Saturday, October 22, 2011

Review: Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side proved itself to be a poignant tale of romance, mystery, and coming to terms of who you really are. 
Oh wow. This story revolves around a 17-year old teenager named Jessica Packwood who has never really explored life outside her small town in Pennsylvania. She believes in the truth, and she'd rather be crunching numbers on the Math team then hearing ridiculous stories of her parents excursions throughout the world...especially Romania. 
When Jessica sees a stranger HOT stranger on her bus top, he is actually the exchange student from Romania who is staying in Jessica's house. That stranger is actually her fiancĂ©, Lucius Vladescu. Lucius is a vampire descended from the Vladescu clan. He came to the states to tell Jessica that she is a descendent from Mihalea Dragomir, making her the vampire princess. He tells her that when she turns 18 she must honor the pact between the Vladescus and the Dragomirs that they must get married, or else all hell breaks loose between both clans and its vampires. 
Even though Jessica thinks Lucius is totally gorgeous, cool, and elusive, she also thinks that he is infuriating. At first she tries denying that she and Lucius are vampire prince and princess and none of this makes any sense whatsoever. However, when all of the pieces come together she realizes that they have to be together. She starts falling head over heels for Lucius (I mean who would't) when Lucius hits rock bottom and realizes that he is too bad for Jessica. He hits his lowest point when he starts being with Faith Crosse when, Jessica is the obvious choice for him. 
Now, if a boy that expressed his true feelings to me and left me like Lucius did to Jessica I would be like: 


Anyways, Jessica is not supposed to be that strong though like her mother was. She lets Lucius go without a fight (her mistake) and has to fend for herself. However without Lucius, Jessica wouldn't have come to terms with who she was...a vampire princess. She embraces her curves, her black glossy locks, and she grows stronger. I loved how both characters changed throughout the book; Lucius let loose and Jessica got powerful. She realized she didn't have to take flack from anyone and she was sick and tired of doing what she was told. 
She was Antanasia Dragomir. 
I really loved how Fantaskey (great last name btw) wrote the book. I really felt that she based the whole story on the characters and let each one shed light on themselves. I loved how deep the story got and the tension between both Jessica and Lucius. The setting felt real and it offered avery realistic and cinematic prose into this girl's life. The book let my emotions feel loose from giddy to frustrated with Lucius (at some times) I really enjoyed the whole Mean Girls meets Drakula storyline! Good one Beth! 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

IMM #1--In My Mailbox--Book Haul

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren
Anywhoodles, these are the books I purchased this week.
Au Revoir Crazy European Chick (ARC) by Joe Schrieber

Firelight by Sophie Jordan

From Strand Books in Union Square:
Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn (48 cents!!!)

Sweep No. 2: The Coven by Cate Tiernan

Sweep No. 3: Blood Witch by Cate Tiernan

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

From the local Library:

iDrakula by Bekka Black

The Devouring by Simon Holt

Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus

Dead Rules by Randy Russell

That's all for me this week!

What did you get in YOUR Mailbox! :D

Friday, September 30, 2011

Review: The Magnolia League by Katie Crouch

“When her free-spirited mother dies in a tragic accident, sixteen-year-old Alexandria Lee is forced to leave her West Coast home and move in with a wealthy grandmother she's never known in Savannah, Georgia. By birth, Alex is a rightful if unwilling member of the Magnolia League-Savannah's long-standing debutante society. But white gloves and silk gowns are a far cry from the vintage t-shirts and torn jeans shorts she's used to. 
Alex is the first in decades to question the Magnolia League's intentions, yet even she becomes entangled in their seductive world. The members enjoy youth, beauty and power...but at what cost? As Alex discovers a pact between the Magnolias and the Buzzards, a legendary hoodoo family, she discovers secrets-some deadly-hidden beneath the glossy Southern veneer.”
The Magnolia League by Katie Crouch was filled with despair, darkness, with a hint of mystery all undernearth the sweltering Georgia sun.
The book’s female protagnist, Alexandria or Alex Lee, is a free-spirit just like her now dead mother. Alex is a a hippie with a little bit more to love (her nickname is Pudge) with dreadlocks, hand-me-down clothes, and smokes pot courtesy of the place she lives/works in at the communal farm. She doesn’t realize that there is a whole world around the communal farm, since the communal farm is all she had for her whole life. Her mom grows special herbs and tonics, so there never was a need to go to the doctor since her mother made special medicines to cure everything. No one knows how/why, however there was always mischeif in her mother’s eyes when everyone seemed to ponder. 
When her mother dies, Alex’s world goes all out of proportion. Her family at the communal farm gives her up when her family lawyer says that he’ll rat on them for selling weed.   
Then, Alex’s so-called grandmother takes her in at the ripe age of 16. Her boyfriend cheats on her and no one at the communal farm gives a crap of how she and her mother impacted the farm. Alex moves to Savannah and she discovers a otherworly world called The Magnolia League. The Magnolia League is filled with the most prominent members of Georgia’s upclass society. Alex is horrified at the thought of superiority and buying designer clothes. She would much rather pay money to Greenpeace and to help third world countries.
Two of the members daughters, Hayes and Madison, become Alex’s help in helping her survive the Georgia heat (and I don’t mean the weather). They show her the ropes, invite her to exclusive events, and help her fix her look. They alsohelp clue Alex in on the Magnolia League’s secrets. The Magnolia League are not only gossipers, but they have a little help from the Buzzard family--another league so to speak that practices hoodoo magic. The magic they practice is very interesting; everything that the Buzzards do is very earth oriented--brewing up herbs, potions, and having their very special greenhouse--sort of like their mother’s. 
The Buzzards and the Magnolias speak only buisness due to Alex’s grandmother’s butting and incompetence. The Buzzards are the ones who make the Magnolias richer, younger, skinnier, and gain power as an elitist society. There is a catch to Buzzards brewing up fame and fortune, since they act as genies in a way--they grant wishes for Magnolias $$$. Alex questions why they do it and in many ways Alex seems to be attracted by this new power that she gets to experience. She enjoys the many perks of being a part of this society--but it depends who your’e asking.
In the end, Alex is at crossroads. She is questioned by an outsider of the Magnolia League, who tells her to leave for good reason. Alex’s boyfriend also asks her to leave--and she does have an item that lets her do so and unbreak the wrath of the Magnolia League. What will Alex do?
This book was amazing. I loved how it was not your stereotypical witch hat and broomstick sort of magic. The hoodoo proved a Southern take to witchcraftery. The world Crouch created was so lush, whimisical, and intruiguing that I could not put the book down. I enjoyed Alex on a whole, and her ups and downs proved that she was still a teenager. The reason of why I give this book 4 stars is, because it was a bit confusing sometimes. You can tell that Crouch really took the time to immensely understand the art of hoodoo and the whole history. Great story and plot--I reccommend this book if your ever in a book rut.
I also want to add that this book was like the Balefire series (by Cate Tiernan) and the Gossip Girl series (by Cecily von Ziesgar) rolled into one (no pun intended; you know weed...nevermind LOL!) AWESOMESAUCE!
SCRATCH THAT! 41/2 out of 5 stars!

P.S I really think the Buzzards are genies! I don't know if it's either the ability to grant 'wishes' only for others or the haint blue color that pops into my mind... 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Guess Who’s Back....and a much needed revamp on the blog!

Sorry for being M.I.A!
The summer was pretty hectic, and there was a loss in my family. I'm trying to get my blog back into full swing again. I recently got a MacBook Pro (thank the lord), because amy other computer was missing a bajillion keys so typing was not my favorite thing to do. I will start posting reviews, YouTube videos (including IMM's starting soon), and random posts (including giveaways) along the way.
Some weekly memes that I have been interested in doing are:
(1) In My Mailboxes (every Sunday or Saturday) credit for The Story Siren for this awesome
(2) Featured Books
(3) TBR pile (monthly)
(4) Things I Am Obsessed With Posts (like my Buffy one)
Remember to check out my Goodreads, Twitter, and now YouTube account (videos will becoming soon!)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Review: Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker

"Lacey Anne Byer is a perennial good girl and lifelong member of the House of Enlightenment, the Evangelical church in her small town. With her driver's license in hand and the chance to try out for a lead role in Hell House, her church's annual haunted house of sin, Lacey's junior year is looking promising. But when a cute new stranger comes to town, something begins to stir inside her. Ty Davis doesn't know the sweet, shy Lacey Anne Byer everyone else does. With Ty, Lacey could reinvent herself. As her feelings for Ty make Lacey test her boundaries, events surrounding Hell House make her question her religion.
Melissa Walker has crafted the perfect balance of engrossing, thought-provoking topics and relatable, likable characters. Set against the backdrop of extreme religion, Small Town Sinners is foremost a universal story of first love and finding yourself, and it will stay with readers long after the last page."
   Copyright ©Bloomsbury Children's USA--2011
Small Town Sinners proved itself to be a gripping story about love, friendship, and the importance of being able to step outside the boundaries of religion and letting your true thoughts matter in the world. 
Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker takes place in...well you guessed it, a small town. The book centers through the POV of Lacey Anne Byer, the daughter of a children's pastor and a goody-goody. She doesn't get into any trouble, hates sin, and was taught to look into her bible if she needs any answers about the world itself. Lacey Anne also has two closest best friends: the ambitious, spicy Starla Joy and Dean, a cute fat nerd. With her best friends, nothing they do is remotely rebelling for their age (If you count eating cheese fries and having a early curfew bad then yeah...) Anyway, all of them are gearing up for Hell House which is a show put on by their church showing youngsters the pain and emotion of each sin committed in society by people their age. Hell House takes place in October (around Halloween, however preparations begin in the summer. Preparations begin also with Lacey's love life when she meets Ty, whom she's ready to share her 'Hollywood moment' with and being the lead in Hell House. However, Lacey experiences some drama in her community and which all of this leads to Lacey having questions and doubts of herself and her faithfulness to God from her relationship with Ty. 

Now, all of you may disagree with me however I truly did not enjoy Lacey's goody-goody character and I wish that Walker would have included some more twists and turns for Lacey's character. 

It's not that I completely hated Lacey's character, because you understand from the get-go that her character showed innocence and faith to God. However, I wished that she was a little bit more rebellious with Ty/her parents because I feel like that would have added more tension to Hell House and having the stance to have your true thoughts to matter. I'm not sure why, but I felt like there was going to be more curve balls with Lacey's character. 

With all that aside, the book showed growth of Lacey's inner thoughts provoked by her on and off again boyfriend Ty. You felt Lacey's mixed emotions of what she was taught and later on she realizes that it's fine to question her beliefs and morals for the sake of her curiosity. 

I enjoyed Walker's stance on this small towns beliefs in today's sins in youth and felt that Hell Houses were really shocking and alarming...I definitely, will never step into one for sure. 

Overall, this book aced it when synthesizing how religion impacts teenagers today and going for what you believe in. I really enjoyed the romance between Ty and Lacey (even though I wanted a little bit more to happen) and the supporting characters (Starla Joy and Dean) left me feeling happy and talking (in my mind) in a southern accent throughout the book. A strong bond with friends always remains true throughout the book, especially when the world yo knew all your life goes topsy turvy on ya. This small town, shows greater depth than what it does on the surface by the characters. This was one of the books where the case was the characters you hate from the beginning of the story you sympathize with in the end (I'm talking about you Geoff Parsons!) 

If your looking for a good contemporary romance look no further especially, this one which handles with the topic of believing yourself and questioning faith like no other...even if it's from a polo-wearing hunk :D 

                                                     Four out of Five Stars.



Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Review: Never Cry Werewolf by Heather Davis

"Moonlight can totally change your life.
And it all starts so simply. 
The moon.
You're toast.
Okay, so maybe Shelby has made a few mistakes with boys lately. But her stepmother totally overreacts when she packs Shelby off to brat camp. Suddenly, it’s good-bye, prom dress; hello, hiking boots.

Things start looking up, though, when Shelby meets fellow camper (and son of a rock star!) Austin Bridges III. But soon she realizes there’s more to Austin than crush material—his family has a dark secret, and he wants Shelby’s help guarding it. . . ."
Copyright ©HarperTeen-- 2009

BOOK #2 for my 2011 Were/Shifter Challenge! w00t i am baller-status! (totally won't say that again I promise ;D)

This book was a nice laugh-out-loud read, that was light and the werewolves not savage by any means. 
Never Cry Werewolf by Heather Davis, right from the get-go showed that it wasn't going to be a very hard hitting, savage, and primal werewolf story. Jut you're run-of-the-mill YA paranormal romance. The book centers around a sixteen-year-old girl named Shelby who is sort of a plain-jane stuck in Beverly Hills with her dad an her evil stepmother, Priscilla. I thought Shelby is what made the story better than it originally would be. She left me humored (like Sophie Mercer in Hex Hall), but also she had a relatable aspect to herself as well. Due to Priscilla, she has been shipped off to Camp Crescent, or as Shelby likes to call it "brat camp." Which is unfortunate, because Shelby had a bad experience with a boy in her past and her stepmother just ships her off, because she is caught kissing a boy. Shelby is really misunderstood and better than other girls her me.

You would think that Shelby would have a hard time adjusting to brat camp, however that is not the case. Instead, Davis creates this headstrong female-empowered figure that is very outdoorsy and doesn't complain about the types of designer labels or if her makeup smears at camp. Shelby, for that reason, makes her unique in a way a steers away from the Gossip-girly type. Anyway, while at brat camp she encounters some colorful characters and meets her true best friend Ariel, whom she shares alot of her life with (don't really get to see much of her however). The real gem in this book was Austin Bridges III. Of course, Davis makes him a real charmer from his olive toned skin down to his British accent. Think Alex Pettyfer mixed with Taylor Lautner...

Nevertheless, the whole plot of the book centers around Austin being a famous rockstar who is actually a werewolf. To tame his inner animal, Austin must have take this special serum invented by his family's chemist, even though everyone thinks he is a druggie especially a boy who works for a paparazzi magazine who wants a front-page story of Austin's secret and the on-going relationship he has with Shelby. Hijinks ensue between Austin and Shelby when the serum is locked away (strict rules: no drugs, makeup, or Wonderbras at brat camp) and thus, throughout the book Shelby and Austin try to find the miracle serum. Doing all of this before the full moon comes about and Austin's primitiveness occurs. Plus, their romance unfolds.

Overall, I have to say I did enjoy this book. I mean summer is rolling out, and this is a nice and easy read to get out to the beach. I felt like Davis put some nice, original thought to the characters even though the plot was a bit predictable. I really liked Davis' writing style: simple, coherent, and eloquent. I felt that there was true chemistry between Shelby and Austin and their personalities meshed really well together. I also, liked the growth from Shelby's character. Throughout the story, you'll see how Shelby really got to re-connect with her emotions and her past. I experienced some growth from Shelby and in a way this was a coming-of-age story about this girl growing up and facing herself. I didn't really like the ending however, and I wish there was a little bit more zing to Austin and Shelby's relationship.

To finish, all I have to say is there is more than meets the eye when you see Never Cry Werewolf. Even though this may not be my favorite werewolf story, but nevertheless I did enjoy it! 

Four out of Five Stars!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Review: The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

"A Prodigal Son

A Dangerous Love

A Deadly Secret

Grace Divine—daughter of the local pastor—always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared and her brother Jude came home covered in his own blood.

Now that Daniel's returned, Grace must choose between her growing attraction to him and her loyalty to her brother.

As Grace gets closer to Daniel, she learns the truth about that mysterious night and how to save the ones she loves, but it might cost her the one thing she cherishes most: her soul."
Copyright ©EgmontUSA-2010

Book  #1 for my Werewolf/Shapshifter Challenge for 2011!

Honest to god, I didn't know what to expect when coming into The Dark Divine.

This book features a whole new experience into the whole YA genre. It features elements of suspense, religion, mythology, paranormal-ness, and contemporary rolled up into one plot. All I knew, when I picked it up from my local library was thatThe Dark Divine was a paranormal love story. That's it.

Anyway, the story revolves around Grace Divine- the town pastors daughter, the one who wouldn't do anything wrong, and like her name she is offers "heavenly help, guidance, or mercy." Grace is highly scrutinized among her peers in her small town, especially when bad-boy Daniel Kalbi returns. Daniel's return offers a little bit of an alarm to the Divine family, because of his troubling past and what he did to Grace's brother, Jude. The Divine family offered loyalty, respect, and dignity to Daniel due to his family situation however, Daniel had an urge to stop being in control. There was a long wait in the book to figure out who was Daniel Kalbi? Grace's childhood friend was back, and she wanted to help him- hell, that was what her name meant wasn't it? Well, coming closer and closer to Daniel meant she was growing farther and farther from her family. Plus, she was growing closer to finding out Daniel's secret: he is a werewolf hybrid. His mother was full human and his father and alpha wolf: dominating, uncontrolling, and the one responsible for those illusive deaths in Markham Street. The Kalbi family has been traced by generations and generations (even before the written alphabet) into serving god and being "The Hounds of Heaven." However, Daniel was not being truthful and it turns out because the werewolf race (YES, created by God himself)believed that they were more worthy than God and therefore, the demon unleashed in them. Thus, Daniel has to wear a moonstone pendant to keep his bloodthirsty werewolf side from coming out. After knowing Daniel's secret, she figures out that her family was not so D-vine after all. Both her brother and father knew this about Daniel and Grace couldn't believe how much her father, the pastor, put so much extensive work into curing the wild side of Daniel Kalbi. Grace's father leaves the work of curing Daniel up to her, but she has to figure out what she wants for herself. To be with passion, gut-thrashing Daniel or jockey hometown boy Pete? She puts her relationship on hold with Daniel, but she knew that she was always going to want to be back with Daniel--even though the only way to cure him was to put a silver knife through his heart and die.

Honest to god, I loved this story. I thought that it was very slow in the first third of the book and I didn't know where Despain was going with her story. I also, thought that the story was a little bit confusing since she threw so many elements in the story. I was either confused or bored in some of the arts where Despain was describing the mythology thing. However, I really thought that Despain put real thought into the emotions that flowed from character to character. She didn't put a fluffy uncomplicated love story like Jacob and Bella from Twilight; what she did was show the struggle between Grace and Daniel and showed what depths some people go through being with one another. Through Grace's bossiness, Daniel's solemness, Jude's empathy/anger, and Pastor Divine's soul we see each character's individuality at it's fullest. Her writing showed beautiful intrigue and mystery that made this one a page turner for sure. I honestly, enjoyed this story's originality and whirlwind emotions that I felt when reading the story. Even if I was confused at some parts... 

Four out of Five Stars.