Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Review: Red Glove by Holly Black

Curses and cons. Magic and the mob. In Cassel Sharpe's world, they go together. Cassel always thought he was an ordinary guy, until he realized his memories were being manipulated by his brothers. Now he knows the truth—he’s the most powerful curse worker around. A touch of his hand can transform anything—or anyone—into something else.

That was how Lila, the girl he loved, became a white cat. Cassel was tricked into thinking he killed her, when actually he tried to save her. Now that she's human again, he should be overjoyed. Trouble is, Lila's been cursed to love him, a little gift from his emotion worker mom. And if Lila's love is as phony as Cassel's made-up memories, then he can't believe anything she says or does. cont'd

Last year, when the first book in the Curse Workers series was released (White Cat), it was my first exposure to Holly Black's writing. Since then, I have become a huge fan of her work (though I still have to get her older books and read Ms. Black's entire library...it's on the to do list!) What I like is that she is dark, slightly twisted, and a very good story teller.

There's Lead in Your Lipstick by Gillian Deacon - Blog Tour

Today is day 2 (yesterday's stop on the tour was at Rayment’s Readings, Rants and Ramblings) of the blog tour for There's Lead in Your Lipstick and I'm excited to be a part of this event! There is increased awareness about products we are using/consuming, but there is still so much for us all to learn to be able to lead an overall healthier style of living. And that's where Gillian Deacon comes in. Read a little bit about Gillian's thoughts on how we can start a better future right now:

A special Earth Day message from Gillian Deacon:

Earth day shouldn't just be an annual tip of the hat to greener living. This year, make it the day you recalibrate your everyday patterns to be more earth-friendly all year long.

You don't have to be a treehugger to care about avoiding toxins in your everyday bodycare. Synthetic chemicals in personal care products contaminating groundwater and wildlife is alarming enough—but they’re also contaminating us. Those hard-to-read ingredients you squint at on the back of a product label? They’re building up inside your body and in your children’s bodies—on Earth Day and everyday.

Make today the day you start paying attention to that fine print. Turn a product over and read the ingredients label before you are seduced by the “green” imaging on the package. The good news is, there are lots of safer products on the market.

Good luck and I hope you’ll check out There’s Lead in Your Lipstick for more ideas on how to clean up your act!

And here's a sample of what you'll find in the pages of There's Lead in Your Lipstick:

Researchers in Finland tested eighty-eight coloursfrom twenty-five brands and found forty-nine eyeshadows contained lead, cobalt, nickel, chromium,
and arsenic. Eyeshadows also often contain petrochemicals, such as mineral oil, dimethicone to make the powder stick to the eyelid, and a binding agent like methacrylate, which in addition to being a strong skin irritant is also a contributor to 1,4-dioxane, a known carcinogen. Glitter eyeshadows use pure aluminum to create the shimmery effect; the aluminum
can migrate into the eye and cause injury to the cornea.
(From There’s Lead in Your Lipstick by Gillian Deacon (Penguin Canada). Copyright © Backbone Inc. FSO Gillian Deacon, 2011)

Has this peaked your interest? Then, I have some good news! Leave me a comment below and you'll be entered to win a prize pack valued at $48.95 containing a copy of Gillian's book and an Eco Kiss kit from Saffron Rouge.
The contest will run from today until April 19th, when I will pick the winner using random.org. (Contest is open to Canadian mailing addresses only.)

Good luck and be sure to check out tomorrow's stop on the tour at Jacob's Beloved

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Review: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder - much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing - not even a smear of blood - to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know....

I could make this a simple review and say "I loved this book!" and leave it at that. But, for those of you that haven't read it yet (and, seriously, what are you waiting for?), it doesn't give you a compelling enough arguement to run out right away and read this book.

There are lots of stories that have a gradual rise, you get accustomed to characters then watch the action begin. Not so, with City of Bones. Within the first few pages, you're right in the thick of things, with the boy being killed and Clary Fray, our heroine, having her eyes opened to unbelievable things.

The novel does build to a fantastic climax but along the way you are teased with details, fun dialogue, and an incredible world that lies just below the sightline of "normal" humans. Clare writes with such fervor that you do kind of want to jump right in there too, possible early death be damned!

There's also an incredibly taboo subject that becomes a main focus here. I have to say, I was glad that no one had spoiled things for me along the way (except a random Tweet by Maggie Stievate), which gave this part of the storyline that much more impact. My "Noooooo!" is still resounding in my head. Again, Clare's writing makes you question your own judgement, when despite this "facet", you still want what should really be impossible.

City of Bones is rich in characters, drama, and action. I know it will be a book I return to again and again, to relive this entrancing story.
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