Currently Reading:

Witch & Wizard

by James Patterson
and Gabrielle Charbonnet

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Etched in Stone

Last October I started the 50 Book Challenge off but had to stop after finishing the first book. I've only just realized that because of this I never got to give that one book a review, so here it is.

Etched in Stone (Book One of the Skyla Chronicles)
by Tiffany Marie Saxe

Strategic Book Publishing (2009)

112 pages

Modern fantasy

Official website:

5 stars

"In this fresh twist on a modern-day Phantom of the Opera, sixteen-year-old Luienna "Enna" Evans runs away from boarding school to Paris, France where she joins a theater company and lives under the roof of the Le Chateaux En Espagne Opera House.

Enna's new life is full of romance, drama and love. But, although surrounded by friends and family, Enna often feels alone. When she learns of a mysterious person named Skyla connected to the opera house, she delves into the mystery, only to become entangled in its curse as tragedy strikes the company. Can Enna unravel the truth in time to save her best friend? And can she find out whose name is etched in stone on a grave marker outside of Paris..."

There are not many bad things to say about this book. In fact, I could quite honestly say it was the best book I read last year - beating out the Twilight saga and Sign of the Zodiac series (all of which I love). However, the summary is something I want to complain about.

"Fresh twist on a modern-day Phantom of the Opera" ... really? That sentence alone was enough to make me want to put the book down before I even started reading. I don't like the Phantom of the Opera, perhaps I should give it another shot but that's besides the point. Etched in Stone was, in my opinion, completely different. Did they both take place at an opera house? Yes. Was there a big mystery at the opera house? Yes. But that's where the similarities end.

Also, the last line of the summary: "And can she find out whose name is etched in stone on a grave marker outside of Paris..." makes no sense. We find out whose name it is in the third chapter. Nothing mysterious about that. I'm putting the blame for these mistakes on the publisher for now.

For the real review: I think the story was very well-written. We follow Enna from her boarding school in London to Le Chateaux in Paris in the very beginning, and start meeting the new characters quickly. At first things seemed a little rushed, but everything worked itself out by the second chapter. The author's descriptions - of everything from the weather to the opera house itself - were wonderful. I especially liked the decorations in the dorm hallway.

The characters were believable. Perhaps a little eccentric at times, but that's to be expected. I did have trouble keeping track of them at times. I repeatedly mixed up the sisters Karma and Keela. I found Enna and Jason very intriguing and I loved learning about their secrets as well as Skyla's. Some other characters I liked were Enna's best friend Rain, Nathalie, and Enna's little sister Via (at times).

The book is filled with too-long paragraphs and grammatical errors. All of which I, again, blame the publishing company for not correcting. Despite these mistakes, I can't give this book a lower rating because there's really nothing wrong with it. The rating is for the story and characters, not the formatting. I would probably think twice about looking at any other books from Strategic Book Publishing, but I'd definitely read more from the author. I mean, she made me cry. I don't cry over just any books, you know.

All in all I loved this book and am in the process of reading it for a second time. It's a short read (I finished it in two days) but a very good one for fans of fantasy or operas. I look forward to the next book in the series. =)

And now, my favorite quote:
"I'm no rose, just another leaf with a few layers and a need for a stem." - Enna


So, everyone comment and let me know how I did for my first review? I admit, I kinda stole the layout of the review from Ari @ Reading in Color. Sorry.

I'm already reading the first book for this year, so I'll post again hopefully sometime next week when I'm finished.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

2010 Book List -- 111

Because I have all of my book recommendations scattered over five sites, I just want put them all together in one place. And that way you can see which books I plan on reading before you suggest new ones. But first, some rules.

The following books are sorted alphabetically by author names. As in G: Green, John -- not J: John Green. If the book has more than one author, it will be still be listed alphabetically but author names. Also, I will put a colored slash beside each book that fits one of the seven challenges (look in the side bar).

Color Key:
/ - POC Reading Challenge
/ - South Asian Authors Challenge
/ - 10 in '10 Teen Chick Lit Challenge
/ - GLBT Reading Challenge
/ - Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
/ - 2010 Debut Authors Challenge
/ - 1st in a Series Challenge



Adams, Douglas

  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Albom, Mitch

  • The Five People You Meet In Heaven
Armstrong, Kelley

  • Bitten /
  • The Summoning /

Austen, Jane

  • Pride and Prejudice


Barnes, Jennifer Lynn

  • Raised by Wolves

Beckman, Thea

  • Crusade in Jeans /

Bly, Stephen

  • The Senator's Other Daughter /

Bray, Libba

  • A Great and Terrible Beauty //

Brian, Kate

  • Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys /
  • Private /

Bronte, Anne

  • Agnes Grey

Bronte, Charlotte

  • Jane Eyre

Bronte, Emily

  • Wuthering Heights

Brown, Sandra

  • Not Even For Love

Buckley, Michael

  • The Sisters Grimm /

Bujor, Flavia

  • The Prophecy of the Stones


Cabot, Meg

  • Shadowland
  • When Lightening Strikes

Camus, Albert

  • The Plague
Cast, P.C.

  • Goddess of the Sea /
  • Marked //

Christie, Brian & Jenson, James

  • The Rise of the Ice Wolf //

Clare, Cassandra

  • City of Bones /

Clement-Davies, David

  • The Sight

Creech, Sharon

  • Chasing Redbird /

Crichton, Michael

  • Congo
  • Jurassic Park
  • Timeline

Croggon, Alison

  • The Naming /

Crutcher, Chris

  • Whale Talk /


Davis, Tanita

  • Mare's War /

de la Cruz, Melissa

  • Blue Bloods /

Dickens, Charles

  • A Christmas Carol
  • David Copperfield
  • Great Expectations
  • Oliver Twist
  • A Tale of Two Cities

Doctorow, E.L.

  • World's Fair

Dolamore, Jaclyn

  • Magic Under Glass /

Donnelly, Jennifer

  • A Northern Light /

Dumas, Alexandre

  • The Man in the Iron Mask /
  • The Three Musketeers /

DuPrau, Jeanne

  • City of Ember /


Edwards, Kim

  • The Memory Keeper's Daughter

Evanovich, Janet

  • One For the Money /


Fitzgerald, F. Scott

  • The Great Gatsby

Funke, Cornelia

  • Inkheart /


Gaiman, Neil & Pratchett, Terry

  • Good Omens ...

Gaiman, Neil

  • Neverwhere
  • Stardust

Green, John & Johnson, Maureen & Myracle, Lauren

  • Let it Snow /

Green, John

  • An Abundance of Katherines
  • Looking for Alaska
  • Paper Towns
Gregory, Phillipa

  • The Other Bolelyn Girl //


Hale, Shannon

  • The Actor and the Housewife
  • Goose Girl /

Hamilton, Laurell K.

  • Guilty Pleasures
  • A Kiss of Shadows
Harris, Charlaine

  • Dead Until Dark /

Harvey, Alyxandra

  • Hearts at Stake

Hermans, Willem Frederik

  • Beyond Sleep
  • The Darkroom of Damocles


Ingalls Wilder, Laura
  • Little House on the Prairie


Johnson, Maureen

  • 13 Little Blue Envelopes /
  • The Bermudez Triangle
  • Devilish
  • Girl At Sea
  • The Key to the Golden Firebird
  • Suite Scarlett /


Kirino, Natsuo

  • Grotesque /


Larbalestier, Justine

  • Liar /

Lee, Harper

  • To Kill a Mockingbird

Levithan, David

  • Boy Meets Boy /


Magoon, Kekla

  • The Rock and the River /

Marr, Melissa

  • Wicked Lovely

Meyer, L.A.

  • Bloody Jack /

Mitchell, Margaret

  • Gone With the Wind /


Niffenegger, Audrey

  • The Time Traveller's Wife

Noel, Alyson

  • Evermore



Paolini, Christopher

  • Eragon

Patterson, James

  • The Angel Experiment

Pearson, Mary E.

  • Scribbler of Dreams

Perkins-Valdez, Dolen

  • Wench //

Picoult, Jodi

  • Handle With Care
  • House Rules
  • My Sister's Keeper

Pierce, Tamora

  • Alanna: The First Adventure /
  • Sandry's Book /

Pon, Cindy

  • Silver Phoenix /

Pullman, Philip

  • The Golden Compass /

Putney, Mary Jo

  • One Perfect Rose



Rand, Ayn

  • Anthem


Salinger, J.D.

  • The Catcher in the Rye

Scott, Michael

  • The Alchemyst /

Sebold, Alice

  • The Lovely Bones

Sewell, Anna

  • Black Beauty /

Shepard, Sara

  • Pretty Little Liars #1 /
Smith, L.J.
  • Night World #1 /
  • The Secret Circle Part 1 /
  • Vampire Diaries: The Awakening /

Smith, Sherri

  • Flygirl /

Stevenson, Robert Louis

  • Treasure Island /

Stork, Francisco X.

  • Marcelo in the Real World /

Sutcliffe, Rosemary

  • The Chronicles of Robin Hood


Tolkien, J.R.R.

  • The Lord of the Rings /

Tolstoy, Leo

  • War and Peace /

Turner, Barbara

  • The Blonde Chameleon

Twain, Mark

  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer




Wang, Lulu

  • The Lily Theatre /

Wyndham, John

  • The Chrysalids




Saturday, January 23, 2010

2010 Challenges

To kick off my new blog, I want to dedicate this post to all of the book challenges I'll be taking up this year.

My main goal is to read 50 books over the coarse of twelve months. Which isn't as easy as it sounds for me as I'm very busy. But last year I only read about twenty books, probably less. That needs to change.

To help me to keep reading, I'm taking up other challenges that will change the genres and topics that I'm reading about. If that doesn't work out, I've gotten suggestions for over 70 books that won't fit into the challenges. =)


For the POC Reading Challenge, I'm going for a level 3. That's 7-9 books I need to read. Pretty simple as I've got some titles lined up already.

For the South Asian Author Challenge, I'll try for 5 books. If I go over that, great. I really do love India.

Teen Chick Lit Challenge

A little obvious, but for the 10 in '10 Teen Chick Lit Challenge, I'll be reading 10 books!

GLBT Challenge

For the GLBT Challenge, I'm going for Lambda Level, which is 4 books.

Historical Fiction Challenge

I'm signing up for Fascinated level on the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge. That's 6 books.

The Story Siren

The 2010 Debut Author's Challenge. Twelve books from authors who are publishing their first YA or MG novels this year.

1st in a Series Challenge

For the 1st in a series challenge, I'm going at Fascinated level again. I thought about going one level higher, making it I think ten books instead of six, but I can always change it later.


So that's it. I'm joining seven little reading challenges that perfectly fit into my one BIG one. And you get the honor of having to listen to my ramblings after I finish every single one of the fifty+ books this year. Lucky you.

This blog is still under construction. The sidebar, for example, needs figuring out (I'm so not code-savvy). So forgive the incomplete look of things right now.

I'm still looking for suggestions to fill the guidelines of my new challenges, so please feel free to send me book titles. Either by commenting, or by sending a letter to my blog email:


The Bookworm