Thursday, September 29, 2011

Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Blood Red Road by Moira Young
Reviewed by: Baby Sister Brittany
The Sisters Say: Exciting, Emotional, and EPIC

Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba's world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back.

Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she's a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.

Blood Red Road has a searing pace, a poetically minimal writing style, violent action, and an epic love story. Moira Young is one of the most promising and startling new voices in teen fiction.

This book should be listed in the dictionary under the word epic.

I could stop there and my review would probably be sufficient, but for your sake, I’ll keep going.

Blood Red Road centers around a girl named Saba. Saba has always followed behind her brother Lugh—in birth (she was born the second twin), in daily life, and in danger. When her brother is kidnapped, she vows to follow him, to find him and rescue him. She’s never been more than a mile from her home in Silverlake—a vast, desert wasteland—but she travels days upon days on foot in her attempts to follow her brother’s kidnappers.

Young’s description of the environment was so vivid that I could imagine the sweeping sands around my legs, the burn of the sun on my skin, and the sting of the dust in my eyes.

It gets started a bit slowly (though the writing is exquisite from page one), but when it does get into the plot it plows on full-speed ahead. Saba must battle dangerous environments, dangerous characters, and dangerous desires if she’s going to reach her brother in time to save him. Her first stop to find her brother is Hopetown, and from the minute she got there, I couldn’t put the book down. I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ll say that while in Hopetown she’s given the nickname “Angel of Death.” That’s also where she meets Jack.

Oh Jack. He’s charming with a side of cocky—just how I like them. J The romance between Jack and Saba takes a while to kick in, but when it did, It was more addicting than any romance I’d read in quite a while.

While I’m talking about characters, I should talk a bit about Saba. She’s the opposite of her brother (and of Jack). She’s a survivor. She’s stubborn, rude, and not at all the typical hero. This book has me thinking a lot about “unlikeable characters.” There is such a fine balance (especially when dealing with first person) between creating a character with flaws and creating a character who is unlikeable. Saba has flaws. She can be mean, selfish, reckless, and unforgiving. And yet, her character never put me off. I still rooted for her, even when she openly admitted to not loving her little sister as much as she loves her brother. Even now, I’m still trying to pinpoint why. Were her flaws understandable given her background? Did her passion and her devotion to saving her brother win me over? I think it might be simply that her character was so well fleshed out. I tell my acting students all the time that they must think about opposites. With all our capacity to love, there is just as much capacity to hate. Indeed, our closest relationships are the ones in which we FEEL the most—and often we jump to the extremes of love and hate easier in those relationships than in all others. I think a part of me understood that hate is still a feeling, and that Saba’s hatred of her little sister only proved her capacity to love her just as much.

This book had all the makings of a stand alone book. No incomplete, cliffhanger ending. This story had a complete beginning, middle, and end (and what an amazing beginning, middle, and end it was). However, I do understand this book is the first in the Dustlands series. I am so excited to see what happens next, and most importantly to learn about the world of this book. It’s set some time in the future where droughts and dust have taken over the land. Cars and technology are considered relics of a past civilization called “Wreckers.” Other than that, we don’t know much about the history that led up to this point. Though my guess is that it has something to do with climate change (and considering the monstrous drought we’re having in Texas, it’s pretty easy for me to believe the world could just dry up).

All in all—I adored this book. The ONLY thing I didn’t care for was the way the book was written in dialect. I felt it was sometimes inconsistent, but that was very easy to overlook.

Like I said at the beginning…

Characters: EPIC
Setting: EPIC
Story-line: EPIC
Blood Red Road: EPIIIIIIIIIIC. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: The Hunger Games Movie

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine in which we highlight a book that we are anxiously waiting to be released!  This week in honor of Banned Books Week, we are actually going to do something a little different.  We are going to feature a movie we are all DYING to see, The Hunger Games.

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In 2010, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins was the 5th most challenged book.  I have yet to meet anyone that did not fall head over heels in love with this series when they read it!  Its an amazing, breath-taking piece of art that should never be taken off a shelf, unless its to be read!  The Hunger Games movie will be released on March 23, 2012!  You can bet, I'll be at that midnight showing!!!  




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"May the odds be ever in your favor!"


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading!
To participate all you have to do is:

•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure what you share doesn't give too much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others!) 
 Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower
by Stephen Chbosky


Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie is navigating through the strange worlds of love, drugs, "The Rocky Horror Picture Show", and dealing with the loss of a good friend and his favorite aunt.

In conjunction with Banned Books Week, this week's Teaser Tuesday comes from a book that topped the challenged books list for several years in a row. Name a controversial subject, and this book probably touches on it. HOWEVER... Chbosky tackles these subjects not as a gimmick or an attempt to be controversial, but because real teenagers face them every day. Charlie is a particularly sweet teen who has a very contemplative, innocent, curious outlook on life. Seeing high school through his eyes is simultaneously humorous, sad, scary, and insightful. 

My Teaser Tuesday quote comes from pg. 26

"Patrick started driving really fast, and just before we got to the tunnel, Sam stood up, and the wind turned her dress into ocean waves. When we hit the tunnel, all the sound got scooped up into a vacuum, and it was replaced by a song on the tape player. A beautiful song called "Landslide." When we got out of the tunnel, Sam screamed this really fun scream, and there it was. Downtown. Lights on buildings and everything that makes you wonder. Sam sat down and started laughing. Patrick started laughing. I started laughing. And in that moment, I swear we were infinite." 

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Veil by Cory Putman Oakes

The Veil by Cory Putman Oakes
Reviewed by: Baby Sister Brittany
Received from: Jen at I Read Banned Books
The Sisters say: Interesting, Unique, but Underwhelming

Seventeen-year-old Addison Russell is in for a shock when she discovers that she can see the invisible world of the Annorasi. Suddenly, nothing is as it appears to be the house she lives in, the woman who raised her, even the most beautiful boy in town all turn out to be more than what they seem. And when this strange new world forces Addy to answer for a crime that was committed long ago, by parents she has never known, she has no choice but to trust Luc, the mysterious Annorasi who has been sent to protect her. Or so he says . . .

I have mixed feelings over this book. It was refreshing to read a paranormal book that didn’t involve vampires or werewolves or any of the other traditional creatures of fantasy lore. The world of the Annorasi was a creation unique to this book. It was well-thought out, original, and interesting to read about.

I liked the characters. Luc was charming. Gran was just plain awesome. Nate and Olivia were great best friend characters. Addy was a likeable. The cats were the ultimate win (I don’t want to give this away, but you’ll know what I mean when you read it).

The story had some twists and turns that though predictable, were exciting and definitely page-turning!

Despite all that, the story never really hooked me. I am normally the kind of person who reads books in one sitting because I just can’t put them down. This book I could have put down at any time. Not because it was bad, persay, but it just didn’t reel me in. In part, I think this was because lack of a distinct voice. I said that I liked Addy, and I did, but with the book being in 1st person, her voice felt pretty generic. She had some funny moments towards the beginning, but then her voice got a little over analytical, and just not interesting enough to carry the story on. I think it would have been a stronger story in third person.

I also didn’t buy the romance between Luc and Addy. I knew it was coming, and I was waiting for some moments between them, but they just didn’t happen. They were pretending to date so that Luc could be near Addy to protect her, and other characters kept making comments about how it was obvious they really had feelings for each other, but I never thought it was obvious. They seemed like acquaintances, and then it felt like boom, they were confessing their love for each other.

In all, I thought the idea of this book was good in theory, but just didn’t work in practice. I am holding out hope that the sequel will be stronger. The plot is there, it’s just not well executed, and hopefully it will be more successful the second time around.

I recommend this book to people who are sick of the lack of originality in the paranormal genre. I didn’t connect with the voice of the book, but voice is so subjective, so it might be just what one of you is looking for.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Looking for Alaska by John Green


Looking for Alaska by John Green
Reviewed by: Baby Sister Brittany
The Sisters say: Hilarious. Heart-breaking. Human.

Check out our giveaway of this book here!

Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps." Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps.

Looking for Alaska brilliantly chronicles the indelible impact one life can have on another. A stunning debut, it marks John Green's arrival as an important new voice in contemporary fiction.


I loved every moment of this book, every second of every moment. Every millisecond within those seconds—I was in love.

John Green has such a way with words that I know I will read every book he ever writes from now until the end of time. He could write a book that sounds strange and/or boring and/or like the worst book ever, and I would still read it because I have faith that it will still somehow manage to be brilliant.

I don’t know about you guys, but when I look back on my life, I remember it according to the people I knew, the places I’ve been, the things I’ve done, and the books I’ve read. Looking for Alaska is one of the books that left such a profound effect on me that I can remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I read it. (In case you’re wondering, I was working backstage during a production of Romeo and Juliet. I was crying in my little chair backstage, and Romeo was crying onstage because he’d just entered the tomb and found Juliet.)

Green creates characters that are at once realistic and simultaneously larger than life. Miles is that guy that sat behind you in class, a little quiet, a little random, but kind of fascinating. I absolutely loved his obsession with last words, and went on my own “last words” obsessive streak after I finished the book.

Alaska is a fascinating character because we see her through the eyes of Miles, who is in love with her. He thinks the world of her, but as the book progresses, we can start to see the cracks in her exterior. We can see the normalness, the humanness, the brokenness slipping through the mask of cleverness and mystique that she has so carefully woven.

The book is also populated with tons more fun secondary like my personal favorite—the Colonel.

Miles, Alaska, the Colonel, and their friends get into all kinds of mischief—some of it the standard kind of high school happenings and other things like their pranks are hilarious and awesome and pretty much made of win.

I can’t talk about this book without giving you some of my favorite quotes. Like I said before, Green has a way with words. And sometimes, when I’m frustrated with my own writing or I’m in a reading slump, I’ll go back to his book and revisit some of these quotes, because they renew my faith in YA literature.

“‘It's not because I want to make out with her.’
‘Hold on.’ He grabbed a pencil and scrawled excitedly at the paper as if he'd just made a mathematical breakthrough and then looked back up at me.
‘I just did some calculations, and I've been able to determine that you're full of sh*t’”

“We were kissing.
I thought: This is good.
I thought: I am not bad at this kissing. Not bad at all.
I thought: I am clearly the greatest kisser in the history of the universe.
Suddenly she laughed and pulled away from me. She wiggled a hand out of her sleeping bag and wiped her face. "You slobbered on my nose," she said, and laughed”

“What is an "instant" death anyway? How long is an instant? Is it one second? Ten? … Nothing is instant. Instant rice takes five minutes, instant pudding an hour. I doubt that an instant of blinding pain feels particularly instantaneous.”

“When adults say, "Teenagers think they are invincible" with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don't know how right they are. We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail.”

“Francois Rabelais. He was a poet. And his last words were "I go to seek a Great Perhaps." That's why I'm going. So I don't have to wait until I die to start seeking a Great Perhaps.”

I’m struggling to put into words just how great this book is, so I hope letting John Green’s words do the talking has convinced you.

If not, I end with this:

This book will make you laugh, and it will make you cry.  It will make you fall in love, then break your heart, and then piece it back together again.  It will make you want to change yourself and change the world.  You can't ask for much more than that in a book!

Secret Circle Giveaway Winner

The Winner of our Secret Circle Giveaway is....

*drumroll*



*more drumroll just to build suspense*



*even more drumroll just to be obnoxious*



AYDREA!

We've emailed Aydrea, and if we don't hear from her within 48 hours, we'll randomly select a new winner!

Go here to read our review of SECRET CIRCLE!

Thank you to all those who participated in this giveaway! Be sure to check out our other current Giveaway in conjunction with the Banned Book Hop!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Banned Books Week Hop


We at YA-Sisterhood have the great pleasure of being involved in the Banned Books Week Hop hosted by I Read Banned Books and I Am A Reader, Not A Writer.  I am always shocked at some of the books that are on the challenged list.  My 2 favorite series of all time The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling and The Hunger Games Series Suzanne Collins have both been challenged.  My heart just breaks at the thought of people not being able to read either of those life-changing series. We at the YA Sisterhood don't think anyone should have the right to censor or ban books. Freedom of expression, FTW! I will say that some of the books on the challenged lists do have some controversial content.  So, I would greatly encourage all parents to read the books your children are reading.  Be involved in the process of choosing the books your family reads and read with them!  Some of the best books I've read, have been Young Adult or Children's books.  Most of them have something that appeals to everyone!

If you're interested in more information on Banned Books Week or just banned and challenged books in general, you can visit the ALA website here.

We will be giving away John Green's Printz Award winner, Looking for Alaska, to celebrate Banned Books Week.  This book will make you laugh, and it will make you cry.  It will make you fall in love, then break your heart, and then piece it back together again.  it will make you want to change yourself and change the world.  You can't ask for much more than that in a book!

In an interview with John Green after Looking for Alaska had been challenged, he was asked if he was ever tempted to censor himself as he was writing the novel.  He replied with these words:

"It never occurred to me that it might be a problem while I was writing it... I don't want to have to fight that fight, but I won't shirk the responsibility I feel to my books and my readers.  Teachers have been trained to teach, and they know how to teach, and we need to fight to let them teach uncensored books--whether it's Catcher in the Rye (or Alaska, for the matter)..." 

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Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps." Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps. 

Looking for Alaska brilliantly chronicles the indelible impact one life can have on another. A stunning debut, it marks John Green's arrival as an important new voice in contemporary fiction.













*GIVEAWAY CLOSED*







Thursday, September 22, 2011

Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Release date:  October 18, 2011
Published by:  Spencer Hill Press
Reviewed by:  AmyG (big sis)
Sisters Say:  Hot, Heady, and Harrowing

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The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi-pure-bloods-have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals-well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures.Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1:Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden.Unfortunately, she's crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn't her biggest problem--staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck.  -Goodreads  

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I'm going to start off by saying that Spencer Hill Press is an indie publishing house, but it has put out an amazing book that can rival anything from the big mainstream publishers.  I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up this book, but lo' and behold I was completely blown away and left utterly speechless.
  
Half-Blood combines two of my favorite things, Greek mythology and YA literature.  We get to see a modernized Greek world in which the people believe that the gods are still alive and well.  It has it all, pure-bloods, half-bloods, oracles, chosen ones, and everything in between.  The world is complete in and of itself, with its own government and laws.  Everyone is raised up to take a role in the community.  Sometimes the roles are great, sometimes not.  

Half-Blood's characters are genuine and distinct.  I found them multi-dimentional and felt a connection to all of them, even the ones that are clearly not very likable.  Alex is a worthy heroine that is brave beyond belief.  She's likable and relatable.  I wanted her to succeed and cheered her on with all my heart even as it broke as she had to face the tasks required of her.  Aiden, oh Aiden, Mr. Sizzling!  He will make your blood boil!  He's a rule follower except when it comes to love!  Isn't that what every girl wants?!?  Lastly, I have to mention Seth.  What can I say about Seth?  He has the makings of legitimate angle in a love triangle.  I'm anxious to see where the story goes concerning him. 

At the heart of the story is a relationship of forbidden love though.  Love, not only forbidden by the laws but quite possibly forbidden by the fates.  I don't want to say too much for fear of giving too much away, but its the perfect blend of love, wanting, and tension.  I found myself yelling at the book, just kiss her!!!  I will tell you that Jennifer does not disappoint when it comes to the love story!  I was not left wanting!  Woo, where's my fan?

This book is the type you buy for yourself and for other people. Then, beg them to read it also just so you can talk about it!  There's so much more to it that I couldn't even mention.  Horrible, impossible decisions characters are forced to make, or hardships that they have already faced.   Plus, the whole idea of what exactly makes someone of "pure" blood?  Is it something that one is physically born with or is it the soul and character of that person?  Half-Blood is a timeless story, and  I encourage everyone to read!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: The Juliet Spell by Douglas Rees


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. It spotlights books that have not yet been released, but ones that you should pre-order today! This weeks book that we are anxiously awaiting is:

The Juliet Spell by Douglas Rees


Release Date: September 27th, 2011


Summary by goodreads.com


I wanted the role of Juliet more than anything. I studied hard. I gave a great reading for it—even with Bobby checking me out the whole time. I deserved the part.
I didn't get it. So I decided to level the playing field, though I actually might have leveled the whole play. You see, since there aren't any Success in Getting to Be Juliet in Your High School Play spells, I thought I'd cast the next best—a Fame spell. Good idea, right?
Yeah. Instead of bringing me a little fame, it brought me someone a little famous. Shakespeare. Well, Edmund Shakespeare. William's younger brother.
Good thing he's sweet and enthusiastic about helping me with the play...and—ahem—maybe a little bit hot. But he's from the past. Way past. Cars amaze him—cars! And cell phones? Ugh.
Still, there's something about him that's making my eyes go star-crossed....


Don't y'all just love this cover?!?! That is so me...running around in a fancy dress and pink sneakers. If only she were playing in a fountain, then I would definitely think someone stole my prom pictures from me! Please comment and let us know what books you are waiting to come out. Also, be looking in the next week for my review of The Juliet Spell. Here's a little teaser from the book to "wet your appetite":

Edmund scratched his beard and looked up. "For me," he began, "acting is queen, mother and mistress all in one. And more than a bit of a bitch. But I love her as I love no other thing. But, no. That does not speak to what acting is. Acting is-is finding the truth in the most artificial thing there is. For theater is a metaphor for all of life and all that is truest in it. Acting an endless race through a hall of mirrors seeking the one that shows, not yourself, but the truth of the character you're playing. The truth in the shadow. An then reflects it, not to yourself, but to the audience at your feet. And when it works, there is nothing finer." (pages 56-57)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading!
To participate all you have to do is:

•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure what you share doesn't give too much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others!) 
 Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

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Half-Blood (Covenant #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Release date:  October 18, 2010
Published by: Spencer Hill Press


"I really wished he'd let go of my arm, because his fingers dug into my skin and something...something else was happening.  I felt it move inside me, twisting and wrapping itself through my core, and with each coil I knew it was linking us together." (ARC p. 186)

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Stay tuned for a review of this amazing book later this week!  Add this to your TBR!  It is an addicting read that you do not want to miss!!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon
Release date:  October 4, 2010
Published by: Harper Teen
Reviewed by:  AmyG (big sis)
Sisters Say:  Magical, Mesmerizing, and Magnetic


Their love was meant to be.
When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, everything in her life seems to fall into place. After growing up in America, she's surprised to find herself feeling at home in her new school. She connects with a group of friends, and she is instantly drawn to darkly handsome Adam DeRĂ­s.
But Megan is about to discover that her feelings for Adam are tied to a fate that was sealed long ago—and that the passion and power that brought them together could be their ultimate destruction. 


From the moment I saw this cover, I was hooked!  So, whenever Brooke Reports let me borrow it, I was ecstatic!  Thank you Brooke!  I love you bunches!  Some books have covers that perfectly represent their book, and suffice to say Carrier is one of the them!  All the emotions I felt when I first saw the cover were the same I felt as I read the novel: magical, mesmerzing, and magnetic!

This book has so much that makes it unique in YA today!  First off, it is set in beautiful, mystical Ireland.  I've always pictured Ireland as such a magical place, and it did not disappoint!  The rain, the fog, the countryside, the ruins, and the character's accents add a richness to the story that keeps you hanging on until the last sentence.  Ireland also fits perfectly as the backdrop to the powers that are involved in the story.  That is another uniquely different quality of this book.  I don't want to go too much into it because I want all of you to be surprised.  However, I will say, that there are very few YA novels that contain this type of the supernatural.  No vampires or werewolves here folks!

This is a hard review to write because I feel like even if I say a little it will be too much!  So, I'm just going to say that it was an amazing book.  It sets up this great world with its own history and rules.  The love story is magnetic.  Adam and Megan are drawn, almost compelled to one another by more than love and attraction.  It's a book that you fly through and can't wait until the next interaction between the two main characters.  The supporting cast is just as mysterious and likable as Adam and Megan.  They have secrets and intriguing backstories of their own.  It ends with a great set up for the rest of the series without leaving you with a huge, heartbreaking, cliffhanger ending!  I can't wait for the coming books, I think they will only get better!  I encourage everyone to get this book then come back and talk to me about it!  I need to fan-girl about it without worrying about spoilers!!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Secret Circle: Review, TV Show, and a Giveaway!


















Many of you might know that a new TV Show premiered on The CW last week after the season premiere of The Vampire Diaries. This show is based on yet another L.J. Smith series called The Secret Circle.

I read The Secret Circle books a few years ago (though they were written back in the 90’s), and absolutely loved them. The reprinting featured four books (The Initiation, The Captive: Part I, The Captive: Part II, and The Power), which were combined and printed in two books.

In honor of the new TV show, I’ve done a review of the books, and we’ll also be hosting a GIVEAWAY!!! I’ll be giving away the entire Secret Circle book series to one lucky winner! Read the review below and more instructions at the end for how to win this book!

Here’s the summary for the first book (from goodreads):

The circle's power has lured her home
Forced to move from sunny California to gloomy New England, Cassie longs for her old life. Even so, she feels a strange kinship to a terrifying group of teens who seem to rule her school. Initiated into the coven of witches that's controlled New Salem for hundreds of years, she's drawn into the Secret Circle, a thrill that's both intoxicating and deadly. But when she falls for the mysterious and intriguing Adam, Cassie must choose whether to resist temptation or risk dark forces to get what she wants—even if it means that one wrong move could ultimately destroy her.

These books came out long before the vampires, witches and werewolf craze of today, but they’ve endured so well because they are truly great stories. When you read them now, they can occasionally feel a bit dated, but I honestly didn’t even mind. The characters were so distinct and powerfully written, that you’ll get swept away in the story even with the absence of cell phones and the internet.

Cassie is such a likeable main character that she makes a fantastic lens through which we see the story. There is a bit of a love triangle, but I for one, connected so strongly with Cassie, that I felt for both boys in exactly the same way she did. These books were dark—murders and mysteries and family secrets. The haunting and sometimes scary tone makes this book a definite page-turner! And Faye is the perfect foil to Cassie and one scary chick (complete with a motorcycle jacket to finish off the rough and tough image).

Some of the characters might feel a bit stereotypical at times, but you have to remember that this book was written in the 90’s long before the cookie cutter YA books of today that feel like remanufactured versions of the same story. In fact, it could be argued that many of those books are copying characters and situations seen in L.J. Smith’s books. So please, give this book a chance, and marvel at the staying power of a series that was published in 1992 (almost twenty years ago!) and is still popular among teenagers today.

I’ve also seen the first episode of the TV series based on the books. While many things have changed, from the location to the death of a character—the heart of the story remains the same, and I’m looking forward to seeing where CW takes this series!

Also... check out the LOL-WORTHINESS of the original book covers for this series way back in the nineties. :)



If you’d like to be entered for a chance to win The Secret Circle series, please complete the form below.

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. CHECK BACK SOON FOR A WINNER. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Release date: September 29, 2011
Published by:  Dutton
Reviewed by:  AmyG (big sis)
Sisters Say:  Lovely, Lively, and Liberating

Summary from goodreads.com


Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood. 

When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.


Stephanie Perkins has hit one out to the park again, folks!  If you fell in love with Anna and the French kiss it will happen all over again in Lola and the Boy Next Door.  Most you know, this is a companion novel to Anna, to the relief of my heart, we get to see a lot of Anna and St. Clair!  Etienne is sexy and funny as ever, and its so fun to catch glimpses of how wonderful him and Anna are doing!  So many things struck a chord with me in this novel, but the ones that stayed with me the most would have to be the setting, Lola, and of course sweet sweet Cricket!

In Anna we had the backdrop of beautiful Paris.  I was wondering how Stephanie would top that, but lo' and behold, she did!  Lola takes place in the Bay area; however its their eclectic little neighborhood that draws you in this time around!  Its an artsy neighborhood filled with old historical houses.  The setting serves as a great backdrop for Lola's creative expression.  Stephanie Perkins has an amazing talent of making her world come to life in the pages.  I can close my eyes and picture Lola's house and her neighborhood as if it was laying out right in front on me.  I lived in Austin for 9 years before we moved to Oklahoma a year and a half ago.  There's a huge part of me that really misses the creativity and corkiness of Austin.  I know that this novel was not set in Austin, but her description of Lola's neighborhood reminded of Austin so much!  I felt so at home in the pages of her novel!  Its great to open up a book and have it relieve a bit of homesickness.

Lola, Lola, Lola, I am so in love with that name and the character!  Lola is a designer.  Okay, you say, so what, designers are everywhere now.  Everyone wants to be a designer, but Lola is it!  She is a creator.  She can create something from nothing.  At the beginning of the book, she says that her goal is to never where the same thing twice!  No, she's not a rich spoiled girl that buys a million outfits.  She has a few outfits and literally turns them into something different else everyday!  Her outfits are always unique and bright and something completely different.  She reminds me of a smiley face sunshine.  Even if I had that kind of talent, I would never be brave enough to wear the things she does.  She's brave and daring, and I love that she marches to the beat of her own drum.  She's also a character that has been forced to deal with hardship in her life.  She struggles through it and make mistakes, but she learns from those mistakes.  I was so proud to see how far she had come by the end of the novel!

Now for the boy next door part, Cricket.  Yes that's really his name!  I will probably never be able to kill another Cricket in my life!  Without getting to gushy, he's simply wonderful!  I love him, I do!  Normally, I'm a bad boy kinda girl!  Read all my reviews, and you'll see I always go for the bad guy!  Not here, ladies and gentleman!  Stephanie has made me go for the good guy!  How rare is it that we actually see a likable good guy though?  Cricket is not boring and is still very mysterious without being a bad boy.  He is a little broken though, so maybe that's why I liked him so much.  He's the broken, good guy!  But, with all kidding aside, it was refreshing, to have an intriguing good guy.  You don't always have to be a bad boy to be sexy!

This is definitely a book you should pre-order and read immediately!  Then sleep with it under your pillow and read all your favorite parts again in the morning!  Stephanie Perkins is a great talent that is creating unique novels with her stylized voice reverberating through the pages.  I can't wait to read more from her!  

Friday, September 16, 2011


Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Release Date: On the shelves since August 30th
Reviewed by: Honorary Sister Marylee
This sister says: Haunting (literally), suspenseful, extremely satisfying

Summary from Goodreads.com: 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.


Awesome title: Check
Awesome cover: Check
Awesome premise: Check

I have been waiting for this book to come out for a while because of the list above and it did not disappoint. If you’re in the mood for a violent yet romantic story full of snark, interesting characters, mystery, and really fabulous writing then look no further.

Where do I even start on this book’s amazingness? How about with a personal confession? A serious flaw that I have when reading is that it is really difficult for me to connect with a male protagonist. (The Maze Runner trilogy, I am Number Four, Beautiful Chaos etc… I feel nada for the male characters of these books, and my feelings, or lack thereof, for the books suffer) The only books where I’ve ever truly loved and connected with a male lead are the Harry Potter books (Rowling is my Queen), Jude the Obscure, and The Reader. I truly love these books and I think my love for them is heightened because they achieve what no other books have for me. Romantic interests, secondary male characters, and novels with dual narrators I love, but if the story is led solely by a male character I usually lose interest, and I’m not sure if that’s a failure of the writers I’ve read, or in myself for not being open-hearted/minded enough to connect to someone of the opposite sex… All of that to say, Anna Dressed in Blood has joined the ranks of my male-protagonist loved books, because I LOVE and adore Cas.

He’s hunky, intelligent, funny, and he hunts ghosts… what more could you want? Oh, you want him to be romantic? Well don’t you worry, he becomes that as well too… eventually. I mean this sweet hunk of man has been through so much; his father’s gruesome death, a huge and extremely dangerous legacy he feels he must live up to, and the burden of keeping everyone at a distance so he can focus on his work; the result of which is never having had a true friend. Yet Cas remains a selfless protector for people against dangerous ghosts, and behind his bad@$$ exterior he has an exceptionally large heart. I love my boys beautifully broken, which Cas is, but he never comes off too angsty even though he has every right to be.

And Anna, oh my Anna. Who doesn’t love a girl who can (literally) rip a guy limb from limb? I know I do. And Carmel and Thomas were pleasant surprises as compelling, fleshed-out secondary characters. The way they work together with Cas helps him to learn exactly what friendship is and how important it can (and should) be.

The premise is rather simple. Cas kills murderous ghosts. Anna is a murderous ghost. Therefore, Cas tries to kill Anna. The thing is, Anna is unlike any ghost Cas has ever faced. No one knows how she died or what gives her the immense and invincible power that she uses to murder anyone who enters her house. That is until Cas enters her house. She won’t kill him and despite his skill he cannot kill her, so their encounters end in a kind of stalemate. And what if he shouldn’t kill her? Mystery, creepiness and gore abound in this novel that is as tightly fraught with suspense and action as it is with excellent character development, an incredible and original storyline, fantastic twists, and an ending that will blow you away.

As a warning, there is some language in the book. And I gotta say, that’s another thing I love about this novel. The language is realistic to the characters and situations in this story. I often think it’s “cheating” when an author uses “she cursed,” “he cursed under his breath” and things of that nature instead of just coming out with it. Teenagers and adults curse. Not all of them of course (and if you don’t good for you) but people (like Cas) who grow up around violence and even most kids that go to public school or watch movies above a PG rating do or are at least around it quite often. I love the fact that Ms. Blake stayed true to her characters and didn’t shy away from putting the actual curses in knowing that it would most likely cost her some readers. I felt that it added a layer of reality to the story and made it feel like Cas, Carmel, Thomas, Will, Chase, and Mike could be at your school and that Anna’s house could be in your backyard.

This book is really scary in parts, so if you’re spooked easily you might need a snuggle-buddy to keep from being scared of the things that go bump in the night, but I promise it’s worth it! The end of the book hints at more to come and I desperately hope it does because I for one cannot wait to read more on Cas and his journey.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Release date: September 27, 2011
Published by: Simon and Schuster
Received from the wonderful Brooke @ Brooke Reports
Sisters Say: Steamy, Snarkie, and Stirring




Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
There is.
She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.
She's wrong. (summary from goodreads)





First off, let me start off by saying, "how unbelievably beautiful is this cover?!?!" From moment I saw this art work, I knew that I would read this book regardless of the summary! However, with a cover like this, one might wonder if the words can live up to the art? I would have to give you a resounding "Heck yes!" Before this book, I had been in a reading slump and Mara or maybe I should say Noah snapped me right out of it. The novel has it all, endearing characters, a hot boy, a great mystery, and creepy bad guys!

I honestly loved all of Michelle's characters! Each character in this novel actually correlates with real people in my life! When an author can pull that off it adds a believability and a familiar comfort to their story! Mara's little brother, Joseph has a love of the news, stock reports, and is all around, basically a 35 year-old businessman in a child's body! That is pretty much my youngest sister, Brittany! Those of you who read our blog regularly, know her as Baby Sister Brittany. When she was a little girl (early elementary), her favorite book was the biography of Nelson Mandela! Not kidding folks! We were also frequently corrected on our use of affect/effect, further/farther, who/whom etc. Being 7 years older than her, as you can guess this did not go off well. I do look back on those times fondly and with a smile though! So, when Joseph was doing his quirky little things, I found him so endearing!

And, Noah......What can I say about Noah? All of you know how much I love Jace, well, let me tell you, if you have thing for Jace, then Noah is going to make those butterflies in your stomach do a flash mob! He has the witty, aloof, snarkiness of Jace only a tad more bad boyish!  Oh yeah, and did I mention he's British?!?!  He's completely irresistable! I was seriously sporting the goofy grin every time Noah appeared on the page. I have a feeling Noah is going to be a huge contender in the Crush Tourney next year!

Now, for the boy next door, Jamie! He had me at Ebola!!! That's a little inside joke, but Jamie is wonderful! He's everything a best friend should be! Plus, all of his Harry Potter references caused me some serious squeeing!  I want Jamie as my best friend!

Lastly for characters, I can't not mention Mara! (dang double negative) I love characters that use sarcasm to deal with life. My sisters and I tend to do the same thing, maybe that's why we are constantly raving about how much we love snarkie female heroines! Life is too hard to take everything so seriously and be a Debbie Downer. Sarcasm makes light of situations that on most days would break us. I love that Mara has suffered a horrible tragedy but hasn't lost the sense of who she is.  She's still funny and relatable even though most of us haven't experienced the kind of tragedy she has endured.

Okay, this is getting a tad long, so I will try to wrap this up quickly!  Not only does Mara Dyer have amazing characters, it has a great mystery that will keep you guessing until the end!  Several times I wondered if I was reading a paranormal or contemporary only to have what I thought I knew turned completely upside down and inside out with the shocking ending!  There are several villains through the entire story that will send tingles up your spine from bullies in the school room to the courtroom, and some you never even see coming!  All I can say, is the ending will leave you speechless.  I think I have more questions at the end than I had at the beginning, but its the fun questions.  The ones you spend hours trying to sort out and predict where the story is headed.  Pre-order this book, read it as soon as you get, and you won't regret it!!! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. It spotlights books that have not yet been released, but ones that you should pre-order today! This weeks book that we are anxiously awaiting is:


A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies

Release Date: September 27th, 2011
On the night of Skye’s seventeenth birthday, she meets two enigmatic strangers. Complete opposites—like fire and ice—Asher is dark and wild, while Devin is fair and aloof. Their sudden appearance sends Skye’s life into a tailspin. She has no idea what they want, or why they seem to follow her every move—only that their presence coincides with a flurry of strange events. Soon she begins to doubt not just the identity of the two boys, but also the truth about her own past.
In the dead of a bitingly cold Colorado winter, Skye finds herself coming to terms with the impossible secret that threatens to shatter her world. Torn between Asher, who she can’t help falling for, and Devin, who she can’t stay away from, the consequences of Skye’s choice will reach further than the three of them could ever imagine.

A Beautiful Dark is the first book in a captivating trilogy by debut author Jocelyn Davies.

If you need more convincing to pre-order this one, other than just this blurb and the beautiful cover, go check out our review of A Beautiful Dark here!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading!
To participate all you have to do is:

•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure what you share doesn't give too much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others!) 
 Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

The Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon
Release date:  October 4, 2011
Published by Harper Teen

Here's my teasers:
           "I  looked up at him then froze....His eyes had darkened into huge blackened pupils surrounded by a swirling vivid blue." (ARC p. 222)

           "Aine came into sight and she looked at us in disgust. "Guys, Fionn says dinner is ready, but it looks like you two have already eaten."" (ARC p. 194)




Sunday, September 11, 2011

Juliet Immortal


Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay
Release Date: Been on the shelves since August 9, 2011
Reviewed by: Honorary Sister Marylee
This sister says: Original, Action-packed, Captivating

Summary from Goodreads.com: The most tragic love story in history . . . Juliet Capulet didn't take her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, her new husband, Romeo Montague, a sacrifice made to ensure his own immortality. But what Romeo didn't anticipate was that Juliet would be granted eternity, as well, and would become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light. For 700 years, she's fought Romeo for the souls of true lovers, struggling to preserve romantic love and the lives of the innocent. Until the day she meets someone she's forbidden to love, and Romeo, oh Romeo, will do everything in his power to destroy that love.

This premise grabbed me from the get-go! As a theatre major I’m obligated to love the Bard and all of his works, and believe me I do. I mean, his stories have survived for centuries for a reason people! Romeo and Juliet is arguably his most famous/most performed work, and I thought for Ms. Jay to take a risk by twisting Shakespeare’s story in the way she did was a big one. But it totally paid off!

See, Shakespeare had it all wrong. Juliet loved Romeo, but Romeo loved the idea of immortality more than her. He sacrificed her in order to gain perpetuity. What he didn’t reckon was that through the centuries of his immortal life there would still be a Capulet vs. Montague war, only this time he and Juliet would be at the center of it, fighting each other, her fighting for love and him fighting for evil.

This enthralling read drops you right into the middle of the action, and the pace just doesn’t slow down. Juliet inhabits the body of an emotionally and physically damaged girl named Ariel as an agent for the Ambassadors of Light. She is sent to make sure two soul mates commit to each other. Romeo, as an agent of the Mercenaries of the Apocalypse is sent to make sure one of the soul mates makes the same decision that he did, to sacrifice the other for eternal life. R & J have been doing this for centuries, but this time things are different, and Romeo thinks he has the way to end their never-ending cycle of war. But when Juliet meets a boy named Ben it messes up his plans, and confuses her heart!

There is so much to love about this book! I literally could not put it down and flew through it in one evening. Juliet is a great, complex character who is easy to relate to and love even when she is being difficult, and I found Romeo as a villain deliciously dark and exciting. As easy as it is to hate Romeo for what he did to Juliet, he gives some pretty legit reasons for why he did it, and I found myself caring for him in spite of myself. I did however have problems with the characters of Gemma and Ben. I tire easily of bratty poor-little-rich-girl types like Gemma, and I had little sympathy for her. I found her treatment of Ariel really unforgivable no matter how starved Ariel is for friends. Ben, I just found too perfect. I need my men to have some flaws! I forgave that because I wanted Juliet to find happiness with a nice guy, but Ben started off so wonderful that there was really no room for him to grow as a character. As there will be a sequel to Juliet Immortal, I was ok with the fact that the entire mythology of the book wasn’t explained thoroughly and am looking forward to more of the mythology/world-building in Romeo Redeemed.

My hope is that teens who maybe feel that Shakespeare isn’t really the same language as ours read this story and maybe give the source material it’s based on a chance. Ms. Jay incorporated some of the source material into her novel and inspired me to reread it, and I hope others will give it a chance as well.

The captivating story, the twists, the realistic and very well dealt with themes, Juliet’s realization (which really spoke to me personally), Ariel’s relationship with her mother, and the ending are more than enough to keep me saying, “Out damn sequel! Out I say!”… Ok, so that reference is from another Shakespeare play, it still fits!