Seth Baumgartner’s Love Manifesto

First Lines: “Come on, Seth.  Say something.”  Veronica stares at me like I’m the one who should be doing the explaining–like I’m the one who just turned everything upside down.

You ever just browse a book store that’s not your usual book store and find something that looks pretty cool?  That’s what I did with Seth.  I happened to be on vacation when I saw this in the store.  Seven months later, I read it.

I wasn’t very impressed with it.  I can’t even tell you why I didn’t like it because I can’t define it.  Maybe it had something to do with Seth’s character that put me off.  I have no idea.  I just know I spent yesterday suffering through it to see if it got any better.

Seth’s girlfriend just broke up with him in Applebee’s on her lunch break.  To make matters worse, Seth sees his father come into Applebee’s with a woman that isn’t his mother.  Once he loses his 4th job of the year, Seth declares this summer is going to suck.  To counter it, he starts his own podcast called The Love Manifesto, where he can bash love every day and play anti-love songs.  But things start to turn around for Seth.  Is he going to see a good thing when it walks past him?

I think part of the problem is that I couldn’t relate to Seth.  He enjoys doing things that I don’t.  It was little stuff, but it added up over time.  Seth and I just didn’t click.  No spark.

If you want to read it, I encourage you to try it.  Maybe it’s more up your alley than mine, but I just couldn’t connect with Seth.  Audrey, however, was pretty cool.  She’s got a lot of fire inside her.

Chasing Brooklyn

First Lines: One year ago today I lost my boyfriend, Lucca.  He was an artist like me, a dreamer like me, a nature love like me.

I know some people are unfamiliar with Lisa Schroeder’s work (she’s only published a few books), so I’ll just go ahead and tell you she writes in verse.  I’ll also tell you that verse is not my favorite form of writing.

I’ve had this sitting on my to-read shelf for quite some time and when I randomly (not really) chose my next 5 books, this was one of them.  A ghost story sounded good.

As you can tell from the first lines, Brooklyn lost her boyfriend Lucca a year ago.  Now his friend Gabe may or may not have committed suicide.  Brooklyn’s barely holding herself together, writing letters to Lucca at least once a day.  At nights, she’s haunted by Gabe.

Nico, Lucca’s brother, is also being haunted.  But it’s Lucca who is visiting him, telling him to help Brooklyn.  Nico’s not exactly sure how he’s supposed to help Brooklyn, who really won’t open up to him.  None of the ghosts will be at peace until the living are.

Sounds pretty cool, right?  It was.  And I’m going to be slightly biased with my rating at the end because it’s in verse.  But I can’t deny it’s a pretty story with a great message and some awesome ghosts.  It was cute.

Anna and the French Kiss

First Lines: Here is everything I know about France: Madeline and Amelie and Moulin Rouge.  The Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, although I have no idea what the function of either actually is.

As strange as it sounds, I am very hesitant to give it as high a rating as I will.  It’s not because it’s bad (because it’s far from that), but because it has mirrored my first year in college with alarming accuracy.  And it’s forced me to see things I was much happier not facing.

I can’t tell you how many times I nearly broke down crying while reading it.  Anna is me to a T.  Etienne is nearly exactly like someone I know.  And because of that, I can’t help but draw comparisons.  However much I want to deny it.

That’s probably part of the reason this book gets such good ratings.  Girls can always recall that one guy that they fell in love with even though they knew they shouldn’t.  Girls can recall how much it hurt (and Stephanie Perkins has a way of making that VERY clear).

In case you don’t know what the book is about, Anna gets shipped to Paris for her senior year of high school.  Her father is a hot-shot author and wants his daughter more cultured.  Anna hates the idea, but she has no choice.  And things aren’t so bad once she gets there.  She makes some new friends and meets the incredible Etienne St. Claire, who she falls head over heels for even though he’s dating someone else.

Even now, I’m nearly choked with emotion.  The pain Anna feels is raw (and mixed with my own, it’s a lethal combination).  Of course, unlike Anna, I’m still waiting for my last 50 pages.  Stephanie Perkins is one to watch in the future.

Five Beautiful Dresses

I was recently running through my list of upcoming books and admiring their beautiful dresses and thought, why not share my five favorites with you guys?  I swear, the covers of upcoming books are getting so amazing and so intricate I spend time studying them to see what they’ll tell me about the story.  Note that these covers could change before their release, but these are what we’ve been shown so far.

5. Entwined by Heather Dixon. Set to be released March 29, 2011.  It’s the story of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, which has actually been a very popular fairy tale of late.  I’m assuming the girl in the dress is our star, Azalea.  I love how the ivy and flowers along the border work with the dress.  Everything’s so pretty and princess-like.  There’s a castle in the background and what looks to be a hedge maze just in front of her.  And the dress.  So gorgeous.  This cover is just one of my favorites.  I love looking at it.  And can you blame me?

 

 

 

4. Falling Under by Gwen Hayes.  Set to be released March 1, 2011.  The plot itself isn’t exactly new.  Theia lives a sheltered life until she spots a boy in the school hallway she swears she knows–from her dreams.  He’s devastatingly handsome and she feels compelled to him.  See?  Nothing new.  But this cover just catches me over and over.  The black background with the roses is gothic and eerie.  The girl is gorgeous and the red of the dress is the pull of the whole cover.  The cover is just pretty enough and just enticing enough to make me get my hands on it soon after it comes out.  And even if the plot is a bit cliche, that doesn’t mean it’s not going to be good.

 

3. A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies.  Set to be released September 27, 2011.  It’s almost cruel we’re given this beautiful cover and still have to wait seven months for it to come out.  I could be wrong, but the description sounds like an angels & demons story, in which case this cover makes a lot of sense.  The “heavens” in the background and the way she’s dressed in pure white.  I love how the writing of the cover is sort of sparkly and switches from cursive to this bold, dark print.  The dress is, again, amazing.  It’s different from the dresses I tend to like, which are those huge flowing 1800s style dresses.  This is so simple and elegant.  It’s beautiful.

 

2. Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey.  Set to be released December 8, 2011.  Again, a thing of cruelty, showing us this dress and leaving us to wait until December.  It sort of reminds me of Rachel Vincent’s My Soul to Keep books.  Not only is the dress stunning, but it transforms into flower petals.  When I first saw this cover, I stared at it for a while, trying to figure out what was going on.  I think that’s part of the appeal.  We don’t know what’s going on, so we’ll pick up the book to figure that out.

Clever.  Very clever.

 

 

 

1. Jessica Rules the Dark Side by Beth Fantasky. Set to be released January 9, 2012.  I can’t lie; this got bumped so high because I’m addicted to Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, the predecessor to this one.  And because Beth’s books always have that little half-peek at the lead guy.  I love it.  And the girl is astounding.  Her hair is reminiscent of Belle (the Disney Princess) and the purple of the gown totally offsets everything else.  That is a princess dress if I’ve ever seen one.  I’ve been dying to see a cover for this one and it’s surpassed all my expectations.  If I was excited for the book before, that excitement has just multiplied tenfold.

 

I hope you’ve found some amazing book covers and dresses here.  Have I forgotten any truly beautiful ones you think I should have added?

-Belle

Is Meg Really “Going Too Far”?

First Lines: “That’s the worst idea I ever heard,” I told Eric.  Then I took another sip of beer and swallowed.  “Let’s do it.”

I’ve been a busy reader this week!  It’s incredible I can still find time to work in as many good books as I do.

Less about Belle, more about the book.  Right.  I liked this book, but it wasn’t as good as I hoped it would be.  I suppose I could say it didn’t go far enough, if I wanted that pun thrown in there.

Meg’s pretty much the town freak.  She has bright blue hair and is constantly in trouble with the fuzz.  One trip to the town’s bridge pushes things too far and Meg finds herself missing her spring break in Miami to stay in town and ride shotgun with the cop that arrested her.  It’s torture.  For a week, she’s supposed to shadow him and then write a proposal to the DA to say what’s she learned (because she’s supposed to learn something).

John’s been haunted by his past.  He gave up a lot of things to stay behind and become a cop.  Now he’s saddled with a bratty teenage girl who can’t seem to stay out of trouble.  But when they begin to feel things for each other, how far it too far?

As much as I’ve been joking about the title, this is one of the few times when I don’t understand what it has to do with the book.  Normally I can figure this out and it bothers me that I can’t with this one.  It’s almost too general, which may be why it was picked.

I was saying before that it wasn’t as good as I hoped.  That’s true.  Jennifer Echols has another book, Forget You, that I absolutely fell for a few months ago.  I didn’t like this one as much as I did that one.  That’s not saying this was bad because it wasn’t.  Just not what I was expecting, I guess.

Dark Mirror

First Lines: “Be damned to all mages!” the earl snarled as he stormed into the coffeehouse.  Sally Rainford, the proprietress, rolled her eyes silently.

I was lucky enough to win this as an ARC and you have no idea how excited I was to read it.  I mean, look at this cover.  It’s gorgeous.  You know something funky is going on just by the reflection in the mirror.

It’s such a cool plot.  In an age where magic is frowned upon in aristocrats, Tory finds out she’s a mage with a terrible choice: expose her abilities or watch her nephew die.  She did what she had to do and is sent to Lackland Abbey for reformation.  Tory finds out what actually makes a person noble.  It’s not a title or wealth or the family you’re born into.  It’s love, friends, and courage that truly make a person.

I don’t want to spoil anything because A) the book is not officially released until March 1st and B) I really think you should read it.  Tory is an amazing lead character and some of the secondary characters are just as amazing.  Such as Allarde.  You have no idea how much I’m looking forward to seeing him in future books.

If you’re still on the fence about it, Dark Mirror is pretty much like Hex Hall.  And that book sure made a splash last summer.  I’m really hoping this book gains speed when people start hearing about it.  It deserves to be looked at.

We Hear The Dead

First Lines: I began the deception when I was too young to know right from wrong.  No one suspected us of any trick, because we were such young children.

Do you ever just walk into a library or bookstore and find that one book you know nothing about, but the cover or title catches your attention?  That’s what this one did to me.  With a title like We Hear The Dead, this paranormal freak couldn’t turn it down.  Especially when she found out it was based on real life.

Based on the true life of Maggie and Kate Fox, it’s the story of the two sisters who inadvertently started a new religion: spiritualism.  Maggie and Kate began making ghostly noises in the night to scare their niece (who was older than them by quite some years).  However, the mysterious ghost they created of a murdered man in the cellar caught the attention of the town.  When part of a skeleton was discovered in the cellar, there was no going back.

I’m not even entirely sure how to categorize this book.  It had a little of everything.  History, paranormal events, romance.  Maggie gets sucked into this whirlwind of a lie and can’t find her way out.

I got swept into the story very quickly.  It covers nearly a decade of time, if I remember correctly, and does it in a way that’s easy to follow.  And it’s very clear Dianne K. Salerni did her homework.  Certain moments have a ring of truth about them.  Also, Maggie’s struggle was a very real one.  Spiritualism, the way she was doing it, was a sham.  What wasn’t a sham was the healing it brought those who had lost someone dear to them.  I would have struggled the same way she did.