Saturday, July 16, 2011

New This Week!

New This Week! is a weekly feature in which I showcase some of the titles released in the Young Adult world throughout week. Each picture is linked to its respective Goodreads page, so if a cover appeals to you be sure to click on it to learn more about the book.

Week of: July 10th - July 15th, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

Original Sin Review

Original Sin
Lisa Desrochers

Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date:
July 5, 2011
Personal Demons (#2)
YA, Paranormal
Paperback, 398 pages
4/5 (Avg 4/5)
Luc Cain was born and raised in Hell, but he isn’t feeling as demonic as usual lately—thanks to Frannie Cavanaugh and the unique power she never realized she had. But you can’t desert Hell without consequences, and suddenly Frannie and Luc find themselves targeted by the same demons who used to be Luc’s allies.

Left with few options, Frannie and Luc accept the protection of Heaven and one of its most powerful angels, Gabe. Unfortunately, Luc isn’t the only one affected by Frannie, and it isn’t long before Gabe realizes that being around her is too…tempting. Rather than risk losing his wings, he leaves Frannie and Luc under the protection of her recently-acquired guardian angel.

Which would be fine, but Gabe is barely out the door before an assortment of demons appears—and they’re not leaving without dragging Luc back to Hell with them. Hell won’t give up and Heaven won’t give in. Frannie’s guardian exercises all the power he has to keep them away, but the demons are willing to hurt anyone close to Frannie in order to get what they want. It will take everything she has and then some to stay out of Hell’s grasp.

And not everyone will get out of it alive.

Following in Personal Demons' footsteps, Original Sin is a great continuation of the story that we fell in love with the first time around.

I'll have to admit that Frannie grew on me a little more, yet at the same time managed to tick me off at some of the completely insane and, quite frankly, idiotic decisions that she would make. It boggles my mind, but somehow she manages to be giving and selfish at the same time... if that makes any sense. I loved Luc in this as much as the last, but I had to give Gabe the silent treatment for a while. Even though I love his character, I wasn't so much of a fan of him disappearing and not being around when it was obvious that he was needed. Yet, I understood his decision and I think I'd do the same as he did - given the circumstances.

The evil was more vile this round, which I enjoyed and pretty much reveled in. I mean, if they're going to be representing true evil then they really need to represent! I'm censoring myself saying this for those who haven't read the first yet - but the character that I was happy to see come back in the last novel made me regret my decision in this book. He ended up being even more selfish than Frannie herself and not at all giving. Maybe it's because of his prior circumstances? I have no idea, but I think he should have been smarter than how he acted in this book.

This book was as equally enjoyable as the one it follows and I'm absolutely loving where the story is going. I cannot wait for the next book in the series to come out!

Since I enjoyed these books so much and felt like sharing the love, I thought I would host a little giveaway for my wonderful blog followers. All you have to do is fill out the form below to win the following:

That's right, you have the chance to not only win your own copy of Personal Demons, but its sequel Original Sin as well! There will only be one winner, but if you like the Personal Demons books Facebook page, then I'll give you an extra entry for an extra chance to win!

● You must be a follower of the blog.
● This contest is INTERNATIONAL.
● "Like" Personal Demons on Facebook [here] for an extra entry.
● Contest ends midnight EST on Saturday, July 30, 2011.

Fill out this form HERE in order to be entered.

First Line Friday!

New Feature alert! If you have read my blog, I'm sure you've noticed the little quotes at the bottom of the reviews with the first line of the book. I really like this, but I feel as though my reviews are getting a little cluttered with all of the information that I'm trying to put in them. So, I came up with this...

First Line Friday will be a weekly feature that showcases all of the books that I have reviewed in the week. Each post will include the book's cover art along with the first line of the first chapter from said book. Everyone knows the first line is the hook. The question is: will the first line snag you, or let you get away?

It was a miracle.

She had never seen a forest as green as the Wood. It seemed ironic.

If there's a Hell on Earth, it's high school.

Not that I'm complaining, but one serious downside to being a demon-turned-human is that I'm no longer indestructible.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Personal Demons Review

Personal Demons
Lisa Desrochers

Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date:
September 14, 2010
Personal Demons (#1)
YA, Paranormal
Paperback, 365 pages
Personal Copy
4/5 (Avg 3.5/5)
Frannie Cavanaugh is a good Catholic girl with a bit of a wicked streak. She has spent years keeping everyone at a distance—-even her closest friends—-and it seems as if her senior year is going to be more of the same . . . until Luc Cain enrolls in her class. No one knows where he came from, but Frannie can’t seem to stay away from him.

What she doesn’t know is that Luc is on a mission. He’s been sent from Hell itself to claim Frannie’s soul. It should be easy—-all he has to do is get her to sin, and Luc is as tempting as they come. Frannie doesn’t stand a chance. But he has to work fast, because if the infernals are after her, the celestials can’t be far behind. And sure enough, it’s not long before the angel Gabriel shows up, willing to do anything to keep Luc from getting what he came for. It isn’t long before they find themselves fighting for more than just Frannie’s soul.

But if Luc fails, there will be Hell to pay . . . for all of them.

I have been meaning to get to this book for quite some time, but had put it on hold for many reasons including other reviews. However, I was sent its sequel by Tor to review so I thought it was in my best interest to read this one first. I'm glad I did.

I will go ahead and get the obvious con of this novel that I saw – the love triangle. Yes, I was a teenager once and yes, I had a lot of boyfriends... but I never led to guys on at the same time. It just seems wrong to me because, inevitably, someone is going to get hurt – either you, or one of the guys. And either way, it's something that's completely avoidable as long as you don't follow your hormones. Just sayin'....

With that out of the way, I can say that everything else I really liked in this novel. Frannie is a great character that is very much a teenage girl, which I like, but she also has some spunk that sets her apart from other YA female characters. Her wish-wash lust for both Luc and Gabe is really the only thing I can see as far as character flaws go, but that's not necessarily a character flaw for everyone – just me and my personal morals, really. Luc and Gabe are both equally swoon-worthy. I found their names (Lucifer and Gabriel) to be quite amusing considering where they're both from, but they both lived up to those names... except one little thing. Gabe, who is an angel no less, has this weird habit of saying “sh-t” on several occasions. This just seems a little out of place to me and had me scratching my head as to why the angel from Heaven was the one that had an issue with a potty mouth. But, again, it amused me more than anything. I want to talk about another character but I can't because I'm afraid that will give some unwarranted spoilers to the story, so I will just say that I'm glad he came along and I want to know more about his mysterious issues that he has with Luc. And just so you know, Frannie's grandpa rocks. The villains were pure evil and I liked that their characters didn't sway. I sometimes wish they were a little more evil and vile, but maybe that will come with the next book – or that's me just letting my mind go a little morbid for a YA series.

The story is good. The plot was well thought out, with many twists that I didn't expect and I'm excited to see where this trilogy is going. If you're a paranormal lover with a thing for angels and demons, this is definitely one you will have to pick up if you haven't already.

Thoughts on Thursday

Today's Topic:
The Female Perspective: Female vs Male Authors

I haven't done one of these in quite a while, so I thought I would take a shot with something that has been on my mind a lot lately.

Books from a female's point of view help the reader - especially if they are female - to relate to the story, most importantly when the book is written in 1st person POV. If you relate to a book on a personal level, then it is much easier to get emotionally invested in the story. But sometimes the perspective of the female can be hard to depict in words on paper, yet it always begs the question: Who does it better - female or male authors?

You'd think the answer would be simple. Since a female is writing from a female's perspective, then obviously she's going to be able to write about it better. Right?

I have to disagree.

Yes, female writers tend to understand the female mind better than males. That's kind of a given. However, female writers are also female... which means that they write from a place that is more emotional, rather than males that seem to be able to analyze how a female may act without getting emotionally invested himself. Therefore, the writing from a guy's POV would be more analytical where as the girl's would be much more convoluted with jumbled thoughts and mixed emotions. I'm not saying it's better. Sometimes, you want the emotion - so a female author is the way to go. Sometimes, you just want to read a good book without all of the emotional baggage - and it seems easiest to get this through a male author.

Of course, like everything else... there are always exceptions to every rule.

Myself? I like both, as long as they're written well. ;)

What do you think?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Silver Stag Review

The Silver Stag
Christine Schulze

Publisher: CreateSpace
Release Date:
February 26, 2010
The Gailean Quartet (#4)
YA, Fantasy
Paperback, 196 pages
Author (ebook)
4/5 (Avg 4.5/5)
She had never seen a forest as green as the Wood. It seemed ironic. The apparent life and vitality flowing from the lush green woods mocking all those entered in the past, never to return again. Chrysillee would not be one of those though. She was on a quest, a mission she would sooner die than leave unfulfilled, a journey she was willing to die for to fulfill, if need be. The sunlight filtering through the trees emitted a glittering, golden-green light. The Wood smelled thick with sweet, succulent magic that lured her forward yet made her sleepy. She stumbled on. The peddler warned of the legendary dangers of the Wood. She must not allow herself to give in... Suddenly, she stopped, listening. She heard it. The music. The sprightly call of the fiddle. She carefully made her way towards it, lured by its enchanting, lively strain. The melody awakened her sleepy spirit and body, spurred her slow steps into a quick walk, then a run, and then- She stopped as she emerged into a clearing where a girl danced on feet light as feathers, fingers weaving and skipping across the fiddle as delicately yet boldly as a spider spins her web. Both feet and hands moved deftly, skillfully, swiftly. Her white-gold hair twirled about her like beams of sunlight as did the full folds of her white-gold dress. Everything shimmered and glowed as she wove in and out of the green-gold beams of light streaming through the trees like the grand pillars of a princess' inner sanctum. Her eyes were closed but suddenly she opened them as if sensing Chrysillee's presence. A striking, sapphire blue. The girl smiled, still dancing, still playing, her feet not missing a beat, her hands not faltering on a single note, her eyes sparkling in a playful yet powerful sort of way. As Chrysillee continued to watch, she knew her quest would indeed not be in vain, for she found the Siren of the Wood, the Sunlit Wind Whisperer. Or maybe she found Chrysillee.
Ahh, the fourth and final installment in Christine Schulze's Gailean Quartet series - which I have to say was a fascinating journey from the very beginning until, here, the end. The Silver Stag is a little different from its predecessors, as it follows more with Chrysillee along with her godmother Gail and her daughter Rory. In the past books, we're concentrating more on Rory herself as well as David and Sascha - who, by the way, are all still in the book and still have wonderful roles.

The characters are obviously a big part of this book and I absolutely fell in love with each and every one of them. I can't say that I had a favorite because they were all so swell in their own ways, each bringing something new and interesting to the table - so to speak. There's also a fun array of species in the book, including vampires and faeries. I think what was more interesting to read about and completely unique was the introduction of the Wind Whisperers - which, believe me, you'll just have to read about to understand better. I think their introduction into the story really made it 'pop' in the way that makes you look at a book as one that stands out from the crowd of expected and ordinary.

Although a little on the short side, The Silver Stag is a great read that makes up for its quantity by its unbelievable quality with an incredible storyline and characters that you get to know well and fall in love with. The ending is a bit bittersweet, yet somehow completely suitable for this book. This book, along with the rest of the Gailean Quartet, is definitely a recommended read for pretty much everyone out there.

Other Books in Series:

Waiting on Wednesday

March 6, 2012

Haunted by memories from his first days as a vampire, Balthazar has spent hundreds of years alone—without allies, without love. When he emerges from his isolation to help Skye Tierney, a human girl who once attended Evernight Academy, Balthazar has no idea how dangerous it will be. Skye’s psychic powers have caught the attention of Redgrave, the cruel master vampire responsible for murdering Balthazar and his family four centuries ago. Having learned of Skye’s powers and the remarkable effect her blood has on vampires, he plans to use her for his own evil purposes. As they stand together to fight the evil vampire, Balthazar realizes his lonely world could finally be changed by Skye...just as Redgrave realizes that he can destroy Balthazar once and for all by taking her for his own.

In a story filled with forbidden love and dark suspense, one of the most beloved characters in Claudia Gray’s New York Times bestselling Evernight series will captivate readers with his battle to overcome his past and follow his heart.

Although I haven't had the time to get to all of the Evernight series, I can tell you that Balthazar has always been my favorite character -- hands down. So, if there's a book that tells a story about him, you know I'm going to be all over it. :)

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Insatiable Review

Meg Cabot

Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date:
June 22, 2011
Insatiable (#1)
YA, Paranormal
Paperback, 320 pages
3/5 (Avg 3.5/5)
Sick of hearing about vampires? So is Meena Harper.

But her bosses are making her write about them anyway, even though Meena doesn't believe in them.

Not that Meena isn't familiar with the supernatural. See, Meena Harper knows how you're going to die. (Not that you're going to believe her. No one ever does.)

But not even Meena's precognition can prepare her for what happens when she meets—then makes the mistake of falling in love with—Lucien Antonescu, a modern-day prince with a bit of a dark side. It's a dark side a lot of people, like an ancient society of vampire hunters, would prefer to see him dead for.

The problem is, Lucien's already dead. Maybe that's why he's the first guy Meena's ever met whom she could see herself having a future with. See, while Meena's always been able to see everyone else's future, she's never been able look into her own.

And while Lucien seems like everything Meena has ever dreamed of in a boyfriend, he might turn out to be more like a nightmare.

Now might be a good time for Meena to start learning to predict her own future. . . .

If she even has one.
I have heard pretty decent things about this book, so it's been on my TBR list for a while. I was ecstatic to have the opportunity to review it for one of the publications that I review for, which is usually my cheap excuse to bump some good titles up a bit. Having said that, I have to say that this book, even though it only registers at a mere 320 pages, took me longer to finish over any other book this year.

I don't want to be harsh, but I feel as though the length of the description in this novel gets tedious quickly and, unfortunately, continues to stay so throughout the entire story. I'm all for good story background and getting to know your characters better... but there has to be a limit and somewhere along the way, Insatiable found and surpassed that limit. I found myself putting this book down entirely too many times... as well as skipping over paragraphs because they just didn't feel important or necessary to me. At all.

Aside from this, I guess I definitely cannot say that there wasn't good character descriptions and the characters were very dimensional.. down to pretty much knowing every single solitary thought going through their mind at every single solitary moment. However, no matter how much description and inner monologue I had, I still felt as though I didn't know Meena at all when she made certain decisions. Her thought process was bi-polar and erratic at best. I enjoyed the two male leads, and I have to say that Meena's brother did a complete turn-about that absolutely annoyed the crap out of me. Minor characters were surprisingly enjoyable, though.

I think a lot of paranormal lovers will enjoy this book and I wish that I could have gotten into it more than I did to truly appreciate such a well-written novel. Unfortunately, it fell a little flat for me though not enough to completely turn me against the series. I'm planning on picking up its sequel, Overbite, to see what happens next with Meena and crew... and hope I like it a little more.

Teaser Tuesday

Until yesterday, I hadn't really thought about it since Frannie brought it up a few weeks back. But after what happened with Lili, it's been playing in the back of my mind all day: Frannie's Sway is the only way. If she could use it, maybe I could have Lili -- have everything.
- p. 222, Original Sin (Matt)

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Monday Update

→ I think the best and most vital news is that I am pretty much over my cold, so hooray! I still have the nagging cough, but that will probably stay around for a while.
→ The best thing to take out of the above is that I am alive again, which means I can finally catch up on this blog.
→ Unfortunately for me, I'm going out of town tomorrow... so that means all of my catching up has to be done t-o-d-a-y.
→ I have also figured out that I have been living under a rock and just discovered that NetworkedBlogs on Facebook is pretty much the greatest thing since sliced bread. Really, if you're a blogger and on FB, you NEED NetworkedBlogs. It syncs up your FB account/page, blog and Twitter so that when you publish a post on your blog, it updates on the FB page AND Twitter. I can't believe I've been doing all of that stuff manually of all of this time!

Insatiable, by Meg Cabot: I got the new paperback for review, so that should be coming up soon... after the catch-up.
→ I haven't decided what I'm reading yet.. but it looks like I'll be taking Luminous, The Night Circus, and The Witches of East End all with me out of town. Whichever I choose, I'm sure I'll enjoy it.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

In My Mailbox

Hosted By: The Story Siren
Inspired By: Pop Culture Junkie

For Review

*This was a request I made to the publisher. I cannot wait to read it!

*Twisted was one of those random you-didn't-request-they-just-sent-it-to-you type ordeals that was a nice pleasant surprise. I've been wanting to read PLL for a while, but haven't. This may actually be my friend Heidi's first guest review on the blog since she's read the series. I'll eventually read it, I just don't have the time to play catch-up with the series right now. Having Heidi review it will not only give you a better review from someone who has kept up with the series, but also will get the review to you quicker. :)


*These three were purchased at Books-A-Million in their Bargains section. After being hyped up from hearing Heidi talk about all of the wonderful books there, I was kind of disappointed with their selection. However, Heidi said there was more at her local BAM (I went to a different one), so we've actually got a date to go to that one when I visit her next week. Hopefully, I have many more to show you!

*I'll be honest, I've been looking at this series for a while now but just haven't had the chance to read it. I still don't really have the time right now with my current massive TBR list, but I ended up getting a pretty good deal on these - so I decided to go ahead and add them to my stockpile. Ha.
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