Follow Friday! (1)

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Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Host { } and any one else you want to follow on the list
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Follow Follow Follow as many as you can
If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love...and the followers.

Parajunkee has all the great ideas. Hello to any new followers that happen upon my blog! Thanks for stopping by!

Click the pic to join in! And if you haven't met Amelia @ The Authoress, this weeks featured blogger, you simply must- her comments are so much fun!

Scandal in Spring by Lisa Kleypas

Genre:: Historical Romance
Pages: 374
Publisher: August 1st 2006 by Avon

Poor Daisy. In her circle friends, known affectionately to themselves as "The Wallflowers" being without a husband after three seasons isn't unheard of. The flirting and simple, pointless banter that comes with any social event of the season has just never come easy to Daisy or her friends and they have notoriously preferred to wait on the sidelines and watch the other husband hunters catch their prey. Only now, Daisy is the last of the wallflowers, all her friends having made very wonderful matches, and love matches no less, with some pretty remarkable men. To add to the pressure, her father has informed her that she is a burden, and like most businessmen, he sees any product that he cannot sell as a bad investment and he's ready to wash his hands of the whole deal. He gives Daisy the ultimatum that either she finds herself a husband, and quickly or he will force her to marry his business associate, Matthew Swift- an odious, money grubbing toady who does whatever Daisy's father asks. Daisy hasn't seen her father's employee in a long time, but she can't remember there ever being anything pleasant about him.. The former wallflowers organize a house party, and invite many eligible bachelors, all titled lords and well sought after members of society, to come and stay. Surely one of them will be a decent enough match for Daisy? Maybe it will be the tall, devastatingly handsome, charming newcomer with the most amazing eyes that has just joined the party?

Maybe...oh no...poor Daisy, her gorgeous new stranger is none other than Mr. Matthew Swift and the years apart have turned him into everything a girl could ever want- with one big exception. Matthew Swift does whatever Daisy's father tells him to do and her father told him to marry Daisy. Of all the men to choose from, Daisy finds herself loosing her heart to the one person who may be the least deserving of it, the calculated heartless one who is only courting her...because it's his job.

     "Daisy realized that her heart had begun to thump just as it had when she had read the more lurid passages of The Plight of Penelope, in which a maiden was captured by an evil villain who locked her in a tower room until she agreed to surrender her virtue.
     Daisy had known the novel was silly even as she had read it, but that had not detracted one bit from her enjoyment. And she had been perversely disappointed when Penelope had been rescued from imminent ruin by the bland golden-haired hero Reginald, who was not nearly as interesting as the villain.
     Of course the prospect of being locked in a tower room without any books had not sounded at all appealing to Daisy. But the threatening monologues by the villain about Penelope's beauty, and his desire for her, and the debauchery he would force on her, had been quite intriguing.
     It was just plain bad luck that Matthew Swift would turn out to look just like the handsome villain of Daisy's imaginings."

I was first introduced to the magic that is Lisa Kleypas in the 4th Wallflowers book, Devil in Winter, in which she gives us probably one of the best villains/heroes ever written in a romance. Sebastian alone was enough to make me want to continue with the series but the light, witty and funny style of writing through which Miz Kleypas delivers her stories isn't a bad incentive either. Having finished this, the third book in the series, I am thoroughly in love with the gifted story telling, and The Wallflowers themselves. I assure you that there is no need to read the series in order and you'll fall in love no matter which one you start with.

I liked Daisy from the moment I met her in Devil in Winter. I loved how she was exploring the world outside of books, to see how it compares to the world within books. I can see more than a bit of myself in her. Who among us avid readers couldn't side with the bookworm? All of The Wallflowers are endearing because they aren't what was considered to be the norm in their time (women who read and get this- think) and in the end they are rewarded for being just who they are. Impossible to not fall in love with that idea.

I also like this time in history, that requires for everyone to be polite and polished, to approach everything, even the unpleasant with a smile and a well placed, deep cutting snub disguised as a pleasantry (Southerners typically like this trait in people). Where emotions are well thought out in advanced and strategically placed, making it all that much more rewarding when our heroes and heroines are faced with situations where the standard code of conduct just simply doesn't apply. Kleypas manages all of this beautifully, complete with a delightful twist that gives added depth to her already lovable characters.

Reading romance novels is a bit new to me. I've always thought of a romance novel as one of those tacky grocery store books with the shirtless dude and some open mouthed big boobied girl on the cover. Then for some reason I picked up Dreams of Stardust by Lynn Kurland, a time-travel romance novel that didn't contain any heaving bosoms or throbbing manhoods but was on the whole adorably funny and entertaining. Over the past few years I've read almost every single one of her books, though I still sort of did so secretly- because well, romance novels aren't real books right?

Wrong. They're better :) I think I've discovered that I like witty, strong female leads, and absurdly handsome, stubborn, slightly villainous heroes. I like for them all to be well dressed, well spoken, rich, and more than a little scandalous. I also like for there to be gratuitously over described sex scenes, written by someone who obviously appreciates the comedy of the situation and doesn't take the whole thing too seriously and for everyone to get everything they want or deserve in the end. I'm rather a simple reader that way.
"You see - comedy. Love, and a bit with a dog. That's what they want." -Shakespeare in Love

I can further blame this new found love, as mentioned previously, on my recent reading of Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean- a book I will keep beating you to death with mentioning until everyone reads it.

Waiting on Wednesday (8) Razorland by Ann Aguirre

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, in which we share the book that we are anxiously waiting to be released.

This tempting little book morsel doesn't come out until January! That's just evil! It sounds worth the wait though.

Razorland by Ann Aguirre
Published:January 4th 2011 by Feiwel & Friends
From Goodreads:
In Deuce’s world, individuals become adults—and earn the right to a name—only if they survive their first fifteen years. By this point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups: breeders, builders, or hunters. As the names imply, each group has definite roles to play for the survival of the group.

As a Huntress, Deuce’s purpose is clear—to roam the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading the ferocious humanoids known as Freaks. This has been the status quo for as far back as anyone can remember; this is, the elders tell everyone, the way it has to be. With the introduction of Fade, a male hunter a couple of years older than Deuce, who had been adopted into her enclave a few years earlier, she becomes aware of the hidden realities of the Orwellian society in which she was born. Deviation from the norm is punished quickly and harshly.

As Deuce’s perception of her world shifts, guided by her complex partnership with Fade, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival in the tunnels. The Freaks, considered dangerous only due to their sheer numbers and ferocious appetite, have long been held as incapable of any level of thought. And yet, as Fade and Deuce encounter them in the tunnels while in a reconnaissance mission to the nearest enclave, the creatures’ behavior is evidently cunning, and therefore more dangerous. It is evident that the danger is imminent, and yet Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she's ever known.

Teaser Tuesday (6)

"Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!"

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

    "And the quiet moves, too, and tho I can feel the pressure in my chest again and the terrible mournful things coming into my eyes, this time I don't stop, this time I run after my dog and I don't stop and I take in my breath and I swallow away the pressure and I wipe the water from my eyes and I grip the knife and I can hear Manchee barking and I can hear the silence and it's just around this tree just around this tree just around this tree and I'm yelling and I'm going round the tree and I'm running at the silence and my teeth are bared and I'm screaming and Manchee's barking and-
    And I stop."

In My Mailbox (17)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren in which we share the books we received for the week.

Very busy mailbox this week. I was on vacation in Florida and Beloved brought me to some great indie bookstores that you'll hear about in my next Booking It post!

And yes there are far too many books in this IMM, I have an addiction. BUT when the zombie apocalypse finally happens, I will be safely hidden behind my mounds and mounds of TBR books while those you who have the will power to refrain from constantly buying books will most likely GET EATEN.

How I Live now by Meg Rosoff
From Goodreads:
“Every war has turning points and every person too.”

Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins she’s never met: three boys near her age, and their little sister. Her aunt goes away on business soon after Daisy arrives. The next day bombs go off as London is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy.

As power fails, and systems fail, the farm becomes more isolated. Despite the war, it’s a kind of Eden, with no adults in charge and no rules, a place where Daisy’s uncanny bond with her cousins grows into something rare and extraordinary. But the war is everywhere, and Daisy and her cousins must lead each other into a world that is unknown in the scariest, most elemental way.

A riveting and astonishing story.

How I Live Now was recommended by Angie @ Angieville in a recent interview featured at Persnickety Snark

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
From Goodreads:
When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton's type is girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact.

On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun - but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl.

Love, friendship, and a dead Austro-Hungarian archduke add up to surprising and heart-changing conclusions in this ingeniously layered comic novel about reinventing oneself by Printz medalist John Green, acclaimed author of Looking for Alaska.

I picked up An Abundance of Katherines after reading Green's Looking for Alaska which is far more powerful than a silly story about falling in love at a boarding school should ever be. It's probably far more powerful than -any- story should be.

The Knife of Never Letting Go
From Goodreads:
A dystopian thriller follows a boy and girl on the run from a town where all thoughts can be heard — and the passage to manhood embodies a horrible secret.

Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him — something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn't she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd's gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is.

The Knife of Never Letting Go was recently featured on Adele's Top 100 Ya Novels. If you aren't following this feature, you must start. I plan on starting this book today.

Everlasting by Angie Frazier
From Goodreads:
Sailing aboard her father’s trade ship is all seventeen-year-old Camille Rowen has ever wanted. But as a girl of society in 1855 San Francisco, her future is set: marry a man she doesn’t love, or condemn herself and her father to poverty.

On her final voyage before the wedding, the stormy arms of the Tasman Sea claim her father, and a terrible family secret is revealed. A secret intertwined with a fabled map, the mother Camille has long believed dead, and an ancient stone that wields a dangerous—and alluring—magic.

The only person Camille can depend on is Oscar, a handsome young sailor whom she is undeniably drawn to. Torn between trusting her instincts and keeping her promises to her father, Camille embarks on a perilous quest into the Australian wilderness to find the enchanted stone. As she and Oscar elude murderous bushrangers and unravel Camille’s father’s lies, they come closer to making the ultimate decision of who—and what—matters most.

Beautifully written and feverishly paced, Everlasting is an unforgettable journey of passion, secrecy, and adventure.

Everlasting was mentioned by Sarah MacLean (who is evil about recommending books) in a tweet, no less, that lead to reading her review on Goodreads. There you have it.

The Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells
From Goodreads:
"Sometimes I still wake up shivering in the early hours of the morning, drowning in dreams of being out there in the ocean that summer, of looking up at the moon and feeling as invisible and free as a fish. But I'm jumping ahead, and to tell the story right I have to go back to the very beginning. To a place called Indigo Beach. To a boy with pale skin that glowed against the dark waves. To the start of something neither of us could have predicted, and which would mark us forever, making everything that came after and before seem like it belonged to another life.
My name is Mia Gordon: I was sixteen years old, and I remember everything...."

After getting dumped by her boyfriend, Mia is looking forward to spending a relaxing summer in the Hamptons with her glamorous cousins. But when she arrives she find her cousins distant, moody, and caught up with a fast crowd. Mia finds herself lonelier than ever, until she meets her next-door-neighbor, Simon Ross. And from the very first time he encourages her to go skinny dipping, she's caught in a current impossible to resist.

Timeless in feel, The Summer of Skinny-Dipping is a poignant, literary coming-of-age romance that will live on long after summer has ended.

I received an invitation to join a fan group for this book on Goodreads, which lead me to Sara at The Hiding Spot's review of it. Which just freakin' sells it. That was a while back actually. Walked into a bookstore at the BEACH last week and it was staring right at me. Fate.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
From Goodreads:
A spellbinding amalgam of murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue.

It's about the disappearance forty years ago of Harriet Vanger, a young scion of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden . . . and about her octogenarian uncle, determined to know the truth about what he believes was her murder.

It's about Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently at the wrong end of a libel case, hired to get to the bottom of Harriet's disappearance . . . and about Lisbeth Salander, a twenty-four-year-old pierced and tattooed genius hacker possessed of the hard-earned wisdom of someone twice her age--and a terrifying capacity for ruthlessness to go with it--who assists Blomkvist with the investigation. This unlikely team discovers a vein of nearly unfathomable iniquity running through the Vanger family, astonishing corruption in the highest echelons of Swedish industrialism--and an unexpected connection between themselves.

It's a contagiously exciting, stunningly intelligent novel about society at its most hidden, and about the intimate lives of a brilliantly realized cast of characters, all of them forced to face the darker aspects of their world and of their own lives.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was mentioned by Kristin Cashore, in a blog post and well...I didn't need another reason.

What did you get this week and why?

The Season by Sarah MacLean

Genre:: YA Historical Fiction
Pages: 352
Publisher: June 1st 2010 by Scholastic, Inc. (first published March 1st 2009)

Lady Alexandra Stafford, daughter to His Grace, the Duke of Worthington is preparing to embark on her first season in London Society. In a whirlwind of silk and petticoats, pretty smiles and false pleasantries, she will join the other husband seeking young ladies of the ton (elite London society) and vie for the affections of a suitably rich and titled husband. While other young ladies of her sect look upon the coming season with properly restrained excitement and calculate how best to subtly launch their attacks on the hearts of London's select bachelors, Alex wants nothing to do with it. She doesn't want to get all dolled up and parade herself in front of dull, elderly lords and their simpering, simpleton sons. She doesn't want to plaster on a fake smile and make empty-headed conversations with boring dowagers who all share the same set, severe, idea of what is acceptable in a young lady. She'd rather spend the time in meaningful conversation with her two best friends, Ella and Vivi, and discuss Pride and Prejudice. Faced with the prospect of a being married off to some man that fears a woman with any hint of intelligence, Alex swears off marriage altogether.
But as fate would have it, as soon as a girl swears off anything, something will come along to test it, and for Alex, the test comes in the form of the handsome and charming new Earl of Blackmoor. Known to her throughout childhood as simply Gavin, he has long since been considered a member of the family and has been like a brother to Alex. Having just inherited his title after the sudden and suspicious death of his father, Gavin returns from mourning a much different man than the boy Alex grew up with. As the ongoing London season throws them more and more in each other's company, Alex isn't so sure of her vows against marriage now and she isn't sure that she hasn't already lost her heart.

I was recently introduced to the brilliance that is Sarah MacLean after I read Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake. I've never been much for romance novels, though I'll admit I've dabbled here and there because sometimes nothing else but a guaranteed happy ending will do, but with MacLean's charming, funny heroines and heroes who are all at once so smolderingly sexy and so infuriatingly smug, I can't help but fall further and further into the genre. MacLean is fast becoming one of my favorite authors.

The Season is a YA version of a historical romance, tasteful and age appropriate without losing any of the romance and keeping the just the right amount of heat. We have two people who are very reluctant to fall in love, particularly with each other, a formula that always makes for an intriguing courtship. Gavin is struggling with the guilt he feels for finding Alex so appealing because he feels it is a betrayal of the Duke's and the Stafford family's kindnesses to him throughout the years. Alex is struggling because suddenly she sees Gavin in a different light, one she has chosen against and because, well, she's just a contrary little thing, so trying to not fall in love with Gavin is just her nature.

There is a mystery surrounding the untimely death of Gavin's father, the Earl of Blackmoor that was an interesting addition, though it wasn't a necessary inclusion for me since I was just after the love story. It did provide an adventure for Alex and her friends that further introduced their characters, two very delightful ladies that I can only HOPE AND PRAY will show up in future novels *hint hint*. I'm curious about Vivi whose father has encouraged her to marry for love before anything else and I want to know more about her.

This is an adorable little novel, and the clothes are to die for. I want all of the dresses Alex wore. Want.

For those of us slightly older ladies that like their romance with a bit more, ahem, color (sex), you simply MUST read MacLean's Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake.

Visit Miz MacLean at MacLeanSpace to read all about her books- she has a new book coming out in October that I will drop everything for. Also in her current post you'll see a picture of Nine Rules... sitting next to Lauren Willig's Pink Carnation series which was one I kept thinking about while reading The Season! The Secret History of the Pink Carnation would be a great place to start if you liked the mystery and the network of spies alluded to in The Season.

In My Mailbox (16)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren in which we share the books we received for the week.

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl
From Goodreads:
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps, and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly
From Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old, music- and sound design-obsessed Drea doesn’t have friends. She has, as she’s often reminded, issues. Drea’s mom and a rotating band of psychiatrists have settled on a touch of Asperger’s.”

Having just moved to the latest in a string of new towns, Drea meets two other outsiders. And Naomi and Justin seem to actually like Drea. The three of them form a band after an impromptu, Portishead-comparison-worthy jam after school. Justin swiftly challenges not only Drea’s preference for Poe over Black Lab but also her perceived inability to connect with another person. Justin, against all odds, may even like like Drea.

It’s obvious that Drea can’t hide behind her sound equipment anymore. But just when she’s found not one but two true friends, can she stand to lose one of them?
In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
From Goodreads:
Bod is an unusual boy who inhabits an unusual place-he's the only living resident of a graveyard. Raised from infancy by the ghosts, werewolves, and other cemetery denizens, Bod has learned the antiquated customs of his guardians' time as well as their timely ghostly teachings-like the ability to Fade.

Can a boy raised by ghosts face the wonders and terrors of the worlds of both the living and the dead? And then there are things like ghouls that aren't really one thing or the other.

This chilling tale is Neil Gaiman's first full-length novel for middle-grade readers since the internationally bestselling and universally acclaimed Coraline. Like Coraline, this book is sure to enchant and surprise young readers as well as Neil Gaiman's legion of adult fans.

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
From Goodreads:
Fat Charlie Nancy's normal life ended the moment his father dropped dead on a Florida karaoke stage. Charlie didn't know his dad was a god. And he never knew he had a brother.

Now brother Spider's on his doorstep -- about to make Fat Charlie's life more interesting... and a lot more dangerous.

Dracula in Love by Karen Essex

Genre:: Fiction
Pages: 400
Publisher: August 10th 2010 by Doubleday

"Blood is the true love potion. Remember?" He twisted my long black hair around his hand, sweeping it from the curve of my neck, where he buried his face. His lips worked their way up to my ear. "There is no going back, Mina, not this time. I am answering your call. And you have answered mine."
"No," I said. "No going back."
I knew what he was going to do because he had done it before. My body remembered the sensation of it, and my every nerve heightened with expectation. I knew the danger and the pleasure, but there was no turning back now.*

You know the story of Dracula. The vicious blood-thirsty Count that lured good decent people to near ruin with his deceitfulness and mysterious abilities. He's painted as a villain, a great source of evil, something to fear. You might remember, Mina, the wife of the unfortunate Jonathan Harker, who became twisted up in Dracula's malevolent games, along with her hapless husband. Dracula, as revenge for Jonathan and Van Helsing and Co.'s plot against him, fed from Mina and in turn gave her his blood, intending to turn her into a vampire.

How terribly boring, and unromantic.

If blood could form such a bond between two beings that they remain fixedly connected across time and space, surely there must be more to the story. We've seen poor Mina as pure and perfect, as a victim, but have you ever stopped to imagine the tale and wonder she would have to impart, having experienced such a bond with someone? Wouldn't you wonder if she had really wanted it to be broken?

Dracula in Love is Mina's story.

Mina has begun sleep walking again. The mysterious, beguiling voice that haunted her youth has once again entered her dreams, and it calls to her, compelling her to answer it, to search for it. It awakens something in her, something ancient, and vivid and sensual, something that defies the sedate teachings and morality of her chaste life as a school mistress. She has pledged her love to Jonathan, who is essentially good, and genuinely loves her. He will be a dutiful husband, and she a proper wife and together, they will enjoy an uncomplicated life that will make them adequately happy.

But at night it is not visions of her fiance that invade her sleep, it is a much older, timeless, deeper vision that beckons her and not only is she powerless to deny it, she doesn't want to. It has called to her for hundreds of years and once a life time, she answers.

What I really want to do is just gush and slobber all over the place in response to this book. It's really difficult to come up with anything intelligent to say about it because I'm still dribbling over it like an idiot. I LOVED THIS BOOK. It is sinful, and decadent and violently romantic- there were whole passages that I just want to dip in chocolate and eat. I imagine its calorie count to be very high. It's one of those absurdly romantic novels that are the bane of all men and as a woman I had to resist the urge to glare at my beloved and demand to know how come he can't be more like Dracula. We don't want just love, we want eternal love, lust and devotion and it helps if you're ridiculously rich and good looking. Like Dracula.

I'm also suddenly a bit crazy fan girl over Essex's writing, which makes this book almost more artistic than it does literary. Every page is a picture and yet there are no illustrations. The author used all the classic elements in Stoker's original with a few minor- ok, many, many luxurious upgrades. Where Stoker was trying to shock and depict the horror and terror that Dracula incited, Essex approached horror from a different angle and grappled instead with the horror of losing one's heart. The intensity of the story is still there, just with a much needed woman's touch, making it almost unbearably romantic and as an added bonus, tastefully erotic.

I was fortunate enough to read the bulk of this in one sitting, on a dark, stormy day. Sometimes life just gets it.

*Quote taken from an ARC and may differ in the finished copy. Thank you to the publisher for making my day and sending it.


Genre:: Young Adult/Fantasy
Pages: 480
Publisher:September 21st 2010 by Hyperion Book CH

From Goodreads: A haunting love story about desire, danger, and destiny.
After Renee Winters discovers her parents lying dead in California’s Redwood Forest in what appears to be a strange double murder, her grandfather sends her off to Gottfried Academy in Maine, a remote and mysterious high school dedicated to philosophy, “crude sciences,” and Latin: the Language of the Dead. It’s here she meets Dante, a dark and elusive student to whom she feels inexplicably drawn. As they get to know each other better, Dante can’t seem to control his attraction either, and their desires gradually deepen into a complex and dangerous romance. Dangerous because Dante is hiding a frightening secret. A secret so terrible, it has him fearing for Renee’s life.

Dante’s not the only one with secrets, though. Turns out Gottfried Academy has a few of its own… Like, how come students keep disappearing? Why are the prefect-like Monitors creeping around campus during the night? And what exactly are the Headmistress and Professors really up to? Renee is determined to find out why.

You've read this book before. This time it just has a much better cover and a few minor plot changes.

Take everything you know about Edward and file it under Dante. Dante is:
Very strong
Dangerously Beautiful

Dante admits to being "afraid" of girl and "scared to hurt" girl. And Dante can't kiss her for fear of what might happen.

Now. Take everything you know about Bella and file it under Renee. Renee is:
Prone to getting herself into bad situations

Renee "isn't afraid" of boy and "she knows what" boy is.

Now take everything you know about Twilight, except the much down-played vampire undertones and move it to the east coast and call Forks, Attica Falls and call the high school, Gottried Academy. Don't forget to have these two crazy kids become lab partners, have Dante throw a tree and have Renee walk around with her mouth open, breathing heavily. OK stop there. Go reread Twilight with these new substitutions, add to it the untimely death of some parents and all the professors from Harry Potter. Once you've done that, you're caught up to about the last 30 pages of Dead Beautiful. Woon doesn't really catch her stride until about one hundred pages in so it's OK to skip the first 400 pages of this brick of a book and just come in at the end where, surprisingly, it gets really, really good.

Argh. I just don't get it. Can't we move on already? Star-crossed love is not a new concept but so many authors are pissing on The Bard's grave with all this relentlessly monotonous drivel. I kept waiting for the writing to catch up with the weight of the story line but she wrote in the same, plodding tone no matter what was happening in the book. Woon gives Renee some hefty emotional crises and forgets to write an actual reaction for her. Here we have this poor girl who finds her parents dead, gets sent off to boarding school, has no one, and it's all written in the same tenor one might use to write grout cleaning instructions. Absolutely. No. Emotion.

You'll love it if you love the generic post-Twilight YA. You'll like it if you like standard run of the mill paranormal romance without any sex. I'll say this though. Whether you love it or hate it, you'll be astounded and pleasantly surprised by the ending which is quite remarkable. I was shocked. It also tells me that even with 400 pages of gibberish, Woon is quite capable of spinning a tale and writing an original twist. Very creative. While I don't feel she's breaking any new ground with this novel, she has undoubtedly wiggled her way into a prime spot in an already flooded genre. It was worth reading it just to have that lovely ending.

Contrary to what you might now believe, I didn't hate this book. I liked it enough to see it through to the end as well, I've read this story before and I liked it then too. Unfortunately, the ending set the stage for a sequel, which is disappointing. Left as is, your imagination can take what might have come next and run with it to far better places than the next book is likely to take you. Not every story needs to be a series.

I'll do a giveaway soon and pass on my ARC. This book did nothing for me but it may mean the world to someone else and it deserves that chance.

Waiting on Wednesday (7)

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, in which we share the book that we are anxiously waiting to be released.

This sounds lovely and the cover is dreamy. We should stick to wanting books that are out, at least that way we could go get them. This is just torture.

Entwined by Heather Dixon
Published:March 29th 2011 by Greenwillow Books
From Goodreads:

Azalea and her younger sisters dance in the mysterious silver forest every night, escaping from the sadness of the palace and their father’s grief. What they don’t understand—although as time passes they begin to get an inkling of the danger they are in—is that the mysterious and dashing Keeper is tightening his snare with deadly purpose. Luckily, Azalea is brave and steadfast. Luckily, a handsome young army captain also has his eye on Azalea. . . . Lush, romantic, and compelling, this debut novel by Heather Dixon will thrill fans of Shannon Hale, Robin McKinley, and Edith Pattou.

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Genre:: Young Adult/Fantasy
Pages: 352
Publisher:September 21st 2010 by Razorbill

Somethings should exist, or rather, we want them to. There are things that we believe in simply because we cling to the childish fantasies that so delighted us in our youth that even our grown-up selves still long for their existence. Fairies, elves, sleeping princesses and far away magical kingdoms- we dream of them with our eyes open and shut and wish for them so intensely that in a way they can almost be real.

But there are some things...that should not be. Things no one wants to believe in or even give thought to for fear that thinking them will make them so. In the town of Gentry, children and adults alike fall asleep at night, staring out into the darkness, trying very hard to not give thought to the unthinkable. Instead, they arm themselves with charms and amulets and superstitions and chose to believe in the protection these things might provide rather than believe in what they protect against.

Malcolm Doyle has grown up in the midst of all the town fails to acknowledge. He knows all too well that in the town of Gentry, children disappear, children die and sometimes, children who are not children manage to live. Malcolm knows this because Malcolm is one of those things that should not be.
"Gentry was two different things, and at night, I could always see that second thing better. The town was its green suburban lawns, sure, but it was also its secrets. The kind of place where people double-checked the locks at night or pulled their kids closer in the grocery store. They hung horseshoes over their front doors and put up bells instead of wind chimes. They wore crosses made from stainless steel instead of gold because gold couldn't protect them from people like me."*

If you are the type that likes to curl up under the covers with a flashlight or read by the soft, faint glow of a book light, then I suggest you read something else. If you are brave enough to carelessly let your feet dangle off the side of the bed when you sleep, you might want to reconsider your sleeping arrangements when you read this book. You'll find no pretty words and places in this book. No castles made out of clouds will be conjured up by your imagination during the telling of this story. What you'll find is fear, and death and rot.

And you will love this story. It's so very, very different from the YA fiction written lately. It's dark, dark fantasy, and yet so prettily done that it's artistic instead of gorey. Yovanoff writes with a jagged pen, with a dark medium that might just not be ink. She paints images with angry brush strokes, smeared over the pages, leaving you to pull your own pictures out of the mayhem. It's dark, and at times grotesque but it is full of marvelous adventure from start to end.

Mackie Doyle's character warrants a certain amount of pity. His story is not a happy one. But can you really feel sorry for him, knowing what he is- better yet, what he isn't? He's so unnatural that at first he's hard to bond with but we are given such an indepth look into his character that you can't help but love him, and even love him for what he is. He's an unlikely hero, the best kind, and he fights for all the right reasons. We are also given the little gem that is Tate, a girl struggling with grief over the loss of her sister, hell bent on getting Mackie to confess to what she knows he knows. She operates with a short fuse, one that is constantly lit and she doesn't just threaten to blow up- she does. Repeatedly. She's marvelous! I love the relationships Mackie forms with his friends, who approach him with the same mentality as they do the horrible happenings in the town. They know what he is, but as long as no one says it, they can go on believing that they don't.
"She closed her eyes and moved her lips before she spoke, like she was practicing the words. "It wasn't my sister in that box, it was something else. I know my sister, and whatever died in that crib, it wasn't her."

I love the mythological tie in present, with the Morrigan and the Lady (who I can only guess at who she is but it is abundantly clear that she's nothing good) and their gruesome idea of what constitutes love and tribute. It's so very disturbing and primitive and raw. It's wonderful. I devoured this story. It's one of those you fall into and you forget that you are actually reading a book until you turn the last page and it's over.

If this is the stuff Miz Yovanoff is made of than I can't wait to see where she takes us next. We'll probably be too scared to go, but we'll get up and check- just as if we heard a noise upstairs and we know no one else is home.

Read this so we can talk about it. And let me know if anyone else kept thinking of the scary bits in the 1989 movie, Little Monsters. You're probably too young to remember that. *sigh*

Visit Brenna at brennayovanoff@livejournal. She can also be found on goodreads.

*Quotes were taken from the ARC of The Replacement, and may differ in the finished copy.

Booking It: Jackson, MS Lemuria Books

So Beloved and I had a few week days off together (NEVER HAPPENS) and wanted to get the heck out of town. I've been wanting to go to Lemuria Books in Jackson, MS for a long time. So when he mumbled something about "....stupid bookstore...HEY! There's a Bass Pro Shop!" we set out for Jackson which is about two hours from home.

I ran across Lemuria Books on Indie Bound, a site I check before every road trip in hopes that wherever we're going will have a kick ass independent bookstore. While I love to browse the racks at B&N (love) and BAM (less so) there is NOTHING quite like those random little, eclectic, tiny bookstores to increase my heart rate. Lemuria had a few things going in its favor: 1) It's relatively close 2) Claudia Gray will be there this fall and 3) Rachel Hawkins was JUST there in March.

RACHEL HAWKINS WAS THERE. And I didn't know of her existence because I hadn't read Hex Hall but I have now, I love it and I'm so sorry I didn't discover her in time to meet her!

So we went anyway. The store is in this well kept shopping complex called Banner Hall, right off the interstate and easy to get to and it is drop. dead. gorgeous. Like "OMG a place like this exists" gorgeous. Floor to ceiling wooden bookshelves and tiny little rooms and rooms of books. It was clean and relatively organized (don't want my indie bookstores too neat) and light and airy and dreamy...and and...other adjectives that end in -y. I skipped on over to the YA section (it was in kids, which is a no-no, but I forgive because the room was MAGIC), filled with beautiful covers and displays, piled up to the ceiling so that you have to use a ladder to get to them. The selection was amazing. I think they actually had one of everything. Staff was VERY helpful and friendly and my purchase came with a bookmark. Every purchase everywhere- even if you're buying cereal at Walmart, should come with a bookmark.

I loved it. Loved it enough that I'm glad I don't live closer because I already spend a large chunk of my salary on books and Lemuria's atmosphere makes you want to move in.

What did I buy??? know what I bought:

Now I have my own copy :)

I would have loved to have taken a picture of their YA section but I didn't know if they'd mind. Maybe next time Lemuria?

Oh yeah, and then we went to the Museum of Natural Science and I did indeed see the two headed snake. It's OK to be jealous of this.

Visit Lemuria Books website: Lemuria Books and stop by if you're ever in the area.

In My Mailbox (15)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren in which we share the books we received for the week.

The King's Mistress by Emma Campion
From Goodreads:
When had I choice to be other than I was? From childhood Alice Salisbury has learnt obedience in all things and at fourteen, dutifully marries the man her father has chosen for her - at the cost of losing the love of her mother forever and the family she holds dear. But merchant Janyn Perrers is a good and loving husband and Alice soon learns to enjoy her marriage. Until a messenger brings news of his disappearance and she discovers that her husband had many secrets, secrets he didn't want her to know - but which have now put a price on her own head and that of her beloved daughter.Brought under the protection of King Edward III and Queen Philippa, she must dutifully embrace her fate once more - as a virtual prisoner at Court. And when the king singles her out for more than just royal patronage, she knows she has little choice but to accept his advances. But obeying the king brings with it many burdens as well as pleasures, as she forfeits her good name to keep her daughter free from hurt. Still a young woman and guided by her intellect and good business sense, she learns to use her gifts as wisely as she can. But as one of the king's favourites, she brings jealousy and hatred in her wake and some will stop at nothing to see her fall from grace.

Dracula in Love by Karen Essex
From Goodreads:
Karen Essex turns on the heat in this transporting and darkly haunting new tale of love and possession that puts forth the question: What if everything you knew about Dracula . . . was wrong?

From the shadowy banks of the River Thames to the wild and windswept coast of Yorkshire, the quintessential Victorian virgin Mina Murray vividly recounts in the pages of her private diary the intimate details of what transpired between her and Count Dracula—the joys and terrors of a pas­sionate affair and her rebellion against a force of evil that has pursued her through time.

Mina’s version of this timeless gothic vampire tale is a visceral journey into the dimly lit bedrooms, mist-filled cemeteries, and locked asylum chambers where she led a secret life, far from the chaste and polite lifestyle the defenders of her purity, and even her fiancĂ©, Jonathan Harker, expected of her.

Bram Stoker’s classic novel was only one side of the story. Now, for the first time, Dracula’s eternal muse reveals all. What she has to say is more sensual, more devious, and more enthralling than ever imagined. The result is a scintillating gothic novel that reinvents the tragic heroine Mina as a modern woman tor­tured by desire.

Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas

Genre:: Romance
Pages: 368
Publisher:March 1st 2006 by Avon

"My father, the duke, has failed in his one responsibility in life: to keep the family fortune intact so that he can pass it on to me. My responsibility, on the other hand, is to pass my time in profligate idleness and wait for him to die. I've been doing my job splendidly. The duke, however has not. He's made a botch of managing the family finances, and at the present he is unforgivably poor, and even worse, healthy."

Sebastian, Viscount St. Vincent, is the most infuriating, insufferable, philandering, debauched reprobate a girl could ever hope to entertain. He's devilishly handsome, his reputation deplorable, his affections easily and frequently given and he excels in doling out heartbreak. He's also, poor, lazy and desperate, making him the ideal man for Evangeline Jenner.

Evie is the opposite of Sebastian in almost every way. She's a quiet, plain little wallflower with a less than prestigious lineage and a nervous stutter that sends any would be conversationalist running for someone far less frustrating to talk to. She's also about to inherit a rather sizable fortune. She shares one similarity with Sebastian though- she's desperate. Evie needs a husband and quickly before her horrid aunts and uncles marry her off to her odious cousin so that her father's fortune will fall under their control. St. Vincent's champagne tastes have landed him deeply in debt and he needs money now. When Evie sneaks into the house of the notorious rake and stutters a proposal of marriage to him, he simply can't turn her down. He'll get her money and she'll get the safety and protection that the viscount's name can provide- and Evie will need it. Her family has banked on getting their hands on that money and now that it might be out of their reach, they can't wait to get their hands on Evie.


The Viscount St. Vincent? Oh man. He's hot. He's horrible. He's rude. He's selfish. He's an insensitive ass- no wait. He's not! He's wonderful and caring and warm and charming and sooooo sexy- wait, not. He's a shit again. He's a wonderful villain and hero. You never know where you stand with him as he is all at once everything you despise and everything you love in a leading man.
"My lady,

This tray will be returned for my inspection within the hour. If everything on it is not eaten, I will personally force-feed it to you.

Bon appetit,

So he only marries Evie for her money. It's what she wanted. She didn't expect a love match. She only hoped that the marriage would give her the chance to care for her ailing father, in his last days, safe from the uncles who raised her and ruled her with an iron fist. She was desperate and scared and she did what she had to do. We shouldn't feel sorry for her. She knew what she was marrying. Yes, she knew, and when our smart, sassy girl only agreed to one night with Sebastian, the one necessary to consummate their marriage she told him it would be the first and last time. She didn't want his love, only the protection of his name and once she had it and he had her money he could do what he pleased with whoever he pleased so long as it wasn't her. A woman that wasn't pining after him, hanging on his every word, begging for his affections? Sebastian just doesn't know how to handle that and for the first time in his life, he's faced with a harsh reality. There's something, someone, he really wants and now he'll have to work for it!

I adored this book. It was charming and funny. Kleypas gives us two characters who couldn't be less alike and puts them through so many trials and tribulations of the heart that they do something quite unexpected and completely flip roles. Sebastian is a marvelous character and our Evie is such a doll- the manipulative, stubborn, impish kind. The evolution of their relationship is delightfully entertaining, and well, did I mention that I just LOVE Sebastian?
"He's not going to die, you know. It's only nice, saintly people who suffer untimely deaths." She gave a quiet laugh. "whereas selfish bastards like St. Vincent live to torment other people for decades."

This is the 3rd book in The Wallflowers series by Lisa Kleypas and I have been assured and can assure that it is not necessary to read them in any order. I have however, picked up the other three books and I fully intend on devouring them.

Visit Miz Kleypas @ She's written lots of things that you and I both will want to read.

I read this book because Sarah MacLean blogged about it and she said it was wonderful.

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Laura @ A Jane of All Reads
I read excessively and hoard books like a greedy dragon. Theoretically, I also plan to use them to barricade myself against the forthcoming zombie apocalypse.

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