Monday, January 31, 2011

Review: The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern

About fifteen pages into this book, I already disliked the main character, sixteen year old Tamara. She is  a snotty little bitch and the only reason I continued to read was because Tamara acknowledges this and constantly used the past tense: "I was nasty. I was not a nice person."  This use of the past tense gave me hope that she does indeed change and I was only able to continue with this hope in mind. I'm glad I continued with the story. Although I can't say I ever really warmed to Tamara to the point where I would say I actually liked her. I certainly hated her a lot less.

Tamara has lived a charmed, privileged life. She is someone you could imagine on one of those MTV shows like My Sweet Sixteen. The bratty, get whatever she wants, teenager. But something happens that changes the course of Tamara's life. Her father dies. And while she doesn't immediately change into decent human being, this loss is enough to make her think about more. More than her pathetic, materialistic existence.

After Tamara's father dies, his insurmountable debt leaves Tamara and her mother no other choice but to live with Tamara's Aunt Rosaleen and Uncle Arthur out in the Irish countryside. While some of us might find this idyllic Tamara, a Dubliner, sees it as a kind of death sentence, the death of her social life. Her only peers include the cute guy in charge of the traveling library, Marcus, and Wesley her Uncle Arthur's right hand man.

Tamara picks up a book from the traveling library which turns out to be a journal. Tamara's neighbor, Sister Ignatius, encourages Tamara to write in the journal to work out all her feelings about her father's death. But when she goes to write her first entry she finds an entry in her own handwriting...for the next day. Tamara is scared, angry and confused until the next day when everything in the journal proves to be true. Tamara uses the information in the journal to make changes in her daily decisions, decisions that begin to unravel a mystery about Tamara's past that will forever change her understanding of herself.

Ahern's writing is simply beautiful; there is no doubt about that. The only complaint I have about the actual writing is that the first part of the novel is mostly Tamara telling us readers everything versus showing. I know she's catching us up to speed on what's happened but I don't know how many times we reviews express disappointment in being told something by the characters instead of shown through dialog or actions, which keeps the book interesting. However, like I said, Ahern's writing is truly exceptional.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. My first impression was not good, I was gearing up for a negative review so I was making notes of all the issues I had with Tamara and while I continued to be frustrated with her attitude, I was sucked into the magic, mystery, and intrigue of the story. The Book of Tomorrow is a beautifully written story of family, love, loss, and self discovery.


Disclosure: I received this ARC from the publisher. I did not receive any compensation for this review.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Review: Night Betrayed by Joss Ware

The Change that devastated the earth made Theo Waxnicki something more than human-eternally young and beautiful...but not immortal. When he dies on a mission against the Strangers, he is lost to the darkness...until a miraculous healer brings him back.

Born as the world fell to ruins, Selena has dedicated her life to easing others' pain. Her tender touch awakens new life in Theo-and new desire. But joined together in a world of terrors, the lovers' secret pasts make them vulnerable to danger. And love is the deadliest trap of all.
Night Betrayed, the fourth book in Joss Ware’s post-apocalyptic romance series, is yet another enjoyable installment. This book tells Theo’s story. I enjoyed Theo in most of the other books and was eagerly anticipating his story. However, he was rather irritating in Sage’s book, Embrace the Night Eternal. But he returns to being the Theo readers have come to know and love.

I think Theo is one of my favorite characters because he’s from before The Change and is able to bridge the gap of today’s world that readers are familiar with this “brave new world”. The Change also did something to Theo so that he has hardly aged in the decades following the end of the world. 

So he has the mind and experience of an elderly man in the body of a thirty-something studmuffin in his prime. I was afraid his love interest would be too young and would creep me out. For example, I find some the vampire stories a little creepy especially when a hundred year old vampire is romantically involved with a teenager. There’s just something inherently WRONG with that. Yuck.

Ware has a lot more sense than some authors *cough*StephanieMeyer*cough* in that aspect, Theo’s love interest is a mature woman, while still much younger than Theo it’s a more respectable difference. I found it amusing when Selena kept harping about how much younger Theo was than her and he kept making comments about not being as young as he looked, what a smart ass. I loved the banter between Theo and Selena even when the shit hits the fan and faced with extreme situations and personal loss there's always a bright side and neither were whiny or pessimistic. Theo and Selena had excellent chemistry and I thought this was an excellent installment to the story, if a bit more somber given Selena’s gift of helping those close to death move on earning her the name Death Lady.

Also a bit grim is Remy’s experience. I really hope she gets a bangin’ HEA. Night Betrayed sets us up for what I assume is her story in the next book, however given her experience in Night Betrayed, I wouldn’t be surprised if her book isn’t until further in the series. I’m wondering who her hero is, Wyatt? I don’t think it’s Ian. Thoughts from anyone else reading this series?

Something I’ve noticed about this series is that, for the most, I’ve enjoyed each installment but I haven’t loved any of the h/h combos but I still find that this is one of the series that, overall, I truly enjoy. Ware has built a world filled with danger, adventure, and a slew of unanswered questions that keeps readers coming back for more.


Disclosure: I received this as a digital ARC through NetGalley. I did not receive any compensation for this review.

The series in order:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sneak Peak

For my upcoming blog-o-versary (in February) I'm working on  a new layout for Book Fare Delights. I love messing around with Photoshop and HTML...NERD ALERT, I know!

I'm having a lot of fun with it and I wanted to give you a little sneak peak of what's to come. Not that anyone else will be as excited as I am... but still! So here are some ideas I've been toying around with to use as a button or avatar.

Thoughts, comments, and feedback welcome! Let me know which ones you like, or don't!




Do I need a border or something? I feel like they're still missing something!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Review: Libertine's Kiss by Judith James

Broken Wing by Judith James was one of my favorite reads in 2010. When I saw Libertine’s Kiss  on Netgalley I was ecstatic! Broken Wing was an intense, emotional read and I was eager to try something else by Ms. James. While Libertine’s Kiss is not quite up to Broken Wing’s intensity, it still tackles serious subjects and delivers a satisfyingly sensual tale.

William and Elizabeth shared a brief but intense friendship as youngsters before William was shipped off to school, promising to return. Years later, after seemingly breaking that promise, William, now a highway robber, traitor to Cromwell’s England, and right hand man of Charles Stuart the rightful owner of the crown, shows up wounded and in need of assistance on Elizabeth’s doorstep.

Elizabeth, now widowed from an abusive husband, recognizes her childhood friend immediately; welcoming him into her home and attending to his wounds. William, wounded but not so much that he overlooks this Puritan woman’s allure. The two spend a passion filled night together before William moves on. William is unaware that the Puritan woman who offered him her assistance, her home, and her body was his friend from long ago. 

It comes to Cromwell’s men’s attention that Elizabeth has aided William, a traitor to the crown, and she is stripped of her lands. Once Charles Stuart is restored to the crown Elizabeth goes to court in hopes that her goodwill towards William, one of Stuart’s closest confidants, will earn her some of her property back.
There William and Elizabeth cross paths and William realized that his one night affair with the Puritan woman was, in fact, Elizabeth. William insists on helping Elizabeth win the favor of Charles Stuart in the hopes of regaining her lands.

Passion ensues but I don’t want to give everything away. What I can say is that I really enjoyed this book. William is such a scoundrel, but you can’t help but love him. He’s nothing but honest with Elizabeth about his libertine ways and that he has no intentions of settling down. Elizabeth, in love with William since childhood, takes him anyway she can get him. Like Gabe in Broken Wing, William is a tortured soul. He is the way he is because of events in his past and Elizabeth is the only person he’s ever truly opened up to. The only person able to help him save himself.

I was also intrigued by the afterward where James explains that she based much of William de Veres on he very real historical figure of John Wilmont, Earl of Rochester. Even incorporating Wilmont’s actual poetry!

Libertine’s Kiss combines two of my favorite elements in a romance: a tortured hero and the friends-to-lovers plot line. Judith James, along with Courtney Milan, write some of my favorite historicals: intense, intelligent, intoxicating, and romantic. Libertine’s Kiss is not to be missed by fans of historical romance!


Disclosure: I received this as a digital ARC through NetGalley. I did not receive any compensation for this review.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Reading Recap: 2010

Here it is, my reading recap for 2010 highlighting my favorite and least favorite books of the year. I begin with the bad, just to get it out of the way. Followed by my list of favorites; categories include Favorite New Series, YA, Romance, and I end with my favorite book of the year.

Any guesses on that one?! I'll give you a hint: J to the motherfucking M! Ahem, pardon my French. Without further ado:

Disappointing Reads

Favorite New Series

Young Adult

My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger


Favorite Book of the Year

Any of these make anyone else's top picks for 2010?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Library Loot: 2010 Review

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted alternatively by Marg and Claire that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky (at Marg's this week) any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!
I wanted to do a retrospective of all the library books that I actually read this year. Lord knows I always get waaaaay more than I could ever read so here are the books I actually read.

I've listed how much money the library saved me based on the Amazon price because that's likely where I would have bought the book; which books I later bought (bold) and the price I paid . (That's right I only paid thirty-five cents for Unholy Magic thanks to Borders Buck and a coupon!) Lastly, I've linked to my reviews (pink).

Title  Amazon Price   Bought
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins 10.19
Lover Eternal (audio) by J.R. Ward31.49
Dark Lover (audio) by J.R. Ward31.49
Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher 8.99
Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie24.9924.99
Shit My Dad Says by Justin Halpern6.49
Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane7.99
Unholy Magic by Stacia Kane7.990.35
City of Ghosts by Stacia Kane7.99
Graceling (audio) by Kristen Cashore47.45
The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han9.99
The Exile by Diana Gabaldon16.17
Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow9.99
Proof by Seduction by Courtney Milan7.997.99
Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi 12.23
Magic Lost, Trouble Found by Lisa Sherain7.99
Wolves, Boys and Other Things That Might Kill Me by Kristen Chandler12.95
Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage by Jennifer Ashley7.993.99
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff10.79
My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger5.345.34
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson17.998.99
Nothing Like You by Lauren Strasnick 13.25
Salem's Lot by Stephen King25
Candor by Pam Bachorz8.99
Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols7.92
The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott11.55
Grand Total Saved319.89

Does anyone else keep track of how much the library has saved them throughout the year?

I only have one item waiting for me at the library this week:

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning (audiobook)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Review: Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann

The small, rural town of Cryer’s Cross, Montana, population 212, is shocked and dismayed when one of it’s teenagers, a freshman girl, goes missing. But as days, weeks, and months pass life goes on and back to normal. Except for Kendall Fletcher, afflicted with OCD, she imagines that around every corner someone lays in wait, ready to snatch her off into the night, never to return.  

However, when the new school year begins it’s not Kendall that goes missing but someone she loves. Kendall’s OCD rears it’s ugly head and she becomes racked with paranoia. Her target? Jacián, Cryer’s Cross’ newest resident, who arrived right around the time of the first disappearance. Kendall’s mind spins out of control; could the attractive new stranger be behind the disappearances?

As Kendall gets to know Jacián she’s still suspicious but less inclined to believe he’s guilty of foul play, especially when she begins to hear the voice of her missing friend. Something sinister and possibly supernatural  is going on in Cryer’s Cross and Kendall’s determined to get to the bottom of it, even if it kills her.

I love, love, loved Lisa McMann’s Wake trilogy. It was unique and fresh. I was worried about how I would enjoy Cryer’s Cross, wondered how it could possibly live up to the Wake series. Unfortunately, I was not as impressed with this book as I was her previous books.

While I enjoyed Kendall and her developing relationship with Jacián and the mystery and suspense of the disappearances; the ultimate explanation for the disappearances and the supernatural was a bit hokey. Actually, it wasn’t the supernatural part that I had an issue with but the way supernatural aspect interacted with the characters. The ultimate explanation was indeed, horrific and creepy but I can’t say much more with out spoiling part of the story.

Despite some of the issues I had with Cryer’s Cross, McMann is certainly a master at building suspense and developing unique characters. While I found part of the story a bit hokey, overall it was an enjoyable read, not to be missed by fans of thrillers and suspense novels! Cryer's Cross will be available Feburary 8th!


Disclosure: I received this as an e-galley from the publisher. I did not receive any compensation for this review.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets Étienne St. Claire: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.

As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss Anna—and readers—have long awaited?

Anna and the French Kiss is one of those books where I’d seen so many rave reviews that I was sure it was impossible for it to live up to my expectations. How glad I was to be proven wrong! Anna and the French Kiss is a model example of the YA contemporary genre.

I loved how the book was so honest, real and down to earth. While I suppose not very many teens get to live in Paris, Anna’s reluctance to move halfway across the globe from her family and friends for her senior year felt very realistic. While some teens might embrace such an opportunity, I can see most teens reacting just as Anna had, with reluctance and trepidation.

I’m also a little biased toward this book to begin with because it is, essentially, a friends to “lovers” story and those are my favorite! The romance between Anna and St.Clair is so honest and sweet, complete with all the insecurities, miscommunication, and imperfections of real relationships.

Speaking of imperfections I love when characters have physical quirks, instead of being the image of perfection such as characters in a series like Gossip Girl. Anna has a gaped tooth smile and St. Clair, while very attractive, is short. Small details such as this made Anna that much more appealing to me!

Lastly, I loved the secondary characters. Anna’s family, friends from home, and her new friends. Perkins' secondary character development balanced with the developing relationship of Anna and St. Clair  leaves readers satisfied with a well developed, character driven novel.
As more and more YA lit favors paranormal, fantasy, and speculative fiction, Perkins’ debut novel is a wonderful addition to the contemporary genre and I’ll be listing her among my favorite authors alongside the likes of Sarah Dessen and Elizabeth Scott. I am eagerly anticipating Anna’s companion book, Lola and the Boy Next Door available September 29, 2011 from Dutton Books.


I'd originally given Anna and the French Kiss 4 chocolate covered strawberries but writing this review, I realized there really wasn't anything I disliked about the book, so I'm bumping it up to a 5 strawberries!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Coming Soon...

The holidays were super busy and I have a lot of catching up to do! Look for posts on the following topics:

Best/Worst of lists and year in review. You know; you've seen them everywhere and I intend to put in my two cents as well!

I got my nook for Christmas! Yay! I've all ready read several books on it and need to get them reviewed. So look for upcoming reviews for the following titles:
Libertine's Kiss by Judith James
Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Night Betrayed by Joss Ware

Lastly, February marks my year blog-o-versary and I'm working on a new layout design ok well I'm using a free design and customizing my header and such but still! I've had this design for a whole year. That's impressive for me. With my old blog/s I loved changing my layout regularly!

So that's what's in store for Book Fare, if I can find the time to get it all done!
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