Book Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake


book coverAnna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Goodreads|Purchasing
Release Date:August 30th 2011
Publisher: Tor Teen
Series: Anna Dressed in Blood #1
Rating: ★★★★

Goodreads description:Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

But she, for whatever reason, spares Cas’s life.

I was incredibly and pleasantly surprised by this book, so excuse me if I gush. I was expecting this book to take itself too seriously or be too ridiculous. Instead, I found it smart and intense. It was thrilling, and I couldn’t wait to finish it but I also wanted to make it last! Plus, the imagery made it very easy for me to picture everything, so I got the thrill of the author’s words and felt almost like I was watching a movie.

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Book Review: Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris

Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris
Goodreads|Purchasing
Release Date: July 12th 201
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Series:  Kate Grable #1
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Goodreads description:Someone’s been a very bad zombie.

Kate Grable is horrified to find out that the football coach has given the team steroids. Worse yet, the steroids are having an unexpected effect, turning hot gridiron hunks into mindless flesh-eating zombies. No one is safe–not her cute crush Aaron, not her dorky brother, Jonah . . . not even Kate!

She’s got to find an antidote–before her entire high school ends up eating each other. So Kate, her best girlfriend, Rocky, and Aaron stage a frantic battle to save their town. . . and stay hormonally human.

Wow…I’m so torn about this book. First of all, I’ve loved zombies since I learned about them. I’m always pretty excited to see anything involving zombies, so I was pretty interested to see how this book would go. I wanted to like it, and I guess I went in with high expectations. I didn’t hate it, but I was pretty disappointed.

Kate is brainy and driven, she works as a trainer for the football team because she wants to go to college to be a doctor. And the football team is awful. She finds out that the Coach is being shady and giving the team something, which she suspects are steroids. She also has a huge crush on Aaron, a member of the team. The story happens during homecoming week. She goes to her friend’s house for a party and an already gross boy turns worse and starts showing zombie-like symptoms. It turns out that several boys on the teams have a virus and are acting vicious with a taste for flesh.

I didn’t hate Kate, but sometimes I was close to it. She’s this really smart girl that everyone looks to but she kept doing really stupid things. She had some obstacles with town doctors, but she should have told anyone. She could have told her dad, but she never did. She could have told any number of people who could have called the CDC. Instead, she just handled things by herself. I understand that she probably didn’t think people would listen to her and she was doing the best she could, but I was constantly just annoyed.  She ended up getting lucky.

For the purpose of the book, I can see why it was important for Kate to be able to figure things out and take a stand. But in my opinion, she could have called someone for help and still fought the zombies. She still could have taken serious steps against them and made discoveries. I actually kind of liked Kate’s voice and I really enjoyed her interactions with Aaron (her crush) and Jonah (her brother). I think those relationships helped my opinion from being completely negative. A little more romance would have been nice! I ended up taking a break during this book and reading some romance books because it was driving me crazy. Since the book is about zombies, I knew it would take some “just let it go,” and I can handle the unbelievable fiction aspect but not how she handled a dangerous situation.

Even though I was a little exasperated with this book, it has a lot of really high ratings on Goodreads, so if it sounds like something you might like, you should definitely give it a try!  I didn’t know when I started, but the book is going to be part of a series, and the second book called Bad Hair Day (it’s going to be about werewolves) and is expected to be published in 2012!  You should also check out the author’s website and twitter!

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Book Review: A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young

coverA Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young
Goodreads|Purchasing
Release Date: June 21st 2011
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Series: A Need So Beautiful #1
Rating: ★★★☆

Goodreads description:We all want to be remembered. Charlotte’s destiny is to be Forgotten…

Charlotte’s best friend thinks Charlotte might be psychic. Her boyfriend thinks she’s cheating on him. But Charlotte knows what’s really wrong: She is one of the Forgotten, a kind of angel on earth, who feels the Need—a powerful, uncontrollable draw to help someone, usually a stranger.

But Charlotte never wanted this responsibility. What she wants is to help her best friend, whose life is spiraling out of control. She wants to lie in her boyfriend’s arms forever. But as the Need grows stronger, it begins to take a dangerous toll on Charlotte. And who she was, is, and will become–her mark on this earth, her very existence–is in jeopardy of disappearing completely.

Charlotte will be forced to choose: Should she embrace her fate as a Forgotten, a fate that promises to rip her from the lives of those she loves forever? Or is she willing to fight against her destiny–no matter how dark the consequences.

Charlotte is a foster kid going to a private school with a rich best friend and a drop out boyfriend. Interesting, right? Well, she also has a Need (capital N). It’s basically this feeling that forces her to help people. She can try to resist, but that doesn’t go well. She ends up around people she doesn’t know in places she’s not familiar with, giving someone a hint or life saving advice. At first they resist or deny, then it sets in and they go on with their life but in a different direction. Charlotte doesn’t know where the  Need comes from. She doesn’t even know where she comes from. But what used to happen once a year has become more and more frequent and inescapable.

Charlotte doesn’t like the Need. It takes time away from her boyfriend and best friend. It leads her to shady places. It’s demanding and uncomfortable. Sometimes there’s a Need when she feels she should help her own friends. There are good feelings that come from the Need being finished and it’s nice to help people, but it isn’t enough. She finally learns more from her family friend and doctor, Monroe. He explains more about the Need and tells her about the Forgotten. She also meets another like herself, and discovers that while this was forced upon her, she does have a choice. The Forgotten as angels concept is pretty interesting-that there’s a need and drive to help people and then you’re gone. Also, that a Forgotten can deny the Need  and can choose the alternative which is sort of a fallen angel aspect.

Charlotte was a little annoying about her love for Harlin. It kind of reminded me of when a friend has a boyfriend and won’t shut up about how hot and sweet he is. I GET IT, OKAY. I think that there might actually be a point to how enthusiastic she is, but it was still slightly annoying. However, I really like Harlin and I feel like he really cared about Charlotte. I felt bad for both of them having to deal with problems brought on by her Need. He worried about her and they loved each other, so I wished she would have shared more with him.

I have a lot of feelings about this book that I won’t put in this review because it would probably be ridiculously long. There were good parts and bad parts and then there was the end. The end of the book was pretty intense and left at a cliffhanger. There were some twists, and the big twist and I’m interested to see where the next book goes! Plus the title, A Want So Wicked, is kind of awesome in itself. Sounds like it’ll play into the darker side of Charlotte, and I can’t wait!

Check out the author’s website and twitter!

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Book Review: 10 Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn’t Have) by Sarah Mlynowski


coverTen Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn’t Have) by Sarah Mlynowski
Goodreads|Purchasing
Release Date: June 7th 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Goodreads description:2 girls + 3 guys + 1 house – parents = 10 things April and her friends did that they (definitely, maybe, probably) shouldn’t have.

If given the opportunity, what sixteen-year-old wouldn’t jump at the chance to move in with a friend and live parent-free? Although maybe “opportunity” isn’t the right word, since April had to tell her dad a tiny little untruth to make it happen (see #1: “Lied to Our Parents”). But she and her housemate Vi are totally responsible and able to take care of themselves. How they ended up “Skipping School” (#3), “Throwing a Crazy Party” (#8), “Buying a Hot Tub” (#4), and, um, “Harboring a Fugitive” (#7) at all is kind of a mystery to them.

In this hilarious and bittersweet tale, Sarah Mlynowski mines the heart and mind of a girl on her own for the first time. To get through the year, April will have to juggle a love triangle, learn to do her own laundry, and accept that her carefully constructed world just might be falling apart . . . one thing-she-shouldn’t-have-done at a time.

April is sixteen and in the winter break of her junior year when her dad tells her that they’re moving in nine days, forcing her to finish high school somewhere else. Having close friends and a boyfriend she’s in love with, this is upsetting news. So she fumbles for a plan–any plan. And that plan is moving in with her friend Vi. Vi’s mom has a never-there job, but that’s no big deal: they lie.With no supervision, April and Vi are guilty of typical teen antics and end up facing various states of chaos.  They have boys over, they drink, throw parties. They buy crazy things and get a kitten. They have to cope with the everyday challenges of being in charge of a household, while dealing with high school and regular teen issues.

April is on her own for the first time and learns that it isn’t always as awesome as expected. Add in friend drama, and overeager boyfriend turned reluctant, and a crush on a mysterious guy friend, and things can get pretty confusing. She also has family issues to deal with. For instance, the challenge of staying close with her mom in Paris and keeping her dad in the dark about her living situation.

This book was nice and light with some angst and awkward thrown in.  I don’t expect every book to be completely realistic, but for someone as strict as April’s dad, I don’t understand how he let his daughter move in with someone without a face to face sit down. That part was pretty hard to believe. But I do think that it dealt with some teen issues really well though. It was enjoyable and I’d gladly read anything else Mlynowski writes. Plus it was a quick read, so I’d encourage anyone to give it a shot!

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Book Review: Forgotten by Cat Patrick

Forgotten by Cat Patrick Goodreads|Purchasing
Release Date: June 7th 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads description:Each night when 16 year-old London Lane goes to sleep, her whole world disappears. In the morning, all that’s left is a note telling her about a day she can’t remember. The whole scenario doesn’t exactly make high school or dating that hot guy whose name she can’t seem to recall any easier. But when London starts experiencing disturbing visions she can’t make sense of, she realizes it’s time to learn a little more about the past she keeps forgetting-before it destroys her future.

Part psychological drama, part romance, and part mystery, this thought-provoking novel will inspire readers to consider the what-if’s in their own lives and recognize the power they have to control their destinies.

I wasn’t sure what to think of the summary. It  reminded me of the movie 50 First Dates, except she knows that she can’t remember. The disturbing visions give it an eerie feel. There’s not a lot going on with the cover, but there’s still something appealing about it.

The story starts with a note that includes what happened the day before, which was a Thursday. The note includes things she’ll need for the day and a few things that happened that day. Every morning at the same time, her memory resets. If she doesn’t write down what happened the day before, she doesn’t remember. So, if she goes to school and someone is rude to her but she didn’t write anything about them, she has no idea why. Add into that mix a new boy who takes a liking to her that she can’t remember, and things get even crazier! Every time she sees the gorgeous Luke, it’s like the first time and she is very enamored. He is incredibly sweet, and she doesn’t remember him without the help of notes.

(The rest of the review is slightly spoiler-ish, so I’m putting it behind a cut. It’s nothing huge but I’ll be safe!)

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Check it out: Syfy’s Eureka

There are some shows that catch you by surprise. You might have heard of it and thought “meh, not for me” and didn’t really think about it again. Then one day there was nothing else on so you caught an episode or two and everything changed. Recently, this happened to me with the show Eureka. It’s on Syfy and the rest of season 4 starts on July 11th.

Eureka is the story of a town filled with geniuses. Most of its residents are scientists and the ones that aren’t are extremely talented at whatever they do. The town was Einstein’s own idea. The “base” of Eureka is Global Dynamics, the town’s advanced research facility.

From Syfy’s website:

A (Confidential) Town History

With the help of Albert Einstein and other trusted advisors, President Harry S. Truman commissioned a top-secret residential development in a remote area of the Pacific Northwest, one that would serve to protect and nurture America’s most valuable intellectual resources. There our nation’s greatest thinkers, the über-geniuses working on the next era of scientific achievement, would be able to live and work in a supportive environment.

The best architects and planners were commissioned to design a welcoming place for these superlative geniuses to reside, an area that would offer the best education for their children, the best healthcare, the best amenities and quality of life. A community was created to rival the most idyllic of America’s small towns— with one major difference: this town would never appear on any maps. At least, none that haven’t been classified “eyes only” by the Pentagon.

Thus, the town of Eureka was born. But for all its familiar, small-town trappings, things in this secret hamlet are anything but ordinary. The stereotype of the absent-minded professor exists for a reason, and most of the quantum leaps in science and technology during the past 50 years were produced by Eureka’s elite researchers. Unfortunately, scientific exploration is rarely what one expects, and years of experiments gone awry have yielded some peculiar by-products.

With the population’s unique talents, troubled psyches and limitless resources, these small-town concerns have a way of becoming big-time problems. It is at that intersection, where human frailty and super-science collide, that Eureka began…

Jack and Zoe

Jack and Zoe Carter discover Eureka!

The pilot begins with Jack Carter, a U.S. Marshall transporting a girl, lost on his way to LA and getting stranded in Eureka. Jack is great at law enforcement but his intelligence is not exactly on the genius level. However, when a problem arises while he’s in town, he naturally decides to help. He uses his every day skills to look at situations from a different perspective than all the geniuses, which proves successful. He’s so impressive that he gets “promoted” from Marshall to sheriff of Eureka.

This show is smart and hilarious. There were characters that I was pretty sure I wouldn’t like and ended up loving. For example Zoe, Jack’s troubled and snarky teen daughter, I expected to dislike because she was rebellious and bratty. Another example is Jo Lupo, the zealous deputy sheriff  and gun nut. I had her pegged as the type of tough girl character I usually think tries too hard and ends up annoying. Instead, Zoe and Jo are both genuine, kind and strong. For a while I also tried to dislike Nathan, the head of Global Dynamics who is smarmy and arrogant and almost instantly becomes a sort of nemesis for Jack. However, even he won me over. Add in the town mechanic slash go-to genius, Henry, the lovable and goofy Fargo, and the lovely Allison Blake, you have an amazing and entertaining group of characters. OH and SARAH must not be forgotten. SARAH = Self-Actuated Residential Automated Habitat, and this is one smart house! The outside looks like a bunker, but the inside is amazing. And SARAH can fix you breakfast, regulate temperature, and scan your DNA, among many other things. Sarah is really a character herself, a sassy and sometimes intense character!

Crop Circle

Crop circles!

Every episode, there’s a challenge of intimidating proportions. Jack has to interrogate and try to understand complicated genius jargon and often gets the answer “classified.”  The town faces situations like vortexes, memory loss, extreme and unusual weather, citizens disappearing, possible alien invasion, renegade artificially intelligent beings on a regular basis. I like seeing how a whole town of smarties works, in positive and negative ways! Everything from the restaurant to the laundromat is run by geniuses! Of course, Jack’s ordinariness is both comic and refreshing, and it’s fun to see his reactions to all the “smart” problems!

If that’s not enough, the amazing Felicia Day is guest-starring this season! Sorry, apparently WordPress won’t let me embed the video! (also, if you don’t know who Felicia Day is, consider yourself gasped at. Check out The Guild and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.  You will not be sorry.)

You can watch the first three seasons of Eureka on Netflix, but the fourth requires dvd’s (but episodes 5-10 are on Hulu). The second half of Season 4 premieres tomorrow on Syfy at 8/7 c, and the website usually has the last few episodes online! I encourage everyone to check it out!

note: pictures are from syfy.com

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TGIF (1)

TGIF is a weekly meme hosted by Ginger at GReads

This Friday’s Question: Blogger Confession: What’s the last book you could not finish? (or had a hard time finishing?)

I think the only book I’ve left unfinished this year was One Day by David Nicholls. I got far enough to see that I didn’t like the characters and it didn’t seem to be looking up. I honestly didn’t care what happened to them. I was happy that I didn’t keep reading because a friend of mine told me she felt like throwing her nook when she finished it!

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