Saturday, June 25, 2011

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Tabitha Suzuma
Simon Pulse
457 Pages

I know most people reading this review have the forgone conclusion that Forbidden is a book about incest.  But the book I read was about so much more.  It was about a boy, a child, Lochan, who gave up his childhood at twelve so he could keep his four other siblings together one of whom was just a baby.  It was about how he tried to make it all seem like it didn't bother him, how he made it look effortless and easy when each and every minute was a struggle and then he finds out that his sibling, Maya, only 13 months his junior, understands and sees through the cracks and for five years they raised the kids as father and mother, always putting the younger children's needs before their own needs, even though they are children themselves.

Their mother, if you could call her that, more like a baby machine, was there for them in the beginning but the older they got, the less she was there.  And when she was, she was usually drunk.  Her presence was more of a bother than a help.  And to get money from her Lochan, or Lochie as they called him, would have to resort to blackmail threatening to show up at her new boyfriend's house with all the kids in tow, suitcases in hand until she paid up.  There was still barely enough to get by.  At one point he's dropping his youngest sister off at school, Willa and he thinks, "For a moment I just stand and watch her go, her fine golden hair streaming behind her in the wind. Her gray pinafore is stained with yesterday's lunch, her school coat is missing its hood, her book bag is falling apart, her red tights have a large hole behind the knee, but she never complains.  Even though she is surrounded by mums and dads hugging their children good-bye, even though she hasn't seen her mother for two weeks now, even though she has no memory of ever having a father.  She is only five, yet already she has learned that there is no point in asking her mother for a bedtime story, that inviting friends over is something only other children can do, that new toys are a rare luxury, that at home Kit and Tiffin are the only ones who get their own way,  At the age of five she has already come to terms with one of life's harshest lessons: that the world isn't fair." (p 163-164)

Lochie was also achingly lonely.  So shy, he couldn't speak to classmates so he had no friends.  He'd never had a girlfriend.  His panic attacks were so severe I honestly thought he had a heart condition and he was going to die.  I'm sure that must be what a person that suffers from panic attacks feels like. It was terrifying to read how he was feeling as he suffered through them and to have them called panic attacks.  They seemed more like near death experiences they were so severe and left him completely shattered.  And yet, he recovered and persevered and at home was the voice of authority.  His continued existence amazed me.  I would have caved under the pressure well before then.

And then one day, during an innocent dance with his sister, he felt something for his sister that he shouldn't and he was totally disgusted with himself and pushes her away.  They are both aware that incest is wrong yet, when they are together, alone, it isn't disgusting or gross, it just seems like two teenagers in love.  They've been through so much, struggled, helped each other, kept the family together- I forgot they were brother and sister -I wanted them to have some kind of happiness, even if it couldn't last.  Lochie especially.  I felt so emotionally attached to him.  He took the blame for everything.  He even tried to keep Maya away, tried to keep their relationship from getting physical.  Any time something went wrong, it was his fault, according to him.  He was a tragic figure from the beginning to the end.

I cried through the last fifty pages of the book.  My husband looked at me and said, "Books don't usually do this to you.  Are you okay?"  I just nodded and kept wiping away the tears underneath my glasses.  When I finished, I closed the book, took off my glasses and had a great big sob fest.  I felt better, but telling the story to my husband brought a fresh round of tears.  You cannot judge the characters in this story until you know everything that happened.
So, I'm saying again, this is not a story about incest.  It's about love and just how far you'll go to protect those you love whether it be the love of your life, your sister or brother or your family.  I'll definitely read some other works by this author.  It takes a lot to get through the numbness that my meds bring on.  But she made me feel every word on every page.  It was a well told story.  It tore me to pieces and left me shattered.  That is a great novel to me.

Forgot that rating thing-Because there are some very mature themes and some sexual content I'd reserve this for the mature set.  Still, it's a very good book.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

IMM I Ate Too Much!!

IMM is a meme started by The Story Siren and is a fun way to let people know about the books you received this week so other bloggers know what's out there that they might have missed and to let me know what book I possibly could have purchased that I didn't get. I don't see how that could be, but here goes.

I order most of my books because there is not a bookstore close to me.  I know, weird right.  The library is close, and I have frequented it in the past, but for now I have been ordering because I keep the library books way too long and things are hectic because if you don't know by now, I'm moving.  Not to another part of town, but from Massachusetts to North Carolina.  Yes, a very big move.  And  I have been having nightmares about my hair falling out, actually breaking off and falling out, so I don't think that's a good sign.  So to keep from worry too much, I'm trying to stay on my routine as much as possible.  Which means I'll keep on blogging.

So, to the books:

Yesterday I got an almost new looking copy of  Artichoke's Heart by Suzanne Supplee Artichoke's Heart from
Paperback Swap.  Yes, I have quite a few points with them so I'm using them up.

This week from Amazon I received some of the new releases:
HourglassPassion ((Fallen))Imaginary Girls
Ordinary BeautyAngel BurnSpellbound (Harlequin Teen)
Bone Dressing (Volume 1)

And I won the book Anathema by Megg Jensen Anathema: Cloud Prophet Trilogy: Book One (Volume 1) from the Indie Author Bash over at
Book Reader Addicts  which is going on all month.  There are winners every day and there are some great unknown authors.  And some known authors as well.  But you might just find a gem that you'd never heard of before.  I've heard of Megg's books.  I also won an E-book, a novella, that I'm reading in bits but it's not something I can review here.  It's called The Vampire's Salvation and I can't even post the picture here being PG rated.  But it's quite entertaining!  So I believe that's it for this week.  Quite enough!

So what did you get in your mailbox this week?

Heather only a few more days in Sandwich :(

Sunday, June 12, 2011

IMM Very Small This Week

IMM was started by The Story Siren as a way for Bloggers to let other Bloggers know what books they received and let them know what new books are coming out.  It's a great way to spread the word.
This week, my mailbox was very light.
I received two books that I can remember.

Brother/SisterI have already read and reviewed this book.  You can read my review Here.

And to complete my trilogy I received the first book
in the Wondrous Strange series.

Wondrous Strange (Wondrous Strange (Quality))

And that completes my
IMM!  What did you get?

Heather in Sandwich

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier translated by Anthea Bell

Ruby Red (Ruby Red - Trilogy)
Ruby Red
By Kerstin Gier
Translated by Anthea Bell
Henry Holt Publishing
330 pages

Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era! Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon, the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

When I saw the trailer for this book I was hooked.  The main character, Gwen, had such a strong voice and brought up things I'd never thought about when it came to time travel.  She was funny and charismatic. Now I know this was the voice in the trailer, but it still begged for my attention.  As soon as I got it, I dove in!

A summary-Gwen lives in her maternal grandmother's home with her mother, brother and little sister.  They live in the shadow of Gwen's cousin, Charlotte who was born with "the gene"-the one for time travel.  Right away you know this is a different kind of time travel novel.  The character knows she can time travel.  In fact, the whole family knows about it.  Everyone is waiting on tenterhooks for Charlotte to experience her first travel back in time.  She has some dizziness and nausea, so she's rushed to a secret headquarters for the time travelers called The Temple.  Charlotte has been trained, groomed for time travel since she could talk. Schooled in fencing, history, fashion, politics, manners etc Charlotte is fully prepared for time travel with her handsome partner, Gideon de Villiers.

Lesley, Gwen's best friend, is the only one that knows about the time travel, outside of the family.  They snicker and roll their eyes at the haughty, perfect self-important Charlotte behind her back.  So when it's Gwen that makes an unexpected trip back in time, Lesley is the person she confides in first.  Eventually, when Gwen disappears in front of Lesley's eyes, she makes Gwen tell her mother and they go to the Temple.  Her mother is reluctant, her mother's sister, Charlotte's mother, is furious, claiming she is just trying to get attention and steal Charlotte's thunder.  But, when it's proved that Gwen is the time traveller, she meets Gideon de Villiers, her time traveling partner and gets a crash course in time travel.

That's a lot of the story-more than I should reveal-to get you hooked.  Charlotte is a self important over indulged child.  She's only a very slight character, but those are the impressions you get.  Her mother, Aunt Glenda, is very much the same, treated with importance and a lot of attention by her mother, Lady Arista all because she had the child with the traveling gene.  Then there is Great Aunt Maddy, Lady Arista's spinster sister-in-law.  She treats Gwen's family the same as Charlotte's, thinks all the secrecy is ridiculous and is a little bit doddering.  Lesley, the best friend is a great character.  She is loyal, caring, researches every word Gwen says to try to figure things out.  She compiles a file of information of people and places that seem to be important for Gwen to know about.  I want a best friend like her.

But the two main characters are Gwen and Gideon.  Gwen is smart enough, but better than that, she's clever.  She can figure herself out of situations and she doesn't let Gideon, the so called teacher, tell her what to do.  She can also see and talk to ghosts, something no one seems to believe.  She listens to her instincts instead of others.  She looks nothing like the rest of the family who have red curly hair.  Hers is dark and straight and she has blue eyes and a crescent shaped birthmark on her forehead.  She doesn't suffer from thinking she's ugly,but doesn't think she's quite as pretty as Charlotte.  She's not quite as much as anything as Charlotte when she's spent her whole life believing the opposite.  She's not really jealous though.  Except for her dad dying when she was young, she's had a normal, carefree childhood as opposed to a lifetime of lessons like Charlotte.  She knows her immediate family loves her and she has a confident best friend.  She's also one of the strongest female protagonists I've seen yet in YA fiction.

Then there's Gideon.  The first time he meets Gwen he calls her "Winnie".  Then Gwen overhears Charlotte disparaging her saying her strong points are giggling with Lesley and sending text messages.  Gideon's response is "I thought as much when I first saw her today." Not winning any points with Gwen or me at this point.  Gwen thinks he and Charlotte are in love.  When Gwen fails Gideon's 'history test' he tells her to do what he says and say what he tells her to say and nothing else when they travel.  Other things he says, "She's definitely not my type," doesn't win him any points.  He constantly assures her and himself and Charlotte that he's not interested in her.  Still, Gwen can't help but notice how handsome he is in his period clothes and thinks he's handsome.  But she keeps her head about her.

The bigger issue is the mystery.  Who to believe?  Who to trust?  Is St. Germain, who left Gwen very wary to be trusted?  What about Lucy and Paul?  Can she trust herself?  Has she traveled back in the past to warn herself or others of something?  Can she trust Gideon?  Does he have an agenda?  And the Temple?
There is a little snippet of the next book, Sapphire Blue already published in German in the back of Ruby Red.  It looks very promising.  I want to get a certain Bookworm to translate it for me.  I don't think she does that though.

So, what do you think?  Are you as excited as me?  Have you read it yet?  Are dropping your mouse and running out to buy it?  I know I'm gushing again.  I'm not saying genius or anything, but it might take one to put the puzzle together.  It's a great story and you just don't want to miss it!

Heather in Sandwich


Friday, June 10, 2011

Brother Sister by Sean Olin

 Brother Sister
Brother/SisterSean Olin
June 9th, 2011
242 pages

Will and Asheley have a troubled past. Their father left them when they were little, and their mother has just been carted off to an alcohol treatment center. Now, they have the house to themselves, and an endless California summer stretching out before them. Through alternating perspectives, they tell the story of how and why their lives spun violently out of control - right up to the impossibly shocking conclusion you'll have to read for yourself to believe.( From Goodreads)

Brother Sister is a deeply disturbing, dark story about a brother and sister who raised themselves while their mother was in and out of rehab for alcohol addiction.  Dad left when Will, the brother, was six and mom put the terrible burden of being "the man of the house" on his shoulders and told him " if anything happened" it would be his fault.  An awful lot for a six year old to bear on top of being deserted by his father, though there are hints that this his leaving may not be a bad thing.

Will was picked on, teased, bullied, humiliated- I've run out of words to describe the horrors he survived growing up, yet inside, he told himself it didn't matter as long as Asheley, his sister was protected. Asheley, for her part, remembered her dad as a good man, she was three when he left. She is a tad more social than her brother, she even has a boyfriend. She plays a team sport and after a spectacular game, finally feels like she's part of the group. But her boyfriend ruins it. Going home she finds her mother, after four months of sobriety being carted off to rehab again.

Will is inside the house having suffered the worst bullying of all-his mother beating him with the trophy he just won for being the best golfer in the county. She hit him so hard the golfer fell off the top of his trophy. Asheley comforts hims as always, holding him from behind rocking him back and forth. And the two realize, the summer is spread out before them with no parents. But what starts out as a fun summer of playing grown up, turns into a twisted nightmare.

The bullying Will suffered throughout his life has warped his mind until his only thought is to protect Asheley. He sees threats everywhere-even when there are none. He devolves into a manic mess that even Asheley is afraid of, playing along only because she's afraid for her life.

The novel is told in alternating points of view- one chapter Will, the next chapter Asheley. The story is being told it seems like at a police station. Will's deteriorating frame of mind is like watching a train wreck, you can't look away. As his mind sees threats everywhere you can't help but wonder even after reading the story, was it the bullying, the burden of being the man of the house, the desertion of his father, the behavior of his father, his mother's alcoholism or maybe a mental illness that caused Will's behavior. And why did Asheley go along with it? Or was she a part of it? The last line of the book was chilling and left me to look at the novel through a different set of eyes. Had it not been three am., I would have read it again.

This book is chilling, haunting, heart breaking, achingly sad, manipulative and horrifying. It will make you think and rethink and re-examine everything you read. It will make you want to hug the little boy that was Will who stopped being a child at six and became a man. He took the bullying and internalized it. It will show you how bullying can make a person shut off their feelings. I think that's what made Will who he was. He never had a chance - his dad, his mom, kids at school, others- they all bullied him. If he became mentally ill from that, its not surprising.

This isn't a happy book, but it is well worth reading. It's well written. The characters are well written and their motivations are understood. The story is unbelievable as it spirals out of control. And the way the author wrote it, telling it from the two characters points of view in hindsight, but in great detail, was perfect. Asheley never claimed involvement, Will took all the blame. But you do have to wonder if she could have stopped what was happening. This is a truly compelling story, never slowing down even for a second. This is a must read-I don't know for who-bullies maybe-people that want to see the end result of bullying-perhaps. But I know if it was a bullying story. That part was so underplayed. Yet it affected him so much. I do know, I'll never forget it-especially the last line. And I'll be reading it again!

Heather in Sandwich


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Vampire Stalker by Allison van Diepen

The Vampire StalkerVampire Stalker                       
Allison van Diepen
Point Publishing
June 2011
237 pages

This is probably one of the shortest reviews I've done lately.  And it's simply because this novel, while okay, wasn't that special.  It had the potential, but it just didn't quite make it.

Amy is in love with a fictional character from her favorite series Otherworld. (Who hasn't been there?)  He's the less popular of the male characters, Alexander Banks. But one night, when she finds herself attacked extremely violently she looks into the face of her rescuer and it's Alexander Banks.  She gives him a place to stay for a few days with her mother and sister and her and tries to believe what's before her eyes.  It's like a dream come true!  The nightmare though is that Alexander followed a vicious vampire named Vigo into Amy's world.

I like Amy.  But that's all.  I didn't feel her friendships.  I didn't feel her sister's animosity.  I didn't feel Amy's anger towards her father.  And I really didn't feel the relationship between her and Alexander.  However, I'm trying to keep in mind they she knew  him already through the book.  He however did not and is trying to "court" her as they did back in his time/world.  Still, they felt shallow and the relationship happened too fast.

It was a great idea and the way Alexander's presence was explained made perfect sense.  It just all felt flat to me.  There was no spark, no tension, even where there should have been, no feeling from me while I read.  Maybe the novel needed to be longer.  That way, the characters could have been more developed, had more time together to show their relationships.  I was really excited about reading this one.  I had imagined a girl, late at night seeing a character step out of the pages of a book, maybe in a bookstore, and disappear into the night with her following discreetly. But, no such luck.  And I was left disappointed in general with the book.

Heather in Sandwich

Happy Book Birthday to Amanda Ashby for FAIRY BAD DAY!!!!

Book Birthday Shout Out
is a new meme started
by those creative ladies
at Bewitched Bookworms.  In fact, that's their beautiful button right there to help draw attention to brand new books coming out this week.

Fairy Bad DayI have a brand new book hot off the presses by my author friend Amanda Ashby called Fairy Bad Day.  Perhaps you've seen the cover.  Let's just say you don't want her to go all medieval on you!  I love this cover from the spiked four inch heels to the sword and the patterned stockingsl  You can tell she means business.  And she does.  This is a fun book, but it has it's darker moments and Amanda's style is easy to read.  She knows how to write humor and those awkward teenage years.  You can read my review
Here.  Happy Book Birthday Amanda!

Heather in Sandwich

12-21-12 by Killian McRae

In Anticipation of my blog tour post from Killian McRae author of 12-21-12 I've decided to post a little excerpt and trailer for the book.  Please be sure to stop by my blog on June 14th and leave a comment.  Every time you comment enters you a chance to win a 20$ Gift Card to Amazon.  This post doesn't count.  You have to come back on the 14th.  But you can still comment today!

Here's the excerpt:

 “And will you be checking any bags today, Miss Kent?”

Reflexively, her hand smoothed over the surface of the canvas tote, weighing heavy at her side. She was still surprised that she had been able to get it through security so easily. Putting the “Made in China” and mock price tags on the bottom of each artifact had seemed sufficient to substantiate her story to the customs agent that they were merely trinkets picked up on an extensive multi-destination holiday. She hadn’t actually suspected Alex’s idea would work, though. The plunging neckline of her dress, no doubt, had helped to distract the agent just enough for her to pull off the con, however.
No, my bags have already been taken by my ... friend.” Victoria smiled, remembering her brief rendezvous with Alex in Veracruz.
In a fortunate twist, the arrival of Shep Smyth had provided her a convenient excuse to make the rendezvous with her most favored acolyte. Even more convenient still was her ability thereafter to drop him to catch an outgoing flight just as Shep was inbound. Talk about winning the logistics lotto.
Not that anything had happened during their meet up, per se, but it wasn’t because of her lack of appreciation for the human. Oh, she would never have actually done anything with him. Even though she occasionally gave herself leave to mess around a bit if someone caught her fancy, she never did so with a member of The Order. Too many political complications and group dynamics to contend with if she did. For Alexander Cezanne, however, she might have made an exception.
And here's the video:


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

IMM I Need to Stop the Madness!!!!

I think I have a problem . I think I feel like I'm going to miss out if I don't get the latest book right when it comes out.  Any of the new 2011 debut authors that interested me immediately went on pre-order as did sequels to my favorite series.  Then I heard about new authors and had to have those.  I'm not sure why I think these books aren't going to be there next month but I think it's more a matter of me forgetting about them. Now, I'm moving and I have four boxes packed of books I haven't read yet.  And they haven't stopped coming.  So, I think I have BBS, otherwise known a Book Buyer's Syndrome. I haven't been properly diagnosed, but all the symptoms are there. Book envy.  Book buying beyond the ability to read.  Books used as furniture.  Books on every surface in every room.  Books in the kids rooms.  Forcing books on children and husband. Justifying book purchases.  And sleeping with a pile of books on my bed.  I now have a basket on my bed to house my current reads and reviews and glasses. But I need another one.  And it's spilled over to my husband's side who is currently sleeping on the couch because his sleep apnea machine makes an awful whine and I can't sleep with it.  What will I do with my book piles when he gets a new one?  Currently there are books and notebooks strewn about the bed and I'm in book lover heaven!  Is there some kind of help for me?

Look what came this week:
Hexed (Iron Druid Chronicles, #2)Hounded (Iron Druid Chronicles #1)    and If I Stay (If I Stay, #1)  I like this cover better.

I'll Be ThereThe Vampire StalkerTempestuous (Wondrous Strange, #3)

Starcrossed (Starcrossed, #1)Everlasting (The Immortals, #6)Queen of the Dead (The Ghost and the Goth, #2)

Don't Stop NowForgottenHereafter (Hereafter, #1)

I forgot one!  From Early Reviewers at Library Things!!!!!

The Name of the Star (Shades of London, #1)

Oh and this IMM was started by The Story Siren as a way to let other bloggers share with each other what books they received and what new books are out there.  As you can see I didn't miss too many.  And The Story Siren's IMM Vlog was full of great books this week if you didn't see it and you have to watch The Bewitched Bookworms  BEA Vlog it is so hilarious!  And you must see Jenny's post at Supernatural Snark about meeting Nalini Singh. Or in her words Stalking Nalini!  Oh and Bibliophile Brouhaha and her vacation reads while she's in St. Martin.  Rain is expected, unfortunately.  Hope it's sunny Linds!  There were a lot of great IMMs this week following BEA.  I read so many!  I still am.  And that BBS is kicking in.  So I'm turning off the computer and reading.  I'm involved in the Vampire Stalker and have a review of Ruby Red to post.
Now that was a GREAT book.  And I must admit, I'M LOVING DIVERGENT!!! Yes, me who doesn't like dystopians.  This  one is different.  And I love it!  Everyone read it, NOW!

Heather in Sandwich



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