Wonderfully Wacky Winner!

literati_rain66 Saturday, February 26, 2011
*drumroll please*

The Secret to Lying.... 

The winner of The Secret To Lying, by Todd Mitchell is...

Melo!! Congratulations Melo! Please email your shipping info to redraindrops66(at)yahoo(dot)com. Thanks so much to everyone who entered!

Really Ravishing Review (The Monstrumologist))

literati_rain66 Saturday, February 19, 2011 ,
The MonstrumologistReview of The Monstrumologist, by Rick Yancey.

Quickie: Not for the squeamish, but definitely good.

Full: Where to begin?? I suppose I'll start with the blurb on the front cover, since I think it most adequately describes the book: "A cross between Mary Shelley and Stephen King." - VOYA. That little blurb right there tells you a lot about The Monstrumologist; it's dark, it's creepy, it's gory, and it's more than a little disturbing. But you can't stop reading it.

Will Henry has the unfortunate role of being apprentice to Dr. Warthrop, a man with a sinister calling. Will is a boy of a mere twelve years, orphaned and living with the only man who he's ever really known outside of his parents- the hermit and genius, Doctor Pellinore Warthrop, Monstrumologist. Dr. Warthrop is a seemingly cold, almost cruel man who is brisk and clipped with poor Will, always yelling at him to "Step lively" and get to work. Will is an obedient boy, and he does what the man says, even if it means getting no sleep and no food for days at a time. He does it all though, because the doctor is all he has, all he knows, and he has a inexplicable affection for the man. Not love, no, but something.

One night as the boy is sleeping in his tiny loft, a man comes calling in the night bearing a mysterious something wrapped in burlap in the back of his carriage. The man, Erasmus Gray, is worked up and asks for the doctor. He tells Dr. Warthrop that he has "an abomination" and "a crime" in that burlap, and it's urgent that the doctor take a look. You see, Erasmus Gray is a grave robber, and he's found something that has shocked and appalled even a man with such a morbid career. There's a body of a young girl, but she's not alone. Something is clinging to her... feeding off of her. Its appendages are wrapped about her body in a macabre embrace. Human, it's not, that much is clear. But what is it? A monster of course. Dr. Warthrop's speciality.

This unfortunate find leads Will and Dr. Warthrop on a spine-tingling, stomach-rolling adventure. Monsters are out there, and they must be found. Monsters aren't all that they find though, as the story unfolds, Dr. Warthrop uncovers secrets about his own family, and specifically, his own father. Will, too, discovers a few things about the doctor, and in turn, his own parents.

I don't know what I was expecting when I cracked open The Monstrumologist, but I was pleasantly surprised with what I found. Immediately the tone of the book was set, not by the words, but by the book design. In the edition I have, there are little illustrations of historic medical supplies every few pages. Hooks and forceps and scissors and things I don't even know the names for. Along with the medical supplies were body parts, drawn like they would be in a textbook, with numbers and arrows. Old medicine creeps me out, so the illustrations totally worked for me. I was on edge before even starting. And then I started reading, and my apprehension grew. The prologue sets you up for the 'why' of the story, and then chapter one takes you back in time, to the Spring of 1888, where you meet young Will Henry and his horrific journey begins.

I'm not entirely sure I have anything bad to say about this book. I was sucked in from the start, and I was spit out dazed and a bit disturbed at the end, but pleasantly so. It's not for the overly squeamish, as Yancey doesn't give you rose-colored glasses when the monsters attack, but those who appreciate honesty and can deal with some blood, they'll eat it up.

5 out of 5 stars.

Really Ravishing Review (Beautiful Darkness)

literati_rain66 ,
Review of Beautiful Darkness, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. 

Quickie: Perfectly dark. It kept me guessing and had my stomach in knots.

Beautiful DarknessFull: Lena's Sixteenth Moon has passed, but she has not yet been Claimed. Terrible things happened at her Sixteenth Moon, things beyond her control and yet they were a result of her actions. Lena is full of guilt, of conflicting emotions, and pain. She's grieving the loss of her Uncle, possibly the only person to truly understand her or be on her side.

Ethan, Lena's boyfriend, is quickly being shut out of Lena's life. He's getting mixed signals that with the flip of a switch turn into plain rejection. Confused and hurt, he tries to let her go, to do her own thing, but finds that he can't. He's been hearing an eerie song, one about the Seventeenth Moon, and he knows that cannot bode well for Lena. She must make a choice, Light or Dark, and no matter what she chooses, people will die. The stress of the impending choice and the overwhelming grief over her beloved uncle are driving Lena to the edge, and only Ethan can save her.

But how do you save someone when they don't even want to see you? When they are forcefully pushing you away, hurting you?

Ethan, Link, and their new found friend, Liv, embark on a mysterious and perilous journey to track down and hopefully rescue Lena- without dying themselves of course.

Beautiful Darkness was better than I expected. There was so much hype, everyone was dying to read it and squeeing over it... so I decided to wait to read it myself. I'm not sure why, I'm just weird I guess. Anyhow, I read it in a day and a half, because I couldn't stop thinking about what might happen next. (I love that)

One of the most charming and endearing aspects of the book for me was the Southern ladies. They cracked me up! They were so funny, so quirky, and so interesting. I loved all the etiquette lessons and interesting tidbits of information because they really helped solidify that good ole' Southern feel. It's rare that I feel so at home in a book setting, but I did in Beautiful Darkness.

It was nice to see the story from Ethan's point of view, since we saw it from Lena's in Beautiful Creatures. I always enjoy getting a different perspective and getting to know other characters on another level.

On the whole, I thought Beautiful Darkness was fabulous. Loved the writing, loved the feel, loved the whole thing. The Caster world is getting more and more interesting as each page is turned, and I can't wait to dive back in.

4 out of 5 stars.

Fabulous Free Fiction

literati_rain66 Friday, February 18, 2011
It's that time again!! It's been a while since I've done a giveaway on my own, not a blog hop, but I'm in the mood. Without further ado...

What You Get:
The Secret to Lying 
The Secret To Lying, by Todd Mitchell.

From the back cover of the ARC: James was the guy no one noticed- a fifteen-year-old living in a small town with his repairman father and ex-beauty queen mother. So when he gets into the American Science and Mathematics Academy (or ASMA), a public boarding school, James decides that it's time to leave the past behind. In a student body made up of nerds and geeks, being cool is easy. All it takes is a few harmless lies to invent the new James: rebel, punk, street fighter. Everyone's impressed, except for the beautiful Ellie Frost, whose icy demeanor holds an inexplicable attraction for James, and the mysterious Ghost44, an IM presence who sees right through his new identity. 

But James is riding high- playing pranks and hooking up with the luscious Jessica Keen. Things seem perfect until he begins having strange and vivid dreams that pull him into a dark city haunted by demons. As the line between dreams and reality blurs, James begins to wonder, what's the price for being the coolest guy around?

Funny and real, Todd Mitchell's debut YA novel takes readers into a school for the intellectually gifted and socially awkward, as readers discover through James the secret - and consequences- to lying.

How To Enter:
*Comment on this post.
*Leave your email in the post so I can contact you if you win.
*Tell me one of your most memorable lies, good or bad.
*Follow this blog (it's easy, I promise)
*One extra entry for Tweeting about this contest, leave a link please.

Contest is open from Friday, February 18th - midnight on Friday, February 25th, 2011. Winner will be announced shortly after the contest closes and winner will be notified by email. 

US & Canada only please.

Good luck, and thanks for entering!