes of the BBC's Pride and Prejudice: "Stripped of Austen's funny, insightful, biting narrator, the movie became a pure romance" (2). What would Austenland be like without Jane's own insightful, biting narration?

4. Looking at the gallery of portraits in Pembrook Park, Jane feels "an itch inside her hand" to paint a portrait, "but she scratched the desire away. She hadn't picked up a paintbrush since college" (36). How is Jane's artistic itch intensified during her stay at Pembrook Park? How does she come to the realization that "she wanted to love someone the way she felt when painting - fearless, messy, vivid" (125)? In the end, has she found that type of artistic love?

5. In Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth's mother, Mrs. Bennet, is known for her determination to marry off her daughters and for her frequent social blunders. How does Miss Charming, Jane's fellow visitor to Pembrook Park, resemble Mrs. Bennet? What are some of Charming's funny faux pas and verbal blunders?

6. Jane realizes, "Wait a minute, why was she always so worried about the Austen gentlemen, anyway? What about the Austen heroine? (105). Is the heroine given short shrift by many Austen fans today? Why or why not?

7. Jane calls herself and Mr. Nobley "Impertinence and Inflexibility" (133). How do these nicknames originate? How do these traits compare to the pride and prejudice of Darcy and Elizabeth in Austen's novel?

8. Jane's great-aunt Carolyn set the whole Pembrook Park adventure into motion. What do you think Carolyn's intentions were in sending Jane to this Austenland? Do you think Jane fulfilled those expectations?

9. Jane comes to wonder what kind of fantasy world Jane Austen might have created for herself: "Did Austen herself feel this way? Was she hopeful? Jane wondered if the unmarried writer had lived inside Austenland with close to Jane's own sensibility - amused, horrified, but in very realy danger of being swept away" (123). Is it possible to guess at Austen's attitude toward romance by reading her work? Why or why not?

10. Looking at Henry Jenkins, Jane realizes that "just then she herself was more Darcy than Erstwhile, sitting there admiring his fine eyes, feeling dangerously close to falling in love against her will" (190). Are there other occasions in which Jane is more Darcy than Erstwhile? Is it possible that today's single, thirtysomething woman is more Darcy than a so-called spinster?

11. Jane walks away from Nobley and Martin at the airport with the parting words, "Tell Mrs. Wattlesbrook I said tallyho" (186). Why does Jane enjoy her last line so much? What does she mean by "tallyho"?

12. What might Jane Austen think of Austenland, if she were alive today? Could she have possibly anticipated how influential her novels would become, even for twenty-first-century audiences? Could she ever imagine a fan like Jane Hayes?

13. Shannon Hale reveals on her Web site ( that the original title for Austenland was Ostensibly Jane, and that evolved from a short story, to a novella, to a screenplay, to this novel. Can you imagine a shorter version of Austenland? A feature film? What would each be like?

14. Hale lists her "fantasy casting" of a movie version of Austenland at What is your own fantasy cast of Austenland? How does it compare to Hale's?

Special thanks to the girls at Mesa 8 for the questions :)

Come join us for a touch of Austenland ...

Well this is our book club read for the month of July ........... So if you want to read along with us you are quite welcome ....

Jane Hayes is a seemingly normal young New Yorker, but she has a secret. Her obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, is ruining her love life: no real man can compare. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane’s fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become realer than she ever could have imagined. Decked out in empire-waist gowns, Jane struggles to master Regency etiquette and flirts with gardeners and gentlemen—or maybe even, she suspects, with the actors who are playing them. It’s all a game, Jane knows. And yet the longer she stays, the more her insecurities seem to fall away, and the more she wonders: Is she about to kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?

Ok ... Couldn't resist on posting a pic of Colin .... This is just for you native !!!

Blue Bloods by Melissa De La Cruz (4)

When the Mayflower set sail in 1620, it carried on board the men and women who would shape America: Miles Standish; John Alden; Constance Hopkins. But some among the Pilgrims were not pure of heart; they were not escaping religious persecution. Indeed, they were not even human. They were vampires.The vampires assimilated quickly into the New World. Rising to levels of enormous power, wealth, and influence, they were the celebrated blue bloods of American society. The Blue Bloods vowed that their immortal status would remain a closely guarded secret. And they kept that secret for centuries.

But now, in New York City, the secret is seeping out. Schuyler Van Alen is a sophomore at a prestigious private school. Suddenly, when she turns fifteen, there is a visible mosaic of blue veins on her arm. She starts to crave raw food and she is having flashbacks to ancient times. Then a girl from her school is found dead... drained of all her blood. Schuyler doesn't know what to think.
Could those vampire legends really be true? Steeped in vampire lore and set against the heady backdrop of the rich, young, and powerful in the heart of New York City, Blue Bloods will be devoured by Melissa de la Cruz's legion fans.

This is a series that I have on my TRL for ages ... And I am finally getting around to reading them ... I spent a fortune getting the first book and luckily for me K-Mart got the rest of the series in for half the price .... Go K-Mart ...

OK back to the book ...... How would I describe this book .... A cross between Gossip Girl and Buffy probably ... And I am loving the series ...

Schuyler is the main character and I really like her .... She is down to earth but still has the air of the upper New Yorkers .... The only problem is that she has to try and convince the Elite Blue Bloods that an ancient enemy is starting to rise again and they need to prepare themselves for war .... (While still in high school and trying hard not to be like all the rest of the elite designer girls)

As always there is the boy factor ... Especially the most popular boy at school Jack who for some reason is paying her alot of attention recently ....

Will she be able to control her new powers and unearth the traiter in their ranks?

This is a great wee series that I am enjoying ... If you love your fantasy vampire books then this is a series for you to get your teeth into :) ...

I rate this book 4 ****

Books in the Blue Blood Series in order:
1) Blue Blood
3) Revelations
4) The Van Allen Legacy

5) Misguided Angel ( released Oct 5th 2010)

Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink (4)

Sixteen-year-old Lia Milthorpe and her twin sister Alice have just become orphans, and, as Lia discovers, they have also become enemies. The twins are part of an ancient prophecy that has turned generations of sisters against each other. To escape from a dark fate and to remain in the arms of her beloved boyfriend James, Lia must end the prophecy before her sister does. Only then will she understand the mysterious circumstances of her parents' deaths, the true meaning of the strange mark branded on her wrist, and the lengths to which her sister will go to defeat her. Debut novelist Michelle Zink takes readers on an unforgettable journey where one sister's fateful decision could have an impact of Biblical proportions. Prophecy of the Sisters is the first of three books.

Well I have been waiting to read this book for ages .... And I managed to borrow it off Legs to read ... ( thank you :) ) ....Don't you just love the cover of this book ..... :) ...... And the story line sounds really intriguing ....

I really liked the character of Lia and reading the story you felt that you where on the journey with her to discover who she is and what role she has to play in the future ... The character of Alice her twin sister is great ... Very spooky and sinister ... loved her :)

The only downside with this book is that it did frustrate me as a reader that the author assumed that you already knew the back story line of the role the sisters have to play .... Which of course you do not find that out until way into the book ... But as a first novel I would definitely give it the thumbs up ..

It will be interesting as this is a another trilogy as to where the story is going to go ... There are a few twists and turns in the novel when just when you think you know what is going on .... You really don't ...

All in all it is a good wee novel .... The characters are just now evolving ..... It is written very well and flows ..... And it will have you begging for more when you finish this book .........

A rate this book 4 ****

Prophecy of the Sisters Series in order
1) Prophecy of the Sisters
2) Guardian of the Gate ( released 1st August 2010)

TwentyTen Reading Challenge 2010

The aim is to read a total 20 books, over ten categories, in 2010. (Was this challenge based solely around the name? I’ll let you decide!)


  • Read 2 books from each category, making a requirement of 20 books total.
  • The categories are intended to be loose guidelines only, if you decide it fits, then it fits. (Apart from those marked **)
  • Categories marked with ** have tighter rules, and these must be followed.
  • Each book can only qualify for one category.
  • Crossovers with other challenges are allowed.
  • Books read from 01/01/2010 to 31/12/2010 are eligible.

So, on with the categories

  1. Young Adult
    Any book classified as young adult or featuring a teenage protagonist counts for this category.
  2. T.B.R. **
    Intended to help reduce the old T.B.R. pile. Books for this category must be already residents of your bookshelves as of 1/11/09.
  3. Shiny & New
    Bought a book NEW during 2010 from a bookstore, online, or a supermarket? Then it counts for this category. Second-hand books do not count for this one, but, for those on book-buying bans, books bought for you as gifts or won in a giveaway also count!
  4. Bad Blogger’s ***
    Books in this category, should be ones you’ve picked up purely on the recommendation of another blogger count for this category (any reviews you post should also link to the post that convinced you give the book ago).
    *** Bad Bloggers: Is hosted by Chris of Stuff as Dreams are Made on.
  5. Charity
    Support your local charity shops with this category, by picking up books from one of their shops. Again, for those on book-buying bans, books bought for you as gifts also count, as long as they were bought from a charity shop.
  6. New in 2010
    This category is for those books newly published in 2010 (whether it be the first time it is has been released, or you had to wait for it to be published in your country, it counts for this one!)
  7. Older Than You
    Read two books that were published before you were born, whether that be the day before or 100 years prior!
  8. Win! Win!
    Have a couple of books you need to read for another challenge? Then this is the category to use, as long that is, you don’t break the rules of the other challenge by doing so! ;)
  9. Who Are You Again?
    This one isn’t just for authors you’ve never read before, this is for those authors you have never even heard of before!
  10. Up to You!
    The requirements for this category are up to you! Want to challenge yourself to read some graphic novels? A genre outside your comfort zone? Something completely wild and wacky? Then this is the category to you.
Irish's Books
8) Unwind by Neal Shusterman
20) Austenland by Shannon Hale

Madame Bovary Challenge

This is one of those films that I have watched and liked but never got around to actually reading the book .... So when I saw this challenge I thought it would be a good opportunity to read it ...

Here's the rules:

The first week of September, right before the release of this new translation. The novel is a very manageable size at approximately 300 pages. Here is the reading/posting schedule:

Part 1: Thursday, October 14 (58 pages)

Part 2: Thursday, October 21 (141 pages)

Part 3: Thursday, October 28 (106 pages)

Here's a wee sneak peak at the back cover of the book ...

"Emma Rouault is the original desperate housewife, When she marries the dull, provincial doctor Charles Bovary, her dreams of an elegant and passionate life crumble. She escapes into sentimental novels but finds her fantasies dashed by the tedium of her days. Motherhood proves to be a burden; religion is only a brief distraction. She spends lavishly and embarks on a series of disappointing affairs. Soon heartbroken and crippled by debts, Emma takes drastic action with tragic consequences for her husband and daughter."

New Challenges ..... Bring them on ...

Well it has been a while since we updated our challenges .......... So here are some new challenges that we will be doing this year .......

This is a fun wee challenge that starts at the beginning of July and ends at the end of October ... As ever there is a range of how many books you wish to complete ...

Here is the rules: ...

5 Point Challenges

Read a chick lit book

Read a name with a proper name in the title

Read a historical fiction book

Read a book with a one word title

Read a book made into a movie

10 Point Challenges

Read a book with a Civil War theme (any country)

Read a Biblical fiction book

Read a hardcover book

Read a book about a king or queen

Read a book set in France

15 Point Challenges

Read a book by an author you’ve never read before

Read a biography or autobiography

Read a book with a number in the title

Read any book and then post a review

Read any book but read it outside

20 Point Challenges

Read a book in a series AND the one after it

Read a book that was a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

Read a book considered Christian fiction

Read a book from The Modern Library Top 100

Read a book by an author born in July, August, September or October

I am excited about this one ..... And at the moment going to do the 5 book challenge with Legs .... Let me know Girls if you wish to join in ...

Irish's Books

1) Unwind by Neal Shusterman





Legs Books

1) Alphabet Weekend by Elizabeth Noble.

2) Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble

3) The Counterfeit Guest by Rose Melikan

4) Ironside by Holly Black

5) Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"Forget-Her-Nots" by Amy Brecount White [4]

Something - some power - is blooming
inside Laurel. She can use flowers to do things. Like bringing back lost memories. Or helping her friends ace tests. Or making people fall in love.

Laurel suspects her new found ability has something to do with an ancient family secret, one that her mother meant to share with Laurel when the time was right. But then time ran out.

Clues and signs and secret messages seem to be all around Laurel at Avondale School, where her mother has also boarded as a student. Can Laurel piece everything together quickly enough to control her power, which is growing more potent every day? Or will she set the stage for the most lovestruck, infamous prom in the history of the school?

Wow what a wonderful first novel and such a different idea to write about. I was totally in thralled with it. Laurel is a young 14 year old girl who has just lost her mother to cancer, her father has seemed to move on with his life and Laurel feels like he has forgotten his wife. To feel closer to her mum she goes to the same boarding school, Avondale. What starts off as a oral report turns into something just a little bit more than that. Laurel realizes that she has this magical gift with flowers and she wants to know why. As she starts to learn about her gift, things start to also get a little bit weird and out of hand. Can she keep secrets and promises made without getting into more trouble and can she also help those that she promised.

A surprising beautifully written novel, that has a interesting story about friendships, finding love and trusting in yourself. This is a book I'd recommend to any young teen to read. The book seems to end with a possible sequel which would be great as we could see how Laurel grows in her abilities and strengths. I really enjoyed this delightful story. Such a pretty cover too.

I rate this book 4 stars.

"Princess of Glass" by Jessica Day George [4]

Having once been cursed to dance every night with her sisters, princess Poppy has vowed never again to put on a pair of dancing slippers. Which is why she's reluctant to participate in the royal exchange program that her father and some of their neighbor kings have cooked up.

Life in far-off Breton isn't so bad, not when there's money to be won playing cards and a handsome prince promising friendship ...
and maybe something more. But when a hapless servant named Eleanora enters the picture and sets her sights on the prince, too, which girl will win his heart? And who is behind the magnificent gowns and slippers that the penniless Eleanora has been wearing to the balls? Only Princess Poppy can see through the magic that holds the rest of the kingdom in it's spell. And having fought against one curse before, she's just the girl to take on another!

The sequel to "The princess of the Midnight Ball" or I think a companion, as it is a novel in itself. I really enjoyed this next one, even more than the first. Ball gowns, cinders, enchanted glass slippers - all reminds you of the fairy tale Cinderella, but with a little twist to it. I love the character of Poppy, she is one determined and feisty girl, who has been through a terrible ordeal with her sisters, now she has to find a way to help Ellen, the clumsy maid ... but is she?

Really well written, flows beautifully, the story stands on it's own two feet, and you get caught up in it and before you know you've finished it. I hope that the author might write another novel in this lovely series about another of the sisters ... great teen read, the girls will just love it!

I rate this book 4 stars.

Monday, June 21, 2010

"Anxious Hearts" by Tucker Shaw [3 1/2]

Two pairs of lovers,
Two hundred years apart,
One eternal story.

Eva and Gabe explored the golden forest of their seaside town in Maine, tracing the footsteps of two teens, Evangeline and Gabriel, who lived in the same idyllic woods more than two hundred years ago. On the day that Evangeline and Gabriel were to be wed, their village was besieged and the two were separated. And now, in the present, Gabe too has mysteriously disappeared from Eva.

A dreamlike tale of romance and undeterred faith inspired by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's epic love poem "Evangeline," Anxious Hearts tells the story of a love so strong it sometimes causes one to lose oneself. Yet it also avows that even when lost somewhere on life's journey, true love can be found and there is a way home again.

A really lovely teen story, that was based on a poem, that was based on a real story in 1755. With a truly beautiful cover, this book will make you think in true love again. While possibly a little light on the story it gives you enough to enjoy the idea of finding your true love through whatever life might throw at you. You won't get lost in the telling of the two stories as the author has the novel idea of changing the color of the pages for the story of Evangeline and Gabriel. I enjoyed all four characters and just wished that there was a little more to the story ... it finished a little too quickly for me.

A lovely teen read.

I rate this book 3 1/2 stars.

^ Rainier Drive by Debbie Macomber [4]

After losing their restaurant to arson, Justine and Seth Gunderson face a tough time in their marriage. Seth assumes they will rebuild, but Justine likes not having to worry about the restaurant. It's as if they don't know each other anymore. Can their marriage survive - could their love be rekindled?

Welcome back to Cedar Cove! There's been lots going on in town since your last visit. Your probably curious about who started the fire that destroyed The Lighthouse restaurant - and are you in for a surprise.

While this is the main theme in novel number six, we also get an update on all the other characters as well. New people are introduced, a chess player by the name of Bobby Polgar and he starts dating one of the girls from Get Nailed, with interesting consequences. Olivia, Jack, Grace, Maryellen, Jon and everyone else are eager to fill you in, so sit down with a Milo and enjoy.

As I've said before this series is terrific, so easy to read, you absolutely fall in love with all the characters and live their lives right with them. Debbie Macomber is a brilliant author and this series is the best.

I rate this book 4 stars.

Friday, June 11, 2010

'Token of Darkness' by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes [3]

Cooper Blake has everything going for him until he wakes up from a car accident with his football career in ruins and a mysterious, attractive girl by his side. Cooper doesn't know how Samantha got there or why he can see her, all he knows is that she's a ghost, and the shadows that surround her seem intent on destroying her. No one from Cooper's old life would understand what he can barely grasp himself ... But Delilah, the captain of the cheer leading squad, has secrets of her own, like her ability to see beyond the physical world, and her tangled history with Brent, a loner from a neighbouring school who can hear strangers most intimate thoughts. Delilah and Brent know that Cooper is in more trouble than he realizes, and that Samantha may not be as innocent as she has led Cooper to believe. But the only way to figure out where Samantha came from will put them all in more danger than they ever dreamed possible.
First time that I have read from this author and to me this was definitely a teen read, it was easy to read and flowed well, but I have read better fantasy novels. At first the story was a little confusing and you weren't sure what was going on, but it soon made sense. You may not understand how all the magic works but there is enough plot to keep the story going but it's really more for the kids. This book could have a sequel to it, but also not necessarily. Sorry to say but for me it was just an average read.
I rate this book 3 stars.

'50 Harbour Street' by Debbie Macomber [4]

Welcome to Cedar Cove - a small town with a big heart!

There's a mystery to be solved in Cedar Cove. Local private detective Roy McAfee and his wife Corrie have been receiving anonymous postcards with messages asking if they "regret the past'. What does it mean?

On a more positive note, Roy and Corrie's daughter Linette is now working at the new medical clinic and is very taken with the new doctor. But where does this leave Cal Washburn, who works for Cliff at the horse farm?

Speaking of Cliff, it looks like the romance between him and Grace Sherman is back on. Could a wedding be on the cards?

Make yourself a cup of milo and settle down with your friends from Cedar Cove, they are all eager to fill you in on what has been happening in the town.
There are a few new surprises, and a new romance in the making. A wonderful next novel in this so very like able series, you feel like you are catching up on gossip with your own friends and family.

So this novel is mainly about Roy and Corrie McAfee and the mysterious postcards they have been receiving. While the messages haven't been threatening Corrie is nevertheless extremely worried and Roy won't discuss any findings with her so she decides to do some detective work on her own. Little does she know that their past does seem to be haunting them ... and what will the consequences be?

Ben and Charlotte have some interesting developments happening in their own lives with Roy's son coming out of the woodwork [so to speak] and all is not happy.
Justine and Seth Gunderson the owners of the 'Lighthouse Restaurant' get caught up in a situation that has dire consequences for their lives, and all is not what it seems to be.
These are just a few snippets of some of the mysteries going on in Cedar Cove ... wet your appetites ... well you'll need to read the novel.

I rate this book 4 stars.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"Dead in the Family" by Charlaine Harris [4]

It's all about family ...
If you think your relationships are complicated, think again: you haven't seen anything like the ones in Bon Temps, Louisiana. Sookie Stackhouse is dealing with a whole host of family problems, ranging from her own kin [a non-human fairy and a telepathic second cousin] demanding a place in her life, to her lover Eric's vampire sire, an ancient being who arrives with Eric's 'brother' in tow at a most inopportune moment. And Sookie's tracking down a distant relation of her ailing neighbour [and ex], Vampire Bill Compton.
In addition to the multitude of family issues complicating her life, the werewolf pack of Shreveport has asked Sookie for a special favour, and since Sookie is an obliging young woman, she agrees. But this favour for the wolves has dire results for Sookie, who is still recovering from the trauma of her abduction during the Fairy War.
Who hasn't been waiting for the next installment of the 'True Blood' series ...
Sookie is recovering from being kidnapped in the Fairy War and being tortured, she is recovering from the death of her cousin Claudine and also Tray Dawson, she has nasty scars that are slowly healing but the jumpiness and nightmares will take more time.
The fairy world has finally been sealed and all seems to be quiet for a while ... but in Bon Temps nothing is what it seems and the quiet reprieve doesn't last long.
Sookie is once again drawn into murder, mystery and mayhem and this time it is a little closer to home. And Sookie wouldn't be Sookie if she wasn't worried about everyone else and trying to fix everything in her own way.
Another good installment to this series, but wait there will be more so you'll have to hang out for another. I enjoyed reading this one but it isn't my favourite in the series. Personally I think it really needs to finish soon as it's kind of dragging on a little ... Easy read, you'll get drawn into the story and swept away with all the intrigue. A little bad language in this one and some sex scenes, but for all those Sookie fans you shouldn't be too disappointed.
I rate this book 4 stars.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

"Ash" by Malinda Lo [3]

In the wake of her father's death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted.

The day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King's Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt with Kaisa. Though their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, it reawakens Ash's capacity for love - and her desire to live. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love.

This novel has been a real dilemma for me. I actually looked forward to reading a story about 'Cinderella' and seeing how it might be written from the actual fairy tale that we all know and love.

While the story was interesting, for me it did get a little monotonous with all the soul searching that Ash was going through, although that was part of her deep grieving and she needed to find a connection to life. The characters are strong and well written. The story is fine but I was really disappointed with the ending. This is the debut novel for Malinda Lo and because of her life style she has put a twist into the original story, which is her prerogative, but for me it did nothing and actually took away from the romance of the story of 'Cinderella'.

I rate this book 3 stars.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

"In the Woods" by Tana French

Book Club read for June

You're twelve years old. It's the summer holidays. You're playing in the woods with your two best friends. Something happens. Something terrible. And the other two are never seen again.

Twenty years on, Rob Ryan - the child who came back - is a detective in the Dublin police force. He's changed his name. No one knows about his past. Even he has no memory of what happened that day.

Then a little girl's body is found at the site of the old tragedy and Rob is drawn back into the mystery. For him and his DI partner, Cassie, every lead comes with it's own sinister undercurrents. The victim's apparently normal family is hiding layers of secrets. Rob's own private enquiries are taking a toll on his mind. And every trail leads inexorably back ... into the woods.

Discussion Questions.

1. What do the woods represent in Tana French's novel? Does their significance change as the story progresses?

2. The loss or absence of stable families is a recurring motif in 'In the Woods'. How do French's characters, particularly Ryan, attempt to compensate for this absence?

3. Does the Irish setting of 'In the Woods' contribute significantly to the telling of the story, or do you find French's novel to be about humanity on a more universal level?

4. How does Ryan's experience in the woods at the age of twelve affect his ability to function as a detective? Is it always a hindrance to him, or are there ways in which it improves and deepens his insight?

5. Cassie Maddox, Ryan's partner, is perhaps the most consistently appealing character in the novel. What are her most attractive qualities? What are the weaker points of her personality? Does Ryan ever fully appreciate her?

6. After sleeping together, Ryan and Cassie cease to be friends. Why do you think the experience of physical intimacy is so damaging to their relationship? Are there other reasons why their relationship falls apart?

7. Ryan states that he both craves truth and tells lies. How reliable do you find him as a narrator? In what ways does the theme of truth and misrepresentation lie at the heart of 'In the Woods'?

8. Imagine that you are Ryan's therapist. With what aspects of his personality would you most want to help him come to terms? Do you think there would be any way to lead him out of the woods?

9. How convincing is French's explanation of the motivating forces that lead to Katy's murder - forces that come close to a definition of pure evil? Are such events and motivations ever truly explicable?

10. The plan to build the new motorway, trampling as it does on a past that some regard as sacred, is an outrage to the archaeologists who are trying to preserve an ancient legacy. How does this conflict fit thematically with Ryan's own contradictory desires to unearth and pave over his past?

11. Do you have your own theories about the mysteries that remain unsolved at the of 'In the Woods'? What are they?

12. What were your thoughts and emotions upon finishing 'In the Woods'? If this book affected you differently from other mysteries you have read, why do you think this was true?

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