Month in Review: February 2013

Book Reviews (9):
Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Good to Myself by Heather Wardell
Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer
A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest  
Rapunzel Untangled by Cindy C. Bennett
Guns Will Keep Us Together (Bombay Assassins #2) by Leslie Langtry  
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
The Lives We Lost (Fallen World #2) by Megan Crewe 
Son (The Giver #4) by Lois Lowry

Mini Reviews (13):
Ever After (The Hollows #11) by Kim Harrison
Eternal Kiss of Darkness (Night Huntress World #2) by Jeaniene Frost
Once Burned (Night Prince #1) by Jeaniene Frost
The Way We Fall (Fallen World #1) by Megan Crewe
The Crown of Embers (Fire and Thorns #2) by Rae Carson  
Viola in Reel Life (Viola #1) by Adriana Trigiani 
Let Them Eat Cake (French Twist #1) by Sandra Byrd
Bon Appetit: A Novel (French Twist #2) by Sandra Byrd
Piece de Resistance: A Novel (French Twist #3) by Sandra Byrd 
Annabel (Delirium #0.5) by Lauren Oliver 
Supernaturally (Paranormalcy #2) by Kiersten White
Sever (The Chemical Garden #3) by Lauren DeStefano 
Free Four: Tobias Tells the Story (Divergent #1.1) by Veronica Roth

Book-to-Movie Review:
World Without End

Books Read (14):
Eternal Kiss of Darkness (Night Huntress World #2) by Jeaniene Frost
Once Burned (Night Prince #1) by Jeaniene Frost 
Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz
The Way We Fall (Fallen World #1) by Megan Crewe
The Crown of Embers (Fire and Thorns #2) by Rae Carson 
The Lives We Lost (Fallen World #2) by Megan Crewe 
Viola in Reel Life (Viola #1) by Adriana Trigiani 
Let Them Eat Cake (French Twist #1) by Sandra Byrd
Bon Appetit: A Novel (French Twist #2) by Sandra Byrd
Piece de Resistance: A Novel (French Twist #3) by Sandra Byrd 
Supernaturally (Paranormalcy #2) by Kiersten White
Annabel (Delirium #0.5) by Lauren Oliver 
Sever (The Chemical Garden #3) by Lauren DeStefano 
Free Four: Tobias Tells the Story (Divergent #1.1) by Veronica Roth 

How was your February?

Book Review: Son (The Giver Quartet #4) by Lois Lowry

They called her Water Claire. When she washed up on their shore, no one knew that she came from a society where emotions and colors didn’t exist. That she had become a Vessel at age thirteen. That she had carried a Product at age fourteen. That it had been stolen from her body. Claire had a son. But what became of him she never knew. What was his name? Was he even alive?  She was supposed to forget him, but that was impossible. Now Claire will stop at nothing to find her child, even if it means making an unimaginable sacrifice.

Son thrusts readers once again into the chilling world of the Newbery Medal winning book,
The Giver, as well as Gathering Blue and Messenger where a new hero emerges. In this thrilling series finale, the startling and long-awaited conclusion to Lois Lowry’s epic tale culminates in a final clash between good and evil.

Release Date: October 2, 2012
Age Group: YA
Source: Library

I love Lois Lowry's books.  There's a reason why she is a Newberry Medal winner.  Her writing is outstanding!  It's clean, simple yet powerful, and so emotionally provocative.  I read the first three books in the Giver series before I started blogging, so I don't have any old reviews to link to, but The Giver was my favorite book of the series, until I read Son.

Being a relatively new mom, I could really identify with Claire.  I could not imagine not being able to even see my baby during the birthing process, let alone have my child taken from me.  The conditions under which the people of Claire's town lived were unthinkable.  

I think that the society was supposed to be utopian, but, like so many dystopian novels, it was not.  The people of the town were medicated and unfeeling.  They were passive sheep, content to follow their leaders without questioning why things were the way they were.  Except for Claire (and, later, Jonas).  She never took the pills that everyone was required to take, and thus had feelings different from everyone else.  Claire felt love, longing, and devotion to her son.  She felt a desire to change things, and acted on her desire to leave the town.  

Claire's old society was just a small part of Son, though.  Where she ends up after leaving was a whole new setting, with new issues.  Claire grows so much throughout Son, and I loved watching her change.  

I always had a feeling of things being unsettled after finishing Messenger.  I didn't realize that there was going to be a fourth book in the Giver series until I happened upon Son on my library's new releases shelf.  Son tied up all the loose ends from the previous books and brought all three stories together into one perfect conclusion.  I was so happy to revisit some of my favorite characters from the previous books in the series.  I also especially liked the conflict resolution Lowry provides.  Gabriel's battle with the Trademaster was so elegantly written, and a perfect ending to the story. 

If you haven't read the Giver series, I would highly recommend it.  I loved everything about Son and found it impossible to put the book down.  The Giver series is just outstanding, and serves as a standard for comparision in the dystopian genre.


Random Acts of Kindness Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to 

Darlene of Darlene's Book Nook

who won a $10 Amazon gift card as part of our stop on the Random Acts of Kindness Giveaway Hop.

Thank you to I am a Reader, Not a Writer and Read for Your Future for hosting this hop!

Thank you to everyone who stopped by and entered.


Weekly Wrap-Up and Mini-Reviews 2.24.13

Don't forget to enter our giveaway for a $10 Amazon gift card!  Anyone can enter.  Click here to enter

Books I Read This Week and their Mini-Reviews:

Annabel (Delirium #1.5) by Lauren OliverThis short story was a little too short for my tastes.  I enjoyed it but wished it was longer.  I hate it when short stories are packaged with excerpts from other novels in the series to make them see longer.  The new material was scanty.  I would still recommend Annabel to fans of the series, but suggest borrowing it from the library.  Rating 3/5

Supernaturally (Paranormalcy #2) by Kiersten White.  Once I got into the story, I enjoyed this one!  It was a bit of a slow starter, but a good story in the end.  I like this series for its originality and sharp writing, and will definitely be reading book three, Endlessly.  Rating 3.5/5

Sever (The Chemical Garden #3) by Lauren Destefano.  I adored the first two books in The Chemical Garden trilogy, but the finale lacked the intensity of its predecessors.  I liked it, and read it in one day, but I didn't feel the manic urge to keep reading the way I did with Wither and Fever.  If it were any other book, I probably would have loved it for what it was, but I was expecting it to be on the outstanding level as the first two books in the series, so I was disappointed when it was good, even great, but not as outstanding as Wither and Fever.  Rating 4.5/5

Free Four: Tobias Tells the Story (Divergent #1.1) by Veronica Roth.  See above mini-review of Annabel.  This one took me about ten minutes to read: it was just a retelling of a scene from Divergent from Four's POV.  It was nice enough but I'm glad I got this one from the library instead of buying it.  Rating 2.5/5

How was your reading week?


Guest Post: Megan Crewe

Today, we're happy to welcome author Megan Crewe to I'd So Rather Be Reading.  Megan is the author of the Fallen World trilogy.  If you haven't picked these books up yet, I highly recommend them!  Megan is here to talk about the similarities between herself and Kaelyn, heroine of the Fallen World trilogy.

Kaelyn and Me

I'm often asked whether I base my characters on real people, and which characters I see myself in the most. The truth is that there's a little of me in all of my characters, especially my protagonists, but Kaelyn from the Fallen World trilogy is by far the closest. When I was writing her story, I often felt as though I was channeling my teenage self. Just how alike are we?

-Shyness and social awkwardness. I was never overwhelmed in the big city the way Kaelyn has been, because I grew up in Toronto. But both Kaelyn and I had trouble figuring out where we fit in among our peers, and often found it hard to navigate the complicated social politics of high school. I spent many an hour trying to puzzle out what a random comment might have meant, why someone might have been friendly one day and not so much the next, and how to express a crush on a particular guy.

-Fondness for animals. Like Kaelyn, I've always been fascinated by animals and the wilderness. While I never devoted myself to making a career out of studying them, there were several years when I thought I was going to be a veterinarian. I read all sorts of nature books, put pictures of wolves and horses on my walls instead of band posters, and had a menagerie of pets.  Kaelyn's ferrets are based on two of mine.

-Expression through writing. Kaelyn's not a novelist, but she does keep quite a thorough journal, as did I when I was in my teens. Thankfully I never had anything catastrophic to report in mine, so it was mostly devoted to analyzing boy behavior and recounting the fairly normal joys and set-backs of teenage life. You can even read some of my teenage journal entries (and see how much you think my thoughts sound like Kaelyn's) in the Flashback entires on my blog:

-Stubbornness. When I decide something's important to me, I stick with it one hundred percent. Kaelyn's very much the same way. It can be to our detriment, because sometimes there are things you need to let go of and we both may take longer than is ideal to realize that. But at the same time it means we're fiercely devoted to our goals and the people we care about.
More About Megan:
Like many authors, Megan Crewe finds writing about herself much more difficult than making things up. A few definite facts: she lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband and two cats (and does on occasion say "eh"), she tutors children and teens with special needs, and--thankfully--the worst virus she's caught so far is the garden-variety flu.
Megan Crewe on the Web:


Book Review: The Lives We Lost (Fallen World #2) by Megan Crewe

First, the virus took Kaelyn’s friends. Then, her family. Now it’s taken away her home.

But she can't look back—the life she once had is gone forever.

A deadly virus has destroyed Kaelyn’s small island community and spread beyond the quarantine. No one is safe. But when Kaelyn finds samples of a vaccine in her father's abandoned lab, she knows there must be someone, somewhere, who can replicate it. As Kaelyn and her friends head to the mainland, they encounter a world beyond recognition. It’s not only the “friendly flu” that’s a killer—there are people who will stop at nothing to get their hands on the vaccine. How much will Kaelyn risk for an unproven cure, when the search could either destroy those she loves or save the human race?

Megan Crewe's second volume in the Fallen World trilogy is an action-packed journey that explores the resilience of friendship, the ache of lost love, and Kaelyn’s enduring hope in the face of the sacrifices she must make to stay alive.

Release Date: February 12, 2013
Age Group: YA
Source: Review copy from publisher

What an outstanding read!  I loved book one in the Fallen World series, The Way We Fall, but The Lives We Lost was even better.  I had no idea Crewe would take the story in the direction she did, and I loved it.  My only complaint is that now I have to wait for book three to be released to find out how it all ends.

One of my favorite things to read about is character growth, and The Lives We Lost had it in spades.  I loved watching the characters adapt as the situation they were in demanded.  Instead of giving up, Kaelyn clung tightly to her goal of getting her dad's vaccine to someone who can duplicate it and stop the spread of the virus.   

And speaking of the virus, the way Crewe handled that element of the story was really unique.  The deadly plague is called the Friendly Flu, and for good reason: the virus causes its victims to become very friendly and lose their social inhibitions, thus allowing them to get close to other people and spread the virus.  I liked that aspect of the story.  But it was terrible to watch and wait for my favorite characters to get sick.

The Lives We Lost was an emotional read, more emotional than many other dystopian novels I've read.  It felt character-driven as well as action-packed.  Crewe struck the perfect balance.  Both books in the Fallen World series have ended on cliffhangers, which makes me all the more excited for book three!  Highly recommended.

Book Review: The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

A mesmerizing, moving, and elegantly written debut novel, The Language of Flowers beautifully weaves past and present, creating a vivid portrait of an unforgettable woman whose gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles to overcome her own troubled past.

The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating grief, mistrust, and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings.

Now eighteen and emancipated from the system, Victoria has nowhere to go and sleeps in a public park, where she plants a small garden of her own. Soon a local florist discovers her talents, and Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But a mysterious vendor at the flower market has her questioning what’s been missing in her life, and when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness

Release Date: August 23, 2011
Age Group: Adult
Source: Purchased

I have Glennon of Momastery (one of my favorite non-book blogs) to thank for the recommendation to read this book.  Glennon chose The Language of Flowers for Momastery's November book club.  I've never participated in an online book club before, but I loved the summary and decided to try something new.

The Language of Flowers was a wonderful book!  It's a first person narrative, told from Victoria's perspective.  The book alternates between Victoria's present day life and her past, growing up in the foster care system.  Victoria's childhood was heartbreakingly sad to read about.  To imagine a child with no one to love them made my heart ache.  Especially being a new mother myself.  I can't imagine not having my baby...neither can I imagine what my life would have been like without my wonderful parents.  

The most unique thing about The Language of Flowers is in fact, the book's focus on the Victorian language of flowers.  I knew that people use to send flowers instead of love letters, to send a certain message while courting, but that's all I knew about the language of flowers.  To get sort of an education on that topic was really fun and unexpected.  I loved how Victoria uses flowers to express her emotions, since she never really learned how to communicate emotion in a healthy way.

There were times I had a hard time connecting with Victoria.  She made a few decisions I neither agreed with or completely understood.  But in the end, she had grown and changed so much that I really respected her.  

Diffenbaugh's personal experience with the foster care system made Victoria's childhood read very authentically.  I loved the writing style, pacing and emotions.  I highly recommend this book and will definitely read Vannessa Diffenbaugh again!


Random Acts of Kindness Giveaway Hop

Random Acts of Kindness Day is February 17th and we're happy to be participating in I Am A Reader, Not A Writer's annual Random Acts of Kindness Giveaway Hop, co-hosted by Read For Your Future.  

Our prize for this giveaway is a
$10 Amazon Gift Card
Giveaway Rules: 
Anyone can enter: old followers, new followers, non-followers.
The giveaway is open internationally.
The winner will be contacted via email and has 72 hours to respond and claim their prize.
Thank you for stopping by!  Visit the other blogs participating in the hop here

Weekly Wrap-Up/Mini Reviews 2.16.13

My Reading Week and Mini-Reviews:

Viola in Reel Life (Viola #1) by Adriana Trigiani.  I enjoyed this book but didn't love it.  It was a little too young for me, as Viola is only 14 years old.  I love Adriana Trigiani's writing, though, and will read book two if it's available at my library.  Rating: 3/5 stars

The Lives We Lost (Fallen World #2) by Megan Crewe.  Oh wow, what a great book!  I absolutely loved this book.  Full review to come.  Rating 5/5 stars

Let Them Eat Cake (French Twist #1) by Sandra Byrd.  I saw this series featured on Tales of Whimsy and since the first book was free for Kindle, I decided to give it a try.  And I'm so glad I did!  Let Them Eat Cake was a light-hearted, fun contemporary with a Christian element.  I enjoyed every minute of it and jumped right into book two as soon as I finished reading!  Rating 4/5 stars 

Bon Appetit: A Novel (French Twist #2) by Sandra Byrd.  I liked Bon Appetit even more than its predecessor, Let Them Eat Cake.  I loved that the book takes place in France, I felt like I was living through Lexi vicariously as she explored.  I love reading books about cooking, especially baking (given that baking is my favorite kind of cooking to do) and so I really enjoyed that aspect of the story.  My one complaint is that all of the delicious recipes included and constant references to French food and pastries made me hungry!  Rating 4/5 stars

Piece de Resistance: A Novel (French Twist #3) by Sandra Byrd.  This was my favorite book in the series.  It had the most character growth.  I loved how Lexi prayed more and sought God in all things.  It was great for me to read about her getting closer to God, at this difficult time in my own life.  Rating 4/5 stars

How was your week?


Book Review: Guns Will Keep Us Together (Bombay Assassins #2) by Leslie Langtry

Dakota Bombay prided himself on his blond Bond image---bad-guy killer by day, lady-killer by night. Then his life gets both shaken and stirred by an irate grandmother demanding a marketing plan for the family assassination business, a precocious six-year-old son Dak never knew he had, and a mysterious redhead who's erased his decades-old preference for blondes.

Suddenly the perennial playboy is knee deep in pie charts and thinking he may have found the perfect mom for his boy. She's smart, funny, and directs a funeral home no less---what could be better? Now if he can just take out a team of rival assassins without getting killed himself, they can all live trigger-happily ever after.

Release Date: January 29, 2008
Age Group: Adult
Source: Review copy from author

Guns Will Keep Us Together was a fun, fast read.  I really enjoyed book one in the Bombay Assassins series, 'Scuse Me While I Kill This Guy (read my review here), and I jumped at the chance to read more of Leslie Langtry's unique series.  After two and a half years of blogging, I still get a thrill when I actually receive a book that I've requested! 

I love Langtry's wit, writing style, and unique storylines.  The book moved at a great pace and kept me interested the entire time.  My problem was with the narrator, Dakota.  He's a real ladies man and I never quite connected with him.  Much of the time, I didn't even like him!  But, he grew on me and I found myself rooting for his happiness.  

This series is so quirky and fun.  I loved the concise ending and look forward to book three, Stand By Your Hitman.  

I've been a bad blogger...

If you haven't already figured it out by reading my Weekly Wrap-Up posts, I've been on quite the reading binge lately.  I seem to be speeding through a book every day or two.  Part of it is my Kindle Paperwhite, and how easy it is to read a few pages (or chapters) here and there, and part of it is that I've been sick and resting a lot more than usual.  

At any rate, when I feel bad, all I want to do is read.  Not review.  Not return comments.  Not visit other blogs. And especially not return emails.  My clogged inbox was giving me stress, so I created some folders.  Out of sight, out of mind, right?  

Well, today I had "answer review request emails" on my to-do list.  I was feeling better and decided to tackle my inbox.  I opened the appropriate folder and saw that I have 32 review request emails to answer!  I have never been this behind before.  

So, to everyone who's recently emailed me, and has not heard back yet, I'm sorry.  I will get to your email, but it's going to take me some time to read them all and reply individually (which I feel everyone deserves even if the book does not appeal to me).  I hate form emails and imagine that authors and publishers hate form rejections.

Have you ever gotten this behind before?  Is it just me, or is saying 'no' really hard to do?  

Book Review: Rapunzel Untangled by Cindy C. Bennett

Rapunzel is not your average teenager.

For one thing, she has a serious illness that keeps her inside the mysterious Gothel Mansion. And for another, her hair is 15 feet long. Not to mention that she’s also the key to ultimately saving the world from certain destruction. But then she meets a boy named Fane, who changes all she has ever known, and she decides to risk everything familiar to find out who she really is.

Filled with romance, adventure, and mystery,
Rapunzel Untangled is one story you won’t want to put down. Discover the true meaning of love and friendship in this modern twist to the classic fairytale.

Release Date: February 12, 2013
Age Group: YA
Source: NetGalley

I've never been a huge fan of the classic fairytale Rapunzel, so I wasn't sure what to expect from Rapunzel Untangled. I ended up liking the book and would definitely recommend it.

I liked the modern twist to the fairytale; specifically, what kept Rapunzel isolated from the rest of the world. Rapunzel has SCID: Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (read more about it here), more commonly known as the Bubble Boy disease. This was an unexpected element to the story and a neat way to explain why Rapunzel has not been exposed to the world or even met anyone besides her mother or physician. 

What bothered me about Rapunzel having SCID was that it was not truly accurately represented. The characters called it SCIDs, not SCID, and Rapunzel was oddly immune to her mother's germs but no one else's (if she truly had SCID anyone's germs would make her deathly ill). Having an immune deficiency myself, I know about SCID and this element of the story bothered me. While I could tell that Bennett had researched the issue there were some parts of the SCID element that were not accurate.

I found the story to be somewhat predictable, but still enjoyable. I liked the slow progression of the love story. I would have preferred a first-person narrative but did still enjoy the writing style. The witchcraft elements were pretty dark and much more creepy than I initially expected. Fans of the paranormal genre will enjoy that part of the story.

My other main complaint about Rapunzel Untangled was how things ended up regarding Rapunzel's parents.  It felt like they were summarily dismissed, especially given Rapunzel's flashbacks to her mother's love.

While I did have a couple of complaints I did enjoy Rapunzel Untangled and would recommend it to fans of fairytale retellings and fans of YA. I would definitely read Cindy Bennett again. 


Weekly Wrap-Up/Mini Reviews 2.10.13

Books I Read This Week:

Eternal Kiss of Darkness (Night Huntress World #2) by Jeaniene FrostI really enjoyed this one, just as much as Denise and Spade's book.  So far, the Night Huntress World series is just as much fun as the original Night Huntress books.  I especially like that each book can stand alone, with no cliffhangers from book to book.  Rating: 4/5

Once Burned (Night Prince #1) by Jeaniene FrostI was not as impressed with Once Burned as I was with Eternal Kiss of Darkness.  I started reading Once Burned immediately after finishing Mencheres' book and it fell short for me.  It read too simply and more like a true romance for my tastes.  I got this one from the library---and would read book two if I could get it from the library as well---but I won't be buying the next one in the series.  Rating: 3/5

The Way We Fall (Fallen World #1) by Megan CreweI was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book!  I went right into book two, and I'm so glad I had it on hand, because it ended on quite the cliffhanger.  There was so much character growth, not to mention a great plot, that I sped through this book pretty quickly.  I can't wait to see where Crewe takes the story in book two!  Rating 4.5/5 

The Crown of Embers (Fire and Thorns #2) by Rae CarsonWhat a great read!  I loved everything about this book.  Carson's books are longer than most other YA novels, but I love that about them.  There is so much depth to the story, and the longer length allows for a lot of character growth.  The love story was so sweet---can't wait for the next book in the series!  Rating 5/5  

How was your week?

Book to Movie Review: World Without End

Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End are two of my all-time favorite books.  Last year, I fell in love with The Pillars of the Earth miniseries and was beyond thrilled when I heard that World Without End was also being made into a miniseries.  World Without End was my favorite book between the two: I loved the love story and the inclusion of the black plague.   

My husband is also a Follett fan and we watched this series together.  I really enjoyed the World Without End miniseries, and I'm really glad I watched it, but I thought that The Pillars of the Earth miniseries was better.  World Without End strayed too far from the book (why they felt the need to change an already-perfect plot is beyond me) and I did not always agree with the changes that were made.  So much death!  Sex!  Back-stabbing! 

I still highly recommend the World Without End miniseries, as it's a great story acted out by an oustanding cast with great acting.  Bottom line: World Without End is my favorite Follett book but The Pillars of the Earth had a better screen adaptation.  



Book Review: A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest

On the evening of Sofia Claremont's 17th birthday, she is sucked into a nightmare from which she cannot wake.

A quiet evening walk along a beach brings her face to face with a dangerous pale creature that craves much more than her blood.

She is kidnapped to an island where the sun is eternally forbidden to shine.

An island uncharted by any map and ruled by the most powerful vampire coven on the planet. She wakes here as a slave, a captive in chains.

Sofia's life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn when she is the one selected out of hundreds of girls to join the harem of Derek Novak, the dark royal Prince.

Despite his addiction to power and obsessive thirst for her blood, Sofia soon realizes that the safest place on the island is within his quarters, and she must do all within her power to win him over if she is to survive even one more night.

Will she succeed? ...or is she destined to the same fate that all other girls have met at the hands of the Novaks?

Release Date: December 14, 2012
Age Group: YA
Source: Review copy from author

Of all the vampire books out there---and it seems like I've read more than my fair share of them---I thought it's had my fill of vampire romance. Guess what? I haven't. I found A Shade of Vampire to be a great surprise, and a very fulfilling read.

Reading the summary, I really wasn't sure what to expect from this book. I thought that it could be very dark, given Sofia's kidnapping and the fact that the characters live in perpetual night. But, it was not too dark at all. The emotions between the characters kept things light and compulsively readable.

Sofia is a great female lead, strong but still vulnerable at times. I loved how she took the other girls under her wing and how she cares for others. Through all of her ordeals, Sofia never lost her kind, caring spirit, which was so nice to read about.

There was a nice twist at the end which left me anxious to read the next book in the series.  I liked the shorter length of this book---the world building was just right and the pace of the book was great.  There were no slow parts to it.

I thought I was through with vampire romance, but I guess not...I've found a new series and author to follow! 
Buy A Shade of Vampire from Amazon:
USA, paperback
USA, eBook
UK, paperback
UK, eBook

Add on Goodreads

Book Review: Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer

Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.

As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.

Release Date: February 5, 2013
Age Group: YA
Source: Review copy from publisher

I really enjoyed Cinder, book one in the Lunar Chronicles (read my review here), so it was a great treat to get to read Scarlet early.  

I felt like Cinder had a slow start, and Scarlet was the same for me. But once the story got going, I was hooked and could not put the book down.

Scarlet as a character had to grow on me.  I confess that at first, I wasn't too invested in her story, mainly because all I really wanted to read about was Cinder and Prince Kai.  I loved their s  But once I got to know Scarlet, I really liked her and enjoyed her strength, tenacity, and honesty.  I think it's so neat that Meyer has created two strong female leads, and I loved seeing their stores converge.  I really enjoyed it when Cinder and Scarlet end up working together.

One of my favorite things about Cinder was the magic of the Lunar people.  Meyer really built on that element in Scarlet, and the twist with the army was my favorite part of the book.  It was a great surprise and added another layer of depth to the story.

I love the world Meyer has created in the Lunar Chronicles.  I can't wait to read book three!   

Book Review: Good to Myself by Heather Wardell

Internet columnist Lydia Grange is on the brink of the promotion she's wanted for two years. As lead columnist of the Toronto Times' women's issue site, she'll have the fame she longs for, the money to fuel her shopping obsession, and all the free shoes she can wear. Only one obstacle remains: beating her coworkers (Sasha the perfect mother and Patricia the bargain-obsessed senior) in a competition. All three must be 'good to themselves' for four weeks and teach their readers to do the same, and at the end of the time their sexy boss Felix will pick the winner.

Lydia's certain she will be that winner, and not just because she knows Felix wants her on an unprofessional level. She's never anything but good to herself, so how could she not win? Fancy drinks with extra whipped cream, the cheesecake she adores, the exquisite but pricey purse she's been craving? With the help of her nice-guy buddy and coworker Percy, she'll just indulge herself even more and make sure her fans do the same. In a month both the job and her long-desired fling with Felix will be hers.

It'll be the easiest four weeks of her life.

Unless it turns out there's more to self-care than sex and shopping and sugar.

Release Date: December 9, 2012
Age Group: Adult
Source: Review copy from author

Good to Myself is the tenth book in Wardell's Toronto series. Taken from the author's website (  
While these books don't form a strict series, they are all set in the same area of Toronto and some of the earlier books' characters and locations do make appearances in later books. I don't think you'd completely spoil your reading experience by picking them up out of order, but you would definitely find spoilers of how the earlier books end!
I've loved each and every book in the Toronto series and recommend them all. I always have to make sure that I have several hours to sit and read once I start one of Wardell's books, because I have to read them in one to two sittings. They are just that good! So, it was with great excitement that I started Good to Myself

I was so happy to read Good to Myself just after the New Year. It was a great time to read a book about making better choices for yourself! The choices Lydia makes for her life gave me the motivation to make some better personal choices (like cutting back on sugar) and, like Lydia, inspired me to try hot tea instead of a sugary latte!

I enjoyed this book a lot; although I did have trouble identifying with some aspects of Lydia's personality, there were many things about her that really resonated with me. I especially liked that she was an Internet columnist, as many of her work concerns were similar to my blogging issues.

I loved the conflict resolution and the way the story ended. It was a perfect ending, emotional without being too sappy. I also am quite interested in the next book in the series, which is Larissa's story. I've always wondered about Larissa and look forward to reading more about her.

If you haven't read Heather Wardell yet, I highly recommend her work. Her first novel (and one of my favorites) is free on her website. Get it here.  


Weekly Wrap-Up/Mini-Reviews 2.3.13

Books I Read This Week:

Ever After (The Hollows #11) by Kim Harrison.  Mini Review: I've been a long-time fan of the Rachel Morgan books, and, in keeping with the rest of the series, Ever After was a great read.  I love Harrison's plot, pacing, and emotion.  Her books are always fresh and exciting.  My one complaint about Ever After is that it was very heavy on magic: more so than the other books in the series.  I like the direction that the series seems to be going and look forward to the next installment!  Rating: 4.5/5 stars.

How was your week?

Book Review: Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

There are people in this world who are Nobody. No one sees them. No one notices them. They live their lives under the radar, forgotten as soon as you turn away.

That’s why they make the perfect assassins.

The Institute finds these people when they’re young and takes them away for training. But an untrained Nobody is a threat to their organization. And threats must be eliminated.

Sixteen-year-old Claire has been invisible her whole life, missed by the Institute’s monitoring. But now they’ve ID’ed her and send seventeen-year-old Nix to remove her. Yet the moment he lays eyes on her, he can’t make the hit. It’s as if Claire and Nix are the only people in the world for each other. And they are—because no one else ever notices them.

Release Date: January 22, 2013
Age Group: YA
Source: Review copy from publisher

What a compelling read!  Nobody read like a psychological thriller for me. I loved it. I read this book several weeks ago and I'm still thinking about it. I found the heavy subject matter (death, serial killers) somewhat haunting, but so, so good. 

Barnes has created such a unique world in Nobody. I loved the world-building and the concept of Nobodies. I felt so badly for Claire and Nix! I was so happy that they found each other, as each one thought they were the only person in the world who is virtually forgettable.

There were some dark elements to Nobody, but they weren't dark enough to scare me off and I usually scare quite easily. I was so invested in the story that I knew I would keep reading no matter what. 

I found Nobody to be very emotional and beautifully written. The love story was so sweet and tender. The character growth was just right and I liked that Nix changes a lot through the book. I loved the imagery, especially "the fade'. The ending was perfect for setting up book two---I really can't wait to read it!