Monday, July 25, 2011

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Photo Courtesy of Goodreads



Siblings Lochan (17) and Maya (16) have always felt more like friends than brother and sister.  With their alcoholic, practically non-existent mother, and a father who long ago abandoned the family, Lochan and Maya have taken over the role of parents to their three younger siblings.  Along with the stress of becoming stand-in parents, high school, and the constant threat of child protective services, their lives have brought them close.  So close, in fact, that Lochan and Maya have fallen in love.  Although they know the relationship is wrong, they are unable to stop how they feel.


First, allow me to say that if you do not have an open mind, do not read this book.  Seriously.  Some of the reviews I have read are downright ignorant, and some are even quite disgusted by it.  Which means, the point of the book is either 1) Received or 2) Not Received.  Confused?  Well, read this amazingly heartbreaking story and you will see what I mean.

Yes, there is incest.  Yes, a few times throughout I stopped and thought, "Oh my."  But this is a love story.  A tragic, tragic love story that does not have a happy ending.  Actually, when I first read this book, I hated it because I was so bitter about the ending.

However, my mind is changed.  I read Forbidden a little over two weeks ago and I cannot get this story out of my head.  It is one of those books, as I said in a previous post, where you find yourself wanting something to work out that maybe should not work out . . . and then you find yourself asking, "Well, why shouldn't it work out?  Who am I to judge love?  To judge anyone, for that matter?"

Forbidden will have you questioning things that have no answer.  And however frustrating, that's all right with me.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Book Review: Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting

Photo Courtesy Goodreads
Previous Review:  Please Ignore Vera Dietz


In this sequel to Kimberly Derting's The Body Finder, Desires of the Dead continues to follow the special ability of Violet Ambrose to sense the echoes of those who have been murdered--animal and human.  Only the people closest to Violet, including her best friend/boyfriend Jay Heaton, know of her ability. 

After discovering the body of a missing boy in a shipyard storage container, Violet catches the attention of the FBI.  A twist in the plot brings to light someone's dangerous obsession with Violet.  Or rather, with Jay.  And Violet is in the way.  

Jay is the one Violet always turns to for advice and comfort.  But now that they have taken their friendship to relationship level, new rules apply.  With no one to turn to, Violet begins to unravel things that places her life--and others around her--in danger.  


If you have not read The Body Finder, stop reading this and do it.  Go ahead.  This blog will still be here when you are finished.  I think.  I hope.  

First of all, let me just say the relationship between Jay and Violet is absolutely beautiful.  Kimberly Derting expresses the raw emotion of the the couple so vividly that my heart wrenches and expands at all the right moments.  

The story reminds of a YA version of the Harper Connelly series by Charlaine Harris.  Only, you know, less . . . er, racy.  Yes, "racy" is a good word.  Although this book was not as exciting (read: creepy) as The Body Finder, it kept my attention from start to finish.  If I say too much about this one, I may reveal spoilers and I don't dig that sort of thing, you know?  

The next book in the series--there will be four, so far--is scheduled to be released next year.  

Who's excited and impatient?  Me!  

Upcoming Review:  

Photo Courtesy Goodreads

Friday, June 17, 2011

Book Review: Please Ignore Vera Dietz

Photo Courtesy Goodreads

"Is it okay to hate a dead kid?  Even if I loved him once?  Even if he was my best friend?  Is it okay to hate him for being dead?"


Vera Dietz is an 18 year-old pizza delivery technician in her senior year of high school.  Vera's mother left years ago, so it's just Vera and her father winging it through life.  Vera's best friend since age 4, Charlie, died under mysterious circumstances the summer before senior year.  Vera is dealing with Charlie's death, but also the hurt he caused her through betrayal in the months before his death.  The changes that came over Charlie, and the way he can still communicate with Vera from beyond the grave (although, this is not considered a YA Paranormal, so just, yeah, FYI) move her to disclose information that can clear his name about what really happened on the night he died.


There are some touchy subjects in this book, such as marital abuse, disregard for marital abuse, drug use, drinking, sex (nothing graphic), bullying, and {{gasp}} those godforsaken flow charts!  Oh, and let's not forget the dangers of a pizza delivery technician and a man casually answering the door with no pants on.  Vera handles that situation like a pro, BTW. 

Please Ignore Vera Dietz  is one of those books you put down and think, "My goodness, I wish I would have thought of that."  It is not too overdone on the romance part, the "Charlie's Ghost" part, or the absentee mother/father who is a former alcoholic part.  All aspects of these aspects mix in very well together to make one cohesive, well-written YA novel that is absolutely worth its Printz award.  

The story is mostly told through Vera, but her father (Ken), her dead best friend (Charlie), and The Pagoda (yes, narration from an illegitimate object that "sits watching people do stupid crap") also make random appearances throughout.  The idea of getting Ken's POV on everything that is happening is so creative and amazing.  I mean, honestly, have you ever seen a parent's POV in a YA novel?  I, for one, have not.  And probably because it wouldn't work for most stories.  But darnnit, it works here.  

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Schizophrenic Computers & An almost book review!

So it's been awhile since I blogged, and I totally blame it on my lack of computer skills.  Internet Explorer (did I just name drop?  Oopsy.)  went all kinds of schizophrenic on me and even after consulting with several techy computer folks, nothing was resolved.  It was as if I suddenly switched over to {{shudder}}dial-up.  Never had dial-up?  Consider yourself lucky.  'Cause it ain't pretty.

 It was not until I had one of those ah-ha! moments that I decided to try out a different provider.  So I clicked on (another name drop) Google Chrome and, apparently, my problems were solved.  So.  Now.  Back to blogging.

I have read quite a few books since my last blog and I am up and ready for some reviewing.  I am not going to review today, however, I am going to recommend.  Why?  Because this book is too awesome for words.  I am hooked.  Four is my new literary husband.  Tris is my new literary BFF.  I have no shame admitting the nerd-ness of those last two comments. So, without any further droning:

Photo Courtesy of Goodreads

Get it.  Read it.  Love it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

RTW & Book Review: Abandon by Meg Cabot

{{I'm adding these posts together so I don't give y'all a double posting today sooooo here goes!}}

Not sure about Road Trip Wednesday?  Well how about you just click on over to YA Highway and see what all the fuss is about!  Why?  Just 'cuz.  :) 

YA Highway's Road Trip Wednesday topic for this week is: 

Who in your life has most inspired your writing?

As an overall inspiration, I would have to go for the cliche and say my family and my besties. 

I hate to break out two cliches in one post, but as for ideas, scenes, etc., everything around me inspires my writing.  People I meet or have met, and those I observe (you know, not in a creepy sorta way) in public are huge inspirations.  New places, experiences . . . I try to look at everything as a writing inspiration.  This way, I don't have to make the excuse of [insert sad emo face here], "Oh, I have writer's block so I can't write today . . . Woe is me." 

Photo Courtesy GoodReads
Book Review Disclosure HERE


Since Pierce Oliviera died, someone is always watching her. When she escaped from the Underworld, and came back to life after being pronounced dead, Pierce only wanted to return back to her normal life. Now, however, she feels detached from the world.

When her mother ups and moves them to her home of Isla Huesos, a small island off the coast of South Florida.

Pierce is hopeful of a fresh start with a new life, new school, and new friends. But he still finds her. This is where she met him originally all of those years ago when her grandfather died. Although no guardian angel, John appears often and when she needs him the most.

The problem? If she falls any further, Pierce may just find herself back in the Underworld.


In this modern day version of the myth of Persephone (which is quite an interesting story so I will let you read that on your own!), Meg Cabot has introduced to a character I am already loving. The entire book, however, is a prelude to what will come in the next book, as this series will be (for now, at least) a trilogy.

The narration reads in vivid flashbacks and present-tense, scattered throughout the chapters. Some reviews I have read hated this. I rather liked how the book flowed. It wasn’t like, #1 happened, then #2, oh and let’s not forget #3! For some reason, not going in chronological order confused some of the reviewers and I can’t help but ask, “Really?”

But maybe that’s because I haven’t read a Meg Cabot book that I didn’t absolutely love. Maybe I’m partial. And that’s quite all right with me.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Book Review: Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter

Before I begin this review, I'm looking for recommendations for YA Contemporary--or really, anything that isn't YA Paranormal, Sci-Fi, etc.  I love all genres of YA, but am running out of Contemps.  All suggestions are welcome!  Please and thank you!  --Maria

{{Book Review Disclosure here}}
Photo Courtesy of GOODREADS
After attending a party and ending up in a jail cell, Kylie Galen's mother decides to send Kylie to Shadow Falls, a camp for troubled teens.  Only Kylie's fellow campers aren't juvenile delinquents, as Shadow Falls is a camp that houses vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters, witches and fairies.  Kylie, although she has never felt "normal", doesn't believe any of this.  That is, until she witnesses a guy shift to a unicorn and is paired with a witch and a vampire for roommates.  The campers train, learning to harness their powers, control their magic, and live normally in a society which doesn't want to accept them.  Kylie, however, doesn't know what her powers include. 

As if the information overload wasn't enough, Derek and Lucas stroll into the picture, upping the complication factor.  For those of you who aren't into the "love triangle" . . . just a note:  there is one.  And I love it.  Especially when it involves a sexy, shirtless werewolf (minus the wolf-form, of course).  Derek, who is half-Fae, would like to be Kylie's boyfriend.  Lucas, a hot werewolf, shares a past with Kylie, but she isn't sure if he even remembers her.  In the midst of Kylie's new stresses, her parents are going through a not-so-clean divorce and oh yeah, she has a stalker . . . that no one else can see.

Yes, I loved it!  I was hooked before getting through the first page.  "Born at Midnight" is one of those books that you hate to read close to its release date because the wait for the sequel is down right torturous. 

As for characters, I usually have one, or sometimes a few favorites, but the only characters I truly disliked in "Born at Midnight" were Kylie's parents, who acted like spoiled children.  Oh, and her creeper-status ex, Trey.   

I anticipate Kylie's "stalker" returning in the sequel, (as he might be a vital part in her discoveries), as well as a possible sighting of the mysterious waterfall.  I cannot wait to see our main character discover more about who she is, as well as her powers.

Cons:  Not many, but as other reviewers have said, some things are a bit repetitive (language, phrases, etc.), but in my opinion, this absolutely does not take away from the story. 

I highly recommend "Born at Midnight" by C.C. Hunter.  I don't think you will be disappointed.   


 All Covers Courtesy of GOODREADS

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Book Review: Haven by Kristi Cook

I've read several books in the past week, and my goal is to do a review on each one within the coming days. Some days may have two reviews in one blog.  If it is a series, I will review the entire series.  Also, I don't discriminate by genre so if the book is YA Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance, etc. and I have read it (durh!),  I will review it.  {{Click HERE for my Book Review Disclosure}}

Photo Courtesy of GOODREADS


Leaving Atlanta behind, and starting fresh at Winterhaven School in New York, sixteen year old Violet McKenna is looking for a fresh start.  But Violet has a secret she has tried to keep hidden:  she has macabre, vivid visions of the future. 

Good thing for Violet that Winterhaven happens to be a safe haven for people like her with special "gifts and talents".  Here she meets extremely smart, sexy, mind reader extraordinaire, Aidan Gray.  But Aidan is hiding something from everyone at Winterhaven that could have them all running from him.  Will fate and a common enemy keep Violet and Aidan together or tear them apart? 


I had not heard of this book until I picked it up last Wednesday at my local bookstore.  The cover drew me in.  Does it make me shallow that I judged a book by its cover?  Ahwell.  When I read the back cover, I knew immediately I had to have it!  I can't tell you what it says, because I want you to go check out this book for yourself!  :)

I've read other reviews, saying that "Haven" is kind of a mixture of several other types of stories, and although I do see where these reviewers are coming from, this is one of those books that flows so beautifully and has some extras I haven't seen or have scarcely seen in YA Paranormal (astral projection, anyone?).  Oh, and let's not forget "The Aidan Effect" that may or may not have to do with his particular "gifts".  Personally, I've experienced this type of effect, and it is not pretty.  Oh wait . . . right . . . reviewing.  Sorrrryyyyy! 

What I wish I could have seen was more chemistry between Aidan and Violet, but I believe the lack of is leading up to a sequel (yayyyy!), so I can't say that I'm disappointed.  

I would definitely recommend "Haven" to anyone who wants a good YA Paranormal read.  The book is about 400 pages, but reads so smoothly that I got through it in about a day.   

Born at Midnight (Shadow Falls, #1)Faking 19The Body Finder (The Body Finder, #1)

City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments, #4)

Desires of the Dead (The Body Finder, #2)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Review: Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride

Sam LaCroix has no idea he is a necromancer. College dropout? Yes. Working at Plumpy’s to make ends meet? Yes. Champion potato hockey player? Not so much. When Sam sends a potato flying through the taillight of a classic Mercedes, the stranger who it belongs to seems to know more about Sam than he knows himself. Everything Sam has ever known is turned upside down, as a secret his mom has been sitting on begins to unravel.

The title, which is a play on Elton John’s “Hold Me Closer, Tiny Dancer”, should be the first indicator of the hilarity you will face in this book. Necromancers, witches, werewolves, talking heads, zombie pandas and . . . garden gnomes? This book has a surplus of supernatural beings that, although aren’t discussed in too much depth, add to the story’s overall feel.

I was a bit skeptical when I glanced through the book and saw the 1st and 3rd person shifts throughout, but Lish Mc Bride makes this work extremely well.

On Characters:

One of the things I lovedlovedloved about this book is the plethora of strong women characters! Brooke, Brid, Mrs. W . . . the list of non-whiney, intelligent, self-sufficient, hilarious female characters goes on. I have a total literary crush on Ramon, who, I think is going to play a bigger role in the sequel. Hohyeah! A sequel!

Douglas, our resident bad guy, is number one on the Ultimate Creeper Status list.

What I loved the most: Our main character, Sam, is normal (given the circumstances). Usually, I find that when the main character of a book written by a female is male, the character is usually too sensitive, too emotional, and really unlike a guy at all. This isn’t the case with Sam. He is a good a mixture of the kind of guy you want to be friends with. He’s not a jock or stoner or emo or any other label one can think of. He is just a guy trying to find himself and make his own way in life.

Would I recommend this?  Hohyeah!