Monday, May 23, 2011

Review: RAGE by Jackie Morse Kessler


{Author:} Jackie Morse Kessler
{Publisher:} Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
{Release Date:} April 2011
{Pages:} 228

Missy didn’t mean to cut so deep. But after the party where she was humiliated in front of practically everyone in school, who could blame her for wanting some comfort? Sure, most people don’t find comfort in the touch of a razor blade, but Missy always was . . . different.

That’s why she was chosen to become one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: War. Now Missy wields a new kind of blade—a big, brutal sword that can cut down anyone and anything in her path. But it’s with this weapon in her hand that Missy learns something that could help her triumph over her own pain: control.

{My Thoughts:}

If I had a star rating system, of one to five, with five being the best you could get, I think I'd be rating RAGE at 6 stars.

While I did enjoy HUNGER, the first book in Jackie Morse Kessler's series about the riders of the apocalypse, RAGE instantly rose to my list of favorite books -- which is a VERY difficult list to get onto, mind you.

While HUNGER gave us a look at anorexia through Famine, RAGE gives us a look at cutting and self-mutilation through War. And for this, I am forever grateful. I see sooooo much media talk down to cutters, label them with titles such as "emo" (I can go on a rant for hours about that, don't doubt me), and all around don't see the dangerous addictions that real cutters struggle with. It is a battle within themselves, which most people refuse to address anymore from what I've seen. They think it's about the attention -- yet true cutters feel sick at the idea of someone finding out about their problem.

We start RAGE with Missey's cat dying, and her very first glimpse of Death (the horsemen, not the experience) as well as the symbol of office for War -- a sword. But Missey doesn't claim her title until a little while later, when she most definitely needs it.

The references of "needing the blade" are perfect in so many ways, and make Jackie's choice for War being a cutter all the more perfect. As mentioned before, people don't realize cutting is an addiction. So the fact the Missey battles her need for the blade that she cuts with, and later the blade that serves as her symbol of office, went hand in hand together. Further proving just how brilliant I find Jackie to be.

RAGE is also thicker than HUNGER was, coming in at 228 pages this time. While some books and their series don't do so well when they try to drag out the story line, it doesn't feel that way with RAGE. My time with Missey wasn't painful, or forced, or dull. I kept reading and reading, and was horribly bummed out when I was finished and didn't have the next book to read.

The story line is fabulous, and the more in-depth look at the horsemen and characters in general was wonderful. To no surprise, I'm sure, Death is my favorite character for multiple reasons, and getting to see him a lot more as well as watch how he interacts with all of the horsemen. Not to mention his chemistry with Missey was incredible.

To sum it up, RAGE was a dark, but humorous look at another very real problem facing several young adults these days. It lived up to my expectations and then some, giving me more of all the story elements the book needed, and none of the silly stuff it didn't. Again, I say this is the book that the world needs right now. There's a reason I arrange the books at Walmart differently now -- blocking out some of the mainstream, overly lusted after books of little quality, and sitting copies of HUNGER and RAGE where people can see their gorgeous covers and buy them. A perfect read for anyone - male, female; young, old; etc. Hell, if my very picky boyfriend can love it, there must be something to it. ;)

A portion of the proceeds for HUNGER go to the National Eating Disorders Association.

A portion of the proceeds for RAGE are donated to the organization To Write Love On Her Arms.

So check them out, give them a read. Not only do you get some great reads, but you also help some good causes. What's not to love there?


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Review: Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler


HUNGER (Riders of the Apocalypse, Book One)
{By:} Jackie Morse Kessler
{Publisher:} Harcourt Graphia
{Release Date:} October 18, 2010
{Pages:} 180

Lisabeth Lewis is seventeen, anorexic...
and the new Famine, one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse.


When I heard the concept of HUNGER, as well as who was writing it, I was incredibly excited. Jackie has a brilliant gift, and her premise was just the sort of story I've been waiting for. It took me damn near forever to get ahold of a copy of HUNGER (right after it's sequel, RAGE, debuted), but I finally picked up both books whenever my local Walmart started carrying them.

So, was it well worth the wait?

Did it meet my already high expectations?

No, it didn't meet them... it exceeded those expectations.

HUNGER is a painfully real look at a very hard to swallow (excuse the pun) issue -- and I don't mean the Apocalypse. Lisabeth Lewis struggles with her Thin voice, an ever present reminder of how she isn't thin enough, forcing her to obsess over calories, excersize way too much, and eventually attempt an overdose to rid her of her wretched life.

That is, until salvation comes in the form of Death, who bears no only a striking resemblence to a beloved dead rockstar, but also a scale -- the sign of office for the horsemen, Famine, the Black rider of the Apocalypse.

Lisa denies she has a problem for quite some time, as most girls do. But as she sets off into the night to do her job as Famine, she sees what real hunger is. To make any difference as Famine, Lisa must realize what she's doing to herself as well.

HUNGER is the sort of book the world needs right now, and it should be gracing the shelves of every library and every bookstore -- not sparkly Momon propaganda.

It's a smart way of showing the real life horror in eating disorders, without sounding preachy or making it seem "cool". HUNGER shows girls struggling with self image that they aren't alone, while also opening their eyes to just how difficult it is in other places, and that the food they waste is food that could save some child somewhere else. I see HUNGER helping at least some girls to get help. And even if it changes only one life, then that's a damn good step in the right direction.

So, find HUNGER by Jackie Morse Kessler and buy it now. Stay tuned for my review of the sequel, RAGE, about War, as well as my interview with Jackie herself!


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Uhm... Where the hell did I go?

I have returned, though!
Yeah, I know. I'm a failure for disappearing. But in all fairness, life was kinda crazy for a while there.
Anyway, I'm writing up some new reviews of awesome-ness, and hopefully setting up an interview or two. Plus I'll be doing some tweaking to the blog as I go along. As you'll notice, I opened up the polls again to the right. Vote away!

Forgive me, lovelies.

Friday, July 23, 2010

One day left to vote!

Vote or drop a comment with any changes you'd like to see! I'll announce the changes Monday!

Have an awesome weekend, everybody!


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Review: Blue Moon by Alyson Noel

{Title:} BLUE MOON (The Immortals, Book 2)
{By:} Alyson Noel
{Publisher:} St. Martin's Griffin
{Release Date:} July 7, 2009
{Pages:} 304
Just as Ever is learning everything she can about her new abilities as an immortal, initiated into the dark, seductive world by her beloved Damen, something terrible is happening to him. As Ever’s powers are increasing, Damen’s are fading—stricken by a mysterious illness that threatens his memory, his identity, his life.
Desperate to save him, Ever travels to the mystical dimension of Summerland, uncovering not only the secrets of Damen’s past—the brutal, tortured history he hoped to keep hidden—but also an ancient text revealing the workings of time. With the approaching blue moon heralding her only window for travel, Ever is forced to decide between turning back the clock and saving her family from the accident that claimed them—or staying in the present and saving Damen, who grows weaker each day...
I fell in love with Evermore and couldn't wait to immediately dive into the pages of BLUE MOON. But, as I always am with series books -- I was also weary. Sometimes sequels don't live up to my expectations.
However, BLUE MOON not only met but surpassed what I expected of it. My favorite characters stayed true to their natures (well, except for a twist I don't wanna reveal.) Even the not-so-important-but-still-memorable Miles and Haven. And speaking of characters -- after the exit of the Big Bad from the series in Evermore, there of course needed to be a new, even more powerful character to draw our intrigue. Enter Roman, gorgeous bad boy with an accent. There's something about Roman that Ever doesn't trust. But she can't see the tattoo of the Rogue Immortals on him, so she can't figure out exactly what it is about him.
But even then, when Ever's life begins to turn upside down, she knows that somehow Roman is behind it.
Personally, I adore Roman and think he really adds to the series as a character -- good, bad, mediocre. Whatever. He's made an impression. I love the interaction between him and other characters -- especially Ever.
And once Ever learns who Roman REALLY is... things only get more interesting.
I love that Ever must stand mostly on her on in this. A HUGE pet peeve of mine is when a good strong main character abandons the strength the used to have solo only because they're with someone. I also adore even more art history references, making me a happy girl. =]
So, all in all, Blue Moon stands true to the series and makes me love it even more. If you're a fan of Evermore -- fear not, the sequel doesn't disappoint.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

CRAVING... To Read: GUARDIAN OF THE GATE by Michelle Zink


The ultimate battle between sisters is nearing, and its outcome could have catastrophic consequences. As sixteen year-old Lia Milthorpe searches for a way to end the prophecy, her twin sister Alice hones the skills she'll need to defeat Lia. Alice will stop at nothing to reclaim her sister's role in the prophecy, and that's not the only thing she wants: There's also Lia's boyfriend James.
Lia and Alice always knew the Prophecy would turn those closest to them against them. But they didn't know what betrayal could lead them to do. In the end, only one sister will be left standing.


Mmmm... I love Michelle Zink, as well as her first novel, PROPHECY OF THE SISTERS. So, of course I look forward to the next installment in the series. I'm digging this description and the fact that it makes me hunger for the day I can snatch it up and devour it. Plus, you gotta love that cover!

Anyone else looking forward to this one?


Monday, July 19, 2010

Spreading the Word: PAYA

So, one of the things I love about the internet is being able to connect with great people. One of the dearest friends I've made online is my friend Harmony (Note: This is her blogger name, since I don't want to release her actual name.)

Harmony is a fellow Book Blogger (or Reviewer, if you will) and writer, as well as an incredible critique partner of yours truly. It's safe to say this girl is seriously a book lover. And she decided to share this love with others in her state by starting PAYA: Bringing YA to PA, a nonprofit organization with the mission of getting more YA (Young Adult) books to the libraries in PA.

PAYA seems to be working on smaller projects all the time, with auctions and bake sales to raise money for libraries in PA. But the BIG event is this August:

Press Release:

PAYA: Bringing YA to PA is an organization started by blogger Harmony of Harmony Book Reviews. It's dedicated to raising money and collecting books for libraries across the state of Pennsylvania. Since its beginning in October of 2009, PAYA has raised over $1,000 and collected hundreds of books for libraries across the state of Pennsylvania.

PAYA's main fundraiser is an annual one-day festival. This year it will be held in West Chester, Pennsylvania on August 21st. It will feature over 15 authors, including Amy Brecount White, Stephanie Kuehnert, Jeri Smith-Ready, Josh Berk, Jon Skovron, Jennifer Hubbard, Shannon Delany, and more. The signing will run from 1pm-3pm. Books will be sold by Children's Book World from Haverford, PA. The festival will also feature two writing workshops, one aimed directly at teens and another at any aspiring writer. Fundraisers such as a basket raffle and used book sale will be held during the signing as well. More information about the festival can be found here (

PAYA is currently accepting monetary and book donations, both of which will be used to support Pennsylvania libraries. Librarians interested in receiving funds or books from PAYA and authors interested in attending the festival should email bringya2pa[at]yahoo[dot]com.

PAYA website -
PAYA fanpage -!/pages/PAYA-Bringing-YA-to-PA/135556373131694?ref=ts
PAYA Facebook Group -!/group.php?gid=106673276030880&ref=ts
PAYA Event Page -!/event.php?eid=134941879871106&ref=ts


Harmony ROCKS! And I was so excited about this project, I convinced my mom to let me head up to PA for the event. Unfortunately for me, with all my procedures and this suckish infection making me sick, I am pretty sure I don't get to attend. BUT, I can do my very best to promote the hell out of it! I'm hoping I'll be able to attend next year, and possibly even help out some.

So, check out the PAYA site, do what you can to help and spread the word, and if you can -- attend the PAYA Festival and meet incredible authors. I know I envy everyone that gets to go!