Thursday, January 31, 2013

{Kelly & Kristin Discuss} Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Beautiful Creatures - Soon to be a Motion Picture

Title: Beautiful Creatures
Series: Caster Chronicles #1
Author: Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: December 1, 2009

Synopsis:

This edition features exclusive movie cover art!
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

Our Little Discussion

1. It's been such a long time (4 years) since I've read this book, let's start by reminding everyone what it's about.

Kelly: Well basically it's about this guy who feels like he is drawn to the new girl who just moved to Gatlin, Lena. He then finds out that she is part of a family of Casters. They are like witches but different. Every Caster has a different ability and they can only do stuff concerning that ability. (Then maybe you can carry on?)

Kristin: As you get further along in the book, you see that the casters are divided up between light and dark. There's been many secrets held inside the Duchannes family and Lena may actually pay the price. She's haunted by a song about her "choosing" which happens when she turns 16 and she's justifiably scared.

2. There are so many great characters in the book, how would you describe the main characters?

Kelly: Ethan: Well to me Ethan is quite an awkward human, even though he is part of the popular crowd. He is also a complete Southern Gentleman, his momma raised him right as they would say. He is also very loyal and trust worthy. He goes beyond the limits for anyone he cares about.

Kristin: Ah, Ethan. He's everything Kelly said and more. We would all be lucky to have an Ethan in our lives. I love that Ethan doesn't let Lena and her weird ass family scare him away, because, honestly, I would've run for the hills.

Kelly: Lena: She is very secretive but is also a loving soul even though she gets bullied by the entire town for being part of the Duchannes family. She would do anything to protect the people she loves, but she isn't perfect. She is flawed just like everyone else.

Kristin: Lena: Most definitely she is flawed, but she's got her reasons. I love her because in my eyes, she is strong, even when she's at her worst. There are times when she's so overwhelmed and held down by her choices, that she hides from reality, but that is exactly why Ethan is so good for her. He drags her out and forces her to face life. Like Kelly said, he'd do anything to protect the ones he loves...even from themselves.

Kelly: Link: The awesome best friend of Ethan. I love Link. He is my favourite. He is strong in what he believes in and he may seem a bit thick in the head sometimes but that is not the case. He is very observative.

Kristin: Link: Honestly, there were times he got on my nerves, but he does have a strong sense of morality and helps Ethan and Lena even when he's not sure he should!

Kelly: Amma: I love this woman. Her crossword puzzles cracked me up. But she has a lot of secrets she has kept from Ethan, most of them I never agreed with. She is fiercely protective over Ethan. She is a strong character that makes decisions never to benefit herself, only those around her.

Kristin: Amma: Amma is simply awesome. She's raised Ethan and has been a positive influence on him always. However, like Kelly said, she's been keeping secrets from Ethan. Secrets he should have known. But isn't that how all YA books are, if someone would just tell the character what he needed to know, all the problems would be solved. But being a young adult is about discovery and making your own way in the world. I believe that's what Amma wanted for Ethan.

Kelly: Macon: The scary, intimidating uncle of Lena who lives in Ravenwood Manor who everyone fears. His only concern is for Lena. He is the father she never had. He tries to be as good as he can.

Kristin: Macon: He is the person with the most secrets in a world where no one is what they seem, least of all Macon. I admit that he was the most interesting for me to learn about. As his story line unfolded, my mouth continued to drop. So many shocking discoveries.

Kristin: Ridley: I love this lollipop sucking bimbo, except she's really not as ditsy as she appears. She's dark and pissed. She's jealous of Lena and Ethan, so she'll compel just about anyone to do her bidding. What happens when that person is Link? Well, I suppose you'll have to read to see.

3. What scene stuck out most in your mind from the book?

Kelly: I think the face off at the end with Sarafine and Hunter. It was beautifully written.

Kristin: I highly enjoyed the stand-off also. Sarafine is the darkness incarnate. I loved to hate her though. The entire scene, start to finish, enraptured me. I felt like I was right there with them, though I would have rather been anywhere but there.



4. Are you looking forward to the movie? And why?

Kelly: Of course I'm looking forward to the movie. I love book to movie adaptations. It's a different world with a very gothic feel to it. It's very unique. I think people will love it.

Kristin: Oh Yeah! I honestly haven't been this excited for a movie since Twilight (love, hate...I don't care, just allow me to have my opinion.) Yes, I know everyone ran to the Hunger Games, and I enjoyed the movie, but I think the special effects in Beautiful Creatures are going to be amazing, and the darkness behind the entire story draws me in.

5. With all book to movie adaptations, fans get anxious about whether the movie will live up to their expectations. What are some of your concerns?

Kelly: Oh Gosh I really do have a lot. Like what have they cut from the book? What did they add that wasn't part of the book? What did they change? It's quite scary to think about it. With the featurette I heard them call Macon a caster and I was like, uh that is not true. The dude's an incubus! Also I'm worried about how they made Ridley look so much older. Where is Lena's charm necklace? That ends up being very important in future books.

Also, they cut Marian? Seriously?? She plays one of the major roles. You don't just cut a major character. That's like cutting out Ridley. So yes I have a lot of concerns

Kristin: My main concerns revolve around the usual - what did they cut out of the movie, what did they change, and what did they add in. I've seen several shots of Ridley and it seems she changes her age from day to day. She is older than Lena and her crew, so to me it's only natural that she would appear a little older. And right now, since I've only seen the featurette which takes clips of the movie and blends them all together in order to capture the most dynamic moments so people will show up in droves. The thing is, on trailers and featurettes, they take things out of context and you never know, Lena may actually wear the charm necklace, just not in that scene. Who knows. I'm not making any snap judgments about the movie until I see it. I'm hoping for the best.

6. Let's talk about casting. I mean, they didn't just choose no name actors, there's some well known, award winning actors in this film. Do you like the casting choices? (I'm going to talk about each one as I answer.)

Kelly:

I love that they cast Jeremy Irons as Macon. It's perfect in my eyes. I think he will be able to capture the correct essence.
Alice Englert as Lena I never had a problem with. She has the right look I just don't know her acting.
Alden Ehrenreich as Ethan, yeah still not seeing it, maybe if he looked younger but the guy looks 27.
Viola Davis as Amma is perfect! They couldn't cast anyone better and from what I've seen I think she is going to be great.
Emma Thompson as Mrs Lincoln/Sarafine. Why they didn't get a separate actress for Sarafine I do not know. I mean she does make an appearance at the end. But I love her works so she will be great I'm thinking.
Emmy Rossum as Ridley. She is a tad too old for Ridley but I do think she will be able to portray her correctly.
Thomas Mann as Link. Yeah absolutely perfection!!!!!!!

Kristin:

Jeremy Irons: When I read he was going to be Macon, I thought, "Wow, could they have chosen anyone better. No."
Alice Englert: I'm not familiar with any of her acting, so I'm with Kelly on this one. She has the right look to be Lena, hopefully her acting will live up to the hype.
Alden Ehrenreich: Totally unsure about this move. He just doesn't live up to my "Ethan" standards. Sorry.
Viola Davis: She's going to rock Amma. She's been amazing in everything she's done and I can't see where this would be any different.
Emma Thompson: I'm okay with her playing Mrs. Lincoln and Sarafine. She's one of those people who can look completely different with a slight make-up change. I think we'll all be surprised on how good she'll be.
Emmy Rossum: Some say she looks too old, but as I mentioned before, Ridley is older than the rest of the gang, and even though Emmy is 26, the scenes I've viewed with her as Ridley, she's completely captured her character.
Thomas Mann: Nope. Not in any way, shape or form is he my Link! Just sayin' - Link's an athlete, he should have a little more muscle on him, not just skin and bones.

7. What's the scene you are most looking forward to seeing recreated?

Kelly: Honestly? Everything. I can't wait to see the whole story come to life!

Kristin: Ha! True, Kelly. However, I'm looking forward to the dinner scene where the house gets upset and everything goes wacko. I'm also excited to see the stand-off scene, but aren't we all.

8. Will you be sitting in the theater the very first night?

Kelly: Well I'll only get to see it on the 22nd of Feb since that's the day it will get released. But on that day, I'm there!

Kristin: I'm hoping to go on release day, but several things factor into that wish, so...


{A Kelly M Review} Beautiful Redemption by Garcia & Stohl

Title: Beautiful Redemption
Series: Beautiful Creatures #4
Author: Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publisher: Puffin Books

Synopsis:


Is death the end . . . or only the beginning?

Ethan Wate always dreamed of leaving the stifling Southern town of Gatlin. But he never dreamt that finding love with Lena Duchannes would drive him away. Lena is a Caster girl whose supernatural powers unveiled a secretive and cursed side of Gatlin, so powerful it forced him to make a terrible sacrifice.

Now Ethan must find a way to return to Lena - and Gatlin - as she vows to do whatever it takes to get him back. Even if it means trusting old enemies or risking their loved ones' lives. Can Ethan and Lena rewrite their fate and their spellbinding love story in this stunning finale to the Beautiful Creatures series?'





A whole year I had to wait for this book, a whole year. Do you know what that does to a person with the cliffhanger that was left at the end of Beautiful Chaos? I was completely freaking out and I could not wait for this book to come out. The Beautiful Creatures is such a unique series. It is a completely different take on the world of magic and I was pleasantly surprised by the world Kami and Margaret created. It is a gothic feel to the warm South in USA. It’s what I loved most.

Beautiful Redemption starts off almost right where Chaos left. And I know a lot of people were wondering how this would be written. It is from the POV of both Ethan and Lena. It helps us to see what is happening in the places that Ethan cannot be. I don’t want to give too much away since there are people who have not read the series yet, so I’m trying to be as vague as possible and that is extremely difficult concerning this book.

You see a lot of growth in Ethan, Link and Lena’s characters. It was refreshing to see them mature so much throughout the last book, but that was inevitable because of the huge traumatic event that happened at the end of Chaos. Ethan finally came to understand what being a Wayward and Lena understood the burden she would have to carry for the rest of her life. Link grew up a lot. He isn’t that love-sick puppy of a guy anymore around Ridley. Which I loved. Link is by far my most favourite character ever.

That is basically all I can reveal. I cannot talk about the events since everything would be such a huge spoiler. Kristin and I will probably do a discussion on this when she has read it and it will be wonderfully spoilerific  ;)

The problem I had with this book though, it felt a bit rushed and some of the plotlines hadn’t been finished off completely. I have a lot of questions that were left unanswered.  Other than that this was an excellent book and I enjoyed reading it so much. I am really going to miss this world. Thank God for the movie but let’s hope they won’t screw it up, yeah?

Thank you to Peguin Books South Africa who sent me this book! It really was amazing.




Wednesday, January 30, 2013

{Waiting on Wednesday} The Collector and With All My Soul



Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we are dying to read but they haven't been released yet!






We included both the UK cover (left) and the US cover (right) because both are so beautiful.


 Synopsis:

What does it mean when your school is voted the most dangerous in America?

It's time to kick some hellion butt...

After not really surviving her junior year (after all, she did die), Kaylee Cavanaugh has vowed to take back her school from the hellions causing all the trouble. She's going to the find a way to turn the incarnations of Avarice, Envy and Vanity and the rest on each other. And so she–and her gang–make plans to protect her friends and finish this war, once and forever.

But then she meets Wrath. And Kaylee realizes that she's closer to the edge than she's ever been. Especially when one more person she loves is taken...






He makes good girls...bad. 

Dante Walker is flippin’ awesome, and he knows it. His good looks, killer charm, and stellar confidence has made him one of hell’s best—a soul collector. His job is simple, weed through humanity and label those round rears with a big, red good or bad stamp. Old Saint Nick gets the good guys, and he gets the fun ones. Bag-and-tag.

Sealing souls is nothing personal. Dante’s an equal opportunity collector and doesn’t want it any other way. But he’ll have to adjust, because Boss Man has given him a new assignment:

Collect Charlie Cooper’s soul within 10 days.

Dante doesn’t know why Boss Man wants Charlie, nor does he care. This assignment means only one thing to him, and that’s a permanent ticket out of hell. But after Dante meets the quirky, Nerd Alert chick he’s come to collect—he realizes this assignment will test his abilities as a collector, and uncover emotions deeply buried.


Monday, January 28, 2013

{Music Monday} City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

Title: City of Glass
Series: The Mortal Instruments
Author: Cassandra Clare
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Synopsis:

To save her mother's life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters - never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family's past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he's willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City - whatever the cost?

Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the final installment of the New York Times bestselling trilogy The Mortal Instruments.


Makeup by Escape the Fate (New Version)



"When you told me the first time that Valentine was your father, I didn't believe it," she said. "Not just because I didn't want it to be true, but because you weren't anything like him. I've never thought you were anything like him. But you are. You are." - Page 125 (Clary to Jace)

Jace spoke in a low voice... "Get out," he said. "Just get out, both of you."

"So you can do what?" Isabelle demanded. "Wreck your life some more? What the hell was that about?"

Jace shook his head. "I sent her home. It was the best thing for her."

"You did a hell of a lot more than send her home. You destroyed her. Did you see her face?"

"It was worth it," said Jace. "You wouldn't understand."

"For her, maybe," Isabelle said. "I just hope it winds up worth it for you." Page 130 (Still pertaining to Clary's calling Jace Valentine.)

Young Adult Giveaway Hop


Thanks to Kathy at I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & BookLove 101 for hosting this fabulous giveaway!

I'm featuring several books for you to choose from. If they are part of a series, you may choose any book in that series. You may also choose whether you would like the physical book or the ebook. If you choose a pre-order, then you will receive the book when it releases. (Pretty self explanatory)

The Mortal Instrument Series

The Infernal Devices Series

The Delirium Series

Hush Hush Series

The Fallen Series


Also, be sure to stop by and check out my Release Giveaway - Ends January 31st

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, January 27, 2013

{A Kristin A Review} Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Title: Delirium
Series: Delirium #1
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperTeen (HarperCollins)
Publication Date: February 1, 2011
Genre: YA Dystopian
Source: Library

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Blurb:

THEY SAY that the cure for Love will make me happy and safe forever. And I've always believed them. Until now.

Now everything has changed. Now, I'd rather be infected
with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie.




Yep, happened again. I've put off reading Delirium for this long because...oh hell, I don't really know, but yet again I've fallen deeply in love with another dystopian world. Lauren Oliver has created a frightful and fascinating world. One I've enjoyed losing myself in, and in the same breath, one I find utterly depressing. What is a world without love?

Amor deliria nervosa: [A disease that] affects your mind so that you cannot think clearly, or make rational decisions about your own well-being. - Page 3

I would venture to say this is a pretty accurate description of love. So powerful, so overwhelming, so all-encompassing that your mind is filled with flighty, selfless thoughts. Being near the one you love is all that matters. You obsess about your next encounter, the next time he winks at you, the slightest of flirtations, the next kiss. You catch yourself doodling his name in your notebook. Driving two miles out of the way just to drive by his house, hoping for a glimpse of just the top of his head. Silly, giggly, girly feelings. The quivering of your tummy, the flush in your cheeks. Bewitching and delectable, disquieting and dreadful.

When I began reading Delirium, I completely understood Ms. Oliver's premise. Love is so confound that it not only leaves you all warm and fuzzy, but crushed and out of control. A society that rids its citizens of love, also rids them of heartache. 

Brief Summary:

Lena is set to have the "procedure" done on her 18th birthday. After that day, she'll no longer miss her friends or family, she'll no longer be in danger of contracting the dreadful disease amor deliria nervosa. But before she undergoes the procedure, she'll be evaluated and scored. She'll be assigned a career path and paired based on her scores. Every decision, including the number of children she'll have, is made by the government, creating a happy and carefree society. EXCEPT--

Lena catches a glimpse of a handsome young man during her evaluation, which is rudely interrupted by a stampede of cattle. Yes, you read that right. Lena continues to have very brief run-ins with Alex throughout the next few weeks until he saves her. She'd only gone to the underground party to warn her friend, Hana, of the random, but nothing out of the ordinary, police raid when she's attacked by one of the police dogs. Alex rescues her and the disease creeps in. At this point, Lena begins to realize that everything she once believed to be an absolute truth, might be a lie - or at least tainted.

The Characters:

Lena is a unique heroine. In the beginning, I liked Hana, her best friend, much more. I like to think myself a risk taker, which unless we're talking a couple of tattoos and piercings I'm absolutely not, but Lena preferred the easy path. She did what she was supposed to without question, and maybe that's the part of her I disliked in the beginning. I think it's every citizen's responsibility to question the decision of their government, not simply sit back and let them dictate. However, she matured throughout the book and by the very last page, I was vastly invested in her future.

Alex isn't so much smoldering as he is perfect. Not angelical, but he makes Lena think and ask the right questions. He's her light, but not her only reason for acting. I didn't necessarily connect with Alex in this first installment, but I'm hoping for better chemistry in book two.

Hana is Lena's best friend. From the beginning, she pushed the bounds. She rebelled, listening to music the government didn't approve of and frequenting underground parties. She lived. I'm left wondering what her role will become...friend or spy.

Lena's mom is a subplot I can't wait to explore more. Enough said.

Conclusion:

The reason I'm not giving Delirium 5 stars is subjective. The paragraphs were long and filled with a little too much fluff for my taste. We didn't get into any real character interaction until the last part of the book, and I am character driven. Although I rented this book from the library, it will soon be purchased and find a nice little niche on my bookshelf.

As stated above, I think this is a unique and deeply profound premise. The effects of love affect each of us differently, and at times has us soaring in the skies, at other times we're plummeting from a cliff. 

I'd been previously warned of Lauren's horrific cliffhangers, so I'm a little relieved I've put this series off for so long. Now I can read start to finish without having to cry over the unknowns. 

Favorite Line:

You can build walls all the way to the sky and I will find a way to fly above them. You can try to pin me down with a hundred thousand arms, but I will find a way to resist.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

{Thursday Discussions} Vampire Academy Movie

Title: Vampire Academy
Series: Vampire Academy #1
Author: Richelle Mead
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Penguin Books UK

Synopsis


St. Vladimir's Academy isn't just any boarding school it's a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They've been on the run, but now they're being dragged back to St. Vladimir's the very place where they're most in danger. . . .
Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy's ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi the world's fiercest and most dangerous vampires make Lissa one of them forever.



Thursday discussions, isn't just me and Kristin discussing books we both have read, but basically anything we want to talk about and I want to talk about the Vampire Academy movie that is Finally moving forward after a hell of a long time waiting! Optioned by Preger Entertainment

Basically when i first heard about this movie moving forward I wanted to scream my head off. Finally we will have a vampire series where the chick isn't always a damsel-in-distress. Rose can kick serious ass. I really hope that this movie makes it to the production phase and is a success, because well, who doesn't want to see Adrian on the big screen?? So I'm hoping for more movies since I am not a Dimitri fan haha. But anyway.

The name of the producer is Don Murphy and the screen writer is Dan Waters! All this information and more about the movie is listed in this article at HollywoodCrush

For people who want to go and compare this to Twilight, don't. It is NOTHING like it. The only similarities are the fact that it is about vampires. It is about the Russian myth behind vampires, which consist of the Dhampirs, half vampire warriors that have to protect the Moroi, they are the full vampires. Then their is the Strigoi. Those are the vampires who have killed other Moroi by drinking their blood or a Dhampir. They are basically the evil ones the Dhampirs have to protect the Moroi from. So as you see, it is nothing alike. It is a serious kick ass story with a bad ass female lead.

If you haven't read this series, I urge you to do so.

Now for the important part. Casting. Dear Lord I do hope they get the right actors for this one.

Rose Hathaway: either Phoebe Tonkin


Or Victoria Justice


Lissa Dragomir: Emily Browning



Dimitri Belikov: Im not sure about this one and since Ben Barnes probably wont get cast im going with Douglas Booth


Who do you guys have in mind? Let me know!!!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

{Waiting on Wednesday} Breaking Point & Indigo Spell

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we are dying to read but they haven't been released yet!

Title: Breaking Point
Series: Article 5 #2
Author: Kristen Simmons
Genre: YA Dystopian
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: 2 February 2013

Synopsis:

The second installment in Kristen Simmons's fast-paced, gripping YA dystopian series. After faking their deaths to escape from prison, Ember Miller and Chase Jennings have only one goal: to lay low until the Federal Bureau of Reformation forgets they ever existed. Near-celebrities now for the increasingly sensationalized tales of their struggles with the government, Ember and Chase are recognized and taken in by the Resistance—an underground organization working to systematically take down the government. At headquarters, all eyes are on the sniper, an anonymous assassin taking out FBR soldiers one by one. Rumors are flying about the sniper’s true identity, and Ember and Chase welcome the diversion…. Until the government posts its most-wanted list, and their number one suspect is Ember herself. Orders are shoot to kill, and soldiers are cleared to fire on suspicion alone. Suddenly Ember can’t even step onto the street without fear of being recognized, and “laying low” is a joke. Even members of the Resistance are starting to look at her sideways. With Chase urging her to run, Ember must decide: Go into hiding…or fight back?





Title: Indigo Spell
Series: Bloodlines #3
Author: Richelle Mead
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin
Release Date: 12 February 2013

Synopsis:

In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she finds herself struggling to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do. Then she meets alluring, rebellious Marcus Finch--a former Alchemist who escaped against all odds, and is now on the run. Marcus wants to teach Sydney the secrets he claims the Alchemists are hiding from her. But as he pushes her to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood--or else she might be next. Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, the Bloodlines series explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive—this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone’s out for blood.




I am literally dying for these books. February cannot come fast enough!!!!!




Tuesday, January 22, 2013

{A Kelly Coffee Review} The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Title: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Author: Stieg Larsson
Series: Millennium #1
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Publisher: Knopf







Synopsis: Mikael Blomkvist, a once-respected financial journalist, watches his professional life rapidly crumble around him. Prospects appear bleak until an unexpected (and unsettling) offer to resurrect his name is extended by an old-school titan of Swedish industry. The catch—and there's always a catch—is that Blomkvist must first spend a year researching a mysterious disappearance that has remained unsolved for nearly four decades. With few other options, he accepts and enlists the help of investigator Lisbeth Salander, a misunderstood genius with a cache of authority issues. Little is as it seems in Larsson's novel, but there is at least one constant: you really don't want to mess with the girl with the dragon tattoo.


This is an Adult book and contains sexual content, strong language and violence. Recommended for mature readers.
 
Okay, I know I'm a little behind with this one, but it's been sitting on my To-Read list for a while. Having finally got through it (it's unusual for me to take a month to get through a book), I'm a little on the fence about this one.

The good: if you're into detailed, intricate plot lines, this one is for you. There's a number of running story lines which are integrated very well with one another. There's a great building of character and individuality that made the characters very real. The cookie crumbs that are laid out and how the main mystery comes together are all very well done. As for the reading, it was both easy to get caught up in, but pretty easy to put down and come back to. Because of the almost episodic nature of the breaks in the book, it's easy to find stopping places as well.

The hiccups:

And I call them hiccups because they're not things that are innately wrong, just things that didn't work so well for me. The writing is a little awkward, which I attribute to translation more than anything, but it was noticeable, especially at the beginning. Once I got used to it, it didn't bother me so much, and the writing isn't particularly flowery so overall it reads pretty smoothly. But it was still dense so while smooth, it wasn't fast. I was driven nuts by the use of Kronor, because I just had no frame of reference for how much money anything really was (and since money and expense is a big deal throughout the book, it's annoying). I wasn't agitated enough to look it up, but it was still irritating.

But my biggest hang up with this book was my indifference and borderline dislike of Mikael Blomkvist, the main character. I wanted to like him. I actually liked him quite a bit when portrayed by Daniel Craig, but I just couldn't quite root for the base character. I loved Lisbeth, but while she is a main character, she's not the main character, and the end of the book kind of broke my heart a little bit (and not in the good way).

So, overall, a worthwhile read for both Lisbeth and the pure intricacy in the mystery. It's worth it to see what all the fuss is about from the source, but the end broke my heart in the wrong way and didn't really encourage me to pick up the next one. 


{Teaser Tuesday}: Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh

teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


Title: Enshadowed
Series: Nevermore #2
Author: Kelly Creagh
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publisher: Atheneum

Synopsis:
Varen Nethers is trapped in a perilous dream world -- a treacherous and desolate realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life. Isobel Lanley, plagued by strange visions and haunted by the nightmares of Varen's creation, is the only one who can save him. Isobel knows that her only hope lies within a Baltimore cemetery. There, in the early morning hours of Edgar Allan Poe's birthday, a mysterious stranger known as the "Poe Toaster" will make his annual homage at the legendary poet's grave. Only the Poe Toaster holds the key to the way between worlds. But even greater dangers lie ahead for Isobel. An ancient evil, draped in veils of white, is watching, challenging her for Varen's affections. When Isobel finally finds Varen, he is no longer the quiet and brooding boy who once captivated her, but a dark force, powerful and malevolent.

TEASER:

“Can I tell you something?" He tilted his head, moving in closer still, so close that she could feel his breath against her cheek. "Do you want to know what my grandma used to say about kisses on the forehead?"
He pressed his lips to her brow, holding the silk soft kiss for a long moment while Isobel stood in place, unable to bring herself to shove him away.

"She told me it’s the kind of kiss we save for the dead.”
.
 This is one of my favourite series ever! It is the darkest world I have ever been thrown into. It's beautiful and intoxicating. It's worth a read


Monday, January 21, 2013

{Music Monday} City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

Title: City of Ashes
Series: The Mortal Instruments #2
Author: Cassandra Clare
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Synopsis:

Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what's normal when you're a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who's becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn't ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary's only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father. To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father? In this breathtaking sequel to City of Bones, Cassandra Clare lures her readers back into the dark grip of New York City's Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation.
The song I chose is Had Enough by Breaking Benjamin.

Here is a short teaser about why I chose this song:

“Yes," Jace said, "I regret having disobeyed you."
No! Clary thought, but her heart sank. Was he giving up, did he think it was the only way to save her and Simon?
Valentine's face softened. "Jonathan-"
"Especially," Jace said, "since I plan to do it again. Right now.


It's about how Jace has had enough of his father and his wrong doings, and even though he loves him he won't follow him down that path.



{A Kristin A Review} From What I Remember by Stacy Kramer & Valerie Thomas

Title: From What I Remember
Authors: Stacy Kramer & Valerie Thomas
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
May 15, 2012
Source: Bought (Kindle)

Goodreads     Website     Facebook   

Synopsis:

KYLIE: Mexico? What a nightmare! I should be putting the finishing touches on my valedictorian speech. Graduation is TODAY! Wait! Is this a wedding band on my finger?

MAX: It started with Kylie's laptop and a truck full of stolen electronics and it ended in Ensenada. It was hot, the way she broke us out like some chick in an action movie. But now we're stranded here, with less than twenty-four hours before graduation.

WILL: Saving Kylie Flores from herself is kind of a full-time occupation. Luckily, I, Will Bixby, was born for the job. And when I found out she was stuck in Mexico with dreamy Max Langston, sure, I agreed to bring their passports across the border - but there's no reason to rush back home right away. This party is just getting started.

LILY: This cannot be happening. It's like some cruel joke. Or a bad dream. I close my eyes and when I reopen them, they're still there. Max and Kylie Flores, freak of the century. In bed together. If Kylie thinks I'm giving him up without a fight, she's dead wrong.



I found this book perusing Alison Can Read's Top Ten of 2012. She listed From What I Remember as being one of the funniest books she had ever read, and I have to agree. I giggled and, maybe even, snorted a couple of times.

Sometimes my life seems a bit like Kylie's. I'm sure you know the feeling: The tiniest thing goes wrong and before long your entire day has snowballed into oblivion. Most of our stuff consists of spilling juice on the counter, the baby spitting up on you, forgetting your password, and a list of mildly irritating things that could happen during any given day. Well, we've got nothing on Kylie.

Two days until high school is out--forever. All Kylie wants to do is finish the last project her English teacher assigned and edit her valedictorian speech. Unfortunately, Kylie somehow got assigned to interview the school jock, Max. He's done. Parties have started and he has no intention of doing this little project with Kylie...except, Kylie's NEVER doesn't do an assignment and she's determined to complete this one--one way or another. After many disasters, Max agrees to meet Kylie at a Starbucks and answer a couple of questions. Once Kylie finally shows, Max shocks her with a couple of answers, but then--dun, dun, dun--Kylie's laptop gets lifted from Starbucks. Her life is on that computer: her valedictorian speech, a screen-play she'd written, and other life necessities; non of which had been backed up. Well, Kylie isn't letting go of her laptop that easily, and Max is forced to go along for the ride, in more ways than one.

Kylie thinks Max is the smarmy rich kid with no problems. He lives in a huge house, drives a nice car, and knows all the right people. She believes this because it's exactly what he wants people to see, but on his and Kylie's adventure, she learns there's so much more to him. Max thinks Kylie is a straight A student, ready to get started on college as far away from SoCal as possible. But Kylie's home life is pretty screwy. She spends her evenings taking care of her brother who has Asperger's, while their mom works the night shift as a nurse and their dad works late into the night trying to sell medical supplies. Something only Will, her best and only friend, knows.

Will's a bit of an odd duck, but I loved him so much. He's openly gay, if it's possible, he's a little too open. He decided if everybody was going to make jokes anyway, he'd beat them to the punch. He's taken to cross-dressing at school, although he really has no desire to be a cross-dresser. He loves suits, nice manly suits. College is only a few months away where Will prays people will be more accepting and, perhaps, he'll find his first true love.

From What I Remember is written in first person via Kylie's, Jake's, Will's, and Max's POVs. It's possible I missed a person, and for that I apologize. I enjoy stories with a couple different POVs, but this one overwhelmed me just a little. I had to rethink who was speaking in each chapter, though the chapters are clearly marked. This is the single reason I'm giving it 4 Stars instead of 5.

A belly-aching, tears running down your face, laugh inducing coming of age story. These characters mature, each in their own ways and at their own pace. They face many obstacles, and one-by-one they conquer them, but not before you're completely enraptured and fully entertained.

*A highly entertaining and moving story. A must read*

Friday, January 18, 2013

{Tidbits} Get to Know Kristin A a Little Better

Hey Ho everybody! Today, we're going to meet, well, me!


Yep, that's me, Kristin A! 
My hairs a bit more red now, with a lot of violet threaded through it.
I gave up on normal a long time ago.
Give me time and I'll have a nose piercing and a few more tattoos to add to my repertoire.


These 3 urchins are my children, who are much older now, and the oldest will kill me if she sees this.
Front to back - Kara (2ish), DJ (5ish), and Kaitlyn (8ish)
They are the lights of my life, the pains in my ass, the reason my world turns, and the reason I'm begging for a short vacation at the nearest psychiatric ward. Basket weaving would be nice for a change.


DJ, happiest kid ever!
God rest his soul! May 5, 1997-April 23, 2003
Please don't say your sorry, his life was filled with joy, and he filled our life with joy.
He taught us more about unconditional love and patience than anything in this world could have.


As you'll see, Kaitlyn grew up and graduated with honors. She also secured a math award and a scholarship.
She's in college now, and making her parents proud.
She's passionate, which leads to many heartaches, but mark my word - she's going places.


And, Kara...well, she 12 now and this is one of the only times I can catch her at peace.
She's cuddled here with Ella, who is the newest addition to our home and, as you can see, she fit in perfectly.
She inherited her stubbornness from somebody, okay - me, but she's witty and funny, and a tad bit prickly.

So...after all this, you're thinking I'm a mom. And, you'd be absolutely correct, but there's much more to me than that. I read to escape reality, because sometimes reality just plain bites. I blog to share my passion of books with the world. I have fallen in love with more men than I've ever known...who cares if they're fictional. I crush on rock stars daily. I spend too much time online chatting with my girls at Starbooks. I stalk a few too many blogs. I put headphones on and lose myself in music. 


Occasionally, I just check out for a little down time.

I'm obstinate, loyal to a fault, and my beliefs, morals, and ethics are so ingrained in me now, I'm comfortable saying what I stand for, though I won't shove it down anyone's throat. I'm fine being me.

I have absolute faith that God has led me to the place I'm at right now, and he'll continue to guide me.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

{Kelly M & Kristin Discuss} Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Title: Pushing the Limits
Author: Katie McGarry
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: HarlequinTeen
Publication Date: July 31, 2012


Synopsis:


"I won't tell anyone, Echo. I promise." Noah tucked a curl behind my ear. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins? His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. "You didn't do that-did you? It was done to you?" No one ever asked that question. They stared. They whispered. They laughed. But they never asked.

So wrong for each other...and yet so right.

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

Kelly & Kristin Discuss
(In light of all the Dare You To ARCs being released and the excitement surrounding its realease, Kelly and I decided to discuss Pushing the Limits today.)

First perception of Echo? Did she live up to those perceptions? 
Kelly: That she had something to hide and that no one really understood the real her. She had so much more to give than people originally thought. And she lived up to my perceptions and more.

Kristin: Echo drew my attention from the first page. It was obvious something horrific happened to her and she had few people in her corner. Ms. McGarry did an excellent job of letting Echo mature in a manner that seemed realistic throughout the book.


First perception of Noah? Did he live up to those perceptions?
Kelly: Obviously broken bad boy and that he had a dark past that he refuses to let anybody know. He was also a very angry guy. Yes he lived up to my expectations but I also learned so much more about him. That he is fiercely loyal and protective and loving and he has a big heart.

Kristin: Ah, Noah! I think by introducing each character via Mrs. Collins gave us early insight to some of the issues at hand. Noah appeared like a slacker who cared about nothing, but that was far from the truth. I'm going to be honest and say I connected more with his character than Echo's which is a bit odd, but true. Noah surpassed any and all expectations I had for him.


What were your feelings throughout the book? Did you expect the twists in Echo's and Noah's stories?
Kelly: Feelings, ha! I was a mess! I had tears in my eyes the ENTIRE time and I was seriously psychologically messed up throughout the entire book. I have never experienced so many emotions in one book. As for the twists? Honestly? Not at all! Especially Noah's! Like WTF how sad to keep such a huge secret that your little brother started the fire by accident that killed your parents! Wow!

Kristin: I read Pushing the Limits as an ARC (but had to buy the book as soon as it released) and I remember thinking...Wow! I haven't read another book which left me asking WTH with every single turn of the page. I literally fell into the story, feeling everything I imagined Echo and Noah must've been feeling. Like Kelly, I think Noah's story shocked me a little more than Echo's, though both were equally tragic.


How did the intense psychological trauma the book dished out affect you?
Kelly: Basically I felt like I wanted to crawl into a dark corner and cry until I dried out like an old sponge.

Kristin: Rereading my review, the one word that describes my feelings while reading Pushing the Limits is: overwhelming. There were so many emotions and crazy, awe-inspiring events happening, I had a hard time grasping everything.


What did you think of Mrs. Collins, the guidance counselor?
Kelly: LOVED this woman! She provided some relief from all the sadness! She made me laugh so much! Especially with her driving.

Kristin: As I said in my review, Mrs. Collins may be my favorite adult in any YA book ever. I loved that she didn't dwell on making Echo and Noah like her; she used actions, not words. I'm like Kelly...the driving thing was insane; an excellent use of comic relief.


If you were Echo's dad, how would you have handled the extreme trauma she'd been through?
Kelly: Honestly I don't know. Every person is different right? I do think he should have been there for her more though.

Kristin: Like Kelly said, every person is different but I would like to think I could be more open and honest with my daughter. I'm not big on keeping secrets, especially this kind of secret, but I also understand that there was a reason Echo's brain refused to let her remember what had happened, so maybe it was for the best. I think the part that upset me the most is that he led Echo to believe her mother was locked up when he knew she wasn't. Lies never bode well in the end.


Favorite scene in book?
Kelly: Every time Noah was with his brothers. I wanted to piss through my eyes every time.

Kristin: The scene that comes to mind every single time I think of this book is the award ceremony with Noah and Jacob. Jacob says "Noah is better than Batman" then Noah replies, "I love you, too, lil' bro." I bawled like a baby, not even going to deny it for a single second.


If you were Echo, would you have wanted to see your mom again?
Kelly: Yeah no. Not even a little bit.

Kristin: I'm a huge advocate on knowing both sides of the story, so I feel like I would want to at least hear her side. And, because I trust no one, I would have to see my mom in person, because I would need to see her face when she told me her story...partially to see if she was lying, partially to see if she was truly sorry.


Noah and his brothers, super cute! What did you think about the solution to Noah's problems?
Kelly: PERFECT!! It made me want to jump for joy and shoot confetti from my hands!

Kristin: Honestly, I prayed throughout the book that Ms. McGarry found an appropriate ending for Noah and his brothers. I kept thinking about how he must feel, how much he must have wanted them back, but in my heart, I didn't feel like that ending would have been in anyone's best interest. I think Noah, his brothers, and I all got our happily ever after ending.


Overall thoughts on the book?
Kelly: I am not one for contemporary as I have stated many many times, but this book was hands down the BEST contemp book I have EVER read! It also helped me get through a very difficult night. So this book means a lot to me!

Kristin: As previously stated, I connected with Noah and the way he handled his losses immediately. I'm in no way advocating these actions as ways to cope, but I've been there, and it's so easy to fall into the same trap Noah did. Trust me. Even as an adult.

And Now For Our Choice in Casting!
(Kelly did an amazing job picking out Echo and Noah)


What do you think? Be sure to leave us a comment telling us how you felt about Pushing the Limits. Answer one of our questions or make up you own!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

{Waiting on Wednesday} Dare You To by Katie McGarry



Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we are dying to read but they haven't been released yet!






Title: Dare You To
Series: Pushing the Limits #2
Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: HarlequinTeen/MIRA
Publishing Date: 5/28/2013

Synopsis:


"I dare you..."

If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does....

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all....


Title: The Eternity Cure
Series: Blood of Eden #2
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: HarlequinTeen
Publication Date: 4/20/2013

Synopsis:


Allison Sekemoto has vowed to rescue her creator, Kanin, who is being held hostage and tortured by the psychotic vampire Sarren. The call of blood leads her back to the beginning—New Covington and the Fringe, and a vampire prince who wants her dead yet may become her wary ally.

Even as Allie faces shocking revelations and heartbreak like she’s never known, a new strain of the Red Lung virus that decimated humanity is rising to threaten human and vampire alike.

So, yes, both of these will be sophomore books for their respective series but I am crazy ready to read both of them, though Dare You To may be just a tad higher on my list!

What books are you waiting for?

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