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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Recommend A… Book with a Green Cover :: The Goose Girl – Shannon Hale

Recommend A... graphic

Shanyn’s new feature caught my eye this week and it’s something I’ve decided to take part in. This week’s prompt is to Recommend a book with a green cover.

The Goose Girl cover
The Goose Girl
By Shannon Hale
Books of Bayern – Book 1

Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, spends the first years of her life under her aunt’s guidance learning to communicate with animals. As she grows up Ani develops the skills of animal speech, but is never comfortable speaking with people, so when her silver-tongued lady-in-waiting leads a mutiny during Ani’s journey to be married in a foreign land, Ani is helpless and cannot persuade anyone to assist her. Becoming a goose girl for the king, Ani eventually uses her own special, nearly magical powers to find her way to her true destiny. Shannon Hale has woven an incredible, original and magical tale of a girl who must find her own unusual talents before she can become queen of the people she has made her own.

———-

I decided to go with a book I read several years ago. It was my introduction to this author and had me searching for her name in libraries. This week I’m recommending The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale. I rarely like when others pick books out for me, but with The Goose Girl my husband did a fantastic job. It wasn’t just because we were snowed in thanks to a surprise blizzard, this one had me ignoring the noise around me and becoming engrossed in the story.

The Goose Girl is one that can come as a slow surprise for you. This is a story of a quiet girl who has to learn to have confidence in herself and has to find her strength. When we accept that we can be more than we ever dreamed of we can change the world around us.

Shannon Hale is an author not to be missed and The Goose Girl is a great place to start.

 

Hidden – Sophie Jordan

Hidden coverHidden
By Sophie Jordan
Firelight – Book 3
Available September 2012

This description contains spoilers. Don’t read if you haven’t read the first two books in the Firelight series.

Description:
Jacinda was supposed to bond with Cassian, the “prince” of their pride. But she resisted long before she fell in love with Will—a human and, worse, a hunter. When she ran away with Will, it ended in disaster, with Cassian’s sister, Miram, captured. Weighed down by guilt, Jacinda knows she must rescue her to set things right. Yet to do so she will have to venture deep into the heart of enemy territory.

The only way Jacinda can reach Miram is by posing as a prisoner herself, though once she assumes that disguise, things quickly spiral out of her control. As she learns more about her captors, she realizes that even if Will and Cassian can carry out their part of the plan, there’s no guarantee they’ll all make it out alive. But what Jacinda never could have foreseen is that escaping would be only the beginning….

Loyalties are tested and sacrifices made in the explosive conclusion to Sophie Jordan’s Firelight trilogy.

This Blonde’s Review:
What better way to get inside than to pose as bait? Jacinda knows it’s the best option, even while it terrifies her. What if something goes wrong? Nothing can happen before the guys can get in to rescue them, can it? Jacinda has to trust Will and Cassian to save her and Miram before anything terrible can happen to either of them. Getting in was the easy part. What she doesn’t count on is what she’ll find once she’s there.

In the conclusion to the Firelight trilogy we’ll discover who is willing to kill to protect their vision for the pride, how the pride will react to Will’s powers, and what really happened to Jacinda’s father.

Sophie Jordan gave us answers to so many of our questions in this one. We may not like all the answers and we may not get as much detail as we’d like, but we finally have answers. The author didn’t tie every thread neatly for us, because the world Jacinda lives in isn’t really over, even if our chance to see it is. There were some things that seemed to fall together a little too easily for me and seemed to almost be swept away. Instead of it being written like we shouldn’t care about it, it was written more like it was something Jacinda had to accept would never be completed.

Something I loved is that this story wasn’t given the perfect ending that so many people hoped for. I believe it was as perfect as it could have been to still be a great ending. Jacinda doesn’t get a sad ending, but it isn’t completed happy either. Those endings are the best endings in my opinion.

I’m going to keep this review short in hopes of not ruining anything for you. If you’ve been pulled into Jacinda’s world the way I have then I know you won’t want to miss the end of this part of her story. It’s disappointing knowing this is the last book, but I think you’ll agree that there was no better way for this one to end.

If you enjoyed the first two books in the Firelight series you’ll want to pick this one up as soon as it comes out in September. If you haven’t read the first two books and enjoy the idea dragons who are people and seeing the way one girl struggles to be draki while loving a human whose family hunts her kind, then you’ll love this series. I know I’ve enjoyed it and look forward to adding the series to my keeper shelf with the rest of my Sophie Jordan collection.

 

When You Were Mine – Rebecca Serle

When You Were Mine coverWhen You Were Mine
By Rebecca Serle
Available Now

Description:
In this intensely romantic, modern recounting of the greatest love story ever told, Romeo’s original intended—Juliet’s cousin Rosaline—tells her side of the tale.

What’s in a name, Shakespeare? I’ll tell you: Everything.

Rosaline knows that she and Rob are destined to be together. Rose has been waiting for years for Rob to kiss her—and when he finally does, it’s perfect. But then Juliet moves back to town. Juliet, who used to be Rose’s best friend. Juliet, who now inexplicably hates her. Juliet, who is gorgeous, vindictive, and a little bit crazy… and who has set her sights on Rob. He doesn’t even stand a chance.

Rose is devastated over losing Rob to Juliet. This is not how the story was supposed to go. And when rumors start swirling about Juliet’s instability, her neediness, and her threats of suicide, Rose starts to fear not only for Rob’s heart, but also for his life. Because Shakespeare may have gotten the story wrong, but we all still know how it ends.

This Blonde’s Review:
Romeo and Juliet is a famous love story. Not everyone sees it as a love story though. Rosaline, the girl Romeo was with before Juliet stole him away, certainly doesn’t think so.

Rose never let herself think of being with Rob, so when he finally seems interested in her it’s hard for her to believe. Could he really want to be with her? What if she’s imagining it? What happens if it doesn’t work out? She’s a typical girl who discovers her best friend could become more.

Until her cousin shows up. Without knowing what happened one minute Rob is hers and the next he’s kissing Juliet! When Rob chooses Juliet and says he wants to stay friends Rose isn’t having it. Seeing them together hurts her, but watching the changes in Rob baffles her. What is Juliet doing to him that has made him change so much? The Rob she grew up with & loved wasn’t like that, so it must be Juliet.

When scandal and betrayal rocks their families we start to see the couple come unhinged. We watch the story of Romeo & Juliet play out through the eyes of the girl who wanted to love them both until they betrayed her.

I really enjoyed getting modern Rosaline’s viewpoint on this one. I have never cared for the story of Romeo & Juliet, so it was great to have a book that puts that same story in the current day and Shows us how twisted and unromantic it really is. What I really loved is that despite all of that the story isn’t actually about them. This story is Rose’s.

We see a girl trying to trust her heart and having it broken. Then we watch as she tried to put it back together. Seeing the way she can still care for the ones who hurt her most makes her an endearing character. Not allowing them to trample over her without thinking made her a character I could respect. She may be struggling but that doesn’t mean she should roll over. Rose was a wonderfully typical girl. She had doubts and fears. She wasn’t always strong but didn’t wait for anyone to save her. She’s the kind of girl we’d want to be friends with.

Every girl deserves a chance to get the guy, but Rose’s chance isn’t anything like she imagined. In some ways it’s far fetched, but it’s the kind of far fetched I can live with. I wasn’t sure where the author would go with that one at first, but I think she did wonderfully with it. She may not have chosen the path she was on but she would have to learn what she really wanted so she could make it happen.

If a modern day Romeo and Juliet told from Rosaline’s perspective sounds interesting to you then I’m sure you’ll love this one. You may look at Romeo & Juliet or Rosaline in ways you never have before.

 

Underworld – Meg Cabot

Underworld coverUnderworld
By Meg Cabot
Abandon – Book 2
Available Now

Description:
Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.

Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera isn’t dead.

Not this time.

But she is being held against her will in the dim, twilit world between heaven and hell, where the spirits of the deceased wait before embarking upon their final journey.

Her captor, John Hayden, claims it’s for her own safety. Because not all the departed are dear. Some are so unhappy with where they ended up after leaving the Underworld, they’ve come back as Furies, intent on vengeance…on the one who sent them there and on the one whom he loves.

But while Pierce might be safe from the Furies in the Underworld, far worse dangers could be lurking for her there…and they might have more to do with its ruler than with his enemies.

And unless Pierce is careful, this time there’ll be no escape.

This Blonde’s Review:
She should be dead. Luckily for Pierce, John saw something in her that made him want her in his life. That’s what gave her the chance to escape from John and the Underworld. The first book in this series tell the story of Pierce and what happens to her after she died. In the second book we see what happens to her when she goes back to the Underworld. This time she isn’t dead and she isn’t allowed to leave.

Despite everything that happened, Pierce still has the giving personality that drew John to her. She knows about the furies that would hurt her to get to John, but she can’t leave the people she cares about to suffer. Her family doesn’t know where she is and someone she loves could pay the price for being out of reach for the furies. Being in the underworld gives Pierce insight into John’s life before he died. It also gives her a peek at the kind of guy he really is. Is he the guy who tricks her into staying in the underworld forever or the guy who will do anything to protect her?

Pierce is wonderfully flawed. She makes the wrong choices and needs to be saved from herself too often. In her attempts to do what she feels is right, Pierce could make things worse for everyone around her. Luckily John is there to keep her safe, even when she doesn’t want it. John’s feelings for Pierce are more powerful than she can understand, so she often pushes him to do things he normally wouldn’t in order to make her happy. When they find themselves in a situation they hoped to avoid they’ll find themselves doing something neither of them would have expected. And I know I can’t wait to read the third book to see how the situation will resolve itself.

Hades and Persephone’s story is one we all know, but what happens when a lord of the underworld falls for a mortal girl and wants her to stay with him? If that sounds like a question you’d like the answer to, you’ll love reading about Pierce and John.

 

7 Clues to Winning You – Kristin Walker

7 Clues to Winning You cover7 Clues to Winning You
By Kristin Walker
Available Now

Description:
When a humiliating picture of Blythe goes viral, she’s instantly the target of ridicule at her new school. To salvage her reputation, Blythe teams up with Luke to win the Senior Scramble scavenger hunt. But Luke is an unlikely ally and potentially can’t be trusted.

Perhaps it’s his Shakespearean witticisms that reel Blythe in despite her better judgment . . . or maybe she just craves the thrill of the game. But as the hunt progresses, their relationship heats up. Soon their madcap mischief spirals out of control. Blythe is faced with arrest and expulsion, among other catastrophes – until Luke shows her what the Scramble (and love) is really about.

This Blonde’s Review:
Blythe’s life is going perfectly. She has the right friends, is on the path to attend the college of her choice. Until her life is thrown into a tailspin. Her parents have announced that she’s moving. To make matters worse, her father is the principal of her new school and she’s already been humiliated there when an embarrassing picture when viral the year before. When she doesn’t have much choice, she can only hope that everyone will have forgotten the old picture and not look at her as the principal’s kid. Until it becomes clear that no one has forgotten the picture. With a rocky start and a desire for revenge, Blythe manages to get a senior tradition banned. The Senior Scramble has gone on for generations and getting it banned won’t make her any friends. In a change of heart she’ll team up with the guy who brought her embarrassment into the limelight to bring the Senior Scramble back.

Blythe may seem like he could be hard to like after living a seemingly perfect life, but her dedication to charity work makes it easy to love her. Especially with the wonderful characters we meet at the retirement home she volunteers in. Luke is a guy we want to hate at first. He jumps to conclusions about Blythe based on nothing more than where she goes to school. He posted the picture that caused her so much embarrassment, then revived the picture at the worst moment. Yet the more Blythe gets to know him, the more we start to like him.

Watching Blythe find her place in her new school was great. Her new friends aren’t the types she thought she’d end up with, but they are the kind we can’t help but love. Tattoos, piercings, and tons of PDA don’t seem like a big deal compared to people who accept you for who you are and will stand up for you. She’ll learn that the people you thought you could count on could betray you. She’ll learn that sometimes she’ll do the wrong thing and even if it turns out right, it doesn’t mean it was okay. Blythe will also have to learn that not everything in her family is what it seems either. There is baggage she isn’t aware of and will have to learn to appreciate.

I really enjoyed 7 Clues to Winning You. Blythe’s plans for the future have always been the most important thing to her and I loved watching her learn to live and enjoy her life. She learns some great lessons and we can’t help but cheer her on as she goes down a road to potentially make her goals unattainable.

If you want to read the story of a girl who goes from the top of the totem pole to the bottom and learns to be happy with it, you’ll love Blythe’s story.

 

Breaking Beautiful – Jennifer Shaw Wolf

Breaking Beautiful coverBreaking Beautiful
By Jennifer Shaw Wolf
Available Now

Description:
Allie lost everything the night her boyfriend, Trip, died in a horrible car accident—including her memory of the event. As their small town mourns his death, Allie is afraid to remember because doing so means delving into what she’s kept hidden for so long: the horrible reality of their abusive relationship.

When the police reopen the investigation, it casts suspicion on Allie and her best friend, Blake, especially as their budding romance raises eyebrows around town. Allie knows she must tell the truth. Can she reach deep enough to remember that night so she can finally break free? Debut writer Jennifer Shaw Wolf takes readers on an emotional ride through the murky waters of love, shame, and, ultimately, forgiveness.

This Blonde’s Review:
Trip is dead, but Allie can’t remember what happened. She doesn’t want to. All she wants to do is hide from her pain, her memories, and the truth of how Trip’s death makes her feel. She can’t accept the help her brother and childhood friend have to offer. As she slowly starts to return to the world she finds life isn’t any better than she thought it would be. She is still whispered about and speculated over. Her every move is given more weight than it deserves. People suspect her of awful things and hold Trip up as a shining light. Except they didn’t know Trip like she did.

Allie is a hard character to get to know. She doesn’t want to face her past or accept that she could have a future, which makes her hard to know or understand. Lucky for her she has a devoted twin brother, Andrew, who would do anything for her. He may be in a wheelchair and may not be able to speak well, but he’s there for her in ways no one else is able to be. Even when she turns away, he’s still there. She also has Blake, her childhood best friend. Blake knows he’s undesirable and is willing to support Allie even if she is unwilling to acknowledge their friendship. He wants more from her than mere friendship, but he loves her enough to accept what she’ll give him.

Blake and Andrew were my favorite characters. I loved their strength and how much they loved Allie. Allie was damaged and unwilling to face herself, and they were the rocks she could lean on. I loved that Andrew wasn’t a typical brother. His disabilities made everything he was willing to do for her count so much more. I also loved that the author was willing to educate her readers as well as show us that even if he doesn’t seem normal, Andrew was still a normal boy who wanted to care for his sister and find someone to love. Blake was a wonderful combination of strong and sensitive. He didn’t always respond well, but he did all he could. Watching him do what he could to help Allie rejoin the world and becoming caught up in the joy himself was heartwarming.

Watching Allie’s attempts not to remember the night Trip died was heartbreaking. She couldn’t come clean about how Trip treated her, not expecting anyone to believe her. The people who saw it never said anything. When someone starts leaving her notes in his handwriting Allie doesn’t know what to think. Trip’s body wasn’t found, but she tells herself it can’t really be him. As she remembers more of what happened she has to wonder if everyone is right about her guilt. Did she do something? Or did Blake?

This book was heartbreaking. It was hard to understand why Allie put up with Trip, since we didn’t get to see her figure it out for herself. Watching her remember how to stand up for herself and know what she needs in her life was fabulous though. The way things went down was both awful and wonderful. I loved that it wasn’t quite what anyone expected. We could see it and be suspicious over it, but there were plenty of reasons to be uncertain over which outcome it would be. I don’t want to give too much away, but I thought it was perfect.

If you’d like to read about a broken girl who is putting herself back together, even if she doesn’t want to, then you’ll enjoy reading Allie’s story.