Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Rebecca Review

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
4 Stars
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again ... With these words the reader is ushered into an isolated gray stone manse on the windswept Cornish coast, as the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter recalls the chilling events that transpired as she began her new life as the young bride of a husband she barely knew. For in every corner of every room in the immense, foreboding estate were phantoms of a time dead but not forgotten — a past devotedly preserved by the sinister housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers: a suite immaculate and untouched, clothing laid out and ready to be worn, but not by any of the great house's current occupants. And with an eerie presentiment of evil tightening her heart, the second Mrs. de Winter walked in the shadow of her mysterious predecessor, determined to uncover the darkest secrets and shattering truths about Maxim's first wife — the late and hauntingly beautiful Rebecca.
I really liked this novel.  I loved the haunting mystery that followed the second Mrs. de Winter around every corner and even in her own mind.  She obsesses over her new husband’s first wife and all the ways she doesn’t add up to this ghost of a woman.  At first, Mrs. de Winter, her first name is never revealed, seems whiney and very sulky.  I had a hard time connecting to her at first, although I did enjoy the story she told.  I could feel the same repulsion she felt concerning Favell and Mrs. Danvers.  I got the creeps when she did, upon entering the untouched West wing. Towards the late part of the middle, the second Mrs. de Winter started to find her voice and her strength.  And that’s when the story starts to get really good.
There are so many twists in turns in this book that caught me off guard, and in a good way.  I thought I had the whole story figured out, but I was way wrong.  The end is suspenseful and full of jaw-dropping revelations.  You’ll be sitting on the edge of your seat well after you’ve finished the last sentence.   

Monday, May 30, 2011

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It's Monday!  Don't you wish they were just as wonderful as the picture suggests?  Well, let's make them that way and talk about one of our favorite things.  BOOKS!  So it's time to share our reading plans for the week.  Whether you get to them all this week or change your plans by Wednesday, give us your titles...

Monica’s Reads
Lindsey’s Reads
Julianne’s Reads

What are you reading this week?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Night, Movie Night...

Image from here.

If we’re not talking about books, we’re probably discussing movies.  Even better, movies adapted from books.  Whether it’s which actors should play what character or what we picture the book’s world looking like on the silver screen, we’ll spend hours  deciding just what will make the movie perfect.  
This Friday will be dedicated to discussing what movies based on books we’re looking forward to seeing.
I am looking forward to so many!  Lindsey shared her excitement for Hunger Games and that is at the top of my list as well.  Although, I am not completely enamored by the casting. Woody Harrelson as Haymitch?  I pictured a hot drunk.  What? You don’t think those two things go together?  Hmm...  Jennifer Lawrence’s look was such a major transformation that I can totally buy her as Katniss now.  I wasn’t so sure at first.  The Host is another one I am very excited for.  I just recently saw that Saoirse Ronan is rumored to play Melanie/Wanderer in Stephenie Meyer’s sci-fi novel.  She’s not exactly who I pictured (seems too young), but I think she’s a great actress.  A few of the many others are The Mortal Instruments, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Beautiful Creatures and If I Stay.  I can’t wait to see these stories come to life outside of my head.
All right!!!  Go ahead and take all mine.  Sheesh.  I guess I only have one more to add to your list (or at least one more for the moment) and that book is Maze Runner.  I'm really looking forward to it.  I know Monica had a hard time getting into it (if she ever did), but I really enjoyed it.  For Monica it lacked the love story, I don't always need that.  Other than The Hunger Games I guess the next book I am really excited about is Forest of Hands and Teeth.  That book freaked me out!  I just hope the movie will too. 
Wait!!!  I just remembered another one!!! Incarceron... One person is cast so far....Taylor Lautner.  Hmmm.  I'm not too sure how I feel about that.  I think he could do it but he's definetaly not my first pick (or second).  And I think Emma Watson is being considered for Claudia.  Or is she being considered for another movie?  I don't know.  I'm just glad that Hollywood has jumped on board with all these good books.
Julianne doesn't exist.  We've made her up.

What movies from books are you looking forward to?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It's Wednesday, I'm in Love...

Image from here.

It's Wednesday!  So that means we're already in the middle of the week, Hump Day, if you will.  Everyone needs a little pick-me-up around this time, right?  We decided that to help us get through the week we would share our favorite fictional love stories.  It can be a favorite of all time or from the book you're currently reading.  As long as it involves love, come on over and share!
Monica’s Choice
My favorite couple in love this week is Dru and Christophe from the Strange Angels series.  Although I think their love story is a bit lagging, I actually have enjoyed watching it blossom.  Dru very much did not want to like this guy, and I think he was immediately drawn to her.  He’s the epitome of a bad boy.  Raised by the King of vampires to kill, he’s dangerous and unpredictable.  Yet he’s reformed.  But just how much?  He always keeps his word when it comes to Dru and protects her with his own life.  She needs a little nudging in his direction, however, because she doesn’t quite trust him.  She knows he keeps things from her and hates it.  With that being said, she always feels safe when she knows he is near, and even safer when he’s holding her close.  Swoon-worthy!   
Here are some of my favorites quotes from Defiance (both said by Christophe):
“Skowroneczko moja.”  His right hand slid up the outside of my shoulder, along Graves’s coat, and he was touching my hair as well as breathing in my ear. All the blood sort of rushed to my head and made a sound like pulsing static.  “I won’t push, and I don’t pry. All I ask is a little attention. A little consideration.”
“I don’t blame you if it’s not . . . enough. I’m tainted, I know as much. Just . . . let me stay near you. Please.”
Lindsey’s Choice
The kids are in bed, the dishes are done, the laundry...well, the laundry is in a neat pile on the couch.  But that is okay.  Sitting in my purse, right now, is I Am Number 4.  Normally I would be excited about a book being in my purse but tonight I am equally excited about a movie.  I'm so excited because today is about fictional love stories.  While I wouldn't call this book a "love story" it fortunately has one in it.  And tonight I will be watching the movie and folding a mountain of laundry.
John (played by Alex Pettyfer, sigh) and Sarah (Diana Agron) are 2 high school students.  John has spent his entire life on earth running from one place to the next.  Never spending too much time in one area.  He has just moved to a tiny town in Paradise Ohio where he meets Sarah.  He says "I've never seen a girl so good-looking."  Sarah is such a nice person, she's honest, she's giving, and friends with everyone.  I look up to her in so many ways.  She remains true to herself.  John loves this about her and quickly falls in love.  One of my favorite parts from the book:
"I miss you," I say.
"You miss me? But I'm right here."
"That's the worst way to miss somebody.  When they're right beside you and you miss them anyway."

Julianne’s Choice
Who’s your favorite couple in love?

Defiance Review

Defiance by Lili St. Crow
4.5 Stars
Synopsis:  Now that sixteen-year-old Dru’s worst fears have come true, she’ll have to go on a suicidal rescue mission to bring her best friend back in one piece. That is, if she can put all of Christophe’s training to good use, defeat her mother’s traitor once and for all, and manage to survive another day...
Review:  I loved this one as much as the first.  It was packed with twists, surprises, betrayals, new enemies, old enemies, heart ache, a teensy bit of lovin’, new friends, and so much more.  Nothing dragged in this installment of Strange Angels.  My only complaint is that sometimes I get confused.  Maybe I’m the only one, but I have to re-read certain scenes to understand what is going on.  This is when first person becomes a problem.  Dru tends to leave out a few details and her inner dialogue can go on for too long.    
Dru is gaining back her confidence and coming into her own at last.  She is making her own decisions and wisely weighing the consequences before jumping into action.  Once she blooms, she will be a formidable opponent.  
She is finally realizing she may be more torn between Graves and Christophe than she thought.  Here’s what I think, Graves is more like a brother to her.  There isn’t any real chemistry between the two of them.  I find any sort of romance forced, not by St. Crow, but by Graves and Dru, but mostly Dru.  I wonder if she knows this, but thinks the only way to keep Graves is to reciprocate his feelings.  Although his feelings are a bit ambiguous as well.  The chemistry between Christophe and Dru is a different story.  This is who I’m rooting for.  It may be because I have a thing for the dangerous, bad boy.  But seriously, there is fire between these two, not just a spark.  Christophe makes Dru hot.  Literally.  She flushes and warms up whenever he’s around.  And their private moments are a heck of a lot better than the ones she shares with Graves.  The major problem is that she doesn’t trust Christophe like she trusts Graves.  
This book makes up for the fact that Betrayals and Jealousy dragged a bit.  It is such a dark, fun story.  I cannot wait for Reckoning to hit bookshelves.

Monday, May 23, 2011

It's Monday! What are you reading?

  It's Monday!  Don't you wish they were just as wonderful as the picture suggests?  Well, let's make them that way and talk about one of our favorite things.  BOOKS!  So it's time to share our reading plans for the week.  Whether you get to them all this week or change your plans by Wednesday, give us your titles...

Monica's Reads

Lindsey's Reads

 Julianne's Reads

Jealousy Review

Jealousy by Lili St. Crow
4 Stars

Dru Anderson might finally be safe. She’s at the largest Schola on the continent, and beginning to learn what it means to be svetocha–half vampire, half human, and all deadly. If she survives her training, she will be able to take her place in the Order, holding back the vampires and protecting the oblivious normal people.
But a web of lies and betrayals is still closing around her, just when she thinks she can relax a little. Her mentor Christophe is missing, her almost-boyfriend is acting weird, and the bodyguards she’s been assigned seem to know much more than they should. And then there’s the vampire attacks, the strange nightly visits, and the looks everyone keeps giving her. As if she should know something.  Or as if she’s in danger.
Someone high up in the Order is a traitor. They want Dru dead–but first, they want to know what she remembers of the night her mother died. Dru doesn’t want to remember, but it looks like she might have to–especially since once Christophe returns, he’ll be on trial for his life. The only person who can save him is Dru.  The problem is, once she remembers everything, she may not want to . . .

Since I link this book so closely to the last one in my mind, I feel like I would be writing the same review.  But there are some new developments and characters, which are warmly welcomed by me.  Dru meets the Council of the Order.  She trusts some and doesn’t trust others.  It’s made up of 4 dhampirs and one svetocha.  Yep, Anna’s back.  And she’s just like Dru remembered her, maybe even worse.  Dru has been assigned a guard of dhampirs, although Graves, Shanks and Dibs still watch out for her.  I love two of her guards, Leon and Benjamin.  Benjamin’s reactions to Dru’s behavior are priceless and Leon’s sarcastic tone are just what she needs to feel comfortable.  Ash is recovering from their last run-in with the suckers and Dru is helping him, hoping the broken werwulf will make the change back to human.  
There’s some really good action and discoveries that help find the traitor.  But the traitor isn’t going anywhere without a fight.  Finally, there’s some action in the romance department.  Pun intended ;)  But it might be more than Dru can handle for now.  This book also tends to be a bit redundant and it drives me crazy that Dru can’t see some clues that are as clear as day and right in front of her face.  And she needs to give Christophe a break and really should have trusted Graves more.  But the action and the huge surprise at the end make up for the things I struggled with throughout the book.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Betrayals Review

Betrayals by Lili St. Crow
4 Stars
She’s no angel . . . Poor Dru Anderson. Her parents are long gone, her best friend is a werewolf, and she’s just learned that the blood flowing through her veins isn’t entirely human. (So what else is new?) Now Dru is stuck at a secret New England Schola for other teens like her, and there’s a big problem— she’s the only girl in the place. A school full of cute boys wouldn’t be so bad, but Dru’s killer instinct says that one of them wants her dead. And with all eyes on her, discovering a traitor within the Order could mean a lot more than social suicide. . . Can Dru survive long enough to find out who has betrayed her trust—and maybe even her heart?
The second book in the Strange Angels series stays true to the characters introduced in the first book.  This one picks right up after Dru and Graves have been in Schola, a boarding school of sorts for dhampirs, svetocha and werwulfen, for about a week.  They should be safe there, but when was the last time that was true?  And it isn’t going to be now either.  Because Dru is supposedly the only svetocha, she is precious and very valuable, and everyone is sworn to protect her.  Except that doesn’t seem to be the case.  Guards don’t show up when they’re supposed to and she’s being fed lies by the people that should be trusted.  
There seemed to be a lot of redundancy in this book.  The same lines, almost word for word, show up chapter after chapter.  The romance aspect of the story doesn’t show up yet, although you can see the twinkling of something starting up.  (I love love stories and wish there was more of it in here)  The characters stay true to themselves and I enjoyed their growth.  Graves goes from nerdy Goth boy to something quite different.  Dru is still the tough girl, but clinging to memories and feeling of the past.  She is more vulnerable than she would like, but she accepts it better than most would.  A new cast of characters are introduced and I immediately adored werwulf cutie, Dibs and knew Shanks would grow on me.  Luckily, Christophe is back and just as cryptic and swoon worthy as ever.
I read this back to back with Jealousy, the 3rd book, as though they were one book.  And I would recommend that for anyone else.  These two books really could have been combined into one.  

Friday, May 20, 2011

Hunger Games

It's 10 o'clock on a Friday night and I find myself sitting here thinking about Hunger Games.  It's one of those books that you read and you want so desperately to talk to someone about.  I begged my friends to read it.  I begged my cousins to read it.  I begged anyone I knew to read it, just so I could talk about it.  I waited over a year and still didn't have anyone to talk to.  Then...finally....slowly....very slowly....my friends started to read, my cousins started to read, people started to read it!  And guess what?  They all loved it!  I promised everyone it was good and finally they were able to agree with me.  I want you to know, if you haven't read it, you need to.  It's a great book.  I loved all 3.  Maybe later I'll give a review, but for now, just take my word for it.
Have you read The Hunger Games?

p.s. I can't wait for the movie!


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Strange Angels Review

Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow
4 Stars

  Sixteen-year-old Dru Anderson has grown up traveling the country with her demon-hunter father. When he tries to tackle a powerful sucker named Sergej in the Dakotas, he is turned into a zombie. After stopping him from killing her, Dru must save herself when she, too, becomes Sergej's target. She is befriended by Graves, a classmate who is quickly bitten and turned into a loup-garou (half werewolf), and meets Christophe, a djamphir (half-vampire vampire hunter). Dru also learns that she is growing into her own special powers.

This book jumps into action very early on.  In one of the first chapters, Dru has to make a decision, and then act on it, that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.  But she knows the consequences of not acting and her dad has taught her to be a skilled hunter.  Orphaned and alone, she meets Graves and they more or less protect each other at first.  Quickly this relationship turns into one of survival, and they are fighting to keep the other alive, even if it could cost them their own lives.  
Dru has a lot of unanswered questions and when she tries to get them answered, she ends up falling into more trouble.  Something is after her and she doesn’t fully understand why.  Her mom died when she was very young and her dad never explained anything before his death.  She also discovers that as skilled as she thought she was, she doesn’t have anything on the guys hunting her down.  So she’s kind of making it up as she goes along, with the help of Graves and the mysterious and so-not-trustworthy Christophe.  
I really enjoyed this book.  It's YA, but has an adult feel to it.  It is very dark and cold.  No warm fuzzies here, unless you count the werwulfen (werewolves).  Strange Angels is full of action and mystery.  St. Crow always had me guessing what could be next.  I can’t complain too much about the story.  Other than I enjoy a good romance, and this book doesn’t have one.  Although I think it could be building up for the next books.  Hopefully.  Dru has a lot of inner dialogue in between conversations and during action scenes and I had to keep going back and forth to double check whether or not she was saying any of it out loud or not.  So that affected the pacing a bit.  Also, there is a lot of language, which doesn’t normally bother me, but there is a lot of “GD’s” and “JC’s”. 

I recommend this book for anyone that enjoys a good YA Paranormal and is looking for something a little different from the rest.
-- monica

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It's Wednesday, I'm in Love...

Image from here.
It's Wednesday!  So that means we're already in the middle of the week, Hump Day, if you will.  Everyone needs a little pick-me-up around this time, right?  We decided that to help us get through the week we would share our favorite fictional love stories.  It can be a favorite of all time or from the book you're currently reading.  As long as it involves love, come on over and share!

Monica’s Choice  

  My choice this week is Eve Dallas and Roarke from the In Death series by JD Robb.  They are another one of my all-time favorites and I recently finished Holiday in Death, so they are fresh on my mind.  These two needed each other more than they'll ever know.  Neither one had a decent childhood or anyone that loved them.  They had to both work hard and reinvent themselves.  Luckily, each was successful in their own way.  Eve became a hard-fighting police detective that stands up for the victims with a rare passion.  Roarke has risen from the slums (and crime) of Ireland to become what is probably the world's most successful man.  Each book in the series demonstrates their love for each other and how it is in constant growth.  Roarke works hard to give Eve the family she never had and he also protects her with a deep, unwavering fierceness.  Eve keeps Roarke in line and loves him for who he is and not what he has (which she honestly could care less about).  I love watching them learn more about each other and themselves through their relationship.  Also, the banter/bickering is one of my favorite parts of the series.  They are hilarious moments.  Here is one of my favorites from Vengeance in Death:
Eve: "Thanks for your input, but I'll just muddle along here.  The chances of me getting the commander to take the word of a seven-year-old kid -- who no doubt had chocolate breath -- over hard evidence is just slightly less likely than me dancing naked in Times Square."

She started off at a loping stride.  "If Times Square intimidates you,"  Roarke began, "perhaps you could practice the naked dance at home."

"Oh, bite me."

"Darling, I'd love to, but you're on duty."

"Get in the #$% car."  She jerked a thumb at Peabody, who was currently doing her best to pretend she was deaf and blind.

"Please, Eve, these public displays of affection must stop.  I have a reputation." 
Roarke needs to learn to stay out of Eve's way when she's on a case.  But I hope he doesn't, just so I get more of these moments. 
Want to know what my Roarke looks like?  Go here.  Eve is harder for me.  But this is who I mostly picture here.  Yeah, I know Eve has short hair, oh well.

Lindsey’s Choice

Julianne’s Choice

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Paranormalcy Review

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
4 Stars

  Evie's always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she's falling for a shape-shifter, and she's the only person who can see through paranormals' glamours.
  But Evie's about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.
  So much for normal...

  This was a quick, fun read.  White puts a new spin on most things paranormal and it was refreshing.  Vampires are not sexy (to Evie anyway, since she can see their decomposing bodies underneath their glamours), werewolves are just misunderstood, and faeries are never to be trusted.  And it's the responsibility of the IPCA to make sure none of these paranormals harm humans.  Evie's been working for the IPCA since she was 8 and she's lived in the Center since.  Everything she knows about the outside world, she learns from a teenage drama on TV.  Not too realistic, but she wants the life she sees on the small screen.
  One of my favorite parts is Alisha or Lish, Evie's best friend, that happens to be a mermaid.  A computer translates and speaks for her, so their conversations tend to be funny.  The computer does not allow swear words, so Lish's vocabulary is made up of a lot of 'bleeps.'  So instead of swearing herself, Evie also says bleep.
  There is somewhat of a love triangle.  Reth, Evie's faerie ex-boyfriend, and Lend the shape-shifting new guy.  Reth's involvement in the triangle is a little forced on his side, but for some weird reason I like him.  I must have a thing for faeries, I guess, which doesn't sound right I realize as I am typing this.  Anyway, their interactions always interesting and full of confusing dialogue (Reth) and action.
  I feel that while the story was never dull, it wraps up too quickly and too many things are left unanswered.  I know this is the first in a trilogy, but I felt like I needed more.  Overall, good story, good characters, a solid 4 stars.  I am looking forward to the second book, Supernaturally, coming out August 30, 2011.

Monday, May 16, 2011

It's Monday! What are you reading?

Image from here.

  It's Monday!  Don't you wish they were just as wonderful as the picture suggests?  Well, let's make them that way and talk about one of our favorite things.  BOOKS!  So it's time to share our reading plans for the week.  Whether you get to them all this week or change your plans by Wednesday, give us your titles...

Monica's Reading

Lindsey's Reading

Julianne's Reading

Holiday in Death Review

Holiday in Death by J.D. Robb
4 Stars

  No one likes to be alone during the holidays. And for New York's most posh dating service, Personally Yours, it is the season to bring lonely hearts together. But Lieutenant Eve Dallas, on the trail of a ritualistic serial killer, has made a disturbing discovery: All of the killer's victims have been traced to Personally Yours. As the murders continue, Eve enters an elite world of people searching for their one true love - and a killer searching for his next victim. A world where the power of love leads men and women into the ultimate act of betrayal...

  This is book 7 in the In Death series.  It was a tough and probably the hardest case for me so far.  Not only is there a serial killer on the loose, but he is also sexually attacking his victims.  This is rough on Eve.  It brings back all the memories from being a young girl and having a monster of a father (I can barely type that last word).  This case really wore down on Eve and I think it was also rough on Roarke.  This is the first time, and the last I suspect, that you see Roarke actually tired and wanting more sleep.  

  I loved seeing the lengths Roarke took to take care of Eve, even if it isn't what she wanted.  She definitely needed it and he knew that.  She can't rest until she gets her man, but the toll it takes on her is steep.  This installment of the In Death series just reaffirms that Eve is not only standing for justice, but she's fighting for the innocent victims.

  I am still amazed at how much Robb (Nora Roberts) is able to fit into her books.  The case, romance, the development and growth of relationships (romantic and friendly), the futuristic aspects of the world she has created, humor, heartfelt moments, backstories, and everything else in between.  She did not disappoint in Holiday.  

  Eve's relationships were strengthened and tested in this one.  There were times I felt for her, laughed with her and felt that she was a tad bit out of line.  But she's new to the whole family/friends thing, so it'll take time to figure it all out.  And I'm along for the ride.