Friday, December 30, 2011

Bel's Top 10 of 2011

Coming up with my favorite 10 reads was no easy task, especially since I've been reading like a fiend for most of the year. But here’s my stab at it and in no particular order …

The Mortal Instruments Series

Like Nat, I have to cheat here because I just couldn't narrow it down. It's like picking out one puppy from the litter - it breaks your heart to separate it from its siblings. Not only do I enjoy the storyline and all the characters immensely, I just simply love Cassie Clare’s writing.  She is so good at writing snark and so good a writing non-smutty smut that we BiblioJunkies would just die if Ms. Clare decided to write an adult series. Can you begin to imagine how far she'd go? In all seriousness, I’ve said this before, this series opened the floodgates for me and because of it I’ve experienced a whole new genre.

Hush Hush & Crescendo
On the subject of snark – I do believe that people are familiar with my, um, deep, deep appreciation (read: lust) for Patch Cipriano. In fact, I'm a wee bit disappointed (gutted if I wanted to be melodramatic about it) that I didn't find him in my Christmas stocking. And I know I'm "cheating" again here by naming two books but seriously, it's Patch! Both are filled with plenty of great one-liners and images that make you want to scream in a good way. And that wicked ending in Crescendo had me all strung up. I simply can't get enough!

The Maze Runner
To me, The Maze Runner is the best of the series. James Dashner upped the ante by removing every one's memory and giving them a blank slate. How do you move forward from that with no reference points and no idea who to trust? Everything from the hellish environment to the relentless action left me banging my head for answers and utterly exhausted.

The Iron Knight
The Iron Fey series is one of the most spectacular and intricate out there but The Iron Knight is the one had the most effect on me. Ash is the ULTIMATE knight in shining armor. The trials he goes through make you ache. His resolve to be with his beloved Megan make you pine for him even more. It's no wonder he has such a rabid legion of fans. And with Puck and Grimalkin as travel companions, how can this not be a thrilling adventure?

Thirteen Reasons Why
My niece recommended this book saying it was one of her favorites.  I have to agree with her. I clung to every page of this story and felt a myriad of emotions because it had of its sensitivity and straightforward bluntness.  While the ending doesn’t exactly make you jump up and cheer, you still feel its quiet but hopeful impact. And sometimes subtle works best. 

Saving June
After having read Thirteen Reasons Why I thought, one - I’d be doing a comparison between these two books and two - I’d be spending a very depressing couple of weeks. I was sooo wrong because this turned out to be one of the best books I’ve read in years! Harrington’s effortless blending of humor and sarcasm balanced perfectly the serious side of the story. And adding to its awesomeness, this book came with its very own soundtrack.

The Likeness (non YA)
I love a good psychological mystery and Tana French delivers in this Irish thriller. The mixture of murder and suspense had me on edge throughout.  But what I enjoyed most was how each little plot twist had me gasping. Plus, it's set in Ireland where good things like U2, Snow Patrol, Two Door Cinema Club and Michael Fassbender come from ... not that they had anything to do with the book.

Thank you, thank you Sophie Jordan for putting something different out there! I was already on a slight vampire/werewolf overload when I stumbled upon this Romeo and Juliet style dragon tale (ha! see what I did there?). I was so caught up in Will and Jacinda's connection and worried for them non-stop. And the cliffhangers for Firelight and its follow up, Vanish, left me hungry for more.

Clockwork Prince
Oh my! Cassandra Clare you really love to make us suffer. Aside from the excellent story, there are the gorgeous Will and Jem and that poor girl Tessa who has to look at both of them. Through all the publicity we were all made well aware of the DSBS. But boy was I a bit giddy with that other DSBS that came before it! I'm not ashamed to say that those pages have been bookmarked and I've re-read them a few times times. Oh Jem …

Cold Kiss
Morbid, creepy, morbidly fascinating - it didn’t hit me until recently how much I liked this book. It happened when I was listening to my iPod and a gorgeously haunting song came on that encompassed the book's entire theme - sorrow, loss and letting go. I instantly thought of Wren and Danny. It was one of those moments that made me shiver. While the storyline is set in a paranormal arena, Wren's deeply personal loss is one that anyone can understand.  

So there we have it.  Hope your New Year is filled with plenty of good books, surprises and much, much more!


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy New Year Giveaway Hop!

We are happy to be participating in the Happy New Year Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader and Not A Writer and Babs Book Bistro from now until January 3, 2012.  2011 has been a good year, in addition to many personal achievements for the BiblioJunkies, 2011 marked the year we finally stopped talking about a book blog and actually started a book blog!  The five months we have been the BiblioJunkies has been so much fun and we have gotten to meet and get to know so many fantastic people. 

We are looking forward to an even better 2012 and hope you all continue to share our love of books, boys and pie in the new year!  So to get 2012 started out right, we are giving away an ARC of Tempest by Julie Cross and a signed copy of Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (because let's face it, we could all use a little Patch to keep us warm on a winter's night).  Unfortunately, this is a U.S. giveaway only.

So, you know the drill.  Use the Rafflecopter below to enter.  On January 4 or 5 we will announce the winner.  We hope you all have a safe and fun New Year's celebration.  There are 202 blogs participating in the Hop, so good luck!


Shel's Top 10 of 2011

I know we have been a little lax this holiday season with keeping you entertained, but we will definitely be back to devouring books and driving our readers nutes wiht silliness after the holidays.  Until then, please enjoy my top 10 list:

Here at BiblioJunkies we have been discussing what to do with our 2011 "top" lists.  How many books, etc.  Unfortunately, when it came right down to it, I could not narrow my list down to just 5.  In fact, to get to 10 I had to be pretty specific in my lists - favorite by someone other than Meg Cabot or Janet Evanovich (because let's face it, these ladies will always top my favorite book lists) and lets not forget Rick Riordan, whom I adore.  And then I couldn't narrow down to eliminate books in a series (ie The Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices, all of which are fantastic).  It really took a lot of thought and planning to get my list down to just 10, because I have read SOOO many truly fantastic books this year.  Each of the books below have touched (Yes, I am talking to you Suzanne Young) or entertained me and stood out among the plethora of books that I read this year.  So, here's my list, in no particular order:

The Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare

The Mythos Academy Series by Jennifer Estep

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young

Alex Van Helsing Series by Jason Henderson

Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton

Hush, Hush by Becca FitzPatrick

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay

The Chicagoland Vampire Series by Chloe Neill

I recommend all of these books and/or series.  Check them out and let us know what your favorites of 2011 have been!  Happy New Year and happy reading in 2012!


Tempest by Julie Cross

* * * 1/2

The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.

That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.
Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler. Recruit… or kill him.

Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.

When we received Tempest, I fully admit to trying to pawn it off on Shel and Bel.  The fact is time travel drives me batty.  The impossibilities and incomprehensible ramifications of it keeps me from fully enjoying and appreciating a time travel story.  I can't even watch Back to the Future without getting all worked up and starting an argument with The Executive Officer about how impossible time travel is.  So imagine my chagrin when I found out that Shel is not a big time travel either and Bel was already committed to a few other reads.  So I took one for the team and read the dreaded time travel story....

...and all I have to say is that Julie Cross is a genius.  Tempest manages to be the first time travel story that didn't make me want to pull my hair out.  The non-stop action never allowed me to overly dwell on the time travel issues that I have.  The book read like an action movie and consistently kept me on the edge of my seat so much that I couldn't wait to turn the page to see what happened next. 

I personally found the main character in this book pretty engaging.  Jackson starts out as a jackass commitment-phobe but grows considerably as he learns exactly what his abilities entail.  His friend Adam was the cliche genius that helps him find the answers to his abilites.  In the end though, he was a loveable character so I couldn't hold the cliche status against him. The most fascinating characters in this book were the more mysterious secondary chracters - Courtney, the little red head girl, Thomas and Jackson's father.  I look forward to learning more about these characters in the next two books.

The one thing that I didn't enjoy about this book was the romance.  Jackson and Holly's relationship lacked emotion and intensity.  Holly's character was nice enough not well developed which made the interest between the two of them seem rather one sided.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book and look forward to the next two installments in the trilogy.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (5)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that highlights future releases that we are excitedly anticipating.

By Lisa Kleypas
Publication Date: February 28, 2012

Lucy Marinn is a glass artist living in mystical, beautiful, Friday Harbor, Washington. She is stunned and blindsided by the most bitter kind of betrayal: her fiancĂ© Kevin has left her. His new lover is Lucy’s own sister. Lucy's bitterness over being dumped is multiplied by the fact that she has constantly made the wrong choices in her romantic life. Facing the severe disapproval of Lucy's parents, Kevin asks his friend Sam Nolan, a local vineyard owner on San Juan Island, to "romance" Lucy and hopefully loosen her up and get her over her anger. Complications ensue when Sam and Lucy begin to fall in love, Kevin has second thoughts, and Lucy discovers that the new relationship in her life began under false pretenses. Questions about love, loyalty, old patterns, mistakes, and new beginnings are explored as Lucy learns that some things in life—even after being broken—can be made into something new and beautiful

By Julie Cross
Publication Date:  January 17, 2012

The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.
That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.
Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler. Recruit… or kill him.

Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Everneath by Brodi Ashton

* * * *
Available January 24, 2012

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans.  Now she’s returned – to her old life, her family, her best friend, her boyfriend – before she’s banished back to the underworld … this time forever. She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her; six months for goodbyes she can’t find the words for; six months to find redemption, if it even exists.

Nikki longs to spend these precious few months forgetting the Everneath completely and trying to reconnect with her boyfriend, Jack, the person most devastated by her disappearance – and the one person she loves more than anything.  But there’s just one problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who enticed her to the Everneath in the first place, has followed Nikki to the mortal world.  Cle wants to take over the Everneath’s throne and is convinces Nikki is the key to making it happen.  And he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back, this time as his queen.

As Nikki’s time on the surface draws to a close and all of her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she is forced to make the hardest decision of her life: finding a way to cheat fate and remain on the surface with Jack, or returning to the Everneath and becoming Cole’s queen.

So there I was desperately looking for a book to read. Wait. Let me restate that. I had plenty of books to choose from but when I finally came across Everneath, I was suckered in. 

This intriguing debut infuses Greek and Egyptian mythology into a modern day romance. The Everneath is a place between the mortal world and hell, where Everlings (immortals) Feed on the emotions of humans, or Forfeits as they’re called. Once fed upon, the Everling and the Forfeit are tied together. By the time Nikki wakes up, she’s been asleep for one hundred years in the Everneath with the Everling, Cole. But in the mortal world she’s only been gone six months. Cole wants her to stay but Nikki feels a strong pull to return to her former life. Because of her choice, she has been physically  marked by the Shades that reside in the Tunnels. Choosing not to go with Cole means she has only six months before they come to claim her and Feed upon her for the rest of eternity. Yikes!

But returning to her old life isn’t so easy when so many things have changed. She used to be vibrant and outgoing but now with all her energy drained, she barely resembles who she was. So she hides from crowds and avoids contact with people, including Jack, her boyfriend, who was the only thing tying her to the mortal world while she was in the Everneath. It was his image she kept seeing during her hundred years sleep. Though she returned for him, she finds it hard to reconnect with him and her friends knowing that questions will come and explanations are in order. All the while, she counts down to when she must return to the Everneath.

This may come as a surprise to some of you, especially BiblioJunkies Nat – this time I did not find myself swooning over the “bad boy”, Cole. He’s a hard one to figure out. The push-and-pull connection Nikki feels with him only complicates her last six months. He comes off as very self-serving and untrustworthy. He has moments of kindness, plenty of snarkiness and his few hostile moments are a bit unsettling.  

Jack on the other hand is someone to root for.  He is so in love with Nikki and was so devastated by her disappearance. He’s so heartbreakingly patient with her as she tries to recover from her ordeal. No matter what she does, he waits for her cue and then follows suit. He’s just so sweet and handles her so delicately. His reassuring nature provides Nikki exactly what she needs – a safe haven. 

With Everneath, the first in a trilogy, Brodi Ashton delivers a very emotionally stirring and tantalizing tale. Each chapter is a countdown clock that only emphasizes the urgency Nikki experiences. It's so gutting to see her endure all the pain she's going through as D-Day draws closer. If she becomes an Everling herself, she’d have to Feed upon humans the way Cole did with her. Is that something her conscience can handle? Or is she brave enough to face the Tunnels for eternity? Either way people get hurt and she has to decide between the lesser of two evils.

~ Bel

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Winter Wonderland! YA Authors Sing!

We love YA.  We love YA authors.  And YA authors that sing?  Well that's just so awesome our heads may explode!  Check out what is flooding the YA world on Twitter today....I dare you to not smile...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (4)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that highlights future releases that we are excitedly anticipating.

By Marissa Meyer
Publication Date: January 3, 2012

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

By Veronica Rossi
Publication Date: January 3, 2012

Aria is a teenager in the enclosed city of Reverie. Like all Dwellers, she spends her time with friends in virtual environments, called Realms, accessed through an eyepiece called a Smarteye. Aria enjoys the Realms and the easy life in Reverie. When she is forced out of the pod for a crime she did not commit, she believes her death is imminent. The outside world is known as The Death Shop, with danger in every direction.

As an Outsider, Perry has always known hunger, vicious predators, and violent energy storms from the swirling electrified atmosphere called the Aether. A bit of an outcast even among his hunting tribe, Perry withstands these daily tests with his exceptional abilities, as he is gifted with powerful senses that enable him to scent danger, food and even human emotions.

They come together reluctantly, for Aria must depend on Perry, whom she considers abarbarian, to help her get back to Reverie, while Perry needs Aria to help unravel the mystery of his beloved nephew’s abduction by the Dwellers. Together they embark on a journey challenged as much by their prejudices as by encounters with cannibals and wolves. But to their surprise, Aria and Perry forge an unlikely love - one that will forever change the fate of all who live UNDER THE NEVER SKY
The first book in a captivating trilogy, Veronica Rossi’s enthralling debut sweeps you into an unforgettable adventure 

By Brodi Ashton
Publication Date: January 24, 2012

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever.

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there's a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.

As Nikki's time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she's forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole's... 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Nat's Top Ten of 2011

When we decided that we would each make a Top Ten of 2011 list, I was convinced that it would take me days.  Surprisingly, it only took me 4 hours.  Granted that is partially because we all decided it was okay to cheat with books in a series and count an entire series as one book.  Even so, it was tough because there were so many books I read and loved this year.  So here it is!  Share with us your favorite reads of 2011!

The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare - Shadowhunters, Downworlders, Demons, Mundanes.  A rich urban fantasy with all the necessary action, romance and teen angst that keeps me coming back for more. And it introduces some of my most favorite male characters in YA - Magnus, Jem and Jace

If I Stay by Gayle Forman - I sobbed.  And sobbed.  And then sobbed some more.  I am not much of a crier in my personal life, but there are a number of books that make me weepy at turns and there are very few books that turn me into an emotional basket case.  If I Stay wins the emotional basketcase category. Hands down.  It is equally funny, beautiful and oh so terribly sad.  If I had to put this list in order of favorites, this would compete with my next choice as number one on the list.

Where She Went by Gayle Forman - The companion book to If I Stay.  Another beautifully written story.  The main character is so darn loveable you can't help but feel for him.  Even when he pulls the ultimate rockstar move and starts sleeping with his groupies.  What's not to love about a emotionally messed up rockstar?  Not a thing, I say.  Not a darn thing.  This one will also have you alternately laughing and crying.  Fortunately, it will not turn you into an emotional basket case.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - Just all sorts of happy. I have re-read this book 4 times in as many months.  This is the ultimate "pick me up" book when I am feeling down.  Perfect romantic comedy.  If they make a movie out of this (a well cast and well made movie), I will die.  Simply die.

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins - Take the happy from Anna and the French Kiss.  Add a dash of angst and a pinch of quirky and you have another awesome romantic read.

Anna Dressed in Blood - I read a few books that scared the crap out of me this year.  This one definitely takes the cake.  Super creepy.  I would purposely leave all of the lights on after reading it.  Actually those things would usually keep a book off my favorites list.  But it was so good.  I couldn't put it down and the characters (particularly Cas) were absolutely amazing.

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green - Full of smart humor, slapstick, and just all sorts of awesome.  Definitely a book written for nerds that are boys by a nerd that is a boy.  But that doesn't mean girls don't love it too.  Obviously, since it did make it to my list.  And I am not a boy.  But I am definitely a nerd.

Geek Girl by Cindy Bennett - This is a story about a girl who learns to love herself and also learns that she is worthy of the love of people around her.  A great message without being beat over the head with it.  AND to top it off, the love interest in this book made me forget about Peeta for a few hours.  High praise indeed, if I do say so myself.

Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins - Speaking of Peeta....There is too much to say so I won't say anything at all.  Other than if you are one of the 5 people in the universe that hasn't read this trilogy, READ IT!

The Iron Fey Series by Julie Kagawa - An amazing fantasy about faeries with the feel of both The Dark Crystal and Alice in Wonderland.  The entire series is full of adventure and not a single character disappoints.

A Peek in the Biblio-Bin - #13

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. It is a way for bloggers to share what books they have won, received for review, bought from the bookstore, borrowed from the library or friend, etc.

This week Shel gives you a Peek in the Biblio-Bin.

Ashera del Cid is a talented demon hunter, but when she kills a demigod's pet dragon, the hunter becomes the hunted. Her only potential ally is Ramiel, a sexy-as-hell demon. Now the two must work together to battle dragons and demigods...and the chemistry crackling between them.

Ramiel has his own reasons for offering Ashera his protection. He knows her true identity and the real reason the demigods want her dead. What he can't predict is how she'll react when she discovers he knew who she was all along...

Ashera is shocked to discover that she is the only daughter of the last slayer. To claim her destiny, she and Ramiel must join forces to face down danger and outwit their enemies. Only then will she be able to truly accept her legacy...

Protecting humans is the Bringers’ duty. Sending demons to the Shadow World is their pleasure.

In one night, Ravyn’s life plunges from barely tolerable to deadly. Forced to flee the only home she’s known, she stumbles headlong into the clutches of Icarus, a powerful demon intent on stealing her powers. Unfortunately for him, she has no intention of cooperating.

When Rhys realizes the woman he’s rescued from the Bane Demon is no mere human, his obligation as a Bringer dictates he protect and train her in the ways of his people. But he’s unprepared for the intense desire he feels for the fiery Ravyn. To surrender to his need may mean her death.

As the Demon King’s desire for ultimate power escalates, fathers are slated against sons, and foes are made allies. The Bane threat upon them, Rhys and Ravyn must quest to unite the last of the Bringers—and explore a passion too powerful to ignore
Prophesies, demon slayers, dragons, homework… It’s going to be a hell of a week!

It’s been a dangerous ride for Nikki Donovan since she first learned she’s a demon princess. And the ride isn’t over yet!

She’s just found out that her best friend is a demon slayer in training, one who doesn’t know that Nikki is exactly the prey she’s sworn to hunt. Nikki’s demon king father has signed her up for lessons in how to master her erratic half-demon powers, and that’s on top of her regular homework! Also, she’s torn between two boys—Rhys, the faery king she’s prophesied to marry, and Michael, a Shadow whom she’s forbidden to love.

To top it all off, a dark force is haunting Nikki, something mysterious and evil that wants the demon princess dead…but who — or what — is it?
What is in your mailbox this week?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (3)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that highlights future releases that we are excitedly anticipating. 

By Victoria Laurie
Release Date: December 27, 2011

M.J. Holliday and her crew interrupt the frantic schedule of their reality TV show, Ghoul Getters, and hotfoot it to New Mexico, where a dreadful demon is waging tribal warfare. Same Whitefeather- M.J.'s spirit guide-urgently needs her help to stop this evil spirit from wiping out the descendants of his tribe. It doesn't take a psychic to predict that M.J.'s going to have a devil of a time making New Mexico a demon-free zone

By Deborah Cooke
Release Date: January 3, 2012

Master illusionist Lorenzo wants nothing to do with the Pyr. His dragon nature is just another secret to hide and another detail to juggle, like ensuring that each of his Las Vegas magic shows is a true spectacle. Until he feels the burn of his firestorm and his whole world shifts....

Cassie Redmond is tired of photographing celebrities. She wants to pursue her dream of serious photography—despite the lucrative offer for a shot of a dragon shifter. Las Vegas is the last place she wants to be, but Lorenzo arouses more than her curiosity when he shifts shape as the finale of his show. Instead of forcing him to reveal his secrets, Cassie gets swept away by this illusionist’s masterful touch.

Lorenzo wants to satisfy the firestorm and put it behind him. But Cassie is hard to forget—and he can’t ignore the danger when Slayers target the mate Lorenzo didn’t believe he wanted....


By: Snow Patrol
Release Date: January 10, 2012

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Future Of Us By Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler

 * * * 1/2

It’s 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They’ve been best friends almost as long – up until last November, when everything changed. Things have been awkward ever since, but when Josh’s family gets an America Online CD-ROM in the mail, his mom makes him bring it over so Emma can install it on her new computer.  When they sign on, they’re automatically logged onto Facebook… but Facebook hasn’t been invented yet.  Josh and Emma are looking at their profiles fifteen years in the future.  Their spouses, homes, and status updates – it’s all there. But it’s not what they expected. And every time they refresh their pages, their futures change. As they grapple with the ups and downs of what their lives hold, they’re forced to confront what they’re doing right – and wrong – in the present.

What a clever idea for a book! I’m sure if ever our futures were available for preview we’d take it or at least consider it out of curiosity. But when you’re given that glimpse into a future that’s 15 years away without any reference or milestones leading to that point, how would you interpret it?

That’s what Emma and Josh face. Already dealing with a strained friendship, they suddenly have a door to their adult lives when they stumble upon Facebook, giving them an opportunity to interpret their lives through status updates. Obviously, they’re dumbfounded by this and have no clue as to what it all means. The books gets interesting as they both try to decipher their updates and react to what they read. What is also interesting is how those updates affect them in the present. For Emma, it gives her the motivation to do something about her current relationship with her boyfriend. For quiet, laid-back Josh, it gives him some peace of mind that he’s headed in a positive direction even if he doesn’t appear to have any direction at the moment.

Let’s start with what I liked. I enjoyed the many references to technology as it was back then. Nowadays where even a 6 year-old has a cell phone (for lord knows what), it was fun to be reminded that cell phones back then were not cheap and not so common and pagers were all the rage. Then there’s one scene where Emma goes to the library to find a California phone book to track someone down. Life pre-Google sucked!  And the references to music and cassette tapes had me giggling.

What held me back from truly loving this book was Emma. I just didn’t take to her.  She’s self-centered and oblivious to how her actions affect Josh. All she cares about is making sure her status updates mention how happy she is with whatever guy she is with at that future time, manipulating events before they happen. It’s rather obnoxious. But I suppose my own perspectives and hindsight color my opinion about her. Josh on the other hand, I found more interesting. He’s trying to understand how his future comes to be. While it gives him a certain boost to his confidence, he’s still uneasy with knowing too much and intentionally affecting things. His character provides a counter-balance to Emma’s haphazard regard for their futures.

The Future Of Us is a sweet story and in the end, despite my dislike of Emma, she did win me over somewhat with a small act of kindness when she shoved aside her own needs to provide some comfort to a family member. In the brief few days they had access to Facebook, both Emma and Josh mature considerably and finally come to focus on what’s more important – their friendship in the present. 

~ Bel

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Peek in the Biblio-Bin - #12

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. It is a way for bloggers to share what books they have won, received for review, bought from the bookstore, borrowed from the library or friend, etc.

This week Bel gives you a Peek in the Biblio-Bin.

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?
In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa's powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister's war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will; the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.

"Beautifully crafted", "Fantastically funny." "Compulsively readable." Jonathan Tropper has earned wild acclaim—-and comparisons to Nick Hornby and Tom Perrotta—for his biting humor and insightful portrayals of families in crisis and men behaving badly. Now the acclaimed author of The Book of Joe and Everything Changes tackles love, lust, and lost in the suburbs—in a stunning novel that is by turns heartfelt and riotously funny.

Doug Parker is a widower at age twenty-nine, and in his quiet suburban town, that makes him something of a celebrity—the object of sympathy, curiosity, and, in some cases, unbridled desire. But Doug has other things on his mind. First there's his sixteen year-old stepson, Russ: a once-sweet kid who now is getting into increasingly serious trouble on a daily basis. Then there are Doug's sisters: his bossy twin, Clair, who's just left he husband and moved in with Doug, determined to rouse him from his Grieving stupor. And Debbie, who's engaged to Doug's ex-best friend and manically determined to pull off the perfect wedding at any cost.

Soon Doug's entire nuclear family is in his face. And when he starts dipping his toes into the shark-infested waters of the second-time around dating scene, it isn't long before his new life is spinning hopelessly out of control, cutting a harrowing and often hilarious swath of sexual missteps and escalating chaos across the suburban landscape.

What did you find in your biblio-bin this week?