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Coming Soon:
~Review: The Killing Woods
~Review: The Waiting Sky
~Review: A Certain Slant of Light
~Review: Timepiece
~Review: Infinityglass

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Mini Review: The Education of Bet

The Education of Bet by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Pub. Date: July 12th, 2010
Pages: 192
Age Level: 13+
Source: Gift

Synopsis via Goodreads
When Will and Bet were four, tragic circumstances brought them to the same house, to be raised by a wealthy gentleman as brother and sister. Now sixteen, they've both enjoyed a privileged upbringing thus far. But not all is well in their household. Because she's a girl, Bet's world is contained within the walls of their grand home, her education limited to the rudiments of reading, writing, arithmetic, and sewing. Will's world is much larger. He is allowed, —forced, in his case, —to go to school. Neither is happy.

So Bet comes up with a plan and persuades Will to give it a try: They'll switch places. She’ll go to school as Will. Will can live as he chooses. But once Bet gets to school, she soon realizes living as a boy is going to be much more difficult than she imagined.

After reading, and loving, Crazy Beautiful by Baratz-Logsted, I couldn't wait to read another one of her books. The Education of Bet was like a historical fiction version of the movie She's the Man (Amanda Bynes), and I really liked that!

Bet was a strong, and brave protagonist with a great sense of humor. I loved watching her fumble through all of the aspects of pretending to be a boy. Though he wasn't there much, I really liked her relationship with Will. Then there was James, Bet's roommate at school. Oh ho ho...did things get interesting there. That's all I'm sayin' on that. There was an array of secondary characters, none of which were very developed, but at under 200 pages, that's to be expected. Mrs. Smithers was probably my favorite.

Even though this is a historical fiction, it was pretty light and not overly dedicated to historical detail. This is one of those books you grab when you want something quick, relaxing, and fun. Though there are a couple of slightly more serious moments, in general it's humorous and light. There was one 'big plot twist' that was at the end, but unfortunately it was a very obvious one that I'd seen coming since shortly after I had started reading. I wasn't all that bothered by it though. The writing was good but nothing really stood out about it for me.

The ending was tied up into this pretty little package with a bow stuck on top and that worked great for this book.

In Essence

Characters: Cute and fun variety of characters with a great heroine.
Writing: Nothing spectacular but good.
Plot: Predictable but adorable and quick historical fiction story.
Ending: Tied everything up nicely.
Enjoyment/Likability: A relaxing light read that I really enjoyed.
Recommendable: Yes. Great for MG and YA readers.

Overall: Nothing too heavy in the historical department so good for anyone who likes a quick and fun story. Could have benefited significantly from being longer.

Cover: Pretty!

Buy The Education of Bet
Amazon / B&N / Kindle / Nook / Book Depository

Saturday, December 29, 2012

ARC Giveaway: What the Spell by Brittany Geragotelis

What the Spell
By Brittany Geragotelis
Simon & Schuster
January 29th, 2013
Young Adult

Synopsis via Goodreads
A teenage witch juggles popularity and romance while keeping her powers a secret in this spellbinding debut.Almost-sixteen-year-old Brooklyn feels invisible, but she desperately wants to be pretty, to be popular, to be adored by a cute guy. Luckily for her, she’s a witch about to come of age—so she’s only a few spells away from making it all happen.

On her milestone birthday, Brooklyn’s conservative parents finally unbind her powers, which include the ability to magically match couples with a love spell. Brooklyn uses her special skills to get a makeover, new friends, and the attention of her crush, Asher. But the popular clique Brooklyn wants to infiltrate puts her in the same precarious position as her Salem ancestors: If she’s found out, she could be vilified—and lose Asher in the process. Can she make the most of her magic, or will she be luckless and loveless? Be careful what you witch for!


So, I received an ARC of this book unsolicited in the mail. Honestly, it doesn't really seem like my kind of book so I thought this would be the perfect place to pass it on. Open to US & Canada. Must be 13 or older to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, December 28, 2012

Review: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

The Immortal Rules (ARC) by Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pub. Date: April 24th, 2012
Series: Blood Eden, #1
Pages: 485
Age Level: 14+
Source: For Review

Synopsis via Goodreads
"In a future world, vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity."Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of "them." The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked--and given the ultimate choice. Die...or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend--a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn't easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what--and who--is worth dying for.

After hearing so many wonderful things about Julie Kagawa and her books, I was pretty excited to be reading one of them. Let's just say, The Immortal Rules did not disappoint.

Allison is a feisty and strong heroine, though I didn't really take to her much in the beginning. I actually didn't grow to like her until after Part 2 of the book started. Something about dying and becoming a despised bloodsucker gave her a sense of humor and a more dynamic personality. I loved watching her grow throughout the story and her inner conflict surrounding the question of her humanity added a much appreciated depth. Kanin was...oh I liked Kanin! Such a shame he wasn't in the book more as I'd really like to learn more about him. Then there was Zeke, a suitable romantic interest whom I didn't love but liked well enough. I was pleased to see his reaction process to finding out about Allison took a pretty realistic path. Jeb, curious old goat, that one. He definitely added to the plot and while I generally disliked him, he had a couple of redeeming qualities. Ruth, OMG I want to hi-five that chick so bad. In the face. With a chair. I could not stand her and she is definitely one of those, 'you love to hate' characters. Then there is the little boy Caleb. Just one word. Adorable! Then we have a pretty rockin' villain, who comes onto the scene pretty late in the game, by the name of Jackal. Can't wait to see where things go with him. There were even more characters but it would take too long to discuss them all. Needless to say, Kagawa produced quite the cast with a wide array of masterfully developed main and supporting characters.

The Immortal Rules takes place in a future, post-apocalyptic type world that I must say was wonderfully imagined and developed by Kagawa. Combining dystopian-like elements with the paranormal, this book was a fresh and exciting take on vampires. There was tons of butt-kicking awesomeness and while the book had some spots where the plot seemed to drag, I don't recall there being anything I felt should have been left out. The beginning and ending were both very gripping so it wasn't that some of the 'drag' parts throughout the middle weren't good, because they were, they just weren't quite as good.

I don't really know what all to say about the writing except that I greatly enjoyed Kagawa's style. It was the perfect combination of dark and edgy creativity, witty humor, and thought-provoking depth.

As for the ending...oh...don't even get me started! Two words. Bad ass! I love when books end the way this one did, that is provided there will be a book to follow it, which in this case, there will. This ending definitely left me amped up and ready to claw my way, rabid-style, into the sequel when it releases.

In Essence

Characters: A wide array of dynamic characters, both main and supporting. Great cast!
Writing: Now I understand why everyone loves Kagawa and her books so much!
Plot: A refreshing take on vampires set in an imaginative, impeccably crafted world.
Ending: Bad ass, dramatic ending. Loved it!
1st in Series: Great, solid beginning!
Enjoyment/Likability: Really enjoyed but would have liked more if it weren't for a few 'drag' spots.
Recommendable: Yes!

Overall: So original with terrific characters, an exciting story-line, and lovely, yet gritty, writing! Can't wait to read more from Kagawa, especially the sequel to this awesome book!

Cover: Pretty pleased with the cover. Deliciously dark. Fits the book. Killer font. 

Buy The Immortal Rules:
Amazon / B&N / Kindle / Nook / Book Depository

Book Trailer: Falling For You by Lisa Schroeder!

By Lisa Schroeder
January 1st, 2013
Simon Pulse
Young Adult

Rae's always dreamed of dating a guy like Nathan. He’s nothing like her abusive stepfather—in other words, he’s sweet. But the closer they get, the more Nathan wants of her time, of her love, of her...and the less she wants to give.

As Rae’s affection for Nathan turns to fear, she leans on her friend Leo for support. With Leo, she feels lighter, happier. And possessive Nathan becomes jealous.

Then a tragedy lands Rae in the ICU. Now, hovering between life and death, Rae must find the light amid the darkness…and the strength to fight for life and the love she deserves.

I absolutely love Lisa Schroeder's books and I'm so glad that I only have a couple more days to go before this new piece of, what I'm sure is going to be, awesomeness releases!

Order Falling For You

Friday, December 21, 2012

Review: Venom by Fiona Paul

Venom by Fiona Paul
Publisher: Philomel
Pub. Date: October 30th, 2012
Pages: 432
Series: Secrets of the Eternal Rose
Age Level: YA
Source: BEA

Synopsis via Goodreads

Cassandra Caravello is one of Renaissance Venice’s lucky elite: with elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, her own lady’s maid, and a wealthy fiancĂ©, she has everything a girl could desire. Yet ever since her parents’ death, Cassandra has felt trapped, alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape.

When Cass stumbles upon a murdered woman—practically in her own backyard—she’s drawn into a dangerous world of courtesans, killers, and secret societies. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a mysterious artist with a mischievous grin... and a spectacular skill for trouble. Can Cassandra find the murderer, before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiancĂ©, or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco?

Beauty, love, romance, and mystery weave together in a stunning novel that’s as seductive and surprising as the city of Venice itself.

I had been wanting to read Venom for a very, very long time. When I was able to obtain an ARC of it at BEA, I was so excited to have it. While some small things kept me from falling completely in love with it, I still found myself utterly captivated.

Cassandra is a young, somewhat sheltered, middle class girl who longs to be free of the confines of society's, and her family's, expectations of her. Take that and throw it in with a murder mystery, courtesans--and their less respectable counterparts--and a dashing-scoundrel-artist of a hunk and things are bound to get interesting. I really appreciated Cassandra as a protagonist. She could be a bit flip-floppy when it came to Falco, though it isn't like this was completely unjustified, which bugged me a tiny bit. That and, every now and again, she made some dumb choices (don't even get me started on the "girl in a horror movie mistake #4" that she made in the latter half of the book). However, her emotions felt very genuine and resonated off of the pages. I thought that, overall, she was a strong, well-rounded heroine for this story. Then we have the mysterious Falco. *drools* My goodness can I just make him real, please? He definitely had his rogue-ish qualities and he was funny, an artist, and just ermahgerd swoonworthy! He, too, annoyed me at times. Honestly, over half the books out there would have no plot line if the characters would just communicate with each other. The chemistry between Cassandra and Falco was positively combustible. Of course, then waltzes in Luca, who has to go and mess it all up. *insert love triangle here* Really, I don't hate Luca, and I could see where Cass might end up with him. With that said, Falco's my man. Madalena, Siena, Agnese, and others made up the cast of secondary characters. I would have liked to have seen more involvement from them throughout as I thought they were all intriguing characters who had something to offer. That said, they were barely a glimmer next to the shining star main characters of Cass and Falco.

This book was a harmonious balance of beauty and darkness. As I said before, with the combination of elements that this book had going on, Venom had a lot going in its favor right from the get-go. There is mystery, romance, secrets, and all set upon the historically rich and luscious backdrop of Venice, Italy, with its canals, mansions (or palazzo), and the occasional graveyard. I didn't know who the villain was until just moments before Cass did. In other words, the book was pleasantly unpredictable, and while it wasn't the most fast-paced read, I didn't mind. It is one of those books you take your time with, so you can savor every last detail.

This brings me to the writing. Oh the writing! Fiona Paul, has an exquisite writing style, with her fluid prose and masterful imagery; I just ate it up! I've never been the hugest fan of reading books in the third-person perspective, but I didn't feel like that formed any sort of gap between me and the character, as I sometimes feel with other books. Also, Paul knew just when her writing needed to be serious and when the time called to lighten things up with some snark and humor. An overall fantastic writing style!

The ending was realistic and I should have been happy with it, especially since there are more books to come. However, and this does not attest to the quality of the ending, I wanted Cass to sail off into the sunset with Falco, by golly! Have no fear, that was not a spoiler. Well, not really. The ending is basically left kind of open in that department, leaving room for, I guess, a more well thought out decision in the next book. 

In Essence

Characters: Well developed. Distinct. Would have liked to see secondary characters play stronger role.
Plot: Unique, dark and lovely historical fiction.
Writing: Exquisite and lush!
Ending: Liked but didn't love.
1st in Series: Great foundation.
Enjoyment/Likability: Really enjoyed.
Recommendable: Highly, especially to his-fic and YA fans.

Overall: A fantastic debut from Fiona Paul! I can't wait to see what more this series, and this author, have to offer.

Cover: Beautiful!

Buy Venom:
Amazon / B&N / Kindle / Nook / Book Depository

About Me

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Georgia, United States
Hello all! My name is Briana, I'm 20, and I live in the beautiful state of Georgia. I love reading and photography.

My Partner in mean reading. :P

My Partner in mean reading. :P
Meet Rudy everyone!