Review: Voices of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn

Blurb from Amazon:
On one side of the border lies the modern world: the internet, homecoming dances, cell phones. On the other side dwell the ancient monsters who spark humanity's deepest fears: dragons.

Seventeen-year-old Kay Wyatt knows she's breaking the law by rock climbing near the border, but she'd rather have an adventure than follow the rules. When the dragon Artegal unexpectedly saves her life, the rules are abruptly shattered, and a secret friendship grows between them.

But suspicion and terror are the legacy of human and dragon inter­actions, and the fragile truce that has maintained peace between the species is unraveling. As tensions mount and battles begin, Kay and Artegal are caught in the middle. Can their friendship change the course of a war?


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I loved the fascinating world that Carrie Vaughn created in this book! Dragons and humans must share the world and to do that the border between the two nations must never be crossed. A 60 year old treaty prevents the two from ever meeting.

Above all, friendships between dragons and humans are illegal.

What I loved most was Kay's earthy, adventurous nature. She's the kind of teenager I wanted to be. I would have loved hiking and rock climbing and making friends with a dragon.

There was only one thing that frustrated me. I had wished that Kay would have told her friends about her secret trips to the dragon. How cool it would have been if she and her friends had worked together to solve problem--you know, Harry Potter style. Potter always worked with Ron and Hermione, and it was the camaraderie of solving the problem together that made us love the Potter books.

And I think the ending would have had more impact if Kay had had her friends part of her adventure all along. How much more impressive if several teenagers & young dragons had become friends and had chosen to fight alongside Kay & Artegal to stop the war.

And I liked Jon, the romantic interest. He and Kay were friends for years before they started dating, and they enjoyed many advntures togeter. Rock climbing. Kayaking in the moonlight. Cross-country skiing. Hiking and more hiking. Something was just sooooo dissatisfying that she didn't share this adventure with him too.

Truth or Dare

Truth: What fictional character is the most like you?

Dare: I dare you to do something brave and daring that a fictional character would do that you wouldn’t. Get out of your comfort zone!




My Truth

I wish I could say I’m like Mercy Thompson, my all-time favorite kick-ass heroine. Or like Kate Daniels or Allie Beckstrom.



But no, I’m Girl Genius. Every inch of me. Even down to the humming while creating something fantastic to the crazy mad-girl smile to the hyper coffee spazz moments. The glasses, the wild hair. Yep, that’s me.



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Truth or Dare is my own weekly meme. I have found that many of my favorite blog posts by book bloggers I love were the ones that they shared more about themselves. Book bloggers are so busy sharing about books that we get little time to know them. Truth or Dare is an opportunity to pause from our weekly posts and get to know each other.

Want to participate? Copy and paste my Truth or Dare challenge into your own post and then write your answer to my question or about the results of your dare. Be sure to post the link here...




Review: All's Fair in Vanity's War by Elizabeth Marx


My Rating: 3 Stars
Amazon | B&N | Goodreads


Well thought-out world building and plot line! Fascinating concept. And the emotional aspects of the story tied me into knots.

The story is told from the perspective of the Seer, a dead teenager who has been given the task of guarding Locke's (her boyfriend when she was still alive) new girlfriend. It's been about 2 years since she died, but she still loves him. For me, it was painful to watch the budding romance through the eyes of the Seer.

I liked the Seer, and although I didn't mind Locke hooking up with Keleigh, I wished that the Seer could have some romance too. The Seer is dead; Locke is still alive. He's obviously not the right guy for her, but I would have been a lot happier if one of the Guardians who could actually see the Seer and talk to the Seer had shown some interest in her.

I wished that Locke and the Seer could have had a real conversation. I wanted closure between the two of them. I wanted to hear him say he loved her but that he was now ready to move on with his life. I wanted her to say she accepted that. But although Locke said several times that he needed to communicate with the Seer, he never did.

I also felt frustrated with the fact that the Seer could mostly only observe and did very little to interact. Because of that, we couldn't sink deeply into her consciousness. Most of the time, the focus was on the people she observed, and at the end of the scene, the Seer would chime in with her reactions to what she had just seen. We got very little sensation, reactions, and internal dialog from the POV.

Despite that, I identified with what we did get from the Seer. I loved the character and I'm hoping for more focus on her in the next book.

Elizabeth Marx is an author with so much wonderful potential. I think her books will just get better and better.


And the winners are . . .

For the $10 Amazon gift certificates, the winners are:

Allie Lin

Dana Burgess

Sarah Kalaitzidis

Mare Sperry

Jane Arnett

I'll be contacting each of the winners by email & sending them their Amazon eCards.

Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

blurb from goodreads:

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind





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*sniffle, sniffle* I loved this book. *wipes eyes with back of hand*

Augustus was a beautiful soul, and I enjoyed how he encouraged Hazel to really live. She'd given up on living, knowing that she would die and leave a gaping hole behind her. He taught her that every moment here on earth is worth it--both for the one living it and for those who lose their loved ones.

I loved watching their lives, souls, and hearts intertwine, and every moment of this book was precious and beautiful. When I was done (3 in the morning on a work night--2nd time THIS WEEK--*sigh*), I snuck into the kids' rooms, tucked them in and gave them extra kisses.

When the YA Sisterhood blog said this book was about LIFE rather than CANCER, I now have to say they were so right. There isn't anything I didn't love about this book.

Weeks after I read this book, I find myself still thinking about it. Hazel's relationship with her parents, the fear of what her death will do to them, and most importantly her questions about how the world will continue without her. Some of my worst fears (losing a loved one and my loved ones losing me) are addressed by this book, but the more I think about it, the more I feel that I can put those fears aside and focus on living one day at a time, enjoying my family.

I highly recommend this story for everyone.

Truth or Dare

Truth: What’s your beauty secret?


Dare: I dare you to smile at everyone in the grocery store next time you go shopping. Spread a little sunshine and cheer.




My Truth

I really believe that a smile and laughter makes all the difference in the world—along with a little faith in yourself. But adding a necklace to my outfit always makes me feel happy. * happy dance *



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Truth or Dare is my own weekly meme. I have found that many of my favorite blog posts by book bloggers I love were the ones that they shared more about themselves. Book bloggers are so busy sharing about books that we get little time to know them. Truth or Dare is an opportunity to pause from our weekly posts and get to know each other.

Want to participate? Copy and paste my Truth or Dare challenge into your own post and then write your answer to my question or about the results of your dare. Be sure to post the link here...




Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Synopsis from Amazon:
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des RĂªves, and it is only open at night.


But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.


True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.


Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.



My Thoughts:

Dark, enchanting, thrilling, and savory. I don't even know where to begin to tell you about this book. I don't think I even want to condense the plot into a few trite words. Nothing I could say would do this justice.

But I can say that how much I loved every character--Celia and Marco. The red haired twins and Bailey. The clock maker and the man who designed the carousel. The fortune teller and the contortionist. I was even mesmerized by the two old wizards who started the challenge with a bet on whose student would be the better illusionist. They were sinister and cold and yet seemed so very real.

The book opens in 2nd person. YOU are the audience in the circus, and as the story unfolds, YOU are in the midst of it. Let me just say, it felt so real.

Truth or Dare

Truth: What do you want to be when you grow up? (IMO, nobody’s all grown up until they stop believing in dreams.)

Dare: I dare you to be a kid for an hour and spend time coloring or drawing with crayons or markers. Believe it or not, it’s very therapeutic.


My Truth

Twenty years from now, my kids will be all grown up, and I’ll have grandkids to babysit. By the time I’m that old—57—I want to be a successful writer with at least 20 novels and tons of short stories published and loved by thousands of fans, and I want to live in a beautiful house in the country surrounded by acres of luscious nature. I’ll take long walks and tend to my vegetable garden. And I want to be a part-time dance instructor, teaching children ballet and tap and jazz, just as I’m learning now. And I’d love to be an artist, drawing and sketching breathtaking scenes.



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Truth or Dare is my own weekly meme. I have found that many of my favorite blog posts by book bloggers I love were the ones that they shared more about themselves. Book bloggers are so busy sharing about books that we get little time to know them. Truth or Dare is an opportunity to pause from our weekly posts and get to know each other.

Want to participate? Copy and paste my Truth or Dare challenge into your own post and then write your answer to my question or about the results of your dare. Be sure to post the link here...



Review: Calamity Jack by Shannon Hale

Synopsis from Amazon:

Jack likes to think of himself as a criminal mastermind…with an unfortunate amount of bad luck. A schemer, plotter, planner, trickster, swindler...maybe even thief? One fine day Jack picks a target a little more giant than the usual, and one little bean turns into a great big building-destroying beanstalk.

With help from Rapunzel (and her trusty braids), a pixie from Jack’s past, and a man with inventions from the future, they just might out-swindle the evil giants and put his beloved city back in the hands of good people ....while catapulting themselves and readers into another fantastical adventure.




My Thoughts:

Cute. Cute. Cute.

We get to see our favorite fairy tale characters again: Jack and Punzie.

Only now it's Jack's turn to be in the spotlight as he brings Rapunzel home to meet his mother, but life in the big city isn't how he left it. That giant who lives at the top of the skyscraper--the one with the goos that Jack stole when he planted his magic bean--has taken over and is holding Jack's mom as hostage.

Jack has to make right his past wrongs, but he's afraid of failing. Everything he does fails, and what will Rapunzel think of him if he can't save his mom and the city?

To top it off, Jack can't say anything right, and this guy they rescued seems to have the right words to sweep her off her feet.

This is a fun, fast-paced (haha, I almost typed "past-faced") read. I loved it, TJ loved it, and the kids have devoured it several times over. Nothing like a good book to pull a family together.