Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dance of Shadows (Dance of Shadows - Trilogy) by Yelena Black

Dance of Shadows will be released, February 12, 2013.

Dance of Shadows introduced me to the world of ballet on an entirely new level. I know very little about ballet and Black managed to draw me in --- She weaves a lovely story of mystery, intrigue and suspense, while adding the beauty of ballet. 

Vanessa Adler is a freshmen at, New York Ballet Academy ( NYBA). Her, older sister Margret attended also attended, NYBA but she disappeared shorty after being cast as the lead in a ballet, Firebird. Vanessa hopes that being in NY will lead her to her sister, however she learns that a string of other Prima ballerinas cast in the same ballet as her sister have also gone missing.

Vanessa is aware that things at NYBA are strange and she is determined to figure out what is going on before someone else goes missing.  

There is also a quintessential love story thrown into the mix. Zeppelin Black is handsome and mysterious. He seems to like, Vanessa as much as she likes him but his constant mixed signals has her confused. When they dance it's magical, beautiful and nearly perfect but off the dance floor he is distant and disappears for days on end.

There is a twist to the ending that has me looking forward to the next book in this trilogy. My only hope is that the character development will be stronger so that the book will deliver a more intense punch.

Grade: B

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Shades of Earth: An Across the Universe Novel by Beth Revis

 Shades of Earth is the last book in the, Across the Universe trilogy and it is epic. This series has stood on it's own from other dystopian society ones. The character's, environment and plot are all rather unique. The mystery element is intriguing.

In, Shades of Earth, new character's are introduced and those who have chosen to land are attempting to adjust to life on Sol-Earth. Things are nothing like expected, there is chaos, fighting and endangerment of life.  The, Frozens and those born on godspeed are divided and wary of one another --- and they need to come together more than ever in order to survive.

No one is safe ---- and the body count is high. Sol- Earth is dangerous and there is a traitor amongst them.  This last book really ties up the series and you won't be left disappointed.

Grade: A

Overview: [B&N]

Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They're ready to start life afresh—to build a home—on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience.
But this new Earth isn't the paradise Amy had been hoping for. There are giant pterodactyl-like birds, purple flowers with mind-numbing toxins, and mysterious, unexplained ruins that hold more secrets than their stone walls first let on. The biggest secret of all? Godspeed's former passengers aren't alone on this planet. And if they're going to stay, they'll have to fight.
Amy and Elder must race to discover who—or what—else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. They will have to look inward to the very core of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed—friends, family, life on Earth—will have been for nothing.

Friday, January 25, 2013

As They Slip Away by Beth Revis

As They Slip Away is a quick (free) read, that gives you insight into life aboard Godspeed for, Selene. It is a 48 page, novella that you can easily read in under 20 minutes.

This short novella addresses the issue of, rape. Selene's in particular. The story is told through her point of view. It also shows a different aspect of life on, Godspeed and what it is like to be a ward patient.

I suggest reading it before, Shades of Earth --- only because if put me in the mind frame to get ready for the last book in the trilogy and recall recall events from the two previous books.

It's an interesting yet sad read.

Visit Beth Revis website to get your FREE e-book of, As They Slip Away.

Grade: A

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Vow: A Memoir of Marriage (and Other Affairs) by Wendy Plump

         Vow: A Memoir of Marriage (and Other Affairs) by Wendy Plump, will be available on 

February 13, 2013.

Wendy Plump's, memoir is painfully honest. She will be harshly criticized by many for her actions. This memoir chronicles the infidelity that took place during her marriage. Plump's first affair took place early on in her marriage. The affairs continued and her husband embarked on his own journey of infidelity. 

Her marriage seemed intact, until 2005 when, Wendy discovered that her husband was not only having an affair but that the women was pregnant and lived a mile away from her home. Plump lays out her affairs and feelings on the table as though you were her closest friend. 

She explains what it's like to be betrayed and to be a betrayer. I felt as though,  I was looking into someones very secret and personal life --- leaving me feeling slightly uncomfortable yet intrigued.  

The Vow, is a well written and fast read. I, highly recommend it.

Grade: A

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Affair by Colette Freedman

The Affair will be released, January 29, 2013.

Kathy and Robert have been married for 18 years and have two teenage sons. Life is routine and ordinary. The spark of the marriage isn't what it use to be --- and after a suspicious number appears on her husbands phone, she begins to investigate and discovers more than she bargained for.

The Affair gives a interesting view point on cheating. The story is told in three parts. Each part focus on a different person, the wife, the husband and the mistress. They each tell their own story, their own views. Freedman, manages to make each character likable, which is amazing considering the subject matter. Freedman makes it possible for you to live your emotions through the wife, empathize with the husband and the mistress. 

That's right. I said empathize.  You absolutely have to read this book to find out why. They story is gripping and emotional. Expect a few redundancy's since the story is repeated three times. The story flows and is beautifully written.

Grade: A

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

With or Without You: A Memoir by Domenica Ruta

With or Without You: A Memoir by Domenica Ruta goes on sale, February 26,2013.

Domenica Ruta (Nicki), grew up in the small town of, Danvers, MA. She is a child of the 80s. She is also the daughter of a drug addicted mother and a partially non-existent father. 

The relationship with her mother, Kathi is toxic. She is unpredictable, complex, angry, self absorbed and unstable. She creates a lot of turmoil for both, Nicki and herself. 

Nicki is brutally honest --- and her memoir is haunting. She shares things, that I would keep buried. She will make you cringe and be thankful for your own dysfunctional family. She is able to easily convey the multiple facets of her relationship with her mother. Her writing is easy to follow. Expect to finish this is one sitting.

Grade: A

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Hazel and Augusts meet in a therapy group for kids with, cancer. A friendship is quickly forged. They swap books and bond over, Hazel's favorite novel, An Imperial Affection. This bond sends them on a once in a lifetime trip to, Amsterdam to meet the reclusive, Peter Van Houten (author of, An Imperial Affection).

A raw look into the life of teenagers with cancer. A story of love, adventure and loss. 

An exceptional story --- Hazel and Augustus are beautifully written characters. Green has a unique way of capturing adolescences and pulling adults back into that time frame. The writing is crafty and the character's are witty. 

One could say this is a book about cancer but cancer is just a part of the storyline. The story is about so much more. It is a fast read with some adult themes.

Grade: A

Friday, January 11, 2013

Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

Burn For Burn is a fun read, it is the first book in what is set to be a trilogy. It is a story about revenge.

The story is told by three characters --- in a point of view fashion.  These three teenage girls live on Jar Island and are as different from one another as possible, yet they team up to to plot against those whom they seek to destroy for a variety of reasons.

The characters are true to life . Their actions have consequences and the secret promises they make to one another will keep you turning the pages.

Grade: A

Overview: [B&N]
Postcard-perfect Jar Island is home to charming tourist shops, pristine beaches, amazing oceanfront homes—and three girls secretly plotting revenge.
KAT is sick and tired of being bullied by her former best friend.
LILLIA has always looked out for her little sister, so when she discovers that one of her guy friends has been secretly hooking up with her, she’s going to put a stop to it.
MARY is perpetually haunted by a traumatic event from years past, and the boy who’s responsible has yet to get what’s coming to him.
None of the girls can act on their revenge fantasies alone without being suspected. But together…anything is possible.
With an unlikely alliance in place, there will be no more “I wish I’d said…” or “If I could go back and do things differently...” These girls will show Jar Island that revenge is a dish best enjoyed together.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Cover of Snow: A Novel by Jenny Milchman

Cover of Snow goes on sale,  January 15, 2013.

Nora Hamilton wakes up on what is a seemingly ordinary,  January morning. She calls out for her husband and can't find him --- that is until she finds him hanging from a light fixture in the stairwell. 

Nora looks for answers to her husbands death--- she is desperate to learn about the days leading up to his suicide. As, she begins to uncover secrets buried long about by her husband, his family and the town, she finds out more than she bargained for. These very secrets might just result on her own demise.

Overall this is an interesting novel  and since it is, Milchmans debut novel I suspect her writing skills will only improve. It's not nearly as clever as one would expect from a suspense novel. It is predictable yet it manages to keep you captivated and intrigued. It is definitely worth reading.

Grade: B-

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Because It Is My Blood (Birthright) by Gabrielle Zevin

Because It is My Blood is the second installment in the, Birthright trilogy. It picks up, upon the release of,  Anya from Liberty. Things have changed at home but before she can adjust she is caught up in a scandal and  sent back to, Liberty.

Anya escapes from, Liberty --- flees to, Mexico and finds herself on a cacao plantation. This is my favorite part of the book! Anya learns about the production of chocolate, the very product that makes her life difficult. The reader is introduced to a new set of characters, perhaps the most interesting ones of all.

Anya is settling in quite nicely at the plantation but before she can get to comfortable she has to return to, New York and deal with an assassination plot set on her and her family.

The book itself is pretty decent but it lacked the energy and creativity of the first book, however I still recommend reading it because it is fairly interesting. Be prepared for a slow start!

Grade: B-

Friday, January 4, 2013

Daddy Love by Joyce Carol Oates

Daddy Love goes on sale, January 8. 2013

Dinah Whitcomb's life comes crashing down on the day her five year old son, Robbie is kidnapped by a sick, sadistic man, known as Preacher Chester Cash and Daddy Love.

On the day, Robbie is taken, Dinah sustains life altering injuries in an attempt to save her son. Her injuries mangle her body and leave it forever altered. Broken bones and torn flesh heal but the broken heart of losing a child is everlasting. It negatively impacts, Dinah in every way possible and her marriage hangs by a tread.

Preacher Chester Cash (aka, Daddy Love) has a history of abducting, abusing, torturing and raping young boys. He forces them to become his "lover" and his "son". He brainwashes, Robbie, now named, Gideon into believing that his parents gave him up. 

As, Robbie/Gideon grows older two things happen. Daddy Love, loses interest in him and Robbie/Gideon begins to see the true monster that, Daddy Love is.

The story is told in alternating points of view. Most of it from the prospective of, Daddy Love. Build up an emotional barricade because this book --- will scar you, haunt you and make you weep. 

This book is NOT for the faint of heart. It is highly disturbing and graphic. 

Oates tackles difficult subjects --- A story like this --- told through the eyes of the abuser makes is all that more chilling.

This books is harrowing. The characters are well developed, some frighteningly so. The ending falls weak. It is anticlimactic and just sorta ends, leaving you unsated.

Grade: B+

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Changeling by Zilpha Keatley Snyder and Alton Raible

A Changeling is a --- magical creature that is swapped for a human child.

The Changeling is about two young girls who become the best of friends. Martha and Ivy. They both come from different backgrounds.

Martha come from a very outgoing, athletic, intelligent family. She is shy, reserved and considered the misfit of the family. Ivy comes from a long line of siblings who are "troubled" and from the wrong side of the tracks.

They forge a strong friendship --- and spends countless hours enjoying one another's company. I enjoyed the story of friendship between the two girls. It was sweet, innocent and reminiscent of childhood. I hated the fantasy portion of the book. It just didnt' grip me --- I found it rather trite and boring.

Grade: C

The Embalmer by Caillé Anne-Reneé and Mullins Rhonda

The Embalmer is a short book around 80 pages or so. It's not as macabre as I was hoping but it is rather interesting. The book centers a...