Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Clearing the Shelves (1)

So I was looking at my bookshelves last night and realized that I should be ashamed of myself. Without realizing it was happening, my shelves have become overrun with books I haven't gotten the chance to read yet. Like I said...shameful. I've been lucky enough to have been sent so many books in the past year to check out and review, but I never could seem to catch up. Now I'm determined to correct this situation. So here are just a few I'm thinking of starting with, but I need opinions help, advice, etc... Which do you think I should read first? Have you read any of these titles? Did you enjoy them?

Pick #1: Shine by Lauren Myracle

When her best guy friend falls victim to a vicious hate crime, sixteen-year-old Cat sets out to discover who in her small town did it. Richly atmospheric, this daring mystery mines the secrets of a tightly knit Southern community and examines the strength of will it takes to go against everyone you know in the name of justice.

I've fallen into a bit of a rut as far as my reading selection in the past year goes. Sticking closely to fantasy and paranormal romances, I'm thinking it might be a good time to change things up and go with a different genre. Having never read any of Myracle's work before I went in search of reviews and critiques. Los Angeles Times said Shine was, "dramatic in both content and presentation." Can't argue with that right? Have you guys read this one? I do love a mystery, but will I need to be extra prepared for sad scenarios and serious issues?

It’s 1895, and after the suicide of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma’s reception there is a chilly one. To make things worse, she’s been followed by a mysterious young Indian man, a man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her entanglement with Spence’s most powerful girls—and their foray into the spiritual world—lead to?

I picked this one up last year due to an author friend's recommendation. I figured that since I loved her work, I'd likely have a good time reading something she, herself enjoyed. The odds were in my favor at least. For one reason or another I was never quite in the mood for this one when I was ready for a new read. Has anyone read this trilogy? Likes or dislikes about it? Again I went in search of critiques and found that Booklist said, "...the mystical elements, along with a touch of forbidden romance, will draw a large, enthusiastic audience..." Are they right? You guys know I can't usually resist a good romance, not to mention if it also comes with a touch of a paranormal element or two. So do I have any thumbs up on giving this one a try? Knocking it off my shelf sooner rather than later?

Madeline is sent away to Spring Meadows to help with a drinking and rage problem she has. It's a pretty intense place, but there is the weekly movie night in town--where Madeline meets Stewart, who's at another rehab place nearby. They fall for each other during a really crazy time in their lives. Madeline gets out and tries to get back on her feet, waiting for Stewart to join her. When he does, though, it's not the ideal recovery world Madeline dreamed of. Both of them still have serious problems. And Stewart's are only getting worse....

While this doesn't sound like your typical happy-go-lucky plot, there's something about it that draws me in. I know going into it that I'll have to make sure I don't expect the romance to play as the central issue, but I'm more curious about the character dynamics than anything else. Critics all over seem impressed with Nelson's writing. The New York Times said his book, Destroy All Cars was, "smart and entertaining." Have any of you read this one yet? Would you say the same applies to this book? I'm looking forward to checking it out.

“I don’t want him to love me because of a potion,” she said.

Izzie loves Mark, and why shouldn’t she? As the captain of the basketball team, he is kind and loving and he’s everything she’s ever wanted in a boyfriend. Her BFF loves . . . somebody, but she won’t say who. So when a hot new guy, Tristan, shows up at school, who better for Izzie to fix up her friend with? And what better way to do it than with a love philtre?

But even the best of magic has a way of going awry—and Izzie finds she’s accidentally fallen in love with Tristan herself. And that’s a problem. First of all, there’s Mark. Second, Tristan comes with baggage—like the supernatural creatures that keep attacking whenever he’s with Izzie, and the fact that he comes from the place where Izzie’s father was killed, years ago, by an enormous, evil serpent that’s still around—and it knows Izzie is out there.

I think I'm ready for a new twist on this old tale. The movie version, left me (and I'm sure a lot of others) so sad that I wasn't sure if I wanted to read this one right away. On the other hand I'm a big advocate for retellings. So I'm thinking it's time to give this one a chance. The new spin sounds wildly unique and I'm always in the mood for a fun read. I checked out the official website, and the "Dear Izzie" section sold me. The potions she's got available lead me to believe fun is in no short supply in this retelling.

Who can you trust when everything is secrets and lies?

It's a new semester at the Chadwick School, and even with the ankh tattoos that brand them, Phoebe, Nick, Lauren, and Patch are hoping for a fresh start. Each day, however, they are reminded of their membership as new Conscripts in the Society. The secret group that promised to help them achieve their every dream has instead turned their lives into a nightmare.

Exclusive membership lost its luster as the Society revealed its agenda to them and two of their classmates were found dead. Now they can't help but wonder: Who's next? While they search for the elusive truth about the Society, the Conscripts are forced to face their darkest fear—that they truly can't get out.

Will Nick and Phoebe's new relationship endure this strain? Can Patch and Nick's longtime friendship survive the truth that will come to light? The deceptions of the group's leaders, once trusted friends, and family will test these four as they fight to leave the Society behind.

This was a gift from a friend with good intentions but maybe a lack of information as well. I'm not sure my friend realized this was the second book in a series. I'd never heard of the series before receiving this installment as a gift but I'm thinking I should start with the opener first. Right? I checked out the description of the series opener, The Secret Society and admit to being intrigued. It seems to have gotten mixed reviews, but I'm still anxious to see for myself. So while I'd like to just dive right into this one, I'm going to hold off until I get the chance to read the opener and then go from there.


  1. Tris and Izzie!
    Mainly because I want to read it soooo bad myself, haha :o)

  2. Me too Rebecca...I'd be happy to pass it along when I'm finished with my copy :)



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