Sunday, September 30, 2012

October Excitement

Since October is around the corner, I've been on the hunt for awesome new releases coming out in said month.  I'm really looking forward to a less crazy month with more reading; September has been rather craptastic.  These few are the books I've been most looking forward to (that aren't sequels).

Velveteen Monroe is dead. At 16, she was kidnapped and murdered by a madman named Bonesaw. But that's not the problem.
Velveteen (Velveteen, #1)The problem is she landed in purgatory. And while it's not a fiery inferno, it's certainly no heaven. It's gray, ashen, and crumbling more and more by the day, and everyone has a job to do. Which doesn't leave Velveteen much time to do anything about what's really on her mind.
Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment her killer deserves. And she's figured out just how to do it. She'll haunt him for the rest of his days.
It'll be brutal . . . and awesome.
Hardcover, 464 pages
Expected publication: October 9th 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

(grabbed from GoodReads)

Doesn't it sound super?  Purgatory, a murderous madman, revenge... it's got everything a girl could want.  The perfect book to get in the spirit of Halloween.

 Eve and Adam
Sixteen-year-old Evening Spiker lives an affluent life in San Francisco with her mother, EmmaRose, a successful geneticist and owner of Spiker Biotech. Sure, Evening misses her father who died mysteriously, but she’s never really questioned it. Much like how she’s never stopped to think how off it is that she’s never been sick. That is, until she’s struck by a car and is exposed to extensive injuries. Injuries that seem to be healing faster than physically possible. 
While recuperating in Spiker Biotech’s lush facilities, she meets Solo Plissken, a very attractive, if off-putting boy her age who spent his life at Spiker Biotech. Like Evening, he’s never questioned anything... until now. Solo drops hints to Evening that something isn’t right, and Emma-Rose may be behind it. Evening puts this out of her mind and begins her summer internship project: To simulate the creation of the perfect boy. With the help of Solo, Evening uncovers secrets so big they could change the world completely.

Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: October 2nd 2012 by Feiwel & Friends 

(also grabbed from GoodReads
The non-spookiest-sounding of my list.  My excitement for Eve and Adam might partly be "cover-love" induced (I have a thing for apple imagery).

 The Shadow Society
Darcy Jones doesn’t remember anything before the day she was abandoned as a child outside a Chicago firehouse. She has never really belonged anywhere—but she couldn’t have guessed that she comes from an alternate world where the Great Chicago Fire didn’t happen and deadly creatures called Shades terrorize the human population.
Memories begin to haunt Darcy when a new boy arrives at her high school, and he makes her feel both desire and desired in a way she hadn’t thought possible. But Conn’s interest in her is confusing. It doesn’t line up with the way he first looked at her.
As if she were his enemy.
When Conn betrays Darcy, she realizes that she can’t rely on anything—not herself, not the laws of nature, and certainly not him. Darcy decides to infiltrate the Shadow Society and uncover the Shades’ latest terrorist plot. What she finds out will change her world forever . . .
Hardcover, 416 pages
Expected publication: October 16th 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux 

(As always, grabbed from GoodReads)

Alternate realities are something not found as often in YA lit, so that is what set off my intrigue.  Don't let me down, Marie Rutkoski!

So there's part of my reading list of October.  What's on your reading list?  Tell me in the comments!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Review: Angel Burn by L. A. Weatherly

Angel Burn (Angel, #1)They're out for your soul.
And they don't have heaven in mind...

Willow knows she's different from other girls, and not just because she loves tinkering with cars. Willow has a gift. She can look into the future and know people's dreams and hopes, their sorrows and regrets, just by touching them. she has no idea where this power comes from. But the assassin, Alex, does. Gorgeous, mysterious Alex knows more about Willow than Willow herself does. He knows that her powers link to dark and dangerous forces and that he's one of the few humans left who can fight them. When Alex finds himself falling in love with his sworn enemy, he discovers that nothing is as it seems, least of all good and evil.

Hardcover, 449 pages
Published May 24th 2011 by Candlewick (first published September 30th 2010)

(provided by GoodReads)

I actually have a prejudice against angel books for absolutely no reason. If I'm looking for new books to add to my wish list and I see it is about angels, chances are I will click out of the page right then and there. However, I was reading reviews on The Midnight Garden and was actually intrigued by this one. So I thought "hey, why not?"

I was pleasantly surprised. A modern day road trip novel traveling from coast to coast... while on the run from evil angels. Honestly, the book read like an action movie (but in a good way), complete with explosions, chase scenes, and helicopter rides. One thing you don't get out of an action movie, though, is the poetic prose of L. A. Weatherly. 

It's not the greatest book I've ever read, but far from the worst. Good enough to make me rescind my angel-book-prejudice (for now).

Final thought: 16 out of 23 toadstools

This review is also available on GoodReads

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Review: Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

Starcrossed (Starcrossed, #1)Set on the island of Nantucket, STARCROSSED tells the tale of Helen Hamilton, a young woman whose destiny is forever altered when she meets Lucas Delos and tries to kill him in front of her entire high school. Which is terribly inconvenient, not only because Lucas is the most beautiful boy on the island, but also because Helen is so achingly shy she suffers physical pain whenever she is given too much attention.

Making matters worse, Helen is beginning to suspect she’s going crazy. Whenever she’s near Lucas or any member of his family she sees the ghostly apparitions of three women weeping bloody tears, and suffers the burden of an intense and irrational hate. She soon learns that she and Lucas are destined to play the leading roles in a Greek tragedy that the Three Fates insist on repeating over and over again throughout history. Like her namesake, Helen of Troy, she’s destined to start a war by falling in love. But even though Lucas and Helen can see their own star-crossed destiny, they’re still powerfully attracted to each other. Will they give up their personal happiness for the greater good, or risk it all to be together?

Hardcover, 487 pages

Published May 31st 2011 by HarperTeen (first published 2011)

(compliments of GoodReads)

I really don’t understand why this book is rated so high.  It is not the pinnacle of modern literature.  It gets a bonus for originality in regards to Greek myth (there are several retellings of the Persephone myth and this is not one of them).  Apparently the Persephone myth is worth being retold over the originality of Starcrossed since those were better reads.

I was really excited to read Starcrossed.  However, as I began reading it I felt like I was swimming a race (mome raths could have been on the swim team in high school) – as if every 30 pages or so was a 50 yard lap.  It felt like swimming the 500 yard freestyle, but by the time you’re in the last lap you’re puttering out from exhaustion.

It was so good, we did a photo shoot
This book was worth reading for one very important reason: I got an awesome sandwich out of it.  That’s right, a sandwich.  See page 25, bottom of the page: “smoked turkey, green apple, and brie on a baguette.”  After reading that section, I went out and bought some smoked turkey, green apple, and brie and threw it all onto a baguette.  It was awesome; my husband called it “refreshing.”  The green apple really gives it an extra something.

I really, really wanted to like this book, but I can’t say that I do.  I honestly don’t despise it; I was expecting better and was disappointed.  At best, the story was intriguing.  At worst, the writing was choppy in parts, dry, and boring.  

Final Thought: Starcrossed gets 12 out of 30 toadstools
                             Sandwich gets 30 out of 30 toadstools

This review is also available on GoodReads

Sunday, September 16, 2012

One Month Anniversary

Oh look! Bunnies in teacups!
Where the Mome Raths Outgrabe has been alive in the blogosphere for one whole month! How exciting!

Thank you for reading, everyone!

Cute image is cute. And irrelevant.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Review: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Hardcover, 375 pages
Published February 28th 2012 by Harper Teen (first published February 1st 2012)

Pandemonium (Delirium, #2)I'm pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.

Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.
  (Compliments of GoodReads)

My first sequel review! Huzzah!

I had to go through a grieving process before I could read this book after Delirium. Anyway! Honestly and simply, I didn't like Pandemonium as much as it's predecessor, Delirium. This isn't that surprising since I rarely like the sequel more than the first. Pandemonium is faster paced and grittier, but I prefer the world building and almost dreaminess of Delirium.

Pandemonium is told by jumping back and forth between her new life as a resistance member in New York City and her time in the Wilds since we last saw her in Delirium. In NYC, we follow Lena as she adjusts to her new life and the...unique challenges it brings. Her time in the Wilds starts off right where Delirium left off, and from there we see how the Lena we knew becomes Lena: Warrior Princess of Manhattan. The sheltered girl is gone and replaced with a bad ass.

We meet many new characters along the way who are interesting, have depth, motivations all their own, and weave so much more into the web that is Delirium. Pandemonium is definitely worth a read and an excellent addition to the Delirium world. Because I pride myself on a lack of spoilers in my reviews, I'm going to stop here. Giving anything away about this story in particular would be a crime.

Viva la resistance!

Final Thought: 56 out of 59 toadstools I'm stuck waiting for Requiem to come out March 5th, 2013

This review is also posted on GoodReads

Friday, September 7, 2012

Review: The Sweetest Spell by Suzanne Selfors

The Sweetest Spell
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published August 21st 2012 by Walker Childrens
Emmeline Thistle, a dirt-scratcher's daughter, has escaped death twice-first, on the night she was born, and second, on the day her entire village was swept away by flood. Left with nothing and no one, Emmeline discovers her rare and mysterious ability-she can churn milk into chocolate, a delicacy more precious than gold.

Suddenly, the most unwanted girl in Anglund finds herself desired by all. But Emmeline only wants one-Owen Oak, a dairyman's son, whose slow smiles and lingering glances once tempted her to believe she might someday be loved for herself. But others will stop at nothing to use her gift for their own gains-no matter what the cost to Emmeline.

Magic and romance entwine in this fantastical world where true love and chocolate conquer all.

(provided by GoodReads)

This book is absolutely lovely. (Why haven't you bought and read this book yet? You should; it's wonderful.) The story combines an original plot, believable characters, and good story telling; all things necessary for a great story but so rarely seen. I mean, how many stories are out there that involve chocolate? Not enough.

Emmeline is a gem of a character. She is witty, humble, and adorable;  traits that usually don't go together but work so well in this character. Getting acquainted with her is reason enough to read this book. Seriously.
I normally don't like it when perspective switches between characters within the story, but The Sweetest Spell managed to accomplish this extremely well. Owen's story added to Emmeline's, and vice versa. It was unlike Fury by Elizabeth Myles where the two perspectives felt like two separate stories.

The Sweetest Spell has the same whimsical faerie tale feel of Enchanted by Alethea Kontis, another book I absolutely loved. The only thing I would note is that Enchanted ties in existing faerie tales into a story all it's own, whereas The Sweetest Spell is a completely unique story. Nevertheless, both are most certainly worth a read. If you like fantasy, sweet romance, and happy endings, you will love The Sweetest Spell. I know I did.

Final Thought: 15 out of 15 toadstools
This review is also on GoodReads

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


I don't know how appropriate the name GoodReads is. It's pretty unbiased when it comes to recommendations, often including BadReads. Maybe the name should just be Reads.

Maybe I spend too much time pondering things on GoodReads. Or maybe I spend too much time on GoodReads. Or maybe yet, I spend too much time thinking.

Thoughts? Non-thoughts?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Review: The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams

The Alchemy of Forever (Incarnation, #1)
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published January 3rd 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers

Seraphina has been alive since the 1300's, made immortal when the boy she was beginning to love back then, Cyrus, saved her from death with a strange liquid - a method of alchemy that lets them swap bodies with any human being. But now, in modern day America, Sera has decided that she can no longer bear the weight of stealing people's lives so she can keep living on. So she decides to run away from Cyrus and end her stolen existence once and for all. Her plan goes awry when she accidentally takes the body of a dying teenager and feels forced to take over her life. When the lines between Sera and Kailey's identity begin to blur, Sera finds a reason to desire to live once more. But she can't shake the guilt of having taken Kailey's life, even if she was dying. And what if Cyrus finds her?

(provided by GoodReads) 
Ugh... this has been the hardest review to write so far. I guess that's not saying much since this is review #6 -- but whatever. I think this will have been the hardest review I will do for awhile. Why is this review so difficult, you ask? Because the whole story felt rather... blah. 

Alchemy is a theme not seen in YA very often, which is why I was rather excited for this book. Upon receiving The Alchemy of Forever, I was most surprised by it's size (or lack thereof). At a mere 256 pages, it's almost half the length of the average YA novel. That can be a good thing - a book you can read within a single afternoon is kind of nice sometimes. However, noting the length (or lack thereof) can also foreshadow complications, such as lack of depth of characters and the world not being fleshed out adequately.

Character development is not where the book suffers. Even with the wide range of characters, you still get to know each fairly well. But fairly well wasn't good enough for me; I wanted to know them more, especially the coven members. I think the potential of this story is a little wasted since there was very little exploration of Cyrus' character and alchemy itself.

Considering this story is supposed to be about alchemy, there is very little alchemy in it. The setting is set in modern day San Francisco (with no alchemy highlights), then travels across the bay to Berkley (also with no alchemy). While in Berkley, the character bounces from home to classroom to cafeteria to art show to downtown. Point is, more could have been done with the setting. This could have been done by either elaborated more (thus creating a longer novel) or focusing more on specific places that would hold more meaning for the character. The only reason these felt like real places is because they actually are real places.

If anything, this book suffers from being too short. That, combined with the overall somber tone, and the story just fell flat for me. It was enjoyable, but blah.

Final Thought: blah out of blah toadstools

Review also available on GoodReads