Oct 16, 2013

Keep Holding On

With each book I read by Susane Colasanti the bigger fan I become of her work. She never fails to write such a beautiful book that always conveys such a great message. Keep Holding On is one of my new favorites.

A romantic and empowering book about bullying

Noelle's life is all about survival. Even her best friend doesn't know how much she gets bullied, or the ways her mom neglects her. Noelle's kept so much about her life a secret for so long that when her longtime crush Julian Porter starts paying attention to her, she's terrified. Surely it's safer to stay hidden than to risk the pain of a broken heart. But when the antagonism of her classmates takes a dramatic turn, Noelle realizes it's time to stand up for herself--and for the love that keeps her holding on.

Noelle doesn't have an easy life. At school she is bullied relentlessly and her home life isn't much better. Her mother doesn't care about Noelle and neglects her. And because she has such crap she doesn't see what she's worth.

Noelle is a character that I think everyone can relate to. At some point we all feel like we aren't worth it that everyone else is better than us. And Noelle feels that way. She pushes away a guy who genuinely cares for her because she thinks she's isn't good enough for him. She is such a good person that it sucks how crappy her life is. Her mother doesn't do a thing for Noelle. She doesn't feed her and her school life isn't any better. She's constantly bullied. But it was great getting to read about Noelle's story and how she slowly starts realize that in fact she is worth it and starts to stand up for herself and everyone like her.

Julian and Noelle are one of my new favorite romances. They have such great chemistry and Julian is just so real. He cares about Noelle and he likes her for her. In fact he likes her for being different from the rest of the school full of kids to afraid to stand out. Unlike Matt, who didn't even want to be seen in public with Noelle for reasons that make him an even bigger jerk than I already thought he was. Needless to say I am harboring a major crush on Julian. He can design me my dream house any time he wants.

With the way things are today this is such an important book. I am so glad that Susane Colasanti has written it because I know that someone is going to read it and it will help them. I may not have gotten bullied terribly when I was in school but I know what it's like to feel not worth it and this book conveys such a beautiful message to not only teenagers who are being bullied but as well as those who are the bullier. It shows just what happens when a bullier pushes someone to the edge. And that is something that they need to understand. Their are consequences when you relentlessly pick on someone over and over.

Noelle and Julian aren't the only great characters in this book. Noelle's best friend is one of them and she too has a story of her own. She's dealing with things that are digging into her like nails. I'm glad that she finally came out and spoke to someone other than Noelle about it. Simon is another amazing character. He doesn't care what people think of him and his friendship with Noelle is so great. I wish I had him as a best friend he's just so fantastic singing down the halls without a care in the world.

There are a lot of tough topics in this book from bullying to a mother's neglect. It's such a powerful book that conveys such a positive message--the title says it all. Keep Holding On. Don't give up. Keep Holding On is getting 5 out of 5 birds from me. Susane Colasanti's writing gets better with each book I read. I can't get enough and I recommend anyone read this one!

Oct 15, 2013

Cheating On Myself

After reading None Of The Regular Rules by Erin Downing I knew that I was a fan of her writing style so I was thrilled when she contacted me to read her current new release Cheating On Myself her very first book geared towards adults. Granted, I haven't read many--if any adult books but I feel like this was a good start for me in this genre!

 What happens when good enough just isn't enough anymore?

Stella Dahl assumed her life was as good as it was ever going to get. But after twelve years with a man who’s more a habit than husband material, she walks out on her bland existence, determined to start over. Goaded by her friends and a group of crass retirees she befriends at water aerobics, Stella plunges back into the dating pool. After a few false starts, she meets Joe, the sexy banjo player in a popular children’s band. He’s cocky, a smirking flirt, and a musician...everything she’s *not* looking for in a guy. Even still, she begins to fall — hard.

Just when Stella is beginning to think she could find true happiness, a family tragedy turns her world upside down. As she tries to hold together everything that’s crumbling around her, Stella starts slipping back into old habits — and away from Joe. Soon, she begins to wonder: Is she really destined for anything more than a life that’s good enough?

Stella has always stuck to the plan she figured out for herself when she was fifteen. All the little boxes are checked off...expect one. And soon Stella finds herself ending her twelve year relationship and seeking to find out who she is on her own without others influencing her thoughts. 

Stella is one of those characters who finds herself  stuck in a life she doesn't actually want. She thought--and at times still thinks that this is the life she wants. But once she ends things with her boyfriend of twelve years she begins to see he wasn't what she wanted. And then of course because she's thirty five and hasn't been on a date since college she frets about getting back into the dating scene. She was an enjoyable character to read about. I really enjoyed how she grew from the beginning to the end. She began to think for herself and wasn't so serious by the end of the book.

Throughout the course of the book Stella has doubts about ending her relationship with Erik. It drove me crazy because Erik doesn't deserve her. He's too...boring and well stiff as some of the characters refer to him. I just didn't like how he wasn't open minded about things. For example the whole thing about because he had already been to Italy it wasn't worth going again even though Stella made it clear just how much she would love to see Italy. But no. Of course Erik got his way and they went to London. 

Joe was an interesting character. At first he seems like a real player and at one point in his life he was. But the more he opened up to Stella and the more she allowed him into her life you began to realize he was actually genuinely into Stella. And to boot he's a banjo playing slash singer in a children's band. I found this really funny about Joe. But it was great because he was so great with kids that of course it made him sexier. 

There is a whole lot of great characters in this book from Lily to Heather and Anders. Who I totally thought secretly had a thing for Stella. But I was wrong! I really adored Anders though. He was such a sweet and funny character. Loved how things turned out for him. 

Yet again Erin's writing had me hooked. Once I started Cheating On Myself I couldn't stop reading. I was too curious about what would happen with Stella and I really love how it all turned out. She figured out her life for herself. Erin Downing ended it perfectly. I'm giving Cheating On Myself 3.9 out of 5 birds. It's such a cute and quick read! It left me smiling after I finished it. I'd recommend this to anyone who loves a good quick read.

Oct 8, 2013

Feast Of Fools

If you thought Rachel Caine stepped it up in the third book...yeah no she has yet another awesome plot twist up her sleeve in Feast Of Fools. This woman is a god of plot twists that always keep me intrigued and captivated.

 The wait is over. dig into the feast...

In the town of Morganville, vampires and humans live in relative peace. Student Claire Danvers has never been convinced, though, especially with the arrival of Mr. Bishop, an ancient, old-school vampire who cares nothing about harmony. What he wants from the town's living and its dead is unthinkably sinister. It's only at a formal ball, attended by vampires and their human dates, that Claire realizes the elaborately evil trap he's set for Morganville.

Claire never seems to get a break. The moment she finally can get back to a semi normal life with her housemates something--or should I say someone shows up and is ready to wreck havoc on the small town of Morganville. And if Claire thought that she had faced the worst she was in for a surprise. Because Bishop was in town and he was out for blood...

Claire has gone through so much crap that you'd think she'd be ready to just give up and say goodbye to Morganville all together but not once does she ever give up. She pushes through and puts her life on the line--for friends and foes. That's the thing about Claire she may hate your guts but she'd never let anything horrible happen to you if she couldn't prevent it. She's just that type of selfless person. And I love that about Claire. She never fails to be a strong, intelligent, selfless character. She's a role model honestly. Rachel Caine created a character who didn't have to rely on brute force of her beauty to get through life rather she relies on her intelligence. And that in it's self makes me love Rachel Caine and this series.

There hasn't been anything like Bishop in this series yet. Bishop is the all around bad guy that makes Oliver look like a tamed if not ruthless, puppy.  And if you've read the previous books you know Oliver is no sweet puppy. More a vicious rabid dog. Who usually only saves your ass if it's convenient. Because god forbid he actually felt something. It was very interesting learning about Bishop and how he is involved with Amelia. I also loved that it brought up the book from Glass Houses. We never really found out what happened to it but now we know! I love that about these books. Plots are always twisting and turning and they always come together eventually.

Out of all of the character's that Rachel Caine could have axed she had to choose that one. Boy, was that rough. Because of course it had to be a character that I adored. I mean how could you not adore that character? I read this book a long time ago and to this day I am still grieving over this character's sacrifice. Ugh, why Rachel Caine WHY? I really felt for Amelia in this book. She's a cold woman but beneath that ice is some feeling. She's a queen of ice and she losses the one--of very few she cares about.

Ever since what happened to Michael happened Shane has been...well not very warm about it. He's been down right nasty about it at times and despite that and knowing just how hard it must have been for Michael as well if you put yourself in Shane's shoes you understand his anger. His father pretty much drilled it into his head to hate what Michael has become. So it's understandable he'd be upset. Sure he could have handled it better but this is Shane we're talking about. He's not one to think before he speaks. But I was happy with how Shane and Michael's friendship grew.

Feast Of Fools is getting 5 out of 5 birds. Have I mentioned how much I adore this series? Because I do. It's just so awesome. Rachel Caine's writing and story telling just gets better and better with each book. And this is a very big series. The fact she has kept me captivated through all fifteen books says something about this authors writing. Pick up this series if you haven't already! You will not regret it!

Oct 6, 2013

Midnight Alley

All it took was Glass Houses and I was instantly hooked on Rachel Caine's refreshing vampire series. There's just something so captivating about the town and characters she has created. With each book you get even more attached to the characters.

 Morganville is such a nice place to live... And die. If you don’t mind that sort of thing.

When Claire Danvers learnt that her college town was run by vampires, she did what any intelligent, self-preserving student would do: she applied for a transfer and stocked up on garlic. The transfer is no longer an option, but that garlic may come in handy.

Now Claire has pledged herself to Amelie, the most powerful vampire in town. The protection her contract secures does little to reassure her friends. All of a sudden, people are turning up dead, a stalker resurfaces from Claire’s past, and an ancient bloodsucker extends a chilling invitation for private lessons in his secluded home.

Claire Danvers has dealt with angry vampires who wanted nothing more than to crush her wind pipe and college frat boys with an unholy agenda and agaisnt all odds she's made it out of it with her life. Now with her life pretty much in the founders hands she finds herself working for the trap-spider--the nuttiest vampire in Morganville. Like Claire needed more chaos in her already chaotic life.

Claire makes a pretty life changing decision at the end of The Dead Girls Dance that is sure to make her life...interesting if not more chaotic. She hasn't yet broken the news to her boyfriend or her house mates that she has essentially signed her life over to Amelia the founder of Morganville. As I've mentioned before about Claire she grows stronger with each book but the thing about her is she's always been strong she just never seemed to realize it. And she isn't strong in the way that she can take down vampires physically but rather its her wits and selfless nature that gets her through her daily life in Morganville.

There has been hints about Myrnin in the first or second book he's referred to as the trap door spider and Claire almost wanders into his clutches. Now she finds herself working for the nutty yet seriously intelligent vampire.  I've never liked a nutcase as much as I like Myrnin. The thing about Myrnin is yes he is all sorts of crazy but my gosh is he hilarious. And with each book in the entire series his hilarity just gets better and better.

Shane is the boy that you wish was your boyfriend or if not your boyfriend your best friend--or you know I'd take both. I really love Shane's friendship with Eve. They produce some of the best rants and comebacks. They never fail to make me laugh but behind all the wise cracks you know they care deeply for each other--like brother and sister. Shane and Claire's relationship grows even deeper in this one. That is one of the best thing about Rachel Caine's book--the character development. Whether it's individual characters or relationships they are always growing and it's my favorite thing to read.

Quiet a bit happens in this book between Eve having to deal with her insanely twisted and evil brother Jason to Claire having to deal with Myrnin and trying to find a cure for this sickness that the vampires have. And much more. Not to mention how Rachel Caine leaves us yet again with an ending that has our mouths hanging opening wondering what the heck is going to happen next. You bet you'll find yourself at the bookstore picking up Feast Of Fools because  you just have to know what happens next.

Midnight Alley is getting 5 out of 5 birds from me. This series never fails to leave me starry eyed in awe and gasping at the twists and horrors that happen in Morganville. Rachel Caine proves to always impress and with each book the story progresses and the characters grow. I just adore this series and it's one I always go back too because I love it so much. Read it. Love it. Repeat. It's just such an amazing series.

Oct 4, 2013

The Dead Girls Dance

After finishing Glass Houses I instantly wanted the next book. After the way the Glass Houses ended I was desperate to find out what would happen to Claire and the other residents of the Glass House. Once you read one Rachel Caine book you find you're self reading them all...and if I thought I liked Glass Houses the next book The Dead Girls Dance stepped things up a bit.

 Claire Danvers has her share of challenges---like being a genius in a school that favors beauty over brains, dealing with the homicidal girls in her dorm, and above all, finding out that her college town is overrun with vampires. On the up side, she has a great roommate (who tends to disappear at sunup) and a new boyfriend named Shane, whose vampire-hunting dad has called in backup: cycle punks who like the idea of killing just about anything.

Now a fraternity is throwing its annual Dead Girls' Dance and---surprise!---Claire and her equally outcast best friend, Eve, have been invited. When they find out why, all hell is going to break loose. Because this time both the living and the dead are coming out---and everybody's hungry for blood.

If Claire thought being beat up  by queen bee of Morganville was her worst problem she soon realizes that Monica and her Monicaettes are hardly the worst thing in Morganville...

Claire Danvers grows so much in this series. Even from book one to two there is a difference in her. She's an intelligent girl and she notices things that not everyone does. Her intelligence and wit often help her get out of some sticky situations--which her and her roommates often find themselves in. Claire is a very small girl and many often mistake her smallness for weakness when actually Claire is a tough one. Sure, she can't always get out of things on her own but when determined enough she can kick ass until the cavalry comes.

There's a new character introduced in The Dead Girls Dance who I instantly adored. Sam Glass--Michael's vampire grandfather. There is something so sweet and tender about Sam. But don't think he can't turn into a vicious dude because he can and he shows that side of him at the frat party that goes haywire. But the thing about Sam is he doesn't let that side out unless absolutely necessary and those guys definitely deserved to see some Sam Glass scary vampireness. Pretty much Sam Glass swooped me off my feet. Who wouldn't fall for Sam and his red hair?

Speaking of new character's Shane's father shows up in Morganville and lets just say he causes some chaos. I disliked Shane's father so much. He's a cold, heartless and cruel man. Sure, he's lost his family but what right did he have to treat Shane the way he did? He wins worst father of the year award for sure.

You find some things out with Michael in the first book and the end of Glass Houses leaves you're heart racing as you are left hanging wondering what the outcome for Michael will be. I wasn't shocked with the outcome that Michael's life took. It seemed the only option really unless he decided to just stick it out--which didn't seem likely since you could see just how hard it was for him. It made me curious how things would go with Eve and their brewing relationship after the decision he made that changed his life completely.

Shane and Claire will always be one of my favorite YA couples. One because their relationship is so real and flawed. They aren't perfect they face struggles and obstacles all the time--Claire's age being one of them. I really loved and respected Shane for never letting things cross the line between the two of them no matter how much they both wanted it. It showed just how much he not only liked Claire but respected her. 

Rachel Caine's writing is so engrossing and from page one the story is fast paced and once you finish a chapter you must start the next because there is always something happening. You just have to know what is going to go down next and before you know it you're done with the book. And of course you are left wanting more. I don't know how Rachel Caine does it but with each book the story is always moving and things are always brewing. She's a genius! And having meet her and seeing just how truly awesome she is it makes me love her books even more.

The Dead Girls Dance is getting 5 out of 5 birds from me. I am in love with all the characters in this book even the bad guys! *cough* Oliver *cough* If you haven't picked up Glass Houses yet go buy it and make sure to pick up book two because you will want it ASAP after finishing the first book!