Wednesday, July 31, 2013

WWW WEDNESDAYS (12) and WAITING ON WEDNESDAY (67)


Hosted by Should Be Reading.

To participate in this feature, you just have answer these three simple questions:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you'll read next?

CURRENTLY READING...
Loyalty in Death (In Death, #9)
Another Eve/Roarke mystery this time with a mysterious bomber that is taunting our favorite homicide detective.


Quintana of Charyn (Lumatere Chronicles, #3)
Conclusion to the wonderfully epic Lumatere Chronicles series.

The Naked Duke (Naked Nobility, #1)
Not sure what I think about this historical yet...seems a little too silly for my taste right now.

RECENTLY FINISHED READING...
The Dragon and the Pearl (Tang Dynasty, #2)
Fabulous historical set in imperial China with a courtesan and a warrior.

The Winning Season
Pretty good baseball-themed romance with a great heroine.

Conspiracy in Death (In Death, #8)
Really intriguing mystery involving a serial killer that removes organs from victims.

WHAT I'M READING NEXT...
Midnight Frost (Mythos Academy, #5)
Latest in the Mythos Academy series...one of my favorites!

The Darkest Craving (Lords of The Underworld, #10)
Another favorite series...Lords of the Underworld about the demons from Pandora's box.

Why Dukes Say I Do (Wicked Widows, #1)
I haven't read any of Ms. Collins's historicals, but I am excited to try with this copy from Netgalley.

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine to highlight upcoming releases we're anxiously awaiting. 

The Lotus Palace (The Lotus Palace, #1)

THE LOTUS PALACE
by Jeannie Lin

Expected Publication: August 27, 2013
Historical Romance -- Imperial China
Harlequin

It is a time of celebration in the Pingkang Li, where imperial scholars and bureaucrats mingle with beautiful courtesans. At the center is the Lotus Palace, home of the most exquisite courtesans in China...

Maidservant Yue-ying is not one of those beauties. Street-smart and practical, she's content to live in the shadow of her infamous mistress—until she meets the aristocratic playboy Bai Huang.

Bai Huang lives in a privileged world Yue-ying can barely imagine, yet alone share, but as they are thrown together in an attempt to solve a deadly mystery, they both start to dream of a different life. Yet Bai Huang's position means that all she could ever be to him is his concubine—will she sacrifice her pride to follow her heart?

WHY I'M WAITING: I had read Ms. Lin's debut a few years ago, but had forgotten how much I enjoyed her writing style until I read the second in her Tang Dynasty series this weekend.  I definitely recommend her work for those who want a different kind of historical romance.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Beginnings and Endings in Books


Hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish.

TOP TEN BEGINNINGS AND ENDINGS IN BOOKS


~Beginnings~

Pride and Prejudice
1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.
 Match Me If You Can (Chicago Stars, #6)
2. Match Me If You Can (Chicago Stars #5) by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
If Annabelle hadn't found a body lying under "Sherman," she wouldn't have been late for her appointment with the Python.
The Undead in My Bed (Includes: Midnight Liaisons #1.5, Dark Ones #10.5, Half Moon Hollow #1.5) 
3. Undead Sublet (Half-Moon Hollow #2.5) by Molly Harper
In retrospect, I should have known something was wrong when the arugula started telling knock-knock jokes.
The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom (The League of Princes, #1) 
4. The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom (League of Princes #1) by Christopher Healy
Prince Charming is afraid of old ladies. Didn't know that, did you?
The Iron King (The Iron Fey, #1)
5. The Iron King (Iron Fey #1) by Julie Kagawa
Ten years ago, on my sixth birthday, my father disappeared.



~Endings~

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)
1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter #7) by JK Rowling
All was well.
Touch & Geaux (Cut & Run #7)
2. Touch & Geaux (Cut & Run #7) by Abigail Roux
It was the first purely honest kiss they'd ever shared.  And it was a kiss goodbye.
Shadowfever (Fever, #5)
3. Shadowfever (Fever #5) by Karen Marie Moning
The good guys and the bad guys aren't as easy to tell apart as I used to think they were.  You can't look at someone with your eyes and take their measure.  You have to look with the heart.
Lover At Last (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #11)
4. Lover at Last (Black Dagger Brotherhood #11) by JR Ward
On that note, they held each other close, started moving together in perfect harmony...and lived happily ever after.
Black Beauty
5. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
My troubles are all over, and I am at home; and often before I am quite awake, I fancy I am still in the orchard at Birtwick, standing with my old friends under the apple-trees.

Monday, July 29, 2013

REVIEW: "Once Upon a Tower" by Eloisa James


Once Upon a Tower (Fairy Tales, #5)

Once Upon a Tower by Eloisa James
For Ages 18+
Historical Romance -- 1820s England
Avon -- May 28, 2013
Mass Market Paperback, 404 pages
Purchased from Amazon

THEMES
fairy tale retelling, virgin hero, Highlands setting

SUMMARY
To win her love...
As an extremely wealthy laird, Gowan Stoughton, Duke of Kinross, can have any of the maidens at the ball he attends. The only problem is they are all English and Gowan is not so certain they are suitable. He is accustomed to the hard-working lasses from his Highlands, not these dainty noblewomen who spend their days drinking tea or some other such nonsense. But then he makes the acquaintance of Lady Edith Gilchrist. Utterly bewitched by the emerald-eyed beauty with lush golden locks, he knows he must have her.

He must free her from her tower...
"Edie" had the misfortune of being dreadfully ill at her debut ball and barely remembers what Gowan looks like. Even worse, she accepted his proposal the following day. Edie's only true passion is playing music—until Gowan writes a scandalous letter and stirs the most irresistible desire. Yet when they marry, Edie realizes her husband needs a lesson and locks herself in a tower. Somehow Gowan must find a way to enter the tower and convince his new bride that she belongs in his arms.

FIRST LINE
Whenever possible, Gowan Stoughton of Craigievar, Duke of Kinross, Chief of Clan MacAuley avoided rooms crowded with Englishmen.

MY THOUGHTS
It is always impressive to me when an author has the ability to constantly surprise me by meeting my already high expectations.  I adore Eloisa James's romances so I was expecting to enjoy Once Upon a Tower and I did.  But, I was blown away by how different this one was from the others in her Fairy Tale series with the tone, the romance, and the characters.

Our hero is Gowan, an extremely wealthy Scottish duke, who has come to England for a business venture and always plans on finding a wife.  I really enjoyed Gowan's character.  I thought it was interesting that he was younger than most historical heroes (early twenties) though he shows considerably maturity due to the fact that he has held his current title since he was a young teen.  Gowan has been a duke for almost ten years and has a ton of responsibilities which he is diligent about taking care of.  His opinions of romance are shaped greatly by the complex relationship of his parents and it is obvious that he is desperate not to repeat those mistakes.  Yet he falls for Edie and proposes rather quickly though he claims not to be an impulsive person by nature.  I also need to mention another aspect of his character that I enjoyed which was the fact that Gowan is a virgin though still pretty sensual.  This unusual predicament ends up being a major plot point that I don't want to spoil for possible readers, but I applaud Eloisa James for bringing it up.

Edie was a little harder for me like at the beginning.  She is a beautiful lady with an amazing talent for playing the cello.  Despite that, she has some self-esteem issues, mostly associated with being right for marriage and motherhood.  This has forced her to have a very cynical view of love that is threatened by her growing feelings for Gowan.  I started liking  Edie when she began showing her more humorous side to Gowan early in their courtship and it gave me hope that she could be a worthy heroine for him since I was already rooting for him.  Edie's views on love and romance have also been shaped by her observations of her father and stepmother's tumultuous marriage which helped me understand why she was afraid to address the issues that she and her husband were having in the bedroom.  I did think she reacted a bit dramatically to Gowan's reaction, but I thought Eloisa James explained well enough by the end.

Gowan and Edie's relationship started off as an example of insta-lust so I was not sure about their compatibility beyond that.  But, I began rooting for them when they started exchanging bawdy letters while Gowan was away on business.  They seemed to connect with each other quickly and it was nice to see the balance between sexual tension (which was definitely visible) and emotional intimacy.  They do have issues in the bedroom which I thought was an intriguing, and realistic, complication to their relationship.  Both of them are virgins so it is to be expected that there would be some bumps on the road.  Despite that, they did seem to want to work out their relationship (until a certain point) and were willing to know more about one another.  There were some communication issues, but they did not annoy me the way that they usually do because of the realistic way that Ms. James showed their reactions.  Also, it was nice to read a romance that focused primarily on the couple with very few subplots getting in the way.

The only major plot, besides Gowan and Edie's relationship, was a sweet secondary romance.  It involved Edie's father and stepmother trying to get back to their initial feelings for another which was easier said than done.  I thought this was a great choice because of the influence that this relationship had on Edie's outlook on romance.  I love troubled marriage story lines so I definitely enjoyed this one.

One thing that I love about this series is the fact that Eloisa James is influenced by the original fairy tales, but she doesn't force herself to follow them literally.  Once Upon a Tower is a retelling of Rapunzel and there is a tower involved, but it was a pretty minimal plot point and I didn't actually mind that.  Most of the book was taken up by the events that forced Edie to go into the tower which is part of the Rapunzel fairy tale that I am always intrigued by though I loved the way she did the hero climbing the hair aspect at the end.  Very clever and shows how dangerous that really can be!

In conclusion, I absolutely loved this romance and think it is in my top two from this series (the other being When Beauty Tamed the Beast).  I definitely am looking forward to whatever Eloisa James comes up with next!


4.5 Stars

FAVORITE QUOTES
“You are a virgin,” Layla said, sighing. “Think of it as an unavoidable stage of life, like getting old and toothless and having to drink soup. Unfortunately, men seem to think that women are like new wine, good only before being uncorked.”

BOOKS IN THE SERIES
1. A Kiss at Midnight
1.5. Storming the Castle
2. When Beauty Tamed the Beast
2.5. Winning the Wallflower
3. The Duke is Mine
4. The Ugly Duchess
4.5. Seduced by a Pirate
4.6. With This Kiss
5. Once Upon a Tower

Sunday, July 28, 2013

SERIES SPOTLIGHT (4): The Ghost and the Goth trilogy by Stacey Kade




This is a new feature where I "spotlight" a certain series that I love and recommend to other readers, inspired by Anna's Book Blog.

For this month I am going to showcase a YA paranormal series that I just discovered earlier this year and completed within two months: 


The Ghost and the Goth trilogy
by Stacey Kade


The Ghost and the Goth (The Ghost and the Goth, #1)

Alona Dare–Senior in high school, co-captain of the cheerleading squad, Homecoming Queen three years in a row, voted most likely to marry a movie star… and newly dead.



I’m the girl you hated in high school. Is it my fault I was born with it all-good looks, silky blond hair, a hot bod, and a keen sense of what everyone else should not be wearing? But my life isn’t perfect, especially since I died. Run over by a bus of band geeks—is there anything more humiliating? As it turns out, yes—watching your boyfriend and friends move on with life, only days after your funeral. And you wouldn’t believe what they’re saying about me now that they think I can’t hear them. To top it off, I’m starting to disappear, flickering in and out of existence. I don’t know where I go when I’m gone, but it’s not good. Where is that freaking white light already?

Will Killian–Senior in high school, outcast, dubbed “Will Kill” by the popular crowd for the unearthly aura around him, voted most likely to rob a bank…and a ghost-talker.

I can see, hear, and touch the dead. Unfortunately, they can also see, hear and touch me. Yeah, because surviving high school isn’t hard enough already. I’ve done my best to hide my “gift.” After all, my dad, who shared my ability, killed himself because of it when I was fifteen. But lately, pretending to be normal has gotten a lot harder. A new ghost—an anonymous, seething cloud of negative energy with the capacity to throw me around—is pursuing me with a vengeance. My mom, who knows nothing about what I can do, is worrying about the increase in odd incidents, my shrink is tossing around terms like “temporary confinement for psychiatric evaluation,” and my principal, who thinks I’m a disruption and a faker, is searching for every way possible to get rid of me. How many weeks until graduation? 



Queen of the Dead (The Ghost and the Goth, #2)


After being sent back from the light, Alona Dare - former homecoming queen, current Queen of the Dead - finds herself doing something she never expected: working. Instead of spending days perfecting her tan by the pool (her typical summer routine when she was, you know, alive), Alona must now cater to the needs of other lost spirits. By her side for all of this - ugh - “helping of others” is Will Killian: social outcast, seer of the dead, and someone Alona cares about more than she’d like.


Before Alona can make a final ruling on Will’s “friend” or “more” status, though, she discovers trouble at home. Her mom is tossing out Alona’s most valuable possessions, and her dad is expecting a new daughter with his wicked wife. Is it possible her family is already moving on? Hello! She’s only been dead for two months! Thankfully, Alona knows just the guy who can put a stop to this mess.


Unfortunately for Alona, Will has other stuff on his mind, and Mina, a young (and beautiful) seer, is at the top of the list. She’s the first ghost-talker Will’s ever met—aside from his father—and she may hold answers to Will’s troubled past. But can she be trusted? Alona immediately puts a check mark in the “clearly not” column. But Will is - ahem - willing to find out, even if it means leaving a hurt and angry Alona to her own devices, which is never a good idea.

Body & Soul (The Ghost and the Goth, #3)


The Ghost

I’ve been trapped in the body of Lily “Ally” Turner for a month now. Talk about a fashion crisis on an epic scale. What worries me more, though, is sometimes I catch Will looking at me like he thinks I’m Lily...or that he wishes I were. Without the good looks of my former self, I don’t know who I am, or if who that is is good enough. I need out of this mess. Now.

Will and I have been looking for a solution, one that would separate me from Lily without killing her. But it’s not going well. Then, when it seems like things couldn’t get any worse, we run into Misty, my former best friend and boyfriend-stealer extraordinaire, who claims she’s being haunted...by me. Seriously?

I’m determined to get to the bottom of who’s pretending to be the spirit of Alona Dare (while I’m pretending to be someone else) and then get the heck out of this body. Or die trying...

The Goth
I’ll admit it. It’s really weird to look at Alona but see Lily. I do know the difference, though, contrary to what Alona might be saying. And Alona is more than a pretty face to me, not that she would believe that.

Our one lead for some help in this messed up situation might be a page torn from the yellow pages-—the “Psychics” section-—I found in my dad’s stuff. One of the “fakes” seems a bit more real-—and odd-—than the others. Before I can investigate further, though, Alona is off and chasing a ghost that’s probably nothing more than a figment of Misty’s guilty imagination. Now Lily’s family is freaking out because she didn’t come home, my mom is ordering me to stay out of it, and something is definitely wrong with the person formerly known as Lily “Ally” Turner.


Saturday, July 27, 2013

WEEKLY RECAP: July 21-27, 2013


THIS WEEK ON FEMINIST FAIRY TALE REVIEWS

REVIEWS
5 Stars -- The Heiress Effect (Brothers Sinister #2) by Courtney Milan (historical romance)
I feel like a broken record every time I write a review for a Courtney Milan book because there is something about her writing that grabs me from the very beginning and doesn't let me go until the end.
3.5 Stars -- When Lightning Strikes (1-800-Where-R-U #1) by Meg Cabot (YA paranormal)
  I thought this was a decent beginning to an interesting character's journey.
3.5 Stars -- Code Name: Cassandra (1-800-Where-R-U #2) by Meg Cabot (YA paranormal)
I did enjoy this book, but not as much as I was hoping.  I think the characters are interesting and the psychic powers thing is fun.  There is just something missing from these books that I usually find in a Meg Cabot story that I can put my finger on right now.  

FEATURES

MY READING UPDATE


Once Upon a Tower (Fairy Tales #6) by Eloisa James -- Fun retelling of Rapunzel with a sexy Scottish duke and a talented cellist.  I loved this couple and think it is one of the best of the entire series.  It can be read as a stand-alone.  Review coming soon.

The Dragon and the Pearl (Tang Dynasty #2) by Jeannie Lin -- Historical romance set in 8th century China between a powerful warlord and a concubine.  The political intrigue was captivating and the romance was very sweet.  I also liked the unique setting which is a refreshing change from Regency-era England.  Review coming soon.

Conspiracy in Death (In Death #8) by JD Robb -- Another great mystery with Eve and Roarke! I loved the balance that Robb set between Eve's job and personal life in this one. The mystery was pretty in-depth and I was impressed with the way that Eve and her team figured everything out. And Roarke was wonderfully supportive and sexy as always.

The Winning Season by Alison Packard -- I love sports so I was instantly attracted to this romance between a bad boy catcher and a publicist. Overall, I thought this was an entertaining read. I liked both Matt and Kelly and appreciated the depth that the author gave their characters. I didn't like the way that Matt treated Kelly at a certain point in the story and didn't think he deserved to be forgiven as fast as he did. I also thought the ending was a bit abrupt though it was sweet.  Review coming soon.

Code Name: Cassandra (1-800-Where-R-U #2) by Meg Cabot -- Funny installment in this YA paranormal series.  I liked the music camp story line and thought the way that it showed how Jess's character was growing was interesting.  But, I just felt like there was something missing that would have made it a home run for me.  Review can be found above.

CURRENTLY READING


NEW TO THE TBR SHELF


Quintana of the Charyn (Lumatere Chronicles #3) by Melina Marchetta (YA fantasy)
On Dublin Street by Samantha Young (contemporary romance)
The Cursed (Legend of the Black Swan #1) by Alyssa Day (paranormal romance)
Free Agent (Mustangs Baseball #0.5) by Roz Lee (contemporary romance)
Heirs and Spares by J.L. Spohr (historical romance)
Sweet Young Thang (Theta Alpha Gamma #3) by Anne Tenino (male/male romance)

GREAT BOOKISH DEALS

Savor by Megan Duncan (YA paranormal) [FREE]
Rebellious Desire by Julie Garwood (historical romance) [$0.99]
One Week Girlfriend by Monica Murphy (NA contemporary) [$0.99]
A View to a Kiss by Caroline Linden (historical romance) [$1.99]

Friday, July 26, 2013

FOLLOW FRIDAY (78)

Alison Can Read Feature & Follow
Feature & Follow Friday is a blog hop that expands your blog following by a joint effort between bloggers. Feature & Follow Friday is now hosted by TWO hosts, Rachel of Parajunkee and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it'll allow us to show off more new blogs!


This Week's Feature Blogs:
Q:  What do you do with your books after you are done reading them?

This depends completely on how good the book is or whether it is part of a larger series that I follow.  If I really liked/loved it, I will put in on my already overflowing bookshelf.  I have started moving some books to rubber bins that I will use to fill up shelves whenever they open up.  If I don't think I will re-read it, I usually post it on Paperback Swap to see if someone else in the book world wants it and, after a significant amount of time, I will donate it to the library.


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bloglovin

I have created different ways for you to follow my blog: Bloglovin', LinkyFollowers, , Twitter, Goodreads, or email.  Comment, follow me, and I'll return the favor!!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

HARRY POTTER MOMENT OF THE WEEK (1)


This is a fabulous meme that I discovered a few weeks ago at Uncorked Thoughts.  Basically, Leah (the host) picks a topic each week that has to do with Harry Potter in some way.  I have loved reading her (and others) posts so I decided to try it for myself.  If you are a huge HP fan, I highly recommend participating!

FAVORITE CREATURE OF THE SERIES


Definitely has to be Hippogriffs especially Buckbeak/Witherwings.  I have to love any creature that embarrasses Draco Malfoy plus Buckbeak has such a personality!  I also really think the fact that they are extremely proud and bow to people they respect to be very intriguing.  I don't know if I would want one as a pet, but it is fun to dream!

Here's a bit more about Hippogriffs from Harry Potter Wikia:

A Hippogriff is a magical creature that has the front legs, wings, and head of a giant eagle and the body, hind legs and tail of a horse. It is very similar to another mythical creature, the Griffin, with the horse rear replacing the lion rear. Hippogriffs have cruel, steel-coloured beaks and large, brilliantly orange eyes. The talons on their front legs are half a foot long and appear deadly.  The breeding of fancy Hippogriffs is an established wizarding career, with known breeders including Newton Scamander's mother. Images of said fancy Hippogriffs are sometimes put onto calendars.


 WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE HP CREATURE??

DOUBLE-REVIEW: "When Lightning Strikes" and "Code Name: Cassandra" by Meg Cabot


 


Meg Cabot is one of my favorite authors so I was ecstatic to get invited to participate in the Meg-a-Readers Blog Hop, co-hosted by Mandy at The Romance Bookie and Diana at Little Miss Drama Queen. Check out their blogs for more great Cabot fun!


When Lightning Strikes (1-800-Where-R-You, #1)When Lightning Strikes by Meg Cabot
For Ages 12+
Young Adult -- Paranormal
Simon Pulse -- 2001
Paperback, 266 pages
Received as a gift

SUMMARY Jess Mastriani has never been what you'd call a typical Midwestern teenager—her extracurricular activities, instead of cheerleading or 4-H, include fist-fights with the football team and month-long stints in detention. A part of Jess would like to be the prom queen her mother has always envisioned her being, but another part is secretly counting the days until she's saved up enough money to buy her own Harley. Then something happens that guarantees Jess will be one of the in-crowd...at least until her newfound talent ends up getting her dead.

FIRST LINE
They want me to write it down.

MY THOUGHTS
One thing that always impresses me about Meg Cabot is the variety of characters and stories that she can tell.  I have read almost everything she has written and I am always entertained, no matter what genre.  That is why I was excited to try When Lightning Strikes when I received it and the sequel (Code: Name Cassandra) for a present last year.  These two are the first in one of Cabot's older series (1-800-Where-R-U) and I was interested to see how her writing has evolved since then.

The first thing that grabbed my attention was the protagonist, Jess, whose narrative voice is obvious from the beginning.  She is a typical Cabot heroine with a fairly normal life which she looks at with a sly sense of humor.  I thought Jess was pretty amusing especially with her tendency towards violence and obsession with motorcycles.  When she is struck by lightning and gains psychic powers, her reaction is both atypical and entertaining.  I liked how devoted she was to those she cared about including her family, best friend, and the children that she began to help find.

Like most Cabot books, Jess is surrounded by a menagerie of quirky characters.  I loved her restaurant-owning family especially her brother, Douglas, whose mental state brings some darkness to an overall light story line.  I also thought Ruth, Jess's best friend, was amusing though I did get a bit annoyed (as Jess did) about her obsession with her weight and looks.  The potential love interest, Rob, was intriguing, but I wanted to know more about him besides the fact that he drives a motorcycle and lives on the more rural side of town.

The plot of When Lightning Strikes was fairly predictable with the way the government tried to get involved to Jess's unwillingness to help save kids who didn't want to be saved, but it was entertaining.  I loved Jess's resourcefulness when it came to doing what she thought was right and appreciated that she knew when to ask for help.  The ending did come as a bit of a shock, but I can understand where Meg Cabot is going with it.

Overall, I thought this was a decent beginning to an interesting character's journey.  I'm glad that Meg Cabot didn't go too far into the darker elements of Jess's new life though I can see it going there in the future.  I definitely look forward to getting to know more about the side characters especially Rob, Douglas, and Ruth.


3.5 Stars

FAVORITE QUOTE
"You'll blow up a helicopter, but you won't go out with me? What is wrong with you?"


*********************************************


Code Name Cassandra (1-800-Where-R-You, #2)
Code Name: Cassandra by Meg Cabot
For Ages 12+
Young Adult -- Paranormal
Simon Pulse -- 2001
Paperback, 272 pages
Received as a gift

SUMMARY 
Jess Mastriani was dubbed "Lightning Girl" by the press when she developed a psychic ability to find missing children after she was struck by lightning during a huge storm. Now Jess has lost her miraculous powers...or at least she would like the media and the government to think so. All she wants is to be left alone.

But it doesn't look like Jess is going to get her wish -- especially not while working at a summer camp for musically gifted kids. When the father of a missing girl shows up to beg Jess to find his daughter, Jess can't say no. Now the Feds are on her tail again, as is one ornery stepdad, who'd like to see Lightning Girl...well, dead.

FIRST LINE
I don't know why I'm doing this.

MY THOUGHTS
Code Name: Cassandra is the second book in the 1-800-Where-R-U, but I don't think readers need to read to first book to enjoy this one.  Meg Cabot does a great job of providing background information without making it feel like she is rehashing the entire plot though I do recommend When Lightning Strikes if one wants to really appreciate the development of Jess Mastriani as a character.

Jess's life has finally gotten back to normal after being struck lightning, gaining psychic abilities that allow her to find missing children in her sleep, and then claiming to lose those powers.  Her best friend, Ruth, convinces her to get a job working at a camp for musically talented children which helps show another side to Jess.  I loved watching her interact with the boys that she is assigned to especially sweet Lionel and brash Shane.  She is coming to understand the true purpose of her gift though it also comes with very real dangers.

As I mentioned in the review of the first book, one of my favorite things about Meg Cabot's books is her ability to write quirky and intriguing side characters that help balance out her protagonists.  Rob Wilkins is as sexy as he was in When Lightning Strikes though I wish he would let Jess know what he really feels for her soon.  Ruth got a bit on my nerves in this book with her continued obsession with her weight and categorization of the male camp counselors.  I feel like Jess needed her at certain points in this book and she wasn't always there.  The kids were a nice balance of cute and annoying that made them feel like realistic.

I really liked the camp story line and thought it provided a different tone than the first book.  That is why I wasn't real happy when Keely's father showed up and tried to get Jess to help him find her.  I understand that Cabot needed to remind readers about the overall series plot, but it just seemed a little out of nowhere.  I did think that Jess's reaction to the government was interesting especially with her interactions with them in the first book and I am excited to see where the series goes with that relationship.

I did enjoy this book, but not as much as I was hoping.  I think the characters are interesting and the psychic powers thing is fun.  There is just something missing from these books that I usually find in a Meg Cabot story that I can put my finger on right now.  That being said, I will probably check out the rest of series if only to see if Rob ever gets his head on straight about being in love with Jess.


3.5 Stars

FAVORITE QUOTE
"Every seven miles, in America, there is at least one McDonald's. Not a hospital, mind you, or a police station, but a McDonald's, every seven miles. I mean, that's sort of scary, if you think about it."


BOOKS IN THE SERIES
1. When Lightning Strikes
2. Code Name: Cassandra
3. Safe House
4. Sanctuary
5. Missing You

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

WWW WEDNESDAYS (11)


Hosted by Should Be Reading.

To participate in this feature, you just have answer these three simple questions:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you'll read next?

CURRENTLY READING...


Once Upon a Tower (Fairy Tales, #5)
Just started this, but so far I'm loving it!  The hero has already made my day!

The Winning Season
I love baseball and romance so this is a perfect combo for me.

Conspiracy in Death (In Death, #8) 
Still listening to this, but the end (and the reveal of the killer) is in sight!

RECENTLY FINISHED READING...

The Heiress Effect (Brothers Sinister, #2)
Absolutely amazing love story!  Jane is one of my favorite heroines of 2013.


Code Name Cassandra (1-800-Where-R-You, #2)
Second in the YA paranormal series.  Enjoyable, but I'm not sure if I'll continue it.

WHAT I'M READING NEXT...

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1)
I keep meaning to read this and now seems like the time.

A Most Devilish Rogue
E-ARC historical romance.  I'm excited though the cover makes me laugh.

Loyalty in Death (In Death, #9)
Continuing my slow trek through this lengthy, but wonderful series.