Wednesday, August 31, 2011 | By: Mindy Hoppe

Ink Exchange Review

Title: Ink Exchange
Author: Melissa Marr
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: 2008
Genre: YA
Main Themes: Fantasy, Faeries, Romance, Magic, & Tattoos
Pages: 325
Plot: (From the Dust Jacket)
     "Unbeknownst to mortals, a power struggle is unfolding in a world of shadows and danger.  After centuries of stability, the balance among faery courts has altered, and Irial, the ruler of the Dark Court, is battling to hold his rebellious and newly vulnerable fey together.  If he fails, bloodshed and brutality will follow.
     Seventeen-year-old Leslie knows nothing of faeries or their intrigues.  When she is attracted to an eerily beautiful tattoo of eyes and wings, all she knows is that she has to have it, convinced it is a tangible symbol of changes she desperately craves for her own life.
     The tattoo does bring her changes- not the kind Leslie has dreamed of, but sinister, compelling changes that are more than symbolic.  Those changes will bind Leslie and Irial together, drawing Leslie deeper and deeper into the faery world, unable to resist its allures, and helpless to withstand it's perils..."

     Once I finished Wicked Lovely I couldn't wait to read Ink Exchange.  Which I really wasn't waiting considering I already owned it.  Out of all the covers of this series this one by far was my favorite.  If I didn't already have a tattoo in the middle of my back I would so want Leslie's.  I will admit that hers is way cooler than mine.  Although I could always add wings to mine and I have thought about it many times...
     This novel was tantalizingly dark and irresistible.  I loved every beautifully written page of it.  I think that I might have enjoyed Ink Exchange little more than Wicked Lovely.  Being that Ink Exchange had a truly ominous and sinister plot line to it.  This story will really keep you guessing at what is going to happen next.  Every time I made a decision as to what I thought was going to happen next... nope, just kidding.  I honestly felt that Melissa Marr was laughing at me as I read it, telling me to guess again.
      Just as the first book, Melissa Marr truly knows how to capture her characters.  Marr reveals them in such a way where you can completely understand and cope with their issues.  I really thought that the main characters were going to be Aislinn and Keenan but this story's focus is Leslie, Irial, and Niall.  This was a unique twist that told a different perspective that I have a feeling is going to be very important for the rest of the series.  What to say about Leslie, she is a strong and independent girl, someone who carries her burden on her own shoulders.  Even though she is a little lost because of her family life, Leslie is still pertinacious and persevering.  Then there is Niall, a consultant to the Summer King, who has caught Leslie's eye and falls for her while protecting her.  I really felt for this faery as he was left broken as he was used, lonely, and failed on his mission in protecting Leslie.  The so called bad guy of the tale was Irial, the king of the Dark Court, which ties Leslie to him by an ink exchange (her tattoo).  Irial is a dark and potently dangerous faery who is trying to do what is best for his court by any means necessary  That is until the ink exchange is finished... than he starts to feel something new that a Dark King shouldn't.
     I gave this novel an A+ as this tale is utterly seductive and morbid.  Whether you liked the first book to the series or not, I would confidently still suggest reading on into the second because you will love it.  Everything that I stated about Wicked Lovely continues on to Ink Exchange!

Rating: 20/20
Originality: 5
Characters: 5
Plot: 5
Writing Style: 5
    
  







Thursday, August 25, 2011 | By: Mindy Hoppe

Wicked Lovely Review

Title: Wicked Lovely
Author: Melissa Marr
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: 2007
Genre: YA
Main Themes: Fantasy, Fairy, Magic, & Romance
Pages: 328
Plot: (From the Dust Jacket)
     "Rule # 3: Don't stare at invisible faeries.  Aislinn has always seen fairies.  Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in the mortal world.  Aislinn fears their cruelty-especially if they learned of her sight-and wishes she were as blind to their presence as other teens.
     Rule #2: Don't speak to invisible faeries.  Now faeries are stalking her.  One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer.
     Rule #1: Don't ever attract their attention.  But it's too late.  Keenan is the Summer King, who has sought his queen for nine centuries.  Without her, summer itself will perish.  He is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost-regardless of her plans or desires.
     Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; her life; everything.
     Faery intrigue, mortal love, and the clash of ancient rules and modern expectations swirl together in Melissa Marr's stunning twenty-first-century faery tale."

     My sister loaned me this book telling me if I loved Carrie Jone's Need Series and Holly Black's Modern Faery Tale then I would love this series.  I obviously just finished Wicked Lovely and I do believe the title explains the book best as it truly was Wicked Lovely! Now that I have read this book I really can't wait to move on the next book.  I am glad that I waited to start this series because now it finished and I don't have to wait for the other books.
      I found the plot line to be deliciously dark and seductive.  The story did start a little slow but it was all crucial to the fable.  I enjoyed that this adventure was fast paced, suspenseful, and passionate.  Wicked Lovely had an interesting twist to the storyline that left you begging for more even after you finished the book...I'm glad the story continues in Ink Exchange.
      The world she painted out was sinister and original.  Her faeries were unique and her own.  There was no seelie and unseelie court.  Marr's were the winter (dark) and summer (light) court.   Completely unlike any other faeries worlds out there the faeries were genuinely of their own kind. . 
      My favorite part of this novel was the characters.  You could really feel for each and every one of them.  Aislinn also known as Ash was the main character and she is as uneasy as she is fierce and persevering.  Throughout the book she was constantly uncertain of the faeries, her best friend, herself, and what she wanted.  I was extremely overjoyed when Ash finally figures out what she wanted and how to achieve it.  Ash's main love interest was Seth, and he is described as a Goth guy but so much more lies under the surface.  You find that he is incredibly sweet and horribly enduring.  Keenan is the stubborn and earnest Summer King and there is a terribly tragic love story underlying the current story between him and Donia.  It really is heart wrenching.  Nonetheless Melissa Marr mastered her characters to where you can truly understand and feel the emotions.      
     I gave this book an A+ as this story was truly captivating and unrelenting.  If you have a love for faeries and faery stories this is definitely a book for you as Melissa Marr created a riveting picture and fable that will suck you in and devour you before it ever spits you back out.
     
My Rating: 20/20
Originality: 5
Characters: 5
Plot: 5
Writing: 5
Monday, August 22, 2011 | By: Mindy Hoppe

Glow Review

Title: Glow
Author: Amy Kathleen Ryan
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: September 2011
Genre: YA
Main Themes: Science Fiction, Religion, Romance, & Outer Space
Pages: 307
Plot: (From Goodreads.com)

     "What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?
     Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth's collapse, the ship's crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader's efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don't know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them...
     Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.
     But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside."


     I entered a contest online to win an early copy of Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan and I really didn't think I would win...but I came home from work to find this advanced readers edition on my doorstep.  I was so excited and I couldn't wait to read it!  So thank you St. Martin's Griffon for sending it to me!
     Being the first in the series Sky Chasers, this is wonderful book that will take you for a suspenseful ride in outer space.  This book was so different than the other books that I tend to read but I really savored it.  I found it was compelling, full of action, and was really fast paced.   On top of that, Glow was completely new and original with an intriguing plot line that will leave you gasping for air in desperation for the next page as well as the next installment.
     I felt that this story had a little of everything- romance, survival, religion, despair, death, and action.  Starting from the beginning you learned the day to day life of living on a space ship and quickly the plot develops into an ensnaring story that rips them from their normal lives to one of captivity and survival. 
     In This enthralling adventure the characters are truly passionate.  Ryan captures every characters emotion flawlessly.  Although I will say you really don't know who you want to trust in this story...One minute you could be totally falling for a character but the next you want to jump in the book and scream at them.  Waverly, by far, was my favorite out of all of them.  She starts as a normal teenage girl with the average teen problems.  But when her normal world is shredded apart she rises to the situation.  Waverly is the perfect character who could be lost and feeling hopeless but turn to be unflinching bold, gallant and headstrong.  Waverly main love interest of the story was Kieran who was uncertain of himself.  With him being so apprehensive of himself it was hard to fall in love with his character.  He does grow on you as his personality and role cultivates from the catastrophe that entered his life.  His rival of the tale was Seth, who was confidently rough around the edges.  Seth begins a quiet stubborn boy but goes off the deep end for a little while.  I do feel there could be more exciting things to come with him in the next edition.
     I gave this book an A+ as it was completely riveting as well as ruthless.  Again reading this book is like going into uncharted territory, the scheme of this tale was truly original.  The characters were fascinating and developed into prominent roles.  The writing style was beautifully descriptive and captures the passion and survival of living in outer space.

My Rating: 20/20
Originality: 5
Characters: 5
Plot: 5
Writing Style: 5
     
Saturday, August 13, 2011 | By: Mindy Hoppe

Girls Taking Over the World Event


In this picture from left to right: Lara Zielin, Christine Johnson, Rhonda Stapleton, Mindy Macheske, Aimee Carter, and Sandra Mitchell

     The Girls Taking Over the World Tour is a group of authors whose novels highlight girl empowerment; as well as talk to fans about being independent and having the strength to make your own choices. 

      First of all I would really like to thank the authors from coming to Michigan on their tour.  Second, I would again like to thank the authors again for making me feel welcome!  This event was so much fun and because it wasn't crowded I really got one on one time with them.  There was never a dull moment as they were a very spunky group and extremely entertaining.
     When the event started I found that I was the only one who was there for it.  So, they looked at me and Christine Johnson said "Hey, come on up and join our discussion."  So, I did ...a little uneasy,  I looked at them all and admitted that I haven't read all their books but I had quite a few of them.  As I would have loved to read all of their novels before I went to the event, unfortunately I didn't have enough time to read them all.  Even still the authors looked at me and reassured me that they were thrilled I owned their books and it wasn't an issue that I hadn't read them all yet.  They did ask me which books I did read, again ashamed, I told them I actually only read one book on long table piled with books...Aimee Carter's The Goddess Test. 
     I was really excited to get to talk to Aimee about The Goddess Test and our excitement for the next addition, Goddess Interrupted.  We also discussed my new blog page (My Hidden Bookshelf) and that I reviewed her novel.  Since I told her I loved the book she read my review at the event.  Being that I am a new blogger and new to writing reviews it meant a lot to me that she liked my review, 
     I also got to learn a lot of different things about the authors and the publishers.  It was interesting to learn of their working habits.  Aimee can sit down and write all day.  While Christine writes in her down time from raising her two beautiful children.  Rhonda likes to write at her local Panera Bread.  I was not surprised to learn that majority of them like to read before going to bed.  The question I heard most from fans was "How do you pick your covers?"  In which I was surprised to hear that the authors don't have a say in there covers the publishers pick it and reveal it to them.  I was piqued to learn that the US cover of The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell was the same as the Australian cover of The Goddess Test, except that the dress is red on Aimee's book.
     All in all I had a great time at the event and if you have the opportunity to see them then I would highly suggest going.  This wonderful group of authors will make you feel like you belong and encourage you to follow your dreams ... where ever they may take you!  Oh, and they will sign your books too!
Sunday, August 7, 2011 | By: Mindy Hoppe

Dragon's Oath Review

Title: Dragon's Oath
Author: P. C. Cast & Kristin Cast
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: 2011
Genre: YA
Main Themes: Romance, Vampires, Magic
Pages: 145
Plot: (From the dust jacket)

     "In early nineteenth century England, long before he's a professor at the Tulsa House of Night, Bryan Lankford is a troublesome yet talented human teen who thinks he can get away with anything...until his father, a wealthy nobleman, has finally had enough, and banishes him to America.  When Bryan is Marked a vampire on the docks and given the choice between the London House of Night and the dragon-prowed ship to America, he chooses the dragon- a new name and brand new fate.
      Becoming a fledgling may be exciting, but it opens a door to a dangerous world.  In 1830's St. Louis, the gateway to the West, Dragon Lankford becomes a Sword Master, and soon realizes there are both frightening challenges and beautiful perks...such as Anastasia, the captivating young Professor of Spells and rituals at the Tower Grove House of Night, who really should have nothing to do with a fledgling.
     But when a dark power threatens, Dragon is caught in its focus.  Though his uncanny fighting skills make him a powerful fledgling, is he strong enough to ward off evil while protecting Anastasia as well?  Will his choices save her-or destroy them both?"

     I'm a big fan of the House of Night series.  I really did enjoy Dragon's Oath; I felt it gave you the proper insight needed to understand his character in the series. Although it was a short novella it was a simple and easy read.  While reading I was intrigued and inspired to reread the entire lot of books all over again. 
     This book made me love Bryan Lankford & Anastasia in their roles throughout the series.  Reading as their story unravels from fledgling and teacher relations to a warrior and a high priestess relationship was a provocative experience.  It was very amusing to perceive Anastasia as a puritan and watch her shed her conventional ways to discover herself, her future, and the integrity as a young high priestess that can uphold the House of Night ideals.  Dragon Lankford aka Bryan Lankford was brought to light by Anastasia as he was distinguished by being a boastful and overtly conceded fledgling, which Anastasia sensed no need to  endure that kind of behavior. To succeed in winning Anastasia he knew he needed to adjust his image, with her encouragement he molded himself into a charming and merciful warrior.
     I gave this book an A because P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast make an exceptional writing duo and I adored the simplicity of their love story and I am highly interested in how Dragon's vengeance will affect the next installment. I found this book engaging and entertaining as I flew right through it.  I would definitely suggest this book to other readers as it is an easy read and has lot of extensive information to help understand the series.
     The original series consists of: Marked, Betrayed, Chosen, Untamed, Hunted, Tempted, Burned, and Awakened.  Coming soon: Destined.  If you wanted additional information on this series I would recommend reading: The Fledgling Handbook and Nyx & the House of Night.

My Ratings: 19/20
Originality: 4/5
Characters: 5/5
Plot: 5/5
Writing Style: 5/5

The Goddess Test Review

Title: The Goddess Test
Author: Aimee Carter
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: 2011
Genre: YA
Main Themes: Mythology, Romance, Family Relations, & Death
Pages: 293
Plot: (From the Back of the book)
     
     "Every girl who has taken the test has died.   Now it's Kate's turn.
     It's always been Kate and her mom-and her mother is dying.  Her last wish?  To move back to her childhood home.  So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and her fear her mother won't live past the fall.
     Then she meets Henry.  Dark.  Tortured.  And mesmerizing.  He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld-and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.
     Kate is sure he's crazy-until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead.  Now saving her mother seems crazily possible.  If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride and a goddess.  If she fails..."


    Again I was drawn to the cover...amazingly gorgeous!  Then I read the plot, I was so excited it took place in Northern Michigan.  I knew I had to read it!  I was captivated; I didn't want to put it down.  Now that I'm finished I can't wait for the next installment, Goddess Interrupted.   
     I want to start off by saying that this is a modern twist to Greek mythology especially the story of Hades and Persephone.  It is not based entirely on the original story or stories you may know about Greek mythology.  So if you read this book with an open mind I would think you would enjoy it and possibly what will come.  If you are stuck on the original Greek stories then you will not enjoy this book because what you already know of the characters will be different.
      With that said the plot line of this story was Original and mesmerizing!  It was a slow start but I felt it was all necessary to the story.  It truly was the perfect build up to the last half of the book.  When I reached the end of the story I was stunned.  The twists and turns in this story are positively magical and the outcome is miraculously intertwined.
     The relationships in this book were so realistic and appealing.  I do believe that everyone could find a character and a correlation that they could relate with.  In the beginning the main tie is between Kate and her mother, Diana.  Aimee Carter really captured the love one feels for their mom.  But then Henry enters the picture and together Henry and Kate develop an alluring and radiant attachment.
     The roles and personalities in this novel were absolutely exceptional.  Kate was the strong female lead.  She was just as utterly rational as she was earnestly thoughtful and considerate.  Of course it wouldn't have been a good read if Kate wasn't also persevering and chivalrous.  Then there was also Henry, the god of the underworld, who was tortured, terrifying, and grim.  But when it came to Kate, he started by being respectful and caring.  Apprehension set in that made him unsure of how close to her he wanted to become.  Kate helped wash away those feelings to reveal that Henry was tender and sentimental.   
     I graded this book an A+, because I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Once I started reading I could not put it down…if I did out it down then I couldn’t stop thinking about finishing it until I picked it back up again.  I would highly encourage this book to other readers.  I really can’t wait for the next edition of Goddess Interrupted!

My Rating: 20/20
Originality: 5
Characters: 5
Plot: 5
Writing Style: 5
Tuesday, August 2, 2011 | By: Mindy Hoppe

My BookShelf For August

I'm hoping to be able to get through these books this month with leaving reviews.

1. Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan
2. Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
3. Ink Exchange by Meliisa Marr
4. Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr
5. Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr
6. Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr
7. Beastly by Alex Finn
8. Ash by Malinda Lo
9. Nyx and the House of Night edited by P. C. Cast
10. Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

Blood Magic Review

Title: Blood Magic
Author: Tessa Gratton
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: 2011
Genre: YA
Main Themes: Paranormal, Magic, Death, Romance, & Immortality
Pages: 405
Plot: ( From the dust jacket)

     "It starts off simply. 
     Draw a circle... place a dead leaf in the center... sprinkle some salt.. recite a little Latin...add  drop of blood...
     Maybe that last part isn't exactly simple.  Yet somehow it feels right to Silla Kennicott.  And nothing in her life has felt remotely right since her parents horrific deaths.  She's willing to do anything to uncover the truth about her family- even try a few spells from the mysterious book that arrived on her doorstep...and spill some blood.
     The book isn't the only recent arrival in Silla's life.  There's Nick Pardee, the new guy next door who may have seen Silla casting a spell.  She's not sure what he saw and is afraid to find out.  But as they spend more time together, Silla realizes that his may not be Nick's first encounter with blood magic.  Brought together by a combination of fate and chemistry Silla and Nick can't deny their attraction.  And they can't ignore the dark presence lurking nearby- waiting to reclaim the book and all it's power.
     Tessa Gratton's intoxicating first novel will keep pulses racing, minds reeling, and pages turning right up to the very last drop of blood."

     I was at a book signing at Borders for Maggie Stiefvater... while sitting in my seat making small talk with the two girls sitting behind me.  They let me in a little secret that the Borders staff didn't even realize, that Tessa Gratton was travelling with Maggie Stiefvater and would be a the signing as well.  I immediately jumped up to grab a copy of Blood Magic.  After all  I may not have read it yet but it was on my list of books  I wanted to read.  I knew if I didn't get it signed while I had the opportunity I would be so agitated with myself.  And I was right!
     I was drawn to this book for it's wickedly sinister cover.   I am so grateful because I absolutely treasured this book.  Blood Magic was increasingly dark and delicious while leaving you devoured on the edge of your seat.  The story was original, enticing, and extremely well written.  I loved Tessa's style of narration, the way it flipped between Silla, Nick, and the journal entries.  The journal entries especially gave a lot of insight to the story.
     The Characters really grab you and make you fear for them as they push their way though the story.  The Character development was realistic as you watched Silla turn from this quite, timid, and anxious girl to a real bad ass heroin.  But of course if it wasn't for Nick and her Brother, Reese,  she might not have had the courage and will power to see everything through to the end.
     I'm not going to lie... I anticipated who the protagonist of the tale was but I couldn't predict the twist and turns the story.  This book will still leave you asking for more up until you turn the last page and are desperate for the next edition.  I would highly suggest this book to anyone who doesn't have a weak stomach... not that it is really graphic...just really bloody.  But remember that is what really makes this an awesome book!  The next edition will be The Blood Keeper.

My Rating: 20/20
Originality: 5
Characters: 5
Writing Style: 5
Plot: 5

100+ books in year



http://www.bookchickcity.com/2010/12/sign-up-100-books-in-year-reading.html

2011 Read 100+ Books in a Year Challenge!

This challange is hosted by Book Chick City. Just click the link above to join or just for rules and information. I joined this challenge and it is my first like it. I'm pretty sure that I can complete in 100 books... no problem!

I will record my books that I read in 2011 below:

1. Valient by Holly Black
2. Ironside by Holly Black
3 Shimmer By Alyson Noel
4. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
5. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
6. Cresendo by Becca Fitzpatrick
7. Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
8. Sapphique by Catherine Fisher
9. Fallen by Lauren Kate
10. Torment by Lauren Kate
11. Passion by Lauren Kate
12. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
13. Frostbite by Richelle Mead
14. Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead
15. Blood Promise by Richelle Mead
16. Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead
17. Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead
18. Evermore by Alyson Noel
19. Blue Moon by Alyson Noel
20. Shadowland by Ayson Noel
21. Dark Flame by Alyson Noel
22. Night Star by Alyson Noel
23. Everlasting by Alyson Noel
24. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
25. Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
26. Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
27. Need by Carrie Jones
28. Captivate by Carrie Jones
29. Entice by Carrie Jones
30. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling
31. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling
32. Harry Potter and Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
33. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling
34. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling
35. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
36. Die For Me by Amy Plum
37. Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
38. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
39. Dark Visions by L. J. Smith
40. Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith
41. Fire by Kristin Cashore
42. Lament by Maggie Stiefvater
43. Ballad by Maggie Stieifvater
44. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
45. City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
46. City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
47. City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
48. Dragon's Oath by P. C. Cast & Kristin Cast
49. Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton
50. I am the Cheese by Robert Cormier
51. The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter