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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Book Review: Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter

Title: Goddess Interrupted


Author: Aimee Carter


Publisher: Harlequin Teen


Publication Date: March, 2012


Softcover: 304 pages



Stand Alone or Series: Series–this is the second in a series.


How I got this book: E-galley from Netgalley

Why I chose this book: I fell in love with the first installment of the series – The Goddess Test – and of course had to continue the adventure in this one.


Synopsis:

Kate Winters has won immortality. But if she wants a life with Henry in the Underworld, she’ll have to fight for it.
 Becoming immortal wasn’t supposed to be the easy part. Though Kate is about to be crowned Queen of the Underworld, she’s as isolated as ever. And despite her growing love for Henry, ruler of the Underworld, he’s becoming ever more distant and secretive. Then, in the midst of Kate’s coronation, Henry is abducted by the only being powerful enough to kill him: the King of the Titans.

As the other gods prepare for a war that could end them all, it is up to Kate to save Henry from the depths of Tartarus. But in order to navigate the endless caverns of the Underworld, Kate must enlist the help of the one person who is the greatest threat to her future.

Henry’s first wife, Persephone.



Review:

     This book gives me very conflicting emotions.  On the one hand, it had it’s upsides.  On the other hand, it had it’s downsides.  So let me go over those sides with you.
     This story was the kind that could give me butterflies, desperate to see what was going to happen, or leave me staring blankly at the pages, tears threatening to fall.  So yes, it could wreak havoc with my emotions.  Even though I wasn’t always happy with where the story was taking me, I could never dispute that it wasn’t written well.  Because it was.
     However, I felt at times that the storyline wasn’t going anywhere, that I was just reading around in circles.  Were the characters going to actually do anything?
     And the shifts in character?!  Some characters acted dramatically different in this novel compared to the first, without any apparent reason.
     Also, I want to say a quick something about the problem of the story.  It’s one of those problems that is going to keep going down and down until the last moment, when it can finally be brought back up.  Sometimes those stories turn out phenomenal, but other times they come out completely unrealistic.  Some I’m a little cautious of where the next installment is going to take me in terms of believability.
     Forewarning to anyone who hasn’t read this yet: Cliffhangers galore!
     So that’s all I really have to say at the moment.  I’ll probably remember more later, but for now this will do.  The story was okay, not spectacular, not a flop, just okay.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Book Review: Kissing Shakespeare by Pamela Mingle

Title: Kissing Shakespeare

Author: Pamela Mingle

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: August 14, 2012

Hardcover: 352 pages

Stand Alone or Series: Series–the first in a series (I think…)

How I got this book: Egalley from Netgalley

Why I chose this book: That shouldn’t be a question for this one.  Seriously.  Kissing.  Shakespeare.  The greatest writer of all time.  ‘Nough said.

Synopsis:

Miranda has Shakespeare in her blood: she hopes one day to become a Shakespearean actor like her famous parents. At least, she does until her disastrous performance in her school’s staging of The Taming of the Shrew. Humiliated, Miranda skips the opening-night party. All she wants to do is hide.

Fellow cast member, Stephen Langford, has other plans for Miranda. When he steps out of the backstage shadows and asks if she’d like to meet Shakespeare, Miranda thinks he’s a total nutcase. But before she can object, Stephen whisks her back to 16th century England–the world Stephen’s really from. He wants Miranda to use her acting talents and modern-day charms on the young Will Shakespeare. Without her help, Stephen claims, the world will lose its greatest playwright.

Miranda isn’t convinced she’s the girl for the job. Why would Shakespeare care about her? And just who is this infuriating time traveler, Stephen Langford? Reluctantly, she agrees to help, knowing that it’s her only chance of getting back to the present and her “real” life. What Miranda doesn’t bargain for is finding true love . . . with no acting required.

Review:

     So the beginning of this novel went really slow for me.  Well, and some parts in the middle.  There were several places throughout that could have been snipped up a bit.  At first I wasn’t sure who the actual love interest was, because Miranda never actually showed any preference.  So I was confused on that point.  And then when the actual romance did come around, I felt it was a little too sudden.
     The historical parts of the novel, though, blew me away.  I’m going to take a stab in the dark and guess that Mingle did a lot of research for this one.  From the little obscure details about Shakespeare to the teeth-picking after dinner (yuck) I really felt like this author knew her stuff and wasn’t just bsing it all.
     If I convinced myself that the romance wasn’t spur of the moment, it was actually pretty good.  The way the characters acted, their emotions, were pretty solid.  By the end of the book, I was rooting for them, even though I knew they were starcrossed.  (Starcrossed/Shakespeare…get it?) 
     Honestly, I thought it was a nice quick read, but not deep enough to really spark a flame for me.  I’m not sure yet i I’ll stick around for the second installment.
     Also…little sidenote I almost forgot to add.  This. Cover.  Wow, it’s gorgeous.  I’m not sure if the clothing actually fits the time period, but it is pretty and I want it. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Book Review: After Hello by Lisa Mangum

Title: After Hello

Author: Lisa Mangum

Publisher: Shadow Mountain

Publication Date: September 4, 2012

Hardcover: 272 pages

Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone

How I got this book: Galley from Shadow Mountain

Why I chose this book: After reading the synopsis, I was dying to get my hands on a copy of this book.  Why I was surprised by what the book was about (compared to what I thought it would be about) it was a pleasant surprise.

Synopsis:

What if the first day of your relationship was the only day you had?

Seventeen-year-old Sara is a seeker.  She’s always on the lookout for the perfect moment to capture with her ever-present, point-and-shoot, camera, especially on her first trip to New York City.

Sam is a finder.  He has a knack for finding what other people can’t–a first-edition book or the last two tickets to a sold out Broadway show.  In New York, there’s always something interesting to find. 

When Sam and Sara’s paths cross, neither one of them is prepared for what they will find out about each other–and about themselves when they form an unlikely partnership in search of a seemingly elusive work of art.  They have one day to find the impossible.  Fate brought their talents together, but what happens when time runs out?  Will love be able to overcome fate? 

Review:

     I first want to say that I was totally unprepared for what I read in this book.  Reading t his synopsis, I was expecting some cool detective story where the two characters fall in love.  Wrong.  But that’s okay, because what the story turned into was a jounrey of what happens After Hello
     I’d never really thought about my hellos and goodbyes before, and reading this story brought out a new perspective that I could focus on and try to understand.  And when a book gets you thinking like that, then you know it’s a good one. 
     The realness of the story amazes me as well.  I don’t think I could pinpoint any part of the novel that I thought sounded fake or too much.  It was all just right, perfect.  The falling in love–perfectly crafted.  The race around New York City–bedazzling.  The highs and lows of emotions–breathtaking. 
     If I had to say anything negative about the book at all, I would just say that at some points, the story-line would slow down a bit much, making me want to take a break from the story. 
     I also can’t say that I’m happy about the ending, but that’s a sticky subject.  I could read the best book in the world, and the ending could displease me, because the two characters I was rooting for didn’t end up together, or someone I had gotten to know ended up dying.  But that’s the way the author wanted it to end for some specific reason, so thus it did.  So an ending I don’t like doesn’t always place the book in a negative light.
     I can’t think of anything else to say.  What really makes this story is it’s profoundness, it’s truth, it’s foundation in reality.  A story like that isn’t one you should pass up. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Guest Post: Claudia Gray

Sinking Into Titanic Research
by Claudia Gray
If you ever want to research something and be sure that you are getting absolutely accurate, incredibly detailed information on every last aspect – research the Titanic. Fascination with the lost ship and her one ill-fated journey has never let up during the 100 years since she sank. When I decided to write FATEFUL, I already knew a little about the Titanic, but I knew I’d have to find out a lot more.
Probably the key resource (besides original sources, of course) that everyone turns to first is A NIGHT TO REMEMBER by Walter Lord. Lord was the first one to interview many survivors, and he provided a more comprehensive view of the disaster than anyone had before him – and that includes the official inquiries held in 1912.
But there are tons of other books out there too, and one that really made a difference for me was 1912 FACTS ABOUT TITANIC by Lee Merideth. It’s not a narrative, more a collection of trivia, laid out in a more-or-less chronological order. Imagine – someone had found out precisely who was in each lifeboat, when it was launched, and what happened within those boats between the time they left Titanic and when they were rescued by the Carpathia. Everyone knows about feisty Molly Brown’s defiance, but now I was able to pick out which lifeboat a character should be in, and some things that would happen during those last terrible hours before rescue. (Those stowaways you’ll read about in my book? They were really there.)
Of course, like any 21st century person, I also looked for information online. The best Titanic website, hands down, is the Encyclopedia Titanica. This is the central meeting place for Titanic buffs, and there you can find informative message threads, ship blueprints, and even bios for every single person on board – famous and ordinary, old and young, rich and poor. A lot of info I found here proved invaluable – especially the blueprints. As you know, Tess and Alec do a lot of running around various decks, and those settings are all real.
But the best sense I got of any of the settings came from attending a traveling exhibition of Titanic artifacts, which I believe is still making its way around the world. I saw it three times: Twice in New York City, and once in Melbourne, Australia. This was actually where I got the idea for FATEFUL in the first place. That very first visit to the exhibition, I was completely blown away – it’s amazing. Not only do they have many relics of all kinds brought up from the debris field around the wreckage (postcards, eyeglasses, jewelry, hairbrushes, and even china dishes that never broke), but they also feature many rebuilt rooms. You can look into a third-class cabin. You can see the first-class dining area. You can stand on the grand staircase. How could that not fire up your imagination? It certainly did mine –
Finally, for Titanic visuals – the real sense of how the ship looked, and what it would have been like to be aboard – one absolutely unimpeachable source is the James Cameron 1997 movie (which I bet some of you have just seen in 3D again, just like me). Cameron consulted with the best experts and looked at original records to make sure that the carpet, wallpaper, paint, and everything else was precisely like it was on the original ship. So there were plenty of moments where, when I needed to recapture the feel of being aboard, I’d pop a DVD back into the player!
Most of FATEFUL is of course a fantasy. But writing a subject as fantastical – and let’s just say it, cracky – as werewolves on the Titanic means that every element of the story that isn’t supernatural needs to be as authentic as possible. There were some points I never could nail down completely (nobody in the world knows precisely where the dog kennels were), and I’m sure there are some errors that crept in despite my best efforts. But it makes me happy that FATEFUL is as authentic as I could make it – and I hope the details are as much fun for the readers as the research was for me.
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Fateful Blog Hop Tour Guest Posts!
The Book Heist:  Sinking Into Titanic Research
Hippies Beauty and Books Oh My: Tip of the Iceberg: Climax Themes and Challenges
Songs and Stories: Switching from Port to Starboard – From Vampires to Werewolves
Live to Read: On Board with Tess Davies
The Book Cellar: On Board with Alec Marlowe
Bellas Novella: On Board with Secondary Characters
Mundie Moms Book Reviews: More on the Unexplained: Why Claudia Gray Always Loved the Titanic
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Fateful

A novel by Claudia Gray
Eighteen-year-old maid Tess Davies is determined to escape the wealthy, troubled family she serves. It’s 1912, and Tess has been trapped in the employ of the Lisles for years, amid painful memories and twisted secrets. But now the Lisle family is headed to America, with Tess in tow. Once the ship they’re sailing on—the RMS Titanic—reaches its destination, Tess plans to strike out and create a new life for herself.
Her single-minded focus shatters when she meets Alec, a handsome first-class passenger who captivates her instantly. But Alec has secrets of his own. He’s in a hurry to leave Europe, and whispers aboard the ship say it’s because of the tragic end of his last affair with the French actress who died so gruesomely and so mysteriously. . . .
Soon Tess will learn just how dark Alec’s past truly is. The danger they face is no ordinary enemy: werewolves exist and are stalking him—and now her, too. Her growing love for Alec will put Tess in mortal peril, and fate will do the same before their journey on the Titanic is over.
In Fateful, New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray delivers paranormal adventure, dark suspense, and alluring romance set against the opulent backdrop of the Titanic’s first—and last—voyage.
AUTHOR INFO