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Wednesday, June 29, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Rating: 5 out of 5

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar ChildrenSummary: Jacob has grown up hearing stories about an island and an orphanage with strange children since he can remember. Jacob, as a young child readily believes these stories but soon, as he grows older he begins to doubt their validity. Then, his grandfather dies in a very strange manner which sends Jacob into acute stress overload. He thinks himself crazy, but his psychiatrist believes it best for him to visit the island where his grandfather grew up, it might help put the stories to rest. Reluctantly, his parents agree, but his father accompanies him on the trip. Jacob spends days pouring over the old, battered house looking for signs of life from the time his father grew up there. Mysteriously, one day, he hears footsteps in the house and a girl calling for Abe, his dead grandfather. When he takes chase, he finds himself in another world, one full of peculiar children.

My thoughts:  I have to say, this book blew me away. At first, I wasn't too interested. I just kind of thought it would be a cheesy book that wouldn't be worth my time, but I was wrong. The writing drew me in immediately. I really liked the character Jacob. Yes, he came from a privileged family but he isn't a spoiled brat. He truly cares about his grandfather and really wants to put to rest what he was told as his grandfather took his last breath.  Jacob to me is sort of an outcast, he's not well liked, he's bullied, he's just a normal kid about to embark on a fascinating journey. I think that makes him so likable.

This book had another aspect that isn't in a lot of books either. Old photographs of strange looking children. They're just thrown in at different parts in the book. It helps make the story more real I feel , because we have pictures to go along with the children that we hear about. We also get to see hand written notes from characters, that too helps make the story more real and even more likable if that is even possible.

This story is sad, exciting and kind of scary all at the same time. You can't help but cheer for the characters, especially near the end because you so desperately want things to work out for them so they can all be happy. This is definitely a must read!
Monday, June 27, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles)
Rating: 4 out of 5

The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles)Summary: The year is 1897 in England, and Finley Jane is about to run from trouble again. It seems that 'thing' inside of her, whatever it may be is getting harder for her to control. No normal girl would be able to take down a grown man especially one much taller and much bigger than she is. However, when her current employer makes unwanted advances, Finley does what she has to do, protect herself. The problem is, she almost kills him, so she runs again only to be run over by a velocycle. The offenders take her home only to discover that she truly does have a remarkable power, kind of like the powers they seem to possess, but she doesn't know a thing about her abilities other than the fact they tend to get her into trouble.  Griff (a duke), his friend Sam and Emily are investigating a criminal known only as the machinist. One whom is building machines, automaton's that can independently think and commit crimes.  Trust is put to the test and secrets are revealed in a world full of steam powered machines.

My thoughts: I hadn't read steampunk before but this novel sounded interesting so I decided to give it a try. I gave the book a 4 out of 5 because the beginning was hard to get into. I feel like we're hounded with a lot of information about the things that Griff and his friends use to fight crime and to heal those that are injured. It just seems like a lot of information to process at once, especially when we're just starting to meet the characters and understand their abilities. However, as the novel goes on, it's easier to comprehend what we're reading. Things, at least to me, started to make much more sense.

It took some time for me to get into this world, but once I did, and once I started to get into the machinist and his background, not to mention how everything tied together, I truly began to enjoy this novel. The characters are really likable. Each has their own faults, but they truly care for each other and would do anything to save those around them, that makes them very real. All in all this was a good read. 
Saturday, June 25, 2011 | By: Traci

Midsummer's Eve Giveaway Hop Winner!

As soon as Midnight hit last night I closed the contest and used Random.org to select the winner. Random.org gave me the number 23. Lucky number 23 was Teresa W. from Ohio! She shot me back an email today so on Monday I'll ship out her book.

Thanks to everyone that entered. Stick around I have more contests planned for the future!
Friday, June 24, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Vampire Academy
Rating: 4 out of 5

Vampire AcademySummary: Rose a vampire guardian and Lissa, a vampire princess spend two years on the run, running from school and their enemies. One night, they are caught and returned to school much to Rose's dismay. Now, they must return to school and deal with gossip, new enemies and learn to handle these things, after all, they did run away together and manage to escape the guardians, how was this possible? Rose must catch up and learn to protect her vampire charge while Lissa must struggle with being an orphan and learning how to use her gifts without losing herself.

My thoughts: Twilight turned me off from reading many vampire novels but I picked this one up and decided to give it a go. I was pleasantly surprised. I liked the tale of Rose and Lissa's friendship. I really liked the concept of guardians protecting vampires from an immortal group of people called Strigoi that are trying to find vampire's and kill them. I really enjoyed this world but Rose however rubbed me the wrong way.

She's not an unlikable character, to me, she just has some unlikable traits. However she tends to grow on you as you realize that Rose is just trying to protect her best friend, and live up to her role as a guardian. This role is not something she takes lightly, which is why she ran away with Lissa in the first place. They have quite the bond and both would do anything for each other. That story is great, I just Rose wasn't so overbearing and so downright mean. This stuff tends to wear off towards the end and get better thankfully. I am excited to read the next book in this series though so I hope to see things progress in a better manner later. 
Thursday, June 23, 2011 | By: Traci

Pottermore: J.K Rowling announces an interactive book experience

I don't know about you, but I'm a major Harry Potter fan. I got into the series a lot later than most people but I quickly fell in love with the series. So naturally, when the books ended and the movies started to trickle to an ending, I got depressed like many but it seems J.K Rowling has had something else up her sleeve.

She did the press announcement today. It sounds like a giant digital world of Harry Potter where you can, yes, finally purchase ebook version of the books but also follow the story in a digital way. According to various net sources, you'll get sorted into houses, get a wand just for you from a possible 33,000 combinations and you'll get information that J.K Rowling has been 'hoarding' from us for years.

It sounds like a fascinating venture and I'm excited for it's release in the fall! I just hate that we have to wait so long.

Check out The Leaky Cauldron's Pottermore Announcement .
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

A Visit from the Goon Squad
Rating: 4 out of 5

A Visit from the Goon SquadSummary: This story follows several different characters from their early years, through their later years. We hear from each character, get a peek into their lives, and the rise and fall of them. What follows is a sad look at life, the hopefulness we each feel, the downfall all of us face, and the sorrow of looking back, wishing we could go back, but yet, knowing all the same, we never can. Life is a goon that eventually nabs us all.

My thoughts: I admit it, I only read this because Good Reads is doing the book club challenge. However, I was pleasantly surprised with this novel and I am quite glad I read it.

The beginning immerses us quite quickly into the life of one main character and the current problems she's trying to face with her therapist. Eventually, we move on and peek into her past as well as the past of those around her. I really liked this novel because it's extremely bittersweet. I myself, can remember thinking and feeling the way the young characters in the novel did. We seem to think when we are young, we have the whole world ahead of us, we can do whatever we want and that, we'll always remain forever in the company of those we currently are friendly with. Of course, that's not the case. Everyone goes their own way. Things happen, people break up, marriages end in divorce and people lose their jobs. It's just life.

The ending was quite nice too. We eventually catch up with a few characters that are trying to find Sasha, one of their friends from the early days. They go to her old apartment hoping to find her and we're left long, just like the characters for some sort of closure or catch up. It's a good story. My only complaint is, some chapters near the end start to lag a bit as they get a bit lengthy in their explanations when readers really just want the story to move on. 
Monday, June 20, 2011 | By: Traci

Midsummer's Eve Giveaway Hop!










Welcome to the Midsummer's Eve Giveaway Hop hosted by I am a reader, Not a writer. This is my first giveaway hop! I'll be giving away a copy of Tina M. Randolph's Tower of Change (The Keys of Fate Book 1) Currently, this giveaway is only open to U.S residents.
Tower of Change (The Keys of Fate, Book 1)

This giveaway is now closed! Thanks to everyone that entered!


Mailbox Monday # 5

Ghosts of Coronado Bay, A Maya Blair MysteryGhosts of Coronado Bay, A Maya Blair Mystery
I won this title on Library thing as a Members giveaway. I haven't had a chance to read it yet but it sounds really interesting!







Hereafter
Hereafter I also picked up Hereafter. I've really been waiting on this title for awhile. I'm excited that I finally managed to get a copy.
Friday, June 17, 2011 | By: Traci

Follow Friday #6

Book Blogger Hop

Q.“How many books are currently in your To-Be-Read (TBR) Pile?"

I keep track of the books I want to read on Good Reads. That list has 149 books to read on it and it keeps growing every day. I finish off one or two books at a time which means I lose some books on the list and then, it fills right back up that same day with more books I'm interested in reading. It's forever growing.



Q. Genre Wars! What's your favorite genre and which book in that genre made it your favorite?

As a broad generalization, I enjoy YA novels. If you want to break it down more, I enjoy fantasy and I'm really getting into dystopian novels. I keep finding more to read and the more I read them, the more I enjoy them. I really don't know which YA fantasy novel is my favorite. I've read so many, they're all pretty amazing. When it comes to dystopian, I began by reading an ARC copy of Divergent that I won from Good Reads. I really enjoyed it which made me want to read more. I've read others like Delirium and The Hunger Games. I really enjoyed the Hunger Games so I'll definitely be reading more.
Thursday, June 16, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games
Rating: 5 out of 5

The Hunger GamesSummary: The United States as we know it as collapsed, war, famine and hunger have long taken it's toll. The U.S is now the country Panem, divided into 12 districts with one main location known as the Capitol. Each year, two  people from each district, ages 12-18 are selected by a lottery to participate in The Hunger games. Part TV show entertainment, part intimidation, part bloodbath to see who comes out alive. When Katniss' sister Prim is selected to go, Katniss volunteers to go in her place. Peeta, the second representative of district 12 and Katniss have to fight to the death (literally) to see who makes it out alive. However, Katniss isn't comfortable with their rules of one winner and ends up making more trouble for herself.

My thoughts: Why on earth did I wait so long to read this?? I really enjoyed this story. I'm really starting to enjoy dystopian novels more, so this wasn't anything new to me. I really liked the concept. Yes, this was about a reality TV show, but this story focused more on the story than on the TV show itself. We get a real insight into the characters minds and lives instead of the inner workings of a TV show.

This story has all the great workings of a dystopian novel. One central location and population that survives and thrives, with the rest suffering and people barely paying them any attention. However, the thriving district tends to derive far more pleasure from watching children and teens from other districts dying and killing each other for simple glory than anything. The characters are really likable. Katniss is very likable from the beginning. She's just a humble girl trying to feed her family since her father is gone. She's learned to live from the land and make do with what she has. I really liked the fact that Katniss is not a woe is me character. She realizes that life isn't fair but she does what she has to, to make her life the best she can, with what she can.

Her opponent Peeta on the other hand, takes awhile to know. He's sort of misleading, however he turns likable. He's mysterious in the beginning but once we learn more about him, we understand his motives and his life.

I just really enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone that hasn't read it yet that enjoys dystopian novels!
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: You Can't Stop Me by Max Allan Collins and Matthew Clemens

You Can't Stop Me
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

You Can't Stop MeSummary: J.C Harrow turns into a national celebrity the day he saves the president from being shot at the Iowa State Fair. It's nothing new for him though, he's a cop, it's what he does. He makes the long drive home to find his house dark, the mailbox closed and his wife's car in the driveway. He knows something isn't right. When he begins to explore the house he finds his wife and son both dead from gunshot wounds. At first, Harrow is a suspect but quickly cleared as they find that his gun had not be recently fired. More murders pop up all over the country, they all seem to target civil servant families. Years later, Harrow takes a job as a TV show host working to catch bad guys and put them away.  When a personal assistant working for the TV company discovers a clue that other police miss, Harrow and the PA work together to create an expert team of police personnel to find the killer of Harrow's family, and the other families over the years. The reason the killer admits to killing so many is shocking.

My thoughts: When I got this book from Amazon it was a free download and I am quite happy that I got it free. Don't get me wrong, this book wasn't terrible, the concept was great but the execution I think, could have been better. I really like mystery and thriller novels, and I did have high hopes for this one. I was however, annoyed with the constant really TV show hype. I used to enjoy some reality TV shows so I suppose all the references to this supposed TV show weren't really what I was looking for. Also, just as a side mark, the name of the TV show was very cheesy. It became kind of laughable really whenever the TV show name was mentioned (for reference it was called Crime Seen!).

I realize that the show was the basis for how the team went after the killer, but it was full of moments that, in my opinion were unnecessary. We had to sit through whole segments of the show just to get to the point of what we were really after, clues to the murders.

I did like the ending. It was a conspiracy theory basis with a slight twist. The ending took awhile to happen which was kind of annoying. I wanted loose ends to tie up. I wasn't looking for how the show ended and what happened to crew members. I wanted to know what happened to families and the criminal.

All in all, I say this is a good read if you can grab it for free again!
Monday, June 13, 2011 | By: Traci

Mailbox Monday #4

DominanceDominance
I received this book in the mail at the end of last week. I won this ARC copy of Dominance by Will Lavender from Good Reads. I'm pretty excited about this one as it looks really good. I like mysteries and thrillers but I never seem to find any of the really good ones, that or I just never get around to reading to many of them. I tend to stick to the paranormal side of things so I'm always excited to get to a good mystery/thriller novel when I can.





Daphne and the Silver AshDaphne and the Silver Ash is another book I won from Library Thing. This was a member giveaway. I received and Ebook copy in my email.  I haven't really had a chance to look it over yet but it looks interesting.
Sunday, June 12, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (ARC)

The The Name of the Star
Rating: 5 out of 5

The The Name of the Star (Shades of London (Hardcover - Trilogy))Summary: Rory leaves small town Louisiana to attend Wexford boarding school in London as her parents have taken a sabbatical and are teaching overseas as well. Rory must adjust to boarding school as she's American and not used to British slang or how they do things. Thankfully, she settles into life with her roommate Jazza. The only problem is, Jack the Ripper seems to have resurfaced and is killing women, much like how they were murdered in 1888. One night, Jazza and Rory sneak out of their dorm to watch the police scene unfold on the night of another scheduled Jack the Ripper killing. When the second body isn't found, Rory and Jazza leave their friend Jerome to sneak back into their dorm. The only problem is, someone saw them, a man that was wandering around campus. The second problem? Jazza didn't see this man, and a woman is found dead on the school grounds the next morning. Rory suddenly finds herself in contact with a secret police branch run by the government and she learns something about herself too. When the Jack the Ripper killer sets his sights on Rory, she has a decision to make, save her new friends, or herself.

My thoughts: I really, really enjoyed this book and I am so grateful that I won this copy from Library thing! I expected a rather modern, logical conclusion to this tale, but really, it was something a lot stranger than I expected. I really liked how this book was a great blend of paranormal events, with, well government conspiracies.

The plot switched easily from one thing to the next and it was quite hard to determine where this book was going next. I didn't expect a lot of things to happen, nor did I always draw conclusions as to where we were headed next within the story. It's not so easy to decipher which I think makes this a great read. Too many books today are predictable which makes them boring and leaves me wondering why I even picked the book up to read. This is not one of those tales. The ending left me only wanting more! I cannot wait until the next comes out. 
Saturday, June 11, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: Freaks by Tess Gerritsen

Freaks
Rating: 5 out of 5

FreaksSummary: Freaks is a short Rizzoli and Isles story. If you're already a fan of the Rizzoli and Isles series this will be a nice small addition, and if you like the TV show you'll probably want this for the ending as there is a small snippet of the second seasons screen play. A body of a 17 year old girl is found in an abandoned church. A passerby hears her screaming and they find her dead  with an open coffin nearby. Rizzoli spies an open door and goes outside to find a figure cloaked in black. Once he realizes it's the police, he takes off and Rizzoli takes chase. When she corners him, the figure doesn't look human, he looks almost vampire. Is this a case of the paranormal or simply a case of mistaken identity?

My thoughts: I'm not really familiar with Tess Gerritsen's work but I am a fan of the show so I downloaded this short story from Amazon. It is extremely fast paced but it is a short story. The conclusion is slightly surprising but I will admit I did expect a tad bit more action. It's not disappointing though. This short story also contains a sneak peak at another upcoming story and as I've said above a sneak peak at the returning show in July. When I downloaded this it was Free so it may be worth heading over to Amazon to check out!

Review: Hex, A Witch and Angel Tale

Hex, A Witch and Angel Tale
Rating: 4 out of 5

Hex, A Witch and Angel TaleSummary: Hex, A Witch and Angel tale is about Lily, a not so normal teenager enjoying life as a high school student with her best friend J. The only downside to Lily is, she cannot touch people without experiencing unbelievable pain. The pain can get so bad sometimes she'll just collapse and pass out. She tends to see the past or future when she touches people.She also has magical powers. She uses these powers to make magic candles for her mother's witch shop, and these candles tend to pack a powerful punch.  She learns to live without touching people though. And then, Ryder, the hottest guy at school comes along and asks her for a date. At first, she thinks she's some sort of creepy stalker, but then she learns that she can touch Ryder. She falls for him hard, but there's a catch. They're not just boyfriend and girlfriend, they're soul mates, bound together for hundreds of years by a curse and it always ends the same.

My thoughts: I want to start this by saying this is not a terrible book, I did give it 4 out of 5 stars, but I did feel like there were some flaws with it. Something about the beginning of the book and how the main character, Lily speaks to you was annoying to me at first. However, it does get better and Lily does become a more interesting character. I really wanted to see more magic taking place. If you're looking for a paranormal romance that contains a lot of magic, this is NOT it. The magic really does not begin until you're almost finished with the book and even then, it seems pretty minimal.

I also expected more action, maybe a power showdown, but this also does not occur. There is a hint but not much. However, there is romance, Lily is torn between two guys. They both are hiding secrets and Lily needs to find out the truth behind their motives. It takes a long time for her to catch on, again right before the end. The ending is kind of abrupt and things just seem to fall into a perfect little ending way too easily.  It's not a bad story, I just expected a fleshier tale. 
Tuesday, June 7, 2011 | By: Traci

Teaser Tuesday #1 Hex: A Witch and Angel Tale by Ramona Wray

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!


 "Have you started feeling the cold yet?" he called after me. "Tell him. Ask him what he thinks about it."
Hex, A Witch and Angel Tale Page 74 of 243 Kindle Edition
Monday, June 6, 2011 | By: Traci

Mailbox Monday #3

So I have a few books to put up this week for Mailbox Monday.

The The Name of the StarI won this one from Library Thing and I'm extremely excited.I had tried to win this one from Good Reads a few times but I wasn't lucky enough. Well I received it the other evening via UPS. I haven't started reading it yet but it is up for review. 

Freaks
I also downloaded a Rizzoli and Isles short story from Amazon. I fell in love with the TV show last year and I decided that I really should read some of the stories. I haven't actually read any of them but I haven't gotten to doing it. So I'm hoping that I can get to reading Freaks before too long. 
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