Friday, September 30, 2011

Review: Shadows on the Moon

Shadows on the Moon
By Zoe Marriott
Publication date: July 7, 2011 (UK)/April 2012 (US)

Shadows on the Moon is a Asia-inspired fantasy retelling of Cinderella. In this version, the heroine goes to the ball not to win the prince's heart but to win the position of Shadow Bride, the highest ranking mistress. If she succeeds, she will be able to seek vengeance for the murder of her father and cousin.

Suzume is a young girl at the start of the story and it is clear that her father loves her but her mother is distant. When her father is falsely accused of treason and executed, Suzume and her mother (who wasn't there when the attack happened) flee to the safety of her father's best friend Lord Terayama. Soon after, her mother marries Terayama-san and it becomes clear to Suzume that all is not as it seems. Her mother is happy while Suzume only feels anger and pain. The only thing that gives her release from the overwhelming feelings is cutting herself. Suzume knows that she musn't let Terayama-san see her true self. She begins to hide her emotions and cutting scars using Shadow Weaving, a magical ability she didn't even know she had until after the attack. With the help of a servant and fellow Shadow Weaver, Suzume learns to disguise herself first as an obedient daughter, then as Rin, a mute and slow kitchen servant and later as Yue, the beautiful musician and dancer. But Suzume's plans for revenge are put into jeopardy when she meets Otieno, a foreigner and Shadow Weaver who can see through her disguise.

Suzume is not always likable, especially when she is so bent on revenge. She hurts not only herself but others who care about her. She is a determined girl though her narrow minded focus might cause her to lose the love of a good man. She feels that she doesn't deserve to be happy. It is all part of her growing process however and she must learn to deal with her grief, rage, and guilt. On Suzume's journey to healing, she meets three people who profoundly change her life. The first is Youta, the elderly Shadow Weaver who sees in Suzume the daughter he lost. It is Youta who saved Suzume's life the day her father was killed by hiding her in the ashes of the fireplace. Youta does his best to convince Suzume to live her life rather than seek revenge. Suzume later meets Akira while on the run. Akira is a Shadow Weaver too and a former Shadow Bride. It is Akira who teaches Suzume what she needs to become a Shadow Bride herself. She tries to encourage Suzume to let go of her scheme for vengeance and embrace love instead. Otieno is the young Shadow Weaver from a distant land who fell in love with Suzume and can see through all her disguises. He offers Suzume his heart but hers is so broken that she believes she is unworthy of his love.

Shadows on the Moon is a beautifully written novel that has been described by the publisher as "Cinderella meets Memoirs of a Geisha", a sentiment that I agree with especially for the last section of the book where I couldn't help but compare Suzume to Sayuri, the heroine of Memoirs of a Geisha. The world that Zoe Marriott creates is inspired by Feudal Japan. I enjoyed the descriptions of the kimono, tea gardens, the music, dancing and other details of Suzume's daily life. The descriptions of Shadow Weaving are also fascinating though not much insight is given into how Suzume and the other Shadow Weavers can do what they do. The author uses symbolism to great effect with the meaning of names and the way a name change corresponds with each phase of Suzume's life (Suzume means sparrow, Rin means cold, and Yue means moon).

I have found Zoe Marriott to be a talented writer of YA fantasy and she does not disappoint with Shadows on the Moon. She delivers a story of magic, adventure, beauty, and love. I enjoyed the romance between Suzume and Otieno though it was not the main focus of the story. What pulled me in the most was the emotional journey that Suzume takes over the course of the novel. The ending shows that Suzume has come to some important realizations about herself and her behavior. She still has some healing to do but she is well on her way. If there is one think that could have been improved it would be the ending. I felt that the last part of the book was rushed and the conclusion came a little abruptly. Still, I thought it was an amazing book and one of my favorites of 2011. I would suggest this to fans of Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon and those who like fairy tale retellings.

Readalikes: Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon, Eon by Alison Goodman, Warrior Princess by Frewin Jones, The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson, Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (69)

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly meme to discuss upcoming books we can't wait to get our hands on. Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This week, I'm waiting on:


London, 1760. For Jamie Fraser, paroled prisoner-of-war in the remote Lake District, life could be worse: He’s not cutting sugar cane in the West Indies, and he’s close enough to the son he cannot claim as his own. But Jamie Fraser’s quiet existence is coming apart at the seams, interrupted first by dreams of his lost wife, then by the appearance of Tobias Quinn, an erstwhile comrade from the Rising.

Like many of the Jacobites who aren’t dead or in prison, Quinn still lives and breathes for the Cause. His latest plan involves an ancient relic that will rally the Irish. Jamie is having none of it—he’s sworn off politics, fighting, and war. Until Lord John Grey shows up with a summons that will take him away from everything he loves—again.

Lord John Grey—aristocrat, soldier, and occasional spy—finds himself in possession of a packet of explosive documents that exposes a damning case of corruption against a British officer. But they also hint at a more insidious danger. Time is of the essence as the investigation leads to Ireland, with a baffling message left in “Erse,” the tongue favored by Scottish Highlanders. Lord John recognizes the language all too well from his time as governor of Ardsmuir Prison, when it was full of Jacobite prisoners, including a certain Jamie Fraser.

Soon Lord John and Jamie are unwilling companions on the road to Ireland, a country whose dark castles hold dreadful secrets, and whose bogs hide the bones of the dead. A captivating return to the world Diana Gabaldon created in her Outlander and Lord John series, The Scottish Prisoner is another masterpiece of epic history, wicked deceit, and scores that can only be settled in blood.

I haven't read any of the other Lord John spin off novels but I want to read this one since it features Jamie. Timeline wise I believe it takes place in between Dragonfly in Amber and Voyager. I really need to get caught up on reading the Outlander series too.

What are you waiting on this week?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

It's Monday, What Are You Reading (80)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a fun weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where we share what we've read and reviewed over the past week and what we plan to read next.

I did not participate in last Monday's post so this is two weeks worth of reading though it feels like it is less than what I usually read. I have been busy with other things lately like the class I am taking (still need to do my weekly assignments and readings before Tuesday!) and my book discussion group (our first book discussion is Tuesday!). I also finally got to enter Pottermore so of course I spent several hours on that too (my username is DragonRune85 and I am in Ravenclaw). Maybe I'll do some more reading this week and get caught up on that huge TBR pile-but I doubt it ;)

Don't forget: This is the last week to enter my giveaway for The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Books read:

Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter

This was a fun followup to Heist Society and introduced some interesting new characters. Plus there are some new developments between Kat and a certain someone...

Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto

Before Ever After is the story of a young widow who finds out her husband might actually be alive and that he may also be immortal. The book is an interesting mix of history and romance. I loved the little details and the stories Max tells. You will also never be able to look at baked eggs in the same way after reading this book.  I am not a fan of eggs but if Max made them, I'd definitely give them a try!

Original Sin: A Sally Sin Adventure by Beth McMullen

This is such a fun spy novel and I couldn't resist reading it right away. The main character is a former spy turned stay at home mom who gets called back to duty when her nemesis turns up again. I was reminded of the movie Killers with Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher when I read this (and a little bit of True Lies and Mr. and Mrs. Smith too). Can you tell that I liked this book?

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok

This is a book I reread for my book discussion at the library later this week. I have to say that I enjoyed it just as much the second time around. It is also really good on audio.

Books reviewed:

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
Trial By Fire by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Overbiteby Meg Cabot
Stay by Allie Larkin

Currently reading:

Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

I was so thrilled when I saw this on offer from Amazon Vine. I like that it is set in a futuristic world that models itself on the Victorian era and there are also zombies and a sort of zombie plague. I think it will be like a mix of The Forest of Hands and Teeth and maybe some steampunk. At least I hope so...

What I plan to read next:

Cleopatra's Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter

I really need to read this soon since it is overdue at the library.  I am in the mood for historical fiction so I will definitely try to get this read this week. I really should be reading this first instead of Dearly, Departed but I just couldn't resist...

Crossed by Ally Condie

This is on its way to me as part of an ARC tour and I can't wait to read it. I loved Matched when I read it last year.

Circle of Fire by Michelle Zink

I started reading this but couldn't get into it for some reason. It is back on the list for this week but I am betting that I won't get to it till next week.

That's what my plans are for this week.
What have you been reading?

In My Mailbox (62)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren to share what books you received for review, purchased, or checked out from the library during the past week.

For review:

Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

Really really excited about this one! I received it from the Amazon Vine program.

The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley

I am also excited about this book. I am a big fan of Susanna Kearsley.


I keep hearing about how wonderful this series is so I am looking forward to finally reading it myself.

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok

This is the pick for my September book discussion. I read it last year but decided I loved it so much that I wanted my own copy.

From the library:

Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles

I am not sure I will be reading this. I have so many other books to get through and I am not certain I will like Chain Reaction.

I've already finished this book though I just picked it up a couple of days ago. I found it to be a fun and lighthearted spy novel that kind of reminded me of the movie Killers with Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher. Just what I was in the mood to read!

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

Jerusalem Maiden by Talia Carner

Next to Love by Ellen Feldman

The Full Moon Bride by Shobhan Bantwal

Friday, September 23, 2011

Kindle and the Library

If you haven't heard the news,  library users can now check out e-books through Overdrive and read them on their Kindles! I checked out my first set of e-books to see how it worked and it was really easy to do. The books are sent to your Kindle through Whispersync and there are no overdue dates.

If you have a Nook, Kobo, or other e-reader, you can already check out e-books, so what are you waiting for? Check the website of your local public library for more details!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Review: Stay by Allie Larkin

By Allie Larkin
Publication date: June 2010

My review:

Savannah "Van" Leone  has just stood up as Maid of Honor and watched her best friend marry the guy Van secretly loves. After an emotional encounter with the groom, Van goes home to a night of too much alcohol and watching Rin Tin Tin. The next day she realizes that while drunk she bought a German Shepherd puppy from Slovakia. Not only does her credit card take a major hit but Van doesn't know the first thing about taking care of a dog! Thankfully she finds help in the form of cute vet Alex.  Just when it looks like Van's life is finally settling down, the newlyweds return to town and Van is forced to confront what she wants out of life.

Van has been through a lot of painful things in her life. Her dad was not part of the picture when she was growing up. She had her mom Natalie who sounds like a truly amazing Lorelai Gilmore kind of mother. She also had the friendship of her mom's employer Diane and Diane's daughter Janie. Even though Janie and Diane are incredibly wealthy compared to the Leones, they still formed strong bonds. Unfortunately these bonds were tested over time first with Janie falling in love with the same boy Van liked and then finally breaking after Natalie's death from cancer when Van was in college. Van has understandably not been able to get over these blows. She is expected to be front and center during the wedding so she has to hide her feelings. Her relationship with Peter is reminiscent of the movie My Best Friend's Wedding in many ways though Peter is not as upstanding as Dermott Mulroney's character, Michael.

Van's relationship with Alex is much more electric and it is clear from the moment that she meets him that she will be able to get over Peter. There are obstacles to be overcome but it is obvious that the two are meant to be together. I enjoyed seeing their relationship develop and the many humorous encounters. Any relationship that starts because of a dog is bound to have a major cute factor. Joe is an adorable dog though he isn't as destructive as I pictured a German Shepherd puppy to be. Van also adapts to dog ownership pretty quickly. One of my favorite "Joe moments" in the book is when she goes to pick him up at the airport expecting a little puppy and her reaction to finding Joe waiting for her.

Stay is a cute if predictable book that somehow manages to pull on the heartstrings anyway. What makes it work is the humor and the unexpected emotional depth. I liked the exploration of friendships and family dynamics. None of the characters are perfect and that gives the story a slightly realistic touch. This would make a great movie and is a good pick for when you are in the mood for a light, humorous book. I would suggest this to fans of Claire Cook.

Readalikes: Must Love Dogs by Claire Cook, Seven Year Switch by Claire Cook, Hope in a Jar by Beth Harbison, In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner, The Sleeping Beauty Proposal by Sarah Strohmeyer, The Opposite of Me by Sarah Pekkanen

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Review: Overbite

By Meg Cabot
Publication date: July 5, 2011

My review:

Meena Harper survived some pretty tough times and has come out of it a stronger person and a new employee of the Palatine Guard, the secret Vatican sponsored organization that rids the world of demons. The Palatine Guard wants to use Meena's ability to predict people's deaths to keep their members safe. Meena is still determined to prove that Lucien is capable of good though Alaric and the Palatine Guard don't believe her. Unfortunately a new type of vampire has arrived in New York and they are much worse than anything the Palatine Guard has faced before.

Overbite is a darker book than Insatiable. There is less humor here after the events of the first book and that lack of sarcasm and funny moments was sorely missed.  Even Alaric is not himself. Meena is not quite over what happened in the last book which is understandable. Though she shows that she is capable of taking care of herself, she seems to have lost her spunk. Another change is the romance. Insatiable was a good deal steamier and Overbite is very tame in comparison, nearly like a YA book. 

Even with the changes, I still enjoyed Overbite. There are unexpected plot twists and the characters are still fun to read about, especially Alaric.  Though I've grown tired of a lot of vampire fiction (except for Richelle Mead's series), Meg Cabot is a talented writer and I usually like her books. I don't know if there will be a third book but if there is, I will probably read it. If you liked Insatiable, you should consider giving Overbite a try, especially if you are an Alaric fan. I would also suggest this as a fun alternative to fans of the Sookie Stackhouse books.

Readalikes: The Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris, Crusade by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Top Ten Books Everyone Has Read But Me

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. There is a new subject each week and this week's topic is "Top Ten Books That I Feel Everyone Has Read But Me".

Books for adults:

1. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
2. Water For Elephants by Sarah Gruen
3. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
4. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
5. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
6. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
7. Animal Farm by George Orwell
8. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
9. The Host by Stephenie Meyer
10. Anything by Stephen King

I actually own the entire set of Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy (I got it for Christmas last year) but I just haven't read it yet. I also own Water For Elephants (purchased this past spring when the movie came out) and likewise haven't picked it up yet. The Great Gatsby is one I was supposed to have read in college for my American Lit class (I was a terrible English major!). 

The other books are just ones I hear people talk about all the time. I did try to read The Host but didn't get very far into it. My sister says she prefers it to the Twilight saga because she considers the writing to be better. I have yet to read a Stephen King novel but I am planning to read his new one that is coming out in November. It is about the JFK assassination and someone who goes back in time to try to stop it!

Books for Teens

1. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
2. Gone by Michael Grant
3. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
4. Alanna by Tamora Pierce
5. I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
6. The House of Night series by P.C. Cast
7. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
8. The Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series by Louise Rennison
9. Anything by John Green
10. Anything by Scott Westerfeld

I have heard from many people who good Patrick Ness's Chaos Walking trilogy is and I have been wanting to try The Knife of Never Letting Go. I've also heard that Gone is excellent. To be honest, I wasn't interested in it first because of the cover. Isn't that sad? 

The Maze Runner is another book that I've been hearing about for years. I decided not to read it when it was first published because I read Incarceron and they both sounded so similar. Plus I am not into invented lingo/slang and I've heard it is used quite a bit in this series. I may try it someday anyway. I am also on the fence about the Georgia Nicolson books. I've heard they are really funny but again the lingo might annoy me too much. The House of Night is another popular series but I have no plans to read it. For one thing, I've heard that the quality seriously declines as the series goes along. I also am not very into vampire fiction anymore so with just a few exceptions (Richelle Mead's books), I am skipping vampire books for the foreseeable future. I am also not so sure that I want to read I Am Number Four. I watched the movie and it wasn't that bad but I still hesitate to read the book.

I will definitely be picking up Thirteen Reasons Why someday. I have heard that it is excellent. I am also planning to try a John Green book sometime and I want to read both Uglies and Leviathan just to see if I like them. I also will be reading Alanna since I just bought it for my Kindle. I have heard that Tamora Pierce is an excellent fantasy author so I am eager to try this one and join the club of her many devoted fans.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Review: Trial By Fire

Trial By Fire
By Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publication date: June 14, 2011

My review:

In this sequel to Raised By Wolves, Bryn is dealing with all the changes in her life with the pack and the revelations about herself. She is also facing new challenges when Lucas, a badly beaten young Were, turns up at her door wanting to leave his pack. The problem is that his Alpha is Bryn's enemy, Shay. If Bryn sends Lucas back to Shay, he will be killed but if she doesn't return him, it will lead to war. At the same time it appears that a new deadly enemy is involved as well. Bryn cannot turn to Callum for help. This time she is on her own and time is running out to make a decision. Will it be the well being of Lucas or the safety of the pack she loves?

Bryn is a strong protagonist but not without flaws and weaknesses.  Bryn is definitely the product of the environment she was raised in.  While Ali did her best to raise Bryn in a human way, she still thinks like a wolf though she isn't one.  It is a harsh world she is part of but she doesn't flinch away from it. Bryn has learned a lot and she shows a new level of leadership and determination here. We are also given some insight into Ali's past. The existence of psychics with special "knacks" also adds to the mystery. The new character Caroline reminded me a little of Jane from the Twilight Saga though her abilities are different and she isn't a pure villain. I hope we see more of Caroline and the others in the future, especially Jed who has a special connection with Bryn. 

While this book has a lot of action it also examines tough questions about what it means to be in a position of leadership and put others' welfare before your own. The romance also necessarily takes a backseat to the suspense. Bryn and Chase have a steady relationship free of emotional drama/love triangles which is a pleasant change from other YA paranormal fiction.

Overall while I like the first book more, I thought this was still a solid sequel to Raised By WolvesTrial By Fire raises the stakes in a suspenseful story with some surprising twists. 

Readalikes: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer, Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Review: Bloodlines

By Richelle Mead
Publication date: August 23, 2011

My review:

In this spin-off from the Vampire Academy series, Alchemist Sydney Sage is given the assignment of going undercover as a student at a private school. She is to pose as sister to Moroi Jill Mastrano along with Jill's guardian Eddie, and Keith, a fellow Alchemist. Jill's life is in danger and the only way to keep her safe is to go into hiding among humans. Sydney has her hands full with keeping the other humans from noticing that Jill is different, helping Jill adjust to a daylight schedule, and watching for threats. She also has to contend with a very moody Adrian Ivashkov and Keith's antagonism. When someone begins murdering Moroi, Sydney realizes that she may be in over her head.

Bloodlines is in some ways very different from the Vampire Academy books. For one thing, the main character is a human. Sydney is not super strong and skilled in physical combat. She is more of a calm intellectual. In contrast, Rose was the kind of character who took action first.  Sydney shows fear and uncertainty and it is a little easier to relate to her because of this. At times, her lack of faith in herself was annoying but I understood that she acts that way because of her unfortunate upbringing. It is nice to see her grow more confident through her interactions with Jill, Eddie, Adrian, and others.  Another difference between this series and the VA series is the lack of romance for the main character. Sydney grew up training as an Alchemist and had no time to pursue romance. She also has slim pickings as she is averse to dating vampires. There are hints at future romance for Sydney down the road but fans of the steamy and stormy romance between Dimitri and Rose may be disappointed.

While Bloodlines is different, it also brings back some characters. It was great to read about Adrian and Eddie again and there were even cameo appearances from Rose and Abe. (For those who miss Dimitri, he has a very tiny cameo and will be back for the sequel.) I found myself liking Adrian more than ever in this book. There are some new characters introduced including Sydney's sister Zoe who I think will have a role in later books and another Alchemist, Keith Darnell. I liked learning more about the Alchemists though I didn't find their world as fascinating as the Moroi and dhampir. Just like the original series, Bloodlines is packed with action and plot twists. While I was able to guess some of the twists, I was also surprised by some things. There are some new revelations that will impact the series going forward. I had some reservations about Bloodlines at first but in the end I was very pleased with it and can't wait to read The Golden Lily.

Readalikes: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, Out For Blood by Alyxandra Harvey, The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (68)

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly meme to discuss upcoming books we can't wait to get our hands on. Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This week, I'm waiting on:

Beauty and the Werewolf by Mercedes Lackey
Publication date: October 18, 2011

Description from Goodreads:

The eldest daughter is often doomed in fairy tales. But Bella— Isabella Beauchamps, daughter of a wealthy merchant—vows to escape the usual pitfalls.

Anxious to avoid the Traditional path, Bella dons a red cloak and ventures into the forbidden forest to consult
with “Granny,” the local wise woman. But on the way home she’s attacked by a wolf—who turns out to be a cursed nobleman! Secluded in his castle, Bella is torn between her family and this strange man who creates marvelous inventions and makes her laugh—when he isn’t howling at the moon.

Breaking spells is never easy. But a determined beauty, a wizard (after all, he’s only an occasional werewolf) and a little godmotherly interference might just be able to bring about a happy ending…

This is part of the Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms series and I've enjoyed some of the other books. They are pretty humorous fairy tale retellings. My favorite is One Good Knight because of the dragon librarian.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays (64)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Grab your current read

Open to a random page

Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teasers this week:

"'Do you believe in curses, Hale?' He looked at her. 'I believe in you.'"

Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter

Katarina Bishop has worn a lot of labels in her short life life. Friend. Niece. Daughter. Thief. But for the last two months she’s simply been known as the girl who ran the crew that robbed the greatest museum in the world. That’s why Kat isn’t surprised when she’s asked to steal the infamous Cleopatra Emerald so it can be returned to its rightful owners.

There are only three problems. First, the gem hasn’t been seen in public in thirty years. Second, since the fall of the Egyptian empire and the suicide of Cleopatra, no one who holds the emerald keeps it for long, and in Kat’s world, history almost always repeats itself. But it’s the third problem that makes Kat’s crew the most nervous and that is simply… the emerald is cursed.

Kat might be in way over her head, but she’s not going down without a fight. After all she has her best friend—the gorgeous Hale—and the rest of her crew with her as they chase the Cleopatra around the globe, dodging curses, realizing that the same tricks and cons her family has used for centuries are useless this time.

Which means, this time, Katarina Bishop is making up her own rules.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

It's Monday, What Are You Reading (79)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a fun weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where we share what we've read and reviewed over the past week and what we plan to read next.

I only managed to complete two books this week but I did get some reviews written. My readers advisory class is starting this week so I don't know how much reading I will get done in the next month. We'll see...

Books read:

Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott

This is definitely going on my list of favorite books from 2011! I like fairy tales retold and I loved this fantasy retelling of Cinderella set in a world inspired by Feudal Japan. 

This is a charming book about falling in love later in life and family relationships among other things. The ending does get a little melodramatic but that is a small flaw. This has been optioned for a film and if it is made I hope Alan Rickman will play Major Pettigrew.

Books reviewed:

Blue Skies Tomorrow by Sarah Sundin
Vanish by Sophie Jordan

Currently reading:

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok

I hopefully will finish rereading this soon since it is a book club read. So far I think it is just as good the second time around and listening to the audio adds something to the experience.

Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter

I have only read the first two chapters but I can tell that I will like this one as much as Heist Society. Ally Carter writes great adventurous and funny YA books.

What I might read next:

Circle of Fire by Michelle Zink

I can't wait to find out how this series will end. Alice is so evil (she gives new meaning to the term "evil twin") but I am kind of secretly hoping Lia will somehow save her.

Cleopatra's Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter

I am excited to start this one because I find Selene to be a fascinating historical figure and I know very little about her. She has become a popular character in historical fiction in recent years!

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

While I doubt this will be the "next Harry Potter" as some are saying, I think it will be a fun adventure. I also want to read this to decide if I want to get the audio book read by Jim Dale. He did such a fantastic job with the Harry Potter series.

Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto

This is a book I received from the Amazon Vine program. It is about a woman who finds out that her late husband is still alive and well and possibly immortal. This isn't paranormal fiction so I am intrigued.

The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson

This is supposed to be a really good literary gothic flavored mystery (publicity compares it to Du Maurier's Rebecca) set in France. It is another one I requested through the Vine program so I need to read it soon.

The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry

I love the cover of this book but the synopsis is just as good. A young woman with Asperger's Syndrome takes comfort during a time of grief by cooking family recipes. When she makes a late loved one's recipe, she can hear them talk to her. I think that sounds like an interesting story! Reminds me of something Sarah Addison Allen would write. 

So what have you been reading and what are you planning to read this week?