Archive for the ‘ARC’ Category
For the past six months, something has been happening to young people in Santa Feliz. Week after week, there’s news of another teen changing shape, transforming from human to wild animal and back again. The federal government has stepped in, running public service announcements calling for affected youth to turn themselves in for “orientation and training.” Josh Saunders has seen the news reports, but he is still unprepared when it happens to him. one minute he’s arguing with his mother’s boyfriend and the next, he is looming over the man, blood dripping from his claws—he has transformed into a mountain lion. When he switches back to his human body, he knows his life has changed forever. He has become a Wildling.Trusting only his best friends Des and Marina with his secret, Josh tries to return to regular living. But an encounter with Elzie, another Wildling, brings him unwanted attention from the authorities. And when an accidental betrayal reveals Josh’s secret, his carefully constructed cover is ripped apart, forcing his friends to intervene. They must grudgingly put their trust in others, including other Wildlings—and, most challenging, in each other— if they ever hope to save him. (from Amazon.ca)
I had fun reading this book. It wasn’t too bad, and it was interesting enough to keep me going until the finish. What I enjoyed was the switching of narration between Marina and Josh. I can’t seem to choose which one I like better. Both of them were interesting and fun to read. Both of them seemed to have developed throughout the novel. Josh goes through a lot more and it seems there’s lots to be expected from him. Then there’s Desmond, who’s the comic relief of the novel, but I also enjoyed reading about him as well. He seems to be the ‘outsider’ of the group but I’m hoping that’s not the case (if you know what I mean)
When Elzie came into the picture, at first I didn’t seem to like her. She’s very abrasive and hard to like – but that’s just the way her personality is. As you progress further into the book, you start to like her and her strong independent personality is suddenly likable.
The plot of this book was pretty good, a nice mixture of school life, action, comedy, and even a bit of romance in some parts. It’s all interesting. There’s a bit of background information on the Wildlings, but you’re still left with questions unanswered and how Josh fits into the big picture. The big climax towards the end was pretty good, although I found the ending a little lackluster and not packing a punch like I expected it to. There’s no cliffhanger ending (perhaps that’s a good thing for some?) and perhaps because I’m so used to it, it caught me off guard.
I’ll be picking up the second one when it’s out, I’m curious as to how Josh is going to fit into the big plans. Come to think of it, there’s quite a bit to look forward to in the next book! I most definitely recommend this for YA readers.
I give it a 7/10
Thanks to Penguin for giving me a review copy!!!
London, 1838. Sixteen-year-old Liza’s dreams of her society debut are dashed when her parents are killed in an accident. Penniless, she accepts the position of lady’s maid to young Princess Victoria and steps unwittingly into the gossipy intrigue of the servant’s world below-stairs as well as the trickery above. Is it possible that her changing circumstances may offer Liza the chance to determine her own fate, find true love, and secure the throne for her future queen? (From Goodreads)
I absolutely loved this book! I loved the writing, I loved Liza, and all the other characters in this book were just wonderful to read. The plot was really good and the pacing was well done. For those that love intrigue into their historical fiction, you will also find that here. Sir John is certainly the type of villain to make your skin crawl and his plotting with the Duchess gives the plot a good amount of intrigue to enjoy.
Victoria was made to be seen as a spoiled brat, but at the same time she acts this way because she’s lonely and has no one of her age to be with, so her friendship with Liza is somewhat of a Princess/maid relationship, but at times they also put aside their class differences and act like real true friends would.
What I really liked best about this book is that the plot never did slow down, it was a constant steady flow and there was never any stalls or anything done to extend the plot. It got really interesting in the end and made the perfect climax to any story. The author’s note in the end was good and provided good information for further reading.
There was only one criticism, and that was Albert. I didn’t think he was such a surly guy, then again they were younger at the time and he probably did change as he grew older. I was hoping for more of a love story between Victoria and Albert, but it was not to be, they weren’t such a big focus at this time. No matter though, this was just a small setback but nothing that would change my opinion about this book.
I recommend this book for all those in love with the Victorian age! it was a wonderful book to read. Those who like YA books would also love this book as well.
I give it a 9.5 out of 10.
When little Alice follows the Black Rat down into the open grave, she falls and falls, and soon finds herself in an undead nightmare. Following the Rat, she ventures further into this land of monsters, encountering characters both creepy and madcap along the way. But there’s something else troubling poor Alice: her skin is rotting and her hair is falling out. Can Alice escape Zombieland before the Dead Red Queen catches up to her? Have a seat at the table for the wildest tea party of your life and explore the unforgettable adventure that is Alice in Zombieland. (From Amazon.ca)
The book certainly had its’ fun moments! Zombieland was well written and well thought out. It certainly put a funny twist on Wonderland (even though Wonderland is quirky to begin with anyway). It’s definitely not for the squeamish, as body parts are flying everywhere and Alice gets a craving for a bite of flesh once very so often. The characters are all there, they’re just zombified. The only difference I have seen is instead of a White Rabbit, you have a Black Rat instead. (If I am wrong, forgive me, it’s been a while since I’ve read the original Alice in Wonderland).
The zombie element does not really get in the way of the plot, so nothing much has really changed. My favorite moment was the croquet game between the Queen and Alice – it’s more of a croquet game with body parts which was laughable and was fun to read through.
Even though it was a fun idea, I felt like there just could have been more to this story. There just wasn’t enough to it that I could fully enjoy the book. To me, it felt as if they just copied and pasted the zombie bits of the story and added it to Alice in Wonderland, and just changed the title appropriately. It just felt like a very haphazard read.
Perhaps what I wanted to see was, a twist to the plot to enhance the zombie aspect of the novel. Not just zombies added. It did feel like all you got was a simple add on to the story (something similar to an expansion pack for a game). More could be done with the combination but sad to say, there really wasn’t anything to it.
It was a clever idea, and it had potential, but a lot more could have been done with this book. Instead, what you got was a few cut and paste moments of zombie goodness. Some parts were good and fun to read, but it just seemed to be lacking in something big to make this book exceptionally good and read worthy.
I give it a 4 out of 10.
Reading has gone to a slow halt. (Damn you hockey. Damn you.) Then my social life decides to take over. I don’t like it when that happens. Not that I mind being out with friends. However when there’s books needing to be read and distractions are happening right left and center, it starts to get annoying. Then I start developing dangerous tics and then I evolve into this big red eyed man-eating dragon (I say man-eating because it’s usually the hombre that starts all these distractions!).
Anyway! Saturday I went to a library book sale! and I did manage to buy myself a large paper bag filled with books. It’s not a bad result, only that I wish I could go today (however social life is in the way and I must attend to that first.) So, while I was examining the shelves for anything that might have caught my eye I suddenly zoom in on a book which I’ve been curious to read for a while. Yet when I picked it up, it says in big bold letters: “ADVANCED READERS COPY”. Hrm.
Here’s what got me “hrmming”.
It’s taboo to sell ARC’s. I know it. Most of you should know and shame on you if you don’t *smacks hands with a wooden pointer* *that hurt didn’t it? good*. So now I’m wondering..does this taboo rule apply to libraries?
The book clearly reads: ‘Not for sale’ however, the proceeds do go to a good cause (the improvement of libraries). Should we as good book bloggers even donate these ARC’s to the library when they’re selling them once we turn around to read the next ARC?
Think about it. Let me know.
Thank you Sourcebooks for providing me a review copy of this book. Much appreciated and sincere thanks!
This book was very descriptive. VERY descriptive. Yet it added a lot of ‘flavor’ and really set the setting for the book. It made picturing the scenes and settings much more clearer and it almost felt like watching a movie. I especially like the dinner scenes (particularly when Henry was hosting a party) they were very well written and it also gave you a look on how parties were handled during that particular time period in England.
The three main characters, Henry, William and Alice James were also well done. I liked how each of them although siblings, they had issues and problems of their own and never talked about it amongst themselves. Yet it was also fun to see the sibling rivalry especially between Henry and William. (With Alice usually being the one to stop the bickering) It made the characters more real and three dimensional – not to mention more enjoyable to read. What I thought was really interesting was the addition of other famous literary and artistic characters into the plot. They have small roles (I particularly liked Oscar Wilde and Samuel Clemens aka Mark Twain in the book) but it suits the setting as Henry belonged to these particular social circles and it’s only logical that they would be featured in the novel. There were some characters that I had to look up online to see if they existed or not – particularly the artists as I have no knowledge of who’s who. It did turn out to be quite a learning experience for me.
The plot was well done and well written. I found it a bit dry in some areas and wished it went just a little bit faster – I admit it was a little slow towards the end of the novel. The beginning however was certainly interesting and caught my attention. I thought the ending was interesting and although vague, it got me wondering if the mystery was really solved (or not). There is plenty of mystery in the book and the suspects add more to the intrigue. I myself had guesses as to who Jack the Ripper was, but with the ending, now I’m not so sure. I liked how the epilogue rounded out the book. I found it creepy and chilling at the same time. It still left me with a lot of questions, but the feeling of uneasiness was left behind. (Which I liked, it certainly added more intrigue to the story).
Overall, an interesting mystery featuring Jack the Ripper. Yet the book still leaves you wondering; “Did he/she do it?” Although I recommend this to history lovers and those who are interested in the Jack the Ripper murders, I’d have to wonder if perhaps those who know their artists as well as writers of this particular time period would definitely enjoy this book more than I did?
I give it a 6 out of 10.
Thea is a Jewish slave, who is under the thumb of Lepida Pollia – who’s an ambitious cruel socialite. Arius is a gladiator, known as Arius the Barbarian. He catches the eye of both Thea and Lepida but ultimately falls for Thea. After finding out their romance, Lepida does what she can to separate them, leading to their separation. Thea bounces back on her feet after several hardships and becomes a well known singer for Roman aristocrats. She attracts the eye of Emperor Domitian and becomes his mistress. Lepida isn’t far behind in her plotting, filled with jealousy and hate towards Thea, but all Thea wants is her life with Arius back, and to be away from the Domitian and his games.
It’s been a while since I’ve read a very good historical fiction This is one of the best I’ve read so far. There is lots of fighting action (gladiator fights), romance, and lots of drama. Just the way I like it in historical fiction. However, what I love about this book is, that it moved me in many ways. The emotions in this book was like a roller coaster. You were happy one minute, the next you were sad, and then you were boiling in rage (usually because Lepida is such a …witch..to say the least). The plot was well done and well written. It’s been broken into several point of views of different characters so you get to see the story in different angles which is certainly nice to see and adds more to the book.
The characters in this novel were excellent. The chemistry between potential pairings were really well done and well written. Of all the characters, I liked Thea and Vix. Marcus also held a soft spot for me too. I was glad Thea wasn’t written out as a damsel in distress type of heroine. I noticed as the story progressed, she became stronger and I admired her even more for standing up to Domitian and to not to give in to what he wants. What I also enjoyed reading was, every female in this book had their strengths (and of course weaknesses) but their strengths were much more prominent and focused in the book.
Vix made me laugh, because although he was a brat, he had the best insults and comebacks I have ever read. I liked how he wasn’t afraid of Lepida, even though she had the means to get back at him and potentially kill him.
I hated Lepida. Oh wow did I ever hate her. I’ve hated some characters in the past but Lepida wins all the medals for being villain of the year. She’s scheming, cruel, nasty, evil, vile, all the names you can think of that are negative. In fact, Calpurnia sums it up by saying that she’s “the most criminal wife in Rome”. Calpurnia actually calls her several colorful names which I enjoyed reading and laughing at. (Lepida gets what’s due to her in time so reading the book and seeing her fall is quite a treat).
The only criticism I find in this book is it shifts from first person to third person quickly and I’m not sure why it’s been done this way. It’s a little strange but it’s not enough to distract the reader from reading and enjoying the story. Some readers might find that a little irksome – however it didn’t bother me.
So far, I think this is one of the best historical fiction novels I have read in 2010. It’ll be hard to top this one off. Fans of Ancient Rome will love this novel and will become attached to this story as I am. I think this book is definitely a keeper. From the historical note at the end, there maybe another story coming featuring some characters from Mistress of Rome. I can hardly wait to see the next one if it does come out!
I give it a 10 out of 10.
If you have read my previous reviews before, you probably have figured out that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was one of my favorites. Now, thanks to Quirk books and Raincoast books, they have provided me with an ARC of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls – which is a prequel of the original P & P & Z. Needless to say, I was so very excited when I got the copy of this book. If you would like more information regarding this wonderful prequel please go to their main book page.
I won’t summarize the plot, as the main book page does it for me. However, I can tell you, that I LOVED this book as much as P & P & Z. It had the wonderful moments of humor and wit that I experienced before and enjoyed. You will see the original characters except for a few (no Darcy or Bingley here, sorry. This does take place before they met Lizzy and Jane). You read more about Mr Bennet who seems to take a more active role in the story (he helps trains his daughters to become warrior women). However the book also introduces new memorable ones which will prove unforgettable and absolutely hilarious to read. What I thought was interesting was the nice reference made with the mysterious “soldier” the left and broke Mrs Bennet’s heart when she was a girl. If you’re well versed in P & P then you’d know what I’m taking about. It’s these little references to the main novel that make the prequel do justice to P & P & Z. Readers also be advised, this book is meant to be a parody, and a funny one at that. If you treat it with a sense of humor, enjoyment is increased tenfold.
Of the new characters, I enjoyed Dr Keckilpenny (really, with a name like that, what’s not to enjoy?) the most. First, because no one seems to get his name right (except for Lizzy), and second because he just seemed to be so friendly and so likable. Lord Lumpley played your average greaseball with a secret – I especially enjoyed how he tried his advances on Jane, but to no avail. Then you get one of the most interesting characters I have ever seen, and that is Captain Cannon who uses four of his soldiers as arms and limbs (you have just to read it to get a good laugh). The moment I started reading about his arms and limbs made me laugh, but it made the book much more enjoyable with these kinds of new, strange yet quirky characters.
The book was very well written, the plot flowed well and did not stop. The humor was in the right places at the right times so reading this book was enjoyable and fun. There is gore. Lots of it. I think moreso than P & P & Z. So, if you are not into that sort of theme. Perhaps this book may not be for you. However this would be great for zombie fans and will satisfy P & P & Z readers, it’s a well done prequel and will be listed as one of my favorites for 2010.
Overall, I love this book. What I would like to see next, is another zombie novel but with Darcy and Bingley before they met the Bennet sisters. That would be interesting, I think. Who knows where the Dreadfuls will strike next?
I give it a 9 out of 10.
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Prize Pack includes:
ARC of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls
Audio books of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters
A password redeemable online for sample audio chapters of Dawn of the Dreadfuls
A Dawn of the Dreadfuls poster
A Pride and Prejudice and Zombies journal
A box set of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies postcards
Awesome swag huh? so what are you waiting for!? click here and mention my blog to have a chance to win!! good luck and I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I did
First thank you Danielle at Sourcebooks for providing me with a review copy of this book. It’s very much appreciated. Second, I’m on a roll with reading these Jane Austen sequels. At first I screamed out sacrilege and heresy at the sight of them. However I started giving these books a chance and started liking them. This created a whole new unexplored genre that I was seriously missing out on.
Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Last Man in the World is a “what if?” Jane Austen spin off. It asks the question; what if Elizabeth agreed to marrying Darcy the first time around? the story revolves around their marriage and how it went from potentially disasterous to finally understanding each other, and coming around to loving one another.
This book was so addictive, that late at night I put it down. It was getting late and I thought I should work on reading another book. No I had to stop and go back to this one. I had to finish it. I just had to. I wanted to know what was going to happen next to Lizzy and Darcy. My heart just went out to them because I wanted things to work for them and yet it looked like everything was going from bad to worse. So I just couldn’t leave them there. I just HAD to finish this book. It took me two days to do so (because of interruptions and such).
Since I’m so attached to Lizzy and Darcy, naturally this book absorbed every bit of my attention. I liked how it switched from Elizabeth to Darcy’s viewpoint and it was fun to see how each one thought of each other and what they thought after their quarrels. Sometimes it made me just want to smack myself because they just couldn’t see eye to eye and you wanted to jump in and become the middle person in their arguements. Then there were parts where I wanted both of them in their own corners as if they were children and misbehaving. It was just filled with such emotional conflicts that you weren’t sure how to feel towards both of them. There were also times where I just heaved a sigh of frustration because it just wasn’t working out and it felt as if it was one thing after another and you’re left with saying: “Oh jeez, now what???” but, I liked it. This book was excellent on tugging emotions left, right and center. I really liked both Elizabeth and Darcy in this book.
Their character development was great. What I thought most interesting was, Georgiana, who wasn’t really much in the book developed in character as well I actually liked that considering we don’t really hear much about her anyway. However, naturally the main character development is within Elizabeth and Darcy and they develop nicely. Plotwise, I’d have to say there really isn’t much of one. The real main focus is the development of the relationship between Elizabeth and Darcy. This might not sit well with others as plot driven novels can be essential to the story. I didn’t mind, I was too engrossed in their relationship and what they went through to really pay attention to having no plot.
The one thing that did bother me about the novel was Elizabeth’s behavior. Where was her wit? her comments that had the subtle sarcasm that was her trademark? where was her inner strength and her ability to think things through clearly and cleverly? to me, Elizabeth wasn’t really Elizabeth it was like as if that part of her personality was wrenched out from her. I wasn’t really too crazy about this new Elizabeth in this book but I went along with it. There were parts in the book where she engaged in her banter with Darcy but it just wasn’t the same. It bugged me but not the the extent that I had to stop the book and quit it altogether. There are a few romance scenes in here, but I was willing to read it through. It was acceptable for a non romance reader like me.
Overall, if Elizabeth’s personality change doesn’t bother even the most hard core of Austen readers out there, then by all means pick this up. It’ll tear you to pieces with emotions, that I can guarantee you. You either wanted to reach out to either confort or lecture these two. This is a great Jane Austen “What if” question, and a great novel to add to your Austen sequel collection.
I give it a 9 out of 10.
Thank you Barnes and Noble for letting me receive a copy of this book for the First Look Book Club! It was very much appreciated!
The Postmistress by Sarah Blake, is rather unique. It has two mini plots which then merge into one through the novel. The first arc features the inhabitants of Franklin, Massacheusetts mainly Will Fitch and his wife Emma, and Iris James who works at the post office. The second arc is focused mainly on Frankie Bard, who’s in Europe. She works as a journalist covering the Blitz in England. The Postmistress focuses on one letter Iris decides to not send, which in turn brings the three women together and also brings the realization of war to their doorstep.
I have to admit, I had to force myself to get into it at first. The start of the book was rather slow and hard to get into. It really wasn’t until I hit the chapters that focused on Frankie that I suddenly got myself into the book and was more interested in it. Besides the slow start, I was left wondering what in the world these characters have to do with each other until certain events take place then the pieces fall in, slowly. To be honest, if it weren’t for Frankie and her experiences throughout Europe, I probably would have liked this book less. I found Frankie to be the most central part of this book and which brought all the characters together through her voice on the radio. The descriptions of the quiet town of Franklin and its’ inhabitants is nice and detailed enough to make it real. There is a big distinction between both Franklin and London and it’s written well enough that both places are realistic and well rounded out. I liked how Franklin is so far away from the war and in their own little world, oblivious to what is happening on the other side of the world, knowing there is no way of the war hitting home. Yet Frankie brings it to them through her voice and she does what she can to make sure all sides of the war is shown and that people get the truth of what’s happening. When she comes on the radio, you can almost “hear” her talk and it goes to show how powerful the use of radio was back then in the 40′s because it’s left to the listener’s imagination.
The most eye opening part in the book is when Frankie goes within Europe to interview refugees she finds along the way from Germany to France. This actually changes her outlook of the war and this is where you see a key development in her character. I also thought it was the most interesting part in this novel and felt just as helpless as she was towards these refugees. I also liked how Blake intertwined both plots to eventually make it into one towards the end of the novel by having the three main women featured in the novel to finally come together face to face. It went smoothly and without a bump, definitely a good job done by the author.
Aside from the slow start, I sort of didn’t understand Iris and her character. In the beginning I thought she was strange and not very likable at all. Honestly, I get the idea of why she would be part of the story in the first place, but she’s such a flat character and very uninteresting that I feel the author just placed her there just for placement and for necessity. She’s really just a secondary character, I think. However of all the characters, I really did like Frankie the best. She was such an free spirit and a forward thinking individual, definitely a woman that stood out during the 40′s!
Another thing, Frankie likes to say “Christ” a lot. For some reason I can’t see a woman swearing like that in the 40′s, it just seems unreal and odd. Also, there’s a part in the novel where Emma smokes and she’s pregnant. Now perhaps it wasn’t known that smoking during pregnancy is harmful for an unborn child so it was really strange and odd to read that. Then again, we have to remember, this book takes place in 1940, not in present day. It’s hard to remember that and it’s odd to read. Once you have it set in your mind about the major differences, then it gets easier.
Overall, a book that starts to grow with you, so don’t give up early on it. It does eventually get better.
I give it a 7 out of 10.
First! thank you Houghton Mifflin for providing me a review copy of this book. It was very much appreciated. Second, this is one of the most beautiful covers I have ever seen. For some reason it just calls out to me. I think it’s very well done.
Crazy Beautiful is told in two points of view: Aurora and Lucius. Both are new to the high school they’re going to. The difference? Lucius has no hands, due to a chemistry concoction gone wrong. So instead of hands, he has hooks instead (which freaks out the entire school population) except Aurora. In a modern day retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Crazy Beautiful explains love, redemption, and forgiveness.
It’s a short read. About 200 pages long. I absolutely loved this book. I immediately sympathized with Lucius and hated those that just assumed these whirlwind stories about him were true. Just because of his disability he’s immediately an outcast in the cruel world of High School. Both main characters were very well liked by me. I loved Lucius for being strong despite being a social outcast the minute he stepped on school grounds. I loved Aurora for standing up for what she believes in and even has the courage to stand up and tell her peers they’re wrong about assumptions they have made. Both characters are very strong, brave, and mature which makes them even more likable. I couldn’t stand Jessup (I can’t stand his name either). I just absolutely hated him and I was glad Aurora could see through his actions and was able to fend him off. (Yet another reason why I liked Aurora so much).
The plot is very short and doesn’t take too long to go through. It’s almost as if you’re watching a half hour TV high school show. Which isn’t that bad, mind you, although I would have like the story to develop a little more. That’s just me, as I’m used to reading longer novels. It seemed to just go a little too fast but at least there’s enough going on in this novel to make it flow and to keep the reader interested. There were parts that actually got me laughing out loud. Lucius has charming wit that enhances his personality and character, also his bravery in standing up against the most popular guy in the school also makes this an entertaining read.
Overall a good quick read. It does have certain parts that would qualify as a modern fairy tale. I enjoyed it very much and just wished it was just a bit longer as I thought there could be more to it. Lucius and Aurora made a wonderful couple and it seemed they were made for each other so it gave the romance a nice cozy feel to the story. Pick this up if you feel like reading something quick but also a light hearted read.
I give it a 9 out of 10.