Review: Spellbound (Cara Lybb Shultz)

Spellbound
Cara Lybb Shultz

Product Details:

Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Harlequin; Original edition (June 21, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0373210302
Source: ebook from NetGalley
 
Spellbound (Harlequin Teen)What's a girl to do when meeting The One means she's cursed to die a horrible death?


Life hasn't been easy on sixteen-year-old Emma Connor, so a new start in New York may be just the change she needs. But the posh Upper East Side prep school she has to attend? Not so much. Friendly faces are few and far between, except for one that she's irresistibly drawn to—Brendan Salinger, the guy with the rock-star good looks and the richest kid in school, who might just be her very own white knight.


But even when Brendan inexplicably turns cold, Emma can't stop staring. Ever since she laid eyes on him, strange things have been happening. Streetlamps go out wherever she walks, and Emma's been having the oddest dreams: visions of herself in past lives—visions that warn her to stay away from Brendan. Or else.

I have mixed feelings about this one. I liked the characters and the overall concept of the story, but it still felt cliched. Maybe I just need to take a break from paranormal romances? They're all starting to seem the same.

The characters are great. I like Emma and Brendan. They have this whole star-crossed lovers thing going on, and I totally buy into it. Enchanted amulet. History repeating itself as penance. Got it. Add this to Emma and Brendan and you have youself a pretty hot romance.

There was an element of supernatural at play in the story that I honestly thought would deter my reading. I'm not a big fan of "witch" books. I guess I just have a hard time buying into that magical element. BUT, this book really wasn't like that. There was an underlying element of magic throughout the book, but it wasn't overpowering. I really appreciate that. I can also see how the magical aspect will be important in future books. Yep, I'm totally speculating that there will be more books in this series. There were too many loose ends that I would want to see wrapped up for there not to be a sequel.

Overall, it was pretty good and I did enjoy it. I found myself not eating because I was so invested in the book. The story moves pretty quickly and it's easy to become engrossed in the plot. If I gave half scores, I would say a 3 1/2, but since I don't do halves it gets a solid 3. I may change it to a 4 after I ponder on the book a little longer.

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Freedom Giveaway Hop + MASSIVE Giveaways

Freedom Giveaway Hop Button


Stop #22

 
Simply Stacie and I Am a Reader, Not A Writer are heading up an awesome giveaway opportunity during the month of July. If you are interested in hopping through many different blogs and entering contests (all the blogs participating are hosting contests!), then you need to check this out. All of the giveaways are book related, so readers enjoy! Sign up here to participate or find other participating blogs!

International participants, fear not! Many of the participating blogs are shipping internationally! Everyone is a winner!

For my role in the festiveness, I will be giving away:

A SIGNED copy of the BEST book ever written...

Speak
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.
  


Trapped
1 copy of Trapped by Marc Aronson.
  

David
1 copy of David by Mary Hoffman.
 


PLUS a few extra "surprises."

Rules:

I'm willing to ship to the US and Canada. =) All you need to do to enter MY contest (I'm one of nearly 200 signed up so far) is fill out the form below. If you're not a follower, now is the perfect time to join up. ** Hint, Hint**




This contest will run from July 1st-7th ONLY.



Other blogs that are participating:




Review: Prada and Prejudice (Mandy Hubbard)

Prada and Prejudice
Mandy Hubbard

Product Details:
Reading Level: middle grades, (young) YA
Paperback: 238 pages

Published June 11th 2009 by Razorbill
ISBN:1595142606
Source: my own copy

Prada and PrejudiceTo impress the popular girls on a high school trip to London, klutzy Callie buys real Prada heels. But trying them on, she trips…conks her head…and wakes up in the year 1815!

There Callie meets Emily, who takes her in, mistaking her for a long-lost friend. As she spends time with Emily’s family, Callie warms to them—particularly to Emily’s cousin Alex, a hottie and a duke, if a tad arrogant.

But can Callie save Emily from a dire engagement, and win Alex’s heart, before her time in the past is up?

I am such a sucker for a Pride and Prejudice retelling. I cannot even begin to count the number of retellings that I have read. With that being said, I must admit that I was a little disappointed with this version.

In this version of Pride and Prejudice, Callie somehow manages to transport herself to 1815 England when she falls and hits her head. That is really hard for me to accept. I feel that the book should have picked one time period and stuck there. Time traveling Jane Austen is not an easy thing to pull off. While the story is taking place in 1815, I liked it. It was really funny at times, and I had to try extremely hard to not snort and bring attention to myself. (I was reading this during a meeting... but don't tell anyone.) 

As for sticking with the plot of Pride and Prejudice.... eh. There were some major elements left out. That does not earn high marks in my book. How can you eliminate a major character? Seriously. 

The message behind the book is a good one. I do like the element of self-acceptance and speaking up for what you believe is right. Callie, the main character, certainly earns an A+ in that department. In case you didn't guess, this self-acceptance centers around a pair of red Prada pumps. Hence the title.

Overall, it was decent. My students would like it because it's not too deep or complicated. It's like a primer to P&P. Maybe even a pre-primer. Like painting with numbers.

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Monthly Wrap Up: June

I can't believe how quickly June has passed by. It's depressing really. That means I only have one more month of summer vacation! On a positive note, however, this is what I accomplished in June:


Books reviewed: 

The Door to Canellin  (with an author interview here)
The Lipstick Laws
Flawless
Stay With Me
The Wide-Awake Princess
Hereafter   
North of Sunset 
The Wild Adventures of Eli Johnson and Curly Bill

*The Scarab
*Starcrossed

* These reviews weren't "published" when I wrote this up, so the links aren't available. They are my newest reviews though. =)

I can't believe I managed to fit in 10 books in June with my crazy insane schedule this month! Awesome.

Other awesome stuff:

I didn't send out any R.A.K. books this month (even though I planned on it) because I got side tracked. I managed to spill coffee on my laptop, which killed my computer access for a week or two. I did manage to spread some book love this month though. Check it out:

TWO giveaways during June. =)

AND I managed to write up a guest post for the totally awesome Splash Into Summer (Mermaid event!) at A Backwards Story. Which kicks off this week! Whoop.

Review: The Scarab (Scott Rhine)

The Scarab
Scott Rhine

Product Details:
Reading Level: adult, YA
Pages: 139
Publisher:
Source: a copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review



Hemophiliac and ace mechanic Ethan Hayes had risen to the top of the computer gaming circuit as the Scarab. When he invented a new device that made him rich over night, he and Mary Ann were able to enter SimCon, the simulated European road race, like Cinderella at the ball. After he stumbles across a cyber-criminal ring, they kidnap Mary Ann to silence him. Now, it's up to the Scarab to save her.



I have to admit that I had a hard time with this one. The writing was fine, but the techie quality just went way over my head. It took a very long time for me to find my pace because I felt like I was reading techno jargon over and over again. That would be my one complaint.

What I did like is more important. I liked the characters. They were believable. You had a man with genuine concern for the love of his life. He also had a long list of very real reasons why he couldn't marry her, despite his desire. That made me feel sorry for him. Of course, all of that changed seemingly overnight. He became this amazing super smart millionaire. Gotta love that.

His love interest, Mary Ann, is this bad ass female cop. She can kick anyone's butt and you almost dare someone to try. It seems like she's a walking contradiction. She gorgeous and intelligent, yet she has a mean street-wise streak that would make Al Capone cower. She's hard core.

The SimCon race was pretty intense. Once I made myself ignore the techie aspect of the plot, I was able to focus on the content. There were a few diabolical schemes floating around. You had major subterfuge and blackmail, among other things. Anyone that likes James Bond style action would enjoy this read. There were plenty of car chases and an aura of mystery that could keep you interested.

I don't really think this fits in the YA genre. It seemed geared more towards adults--particularly the male audience. Maybe that's just my take though. I don't see my students being able to comprehend the intricate detail that went in to describing the SimCon race and the cars. I feel like all of that would have gone over their heads.

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Review: Starcrossed (Josephine Angelini)

Starcrossed
Josephine Angelini


Product Details:
Reading level: Young Adult

Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen (May 31, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0062011995
Source: ebook from NetGalley


StarcrossedHow 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 have a new favorite. Wow. What a complicated incorporation of the classic Helen of Troy story (with other mythology added in). Even if it seemed a little Twilight-ish at times, I overlooked all of that because the concept behind the story was so amazing.

"The face that launched a thousand ships" belongs to Helen Hamilton and Helen of Troy. A curse every woman in their family must endure. But Helen H. is nothing like Helen of Troy. This Helen hates attention, doubts her talents, and relishes in the concept of free will. How can you not love her?

Then there is Lucas. *sigh* I wish there were guys like him when I was in high school. He was dreamy. And totally devoted to Helen. But my favorite characters were Claire and Jason. Claire was normal. No super human strength or demigod blood. Just a regular spunky brainiac. I loved that her nickname was "five two" (for her height). She may have been small, but she was a feisty thing. She was also a great friend, even if she did push Helen off the roof when they were 7 to see if she could fly and (maybe) accidentally on purpose stabbed her with a fork in second grade to see if she would bleed. Seems like Claire figured out Helen's super powers long before she ever had a clue.

Jason is so much like Claire. He's deeply devoted to his family and to protecting people. I don't know why he made such an impact on me, but he did. I just loved him!

Obviously the plot was great and kind of complicated. There is way too much mythology to mention in a review. It is potent in this story. I can't help but wonder though if I'm the only person that thought of Twilight when I read this book. Lucas = Edward; Creon and The Hundred = The Veltori (not sure if I spelled that one right); single dad (Jerry) raising a daughter that stays out all night and acts all mysterious but he's okay with it because he's super dad? Any of that seem familiar? I found it a little thick at times. Of course, I guess we find ourselves comparing most paranormal romance type books to Twilight in some way or another, right? Even with the familiarity with the plot (at times) I still thought this was a great read. 

The ending leaves this one wide open for the next book. So glad it will be a series. I just know Helen is going to do something awesome. I feel like i have so much invested in their stories that I'm itching to know what will happen next.

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Mythological Mondays (6)


Mythological Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by Bonnie at A Backwards Story to highlight all things myth related.


Have you heard about this new book called Starcrossed? Of course you have, because you don't live under a rock. Well, I finally got around to reading this amazing piece of mythology retelling and... Oh. My. Goodness. Romeo and Juliet need to watch out. They have serious competition for the title of fated lovers.

Starcrossed

My FULL review will follow tomorrow. But I will give you a run down of all the Greek mythology elements in Josephine Angelini's Starcrossed.

1. This is Helen of Troy! Hello. The main character is named Helen. Fated lover. *clears throat* One of the best stories of all time. But this Helen isn't as devious as the original. Thank goodness.

2. Demigods (think Percy Jackson here) with amazing super human powers. Flying (yeah, like Edward Cullen), super hearing, super speed, and this cool thing about no weapon being able to harm them. (Well, only one in particular.)

3. The Furies. Complete with tears of blood and ripping hair out of their skulls.

4. Did I mention the prophet Cassandra? Yeah, she's here too. So is Jason.

This really is a great book. Every fan of mythology should read it. It's a nice addition to your reading repertoire. Just try to overlook the Twilight similarities. I know it's been overdone and played out over the years, but you can ignore them because the rest of the book is so clever.

In My Mailbox (13)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.


I had a fabulous week! My local public library had a book sale, so you know I racked up. Massive overhaul, actually. 


I'm very excited about the books I bought: 

 Avalon High  Looking for Alaska  Prada and Prejudice

Avalon High (Meg Cabot), Looking for Alaska (John Green),
and Prada & Prejudice (Mandy Hubbard).

I also picked up a TON of books for my classroom:


Best Friends for Never (The Clique, No. 2) The Clique #4: Invasion of the Boy Snatchers (Clique Series) The Clique #2: Best Friends for Never: A Clique Novel (Clique Series) The Clique #11: Boys R Us (Clique Series) The Clique #6: Dial L for Loser (Clique Series) The Pretty Committee Strikes Back (The Clique, No. 5) Bratfest at Tiffany's (The Clique #9) The Clique #4: Invasion of the Boy Snatchers (Clique Series) It's Not Easy Being Mean (Clique (Prebound))

I thought I managed to grab all of The Clique series, but I had no idea there were so many. I did walk away with the first 9 books.

BRAND NEW copies of a R.L Stine Fearstreet series:  

The First Horror (99 Fear Street, No. 1) The Second Horror (99 Fear Street, No. 2) The Third Horror (99 Fear Street, No. 3)

For Review:

Fetching Water Balloon After Obsession The Inquisitor's Apprentice
Fetching (Hyperion Books), Water Balloon (Clarion Books), After Obsession (Bloomsbury),
and The Inquisitor's Apprentice (Harcourt Children's Publishing)

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