Thursday, May 2, 2013

Really Mini Minis

Woefully behind. That's me.

I absolutely love blogging about books. I draft my blogs in my head as I read and after I finish I think about what I'll say about a book as I'm lying in bed trying to fall asleep. I just wish I had more time! It's been a tough few weeks, compounded by some extra emotional stress relating to my pregnancy (long story - which I may share later, but know it probably means you won't hear from me again for a few more weeks until some things have been resolved/figured out). Anyway, I am determined to catch all the way up today. Usually when I say mini reviews it ends up being two to three paragraphs anyway. My goal is about 3 - 4 sentences per book.

Ready. Set. Go!

 From Goodreads:
The Bluebeard fairy tale retold. . . .

When seventeen-year-old Sophia Petheram’s beloved father dies, she receives an unexpected letter. An invitation—on fine ivory paper, in bold black handwriting—from the mysterious Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, her godfather. With no money and fewer options, Sophie accepts, leaving her humble childhood home for the astonishingly lavish Wyndriven Abbey, in the heart of Mississippi.

Sophie has always longed for a comfortable life, and she finds herself both attracted to and shocked by the charm and easy manners of her overgenerous guardian. But as she begins to piece together the mystery of his past, it’s as if, thread by thread, a silken net is tightening around her. And as she gathers stories and catches whispers of his former wives—all with hair as red as her own—in the forgotten corners of the abbey, Sophie knows she’s trapped in the passion and danger of de Cressac’s intoxicating world.

Glowing strands of romance, mystery, and suspense are woven into this breathtaking debut—a thrilling retelling of the “Bluebeard” fairy tale.

My Rating: 4 / 5 stars
This book was deliciously creepy and totally fascinating. I went back and read the original Bluebeard fairy tale after I'd finished and I think Jane Nickerson did an amazing job reinventing it; I was engrossed and terrified and sucked in by the gorgeous writing. I did think Sophia was a bit thick at times, taking way too long to figure things out and I thought her "real" romance was thin and detracted from the story. Overall, though, fabulous, gothic, fairy-tale retelling goodness.

Content: Not gonna lie. Really creepy occasionally and some disturbing revelations and descriptions.

 From Goodreads:
They have tried to squeeze us out, to stamp us into the past.

But we are still here.

And there are more of us every day.

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor.

Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings.

Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it.

But we have chosen a different road.

And in the end, that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose.

We are even free to choose the wrong thing. 

My Rating: 3 / 5 stars

Finally! The last book in the Delirium trilogy! It took me a while to get to it and I'm sorry to say that, while my love for the first two books is undying, this conclusion was a huge disappointment. It's still gorgeous Lauren Oliver writing, but there's really no conclusion! The whole book just dragged on and on and I kept waiting for something (anything) to happen and feeling really irritated by Lena and actually enjoying the sections from Hana's POV best. There's no resolution to the love triangle, no answers about anything I cared about, just a weird, preachy open ending. Blah.

Content: People die (nobody I really cared about), but not in gruesome ways. Talk about sex, though no actual sex.

P.S. This book does get bonus points because Hana's story parallels the Bluebeard fairy tale, which is laced throughout the book. I thought that was especially cool because I'd just read Strands of Bronze and Gold.

 From Goodreads:
You, dear reader, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart—no more so than the study of dragons itself. But such study offers rewards beyond compare: to stand in a dragon’s presence, even for the briefest of moments—even at the risk of one’s life—is a delight that, once experienced, can never be forgotten. . . .

All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world’s preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day.

Here at last, in her own words, is the true story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects, and her fragile flesh and bone to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever.

My Rating: 4 / 5 stars
I loved the unique take on dragons in this book! Everything about this is fun and realistic and fresh. I think I would have like it more, but I was in the mood for something fast-paced when I picked this up and this book is slow and seriously drags at times. However, Isabella is a great and spunky and intelligent heroine (I loved her old lady narrating voice!), and I'll be picking up the sequel which had better be coming soon - that was horrible and SAD ending!

Content: None. I kind of wish there had been a few more dangerous/violent dragon scenes, actually. Dragons were a bit sparse for a book with a dragon on the cover.

From Goodreads:
Emma Smallwood, determined to help her widowed father regain his spirits when his academy fails, agrees to travel with him to the distant Cornwall coast, to the cliff-top manor of a baronet and his four sons. But after they arrive and begin teaching the younger boys, mysterious things begin to happen and danger mounts. Who does Emma hear playing the pianoforte, only to find the music room empty? Who sneaks into her room at night? Who rips a page from her journal, only to return it with a chilling illustration?

The baronet's older sons, Phillip and Henry, wrestle with problems--and secrets--of their own. They both remember Emma Smallwood from their days at her father's academy. She had been an awkward, studious girl. But now one of them finds himself unexpectedly drawn to her.

When the suspicious acts escalate, can the clever tutor's daughter figure out which brother to blame... and which brother to trust with her heart?

My Rating: 3 / 5 stars

think I'm finally sick of Julie Klassen because this one kind of irritated me. There was a lot more religious-y stuff in this one and I found it distracting from what was a pretty interesting plot. There was real evil and danger (except I thought there were people who got away wayyy too easily in the end) and I liked learning about how people with mental illnesses were treated during that time period. It was also a lovely setting. Romance, though? Urgh. Really cheesy.

Content: Nothing.

From Goodreads:
When Desi Bascomb gets discovered by the elite Facade Agency–royalty surrogates extraordinaire–her life goes from glamour-starved to spectacular in a blink. As her new agent, Meredith, explains, Desi has a rare magical ability: when she applies the ancient Egyptian formula “Royal Rouge,” she can transform temporarily into the exact lookalike of any princess who needs her subbing services. Dream come true, right?

Well, Desi soon discovers that subbing involves a lot more than wearing a tiara and waving at cameras. Like, what do you do when a bullying older sister puts you on a heinous crash diet? Or when the tribal villagers gather to watch you perform a ceremonial dance you don’t know? Or when a princess’s conflicted sweetheart shows up to break things off–and you know she would want you to change his mind?

In this hilarious series debut, one girl’s dream of glamour transforms into something bigger: the desire to make a positive impact. And an impact Desi makes, one royal fiasco at a time.

My Rating: 4.5 / 5 stars

really loved this! The most fun book I've read in ages. It's cute and hilarious (Janette Rallison level funny) and magical and I really wish I had the other two books already. I picked this one up at a library book sale and I am on the hunt for the sequels. Desi has spunk and charm and gets into some seriously funny blunders. It's a must-read.

Content: Nothing.

 From Goodreads:
When Mallory’s boyfriend, Jeremy, cheats on her with an online girlfriend, Mallory decides the best way to de-Jeremy her life is to de-modernize things too. Inspired by a list of goals her grandmother made in1962, Mallory swears off technology and returns to a simpler time (when boyfriends couldn’t cheat with computer avatars). The List:
1. Run for pep club secretary
2. Host a fancy dinner party/soiree
3. Sew a dress for Homecoming
4. Find a steady
5. Do something dangerous
But simple proves to be crazy-complicated, and the details of the past begin to change Mallory’s present. Add in a too-busy grandmother, a sassy sister, and the cute pep-club president–who just happens to be her ex’s cousin–and soon Mallory begins to wonder if going vintage is going too far.

My Rating: 4.5 / 5 stars

So, after loving Princess for Hire I was really excited to try out another Lindsey Leavitt book, contemporary YA style. LOVED it. So funny and so charming! Mallory going cold-turkey on technology made me realize just how hard it would be if I tried to do that myself. She has some great experiences with her family (loved them all, by the way, especially her sister and her grandma) and the whole adventure is a great read. Highly recommended.

Content: Definitely more talk about sex and sexually-based humor than you'd find in a Janette Rallison novel, but nothing more than that.

 From Goodreads:
If fate sent you an email, would you answer?

When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O'Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds.

Then Graham finds out that Ellie's Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs? 

My Rating: 4 / 5 stars

Is this book in the least bit realistic? No. But it's a perfectly sweet and funny little bite of a story and I really enjoyed it. Plausibility was my main problem, with the unbelievability piling on with each new revelation, but I liked it best when I just sat back and enjoyed the funny email exchanges and the crazy situations in this book. This is a great, light summer read for teens and you know, non-teen people like me who just love YA. :D

Content: Nothing.

P.S. I also recommend The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith. It came out last year and was so cute. If I were less lazy I'd put a link here to my own review. :D Sorry! You're going to have to check my review index if you're curious. 

From Goodreads:

Strange things are afoot in Castle Glower: new rooms, corridors, and even stables keep arriving, even when they aren't needed. Celie's brother Bran, the new Royal Wizard, has his hands full cataloguing an entire storeroom full of exotic and highly dangerous weapons, while Celie has her hands full . . . raising the creature that hatches from a giant egg she finds! Will they be able to find out what's making the Castle behave this way in time?

My Rating: 4 / 5 stars

I borrowed this from a friend who got it from goodreads first reads. I was so excited when I saw it at her house and of course had to steal it from her for a quick read. This will be out May 7th. I liked Tuesdays at the Castle but thought the ending was a little rushed. This time, Jessica Day George unfolds her plot slowly, building up the tension at just the right pace. I was loving Celie's cute creature troubles, but even more I loved the history and answers behind Castle Glower's mystery, not to mention the danger the castle is in. My only problem? The big fat cliffhanger at the end. I guess Jessica Day George decided that leaving me hanging was better than leaving me confused by a too-fast wrap-up. This is a great series and I'll be getting my own copy of this soon for my library.

Content: None.