Saturday, November 27, 2010

Review - Part 2B : Vixen - Speak Low by Jillian Larkin

*Warning: This review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.
Release Date: December 14, 2010
Publisher: Ember
Release Date: August 9, 2011
Pages: 448
Source: First Look, Barnes and Noble*

*This ARC was provided by Barnes and Noble and reviewers were asked to review it in parts.

My Review Part 2B: One word: DUCKY*

For the 1920's meaning of "Ducky" look it up under "D": HERE

Can I get a “Let’s go VIXEN!”? I have to say it Jillian Larkin, you did a fine job in penning VIXEN and I cannot wait for INGENUE. And that is saying something because generally I stay away from era literature; it’s not really my interest. But I’m glad I was allowed to be a part of First Look: VIXEN.

I thought to mention how no matter what era we live in, doesn’t it same like we, as people and individuals, live the same problems continuously. For example, how many times have to felt suffocated by your circumstances and wanted to break away to become your own person – like Gloria? How many times have you tried to repent and redeem what goodness you had left to become a better person than you were, to start fresh – like Clara? Can you count the times that you whined then plotted because the grass looked greener on someone else lawn – like Lorraine?

VIXEN closed on a high note – which I am happy to say. So I think that its sequel will be juicy to say the least. There are so many possibilities that I cannot wait to see unfold as I become consumed in the pages. Will Lorraine give in to the toxic Carlito? Or will she evolve into an entirely new character that will shock us all? What about Clara and her uncovered secrets? Where will they lead her and Marcus? Is Harris gone for good or is he willing to do anything to resurrect Flapper Clara? Will Bastian be able to slither his way out of a murder verdict? What’ll happen to Vera; how is her character going to be portrayed in INGENUE? Will she -- a black woman -- be able to convince the racist "justice" system to convict a privileged white man of high society of murder even with the smoking gun as evidence? Last but not least, what is going to amount of the taboo interracial couple, musician Jerome and starlit Gloria? Will their love survive the turmoil; outlast social snubbing, or just the plain ol’ everyday hardship of living – in NYC to boot?

INGENUE has an insurmountable number of possibilities for the road around in The Flappers series. Heartbreak, betrayal, coming into adulthood, treachery, murder, redemption. All the world of possibilities. What will happen next?

I look forward to reading INGENUE. Keep up the good work J. Larkin!

Rating: FOUR Gold Stars!!!!

Memorable Quotes:

Marcus and Clara:

He smiled in a maddening way and took her wrist again in his hand. “I want you. Clara, will you” – he paused, his finger poised on the clasp of the bracelet. “Will you move to New York with me next summer? After I graduate.”
“What?” Clara sprang up from the bed. She wished more than anything that she weren’t dressed in a towel. “Is this some kind of joke?”
“Clara,” Marcus said, exasperated, “if I don’t act now I may never see you again.”
“Did you not hear what Lorraine said last night? Don’t you know what this means for my reputation in Chicago? New York? And, frankly, everywhere?”
“I don’t care what you did or didn’t do before me. I just care about you, now. I love you. I’m in love with you, Clara,” Marcus said, pulling her back down to the bed so that she was practically sitting on his lap. “I had some time to think about everything. And the thing is, when I imagined what my life would be like without you, well ... I didn’t see anything at all.”
– Page 390 - 391

Vera and Bastian:

“I don’t give a damn about Gloria,” Bastian said. “It’s her money I want to marry.”
Vera couldn’t stay in this apartment for another second, for fear of doing something she might regret. “You won’t get her or her money. I’ll make sure of that.”
Bastian smiled wickedly. “And how are you going to do that?”
Vera opened the door, looked back at Bastian, and smiled, because she knew what he did not: that she had his smoking gun tucked away in her purse, linking him to the murder outside her brother’s apartment.
“Just you wait and see,” Vera said.
– Page 421

***Check out Jillian Larkin's website for more information about her and VIXEN: HERE
***My review is in a 4 part series: 1A1Band 2A***

Happy Reading!

Wither Dilemma

I have a dilemma... There is a YA book I am DYING to read! It is WITHER by Lauren Destefano.
Release Date: March 22, 2011
The Story:

What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant she trusts, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.
356 pages
Published by Simon & Schuster

--via Star Book Tours
So please, if anyone finds a way I can get my hands on this book I would be much obliged.

Review : Fallen Angel by Heather Terrell

*Warning: This review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Release Date: January 4, 2011
Source: ARC Tour

The Story:

The first book in a dark, edgy new angel series about a girl who finds herself forced to choose sides in the battle between fallen angels, even if that means going against the boy she loves.

When Ellie Faneuil first sees Michael Chase she feels an instantaneous connection. But she does not realize how much they have in common, including the ability fly and to see what others are thinking - not to mention a taste for blood. Reveling in their new powers and their growing feelings for each other, Ellie and Michael are determined to uncover what they are, and how they got this way ... together.

But the truth has repercussions neither could have imagined. Soon they find themselves center stage in an ancient conflict between fallen angels that threatens to destroy everything they love. And it is no longer clear whether Ellie and Michael will choose the same side.

In this electrifying novel Heather Terrell spins a gripping tale of soul-mates, supernatural powers and a truth that will change Ellie and Michael‘s world forever.

--via Star Book Tours


My Review: One word: OTHERWORLDLY

In Fallen Angel, Ellspeth "Ellie" Faneuil is a teenager leading a simple life whose parents, Professors Hannah and Daniel, specialize in organic farming and dragging her all around the world every summer to promote earth-friendly ways for increasing production by teaching local farmers’ methods. Her “such attractive parents” give a whole new definition to the term “going green.” But then one day Ellie notices the new guy in school -- "tall, impossibly blond-haired" with unsettling pale green eyes -- leaning against a door frame, watching her. And the moment she lays her eyes on Michael Chase events are set into place that will change Ellie's life forever.
Ellie isn’t who she thought she was and there is only one other person in the world who is just like her. Michael. Michael claims to have met Ellie three summers prior during a mission but she can’t conjure up a single memory of their time spent in Guatemala and her parents’ odd reaction to her inquiry about Michael and his parents raises further questions about who – or what --she really is and how they are all involved.

Michael and Ellie share more in common than their unusually pale eyes, eco-friendly professor parents but their supernatural “gifts” as well, so Michael believes they’re destined to be together. “Ellie, I told you that you were different. We are different. And that difference means we are meant for each other” [Michael to Ellie, Page 68]. But life doesn’t always turn out how you plan and their love is put to the test when the evil fallen angel Ezekiel – also known as Zeke – shows up in Tillinghast, Maine looking for them. Apparently Michael and Ellie aren’t the only ones with powers and secrets to hide.

In an effort to keep those she loves safe and reveal the truth about what she really is, Ellie goes to Harvard University in search of the Professor McMaster, who is not only a vampire believer and enthusiast but an “expert” in the origins of vampires and other supernatural beings. While at Harvard waiting for a meeting with Professor McMaster Ellie does some research on her own in the Andover-Harvard Theological Library. During her visit she discovers the Book of Enoch and how the pages foretell the origins of her unraveling life. However, the book raises more questions than it answers. Questions that aren't answered until Michael and Ellie's final showdown with the evil Ezekiel. Are you dying to know what happens? What Michael and Ellieare are? Then read Fallen Angel and be prepared to be sucked into another world full of fallen angels where choosing between good and bad isn't always easy.

Heather Terrell’s ethereal tale of fated love, bloodlust and supernatural “gifts” and of course, the age old battle between good and evil will continue in Eternity – to be released in Summer 2011. With that, I leave you with this: “Feels like London out today, doesn’t it?” [page 309].

Here is some of my favorite quotes from Fallen Angel:

Michael & Ellie:

"Have you ever sensed that you were different from other people?"
I had to laugh again, and not just because he was acting so melodramatic. Looking up at him, I answered honestly. "If by ‘different’ you mean more awkward than most people, then yes.”
“Awkward? You’re kidding, right?”
I shook my head. Even though I found my gawkiness funny sometimes, I definitely wasn’t kidding.
“If you’re really serious, then you’ve got to understand that you are the only one who sees you that way. Everyone else sees you as smart and intimidating and worldly and pretty.” --Pages 65-66

Michael to Ellie:

“If only you could see how beautiful and unique you really are,” Michael said, and leaned in to kiss me. – Page 19

***Check out Heather Terrell's website for more information about her: HERE

Happy Reading!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Review - Part 2A : Vixen - Speak Low by Jillian Larkin

*Warning: This review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.
Release Date: December 14, 2010
Publisher: Ember
Release Date: August 9, 2011
Pages: 448
Source: First Look, Barnes and Noble*

*This ARC was provided by Barnes and Noble and reviewers were asked to review it in parts.

My Review Part 2A: One Word: SWELL

For the 1920's meaning of "Swell" look it up under "S": HERE

Roaring Love! Part two of VIXEN, Speak Low, was definitely all about love; Falling in love, and falling out of love in the Roaring 20s. Case in point, I have to say I do not believe that there are no regrets with love. I also think it is important to love in your lifetime and not be scared or embarrassed to love. But I do say that even if you really love someone that you can still harbor regrets. Take for instance a couple that fell in love at a young age and grew up to fast – having children or getting married too young – while they may truly love each other one or both persons may regret not doing certain things – graduating from college, traveling or just going out and having fun while they were young -- or rushing into the life they willfully chose instead of waiting a few more years.

However, I do agree with Clara when she stated that even if the love turns out badly it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll regret it. For one example, falling in love with the “wrong” person – whether wrong entirely or just wrong for you – can teach a person a lot about themselves. Self evolution can be a monumental result of falling in love with the wrong person – or any person for that matter. Falling in love can reveal what qualities you desire and deserve in a companion, make you grateful for the people you have in your life who already love you and those who will possibly love you in the future. The experience can make you stronger, as well as better equipped to handle loving someone – good or bad – or being loved by someone the next time around. But most of all, falling in love can teach you one of the most essential lessons on love: how to love yourself.

With all this talk about VIXEN love I just realized that Clara and Marcus are my favorite love couple. The ex-playgirl falls for the playboy. So does Clara falling for yet another playboy, Marcus, show readers that she hasn’t indeed changed? Is that a bad thing? Vixen love couple number two is – drum roll please -- ... Jerome and Gloria. They take second place since I am pos-i-lute-ly interested in seeing where their prohibited love will lead them. “Romeo and Juliet” finally took hold of their lives and didn’t continue to let ignorant society, controlling family or disproving friends dictate who they should love, what they should do about their love, where and when they can love and why they should or shouldn’t love the person they love. I think Jerome and Gloria deserve laurels for that!

On that note, so Lorraine didn’t spill the beans to Bastian about Gloria’s secret. I have to say, I am ... not surprised. While Lorraine can be a bit on the distasteful side I never suspected her of betraying Gloria beyond her kiss with Bastian. She was absolutely distraught about that kiss so I had my doubts about her ratting Gloria out and she genuinely seems to want Gloria to be her best friend again – not break ties. Besides although I think Lorraine may be a villain in the making she is still in the developmental stages.

Memorable Quotes:

Clara and Marcus:

“‘Hello there, handsome,’ Clara said, tugging at his silk tie.
He kissed her on the cheek. ‘Don’t think I didn’t see your little pose over there, Miss Clara. Did they teach you in Pennsylvania how to make those sultry eyes for the camera?’
‘Marcus! Don’t you dare say that dirty word here,’ she said, taking a sip of his seltzer.
‘I wasn’t aware that sultry was a dirty word.’
‘I meant Pennsylvania.” – Page 345

***My review is in a 4 part series: 1A1Band 2B***

Happy Reading!

Pages to Screen : Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1

Release Date: November 19, 2010

Directed by: David Yates
Screenplay written by: Steve Kloves
Based on: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint

So like many I have been a Harry Potter fan for many years and yesterday I had the chance to see the first half of the seventh installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Here are my two overall thoughts:

1. The film was amazing!
2. You have to watch it.

I truly believe that it does not matter what age group you fall in -- young, old or somewhere in between -- chances are you will enjoy it. Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters are as evil as ever, Hermione and Ron (my absolute favorite character by the way) are as marvelously functionally dysfunctional as ever, Harry Potter is as Harry Potter as ever, and so on. The graphics are phenomenal. The cast's acting was superb. And that is all I will say; You have to go watch the film and see for yourself.

With that said, I salute David Yates for yet another smashing job done with a Harry Potter film.

Happy Reading!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Review - Part 1B : Vixen - Speakeasy by Jillian Larkin

*Warning: This review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Publisher: Ember
Release Date: August 9, 2011
Pages: 448
Source: First Look, Barnes and Noble*

*This ARC was provided by Barnes and Noble and reviewers were asked to review it in parts.

My Review Part 1B: One Word: HOTSY-TOTSY

For the 1920's meaning of "Hotsy-Totsy" look it up under "H": HERE

Yes, the second half of VIXEN's Part I contains plenty of action and surprises.

As luck would have it I do believe our playboy, Marcus Eastman, is indeed genuinely falling for Clara. But is it Clara or Country Clara? Does it matter? Will the gorgeous Marcus get a dose of his own medicine and have his heart broken by the ex-flapper Country Clara and her secrets? Speaking of Clara’s closet of skeletons, I wonder who’s sending her the creepy notes. My majority guess was the notes’ sender was the guy back in NYC who shattered her. But then again I thought maybe it could have been a jealous psycho debutante out for revenge on the up and coming Country Clara? Though as the book continued Clara finally had a rather interesting encountered with a mister Harris Brown -- the creepy note sender in the flesh.

So Clara isn’t the only VIXEN girl living a double-life. Gloria seems to be coming into her own. I mean she’s falling for Jerome, a black man – talk about taboo in the Roaring 20s, converting into a full-fledged flapper, sneaking out of the house, and starting a “career” as a speakeasy singer. Gloria definitely gives a 360 degree transformation a whole new definition. But let’s get back to Jerome, the Mr. Hot & Cold, I think he can handle himself so why is Vera – his sister – so protective of him? Is it justifiable? Well I think Vera is the way she is plain and simple: Gloria is a white girl. And for a black man in their time to be consorting with a white woman could get Jerome killed and I take it that he is probably the only family Vera has left. On that note I think it is justifiable for Vera to be protective of her brother. Nonetheless, how much longer do you think Vera can protect Jerome from the alluring hold that is Gloria? Watch out the elite and the oblique of Chicago, here comes Gloria Carm – oops – Gloria Carson!

Poor girl Lorraine does it again ... and again ... and yes you’ve guessed it, again. Illegal drinks with Carlito Macharelli and late night visits with Sebastian Grey that just may have included a leak about Gloria’s stage time at the Green Mill.

Memorable Quotes:

Clara and Marcus:

“’You left me with quite the first impression,’ Clara said, trying not to reveal too much. ‘I’m still not over it.’
‘You mean you found me irresistibly attractive?’
‘More like irredeemably aggressive.’
‘I thought I redeemed myself after our date!’ Marcus protested, sliding down to the floor and leaning against the bed.” – Page 209

***My review is in a 4 part series: 1A, 2Aand 2B***

Happy Reading!

Friday, November 12, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2010

Review - Part 1A : Vixen - Speakeasy by Jillian Larkin

*Warning: This review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.

: Ember
Release Date: August 9, 2011
Pages: 448
Source: First Look, Barnes and Noble*

*This ARC was provided by Barnes and Noble and reviewers were asked to review it in parts.

The Story:

Jazz . . . Booze . . . Boys . . . It’s a dangerous combination.

Every girl wants what she can’t have. Seventeen-year-old Gloria Carmody wants the flapper lifestyle—and the bobbed hair, cigarettes, and music-filled nights that go with it. Now that she’s engaged to Sebastian Grey, scion of one of Chicago’s most powerful families, Gloria’s party days are over before they’ve even begun . . . or are they?

Clara Knowles, Gloria’s goody-two-shoes cousin, has arrived to make sure the high-society wedding comes off without a hitch—but Clara isn’t as lily-white as she appears. Seems she has some dirty little secrets of her own that she’ll do anything to keep hidden. . . .

Lorraine Dyer, Gloria’s social-climbing best friend, is tired of living in Gloria’s shadow. When Lorraine’s envy spills over into desperate spite, no one is safe. And someone’s going to be very sorry. . . .

From debut author Jillian Larkin, VIXEN is the first novel in the sexy, dangerous, and ridiculously romantic new series set in the Roaring Twenties . . . when anything goes.

-Barnes and Noble

My Review Part 1 A: One Word: COPACETIC

For the 1920's meaning of "Copacetic" look it up under "C": HERE

First off, I really quite enjoyed VIXEN and look forward to reading its sequel, INGENUE. Thanks to Jillian Larkin I am now bug-eyed and foaming at the mouth for the next book of The Flappers series.

Section 1: So now on to the discussion. Sarah, I have to agree with you when you stated that: “Each of the characters seems to be trying to change their lives by manipulating their image.” Gloria is the every-mother-wishes-she-had-me-as-a-daughter bored with her life and following the rules. Although Gloria sometimes rubs me the wrong way I still say: Go get ‘em girl. Reading her chapters were a bit empowering. Although she may be na├»ve about the real world and plunging off the deep end a little too quickly – is there any other way to do it – it’s refreshing to see a character growing into her own after a lifetime of jumping through loops of fire, “Yes, mother” and “Sure mother, I’ll marry any guy you choose for me so he can take over the reins of controlling my life where you left off while I sit pretty without any qualms.” Very refreshing indeed.

Lorraine, Lorraine, Lorraine... I have to admit, my heart does go out to this character. She’s so lost in life it draws a sigh from my chest every time I think about her character. Don’t get me wrong, Lorraine’s character is quite interesting and has tremendous potential at being a great villain – I can’t wait to see if she’ll grow into herself or just the spawn of jealous, parent-issues, being misunderstood, love deprived and gift-wrapped as a teenage girl. As Lisa Desrochers wrote (give or take): “Circumstances – especially extenuating ones -- dictate action” [Personal Demons, page 230].

My, my Country Clara; have we skeletons in our closet? Clara is the epitome of a good-girl-gone-bad-reformed. Aside from being a born-again flapper trying to successfully complete her sentence in Chicago as Country Clara I wondered what the secret she doesn’t want anyone – not a single soul – to discover. I think I have a few ideas? You?

Section 2: “You're here because you think it makes you free” [Jerome to Gloria]. I believe that this quote defines the whole essence – soul -- of the book, VIXEN. Gloria – especially Gloria, Clara and Lorraine are all trying to accomplish one goal. And that one goal boils down to one thing: being free. Gloria wants to be free of her measured, puppeteered life. Clara wants to be free of her haunting past. And Lorraine wants to be free of her role as the overlooked best friend – free from being in the shadow of her shining star best friend Gloria.

With that said, here is my favorite tidbit from Part I of VIXEN, Speakeasy through to page 144:

“‘I’m Gloria Car – Gloria Carson, from a hick town so hick I moved to Chicago just to find out what a gin tasted like. And to become a famous singer. Which means” – she batted her lashes coyly at the trumpet player – “I hope to God I can carry a tune. Otherwise, what the hell am I doing here?’” – page 107.

***My review is in a 4 part series: 1B2A and 2B***

Happy Reading!