Category Archives: review

Book Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

book coverAnna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
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
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
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
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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Book Review: Hourglass by Myra McEntire

Hourglass by Myra McEntire Goodreads|Purchasing
Release Date: June 14, 2011
Publisher: Egmont USA
Rating: ★★★☆☆/3.5

Goodreads description: One hour to rewrite the past . . .

For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.

So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.

Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?

A gorgeous cover, apparitions and dark, mysterious guys? Preventing a death? Sounds pretty exciting!

Emerson is seventeen and lives with her brother and his wife. She’s been through a lot, and almost everyone she isn’t close to thinks she is crazy. Most of the time, she agrees with them because she sees and talks to people that nobody else can see. After a few failed experts and years on medication, her brother hires someone new to help her with her issues. Enter the gorgeous Michael. He doesn’t think she is crazy at all. In fact,  he knows all about what she can do and tells her more about it.

Instead of ghosts, the people she sees are rips in time and she’s not the only one that experiences them. Hourglass, the organization he works for, is made up of people with interesting abilities. Not only can he help her, he needs her help as well. Michael introduces Emerson to new people and she learns about things that are really difficult to believe, even with all that she’s been though.

Immediately, Emerson and Michael have crackling chemistry. The tension and banter are exciting. Michael is so charming and genuine. I was always excited to see what would happen next between them and how one would react to what the other did. I also really enjoyed Emerson’s other relationships in the book. Her bond with her brother Thomas and his wife, Dru was sweet. And Lily, her best friend, was awesome and really supportive of Emerson.

I really liked this book but I’ll admit I did have a few problems with Emerson herself though. Anyone that says a pair of black converse makes them feel “ballsy” will probably annoy me. A few times, I found her too braggy. I get it, you’re smart, pretty and tough, but this is YA and most book characters are somewhat outstanding. I understand being confident but it felt like she was pushing it in my opinion. It seems like every other review I’ve read has really enjoyed her, so it is probably a personal issue. I still cared about what happened to her and got emotionally involved in the story, though.

The story is exciting and even with the issues I had with Emerson, I was hooked. I couldn’t wait to see how it would end and it was the opposite of predictable.  I’m really interested to see what happens in the rest of the series!

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Review: Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

Prom and Prejudice book coverProm and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg
Release Date:January 1st 2011
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Goodreads description: After winter break, the girls at the very prestigious Longbourn Academy become obsessed with the prom. Lizzie Bennet, who attends Longbourn on a scholarship, isn’t interested in designer dresses and expensive shoes, but her best friend, Jane, might be — especially now that Charles Bingley is back from a semester in London.

Lizzie is happy about her friend’s burgeoning romance but less than impressed by Charles’s friend, Will Darcy, who’s snobby and pretentious. Darcy doesn’t seem to like Lizzie either, but she assumes it’s because her family doesn’t have money. Clearly, Will Darcy is a pompous jerk — so why does Lizzie find herself drawn to him anyway?

Will Lizzie’s pride and Will’s prejudice keep them apart? Or are they a prom couple in the making? Whatever the result, Elizabeth Eulberg, author of The Lonely Hearts Club, has concocted a very funny, completely stylish delight for any season — prom or otherwise.

This book was a fun and light read, and it only took me a few hours to finish. As a long time lover of Pride and Prejudice, I was interested to see it put in terms of prom and high school.

I think because I went to a small high school with a smaller class gap, I wasn’t sure what to make of how class differences are handled in the wealthy atmosphere of their school. I’m not sure how realistic it was, but it made me feel lucky about my high school! And I’ve never been around really rich people and especially not large amounts of them, but do people really ask where people summer? Does that really happen? I’ve seen it on television some but I have no idea if people really talk like that, especially high schoolers. Even if they’re rich it seems weird to me, but it could be very realistic and I’m just completely clueless.

Lizzie deals with a lot of jerks that treated her badly for no real reason, just because she’s on scholarship. It would have to suck being a complete outsider like that in any situation. I liked her friendship with Jane (her roommate, not sister, in the book), it was sweet. Lizzie is spunky and stands up for herself, but all her bad experiences create a slight bitterness. I liked her, but she was a bit harsh in her judgments. I know that’s part of the point, but in my opinion, she sometimes went too far. I was glad to see her learn from her mistakes and realize that you aren’t required to keep first impressions, even if it is hard to shed them sometimes!

Darcy is a rude high school boy who thinks he’s better than Lizzie-or does he? Obviously there’s some misunderstanding when they meet. His change from “prejudice” to Lizzie-fan is kind of abrupt. Darcy is sweet, almost too sweet. I enjoyed him and his loyalty, but I would have liked to know more about him. He sticks up for himself and people he cares about, but I just would’ve liked more. More development, more interaction: MORE. Collins is acceptably condescending, Caroline is fittingly hateful, Bingley is delightful as always and Jane is the only thing she could ever be: sweet.

If you’re looking for a quick, fun read and don’t plan on judging it too harshly, definitely pick this up! If you love Pride and Prejudice, look at it as loosely based and don’t expect an exact retelling, try being open-minded and enjoy the fast-paced, enjoyable read.

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