Thursday, December 31, 2009

Books Read: 2009

Books Read: 2009
January
1. Howl's Moving Castle- Diana Wynne Jones
2. Curtain- Agatha Christie
3. The Mysterious Affair at Styles- Agatha Christie
4. Sleeping Murder- Agatha Christie
5. The Golden Elephant- Alex Archer
6. Eragon- Christopher Paolini
7. Eldest- Christopher Paolini
8. Brisinger- Christopher Paolini
9. Girl at Sea- Maureen Johnson
February
10. The Princess Diaries- Meg Cabot
11. Princess in the Spotlight- Meg Cabot
12. Princess in Love- Meg Cabot
13. Princess in Waiting- Meg Cabot
14. Princess in Pink- Meg Cabot
15. Princess in Training- Meg Cabot
16. Party Princess- Meg Cabot
17. Princess on the Brink- Meg Cabot
18. Princess Mia- Meg Cabot
19. Forever Princess- Meg Cabot
20. The Illiad- Homer
21. Bras and Broomsticks- Sarah Mylnowski
22. The Charlemagne Pursuit- Steve Berry
23. Eighth Grade Bites- Heather Brewer
March
24. Hacking Harvard- Robin Wasserman
25. Swordsman's Legacy- Alex Archer
26. Polar Quest- Alex Archer
27. Death by Darjeeling- Laura Childs
28. The Second Generation- Margaret Weis
29. Psychlone- Greg Bear
30. Immortal- Jason Nickles
31. The Walls of Air- Barbara Hambly
32. How to Ditch Your Fairy- Justine Larbalestier
33. Borrower of the Night- Elizabeth Peters
34. The Shadow in the North- Philip Pullman
35. Legacy of Lies- Elizabeth Chandler
36. How to Be Popular- Meg Cabot
37. Wait for What Will Come- Barbara Michaels
April
38. Hannibal Rising- Thomas Harris
39. Marked- P.C. Cast & Kristen Cast
40. The Mystery of the Blue Train- Agatha Christie
41. The White Tyger- Paul Park
42. Damien Omen II- Joseph Howard
43. A Ring of Endless Light- Madeleine L'Engle
44. Garth Brooks: A Biography- Michael McCall
45. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe- C.S. Lewis
46. In the Name of the Father- ?
47. The Hunchback of Notre-Dame-Victor Hugo
48. The Lightning Thief- Rick Riordan
49. The Sea of Monsters- Rick Riordan
50. Caly- Sharon Combes
51. They Thirst- Robert McCammon
52. Frogs and French Kisses- Sarah Mylnowski
53. A Wrinkle in Time- Madeleine L'Engle
54. Max- James Patterson
55. Unholy Goddess- Baker Stein
56. Rhymes with Witches- Lauren Myracle
May
57. The Toy Tree- Victor Mullen
58. Coffins- Rodman Philbrick
59. Ninth Grade Slays- Heather Brewer
60. Bloody Jack- L.A. Meyer
61. To Kill A Mockingbird- Harper Lee
62. The Luxe- Anna Godberson
63. An Old Friend of the Family- Fred Saberhagen
64. The Murder of Roger Ackryod- Agatha Christie
65. Murder in Mesopotamia- Agatha Christie
66. Airhead- Meg Cabot
67. Being Nikki- Meg Cabot
68. Appointment with Death- Agatha Christie
69. Evil Under the Sun- Agatha Christie
June
70. Betrayed- P.C. Cast & Kristen Cast
71. Great Expectations- Charles Dickens
72. The Black Flame- Lynn Abbey
73. Chosen- P.C. Cast & Kristen Cast
74. An Abundance of Katherines- John Green
75. The Seer And the Sword- Victoria Hanley
76. Greygallows- Barbara Michaels
77. Locked in Time- Lois Duncan
78. Dead is the New Black- Marlene Perez
79. So Yesterday- Scott Westerfeld
80. Blue Bloods- Melissa De La Cruz
81. Masquerade- Melissa De La Cruz
82. Necropolis- Anthony Horowitz
July
83. The Hunger Games- Suzanne Collins
84. Hangman's Curse- Frank Peretti
85. The Odyssey- Homer
86. The Titans Curse- Rick Riordan
87. Freaks: Alive on the Inside- Annette Curtis Klause
88. Rumors- Anna Godberson
89. The Armies of Daylight- Barbara Hambly
90. The Battle of the Labyrinth- Rick Riordan
91. Revelations- Melissa De La Cruz
92. Wicked Lovely- Melissa Marr
93. Nightmare Academy- Frank Peretti
94. Curse of the Blue Tattoo- L.A. Meyer
August
95. Crime and Punishment- Fyodor Dostoyevsky
96. The Graveyard Book- Neil Gaiman
97. The Year of Secret Assignments- Jaclyn Moriarty
98. Under the Jolly Roger- L.A. Meyer
99. The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie- Jaclyn Moriarty
100. Silas Marner- George Eliot
101. The Maltese Falcon- Dashiell Hammett
102. The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation: VOL 1, The Pox Party- M.T. Anderson
103. In the Belly of the Bloodhound- L.A. Meyer
104. The Wee Free Men- Terry Pratchett
105. The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn- Thomas and Dorothy Hoobler
106. Teen, Inc- Stefan Petrucha
107. The Thief Lord- Cornelia Funke
108. Ink Exchange- Melissa Marr
109. The Hero and the Crown- Robin McKinley
110. Mississippi Jack- L.A. Meyer
September
111.  Postern of Fate- Agatha Christie
112. Blood and Chocolate- Annette Curtis Klause
113. The Count of Monte Cristo- Alexandre Dumas
114. My Bonny Light Horseman- L.A. Meyer
115. A Wind in the Door- Madeleine L'Engle
116. Graceling- Kristin Cashore
117. The Demon in the Teahouse- Thomas and Dorothy Hoobler
118. Across the Nightingale Floor- Lian Hearn
119. Prophecy of the Sisters- Michelle Zink
120. Vampire Knight, vol 1- Matsuri Hino
121. Saiyuki, vol 1-Kazuya Minekura
122. Fruits Basket, vol 1- Natsuki Takaya
123. The Last Olympian- Rick Riordan
124. evermore- Alyson Noel
October
125. The Luck of Texas McCoy- Carolyn Meyer
126. Montmorency: Thief, Liar, Gentleman?- Eleanor Updale
127. Fruits Basket, vol 2- Natsuki Takaya
128. Grass for His  Pillow- Lian Hearn
129. Ouran High School Host Club, vol 1- Bisco Hatori
130. Naruto, vol 1- Masashi Kishimoto
131. Uprising- Margaret Peterson Haddix
132. Fruits Basket, vol 3- Natsuki Takaya
133. .Hack//Legend of the Twilight- Tatsuya Hamazaki
134. Winds of Fate- Mercedes Lackey
135. Fruits Basket, vol 4- Natsuki Takaya
136. Tomorrow, When the War Began- John Marsden
137. Winds of Change- Mercedes Lackey
138. The Dead of Night- John Marsden
139. The Time Machine- H.G. Wells
140. The Invisible Man- H.G. Wells
141. Winds of Fury- Mercedes Lackey
142. Rome Sweet Home- Kimberly and Scott Hahn
143. Rapture of the Deep- L.A. Meyer
144. A Killing Frost- John Marsden
145. Evernight- Claudia Grey
146. Dramarama- E. Lockhart
November
147. The Giver- Lois Lowry
148. The Screwtape Letters- C.S. Lewis
149. Darkness Be My Friend- John Marsden
150. The Ropemaker- Peter Dickinson
151. H.I.V.E. The Higher Institute for Villainous Education- Mark Walden
152. Burning for Revenge- John Marsden
153. Sunshine- Robin McKinley
154. Fragile Eternity- Melissa Marr
155. The Ruby in the Smoke- Philip Pullman
December
156. Eternal Journey- Alex Archer
157. The Dark and Deadly Pool- Joan Lowery Nixon
158. The Devouring- Simon Holt
159. A House Like A Lotus- Madeleine L'Engle
160. Wanted- Caroline B. Cooney
161. Meet the Austins- Madeleine L'Engle
162. The Key to the Golden Firebird- Maureen Johnson
163. Dragons in the Waters- Madeleine L'Engle
164. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies- Jane Austin and Seth Grahame Smith
165. Medina Hill- Triby Kent
166. Vampire Kisses- Ellen Schreiber
167. Sacrifice- Alex Archer
168. Dead is A State of Mind- Marlene Perez
169. One is the Loneliest Number- Tom Clancy

As you can see I have read a ton of books this past year, but have been extremely lax on writing reviews. Here's to keeping on top of reviews in the upcoming year.

Happy New Year's
Orchid

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Vampire Kisses

Author: Ellen Schreiber
Title: Vampire Kisses1
Series: Vampire Kisses (book 1)
Number of Pages: 208
Publication Date: 2003
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Romance
Synopsis: "In her small town, dubbed "Dullsville," sixteen-year-old Raven — a vampire-crazed goth-girl — is an outcast. But not for long... The intriguing and rumored-to-be haunted mansion on top of Benson Hill has stood vacant and boarded-up for years. That is, until its mysteriously strange new occupants move in. Who are these creepy people — especially the handsome, dark, and elusive Alexander Sterling? Or rather, what are they? Could the town prattle actually ring true? Are they vampires? Raven, who secretly covets a vampire kiss, both at the risk of her own mortality and Alexander's loving trust, is dying to uncover the truth."

I'd like to thank Dahlia for letting me borrow Vampire Kisses.
I found Vampire Kisses to be a delightfully light vampire read. Even though the main character was "A vampire crazed goth-girl".
I liked the character Raven a lot in the first half of the book, but somewhere in the middle she started to grate on my nerves a bit with her obsession on proving that Alexander and his family were vampires and then wanting to make it a known fact.
While I usually don't enjoy reading about the wrecking of a characters social life, I think Trevor got exactly what he deserved in the end of the book and I couldn't feel even the slightest bit sorry for him.
Favorite part(s) of the book might have been the second time that Raven broke into the mansion and her revenge against Trevor.
Vampire Kisses was definitely one of the better vampire books that I have read of late. The only thing I would have changed about the book would be that I would have added more action and less of Raven pining to become a vampire.
Other than that I would certainly re-read Vampire Kisses and look forward to reading the second book in the series

Vampire Kisses earns 4 out of 5 pineapples.
Orchid
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1. Vampire Kisses was borrowed from Dahlia.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Author(s): Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith
Title: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies1
Number of Pages: 320
Publication Date: 2009
Genre: Historical Romance
Synopsis: "So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton — and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers — and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield. Can Elizabeth vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you’d actually want to listen to."

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was a simply amazing read. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading it, especially since it was my first foray into the world of zombie books.

I'd like to thank ZG for lending it to me.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombie contains plenty of my favorite book elements: it’s a classic; it has plenty of fight scenes, and some pretty funny lines to lighten the mood of the writing.
I think my favorite thing about this book was how the Bennet sisters were charged with protecting part their part of England from the onslaught of the Unmentionables. Plus like I have said, I am a huge fan of fight scenes and there were plenty of them to satisfy me in this book.
I absolutely loved how adding a zombie twist made the story harder to put down.
As my first foray into the realm of zombies and I must say that I truly enjoyed reading this zombiefied version of Pride and Prejudice and might even read the original version of the book now. If only to read the actual story the way it was originally done. With my first zombie book behind me I plan on delving farther into zombie reads by reading another one.
Favorite character would have to have been Elizabeth Bennet, but mainly only during the first half of the book. I liked her because she totally rocked as a Bride of Death. Least favorite character(s) would have to have been Mrs. Bennet and the sister that ran off with Wickham.
Favorite scene in the book-I'm torn between two- when Elizabeth fought against Lady Catherine; my other favorite scene was when Mr. Darcy first proposed to her.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was a great read and I cannot wait to read the prequel.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies earns 5 out of 5 pineapples.
Orchid
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1. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was loaned to me by Zombie Girrrl.

Friday, December 25, 2009

In My Mailbox (26)

In My Mailbox was started by Kristi of The Story Siren and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. Sadly the only books I order are those that are hard to find. The following books are from the library and bookstores.

Borrowed:
Author: Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith
Title: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies1
Publication Date: 2009
Synopsis: "So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton — and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers — and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield. Can Elizabeth vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you’d actually want to listen to."

Gifts:

Author: L.J. Smith
Title: Night World, Vol 1: Secret Vampire, Daughters of Darkness, and Spellbinder2
Series: Night World (book 1-3)
Publication Date:
Synopsis: "Vampires, werewolves, witches, shapeshifters — they live among us without our knowledge. Night World is their secret society, a secret society with very strict rules. And falling in love breaks all the laws of the Night World.


In Secret Vampire, Poppy thought the summer would last forever. Then she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Now Poppy's only hope for survival is James, her friend and secret love. A vampire in the Night World, James can make Poppy immortal. But first they both must risk everything to go against the laws of Night World.

Fugitives from Night World, three vampire sisters leave their isolated home to live among humans in Daughters of Darkness. Their brother, Ash, is sent to bring the girls back, but he falls in love with their beautiful friend.

Two witch cousins fight over their high school crush. It's a battle between black magic and white magic in Spellbinder."

Author: Melissa De La Cruz
Title: The Van Alen Legacy3
Series: Blue Bloods (book 4)
Publication Date: 2009
Synopsis: "With the stunning revelation surrounding Bliss's true identity comes the growing threat of the sinister Silver Bloods. Once left to live the glamorous life in New York City, the Blue Bloods now find themselves in an epic battle for survival. Not to worry, love is still in the air for the young vampires of the Upper East Side. Or is it? Jack and Schuyler are over. Oliver's brokenhearted. And only the cunning Mimi seems to be happily engaged."

Author: Daniel & Dina Nayeri
Title: Another Faust4
Publication Date: 2009
Synopsis: "On a single night, five children suddenly vanish from their homes in Paris, Glasgow, Rome, and London. Years later, five enigmatic teenagers make an impressive entrance at an exclusive New York holiday party with their strange but beautiful governess, Madame Vileroy. Rumor and intrigue follow the Faust children to the elite Manhattan Marlowe School, where their very presence brings unexplainable misfortune."

Author: Sarah Rees Brennan
Title: The Demon's Lexicon5
Series: The Demon's Lexicon (book 1)
Publication Date: 2009
Synopsis: "Nick and his brother, Alan, have spent their lives on the run from magic. Their father was murdered, and their mother was driven mad by magicians and the demons who give them power. The magicians are hunting the Ryves family for a charm that Nick's mother stole -- a charm that keeps her alive -- and they want it badly enough to kill again."

First off, I hope that everyone has had a wonderful holiday season.
I would like to thank my Mom and Dad for the first volumn of Night World by L.J. Smith. I'd also like to send a thank you out to my Aunt and Uncle for The Demon's Lexicon and Another Faust. Last, but not least I give my thanks to ZG for The Van Alen Legacy and for letting me borrow her copy of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
Cannot wait to see what books everyone else received.

Wishing everyone a belated Happy Holiday and Merry Christmas.
Orchid
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1. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was borrowed from Zombie Girrrl.
2. Night World, vol 1, was a gift from my parents.  
3. The Van Alen Legacy was a gift from ZG.
4. Another Faust was a gift from my Aunt and Uncle.
5. The Demon's Lexicon was also a gift from my Aunt and Uncle.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dragons in the Waters

Author: Madeleine L'Engle
Title: Dragons in the Waters1
Series: O'Keefe Family (book 2)
Number of Pages: 293
Publication Date: 1976
Genre: YA
Synopsis: "Thirteen-year-old Simon Renier has no idea when he boards the M.S. Orion with his cousin Forsyth Phair that the journey will take him not only to Venezuela, but into his past as well. His original plan—to return a family heirloom, a portrait of Simon Bolivar, to its rightful place—is sidetracked when cousin Forsyth is found murdered. Then, when the portrait is stolen, all passengers and crew become suspect."
 
Yet another awesome book written by Madeleine L'Engle. Dragons in the Waters was a truly fascinating read even though most of the book to place on the ship Orion. I must say that I wasn't surprised to find out that Simon's cousin Forsyth was both greedy and up to absolutely no good.
The only thing that truly shocked me was who actually killed Forsyth Phair. I mean I didn't see that one coming at all. 
An interesting thing about this book was the idea that the Umara of the Quiztanos had what was called the memory. And that both Simon and his Aunt Leonis shared in it too.
At the moment I cannot think of what my favorite part of the book was, but I'm going to say one of the highlights of the book was shortly before the death of Forsyth Phair. Especially since he had many people on board who would like nothing more than to see him dead.
All in all, Dragons in the Waters is a fascinating read about setting right the wrongs of the past and friendship. As corny as that might sound, it was a still a fantastic read.

Dragons in the Waters earns 4 out of 5 pineapples.  
Orchid
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1. Dragons in the Waters was borrowed from the library.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Key to the Golden Firebird

Author: Maureen Johnson
Title: The Key to the Golden Firebird1
Number of Pages: 304
Publication Date: 2004
Genre: Teen Fiction
Synopsis: "Mayzie is the brainy middle sister, Brooks is the beautiful but conflicted oldest, and Palmer's the quirky baby of the family. In spite of their differences, the Gold sisters have always been close. When their father dies, everything begins to fall apart. Level–headed May is left to fend for herself (and somehow learn to drive), while her two sisters struggle with their own demons. But the girls learn that while there are a lot of rules for the road, there are no rules when it comes to the heart. Together, they discover the key to moving on – and it's the key to their father's Pontiac Firebird."

The Key to the Golden Firebird has actually been sitting on my bookshelf for a couple of years and I just now decided that it was time to read it. Why did I choose to start it now? Well, that would be because I traded it to another blogger in exchange for two books that I wanted.
It was an okay book, but not one that I am terribly upset about giving away.
The reason I wasn't drawn to this book is because its one of those sad, moving on after a death books. And frankly I had my fill of those a few years back and don't enjoy reading them anymore. Now that I have said that I'll get on with my review.
To me the saddest part of the whole book was near the end when May was talking to Pete about her father, not when he actually died.
My favorite part of the book is also the funniest part. I'd tell you why it was my favorite, but then I'd definitely give something away.
My two favorite characters were May and Palmer; May because it was interesting to read about her as she learned to assert herself and stop picking up the slack for her sister. I liked Palmer mainly because she was so quite and she seemed to notice everything that went on and because she was a pitcher. Brooks on the other hand I didn't like at all.
Even though The Key to the Golden Firebird was better than I thought it would be, I don't plan on re-reading this one. It's just too sad for my taste.

The Key to the Golden Firebird earns 2 1/2 out of 5 pineapples.
Orchid
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1. The Key to the Golden Firebird is part of my book collection.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

In My Mailbox (25)

In My Mailbox was started by Kristi of The Story Siren and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. Sadly the only books I order are those that are hard to find. The following books are from the library and bookstores.
Contest:
Author: Jacqueline Leo
Title: 7: The Number for Love, Happiness, and Success
Publication Date: 2009
Synopsis: "What is it about the number seven that has such a hold on us? Why are there seven deadly sins? Seven days of the week? Seven wonders of the world, seven colors of the spectrum, seven ages of man, and seven sister colleges? Why can we hold seven numbers or words in our working memory--but no more? Author Jackie Leo explores everything about this mystical, magical, useful, and fun number in her new book."
Library:
Author: William Dietrich
Title: Napoleon's Pyramids2
Series: Ethan Gage (book 1)
Publication Date:
Synopsis: "What mystical secrets lie beneath the Great Pyramids? The world changes for Ethan Gage—one-time assistant to the renowned Ben Franklin—on a night in post-revolutionary Paris, when he wins a mysterious medallion in a card game. Framed soon after for the murder of a prostitute and facing the grim prospect of either prison or death, the young expatriate American barely escapes France with his life—choosing instead to accompany the new emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte, on his glorious mission to conquer Egypt. With Lord Nelson's fleet following close behind, Gage sets out on the adventure of a lifetime. And in a land of ancient wonder and mystery, with the help of a beautiful Macedonian slave, he will come to realize that the unusual prize he won at the gaming table may be the key to solving one of history's greatest and most perilous riddles: who built the Great Pyramids . . . and why?"

I would like to thank Gwendolyn of A Sea of Books. I won a copy of 7 by Jacqueline Leo from her blog.
I also picked up Napoleon's Pyramids which sounds really, really good.
All in all, it was a slow book week for me.
Cannot wait to see what everyone else got. :)

Orchid
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1. 7 by Jacqueline Leo was won in a contest from A Sea of Books.
2. Napoleon's Pyramids was borrowed from the library. 

Friday, December 18, 2009

Meet the Austins

Author: Madeleine L'Engle
Title: Meet the Austins1
Series: Austin Family (book 1)
Number of Pages: 191
Publication Date: 1960
Genre: YA
Synopsis: "For a family with four kids, two dogs, assorted cats, and a constant stream of family and friends dropping by, life in the Austin family home has always been remarkably steady and contented. When a family friend suddenly dies in a plane crash, the Austins open their home to an orphaned girl, Maggy Hamilton. The Austin children—Vicky, John, Suzy, and Rob—do their best to be generous and welcoming to Maggy. Vicky knows she should feel sorry for Maggy, but having sympathy for Maggy is no easy thing. Maggy is moody and spoiled; she breaks toys, wakes people in the middle of the night screaming, discourages homework, and generally causes chaos in the Austin household. How can one small child disrupt a family of six? Will life ever return to normal?"

I know I just reviewed A House Like A Lotus yesterday, but I felt like following it up with a review for Meet the Austins.
First off Meet the Austins was one of the shortest books I have read this year, coming in at only 191 pages.
Meet the Austins another great read by Madeleine L'Engle. I would definitely say that this book has turned into one of my favorite book by her, as have all the rest of her books.
For most of the book I felt the same way about Maggy as did Vicky and her brother. That it was just easy to dislike her than to feel bad about the loss that she had under gone.
My favorite part of the book was when the Austins dressed up in an attempt to scare of their uncle's new "girlfriend" and the repercussions for their joke.
I most admit that I really like the sibling dynamic. They way they'd argue, but forget their arguments to help each other.
The only thing I didn't like about the book was that it was so short. It just seemed to end sooner than I was ready for it to be over.
Meet the Austins was a great read by a great author.

Meet the Austins earns 5 out of 5 pineapples.
Orchid
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1. Meet the Austins was borrowed from the library.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A House Like A Lotus

Author: Madeleine L'Engle
Title: A House Like A Lotus1
Series: O'Keefe Family (book 3)
Number of Pages: 308
Publication Date: 1984
Genre: YA
Synopsis: "While working at a conference in Cyprus, sixteen-year-old Polly tries to come to terms with the emotionally tumultuous events preceding her arrival on the island and her relationships with old and new friends."

I don't know if I have said this before, but I absolutely adore Madeleine L'Engle's writing and her characters.
My absolute favorite part of A House Like A Lotus was how the story unfolded about why Polly was mad at her friend Max.
The only character of hers that I just cannot stand would have to be Zachary Grey. Which is a bad thing since he pops up in both The Austin and O'Keefe series.
I truly had the hardest time putting down this book because I just wanted to know why Polly was mad at Max.
One of the things I liked the most about this book was the descriptions for all the places that the main character visited. It really brought the story to life.
Another thing that draws me to Madeleine L'Engle's books is that there's rarely any foul language, plus it's nice to read a book where the family is not broken up by divorce and where the parents actually get along.
I would definitely re-read this book again. Now if only I could find a copy of it first to add to my collection. :)

A House Like A Lotus earns 5 out of 5 pineapples.
Orchid2
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1.  A House Like A Lotus  was borrowed from the library.
2. Sorry I haven't posted all week, but when my computer was on the fritz I lost Itunes. Which means I have spent all this week working on re-loading the software and adding songs. I'm still not done.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

In My Mailbox (24)

In My Mailbox was started by Kristi of The Story Siren and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. Sadly the only books I order are those that are hard to find. The following books are from the library and bookstores.

Contest:
Author: Darren Shan
Title: The Vampire's Assistant and Other Tales From the Cirque du Freak Saga1
Series: Cirque du Freak (books 1-3)
Publication Date: 2009
Synopsis: "Darren Shan is just an ordinary schoolboy who loves to ride bikes and hang out with his three best friends. Then one day Darren and his friends stumble across an invitation to visit the Cirque Du Freak, a strange and mysterious freak show. Almost as if by destiny, Darren wins a ticket and what follows is his horrifying descent into the dark and bloody world of vampires. This is Darren's story."

Used Bookstore:
Author: Tom Clancy
Title: Virtual Vandals2
Series: Net Force Explorers (book 1)
Publication Date: 1999
Synopsis: "In the year 2010, computers are the new superpowers. Those who control them, control the world. To enforce the Net Laws, Congress creates the ultimate computer security agency within the FBI: Net Force. When the director of Net Force is assassinated, Deputy Director Alex Michaels is thrust into one of the most powerful and dangerous positions in the world. At the same time, cyber-terrorists sabotage mainframe computers across the country, causing famine, chaos, and death. Now Michaels and his team must find out who is responsible -- and what they have to gain. But there is another problem. If they assassinated one Net Force director, what will stop them from assassinating another?"


 Author: Tom Clancy 
Title: Cyberspy3
Series: Net Force Explorers (book 6)
Publication Date: 1999
Synopsis: "Someone is leaking big business secrets onto the Internet, and Net Force Explorer David Gray's investigation reveals a deadly band of cyberspies who use a new form of technology to tune into people's thoughts."

Author: Peter Dickinson
Title: The Ropemaker4
Publication Date: 2001
Synopsis: "Tilja has grown up in the peaceful Valley, which is protected from the fearsome Empire by an enchanted forest. But the forest’s power has begun to fade and the Valley is in danger. Tilja is the youngest of four brave souls who venture into the Empire together to find the mysterious magician who can save the Valley. And much to her amazement, Tilja gradually learns that only she, an ordinary girl with no magical powers, has the ability to protect her group and their quest from the Empire’s sorcerers."

Author: Lois Lowry
Title: Gathering Blue5
Series: The Giver (book 2)
Publication Date: 2000
Synopsis: "In perhaps her strongest work to date, Lois Lowry once again creates a mysterious but plausible future world. It is a society ruled by savagery and deceit and that shuns and discards the weak. Left orphaned and physically flawed, young Kira faces a frightening, uncertain future. Blessed with an almost magical talent that keeps her alive, she struggles with ever broadening responsibilities in her quest for truth, discovering things that will change her life forever. As she did in THE GIVER, Lowry challenges readers to imagine what our world could become, how people could evolve, and what could be considered valuable. Every reader will be taken by Kira’s plight and will long ponder her haunting world and the hope for the future."

Library:

Author: Madeleine L'Engle
Title: Meet the Austins6
Series: Austin Family (book 1)
Publication Date: 1960
Synopsis: "For a family with four kids, two dogs, assorted cats, and a constant stream of family and friends dropping by, life in the Austin family home has always been remarkably steady and contented. When a family friend suddenly dies in a plane crash, the Austins open their home to an orphaned girl, Maggy Hamilton. The Austin children—Vicky, John, Suzy, and Rob—do their best to be generous and welcoming to Maggy. Vicky knows she should feel sorry for Maggy, but having sympathy for Maggy is no easy thing. Maggy is moody and spoiled; she breaks toys, wakes people in the middle of the night screaming, discourages homework, and generally causes chaos in the Austin household. How can one small child disrupt a family of six? Will life ever return to normal?"



Author: Madeleine L'Engle
Title: Dragons in the Waters7
Series: Polly O'Keefe (book 2)
Publication Date: 1976
Synopsis: "A stolen heirloom painting...a shipboard murder...Can Simon and the O'Keefe clan unravel the mystery? Thirteen-year-old Simon Renier has no idea when he boards the M.S. Orion with his cousin Forsyth Phair that the journey will take him not only to Venezuela, but into his past as well. His original plan—to return a family heirloom, a portrait of Simon Bolivar, to its rightful place—is sidetracked when cousin Forsyth is found murdered. Then, when the portrait is stolen, all passengers and crew become suspect.

Gift:
Author: Anthony Horowitz
Title: Point Blank8
Series: Alex Rider (book 2)
Publication Date: 2002
Synopsis: "When an investigation into a series of mysterious deaths leads agents to an elite prep school for rebellious kids, MI6 assigns Alex Rider to the case. Before he knows it, Alex is hanging out with the sons of the rich and powerful, and something feels wrong. These former juvenile delinquents have turned well-behaved, studious—and identical—overnight. It's up to Alex to find out who is masterminding this nefarious plot, before they find him."
I'd like to start off by saying thank you to Khy of Frenetic Reader. I won The Vampire's Assistant along with a locker mirror from a contest on her blog. Thanks Khy. Another thank you goes to Dahlia of Dahlia's Eclectic Mind who gave me her extra copy of Point Blank. Thanks Dahlia.
This past week I paid a visit to the Used Bookstore and found a ton of good books. Two more book in Tom Clancy's Net Force Explorers series, which now means I have half of the series. I was also lucky enough to find a copy of The Ropemaker and Gathering Blue.
Last, but not least i picked up two books by one of my all time favorite authors at the library.
I believe that is all for me this week. Cannot wait to see what everyone else picked up. :)

Orchid
_________________________________________________________________________________
1. The Vampire's Assistant was a contest win from a contest at Frenetic Reader.
2. OMZ! I cannot believe I found Virtual Vandals at the used bookstore.
3. Along with Cyberspy I am so very excited.
4. If I had been the type of person to squeal in delight, I would have after finding a copy of The Ropemaker.
5. I loved The Giver and cannot wait to read Gathering Blue.
6. Madeleine L'Engle happens to one of my all time favorite authors and I don't think I have ever read Meet the Austins.
7. Another book of hers that I haven't read would have to be i. I had to get it because I accidentally read the third one first.

8.  Dahlia was going to get rid of her extra copy of Point Blank so I took it off her hands, plus I really liked this one.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Devouring

Author: Simon Holt
Title: The Devouring1
Series: The Devouring (book 1)
Number of Pages: 240
Publication Date: 2008
Genre: Horror and Suspense
Synopsis: "When dark creeps in and eats the light, Bury your fears on Sorry Night.
For in the winter's blackest hours,
Comes the feasting of the Vours,
No one can see it, the life they stole,
Your body's here but not your soul..." THE VOURS: Evil, demonic beings that inhabit human bodies on Sorry Night, the darkest hours of the winter solstice. When Reggie reads about the Vours in a mysterious old journal, she assumes they are just the musings of an anonymous lunatic. But when her little brother, Henry, begins to act strangely, it's clear that these creatures exist beyond a madwoman's imagination, and Reggie finds out what happens when fears come to life. To save the people she loves, Reggie must learn to survive in a world of nightmares. Can she devour her own fears before they devour her? The Devouring is an engrossing tale of terror that will have you wondering: what if your worst fears became your living nightmare?"

OMZ! The Devouring drew me in from the very first page. I was so engrossed in this book that I could barely put it down.  I think what I loved the most about the story was that it was different and the storyline wasn't one that has been over used.
My favorite part(s) of the book would have to be the fearscape. It gave the story a little something extra, plus it was interesting to see all the things that scared the kid. Another thing I liked was the twist near the end of the book when the main character Reggie found out the there was more than one Vour in her town.
I would have to say that The Devouring was one of the creepiest books I have read in a long time... if ever.
Reggie was a fairly interesting character to read about. The thing I liked most about her was when she faced her biggest fear.
I just wish I had waited to read it on Sorry Night. Heheheh. Now that would have been awesome.
The Devouring was a thoroughly fascinating read and I totally cannot wait to read the second book.

The Devouring earns 5 out of 5 pineapples.
Orchid
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1. The Devouring was borrowed from the library.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Prophecy of the Sisters

Author: Michelle Zink
Title: Prophecy of the Sisters (ARC)
Series: Prophecy of the Sisters (book 1)
Number of Pages: 352
Publication Date: 2009
Genre: Teen/Fantasy
Synopis: "Without the Keys, something terrible will happen. Something that cannot be undone.
And with them, I might bring an end to the riddle of the Prophecy and my strange part in it.
If Alice and I are on conflicting sides of the Prophecy, the Keys would be dangerous in her hands. Which means I have to find them. And I have to do it before my sister.
Sixteen year-old Lia Milthorpe has just recently lost her father, leaving her parentless. But when a strange mark appears on her wrist, she realizes she is being branded with much more than her newfound title of orphan. Lia and her twin sister Alice are part of an ancient prophecy that has turned generations of sisters against each other.
Lia hides this discovery from Alice and even from her beloved James, but to escape from the burden this secret bestows she must end the prophecy-before her sister. Only then will she understand the mysterious circumstances of her parents' deaths, the true meaning of the mark on her wrist, the lengths to which her sister will go to defeat her, and the impact the resolution of the prophecy could have.
With, haunting, lyrical prose, this multi-layered story of family, friendship, and romance explores the timeless question of predetermination versus free will. And it takes readers on an unforgettable coming-of-age journey where one sister's self-discovery could have an impact of Biblical proportion."

I'm going to start this review off by saying that Prophecy of the Sisters has turned out to be one of the best books that I have read this year. It was so good that I plan on purchasing a finished copy of it at some point. I loved Michelle Zink's writing in Prophecy of the Sisters and I thought this was a great first book from a new author (being that it's an ARC, I was surprised to find very few mistakes). The plot and flow of the story had me turning the pages till late into the night wondering what was going to happen next and if Lia would ever find the answers to the prophecy.The thing that I must say surprised me the most about this book was to find out that it's the first book in a trilogy (which I found out before I started it). One of my favorite things about Prophecy of the Sisters was how different Lia and Alice were from each other. They each had such distinct personalities. Another interesting part about this book was the actual prophecy and how it affected both of the sisters, and how it has been going on for centuries without anyone finding a way or having the willpower to end it once and for all. Truly I cannot put into words without giving away anything how much I enjoyed reading this book. I will say though that I am happily waiting for the next book in the series so my curiosity can (hopefully) be satisfied.

Prophecy of the Sisters earned 5 out of 5 pineapples.
Orchid
__________________________________________________________________________________
1. My ARC of Prophecy of the Sisters was won through a contest hosted by Tina of Fantastic Book Review.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Fragile Eternity

Author: Melissa Marr
Title: Fragile Eternity1
Series: Wicked Lovely (book 2)
Number of Pages: 400
Publication Date: 2009
Genre: Fantasy
Synopsis: "Seth never expected he would want to settle down with anyone—but that was before Aislinn. She is everything he'd ever dreamed of, and he wants to be with her forever. Forever takes on new meaning, though, when your girlfriend is an immortal faery queen. Aislinn never expected to rule the very creatures who'd always terrified her—but that was before Keenan. He stole her mortality to make her a monarch, and now she faces challenges and enticements beyond any she'd ever imagined."


OMZ!!! Fragile Eternity was brilliant. It’s by far the best book in the entire series.

I don't know what I could possibly say about the book without giving something away. But I will say that I absolutely loved this book. Mainly because the book was told from Seth’s point of view and he’s an awesome character to read about. I loved all the twists in this book.
Fragile Eternity had a faster pace then the two previous books, which made it an easier read.
I would tell you my favorite part of the book, but it would definitely give something away and I'd hate to ruin it for someone who hasn't read it yet.
One thing I really like about this series is the difference between the four courts and how they balance each other out. I also love the struggle for power and how certain characters keep trying to tip the balance in their favor. I am definitely happy that I didn’t give on this series after the first book.
After reading Fragile Eternity I cannot wait to read Radiant Shadows when it comes out.

Fragile Eternity earns 5 out of 5 pineapples.
Orchid
Wicked Lovely
Ink Exchange 
_________________________________________________________________________________
1. Fragile Eternity was borrowed from the library.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Ruby in the Smoke

Author: Philip Pullman
Title: The Ruby in the Smoke1
Series: Sally Lockhart (book 1)
Number of Pages: 256
Publication Date: 1985
Genre: Mystery
Synopsis: "In search of clues to the mystery of her father's death, 16-year-old Sally Lockhart ventures into the shadowy underworld of Victorian London. Pursued by villains at every turn, the intrepid Sally finally uncovers two dark mysteries--and realizes that she herself is the key to both."

The Ruby in the Smoke is definitely on eof my all time favorite mysteries to read. I was lucky enough to find a copy of this book on one of my trips to the used bookstore a while back. To bad the cover for my copy is so... dippy.
One of the reasons I liked this book so much was that the main charcter Sally was an independent, strong female character. Which is unusual given that the book is set in the late 1800s. Plus the story and writing are amazing. Along with the whole cast of characters.
I liked everything about the book, from the unexpected plot twist about her past. To how everything was tied up in the book, yet there was still plenty of room for the the characters to continue their stories in furture books.
My favorite part of the book would have to have been the twist at the end of the book and the revelation about Sally's past. Favorite character(s) Sally and Jim.
All in all a fantastic read that is a must read by all mystery lovers by an amazing author2.

The Ruby in the Smoke earns 5 out of 5 pineapples.
Orchid
_________________________________________________________________________________
1. The Ruby in the Smoke is part of my personal collection of books.
2. Philip Pullman just so happens to be one of my all time favorite authors.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

In My Mailbox (23)

In My Mailbox was started by The Story Siren and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. Sadly the only books I order are those that are hard to find. The following books are from the library and bookstores.

Contests:
Author: Trilby Kent
Title: Medina Hill (two copies)1
Publication Date: 2009
Synopsis: "In the grimy London of 1935, eleven-year-old Dominic Walker has lost his voice. His mother is sick and his father’s unemployed. Rescue comes in the form of his Uncle Roo, who arrives to take him and his young sister, Marlo, to Cornwall. There, in a boarding house populated by eccentric residents, Marlo, who keeps a death grip on her copy of The New Art of Cooking, and Dominic, armed with Incredible Adventures for Boys: Colonel Lawrence and the Revolt in the Desert, find a way of life unlike any they have known. Dominic’s passion for Lawrence of Arabia is tested when he finds himself embroiled in a village uprising against a band of travelers who face expulsion. In defending the vulnerable, Dominic learns what it truly means to have a voice."

Traded:
Author: Darren Shan
Title: The Demon Thief2
Series: Demonata (book 2)
Publication Date: 2005
Synopsis: "Kernel Fleck has always known he's weird. He sees lights. Strange, multi-colored patches of light, swirling through the air. But it's not until a window opens into a demon world, with horrific consequences, that Kernel discovers his powers. As a Disciple, his mission is to hunt vicious, powerful demons to the death..."

Author: Robin McKinley
Title: Beauty: A Retelling of Beauty and the Beast3
Publication Date: 1978
Synopsis: "strange imprisonment. Beauty has never liked her nickname. She is thin and awkward; it is her two sisters who are the beautiful ones. But what she lacks in looks, she can perhaps make up for in courage. When her father comes home with the tale of an enchanted castle in the forest and the terrible promise he had to make to the Beast who lives there, Beauty knows she must go to the castle, a prisoner of her own free will. Her father protests that he will not let her go, but she answers, "Cannot a Beast be tamed?"

Library:
Author: Joan Lowery Nixon
Title: The Dark and Deadly Pool4
Publication Date: 1987
Synopsis: "Liz enjoys her summer pool job at the glamorous Ridley Hotel. Until the night, a dark and lonely night, a ghasty shadow surges up from the pool. A face -- eyes wide, mouth gaping -- stares at Liz. A hand clutches at her sneaker. Then it, whatever it is, is gone. But danger isn't. Strange things are happening at the hotel, and a shaken Liz wants to know why. But whoever is behind the trouble will stop at nothing -- even murder -- to get what he wants..."

Author: Madeleine L'Engle
Title: A House Like A Lotus5
Series: O'Keefe Family (book 3)
Publication Date: 1984
Synopsis: "While working at a conference in Cyprus, sixteen-year-old Polly tries to come to terms with the emotionally tumultuous events preceding her arrival on the island and her relationships with old and new friends."

Author: Simon Holt
Title: The Devouring6
Series: The Devouring (book 1)
Publication Date: 2008
Synopsis: "When dark creeps in and eats the light,

Bury your fears on Sorry Night.
For in the winter's blackest hours,
Comes the feasting of the Vours,
No one can see it, the life they stole,
Your body's here but not your soul..."
"THE VOURS: Evil, demonic beings that inhabit human bodies on Sorry Night, the darkest hours of the winter solstice. When Reggie reads about the Vours in a mysterious old journal, she assumes they are just the musings of an anonymous lunatic. But when her little brother, Henry, begins to act strangely, it's clear that these creatures exist beyond a madwoman's imagination, and Reggie finds out what happens when fears come to life. To save the people she loves, Reggie must learn to survive in a world of nightmares. Can she devour her own fears before they devour her? The Devouring is an engrossing tale of terror that will have you wondering: what if your worst fears became your living nightmare?"

Author: Caroline B. Cooney
Title: Wanted7
Publication Date: 1997
Synopsis: "It all started with a phone call. In a tense voice, Alice's very rational father suggests that she drive his precious Corvette and meet him. But Alice doesn't have a driver's license. "It doesn't matter!" he yells. Yet he never shows up. Never calls. Something is very wrong. Then Alice hears an announcement over the radio. Her father is dead. And someone has already confessedto his murder via E-mail. That someone is Alice. Everyone, including her mother, believes that Alice is guilty. The police are after her. And the real murderer is, too. It's only a matter of time before somebody catches her..."

I think I have made up for my lack of IMM last week.
This week I received in the mail two copies of Medina Hill. Both of which I won from two different contests. I would like to thank Taschima of Bloody Bookaholic and Alea of Pop Culture Junkie.
I would also like to thank Kelsey of The Book Scout who I traded books with.
The rest of the books I picked up at the library and have either finished them already or am planning on getting around to reading.

Orchid
_________________________________________________________________________________
1. Weirdest thing ever. I won two copies of the same book. Even weirder I had to decline my third win of this book. Medina Hill was won from contests at Bloody Bookaholic and Pop Culture Junkie
2. The Demon Thief was received from The Book Scout through a trade.
3. Beauty: A Retelling of Beauty and the Beast was also received through trade from The Book Scout.
4. The Dark and Deadly Pool was borrowed from the library.
5. A House Like A Lotus was also Borrowed from the library
6. The Devouring was borrowed from the library.
7. Wanted was also borrowed from my library.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sunshine

Author: Robin McKinley
Title: Sunshine1
Number of Pages: 389
Publication Date: 2003
Genre: Fantasy
Synopsis: "There hadn't been any trouble out at the lake for years, and Sunshine just needed a spot where she could be alone with her thoughts. Vampires never entered her mind. Until they found her."

I really enjoyed reading Robin McKinley's Sunshine. The only thing I didn't like about the book was the format it was done in. There weren't any chapters, just parts with stopping points every now and again.
I found Sunshine to be an interesting character with her need to feed people and trying to be normal and deny her heritage as a magic user. But I must say Con was my favorite character in the whole book.
Another thing I absolutely loved about this book was Robin McKinley's take on vampires. It made me think why had no one ever thought of that possibility before. I guess I should explain what I mean. The older of her vampires couldn't even go out on a clear night when the moon was out. Why? Because the moon reflects the light of the sun, that's why. And the baddies were actually very EVIL, with now redeeming qualities.
Like I said, Sunshine is an amazing read, but not suited to younger teens and pre-teens.
I honestly think I could go on about how much I loved this book, but I'm just going to end my review now before I give something away. :)
Sunshine earns 4 out of 5 pineapples.
Orchid
  _______________________________________________________________________________
1. Sunshine  was borrowed from the library.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Montmorency: Thief, Liar, Gentleman?

Author: Eleanor Updale
Title: Montmorency: Thief, Liar, Gentleman?1
Series: Montmorency (book 1)
Number of Pages: 240
Publication Date: 2004
Genre: Historical fiction
Synopsis: "When a petty thief falls through a glass roof while fleeing from the police, it should have been the death of him. Instead, it marks the beginning of a whole new life. Soon he has become the most successful -- and elusive -- burglar in Victorian London, plotting daring raids and using London's new sewer system to escape. He adopts a dual existence to fit his new lifestyle, taking on the roles of a respectable, wealthy gentleman named Montmorency and his corrupt servant, Scarper."

I found Montmorency: Thief, Liar, Gentleman? To be a thoroughly fascinating read filled with action, adventure, and a slightly crazed, yet brilliant main character.

M.T.L.G. is definitely a fast read that could be read by just about anyone (from, like, 12 on up).
The book starts off with Montmorency doing time in jail after a failed robbery in which he fell through a glass roof and nearly died. The story also alludes to the many surgeries that Doctor Farcett performed on him to save his life; and how he was basically a test subject (who he hoped would turn his life around after he got out of jail) for him to show off to the medical community.
One of the things that I enjoyed the most about this book was how Montmorency and Scarper were polar opposites. Montmorency who was very self conscious about the way he looked, and with keeping the life that he had become so accustomed to; then there was Scarper the manservant who was a vile "creature" of the sewers.
I must say that Eleanor Updale did a fantastic job on bringing her characters to life and describing everything so vividly. I just wish that I could find the next book in this high;y enjoyable series, because I cannot wait to read about what will happen to Montmorency next.

Montmorency: Thief, Liar, Gentleman? earns 5 out of 5 pineapples.
Orchid
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 1. Montmorency: Thief, Liar, Gentleman? was borrowed from the library.

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