Deadly Little Secret (Touch #1) - Review

Deadly Little Secret (Touch, #1)Deadly Little Secret (Touch #1) by Laurie Faria Stolarz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 Stars

I did enjoy the premise of Deadly Little Secret. I liked most of the writing and the main character, Camelia.

It is mostly a dialogue-driven story, which leaves the characters under-developed. I did not get to know Camelia all that well, even though she narrates, since not much goes on in her head aside from describing what she is doing and seeing. She does play the victim very well, even appearing quite dumb at times. Ben is intriguing and mysterious, but again, he is very underdeveloped. I need to know more than how great looking he is.

Camelia's 2 best friends are both miserable at home, so they have plenty of get-togethers where they all discuss how messed up their lives are. But these are 2 characters that seem to be there more to support Camelia in her time of need. Yet, oddly enough, Camelia doesn't return the favor.

I can't say that I know why Camelia liked Ben in the first place. He pushed her out of the way of an approaching car (sound familiar?) and she became obsessed with finding out why he saved her and then disappeared. I also don't know why Ben liked her. Ben was stand-offish and avoided direct contact with Camelia (sound familiar?) until they were assigned as lab partners in chemistry class... yes, another similarity to Twilight. But then Ben sensed that Camelia was in danger so they started spending time together.

The suspense was drawn out and the pacing was pretty good. There was also plenty of tense and slightly scary moments. It's a very quick read, easy to understand and follow.

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Follow Friday (5)

Follow Friday is a weekly feature hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee. Follow Friday is an opportunity to discover and follow other book related blogs.

Question: The New Year is here — and everyone wants to know your New Years Blogging Resolution! What are you going to try to revise, revamp and redo for 2012 on your blog?

- I'm not new to blogging, even though this particular blog is fairly new, but I would love to have more interesting posts.
- I am going to continue the memes I am involved in currently.
- I need to get better at doing reviews. I do reviews as soon as I read a book, but sometimes I have a hard time putting what I think and feel into words.
- I really need to read more books. I read very quickly, so I just need to find the time to read more often. My tbr is HUGE!
- I need to work on the layout of my blog. I want to keep it simple so it doesn't look cluttered.
- I would love to have a giveaway. Soon.
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Waiting On Wednesday (6)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:
Lies Beneath (Lies Beneath #1) by Anne Greenwood Brown

Description from Goodreads:
Calder White lives in the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the only brother in a family of murderous mermaids. To survive, Calder and his sisters prey on humans, killing them to absorb their energy. But this summer the underwater clan targets Jason Hancock out of pure revenge. They blame Hancock for their mother's death and have been waiting a long time for him to return to his family's homestead on the lake. Hancock has a fear of water, so to lure him in, Calder sets out to seduce Hancock's daughter, Lily. Easy enough—especially as Calder has lots of practice using his irresistable good looks and charm on ususpecting girls. Only this time Calder screws everything up: he falls for Lily—just as Lily starts to suspect that there's more to the monsters-in-the-lake legends than she ever imagined. And just as his sisters are losing patience with him.
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Top Ten Tuesday (4)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created at The Broke and The Bookish.

Top Ten Favorite Books I Read in 2011:
(In no particular order)

1. Unearthly (Unearthly #1) by Cynthia Hand

2. Hex Hall (Hex Hall #1) by Rachel Hawkins

3. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

4. The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta

5. Die For Me (Revenants #1) by Amy Plum

6. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #1) by Michelle Hodkin

7. Falling Under (Falling Under #1) by Gwen Hayes

8. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

9. Demonglass (Hex Hall #2) by Rachel Hawkins

10. Where She Went (If I Stay #2) by Gayle Forman
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Shatter Me - Review

Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The first half of Shatter Me is written with strikethroughs and run-on sentences that are a paragraph long and words and phrases are continuously repeated 3 times. And the metaphors are numerous. Depending on the reader, the writing may either be highly annoying or pure genius. I'm still not sure which it is.

Juliette is the protagonist. In the beginning her behavior is very inconsistent. One minute she is crying on the floor and the next she is standing up for herself against an army of armed men. Although she does get stronger as the book goes on. This is evident by the writing - the strikethroughs and run-on sentences and repeating everything 3 times goes away and the writing evens out. (These things DO come back later in the book, and seem directly tied to Juliette's mental state and feeling unsafe and insecure.)

Shatter me is set in a vague future. What is left of the civilization is suffering under The Reestablishment, who claim they are trying to undo the mistakes in the past and do things over the right way. The problems on Earth are huge - seasons are non-existent, food and water are poisoned, clouds are the wrong color, birds don't fly, disease is rampant, and people live is settlements that are controlled by The Reestablishment.

Juliette has been locked in an asylum in a room by herself with no contact with anyone for 264 days. She is a danger to others because her touch can literally kill. Then Adam shows up. Adam is Juliette's Romeo. He arrives pretty early in the story and we learn that he has been in love with her and looking for her since she disappeared 3 years ago.

Warner is running The Reestablishment. Warner takes Juliette out of the asylum and informs her that he wants to use her powers to help him keep order and run The Reestablishment. He orders Adam to be Juliette's bodyguard. Warner is your typical bad guy on a power trip. Juliette must decide if she wants to stay with Warner and help him. She is conflicted because even though she hates him and what he stands for, she is oddly drawn to him. She also has the opportunity to escape with Adam, whom she loves, and try to start over out in what is left of the world. Who should she trust?

Tahereh Mafi's debut has a fascinating writing style. It has a unique feel to it. Throw in an unpredictable plot and intriguing characters and Shatter Me is a compelling read.

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Follow Friday (4)

Follow Friday is a weekly feature hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee. Follow Friday is an opportunity to discover and follow other book related blogs.

Question: If you had to spend eternity inside the pages of a book which book would you choose and why?

Considering the name of my blog, would I choose anything other than Persuasion? I could stand an eternity of Captain Wentworth writing ME beautiful letters. Of course, Anne would have to scram. And that would also rid me of the silly sisters and ignorant father. Sounds perfect to me.
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Waiting On Wednesday December 21 (5) Destiny and Deception (13 to Life #4) by Shannon Delany

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:
Destiny and Deception (13 to Life #4) by Shannon Delany
356 pages
Expected publication: January 31st 2012 by St. Martin's Griffin

Description From Goodreads: The sensational fourth novel in the 13 to Life series sees Jessica and the Rusakuvas fighting to overcome one of their biggest challenges yet--the possibility of a cure for lycanthropy. With the threat of the mafia seemingly gone and the company's headquarters in Junction destroyed, Pietr Rusakova is adjusting to being a normal teen and Jess is realizing normalcy may not be what she wanted after all. But both Jess and Cat know the truth--that normal can't be taken for granted. Their precious cure isn't permanent--and when a new danger stalks into their small town, Alexi decides he must overcome his issues with the mother who abandoned him to be raised by wolves and make a brand new deal to save his adopted family.

The first book sets up what is to come in the rest of the series. Jessie meets Pietr, hot new Russian guy... not much action happens until the last 30 pages or so. The writing is okay, if a little repetitive and choppy. Still good enough to give 3.5 stars.

The second book wasn't quite everything I wanted it to be. The writing was just too scattered and all over the place. I would be reading a chapter, and then out of nowhere something else would start happening and I had no idea what was going on. Or a 2 person conversation would suddenly have up to 10 people involved without ever introducing anyone else to the scene. I would literally ask myself "Where did they come from?" This one ends on a cliffhanger.

The third book was so much better and much more focused and had much clearer writing. The plot was so much better. Jessie is in a mental institution and Pietr is off joining with the Russian mafia in an attempt to save Jessie. So we get a story with 2 POVs - Jessie and Alexi, Pietr's brother. While I did enjoy Alexi's POV, the alternating between Jessie and Alexi was distracting at times.
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Top Ten Tuesday (3)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created at The Broke and The Bookish.

Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings:

1. 2. and 3. The Hunger Games Trilogy Boxed Set. Hardcover, of course. (Am I the only one who hasn't read these yet?!?!)

4. 5. 6. and 7. The Iron Fey Series by Julie Kagawa. The Iron King, The Iron Daughter, The Iron Queen, The Iron Knight.

8. Illuminated by Erica Orloff.

9. The One That I Want by Jennifer Echols.

10. Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey.
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Follow Friday (3)

Follow Friday is a weekly feature hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee. Follow Friday is an opportunity to discover and follow other book related blogs.

Question of the Week: When you've read a book, what do you do with it? (Keep it, give it away, donate it, sell it, swap it..?)

I borrow most of my books from the library, so those I return (obviously). If the book is really good I will buy it so I can keep it to read again and again. If I read the first book in a series and I enjoy it I will start buying the series to keep. All of the books that I purchase I keep, which truly delights my husband. Only not really.
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Waiting On Wednesday December 14

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:
Illuminate (Gilded Wings #1) by Aimee Agresti
Hardcover, 544 pages
Expected publication: March 6th 2012 by Harcourt Children's Books

Description from Goodreads:
"Haven Terra is a brainy, shy high school outcast. But everything begins to change when she turns sixteen. Along with her best friend Dante and their quiet and brilliant classmate Lance, she is awarded a prestigious internship in the big city— Chicago—and is sent to live and work at a swanky and stylish hotel under the watchful eyes of a group of gorgeous and shockingly young-looking strangers: powerful and alluring hotel owner Aurelia Brown; her second-in-command, the dashing Lucian Grove; and their stunning but aloof staff of glamazons called The Outfit.

As Haven begins falling for Lucian, she discovers that these beautiful people are not quite what they seem. With the help of a mysterious book, she uncovers a network of secret passageways from the hotel’s jazz-age past that leads her to the heart of the evil agenda of Aurelia and company: they’re in the business of buying souls. Will they succeed in wooing Haven to join them in their recruitment efforts, or will she be able to thwart this devilish set’s plans to take the souls of her classmates on prom night at the hotel?

Illuminate is an exciting saga of a teen’s first taste of independence, her experience in the lap of luxury, and her discovery she may possess strength greater than she ever knew."
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Saving June - Review

Saving JuneSaving June by Hannah Harrington

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Saving June was a good story, but I think it could have been much better. It just didn't have enough depth for me and I really didn't connect with the characters at all. Maybe because I am older and the characters were very immature. I especially never understood Harper. She was completely unrelatable to me.

The way all of the characters dealt with their pain and loss were were so diverse. Harper wasn't able to show any grief or shed any tears over her sister's death. And Harper couldn't be bothered to comfort her own mother when she was falling apart.

I have to give an honorable mention to Harper's selfishness. That was a huge part what propelled this story. It was Harper's selfishness that caused her to steal her sister's ashes and take them to California, because, well, going to California was her sister's dream. And because Harper knew her sister so well, she just had to do this for her. Only Harper didn't know her sister very well.

The music - there was lots of music in this book - was 99% stuff that I don't listen to. I guess Jake was supposed to be hip and cool because he was an obscure music junkie. I just wasn't feeling that part either. Analyzing lyrics and making them relevant whatever situation you are in isn't something I spend my time doing, so again I couldn't relate.

And Jake. I think he was mostly an asshole with a touch of 'depth'. You know, because of the whole music thing. He and Harper had a love hate relationship for most of the story, and their relationship just wasn't believable.

The whole roadtrip was disjointed and there were pointless side trips along the way. (On a personal note, calling The Gateway Arch 'the arch thingy' really pissed me off. Yes, I live in St. Louis. But I have never heard anyone, kid or adult, call it the arch thingy. Show some respect for a National Park. AND no mention of how awesome to photograph The Arch from underneath it. Because it really IS awesome.)

After finishing this book, I still don't know any more about June than I did when the book began. I don't know what it was that caused such unhappiness in her life. There were some hints along the way that were dropped. Remember the girl at the beach that was upset with Jake for bringing Harper around after..... what? And the hint about the same girl maybe 'liking' June.... no one ever mentioned these things again.

Saving June was not an engrossing read for me. It failed to grab my attention and draw me into the story. I see a lot of 5 star ratings, but this was just a 3 star read for me.

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Follow Friday #2

Follow Friday is a weekly feature hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee. Follow Friday is an opportunity to discover and follow other book related blogs.

Question: Keeping with the Spirit of Giving this season, what book do you think EVERYONE should read and if you could, you would buy it for all of your family and friends?

Not everyone I know reads. In fact, I think some are allergic to reading. There is no better way to improve the mind than by reading.

My choice for everyone to read is On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. Simply amazing! If YOU haven't read it yet, then you should. Now.

Waiting For Wentworth
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Third Sentence Thursday

Third Sentence Thursday is a weekly feature that is currently being hosted by Proud Book Nerd.

1) Take the book you are reading now and post the third sentence
2) Review this sentence anyway you want (funny and silly reviews encouraged)
3) Post a link to your sentence here (in the comments) or if you don’t have a blog, just post your sentence in the comments!

"It happened on the last day of school."
Deadly Little Secret (Touch #1) by Laurie Faria Stolarz

I know that it's deadly. And it's a secret. But can you really classify a deadly secret as 'little'? I think I will keep reading and find out!

I am re-reading the first 3 books in this series before reading Deadly Little Voices which came out Dec. 6.
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Waiting On Wednesday December 7

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:
Enchanted by Alethea Kontis
Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: May 8th 2012 by Harcourt Children's Books

Description from Goodreads:
"It isn’t easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true.
When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises.

The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past—and hers?"
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Top Ten Tuesday (2)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created at The Broke and The Bookish.

Up this week is Top Ten Childhood Faves. I have been checking out everyone's Top Ten this week, and boy do I feel old. Most of the books I am seeing I read to my kids when they were young. So my Top Ten may not go ever so well.

These are my earliest memories of reading. 1st grade circa 1974-ish. We were allowed to read at our own pace. Each of these text books had workbooks that went with them. You would read a story, do the pages in the workbook, then move on to the next story. After finishing an entire book, you would move up a reading level and start the next book. I remember carrying the books around school to show off what reading level we were at. It was always fun to be reading at a higher level than the kids in the grades above us.

I actually can't remember what books I read in elementary school. By 6th grade I had read everything in the school library and I started reading my mom's books. This was back before they wrote such explicit sex scenes in 'romance' books. Fond memories of sneaking those. I still have a few of my favorites packed away. Hee.

My Sweet Audrina by V.C. Andrews is the most f'ed up book! Especially when you are a young teen and reading this type of stuff for the first time.

I remember reading Summer of My German Soldier after the movie with Kristy McNichol came on tv in 1978.

I read Sooner or Later after seeing Rex Smith in the movie version in 1979. I still love this movie. Yep, I'm a dork. I have this book along with the 2 follow up books.

Where The Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. Tissue Alert.
P.S. I Love You by Barbara Conklin.
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton.
Nantucket Summer by Phyllis Green.

And these from my younger days that I picked up over the summer from our library sale:
Rumble Fish by S.E. Hinton.
Tex by S.E. Hinton. (Huge crush on Matt Dillon in the movie.)
The Pistachio Prescription by Paula Danzinger.
Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume.
Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson.
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Review: Unearthly (Unearthly #1) by Cynthia Hand

Unearthly (Unearthly #1)Unearthly (Unearthly #1) by Cynthia Hand

Hardcover, 435 pages
Published January 4th 2011 by HarperTeen
Source: Library

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees . . . .
Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.

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I was very reluctant to read Unearthly, especially after reading so many positive reviews of it. And the blurb/description of this book in no way made me want to read it. I am glad I ignored that and decided to give it a chance. It far exceeded my expectations.

The writing is terrific. Especially for a debut author. At over 400 pages, I was afraid it would have a lot of 'filler' moments, but that wasn't the case at all. The beginning may have started off a little slower than I prefer, but I soon got caught up in the storyline. The rest of the book flowed quite nicely.

Even though there was a love triangle of sorts, there was no insta-love going on (thank goodness). I liked that the characters actually took the time to get to know each other. Their relationship took time to develop, and we get to follow along as they fell in love.

Unearthly is different from a few of the other angel books that I have read recently. Clara actually has a purpose, a reason that she is here on earth. And figuring out that purpose isn't as simple as Clara thought it would be.

There was no real ending to the first book in this series. It wasn't a cliff-hanger either. Just a sort of stopping point. And all of the unanswered questions will make you want to read the next book to find out what is going on.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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Follow Friday #1

Follow Friday is a weekly feature hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee.

Question: What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to books? Maybe you don't like love triangles or thin plots? Tell us about it!

As a parent of 2 teenagers, I really don't like when parents or guardians in books are conveniently absent or just plain clueless to what is going on. I like to think that I would know if my child and/or their friend(s) were a vampire, werewolf, angel, fairy, etc.

A slow moving plot is a real killer for me.  Just get on with the story already.

I'm not fond of Insta-love.  Give me something worth liking the boy or girl for.  Love, like characters, needs time to develop.
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Dash & Lily's Book Of Dares - Review

Dash & Lily's Book of DaresDash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wanted to read something Christmas related, so I chose Dash & Lily's Book of Dares. I really liked how it started. Lily purposefully leaves a notebook on a shelf in a bookstore. Dash finds the notebook and follows the dares written inside. He then leaves the notebook where instructed. Lily gets the notebook back and discovers that Dash has left her dares to follow and instructions on where to leave the notebook for him. This goes back and forth, and it's cute and funny, and you get to really know the characters.

It's not a completely light read. There are some slightly deep moments. Dash and Lily are great characters - if a little too pretentious - but unrealistic. They both have a set of ideals and a particular view of the world. They get to know each other through the notebook. They don't meet right away, and they both wonder if they will even like each other outside of the notebook.

The other characters were unrealistic. Dash and Lily's friends and family were all quirky and had cool jobs and lived all over New York and would do pretty much anything for them. Even keep secrets and accommodate Dash and Lily set ups. It was all a bit much.

Overall, it was a good book. It ended up not being overly romantic (at least not to me). The writing was good, not great. I think this is a book you could read any time of the year, not just at Christmas.

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