Monday, May 21, 2012

The Shapeshifter’s Secret by Heather Ostler

                Yeah!  I finally finished another book.  This book is an ARC from and Cedar Fort and comes out June 12, 2012.  The Shapeshifter's Secret by Heather Ostler is the first in a new series and is a mystical story about magic and go figure shape shifters werecats to be more precise.  Yes werecats.  All different kinds of cats too from jaguars and panthers to tigers, and yes speaking to my favorite animal a white tiger.  I have always loved white tigers, they are so beautiful and powerful its amazing, I love most of the while cats for that same reason but what can I say the white tiger just speaks to something in me.

                So yep I’m a sucker for something that speaks to me.  And lets face it who hasn’t wondered what animal they would be if they could turn into one.  Yep mine has always been a white tiger or a wolf, part of me would want to fly as well but as I’m sorta anti birds that doesn’t fit too well.  Check one for a concept that intrigues me.  Now don’t fret if werecats are not your speed there are other mystical type people/types as well and that part is important however the story is focused solidly in the human form.

                Now the story centers around a girl Julia and how her entire life has been a lie.  Yep she never knew she was from a different world or that she had special…abilities.  Now thrust into a world she only just found out about, she comes to learn more about herself and her past that she ever dreamed.  The world at war, her life in constant danger, and trying to survive school, yep you bet things are hard. 

                One thing I really liked about this book was how the shifter changes from human to werecat.  They simply become the animal, no shredding of clothing or anything like that which to me is super cool and makes for less distraction.  So many times do I wonder when reading a book or seeing a movie where the person shifts or something and rips their clothes then poof later they have them on.  Okay normally I just give them the benefit of the doubt and even with Twilight Jacob carried around shorts but to me this just makes things way easier and less confusing.  Plus come on who wants to shift back to human form and be all naked?

                What else?  Well I like that there are different characteristics for the different characters.  Julia had her moments where I thought, ‘seriously? That’s so stupid’ but hey she’s a teenager she’s bound to make mistakes.  Still she learns and she tries to take care of the people she cares about even when her own life is muddy.  Sierra, is colorful and made me laugh.  She was a bookworm but she wasn’t shy she was bold and out there.  Caleb and Terrance, both good but you also have a feeling throughout, or at least I did, that something is going on that isn’t being told.

                Romance.  Sure the romance in this book was substantially more subtle than what I usually read and I was okay with that.  It was there and although it wasn’t the center point I felt I got enough of it that I could see it.  The brief encounters and stolen moments to me made it all the more romantic and also leaves things open also.  Not there is also some fighting, there is a war going on after all.  All be it not too much fighting is presented in the book but what was there I liked.

                So what did I think of this book overall?  I liked it.  I give it 4.5 stars.  I won’t life before I read this book I read a review where someone compared it to Harry Potter because it involves school in a castle and magic.  Okay sure there are a few similarities here and there but come on, just because a school takes place in a castle or there is magic doesn’t mean its related.  Every book has similarities to something else, that’s just a fact.  So yeah I enjoyed some of the things I liked about Harry Potter were in here, a castle.  Come on that’s just cool and spooky.  I personally have always wanted to visit a real castle with its haunted past and possible hidden passages.  Cool right.  Magic…enough said magic is magic and always cool.  Friendship, duh that’s important in any book if you ask me.  The real point is that I enjoyed it.  I had a good time reading this book and when I was finished I wanted to read more and that is in my book the most important part.

                Again The Shapeshifter’s Secret by Heather Ostler comes out June 12th.  So what would your werecat be?  Leave a comment and share I would be a white tiger (if you hadn’t guessed), I want to know about you.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

RTW: What Book Brings Back memories?

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing or reading related question and answer it on our own blogs.  You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

This weeks topic:
What book brings back memories?

                Wow this is hard because every book I read I have some memory of it and something clicks when I read it or think of it again.  So there are so many books to choose from.  I grew up and learned to read on Goosebumps, I read a lot as a kid but then took years off only reading when I had to.  I could pick Twilight, because it was the first book I read and fell in love with again as an adult and revived my love for reading.

                So many options.  So after some internal debate I’m going with White Fang.  Yep this is one of the last books I remember reading for fun when I was in…okay I want to say 4th grade but my past time memory is kinda iffy.  Anyways I remember reading this book multiple times and crying each time.  I would hide with my copy (I ended up having more than one as they got damaged) in the corner of the empty class room before school, as I hid from the morning games to read.  Or take it with me to my favorite climbing trees on the property way out in the woods that the only sounds were of nature and climb to my special spot.  Though, for safety reasons please head my warning climbing down a tree while eyes are still blurry from tears is not a safe thing, thankfully my butt broke my fall each time.

                I haven’t read this book in so long now that I couldn’t begin to tell you everything that happens or why I love it but just thinking about it makes me think of Zeus.  He was the family dog and back then he was young but would always follow me when I was on the 3-wheeler and went out.  My loyal companion content to just lay next to the tree while I read, though he was smart enough to move away when I made my descent.  He was a German Shepherd mixed with Chow and he looked to me kinda like a wolf.  He made it even more special.  He passed away of old age just over a year ago and well now thinking about this I really want to re-read this book again. 

                There you have my book memory.  Care to share your own?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Dark Shadows Review

                Before I go a little dark (start my new job Monday and have to get back into the swing of things) I have another review for you.  This time it’s a movie, Dark Shadows¸ to be precise.  Now I will admit I have heard of the old TV show but as I was not born I didn’t watch it.  So I am unable to compare the two as I’m sure some of the fans might. 

                First let me say that Johnny Depp and Tim Burton make some seriously strange movies together.  I mean strange in a good way.  They are unique and different and you do remember them.  Simply put I give this movie a solid 4 Stars because it was entertaining.  It had some laughs (as witnessed in the trailer), some serious moments, and even some life lessons if you listen.

                This is the story of Barnabas Collins.  He has the bad luck of upsetting a witch, hell hath no furry like a woman scorned well even more so when she’s a witch.  So Angelique, played by Eva Green, is the evil vengeful witch and she curses Barnabas making him a vampire.  This is old school vampire too, pale with no reflection, catches fire in the sun and so on.  Well Barnabas is locked away for 200 years and when he emerges he comes to his family home once again.  He finds his ‘distant’ relatives and others living there and he wants to revive the family home and business but Angelique has other plans.

                Still after all these years Angelique is here being everything to the town that the Collins used to be keeping the curse on the Collins family.  Alone with his family there is also a doppelganger of the only woman he ever loved there playing Governess to the youngest Collin. 

                The movie is basically centered around Barnabas trying to find happiness in family and even love again while trying to keep the witch from causing further harm.  It was fun.  I don’t know if I’d be ready to watch it again in the next week or so but it was cute.  I will say that at parts of the movie it is hard to hear what is being said as the background music (all be it fun and in era) is too loud and drowns out words.  I enjoyed it.  The cast was great each played their parts, Johnny Depp was amazing some of his lines I give him props because I would not have been able to not bust up laughing saying them, then again that’s why I’m not an actress.  Still he did a good job in my opinion of giving Barnabas Collins depth.  Also special note of Eva Green who played the vengeful and obsessive with great flare, she was enchanting.  As mentioned some fun laughs and as for life lessons…well it’s all about family and fighting on through the hardships. 

                So there you have it.  If you like a bit of strangeness then go out and see Dark Shadows.  As always let me know what you think below.

Rating:  4 Stars 


Friday, May 11, 2012

Wilde’s Fire- Krystal Wade

                So first I have some good news.  As many of you know from my comments and such I’ve been unemployed for almost a year but I got found something yesterday.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it works out so yeah!  This will also cut into my reading/writing time but that’s okay I will make it work.

                That being said on to business.  I just finished reading Wilde’s Fire by Krystal Wade thanks to (lot’s of my books are coming from this wonderful sight as of late) and Curiosity Quills Press.  This book is set for release May 13, 2012 and I give it 5 stars.  Okay so since I find myself unable to write a brief summary of this book without giving away too much or speeding past brief this is the summary from good reads:

Katriona Wilde has never wondered what it would feel like to have everything she’s ever known and loved ripped away, but she is about to find out.  When she inadvertently leads her sister and best friend through a portal into a world she’s dreamed of for six years, she finds herself faced with more that just the frightening creatures in front of her.  Kate’s forced to accept a new truth:  her entire life has been a lie, and those closest to her have betrayed her.  What’s worse, she has no control over her new future, and it’s full of magic and horrors from which nightmares are made.  Will Kate discover and learn to control who she really is in time to save the ones she loves, or will all be lost?

                So the cover to the right is so pretty and vibrant it makes you wonder what’s going on and hello blue flames seem so cool (plus I might add blue is my favorite color).  The title, the blue light, the wooded path, and a girl in a white dress running, yep all stimulating.  Then the description of magic and other worlds, yes I was hooked in and had to read.

                Some interesting things about this book are that while it’s YA the main character is 20 and in college.  With most YA I’ve read being of younger main characters this was a fascinating change.  She is a tad older and it shows.  She has more experience and knows better who she is and what she wants.  She is more mature but not completely grown up as she still has a lot of growing to do especially when she finds her world turned upside down.  This for me also helped enrich the romance.  Yes there is romance to be hold for sure, one I think that will make every reader with even the tiniest bit romantic in them swoon.  The other characters are of varying ages as with any book but most center around her same age and they all have such fascinating things.  Each one has something different or special about them I saw every time they came into a scene.  Let’s just say I want Arland in my dreams!

                This book also introduces us into a bunch of new creatures, horrible, nasty, despicable fiends that are true creatures of nightmares.  Each described, along with the darkness of the world, so vividly that I could picture it.  The burst of magic and brightness I completely understood and when I went outside into the bright Florida sunshine from my sun free area I thought instantly this must be how the characters felt.  Anytime I can instantly think of a book reference when I do remedial or mundane daily tasks I know I’ve found something special.  I cannot eat a Milky Way without think of the Dark Swan series, just can’t do it.

                So lets see I covered the characters (I could go on about them forever they are so much fun), romance (swoon), creatures/visuals, what else?  Oh yes there is lots of action.  This is a world at war so lots of fighting both with swords, bows/arrows, and of course magic.  I found it all well choreographed and again it ties into the visualization.

                Now for complaints.  Yep I have one.  This book is book 1 of a series and now I have to wait for more.  Yep that’s my only complaint about this book.  Unless someone would ask me to read aloud then I’d smile and say I can’t begin to pronounce the names of these demons haha.  So there you have it.  I can’t wait for the next book which on her site I see she has a summary already (which only teases me more).  I hope you will give Wilde’s Fire a chance and love it as much as I did.  Remember it comes out May 13, 2012.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

RTW: Uses for books besides the obvious

            Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing or reading related question and answer it on our own blogs.  You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

This weeks topic:
What’s your favorite use for a book besides reading it?
         Well I haven’t been around for these much the last couple of weeks sadly but I’m trying and this one was too good to pass up.  I have used my books for a multitude of things besides reading.  For instance when I was assembling my guest daybed by myself I used books to keep the frame level with the sides/railings so I could screw them in.  It was very helpful and useful.  My books have also been known to hold things I needed to keep safe, like the tickets for the concert I attended last week.  I couldn’t lose them so I put them into a book on my shelf for safe keeping until we left.  Oh and on the same note as the daybed assembly I used a bunch of books and a flattened out cardboard box as a coffee table for a card game once.  Books have a multitude of uses you just have to be creative.  I haven’t found another use for ebooks besides reading yet but give me time. 

                What about you?  What creative uses have you found for books besides reading?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown

                I know I have been slacking with my reviews in a bad way but all I can do is try to regain order in my life and do better.  That being said I do have a juicy review for you for Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown.  This ARC is curtsey of and Random House Children’s Books.
                First I must say that as you all know I’m all about a cover.  I see a pretty cover (my definition of pretty is vast as the ocean), and just can’t help myself but to pick it up and see what it’s about.  This one looked very promising and let’s face it mermaids sounded so cool.  Also in all honesty The Little Mermaid, is one of my top 5 Disney movies (Beauty & the Beast is #1). 
                The cover got my attention, the description got my interest.  Now I will say even from the description I could see the deception of the cover art.  It features a mermaid but the story is focused around Calder White a merman.  There are mermaids don’t get me wrong but when I clicked I surely thought the main character would be a girl.  I only really bring this up because I read another review of someone who had been expecting the same thing so warning there, but the book is a great read.
                Lie Beneath, follows Calder White merman.  He’s not the Disney cartoon type of mermaid, more Pirates of the Caribbean type.  He lives in Lake Superior with his three sisters.  To survive they have to prey on humans and absorb their positive energy, which doesn’t work out so well for the human.  Normally they select victims at random but they have been searching for years for one target.  They aim to kill Jason Hancock to satisfy a debt of revenge blaming him for their mother’s death.
                The trick though is they have to get him into the water and he doesn’t go near it.  So the sisters task Calder to gain his trust by getting close to his family, mostly his daughters.  He relies on his good looks and charm to try and seduce Hancock’s daughter Lily but he sorta screws everything up by discovering that he has feelings he didn’t know they could have.  Lily is sharper than any of them thought and might find out there’s more to the myths of mermaids in the lake than anyone realized putting her in danger.  Forced to choose between the girl he loves and the bond of family and duty there is no good outcome.
                Calder is a great character to me because he has so much going on in his head.  Even before he falls in love he wonders if this life was really a life worth living.  He is different and knows it and struggles with it through everything else that happens in the book.  Lily is a determined girl, who is both strong and fragile.  A romantic trying to see the good in the bad but she doesn’t fall for the pretty boy right away which I like.  I also like that it’s a guy trying to get the girl where so many books I read are the opposite so this was a nice break.  The mind of boys can be such fun places to lurk.
                His sisters, her family and friends are also well written and enhance the story.  Lily’s father is after all supposed to die for revenge so getting to know him and the mystery around what happened to bring down the wrath of this mer-family is a good read.
                The setting was described so beautifully I wish I could drive up to the lake and check it out, though I’m not sure if I’d go in.  I could feel the water, the temperature, the bubbles, the sand in the water, I was submersed, pun intended. 
                Overall, I give it 5 stars.  I really liked it and will read it again in the future.  My only complaint would be that the ending was a tad bit brief.  I felt like the last few pages could have been longer to explain a few more things but that’s it and it didn’t affect my enjoyment.  Lie Beneath, comes out June 12, 2012 check it out and let me know what you think.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Avengers

                Hey bloggers!  So in case you missed it somehow The Avengers comes out today or for total nerds like myself there was a midnight showing last night.  I’m also nearly finished with the book I am currently reading but due to recent events I have been busy this week but hope to have it for you in the next couple of days too.

                So back on target.  The Avengers kick ass.  Now I won’t lie and say I’m what you would call a die hard fan.  I didn’t grow up watching it and I can’t tell you what happens next in the series or what but I did like the individual movies.  I adore Stark as Iron Man his whit is just beyond words.  Captain America was nifty as well.  Thor brought us the story of the gods and hehe Loki who is oh so good at bring bad.  Now through Iron Man we (non-die hard fans) were introduced to Black Widow and Directory Furry.  I can say I’ve never seen any of the Hulk movies though, so as far as he goes I had nothing to go by other than brilliant man is exposed to gamma rays and when he gets angry he becomes big green beast.  Now as I re-watched Thor before posting due to someone mentioning that Hawkeye was in it I had to double check and wow he is briefly I don’t know how I missed it.

                So the movie itself I had no expectations as to what to expect in a sense of story.  I expected action, some comedy, and the brilliant whit of Stark.  I got just that and then some. 

                The story, if you don’t know follows Loki to Earth and he is doing what he does best and is causing issues.  He is trying to open a portal to bring about a war so he can rule Earth of course.  To stop him Director Furry brings together Captain America, Stark, Banner (Hulk), & Natasha (Black Widow) to try and prevent this end of days.  Thor manages a trip back to Earth as well to try and capture his brother and bring back the Tesseract the power source aka evil cube of death.  This fight isn’t easy though with the confusion and distrust amongst its team so they must find a way to work together and save the world.

                The actors all did a great job.  As mentioned before I adore Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark.  The whit, sarcasm and just plain attitude just roll off of him so well I can’t imagine anyone else playing him.  Now we have pretty much everyone returning in their rolls like Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, to name a few.  They all did amazing jobs with their characters.  I even enjoyed Mark Ruffalo as Banner/Hulk.  Each brought a depth to the character (or continued it from the previous movies), and you got to know them better.  Some we didn’t know very well from the previous movies were more flushed out. 

                For example we get more depth to Natasha which was great I had no idea her history, her story.  Now I feel I know more.  I learned more about many of the characters.  It also wouldn’t be a true post by me without mentioning that this movie was amazing on its own merits but it also has some fabulous eye candy.  Yes the cast is full of hotties.  I also have to give special notice to which I’m sure A Girl will elaborate on, Hawkeye.  Oh he was yummy.

                If that isn’t enough for you then you can be rest assured there is plenty of action.  Lots of people fighting and you get to see some pretty interesting mash ups.  Even I thought after watching the individual movies who would win if one fought the other and such.  All done really well and so cool on the huge theatre screen larger than life, I’ll call it super hero size. 

                Well I obviously give this movie 5 stars, who wouldn’t.  So you should go check it out ASAP.  Also stay for the credits.  Not just the little tidbit that happens after the first break in credits but to the super end after everything plays out and the screen goes dark there is something there.  No leaving out early or you miss out.  So tell me what you think?  Have you seen it yet or plan too?  Are you a fan like me or a true die hard fan?  I can’t wait to hear what you all have to say.

Rating: 5 Stars