Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tweet Heart by Elizabeth Rudnick

Tweet Heart by Elizabeth Rudnick
 Rating: 4/5 Hoots

Release Date: June 22, 2010

GoodReads.Com Summary:
Claire is a #hopelessromantic. Lottie is determined to set up her BFF with Mr. Perfect. Will wants his #secretcrush to finally notice him. Bennett is a man with a plan.
Claire can’t believe it when her dream guy starts following her on Twitter. She never thought he noticed her, and suddenly he seems to understand her better than almost anyone.
But the Twitterverse can be a confusing place, especially when friends act differently online than they do in person. Things get even more complicated when Claire realizes she’s falling for someone else, the last person she ever would have expected….
Told in an innovative format combining tweets, emails, and blogs, Tweet Heart is a contemporary romantic comedy that will set your heart atwitter.

My Review:
When I picked up Tweet Heart, I thought it looked fun but did not have high expectations. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book! The first few pages are a bit tricky as you try to remember who is who (which Twitter handle belongs to which person), but you get used to it quickly. Obviously, the most unique aspect of this book is the format- in addition to being told in Tweets, it is also interspersed with blog posts and emails. I think the format will make it really appealing to teens and may even draw in some reluctant readers. It is very well executed too- the overall design is really nice, including profile pictures for each character, twitter backgrounds, and blog headers.

The characters are a lot of fun- the friendships feel genuine, and I liked how much we learned about each person's personality just by reading their friends' tweets. The romance(s) were sweet and fun to watch unfold- maybe a bit predictable but that didn't take away from my enjoyment of them.  The guys are very crush-worthy and sweet- I love underdog guys!

Tweet Heart was a fun take on contemporary romance, and I think it is a great summer read! Throw it in your beach bag and enjoy :-D

Monday, June 27, 2011

In My Mailbox #10

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

*I didn't get this up yesterday, and I don't have a picture this week, but I thought I'd post what I got anyway!*

From the Library:
Die for Me by Amy Plum (GoodReads)
Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have) by Sarah Mlynowsi (GoodReads)
The FitzOsbornes in Exile by Michelle Cooper (GoodReads)
The Dark City by Catherine Fisher (GoodReads)

Purchased from Goodwill:
Honey, Baby, Sweetheart by Deb Caletti (GoodReads)
Red Riding Hood by (GoodReads)

I have already read and loved Ten Things We Did (review to come) and am reading Die for Me now- really enjoying it so far!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

In My Mailbox #9

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren.

I don't have much to report this week...I didn't buy any books this week (*gasp*) and I didn't have any holds come in at the library. I just checked out one book that caught my eye:

From the Library:
Tweet Heart by Elizabeth Rudnick (GoodReads)

It came out last summer, but my library just purchased it. Looks like a quick, fun read!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

Rating: 5/5 Hoots

Release Date: April 5, 2011 Summary:
John Stephens' aptly-titled new fantasy trilogy begins auspiciously with a nimble, fast-paced tale of three siblings. Kate, Michael, and Emma have suffered through ten years of odious orphanage "care"; now they have slipped into the care of the eccentric, disturbingly mysterious Dr. Pym. While exploring their new home, the children discover a magical green book. With that discovery, a decade of tedium dissolves into cascades of dangerous time travel adventures and struggles with a beautiful witch and decidedly less attractive zombielike Screechers. High early reader marks for strong characterization and battle scenes.

My Review:
I was blown away by this book! The Emerald Atlas is a great read that will have wide appeal to tweens and teens. Readers looking for the next great fantasy/adventure series will be thrilled!  The Emerald Atlas excels in a lot of different areas: plot, characterization, setting, and style. 

The plot has lots of familiar elements- orphans, a quest, magical items, an evil witch, time travel, a magical mentor, dwarves, etc. but John Stephens does an awesome job to incorporate them all into a fresh, original story that grips the reader from the very beginning. I really liked that the excitement began right away- you don't have to wade through 100 pages first to set the story up, it is done concisely in the prologue and first chapter. The story alternates between bursts of intense, exciting action and periods of character development and reflection. I liked that you could never quite tell what was coming next...even if you could guess at the conclusion might be, you would never guess how the characters came to achieve it! 

The characters were all interesting and well developed. The main character is Kate, the oldest of the 3 P. orphans. Her character is devoted to caring for and protecting her brother and sister, and has a strong sense of duty. She is very loyal, brave and tender. The youngest sibling is Emma, and she is the feistiest of the bunch. She hates to be told what to do and often picks fights, but she also has a huge heart. I loved that the girls were both strong female characters in their own ways. The middle sibling is Michael, and he is the bookish one who loves to study things (especially dwarves!). The 3 are a great cohesive family...the squabbles that they have are hilarious, but the underlying love in their relationship is apparent as well. There are great supporting characters too...Gabriel, the tough warrior who forms an unlikey bond with Emma; Mr. Pym the mysterious magician who helps the children on their quest,  and the cruel but beautiful Countess and her lackeys the Screechers were characters you love to hate! 

The setting was original as well- the town of Cambridge Falls is an elusive place where the magical world meets our own. I loved that the setting was pretty timeless...there was nothing to indicate what year it might be, and it was easy to imagine it taking place now, or 20, 30 or even 50 years ago. I like that it will still seem relevant and exciting to readers 10 years down the road.

I really liked John Stephens writing style- it is exciting and easy to follow, and I loved how the story began with the 3 main characters on the same path, and then switched the perspective back and forth as they ended up on their own adventures. I liked how he addressed the time travel issue- I hate when authors use it as a construct of the story and don't explain how it works! I really enjoyed the subtle reminded me a little bit of Series of Unfortunate events, but it wasn't so silly that you didn't take the story seriously. I am amazed at how well he incorporated action & excitement, tender moments, and humor- I love a well-rounded book!

The Emerald Atlas is the first book in the Books of Beginning series- I can't wait to find out what the next books are called and when they will be available!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Everlasting (Immortals #6) by Alyson Noel

Everlasting (Immortals #6) by Alyson Noel
Rating: 4.5/5 Hoots

Release Date: June 7, 2011 Summary:
Everlasting is the sixth and final installment of the epic love story that has enchanted readers across the world. Ever and Damen have spent centuries facing down bitter rivals, jealous friends and their own worst fears-all in the hope of being together forever. Now in Everlasting, their destiny is finally within reach.
Will they be united-or torn apart forever? Readers will finally discover the truth in this anxiously awaited conclusion.

My Review:
I absolutely loved this conclusion to the Immortals series! I think fans of the series will be very satisfied with the ending, and how well Alyson Noel incorporates and wraps up all the threads from previous books. This installment focuses heavily on Ever and not as much on supporting characters. In this book, Ever really has to look inside herself for the strength to undergo a difficult journey, as well as stand by her convictions even when the love of her lives, Damen, does not agree with her. I think readers will find her self-reliance and growth really inspiring.

I don't want to give too much away, but themes of unity, selflessness, perseverence, and redemption are emphasized. I think this one is my favorite of the 6 books in the Immortals series.

Another aspect of this book that I have to mention is the romance! Damen and Ever's relationship is hotter than ever! There were equal parts sweetness and sexiness, and it is so well written. We also get another peek into their previous lives and courtships, and it is pretty amazing! Sorry to be vague but I don't want to spoil any of the fun!

If you haven't tried the Immortals series yet, what are you waiting for?? Pick up Evermore ASAP! And if you've been enjoying the books so far, you should definitely get your hands on a copy of Everlasting!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

In My Mailbox #8

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

This week I have been reading the Gallagher Girls series, so I got a couple of those books from the library and I did a bit more bargain shopping at Booksamillion.

From the Library:
Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover (Gallagher Girls #3) by Ally Carter (GoodReads)
Only the Good Spy Young (Gallagher Girls #4) by Ally Carter (GoodReads)

The Juliet Club by Suzanne Harper (GoodReads)
Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison (GoodReads)
Everlasting (Immortals, #6) by Alyson Noel (GoodReads)
A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb (GoodReads)
After the Kiss by Terra Elan McVoy (GoodReads)
The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti (GoodReads)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

In My Mailbox #7

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

I had a great book week! I got a couple of books I'd really been looking forward to, and stocked up on some used books at The Cracked Book and Goodwill.

From the Library:
Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier (GoodReads)
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (GoodReads)

Purchased Used ($8 total!):
Generation Dead by Daniel Waters (GoodReads)
White is for Magic by Laurie Faria Stolarz (GoodReads)
Identical by Ellen Hopkins (GoodReads)
Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2) by Richelle Mead (GoodReads)
Palace of Mirrors by Margaret Peterson Haddix (GoodReads)
Art Geeks and Prom Queens by Alyson Noel (GoodReads)
All the Lovely Bad Ones by Mary Downing Hahn (GoodReads)
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (GoodReads)

Can't believe the great deals I got this week- I don't have to feel guilty when I only pay about $1/book!

My kitty Jack wanted desperately to be part of the photo shoot: