Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Captivate by Carrie Jones


Zara and her friends knew they hadn't solved the pixie problem for good. Far from it. The king's needs grow deeper every day he's stuck in captivity, while his control over his people gets weaker. It's made him vulnerable. And now there's a new king in town.

A turf war is imminent, since the new pixie king, Astley, is moving in quickly. Nick nearly killed him in the woods on day one, but Zara came to his rescue. Astley swears that he and Zara are destined to be together, that he's one of the good guys. Nick isn't buying it, though Zara isn't as sure -- despite herself, she wants to trust the new king. But it's a lot more than her relationship with Nick that is at stake. It's her life -- and his.

In this sequel to Need (2008), Zara is still struggling with a “Pixie Problem”.  She’s the type of girl who writes letters for Amnesty International, and has trouble knowing whether she’s doing the right thing fighting and imprisoning pixies.  When Astley comes along, saying that not ALL pixies are evil, she wants to trust and believe him, especially if it will protect her friends and family.  I liked Nick, but I like how there was new male competition without Zara ever waffling in her love for Nick.  They weren’t jealous and doubting each other.  It makes me really want to see what will happen in the next book.  And there will be another one!

Intriguing cover, captivating story, interesting paranormal twists.  I’m even more hooked on this series than I was when I read Need!

Stars: 4 1/2

Pages: 273

Hardcover release: January 5, 2010

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side

The undead can really screw up your senior year ...
Marrying a vampire definitely doesn’t fit into Jessica Packwood’s senior year “get-a-life” plan. But then a bizarre (and incredibly hot) new exchange student named Lucius Vladescu shows up, claiming that Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess by birth—and he’s her long-lost fiancĂ©. Armed with newfound confidence and a copy of Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire’s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, Jessica makes a dramatic transition from average American teenager to glam European vampire princess. But when a devious cheerleader sets her sights on Lucius, Jess finds herself fighting to win back her wayward prince, stop a global vampire war—and save Lucius’s soul from eternal destruction.

(Summary from

To start with, I was intrigued by the cover.  The title made me think that the book would be a lighthearted romantic book.  While it was romantic, it was a darker read, to which the title didn’t seem to fit with me. 

Moving on though, the story itself was intriguing.  Jessica is a very logical girl, a mathlete, whose adoptive mother studies myths and other cultures.  Seventeen years ago she and her husband had been observing a sub-culture in Romania when a couple asked them to adopt their baby daughter before they were killed.  So, Antanasia becomes Jessica, and grows up an American teenager in rural Pennsylvania.  At first when Lucius tells that he is a vampire, and he is her vampire princess, she rejects it and clings to her logic.  Eventually he breaks through her defenses and rational barrier.  I enjoyed seeing Jessica’s growth as she came to know her destiny.  The vampire guide to growing up undead was hilarious: reminding me of other “growing up” books that your parents might foist on you or even read with you as a teenager (shudder!).

Rating: 3.5 stars

Pages: 351 (hardcover)

Published: February 1, 2009

Hearts at Stake by Alexandra Harvey

Hearts at Stake

It was vampire week for me, between Hearts at Stake and Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side (which I’ll post next)!  So, let’s get on with it:

On Solange’s sixteenth birthday, she is going to wake up dead. As if that’s not bad enough, she also has to outwit her seven overprotective older brothers, avoid the politics involved with being the only daughter born to an ancient vampire dynasty, and elude Kieran Black—agent of an anti-vampire league who is searching for his father’s killer and is intent on staking Solange and her entire family.

Luckily she has her own secret weapon—her human best friend Lucy—who is willing to defend Solange’s right to a normal life, whether she’s being smothered by her well-intentioned brothers or abducted by a power-hungry queen. Two unlikely alliances are formed in a race to save Solange’s eternal life—Lucy and Solange’s brother Nicholas, and Solange and Kieran Black—in a dual romance that is guaranteed to jump start any romance-lover’s heart.


I wasn’t too excited about another vampire story.  I always expect them to pale in comparison to the Twilight series.  In this case, I was impressed.  Alexandra Harvey creates a new vampire world with an evil queen, another vampire creating his own undead army that he can’t completely control, and a group of humans sworn to destroying all vampires.  With so many new elements to our world I was really impressed that Alexandra Harvey kept the pace of the novel running smoothly.  The information that we needed was sprinkled in lightly along with the rest of the story instead of pausing it.

I loved the characters, and the dual romances.  I especially loved Lucy and Nicholas and their chemistry.  As this is the first of the Drake Chronicles, the story came to a good resting point, and the romances were just blossoming.  I can’t wait for them to continue to grow, and am glad that Harvey is taking her time instead of rushing the characters into love so fast that she has nothing to do but make them doubt it in the next book to keep us reading.

A good, fast read.

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

Pages: 256

Published: December 22, 2009

Teaser quote: “What are you doing?”

“I have no idea,” he admitted.  His lips hovered barely a breath away from mine.

“I thought you were mad a tem.” I really wanted to lean forward, just ever so slightly.

“I am.”

“You’re also trying to use your vamp mojo on me.”

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Review of Heist Society by Ally Carter

Heist SocietyWhen Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own--scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving "the life" for a normal life proves harder than she'd expected.

Soon, Kat's friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring her back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat's father isn't just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat's dad needs her help. For Kat there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it's a spectacularly impossible job? She's got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in history--or at least her family's (very crooked) history. (From

The description says it all.  Raised from a young age into the criminal set, what Kat really wants is to be normal.  Unfortunately, her love for her family trumps that and pulls her back in.  We felt Kat’s struggle to be “good”, yet recognized her immense talent for the crooked life.  This book reminded me a lot of Ocean’s Twelve, except I related to these characters a lot more.  Kudos to Ally Carter for a great new heroine, and a great new series.  It had me laughing, cheering, and holding my breath all the way!

P.S. According to Variety Warner Brothers has picked up the movie rights for Heist Society.  Wahoo!  So far, they’re planning on having the characters be in their twenties instead of teens-I don’t know how I feel about that.

5 stars

304 pages

Published February 9, 2010 (Hardcover)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Winter Escapes Widget

In My Mailbox

As inspired by The Story Siren and her weekly In My Mailbox post, here’s what I got this week:



BBC’s new version of Emma.  It aired on Masterpiece Theatre this past month.  Four hours long, and lots of fun!









Heist Society

Heist Society by Ally Carter-review to be posted shortly.









Many thanks to for willingly taking all my money and sending me great entertainment :)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Birthday Book Giveaway

Okay, it’s not my giveaway, or my birthday, but The Undercover Book Lover is giving away ten March new releases for her birthday on March 10th.  Click here for a link to her site to enter.  I am!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Review of Fallen by Lauren Kate

Fallen There's something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price's attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He's the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.
Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce--and goes out of his way to make that very clear--she can't let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.

Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, Fallen is a page turning thriller and the ultimate love story.

(Summary from

First of all, I LOVED the cover-it called to me over and over on bookstore shelves.

The story did not meet up to my cover expectations though.  Lucinda Price is inexplicably drawn to Daniel Grigori, from the very moment she sees him at Sword and Cross boarding school.  It really is inexplicable too-he smiles at her, then flicks her off-and this is the guy she’s falling in love with.  All of their encounters at school are like this, where Daniel blows hot and cold, confusing poor Luce, and making the readers wonder what she’s supposed to see in him.  From the prologue we know that Luce and Daniel somehow knew each other before, and loved each other in another life, and that is supposed to excuse any lack of groundwork for their budding relationship.  I also felt that I didn’t get to know Luce well enough.  She tells us that she’s smart-that she had a 4.0 GPA at a really tough school, yet with her obsession with Daniel she’s so consumed that all we really see about Luce is her jealousy and obsession.  It was one of those cases where love was so consuming that she couldn’t focus on anything else, and yet Daniel’s behavior didn’t seem to merit it. 

This was a book that I expected to draw me in, yet I was able to put down, and return to later.  I was intrigued to finally learn the paranormal secrets, but it wasn’t until the end of the book that we were finally let in. 

The second book, Torment, comes out in September.  I am still hoping to be more satisfied with it.

Published: December 8, 2009

Pages: 452

Stars: 3 1/2

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Iron King Meghan Chase has a secret destiny—one she could never have imagined…

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth—that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

(Description from


I have to say that I did not like the Iron King as much as everyone else has.  It might just be that it was so built up that I expected it to be exceptional.  That said, I did still enjoy it.  The characters were likable.  Once I got to the middle of the book and the introduction of the Iron Fey, I was impressed.

Think about it: faeries are normally pretty immortal.  The one thing that can harm them is iron.  Now, what happens if you have a new faction of faeries that are made of iron?  That’s right.  It adds a whole new mind-boggling dimension to faerie life.

Meghan’s little brother is kidnapped by faeries.  With the help of her best friend, Robbie, Robin Goodfellow (Puck), Meghan enters the faerie realm to find him.  She also discovers that she is the daughter of Oberon, Summer King.  What follows is court intrigue, lots of traveling through the faerie realms, and the discovery of the Iron Fey (who the faerie kings and queens don’t even know about).

Meghan picks up a few friends along the way: a cat sidhe, and one of the winter princes, Ash.  As the daughter of the summer king, Meghan and Ash should be enemies, but they are still drawn to one another.  Hence, the forbidden love that the cover promised.

Things I liked about this book: the Iron fey, Meghan’s little brother Ethan, Ash (how you couldn’t tell whether he wanted to kiss or kill Meghan), and the cover.

Things I did not like: the amount of time spent “traveling”.  I feel like we spent most of the story traveling from one dimension of the Nevernever (fairyland) to another.  I guess it gave us plenty of descriptions into a new world, but I hope Iron Daughter gets more to the point.  I would have liked more dialogue so I could see Meghan and Ash getting to know one another better.  I also loved that Meghan was supposed to be a computer whiz-that’s not a hobby we see much in our heroines, yet it did not come to play in the story at all.  Maybe next book.

4 Stars

368 pages

Released: February 1, 2010

Teaser quote: “No one touches her,” Ash said, his voice coated with frost. 

Sunday, February 7, 2010

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox explores the contents of my mailbox on a weekly basis. Of course I only mention the really cool things, like books! I got this from The Story Siren's blog. If you would like to participate and have your own “In My Mailbox” post, you can find more information here.">here.



Cross my Heart and Hope to Spy

Hearts at Stake


Iron King


Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys

Waking Rose










Normally, I’d like to put a description of each book up too, but this week I got too many books.  Not that I won’t enjoy reading them, but that would make this a very long post.  So, here are some one liners about each book:

Captivate by Carrie Jones: Sequel to Need, Urban Fantasy book

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter: Second book in her Spy series


Hearts at Stake by Alexandra Harvey: story about a female vampire who was born that way and not made, which makes her exceptional in the vampire world and possibly the subject of prophecy.

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher: Incarceron is a prison where no one is supposed to be able to get out.  What happens when Flinn and Claudia find a key?

Liar by Justine Larbalestier: Author of How to Ditch Your Fairy, this story is a mystery with a protagonist who can’t stop lying.  So how are we going to find out what REALLY happened?

Megan Meade’s Guide to the McGowan Boys by Kate Brian: Modern twist on Snow White

Waking Rose by Regina Doman: Sequel/companion book to Snow White and Red Rose.  A retelling of Sleeping Beauty.

Happy reading, and I hope you’ve gotten some great things in your mailbox this week :)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Darklight by Lesley Livingston

Darklight is the sequel to Wondrous Strange (2008).  

Darklight Faerie can't lie . . . or can they?

Much has changed since autumn, when Kelley Winslow learned she was a Faerie princess, fell in love with changeling guard Sonny Flannery, and saved the mortal realm from the ravages of the Wild Hunt. Now Kelley is stuck in New York City, rehearsing Romeo and Juliet and missing Sonny more with every stage kiss, while Sonny has been forced back to the Otherworld and into a deadly game of cat and mouse with the remaining Hunters and Queen Mabh herself.

When a terrifying encounter sends Kelley tumbling into the Otherworld, her reunion with Sonny is joyful but destined to be cut short. An ancient, hidden magick is stirring, and a dangerous new enemy is willing to risk everything to claim that power. Caught in a web of Faerie deception and shifting allegiances, Kelley and Sonny must tread carefully, for each next step could topple a kingdom . . . or tear them apart.

(Product description from

I absolutely loved Wondrous Strange.  Loved the characters, enjoyed the take on the faerie world.  I was not as impressed with Darklight.  It was hard for me to get into the first half of the book.  Once I got to the middle, it took off though.  I think I was mostly irritated at Sonny and Kelley who were supposed to have fallen in love in Wondrous Strange, but weren’t acting like it anymore.  They were being jealous, untrusting, and getting mad at each other for no reason.  I’m still intrigued by the series, but not as excited about it as I was after reading Wondrous Strange.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars

Published: December 22, 2009

320 pages

Read: January 2010

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg

Loved it, loved it, loved it!Lonely Hearts Club 5 stars

Penny Lane Bloom is a junior in high school, was named after a Beatles song, and has bad luck with guys.  After being cheated on by her lifelong crush (and boyfriend at the time) she starts the Lonely Hearts Club.  Her  idea is that boys are unworthy, and she’s not going to date any for the rest of high school.  Originally the Lonely Hearts Club was really just a cute name for Penny and her new lifestyle, but soon Penny realizes that she’s not the only one who’s been lied to, cheated on, and otherwise misused.  Girls come flocking to her for membership in the club.  Instead of being an anti-guy club, Lonely Hearts turns into a large and empowering circle of friends there to support each other no matter what. 

If you’re interested in joining, here are the rules:

1. Members must stop dating boys for the rest of their high school career

  1. 2. Members attend couples events (like school dances together)

3. Members must come to the Saturday night meetings each week (except in case of emergency)

4. Members support each other

Now, what if Penny has trouble sticking to rule number 1?


This book reminded me a lot of Taylor Swift’s song Fifteen.  There were a lot of girls who’d been pressured into sex and regretted it.  It made me think, and wonder if that was really so common in high school now.  I graduated 8 years ago, without ever having a boyfriend in high school, so if the world is anything like the one Elizabeth Eulberg created, than we NEED this book.  It just radiates with girl power!  You don’t need a guy to complete you; you don’t have to change who you are to impress them; A good group of friends can change the world :)

Despite the theme, Lonely Hearts Club was a very lighthearted and funny read.  I absolutely loved the Beatles references and need to go out and get a greatest hits cd right now.  The characters were well written, and the romance that would not seem to belong in such a girl power book, was perfect.

Published: December 29, 2009

285 pages