Feb 28, 2011


Current Contest/Giveaway

None at this time.

Upcoming Contest/Giveaway

March: Win an ARC of Wither by Lauren Destefano
Enter the Contest HERE
(check out my review HERE)

April: Check back soon!

Review: Desires of the Dead

Title: Desires of the Dead
Author: Kimberly Derting
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: 2.15.2011
Pages: 368
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Yes; Book #2 of The Body Finder series

Rating: A+

Summary (from Goodreads):
The missing dead call to Violet. They want to be found.

Violet can sense the echoes of those who've been murdered—and the matching imprint that clings to their killers. Only those closest to her know what she is capable of, but when she discovers the body of a young boy she also draws the attention of the FBI, threatening her entire way of life.

As Violet works to keep her morbid ability a secret, she unwittingly becomes the object of a dangerous obsession. Normally she'd turn to her best friend, Jay, except now that they are officially a couple, the rules of their relationship seem to have changed. And with Jay spending more and more time with his new friend Mike, Violet is left with too much time on her hands as she wonders where things went wrong. But when she fills the void by digging into Mike's tragic family history, she stumbles upon a dark truth that could put everyone in danger.

After reading, and adoring, the Body Finder, I will admit I was a bit hesitant at first to read this. So many books have this great premise and make me fall in love with a couple, but then in the sequel I find that they place unnecessary obstacles in front of the couple for the sole purpose of drama and not to better the book.

If I wasn't head over heels in love with Jay and Violet in book 1, I was more than obsessed with them in book 2. The natural progression of their romance never once felt forced or saccharine sweet. They were what every couple should aspire to be - bringing out the best in each other. Now, was that without faults and drama? Of course not, but what relationship is?

The plotline itself of the book was good, but not as compelling as its predecessor. Violet basically acquires a stalker, which leads to her unearthing a mystery much later in the book. The identity of Violet's stalker isn't really a secret - you can pretty much guess who it is after the first chapter of insight into the stalker's head. I was somewhat disappointed by the lack of twists and turns that the first book amply supplied, but Derting is a great storyteller with an easy-to-read way of writing. I was easily able to dismiss any disappointments with the plot because of this. I have a feeling that I will be reading whatever Derting writes.

Review: The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

Title: The Mockingbirds
Author: Daisy Whitney
Publisher: Little, Brown
Publication Date: 11.2.2010
Pages: 332
Genre: Contemporary
Series: Yes (Mockingbirds #1)
Rating: A+

Summary (from Goodreads):
Some schools have honor codes.
Others have handbooks.
Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.

Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way--the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds--a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers.

In this honest, page-turning account of a teen girl's struggle to stand up for herself, debut author Daisy Whitney reminds readers that if you love something or someone--especially yourself--you fight for it.

This book really is an all or nothing book. You either love it desperately or you put it aside and forget it. I, for one, fell head over heels in love. Not only does debut author Daisy Whitney tackle such a relevant and delicate matter as date rape, but she does it with beauty and grace. If there is one word I could use to describe this book it’s eloquent.

From the heart pounding, gut wrenching first moments of the book I was hooked. Whitney completely drew me into Alex’s story. You can sense Alex’s confusion and the horror of the realization of what happened. But, like almost any girl in this situation, Alex also questions her own guilt in the matter. The character of Alex is so real, so visceral, she jumps off the pages. Despite the grim subject matter, there is also a delicate love story unfolding in the midst of the turmoil that adds a glimmer of hope throughout the novel.

Whitney also succeeded in one thing my 9th grade English teacher couldn’t do – she inspired me to read To Kill A Mockingbird just so I could get all the references made. I cannot wait to see what this author does next.

Feb 27, 2011

Review: Wither by Lauren Destefano

Title: Wither
Author: Lauren Destefano
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 3.22.2011
Pages:  356
Genre: Dystopian; Romance
Series: Yes; Book #1 (The Chemical Garden Trilogy)

Rating:  B+

Summary (from Goodreads):
What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left

A few years ago dystopian novels were something of a novelty. Now what was once an obscure genre has exploded on the scene with some books leaving the reader haunted and troubled well after the last page is turned while others are simply cast into the yard sale pile. I can thankfully say that Destefano’s debut novel is in the former category.

The story of Rhine Ellery is provocative and compelling. I found myself unable to stop reading from the first chapter when Rhine describes her turn at the auction block, or possibly, the chopping block. There is never a moment where you don’t feel as trapped as Rhine is, and just as anxious for her to escape. Destefano does a marvelous job of created a beautiful prison, a platinum cage, where Rhine and the reader are kept prisoner. I found all the characters to be complex and it both frustrated and impressed me that nothing was simply black and white. There were too many layers of gray surrounding everything for you to ever fully hate, or love, a character. It works well for this novel.

While I wish more time had been spent on building the attraction between Rhine and Gabriel, it was still a love story that I rooted for since their initial meeting. The ending left a bit to be desired, and I’m quite curious to see how Destefano handles the next book in the series because the ending of this book could have easily been a final ending.

For a first time author, Destefano did a fabulous job, and she’s definitely going to be a writer to watch in the upcoming years. I applaud the fact that she didn’t shy away from squeamish subjects, but rather embraced and explored them. I can’t wait to see what she does next.

Feb 24, 2011

Review: Firelight by Sophie Jordan

Title: Firelight
Author: Sophie Jordan
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: 9.7.2010
Pages: 323
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy
Series: Yes, Book #1

Rating: A

Summary (from Goodreads):
A hidden truth.
Mortal enemies.
Doomed love.

Marked as special at an early age, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. But she longs for freedom to make her own choices. When she breaks the most sacred tenet among her kind, she nearly pays with her life. Until a beautiful stranger saves her. A stranger who was sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki—a descendant of dragons whose greatest defense is her secret ability to shift into human form.

Forced to flee into the mortal world with her family, Jacinda struggles to adapt to her new surroundings. The only bright light is Will. Gorgeous, elusive Will who stirs her inner draki to life. Although she is irresistibly drawn to him, Jacinda knows Will's dark secret: He and his family are hunters. She should avoid him at all costs. But her inner draki is slowly slipping away—if it dies she will be left as a human forever. She'll do anything to prevent that. Even if it means getting closer to her most dangerous enemy.
Mythical powers and breathtaking romance ignite in this story of a girl who defies all expectations and whose love crosses an ancient divide.

First off? A huge thank you to Sophie Jordan. In a YA world filled with vampires and werewolves and angels and faeries, she managed to come up with a unique and wholly refreshing idea. If the book had completely tanked after that, I could at least give her props for that. Thankfully, the book did not tank – in fact, it surpassed my expectations and soared to the list of one of my favorites reads this year.

Ever since I saw that achingly beautiful cover (yes, I know it’s bad to judge a book by its cover, but come on!), I knew I wanted to read this book. When I finally got my hands on it, I devoured it in a day. The writing is so pristine and addictive, I couldn’t stop.

I usually proceed with caution when it comes to star cross’d lover tales, but this one was just too mesmerizing to stop. The pull between Jacinda and Will was like a broken power line snapping and popping with life at each encounter. It sizzled, I tell you.

My only complaint is the cliffhanger ending that nearly made me regret reading Firelight in the first place. Regret because I knew I would be waiting months for the follow up, and that can be a whole different circle of hell to an addicted reader.

Feb 22, 2011

Review: Jane by April Lindner

Title: Jane
Author: April Lindner
Publisher: Poppy
Publication Date: 10.11.2010
Pages: 384
Genre: Romance, Remake
Series: No

Rating: B+

Summary (from Goodreads):
Forced to drop out of an esteemed East Coast college after the sudden death of her parents, Jane Moore takes a nanny job at Thornfield Park, the estate of Nico Rathburn, an iconic rock star on the brink of a huge comeback. Practical and independent, Jane reluctantly becomes entranced by her magnetic and brooding employer, and finds herself in the midst of a forbidden romance. But there's a mystery at Thornfield, and Jane's much-envied relationship with Nico is tested by a torturous secret from his past.

Part irresistible romance and part darkly engrossing mystery, this contemporary retelling of the beloved classic
Jane Eyre promises to enchant a new generation of readers

As a fan of the original Jane Eyre, I was elated to hear about this book. In April Lindner's debut novel, she does quite a good job. Her descriptions are detailed without being overly wordy. I think she truly knew the heart of Jane Eyre and focused to enfuse it into this book.

The title character of Jane was just as I expected, if not at times a bit bland. While I mostly loved this character, at times she just fell flat. Perhaps the most problem I had with the book was the character of Nico Rathburn (aka Mr. Rochester).

Lindner's love for this character became quite apparent, but I feel like she never truly made Rathburn her own. Instead he became a somewhat odd variation of Rochester. Imagine Mr. Rochester in leather pants. Oftentimes I found she would have Rathburn saying things that just seemed ... dated. I could see *Rochester* saying them, but not a rockstar from 2010.

The storyline of JANE is sound and the love Lindner feels for the original is apparent on every single page. The love story between Jane and Nico is sweet and passionate. This book is by no means bad, and I am not disappointed I purchased it. I just think fans of the original Jane Eyre may struggle with some of the characters, but the audience this is geared towards has probably never read Charlotte Bronte's novel and will enjoy JANE immensely.

Review: The Candidates by Inara Scott

Title: The Candidates
Author: Inara Scott
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
Publication Date: 8.24.2010
Pages: 293
Genre: Paranormal; Paranormal Romance
Series: Yes; Book #1 (Delcroix Academy)

Rating: B

Summary (from Goodreads):
Dancia Lewis is far from popular. And that's not just because of her average grades or her less-than-glamorous wardrobe. In fact, Dancia's mediocrity is a welcome cover for her secret: whenever she sees a person threatening someone she cares about, things just...happen. Cars skid. Structures collapse. Usually someone gets hurt. So Dancia does everything possible to avoid getting close to anyone, belieiving this way she can supress her powers and keep them hidden.

But when recruiters from the prestigious Delcroix Academy show up in her living room to offer her a full scholarship, Dancia's days of living under the radar may be over. Only, Delcroix is a school for diplomats' kids and child geniuses--not B students with uncontrollable telekinetic tendencies. So why are they treating Dancia like she's special? Even the hottest guy on campus seems to be going out of his way to make Dancia feel welcome.

And then there's her mysterious new friend Jack, who can't stay out of trouble. He suspects something dangerous is going on at the Academy and wants Dancia to help him figure out what. But Dancia isn't convinced. She hopes that maybe the recruiters know more about her "gift" than they're letting on. Maybe they can help her understand how to use it...But not even Dancia could have imagined what awaits her behind the gates of Delcroix Academy

I will preface this review by shallowly admitting I was completely entraced by the cover. It is honestly what drew me in from the beginning.

That being said, I truly enjoyed this book to the point where I read it in one day. While it wasn't necessarily a book I desperately had to finish it, I also didn't feel the need to "take a break" and walk away from the book.

I'm surprised this is Inara Scott's first book - she handled it like a pro. Her characters come off as complete and intriguing, and her settings are lush and descriptive. In fact, had the character of Dancia not announced to readers she was only 14, I think I would have thought she was an older teen for most of the book because of the more sophisticated style of wording Scott uses throughout the book.

THE CANDIDATES doesn't throw anything unexpected at the reader. And while Dancia isn't as extraordinary a character as her power, I found her likeable nonetheless. Even brooding Jack, who could have easily become an obnoxiously predictable "bad boy", was a fun character.

This is also one of the few books I've read with a romantic triangle where I have no idea which couple I'm supposed to invest in. Dancia and Jack have this electric connection because of their gifts, but Dancia and Cam seem more suited for each other in many ways. In most books, I can tell right off the bat which couple the author wants me to ship out of a triangle, but Scott generously lets the reader draw their own conclusions. In a world of Bella & Edward soulmates, that is a refreshing idea. I'll definitely be checking out the sequel, THE WATCHERS, this summer.

Feb 21, 2011

Review: Prom & Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

Title: Prom & Prejudice
Author: Elizabeth Eulberg
Publisher: Point
Publication Date: 1.1.2011
Pages: 231
Genre: Romance
Series: No

Rating:  D+

Summary (from Goodreads):
After winter break, the girls at the very prestigious Longbourn Academy become obsessed with the prom. Lizzie Bennet, who attends Longbourn on a scholarship, isn’t interested in designer dresses and expensive shoes, but her best friend, Jane, might be — especially now that Charles Bingley is back from a semester in London.

Lizzie is happy about her friend’s burgeoning romance but less than impressed by Charles’s friend, Will Darcy, who’s snobby and pretentious. Darcy doesn’t seem to like Lizzie either, but she assumes it’s because her family doesn’t have money. Clearly, Will Darcy is a pompous jerk — so why does Lizzie find herself drawn to him anyway?

Will Lizzie’s pride and Will’s prejudice keep them apart? Or are they a prom couple in the making? Whatever the result, Elizabeth Eulberg, author of The Lonely Hearts Club, has concocted a very funny, completely stylish delight for any season — prom or otherwise.

I know I’m totally going against the grain here, but I truly did not like this book. I desperately wanted to, but I just couldn’t. I will admit that I’ve never read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, but I am familiar with the storyline. And honestly, I feel like now I’ve read it.

Here’s what I did like: I liked the way Eulberg managed to weave all the characters from Austen’s novel into this. Her ability to keep the original names of the characters in her updated version amused me (Mr. Collins is now Colin, a drab but sweet boy who is mostly clueless). The idea of the storyline itself is golden, and I love the idea of a modern retelling of a class – April Lindner’s Jane was one of my favorite reads this year. However, I felt Eulberg fell short when it came to executing the dialogue and setting the scene.

It was apparent within the first few chapters that this wasn’t your typical YA book because of the lines the characters spoke. I have never known a teenage girl to ever use the word “daft” in everyday speech unless reading from a book aloud in class. The characters spoke like they had been transplanted from the 1800s into the modern age. I have a very hard time finding a book enjoyable when I know that this isn’t how teenagers talk (and I don’t mean in a Dawson’s Creek kind of way). Eulberg also didn’t take the time to explain her settings. Characters walked through blank rooms, speaking contrived lines that, quite frankly, got annoying after a while. I also am not a fan of the insta-romance. It seemed like Elizabeth and Darcy fell for each other in the span of 20 pages. There were mentionings of them taking walks together, but that was it. The reader isn’t privy to these chats, so it makes their love seem abrupt and disjointed.

In all, it almost felt like a high school creative writing assignment. Like a teacher handed a student a classic and said, “Here. Read this and rewrite it for your generation.” The potential was there, and despite the lack of setting and weak dialogue, Eulberg is a good writer. But think this story would have benefitted from another 100-200 pages more to flesh out the story.

Books Reviewed

Books I've Reviewed
(in alphabetical order by title)















Tris and Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison






Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Title: Unearthly
Author: Cynthia Hand
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: 1.4.2011
Pages: 435
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Yes; Book #1

Rating: A-

Summary (from Goodreads):
In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees . . . .

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place—and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make—between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.

Have you ever loved a book so thoroughly that when you finished it you didn’t know what to read next? Because nothing else you would pick up could compare to the magic of this particular book. That’s how I felt when I turned the last page of Unearthly.

I’m the type of reader that when I sit down to read a romance (paranormal or otherwise), I want to know what couple I’m rooting for. Given the summary, I was settled in to loving Christian. I went into this story, swooning when he saved Clara in the hallway her first day, and wanting to love him.

And then, I didn’t. His little quirks started to annoy me, the way he so easily dismissed Clara irked me, and I found myself starting to doubt the glowing reviews other bloggers had given this book. Then I fell for Tucker, possibly harder than our heroine. And while I won’t give away what happens next, I can honestly say that few paranormal romances have ever moved me the way this one did. I was thinking of it long after I set it back on my shelf, and even now my mind drifts back to it. I have an inkling that I will forever be comparing any other romantic pairing in books to the love created by Cynthia Hand in this book.

In the midst of so many other ‘angel’ stories, Hand has set her series apart. She doesn’t make the reader wait for a hundred pages for the heroine to discover her destiny. Everything is very upfront and easy to guess. She has blended reality with dream, fact with fiction so aptly that it’s hard to tell the difference. All I know is that this book is magical and everything it’s hyped up to be.

Feb 20, 2011

The Irish Banana

Name: Hannah
D.O.B.: 2.22.83
Also known as: IsisIzabel
Why the Irish Banana: I'm an Irish girl, through and through, and I've been called Banana since I was an infant. It works. Just go with it.
Fun Facts: I love music and TV, and have waaaaaaay too many cds and dvds. I'm currently enrolled in college for Nusing, but I have two Associate of Arts degrees in Psychology and History. I'm a manager at a local McDonalds in the meantime.
Hobbies: Reading, writing, music, TV, movies, chatting, singing

Where you can find/follow me:

Livejournal: http://isisizabel.livejournal.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/irish_banana
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/irishbanana
Email: theirishbanana.review@gmail.com