Friday, July 27, 2012

Time for more Minis!

“One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time.”

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase's family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

A dreamy summer read, full of characters who stay with you long after the story is over.

My rating: ***

I was really excited to read this, and I think it's because when I got it I was in just the right mood for a sweet summer teen romance novel. And let me say, that there are tons of people who loved this book, and with good reason. The love story is sweet and the Garretts are hilarious. I married into a large family (my husband's the oldest of eight) and I really think Huntley Fitzpatrick captured the chaos, the fun, the friendship, and some of the struggles of a huge family.

So why did I only give it three stars? Because there was way too much swearing, drinking, and casual sex for my comfort level. That, and I just couldn't turn off my brain, which kept interjecting little comments when things didn't mesh logically. How is it possible that Samantha, with her state senator mother and mini mansion lived right next door to the Garretts and their slightly run down house with 9 kids? Those kind of houses aren't usually built next door to each other. And then there were the two youngest Garrett kids. Most reviews I read loved George, the discovery channel loving four year old, but he just wasn't believable to me. I have a four year old (a rather precocious one, I might add) and four year-olds just aren't that intelligent and eloquent. George reminded me of my seven year-old, actually. And the baby just wasn't realistic either. Everything was too funny, too perfectly timed. They didn't feel like real people. And to top it all off, the main conflict of the story was so unbelievable that I almost couldn't finish reading the book. There's no way.

So overall, good with cute moments, but kind of too much to swallow at times.


Summary: (book 3 in the Hex Hall trilogy)
Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.

Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?

My rating: ***

I've gone back and forth on this series so much. At times it is so clever and funny. It kind of reminds of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (anyone?), and I love the modern witch idea. This is the last book in the series and while it definitely had its charming moments, I was so frustrated with it. I feel like I've been waiting the whole series to watch Sophie really use her powers and she never quite delivers the way I'd like her too. And the romance drives me crazy. I can't stand a love triangle where every other page a girl switches off kissing one boy and then the other. Plus, the love triangle resolution in this story is THE ABSOLUTE WORST WAY TO END A LOVE TRIANGLE EVER. Sure! Let's just kill off the other boy! It made me mad.

And so, no glowing review from me for the Hex Hall series. I recommend you don't waste your time. There are much better books to be reading.


Mia Price is a lightning addict. She’s survived countless strikes, but her craving to connect to the energy in storms endangers her life and the lives of those around her.

Los Angeles, where lightning rarely strikes, is one of the few places Mia feels safe from her addiction. But when an earthquake devastates the city, her haven is transformed into a minefield of chaos and danger. The beaches become massive tent cities. Downtown is a crumbling wasteland, where a traveling party moves to a different empty building each night, the revelers drawn to the destruction by a force they cannot deny. Two warring cults rise to power, and both see Mia as the key to their opposing doomsday prophecies. They believe she has a connection to the freak electrical storm that caused the quake, and to the far more devastating storm that is yet to come.

Mia wants to trust the enigmatic and alluring Jeremy when he promises to protect her, but she fears he isn’t who he claims to be. In the end, the passion and power that brought them together could be their downfall. When the final disaster strikes, Mia must risk unleashing the full horror of her strength to save the people she loves, or lose everything

My Rating: **

I wanted to like this. I thought, main character with lightning powers? So cool. But this book is strangely anti-religious and rather freaky and dark. I never felt like Mia rose above her issues and the horror to become a leader and make a difference either. She just kind of went along with things and lucked out, mostly. Plus, the romance is too insta.

An interesting concept, but the execution was too dark and depressing for my tastes. If I'm going to read apocalyptic/dystopian fiction I want my heroines to be kick-butt and I want to find hope and happiness. There's not much of that here.


When your chance for getting into college and your date for the prom are all on the line…

Sixteen-year-old Samantha Taylor is used to having things go her way. She's head cheerleader and has all the right friends and a steady stream of boyfriends. But when she tanks the SATs, her automatic assumptions about going to college don't appear to be so automatic anymore. She determines that her only hope for college admission is to win the election for student body president. Unfortunately, with her razor wit and acid tongue she's better suited to dishing out insults than winning votes.

When she brashly bets her classmate Logan that she can go two weeks without uttering a single insult, Samantha immediately realizes that she may have bitten off more than she can chew. And when her current boyfriend dumps her, less than three weeks before the prom, it couldn't be a worse time to be forced to keep her opinions to herself. Finding a new boyfriend will be a challenge now that Logan shadows her every move, hoping to catch her slipping back into her old ways. Samantha is determined to win the election and find a dream date for the prom, no matter what it takes. After all . . . all's fair in love and war (and high school!).

My Rating: ****

Another hilarious novel from Janette Rallison! I'm still on my quest to read all of her books. This one is a great addition to my little home library and perfect for lending out to all my high school age piano students. Janette Rallison always makes me laugh out loud and her books are perfect pick-me-ups. All's Fair is interesting because I started out not liking Samantha very much, but she makes some real growth as a character and discovers some surprising things about herself. Lots of fun, lots of laughs.


Galen is the prince of the Syrena, sent to land to find a girl he's heard can communicate with fish. Emma is on vacation at the beach. When she runs into Galen — literally, ouch! — both teens sense a connection. But it will take several encounters, including a deadly one with a shark, for Galen to be convinced of Emma's gifts. Now, if he can only convince Emma that she holds the key to his kingdom . . .

Told from both Emma and Galen's points of view, here is a fish-out-of-water story that sparkles with intrigue, humor, and waves of romance.

My Rating: ****

This book surprised me! I wasn't sure how I felt about the whole "both teens sense a connection" line and I was worried about major insta-love, but the story turned out to have some very nice depth and substance. I liked both Emma and Galen and their very real struggles. And I'll admit, I really enjoyed all the mermaid (pardon me, Syrena) mythology.

One weird thing I have to mention is that the chapters are told from alternating points of view, and when it's Emma's POV it's written in first person, but when it's Gale's POV it's written in third. That kind of bothered me.

Other than that, I don't have too many complaints. I thought it was funny, the writing was nice, and the story flowed well. The setting with its beautiful underwater world totally sucked me in. Loved the bits with sunken treasure and shipwrecks (including a certain ship that wrecked that I happen to be obsessed with, which you will discover in my very next review...).

Great plot, very fun, and a perfect summer read.


The classic minute-by-minute account of the sinking of the Titanic, in a 50th anniversary edition with a new introduction by Nathaniel Philbrick First published in 1955, A Night to Remember remains a completely riveting account of the Titanic's fatal collision and the behavior of the passengers and crew, both noble and ignominious. Some sacrificed their lives, while others fought like animals for their own survival. Wives beseeched husbands to join them in lifeboats; gentlemen went taut-lipped to their deaths in full evening dress; and hundreds of steerage passengers, trapped below decks, sought help in vain.

Available for the first time in trade paperback and with a new introduction for the 50th anniversary edition by Nathaniel Phil-brick, author of In the Heart of the Sea and Sea of Glory, Walter Lord's classic minute-by-minute re-creation is as vivid now as it was upon first publication fifty years ago. From the initial distress flares to the struggles of those left adrift for hours in freezing waters, this semicentennial edition brings that moonlit night in 1912 to life for a new generation of readers.

My Rating: *****

I am obsessed with the Titanic. It started in my junior year of high school when we did a Titanic unit in English, and I have been in love with the subject ever since. It fascinates me, especially the human stories. This year my Titanic obsession has reached fever pitch with the 100th anniversary. My husband and I have watched maybe 15 documentaries this year and a couple movies. The movie based on this book is by far the best. It may be older cinematography and black and white, but it really captures the whole story best. And now I'm getting sidetracked.

This book is a must-read and a must-have for Titanic fans. I starts with the sighting of the iceberg and tells the entire story from several points of view, and manages to do it in a way that feels like the best told fiction. And let me tell you, Walter Lord knows his stuff. He is the Titanic expert.

I loved this. I cheered for the heroes, for Lightoller, for the engineers, for Jack Phillips on the wireless, for the brave men and women who chose to give up their places in the boats for others. I screamed in frustration over the Californian, sitting just 10 miles away and doing nothing about the ship they were too indifferent about to realize was sinking. I was terrified and freezing cold and awed at the sight of the biggest ship in the world sinking. I was there.

Highly recommended for Titanic fans!

Can true love be forgotten?

As the only scion who can descend into the Underworld, Helen Hamilton has been given a nearly impossible task. By night she wanders through Hades, trying to stop the endless cycle of revenge that has cursed her family. By day she struggles to overcome the fatigue that is rapidly eroding her sanity. Without Lucas by her side, Helen is not sure she has the strength to go on.

Just as Helen is pushed to her breaking point, a mysterious new Scion comes to her rescue. Funny and brave, Orion shields her from the dangers of the Underworld. But time is running out--a ruthless foe plots against them, and the Furies' cry for blood is growing louder.

As the ancient Greek world collides with the mortal one, Helen's sheltered life on Nantucket descends into chaos. But the hardest task of all will be forgetting Lucas Delos.

Josephine Angelini's compelling saga becomes ever more intricate and spellbinding as an unforgettable love triangle emerges and the eternal cycle of revenge intensifies. Eagerly awaited, this sequel to the internationally bestselling "Starcrossed" delivers a gritty, action-packed love story that exceeds all expectations.

My Rating: ****

I almost gave this three stars. It was close. But I really did enjoy reading it, no matter what my problems were with the writing. Which I had a lot of. I read a review somewhere about the first book, Starcrossed, that described it as "overwritten" and that's exactly how I'd described this. Every line of dialog is editorialized. Every feeling, event, emotion, description, etc... has a simile or metaphor attached. Some of it is truly beautiful, but most of it is just too much! And the romance!!! Ugggh. The dreaded love triangle. The worst kind.

BUT. But. The mythology! This is the only YA series based on greek mythology that really does the source material justice. It really appeals to my inner greek nerd. That and it's creative and translates the mythology to the modern world in a beautiful and so compelling way. I loved the story and could not stop reading. I can't wait to see how the series ends. I wish I had the last book in my hands right now.

So, despite some crazy annoying writing and a just mean love triangle, I couldn't put it down. I loved it.


melissa @ 1lbr said...

AND Struck is 100% not on my reading radar. After the things you and others have mentioned, I'm ok skipping it, knowing I'll most likely not enjoy it either. Glad to hear the sequel to Starcrossed has some redeeming points, cause I struggled with the first a bit.

Emily said...

Yeah, Struck was a big fail for me and I really wish I hadn't wasted the time I spent reading it! I struggled with the first Starcrossed too, but the greek mythology keeps bringing me back.