August 25, 2010

Radiance by Alyson Noel


Riley Bloom has left her sister and crossed the bridge into the afterlife—a place called Here, where time is always Now. She has picked up where she left off when she was alive, living with her parents and dog in a nice house in a nice neighborhood. When she’s summoned before The Council, she learns that the afterlife isn’t just an eternity of leisure. She’s been assigned a job as a Soul Catcher; and a teacher, Bodhi, a possibly cute, seemingly nerdy boy who’s definitely hiding something. They return to earth together for Riley’s first assignment, a Radiant Boy who’s been haunting a castle in England for centuries. Many Soul Catchers have tried to get him to cross the bridge and failed. But all of that was before he met Riley.

Many of you may recall Riley Bloom from Alyson Noel’s Immortals series. It is in Evermore (Book 1) where Riley first makes her appearance as Ever’s cute and feisty...oh, and dead, twelve-year-old sister. Personally, I didn’t care for the Immortals series; I finished Evermore because I wanted to read more about Riley. And I told myself I would only read another book relating to the series if it was about her character. Well, that time has come...

In this spin-off series, we find Riley after she crosses over to the Here and Now. The best part: this series can stand on its own—it isn't necessary to read the Immortals series before picking up Radiance. There are only a few references made (usually as an afterthought) about Riley's sister and aunt, and life before she crossed the bridge, that tie this series to The Immortals.

Riley is a fun and interesting character—she’s still cute, she’s still feisty, she’s hilarious, but she’s also unsure of her place, she’s still finding it difficult to cope with the fact that she died just before she hit her teen years. Alyson Noel did a great job with this one—I wasn’t disappointed with Riley’s narrative at all; in fact, I enjoyed her point of view and inner dialogue more than the actual plot points of the book. Keep in mind that while the Immortals series is written for a Young Adult audience, Radiance is geared more towards Middle Grade readers. Also, the book is short—less than 200 pages—and sometimes felt rushed. But still, this is a fun and charming book, a good pick for young, reluctant readers.

Radiance hits shelves on August 30th!!

My rating: 1/2

August 23, 2010

I told myself not to...

I was away for an entire week, but now I'm back and ready to catch up on giveaway entries that came in, and on the blog updates I've missed. :)
I told myself not to, but I went against my better judgement and posted some pics anyway.

Me and the mister spent the week visiting family in the beautiful state of Washington (where I spent every free moment sneaking away to pick the raspberries, strawberries, blueberries... well, pretty much any berry you can think of from the garden (Yum!).

While we were there, we decided to make a day trip to the Hoh Rain Forest and, (mostly) because of me, made a few stops along the way...

Crescent Lake

Even though it was drizzling for a majority of the drive, the clouds finally started to break up and we had blue sky for the rest of the day!

We started to see these and other Twilight related stores on every corner as soon as we got to
Port Angeles. Crazy! Yes, those are cardboard cutouts and they weren't always on the inside of the stores.

What? I couldn't resist!

Forks Timber Museum (and Twilight Tours, of course!)

They had a Team Edward restroom AND a Team Jacob restroom...

Bella's First Aid Station (Pharmacy)
They pretty much incorporate "Twilight" in nearly everything here.
At one point we even passed "Jacob's Java Hut" which had a full-sized picture of Jake right on the building.

Again, I couldn't resist!

(It's a good thing my hubby is long-suffering.)


He finally stopped shaking his head at me once he saw La Push's first beach.
It really was beautiful (and sunny!).
--------------------
We finally made it to the Hoh Rain Forest!
Just checking to see if he sparkled. (joking!)

Oh, and if you haven't already entered my giveaway, there's still some time. You can find the link for that on the top of my sidebar! :)

August 10, 2010

Review and Giveaway: Matched by Ally Condie

**This giveaway is now closed.**

Ally Condie has written about a world where a person’s freedom to choose is traded for the perfect life the government has built and will continue to “improve,” a society where citizens rely completely on the government for their next meal, for the clothes they wear, for the jobs they have, for the way they spend their time, for choosing the person they will marry, and the list goes on.

As the novel opens, seventeen year old Cassia is in attendance at the Matching banquet, where she, along with others her age, will find out who she will marry by the face that appears on the screen from another city—it’s only when a person is matched that they are “allowed” to have a crush, to fall in love.

When Cassia begins to fall in love with a boy who is not her match, things begin to fall apart at the seams because she now finds herself on a dangerous and unprecedented path that the Society would definitely not approve of. Something I just need to get off my chest: as much as I liked Ky, there is still a soft spot in my heart for Xander. Needless to say, the love triangle was well executed. I honestly couldn’t choose between the two.

The first in a planned trilogy, Matched opens strong with a chilling dystopian world where the control of the Society starts out subtle then continues to thicken as Cassia begins to doubt the Society’s infallibility and begins to find answers to questions she never thought to ask before.

The middle of the novel slows down a little as the author continues to reveal information about the Society and the Outer Provinces. But even in the slower parts of the book, the complex characters and plot points keep the reader hooked as layer after layer unfolds to an unforgettable conclusion, one which left me emotionally spent and kept me up late speculating what Book 2 will hold.

My rating:

"I want to tear the silk to bits and stand there waiting for the Official to find me. And when she does and asks me why I did it, I want to tell her and everyone else that I know: they are giving us pieces of a real life instead of the whole thing. And I'll tell her that I don't want my life to be samples and scraps. A taste of everything but a meal of nothing." -- Page 249 (ARC)

Matched is scheduled for release on November 30.

Giveaway:

I will be giving away my gently used ARC of Matched.

Giveaway is open internationally.

To enter:

Simply leave a comment with your email address in the comments section.

For extra entries:

+3 if you are a follower.

+2 for posting about this giveaway on your sidebar, Facebook, Twitter…etc. (leave links – limit 3).

+1 if you mention the country in which you reside.

Giveaway ends September 1.

Good luck! :)


**This giveaway is now closed.**

August 8, 2010

Winner of The Eternal Ones is...


Just a quick post to announce the winner of an ARC of The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller.

And an upcoming giveaway. So...

Keep in mind: If you didn't win this ARC, you might want to keep your eyes open for another ARC that I'll be reviewing & giving away. Don't worry, I won't make you wait to find out what the book is... I'll just tell you now. I recently read, and enjoyed, Matched by Ally Condie, a YA dystopian which goes on sale at the end of November. For more info on the book, you can read more here on Amazon or on Goodreads. I intend on posting the review and giveaway details within the next few days.

*Ahem* Now back to the primary purpose of this post, announcing the winner of my recently closed giveaway (according to Random.org).


The winner of The Eternal Ones (ARC) is (amazingly the first entrant)...

Autumn!!!


Congrats, girlie! :) I'm emailing you now. You will have 48 hours to reply; otherwise, I'll be forced to draw another winner.


Thanks to all who entered! I really wish I had enough for everyone.

August 2, 2010

Review and Giveaway: The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller

***THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED!***

I will be posting the winner soon. :)


Haven Moore has always lived in the tiny town of Snope City, Tennessee. But for as long as she can remember, Haven has experienced visions of a past life as a girl named Constance, whose love for a boy called Ethan ended in a fiery tragedy.

One day, the sight of notorious playboy Iain Morrow on television brings Haven to her knees. Haven flees to New York City to find Iain there; she is swept up in an epic love affair that feels both deeply fated and terribly dangerous. Is Iain her beloved Ethan? Or is he her murderer in a past life?


Haven Moore is seventeen years old and anxious to leave Snope City, Tennessee for the Fashion Institute in New York City. Haven is gifted in dress design—it’s something that has always come easy to her. Also, due to the visions that cause her to faint or blackout, Haven is somewhat of an outcast in her small town—often accused of being demon-possessed.

The Eternal Ones unravels slowly, especially in the beginning as we are introduced to Haven and the visions she has which take her back to the 1920’s—to the life she lived, to the man she loved, to the fire that killed her. The book picks up as Haven learns more about the visions that plague her.

As Haven’s “condition” worsens, she flees to New York City to find the man who was recently accused of murder in hopes that he is her long-lost Ethan. As she gets caught up in the mystery of her past, she becomes entangled in a mystery of evil—a mystery that could possibly be the death of her… again.

With carefully placed flashbacks spread throughout the novel, the reader gets nuggets of information leading further into the mystery and making this book harder to set aside. The writing is exceptional, the main characters are interesting and well-rounded, and the emotions felt by Haven as the novel progresses set off a rollercoaster of emotions for the reader as well. My only complaint is the pace of the story. It starts off slow and at times feels long-winded. However, I found myself a little sad when it was over. Thankfully, there is no major cliffhanger at the end, but the book does end on a note of mystery — possibly setting up for a sequel? Yes!

My Rating:

The Eternal Ones is scheduled for release on August 10.

Giveaway:

I really enjoyed this book and would like to share it with a lucky reader. I will be giving away my gently used ARC of The Eternal Ones.

Giveaway is open internationally!

To enter:

Simply leave a comment with your email address in the comments section.

+2 if you are a follower.
+1 if you mention the country in which you reside.


The winner will be chosen via Random.org

Contest ends on August 7.