What if the story we’ve all come to learn and love about Cinderella were not exactly true? What if our vision of the fairy godmother - all plump and r...moreWhat if the story we’ve all come to learn and love about Cinderella were not exactly true? What if our vision of the fairy godmother - all plump and rosy - was not accurate?
The story switches back and forth between present day New York and the days leading up to that fateful night where Lil (the Fairy Godmother) is to have Cinderella appear at the ball and have her prince fall madly in love with her, have plenty of children and live happily ever after. At least, that is what was supposed to happen. Lil had no idea that she would fall in love with the prince herself and usurp Cinderella’s place in the prince’s heart.
Lil is now an elderly woman living in New York, struggling to make ends meet, working at a local bookstore. She has been outcasted by her fairy-kin and has struggled to make a living as a human for years. One day at work she meets Victoria (a cool hairdresser with an old soul) and feels a connection with her. And when her boss, George, tells her that he needs a date for a charity ball that he is attending... Lil finds that these similarities could just be the opportunity that she has been waiting for in order to redeem herself.
Although I did not feel much of a connection with Lil, I felt I could relate much more with Victoria. I became intrigued a couple of chapters in and read this very quickly. Ms. Turgeon does a magnificent job describing Lil’s feelings (from falling in love to the depressive state she lives in while residing in NY). I found myself looking forward to the chapters on Cinderella and was surprised by the turns the story took. I really have to say that the ending took me by surprise and, call me cynical, but it somehow worked for me. It was sad, touching, and truly a unique story.
I picked this up thinking that it would be a light, fluffy read about one of my favorite fairytales. Boy was I mistaken. There was surprisingly nothing light in this tale - but don’t let that deter you from reading this darker (somewhat morbid) version of the classic fairytale.(less)
I Am Number Four chronicles the story of Number Four a/k/a John Smith. He is one of the nine children that were smuggled out of planet Lorien amid a d...moreI Am Number Four chronicles the story of Number Four a/k/a John Smith. He is one of the nine children that were smuggled out of planet Lorien amid a devastating war with the Mogadorians. As their planet and everything and everyone on it was killed, nine children along with their nine guardians were sent to planet Earth. Their mission is to blend in with the inhabitants of the planet until they grow up and stay alive long enough (since they are still being hunted by their enemies), until their legacies (special powers) come into effect - which normally takes place around age 16.
John has been on the run with his guardian, Henri, as long as he can remember. They change towns, names and lives as if they were a change of clothes. They are experts at remaining safe, unknown and undetected. They don't make any friends and try not to draw attention to themselves and, if for instance, someone notices something unnatural in John, they quickly pack up and move on. When Number Three is killed, John knows he is next, leaving once again to a new location with new identities. This time to the remote town of Paradise, Ohio.
But in Paradise, John finds more than he expected. For instance, he makes his first friend , meets a girl that he falls head over heels for and he even finds a dog that he brings home. His legacies have begun to manifest and he is training in order to strengthen them, but as their enemies get closer it becomes increasingly hard for him to conceal what he is.
This was a fast-paced, adventure-full, journey. I absolutely loved it. You can't help but feel sympathy for John. He might seem like any normal 16 year old teen, he goes through the same emotions, feelings and angst expected from any boy his age, yet he has all this power and energy inside. He finally feels that he can fit in - where his friend (Sam) and new girlfriend (Sara) can accept and love him. But their are cracks in the security he finds and he knows that he and Henri will have to flee yet again. John was a great character - very realistic and somewhat relateable (sans the alien powers, of course). Henri, his guardian is a hero - he gives up so much of himself in order to ensure John's safety. Sara was a very lovable girl, you want her and John together from the moment she comes into the picture, and Sam, his friend, has so much character growth throughout the story that you feel very close to him by the end. Another favorite character of mine, and one who is more of the silent type, Bernie Kozar, John's dog. But I won't tell you more about him and will let you guys read more about his awesomeness for yourself.
This book is the first in what is rumored to be a 6-part series. I absolutely loved it - I keep saying that don't I? This first book had a lot of background information as to planet Lorien, its inhabitants and John's family life before the war. I loved the flashbacks where John travels back to his time on Lorien. Through these flashbacks you get a detailed description of what life on Lorien was like and you can't help but hope that one day it will once again prosper - as bleak as that hope might be.
This was a very imaginative and exciting read. The action sequences towards the end of the book had me at the edge of my seat and biting my nails with worry. And yes, there is a serious cliffhanger - but one that I can't really complain about because it just leaves you that much more excited for the next book. The movie is scheduled to release early next year and the second book in the series, titled The Power of Six, releases Spring 2011. I can't recommend this enough - for fans of fantasy and sci-fi. I'll say it again, I loved it, and I found it gripping and engaging and just downright fun. READ IT!
For those of you wondering about the author: Pittacus Lore is the leading elder of Lorien whose whereabouts are unknown. Pittacus Lore is also the pseudonym for the writing team of James Frey and Jobie Hughes. (less)
Beautiful Creatures was a very addictive read. I truly enjoyed reading through Ethan's point-of-view. I found it very refreshing considering that most...moreBeautiful Creatures was a very addictive read. I truly enjoyed reading through Ethan's point-of-view. I found it very refreshing considering that most YA is written through a females perspective.
I was taken in by the star-crossed lover-esque feel of the story... girl is a Caster - boy is just a mere human. What will they do? I enjoyed the Southern feel of the story - as you read it you can hear that southern drawl. The setting was well-defined and very fitting to the story. We also get a mini history lesson on the Civil War, which I found to be a plus. I think the authors did a phenomenal job in character development. There were plenty of characters and each one was defined and stood out creating their own set of feelings in you. Ethan and Lena were both likeable and relateable - sans the magic, of course. Their love story was sweet, realistic and definitely brings forth those feelings that we all felt at that age.
I have to say that my favorite characters were Uncle Mason and Amma. Uncle Mason because he reminded me of Rhett Butler in "Gone with the Wind" and Amma because she was fiery and had this attitude about her that brought a smile to my face. I also can't forget to mention librarian extraordinaire, Marian. Gosh, would I love her job!
There were a few things that I didn't like ... for starters this book is a tome. And, although I found the storyline intriguing and I was entertained throughout, I felt that there was a lot of jibberish scattered throughout that was unnecessary. I also felt that Ethan acted much older than his sixteen years and I found him overly emotional for a male (at times). There were some areas that dragged for me - maybe it was too detailed, I really can't explain it, but I would have preferred it to be a little shorter. Don't take me wrong, it all resolves nicely and everything comes into place, but it was still way too long for me.
In the end, the pro's definitely outweigh the con's so this is one that I believe did live up to the hype. Being the first in the series, I can't wait to see where Ms. Garcia and Ms. Stohl will take Ethan, Lena and us to next. Although geared towards the YA crowd, this one can be read and enjoyed by adults as well.
On a side note, I wanted to mention that I think it is very cool that two authors wrote this book. I don't know who wrote what or where one ends and the other begins, but Kudos for that. Also, for the phenomenal cover art - one of my faves.(less)
I can't help it, but I have a morbid fascination in books about plagues and other such catastrophes. It's sick, I know. But I'm always enthralled by s...moreI can't help it, but I have a morbid fascination in books about plagues and other such catastrophes. It's sick, I know. But I'm always enthralled by stories such as these.
Ms. Halse Anderson's tale was a captivating one. At the beginning of our story Mattie is a young girl helping her mother at the coffehouse they own. She's stubborn, selfish (at times) and has big dreams of making the family business prosper. As the yellow fever epidemic spreads and the town and its residents either succumb to illness or have no choice but to run, Mattie grows into a brave and strong, young woman. A young woman who helps those in need and finds a way to make her dreams come true.
The story is based upon the yellow fever epidemic that struck Philadelphia in 1793 and killed some 5,000 people. Ms. Halse Anderson expertly captures the effects of the fever and how a whole city succumbs to it. I loved how descriptive the story was, making me feel as if I were living it with Mattie. With plenty of character development and excitement I found Fever: 1793 to be a very facinating read.
One last thing I'd like to mention, Ms. Halse Anderson includes an appendix at the back of the book with additional information about the people of the time and the epidemic as well as the factual people and events that she uses in her story. I found this very interesting and recommend that you don't pass up on reading that extra chapter.(less)
Reginald Mason is, by all accounts, a gentleman - he is well-educated, courteous, handsome and very wealthy. However, the ton doesn’t see it that way,...moreReginald Mason is, by all accounts, a gentleman - he is well-educated, courteous, handsome and very wealthy. However, the ton doesn’t see it that way, much to his and his father’s dismay. For Reginald Senior was not born a gentleman. He worked hard for this station even if it is said that their money is tarnished by coal. When the opportunity for social advancement arises, namely, Lady Annabelle Ashton, daughter of the Earl of Havercroft, a neighbor and enemy of the Mason family, he finds the opportunity too hard to resist.
Lady Annabelle is in quite the predicament. She tried to elope with her father's footman and now finds herself disgraced by scandal, even thought of as damaged goods. Her father, the Earl, is none too happy with her and will gladly marry her off to anyone willing to have her.
Reginald Senior sees this as the moment he's been waiting for to move his family up the social ladder. But young Reggie does not see it as ideal, for he enjoys single life too much. When his father gives him an ultimatum: marry Annabelle or be cut-off from the family funds - he has no choice but to consent to the marriage. But no one said either one of them had to be happy about their new predicament.
This was such a sweet story. It was rather short, but nonetheless, it was delightful. I am a fan of Regency England, but even more than that, the way the story is written was brilliant. For starters it is very tame. There aren't any blush worthy moments - which gave it a timeless feel. The romance was light but as the relationship between Annabelle and Reggie grew, it steadily became more and more... sigh worthy.
I really must give kudos to Ms. Balogh for keeping me in the dark for most of the story as to the "twist" (everyone keeps mentioning). I didn't peak and I tried not to think too much of it and I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. It was very witty of her and by far what made this short story so pleasurable. I highly recommend to anyone looking for a feel-good love story.(less)
Lulu wants nothing other than a pet brontosaurus for her birthday. When her parents tell her that she won't be getting one. She gets very upset. She t...moreLulu wants nothing other than a pet brontosaurus for her birthday. When her parents tell her that she won't be getting one. She gets very upset. She throws a fit, screams, yells, pounds the ground - does anything and everything for her parents to relent and get her her pet brontosaurus. But her parents are having none of it. They refuse to get her what she wants. Well Lulu is having none of that. She feels that if her parents won't bring her a pet brontosaurus then she'll just have to get her own pet brontosaurus. So she sets off on an adventure into the forest to find herself her new pet, all the way signing:
I'm gonna, I'm gonna, I'm gonna, gonna, get a bronto-bronto-bronto-bronto-saurus for a pet!
In the forest Lulu comes across a number of animals: a snake, a tiger, a bear but none of them particularly impress her. Until she finally finds him... her brontosaurus. But she soon realizes that Mr. Brontosaurus has his own plans... he thinks she'll make the perfect pet for him! What is Lulu to do?
This is the perfect read-aloud for children 4 and up. With Ms. Viorst's witty storytelling and Lane Smith's charming illustrations you have a pleasant and clever story. I thought Ms. Viorst's attitude shone perfectly throughout Lulu's pages - on more than one occasion saying that since it's her story, it is more than perfect for a Brontosaurus to be living in the forest. Originally I read this for myself and then I read it to my children and I can't begin to describe the joy and wonder in their little faces as I read this to them. Not only is it a funny and clever story but it is also a story with a good moral. It teaches children that you can't always have what you want but especially to listen to your parents. What I truly loved was that it is told simply and enjoyably enough to where my 4year old understood its message. I love that! The best part of the book though - the alternate endings. I love that we got various endings to choose from - because yes, it's Ms. Viorst's book and she can do that if she wants. :)
This was a very cute story that I recommend for parents to read to their children - or, if you're like me, for adults who enjoy picture books. A sweet tale, with a great moral and some fabulous illustrations. (less)
I absolutely loved the premise of this book! And I have to say that the fact that there are no vampires, werewolves or other popular creatures of the...moreI absolutely loved the premise of this book! And I have to say that the fact that there are no vampires, werewolves or other popular creatures of the night in it, was a rare treat.
Ms. Hopcus gives us a mystery set in a boarding school (my favorite!), where normal looking teens are far from normal. With all sorts of normal teen shenanigans going on (partying in a remote field, smoking, drinking, making out with your boyfriend in your dorm room), I felt that her characters (although magically enhanced) were realistically portrayed. The romance between Phe and Zach was sweet - I think I might have fallen in love with Zach myself (ahem). The backdrops - like the spooky cemetery out in the woods, a mental health hospital, and even the empty halls of the school - give it an ambiance which ranged anywhere from gothic, creepy, to downright goosebump inducing.
The story is riddled with symbolism both subtle and dark. Every time I thought I had finally unlocked the mystery, I was taken on a new unexpected turn. The story started a bit slow for me but that was okay because it slowly built up to this fantastically riveting story - and the best part of it all is that it looks like it is the first in the series. Kudos to Ms. Hopcus for a phenomenal debut! I truly can't wait to see what happens next!(less)
Suzette needs to find a husband quickly. Preferably a gentlemen who is down on his luck and in need of a wealthy wife. She has no other way of getting...more Suzette needs to find a husband quickly. Preferably a gentlemen who is down on his luck and in need of a wealthy wife. She has no other way of getting her dowry - which is much needed in order to pay off her father's gambling debts and save the family from scandal and ultimately ruin.
Daniel Woodrow seems the perfect candidate. He has a title, he's single, he's handsome and he's broke. Or so he says. For Daniel hasn't been completely honest with Suzette. He tells a white lie about his lack of fortune thinking Suzette would react like all the other fortune-hunting mama's of the ton. But instead she's delighted by his poverty... so delighted in fact that she proposes matrimony. Now all he has to do in order to keep Suzette is to continue his penniless charade and thwart the villain who will do anything to keep them apart.
You originally meet Suzette and Daniel in The Countess. Actually most of their story takes place simultaneously as that of Christiana and Richard. So, I found The Heiress to be a bit redundant. I must make note that I did read both books only a few weeks apart so this may be the reasoning behind why I found them to be so redundant, but for half the book I was reading its predecessor told through a different couple's perspective. While I did enjoy the second half of the book, where Suzette and Daniel finally begin their own story, I could not get over the lackluster of its start.
Since this story is mostly a rehash of The Countess, new readers can't read this book without reading its predecessor and those that have read The Countess will find this one excruciatingly redundant. It's a shame really, because those moments that were exclusively Suzette and Daniel were wonderful. Suzette was bold, brazen and not your average blushing lady. Daniel was charming and the perfect gentleman. I loved how they ruffled each others feathers. They were perfect together. Their more romantic scenes were a joy to read - very sensual and steamy. Their first kiss was unforgettable. I believe it may be the sexiest first kiss I've ever read. I know, I was blushing over a first kiss... don't judge.
All in all, I can't say that I was a big fan of this book. I did enjoy the story, the characters and I am definitely reading the next book in the series... but I will keep my fingers crossed that we don't have to read about Dicky, his murder and the mystery surrounding it once again. I hope that Lisa and Robert have their own storyline, preferably one that starts after Suzette and Daniel's ends. (less)
Dark Hunger is the second in Rita Herron’s Demonborn Trilogy. In it we meet Quinton Valtrez. Quinton is not your average man - he’s half human / half...moreDark Hunger is the second in Rita Herron’s Demonborn Trilogy. In it we meet Quinton Valtrez. Quinton is not your average man - he’s half human / half demon - and can hear your thoughts. He was orphaned as a child and was raised by monks who helped train him in controlling his powers in order for him to battle the demons that would eventually taunt him into turning evil and returning to the underworld. He presently works for Homeland Security as a deadly assassin, part of an unacknowledged division in the government. He is able to balance his darker needs by killing bad guys - he does this without any remorse and is happy with his life.
Annabelle Armstrong is a reporter for CNN and she has one mission - to expose Quinton Valtrez for the killer that she knows he is. She has received various mysterious tips and they all lead to the same thing - Quinton is a bad guy and a murderer and she will do anything to get the scoop even if it means getting closer to him in order to achieve her goal. But as bombs start going off in Savannah, Charleston and New Orleans - it is up to Quinton to discover who the culprits are behind these evil acts. As Annabelle starts questioning his motives and his humanity - she is put in a position where she’ll have to choose between exposing Vincent or following her heart.
Quinton and Annabelle were both very strong and very likeable characters. I loved how they both did everything in their powers to fight the attraction that they feel for one another but in the end they could not stop the inevitable. Although Quinton is described as a half-demon, for some reason he did not come off as a dark character - on the other hand, I found it endearing that he had such soft spot for Annabelle. As for it being part of a series, I can definitely say that you do not need to read the first book Insatiable Desire (although these characters do have cameo appearances). It was very easy to read and just as easy to understand this demon infested world they were living in. Ms. Herron does a fantastic job in keeping the reader anxious to see just what will happen next. She intertwines all the action with just enough romance to keep you satisfied. I loved the scene with the surveillance camera =P Very sexy!
It was intense, action-packed and full of steamy scenes that will have you turning the pages quicker just to get to those juicy moments. All in all, this is fantastic reading for you paranormal romance lovers.(less)