"Waiting On" Wednesday: Cleopatra's Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter

"The Luxe" meets the ancient world in the extraordinary story of Cleopatra's daughter.
Selene has grown up in a palace on the Nile with her parents, Cleopatra & Mark Antony—the most brilliant, powerful rulers on earth. But the jealous Roman Emperor Octavianus wants Egypt for himself, & when war finally comes, Selene faces the loss of all she's ever loved. Forced to build a new life in Octavianus's household in Rome, she finds herself torn between two young men and two possible destinies—until she reaches out to claim her own.
This stunning novel brings to life the personalities & passions of one of the greatest dramas in history, & offers a wonderful new heroine in Selene.
- Description from Goodreads

I'm pretty excited about this one; I've been a fan of ancient Egypt for quite a few years now, and I'm sure that the author did some great research for this book to happen. I've been reading more books with romance/ romantic themes in them recently, and I'm kind of excited about that popping up too. I have the ARC on the way, and I'll be sure to post a review as soon as I finish!

"Waiting on" Wednesday is put on by Breaking the Spine, and is a chance for book bloggers to share books that they are excited about receiving , and wish to share with others.


Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins


Every culture has beliefs and rituals surrounding the dead: some are buried, some cremated, other entombed. In Panem, home to the novel's protagonist Katniss Everdeen, death is woven into the very fabric of life. Her home, District 12, is no stranger to mining accidents and starvation, a gloomy cloud over the heads of her fellow citizens. What's more is that every child between the ages of twelve and seventeen are required to have their names in a macabre lottery, along with those from the other eleven districts, to send off one boy and one girl to the Hunger Games, a fight to the death on television for the viewing pleasure of the citizens of the Capital, where the winner gets glory and fame and the losers have their remains sent home.

Katniss never expected her younger sister, Prim, a sweet but naive girl, to have her name drawn for the Games, nor is that something that she'll allow to happen. So, in what many see as both a noble and foolish act, Katniss takes her place, essentially signing her own death warrant. But Katniss won't give up without a fight; she's been in the woods, day in and day out since her father died, putting food on the table with her deadly bow and arrow and even more lethal wits and senses. She's been a survivor all this time, and is prepared to fight for her life no matter what the cost, though it doesn't help that her male counterpart is the very boy who saved her from the brink of death all those years ago...

There's a reason for the immense popularity of the Hunger Games: quick paced, with no small amount of violence, or romance for that matter, with each character’s heartbeat ringing in your ears as though you are with Katniss as she makes her way through the grueling weeks of the Games. The book reads much like a movie plays, with each quick action and terse word flowing into one another right up to the shocking ending that leaves the story open for a sequel, which, to no surprise, became a blockbuster literary hit as well.

The Hunger Games has become one of those books that you are almost expected to read, and for a good reason. Cold, hard and fast, this book builds a world that draws the readers in, though they would never want to be a part of. The only question left for the readers is, what do you do, and who do you trust, when you’re all you have left?

(Amazon - Goodreads)


Waiting on Wednesday: Starstruck by Cyn Balog

Gwendolyn "Dough" X doesn't think she has much going for her—she carries a few extra pounds, her family struggles with their small bakery in a town full of millionaires, and the other kids at her New Jersey high school don't seem to know that she exists. Thank the stars for her longtime boyfriend, Philip P. Wishman—or "Wish." He moved away to California three years ago, when they were 13, but then professed his love for her via e-mail, and he's been her long-distance BF ever since.

At the beginning of her junior year, though, Wish e-mails that he's moving back to Jersey. Great, right? Well, except that Dough has gained about 70 pounds since the last time Wish saw her, while Wish—according to his Facebook photos—has morphed into a blonde god. Convinced that she'll be headed for Dumpsville the minute Wish lays eyes on her, Dough delays their meeting as long as she possibly can.

But when she sees Wish at school, something amazing happens. He looks at Dough like she's just as gorgeous as he is. But Wish is acting a little weird, obsessed with the sun and freaked out by rain. And the creepy new guy working at the bakery, Christian, is convinced that there's more to Wish's good looks than just healthy eating and lots of sun. He tells Dough that a mark on Wish's neck marks him as a member of the Luminati—an ancient cult of astrologers who can manipulate the stars to improve their lives. Is Wish and Dough's love meant to be—or are they star-crossed?

(Description from Goodreads)

Already have this one coming to me in the form of an ARC, and should be getting it within the next couple of days! I'm a HUGE sucker for books that are realistic fiction, but with a little fantasy twist in the middle to make them not-so-real. I'll have a review up for this book as soon as I finish it, and hopefully it will be as great as it sounds!

Release Date: July 12th, 2011 from Delacorte Books for Young Readers

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event held at Breaking the Spine, encouraging bloggers to share soon-to-be-released books that they are excited about and wish to share with others.


Review: Bloodthirsty by Flynn Meaney

Finbar Frame has it all: looks, athletic ability, and girls crawling all over him. Yeah, life is looking pretty sweet at this point.

Except, that’s not Finbar, but rather the life of his twin brother Luke, who is everything that the shy, intellectual, snarky Finbar doesn’t. In fact, after a disaster date with a beautiful French girl, Finbar realizes that if he ever hopes to kiss a girl before he’s forty he needs to change. Big time.

That change comes in the form of “Bloodthirsty” and the thousands of other vampire-themed books, movies, and TV shows captivating the world of women. So, Finbar figures, would women suddenly be interested in him if he were to become a vampire? Figuring that it’s worth a shot, Finbar sets out to make himself as vampire-like as possible, with strange results. But did he really need that all along, especially with the cute new girl Kate around?

The greatest thing about this book was its humor, though it can definitely drift towards childish at times (or mature, if that is how you choose to view it.) Finbar is very critical of the world around it, and despite being written by a grown woman the book definitely takes on a teenage boy’s voice. Finbar holds nothing back in his criticisms and critiques of his own life, others, women, and of course, vampires.

The book also pokes fun at vampire culture as a whole, centering around the popularity of a book titled “Bloodthirsty,” involving a (rather busty) young woman who finds herself captivated by a brooding and mysterious vampire, which quickly becomes Finbar’s source of inspiration. The book also takes a look at teen relations, and just what it means to be popular.

Not to be missed by anyone looking for a great laugh, wants to reminisce about the good old days of high school (or not), or is quick to criticize vampire culture themselves, this book is quick and hilarious for more mature readers.

And you won’t even have to know what a pickle flip is to appreciate it (don’t ask.)

5/5 Stars
(Amazon - Goodreads)

Review: Luna by Julie Anne Peters

Anyone who knows Liam O’Neil knows that he isn’t like other guys this age, nor has he ever been. Though some chalk this up to him simply being “different,” only his sister Regan knows the real truth: Liam is a transgender, and feel that he (or really, she) should have been born as a woman, and only lets her true self, a confident and fashionable woman named “Luna,” out late at night behind closed doors.

Regan has spent her whole life with Liam. Protecting him, supporting him, hiding his secret, and forcing herself to be removed from the rest of the world. But once Chris, an attractive new face who isn’t afraid to challenge Regan’s distant demeanor, arrives in her life, she realizes that things need to change. Liam’s ready to make changes too: to transition and begin living her life as Luna.

This book takes on a very creative perspective not through Peters writing from the viewpoint of Liam, but rather Regan. Regan offers an exciting perspective as she struggles through her own problems in the book, as well as reflects on her brothers. Though she claims that she doesn’t have a future, mainly through her poor grades, she speaks with a mature voice, particularly regarding her acceptance of her brother.

The story itself is told in a modern setting, presenting the reader with a realistic scenario that could play out in any American home, you friend’s, your neighbor’s, or even your own. Flashbacks are occasionally woven throughout the story, and revolve around Liam’s (including their ever-present desire to be female) and Regan’s childhoods, and just how involved they have been in each other’s lives.

I have nothing but love for the works of Julie Anne Peters, who also wrote Rage: A Love Story that I had previously reviewed here, and this book is just one of hers that I believe everyone should pick up at least once. While reading, one can only wonder what one would do were they in Regan’s position, or Liam’s/ Luna’s, and can easily understand why Luna was a National Book Award Finalist, and ponder as to why it took someone so long to write a book on such a serious topic that many deal with in very real ways every day.

This book is a profound one, and is not to be missed for any reason.

5/5 Stars
(Amazon - Goodreads)

Review: Withering Tights by Louise Rennison

Determined to make her way in the performing world, English teenager Tallulah Casey begins summer classes at a performing arts school in Yorkshire. Hoping to make this one of her greatest summers ever, she looks forward to new friends, no parents, and the boy’s academy located just around the corner. Awkward at times (though she would attribute this to her too-long legs), Tallulah is still as spunky, cute, and funny as her cousin Georgia, the main character of Rennison’s first and well-known series, the Confessions of Georgia Nicholson.
Written novel-style rather than in the diary entries of the earlier series, I failed to find this book as enjoyable as I had Rennison’s others, but liked it nonetheless. I came to love each of the characters in his or her own way, especially the gangly main character. Both social and witty, reading about Tallulah’s thoughts and actions made me chuckle at times, as did the antics of her new friends.
The only major issue that I have with Withering Tights is that it feels like some things are left out of the plot; it sometimes feels as though Rennison glosses over some parts of the book For example, Tallulah’s bicycle ballet (don’t ask) is narrated by her after the fact, whereas everything else is talked about as Tallulah is experiencing it. A first-person account of the bicycle ballet would have added much-needed humor to a series that is a tad dry compared to Rennison’s earlier laugh-out-loud series. The ending is also a bit flat and could use more detail during one of Tallulah’s performances, seeing as that’s the whole reason Tallulah’s at the school in the first place. The ending is left open for a second book which I plan to pick up based solely in my love for this new (and very tall) heroine.
Overall, those who have enjoyed the Confessions of Georgia Nicholson series may like Withering Tights, should they have a hunger for the “Queen of Teen”’s writing since her first series ended, but those just starting out with her might want to meet Georgia first.

3.5 / 5 Stars