Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Books to Love, Read and Lust After...

In keeping with the spirit of The August Break, I thought I'd share some of the books I've enjoyed this summer.  So without further ado...


Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins 
Anna Oliphant has big plans for her senior year in Atlanta: hang out with her best friend, Bridgette, and flirt with her coworker at the Royal Midtown 14 multiplex. So she is none too happy when her father sends her off to boarding school in Paris. However, things begin to look up when she meets √Čtienne St. Clair, a gorgeous guy–with a girlfriend. As he and Anna become closer friends, things get infinitely more complicated. Will Anna get her French kiss? Or are some things just not meant to be? 
I absolutely adored this book!  Recently convinced my sister to buy it as well, and she kept calling me to sigh over St. Clair or laugh at Stephanie's humor. (especially at Nicholas Sparks expense) When I asked Manda if she had finished the book, she sheepishly told me she had started reading it again.  This book also afforded me my favorite line from a book ever! (I literally couldn't stop laughing)  "____ is an insensitive douchebag motherhumping assclown"  So random and wonderful!




Nightshade by AndreaCremer
Calla Tor is the alpha female of her werewolf pack and is destined to wed the alpha male, Ren Laroche. While in the woods, she spares the life of Shay, the new boy at school whom she just can't resist, and this act violates the laws of the Keepers. This may all seem familiar but what makes Nightshade new and refreshing is that the packs are ruled by the Keepers, who appear to be witches.
Honestly, I think this is one of the best werewolf series on the market.  This book pulled me in from page one, and didn't let go.  The hardest decision ever..Ren or Shay?






Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
Sixteen-year-old Evie learns that she is not quite the person she thought she was in this creature-feature mash-up. Possessing the unique ability to recognize paranormals beneath their glamour, Evie has lived most of her life under the protection of the International Paranormal Containment Agreement (IPCA), an organization dedicated to the cataloging and neutralizing of paranormal creatures. After a mysterious entity begins killing paranormals around the world, Evie discovers some startling truths about her own identity. This is a fast-paced, entertaining debut, reminiscent of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series in its story of a seemingly normal girl coerced to work for a supernatural agenda that she doesn’t always understand.
I picked this book up a year ago for the beautiful cover, and was instantly converted into a Kiersten White fan!  I love the humor and wit of this story.  Not to mention giving us the phrase, "Oh Bleep!" 


Passion by Lauren Kate
Luce would die for Daniel.
And she has. Over and over again. Throughout time, Luce and Daniel have found each other, only to be painfully torn apart: Luce dead, Daniel left broken and alone. But perhaps it doesn’t need to be that way. . . .
Luce is certain that something—or someone—in a past life can help her in her present one. So she begins the most important journey of this lifetime . . . going back eternities to witness firsthand her romances with Daniel . . . and finally unlock the key to making their love last.
Cam and the legions of angels and Outcasts are desperate to catch Luce, but none are as frantic as Daniel. He chases Luce through their shared pasts, terrified of what might happen if she rewrites history.
Because their romance for the ages could go up in flames . . . forever.

This is by far my favorite fallen angel series.  Lauren Kate only gets better with every novel.  I am anxiously awaiting Rapture.


Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

How do you defy destiny?
Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it's getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she's haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they're destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.
As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart.
I really loved this book.  I loved the mixture of Greek mythology with modern times.  This was an excellent debut novel and I can't wait to read more of Josephine Angelini's work.

Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Imagine leaving everything behind in order to be with the people you love, only to be left with nothing. Amy and her parents have been cryogenically frozen to be awakened in 300 years when their spaceship reaches the planet they will colonize. Unfortunately, Amy is unfrozen 50 years too soon. Her parents are too critical to the colony to awaken early, so by the time she sees them again, she will be older than they are. The culture on the spaceship is unfamiliar and everyone Amy meets is either an emotionless drone or lives in the mental ward. But there is little time for her to grieve the loss of her former life, because someone is thawing other colonists and leaving them to die. In order to find the murderer, Amy must join forces with Elder, the teenage future leader of the ship. But all of the inhabitants onboard have been told lies, and there are secrets that even Elder doesn't know.
I was a bit iffy about this book, and kept putting off reading it.  Boy was I wrong!  It was magical and creepy, claustrophobic and imaginative.  I couldn't put it down, and am eagerly awaiting the sequel.  I must know what happens!


Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
As if adolescence isn’t enough, California girl Clara has recently begun to come into her powers as a Quartarius, a quarter-angel. Her half-angel single mother lends support, helping to puzzle through visions that reveal tantalizing portions of Clara’s “purpose.” The visions’ clues—a forest fire, license plate, and boy in a black fleece jacket—lead the family to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. There, on Clara’s first day of school, she meets her destiny: A-list football player Christian, the boy of the vision. She also makes friends with two very different girls: easygoing, horse-crazy Wendy, and intense loner Angela. It’s Wendy’s twin brother, Tucker, though, who begins to drive the plot, unwittingly seeming to change Clara’s purpose.
I really loved this book, and not just for its purple cover.  It really was an excellent angel book (finally not about fallen angels), and it was masterfully woven. 


Dead Rules by Randy Russell
Jana Webster and Michael Haynes were in love. They were destined to be together forever.
But Jana's destiny was fatally flawed. And now she's in Dead School, where Mars Dreamcote lurks in the back of the classroom, with his beguiling blue eyes, mysterious smile, and irresistibly warm touch.
Michael and Jana were incomplete without each other. There was no room for Mars in Jana's life—or death—story. Jana was sure Michael would rush to her side soon.
But things aren't going according to Jana's plan. So Jana decides to do whatever it takes to make her dreams come true—no matter what rules she has to break.
I just finished this last night, and it was creepily wonderful.  I loved the decriptions of the students of dead school, even the ones that creeped me out.  This book kept me hanging by a thread, and I couldn't put it down.  I really, really hope Randy Russell has a sequel in the works!


If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle 
Forman
The last normal moment that Mia, a talented cellist, can remember is being in the car with her family. Then she is standing outside her body beside their mangled Buick and her parents' corpses, watching herself and her little brother being tended by paramedics. As she ponders her state (Am I dead? I actually have to ask myself this), Mia is whisked away to a hospital, where, her body in a coma, she reflects on the past and tries to decide whether to fight to live. Via Mia's thoughts and flashbacks, Forman (Sisters in Sanity) expertly explores the teenager's life, her passion for classical music and her strong relationships with her family, friends and boyfriend, Adam.







In the three years since the tragic accident Mia barely survived in If I Stay, she and high school ex-boyfriend Adam have lived separate lives on opposite coasts. But then Adam, now the dissatisfied front man of popular LA-based band Collateral Damage, stops over in New York City for one night before kicking off the European leg of his tour. It happens to be the same evening that Mia, now well on her way to becoming a renowned cellist, is performing at Carnegie Hall. Adam buys a ticket, planning to slip in and out, but Mia spots him and for the first time in years they’re face-to-face with each other and their shared past. Over the course of one evening, as Adam and Mia traverse the city’s streets, they relive the four days Mia spent in the intensive care unit as well as her departure to Juilliard and from the life she knew. 
I'm combining If I Stay and Where She Went, because together they make a beautiful and compelling combo.  These books moved me.  They tormented and beguiled me.  In fact I think that they will haunt me forever, in a good way, if that makes sense.  In other words, Gayle Forman is a genius!


Don't Stop Now by Julie Halpern
On the first day of Lillian’s summer-before-college, she gets a message on her cell from her sort-of friend, Penny. Not only has Penny faked her own kidnapping, but Lil is the only one who figures it out. She knows that Penny’s home life has been rough, and that her boyfriend may be abusive. Soon, Penny’s family, the local police, and even the FBI are grilling Lil, and she decides to head out to Oregon, where Penny has mentioned an acquaintance. And who better to road-trip across the country with than Lil’s BFF, Josh. But here’s the thing: Lil loves Josh. And Josh doesn’t want to “ruin” their amazing friendship.Josh has a car and his dad’s credit card. Lil has her cellphone and a hunch about where Penny is hiding. There’s something else she needs to find: Are she and Josh meant to be together?
Next to Anna and the French Kiss, this is by far one of my favorite contemporary YA novels.  It was such a fun and easy read.  It makes me sad to think that I would never had heard or purchased this book without incentive from Natalie Whipple. 

Currently on my TBR pile

Illusions by Aprilynne Pike
Laurel hasn't seen Tamani since she begged him to let her go last year.  Though her heart still aches, Laurel is confident that David was the right choice.  But just as life returns to normal, Laurel realizes that a hidden enemy lies in wait.  Once again, Laurel must turn to Tamani to protect and guide her, for the danger that now threatens Avalon is one that no faerie thought would ever be possible.  And for the first time, Laurel cannot be sure that her side will prevail.







Wildefire by Karsten Knight
Ashline Wilde is having a rough sophomore year. She’s struggling to find her place as the only Polynesian girl in school, her boyfriend just cheated on her, and now her runaway sister, Eve, has decided to barge back into her life. When Eve’s violent behavior escalates and she does the unthinkable, Ash transfers to a remote private school nestled in California’s redwoods, hoping to put the tragedy behind her. But her fresh start at Blackwood Academy doesn’t go as planned. Just as Ash is beginning to enjoy the perks of her new school—being captain of the tennis team, a steamy romance with a hot, local park ranger—Ash discovers that a group of gods and goddesses have mysteriously enrolled at Blackwood…and she’s one of them. To make matters worse, Eve has resurfaced to haunt Ash, and she’s got some strange abilities of her own. With a war between the gods looming over campus, Ash must master the new fire smoldering within before she clashes with her sister one more time… And when warm and cold fronts collide, there’s guaranteed to be a storm.


Supernaturally by Kiersten White
Evie finally has the normal life she’s always longed for. But she’s shocked to discover that being ordinary can be... kind of boring. Just when Evie starts to long for her days at the International Paranormal Containment Agency, she’s given a chance to work for them again. Desperate for a break from all the normalcy, she agrees.
But as one disastrous mission leads to another, Evie starts to wonder if she made the right choice. And when Evie’s faerie ex-boyfriend Reth appears with devastating revelations about her past, she discovers that there’s a battle brewing between the faerie courts that could throw the whole supernatural world into chaos. The prize in question? Evie herself.

Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer
This thrilling sequel to the much-talked-about Nightshade begins just where it ended-Calla Tor wakes up in the lair of the Searchers, her sworn enemy, and she's certain her days are numbered. But then the Searchers make her an offer-one that gives her the chance to destroy her former masters and save the pack-and the man-she left behind. Is Ren worth the price of her freedom? And will Shay stand by her side no matter what? Now in control of her own destiny, Calla must decide which battles are worth fighting and how many trials true love can endure and still survive.






Fallen Eden by Nicole Williams (indie author-kindle)
If happily ever after were a place, twenty-year-old Bryn Dawson would be on the farthest planet from it.
Reduced to stolen glances and secret meetings as they await a Betrothal the Council is bent on stalling, William and Bryn have to settle for happily right now, but with a man like William Hayward at her side, Bryn’s hardly settling.
The day John Townsend sends an army of Immortal mercenaries intent on destroying everyone Bryn loves, she must make the decision generations of star-crossed lovers before her have—live alone or die together. William’s made his decision, Bryn’s the one fate’s waiting on.
But fate will only wait so long until it makes the decision for her.



Books I'm Lusting For




Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
For budding costume designer Lola Nolan, the more outrageous, the outfit - more sparkly, more fun, more wild - the better. But even though Lola's style is outrageous, she's a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins move back into the house next door.

When the family returns and Cricket - a gifted inventor and engineer - steps out from his twin sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.







Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
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?



The Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
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.

Crewel by Gennifer Albin ;)
Incapable. Awkward. Artless.
That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: she wants to fail.
Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But if controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.
Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her--tonight.
Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her Dad’s stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape. Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.




Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
When alchemist Sydney is ordered into hiding to protect the life of Moroi princess Jill Dragomir, the last place she expects to be sent is a human private school in Palm Springs, California. But at their new school, the drama is only just beginning.












The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa


























All descriptions were taken from amazon, book flaps, and blogs

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The August Break 2011...



It's The August Break 2011— an opportunity for bloggers to express themselves in photography for a month. I've adapted this from Stephanie Perkins blog.   It's a low pressure way to express yourself on your blog, and if you're interested, you should adapt it too.

Today I'm going to share the utter genius that is Tim Walker.  He is my favorite photographer, and his work is a beautiful blend of romance, whimsy, fantasy, and a wonderful touch of weird.  I hope you enjoy his images as much as I do. I am secretly coveting his book...must put on wish list.  Please be forewarned that there are an exorbitant number of photos, because they were just too hard to narrow down.  Thankfully I'm better at editing my manuscript.  

P.S. Don't say I didn't warn you...













































There were so many other great photos of his that I'd love to share, but  I didn't want to over fangirl anyone.  So if you like him, let me know!  Oh and definitely look up his other work....fantastic!

Till next time...